Lady Luck at Leysdown-on-Sea

Lady Luck at Leysdown-on-Sea Traditionally, football has been thought of as a male preserve, as has gambling as a leisure activity and, at least to some extent, those perceptions continue. Progress towards gender equality, in all walks of life, has been slow, but steady, although gender gaps obviously do persist. However, gambling, especially gambling on football, which has introduced a new generation to betting, is freely accessible to men and women.

A case in point is that of an unidentified housewife who, in November, 2017, staked £1 on a 12-fold accumulator on weekend football matches at a William Hill betting shop in Leysdown-on-Sea on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent. Apparently, the woman in question had been placing a similar bet every weekend for the previous six years, following in the footsteps of her husband, who had been doing so for the previous forty years, without much success. Her selections reportedly required no skill, but only one of them was odds-on; highlights included Burnley to beat Southampton at 4/1, Reading to beat Derby at 16/5 and Burton Albion to beat Millwall at 10/3. All told, her 12-fold returned £574.278.41 for a £1 stake.

Betting shop employee Carli Faulkner, who posed for publicity photographs with the winning betting slip, praised the win, which was, far and away, the largest payout she had ever experienced, as ‘real girl power’. William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams added, ‘‘In my 15 years in the business working for William Hill I have never encountered a bigger football win by a female punter for just a quid.’

Lucky 15 – Minted Meath Man!

Lucky 15 - Minted Meath Man! Bookmakers are always keen to advertise that fact that one of their punters has won a five-figure or six-figure sum for a relatively small stake, because multiple bets – that is, doubles, trebles and accumulators – are excellent money-spinners. By contrast, singles are the least profitable area of business for bookmakers, so they are much less likely to advertise the fact that a punter has won, say, £10,000 with a single at even money. Similarly, it is not without good reason that bookmakers offer double, treble, four times or even five times the odds for a single winner in multiple bets such as the ‘Lucky 15’, ‘Lucky 31’ and ‘Lucky 63’ and bonuses of 10%, 20% and 25% on all-correct versions of the same bets.

However, while multiple bets, by definition, introduce increased risk, every so often a punter manages to string together a series of winners, at working man’s prices, and collects a decent sum of money. The Cheltenham Festival, for example, is considered one of the most difficult meetings of the year at which to find one winner, never mind four on the same day. Nevertheless, on the second day of the 2019 Festival, when results were more ‘punter friendly’ than is often the case, an anonymous Boylesports punter did just that and collected a total of €10,410.69 for his €120 stake.

The unidentified Meath man combined Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle winner City Island, at 8/1, with RSA Chase winner Topofthegame, at 7/2, Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Handicap Hurdle winner Band Of Outlaws, at 5/1, and Weatherbys Champion Bumper winner Envoi Allen, at 4/1, in a €4 each-way Lucky 15 at his local betting shop. Boylesports spokesman acknowledged the win, saying that ‘this customer in Meath has brought us right back down to earth with a bang’.

Injury Time Riches!

Injury Time Riches! Betting on the outcome of football matches in the pre-match match odds market may be less volatile than ‘in-play’ betting, where odds change during matches, but that doesn’t mean that punters are immune to dramatic swings of fortune, good and bad, once matches are underway. Consider the example of an unidentified Ladbrokes punter who, in February, 2018, staked £0.50 on a 17-fold accumulator on midweek football matches, in Britain and elsewhere in Europe, at a betting shop in Cheetham Hill, Manchester.

Having already experienced the good fortune of important goals in the final ten minutes of four of his selected matches, the punter headed into injury time with 15 winning selections, but Aldershot Town trailing 1-0 to Bromley and Exeter City trailing 1-0 to Crewe Alexandra. However, the often fickle football gods were on his side; lo and behold, in the 92nd minute at the Recreation Ground, Aldershot midfielder Manny Oyeleke scored to secure a draw for the home side, while at Gresty Road defender Jordan Taylor-Moore and striker Jayden Stockley both found the net, after 92 minutes and 95 minutes, respectively, to secure an unlikely win for the visitors. The remarkable reversal of fortune in stoppage time brought up all 17 selections as predicted and earned the punter £61,000. As American baseball legend Yogi Berra once said, ‘It ain’t over till it’s over’.

Cheltenham Festival Placepot

Cheltenham Festival Placepot The placepot is not an accumulator in the traditional sense, insofar as it is a pool, or pari-mutuel, bet offered by the Tote, still largely owned by Betfred, for which the dividend is determined not by the starting prices of the horses concerned, but the number of winning tickets. Quite simply, the placepot requires players to select a placed horse in each of six consecutive races, usually the first six, at a single meeting and, like a traditional accumulator, offers the prospect of a large return for a relatively small outlay.

The Cheltenham Festival, held annually in March, features racing that is more competitive than any other meeting of the year, but that did not stop one anonymous punter from winning £182,567.80 for a single £2 bet on the opening day in 2019. The once-a-year punter, enjoying his annual pilgrimage to Prestbury Park, placed his placepot bet, as he has apparently been doing ‘for years’, and made a flying start to the afternoon.

Of course, by definition, the placepot is not just about backing winners, but victories for Klassical Dream, Duc Des Genievres, Beware The Bear in the first three races – in which no favourite was placed – did his prospects no harm. Second-place finishes for Melon and Stormy Ireland in the Champion Hurdle and OLBG Mares’ Hurdle, respectively, kept the dream of a mammoth payout alive and, in the 20-runner Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase, it was left to 5/1 favourite A Plus Tard to make the first four places. Henry De Bromhead’s charge not only did that, but scampered away to win by 16 lengths and the dream had become reality!

Small Stake, Huge Payout

Small Stake, Huge Payout Apparently, ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again’ was originally a maxim used to encourage American schoolchildren to do their homework. However, the importance of not giving up too easily was highlighted by an anonymous Coral punter who, in April, 2017, staked £19 on a permed accumulator bet and won £822,972.75 or, in other words, the highest horse racing payout the bookmaking firm has made since it was established in 1926.

The unidentified man, believed to be from Leicester, made five selections at the home of Irish jump racing, Punchestown, in Co. Kildare, and combined them in five £3 four-folds and one £4 five-fold. Das Mooser, about whom he had taken 10/1, set the ball rolling when making all to win the hunter chase, on his debut under National Hunt rules, at half those odds and was followed, in quick succession, by Woodland Opera, at 9/2, in the novice chase and Definite Ruby, at 7/1, in the mares’ handicap chase. Just over an hour later, Bacardys, at 10/1, beat favourite Finian’s Oscar by a short head to win the Tattersalls Ireland Champion Novice Hurdle and, later in the evening, Canardier – backed at 33/1, but sent off at just 8/1 – completed the clean sweep by winning the flat race.

Not that our intrepid punter was aware of any of the goings-on at Punchestown, having headed off for a night out. However, he did eventually check the racing results in the early hours of the following morning and later described his life-changing win as ‘the realisation of a lifetime dream’. Apparently, the man, who is the son of a bookmaker, had been placing similar bets, in the form of trebles and accumulators, on a daily basis for the previous twenty years but, in his own words, ‘kept hitting the woodwork’.