For multiplayer Poker, the cfr implementation abstracts game sequences. The methodology to group card buckets was based on grouping buckets by their utility on smaller games. As for no-limit, the actions were also abstracted into 4 single possible decisions.
The PokerStar Bot plays at Preflop: 2. If the opponent RaiseRatio is to low a rule based Strategy will be used. If the opponent RaiseRatio is to high Pokerstar Bot will ever call when the opponent is raising, or will raise if the opponent checks. This year's entry has been improved in three different areas; size 9 times larger , build time 9 times longer , and abstraction quality.
Tests using the benchmark server show this agent would likely have placed third or fourth in the instant run-off competition if it were entered last year. Additional improvements have been developed but were not ready in time for this year's competition. The resulting strategy aims to approximate a Nash equilibrium. The agent uses an imperfect recall abstraction  based on an equidistant discretisation of expected hand strength squared values. The abstraction uses , , and buckets for the four betting rounds respectively.
To appear in The "dynamic programming" portion of the solution is due to reusing precomputed "PayoffMatrix" objects and "StrategyBlock" objects. Saving the PayoffMatrices allows the bot to accurately estimate upstream payoffs with relatively little computation. Saving the StrategyBlock objects allows "new" Blocks to be initialized with solutions that already reflect some CFR style iterations. No board abstraction is used because the "best" StrategyBlock to use for a betting round is found by looking up the nearest StrategyBlock given the relevant BettingSequence and BoardSequence My bot folds very few hands preflop when compared against winners from prior HULHE competitions and it also open calls a decent fraction of the time.
I am somewhat concerned that the open calling behavior is indicative of an error in the bot somewhere. However, I have searched very hard for an error and haven't found one. Moreover, the overall "game value" I computed is almost identical to the "game value" Eric Jackson winner from found I asked him in an email about this.
The betting abstraction is quite coarse: half pot only at first bet , pot, quad-pot and all-in. The abstraction is represented using sequence form with the imperfect recall extension. The resulting abstraction has only million game states. The solver has been tested up to 3 billion game states and can therefore handle abstractions ten times larger, but interestingly, either finer card or betting abstractions did not result in stronger no-limit players.
Since Feste is not yet able to gather accurate enough information from its opponent in hand games, there is no dynamic adaptation. The instant runoff player follows a defensive strategy and the total-bankroll player, a slightly more aggressive one. In each case the hero uses only a couple sizes but defends against many. Both sides use a card abstraction of , , and buckets. These consist of board card distinctions, earth mover clustering for the flop and turn, and clustering over wins, ties for the river.
Its card abstraction is symmetric and uses imperfect recall, with perfect preflop buckets, flop buckets, turn buckets and river buckets, using the k-means Earthmover and k-means OCHS buckets recently presented by Johanson et al . The betting abstraction is asymmetric, and has different bet sizes and limits for the opponent and the agent. The opponent is anticipated to have a large number of bets, including min-bets or tenth-pot bets, with higher limits on how many bets of each type can be made in each round than the agent.
The agent has a similar set of bets, including 0. This asymmetric betting abstraction gives the agent the ability to interpret many actions of the opponent in order to limit the impact of translation errors, while still having a few unusual bet sizes 0. Since this agent is asymmetric, computing its strategy required solving two abstract games. The game with the opponent in seat 1 had 9,,, information sets and 26,,, infoset-actions, and the game with the opponent in seat 2 had 10,,, information sets and 30,,, infoset-actions.
While the average strategy is the component of CFR that converges to an equilibrium, for this set of strategies we only ran 80 billion and 84 billion iterations of PureCFR respectively, and for this size of game we anticipated improvement up to billion or more iterations. Instead of the average strategy, this agent uses the current strategy which does not converge to equilibrium, but has been demonstrated by Gibson to improve much more quickly in in-game performance [1, Section 4.
PhD Thesis. University of Alberta, All strategies were generated using the Counterfactual Regret Minimization CFR algorithm  with imperfect recall abstractions . We also abstract the raise action to a number of bets relative to the pot size.
Both strategies makes raises equal to 0. The portfolio of strategies for the agent consists of: 1 A Nash equilibrium approximation To create our abstract game for the strategy, we first partitioned the betting sequences into two parts: an "important" part, and an "unimportant" part.
Importance was determined according to the frequency with which one of our preliminary 2-player nolimit programs was faced with a decision at that betting sequence in self-play, as well as according to the number of chips in the pot. Then, we employed two different granularities of abstraction, one for each part of this partition.
The unimportant part used , , , and buckets per betting round respectively, while the important part used , ,, 1,,, and 1,, buckets per betting round respectively. Buckets were calculated according to public card textures and the k-means Earthmover and k-means OCHS buckets recently presented by Johanson et al .
By forgetting previous card information and rebucketing on every round , this yields an imperfect recall abstract game. The strategy profile of this abstract game was computed from approximately billion iterations of PureCFR [5, Section 5. This type of strategy is also known as a "dynamic expert strategy" . It uses the same betting abstraction as the above Nash equilibrium approximation, but the card abstraction consists of , , , and k-means Earthmover and k-means OCHS buckets per betting round uniformly across the game tree.
