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Most dream about striking it lucky and walking away with the jackpot. Others argue that a successful gambler understands how luck has very little to do with becoming a wealthy punter. So what do the wealthy and famous gamblers have in common, and how did they get to the top? As it is only a handful of people that make it to a level of astonishing wealth through gambling, there has to be a secret. With seven being the industry’s lucky number, we take a look at the top 7 richest gamblers of all time and what they did to get the title and wealth. A hint we can give is that being skilled at numbers has a lot to do with it. ✓ Tony Bloom Anthony (Tony) Bloom hails from the United Kingdom and he carries the nickname ‘The Lizard’. Worth approximately $1.7 billion, he owns a Premier League team and is a professional sports bettor, poker player, and owner of Starlizard, the UK’s largest betting consultancy. Add to his resume that he is the chair for Brighton & Hove Albion football club, and it becomes hard to imagine what this gambling superstar does not do. Bloom’s love for going against odds started as a teen, where he crossed some lines with an illegal ID, but he studied mathematics at the University of Manchester. He worked as an accountant and then as a trader before he became a professional poker player. Since then, he took part in 11 WSOP tournaments, made it to the finals and they report he collected $1.5 million in winnings by 2008. Known as a ‘cold-blooded killer at the poker table’, peers gave him his nickname. Bloom moved into sports betting and owns a few horses as well, which have given him very successful runs. Although Tony Bloom’s wealth comes from various sources, his gambling career gave him a head start and he once stated himself that he believes poker gives a person a good grounding for many things in life. Like how to observe a situation well and read people. ✓ Bill Benter This professional gambler is one of the most famous punters because of how he gambles and how much he has made thanks to his system. Reports say that William “Bill” Benter is worth $1 billion, and he started his gambling career at blackjack tables in Sin City. Benter always believed there must be a way to crack the code concerning the casino’s advantage and with his brilliant maths aptitude, he attempted Edward O. Thorp’s card counting strategy. After 7 years of winning some money, getting banned from Vegas casinos, and realising it is not as lucrative as he had hoped, Benter moved on to greener pastures. Horse racing became his new focus area, and he was hell-bent on making educated investments rather than gambling against odds. The mathematical genius teamed up with Alan Woods and they created a formula for predicting the outcome of horse races. Estimates are that Bill Benter can make around $5M to $10M on a single race day, thanks to his gambling software. Bill has a physics degree and, apart from being known for his brilliant gambling strategy, he is also a generous man known for philanthropy and supporting political groups. ✓ Edward O. Thorp It is little wonder that Edward Oakley Thorp is one of the most famous gamblers in history, as he got a PhD in mathematics and applied his genius to betting odds. The ‘Father of Card-Counting’ invented a formula most people have heard of while he was a university professor. They estimated his current worth at $800 million and naturally, his favourite game is blackjack, but Thorp also enjoys roulette, Baccarat, and backgammon. Edward O. Thorp wrote the first book on card counting, called ‘Beat the Dealer’. Here he explained how to tilt the house edge in your favour by tracking the ratio of high and low cards. Together with Claude Shannon, he invented the first wearable computer to take into casinos with his formulas for beating roulette and blackjack. They have since banned these, but the formula remains one of the favourite blackjack strategies. Thorp moved into financial markets and became a hedge fund manager, which is his principal source of income today, but he still loves his game of 21. Edward is one of the original 7 gamblers to be honoured in the Blackjack Hall of Fame. ✓ Andrew Black The co-founder of the first bet exchange, Betfair, Andrew Black, has many streams of income but is one of the wealthiest gamblers of all time. As a sports bettor by heart, he owns a few horses, but it is his gambling business that is his mainstream income. He has an estimated net worth of $500 million and the software he developed for making money on bets changed the gambling industry. He originally worked in derivatives, but as his success in gambling increased, he set his sights on bigger things. Black is also an avid bridge player and his love of this game opened the door for Betfair. One of his favourite opponents in this game was Edward Wray, and this is where he presented his software design for a money-making betting business. Wray was all in and the two launched Betfair at the beginning of the Millenium. Since 2000, the sportsbook gained tremendous momentum, made it to the London Stock Exchange in 2010, and became one of the largest in the world. ✓ Alan Woods He became a legendary Australian horse bettor and his estimated net worth is AUD670 million ($470 million) but the late Alan Woods wasn’t always on the up. In his family home, he grew up playing bridge and despite his mathematical brilliance, the University of New England expelled him for poor performance and lack of attendance. He started gambling during his university attendance, but it wasn’t until later that he discovered his blackjack skill and knack for picking the right nag. Woods carried the nickname of ‘The Playboy Punter’ and after a failed marriage, he