1) A portrait of Dirk Paulsen
The Berlin TV station rbb contacted me one day. A journalist must have become aware of me through a newspaper report. They wanted to do a portrait of me. The title of the programme was: “A day in the life of…”. This time I was to be the main character. We made an appointment and this journalist came to my house with a camera crew to do both an interview and otherwise some recordings. That was the plan for the morning. The afternoon was also to be recorded, of course. But this one under the aspect: “Dirk Paulsen live at work.”
Of course, the date was carefully chosen and of course it was a Saturday. There are still the most football matches on Saturday afternoons and since we are in Germany, it is also the day with the most Bundesliga matches.
Well, I had to pay careful attention to the presentation, of course. How does a professional player appear? Can you see the beads of sweat on his forehead? Does he flee or is he happy? What is he angry about? How does he choose his games?
Of course, I have also tried to portray the situation as realistically as possible. I swear at the commentators and the referees, just like any other crazy football fan. When it comes to the actual performances of the athletes, I naturally try to be objective. But even this is difficult to maintain. After all, once you have bet on a team, you virtually “adopt” it along with the players. And with your own children, who are then temporarily your own children, it is sometimes a little more difficult to judge objectively. Some performances are perhaps overly critical, others are recognised as good, although they may not be, at least in relation to the opponent.
The main match I had bet on that day was VfL Wolfsburg at home against Eintracht Frankfurt. It was still the beginning of the 2008/2009 season, so I’m often not quite sure about my assessments. So the bets were not too high. Nevertheless, I watched the game, which you can select as a single match on Premiere.
By the way, the handicap was the Asian one, the target was 0.75 goals. (Details about this in the chapter “The Betting Market”). The odds were around 1.85. In any case, it meant that if Wolfsburg won by one goal, I would only win half the stake times the odds. If Wolfsburg won by more than half, I would win everything, if they didn’t win, nothing, on the contrary, everything would be lost.
It really was an exciting game. Frankfurt took the lead (I almost said: of course, because as a player you’re always convinced you’re unlucky; but I really was). Wolfsburg were really good that day, though. They turned the game around in the second half. Lead, 2:1. But after that they really lost the thread again. And, luckily the camera and the sound recorded it, rarely has the platitudinous reporter’s saying been so appropriate: “Wolfsburg invited the opponent to score goals.”
Felix Magath, the Wolfsburg coach, trudged angrily along the touchline, swearing loudly and issuing instructions. Only the rbb people could hear my instructions, presumably they would have been similar. The back line showed the famous “signs of disintegration”. Why that with a lead? Simple answer: Because I bet them.
I gave at least a little insurance on the over live, which meant I needed one more goal to win that bet. If Wolfsburg scored the goal, it would be the “jackpot” so to speak, I would win all bets, if Frankfurt equalised, I would at least get the small amount on the insurance as a “consolation prize”.
What had to happen was that Frankfurt gratefully accepted the 3rd or 4th “invitation” (there you see how ungracious one can also be with one’s own children). 85th minute, the 2:2.
Strangely enough (as an experienced football observer you know the phenomenon; but the explanations remain obscure), after that it “went” again at Wolfsburg. Two more chances, one of them a shot against the crossbar, that was it, final whistle. The final account, which was recorded afterwards in sound and vision, showed a minus of 500 euros on all (Bundesliga) matches that afternoon. So the other results were rather favourable, the main game, despite insurance, lost.
This day, however, was not 10 January 2009. It was just another day in the life of…
“What is your profession? Aha, professional gambler. Well, how’s business? Can you see into the future?” “It’s more like this: a person chooses some game. He watches it and tries to win. And emotionally he succeeds. It’s estimated that about one out of 100 times.” That, unfortunately, is the truth.
2) 10 January 2009
So I’ll tell you here about another ordinary day. Namely, this 10th of January. How does it feel? What really happens on such a day? What all did I really play? Did I go crazy (yes!)? I’m trying to really bring this home to you with what I hope is a vivid account. I hope you appreciate the unsparing honesty with myself. Forget everything I have told you and advised you before. That’s how it really is. Of course, you should always take into account which long-term phase you are in. And the long-term phase was just “losing”. That perhaps explains some of the sensations even better.
a) The warm-up programme
So the 10th of January was a Saturday. There are still quite a few games on that day, but no German ones. In terms of leagues, the English play completely, two games in Italy, two games in Spain and almost all games in France. The Spanish Segunda is also playing, about 6 games. In addition, there is the NBA, basketball, at night.
