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TheKid
16 Dec 07 21:43
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Date Joined: 29 Nov 02
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Was an article in todays Sunday Independent about an Irish Professional Gambler.

Gambling on beating the odds

Johnny Ward meets professional gambler Declan Meagher whose strict -- and profitable -- betting regime is built on self-control and hard work
Sunday December 16 2007

W E dine over steak and wine. A few weeks previously, I had become acquainted with Declan Meagher on a weekend in Milan, and had made my maiden meeting with his curious profession.

Now, he discusses his two-bed house (it was a three-bed, but one was converted to accommodate a jacuzzi -- serenity after a gruelling day's graft). He tells me that he eats out at least once weekly with his girlfriend, and plans to exchange his present 2005 car for a 2008 Audi TT in the New Year.

There are two common misconceptions about gambling: the first is that gamblers in general bet in order to make money; the second is that it is impossible to make money gambling. Declan proves the falsity of the latter, and is a rare exception to the former untruth.

Consider what I will call the line of equilibrium. A bad gambler -- that is to say the average gambler -- starts the day at that line. Once he starts losing, he will not be content until he has returned to the line of equilibrium, or back level.

Should he have the fortune of augmenting the bulk of his wallet, the temptation is to play with his profits, either due to brashness or dissatisfaction with the amount of money he has won. Sooner or later, he will be back at the line of equilibrium.

To Declan, either scenario is anathema. He is a professional gambler. "I used to work with racehorses for Dermot Weld," he explains, "and went over to Moyglare Stud most winters to break in the yearlings. I handed in my notice around February 2002 and was planning to stay in Moyglare for a few more months.

"I was, however, already making money on Betfair and although I hadn't told anyone yet, it was my intention to quit Moyglare and go full-time."

Circumstance would accelerate his departure. "I had a pain in my chest the morning of Istabraq's last Champion Hurdle run when he was pulled up. I went into work anyway and rode out one lot but it was agony and I had to go home.

"Nobody in Moyglare would believe me, as I was only telling them the day before of the excuses I used to come up with to get off school during Cheltenham. I went to the doctor and he reckoned that my lung had collapsed. It happened before with the other side so he sent me to hospital -- but I postponed it until after the last race. It had collapsed, though, and I took that as my opportunity to give up working with horses and go gambling full-time. I've been doing it ever since."

On the weekend in Milan, Declan placed a few football bets and laid (backed against) Manchester United moments before they took the lead against Blackburn.

The average gambler would have volleyed an insult towards the TV, or at the very least given a facial expression that betrayed frustration. Declan was without emotion -- the stoic demeanour of self-discipline, without which no professional gambler will prosper long-term.

While he does bet on football and other sports, Declan estimates that about 95 per cent of his bets are on horses; more precisely, he has developed a very complex system based on his own pricing-up of English races.

"At the moment I mainly operate in the place markets and I lay or back to get a return of 5,000. So if I laid a horse at even money, my stake would be 2,500; if I backed a horse at 4/1, it would be 1,000.

"I normally price up the market and I'll then back if I think the price is good and lay if I think it's bad."

This is considerably more convoluted than what it may seem. He has put into practice a template whereby, based primarily on the odds in a win market, he can -- taking into account a margin of error -- automatically instruct his computer to lay or back horses on the place market.

In essence (or otherwise), the theories of probability and variance dictate Declan's betting. Consider that he did pass maths in school, and it reinforces how ultimately redundant this country's Leaving Cert programme is.

On the off-chance that you are beginning to consider professional gambling an appealing alternative to your present bread-earner, the 31-year-old stresses that it is far from easy.

"Betfair, like bookmakers, have to make a profit and over the course of the year I pay them quite a bit in commission even though I'm on the lowest commission level -- two per cent of my winnings. At my current betting levels I would pay about 125,000 per year in commission, which means I have to make that much just to break even.