An asymmetric abstraction is used for the frequentist model used by the data biased response . The model's abstraction ignores card information and only models agents on their abstract betting. Additional opponent statistics can be collected and be used in the rules, but we currently do not make use of this option.
The backup strategy if no expert rule is found is to play according to the all-in equity and pot-odds. All non-isomorphically-similar card situations are grouped together using K-Means Clustering with Bhattacharyya Distance of Expected Hand-Strengths as the distance measure rather than more traditional distance measures. When opponent bet sizes do not match any of the sizes in PijaiBot's betting abstraction, PijaiBot interprets bet sizes using Soft Translation of Geometric Similarity based on pot-odds, rather than on pot-relative or stack-relative bet sizes as has been done in the past.
PijaiBot has special-case logic for translating small bets that do not match any of its abstraction bet sizes into checks and calls, and is able to patch up its internal abstract betting history as needed to make those translations valid action sequences.
PijaiBot attempts to exploit other agents that do not handle this and other types of similarly tricky situations properly by occasionally overriding PijaiBot's own Nash Equilibrium strategy suggestions with potentially more damaging actions that test and confuse its opponents by inducing them into misrepresenting the true state of the game. I had hoped to test an agent with some ambitious importance sampling, but that one is converging slowly Thus, I whipped up a more conservative entry, with a streamlined betting tree partly designed for faster training.
I snuck in a few minor experiments still, including modified EV histograms and OCHS categories for the card abstraction, selective use of purification thresholding, and some speculative bet sizing adjustments. Sam Ganzfried and Tuomas Sandholm. Richard Gibson. PhD thesis, University of Alberta, Greg Hamerly. Eric Jackson.
It plays a base approximate Nash equilibrium strategy that was created by imitating the play  of the Slumbot agent . SartreNLExp also incorporates a statistical exploitation module that models the opponent online, and identifies exploitable statistical anomalies in the opponent play. When a game state arises where the statistical exploitation module is able to exploit one of the opponents statistical anomalies it overrides the base strategy and provides an exploitive action.
The agent has been improved from its previous iteration, presented in . The exploitation capabilities of the statistical exploitation module have been greatly improved and the opponent model has been entirely overhauled. Additionally a novel decaying history method, statistic specific decaying history, has been implemented to ensure the opponent model is able to accurately reflect the frequency statistics of both static and dynamic opponents. References to relevant papers, if any 1.
Rubin, J. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. Jackson, E. Norris, K. A statistical exploitation module for Texas Hold'em: And it's benefits when used with an approximate nash equilibrium strategy. A decomposition technique described in my forthcoming workshop paper allows me to break the game tree into pieces that can be solved independently.
I employ an abstraction that uses more granularity both more bet sizes and more buckets at more commonly reached game states. We developed a new abstraction algorithm and a new equilibrium-finding algorithm that enabled us to perform a massive equilibrium computation on this architecture. The abstraction algorithm first clusters public flop boards, assigning each cluster to a blade on the supercomputer.
These public clusters are computed by clustering using a distance function based on how often our abstraction from last year grouped hands together on the flop with different sets of public cards. Within each cluster, the algorithm then buckets the flop, turn, and river hands that are possible given one of the public flops in the cluster, using an imperfect-recall abstraction algorithm.
We did not perform any abstraction for the preflop round. It samples one pair of preflop hands per iteration. For the postflop, each blade samples community cards from its public cluster and performs MCCFR in parallel. The samples are weighted to remove bias. Our agent also uses a novel reverse mapping technique that compensates for the failure of CFR to fully converge and to possibly overfit the strategies to the abstraction.
Because 3-player hold'em is too large a game to apply CFR techniques directly, we employed an abstract game that merges card deals into "buckets" to create a game of manageable size. To create our abstract game, we first partitioned the betting sequences into two parts: an "important" part, and an "unimportant" part.
Importance was determined according to the frequency with which our 3-player programs from the and ACPCs were faced with a decision at that betting sequence, as well as according to the number of chips in the pot. The unimportant part used , ,, 18,, and buckets per betting round respectively, while the important part used , 1,,, 1,,, and 2,, buckets per betting round respectively. Buckets were calculated according to public card textures and k-means clustering over hand strength distriubtions  and yielded an imperfect recall abstract game by forgetting previous card information and rebucketing on every round .
The agent plays the "current strategy profile" computed from approximately This type of strategy is also known as a "dynamic expert strategy" . Hyperboreanpl-TBR is a data biased response to aggregate data of ACPC competitors from the and 3-player limit competitions . Asymmetric abstractions were used for the regret minimizing part of each player's strategy, and the frequentist model used by data biased response .
