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Saturday, 10 September 2011

Don't Gamble with Friendly Chinese Girls

Did you know that in China, you can't use Twitter, you can't update your status on Facebook, and you can't legally gamble? Despite the fact that I have spent many an hour at a London Blackjack table next to many tea-drinking, coughing and spluttering Chinamen and women, in their own domestic superpower, it is forbidden.

I therefore felt like a sophisticated hacker when, upon reaching my Shanghai hotel last Sunday, I punched my password into the excellent iBetMate App (@betwaregames) and was presented with the familiar screen allowing me access to many money-making market opportunities, and the dubious pleasure of consulting my P&L.

It read thus:

Horse Racing: £10.15 | Tennis: £32.24  Total P&L:  £42.39

My £25 e/w on the talented Chubby Chandler / Lee Westwood-owned Hoof It had covered my stake, returning a measly profit of a tenner for his third-place finish, Murray had done it the hard way, coming back from a couple of sets down against Robin Haase and proving my lay of the Dutchman at 1.5 correct.  The ODI cricket, in which I was exposed to the tune of about £60, was called off and so all bets were void.

I headed out onto the streets of Shangers, taking in the sights on the Bund, dodging bicycles and spitting women who inhabit the lanes off the beaten track, and finally ate some chicken feet: skin, bones and cartilage spiced with a tangy chili glaze. Yum.  Then I met two chicks who took me to a "Tea Tasting Ceremony" in some little establishment, where I paid about £35 for 90 minutes tea-tasting, investing £100 in some of the leaves, before learning later that this classic scam had done me up like a kipper! Was I really that lacking in street-wise nous?  I thought I was enjoying a traditional experience, practised by the easterners since the days of the Ming Dynasty.  Turns out, they had made this Ming a mong :(

Beware the cute little tea experts!
The remainder of my trip was successful. Despite being able to gamble, I just couldn't really keep abreast of things out there, so I left it all alone.  I landed home on Friday morning, caught up on some admin and managed to make up for a week off from Betfair with a torrid day's trading:

Cricket: -£105.90 | Tennis: -£39.50  Total P&L:  -£145.40

And that's just the UK wallet!  Having backed England vs India at the Oval, I became convinced that the visitors would triumph, with newly drafted all-rounder Jadeja looking impressive. Over on Ashe, I was let down by Roddick's failure to keep up with Nadal's power, who blasted into the final four 3-0 (the set bet scoreline I had laid!) to join the other top seeded racquet wielders. 

Down under, having transferred a £100 war-chest into Betfair's Australian wallet (which also allows you to punt on events occurring in NZ and Tasmania.. looking forward to the National Tasmanian Devil Derby later this year), I promptly lost small stakes on New Zealand to win their opener against Tonga by +70.5 pts on the handicap and Dan Carter to score more than 17.5 individual points - I had £50 on that at 1-2 and was cursing the gorgeous egg-chasing record-breaker as he missed a couple of easy kicks and finished short of my required mark.

My long-term bets for the tournament are £7 on Ireland to win outright at 54-1 with a view to laying off later, and England to win the whole thing: £30 at 18.5.

I'm going to sign off and make a nice English Breakfast cup of Twinings tea, add a drop of milk, and drink it (without slurping or sucking it down like the Shanghai locals) whilst watching England take on the Argies.. no idea what to bet on so will consider the RP's advice of England to win by >11.5pts.

I'm also going to have Wilkinson to score more than 13.5pts, backing at 1.75 with £40.

Xie Xie!!

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