So I sit down to work sometime in the morning. The nightly results of the NBA still have to be entered into the computer, the bets have to be settled. NBA result: approx. +500. Pleasing. But, as the Englishman says so well, “Nothing to write home about.” The odds for the night’s games have to be calculated. The computer does this automatically, but I look through all the odds again and adjust what I think is necessary.
Then it’s time to bet. The larger part of my bets are on over/under. My computer can do this better than the providers, in my estimation. There’s a simple reason for this: over the years, almost everyone learns to assess a game in terms of its win/loss ratio. But you can hardly learn how many goals will be scored. To be honest, neither can I. But my computer gives me the answers.
So I go through all the games that take place. The over/under bets are also called bets on “totals” and the others on 1-X-2 are called bets on the sides, at least I am. There’s not such a consistent terminology yet. So with the sides, I’m very careful. I only play what I really like, where I know the teams and so on. On top of that, I play small. I’ll soon be through with these bets. I don’t like it much, the turnover is not very high either.
Then the bets on the over/under. For my own safety, I quickly confirm how good my computer is and how bad my phase is. It gives me out (I really looked it up specifically that day, randomly): this season I have a 7% loss on the totals! That is an unbelievably bad number. The market is calculated and designed in such a way that even you and even a monkey would only lose a maximum of 4% if the games were selected randomly (of course not if you always select both sides; prerequisite: one bet per game). So the proof is in. My computer is fantastic. And I am a gigantic jinx.
Practically, this “phase” then looks like this: I play an over in one game, an under in the other (it is by no means the case that the computer recommends one of the two more often; it balances out). The over game is 0:0 until the final whistle, no question. And with the under, there are two possibilities: Either it is already lost at half-time or it is only lost in the second half. In any case, one thing is certain: it is lost and there is a goal festival. Unfortunately, that is also the truth. However, you might wonder how one then manages to lose “only” 7%? That’s what I mean by (lack of) objectivity. One is feeling, the other is truth (is there such a thing?). But 7% is something you have to beat before we can talk about the feelings in doing so on the same level.
When it comes to placing bets, I nevertheless continue to be a little “braver” this morning. I play them higher. My algorithm is good. And surely this streak has to end at some point?
After I have bet through all the games, I take a quick look at the turnover: I have 46000 euros in the stake (well, the number goes through 2, Christian, my partner, is always there). But there are at least two other people who also bet on my turnover (combined with other numbers and news) and where we are involved. So the real turnover is even higher. But now comes the live betting!
By the way, I have also watched the NBA in the meantime and placed the first bets (often the games only come into the betting offer in the afternoon; so I can only play them in the afternoon).
b) The games begin
The first match is Aston Villa – West Bromwich Albion. Unfortunately, my Sky Sports decoder has just failed. I can’t watch the game. The computer had advised me to play Aston Villa. And I’ve seen Aston Villa several times this season. They are really super strong. I would have liked to take them as well. But the opponent, West Bromwich, I had also seen several times and also bet several times. And lately they had achieved some quite good results, although still bottom of the table. So a so-called “pass”, I don’t play the game.
The consequences are clear: after a few minutes, 1:0 (I see the result in a live score on the internet), soon after that 2:0. I think to myself, the case is clear, mathematics and fate are laughing at me. I just don’t need to play for my computer estimates to be confirmed. But I am “lucky” in this game: West Brom manage to score the tying goal, the game ends 2-1 and I would have been at par either way: The handicap was 1. That means, on a 1-goal win, that all bets on it are at par. Am I allowed to wipe off my sweat for the first time now, or what?
c) The first live game
It’s on to 4pm. The English games begin. However, the really harsh winter (up to -20 degrees, even in Berlin) has arrived even in England. There is a hail of match cancellations. Even in the Premier League, two matches cannot be kicked off.
