Author: rene sorensen

sports betting

The Ugly Truth about Online Sportsbook Reviews

As a gambling industry commentator, I’ve spent most of my life talking about Sportsbooks, Casinos, and Bingo sites.  Heck, I’ve even spent a whole lot of time chatting about lotteries of all things.  The underlying theme and of course, the awful truth behind all of it, is always the same.  And it almost always will be.

The gambling industry as a whole relies heavily on partnerships with online affiliates.  How this works is pretty simple.  People not dissimilar to us create and develop websites that offer potential players information regarding the gambling product in question and then send those potential players on to the operator and take a percentage of the net revenue created.  I’m sure that you, as a reader and likely someone who is interested in finding a genuinely good betting home for yourself finds this to be a reasonable proposition.  After all, it’s the affiliate that’s put in all the hard work here, collected the information, wrote about it in a good manner, and marketed their website and so on.  And actually, I would completely agree with you.  On the surface, this is a great business model.  Players get the operator that’s right for them, affiliates create an income and operators get new business.

Unfortunately you don’t have to dig too far beyond the surface to discover that actually, the truth is far from the rosy picture of free market capitalism that’s painted above.

So let’s get the shovel out....

5 Reasons Most of what you read online about Sportsbooks is untrue

The Ugly Truth Revealed

1 - Top 10 Lists.

The vast majority of affiliates do not decide on which Sportsbooks to promote by testing them out to find out which is the best.  It’s not based on user friendliness, customer service, interesting design, trustworthiness, strong promotions or whatever other scoring factor you come across online.  Actually it’s based on just three things.  The level of commission offered by the operator, how many clicks turn in to registrations and how many registrations become depositors.  When you read about an online Sportsbook on almost any gambling comparison website...  The reason that Sportsbook is there is based on the above. 

I hope that you’ll agree when I suggest that this culture of monetization reaches a level of dishonestly that’s on the wrong side of any imaginary red line you may have preconceptions of.  (there are no red lines).

2 - Misleading Statements

Something that I’m sure you see quite often when your browsing through Google search results are terms like “best odds only at” or “xyz free bet only available through us”.  Both these things are almost always untrue.  Certainly the best odds element.  Odds are fluid things that are constantly changing all over the market.  It’s a little like saying, invest in Apple, the fastest growing stock in the exchange, and simply stating it as a fact that will last till the end of time.  Except what makes it even worse is that by the time the affiliate has hit upload on their WordPress dashboard, the statement is probably already false.  

The other side to this is the idea that you can only get “xyz free bet or offer” if you click through a certain website.  Well let me be the bearer of some news here.  If you simply go directly to the Sportbook itself and straight up ask them for that offer, they will be happy to give you it.

3 - Search Engines

When you Google a term like, “best no deposit Sportsbook”, the web pages you are given know exactly what you want.  They know essentially which category of player you fit in to and even the kind of strategies required to make you more likely to deposit and not just register and take the free bet.  Moreover, they have no interest in showing you genuinely good free bets.  Far from it.  In fact, it’s often the case that you’ll find an array of sportsbooks that either offer a low minimum deposit (and no free bet), or a choice of actual free bets which are so wrapped up in terms and conditions you’ll likely end up depositing anyway.

Is that providing a real answer to your search query?  I don’t think so.

The same is true on the opposite end of the scale.  If you search for a term along the lines of “best high roller Sportsbooks”, you won’t find a list of Sportsbooks that are highly suitable to the needs of higher stakes gambling.  Instead, you’ll find a sales funnel that is conversion rate driven and completely based around the psychology of the typical higher stakes bettor.  So it’s completely true that even before you click one of your Google search results, you are already being categorised in to a group that will be more likely to make “us” a profit if presented with XYZ.

Is that providing a real answer to your search query?  I don’t think so.

4 - Unlicensed Gambling

Perhaps that’s a term that you’re not too familiar with.  But let’s be clear here.  All affiliates, good and bad, are very familiar with this term.  Essentially we’re talking about a Casino, Sportsbook, Bingo site or any gambling operator which is operating without a licence in a country that requires a licence to do so.  Generally the law is bypassed by operating the gambling site from an offshore country untouchable by the law of the land it’s promoting to.

Ladies and gentlemen, these operators are everywhere.  Some of the big names you spin slots at, place bets at, maybe every day... could well be one of them.  These operators don’t have to be bound by the rigorous terms and conditions regime required by the likes of the UK Gambling Commission, and you certainly wouldn’t be able to act on it if you won a £1,000,000 progressive slot and they didn’t pay.

But then if you think back...  Why didn’t the website you seen the ad on tell you about this underground scandal which has swept through the industry from day 1?  Surely it’s the responsibility of marketers to lay bare to this obviously vital information.

Well...  In case you hadn’t already worked it out.  These operators tend to pay a higher commission, so very often the affiliates are the last people willing to talk about them.

5 - Social Media Affiliates

This is a breed of affiliate that will very rarely allow their audience to even know that they are an affiliate (something I deem to be completely wrong). They will more often than not call themselves tipsters.

Now I won’t deny the truth of the fact that there are some excellent tipsters out there.  For instance, we don’t tip very often but we hired the services of a professional for our Cheltenham piece which eclipsed 90% in success.  But this wasn’t done for profit; we’d have made more money if everyone simply lost.  We did this because we believe in what this industry is supposed to be.  A hub of information on the side of the player and the operators with the leaning always going towards the player, never the other way around.  And of course we made it abundantly clear that these are just suggestions in case the reader just doesn’t know anything about the horses.

The unfortunate truth about tipsters, often even the good ones.  Is that they are encouraging an increased feeling in the prospective player that they are likely to win.  A player which has clicked through and deposited to a Sportsbook on the advice of a tipster, feels more certain of winnings than one that didn’t.  Maybe that’s stating the obvious but it’s important talk about.  Because it’s wrong.  These players have no more chance of winning than the next guy.  No tipster is good enough to make that true, unless of course their name is Mystic Meg!  So in my humble opinion, tipsters are doing wrong by players here and it goes against the very fabric of what we’re supposed to be doing as affiliates.

There’s Nothing Quite like the Truth

Now that you’re fully aware of the truth about Sportsbook marketing, I truly do hope that you feel a little refreshed.  Certainly now you have a few more tools with which to use when making your next  choice when it’s time to bet on that exciting derby games, or “that” horse your mate keeps banging on about.  What was the name again?  Do email us!

So now let’s talk about a few industry secrets you can make use of to genuinely get the most from your betting experience.  A couple of interesting ‘hacks’ if you will.

The 3 Sportsbook Hacks that Nobody is Talking About

You didn’t get them from me... no, really!

1 - Free bets and bonuses

The retention and acquisition department of any Sportsbook worth its salt is always inexplicably linked with the customer service department (we call them the CRM guys).  9 times out of 10, the decision on an enhanced bonus or an extra free bet is nothing more than a swivel of the computer chair and a quick question away for the person you’re talking with on live chat.  Customer service at an online gambling operator is no different from the customer service at your phone or electricity supplier.  You can push them for a better deal!  They don’t want to lose your business.  So if you ever feel like trying it...  Here’s the killer chat.