Each abstraction uses imperfect recall, forgetting previous card information and rebucketing on every round , with the k-means Earthmover and k-means OCHS buckets recently presented by Johanson et al . The agent's strategy uses an abstraction with , , , and buckets on each round of the game, respectively. The model of prior ACPC competitors groups observations from all competitors into a model using , , , and 25 buckets on each round of the game, respectively.
The agent plays the "current strategy profile" generated after 20 billion iterations of external sampled CFR . Hence, it follows a similar strategy as Sartre from previous years, with two differences: Firstly, in contrast to Sartre, which uses cased based reasoning basically k-nearest neighbors , we allow to use any learning algorithm.
In this particular submission, we used C4. Secondly, a much more complete representation of a state is used with up to 50 possible features. We even induce features which are convinient in order to model the opponent modelling used by the agent to be imitated. For this year's submission, we learned the behaviour of Hyperborean from the logs of the three player limit competition.
Hence, since Hyperborean uses a CFR strategy, we expect our bot to behave accordingly. However, it is not possible to perfectly replicate the behaviour of a bot at least with the available data. Hence, we expect our agent to perform worse than a respective opponent using CFR in this year's competition. In: AI Communications 25 , Nr. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, , p. The abstraction uses and buckets for the first two betting rounds. For the turn and river the abstraction granularity has been locally refined based on the number of visits to a node in self-play training.
The numbers of turn and river buckets lie in [,] and [10,] respectively. Participants: Details Category: Participants Published on Thursday, 17 January Written by Eric Jackson Hits: The competition had 13 different agents in the heads-up limit Texas hold'em competition, 11 agents in the heads-up no-limit competition, and 5 agents in the 3-player limit competition.
Development of ExperienceEngine is ongoing and its inner workings cannot be revealed at this time. Betting structure is kept intact with no loss of information but cards information states are aggregated in clusters depending of betting round flop, turn and river. The min-max problem is solved using a convex-concave variant of the log-barrier patch-following interior-point.
The inner newton system is a large sparse saddle point system. Using adhoc krylov method along with preconditioning, such the system is tractable with consummer hardware. As the solution approaches, the system gets more and more ill-conditioned. Several techniques are used to stabilize the krylov solver, dynamic precision control, variable elimination and regularization.
Required accuracy is reached in about iterations. We solve a large abstract game, identical to Texas Hold'em in the preflop and flop. On the turn and river, we bucket the hands and public cards together, using approximately 1. All seven strategies were generated using the Counterfactual Regret Minimization CFR algorithm  with imperfect recall abstractions . They are: Two strategies in an imperfect recall abstraction using 57 million information sets that specifically counter opponents who always raise or always call.
An approximation of an equilibrium within a large imperfect recall abstraction that has ,, information sets, with an unabstracted, perfect recall preflop and flop. Four strategies in the smaller 57 million information sets abstraction that are responses to models of particular opponents seen in the or ACPC. During a match, the counterstrategies to always raise and always call will only be used if the opponent is detected to be always raise or always call.
Otherwise, a mixture of the remaining five strategies is used. Additional RAM was available for training the agent entered into this year's competition, which allowed for a more fine grained card abstraction, but the algorithm is otherwise largely unchanged. One last-minute addition this year is a no-limit agent. The no-limit agent has 4,, information sets, the heads-up limit agent has 11,, information sets and the limit 3-player agent has 47,, information sets.
In addition to card abstractions, the 3-player and no-limit agents also use a form of state abstraction to make the game size manageable. The AI was trained on top poker rooms real money hand history logs. The AI logic employs different combinations of Neural networks, Regret Minimization and Gradient Search Equilibrium Approximation, Decision Trees, Recursive Search methods as well as expert algorithms from top players in different games of poker.
Our computer players have been tested against humans and demonstrated great results over mln hands. The AI was not optimized to play against computer players. Technique: Patience uses a static strategy built by the fictitious play algorithm. AAAI hand history data from multiple agents are encoded into distinct case-bases. When it is time for Sartre to make a betting decision a case with the current game state information is created.
Each individual case-base is then searched for similar scenarios resulting in a collection of playing decisions. A final decision is made via ensemble voting. References and related papers: Jonathan Rubin and Ian Watson. Jonathan Rubin and Ian Watson. We use a large abstraction with 88 billion information sets.
There is no abstraction on any street prior to the river. On the river there are about 4. As a consequence of the large abstraction size and our relatively modest compute environment, our system is disk-based - regrets and accumulated probabilities are written to disk on each iteration. In the first phase the model is built dynamically by expanding it observing more buckets in situations which are visited more often, until the desired size has been reached.
In the second phase that model is then solved by counterfactual regret minimization. How many buckets are actually used in any given situation depends on how common that situation is. Technique: The bot uses a structure like a Neural Net to generate its own actions. A hidden Markov model is used to interpret actions i.
The whole system is then trained by self-play. For any decision, the range of betting between a min-bet and all-in is divided into at most twelve sub-ranges. The structure then selects a fold,call, min-bet, all-in or one of these sub-ranges.