"In saying that, I'm obviously making more than that or I wouldn't be doing it -- but it takes a lot of work and self-control. You need an edge for a start and while it's possible to find one, it's up to any potential gambler to do his research and come up with possible flaws in a particular market that he can take advantage of."

His philosophy on sports betting -- and in particular football -- is perhaps of more pertinent intrigue to the standard punter.

Noel Browne's captivating biography Against The Tide unwittingly promotes the perils of that approach in politics, but it is a perfectly pragmatic policy in gambling.

Topical examples of Declan's bets include: backing Croatia on the premise that England were grossly over-rated by the odds; opposing plunged-on Russia even though they needed a win and Israel had no apparent motivation; backing Milan against Celtic due to the over-reaction to the draw being sufficient for Milan; and laying Ricky Hatton and some of the flood of sentimental money.

As with life, there are highs and lows in gambling. The crux is to identify every winner and loser as merely a dot on a vast map. One can determine probability, but predicting the future is a step beyond.

"I try not to let big wins or losses affect me," the Leixlip native stresses, "but if I had a really bad run it might affect me a bit. Sometimes it seems everything goes wrong. I remember one time I was having a bad month and a bad day. I then backed four horses for a place in a 15-runner handicap.

"I also place-laid three horses whose win odds were 8/1, 16/1 and 25/1. I can't remember the place odds but the horses I laid came in first, second and third. I just looked at the screen and laughed. Stuff like that happens and you have to just get on with it: if it affects your decisions, you're in trouble.

"I've obviously also had times when everything goes right and Denman winning the Hennessy was a real good result for me. I had Denman backed and laid a few for a place. I won 16,000, which is the most I ever won on a single race."

Without resorting to gratuitous praise for the betting exchanges -- they, like bookmakers, are about making money -- it would be virtually impossible for professional gamblers to operate without them. Traditional bookmakers have no problem accommodating your bets -- as long as you are losing. Otherwise, they generally have no interest in your custom.

Declan does all his gambling on Betfair, and does not envisage a career change for the foreseeable future.

"I hope to make enough money in the next few years to invest in some businesses -- maybe open my own restaurant or something like that. I'm also getting more into poker and when I get better at that I might spend more time on it as I find it a fascinating game."

He recalls meeting his girlfriend for the first time at a popular Dublin nightclub, where -- typical of its ilk -- the racket imposed by the DJ made conversation a chore.

"She texted me the next day and asked me what it was like being a professional gardener."

Four years later and he nonchalantly proclaims that "she has become quite good at poker".

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Replies: 725
By:
observerirl
When: 16 Dec 07 22:01
Well, there is indeed one resounding fact in the i/view and make no mistake about it if it were'nt for the Exchanges, BF in other words,certain individuals would have to engage in the RATRACE!!
By:
secretariat
When: 16 Dec 07 22:03
A good read, Eye Mall. But we all want to know is: who paid for the steak?
By:
Chester J Lampwick
When: 16 Dec 07 22:21
"Betfair, like bookmakers, have to make a profit and over the course of the year I pay them quite a bit in commission even though I'm on the lowest commission level -- two per cent of my winnings. At my current betting levels I would pay about 125,000 per year in commission, which means I have to make that much just to break even.

Now I don't for one minute think that he said that but......
By:
spurs to buy big
When: 16 Dec 07 22:30
125000 is like fecking 2% of fecking 6.5 mill or something
By:
PlastikMan
When: 16 Dec 07 22:31
Consider that he did pass maths in school, and it reinforces how ultimately redundant this country's Leaving Cert programme is.