Nevertheless, one match is live: Arsenal – Bolton. I didn’t play anything on the pages, nothing was displayed for the match either. But the computer advised me: Over. There are goals coming. Well, why not, Bolton were on quite a good run and there’s always something going on at Arsenal, isn’t there? I bet 1000 euros (not even very much) on the over.
Now I have known for some time how a game like this goes: It doesn’t matter if there are chances or not, it’s always 0-0. And Arsenal have a great chance right away, but Robin van Persie knocks the ball over, free in the 16th. What if…? Well, the butterfly must have flown in the wrong direction again…
Now objectivity is needed: The game is clearly an under, in terms of play. Bolton are practically not taking part in the game. They set up an (impenetrable) defensive barricade. Well, shall I bet the under live right now? That would be absurd: I play an over, watch the game for 20 minutes, then play the under? Then I could have played the under right away. But you can’t “trick” your fate so easily. If I had played the under, then Van Persie’s shot would have gone in and it would have been an over?
So calm down, Axel, it’s going well. It’s even going really well. It’s still 0-0 at half-time and there hasn’t even been one (more) real chance! A look at the parallel games shows me how easy it is for goals to come. For example, at Leicester, because I played under there. 1-0, 2-0, plus I had Leyton Orient, the opposition. There you go. But not all results are bad. Everton make it 1-0, I’ve got them, and the over. Also a couple of other results show me at least: It’s not quite certain yet that you’ll lose all your games again today. Maybe there will be one… And that is by no means poetic art that I say it like that here. It’s how I think and feel at the moment (and the moment is actually more like a lifetime).
Arsenal start the second half. No goal, no scoring chance far and wide. Bolton are starting to play along a bit though. Still: a clear under. After 54, I take a look at the live course on over/under. And there I see: The price is still over 2.0 on the under 1.25 goals. I’m sure you can’t do too much with that, but I know that this is a typical rate for a game where many goals are scored, or at least expected. And this game is just not like that. So I place my first live bet. Arsenal – Bolton, under 1.25 goals, rate 2.06, stake 500 euros.
The bet was really good in my opinion. But a) I had now got myself a real anti-jackpot result (if two goals were to be scored, I would lose both bets; the original over and the live under as well) and b) it wouldn’t help me if no goal or only one goal were to be scored. I would still be minus in both cases.
The snowball on the stove must feel similar to me in such moments. Hopeless, helpless, at the mercy. Developments in the other games were not quite so hopeless, but not necessarily uplifting either. Everton had gone 2-0 up. But needed another goal for the over. Middlesbrough had taken the lead against Sunderland. That was the worst thing that could have happened. Not only did I have Sunderland +0.25, so I would only have half a win even with a draw, it was also the most expensive under that afternoon.
As I said, there were also a few better results. Nevertheless, the live game is inevitably the one that occupies you the most. One is that one may be sorry about the unfavourable development and the bad luck. The other is that one must nevertheless, in one’s right mind, try to make wise decisions. And the Arsenal – Bolton game was an under, but I had to be prepared for the game to change again. That is modern football. You can’t just run over an opponent like that anymore. Sometimes you have to use a clever long-term strategy and either put the opponent to sleep or tire him out.
The change came. And it came around the 65th minute. And that is very often a minute of play where something changes, as I have discovered through years of watching. Arsenal really turned up the heat once more. Suddenly Bolton came under irresistible pressure. Now I had to react. The line on the over was 0.75. That means that if you play the over now, you win half of the stake times the odds, if there is still a goal. With two goals, it would be the entire stake (times the odds). I placed 1500 euros on over, odds 1.86. That would mean that if I scored a goal, I would hardly make a loss. Still, you could tell: Bolton can’t survive this. I could have played Arsenal now. But I decided to go for another over. So another 1500 euros on over. Price meanwhile (which rises because time passes) 1.93. But now I gave up. Now there was only hope and fear or pray and cross my fingers. No more insurance, not possible, no more risk. Now we have to score a goal. And if it doesn’t happen? I always think: if it doesn’t fall, there’s no need to argue about the advantages or disadvantages. Even if you do. But on the other hand, if it does fall, I don’t have to return the money either, even if I would have had a disadvantage.