If a sub-range is selected, the actual raise ammount is drawn from a quadratic distribution between the end-points of the sub-range. The end-points of the sub-ranges are learnt using the same reinfrocement learning algorthm as the rest of the structure. Stan attempts to realize Ben's ideas in code. More specifically, pure strategies are utilized throughout.
Play is based on range vs range ev calculations. PreFlop ranges are deduced by opponent modelling during play. Subsequent decisions are based a minmax search of the remaining game tree, coupled with some tactical considerations. Using an algorithm similar to the CFR algorithm, a different bet size is chosen for each betting sequence in the game , . The card abstraction used buckets hands and public cards together using imperfect recall, allowing for possible buckets on each of the flop, turn and river.
References and related papers: Hawkin, J. Automated action abstraction of imperfect information extensive-form games. In AAAI, Hawkin, J. To appear, AAAI ' By identifying the state of the game, our system chooses a set of strategies that have proved most profitable against a set of training agents. The final decision of the system is made by averaging the decisions of the individual agents. The 8 agents included in our system are most rule-based agent.
The rules for each individual agent were constructed using different knowledge bases various match logs, expert knowledge, human observed play After a set of test matches were each agent dueled against the other agents in system, we determined that none of the included agents present an inferior or superior strategy meaning each agent lost at least against one of the other agents and won at least one match.
Beware Tour of Italy form. It rarely counts for anything when it comes to the Tour de France. Nine of them won and the other, Billy Mayfair, was a joint-winner. The odds are therefore little more than even-money, yet they were able to get and from mug bookies who knew horses but nothing about our favourite sport.
First of all, pick your opponents carefully, just like Titanic Thompson did, so that you always have an edge. Secondly, be prepared. You can even read my occasionally useful advice on www. Knowing the golfers to avoid is just as important as picking the winner because it saves you backing losers. Tourcast is a great weapon for being ahead of the game. Those are rounds to ignore because nobody holes a bunch of foot putts day after day. Thanks to daily coverage of all the main tours — PGA, Champions, LPGA and European — you can familiarise yourself with pretty much every worthwhile golfer on the planet.
Never oppose him at St Andrews or Augusta. Even if you fancy somebody else, always have a saver on the great man there. Torrey Pines and Bay Hill are other spots where you oppose him at your peril. Short-haul golf is not really his bag as he shows time and again in Ryder Cup.
In golf betting, patience is a major virtue, as is the ability to soak up punishment as well as Muhammad Ali did because there are spells where you are going to lose, lose, lose. Bet only in tournaments where you have past course form as a guide. Avoid tournaments on new courses. And if it is choice between course form and current form, as a general rule side with current form.
It is more important. And accept you cannot get everything right. Ditto for Chris Couch, Andre Stolz and all the other curiosities who win once in a blue moon and are never heard from again. Nothing too sensational about that if they had happened to be the three favourites but, in fact, my heroes were Arron Oberholser, Rory Sabbatini and Mike Weir at juicy odds of , and And the luck stayed with me the following week when Sabbatini went one better, again at a tasty quote.
Only I had noticed he had been warming up for the big day on the Nationwide Tour and holding his own against the very promising youngsters who perform on that satellite circuit. The winners that give the most pleasure are never the obvious ones. No, it is coming up with somebody that takes people by surprise. Bernhard Langer came within a whisker of winning the Colonial at Why such a big price for such a great player? At 49, the assumption was that he was simply preparing for his new life among the round-bellies.
Do not be put off by it. Although their nerve may betray them more than it did in their primes, they are more reliable under the gun than the youngsters striving to keep their place on tour. You can justify supporting one player who plays fabulously. Unfortunately there is somebody else who plays even more fabulously for that one week.
He must have known my money was on Gogel. But there are no guarantees. Losing years have to be borne with fortitude. They come even to the best. And you will be amazed at how many times you will see someone take your price only to see a breakdown in play. I am a contrarian.
I take the team that nobody wants to back and that way I always get value. The average bettor thinks such teams are at the start of a hot streak. On average, these punters are just plain wrong. Use a house cue. If the house cues are shit get someone to fetch your cue. Not 10, Beat me and I pay you I beat you and you owe me nothing. More seriously, look out for special offers guaranteeing the better of the two.
The only limitation should be never bet beyond capacity to pay. Well, it was in for pro punter Clive Holt. Bookmakers love them. These are the meetings which, as far as my experience shows, do not provide results favourable to anybody but those on the spot. What a relief no such situation occurs anywhere these days! Of course we do and that is basically all that value betting is.
I watch it run a few times and then back it until it loses. Have faith in your own instincts and your own observations and you will back more winners, and enjoy them more. The racing media invariably latches on to these horses, despite the fact that experience should have told them they nearly always get beaten, usually at a shocking price. If you only bet rarely, but have a big bet when you do, you really have to get it right.
As soon as you identify it, the confounded thing slips out of your grasp. I have done no serious research, but am convinced that the express route to the poorhouse is to back best turned out horses to win races. Here is his input. Still, if anyone is continuing to read this rant, here are some pointers.
