Some of my gambling friends mock me for the small wagers I lay, saying I will never make any money but it’s the converse that matters to me – namely I will never lose that much. The combination of ill judgment, incompetence and bad luck – of which every gambler, big or small, complains – ensures I would sustain heavy losses if I veered from my principle of never laying more than £10.
Take last weekend for example. Steve Palmer has lost his touch as a golf punter but not as a writer in the Racing Post. He picked Aaron Baddeley for the Travellers in the PGA. For the Irish Open amongst his tips were Graeme McDowell. I decided to follow him just for the Irish tournament. Mc Dowell, it seemed to me, would want to cement his Ryder Cup pick as – at the moment – he is outside the top ten and therefore not an automatic selection. G Mac was in the top three all 3 rounds so my top five wager seemed secure. Cometh the final round, his putting touch deserts him. He had 6 birdie opportunities on the dance floor and missed 5 of them. Even at the 17th, if he can take two from just off the edge of the green, he can make the top five but he ends up with three and sixth place. In the meantime Baddeley finishes 4th to Kevin Streedman. Had I had a fortune depending on G Mac it I would have been a unhappy man, but in the end it merely enhanced my enjoyment of the tournamemt.
In the World Cup I backed Belgium to beat Russia, or thought I did. The football was so dire that I could not watch it but decided to follow in the second half on the radio. How I cheered when Belgium scored late. However I had not confirmed the bet on Betfair so my jubilation was in vain. It’s true that my punt that neither Portugal nor South Korea would win came home.
In his always entertaining column, Steve Palmer was bemoaning his lack of success in the World Cup and that if Argentina fail to win he cannot buy his fiancée a wedding ring. As my missus gently snored next to me when USA scored 2 late goals to secure at least a draw I felt that my way the right one.