There, a real giant, van Persie again, the last opponent, a clever body trick, now past the goalkeeper, the ball passes, it MUST pass, post, out. How many chances do I need before I can be happy for once? Bendtner is substituted. The English commentator, translates: Now that they would hit the ball into the penalty area more often, he needs another big attacker. Free kick Arsenal, good position, right after substitution. Bendtner really only 5 seconds on the field and I was wondering if there was a record after how many seconds a player who has been substituted has scored the fastest? The ball sails into the penalty area, Bendtner reaches the header, from 5 metres, it might have been the record, but the ball comes right into the middle, the goalkeeper doesn’t hold the ball at first, but then he pounces on it. Again nothing. More waiting, hope and trepidation.
The minutes tick by. The proof that the decision for the over was the correct one comes from Bolton on another counterattack: Arsenal were very open, 4 v 3, but an inaccurate pass, again nothing. Arsenal pressing though, Arsenal pressing. The crowd whistle at every further clearance. They too want to force it. And finally, in the 86th minute, Adebayor, in perfect interplay with van Persie, crosses to the far post and Bendtner, of all people, who had ruined promising attacks with two bad passes before, stands there and pushes the ball in. But still the 1:0! No matter what happens now, I don’t have a minus. But in the next attack Bolton have a great chance to equalise. It was saved. The goal would have brought in about 1000 euros, apart from the chance to win the original over if another goal was scored.
After that Arsenal had at least one more big chance, but again nothing. Well, final whistle, but should I be happy now? I just did, because I was able to avert the super-doom and even made a small profit (about 600 euros on the game; di bill? Alright, here: 1000 euros lost completely, the original over. 500 euros on the under in the 55th minute half won. 250 * 2.06 gives 515, minus the stake of 2 50 is a plus of 265 Eur0 on this bet, The first live over half won. So 750 Euro * 1.86 = 1395, minus the stake of 750 is a net profit of 645 Euro on this bet. The second over is also half won. So again 750 * 1.93 = 1447.5, minus the stake gives a profit of 697.5. All values together: -1000 + 265 + 645 + 697.5 = 607.5 Euro net profit).
Wipe off the sweat and study the other results…
d) The other results
Everton had stayed at 2-0. So the more expensive over lost, results in loss on the game. Sunderland still equalised. And it stayed that way. Both bets half profit, the more expensive under therefore not lost! In the second highest league in England, the Championship, Charlton were 2-0 down early on. I had over. Also still minus. Leicester had scored the 3:0 in the 84th minute. That was also half a loss. Brentford had led away and played against 10 men. But conceded the equaliser. Pari. My lucky goal: Northampton had equalised, also with 10 men. But this match was also a par instead of a loss.
But there was still one game to play. QPR – Coventry I had under and Coventry. Coventry were leading 1-0 but they were sent off. The big tremor began. And in 87th, when the others had already finished, the equaliser. Oh dear, three minutes plus injury time. But the result was still the same. 1:1. It’s been a long time since I’ve had such a good afternoon. But I looked at the final account at my provider, where I had played (Asian). And what do I see in the total? A minus of 443 euros after all bets were settled! Now you can imagine how a genius like me feels. When I have really good results, I almost manage not to lose for a whole afternoon. 443 euros. That’s almost par, isn’t it?
e) The second and third live game
Perhaps you can imagine that my mood was not overly good after this realisation. But, I remind you of Otto, “I’m not going home with a knife in my back for a long time.” Now it was exactly 6pm and the Genoa – Ac Turin game was starting. I was able to watch it on the Asian provider ibc. But you can only do that if you also place a bet. Well, for this game it was easy, but somehow too tempting: Genoa FC was on the scoreboard, and very clearly too. And then there was the over. I had fewer reservations about the over. Why should there be no goals now? But I was sceptical about the Genoa side, because in Italy you often can’t win the games with the biggest advantages. In Italy, slightly different laws apply, which I don’t want to explain in detail here. However, in terms of the seasonal phase, it is certainly not a game where you have to be particularly sceptical.