You: “Hi there, I just signed up and wanted to have a quick chat”

Operator: “Sure what do you need?  + obligatory security questions”

You: “Well, I’m planning to do all my betting on this year’s World Cup (or any event) at your Sportsbook and intend to make quite a lot of deposits.  Could you please extend another deposit bonus on to deposit 2 and 3 so that I can make the most out of my budget”

Operator: “I’m terribly sorry sir we aren’t necessarily able to do that”

You: “Could you please ask as I will have to continue shopping around otherwise.  I need to find the right Sportsbook for this”

Operator: “Ok I’ve spoken with my supervisor and he has agreed that we can offer you the typical welcome bonus + XYZ”

End of conversation.

That’s typically how it goes.  That “XYZ”....  You’ll always get it.

So when an affiliate website offers you an exclusive bonus.  It’s just that they did that conversation before you.  You’ll get more if you just do it yourself.

2 - The Best Odds

Everyone will price match manually on a decent sized bet.  (£40 upwards).  If your sportsbook doesn’t have the best odds and you can’t be bothered switching.  Jump on to live chat.  They’ll do it to keep you.  Normally they’ll enhance it a little to make sure.

3 - Ran out of funds but still have a bet to place? Don’t worry!

It’s such an annoying feeling.  You deposit £40 in anticipation of some exciting live betting during the weekend’s matches.  You spend ages checking out form and tips until you finally decide what you’re probably going to bet on.  Problem is, that match is 3 hours away.  And when it finally arrives, you’ve already dwindled away your wagers on cheeky little in play bets that didn’t come through for you.  So annoying.

Well, there’s even a trick for this one.  Jump on live chat.  You have a bet you really want to place now but you can’t deposit again until the morning (which you intend on doing).  Please may I have a free bet. 

You’ll have to push.  But you’ll usually get it.  Although this one is likely going to work only once or twice.

The one thing left to cover, what is a good Sportsbook?

And Where Will I Find Them?

It’s a really simple question and actually the answer is also really simple.  A good Sportsbook is a Sportsbook that you enjoy using.  They all essentially do the same thing and knowing which one is right for you can only come from experience.  It’s unfortunate that for most people, they’re not using the Sportsbook that’s best for them.  They sign up to one, get used to it and are forever blind to the excellent options out there.  Often these are the Sportsbooks that are constantly all over the television (some of them are good by the way).

Still need help deciding what a good Sportsbook is to you?

Okay, here’s how I decide.

  • Loads bets quickly in to the slip without lag (I love live betting).
  • Has a design that doesn’t wear on the eye after a while.
  • Has a very responsive live chat.
  • Has a good system for in play football coverage. Either live stream or stats animation.
  • Does a good job of covering major events.
  • My inbox gets hit with cool promotions a few times a week.
  • Has a Casino too which includes my favourite slots.

It’s as simple as that folks!

Here are a few Sportsbooks we think you may actually like

(Based on Quality Not Commission)

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The Aintree Grand National Runners 2018

Grand National Runners 2019 Guide

Grand National 2019 Runners

The Top 6 Horses of The 2018 Grand National

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TIGER ROLL - NO 13

1st

Trainer: Gordon Elliott, Ireland

Weight: 10-12 Jockey: Davy Russell

Form: 331P-2P51 Age: 8

Odds: 14/1 28/1

PLEASANT COMPANY - NO 21

2nd

Trainer: W. P. Mullins, Ireland

Weight: 10-10 Jockey: David Mullins

Form:  3P/1419-0P Age: 10

Odds: 40/1 80/1

BLESS THE WINGS - NO 36

3rd

Trainer: Gordon Elliott, Ireland

Weight: 10-5 Jockey: Jack Kennedy

Form: 45324-212 Age: 13

Odds: 50/1 100/1

ANIBALE FLY - NO 3

4th

Trainer: A. J. Martin, Ireland

Weight: 11-7 Jockey: Barry Geraghty

Form142-591F3 Age: 8

Odds: 11/1 22/1

MILANSBAR - NO 37

5th

Trainer: Neil King

Weight: 10-5 Jockey: Bryony Frost

FormPP-63U152 Age: 11

Odds: 50/1 100/1

ROAD TO RICHES - NO 40

6th

Trainer: Noel Meade, Ireland

Weight: 10-4 Jockey: Sean Flanagan

FormP285-090P Age: 11

Odds: 66/1 132/1

 

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Aintree Grand National 2018 bets, tips and odds | Everything you need to know about Grand National Day

The Best Grand National 2018 Guide online

Grand National Runners 2019 - final 40 runners announced

The final list of runners and riders for the 2019 Grand National at Aintree on Saturday has been announced, with Gold Present the only withdrawal at the final 48-hour declaration stage.

Check out the latest in the line-up for the Grand National 2019 Runners here.

Best Slots Online will show you all the best slots to play at while you enjoy the racing.

The Jonjo O'Neill-trained Minella Rocco, runner-up in the 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup, will shoulder top weight of 11st 10lb, with Noel Meade's Road To Riches sneaking in at the bottom of the 40-runner field.

Blaklion is one of two runners for Nigel Twiston-Davies after he finished fourth in last year's race and he will be joined by stablemate Double Ross.

Gordon Elliott will aim to cap an unbelievable season with Tiger Roll, Ucello Conti and the 13-year-old Bless The Wings.

He is not the only teenager in the race, though, as fellow 13-year-old Raz De Maree will try to supplement the Welsh National he won in January when he was ridden by James Bowen.

This time Bowen rides Shantou Flyer for Richard Hobson, while his elder brother Sean will be on Warriors Tale for Paul Nicholls, who also runs Vicente.

The Last Samuri was second to Rule The World two years ago and while he was unplaced last year, trainer Kim Bailey was delighted with his third behind Tiger Roll in the Cross Country at Cheltenham last time.

"I'm very happy with his preparation and I thought he ran a fantastic race in the Cross Country," Bailey told At The Races. "He's as good as he was two years ago, but unfortunately he's carrying nearly a stone more than he was then, which makes it difficult."

Total Recall, Gold Cup third Anibale Fly, Seeyouatmidnight and Baie Des Iles, for the husband-and-wife team of Ross O'Sullivan and Katie Walsh, are other fancied runners.

Bryony Frost will ride in the National for the first time when she is reunited with Milansbar, on whom she won the Classic Chase at Warwick in January.

Rachael Blackmore will also ride over the Aintree fences for the first time as she has been recruited by Mouse Morris to partner Alpha Des Obeaux.

The four reserves are Thunder And Roses, Delusion of Grandeur, Walk In The Mill and Vintage Clouds. If any of the 40 confirmed runners are taken out before 1pm on Friday, the reserves will step up in the order in which they appear on the racecard.

day one

It's finally arrived! Today was the opening Day of the Randox Health Grand National 2018 and we've been bringing you all the latest coverage, live from the course at Aintree.

The Grand National festival is one of, if not the , key event in the sporting calendar, and we have been looking forward to it all year. Thursday kicked off three full days of world-famous racing.

