For one poor bookie, it's heads you win, tails I lose

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 January, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 January, 2010, 12:00am

Ah, the glories of fixed-odds bookmaking.

Most punters dream of being bookmakers, believing that all the cards are in the hand of the other side. We've met plenty of successful business people around the world who have had a dabble at calling the odds thinking it easy money, only to find that it wasn't quite that simple and tossing it in rather than being eaten alive.

Just ask the oddsmakers at one online bookmaking operation that takes wagers on the championships here in Hong Kong.

When the season opened, perennial champion jockey Douglas Whyte was posted as the 1.4 favourite ahead of Brett Prebble at 2.7 and, in terms of a bookie's percentage, they must have thought they had a bit in their favour.

But with Prebble hitting the ground running and Whyte enduring his slowest start to the season ever, punters rallied to the Australian and snapped up the odds.

By the time Christmas rolled around, Prebble was in to 1.3 and the Durban Demon out to an unwanted 2.6 chance, and the bookie was cheering Whyte but even that didn't last.

With Whyte's inevitable resurgence came a surge for him in the market, too, and now we are left wondering what kind of a book the bagman is looking at. At last count, Prebble was now 1.55 and Whyte 1.8 - both of them now odds-on to win it.