became a full-time gambler. This decision led him to Hong Kong and there he and Bill Benter discovered their formula for horse betting. Alan Woods went on to become a sports betting tycoon and created his betting network. The punter never left his apartment to place bets, as he had a team of bettors all over the world who bet on his behalf using his formula. He continued to live a life of luxury and did so from his home in Manila with all ‘The Girls’, a Philippine version of the Playboy Mansion. ✓ Zeljko Ranogajec Zeljko Ranogajec is one of the most elusive gamblers and keeps a low profile, but in the gambling world, he bears the nickname of ‘The Joker’. He holds a record for winning the biggest keno prize worth $7,5 million, but we know him as a blackjack and sports betting enthusiast. Experts believe that Ranogajec’s net worth is around AUD610 million ($430 million) but they also speculate that his gambling turnover can be well over $1 billion annually. The Joker studied at the University of Tasmania and was born in Australia, although his parents are of Croatian origin. He dropped out of university to become a professional gambler. However, he still holds a day job despite his wealth and successful gambling. Ranogajec had the same fate as Bill Benter as casinos banned him due to card counting and so he moved his focus to the sports betting scene. A strategy that Ranogajec admits to using is favourable discounts and rebates, a tactic that allowed him to buy an apartment in the most expensive development in the world. One of his betting partners and university friends, David Walsh, had an enormous influence on his betting strategies. ✓ David Walsh From humble beginnings at the Australian University in Hobart and a well-known friend and gambling partner of Zeljko Ranogajec, David Walsh is a fascinating punter with a different take on betting. With an estimated net worth of $200 million, he utilises the wisdom of crowds and says talent has very little to do with his success. Walsh is also a mathematician, and he believes that when considering formulas designed to predict bets, one should incorporate psychology concepts too. Nicknamed the Tasmanian Devil, Walsh partnered with Zeljko Ranogajec and set up a gambling company called Bank Roll. Through this, they both turned a fortune and had others doing their betting work for them, utilising their formulas and strategies. Some things this eccentric gambler did with his millions included opening the Mona museum, which he refers to as ‘adult Disneyland’ and transferring visitors to this venue in camouflaged ferries. In contrast to his betting partner, Walsh is very open about his gambling and life and makes a habit of sharing his wisdom. ✓ Honourable Mention: Don Johnson Although Don Johnson did not reach the levels of the aforementioned seven punters, he did make waves in the betting community for his approach. We think he deserves a spot on this list because would-be professional punters can learn from the man who broke Atlantic City. Johnson made a small fortune in a very short period in blackjack and he did this without counting cards! During 2011 and 2012, the clever businessman used his negotiating skills and persuaded the pit boss to apply the blackjack rule of lower house advantage and a loss rebate. In his winning streak, Johnson banked $15 million thanks to what we now know as a ‘positive expectation bet’.
Did you know that it is estimated that 1.6 billion people gamble at some point during a year? It is also estimated that 4.2 billion people have gambled at some point in their lives. With so many different ways to win money through gambling, such as sporting events, lotteries, and online casinos, it's no wonder so many people engage in gambling. Some feel disheartened when they don't win, however, there are ways you can improve your chances of winning money. Keep reading to learn all about pari-mutuel betting, including what it is and how it works, to find out if this type of gambling is right for you. What Is Pari-Mutuel Betting? Pari-mutuel, also known as pool betting, is a type of betting where instead of placing wagers against a bookmaker, the bettor places wagers against other bettors. Placing wagers against other bettors on the same event creates a pool of money, which is shared out among those who choose the winning circumstances. A small amount of all the total wagers is usually deducted by the 'house', which is either a state-run organization or a private company that provides the betting services. This type of betting is commonly used for greyhound racing and horse racing, but it can also be used for other sporting events such as golf. Pari-mutuel betting is legal in 43 states across the US and in other countries around the world. Pari-mutuel payouts depend on how many bettors placed bets on the sporting event and how many of those selected the winning outcome. This means that it's difficult for people to develop a betting strategy as there aren't any fixed odds. Regardless of the lack of strategy, pari-mutuel betting remains a popular gambling option for both professional and amateur bettors. How Do Pari-Mutuel Bets Work? Pari-mutuel betting is a very straightforward betting process, once you get your head around it. When a bettor first places their pari-mutuel bet they won't receive a fixed odd. When you first place your bet, you'll instead get probable odds, which are calculated based on the betting pool. This is where a pari-mutuel bet differs from other types of bets because there are no fixed odds. It's very likely that the probable odds will change as the sporting event happens. Once the event has taken place, the bets will all be added up, with the house taking some of the profits. The money that remains in the