As I have said, backing horses is all about opinion and following your own judgement. Try to watch as much racing as you can and make a special note of the replays. I picked up a couple of tips from an ex-Timeform man. First, always consider any horse that carries top weight and is top rated by a reputable handicapping team such as Timeform, the theory being that, despite being the class runner in the race, the horse is still well treated.
Also, take it that the trainer knows best although this theory probably belongs to the good old days mentioned above. Finally, a non-horse racing tip: Never back Leeds United when they are favourites. If you do successfully, it will invariably run the race of its life and probably win.
You'll never be allowed to forget it. Some horses wait for this moment to wake up. As a general rule those with a high knee action prefer soft ground. Daisy-cutters come into their own on a faster surface. Take defeat on the chin. Remember this: unless you know God personally, nobody forced you to put the bet on. Remember, there is a human being on that horse and both he and the animal could get seriously hurt if they fell. A lot of early prices are designed to reel in mug punters.
Instead, follow the advice of your favourite newspaper tipster. Every little helps. Always consider it as an each-way bet. Trainers with the best wins-to-runs ratio over the past 14 days are listed in the Racing Post.
Be with these hot-shots. Some on-course layers may have different terms to those you expect. It affects the vision and judgement. If they have more than one second string, split the stakes. This is not the case with the majority of hurdles and chases during the season, so give preference to the form of races that have been truly run. So much the better if the going corresponds closely with conditions at Cheltenham.
We try to peak for it. You may have fancied a horse for a long time for a certain race, but are now having doubts. In fact, it is probable. Leave just before your round. When they lose they bet more heavily on the next one. It should be exactly the other way around. In fact, on average, you win more times than they fall. Eliminate the rest and concentrate your study on these fancied horses.
Whenever I have a losing streak, I take a holiday. You tend to chase your losses. No one knows exactly why, but the experts believe that the old injury starts niggling again and results in inconsistent form. Find two solid horses with a good chance of winning and an outstanding chance of being placed, and you can make a lot. They lose. Find two races like this, have an each-way double, and you can win even if your horses lose as long as they are both placed, of course.
It's particularly useful at tracks like Southwell, Chester, Cartmel and Fontwell. This is very much a specialist's distance. Watch as many races as possible and look for horses that have travelled up well and then quicken up in the last furlong or so. Many experts will tell you that they don't actually quicken, it's just that others are slowing up. Ignore them. This type of horse often wins again and again, especially three-year-olds.
Check the trip and going are roughly the same though. You don't have to bet. They are pack animals and the good ones always strive to prove they are leaders. Not a bad tip, though, I reckoned. There is no statistical reason to do so. Even the top stables have blank periods and they cannot explain why this happens when they continue with the same tried and trusted training methods, food stuffs and placing of horses.
Their allowance can be a vital tool in keeping one step in front of the handicapper. The goal of a system is not to pick winners but to identify a type of horse that the betting public consistently underrates. Be suspicious of any system based on information that can easily be gleaned from your daily racing paper.
If a system is based on readily accessible information, it must use that information in an unexpected way. Avoid systems whose success is based on an inadequate sample of results. Always remember that the betting market will eventually adjust to take account of any successful method for identifying winners. Five points if they had already won over at least three miles. Five points if they did not race as a novice chaser in the previous season.
Five points if they are set to carry less than 11 stones 2 pounds. Five points if they ran over hurdles this season. Five points if they were not bred in France. But believe me, they work. Bet to win: Rather than back one or two eachway, back two or four to win. Get heavy: If the going gets heavy, form can go out of the window — time to back a couple of outsiders.
Ones to watch: Those who ran well at Cheltenham but without having too hard a race are worth putting on the shortlist. Form factor: Look for a gradual improver from a shrewd stable which has been trained just for this day, but never forget the hurly burly of this race can scupper even the best laid plans.
Stick to your guns: Do NOT change your mind once you have picked out a runner. Talking shop: Never be intimidated from having a bet because you are a betting shop novice — either bet online or remember that betting shops want your business and, of all days, staff are ready, willing and able to be gentle with virgins on National day. So always have at least a couple of quid on him so that you can celebrate along with AP when it happens. Selections will be 1.
Every runner has a right and a wrong price. Learn to estimate odds in advance — then look for value. Tote speciality bets often provide amazingly good value — especially when favourites are beaten. The state of the going is perhaps the most important single factor of all. Leading jockeys often give a clear indication of their own assessment of their chances.
With opportunities to ride at more than one meeting, their mounts at the selected venue should be the subject of special study. All you need is a thick skin! You should avoid them. It is fatal to chase losses or think in terms of getting out on the day. There is always tomorrow, and the day after. Classy TV illusionist Derren Brown performed a very useful task in exposing system scamsters in February when his Channel Four show promised to reveal the perfect racing system which would guarantee to produce winners.
And it did. Once the show began it very soon became obvious to anyone with even the briefest of experience with betting just what was going on. Cue looks of panic and consternation as Khadish realised that her money was lost, and that there was no perfect system.
