Friday, 3 July 2015

Another boring golf story ...

When u play a sport, either competitively, or, just for recreation etc, u pretty soon get an idea of how good u are .. Comparing yourself, either time wise, or score wise, to your peers.

Current pro golfers, hit the ball (sometimes), 350 yards, fearlessly straight, and go round the 18 holes, off the back tees (hardest), in anything from say 68 to 74, on a par 72 course.

During the game, a lot of pros, will hit, fantastic shots, amateurs can just gawp at.

On the 4 Par 3,s, a pro can be expected to get a hole in one, - the perfect shot, something like, 1 in every 800 attempts.

Many pro golfers have aces on 20-30 holes, while oddly, a few have v few .. 

I have never really come close .. Maybe 2-3 feet away, would be the best, on a hole ranging from 110 yards, to 150 yards away.

My game is steadily improving, and I now really like my posture / stance, once my back is warmed up, and have taken back pain pills.

Playing yesterday, I was playing ok, on a course near Stratford, which I was playing for the first time. We played the first 9 holes, with a member, and made a phenomenal birdie on the 7th hole, (holing a 20 footer), so - all was good.

Was losing the match thou - which was a travesty - but - it can happen.

On the 14th hole - a Par 4, 277 yard, slightly downhill, breeze behind, I viewed the green, and thought it was possible to get somewhere near. Most of my really (good) drives, go about 240 yards, so, it was just in range.

Taking my trusty driver, I gave it an almighty smack, and the true joy u experience, when u see the ball launch off the face of the club, is something every true sportsman will know.

The ball's flight was perfection, 100 % true! landing probably 50 yards short of the green, but rolling, at a decent speed towards the cup.

It was on line, thou, from 270 yards away, it wasn't the easiest to see .. And must have just brushed the edge of the hole, before coming to a stop, 3 yards past.

So, I have a 10 footer for eagle - I can't remember too many others in my golfing career, and gave it my full attention. The greens were v true, so, was determined not to be short - , but, didn't hit it right, and the ball finished about a foot left/short. Easy birdie .. And a hole/shot I will always remember.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

The Ashes 2015 - prepare for another over-hyped series

As u get older, u have experienced more, and sporting things, tend to become less relevant, and certainly, less exciting, than, when they were first enjoyed.

After the pleasure of watching England and New Zealand play cricket, in a sense of enjoyment, rather, than purely trying to win, am preparing myself for the shit-storm,that will no doubt hit, when Australia play England in their back-yard.

Series betting is as follows :

England to Win ..5.5

Australia to win 1.40

Drawn Series ..9.0

England are a work-in-progress type team, with some pretty tired bowlers, but, they generally, have been v hard to beat at home. Australia to win 5-0, are only 13/1, which, to me, is an insane price, given the prices for the first test in Cardiff are :

England  4.5

Australia  2.06

Draw 3.55

I would advise a maximum lay of Aus to  win 5-0, but, it involves tying up a decent chunk of your bank, for 5 weeks or so.

I think Aus are a little over-rated, and have laid the 1.40, for Aus to win the series.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Royal Ascot - This is the life ...

So, I cracked an invite to a box at Royal Ascot, Day 4.

This is a big deal .. u need to wear a suit/tie/decent shoes .. which, takes some preparation, and then try to actually get there, as the other 60-70k people, are also trying to reach a similar destination, at roughly the same time.

Ascot has been re-built/modernised, over the last 6 yrs, and, its still the biggest wind-tunnel in the world - (not my fav racecourse), but, as I say, a box is a box, and some yrs, having worked in the silver rings, thought it would be nice, to have a day off, and watch from the good seats.

We set-off, for the 1hr 45 min journey, 4 hr 30 mins, before the first race - I wanted to talk to my host etc, and we know all the short-cuts in to the track, so, traffic was unlikely  to be a major problem.