pool will then be divided between the bettors that made the right selection. The payout each bettor receives depends on how much their wager was. Pari-Mutuel Horse Racing Example Although the betting strategy is straightforward, it can be a difficult concept to grasp from the beginning. So to help you better understand pari-mutuel betting, we've created a horse racing example. There are five horses in the race and you decide to place a $10 bet on Horse A. The house has accepted these bets on the horses: Horse A - $400 Horse B - $200 Horse C - $300 Horse D - $100 Horse E - $150 The house calculates that the bets come to $1,200. The house takes a 10% cut (which is $120) leaving the betting pool total at $1,080. The payouts for each horse is then calculated by dividing the remaining balance by the total bet amount on each horse. For Horse A, the payout is $1,080 divided by $400, which equals $2.70. For Horse B, the payout is $1,080 divided by $200, which equals $5.40. For Horse C, the payout is $1,080 divided by $300, which equals $3.60. For Horse D, the payout is $1,080 divided by $100, which equals $10.80. For Horse E, the payout is $1,080 divided by $150, which equals $7.20. If Horse A won, the payout of $2.70 would be $27, because, for every $1 that was wagered, you receive $2.70. This means that you would win an additional $17 on top of the $10 you used to bet on the horse. This example uses smaller numbers, to keep it simple, but many pari-mutuel events have big money up for grabs. Similar to betting that relies on fixed odds, the odds for the favorite to win will always be the lowest, resulting in less money. Whereas the underdog bets will always be higher, meaning that if they do win the race, you're more likely to win big. Pari-Mutuel Top Tips It's better to place your bet as close to the start of the race as possible. This is because as the event draws nearer, the odds can change. Odds that change at the last minute could result in you losing a lot of money you thought you were going to win. For example, sometimes horses may have odds of 5/1 five hours before the race, so you put $100 on that horse to win (which would result in you receiving $500). But an hour before the race, during the warm-up, the horse has some problems and the odds drop to 3/1 (which means you would only win a maximum of $300). This could lead to a whole lot of heartache on your side, especially if you don't even check the odds again before the race. Do your betting on a personal level, this will ensure you get more of your hard-earned cash. Live bookies might take a cut from your winnings (after the house has already taken their cut). Stick to placing your bets at the track, over the phone, or on the internet through the sporting events website. Give Pari-Mutuel Betting a Go and See If You Can Win Big Now that you've learned more about pari-mutuel betting and how it works, why not try your hand at it? Remember that you can find pari-mutuel bets for various sporting events, such as horse racing, greyhound racing, and golf. Larger pari-mutuel organizations often attract more bettors, so these are the events where you might be able to win big.
Horse racing is one of the oldest and most widespread sports in the world. During a horse race, two or more horses ridden by jockeys compete by traveling a set distance as quickly as possible. For many spectators, the appeal of the sport is betting on the winner. Racing is one of the only forms of gambling that is legal in most of the world, and the sport's global market worth is around $115 billion. Origins of Thoroughbred Racing The practice of racing horses dates back as far as 4500 BC. Nomadic tribes in Central Asia were the first to domesticate horses, and it is likely that they also established the sport. Racing was an organized sport for all major civilizations in ancient history. For example, in ancient Greece, there were Olympic events for chariot and mounted racing horses. The specifics of racing in other ancient civilizations is not well established, but historians believe that it was a widespread practice. Modern racing dates back to the 12th century in England. Professionals rode horses that were up for sale during competitions to display their speed to potential buyers. English knights also returned with Arab horses after the Crusades, and over the next several hundred years, many Arab stallions were imported. Then, these horses were bred with English mares to produces horses with great speed and endurance. In the 1500s, Henry VIII imported horses from Spain and Italy as well. In the early 18th century, racing horses became a professional sport in England. Courses emerged across the country, and purses got larger and larger, which made owning and breeding racehorses more profitable. With so much money at stake, the sport also needed skilled horse jockeys, which provided prestigious career opportunities for working-class men. In 1750, the Jockey Club was formed to create rules around racing, establish sanctioned courses, and regulate breeding. The organization still regulates racing in England today. Racing in America British settlers brought thoroughbred racing to America in the 17th century. The first racetrack in America was built in 1665 in Long Island. Racing remained a well-liked sport, but it didn't achieve widespread popularity until after the Civil War. Perspectives on racing also changed during this time. Before the Civil War, stamina was the most important quality in a racehorse. After the war, speed was the goal. During industrial expansion in the late 1800s, racing and gambling became massively popular in the U.S. By 1890, there were 314 tracks in America. Racing grew quickly without any regulatory organization or governing body, which meant that