January 15, 2008 at 21:06 #6270
This was written in response to a question about Dave Nevison in another part of the forum. I was intrigued by the answer written by the Lounge’s own, Mrs Mare. It’s more appropriate to put here as I suspect people here can handle a long post without suffering crippling headaches . And it is fairly long.
Mrs Mare, you couldn’t be more right that kids should be discouraged from the gambling life. It’s a horrible existence not to be recommended. Yet more and more of them are doing it, aren’t they!?
It makes you wonder how unattractive modern jobs and careers must be by comparison.
I enjoyed “A Bloody Good Winner”. Dave’s done well with his life and I’m a big fan, but in my opinion his is an idealised, otherworldly existence someway seperate from the modern zeitgeist of betfair and online poker.
Unlike the majority of the lumpen gambling proleteriat, let us not forget that he got the best possible financial start from his time in the City. Something which he readily admits. And he doesn’t just punt. He writes a fantastic two- pager in the Outlook and presents – extremely well – for RUK.
So while he’s the most famous example of a pro-punter outside JP McManus, he’s not the most apposite example.
The real picture is much edgier and bleaker raising questions for society and about the nature the new world. Because the currency of gambling is hope, no-one ever admits certain truths about the gambling existence for fear of bursting the comfort balloon. Everyone is a winner, aren’t they? Of course they are. Or they soon will be, after a few more shrewd punts. Dave maintains the illusion in his book to some extent. And it’s not really fair for the kids.
In truth, his book is like a comic with loads of important information left out. To succeed at this profession – which I’ve tried to do since November 2006 using a redundancy payment and a loan – you need to be focused and single minded; (you also need to be single, as Dave sadly found out).
Naturally, this singlemindedness brings certain downsides which Dave, perhaps in the interests of an exciting tale, neglects to tell us. Here’s some aspects of my experience.
It’s meant changing my life, substantially. For a start, I can’t smoke anymore because I’m saving the bankroll and can’t justify the fifteen quid a day I used to spend. I also remember smoking three packets of Bensons during a ten hour Southwell/US online session. That would eventually get the strongest of constitutions in the end.
Unlike Dave, I can’t drink anymore because I need to study the form at night and I’ve never been able to work with a hangover. (He enjoys his drinking, but you can’t help but notice he parts with a lot of dough the day after a big session in the clubs. Most of us would find such partying suicidal. And as Alan Potts has written, this is a game that never ends. So when should you celebrate your victories?).
For food, as poker guru Dr Tom recommended, I exist on Ryvita and Ski yoghurt and buy-one-get-one free cottage pies. Plus any fruit left on the out-of-date counter at the local co-op. You can’t be wasting the bankroll on five-a-day, (not at Â£3 a kilo for grapes) and hot meals.
Because you work alone behind closed doors, your standards slip. As haircuts cost a tenner, where once I looked fairly clean cut, I now look like Lemmy from Motorhead. And as clothes cost a fortune these days, I have come to resemble a fatter version of the Mancunian fellow in the combat jacket from “Shameless”
All because, buying a new pair of jeans may mean losing the stake money for that life saving Tricast you need at some point in the future. When you really need it.
Dave seems to have friends everywhere. I have yet to speak to anyone in real life this week and can go a fortnight not speaking to anyone. I had a friend who visited me a couple of times a week in Autumn last year, but got sick of me playing poker and betting at Tampa on the PC while she tried to talk to me about non-gambling related stuff. You know, kids, relationships, happiness, marriage, the price of fish. Usual stuff. She hasn’t been round this year. A pity; I liked her. She was a nice person.
I have just bolloxed a friendship over Christmas with the last of four friends I have because I missed an important Christmas reunion party due to a horse running at Wolverhampton. The horse finished second by a short head and I was so upset at this all-too-common reversal, I smashed an antique desk lamp against the wall. Conversely, my pals had a great night.
My family have noticed that I talk to myself like a gibbering lunatic- sometimes on the bus into Nottingham. This looks odd doesn’t it!? I know this because when I had a job, I used to notice people talking to themselves too. They always looked weird to me. And I haven’t laughed at a joke in three months. Nothing makes me laugh anymore. I wake up in the morning in a state of high anxiety about money and slow horses and go to bed the same way.
