The MIT BlackJack Story

Whether you read the book, Bringing Down the House (written by Ben Mzrich, or seen the movie “21” produced by and acted in Kevin Spacey and Jim Sturgess you’ve likely heard of the MIT Team. Without ruining the book or movie we will discuss some of the happenings at the MIT and Harvard Universities.

It was well known in the mid to late 70’s that MIT had a group of mathematicians, scientists, and human behavior students that decided to take a stab at busting Vegas. There were various groups at both schools, and they competed against one another.

The groups dissipated in the early 80’s with a couple from each team joining forces with a man named Bill Kaplan, he had created a team that was somewhat successful, but soon burned out.

Another guy named JP Massar also known as Mr. M. was deeply involved with the blackjack. He soon joined forces with Bill Kaplan as his team was struggling with different counting techniques and inappropriate betting etc. Massar met up with Kaplan and asked for his opinion on what his team was doing wrong.

Kaplan broke down what the problem was and agreed to create a new team, but the team would need to follow his guidelines. He and Massar played and created the first ‘Bank” of the team. It wasn’t long the team was making between $150-$170 per hour.

Obviously they needed to remain somewhat inconspicuous so they recruited new players as necessary. By the late 80’s they had 30 players involved. The book Busting Vegas better describes the story, whereas the movie ’21’ and the book Bringing Down the House sticks with certain individuals involved.

The story in the movie is also Hollywood-ized as there are some aspects that did not happen. The team really took off in the early 90’s making anywhere from $100,000-$500,000 per trip. The select group began changing their appearances in order to avoid detection.

The main group consisted of Jeff Ma, John Chang, Mike Aponte, Jane Willis, and Laurie Tsao. Once the group hit the tables, each member had a role. Some would be the high rollers, others the degenerate lowlife, the bimbo etc.

Each member had a specific responsibility; they were a signaler, bettor or monitor. Signals included brushing hair out of their face to signal a hot shoe, or leaving for the restroom if things were cold. They also used code words that represented the count, Pool for +8 (eight ball), +9 was Cats (nine lives) etc.

The team or select members were soon figured out, and the rest is history, as casinos began changing the rules adding more decks, using cutoffs etc. The group certainly made millions, and today each has their own story to tell.

Some facts and myths

-None of the team were every beaten up

-Jeff Ma was not spending is tuition at the tables he came from a well to do family

– The group was not all from MIT

-They did not use strippers to cash out money for them.

Insurable and Non-Insurable Risks

When we talk of insurance, we are referring to risks in all forms. Hence, having for an insurance policy is just a way of sharing our risks with other people with similar risks.

However, while some risks can be insured (i.e. insurable risks), some cannot be insured according to their nature (i.e. non-insurable risks).

Insurable Risks

Insurable risks are the type of risks in which the insurer makes provision for or insures against because it is possible to collect, calculate and estimate the likely future losses. Insurable risks have previous statistics which are used as a basis for estimating the premium. It holds out the prospect of loss but not gain. The risks can be forecast and measured e.g. motor insurance, marine insurance, life insurance etc.

This type of risk is the one in which the chance of occurrence can be deduced, from the available information on the frequency of similar past occurrence. Examples of what an insurable risk is as explained:

Example1: The probability (or chance) that a certain vehicle will be involved in an accident in year 2011 (out of the total vehicle insured that year 2011) can be determined from the number of vehicles that were involved in accidents in each of some previous years (out of the total vehicle insured those years).

Example2: The probability (or chance) that a man (or woman) of a certain age will die in the ensuring year can be estimated by the fraction of people of that age that died in each of some previous years.

Non-insurable Risks

Non-insurable risks are type of risks which the insurer is not ready to insure against simply because the likely future losses cannot be estimated and calculated. It holds the prospect of gain as well as loss. The risk cannot be forecast and measured.

Example1: The chance that the demand for a commodity will fall next year due to a change in consumers’ taste will be difficult to estimate as previous statistics needed for it may not be available.

Example 2: The chance that a present production technique will become obsolete or out-of-date by next year as a result of technological advancement.

Other examples of non-insurable risks are:

1. Acts of God: All risks involving natural disasters referred to as acts of God such as

a. Earthquake

b. War

c. Flood

It should be noted that any building, property or life insured but lost during an occurrence of any act of God (listed above) cannot be compensated by an insurer. Also, this non-insurability is being extended to those in connection with radioactive contamination.

2. Gambling: You cannot insure your chances of losing a gambling game.

3. Loss of profit through competition: You cannot insure your chances of winning or losing in a competition.

4. Launching of new product: A manufacturer launching a new product cannot insure the chances of acceptability of the new product since it has not been market-tested.