So I played both and even the over a bit higher. I could hardly believe what I was seeing: I had played Genoa and Genoa were well, superior! Not only that, they even scored 1-0 after 12 minutes. With such unfamiliar feelings of happiness, scepticism immediately crept into my mind. Why should I suddenly win a game just like that? So I gradually started placing small insurance bets on Torino and on under. This means that since you have a favourable intermediate result, you take a small profit on parts of the bets, but in return you reduce the swing and thus the risk. It also gradually began to take Turin the initiative. On the other hand, something like this is anything but unusual for Italy. You lead 1:0, that’s half the battle. From now on, we have to defend this lead. And I don’t even mean that in a negative way. That’s the time-honoured tactic, which is either frowned upon or unknown in Germany, or at least not used.
Well, half-time approached, the result remained unchanged. At the same time, however, the Stoke City – Liverpool match started. The computer had recommended me to play Stoke (with +1.25) and the under. I followed his recommendation, but also rather cautiously in this game. Liverpool is just too strong for me. However, Liverpool had a few line-up worries, so the price dropped a bit on Stoke before the game anyway. So it wasn’t that interesting anymore, should have played earlier.
So I watched both games on two screens. Often I do that then by watching one game and listening to the other. That’s a good strategy. By listening to (English) commentary, you really get to know how a game is going, also in terms of the tension build-up. And watching is enough for me even without sound. It was soon half-time at Genoa, the score still 1:0. Not a catastrophe, of course. But the (more expensive) over is still a long way off.
Stoke – Liverpool couldn’t have been better estimated by the computer. It was an under and Stoke were strong. So no worries and no assurances. I even replayed the under live. Stoke held up really well throughout the game. You could have replayed it live as well. But I don’t want to get greedy. But had a live phone call with Christian and told him, just Stoke, but let’s be happy if we win it.
Genoa also scored 2-0 shortly after the break. Yes, can you believe it? My lucky day or what? I didn’t even have to be particularly worried when they scored 3-0 on another counterattack, after I had also insured another 400 euros on under. Well, in the meantime the insurances came to the handsome sum of 1100 euros. And these were complete. Nevertheless, 3:0 was the best result. I just wondered if there would ever be a day when I would win a game without insurance, sweating or any other hardship? Oh well, hopefully there will be a few more days…. The game itself resulted in a solid plus of over 1000 euros.
On the side, Stoke fought back to the best of their ability. They were even, if you look at it objectively over the 90 minutes, a little bit closer to 1:0. But also at the 65th minute I couldn’t stand the trembling any longer and also insured something during the game. I played live for 1000 euros on the over. That meant that if it had been 1-0 to Stoke, I would have had the jackpot result. Well, let’s not get petty. It remained, despite some really good chances (also the 1:0 for Liverpool was prevented once only by the post, shortly before the end), would have been better than 0:0. But still: Another game with a plus!
Should the tide turn today? I didn’t look at the overall standings after these games. It was now blow by blow. Liverpool had started at 18:30. So it ended, including the English generous injury time, at about 20:25. At 20:30 began….
f) The fourth live match
Inter Milan – US Cagliari. On display was Inter Milan, of course at a handicap of 1.5 goals. This means that if the Italian dream score was 1-0, which I’m sure Inter were aiming for, they would still lose. But still, I had seen Inter several times in recent weeks. And mostly they were hot, wanting more.
Besides, I had to play so I could watch it. So I placed 1000 Euro on Inter, win with 2 or more goals. Over/under matched, there was nothing indicated.
So I watched this game. Inter were on the front foot from the start. You could expect that, of course. But from the 35th minute onwards, the announcers started to get a bit perplexed. They spoke of “inexplicable misses”. I had already heard a lot of comments. But this one was also new to me. It was inexplicable what chances they missed. Especially since Ibrahimovic is the best-earning player in the world and he was the one who missed the best chances.
Since live betting has become such a significant part of my life, I always have a dream in this context, too. It looks something like this: I play a team with -1.5 goals. Then this team doesn’t score a goal, but is in control. Then the game progresses, the handicap gradually changes because time passes and the favourite is not yet leading. Then, let’s say in the 60th minute, I play this team again with the current handicap, i.e. -0.75. And then the miracle happens: the team wins. And in the end even by two goals. Just unrealistic, a dream.
