Addicted

Prompt logo - Flashback Track Friday

The only time I ever won,
At horses as they raced,
A wager made of just three pounds,
My nags came in first place.

My favoured bets were doubles,
Two horses, both to win,
A pound on each, a sportsman’s bet,
One final bet, a twin.

I pocketted small fortune,
My evening out assured,
Not simply for this evening,
Enough for three or four.

One weel in isolation,
One week of the hotshot,
For one week later, back again,
And lost the bloomin’ lot.

I’m really starting to see the true value of KK’s Flashback Track Friday prompts, because this memory is so niche, I would never normally have recalled it in a month of Sundays, but it has been teased out today.


Back in my early Twenties I was single (I must have been, because no partner would put up with this, right?) and I developed a very definite Saturday routine. I would leave the house at lunchtime and make for the bar I used to frequent. There, with my drinking buddies, we would quietly sip beer and study form. Horse-racing!

Once we were settled, one of us would go to the local betting shop, and we would place some bets. We would then return to the bar and watch the race on tv. The shop was only a few hundred yards from the bar, so this cycle would happen four or five times during the course of the afternoon.

My favourite type of bet was called a “win double”. That is, two horses, two races. Both horses to win their respective race. My stake? £1. Last of the big spenders. Back then, about half a bottle of beer. Then, a third bet. Horse A to win its race, plus horse B to win its race, That was where the big money came in. If both horses were at odds 10:1 (we all have different ways of expressing this, but a £1 stake will win back the original stake, plus 10x the original stake), then the odds of them both winning was 100:1 – a big return for a small stake.

Anyway, pretty much the only time I ever won was one week. It was quite wet weather, so I picked a pair of Irish horses. They weren’t even guaranteed Irish horses, merely horses with Irish-sounding names. Because… it rains a lot in Irelang, right? Yes, that was the limit of my knowledge of “form”..

This one week, both of my nags came home! One was about 10:1 (one gets you 10) and the other 12:1. So, for my £3 stake, I won about £150. I was drunk until about the Wednesday!

On a more serious note, I soon got out of that habit. Over the course of the year or so, I must have lost far more than I ever won. For me, the stakes were so small that I never really missed them. But it made me realise that it was a bad idea ever to gamble with a view to making a profit. It is for that adrenaline rush only, and you get that with a wager of any amount.

Nowadays I am quite strongly anti-gambling.

Author: Mister Bump UK

Designed/developed large IT systems, interrupted by a stroke in 2016, aged 48. Now mix development of health-related software with voluntary work and writing. Married, with an estranged daughter.

15 thoughts on “Addicted”

  1. What a lucky break followed by what was undoubtedly a fun night. Did you cheer on your mares or try and stay calm? What did you do to celebrate? Thanks for sharing this memory poem.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Celebration would undoubtebly have been many bottles of beer! I used to drink one called San Miguel in those days, you might know it, from Spain but exported all over. I was probably mostways drunk already when the second horse came in. I was normally half-drunk by 5 o’clock so Saturday evenings were a lind-of twilight zone.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Really interesting. I don’t gamble other than a few quid on the grand national, because I’m too scared of getting addicted. The way that these betting companies are allowed to push gambling on the television is disgraceful, and the government don’t care because of the revenue it brings.

    Like

    1. Agree wholeheartedly. It disgusts me that they are allowed to dangle this carrot in front of people. They should all be forced to publish how much they take in, plus how much they pay out. Including people like Camelot. Make is as obvious as possible to people, who the real moneymakers are here.

      Think my last National bet was Red Rum!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My late husband used to make a big family thing of the Grand National. He would have us all choose a horse each and then he’d go to the betting shop. to place our bets. He returned with afternoon treats for the kids and we all sat around and watched the race on TV! that was the only time he only bet on the horses… I think! Well, apart from the rare occasions we’d go to the racecourse.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That sounds very like my own childhood. The only time I ever saw racing live was at a summer-evening meeting in Salisbury. It was far more fun live, but we were kinda handicapped having to keep tight reins on toddler daughter.

      Liked by 1 person

          1. It’s beautiful, we spent a few of our summers there when our kids were young. I don’t hanker after travel but if I had a bucket list this is one place I’d like to revisit.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. My uncle used to be part of this shady crew who run an illegal gambling operation in our hometown (I didn’t know it was illegal until he got caught some years later). I didn’t know of gambling because no one gambled from our household, but then one time, when I was 7 or 8, my uncle asked me to give him one php and choose 2 numbers– so I chose. The next day, he was so scared of my mom because apparently, I had won, 1000 php. She was so mad at him. The next day, everyone wants me to choose 2 nos. again, they wanna ride on the nos. but my mom totally went ballistic and they never got a new pair from me. I can’t remember if I took the money actually.

    Then probably around the same year, my classmates and I played a little game of chance, I don’t know if you know about the color game? Three cubes of different colors, you’d have to pull the string and get at least 2 out of 3 of the same color to win something. So my classmates and I built a makeshift color game and we played it in our house. I was so good at the game and won all the money and my classmates left my house empty handed. My mom then saw me with with a bunch of coins and asked how I got it and when I told her, she made me run after them barefoot and return the money. I was grounded for several days.

    I started and stopped gambling at an early age.

    Liked by 1 person

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