The stress? Dave glosses over this in true masculine fashion. Two of my teeth have fallen out this year because of stress, once in public when I was at an anniversary dinner with a much loved aunt. She was most suprised as a loose incisor fell ignominiously into my custard. Everyone around the table laughed. Do you what my first thought was, Mrs Mare?
S**t! How am I going to afford the dental bill out of my bankroll?
But you knew that already.
My aunt later commented on my sour-milk complexion and suggested I got out more. You never read about this aspect of the gambling life in Dave’s book.
As for Dave’s legendary cocksmanship, since I’ve done this Betfair thing, the only woman who has showed any interest in horizontal partying chez moi is a shelf stacker from the local Co-Op who resembles the varicosed harridan from “Kingpin”.
This is entirely normal and I expected a period of celibacy when i started out. In my experience women prefer big spiders crawling in the bathtub to gambling men (as you pointed out earlier).
Yet, the book made me smile in the end. Dave tells us how it was for him and I have to say he’s a lucky man. I was glad I read it.
I wish I could say that I’ve enjoyed the existence of the last year. I haven’t, it’s been bloody awful. I’ve done my dough and am nearly ready for those twin demons of the Daily Mail Little Green Book (housing and incapacity benefits) because I strongly suspect I’m not much good for anything else – except working out formbreaking patterns for slow horses on the all weather. (By the way, do you get haircut grants on benefits? The Social used to pay for laundry when I was kid, something I’ve not done for two months).
The only good thing about this pro-punting thingy is that you don’t have some dribbling tosser of a boss screaming in your face when you’re ten minutes late. And you can stay up late. Maybe this is why kids want to play the game.
Of course it is.
Cheers. Max.January 15, 2008 at 21:52 #135541insomniacParticipant
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A great post Max; post of the year so far.January 15, 2008 at 22:06 #135548% MANParticipant
- Total Posts 5104
An excellent, thought provoking piece – in stark contrast to some of the cr@p that has appeared on this forum today!!!!
Thoughts like this make the forum worthwhile.
At least I wouldn’t have the haircut angst â€“ my hairstyle is more Collina than Shameless.
And for a very rare occasion I don’t know what else to say.January 15, 2008 at 22:22 #135551DroneParticipant
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Very good indeed Max.
Can just about survive something remotely resembling your lifestyle for extended periods during the ‘peak’ NH season…
… but thank christ I don’t bet on the Flat and can enjoy the ‘real world’ during high summer.
Best wishes palJanuary 15, 2008 at 22:36 #135557Ugly MareMember
- Total Posts 1294
Thank you so much for sharing that with us. It captured my attention all the way through, and I agree one of the best posts I’ve ever read on here, with a touch of humour thrown in for good measure. I had to laugh at the tooth in the custard …sorry…
I do think your story though should be held up as an example of what can happen to people who venture into this, romantically I think, in the vain hope they will emulate people like Mr Nevison who seems to suffer from hero-worship, and with dreams of making a good living and never having to work for anyone else again. The downside as you have found out to your cost is that you, and many like you, are at best difficult to live with and will suffer acute social isolation, things that are never factored in I think. I feel for you here, I really do as I hate to see people destroy their lives through addiction to anything, and I think this is an addiction, is it not Max?
On the bright side, and I feel sure there is one, you still seem a chirpy character to me, with much to offer, if only you could channel some of it in other directions, and you’ve had to give up smoking and drinking – that’s a bonus Max – this is brilliant news! not a downside at all, yet you make it sound like one, which is disturbing because everything seems to have a negative context at the moment.
Referring to our previous discussions, I wonder how you ever found time for internet dating with all it’s associated expenditure, the travelling etc. Counting the pennies as you have to do.
Your post above is like a bombshell and I doubt I shall read anything in Nevisons’s book to compare.
I may have other questions if you don’t mind, when I’ve perused it further. This is most interesting to me, and I do hope you don’t slip further down what is a very slippery slope Max. We shall try and stop you with words of support – so don’t you dare!!!!…lol. You sound like a very nice man to me, all in all, so don’t you go losing it, especially those teeth. Ladies like a good set of knashers
MargaretJanuary 15, 2008 at 23:04 #135565LUKEMember
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Thought provoking and interesting.January 15, 2008 at 23:55 #135572sberryMember
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pro punting – an oxymoronJanuary 16, 2008 at 09:34 #135600HimselfParticipant
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I thoroughly subscribe and adhere to the "in moderation" school of thought.