5. Loss incurred as a result of bad/inefficient management: The ability to successfully manage an organization depends on many factors and the profit/loss depends on the judicious utilization of these factors, one of which is efficient management capability. The expected loss in an organization as a result of inefficiency cannot be insured.

6. Poor location of a business: A person situating a business in a poor location must know that the probability of its success is slim. Insuring such business is a sure way of duping an insurer.

7. Loss of profit as a result of fall in demand: The demand for any product varies with time and other factors. An insurer will never insure based on expected loss due to decrease in demand.

8. Speculation: This is the engagement in a venture offering the chance of considerable gain but the possibility of loss. A typical example is the action or practice of investing in stocks, property, etc., in the hope of profit from a rise or fall in market value but with the possibility of a loss. This cannot be insured because it is considered as a non-insurable risk.

9. Opening of a new shop/office: The opening of a new shop is considered a non-insurable risk. You don’t know what to expect in the operation of the new shop; it is illogical for an insurer to accept in insuring a new shop for you.

10. Change in fashion: Fashion is a trend which cannot be predicted. Any expected change in fashion cannot be insured. A fashion house cannot be insured because the components of the fashion house may become outdated at any point in time.

11. Motoring offenses: You cannot obtain an insurance policy against expected fines for offenses committed while on wheels.

However, it should be noted that there is no clear distinction between insurable and non-insurable risks. Theoretically, an insurance company should be ready to insure anything if a sufficiently high premium would be paid. Nevertheless, the distinction is useful for practical purposes.

Joe Taylor: Horse Trainer, Punter and Gentleman

Joe Taylor was born in Sydney in 1908 to Edmund Barton Taylor, who earned his keep as a hotel cellarman, and Norah Catherine Killalea.

Taylor first took up boxing as a young man, played Rugby league, and filled in as a bill poster before advancing to management of boxers and Rugby League teams.

In 1932, he married Edith Anne May Johnson at St. Pius’s Catholic Church in Enmore. That union persisted for 8 years, producing a son prior to a divorce in 1944. If asked at this stage, he would claim the occupations of bookmaker and shipwright.

Less than a month after, he married again to Elizabeth Watson. That lady produced two daughters before she died and left Taylor a widower.

Taylor’s passion in life was gambling and those early years often saw him leaving his wages for the week at the track.

The period of WWII had Taylor involved with Thommo’s two-up school, essentially a series of illegal card games that was initiated by George Guest in 1910 and operated for many years in Sydney. Taylor supplemented this with some baccarat schools.

Taylor brought Rose’s Restaurant back to life in 1949, christening it the Celebrity Restaurant Club. It was wildly popular with the racing set, especially during the 50s and 60s, and featured top shelf entertainment imported from, among other places, America.

In 1954, he expanded by opening the Carlisle Club in Kings Cross which also proved a hit. History states that there were illicit gaming facilities on the premises of his clubs, but a sanguine perspective would offer that this was just a case of a business trying to please its clientele. That same year, he assumed control of Thommo’s following the death of George Guest.

As a punter, Taylor wagered with everyone’s favourite commodity: Cash. He used his employees as agents to place his bets, and enjoyed substantial success on his own horses to the extent that other bookies opened his horses lower. This did not prevent Taylor from turning a profit, however, and Taylor was his own man when the subject of buying horses arose.

Trainers of note that prepped Taylor’s horses for him were Reg Farris, senior and junior, as well as Albert Woods and Kevin Hayes.

Taylor gambled at cards and wagered on the dish lickers as well. He was considered a “magnificent, if unflamboyant,” gambler, and had the unique attitude that “money is nothing but betting ammunition,” and was more a source of pleasure than an end to itself. Big Bill Waterhouse is quoted as saying Taylor was “one of the few men in the world who completely doesn’t give a damn about money.”

Nowhere was this attitude more apparent than on the day that Taylor experienced his greatest racing triumph, a 1962 STC Golden Slipper Stakes win for his horse Birthday Card. He is reputed to have given most of his winnings, thousands in fact, to his mates, and lost the rest when another of his horses finished dead last in the last race of the day.

A modern day Robin Hood such as Taylor is often known by the company he keeps and Taylor enjoyed some notoriety via his association with personalities such as Jack Davey and State premier Sir Robert Askin. He was also associated with Ezra Norton, publisher of the Sydney Daily Mirror and owner of the 1957 Melbourne Cup winner Straight Draw.

Less savory, perhaps, acquaintances included confederates from the illegal gambling community, namely Len McPherson, Fred Anderson and Perce Galea.

Taylor seemed also to possess connections with the law enforcement establishment because police raids designed to topple the illegal gambling operations never quite seemed effective in closing the shop.

