I once worked in a particularly rough neighborhood where the police were openly and it was not uncommon to happen upon badly beaten people who have just seen recent sufferers of a mugging or two. To put it lightly, various vices were inculcated into everyday life and this included although, was not restricted to, gambling. In this rough environment, there was a regular customer at my workplace who stood out amongst the rest, because of how nice he was as opposed to the usual patrons. He had a wife and child, played football and was relatively well off all things being considered. There was, however, a problem with this man, he had no idea how to gamble, despite being completely taken with the Quick Links activity.
It was so bad that even when he had good days, he could not separate his gambling from his winnings and when he had bad days, he would act like the money being lost was inconsequential to him, in a bid to convince himself that he was not losing. On one particularly good Saturday, he had succeeded in clearing up my till and by afternoon, I could not afford to pay him anymore. I knew he played football on Saturday afternoon, so I offered to hang on to his slip and pay him out when the day came to an end. The reasoning behind it was that at least before the next day and the Sunday races, he would have had a day of peace. All was going accordingly until his demons came back to roost and he reached out to some friends to try to persuade me to cash his money so they could, in turn, bet for him by proxy. He also called me and asked me to bet on his behalf, but I refused.
As can be expected, an hour later, he was back in the shop – football kit still on – and succeeded in returning so much of the money he had won that I finally had to show him out, asking him only to return on Monday. Now, at this point, I know you would be expecting an epiphany of sorts to happen. An awakening, a rethink of life choices leading to better decisions being made. Unfortunately, that was not the case and after he left my shop – after, thankfully, changing from his football kit – he went to the casino and lost everything. His family had finally had enough and left him. The garage he owned suffocated under a pile of gambling debts. As at the last time I heard of him, he was really living rough.
This is a typical example of a steady decline brought on by the inability or unwillingness to control one’s gambling habit. All through this man’s ordeal, one thing was clear to me, he was simply using his habit to fill a void. At this point, I feel it is necessary to state that if you notice any symptom of addiction associated with your attitude to gambling, it could be lying, stealing, mood swings or something else, then without a doubt, gambling is not for you. Watching this man led me to the realization that not everyone has the ability to handle a potentially addictive hobby. In the end, not many people come out with any money. The kicker, however, is that not everyone minds this; a different customer in a different shop disliked collecting winnings because he only used gambling to occupy his mind, he wasn’t in it for the money. Others though, are in it to win it. In order to win, or at least come out relatively on top, one needs to have a moral code one follows strictly.
This one was formerly known as ‘don’t bet what you can’t afford’, which also happens to be the silliest, most misleading rule out there. By betting what you can afford to lose, then you have inadvertently also placed a level of emotion inside the bet, emotion being the one thing you want to keep out of any bet. For this rule to have any practical application, it should be reconstructed to something like ‘expect to lose every bet’, in which case, you would be detached from the money and be able to focus on other things. The inclusion of emotion in the mix tends to muddle things up and create a level of bias in some cases, which is why another important rule is to never bet on your favorite team. Emotion complicates these things and keeping them out creates a clearer vision with which to approach the hobby.
Simply put, a perfect system does not exist. In truth, bookies have a thing called the 110 % market and regardless of results, they pick up a profit of 10 %. It should be noted that 10 % is just a minimum goal and the usual turnout is closer to 30%. It is important to never think you can beat the bookies. You can’t. The bookies are extremely sensitive to changes in market percentage and study each other's prices in order to catch people looking to bet on a market and adjust their prices accordingly. Keeping this in mind will add a level of realism to the activity.
Another brutal truth is that, if you do not know what you are betting on, then you have no chance of winning. I came across a website that claimed to be able to remove the luck factor by crunching the numbers and working out the variables. Calling that a boat of hogwash is an understatement. One might come across such things as Best Betting Sites for 2017 – Online Bookies reviews, offers, how to’s, and in some cases, they might actually prove helpful, they are not a substitute for practical knowledge, however. Football, for example, goes beyond the two teams of twenty-two players and their substitutes. The weather, officials and every other thing/person involved has a part to play including whether or not the star striker liked the ending to the book he read the night before. Punching in the numbers can only get you so far. Knowledge is key.
There are actual websites out there who claim to have “70 percent accuracy” or above and parade themselves as completely reliable and infallible. This is beyond laughable because, off the top of my head, I can recall a certain website which predicted a 68% chance of Chelsea beating Reading at home and in the end, they won by a lucky 1-0. The same site predicted a 25% chance of Liverpool beating Portsmouth at home and in the end, Liverpool had a lovely 4-1 win. Rather than wasting money on such inaccuracies, invest in a book explaining the spirit and philosophy behind the game as there are more than a few of those going around.
I literally watched loads and loads of live games, interviewed a lot of footballers, managers, pundits and fans during my time as a football reporter before I was able to garner a concrete idea about the game. Furthermore, six years as a betting shop manager, two years as a professional gambler and about seven years as a football tipster is what it took for me to grasp this sham. Never be deceived into thinking that it is easy. I mean, while it is possible to win without in-depth knowledge or investigation, that’s akin to tossing a coin with a chance of it landing on its side – a general 1 in 3 chance.
So you’re having a field day at the tales. You’re Superman with the cards, you’re practically invincible. These mere mortals must bow before you, nothing can go wrong. Well, you’d like to think so wouldn’t you? Simple logic dictates that this is the exact time when everything can go wrong. At this point, calling your judgment impaired with all those feel good emotions coursing through your body is an understatement. So what do you do when you find yourself in this position? Well, for one, stop for a while and enjoy the feeling of being a winner. Once the judgment clouding emotions are gone, you can dive back in clearheaded and focused. Never lose yourself or give in to impulsive or whim based decisions. Always remember that every bet is a losing bet. Stay focused.