Never bet beyond one’s means and don’t bet every day… and when you do, be selective, and above all, never, ever, allow gambling to take control over you, or take precedence over the things that really matter in your life.
Gambling Only Pays When You're WinningJanuary 17, 2008 at 21:56 #136077
I’ve just made the classic mistake. I’ve just written another War and Peace job and got logged out. Drat! I’ll summarise what I wrote in a hundred words.
Thank you for your kind words and thanks for reading the piece. I’m flattered to be praised by such august peers. I’m a fairly Sysephean character and honest too. I don’t think I am addicted to betting, but I might be. Someone gave me a Betfair demonstration to turn me into a sensible Trader and instead I fell in love with the massive prices offered by Kosovan fishmongers on outsiders. That’s a mugs game; it’s all about favourites now. I have 15% of my bank left which is probably going on a horse at Southwell next week – if I can summon the bottle. I shall enjoy a Chicken and Leek pie while I watch it run. Better a day as a Lion than a Life as a Lamb. I’m not suited to the grind, but admire those that are.
And that’s it.
Guys, thanks a bunch. Mrs Mare, if you want to natter about my Internet stuff, get the other thread up LOL.
MaxJanuary 17, 2008 at 22:23 #136086LUKEMember
- Total Posts 271
In 2005 I found myself suddenly unemployed due to being the scapegoat for my boss(who owned the business)and his lifestyle.
Anyway I had a wife,mortgage and a child who was still to reach her first birthday.I had a few bets that won ,a few lays that lost and started upping my stakes significantly.For 3 months my(modest) lifestyle was maintained and I was actually better off then I was workingwhile at the same time getting to read the RP in the morning and watch racing in the afternoon.I wasoffered the job I am in now and I honestly had to think about it.Part of me wanted to keep going on betfair while at the same time I knew that I was on an amazing winning streak.
I would class myself as a twilight punter -capable of turning a small profit over a 12 month period but not enough to match even the most modest job.
If you don’t make it as a pro punter its not the end of the world-at the end of the day its much more enjoyable punting at the weekend -there is an incredible amount of dross during the week.
Good luck whatever road you take.January 17, 2008 at 23:54 #136098Ugly MareMember
- Total Posts 1294
Wise words Luke and thank you for this little story of yours and that things seem to have worked out for you.
By the way I always thought you were Luke Harvey – sorry about that
I’m a fairly Sysephean character
..this I shall have to look up.
What a shame we didn’t get your War and Peace, I shall have to encourage you to write another whatever your chosen subject – you have two minutes starting from now…lol
Bringing the other thread up tomorrow – be warnedJanuary 18, 2008 at 00:46 #136104
Indeed Luke, wise words. A good decision by the sounds of it. Going back to the original theme, I wouldn’t have been the first young man to have been seduced by a few wins. But unless you have the innate characteristics which enable consistency, trust in yourself and an ironclad strategy – as in Drone’s excellent analysis of a pro-punter yesterday – a few wins can prove to be a dangerous illusion.
Luckily, despite the rubbish year I’ve had, if I do my dough next week, it won’t kill my enjoyment of the sport – I can’t imagine what would, even Kempton – and I’ll be looking forward to festival and weekend punts.
Bringing the other thread up tomorrow – be warned
Bring it on, gal. Now THAT was a success….January 18, 2008 at 08:07 #136120stevedvgMember
- Total Posts 1137
I enjoyed “A Bloody Good Winner”. Dave’s done well with his life and I’m a big fan, but in my opinion his is an idealised, otherworldly existence
I read the book last year and didn’t think it described an “idealised” existence.
It reminded me of my days of full-time punting:
– a never ending treadmill of form study, betting, more form study
– racing being just about the money
– emotional highs and lows, with the highs disappearing overnight, but the lows lasting for days
– a sense of detachment from the rest of society
The only differences were that Dave was making more money than me (a lot more) and got out to the races far more often.
So, he has a far better life than a normal pro-punter, but still pretty grim in a number of ways.
SteveApril 24, 2014 at 23:27 #476749JJMSportsParticipant
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This is excellent.
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