In 1971, at the age of 63 Taylor married for a third time, marrying a 46-year-old secretary, Patricia Moffit, listing his occupation as restaurateur. Five years later, he died from a heart attack. He is survived by the son from his first marriage and the daughters from his second.

Taylor’s legacy to the sport of punting will forever be that he knew his horses, honoured his debts, dealt in cash, and most importantly, did it with grand style and few enemies.

How to Play Roulette Wisely

Roulette has always been a casino cash cow. It’s a big earner for these gambling establishments, what with its huge number of players which includes really generous high rollers. This game has seen many players get rich and go bankrupt, or go through an alternating series thereof, all to the benefit of the house. Both the casino and roulette’s players can agree on one thing however: roulette is simply fun and addicting.

The problem however, is that most players place a great emphasis on the winning part. They tend to trust in roulette’s nearly 50% winning odds on even-money bets that they can’t help but waste away money chasing after a win. In such a way, they lose their bankroll so easily, and thus the game. It is therefore no wonder that many enter the casino with a jolly demeanor, only to leave looking like a broken man.

To prevent such scenario from happening again, here are a few tips that can help you play roulette wisely:

1. Don’t start with large bankroll.

If you’re that willing to take the bait of the money-eating roulette table, bring only what extra money you have and leave the budget for the bills, kids, grocery, and other important stuff alone. Better yet, bring just enough that could sustain you for the time you’ve allotted to playing roulette or casino gaming as a whole. Just remember not to bring an unnecessarily large bankroll to join those über rich high rollers or any other reason.

2. Save your profits.

Roulette is lionized by many fans as an easy to win game, thanks to the roulette players’ ability to bet on even money bets like red and black. Winning a spin can be easy for sure, but making profit truly is a difficult task. Many use roulette strategies and other means to achieve this but the truth is, profit is just as likely to come up as a loss, although statistically, the latter is a lot more frequent due to the addictive nature of the game. Thus it is important to save your wins and simply make bets within your initial budget. This is to ensure that once your losses are recovered – if ever – you’ll be sure that you have profit.

3. Do not attempt to recover an exhausted bankroll.

Speaking of recovering losses, do not even try to recover your bankroll after you’ve exhausted it. Your chances of winning are uncertain by then, and by then, you’ll be tapping on money that’s not meant for roulette. Losing is a sad fact of life and it’s best to accept it as it is.

4. Have fun.

As usual, let’s end with this little advice as a constant reminder of what roulette truly is – a fun though guilty entertainment. Play simply for the game’s amusement value and keep the thought of making profit out of your mind. You’ll make money if you’re lucky and you’ll lose some if the house beats you to it. It’s all random and you can’t do anything about it other than have some precious fun.

Now that, folks, are but a few tips on how to play roulette wisely. What this all boils down to is this: Enjoy roulette, but don’t spend much to let it drag you down the poverty hole.

The Riskiest Option Trading Strategy Known to Man

Today, I wanted to discuss the riskiest Option Trading Strategy known to man. I am going to go through the strategy and then I am going to give you the names of two other strategies that you will want to stay away from because each one of them is using the risky trade within the strategy. So, let’s get started.

The Option Trading Strategy with the highest risk to an investor is known as selling naked calls or short a call. How this strategy works is as follows:

1. You find a stock you think will not have much upside nor volatility, aka SPECULATING. This should be your first indication that this strategy should not be used.

2. You sell a call naked (this means you do not own the stock, but, you are obligating yourself to selling this specific stock sometime in the future at a predetermined price.)

3. You receive a premium (meaning someone is paying you to have the right to buy the underlying stock, that you do not presently own, from you sometime in the future.)

4. Now, this is where this strategy can get UGLY!! READ BELOW

Selling naked calls (short a call) is gambling. You receive a premium from an investor that gives him the right to buy either from the market or from you, whomever is cheaper. Consider the example below.

You sell one (1) naked call on ABC stock at a strike price of $20. The buyer of your naked call pays you $3. (Alright, you just made $3 per contract, or $300.00)*

The current market price of the stock is $15.

Sounds good so far huh? You have $300 and the stock would have to move from $15 to above $23 ($20 strike price plus the $3 premium) before the person holding the call option would come to you and have you buy the stock at the market price and sell it to him for $20. Well, just to let you know, because there is no ceiling on how high the price of the stock can climb, your risk is UNLIMITED!!

Let say you wake up one morning three weeks into the future and find out the stock that was trading at $15 back when you sold the naked call just spiked up $50 per share. Well, guess what, the person that bought the call from you is doing? He is outside banging down your door to get you to sell him the stock at $20, so he can sell it in the market at $65. What an ugly predicament you are in now. You have to buy the stock at $65 and turn around and relinquish it at $20 leaving you with a loss of $42. (Your cost of $65 minus what you sold it for $20 equals $45. But remember, you were already paid $3, so your loss is $43 per share or $4300.00) OUCH!!