All the results from day one

If you’re just getting home from work, or you’re just catching up on day one of the Grand National, here are all the results from Aintree:

1.45pm Manifesto Novices’ Chase (Grade One), 2m4f, £100,000

  • 1st Finians Oscar 5/2
  • 2nd Renes Girl 8/1

2.20pm Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle (Grade One), 2m1f, £100,000

  • 1st We Have A Dream 2/1
  • 2nd Gumball 20/1
  • 3rd Apples Shakira 13/8F

2.50pm Betway Bowl Chase (Grade One), 3m1f, £190,000

  • 1st Might Bite 4/5F
  • 2nd Bristol De Mai 5/1
  • 3rd Clan Des Obeaux 8/1

3.25pm Betway Aintree Hurdle (Grade One), 2m4f, £250,000

  • 1st L’Ami Serge 5/1
  • 2nd Supasundae 11/10F
  • 3rd Clyne 25/1

4.05pm Randox Health Foxhunters’ Chase, 2m5f, £45,000

  • 1st Balnaslow 11/2
  • 2nd Bears Affair 20/1
  • 3rd Greensalt 66/1

4.40pm Red Rum Handicap Chase, 2m, £90,000

  • 1st Bentelimar 10/1
  • 2nd Theinval 5/1
  • 3rd Gino Trail 10/1
  • 4th Doitforthevillage 10/1

5.15pm Goffs Nickel Coin Mares’ Standard Open NHF (Grade Two), 2m, £45,000

  • 1st Getaway Katie Mai 15/8F
  • 2nd Midnightreferendum 25/1
  • 3rd Duhallow Gesture 10/1

Aintree Grand National Ladies Day 2018

The most fashionable day of the racing calendar has come and gone; this was Ladies Day 2018!

Following the success of opening day, thousands of racegoers were expected to come through the gates at Aintree racecourse today - and they didn't disappoint.

With the highlights of the day including the Style Award, Ladies Day saw full-racing fans in their finery.

ladies day

All the results from Ladies Day

1:40pm - The Alder Hey Handicap Hurdle

  • 1st Jester Jet 20/1
  • 2nd Eaton Hill 20/1
  • 3rd Who Dares Wins 13/2F
  • 4th Wilde Blue Yonder 14/1

2:20pm - The Aintree Top Novices’ Hurdle

  • 1st Lalor 14/1
  • 2nd Vision Des Flos 11/4
  • 3rd Bedrock 33/1

2:50pm - The Mildmay Novices’ Chase

  • 1st Terrefort 3/1F
  • 2nd Ms Parfois 9/2
  • 3rd Elegant Escape 4/1

3:25pm - The Melling Chase

  • 1st Politologue 11/1
  • 2nd Min 11/10F

4:05pm - The Randox Health Topham Chase

  • 1st Ultragold 14/1
  • 2nd Shanahans Turn 14/1
  • 3rd Theatre Territory 10/1
  • 4th Kilcrea Vale 12/1

4:40pm - The Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle

  • 1st Santini 6/4F
  • 2nd Roksana 9/1
  • 3rd Tower Bridge 8/1

5:15pm - The Weatherbys Private Bank Standard Open NH Flat

  • 1st Portrush Ted 25/1
  • 2nd Kateson 16/1
  • 3rd Harambe 33/1

Watch the Grand National 2017

 

Its estimated that a quarter of the UK adult population will bet on the Randox Health sponsored Grand National 2018. Most people will have a small each-way bet on a horse they fancy from the list of Grand National runners 2018 for no other reason than the fact that they like the name. Of course there’s nothing wrong with picking a horse for that reason, as pre-race favourites have a dire record in the race.

The Grand National 2018 is famed for its unpredictable nature and rightly so, in the past century five 100/1 shots have triumphed over the famous fences. However, the Grand National is far less of a lottery than many people believe.  One thing is for sure, everyone will be looking for the Grand National 2018 best odds! As one of the biggest UK sports betting events of the year, it's no wonder so many people go mad for it!

Trends and statistics have emerged over the last 20 years which can help you identify those runners who have the potential to run a big race.  Whether you decide to follow the trends and stats or choose your horse based on its name, silk colour or jockey riding we can tell you everything you need to know about this year's hopefuls including where to find the grand national 2018 best odds.

A TV audience in excess of 10 million will tune in to watch the drama of the 2018 Grand National unfold on the 14th of April at 5:15pm. Along with those watching at home a 70,000 strong crowd will be at Aintree racecourse to cheer on the horses from the first fence to the final furlong.

Grand National Runners 2018 - Tips | Favourites | Info

** As soon as the final line up is announces we'll have that information and analysis for you right here **

Horses that have run in previous Aintree Grand Nationals are always a good place to start. When it comes to looking for horses that will run well in the 2018 race, this trend is up with 5 of the last 16 winners of the Grand National having been unplaced in the previous year’s race.  Here are our best Grand National tips for 2018’s favourites or at least the ones we expect to make the cut.  The Grand National runners 2018 are as follows.

 

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Blacklion

The Nigel Twiston-Davies trained, Blaklion, who ran a gallant fourth in the 2017 Grand National, heads most of the bookmaker markets around the 25/1 mark. But many of the layers are going much shorter (14/1 – 16/1). This horse will be 9 years-old come April 2018, which is the perfect age for this race. 14 of the previous 27 winners were aged 9 or 10 years-old. The Twiston-Davies yard have also won the race twice in the past, with Earth Summit (1998) and Bindaree (2002).

They certainly know what’s needed to prepare Grand National horses. With another year on his back, we can expect Blaklion to be stronger this time. Being only 8 ¼ lengths back from the winner – One For Arthur – in 2017, we know he stays this 4m 2 ½ f trip well.

We can expect his handicap mark to be higher this year, but having proved he can tackle the tricky Grand National fences suggests his connections will aim at giving him another crack in April. Being placed before though does, however, mean he’s got a big negative trend to overcome that has seen just 1 winner or placed horse from the previous year’s race go onto win 12 months later. But he could still be one for the each-way backers. However, as soon as the ‘once-a-year’ punter remember his name from last year, there is also a big chance his 25/1 price will be a lot, lot shorter on the day. Don’t forget 12 months ago he was sent off as the 8/1 favourite! Our Grand National tips would be to back him now, with the view to his price being a lot shorter on the day.

Minella Rocco

At the time of writing this Jonjo O’Neill-trained runner is yet to taste the National fences, but after running second to Sizing John in the 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup is another that, if making the final line-up, would add a bit of class to this years Grand National. The yard won this race in 2010 with Don’t Push It – another JP McManus-owned runner – and at just 8 years-old there should be a lot more to come from this classy chaser.

Having said that, he’s not started his 2017/18 campaign well with heavy defeats at Punchestown and Cheltenham, so he’d need to bounce back from those efforts if he’s to be considered at this stage. He’s also won just one of his 11 chase starts, at the time of writing – with his last victory coming back at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival.

With that in-mind, he’s a horse that has gone well more often than not at Prestbury Park so connections may well prefer a tilt at the Cheltenham Festival again, rather than running in this race – we’ll see.

The Last Samurai

Many people will recall this horse being the runner-up in the 2016 Grand National. He would have cost the bookmakers a few quid that day after being well-supported into 8/1 joint-favourite.

He’d won the Grimthorpe Chase (a recognised Grand National Trial race) by an easy 10 lengths the month before. He figured in the 2017 Grand National too, but could only manage 16th, but to his credit he was burdened with a massive 11-10 that day. Since 1978, 120 horses have tried to win with more than 11-5, with just two winners; Many Clouds (11-9) in 2015 & Neptune Collonges (11-6) in 2012.

This race will certainly be a target again and being that he’s got round in the last two renewals then he’s becoming a regular in the race. We can expect the handicapper to relent a bit on his mark. So, our Grand National tips would include watching that closely. A lot will depend on the handicapper. But he returned to the track this season with a decent second at Kempton over an inadequate trip to show he’s still in love with the game.

Native River

Another horse that is proving to be popular in the Grand National betting market. If Native River makes the race, he would certainly be a class act in the line-up. This Colin Tizzard-trained runner will only be 8 years-old by April but he’s already a Hennessy Gold Cup and Welsh National winner. He also rounded off last season with a decent third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. He’s won at Aintree in the past, but he’s yet to tackle the Grand National-style fences. This may be seen as a negative with 7 of the last 15 winners having tasted these fences before.

