Professional Gambling: How to maintain routine and focus?

Professional Gambling: How to maintain routine and focus?  I guess everyone has their own way of working.

I often say to my brother, when it comes to gambling you have to make it what you want it to be. If not, you have to wonder who is in control. Perhaps you are unwittingly being manipulated without realising. We are given the premise that we have freewill over determinism. However, I’m sure there are plenty of psychology perspectives which would tell a different story.

Whatever the underpinning of our reality, it pays to have a working routine especially when concentrating on horse racing and specifically when a bet is about to be placed. The reasons are apparent. Any distraction can lead to mistakes. They can happen in an ideal situations so a noisy environment is hardly conducive to optimum performance. And when you are gambling for a living you need everything to be right.

I’m not sure if gamblers are superstitious, but I feel there is a gambling monster watching from the clouds. Man, woman or beast, this devil is a perfectionist and loves to see people in the image of itself. If you don’t work with professionalism then you can guarantee it will make an example of you. Basically, something horrible will happen to show you why the very thing you haven’t done is vitally important.

For this reason, I have a routine 30-minutes before the start of any race I have bet. I go to my room, put my headphones on and concentrate on the upcoming race. I have a routine. I have solitude. Hopefully, I won’t be disturbed by anything. It’s imperative I focus.

I enjoy the predictability of this routine.

It is a strength and reinforces good habits. The opposite is creating bad habits. If you have half a brain you definitely don’t want to be nurturing those because they are costly and frustrating when gambling.

It’s a strange happening, but the amount of times horses are entering the stalls when someone knocks on the door or the dog starts barking is uncanny. I’m pretty sure the man upstairs (the devil) is testing my character. He’s saying: ‘I’m going to get you out of that room and when you do I’m going to f*** you up.’

I said he was a very disagreeable character.

And that’s why I, you, the old gambling dear round the corner, needs to stick to the routine of solitude and focus even if the world is falling down around your ears. Let the ceiling crash down. Let the bloke from Amazon perish on your doorstep. Ignore your pet dog even if it is running around the house in a ball of flames.

Don’t glimpse through those blinds because I can guarantee Medusa will be staring back at you. Your horse will finish stone last.

Because here’s the thing. You think all those things seem bad if not a touch disturbing. Being a decent human being you want to do your best. It’s only natural you want to throw a bucket of water over little Fido to dampen the flames. However, take it from me, if you leave that laptop for one minute you will come back to find something terrible has happened.

The devil is waiting to test your resolve.

‘You thought it was OK to leave the room?’


You don’t want to know what’s going to happen but I can tell you this much, you won’t be winning any money that day.

In fact, you will be lucky not to lose your shirt.

Don’t believe me. Then give the man in the clouds a reason to look down and say: ‘You, boy, are a glutton for punishment.’

For your sake follow the maxim: Routine, solitude and focus.

RIP, Fido.


Horse Racing Pundits: Why Press The Mute Button?

Horse Racing Pundits: Why Press The Mute Button?  Horse racing is all about opinions. Whether it is a good or bad idea to listen to those opinions is a matter for debate. I don’t know about you, but when I’m watching Racing TV or AtTheRaces and I see some racing pundit limbering up to give their views on the next two-year-old horse race I press that mute button. I know it seems a bit mean spirited but you’ve got to protect your sanity by limiting noise pollution. Yes, that sounds even harsher. What will I say next? It’s not all bad news, for some. However, the vast majority of pundits are given the cold shoulder.

I’ll mute the hell out of them.

I don’t know whether you do the same or love to listen to the dulcet tones of all and sundry.

It’s a matter of choice.

I remember Lydia Hislop, one of the few racing pundits I do listen to as she know something about horse racing and intelligent enough to string educated sentences together without blasting my brain with umpteen cliches said: ‘A lot of my racing friends are quick to press the mute button.’ She’s been crowned broadcaster of the year three times for a reason. I think it’s down to her lack of cliches which become the main default mode for most pundits.