many tracks became enmeshed in criminal activity. However, in 1894, the biggest track and stable owners formed the American Jockey Club and successfully eliminated most of the corruption. In the early 20th century, an antigambling sentiment was passed that almost completely destroyed the horse racing industry. By 1908, only 25 tracks remained. Then, when pari-mutuel wagering was introduced to the Kentucky Derby, many state governments legalized this form of gambling in exchange for a portion of the money wagered. This allowed more tracks to open, and by the time World War I ended, racing was once again popular in America. In 1951, the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame opened in Saratoga Springs, New York. The museum honors the most successful horses, horse jockeys, trainers, and owners throughout history. The sport lost popularity again in the 1950s and 60s. In the 70s, it experienced another resurgence because of horses like Secretariat and Affirmed. These horses won the American Triple Crown by winning the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes. Breeding and Studbooks Private studbooks had existed since early 1600s, but they were not all reliable. In the late 1700s, James Weatherby, the Jockey Club's secretary, was tasked with tracing the pedigree of every racehorse in England. In 1791, he published An Introduction to a General Stud Book. Subsequent volumes continue to be published in order to record the pedigree of the descendants of these horses. Today, all modern thoroughbreds in England can be traced back to one of three stallions: Byerly Turk, Darley Arabian, or Godolphin Arabian. These three horses are known as the foundation sires. The American Stud Book was first published in 1868 and included foals from the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. Many other countries have their own studbooks to trace the lineage of their thoroughbreds. The English and American studbooks had reciprocity until 1913, which was when the English Jockey Club passed the Jersey Act, disqualifying many thoroughbreds that were bred outside of England and Ireland. This was done to protect the British thoroughbred horses from American horses' sprinting blood. However, when several French horses with American ancestry had victories in English races, the English Jockey Club rescinded the Jersey Act. Famous Horses There have been numerous famous race horses throughout history. Here are just a few of history's most notable horses: Kincsem: The mare Kincsem was foaled in 1874 in Hungary. She had an undefeated career for four seasons and won races in Germany, Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, France, and the U.K. Several famous racehorses are descendants of Kincsem. Man O' War: Man O' War was foaled in 1917 in Kentucky. Also known as Big Red, he won 20 out of the 21 races he ran. His only defeat happened during a restart where he was not given enough time to re-position before the race began. Seabiscuit: Seabiscuit was foaled in 1933 in Kentucky. He lost his first 17 races but experienced a major improvement under a new trainer. After sustaining an injury, he made a miraculous comeback and won in 1939, which made him a symbol of hope for Americans during the Great Depression. Arkle: Foaled in 1957 in Ireland, Arkle is considered by most to be the greatest steeplechase horse in history. He won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1964, 1965, and 1966, and he won the Irish Grand National in 1964. Secretariat: Secretariat is widely regarded as the greatest race horse of all time. He was foaled in 1970 in Virginia and was the first horse to win the Triple Crown in 25 years. In 1973, he won the Belmont Stakes in what is considered one of the best rides ever completed. Racing and Betting Today From the 1980s to today, racing has gradually declined in popularity in the United States, most likely because there has not been another Triple Crown winner. About half of states in the U.S. have thoroughbred tracks today. State racing commissions now have the sole authority to grant racing dates and to license the participants. They share the power to appoint officials and regulate racing rules with the American Jockey Club. However, the horses, jockeys, and trainers are all independent contractors. Wagering is one of the biggest appeals of racing and is likely the reason the sport has lasted for so long. American tracks all use a pari-mutuel wagering system, which was created during the late 1800s. Under this system, a fixed percentage of the total wager, typically between 14 and 25 percent, is removed for taxes, track costs, and racing purses. The remainder is divided by the number of correct wagers to calculate the payoff. The odds are regularly calculated and posted on the toteboard during the wagering period before the race. For example, if the odds are three to one, the bettor receives $3 for every $1 wagered if their bet was correct. The three typical pools are win, place, and show. A win occurs when the horse finishes first, a place occurs when the horse finishes first or second, and a show occurs when the horse finishes first, second, or third. Bettors can also wager on a daily double, which involves selecting the winners of two consecutive races. Another popular wager is the exacta, which is a bet on the first and second place winners of one race in the correct order. The quiniela is also a bet on the first and second place winners, but they do not have to be in the right order. Although racing is not as popular today in America as it used to be, it is still a well-known spectator sport and form of gambling. With such a long, rich history, thoroughbred racing will likely continue to be a massive industry for the foreseeable future.