That said, he’s a good jumper that heads into the 2017/18 off the back of 10 chase runs and he’s yet to finish out of the first three in these, let alone fall in any of them! Our Grand National tips are that he’ll be a big player if connections opt for this route, rather than the Gold Cup. Though, if he does head to Aintree for this race then a lot will depend how much weight the handicapper gives him – we’ll know that later in the season.

Cause of Causes

A horse that went from strength-to-strength last season and many racing fans will remember him winning the unique Cross Country race at the Cheltenham Festival in 2017. Having won over those tricky obstacles, the National fences looked sure to suit. This proved right in the 2017 Grand National after finishing a 4 ½ length second to One For Arthur. He was sent off at a well-fancied 16/1 12 months ago so the 33/1 on offer now looks a tempting price.

He’s another that will have the negative trend of past placed horses to overcome and is sure to have more weight this time. However, his ability to handle the course is a big plus. With the gap between the Cheltenham Festival and Aintree in 2018 being almost 4 weeks then there is a good chance this Gordon Elliott-trained runner can try and defend his Cheltenham Cross Country crown before heading to Aintree once again.

Vieu Lion Rouge

The Pipe Pond House stable that are certainly no strangers to landing this race. They won the prize in 1994 (Miinnehoma) and 2008 (Comply Or Die). This horse will be 9 years-old by April and is another that punters might recall after running a fair sixth last year. He was eventually 27 lengths behind the winner. But that was still a top effort for at horse that had only run 10 times over fences. He actually went second after three out but failed to sustain that effort. So, many will look at that with stamina concerns.

He was 7th in the 2016 running so the fences and getting round don’t seem to be an issue. It’s just whether he fully gets this 4m2f trip. At this stage, the 40/1 price with Coral looks about right. With another year on his back then he may return this season a stronger horse. The Grand National tips point to take away could be that he’s in another race that he gets round but finds 5 or 6 too good again.

Saint Are

If there is a horse still in training that deserves to win a National it’s this fella. He’s run well in four Grand Nationals now, and has finished 2nd and 3rd in two! This horse will be 12 years-old by April. But with four Grand Nationals already under his belt, he’s becoming a regular fixture in this world’s greatest steeplechase. He was a gallant third 12 months ago and only beaten 8 ¼ lengths. While in 2016 he was pulled-up, finished 2nd in 2015 and 9th in 2013. He’s raced at Aintree many times before too and seems to love the flat nature of the track. So, our Grand National tips point will be to keep his age in mind. Providing it doesn’t catch up with him, he’s another to have on your radar. Though, probably more in terms of grabbing another place, rather than winning.

Vincente

From the Paul Nicholls yard that have won the Grand National once before (2012, Neptune Collonges).

This horse will be 9 years-old by April, but punters will also might remember him from last year as he was sent off 16/1 in the 2017 running. However, he got no further than the first fence that day after coming to grief under jockey Brian Hughes so that might put some people off backing him again. However, it’s worth noting he’s a National winner in his own right too after landing the Scottish version in 2017 after that fall and has returned to the track in 2017 in similar form with a decent return run at Cheltenham in November. The handicapper is sure to give him a chance and if he’s got anything near the 10-10 in weight he had 12 months ago then this improving staying chaser is certainly one to consider.

Definitely Red

Another horse Grand National fans might remember from 2017. This Brian Ellison-trained runner was almost sent off as favourite (10/1). Punters backed this improving stayer into that price from around 20/1 on the morning.

Despite failing to reward his followers he did have his excuses. His saddle eventually slipped and was pulled-up. But before that he had been badly hampered at the 6th fence (Bechers Brook) and never really recovered from that.

He’ll be 9 years-old come April so is another that looks to be the perfect age now. Providing he has an injury-free season, this race certainly looks a firm target for him. Our top Grand National tips here are that he’s sure to be a lot shorter in the day than the 33/1 being offered now. Especially once the novice punters recall his name from 12 months ago.

Pleasant Company

This Willie Mullins-trained runner was backed down to 11/1 from much bigger prices on the day. He ran well, too, after finishing 9th that day and despite being 28 lengths back from the winner. He did lose all chance when stumbling badly at the 25th fence. The horse stayed on well after that under Ruby Walsh.

But after proving he’s another that can handle the fences then he’s one to note. Again, his current price of around 40/1 looks big considering his was backed into 11/1 last year. He’ll be 10 years-old this time, while that track experience from last year would have taught him a lot. It’s hard to know if he’ll give the race another go. But barring any injuries, we feel that this would certainly be a race on his agenda this season.

Go Conquer

This horse could be one to have on your radar and follow as the season progresses.

It’s hard to 100% know at this stage if the horse will head to the Grand National, or other targets. But this is another from the Jonjo O’Neill yard that won the race in 2010. This horse will be 9 years-old come the race, which looks the perfect age and having returned to the track. This season, with two wins at Fontwell and Ascot, he’s clearly a horse still on the up.

He’s a front-running sort so if he doesn’t head to the National he’ll have to do it the hard way from the front. But the plusses surrounding that are that he’ll stay out of trouble and any loose horses. He’s also tasted these fences in the past when 17th (of 29) in the Topham Chase at the Grand National meeting 12 months ago. That race might also be a possible target too. The trip would also be a bit of an unknown as the furthest he’s gone to date is 3 miles. Though, he’s caught the eye so far this season and looks a horse to note.

How are the Grand National 2018 Runners Chosen?

Every year a maximum of 40 horses line up at the start of the Aintree Grand National and 600 million people worldwide tune in to watch them tackle the 30 notoriously difficult fences in a bid to put themselves into the history books. But how do those particular runners and riders make it to Grand National day?

A horse will be entered into the Grand National runners 2018 if it meets the minimum criteria for qualification and the owner and trainer feel that their horse is capable of handling the race. Not all horses are suited to the long Aintree course or have the necessary jumping ability. Even if a horse gets entered that doesn't guarantee a place at the starting line.

The race is open to horses aged seven and upwards that have been placed first, second, third or fourth in a chase of three miles or more and who are allotted a rating of at least 120 by the BHA Handicapper.

The entry date for the race is always at the end of January, with the names and numbers announced by the BHA (British Horseracing Authority) the following day. In 2017 there were 110 entries, 2016 had 126 entries, an increase of 28 on the 98 entered in 2015.

The BHA Head Of Handicapping then takes the list of entries and frames the weights. In other words, he decides which horses will carry the heaviest weights and which will carry the least. The handicap system is designed to give every horse a fair chance of winning the race, good horses will carry more weight than those perceived to have less ability.

The maximum weight any horse can carry in the 2018 Grand National will be 11st 10lbs and the minimum is 10st. Each runner's weight will be largely determined by their OR (Official Rating) and the higher the rating, the higher the weight. Although the Grand National is the only race in Britain in which the Handicapper can ignoring the official ratings if he wishes, often to the consternation of owners and trainers.

Horses are then put in descending order from the highest to the lowest weighted and that also determines their race number. The top-weighted horse is number one, second heaviest weighted horse is number two and so on.

The weights are then announced, in 2017 it was on February 14th, and from then on a series of ‘Declaration Stages’ take place. At each of these stages, horses can be withdrawn from the proceedings by their trainers and as they are removed and the entries get whittled down so even horses that have not initially made the Top 40 may now do so as entries above them are taken out.

