The Rookie’s Guide to Gambling and the Internet

I’m not really much of a gambler. I don’t even put money into the one armed bandits in pubs as I really hate it when they take two or three pounds off me and I’ve nothing to show for it. I have started doing the national lottery again recently; this time I do it online. It saves queuing at the newsagents and filling in the little card. Usually my pen doesn’t work or someone has stolen the one at the lottery desk so I’ll end up asking for a lucky dip when I actually want to play my ‘lucky’ numbers.

typingedThe other day I had an e-mail saying ‘check your lottery account for some great news!’ I did and I had won £2.70! Not quite the life changing win I was expecting!

I’m not sure how I’d react if I actually won any substantial money like a million pounds or something. Ages ago when the lottery first began I’d spend Saturday night glued to the lottery programme just checking my numbers. (Sad or desperate, I don’t know which.)  I’d decided to use numbers of houses I’d lived at, and one evening I was getting ready to go out, getting changed in front of the TV just in case and the first number came up; number 1. Great, give my ticket a little tick. Second number: number 4, whay, another little tick.  Third number; number 28. Whoa! A slight sweat beginning to break out on my forehead, a third tick on my lottery ticket.  Fourth number, number 38! Oh my God! Four in a row! Heart rate increasing, a nervous tension beginning, starting to breathe faster and faster!  Then the fifth number; number 6! Of course, I hadn’t chosen number 6 so I wasn’t happy but still, that was pretty good going, four numbers on the trot. I won £100 which is better than a slap in the face but believe me, I was so excited that if I’d actually got the six numbers I’d probably have dropped dead with a heart attack, never living to enjoy my millions!

A while back I started an account at Paddy Power because they sent me an e-mail offering me a free bet on the Grand National. Well, I know nothing about horses but I took a punt as they say, used up my free bet and a few more and won nothing! Anyway, I noticed that you could put a bet on a sport that I actually know something about: Formula one racing. Now F1 racing is perhaps a little predictable lately with Rosberg and Hamilton doing most of the winning however, I did win £30 with an each way bet on Valtery Bottas at Silverstone where he came second. I transferred my winnings out of the account but guess what, I keep getting more of those pesky e-mails offering me a free bet. So far I’ve managed to resist.

Another type of e-mail that I receive a lot of is one like this: Dear Mr Higgins, we are in possession of a large amount of money in the form of a deceased person’s estate. A considerable amount of money is due to you and we will pay it as soon as possible. Please click the following link and send your bank account details. I don’t think so!

Do they think I’m really that gullible? Still, I get quite a few e-mails like that so presumably, someone, somewhere must fall for that scam.

Quite a few e-mails come my way offering not great riches but some great bargain. I had one a while ago offering me thirty razor blades ‘compatible’ with my Wilkinson’s razor at a very cheap price indeed. Blades are pretty pricey these days, so, OK, I clicked on the link, bought my voucher, then went to the razor blade site, and added my voucher code. OK so far but then I had to add a few quid for postage. Not happy! That extra money was eating into my savings. Anyway, eventually the blades arrived at my door. Not sure what kind of service was used but one wonders if a camel or even a tortoise was involved. OK, I get the blades and then there’s another problem. They won’t fit on my razor! Now, things get confusing because there are so many razors available these days. There’s the Hydro, the Quattro, the Quattro Titanium, and a shed load of others I couldn’t even begin to name. The blades were for a Hydro which I didn’t have but guess what? Someone on e-bay was selling one for a pound with free postage. Not only that, I had mentioned to Liz the previous day about some of the things I had noticed being sold on e-bay. A used razor for a pound? What plonker would even think of buying that?

Yes, that would be me . .

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Competitions and Getting Even With Your Brother.

I’ve always been one for competitions and in my younger days I was always clipping a coupon from a newspaper or magazine and trying to win something or other. I once won a Thunderbirds water pistol from the 1970’s comic TV21, which my brother then broke, thus commencing a lifetime of sibling squabbles and differences.

competitions and getting even with your brother

image courtesy MorgueFile.

I noticed in my inbox today an email from the Daily Express inviting me to compete for a brand new Fiat. Now a Fiat isn’t my favourite car or even on my want list but hey, I’m not going to turn down a free one!

When I clicked on the link a box appeared telling me I so far had nil entries but to in order to build up entries I had to ‘like’ various options. The first link offered me a new iPhone. Fair enough I thought, I can like that easily, but as I progressed further, sucked in, in the way some web sites suck you in, I saw that they wanted my name, address, mobile phone number, email address, gender, marital status, inside leg measurement and so on. Competitions just aren’t what they used to be are they? I used to enter a whole lot of motor racing competitions because not only do I know my motor racing onions but I also used to have a big stack of racing annuals and reference books in order to look up the answers.

Answer this simple question to win a trip to next year’s Monaco Grand Prix! Who won the Monaco grand Prix in 1955? Easy peasy, run upstairs, get out my F1 statistics book and look it up-  yes it was Maurice Trintignant driving a Ferrari! How long did that take? Well, running upstairs, -say, one minute. Finding the right book -five minutes. Skimming through to the appropriate page -one minute. Running back down stairs -one minute, total time elapsed; eight minutes! Then complete the caption, there was always a caption, I always use shell petrol because . . .and then it’s off to the post box and sit and wait for my tickets, which incidentally went, most unfairly, to some other lucky person who usually resided in Kent, or Luton, or somewhere else down south!

The fact is that to answer the question above (which, until I looked it up, I actually thought was Juan Manuel Fangio) I did what everybody else does these days, I clicked onto google and I had the answer in 0.38 seconds.( Incidentally, Fangio took pole position but retired from the race.) Yes, competitions these days are more like a lottery. Sometimes they don’t even ask a question they just ask for your e-mail address, then condemn you to an inbox full of spam for the next ten years, all in return for the remote possibility of winning a new car or an iPad or some other delectable delight that you have set your heart on but is just too expensive.

Anyway, going back to the Fiat competition, I ‘liked’ the iPhone link, filled out my life story and so got five entries into the Fiat competition. I hope I won’t get too many nuisance calls about the iPhone. Well, come to think of it, I doubt if I will actually get any as I entered my brother’s mobile phone number into the box! Well, serves him right if he thinks I’ve forgotten about that water pistol!


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