It’s interesting that I mute the pundit and not the race commentary although there are a couple of those who are getting my finger closer to the mute button. I’m looking to have a bespoke TV remote control made which features an oversized mute button. A golden button which I can press in some masochistic form of celebration that some beast with an opinion and voice has been rendered speechless. If only we had a control to do that for people in real life. Or just switch someone off completely because they are a waste of space, anti-social, litter droppers, fly tippers, dictators. I’d switch the whole world off and start again.

Anyway, back to racing pundits which by the grace of modern technology are victims of the mute button.

Praise the Lord. It’s my new form of religion. God bless.

The main reason for de-voicing the voices of racing (not Sir Peter O’Sullivan I loved him) is that they aren’t the font of all knowledge. In truth, it is impossible for someone to know everything. My niche is two-year-old horse racing and even though I may sound modest to the point of being megalomanic but I know more about my passion than 99.9 percent of the horse racing world. Unlike the pundits I could actually say something that a listener has never heard before and it would be insightful and make someone say: ‘That’s a good point.’

The main staple for racing pundits is the cliché. The definition for the word cliché is as follows: ‘A phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought.’

I couldn’t have put it better myself.

In fact, if there was one word to encapsulate that definition it is the word mute.

I’ve never been interested in National Hunt racing so racing pundits opinions don’t matter to me and my lack of knowledge may even give life to their cliches. However, I can remember John Francome about a million years ago constantly saying ‘That horse looks a bit woolly’ like his old gran was addicted to knitting. I’d sit there waiting for a Flat race to come along and think if he says ‘woolly’ once more I’m going to complain to some broadcasting panel and put in a claim for compensation.

I’d think either go back to riding horses or pollute someone else’s wool.

Another offender who didn’t last long was Declan Murphy. I know he had to retire from race riding through injury but if he said ‘That horse is the apple of his trainer’s eye’ once he said it a million times.

I could only imagine if Francome and Murphy were on air together. It would only be a matter of time before they were both singing from the same hymn sheet saying: ‘Woolly Apple.’

My ambition, at the time, was to own a horse named Woolly Apple and for it to win at Fakenham racecourse and along comes John Francome to interview me live on TV and asking: ‘That’s an unusual name, I bet there’s a story behind it?’

Don’t get me started, John…

It would be the only time I wouldn’t press mute.

Modern day racing pundits are just as bad, if not worse. I can cope with three or four: Lydia Hislop, Steve Mellish, Eddie Fremantle… I’m still thinking. John McCririck was a breath of fresh air. It was a sad day when Channel 4 Racing had a change of guard pumping out more noise pollution.

I hate to say it but the sound of Ruby Walsh’s voice goes straight through my brain to some pain point which must be the equivalent to electro convulsive therapy. Perhaps if I am suffering from clinical depression it may help or send me over a cliff. I have a particular problem with former jockeys giving their opinions. They can, and perhaps some people who have had one Guinness too many enjoy their uttering, but, for me, it’s a matter of how quick can I press the mute button. I pride myself on pressing the mute just before they spit out a word. Job done. Success. It’s almost equal to a winner.

I’m all about the reduction of noise pollution.

Can you remember the old days in London when smog filled the air? If you get four or five know it alls spouting on about the Cheltenham Festival you are likely to suffer from acrid pollution.

Press the mute.

I know my words are in a way a form of visual pollution to some. If you love your racing pundits then good for you. I’m sure there are some of you have who have read George Orwell’s 1984.

I won’t detail the worst offenders who are at the top of my hit list. However, a few of these very high-pitched voiced women racing pundits on Racing TV (not my lovely Lydia) really do heighten my phobia to a point of seeking some kind of intervention. I’m not being nasty, but someone should banished them from TV.

Suck the pollution out of the air.

Zap them with the mute.

What is a ‘nursery’?

What is a 'nursery'?  In horse racing parlance, ‘nursery’ is short for ‘nursery handicap’ and describes a handicap race run on the Flat and restricted to two-year-old or ‘juvenile’ horses. To be eligible to run in a nursery handicap, a two-year-old must have run at least three times in Flat races in Britain or Ireland, or run twice, having won its first race.

In common with older horses, the official handicap ratings assigned to two-year-olds by the team of handicappers at the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) are based on performances on the racecourse. Thus, nurseries do not appear on the British racing calendar until mid-summer, typically July, so that the handicappers have a stockpile of form on which to base their assessments.