The very last declaration stage takes place at 10am on the Thursday immediately before Grand National 2018 day. This is the point where the top 40 horses will be near completion along with four additional reserves.

The following morning, Friday, at 10am any non-runners must be declared and be replaced by one of the four reserves. This is also the point where any horses who were previously allocated weights of less than 10st will have their weight increased to meet requirements.

Criteria for Jockeys Wishing to Participate

The criteria for professional or amateur jockeys wanting to take part in the race are very specific. Grand National Runners 2018 must have ridden not less than 15 winners in chases or hurdle races under the Rules of Racing and/or the Rules of the Irish National Hunt Committee and ridden not less than 10 of these winners in chases.

A champion jockey like A.P. McCoy who primarily rode horses for super owner J.P. McManus had his pick of horses in the race before he retired. Ruby Walsh and Barry Geraghty are other top jockeys who can often choose their rides and odds will tumble on any horses chosen by the pair.

Amateur jockeys are now a rarity in the Grand National compared with races early days. Sam Whaley-Cohen is probably the most famous amateur rider in recent years and he enjoys a record over the Aintree fences which is the envy of many a professional.

Other jockeys will usually ride for the yards that retain them or a trainer will engage their services just for this race. In recent years a number of high profile jockeys have missed the race due to injuries picked up at the Cheltenham festival which is the last major National Hunt meeting before Aintree.

Don't be put off backing a less well known jockey or even one who has never ridden the course before. In 2013 jockey Ryan Mania won the race at his first attempt!

Grand National Runners 2018
Champion Jockey A.P McCoy

Grand National History

The Grand National at Aintree has been a British sporting institution since 1839. A horse called Lottery won the inaugural race and Captain Becher fell at a now world famous brook. In those days, horses jumped a stone wall, crossed ploughed land and finished over two hurdles. Read about the legends and key moments that have gone down in Grand National History.

The course was founded by William Lynn, a syndicate head and proprietor of the Waterloo Hotel. He leased land in Aintree from William Molyneux, 2nd Earl of Sefton. Lynn set out a course and built a grandstand. Lord Sefton laid the foundation stone on 7 February 1829. The race was then known as the Grand Liverpool Steeplechase.

 

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Early Grand National HIstory

The Grand National Runners 2018 come from a very long line of ultra elite horses.  There is actually much debate regarding the first official Grand National. Some leading historians, including John Pinfold, assert that the first running was in 1836 and won by The Duke. This same horse won again in 1837, while Sir William was the winner in 1838. These races have long been disregarded because of the belief that they took place at Maghull and not Aintree.

Some historians have unearthed evidence that suggest those three races were run over the same course at Aintree. Also, that they were regarded as Grand Nationals up until the mid-1860. Contemporary newspaper reports place all the 1836-38 races at Aintree although the 1839 race is the first described as “National”. To date, though, calls for the Nationals of 1836–1838 to be restored to the record books have been unsuccessful.In 1838 and 1839 three events transformed the Liverpool race from a small local affair to a national event.  That's incredible to think that this became the biggest sportsbook betting event of the calendar 

Firstly, the Great St. Albans Chase was not renewed after 1838. This left a major hole in the chasing calendar. Secondly, the railway arrived in Liverpool, enabling transport to the course by rail. Finally, a committee was formed to better organise the event.These factors led to a highly publicised race in 1839. It attracted a larger field of top horses and riders, greater press coverage and an increased attendance. Over time, the first three runnings were forgotten, securing 1839 its place in Grand National history as the inaugural race.

By the 1840s, Lynn’s ill-health blunted his enthusiasm for Aintree. Edward Topham, a respected handicapper and member of Lynn’s syndicate, began to exert his influence. He turned the chase into a handicap from a weight-for-age race in 1843. He took over the lease in 1848 and one century later, the Topham family bought the course outright.

Grand National Fact Box

It was over 40 years ago that Red Rum recorded the first of three victories in Grand National History. This earned him pride of place in the record books forever. He remains the only horse to have won three Grand Nationals and, was known to be a phenomenon.

Bred to be a sprinter, Red Rum won the grueling four-and-a-half mile chase in 1973, 1974 and 1977. He finished second on his other two starts, to become the greatest Grand National performer ever.

The Grand National Runners 2018 Horse Race is often called the world's greatest steeplechase. The race is one of the most famous steeplechases in the world. It is a unique test of horsemanship for the rider and also a test of a great significance for a horse.

 

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Before the Turn of the Century

The following year the race was held in Maghull (Still in Liverpool) This race was also won by The Duke but this time was ridden by Mr Potts as Captain Becher could not get to the course as the previous day he had been riding at St Albans, of course in those days travel was slow and it was almost impossible to get to the course. This year the race was named as Grand Liverpool Steeplechase.

The following year again at Maghull was another success. The Duke was again running being ridden by captain Becher but on this occasion he finished third and the winner of the race is not clear as official records show the winner as Sir Henry however there was no horse called Sir Henry running. The race was actually won by Sir William.

The following year (1839) was to be what every official record shows as the first Grand National even though at this time it was still called the Grand Liverpool Steeplechase. The race was won by Lottery and he goes down in the history books as the first winner of the race. Captain Becher was also running that year but fell into the brook at the fence that now holds his name.

The Grand National Runners 2018 are preceded by an extraordinary history of success, failure and tragedy. 

 

Since these early years there have been many changes and stories of The Grand National horse race. In 1839 the name of the race was changed to The Liverpool and National Handicap Steeplechase and as the name suggests the race became a handicap race. In 1847 the race was given the title of The Grand National Handicap Steeplechase. A name it still holds today.

 

1850/1851 saw the first duel winner of the race when Abd-El-Kader was the winner on both occasions. 1869 was to see the first Grey winner, The Lamb who also went on to win the race three years later. This was nothing short of miraculous given that the horse had been suffering from a wasting disease in the time between these races. 1893 saw another remarkable story when a horse called Cloister won the race by 40 lengths.

 

In 1895 a very good horse, The Wild Man from Borneo won the race and his stuffed head is still at the course in the room that has been used to interview the winning connections.  The late 1800's also saw the greatest of all horses to run in The Grand National, the duel winner Manifesto.

Redrum Making History in 1977

After the Turn of the Centuary

Soon after the turn of the century it was a horse called Moifaa was the remarkable winner in 1904 when a ship bringing him to the race from New Zealand was lost and the horse had to swim ashore, 50 miles it was said, to an island, he was later recovered and when on not only to run in the race but to win the race.

The outbreak of the Great War was not to stop the race and it was held at the racecourse at Gatwick now the site of one of London's busiest Airports. The 1920's saw the introduction of Radio to the race when in 1927 the B.B.C. brought the race to it's biggest ever audience to date when Sprig was to be the victor.

The Second World War was to see the only interruption of the race. The race was not run between 1941 and 1945 and the course at this time was used for military purposes. In 1946 as soon as the military were gone the operation was put into place for that year's race and on the 5th of April Lovely Cottage won the 1946 Grand National.

The following year 1947 was to see the race run for the first time on a Saturday, at the request of the Prime Minister Clement Attlee, who was said to have suggested the move would be "in the interests of British industry". Caughoo was the winner that day. Up until this time the Aintree racecourse had been owned by Lord Sefton but in 1949 he sold the course to Tophams Limited for a sum of 275,000 pounds.