How did this rubbish get past the editor ?
By:
tubbsy.
When: 16 Dec 07 22:32
absoute tripe - typical sindo drivel
By:
tubbsy.
When: 16 Dec 07 22:33
"he discusses his two-bed house (it was a three-bed, but one was converted to accommodate a jacuzzi "

however good this** may or may not be at tipping what the uck is this drivel
By:
tobywong.
When: 16 Dec 07 22:34
calm down tubbs
By:
countychampions
When: 16 Dec 07 22:35
well said spurs 6 million and he only plays in place markets ...what a load of ****....
By:
tubbsy.
When: 16 Dec 07 22:37
i am calm- im very reasoned here
By:
Blessington
When: 16 Dec 07 22:37
Okay if he pays 125,000 commission and he`s on 2% that means he win per year

125,000 x 50 = 6250000 winnings before commission.

6 MILLION + winnings per annum....Nice work if you can get it.
By:
TheKid
When: 16 Dec 07 22:38
I wonder what his username on the forum is ?
By:
secretariat
When: 16 Dec 07 22:39
Those are his winnings Bless but that figure won't include his losses.
By:
platinni
When: 16 Dec 07 22:42
6 mil of matched bets. 3 mil winnings non?

not likely given the liquidity on place markets here
By:
tubbsy.
When: 16 Dec 07 22:43
I wonder what his username on the forum is ?


.....
By:
spurs to buy big
When: 16 Dec 07 22:50
is this a freekin spoof ..dont buy the feckin paper so cant verify
By:
tubbsy.
When: 16 Dec 07 22:52
dont buy the rag either but would believe that they would write such **
By:
tobywong.
When: 16 Dec 07 22:54
articles like that are the main reason i gave up purchasing newspapers in this country
By:
Kelly
When: 16 Dec 07 23:34
Assuming the article is valid , cant see how he can operate at stated levels without involving a third party , viz bookies . If you are trying to back or lay a horse on here for a place , except in the last few minutes before the off , you will struggle to match 100 or 200 at the price you want to back or lay in most normal races . Fair enough if you take stupid prices you will get matched on anything you want , but with a very skewed book . If he pays 125k a year commission , he must win 200k in real terms for it to be profitable to the extent of 75k . Biggest markets I see are on the televised soccer , which does not interest me much as soccer bores me mostly , occasionally there is a good match , but generally as dull as ditchwater , except possibly for making a few bob . Reckon if you did concentrate on soccer markets you could make money , certainly the turnover and the liquidity are there a-plenty .
By:
kincsem
When: 16 Dec 07 23:38
There are two common misconceptions about gambling: the first is that gamblers in general bet in order to make money; the second is that it is impossible to make money gambling. Declan proves the falsity of the latter, and is a rare exception to the former untruth.

I not good in da English. Not understanding.
By:
Perpetual
When: 16 Dec 07 23:42
At the moment I mainly operate in the place markets and I lay or back to get a return of 5,000. So if I laid a horse at even money, my stake would be 2,500; if I backed a horse at 4/1, it would be 1,000.

4000/1000 on a place market is pure fiction
By:
Blessington
When: 16 Dec 07 23:45
Secretariat....Yeah 6,250,000 winnings is still huge.

Thats nearly 20,000 a week in winnings.

Or put it another way a heck of a lot of losing bets to pick up for yourself when you consider thats his WINNINGS on markets.... and there coming off a very competive betting exchange.

His turnover must be in the region of 20 million a year all from a two bedroom house in Leixslip.