Unfortunately, 30 mins from the track, the motorway, was gridlocked .. an accident up ahead, caused a 90 min delay ... not fun :

 Anyway, we finally got to the track, 20 mins before the first race, and walked into the box, that was absolutely rammed with people, listening to John Mccricick, talk/tip the assembled throng through the card. He was v good .. my host doesn't spare any expense, but, am a trifle uneasy, about all the money he spends promoting his business.

Anyway, had a quick selfie with John, the food had largely been scoffed, so, we had some left-overs, and ambled down to the ring.

I say ambled, the place is rammed, u can barely move :

Looking from the outside in, its hard to say, if Ascot during Royal Ascot week, is a place with racing and people meet, or, just a place people meet, which happens to have some racing going on.

Bookmakers have to purchase a 'right' to bet at this course, just for those 5 days. The best pitch, is about £150k, for which u get the right to bet, for 40 yrs, (thou u still have to pay the racecourse about £5k per yr, ontop) - a middle of the road right, might cost £6k.

The expenses of betting, with staff etc, mean the bookies have to bet to a decent margin to win .. I have always found it unfair, the number 1 right, pays the racecourse the same, as the worst right .. obviously, trap 1, will hold, probably 50x as much, as the guy betting in trap 100 .. but, the Trap 1 right holder will say, he has invested £150k .. which holds some merit - but, I still feel, its a bit inequitable - I would prefer a sliding scale.

Anyway, we looked at the overall business for 2 races, and decided the place was just too packed, to be anything remotely like fun, and decided to leave.

I am not sure if its worth buying a lower number to actually bet, during these 5 days. Its a lot of work .. sure, if u invest £10k, u might be guaranteed £4k per yr - but, u need to organise a LOT, to achieve this.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Wealth warning

In this age of PC (political correctness, not, the Premium Charge), a lot of things carry warnings.

I have looked my wife over, and there is no stamp anywhere .. and this is a flaw in the design process.

2 yrs ago, I was not listening .. something I often do, and got conned into agreeing to build a new house - almost from scratch, on some land, we did buy, fairly cheaply. Ok, its not a small house - and I did make some changes, but, the initial timeframe/budget(target), (((has anyone spent LESS building a house???)))), has now ballooned so far, that its rapidly becoming unfunny.

The latest, little extra, is a remodelling of the driveway - which, we got a 'Lofty' in to help with.

These are fun little machines - ok, not so little - which cost about $40 an hr to hire, plus removal costs of all the earth the disrupt.

As u can see, we now have a lot of bare earth .. but, unfortunately, it has rained, almost non-stop, since the dig, and we now have a gigantic mud-slide.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Happy little hampster

I have had a busy last 3 mths. This seems to be a common theme with me .. maybe I am a 110% person, who just cant rest, be it working or doing sporting stuff.

The majority of it, has been spent in the US of A - with my time mainly spent in between New York/Baltimore and Tampa.

The time was exceptionally interesting, and let me un-wind a bit, from the intense ckt schedule I seem to maintain, and generally think about things.

I did a lot of the thinking, whilst at a poker table, playing either $1/2 No limit holdem, or $2/$5 Nlhe. Thou they should be roughly the same game, its like comparing test ckt, to T20's, each have their own dynamic.

Professional players - known as regs - try and grind at the low limits - 8-10 hrs a day, trying to average $15 an hr - which is barely minimum wage. These regs, are by no-means bad players - the casino rake, is just so big, that, u have to play a v defensive style, to win, and its both mundane, and demoralising, to experience 'variance' - which in Poker, happens, probably more than in ckt.

By variance, I mean - a reg can sit for 2 hrs, folding everything, finally picking up pocket Aces, the best starting hand - and maybe, if hes lucky, get to play a $400 pot, where he might be 60/40 fav, 80/20 fav, 95/5% fav .. but, might lose, in anyone of those spots. Mentally and financially, thats v tough - tilt can easily ensue - but, it obviously happens, if u are playing for a living.

I played a lot .. maybe 100 hrs .. (I just love the challenge - even thou, its def -EV, for me to even sit there) and came to a number of conclusions - some of which I will share :

1) The US is a phenomenal country.