In 1952 the Tophams had a dispute with the B.B.C. over the radio coverage and this lead to the family doing their own commentary of the race, if anybody is ever in any doubt that race commentary is a difficult job then a brief listen to this commentary will tell you different. It can only be described as dreadful and it was soon handed back to the professionals.

1960 was the year when the B.B.C. was to show the race "live" on Television for the first time. Merryman II won that year and the B.B.C. have been doing a great job ever since. 1963 was a year of note when the horse that came 7th, bore a very well known owners colours that of the film star Gregory Peck.

1967 saw the biggest price winner; Foinavon won the race after he was the only horse to jump a very small fence in the race. There was a great pile up at the fence and this horse ridden by John Buckingham when on to score at odds of 100/1. The fence was later named after the horse.

The late sixties and early seventies saw a good number of good horses win the race, Red Alligator ridden by Brian Fletcher, Gay Tripridden by Pat Taffe, Well to Do ridden by G. Thorner, but it was 1973 when one of the greatest stories started. All the talk this year was of one of the greatest steeplechasers ever The great Crisp.

He was to carry top weight of 12 st and this he seemed to do easily. Crisp was way out in front for a long way until caught close home with a horse carrying almost 2 st less. But history was to show that then young pretender that day would turn out to be the only horse in The Grand Nationals history win follow up his win with two others and was to become the most famous Grand National horse of all time, of course it was Red Rum.

In the 1974 Grand National, Red Rum was now the top weight with 12st to carry but he won again. He was to wait another three years to taste victory again in 1977 when he became the only three times winner of the race. Between his wins he came second twice. First in 1975 to L'escargot and then in 1976 to Rag Trade.

1977 was also another landmark year as it was to see the first ever female jockey in the race, Charlotte Brew may not be a well known name in racing today but back in 1977 she was the person all the commentators wanted to interview as she has the title as being the first Woman to ride in the Grand National.

Today women are unquestionably accepted as equally competitive jockeys and the Grand National Runners 2018 will likely include a number of female Jockeys.

Pre-Millennial Grand National History of Note

Good winners of the 80's included Ben NevisGrittarHallo DandyWest Tip but two horses where going to make their connections famous in this decade. The 1981 Grand National saw a previously crocked horse making his big race entry named Aldaniti and a jockey who had recently recovered from cancer Bob Champion win the race this caused tears of joy to a whole nation of race lovers.

1983 was another landmark year when the first ever woman trainer won the race when Corbiere put Jenny Pitman's name on the role of honours. Mr Frisk won the 1990 race on fast ground in a record time. He was also ridden by an amateur, Mr. M.Armitage.

The 1991 Grand National was to see a horse called Seagram win the race. His name was the same as the race sponsors who did not own the horse. However they were asked if they wanted to purchase the horse some time before the race but declined the offer. In 1992 was another memorable winner. There was to be a general election in the UK and by coincidence this year saw a giant of a horse called Party Politics win.

The following year 1993 was again to be a landmark year as the race had to be declared void after a second false start was not heard by half of the jockeys who went on to complete a full circuit of the track. A number of jockeys actually did a second round and they did not know until the end of the four and a half miles that the race would be declared void for a false start.

This may seem strange but around this time there were a lot of protests being held on the course and the jockeys ignored the officials trying to stop them as they thought wrongly that they were protesters. The horse that finished first that day was Esha Nessnow known as the horse that won the National that never was.

The 1994 Grand National saw another famous win when top UK comedian Freddie Star's horse Miinnehoma won the race. Although Freddie was not at the course he was interviewed on the phone for the TV cameras in one of the most bizarre interviews on TV when the viewers could only here one side of the conversion that of his trainer.

The 1995 Grand National saw Jenny Pitman win the race for the second time with Royal Athlete. The 150th running of the race in 1997 was another bizarre story when a bomb scare meant that the course had to be evacuated and the race postponed until the Monday, to allow the course to be searched. The winner on this famous occasion was Lord Gyllene.

The 1998 Grand National saw the Aintree press manager win the race with his syndicated horse Earth Summit. The race in very soft ground. Earth Summit also won the Scottish and Welsh Nationals in his career. 1999 saw a remarkable father and son win the race, Tommy Carrbury a previous winner as a jockey was the trainer, saw his son Paul partner Bobby Jo to victory.

The Grand National Runners 2018 will not only be competing for the coveted grand national trophy but also to earn their place in a history as important as any!

A Big Start to the New Millennium

The year 2000 race unbelievably was the same another father and son combination win when the trainer Ted Walsh saw his son Ruby win on Papillon. 2001 Saw Red Marauder win in good style in a race ran in bottomless conditions. All the horses fell with the exception of two horses the winner and the second Smarty.

The 2002 Grand National was won in good style by Bindaree who won as so many horses do, by catching a horse on the run in. The 2003 Grand National was the turn of Monty's Pass to win the race but his win was to be overshadowed by one of his owners who had bets on the horse to win a total of over 800,000 pounds.

Grand National Fact Box

The course is nearly two and a quarter miles in length and has 16 unique fences including the famous Bechers Brook. The fences have an added problem for horses, the famous drop fences where the landing side of the fence is lower than the take off side, this means the horse approaching the fence is unaware of the drop until in the air.

At The Chair Fence the reverse of this occurs. It is the biggest fence on the course and the landing side is higher than the take off.

In the Grand National the horses have to complete almost two circuits of the course and jump 30 fences and then complete a long 494 yard run in which has been the downfall of many in the past. There are two fences that are jumped only once and this is on the first circuit and they are the famous Chair and the water jump.

 

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Historical Grand National Statistics

More Stats than you'll know how to Analyse

Important Horse Stats

  • Red Rum is the most successful horse, winning the Grand National three times: 1973, 1974 and 1977.
  • The oldest winning horse was Peter Simple, aged 15 (1853); the youngest were Alcibiade(1865), Regal (1876), Austerlitz (1877), Empress (1880), Lutteur III (1909), all aged 5.
  • Abd-El-Kaderwas the first horse to win back-to-back Nationals, in 1850 and 1851. The Colonel, (1869 & 1870), Reynoldstown (1935 & 1936) and Red Rum (1973 & 1974) have also retained the crown.
  • Moiffawon in 1904. As one of the strangest Grand National stats, he disappeared a year earlier. On a trip to Liverpool from New Zealand, Moiffa’s ship was wrecked. The horse was presumed lost at sea before turning up on an outcrop south of Ireland.
  • Golden Millerwon in 1934 and became the only horse to complete the Cheltenham Gold Cup-Grand National double. Garrison Savannah narrowly failed in 1991.
  • Manifestoran in more races than any other horse. Between 1895 and 1904, he ran eight races, winning two and coming third three times. He only failed to finish once.
  • Two Russian horses, Reljefand Grifel, competed in the 1961 Grand National, but neither finished. Horses from Hungary, the Czech Republic and Norway have also run with similarly disappointing results. Hungarian chaser Buszke was pulled up in 1868. While Czechoslovakian Gyi Lovam (1931), came to grief at Becher’s. He was remounted but fell again four fences later. Czech-trained EssexFraze and Quirinus carried automatic top-weight but didn’t complete. The 2000 renewal saw the first Norwegian-trained runner, Trinitro, fall at the first fence.
  • Japanese thoroughbred, Fujino-Ocaptured four consecutive renewals of the prestigious Nakayama Daishogai. He was sent to Britain to be trained for Aintree by Fulke Walwyn in 1966. He was given the automatic top-weight but failed to get competitive.