Now granted, this is an extreme example, but it is better to just stay away from selling naked calls so you don’t end up on the wrong side of a run away stock while you were sleeping. Get my drift.

Well, hopefully you understand the risk involved in selling naked calls now, here are two other option trading strategies to avoid like the plague:

short straddle: short a call and short a put

short combination: short a call and short a put (combination will have different strike prices, i.e. sell a 20 call and sell a 30 put)

* One (1) contract equals 100 shares of stock, therefore if you receive $3 per contract, you will receive as a premium $300.00.

How Brain Chemistry May Lead to Compulsive Masturbation

As most men know, masturbation is an excellent way to relieve sexual tension, release daily stress or simply to have a good time with oneself. (It also can have a positive impact on penis health by keeping the organ well exercised.) Although many guys worry about their rate of masturbation, few are actually compulsive masturbators. And according to some studies, sometimes compulsive masturbation may be the result of using a medication known as pramipexole.

What is pramipexole?

Pramipexole is what is called a “non-ergot dopamine agonist.” What this basically means is that it is a compound which plays a role in regulating dopamine, which is associated with pleasure. Put in simplest terms, dopamine encourages people to lean toward behaviors that give them pleasure.

But pramipexole also has some valid uses in treating specific medical conditions. For example, it often is prescribed for Parkinson’s disease, as it can sometimes help to lessen the body function impairment associated with that disease. Many patients with restless leg syndrome receive benefit from it, and there have been studies as well in using the drug for bipolar disorder and depression.

Side effects

As with any drug, there are side effects associated with pramipexole. Some of them are relatively minor or usual, such as headaches or decreased appetite. Others are of more concern, such as hallucinations and fainting. Doctors have also noted that dopamine agonists like pramipexole are sometimes associated with compulsive behaviors, such as gambling.

One interesting case involved a man who was treated with pramipexole for restless leg syndrome for several years. The medication seemed to work well for this condition. However, his wife noticed that his sexual behaviors had changed since he began taking the medication. He now masturbated 6 to 8 times every day and seemed to have little control over it. He would often leave the table in the middle of meal in order to masturbate. (This happened not only when dining at home but also when in restaurants or when having dinner at another person’s house.) This had not been an issue previously.

Clearly, this was a case of an individual who did indeed fit the description of a compulsive masturbator. The doctor knew of the association between dopamine antagonists and compulsive behaviors and so suggested taking the patient off the drug. Within two weeks, his compulsive masturbation had stopped.

Not the only one

There have been other cases in which pramipexole has been associated with masturbation. For example, a journal published another case study in which a patient with Parkinson’s was prescribed the medication. He also reported developing a compulsion to masturbate several times a day. In addition, his partner reported that he had started masturbating even while he was asleep.

As with the previous case, the doctor discontinued use of pramipexole. Within a short period of time, the patient’s masturbatory frequency returned to normal (and the sleep masturbation did cease as well.)

It should be noted that many people use pramipexole (or other dopamine antagonists) without this side effect of compulsive masturbation. However, if a man is prescribed the drug and does find his masturbatory habits becoming compulsory, he should definitely confer with his doctor.

Even without pramipexole, however, a man’s masturbation routine may be such that he rubs himself a bit raw on occasion. Daily use of a superior penis health creme (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin) can help treat that rawness. For best results, the penis needs to be properly moisturized, and that means that the chosen crème should contain both a high end emollient (such as shea butter) and a natural hydrating agent (such as vitamin E). As a bonus, select a crème with vitamin A; this vitamin’s anti-bacterial property can help fight unwanted penis odor, a significant problem for many men.

Matched Betting – Learn How To Make Money From Matched Betting Online For Bookmakers Bonuses

Matched betting is a term which is increasingly being heard these days. It is even being referred to as ‘intelligent betting’ in betting circles. The entire concept of matched betting involves placing a bet both as a punter and also laying a bet as a bookmaker. This has become possible thanks to the advent of the numerous betting exchanges these days. If properly used, matched betting is known to eliminate the element of luck to quite some extent and can get no-risk returns.

The entire concept of matched betting works like this. You place a bet at bookies and back your chosen outcome at particular odds. For example, you could be backing Chelsea to beat Man United in a soccer match. If Chelsea were to win, you would win back your stake and if you lose, you lose your stake to the bookie. What if at the same time, you were to lay a bet, simultaneously as a bookmaker and offered the same odds to someone for Chelsea beating Man United?

