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on 8 May 2014
As the title says I simply found the way this was written irritating in the extreme. Trying to be funny every second sentence I found the book became tiresome and I just wanted it to end. No, we don't all accept that Mike Gatting scoffs everything he's had his hands on and that people watching county cricket pass away in their deckchairs on a regular basis (how often has that one been trotted out?). It's just not a funny line to write that an overweight person is the size of a small country or that pensioners smell of wee. If that's how you like your humour then this book is for you, it wasn't for me.
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on 13 July 2012
I found this to be a really interesting book on sports betting. The author is not only funny in recounting his travel tales but also informative about the specifics of betting. He goes into detail about spread betting in cricket which I also found interesting. Despite being a cricket fan from a young age I was unaware of this type of bet and thought naively that all you could bet on was whether a team won, lost or drew and who would be top run scorer/wicket taker.

I also enjoyed the book as it is about something I knew about namely the disasterous 2006-2007 Ashes series where Australia whitewashed England 5-0. However there are also bits about poker playing in Las Vegas, Cock Fighting in New Orleans and a visit to a Glaswegian Bingo Hall.

Another good thing about the book is that the author despite being a betting man differentiates between the hopeless souls you find in the bookmakers who have to have a bet on anything and everything and those who research the sport, trying to gain whatever edge they can over the bookmaker. He also talks about the perils of gambling and shows that behind every success story there are those people whose lives have been destroyed by it.

A good read for anyone interested in sports betting.
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on 6 December 2013
When I first started reading this I was enjoying it and liked seeing the profit/loss at the end of the chapters. As the book went on, I found the author more and more arrogant and pompous sounding. His attitude towards women was terrible especially when talking to a top female poker player. After insulting her he then went on to mistake his QJ hand for KK. What an idiot, wasting $10,000.

Wouldn't recommend this book, I'm sure there are better betting biographies around where its more about the actual betting and not some posh boy making out he's much better than everyone else.
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on 2 February 2013
Anyone who has spent years trying to make a living out of betting will love reading this. The author tells a very amusing
tale of his travels in pursuit of the elusive big win, describing in detail some of his friends and acquaintances on the way.
One of the best value-for-money books I have purchased recently.
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on 15 July 2013
This is really a cross between predominantly life as a cricket enthusiast and a punter. It ticked along alright without completely bliowing me away. Worth the £6.50 or whatever I paid for it though if you're into sports betting.
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on 22 April 2016
loved it, really well written, easy and enjoyable read
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on 7 July 2011
I'm no gambler - my personality is way too addictive - but I really enjoyed this book from start to finish. Really enlightening on a world I knew little or nothing about.

This book could be split into two parts - firstly, an adventure in Australia, following the Ashes. There is not so much technical cricket writing so as to alienate a non-cricketing reader, and Hawkins also happens to write a very engaging travelogue.

The second half contains more travel, but comprises a nicely considered essay on gambling itself, and also proves a very good read. The testimony of Tommy at the end is most sobering and gives a lovely balance.

More please Mr Hawkins, and I hope you got over your mystery illness.
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on 21 June 2011
Loved this book, right from the start when he places the first bet on a greyhound at the Stow, to Singapore (try reading the "its more exciting with horses" article without cracking up with laughter!) to Australia where you meet Wayne and the stolen phone through to USA -via perving at a flight attendant while talking to a deaf brummie - where you go cock fighting and meet a homeless guy who he makes a bet with "I'm off it pete!" right back to Scotland doing bingo with free chips and gravy and a psycho taxi driver.

Very funny book with a lot of intelligent and funny comments in between.Buy it you'll love it
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on 23 June 2011
This book is a great look into a life of gaming I wish I knew more about.
It is written in a casual manner which makes it easily accessible to someone like me, as well as, I'm told, the more astute gambler.
Well done, I'm glad I bought a copy and one for my dad too...
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on 21 February 2013
you're probably like me. i bought this book because i wanted to read about someone bucking the long-term odds by living by their wits, and somehow getting along by their sporting knowledge. that doesn't really happen here. there's some chapters where the author kind of gets by, but we have no idea how much they get by. they certaintly don't meet their aim, and i guess if the book is genuine then the author is screwed, but then it's all a bit middle-class, and the author is quite clearly never screwed, and presumably never far from salvation. anyway, we have no idea if they didn't eat for a bit - but it certainly doesn't seem very catastrophic. there's a chapter where he's playing poker, and he makes it very clear that, not only does he not understand the rules of poker at all, but he doesn't even possess the ability to read what card he has: a jack or a queen might just as well be a king. i don't know about you, but i have a limit when reading gambling books, and when the author falls over a trap that would struggle to trick my 2 year old son, I tend to lose any interest in how he gets on from thereon in... this is a vaguely entertaining book, poorly written (the author needs to run his draft via someone who knows what a comma is for), but one with a heart. he finishes with comments from someone who is addicted to gambling: i presume because he can't put together enough words to do a similar job. you know. like a journalist might do. anyway, it's not particularly interesting, or involving, and i'm genuinely astonished that this got published at all. 2/10 as a score, and most of that is for writing the words the right way up, in the right order. i don't know what odds that would be. unfortunately, i doubt the author does either.
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