Fair play to him.
By:
galway law
When: 17 Dec 07 08:14
I know his username it's PUGY94.
By:
3winnersandasecond
When: 17 Dec 07 08:49
Incredible
Amazing inconsistencies in this fairytale...too many to mention...
By:
Sid Millennium man
When: 17 Dec 07 09:56
A sad day for the Sunday Independent to publish such rubbish. You couldnt make that stuff up. Im glad ive bycoted that Pro Unionist paper for the last 2 years.
By:
hammy
When: 17 Dec 07 10:05
Declan,now is your chance to defend yourself,as you dont seem to mind a bit of publicity.Can you please clarify some points your fellow forumites have put?
By:
Fintan Stack
When: 17 Dec 07 10:09
Has anyone at all ever heard of this "declar meagher" character before this b0llix was written?
By:
observerirl
When: 17 Dec 07 10:20
Slightly off topic....Out of curiousity does anyone know how to find out how much commission they've paid without having to trawl through pages of account statements ?
By:
Elohim
When: 17 Dec 07 10:22
I enjoyed the read, its nice to see someone writing in any sunday paper with a bit of knowledge and not just tipping up the Arsenal/Liverpool/Celtic treble.
By:
Elohim
When: 17 Dec 07 10:23
'observerirl ' ring BF and ask them... should do the trick
By:
galway law
When: 17 Dec 07 10:56
Maybe EMI can give us his thoughts on the interview.
By:
Cupwinkcook
When: 17 Dec 07 11:12
It comes as no surprise to me that a professional gambler did Pass Maths for the Leaving.

The time invested in taking a D student to a C student would be best served elsewhere in the points race(playing the percentages).
For those gifted in Maths, good luck to them.

Probability, Mental Arithmetic and other assets won't help you induly with Honours Maths.

Differentiation, Integration and Trig. on the other hand...
By:
closure
When: 17 Dec 07 11:46
To answer your obsergrl just mail betfair and ask them for a spreadsheet of it. They will send it on quickly enough form my experience . Good to have when you are negotiating with them for freebies.

On topic good it is ggod to see my fellwo forumites saw through this tripe. An interesting read alright but no more true than any John Grisham novel.

Why cant people just tell the truth. Its often just as interesting. I'm not saying the fella is not a winner but he did not pay 125,000 in commission in any year.
To give you an idea of figures. I paid 20,000 over 2 years and a few months when I used Betfair extensively until I realised that the commission was unbeatable (at least it was the way I was playing) and at the time Barry Orr told me I was one of "the better customers" they had in Ireland.
To be honest It is hard to see how anyone except the Michael Tabors or Harry Findlays of the world could have been turning over more money than me at the time.

To pay 125,000 in commission = 6 million in winnings. He claims to have won a quarter of a million last year on betfair exclusively. It really is hard to see.
Jeez it is hard to get 200 matched in the place market at the right price
By:
rover
When: 17 Dec 07 12:02
Interesting article. But no mention of the dreaded 3 letter word.

I have posted on this subject before and have received very few informed replies.

I know that the answer is "no" in the UK, but are proven professional gamblers required to pay tax in Ireland on their winnings ? I would really like to hear from people who have had direct communication with the revenue on this matter.

Closure ?
By:
observerirl
When: 17 Dec 07 12:06
Thanks.
By:
Eye Mall Inn
When: 17 Dec 07 12:10
I'm quite taken aback by the reaction here. Lads, you can believe what you like about the figures.
By:
Blessington
When: 17 Dec 07 12:20
EMI....You certainly did. ;)
By:
Eye Mall Inn
When: 17 Dec 07 12:23
Bless, when I did the piece with Declan, he won over four grand on a horse at Dundalk. The commission on that was more than 80 quid. That was one race. To be paying what he approximates he pays in commission, that would be a bit over 300 quid a day. It makes sense to me and I'm not particularly bothered about what others think. The gambling game is riddled with idiots and wafflers, of which Declan is not one.
By:
Kelly
When: 17 Dec 07 12:25
The ONLY way to guarantee you make money gambling is to back and lay with a differential , unless you are party to inside information . Nobody can be party to inside information to the point where you can generate turnover of 6 million plus on a variety of markets , and nobody can convince me that there is much insider info available on soccer for instance ( flu etc excepted ) . Backing and laying with a differential to cover the commission necessarily involves a third party --unless you are controlling the markets . Consequently unless the info is only half the truth I cannot believe the article , particularly if place markets are involved . I make money by studying the place markets , but it is buttons relative to the amounts available for winning risk-free on the win markets by involving a third party --bookie or exchange .
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