With Inter, I had the naïve thought that today could be the day. The inexplicable misses, I imagined, could have a positive effect in the end if I replayed Inter live. So I did in the 60th minute. Inter was so oppressive, they just had to score.
In the meantime, however, I was really “hot”, as is typical for gamblers. And the idea was clear and ready for implementation. 1500 Euros on Inter, -0.75, odds 1.85. And 2 minutes later another 4000 Euros on Inter, odds still 1.86. Now happened what you know from average films and maybe from the Berlin neighbourhood, where the “punters” are stripped, shaved, ripped off. My bets were placed. The director murmurs to the actors, “The suitor is on, now you can start.” In “The Sting” it goes something like this. So there was now a total of 6500 euros on Inter. All bets were confirmed. So Cagliari could get the ball, transport it forward, another pass into the penalty area, everything opens up, perfect, no resistance, the 0:1.
Not that this scenario was in any way unfamiliar to me. I had plenty of experience with it. And that doesn’t make everyone wise. But with the history of the day so far, I suddenly and unexpectedly thought it was possible that things could turn out differently. It’s just the fate of my life. “You do the maths. I’ll show you who is the lord and master of the numbers and conductor in the allocation of luck and bad luck.”
I continued to watch the game. If I had remained objective, I would have said, “This is far from over, Inter can still turn it around. But with my general state of mind, that kind of thinking was impossible for me. Nevertheless, I try to concentrate what little mind I have left. Maybe there is a “good bet” I could find after all? Did I just hear you laugh imperceptibly but nevertheless? I found it anyway, in the form of an overs. So the bet is now on the 70th minute: Over 0.75, odds 2.02. So I need a goal for half profit. I had now revealed myself to be a real and crazy gambler: Another 4000 euros.
The objective time of day clock, running parallel, was just moving towards 10 pm. One last arrow was still in my quiver. The Spanish evening match Valencia – Villarreal began. Once the heat was on and you’re right in the fire, you can talk yourself into any bet. The computer had guessed to neither side. Only the over was clearly indicated. But what good would a paltry 1500 euros do me now? I had seen both teams the weeks before. And they are both strong, no doubt about it. Villarreal, however, had, misleadingly, a small negative streak. But this was the result of the series of the opponents. Namely Sevilla – Barcelona – Real Madrid. All of them a bit unlucky and with one goal each. So, just like that, as a hot-headed lunatic, I gambled 4000 euros on Villarreal. As I said, the odds paid were below the comuter odds.
So now I was in desperate need of emotional support. I grabbed the phone and called Christian. He was supposed to witness or give advice. The Inter game was running into the 75th minute. I watched spellbound at the other missed chances. I missed the Valencia kick-off by exactly 2 minutes. I tuned in, looked at the current score, as usual, and rubbed my eyes once more: it was 1-0 to Valencia. I learned later that the goal had been scored after 58 seconds. Another 4000 euros were on their way towards the abyss.
But Inter’s efforts were rewarded in the 77th minute. Ibrahimovic was really almost on the goal line this time after perfect preparation by Hernan Crespo, who had just come on as a substitute. “He cant miss from there.” And he didnt. The 1:1. Not the absolute anti-jackpot. The over was half won. And I still had 13 minutes plus injury time, which in Italy would always be generous, that Inter still scored the winning goal (not to mention 3:1).
I watched both games spellbound. The Valencia game was a fat over, as you could see immediately. Sure, an early goal can contribute well. Villarreal had two huge chances to equalise. Once crossbar, once the keeper with his fingertips inconceivable! After 7 minutes I decided to replay the super strong Villarreal. Freer on fire. Another 2500 euros on Villarreal, +0.25. That means they could lose even by one goal and I would still have won half of that bet. The bet was placed in the 8th minute, in the 9th minute I got the just reward: 2:0 for Valencia.
On the other screen I was desperately waiting for the 2:1. And Inter wanted to win by all means, This can’t be acting. Two “cramps” at Cagliari delayed the game. But you can rely on the Italian referees, can’t you? Then, a perfect attack by Inter, on the outside, into the penalty area, again passed to Muntari, perfect scoring chance from 7 metres, past the goalkeeper, flicked, I was already standing, may I cheer once? The post had something against it this time as well.
