Four years ago, I wondered whether I would be still around today to witness the apocalypse that is about to unfold in exactly four days time..on June 12, the World Cup in Brazil. Thanks God, I'm lucky to be still here at 67, ready to relish the most Beautiful Game in the world. Not sure about next four years (2018 in Russia). Who cares. “The most important thing is to enjoy your life now—to be happy—it's all that matters.”-- Audrey Hepburn
Football bugs is in the air. Someone said that zombies will roam large part of the planet, in Singapore and other countries in football-crazy, sleep-deprived Asia. Yes, millions of zombies will certainly roam in Brazil and her economy would probably hibernate with no one working for a month. But in Singapore, where costs of living is the most expensive in the world, common folks cannot afford not to work, except those wealthy few from PAP camps. Imagine, an hour of my PM's work is my month driving income. I'm not envious of his pay because I know each of us has different commercial value. I'm just highlighting the horrendous income gap in this country. I hope they can take my jibs in their stride.
Seriously, most of the football action will happen at unfriendly timing after midnight and therefore, most working Singaporean sadly had to sleep to recharge their energy for slogging the next day. To add salt to the wounds, someone complained at TRS website (Link) that PA (Peoples Association) will not provide free screening of the World Cup matches in Opposition wards (eg. Eunos CC). Only a few fanatical football fans, residing in PAP wards and juggling between sleep and work or totally skip work for a month could soak up in the excitement of the matches. Of course, they can also watch TV in the comfort of their home through expensive paid channels.
Fortunately, I'm the privileged few who is self-employed and decided to tighten my belt and endure my hunger for the joy of watching TV in PAP's community clubs for the next 30 days. Coincidentally, my seven years old Toyota Crown taxi is due for scrap this month and this gave me another good excuse for not working. However, I promised my grumpy wife that I'll get a new cab to drive after the World Cup, least she chase me out of our flat for having free meals at her expenses.
By the way, most of my taxi buddies are not as crazy about football as me. A local adage says that "when you have three Chinese together, they will gamble. If three Indian, they will talk about forming a trade union. If three Malays, they talk about fishing". So, my taxi buddies and I, being pioneer generation Chinese will nimbly take up wagers during the World Cup with Singapore Pool or among ourselves in small amount of $20 - $50 for the fun of it.
Honestly, most elderly Chinese born in the forties has gambling genes in our blood. I remember as a young boy I play cards with my parents, siblings, relatives and friends using my Chinese New Year "ang-pao" money. In adulthood, I played mahjong, 4D, Toto, visit Genting Highland and cruise ships casinos (no horse betting). Inevitably, I landed as an impecunious taxi driver, sigh! Now. I almost never gamble except an occasional wager on Toto and 4D. But the World Cup play tricks with my brain and the urge to wager is like the urge to light up a cigarette after giving up smoking for a month. If you're a smoker, you'll understand what I meant.
From my many years of waging at World Cup, I notice that most punters never win except the "House" (Singapore Pool). The reason why House always win is simple.They win solely on house edge.
Every bet you make has a certain probability of winning or losing. If you bet on the flip of a coin, the probability of heads or tails is 50-50. This would be an even money bet. If you bet a dollar on Brazil and was paid a dollar when you won, you would be paid TRUE ODDS. However if the bookie or Singapore Pool only paid you 95 cents every time you won instead of a dollar the House edge would be 2.5%. Simply put, The house edge is the difference between the true odds and the odds that the House pays you when you win.
Apart from the above money odds, in football betting, a stronger team like Brazil usually gives handicap like "half-ball, One-ball or more" to a weaker team like Algeria. In football betting fraternity, they call this the "Asian Odds", which is unlike the European Odds.
In Asian Odds, if you bet on Brazil and you give a handicap of say "One-ball" to Algeria, it means that before kick-off, the score is already "Brazil 0 - 1 Algeria" i.e. Algeria leading by One Goal. If the game finally ended in "Brazil 0 - 0 Algeria", those who bet on Brazil lost and Algeria won because the betting score of "Brazil 0 - 1 Algeria" is the effective score for bettors. In this example, those who bet on Algeria "eat one-ball". So, when you bet on football, you either "give or eat balls". During World Cup season, you heard and wonder why the uncles in coffee shops are eating "half-balls" like there is a shortage of fish-ball at the fish market. But now you know the reason for this frenzy of fish-balls.
Frankly, I don't lose money anymore on World Cup betting. Instead, I always win, albeit in small amount of a few hundred dollars. Why and How? Well, After years of losing hard earned money as a punter, now I don't bet. Instead, I take the position of the "House". I let others do the betting. Most punters think they have the knowledge through research or "lobang" (tips) that would make the difference to make a win. In the end, they had big holes in their pockets. I just enjoy the football action on TV and make some small money to pay for my lost of driving income.
You see, if an octopus in a German zoo could picked winners more accurately than most expert pundits during the last World Cup, why should I be an idiot like them. I'm sure more animals will be coming out of their pens, cage and tanks to humiliate humans over the next 30 days, as the apocalypse hits full swing. Maybe the parrot at "Kwan-Inn Temple" along Waterloo Street" is the new feather soothsayer of this World Cup.
Ok, I know who will NOT win this World Cup. England, Japan, S. Korean will not win. The winner this time will either be Germany or Argentina. Don't believe my prediction. Want to bet? Bet with me.
Oh! no, please don't take my invitation to bet with me seriously. I'm just joking because in Singapore, all forms of gambling are illegal unless one bets with Singapore Pools, Singapore Turf Club, jackpot rooms in licensed social clubhouses and at the casinos. Charity draws licensed by the Police are also legal. If convicted for illegal betting, offenders may be fined up to S$5,000, jailed up to six months, or both. S$5,000 is not a "derisory" amount for common folks.
In short, like many of their policies (ERP, COE, Levies etc..), this "G" knows how to make easy money with the "House edge" and encourages you to gamble ONLY with them! They say it's for your own good because if you gamble through bookies instead of them, you might get involved with criminal activities, like loan sharking, money laundering and fraud. LOL!
Waiting for Alan's 2 bottles of Carlsberg!
Final Score : Germany 1 - 0 Argentina....In Extra-Time.