I have two distinct lives. One in the trenches of low-budget film and television, the other in professional gambling. Because of the feast-or-famine nature of show business I need a reliable income... gambling. So here you will read about both worlds. Enjoy!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Enemy Number One: The Secrets of the UK's Most Feared Professional Punter

Enemy Number One, by Peter Veitch is a chronicle of the life of a professional horse bettor in the UK. The first section is devoted to an eight year stretch, beginning in 1999, where he won ten million GBP. Ten million is nothing to sneeze at, but since the top horse bettors make many times that every year I hardly would call him "Enemy One." This first section is page after page of, I bet this horse, at that track, and won X amount, or lost Y amount. It very much reminded me of Stuart Perry's Las Vegas Blackjack Diary, which will teach you two important things. Record keeping is not the same as writing, and trying to make a living counting cards in Las Vegas is truly awful, tedious, and boring.

The book then takes an odd turn. Veitch gets extorted by a mobster who threatens to kill him. It appears he is just a rich guy in the wrong place at the wrong time. The police take this threat very seriously, and Veitch spends quite some time hiding out, and under police protection before this guy eventually goes to prison for killing a policeman. This does pick up the pace of the book some, but it has absolutely nothing to do with gambling.

Veitch eventually branches out into horse owner, as well as bettor. He flies around England in his private helicopter, which must be pretty cool, but it is still a lot of - I bet this horse - or this is how my horse won this race. We do hear about the frustrations of being a professional gambler. Much like sports bettors he gets barred from some books, uses beards to bet for him, throws the bookmakers off track by betting the opposite of what he wants, and then sending the real money in after they adjust the odds the wrong way. UK apparently does not use a parimutuel system for their racing which seems odd and old fashioned. There is one good chapter near the end of the book where he describes how a winning bettor thinks, and how he goes about finding an edge. Is this book worth reading for that one little nugget? I'll leave that to you. On my 4 Ace scale I give it.

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