This is what matched betting is all about. It works on the principle that whatever you win or loose is always cancelled out by whatever you win or lose, both as a punter and as a bookmaker. Although all this sounds good you should always keep in mind certain things when dealing with matched betting. For one you will need to use betting exchanges, which never offer lay odds which are the same as those offered by bookmakers. The second thing that you should remember is that you will also need to shell out a significant commission to the betting exchange. You need to be clear on all these aspects of matched betting before you place, as well as lay a bet on a particular outcome.

Top 10 Will Smith Movies

There was a time when you could bank on there being at least one Will Smith movie hitting the big screen every year, but it has been relevantly quiet on the Will Smith front since 2008. Although not in the front of the camera Smith has been busy behind it, helping produce his son Jaden’s movie “The Karate Kid”. But the good news is that Will Smith will be back infront of the camera once again when he stars in the next “Men in Black” movie, yes they are making a third one. So whilst we wait for more alien busting action here is my Top 10 Will Smith Movies to keep you entertained.

10) The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)

Rannulph Junnah had it all, he was a great golfer, a legend in Savannah and dated the beautiful Adele Invergordon. But having gone off to war all that changes as he returns to Savannah a changed man more interested in drinking and gambling than playing golf. In the meanwhile Adele having inherited both a golf course and debts from her father is forced to fin a way to raise some money quickly and sets about hosting the greatest game of golf ever. Having aisgned up golf legends Waler Hagen and Bobby Jones to play she convinces Junnah to play after the locals demand a local player to appear alongside the greats. Having lost his confidence and swing it seems that Junnah is destined to disappoint but when a myserious man called Bagger Vance turns up offering to caddy for him it seems that things are turning around for Junnah.

I have to say that whilst I enjoy “The Legend of Bagger Vance” it has to be said between the mysticism of the character Bagger Vance and many zen like golf sequences it is all a bit too fairytale like. But then Will Smith delivers a charming, fun, intriguing character in Bagger Vance making much of what is really a lot of nonsense into an entertaining movie.

9) Men in Black (1997)

Whilst giving chase to a criminal, James Darrel Edwards III discovers that he’s up against someone who is not human bringing him to the attention of Agent Kay who introduces him to the top secret agency MiB whose job is to control all the aliens who live on the planet undetected. Having convinced Edward’s to join this special agency, becoming Agent Jay in the act, they find themselves in the thick of things as the planet is facing destruction unless they can discover an Alien terrorist looking for ambassador’s from other planets.

Whilst the sequel wasn’t up to much the first “Men in Black” was a fun movie which not only gave Will Smith a box office success but also a chart topping song. It’s very much the sort of performance we like from Smith, delivering plenty of humour mixed in with action and with the surprise pairing of Smith and Tommy Lee Jones working so well it’s a movie which is fun from start to finish.

8) Hancock (2008)

John Hancock is a troubled man, on one hand he has super powers and tries to use them to do goo, but he also loves his drink often leading his good intentions ending up with disastrous consequnces and a traile of destruction. But whilst trying to do a good turn by saving PR guy Ray Embrey from being hit by a train he inadvertently gets himself a new best friend who sets about improving Hancock’s public image. All of which is well and good but for some reason Ray’s wife is not to happy to see Hancock being welcomed into their home and not just because of his accident prone ways.

Right the first thing is that “Hancock” the movie is not great, it’s like two movies slapped into one and the blend just feels completely worng. But thankfully Will Smith as John Hancock does, with Smith creating a memorable bad ass hero and delivering a few moments of comedy with a lot of action. But like the movie Smith’s performance suffers with the first half being great whilst the second less than great.

7) I, Robot (2004)

In the year 2035 technology and robots have become part of life, much to the displeasure of Detective Del Spooner who takes a dislike to every robot he comes across. When Dr. Alfred Lanning, the man credited with creating robots in their present form, is found dead, Spooner is called in to investigate what many think is a suicide. But Spooner and his technophobic attitude leads him to suspect that Lanning’s death was not suicide but was murder, committed by a robot who somehow managed to kill despite rules preventing him.

To put it simply “I, Robot” is a Will Smith movie, a futuristic serious one but also an action movie. So what we get is Will Smith delivering a pumped up performance in more ways than one with him showing off his impressive physique as he works out whilst also delivering high paced action sequences all of which has a touch of humour to them, thanks to Smith’s delivery of sarcastic dialogue. Whilst a sort of serious movie, it’s hard to take it completely seriously but Smith delivers an impressive performance.

6) Bad Boys (1995)

Marcus Burnett is married and hen pecked, Mike Lowery is single and a ladies man but they are partners, working for the Miami Police. When a sizeable amount of drugs is audaciously stolen from the police safe house Burnett and Lowrey have just 72 hours to retrieve the stolen drugs and catch the criminals. Not that simple when a confussion leads to them having to pretend to be each other in order for a witness to come forth.

