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ales of Team Carborundum
26th Sep 2001
Jesse May
Jesse May, multiple author in the gambling field and sometimes dubded the "voice of poker", writes a bi-weekly column.
Most people know Jesse as "the voice of poker" from his colourful commentary in CH4's late Night Poker. Jesse is also the author of the widely respected novel, Shut Up And Deal, which looks deep into the poker playing life. Its the hard faced 21st Century Cincinnati Kid.

Jesse is also the creator of The Gambler's Guide to the World, an insiders look at the action and games around the world.
Email : Jesse May
    Part II - You gotta beware.
Gambling today is about looking for value, and avoiding everything else. Tough thing now is that on the Internet you have to be a pioneer. And as everybody knows, pioneers get arrows in their ass.

We know how they’re going to make money through the legalization of gambling on the Internet. We know how they’re going to make lots of money through their websites and their specials and their ten cent lines. It’s very clear how the legalization of Internet gambling opens the floodgates for them to ply their wares, and while Amazon has only recently realized the sagacity of selling a product for more than you paid for it when your business is retail, it is very clear that THEY are in the know about how to make money from the legalization of Internet gambling. But what about us?

What it is and what will be for the present future is the search for value. Look for value, and avoid all the rest. The wrong thing to do is to have an opinion. I mean you have to be willing to bet both ways. You can make your middle whatever you want, but if you’re not willing to bet both ways then you’re looking at something different. You’re looking at something called a sure thing, and my only thought about that is to say, “Run!”

In the beginning, the advantage that we will have is selection. Before the crunch period, before the monopolies take over, before the weeding out period is over, what there will be is selection. For whatever you are interested in, be it poker or golf or football or auto racing, you’ll have selection, a lot of different lines to look at, lots of different betting options. And the trick will be to find the value and to avoid the rest.

Value is independent of the middle. This is a hard concept for Americans to grasp, because we are traditionally neither layers nor backers. American sports wagering has all been based around the concept of the even money shot, and the juice. That’s it, two even sides and the juice in the middle, and if one side is better than the other then there’s a handicap to start. And the juice is what goes to the bookie.

This old concept of sports wagering holds that there is a line, and then there is the middle. The new sports wagering holds that there are only prices. Gambling establishments that take a small edge don’t have all good prices. And places that take half the money out still make mistakes, just not that often.

For a sportsbettor, what matters today is not which place offers the smallest middle. What matters is who has the best price period. The most invaluable Internet sites for the sportsbettor are not necessarily places to bet, but places to check the lines. Sites like Oddschecker at are looking towards the future, because they are looking at the world as one big market and if the books carry it then so will they, what is the best price period. Websites in the same mold include the old standardbearer Don Best at and other places like Betbrain at, Easyodds at, Zazewe at, or Tip-ex at

For the Internet poker player, looking for value is about what, where, and, when. All three, not just one. Just because a poker site has good games at some times doesn’t mean that all the games are good all the time. The Internet poker player has to pay as close attention to game selection as site selection. Some sites have good games when it’s evening in America, other places heat up at European times. Some sites have good value tournaments, or loose pot limit games, or pigeons in short handed situations.

There’s something else going on. And that’s the fact that every organization is not equally reliable. Websites operate under different laws, different jurisdictions, and different reputations. You gotta beware. Some places can be trusted because of location. Some sites can be trusted because of proven reputation. And some places are for the pioneers.

There used to be a fellow tramped around my local card room name of Gig the Cheater. Gig the Cheater used to show up once or twice a month, and nobody ever told me why he was called that. One day I said, “Who’s that?” and a couple of guys said, “Oh, that’s Gig the Cheater,” and I said ok and that was that. Every once in a while Gig would be playing in a big game and he’d come around the room and ask if anyone wanted a piece of his action. I didn’t, but a likeable fellow name of Droopy Dave used to pull money out of his pocket and sometimes take a piece of Gig the Cheater. One time I said, “Dave, what are you doing? His name is the Gig the Cheater!” And Dave said to me, “I know, but I like his game. That boy can play.” But as far as I can remember, Gig the Cheater never won playing while giving out pieces to Droopy Dave.
Editor's note
Try Ultimatebet