In the game 0:2 after 9 minutes, played twice, immediately after the bets the 0:1 and the 0:2, in the other game directly after placing the expensive bets also the 0:1and after the long overdue and highly deserved equaliser another giant and again no goal. Even if it wasn’t deserved, it could still happen. Then, injury time, 5 minutes displayed. Again a player with cramp on the ground. Then the perfect chance, cross, header, pushed over the line by Mancini. I was about to let out an incredible cry of relief when I glanced at the assistant: the flag was up. Not that I was particularly interested, but the decision was dubious to say the least. Then the final whistle. A solid 4500 euros “went begging”, in the sand, gambled away. Who still asks for justice?
Now my last, hopeless little horse had to fetch the chestnuts, not from the fire but rather from hell. Did it even have access there? 0:2, at least I still had a chance with the over.
But Villarreal were strong. Enormously strong. Very strong. But Valencia were always dangerous on the counterattacks. A fantastic game of football, which even caught the eye of the usually over-critical German commentator. “This is really fun.” Yes, a football fan perhaps. Not someone who is watching another pile of dough go down the drain. Christian, also still in shock, was still on the phone. I say to him, “That’s the fattest over in the history of the world. You just have to replay that. Every attack a chance to score.” And whatever you put your mind to, whether I also call it the “best bet of the day, the week, the month”. The 8000 euros now placed on it are actually too high. But if I do see it, how else am I supposed to play? Why is the last bet only the best? And why am I in the fire at all?
To win this bet, two more goals were needed. And of course as many of them as possible for Villarreal, preferably both, that would be a jackpot!
Now I was screaming at my hitherto innocent screen. I thought, maybe there are some mysterious powers that others work with that can move the ball over the line? Wasn’t there a DSF commercial where the man turned the screen when the ball was on the goal line and the ball rolled over? Anyway, the last attack before the break, the perfect cross, right on the head, I: “Go on, put it in.” and it worked. The 1:2.
At least I now had the whole half-time to think about how the game would go on now. And which “insurance bets” I should place most favourably. Of course, a very distant thought was also like this: I leave everything as it is, Villarreal scores the (by the way, also according to the commentator “long deserved”. He also recognised: “It’s not the quality of play that separates the two teams, it’s just the use of chances.”) Equaliser and I won all bets on the game. Excerpts from a wishful dream by Pauli…
The 2nd half began. At least now I had to play 2500 Euros on the under. This under was still on another 1.5 goals. And if the one I needed would fall soon, I could safely play over again. Because then the main bet would have been won. And if the goal didn’t fall soon, I could insure more and more, depending on the course of the game, and take more and more profit from the 8000 euros, i.e. from the profit in the making. The strategy is perhaps a little complicated to explain, but that’s exactly how it happened, by the way.
The goal did not come. The game had also calmed down noticeably. The announcer thought it was because they couldn’t play another 45 minutes at that hellish pace. I had another explanation: the punter was on it, now there are no more goals. So I was forced to insure more and more. First another 2000 on under 1.25, then another 1500 on under 1. So in total I had insured 6000 euros of the 8000 euros. So if no goal was scored, I wouldn’t be hurt too badly, because the live bet on Villarreal still promised half a profit.
But there were still chances in this game. Both sides. In the meantime, however, the insurances meant that 3:1 for Valencia would have already started to hurt me, so it would hardly have been favourable. But the miracle happened: Villarreal suddenly got going again, had the first huge chance, follow-up shot, again blocked, another shot, the goalkeeper with a foot save, to the side, a Villarreal man rushes up and together with my scream of fright almost put too much power into the shot, but the ball bounced off the bottom edge of the crossbar … behind the line!!!!
By the way, I have not yet heard any direct complaints from the neighbours about this evening. Funnily enough, I only heard two neighbours whispering the next morning: “Did you know that a slaughterhouse has opened near here, and the animals are even slaughtered on Saturday nights?” “Oh, I see, I thought a dominatrix had moved in there to play her kinky games with a john.”
The over-the-line scream and the gate scream merged. Well, what a bastard. The ball was in. The goal counted.