Although Will Smith had already shown his talents on the big screen you could say that “Bad Boy’s” was his first major movie where he was one of the main stars. It’s another one of those movies where he delivers exactly what people like, so we get action, we get comedy and Smith creating a smooth operator in Minke Lowery. But it’s as much to do with Martin Lawrence’s performance as Will Smith’s as to why the movie works creating a memorable cop partnership for a new era.

5) I Am Legend (2007)

In the year 2012, New York has been abandoned after a miracle cure for cancer mutates and leaves those who were treated with it into flesh eating zombie like beings. The only person left in New York is Robert Neville who is determined to discover the cure for this mutant virus even if it means he is faced with a daily battle to protect himself from these zombie like beings who roam the streets at night.

It has to be said that “I am Legend” is a movie which has ended up splitting audiences. Some were wowed by this sort of horror story whilst others felt it a weak adaptation of Richard Matheson’s original novel. Whether you like the movie or not what is for sure it’s a strong performance from Will Smith who not only is the only character in it for so much of the time but also delivers that sense of fear and loneliness of the last survivor in a once bustling city.

4) Ali (2001)

Covering the yers between 1964 and 1974 “Ali” is the story of boxer Muhammad Ali. A turbulent decade in the boxers life it covers aspect of him becoming a Black Muslim, his friendship with the influential Malcolm X, his decision to change his name plus is this relationships and marriages. And of course it covers his boxin career and his fight to be allowed to box again after refusing to join the US Military.

“Ali” is another one of Will Smith’s movie which splits audiences because for many it cover such a small part of the legendary boxer’s life but also because director Michael Mann has such a stylistic approach to movies that it often doesn’t feel like a mainstream movie. Whether you like it or not it’s hard to ignore the impressive performance of Will Smith as Muhammad Ali. Firstly the bulking up he did to physical resemblance Ali is stunning but he picks up all the little mannerisms, the quick feet, the way he pronounced words pretty much everything is spot on and it’s such a shame that the movie itself ends up splitting audiences because it’s one of Smith’s best performances.

3) Six Degrees of Separation (1993)

Are dealers Flan and Ouisa Kittredge (Donald Sutherland & Stockard Channing) are just about to go out for a mean when a young man shows up at their New York apartment claiming to having been mugged and in need of help. Introducing himself as not only the son of Sidney Poitier but also a friend of Flan & Ouisa’s children he delights them with tales of his life and prepares a meal in repayment for their kindness. But when the Kittredge’s insist he stays the night they are in for a shock as not everything is as what it seems and become determined to discover the truth surrounding this young man.

Considering that back in 1993 Will Smith was known more as for his comedy and in particular “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” watching him take on a serious role in a movie whose roots were on the stage is very impressive. In fact Smith’s performance as the charming and eloquent young man in “Six Degrees of Separation” is what makes it work as a movie and his delivery of some thoughtful monologues makes for powerful stuff.

2) Seven Pounds (2008)

Haunted by a tragic secret, Ben Thomas looks to help 7 deserving people in the hope of finding redemption through his acts. But when Ben puts his plans to help into motion nothing can stop them, except the didn’t take into account for falling for one of those he chooses to help who ends up transforming his life.

Even before I say anthing about the brilliant performance from Will Smith as Ben Thomas you have to say that “Seven Pounds” is an impressive, emotional and touching movie full stop which is brave and different from your normal mainstream fare. But much of what makes it so good is the top performance from Will Smith who takes on a difficult, almost mysterious character and makes us love him, champion him and when he feels emotion so do we.

1) The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

Based upon the true story of Chris Gardner who during the 80s not only found himself pretty much penniless but also a single dad when his wife left him. Often forced to live rough, sleeping in toilets and queue up with others for a room in a hostel he manages to get himself on an internship to become a stock broker in the hope of making a better, more secure future for his son.

There is much that I can empathise with in Chris Gardner’s story and as such it’s a very touching and powerful storyline, made all the more better by a performance from Will Smith which should have won him an Oscar. He really gets into the mind of someone who hasn’t any money and shows the emotional side of not knowing where the next meal is to come from and the whole desperation of it. But at the same time it’s an inspiring performance and storyline making “The Pursuit of Happyness” my number 1 Will Smith movie.

Free Betting Advice – Bookmakers and Secrets – Basics

Bookmaker Management

The vast majority of you likely think of the bookmakers as the old enemy, cash thief, the Devil himself even!!

If you do, it follows that your likely one of the many millions of folk giving them cash, and getting little back. This is negative thinking, and any negative thinking in gambling leads to your demise.

So what can you do about it, and what difference does it make what you think of your bookmaker?