Brown revealed the way he had actually constructed the perfect system. He had originally contacted some 7, people out of the blue, giving them a tip in a six-runner race. One-sixth of the people had been given each of the six runners in the race. Of course, over 1, of them were on a winner.
That thousand then received another tip. Once again, onesixth of them were winners. Same thing for the next race. Eventually, as the sixths divided down, Khadesha was the only one left who had been given only winners and was, of course, believing that Brown had supernatural powers. Just remember that the next time you are tempted by a tipster, making extravagant, unlikely and almost certainly fraudulent claims to the contrary. It cost several hundred pounds a year for the service, but the real losses were on the races.
However many thousands of pounds it promised in winnings, believe me, the truth was the reverse times ten. That system does not exist; not in any legal format, at least. But a few years back I suddenly found myself the target of people endeavouring to convince me that it did.
Was I aware, asked the reporter, that my industry was about to be put out of business by one punter and his computer? Never able to resist a challenge, I told the paper I would invite Mr Goodwin and Master Tipper to set up in one of our Newcastle shops and do his best to close us down. The cameras rolled and a hushed atmosphere of excited anticipation descended on the shop. The horse ran out at the third hurdle.
His next three selections fared better, in that they all made it round the course — in their own good time, and not troubling the judge in the process. I went back to London. Cliff went back to the drawing board. During the holidays last year [in Cornwall, perhaps, I wondered] I came up with what I considered to be a foolproof system. At present I am the only person who knows it. When I realised the full potential of it I decided to offer it to you, thinking that you would want to buy it so that you could take out a world copyright on it.
This would mean that I could not sell it to any other punters. When you have made your decision please send your reply to the address shown on my SAE. This man had mates! I wrote to Mr Winner, inviting, nay daring him to go right ahead and set about bankrupting us with his system.
I might have forgotten to inform my bosses of this potentially ruinous strategy. Do not forget that it is cheaper for you to pay me for my system than be made bankrupt. And for all I know he may well be living it up on a tropical island with enough money to burn.
When I was in Cornwall recently I did hear a number of people who sounded as though they may be close relatives of Mr Winner, but I suppose I shall never know what became of him. Mind you, does that Harry Findlay sound a bit Cornish to you? Do not fall for this type of scam.
Eventually they would have a sixth of the people they were dealing with guaranteed to be on a winner and very impressed with the service — so impressed - - HORSE RACING they would be positively gagging for the next selection and happily encouraging all their mates to get involved. Avoid at all costs.
Why not, indeed? Maybe this chap knows one, I thought. No chance, mate. Well, I did ring — and, guess what, he wanted me to put cash on this horse, whose name would cost me nothing — although, if I wanted any more, I should put a sizeable sum on at the best odds for him and send the cash off. Forget it. Very limited? How is that a boast? Wow, how about that!? Many of the best horses are now taking regular milkshakes.
He offered no reason why, should that be the case, he would feel the need to share his secrets with outsiders. I logged on to www. Up came a possible 49, sites. No, I certainly did not investigate all of them — nor, indeed, many of them. Admittedly there are sites out there boasting free tips and forum chats with like-minded people which can do no harm but do not promise to make you money.
Trivass also took a look at what is on offer online and even paid good money to download some systems. The best system is this one — ignore all systems which will cost you money to operate. And you can have that one system, guaranteed to make you more — or cost you less, perhaps I should say — money than If you receive one, bin it at once.
We are not tipsters looking to sell you information or a service of any kind. No experience is needed. Please call without obligation. Now with The Independent, he explains, in convincing style, a colourful system to which he has been introduced.
There is nothing worse for the experienced punter than watching the odds on banker, which was supposed to offer a get out of jail free card in the last, go down by a short head to outsider. White, it should be said, does not scream with delight. Well, there is a method to his seeming madness. It is the racing equivalent of supporting Manchester United or Chelsea.
When following the system which is most of the time White backs horses running in the colours of the most powerful owners. They will include runners whose jockeys bear the midnight blue livery of the likes of Mrs Sue Magnier; the royal blue of Godolphin; the green, white and pink of Prince Khaled Abdullah; and the green and red of the Aga Kahn.
You could also include any of the Maktoums who make up the Godolphin syndicate when their horses run in their own, individual colours. The system can be applied to the jumps too. First of all, when using the colours system it helps to have a good knowledge of said owners and where their horses do well.
The same holds true for the jumps. JP McManus has the resources to buy some of the best jumps horses money can buy, but backing his colours blind at venues such as Taunton or Plumpton all but guarantees a quick trip to the poorhouse. Unfortunately following this system does mean you would miss out on the likes of Sir Percy winner of the Derby , Motivator winner of the renewal or Cockney Rebel winner of the Guineas.
None of the owners of those relatively cheaply bought horses had colours which would qualify. The system also allows for betting heavily on oddson shots in races such as all-weather maidens, where colours horses occasionally turn up at short prices. Never, never, never back a horse in a three mile plus chase with over 11 stone on its back.