International Horses and Mares

  • Five winners were bred in France — Alcibiade(1865), Reugny (1874), Lutteur III (1909), Mon Mome (2009) and Neptune Collonges(2012). Mely Moss, runner-up to Papillon in the 2000 Grand National. The 1996 and 2015 runners-up Encore Un Peu and Saint Are, were also French bred.
  • In 1998, Earth Summit, owned by a six-strong partnership, became the first winner of the Grand National who was also successful in both the Scottish and Welsh Grand Nationals.
  • Only three greys have won the Grand National – The Lamb(1868 and 1871), Nicolaus Silver (1961) and Neptune Collonges (2012). Suny Bay finished second to Lord Gyllene in 1997 and filled the same spot behind Earth Summit in 1998. King Johns Castle was second in 2008.
  • Thirteen mares have won the Grand National, but the most recent was Nickel Coinback in 1951. Since then, the mares Gentle Moya (2nd 1956), Tiberetta (3rd 1957 and 2nd 1958), Miss Hunter (3rd 1970), Eyecatcher (3rd 1976 and 1977), Auntie Dot (3rd 1991), Ebony Jane(4th 1994) and Dubacilla (4th 1995) have all finished in the first four.
  • In 1923, Sergeant Murphybecame the first US bred horse to win. He is also the joint-second oldest horse to win, at 13, alongside Why Not (1884). The US bred Battleship, son of the famous Man o’ War, became the first (and so far only) horse to have won both the Grand National (in 1938) and the American Grand National (which he won four years earlier).
  • 1991 was the seventh and final year that the Grand National was sponsored by Seagram. Aptly, the race was won by a horse named Seagram, bred in New Zealand. 1997 saw another New Zealand-bred winner in Lord Gyllene.

 

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Important Jockey Stats

  • George Stevens is the most successful jockey in the history of the National with five wins. His final triumph came in 1870. Stevens died three months after finishing sixth in the 1871 race.
  • Together with the Lincoln Handicap run on the Flat at Doncaster, the Grand National forms leg two of the ‘Spring Double’. The only jockey to have won both contests is Dave Dick, who captured the Lincoln in 1941 and the Grand National in 1956.
  • Bruce Hobbs was the youngest jockey to have won the race. The 17-year-old triumphed aboard Battleship in 1938.
  • The late Dick Saunders is the oldest winner of the Grand National, partnering Grittar to victory in 1982. Saunders was 48 and the first member of the Jockey Club to partner a Grand National winner.
  • Brian Fletcher (1968 Red Alligator, 1973 and 1974 Red Rum) shares a 20th century record with the legendary Jack Anthony (1911 Glenside, 1915 Ally Sloper, 1920 Troytown), both jockeys having ridden three National winners.
  • Plenty of riders have won the Grand National on their first attempt. The most recent are Ryan Mania (2013 Auroras Encore), Liam Treadwell (2009 Mon Mome), Niall ‘Slippers’ Madden (2006 Numbersixvalverde), and Ruby Walsh (2000 Papillon).
  • Ruby Walsh holds the best record of current jockeys, having won the Grand National twice, in 2000 and 2005.
Grand National 2018 Runners
The Master - Ruby Walsh

International Jockey Stats

  • Jockey William Watkinson recorded the first success for Australia in 1926. He was killed at Bogside, Scotland, less than three weeks after winning the Grand National.
  • Prince Karl Kinsky, an Austro-Hungarian nobleman, was the first jockey from outside Britain and Ireland to ride, winning on board his own mare Zoedone in 1883.
  • Tsuyoshi Tanaka, became the first Japanese jockey to ride in the Grand National in 1995, although he fell at the first fence on The Committee.
  • American amateur Tim Durant was 68 when 15th on Highlandie in 1968 (although he remounted at Becher’s second time).
  • Peter Scudamore technically lined up for thirteen Grand Nationals without winning but the last of those was the void race of 1993, so he officially competed in twelve Nationals.
  • Many other well-known jockeys have failed to win the Grand National. These include champion jockeys such as Terry Biddlecombe, John Francome, Josh Gifford, Stan Mellor, Jonjo O’Neill (who never completed) and Fred Rimell.
  • Three jockeys who led over the last fence in the National but lost on the run-in ended up as television commentators: Lord Oaksey (on Carrickbeg in 1963), Norman Williamson (on Mely Moss in 2000), and Richard Pitman (on Crisp in 1973). Pitman’s son Mark also led over the last fence, only to be pipped at the post when riding Garrison Savannah in 1991.
  • As a least inspiring Grand National stats, in 2012, Richard Johnson beat the record for the most rides in the National without a win. He has now ridden in the race 19 times without bettering the runner up spot in 2002 on What’s Up Boys. There are 12 other riders who have never won (or have not as yet won) the National, despite having had more than 12 rides in the race.

UNLUCKIEST JOCKEYS IN GRAND NATIONAL HISTORY

JockeyYears CompetingResultNumber of Attempts
David Casey1997-2015Finished 3rd once15
Jeff King1964-1980Finished 3rd once15
Robert Thornton1997-to dateNever top three14
Bill Parvin1926-1939Finished second once14
Tom Scudamore2001-2015Never top three14
Graham Bradley1983-1999Finished second once14
Chris Grant1980-1994Finished second three times13
Stan Mellor1956-1971Finished second once13
David Nicholson1956-1971Never top three13
George Waddington1861-1882Finished second once13
Walter White1854-1869Finished second once13
Andrew Thornton1996-2013Never top three13

 

GRAND NATIONAL STATS – FEMALE JOCKEYS

  • Charlotte Brew became the first in 1977. Female jockeys have participated in 19 Grand Nationals. Brew attracted media attention when partnering her horse Barony Fort. Grand National stats and figures show that she was a guest on the BBC Sports Personality of the Year show and the Daily Mirror. She was also unseated in the 1982 race.
  • Geraldine Rees became the first to complete the course (albeit in last place) in 1982. She fell at the first a year later and went on to train for 12 years in Lancashire, before retiring in 2010.
  • In 2012 Katie Walsh (sister of Ruby Walsh) achieved the best placing by a woman to date – 3rd place on Seabass. In 2013, she rode Seabass as favourite, but only finished 13th. She also led up Papillon, trained by her father and ridden by Ruby to win in 2000.
  • National winning trainer, Venetia Williams, also rode in the race, falling at Becher’s first time when riding 200-1 chance Marcolo in 1988.
  • Nina Carberry, now assistant to Noel Meade, is the most experienced female rider, finishing on four of her five starts.
  • Gee Armytage had to pull up her mount, Gee-A, in 1988. A dual Cheltenham Festival-winning rider, she is the sister of Marcus Armytage – rider of the 1990 winner Mr Frisk – and became personal assistant to multiple champion jump jockey A P McCoy.
  • Rosemary Henderson finished fifth when aged 51 on her own 100/1 shot Fiddlers Pike in 1994. She subsequently wrote a book, ‘Road To The National’, about her exploits.
  • There was huge media interest in Carrie Ford when she finished fifth in 2005 on Forest Gunner. The horse was trained by her husband Richard. Ford, then 33, had given birth to her daughter 10 weeks earlier.

