Bet Bet Bet: Late Night Poker & X Factor
Monday, 3 October 2011
[Updates at end of post]
First things first: Late Night Poker returns to Channel 4 tonight (sometime after midnight) with me and James Akenhead doing the commentary. I haven’t done poker commentary for ages and really loved going back to it - especially working with James who is pretty new to it but is great, I respect him very much as a player and have really enjoyed the chance to chat with him about the game while watching some of the big names at work.
Each heat is split into two episodes, which means there’s room for a lot of the curious little hands that often don’t make the edit of TV poker shows, but are hugely important to the narrative of the game. I hope you enjoy the series if you watch, and that my commentary doesn’t get in the way. I admit, my instinct is to make jokes if I can think of any, but I do try to talk seriously about the action some of the time… In the first heat (tonight and next Monday), exciting names at the table include Luke “FullFlush” Schwarz, Dan “Jungleman” Cates and the cool chick I just played against in the EPT Ladies’ Tournament last night, Melanie Weissner.
Now, X Factor. I was quite excited to get home after the poker exertions on Sunday because I knew the market would have gone up on Betfair and I was ready to get stuck in. I tend to bet with my heart on this show - I’ve only been wrong once (on Leona Lewis, mea culpa) and was going to have a big old spin on Jade, my far-and-away second favourite contestant this year. (Who’s first? We’ll get to that.) I’m puzzled to discover she didn’t make it. Why not, why not? Surely she had the best voice of all of them? Even I might buy an album of her singing, and I really don’t buy a lot of albums. Her voice is original and very special, and she’s a girl who touches the heart; I cried buckets during her audition. Not that that means much. I’m a sucker for the auditions bit, I cry throughout. Then it gets to “judges’ houses”, the contestants all start crying and I stop.
Can they really have been too dumb to pick the best singer of the lot, when they had 16 spaces? The suspicion is there that Jade will return as a surprise contestant next week - which would be lovely from a viewing point of view, but would really screw up the market. It would mean that all the bets made and laid this week are at the wrong price.
She might not come back, of course. There are rumours, theories and gossip about why she’s not in, to do with her background. And, furious though I am not to see lovely Jade in the line-up, I’m not necessarily angrier than I was when they failed to put Gamu Nenghu through - perhaps the most talented auditionee ever - and she never came back.
I was planning to put my betting tips here tonight, but I am a bit thrown by the Jade-absence / Jade-return possibility. I’ll put a few down anyway. For those who don’t use betting exchanges but are interested to read on anyway: I bet on Betfair, this isn’t like having a simple bet to win with a high street bookmaker. What you aim to do is bet on people whose price you think is too long, then lay them (take someone else’s bet on them) when the price gets shorter. And vice versa. For example, you back somebody to win at 10/1 (though it would be listed as “11” because it’s decimal betting) and hope they do well: if they do, their price moves in to something shorter, say, 5/1. Then you bet against them. If you get the balance right, you achieve a situation where you’re winning money whatever happens.
For now, I would say very cautiously that the errors I’d see in the current pricing are on Frankie Cocozza and Misha Bryan. Both are potential winners for me, and at 11 (10/1) and 15 (14/1) respectively are priced too long: I’ve had both bets. For me, Janet Devlin is a false favourite. I’m sure she’ll do well, but I don’t think she’s the winner. At 5 (4/1) I think she could be a lay - but she might come in before she goes out, so it could be too early for that move.
I also think it’s wrong that “2 Shoes” are currently lying in 4th place of the groups. I believe they will not be the first group to go out; I think they might prove quite popular. But I don’t think there’s a way to bet on that.
Lastly, I’ve had a bet for the sheer hell of the thing on my favourite contestant: Johnny Robinson. I LOVE that guy. I might return to him in a later blog. I can’t really tip him fully because he’s a long-shot to win, but at 65 (64/1) I have snapped some up myself. He may well be the kind of guy who’ll stick around for a long time and should come in (perhaps to be laid later as he probably won’t win.) I love him too much not to back him at that kind of price. I’m on.
Let me please add that all of this stuff is in the shadow of the possibility that new people will join next week, making all the current prices completely wrong. That’s why I haven’t bet too heavily on Frankie and Misha, despite them striking me as the value on the list as it stands right now. (Them and Johnny). So… if you’re betting, bet with care. Then again, that’s always my advice, isn’t it?
UPDATE, October 8th: Just watched the first live show. Hmmmm, I might have been wrong about Janet Devlin… But if you followed my tip and bet Misha B, you’ll see she has tonight come in by a full 8 points, from 14 to 6, and gone second favourite.
UPDATE October 11th: Naturally, my small recommendation of 2 Shoes was based on them being popular with the public and surviving surprisingly long, I’m EXTREMELY ANNOYED that they got booted off before the public vote! I think it was a mistake. This isn’t really a music show, it’s Saturday night family light entertainment; this year is far too low on characters. 2 Shoes would have been a lot more fun than two indistinguishable boy bands; they were spirited and funny and different, a wider range of people would have liked them. An error to throw them off, I think, in entertainment terms.
UPDATE October 16th: re Frankie, mea culpa. I assumed he’d be able to hold a tune, and go on to do well in the popularity contest. I didn’t realise he’d be unable to sing a single note correctly. Awkward. I now think the final three will be Misha, Janet and The Risk (though Johnny MIGHT get in there), and have adjusted my betting position accordingly.