I know the odd one will creep in but, generally, this is the best value call in racing. Look for a top man over jumps doing a light weight for a yard he seldom rides for. Number crunch the stats of an established race before you have a bet.
Check trainers you follow at a course where you know their target horses: Victor Dartnall and Nick Williams at Uttoxeter, for example. Sir Rembrandt was a classic case in point when he won at the Paddy Power meeting in November He left Robert Alner for the harder training regime of Victor Dartnall and was a certainty on the day. Watch the top apprentices in the Heritage Flat handicaps. With sprinters they often give a horse an edge.
Tony thinks deeply about the battle against the bookies and here are some of the most crucial fruits of his labours over the years: 1. And the second: Will it suit the horse I am interested in backing? Watch as many horse races as possible, even if the over-excitable Mark Johnson or the terminally bored Graham Goode is commentating.
Concentrate virtually wholly on the better class of animals in the higher-grade races. Cram as much form study in as time will allow. It will almost certainly pay its way in time. The going and the draw are the two most important variables in determining the outcome of any horse race. If there are doubts about the going, draw bias, the price or any other highly important variable, wait till the very last minute until having a bet.
In the majority of cases horses will not reverse the form despite being better off at the weights. Only forgive a horse an unlucky-in-running run once. Look, look and look again at the stats history of the big races but use them intelligently. Study courses until you can study them no longer. In sprints concentrate solely on horses in form. The number of race meetings is set to continue growing at an alarming rate. Have an area you can specialise in, whether it be group races, sprints or middle-distance handicaps.
Think like a bookmaker. Compile your own betting forecast, but above all be honest with yourself. Ask yourself if you would really offer those odds if you were a layer. Go to the paddock. Learn the different types of physique and the good and bad signs displayed by horses before the race. Never underestimate the psychology and emotion involved in gambling. Back the horse that won the same race last year. Back the outsider of three. If a top jockey is riding at his absolute minimum weight back his horse.
In handicaps restrict yourself to horses running off their old mark when their new rating will be higher. In amateur and apprentice races, go for the most experienced and best jockey, whatever he or she is riding.
Consider the effect of the draw sensibly. Back the animal whose stable has sent it the longest distance for the race. If the stable has more than one runner, go for the outsider. Totally illogically, support horses with the same initials in forecasts. Go for any horse whose racecard number is the same as its starting stall position. Phil Bull should be declared the patron saint of racing punters. The bearded, cigar-chomping founder of the Timeform system was a keen punter and deep thinker.
Seek where thou wilt for winners, but bet only when thou seest value; deliver thyself from the temptation to bet in every race. Put not thy faith in luck, nor the law of averages, nor thy trust in staking systems, for these are delusions.
Let thy stake be related to the depth of thy pocket and to what thou regardest as the true chance of the horse; that which hath the greater chance deserveth the greater stake. Bet with book or Tote according to the judgement: thus shalt thou endeavour to get the best of both worlds. Double and treble if you must; but bet not upon objections, for thou hast not the evidence and the stewards know not what they do. Let thy betting be informed by wisdom and diligence, and tempered by patience and caution, and leavened but a little with boldness.
Let thy bets be well within thy means: he that maketh his fortune in a week loseth his ducats in a day. As I write this, in the last week Unlimited , Avontuur and Waterside illustrate variations on this theme. Sometimes this drop is over the top. Value — tosh. With Betfair there is an opportunity to retrieve a position that would otherwise have been lost. How long it will last? The Betfair market has matured so quickly it is almost as perfect as it can get.
Bet to rhythms. I could go on and on, but make a study and try to work it out for yourself. Then everyone caught on so it was time to move on. Keep adapting. Look at horses. They are silent yet will tell you most of what you want to know if you observe them.
Every horse is a picture: look at it, value it and bid for it. Goodness, though, there are so many variables — walking the course is another and how many of us can do that? What he failed to point out was that the same tactics paid off in the three other races on the straight course at Newcastle that day.
Since racing expanded to the monster it has become, you must not only reduce the frequency of punting, but also decide which areas to concentrate on. There is so much racing few punters can realistically cover the whole spectrum. Or am I punting as an entertainment? It can even be ten pounds if the jockey is riding for his stable. Did he win? You bet he did.
Watch for runners after the line. We scrutinise them in the paper, in the form book, in the parade ring and going down to the start for clues. Then the important bit, the race. But what about after it? But when you see something galloping on after the winning post down the back straight at Newcastle or Newbury or carrying on up the hill at Sandown, ask yourself why. Did it need further? Were the ones in front stopping? Then go back and read again the positive advice contained in this book.
And the acknowledged doyen of the systems world in those far off times was one RW Wood, the Nick Mordin of his day. Provided that nine or more run in the Derby back the second and third each time they run the same season. If more than 17 run, follow both the winner and second until they win again or until the end of the season.
Follow the next season, twice only, the winner of any race at Epsom, provided that there were 17 or more runners. Back the two horses that are second and fourth in the betting forecast of your mid-day paper. If you want to bet in one race a day take the principal race only, but always keep to the principal race.
