AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

SIMON NOTT: Cleverer Than You

Back when I first got into betting, pro-punters were fairly mythical types of people.

They had a very low profile, I didn’t even know that they existed until I was told that a chap in our local bookies was one. He wasn’t, I should have looked at his daps and not his imitation Crombie when making my first judgment call. All the same, it was cool to know that there were such people out there though.

It wasn’t long before I discovered Barney Curley glaring out from the front page of the Sporting Life, so I had an inkling as to what a pro-punter really looked like. Then, to my delight, I saw adverts in the papers pinned to the wall of the bookies. Pro-punters would give you their tips, all you had to do was send a couple of quid off to them for their ‘one horse letter’. I had to chuckle to myself, how daft, didn’t the bookies know these adverts were there when they pinned them up!

Not long after, to fanfare in the Sporting Life, a real professional punter wrote a book tantalisingly titled ‘Alex Bird – The Life And Secrets Of A Professional Punter’. I bought it in hardback from the Turf Newspapers kiosk at Sandown on my very first visit, out of winnings of course, luckily, before I lost the rest of them.

Whilst the book was very entertaining, it wasn’t going to be easy to emulate Alex’s success from his secrets. Betting in each-way multiples so far in the past that the bookies paid 1/3 the odds a place, in races so snide that he was eventually knocked by his bookie, was out. As was standing by the winning post on one leg with an eye shut betting on the results of photos. Still, Alex was a professional punter so at least that was encouraging.

Once my name was out there on the gullible mailing list I started to get a whole stack of post from professional punters. They were all very helpful offering to let me join the happy band of winners that followed them in. Sadly, they were all too rich for me, I couldn’t start pulling up more for their tips than I used to bet in a week. Mind you, I used to kick myself and wished I’d saved up when the following week I got a ‘Look what you would have won’ letter, from the same shrewd.

In the intervening years, there were seriously good and educational books by genuine judges, Alan Potts, Dave Nevison and Nick Mordin to name a few. The latter’s was titled straight to the point ‘Betting For A Living’ and would have certainly boosted the sale of index cards at your local office stationers, just as the cusp of the Microsoft age.

These days we’ve never had it so good. I’ve been lucky enough to meet several genuine professional punters in the course of the Star Sports #BettingPeople series. Many of those of a certain vintage have told me that they were taken under the wing of a mentor who put them on the road to profitable and ultimately professional betting.

These days we are also spoilt for choice where to get advice on winning, not just winning advices. Needless to say, the first port of call for anyone wishing to learn from a genuine professional punter is the #BettingPeople series, a shameless self-promotion policy adopted by Star Sports and all who freelance for her permits that little plug. In addition to those very informative videos, there are podcasts springing up all over the place also packed with good advice.

I mentioned at the start of this little piece that I first became aware of professional punters through the trade paper, though in hindsight they may have been a little dubious and shadowy. Nowadays, seasoned professional punters are more than happy to share their secrets with the Racing Post, several have appeared in the paper’s pages with advice, helping us all win. That’s surely absolutely fabulous news for all those that aspire to beat the bookmakers.

You’d think so wouldn’t you. It’s a funny old game in 2022, the best way to find out if a pro-punter has had an article published is to have a gander at Twitter and look for the howls of derision and dismissal from those that like to share their thoughts there. How times have changed from the beginning of this blog when everyone did their cobblers, it’s hard to find a loser these days!


Views of authors do not necessarily represent views of Star Sports Bookmakers.

Simon Nott is author of: Skint Mob! Tales from the Betting Ring
available on Kindle 



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