Hello dear readers
What a week we’ve had. National Hunt racing has disappeared off the calendar altogether. The standard of the All Weather racing hasn’t been great. What are we going to talk about? Well, let’s go off on a bit of a tangent today.
Due to the lull, I thought it might be a good opportunity to talk about some of my favourite gambling books and for you to tell me about some of yours. To be honest, I’ll only talk about one of my favourites today and return to some of the others when we have quiet weeks in the future.
I’ve just been perusing my gambling bookshelves and spotted lots of rather dry tomes detailing gambling theory and method – all essential reading for the aspiring pro-gambler – but not neccesarily the most exciting reads you will ever find. Today, I fancy something slightly more exciting – and it’s not even horse racing related.
The book I’m thinking of is called The Smart Money and it deals in the main with betting on American Football. Don’t expect much dry theory here – it’s more an exciting true story of a journalist who is recruited by a shadowy, elite betting syndicate (‘The Brain trust’ ) to place bets for them in the sportsbooks of Las Vegas.
It details the experiences of journalist Michael Konik after he lands an interview with Rick ‘Big Daddy’ Matthews (name changed in the book to protect the guilty) rumoured to be the one of the shrewdest (and biggest) sports bettors on the planet.They hit it off during the interview and Konik finds himself being recruited by Matthew’s and his cronies to place bets for them (they are barred from every sportsbook in Vegas)- bets sometimes as large as $1 million on a single game. What follows is a tale of adventure, high times, low times and the dangers of taking on the bookmakers and winning.
Below is a quote from the preface:
“In some ways the gulf between the big betting syndicates and recreational gamblers is as wide as that between Wall Street’s institutional investors and an unemployed speculator sitting in his underwear at home dabbling at day trading. But the professional bettors have something in common with the millions of people who gamble on the weekends: They desperately want their team to win, to cover the point spread. The big difference is that instead of sweating a hundred dollar wager, the smart money is sweating millions every weekend.
Gamblers whisper about a legendary – some think apochryphal – syndicate known as the Brain Trust, a soubriquet earned because its members seem to understand more about sports betting than anyone else. Though they operate in secret, the Brains are the most influential force in the world of sports betting. They’re to gambling markets what Warren Buffett is to the New York Stock Exchange. Everyone involved in sports gambling wants to know what the Brains are doing – which matchups they favor, which teams they’re investing in on any given weekend. Everyone who bets on sports – from the degenerate action junkie to the half-sharp sports fiend who watches ESPN sixteen hours a day, from small-time professionals to big time bookies – they all try to figure out how the Brains do what they do. And, especially, what they’ll do next.
I’m one of the few people in the world who can tell you. Because for several years I was one of them.”
You may have no interest in American football at all – I’m not a huge fan – but it’s an exciting read – a good insight into the way many bookmakers treat winning customers and the lengths to which some of those customers will go to ‘get on’. I can highly recommend it. It’s been a while since I read it so I can’t recall every detail but I know it kept me so engrossed that I finished it in a single sitting . It’s available on Amazon and at the high stakes online bookshop (www.highstakes.co.uk)
I would love to hear about any gambling/horseracing books that you have enjoyed, dear readers, so why not leave some comments so we can all get some ideas for our Christmas lists!
Hopefully, we will have more horse racing related stuff to talk about next time.
PS Have a great week and let’s hope that racing goes ahead at Cheltenham!