Archives for November 1, 2020

Sudden Passing of Horse Racing Writer Art Parker, a Cornerstone of Agameofskill.com

Handicapper Art ParkerWe are so deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our friend Art Parker, who was a great writer and friend of the sport. Art loved horse racing and for years he wrote handicapping and fan articles for agameofskill.com. The truth is that the site would likely not exist today without Art’s assistance over the years.  He provided great content when I was simply to busy to do so due to work and family obligations.
Sadly, I never got to meet Art in person as he lived in another state; in fact, one without a racetrack. But we talked numerous times on the phone, and like what happens so often in the sport of horse racing, our mutual love for the game made us friends for life.
Art Parker, who was a long-time editor of newspapers in Montgomery Alabama, passed from complications from a car accident.  Art was the epitome of a true gentleman.  He was kind, intelligent, a great family man, and I never heard him say a bad word about anyone. He will be greatly missed.
Please lift up prayers for his wife and family.
God speed Art.

The Paddy Power Gold Cup; A Look at The Meeting’s Most Prestigious Offering

Sponsorship changes, a comparison it may never win, yet the Paddy Power Gold Cup continues to be a cornerstone event on the horse racing calendar and at the Cheltenham racecourse.

 

Formerly the BetVictor Gold Cup after Paddy Power pulled its sponsorship in 2015, before returning, the Paddy Power Gold Cup stands atop the features of The November Meeting held at Cheltenham. A foretaste of the bigger and more acclaimed Gold Cup run in March, at The Festival, the Paddy Power Gold Cup is the perfect opportunity for young riders to put the world and the rest of the pack on notice, as veterans look to hit their stride as the jump race season kicks off. For those of us looking for some flutter and action, the betting halls of Cheltenham may not be open due to the health pandemic, but finding the best offers for online horse betting has never been easier. Now, back to that Paddy Power Gold Cup.

 

A Grade 3 race, with a distance of 2m4f and heavy going, the Paddy Power Gold Cup lets 18 riders push through the chase for a 160,000 GBP prize money that is the biggest purse of the event and quite the jackpot for a Grade 3 outing. Around, since 1965, the Paddy Power Gold Cup precedes The November Meeting event, which only started in the year 2000. It is run on the second day of the event, known as Paddy Power Day, and is the star attraction of the tournament. Over the years, favourites have not really fared all that well, with horses outside the top three odds winning a majority of the races since 2002. But if you think this means the big names do not stamp their authority, then you thought wrong, as the top trainers flock in and almost always have their hands on the prize. Naunton trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies, and his son and rider Sam Twiston-Davies, have both won twice in the last ten years, doing it in 2010 as a father-son trainer-rider duo, with Little Josh. National Hunt trainer Paul Nicholls OBE, has also done it twice recently in 2012 and 2014, while David Pipe is still looking to emulate the kind of success his father Martin had.

 

At last year’s race, Happy Diva, jockeyed by Richard Patrick and trained by Kerry Lee, took the race at odds 14/1. While the official participants’ list is yet to be declared, punters can still expect a decent return on the offers and should not be against making bold picks, as this is not really a kind race to favourites. Looking past any return winners should not out of place, as history does not really favour them and is not even a common occurrence. A good look at the trainers is a good gauge of how well a horse will do, however, and of course a fair bit of luck.

THE CHELTENHAM OPEN; THREE DAYS OF HORSE RACING THRILL AND ACTION

For action-packed days, the Cheltenham racecourse will host the prelude to The Festival and the traditional start of the jump race season.

 

The Meeting will run from November 13th to 16th, 2020, albeit behind closed doors for this year’s event due to the coronavirus. The first and official start of the jump racing and National Hunt season after a summer of flat racing, the Meeting may only be 20 years old but does hold a special and significant place in the horse racing calendar. While the official race card for the event is yet to be made public, punters and those looking for some flutter can check out online betting hubs like the Twinspires Iowa for a piece of the action. Let us take a quick look at those three days of horse racing magic

Day one, Countryside Day

This is the first day of the Meeting, and while it is not the most popular, it is the official curtain-raiser and is never short of fun. Holding this year on Friday, 13th November, the Countryside Dya features six races, headlined by The Mucking Brilliant Paddy Power Handicap Chase and The Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Steeplechase. The races are spread evenly between hurdles and chase events.

 

Day Two, Paddy Power Day

Probably the biggest day of all three, the Paddy Power Day packs up to seven racing events, including the famous Paddy Power Gold cup, previously known as the BetVictor cup. It is the oldest race in the event and has been around longer than the event itself. It is also the one with the biggest prize money and a prelude to the prestigious Gold Cup in The Festival. Other notable raceson the action-packed day are the Arkle Tropy Trial Chase, the Paddy Power Handicap Hurdle, the JCB triumph Hurdle Trial, a rare flat race in the Karndean Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt. The November Amateur Riders Handicap Chase, and Paddy Power Intermediate Handicap Hurdle round up a day of live music and shopping in local and international stalls set up around the racecourse.

