SIMON NOTT: Professional Punter… a multitude of wins

One of the most enjoyable parts of the contributing to the continuing #BettingPeople series for me is meeting the most inspirational achievers in ‘The Game’. The only drawback about that is when I’m driving home after meeting people who have won or made themselves a small, or in some cases huge, fortunes I wonder where I went wrong. Regardless, it’s a real privilege to talk to these people.

Of all the high-achievers I get to meet, the most intriguing for me are the Professional Punters. I wrote a light-hearted blog a week or so ago regarding the perceived ‘dress code’ for these people (CLICK HERE). This blog was inspired by my old colleague Kyle, who now punts for a living, and doesn’t dress like Barney Curley. I posted a photo of him on twitter in his, let’s say, casual attire, and it attracted some less than savoury comments. There were also some that alluded to the way he makes his living not being ‘real’ professional punting. I have no idea of Kyle’s strategy, he’s on the #BettingPeople list, but he is making money from bookmaker, for a living, beating the odds.

Surely all that makes a professional punter successful is consistently beating the odds. The same as in the ‘old days’ rails bookmakers laying their clients 5/2 and then sending men into Tattersalls to hedge at 11/4 and 3/1. The same as a bookmaker betting to 120% and being ‘overs’ in their book, the purest form of bookmaking. The same as punters consistently beating the SP thus beating the book and risking getting your account closed down or restricted, even before you have shown a profit.

What isn’t the same in this age of on-line gambling is how people beat the odds and the opportunities that are there for punters to take advantage of, totally above board and legally. Not even taking advantage of trader’s mistakes but just bookmakers’ offers. Usually if you are offered something it’s not seen as wrong to actually accept it.

When I interviewed professional ‘reality TV’ punter Steve Starkey (CLICK HERE) it was initially to howls of derision, but as seasoned professional punter Dean Valentine said ‘There’s more than one way to skin a cat’ (sorry PETA) and Steve’s videos soon became very popular. It was fascinating to learn that he’s not the only one getting themselves a few quid in that sphere but that there were dedicated websites with sophisticated poll/opinion analysis tools lurking largely under the radar to help punters pick off the bookies betting on the likes of ‘I’m A Celebrity’ and the like.

Strictly Come Dancing contestants Charles Venn and Karen Clifton practice their latest dance routine, the Charleston, at a dance studio in London.

I sat next to a very articulate young man at the SBC Awards who opened my eyes to another avenue that modern day professional punters are marching down, I won’t name him here but am very grateful for the insight.

Even though Geoff Banks wrote a blog about ‘Each Way Snipers’ and touched on this a while back I was equally surprised to learn the depth of a similar network that Steve Starkey opened our eyes to associated when highlighting bookmakers’ offers, value bets, boosts, each-way value, bonuses, sign-ups etc. There are paid websites that monitor and highlight the value as well as secret facebook groups where members collude and share info as where to snap up free money. There is a war going on, on-line bookmakers are under constant attack in which clever punters are picking them off time and time again. True, it’s not the fruits of hours of midnight oil burning form study but it is beating the odds and taking advantage of the ultra-competitive nature of today’s on-line bookmaking industry.

I was even more astounded to learn that even on-line casinos aren’t safe. ‘Jackpot Hunters’ are out there scouring the net looking for when the odds swing into punter’s favours. Like me I’m sure you didn’t think that even possible, here’s a quote from one of the sites I visited.

‘Below we list progressive jackpots with a known break-even value, allowing you to identify and play progressive jackpot games with a RTP of more than 100%.’

People in cyberspace are out there making money on what the majority of us consider to be the ‘muggiest’ type of betting possible. It did cross my mind that these sites could be a gee-up by bookmakers to get gullible punters to get stuck into their on-line casinos. I’m assured not, when the maths adds up to even a tiny percentage in the punters’ favour then the ‘Jackpot Hunters’ strike and to very high stakes.

I’m sure my brief insight was a tip of the iceberg, the shrewdie in his fedora and encyclopaedic knowledge of the formbook is the traditional image of the professional punter but is fast becoming the least of some bookie’s worries.

People might scoff at the type of people that use tactics to pick off the offers and snap the value. The reality is that the majority quietly making a living punting these days probably never even heard of Arkle but are the emerging as real punters that the bookmakers fear in an ever-evolving cat and mouse battle in cyberspace.

Simon Nott

skintmobSimon Nott is author of:
Skint Mob! Tales from the Betting Ring