Cash Out Calamity

Cash Out Calamity  Since the advent of ‘in-play’ or ‘in-running’ betting opportunities, bookmakers have introduced the so-called ‘cash out’ option. According to bookmakers, cash out allows punters in a strong position to profit early – or, in other words, to ‘take their money and run’ – and those in a weak position to salvage some of their initial stake, before the event on which they’ve bet has finished. However, the cash out option benefits the layers insofar as it doubles the bookmakers’ edge, or overround, and balances their books at worse odds than are currently available elsewhere.

The cash out option is commonly associated with accumulators on football matches, with punters keen to avoid the all-too-familiar disappointment of being denied a decent return by the failure of a single selection. However, a football match, like any other sporting event offering ‘live’ betting markets, is subject to volatility in the odds on offer, especially in the closing stages, so cashing out is, at best, a double-edged sword for the punter.

Consider the punter who, in April, 2019, staked £1 on a 15-fold accumulator on football matches in England, Scotland and Spain. All his selections, including six away teams, won and, had he kept his nerve, his bet would have returned £24,641.22. However, the hapless punter pushed the panic button and cashed out early, for £14.32, denying himself £24,626.90 in winnings. Quite why, if he was that keen on winning £14.32, he bothered to place a 15-fold accumulator that took out over £24,000 in the first place is a question that only he can answer. In any event, his exploits serve as a shining example of why bookmakers are so keen to promote the cash out option.

Frankie Dettori’s ‘Magnificent Seven’

Frankie Dettori's ‘Magnificent Seven’  Lanfranco ‘Frankie’ Dettori has experienced his fair share of ups and downs since his halcyon days in the royal-blue silks of Godolphin, but remains one of the most recognisable and popular jockeys in the country. For readers of a certain age, Dettori will always be best remembered for winning all seven races on the highest profile race day of the year, the Festival of British Racing – a precursor to British Champions’ Day – at Ascot in 1996.

Perhaps the person with most cause to remember that fateful day is Darren Yates, nowadays a high-profile racehorse owner but, at the time, a self-employed joiner in Morecambe, Lancashire. Having latched onto the fact that the Godolphin horses wintered in Dubai were some way ahead of their British counterparts, Yates backed four of them – Wall Street, Diffident, Mark Of Esteem and Fatefully – all trained by Saeed Bin Suroor and threw in Dettori’s other three mounts, combining them in a £0.50 Super Heinz, plus an additional £1.00 each-way accumulator, for a total outlay of £62.00.

The rest, as they say, is history. The first three Goldolphin-trained horses won the Cumberland Lodge Stakes, Diadem Stakes and the feature race of the day, the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and, following an easy victory for Decorated Hero, trained by John Gosden, in the Tote Festival Handicap, Fatefully duly completed a four-timer for Sheikh Mohammed’s operation in the Roseberry Rated Stakes. Dettori made all the running on Lochangel, trained by Andrew Balding, in the Seal Stakes and repeated the dose on Fujiyama Crest, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, in the closing Gordon Carter Handicap. His unprecedented seven-timer paid 25,095/1 at starting price, but 235,834/1 at best odds and cost the bookmaking industry an estimated £40 million or more; Darren Yates profited to the tune of £550,823.54.

Love Island – Novelty Nightmare!

Love Island - Novelty Nightmare!  The fifth series of the ITV2 reality show ‘Love Island’ saw its fair share of ups and downs – not to mention thousands of Ofcom complaints about the unacceptable behaviour of the contestants – and the eventual winners, beauty therapist Amber Gill and professional rugby player Greg O’Shea, may have proved a disappointment to some viewers. The result was certainly an upset, with Tommy Fury – younger brother of boxer Tyson Fury – and social media influencer Molly-Mae Hague tipped as winners weeks in advance and odds-on heading into the ‘final’.

One viewer with more reason than most to be disappointed with the defeat of Fury and Hague was an unidentified Sky Bet punter for whom victory for the long-standing couple would have completed the eighth, and final, leg of an accumulator worth £10,760.60. Ironically, having invested time, effort and a significant amount of money – his initial stake was £102 – in seven, legitimate sporting selections, including Enable in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes and Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon Men’s Singles, to name but two, his fate was ultimately determined by the British public voting on a less-than-intellectually-demanding, often mind-numbing, TV reality series.

Of course, it can be argued that the punter was unlucky to come to grief at the ‘final hurdle’, but his exploits serve as a timely reminder that so-called ‘novelty’ bets are intended as quirky, fun, or even comical, distractions and not serious betting opportunities. Reality TV may be harmless enough, but is typically exploitative, crude and designed for shock value, so shock results should come as no real surprise.

Snooker Loopy – 15-fold win!

Snooker Loopy - 15-fold win!  Snooker is a popular sport for accumulator betting, not least because, unlike in some other sports, no draw, tie or dead-heat is possible. Furthermore, on the World Snooker Tour there are more tournaments than ever before and most of them start with all 128 players in a ‘flat’ draw structure, so there are plenty of matches to choose from. Of course, even the leading players can face tough assignments from the first round onwards, but there are invariably some value bets to be found.

One notable example of a successful snooker accumulator was a 15-fold roll-up on first-round matches in the Hong Rui Ma Yushan World Open, in China, in August, 2018. An anonymous Somerset punter staked £100 with Ladbrokes, via a BetStation, or self-service betting terminal, and won £100,124.82 after all of his selections prevailed.

Twelve of them, including the likes of Ali Carter, Marco Fu, Barry Hawkins and Stephen Maguire were odds-on, in some cases long odds-on, but the punter did manage to ‘dodge a bullet’ by leaving out home favourite Liang Wenbo, who crashed to a 5-1 defeat by 22-year-old James Cahill. At slightly more generous odds, the Welsh pair of Jamie Jones and Jak Jones was victorious at even money and 8/5, respectively, while Irishman Fergal O’Brien also won his first-round match at 11/8. Ladbrokes spokesperson Jessica Bridge acknowledged the bet as ‘the biggest snooker accumulator win we’ve ever seen placed on a BetStation’.

12-fold Cricket Acca

12-fold Cricket Acca  ‘Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it’, or so wrote nineteenth-century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard. However, there was nothing hasty about the punter who placed a year-long 12-fold accumulator on various major sporting events in 2018/19, although his bet did eventually boil down to a rather breathless Sunday afternoon and evening in southwest and northwest London.

By that stage, the intrepid punter had already chalked up ten winning selections, including Europe in the Ryder Cup at 11/10, Liverpool to finish in the top two in the Premier League at 8/11 and MK Dons to finish in the top seven in League Two at 1/3, to name but three. However, on Sunday, July 14, 2019, he still required defending champion Novak Djokovic, at 7/2, to win the Men’s Singles Final at Wimbledon and England, at 5/2, to win the Cricket World Cup Final at Lord’s.

After nearly five hours play, Djokovic finally defeated Roger Federer 13-12 in the fifth and final set after a tiebreak. Over at Lord’s, almost as if the betting gods knew a huge sum of money was at stake – the punter stood to collect £258,000 for his initial outlay of £650 – the agony continued. Set a total of 242 to win outright, England scored 14 runs from their final over and tied the New Zealand score of 241, resulting in a so-called ‘Super Over’ to decide the result. Remarkably, after a further six balls apiece, both teams had scored 15 runs and were still tied.

However, the International Cricket Council (ICC) tournament playing conditions stated that, in the event of a tie, the team that hit the most boundaries during their innings, including the Super Over, would be declared the winner. Thankfully, at least for our punter, England hit nine more boundaries than New Zealand, so became Cricket World Cup Winners for the first time.