''I've known many great gamblers over the years. Some pro gamblers I've known casually while others have been personal friends.''
The biggest gambler I have met is J P McManus. I know him on nodding terms. I've seen him scaring the pants off bookmakers and he walks around the betting ring.
One of my favourites was Alec Bird who loved place bets. Supposedly, his favourite bet was £200,000 place only on a red-hot favourite. He's be quite happy to bet 1/10, to get a nice return on his investment.
Without question, one of the shrewdest gamblers I ever met was Phil Bull. You may remember him as the founder of Timeform. Using his time rating system, he would be quite happy to bet on every race on the card while smoking a cigar, sipping a glass of champagne and have time for a chat. To Bull, it was simply about solving a puzzle. In fact, the money he won seemed to be of little interest to him.
Barney Curley often gets a bad press but he is one of the nicest people I have ever met. These days, he is showing his age but he is approachable and friendly. Over the years he has landed some major betting coupes including Yellow Sam in 1975.
Definitely the maddest gambler I ever met is my friend and once East End gangster ''H''. These days he is flat broke living in a housing association, passing the time looking after the gardens as he waits for a liver transplant.
However, he has lost millions over the years betting on the dogs and horse racing.