Hundreds of nurseries are run throughout Britain and Ireland in the second half of the Flat season. Such races are hugely popular with trainers, often resulting in large fields and competitive betting heats. The most valuable nurseries on either side of the Irish Sea include the Sky Bet Nursery Handicap and Sky Bet EBF Stallions Nursery Handicap, both staged during the ‘Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival’ at York in August, and the Tally-Ho Irish EBF Birdcatcher Premier Nursery, staged at Naas in November.

Online Casino Industry in the UK and Its Impact on the Economy

Online Casino Industry in the UK and Its Impact on the Economy  If you’ve ever dipped your feet into the world of online gambling or even scratched an online lottery card in hopes of winning big, you’re among the millions of people in the UK fuelling this growing market. Over the years, the UK’s online casino industry has evolved into a thriving beast, influencing the economy and other sectors like tourism and entertainment. We’ll now help explain how this huge industry emerged, its influence, the challenges it faces, and what the future holds.


A Brief History and Booming Growth

Picture this: it’s the late 1990s, and dial-up internet is your connection to the world. The ’90s was when the seeds of the UK’s online gambling market were sown. The industry began to take shape in the early 2000s, with the UK Gambling Act of 2005 laying down the regulatory groundwork. This act ensured that online gambling operators adhered to strict regulations, promoting fair play and responsible gambling.


Fast forward to today, and the online casino scene in the UK is in full bloom and unrecognisable. The industry’s growth has been meteoric, fuelled by factors like technological advancements, increasing internet accessibility, and a penchant for convenience. Many of the top contenders of the UK gambling market now offer huge libraries of games that rival traditional brick-and-mortar venues, and they continue to successfully draw in players from all walks of life.


Beyond the Casino Floor: Impact on the Economy

It’s not all about spinning slots and hitting blackjack, though. The ripple effect of the online casino industry extends to sectors beyond gambling. In 2021-2022 more than 110,000 full-time jobs were created within the gambling industry, but that’s not where it ends.

Thanks to slots and games depicting tourist attractions, events such as horse racing and even sports, players want to see the real thing, which makes them flock to the UK to explore the diverse culture and scenery, thereby boosting the hospitality and tourism industry. These visitors exploring the UK will spend big money on accommodations, dining, and local attractions, creating more employment opportunities.

Entertainment, too, has undergone a significant transformation. Online casinos have become a form of leisure for many, attracting individuals who might not have otherwise been interested in gambling. This shift has given rise to a fresh wave of demand for diverse entertainment experiences, from live-streamed poker tournaments to interactive game shows that keep players engaged for hours on end.


Challenges on the Horizon

Like any industry, the online casino sector in the UK has its challenges. Regulatory compliance and licensing can be complex to navigate, and the industry has worked hard to ensure that operators meet the strict standards set by the UK Gambling Commission. Moreover, the industry has been at the forefront of promoting responsible gambling, implementing stricter and more advanced measures to prevent addiction and protect vulnerable players and the younger generation.


Looking Ahead: The Future of Online Casinos in the UK

So, what does the future hold for the UK’s online casino industry? The crystal ball may be a bit hazy, but a few trends likely shape its trajectory. With advancements in technology, virtual reality and augmented reality experiences could become integral to online casinos, providing players with immersive gaming adventures from the comfort of their homes.


As more players embrace mobile gaming, online casinos are likely to optimise their platforms for seamless smartphone or handheld device experiences. Additionally, more cryptocurrencies might find their way into the industry, depending on how the UKGC decide to set its rules, potentially offering players an alternative way to engage in transactions securely and anonymously.


A Glimpse into the Future: Bright Horizons Await

To wrap it up, the online casino industry in the UK has evolved from its humble beginnings to become a significant player in the country’s economy. Its impact extends beyond card games and slot machines, from boosting tourism to revolutionising entertainment. As the industry faces challenges head-on and embraces innovative technologies, the future looks promising and full of new opportunities. So, whether you’re a seasoned card shark or just curious about trying your luck, the UK’s online casino scene welcomes you to be a part of its vibrant and ever-evolving gaming landscape.

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