2) The US has some v odd state laws, re both poker and sports betting

3) Poker regs, are a solid bunch of people

4) The edge I have found in ckt, is colossal, compared to what these people put themselves thru.

Number 4, is a watershed moment for me.

Although many poker forums, will debate how to play certain hands in certain spots, often the advice is non-optimal.

This is becos Poker has become v hard to beat - at least, its definitely not as easy to beat, as it was, before the US banned internet poker - the poker player pool has declined, and those left, are more regs, than fish.

Twitch - may help change this. Twitch is a platform, which gamers stream their screen, while they are playing some shoot-em-up game - getting thousands of followers - but, recently, Jason Sommerville, who streams as jcarver, has been getting 7-10k viewers - who watch him play 8-10 hrs of poker a day - while he explain his thought process/entertains. Twitch is largely free - but, if u pay a nominal amount, u can chat directly to the streamer .. maybe $5 a mth, but, obviously $5 a mth, from 10k people, is worth having.

Getting access to a huge player pool, is enormous, for all dynamics. Right now, it maybe, just sub-30 yr olds watching, who have few financial resources. But, given the right level of education, they can learn/earn.

This platform, may one day - be useful for pro traders .. but, I dont think that day, is yet here.

Maybe when, the US legalises internet sports betting ??

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Be Happy

So, I shot a 92, last week Tuesday, and thought I was on my way.

So, I played again the next day, in the Club Competition, joining a gang of 3, who played off, 6,11 and 16 respectively.

Par for the course is 72 .. after 2 holes, I knew the handicaps were a joke, but, u cant really say anything, which, I think is wrong. Anyway, they shot 75 (for 3 over par), 77 (for 5 over par), and 82 .. all, about 3-6 shots better than their handicap.

I never enjoy this, as, they are hitting the ball 60 yards past me, every shot, and u feel u are always trying to catch-up. Anyway, I shot 99 .. and didn't enjoy any of it.

Friday, I played again, and was feeling good. I was in the right place mentally .. had taken lots of muscle relaxants (back), pain killers (back), and applied liberal amounts of sunscreen.

On the way to the course, I had given a lift (at 6.50am), to a 13 yr old kid, who was trying to get to an early lesson, before school. People in Africa, can have funny names .. and for some reason, (which he told me), his name was Reindeer.

The kid was v well spoken, and had a clear vision of how he wanted to pass school exams (pass rate at his school, is about 7%), and get a job in the big city, so .. he can get a car/house .. all the normal shit.

We had a good chat ..

Anyway, I get to the golf course, with no excuses. Its a clear day, with a little wind, and really, its begging to be taken apart.

I shot 100 ... and it was appalling.

Anyway, 2-3 chances left before I hit the road ..

Am watching some of the cricket world cup, and have traded the games fairly well. I thought Ireland would give Windies a game, likewise UAE v Zim.

I cant understand why NZ are such big favs to beat Eng tomorrow .. so, will be on the "Mighty England' ..

Monday, 9 February 2015

One-trick Pony

Apart from the masochistic desire for the 90, which, I am currently v down about, you could argue I have very few diversified interests.

Sure, I dabble on shares, and other general gambling themes, but, I maybe dont do as much basic research as maybe I should, in other areas.

Its not that I am lazy - cricket provides a ROI, unheard of, for Poker/AP's (Advantage players-AKA card counters), and its enough .. but, have been diversifying my listening portfolio, and came across a v interesting radio podcast in Las Vegas, called Gambling with an Edge - , and after listening to a dozen or so more, did some more reading.

Via the Las Vegas Advisors website, , I found more of Bob Dancers writing, and its fascinating stuff.

'Bob Dancer' - I am not sure if thats his real name, is a video poker expert .. playing high value slots, when the pay table, pays over 99% or so, which, combined with comps, will make him a small favourite.

His due dilligence, in researching spots, is amazing ..

Its possible you can argue, he is a one-trick pony, being an expert in Video Poker, (thou I somehow doubt it), and it shows u, just how hard you have to work, to find edges, and maintain/exploit them.