 

Day Three, The November Meeting Day

Back to the traditional six races, the last day of The Meeting is headlined by the November Handicap Chase, the Schloer Chase, unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle, and the Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle. A National Hunt flat race is also featured in the Standard Open, while the ball gets rolling with the mallardjewellers.com Novices’ Chase. The final day is however, most famous for the myriad of activities around the racecourse, as people are encouraged to come in families, groups, and take advantage of all the fun attractions and side events, from camel racing, horse hoppers, face painting, parades, and much more.

 

This year’s action may be hampered but the action will still be very present and all fans will need to do is join a live stream or follow on social media portals that will be made available by organisers.

 

Beginners Guide to Playing Online Poker

 

 

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Poker is hundreds of years old, but it’s been brought into the 21st century by online poker sites

Poker is a game that has been enjoyed by millions of people around the world for more than one hundred years. It has its roots in several other European card games, but evolved into the game we know today when European settlers took it to America.

 

Throughout the first half of the 20th century, it remained a fairly niche game until Las Vegas casinos popularized it in the 1970s onwards.

 

Today, major tournaments like the World Series of Poker see thousands of people enter each year in the hopes of beating the most talented players in the world. And thanks to the internet, it has never been easier to play and practice your poker skills and even qualify for these tournaments.

 

So, if you’d like to start playing online poker, but are unsure where to begin, here’s a handy guide to help you get going.

 

Choosing a Poker Site

There are plenty of online poker sites out there for you to choose from, but there are some things you’ll want to check out before making a decision.

 

The first is that you find a site you can trust. There are many well-respected poker sites out there, so this shouldn’t be too much trouble. One of these is 888 poker, the company is a global brand that began operating in 1997 and is now traded on the London Stock Exchange.

 

You can find plenty of reviews online for all the major poker sites, so read up on those to help you get a better understanding of what they offer. The reviews will often review factors like the ease of use of the software, quality of other players, and how quickly pay-outs are processed.

 

You may also want to check what payment methods are available on the poker sites as they can vary from company to company. You’ll need to find a site that accepts the method you want, however, most will allow you to deposit money with Visa and Mastercard cards, and payment wallets like PayPal and Skrill.

 

Find Sign Up Bonuses

Once you’re confident that some online poker sites will meet your needs, you can try them out using the signup bonuses that they offer. These bonuses will let you play poker on the site without spending much or any at all.

 

Some may even offer free games that you can use “play chips” instead of chips bought with real money.

 

This will help you get a better feel for the software that each online poker site has and allow you to decide which one is best for you.

 

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You can play poker with your computer, smartphone, or tablet

Understand the Basic Rules

Like all games, poker has a set of rules that you need to understand to be able to play proficiently. Thankfully, there are plenty of guides available online that can help you get to grips with how the betting rounds work and the ranking of hands.

 

The best hands are:

  • A Royal Flush – This is when you have the ace, King, Queen, Jack and 10 cards from the same suit.
  • A Straight Flush – This where you have five sequential cards from the same suit. For example, 9, 8, 7, 6, and 5 of hearts.
  • A Four of a Kind – Where you have all four cards of the same value, for example, four Jacks or four aces.
  • A Full House – This is where you have three cards of the same value and a pair of the same value. For example, three Queens and two 9s.

 

In most versions of poker, including Texas hold’em, the aim is to get the highest-ranked hand possible. Though there are some variants of the game where the aim is to get the lowest rank. One of these games is Razz, though it is sometimes called 7-card-stud-low.

 

Learn Poker Strategy

Once you’re up to speed with the basics, you begin to get a better understanding of poker strategies. There isn’t one correct strategy, instead, different players will find a particular one suits them better.

 

Others may want to learn a few different strategies so that they can alternate them to find one that works best against a particular competitor.

 

There are plenty of sites online that offer you various guides on different poker strategies, many are written by professional players or those that have been playing as an amateur for some time.

 

There are also plenty of books that have been written by successful players that give you a better insight into their own poker playing strategies. Learning these strategies can also help you avoid making common poker mistakes.

 

Watch Professionals

When you’re learning to play poker, you can often learn a lot of great tips, techniques and strategies by watching others compete in games and tournaments.

 

Many online poker sites will stream coverage from live events that they organise themselves or that sponsor. However, you can also find hours of content on sites like Twitch for free. More than one million people follow the poker category on the site where you’ll find both live tournaments and online games with commentary from poker experts.

 

Take Part in Freerolls

Poker tournaments can often have very high buy-ins. However, many online poker sites offer free tournaments that don’t cost you a penny. These are called freerolls, and they’re a great way for you to practice your poker playing and try out several different strategies.

 

All freerolls offer a prize to the winner, which could come in the form of real money or free entry to a tournament. Freerolls often have a lot of amateur players in them, but when free entries are at stake, many more talented players will take part too.