Well all my bookmakers are my friend; in reality somebody who gives me cash is a friend. Wouldn’t that be the same for you? As soon as you believe that the bookie is the kind man who supplies you with cash for a Saturday night out, or that latest kitchen appliance, then you’re on the road to improving your returns already.

Most gamblers think you can win thousands a day, and purchase a boat one week, and a new vehicle the next when you’re a pro, but you are dreaming, it takes hours of work to create a decent profit every month.

If you additionally think your friendly bookmaker will happily hand over thousands a day too you, guess what? You’ve got to be kidding. If you run a business, and you are giving the same customer cash every day for nothing, would you still do business with him? Sure you wouldn’t.

If you keep attempting to bankrupt a bookmaker, he will show you the respect you deserve for your approach, and shut your account. This is not bad nasty bookmaker, but common sense, he is attempting to run a business, and make a profit.

Now if you know you are likely to make money, and the bookmaker knows you are going to make money, you have too keep to an acceptable each week, and then he’ll be able to lay off your bets, and he will furthermore accept that the bets you put on are in addition supplying him with good info. This way you can have a decent association, although they could still limit your maximum bet. However, this method will not work with the Big 3 bookies, as they do not wish for any winners.

If working at home, you will need to plan your betting like a military mission for each bet, and spread it all around various bookies.

If you want to bet thousands, then the only answer is to do battle on the track, or on a betting exchange, and as soon as your making this much, you still have to use the same theory as above.

On Course Secrets

Just a quick tip, but one which ought to help you find extra winners while on the racecourse.

Before racing begins, hang around the bookies looking for any punters placing a nice wad of cash on a horse. If he/she is wearing a suit, it’s probably best ignoring them, as these are corporate men trying to impress their clients or boss, and likely don’t have a clue which end the head is on.

If they look like ordinary Joe Punter, but are betting big, they may be a pro. You are probably best keeping an eye on them for the first few races to make sure they do know what they are doing, and keep an eye on more than one, as professional gamblers are pretty rare.

Watch which racehorses they gamble on, and watch the race. If that horse wins, or runs well, watch to see which horse they bet on next. Again, watch the race, and the next one. After that, if you consider this person to have good expertise, you can follow what he does for the remainder of the day.

We don’t mind folk doing that, as we can’t hide from view what we do, although a few will get piddled off with being stalked! Don’t follow in our shadow though, as you will get a number of choice words, as you wouldn’t like being tailed by a strange looking person would you?

You can make contact with pros on the track, although they might not give you the days selections, the majority will offer you advice, and a number of pointers for the future.

Bat Masterson and The Ogallala Bust-Out

In the summer of 1880, Billy Thompson was in a saloon shootout in Ogallala, Nebraska. Following the shooting, the law held him under guard at the town’s only hotel, The Ogallala House, until he could be tried and hung – which was a forgone conclusion of all of the residents. His brother Ben Thompson, a noted gambler and pistol fighter, was convinced that the mob in Ogallala was waiting for him to come after Billy. He had reason to believe that if he showed up they intended to stage a necktie party for two. Hedging his bets, Ben called in an old friend, Bat Masterson, to free his brother from the clutches of what was reputed to be the crooked law of Ogallala.

It all began when Billy vied for the affections of a local whore with the ignominious moniker of Big Alice. A saloon owner named Bill Tucker lay claim to her off-duty trysts and warned Billy to stay away from the damsel. Billy, not known to heed warnings, continued to commingle with Big Alice until he decided to confront Tucker in his saloon, the Cowboy’s Rest. After downing a gut full of liquor, Billy swung into the saloon and ripped off a quick shot at Tucker. The bullet caught the saloon owner in his hand as he was serving a customer a shot of whiskey. Tucker quickly counted the fingers on his left hand and found that he was missing his thumb and three other fingers had been mutilated. He grabbed a bar towel, wrapped his bloody hand, and ducked behind the bar. Billy, thinking he had killed the man, holstered his pistol and staggered out of the saloon.

Tucker was far from dead. He pulled up from behind the bar with a double-barreled sawed-off shotgun. He ran to the door and with his good hand leveled the ten-gauge at Thompson, blasting away with both barrels. Billy, who was a short distance from the saloon, pitched forward into the street with five buckshot wounds to his back and buttocks. Tucker’s friends rushed him to his house for medical attention while the law dragged Billy to the Ogallala House where he was treated and held prisoner.

Because Ben Thompson had saved his life or for whatever the reason, Masterson felt obligated to help Ben retrieve his wayward brother from the toughs of Ogallala and he boarded a train for Nebraska. Arriving in town, which was little more than a few rough-hewn buildings huddled around the Union Pacific line on the north bank of the South Platte River, Bat surveyed the situation and found he was bucking bad odds. Billy’s wounds rendered him incapable of riding a horse so Bat had to devise another method of getting him out of town. He told Billy to pretend that he was so weak that he could not manage to escape while he came up with a plan.

