Mit Reklaw’s Like a Fox

In the spirit of forthrightness, I am not a dog lover. Greyhounds on the other hand…

I was recently introduced to the world of online gambling. Quite the slippery slope it is, too. I was given a taste; I wanted more. I was offered a further sample; I wanted to devour the whole portion. I was finally allowed the whole portion… I was violently ill.

This is the nature of gambling.

It starts off a lot of fun. What’s more, in the beginning it always appears relatively easy – it’s all those other, idiot high-rolling gamblers who lose money. Hell, it’s not all that difficult to pick a favourite for a place…

Here’s the thing. These are animals. Thus, gambling, essentially, animals trying to make money from the abilities of other animals. Problem with animals, we all experience good and bad. We all have up days, down days. We can’t always foresee or predict our lesser moments; nor can other people for that matter. Truth is, even the most highly tuned animal, given the most auspicious of conditions, having endured the most rigorous of training programs, under the eye of the most efficient trainer, can lose.

In a word: variables.

Variables were the reason that I elected for Greyhound over Horse Racing. With greyhounds a punter is guaranteed a maximum field of 8 – horses can have up to 15. The odds therefore, are practically halved even before the race begins. The other problem I encountered with Horse Racing: Harness.

It is possible for racehorses on their own to have reliable form. Hitch them up to an unwieldy cart then plonk in its tenuous frame a funny-looking human, variables become limitless. Even without the gig though, horses don’t seem to possess quite the level of consistency as greyhounds.

So while I didn’t expect to make a great deal of money quickly, I did expect to make a good deal of money, albeit eventually.

If the above is my reasoning; the below shall be my explanation.

Admittedly, learning the gambling process did require a number of deposits into my TAB account. I considered them investments. Then having gleaned the knowledge, I was on my way to racing grandeur.

Curiously, my account was still requiring the odd investment. That was my next lesson. I thought I had already mastered the tricks – learned what to look for, what to avoid, the best trainers; the best dogs.

This next lesson must have been extra credit.

Track conditions. Where in the past I had neglected to heed these particular notices, I now realised that they were of great importance – even the best Greyhounds struggle to perform under poor track conditions.

In fact I was finding that on a ‘Raining’ or ‘Showery’ day the favourites seldom won; if they did it seemed to always be that ‘favourite’ on which I had not bet. Ultimately a wet track impeded the strong and appeared to favour the weak.

Lesson learned.

Soggy underfoot notwithstanding, I still felt that I was doing reasonably well, winning most of my stakes. What I was failing to see however, was that in order to make money I needed to be winning all of my stakes.

That’s the issue with ‘safe’ gambling. While I was winning most of the time, these wins were paying so little, on the occasion that I lost, I was losing the equivalent of up to ten wins.

Compounding my frustration was the ‘No Dividend’ trap. This seemed only to affect the races with smaller fields – races which I had naively thought would be that much easier to come away with a place. I wasn’t so much bothered by my legitimate losses but when my dog came in third, I expected to be paid.

I had no idea what ‘No Dividend’ meant. All I did know was that if my dog was awarded this accolade, those jammy bastards at the TAB took my money.

I was later to learn that in the races with less than eight runners, ‘No Dividend’ was given to third place in order to even up the stakes. I lost a lot of money in no dividend races because my dog so frequently appeared content to languish in third position. Seemed like a bloody wrought to me…

Now that I think of it, I guess it does make sense.

Gambling has a way of drawing people into its vice-like clutches; compelling them to invest money that they don’t have down avenues of which they can’t be sure.

Fortunately I didn’t lose a great deal of money; certainly not more than I could afford. I did however, manage to draw a number of conclusions from my efforts. Gambling is a hobby, not a career choice. Potentially it is possible to make money from gambling but one would need to acquire a vast knowledge of the game; also they would need to be prepared for a painfully slow accumulation of funds.

One could easily argue this point claiming ‘bet big, win big’. Yeah. Tried that. What about the inevitable losses?

Bet bigger, lose bigger.

My final address goes out to the World’s aspiring gamblers. You are playing with animals. Living, breathing creatures. There is no such thing as a sure thing.



Article by Mit Reklaw

Edited by Lotta Gamm-Ling

Photography Mary Horse



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