But the drama was far from over. I immediately dialled Christian’s number again. He knew about all the bets. But I should have saved myself the call. This result was the absolute jackpot result. All the bets were won, none were lost, only one was at par, namely the live bet on under (still) 1 goal. In such a case, I do not calculate the total winnings, if it were to stay that way, but intuitively call a bet level at which I have to insure again immediately. The only sensible insurance for the score is, of course, an over. I clicked on the over. Intuitively, I wanted to enter 5000 euros. It had to be at least that much.
Christian, who had perhaps lost the overview in the heat of the moment, said, no, play it smaller. By the way, he himself had just taken a bad beat in his online poker game. Ace-king loses to king-queen. I wanted to argue with him, but refrained at first and entered only 2000 euros instead of 5000. The bet didn’t even get into the “waiting” state (that’s how it is with live bets, you have to wait for confirmation). Valencia on the attack, an equally fantastic cross, right on the head, perfectly hit, the 3:2.
Cursing, swearing, moaning and complaining are nowhere near as loud as the cheering. Not in that state. Nevertheless, it had a considerable decibel level this time too. I quickly calculated to Christian that we would now once again lose (almost) everything. I saved the amount. I can tell you that there would be no way we would win on this game with the score. The over, which I won, was only won with the remaining amount of 2000 euros, the Villarreal was completely lost and the live bet on Villarreal was only half won. So loss again. While we were exchanging our depressions and I was still saying that 5000 would have been the least insurance, but if at least the 2000 had been confirmed, I wouldn’t even complain.
While we were close to despair, Villarreal simply picked the ball out of their own box, took the kick-off and launched an attack of their own. A player entered the penalty area, was stopped unsportingly, I’m shouting again, “That’s a penalty.” The referee spoke reasonable German, so the language barrier was only the 2000 km Berlin-Valencia. I bridged this gap with ease. So he heard me well and actually pointed to the spot. I even dared to look when Rossi, my best friend for a long time, ran up and simply sank the ball. 3:3! Unbelievable!
Even now, the drama was not completely over. Valencia were not happy with the result. There were only a few minutes left to play. But attack after attack towards the Villarreal goal. Once more repulsed. “Yes, you can do it.” Corner again. The goalkeeper, I now know how the legendary Herbert Zimmermann came to exclaim. “Toni, you’re a hell of a guy,” he defended. But another corner, another cross into the penalty area, cleared again.
The stoppage time was 3 minutes. If 3 minutes were always this long, I would have the potential to become a Methuselah. Surely he was over 600 years old? A final cross into the penalty area, a Villarreal defender, panicking, jumps into the ball, with some part of his body between his thigh and stomach, and deflects the ball, completely uncontrolled, it trundles towards the post, grazes it and — goes over. 2:58, authentic, were around. There is one last corner. But suddenly the Valencia players attack the referee. What was going on?
I understood with difficulty: it was the final whistle!
For the next 86 years, at least, I know who my favourite team is. “The Yellow Submarine” they are also called because of their jersey colour, yellow: VILLARREAL!!!!!!!!!!!
g) The Parallel Results
The Spanish game, of course, being at 10pm, is the last to kick off. But the French also had a late kick-off that day, at 9pm. There, too, the results were favourable, which of course I had only marginally noticed after the course of the final quarter hour at Inter and the depressing 1st half at Villarreal. Only: as long as you lose the most important bets, it gives you anything but satisfaction, even if they, these small ones, go favourably. Now that I had won the most important bet, I naturally looked quite optimistically at the total result caused: there was a +14500 euro in the statement.
Did anything actually happen? How was the day? For me, everything was quiet so far. As I said, the German leagues aren’t playing, plus all the match cancellations, there’s not much going on.
What did you do on Saturday? Was there anything exciting on TV? Yes? Oh, I must have missed it. Or you went to the cinema? The latest James Bond? Nah, that would be too exciting for me….
I didn’t go to sleep until 2:30. “This only happens once. It’ll never happen again. This is too good to be true.”
At least I could still observe that the first basketball game went favourably. The night’s rest was short but restful (the kids were put up elsewhere for the night, which is absolutely rare). So in the morning I looked at the NBA results. A plus of 1200 euros, there too.
Let’s see what Sunday brings…. “A twist in the tale?”