Biding his time, Bat befriended the young deputy charged with guarding Billy in the hotel. They played cards to pass the time and often Bat paid for a round of drinks. Then after a few days, Bat saw his opportunity on a Sunday night when the whole community turned out for a dance that was held in a schoolhouse on the edge of town. The sheriff, who was the best fiddle player in the area, dearly like to play and would keep the crowd dancing until the wee hours of the next morning.

The night of the dance, the Ogallala House had emptied leaving only Bat, Billy, the deputy, and a bartender named Jim Dunn. Masterson managed to bribe Dunn into slipping a “Mickey Finn” into one of the whiskey sours he ordered for himself and the guard. The guard downed the doctored drink and Bat called for another round. A few minutes after the second drink, the guard slumped to the floor in a stupor. Bat paid the bartender and rushed to Billy’s room where he got the wounded man dressed. He then rolled up Billy in a carpet, hoisted him over his shoulder, and carried him down to the depot. They arrived just as the train was pulling into the station around midnight. Bat boarded the train, heaved Billy into a seat, and they quietly left for North Platte some fifty miles east of Ogallala.

At about two o’clock in the morning, they pulled into North Platte where Bat shouldered Thompson and climbed down the steps to the station. It was pitch black but up the street, Masterson could see the gaslights of Dave Perry’s saloon. He managed to lug Billy through the saloon doors and deposit him onto a pool table. As luck would have it, Bill Cody was in the saloon drinking and telling stories to his friends. Bat explained their plight and Cody, ever the showman, dramatically swore that he would personally see to it that they would not fall into the hands of the Ogallala authorities and would provide a means of getting them back to Dodge City.

Here is where the story takes a comedic twist. Without telling his wife, Cody gave Masterson her new phaeton buggy and a well-bred horse to transport Billy out of Nebraska. In addition, he offered to let them follow along with the group of dignitaries he was leading on a trip to a large cattle ranch about twenty-five miles to the south of North Platte. The Europeans, who had been sent by General Sheridan, were touring the west for a first-hand look at the wilds of the frontier and Cody was in charge of escorting them to the Keith ranch. The twenty foreigners arrived eager to have the famous Buffalo Bill guide them through the wild plains and he was in his element – full of grandiose gestures and dramatic flair.

As the caravan assembled, Cody asked Masterson to drive his double teamed mess wagon and let another ranch hand drive the buggy carrying Thompson. Bat quickly found that the mess wagon was loaded with a small quantity of food and a massive amount of liquor. All of the riders were given a stout drink and then Cody signaled for the group to set out on their journey. After traveling for a short while, Cody halted the riders for a rest stop that included a liberal amount of “liquid refreshments”. He repeated this routine for several more stops until the caravan was now having a grand old time but finding it harder and harder to stay in the saddle.

Finally, Cody, reeling in his saddle, rode up to the mess wagon and sloshed aboard. He fell asleep immediately and Bat was left in charge of leading the group to the south. Bat, who had also had his share of liquid refreshment, was barely able to navigate the wagon and after a short distance hit a rut and flipped the wagon over on its back. Masterson was pitched from the wagon but Cody was trapped under the bed, covered with the load of “refreshments”. Bat had landed on his face and was nursing a bloody gash in his lower lip. He and the others managed to right the mess wagon only to find that Cody was unscathed and wondering what in thunder had happened.

They finally made it to Keith’s ranch where they had supper and Cody sobered up enough to entertain his entourage with his legendary skills of shooting and riding. The next morning Masterson, nursing a swollen lip and a massive hangover, hitched up Mrs. Cody’s phaeton and headed for Dodge City with Billy. A short time after leaving the ranch a massive black cloud overtook them from the west drenching them in torrents of bone-chilling rain. It continued to rain on the pair for the remainder of their two hundred-mile trip.

Several days later, Mrs. Cody’s carriage rolled into Dodge City with Masterson at the reins and Thompson wrapped in a soggy buffalo robe. Both were covered with mud and thoroughly soaked. Shivering, Bat urged the tired horse toward his favorite hotel where a hot bath and a decent meal were always available. Billy stirred from beneath his buffalo hide and demanded that they first stop at the telegraph office where he wired the sheriff of Ogallala. The message said that he had arrived safely in Dodge and that the sheriff could find him there if he wanted to come and get him.

Over the years, Billy Thompson had been accused of many things but never, never of being very bright. Fortunately, for Billy, the sheriff decided he was not worth the effort and let the matter drop.