Monday, April 10, 2006

"First time I lose I drink whisky, second time I lose I drink gin - third time I lose I drink anything, 'cos I think I'm gonna win..."

"The only monster here is the gambling monster that has enslaved your mother! I call him GAMBLOR, and it's time to snatch your mother from his neon claws..."

Wayne Rooney may not agree as he counts his alleged £700,000 losses, but it seems in gambling, stupidity sometimes succeeds.
This may have been the media-approved 'biggest betting weekend of the year', when every self-respecting Briton and his/her granny punts on the Grand National.
Yet for the occasion of my very first ever £100 bet, I avoided the Aintree free-for-all, instead staking my hard-earned ton on... Burnley to beat QPR in an otherwise-meaningless Championship match.
There was good-ish reason - honest - behind this choice of gamble.
In recent years I've tended to be the one in the office organising a National/Wimbledon/World Cup/Eurovision/etc sweepstake, but for some reason this year's race passed by with me too dozy to sweep into sweepstaking action.
So I had nothing riding on the race even as I watched it alongside a racing expert mate, one of these punters who insists beforehand he only has eyes - and money - for one horse, only to reveal afterwards just how many complicated, yet profitable, alternative bets with which he's covered himself.
But my Burnley bet was prompted by advice on a scheme which promised 'guaranteed free money'. Even to my instinctively-anxious ears, this seemed to tempting to ignore.
It was meant to work something like this: Betfred is currently offering to double your winnings from your first successful bet after signing up with them - up to a bonus £100.
Thus, if you were to bet £100 on any evens offer, a win would pocket you not an extra £100, but £200.
So far, so good - if naturally risky... To guarantee yourself about £30 to £40, you then 'lay' the same bet with Betfair, so whatever the outcome of the fixture, you end up up on the deal.
So: I took Betfred's evens on Burnley to win, then effectively bet with Betfair that Burnley wouldn't win.
For reasons I still can't quite understand nor explain, I followed the apparent expert's advice to stake a total liability of £143.64 with Betfair - this apparently taking into account the tip to 'lay' at 2.0.
This was indeed where I started to feel a foggy sensation drifting across my brain. Then there was talk of Betfair charging a commission on winnings, possibly taking away about £20 - but still, I was looking at being, say, £37 better-off whatever happened.
Well, thanks to a 79th minute Alan Mahon goal, Burnley did indeed win - as I had pretty much expected them to do anyway, since Rangers have been playing like drains recently as well as seeming mired in financial and boardroom chaos off the pitch.
So my Betfred bet won, my Betfair one lost. Or so I thought.
In fact, checking up online today I discovered £144 still sitting in my Betfair account - it seems no-one had accepted my attempt to 'lay' the bet, after all.
So I could in fact claim my full £200 from Betfred, just as if I'd been brave enough to go 'all or nothing' all along.
Except it seems I only pocketed £100 - there was no sign of my first-bet bonus, which I've now emailed them to query.
Still, £100 up is nothing to be sniffed at, especially as I really didn't/don't understand what went on - and how, if the Betfair bid had been accepted, I would actually have been stupidly down on the whole deal in stark contrast to easily up...
Hmm. I don't think I'll be meddling, trying to be clever again, having just about dodged a bullet this time...
Anyone with more expertise and confidence than myself should perhaps give this 'free money' ploy a go.
Me, I'll just gratefully greet this strange little windfall, and leave it there.
Much as I'd enjoy Wayne and his United boys overhauling Chelsea at the top of the table against all odds - especially after his stunning display in the victory over the Vermin - I don't think it would really be wise doing a 'Roon' and staking all on red...

SUBSEQUENT UPDATE: Those lovely folks at BetFred immediately doubled my winnings to £200 on receipt of my politely perplexed email. How kind. I'm still not betting anymore, mind...


Lyndon said...

I find it entertaining that there's talk of an England squad "gambling school" ... Rooney doesn't seem to have learned an awful lot...

Mark Holland said...

Do you know "Kentucky Gambler" by Merle Haggard/Dolly Parton too?

Great moral tale.