No bet if there are less than seven runners. Should it lose, but get placed, back it once more. Back every horse that has run second the last time out. GS] then do not back it again until it gets second. Back the most tipped horse in the fourth race of the day up to August 1. After August 1, back the most tipped horse in the last race of the day up to November.
During November you back the second most tipped horse in the last race of the day. If there are more than one in a race, back the lot, as the prices are always big. You can afford to follow each and increase slightly after each failure, as you missed them during their long run of ten losing races. Back the favourite of the second and last race at the Principal Meeting each day.
Each race must be worked separately. The system bet is two points on the favourite and one point on the second favourite. There are several ways of picking out likely horses for trebles. SP favourites will appeal to the majority. One suggestion is that the SP favourites in three non-handicap races be chosen daily. Pay special attention to the favourites in two-yearold non-sellers.
This system operates on the Classics only and can claim 17 winning seasons in the last 21 as of The plan is as follows: Back the named favourite in the Guineas. If this does not win, back the favourite in the Guineas. If there are no runners which won last time out, the highest-weighted second is chosen. If there are no qualifying seconds, the highest-weighted third is supported.
Never more than one horse per race is backed, for in the event of there being two horses that won or were placed last time out and both are equally weighted, the race is void. From all horses in the race handicap who were placed second or third last time they ran, take the one carrying the most weight and the one carrying the least.
GS] of your seconds and thirds. It does not matter if there are other previous winners carrying LESS weight than the top weight [keep up now, GS] of your seconds and thirds, provided at least ONE previous winner is carrying equal or more weight. If there are two or more horses carrying most or least weight, take the one with most recent placing. If still a tie, decide on a second over a third. If still a tie, nothing is done on the race. Operate on only one meeting a day.
GS] From the beginning of November, backers should support the SP favourites in chases of all lengths that are not handicap chases. These favourites do best in the period before Christmas. If a loser, the next selection is backed and so on, until a winner is found. They say that January is a bad month for the backing of favourites. It is this: Back the favourite in any type of race that has six runners or less. Small stables are better to follow than large ones for the reason that the smaller trainers, whose very living depends on getting winners for their clients, do not throw away entry fees or incur travelling expenses on horses that have not outstanding chances of winning.
Choose a small one — or two — and stick to the stable entries. You will be on the jobs that are readied. Keep a list of the naps given by any number of newspaper informants. After, say, six days, look over your records and back the nap of the informant who has lost most in succession.
Select a six-furlong event, choose the most valuable. Back all horses which won the previous day at any meeting. Should two system horses run in the same race the bet should be worded to back either if only one runs, but if both run NO bet. Should there be two races or more which qualify take the one with most runners. For June take the selling race and if more than one take the most valuable, if of same value take shortest distance. No race to be taken with less than seven runners and if more than one meeting, take the most important.
This will probably leave a sole selection to be backed each way. If two or more remain back the one best placed last time out or invest to win only on each. Each horse should be backed with a level stake but after a losing week [Just the one?
List all horses that win races of six or more runners of from one mile to one mile and a quarter by four lengths or more. If two or more run in the same race back the one that won by the greatest number of lengths. Follow all horses with a level stake the next time out until the animal in question is beaten. If two horses to be backed run in the same race back the one with most recent form.
The choice of the horses rests with the backer. Make a note of their daily naps and do not begin to bet until six consecutive losers have been given by one tipster. Then follow him until a winner turns up or four consecutive losers are backed.
If more than three tipsters nap the same horse, ignore it, as the price is likely to be short. Back them next time out, also the time after, provided the weight is not increased by more than three pounds for every length the horse won by. Choose two races in each of which the issue seems fairly clearly to rest with three horses. Double them as follows — A. Try this, the WINS will surprise you. When the indicated horse has lost twice consecutively back the horse indicated on the third and fourth days only.
Each time you lose you add your loss to the amount you desire to win. When you get a winner, start again. Start at commencement of the Hurdle season. For one bet per day the most tipped horse in the last race, if absent, the next most tipped and carry on until a winning balance. Free bets, concessions, match-bets, special offers abound. But when you do win there is an extra lustre.
Your soul is replenished, as well as your pocket. Sheer agony. I decided there and then that the pain of backing a loser is as nothing to the torture of missing a good winner. Liverpool v. Barnsley and Barnsley v.
Chelsea in the F. Cup come readily to mind as examples. The trick is being able to detect a change in the political weather and strike at the optimum time. Cases abound where the joy of backing a long-priced winner is shattered by the realisation that a simple glance at the Tote odds might have brought a much bigger return.
Finally, a blast of reality from W. Sellar and R. An enormous majority of them will lose the race anyway, so if you want to boast of your losses afterwards you have a pretty large choice. In a world full of technology, the problem can be information overload, and you have to make your own decisions having sifted through the many levels of assistance available over the internet.
I like to deal in facts not rumours so race times come pretty high on my list.
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