 

FEMALE JOCKEYS THROUGH GRAND NATIONAL HISTORY

YearJockeyHorseSPResult
1977Charlotte BrewBarony Fort200/1Refused, 26th fence
1979Jenny HembrowSandwilan100/1Fell, 1st fence
1980Jenny HembrowSandwilan100/1Pulled up, 19th fence
1981Linda SheedyDeiopea100/1Refused, 19th fence
1982Geraldine ReesCheers66/1Completed, 8th & last place
1982Charlotte BrewMartinstown100/1Unseated, 3rd fence
1983Geraldine ReesMidday Welcome500/1Fell, 1st fence
1983Joy CarrierKing Spruce28/1Unseated, 6th fence
1984Valerie AlderBush Guide33/1Fell, 8th fence
1987Jacqui OliverEamons Owen200/1Unseated, 15th fence
1988Gee ArmytageGee-A33/1Pulled up, 26th fence
1988Venetia WilliamsMarcolo200/1Fell, 6th fence
1988Penny Ffitch-HeyesHettinger100/1Fell, 1st fence
1989Tarnya DavisNumerate100/1Pulled up, 21st fence
1994Rosemary HendersonFiddlers Pike100/1Completed, 5th place
2005Carrie FordForest Gunner8/1Completed, 5th place
2006Nina CarberryForest Gunner33/1Completed, 9th & last place
2010Nina CarberryCharacter Building16/1Completed, 7th place
2011Nina CarberryCharacter Building25/1Completed, 15th place
2012Nina CarberryOrganisedconfusiong20/1Unseated, 8th fence
2012Katie WalshSeabass8/1Completed, 3rd place
2013Katie WalshSeabass11/2Completed, 13th place
2014Katie WalshVesper Bell40/1Completed, 13th place
2015Nina CarberryFirst Lieutenant14/1Completed, 16th place

 

GRAND NATIONAL STATS – TRAINERS

  • Vincent O’Brien trained three successive winners – all different horses – in the 1950s. The roll of honour read Early Mist (1953), Royal Tan (1954) and Quare Times (1955).
  • The last permit-holder to train the Grand National winner was the late Frank Gilman. The Leicestershire-based farmer was responsible for Grittar in 1982.
  • Jenny Pitman, Venetia Williams and Sue Smith are the only women to have trained a Grand National winner. Pitman captured the race for the first time with Corbiere in 1983. She succeeded for a second time with Royal Athlete in 1995 and finished second with Garrison Savannah in 1991. Superior Finish took third spot for the trainer in 1996. The last of her 39 runners, Nahthen Lad in 1999, came 11th. She also trained the winner of the National that never was – Esha Ness. Venetia Williams was successful with Mon Mome in 2009, whilst Sue Smith trained the 2013 winner, Auroras Encore.
  • According to Grand National stats, Fred Rimell and George Dockeray are is the most successful National trainers. Each guided four different horses to victory. Rimell trained ESB (1956), Nicolaus Silver (1961), Gay Trip (1970) and Rag Trade (1976). Dockeray trained Lottery (1839), Jerry (1840), Gaylad (1842) and Miss Mowbray (1852). Ginger McCain also had four winners, but with two horses, Red Rum (1973, 74 and 77) and Amberleigh House (2004). His son, Donald, joined the roll of honour by training 2011 winner, Ballabriggs.
  • Fred Winter has a unique place in jump racing history. He won the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle and Grand National as a trainer and jockey. Winter trained two Grand National winners – Jay Trump (1965) and Anglo (1966). He partnered two victors, Sundew (1957) and Kilmore (1962) during a remarkable career.

 

INTERNATIONAL TRAINERS

  • Two French-trained horses have won the Grand National, Huntsman (1862) and Cortolvin (1867). Both were trained by Yorkshireman Harry Lamplugh, who also rode Huntsman to victory. Lutteur III, noted as a British-trained Grand National victor, held plenty of allegiance to France. His jockey Georges Parfremont and owner James Hennessy were Frenchmen. The horse only arrived at the Epsom yard of trainer Harry Escott that season to get accustomed to English racing.
  • The only Welsh-trained horse to win was Kirkland in 1905. Although, Evan Williams has remarkably had a horse placed in five consecutive renewals.
  • Rubstic, trained by John Leadbetter in Roxburghshire, became the first Scottish-trained winner, with victory in 1979.
  • Irish-trained horses have enjoyed by far the most success of international participants. There were 16 winners since 1900, including six since 1999. Also, a number of Irish-bred horses (including Red Rum, Golden Miller and Many Clouds) have won under English trainers.
  • Since 1900 five successful jockeys went on to train Grand National winners as well. These are Algy Anthony, Tommy Carberry, Aubrey Hastings, Fulke Walwyn and Fred Winter.
  • Martin Pipe broke many records during his training career. He had more runners in a Grand National than any other trainer. He saddled 10 of the 40-strong field in 2001, with the remounted Blowing Wind doing best in third place.

 

GRAND NATIONAL STATS – HORSE OWNERS

  • The Prince of Wales (King Edward VII), owned 1900 Grand National winner, Ambush II.
  • A number of other famous names have owned a National winner. These include Freddie Starr (Miinnehoma, 1994), Anne, Duchess of Westminster, (Last Suspect, 1985), Teasie Weasie Raymond (Rag Trade 1976), Gregory Peck (Different Class 1968) and Fred Pontin (Specify, 1971).
  • In 1950 Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother had her first runner in the race in Monaveen. Six years later she would witness her Devon Loch collapse just yards from victory.
  • Grand National stats show Trevor Hemmings, enjoyed his hat-trick win in the race. He owns Hedgehunter (2005) Ballabriggs (2011) and Many Clouds.
  • Hemmings is now one of the leading owners are alongside James Machell and Noel Le Mare.
  • The first success for an American came in 1923. Sergeant Murphy had been bought by John Sanford, and given to his son, who was at Cambridge University.
  • Jock Hay Whitney was one of the unluckiest owners in the history of Grand National stats. Whitney was responsible for 14 runners between 1929 and 1951. Sir Lindsay finished third in 1930 and Thomond II occupied the same position in 1934 and 1935. The multimillionaire had the opportunity to buy future dual Grand National winner Reynoldstown.
  • American sewing-machine heir F Ambrose Clark sold the seven-year-old Kellsboro’ Jack to his wife Florence for £1. Trainer Ivor Anthony thought it would bring luck. Kellsboro’ Jack, who started at 25/1, won by three lengths.
  • Jim Joel was 92 when Maori Venturi won the 1987 Grand National. Noel Le Mare was 89 when Red Rum gained his record-breaking third Grand National in 1977.
  • Bryan Burrough, a 23-year-old stockbroker owned Corbiere, who was trained by Jenny Pitman, to win in 1983. Brian Walsh was 26 when Silver Birch took the 2007 renewal.

 

2018 Grand National Colours and Silks

When picking a horse to back for the Grand National, many times the form book goes out of the window. This is often the case with ‘once-a-year’ punters preferring to keep things simple. These punters often opt for the best-looking jockey silks or even side with their favourite colours. If you follow horse racing, you’ll know that the colours a jockey wears won’t impact the chance of winning. If you’ve studied the form, you won’t care if the jockey is wearing pink polka dots on his silks. Here’s a little more on Grand National colours.

 

GRAND NATIONAL COLOURS – WHY DO JOCKEYS WEAR DIFFERENT SILKS?

The Jockey Silks Are To Help Commentators and Punters – The main reason why jockeys wear different colours is so punters (and the race commentators in the modern era) can tell the horses apart. The Jockey Club first introduced jockey silks in 1762 after many racegoers complained that they didn’t know which horses were which. Imagine having 40 horses in the Grand National and all jockeys are wearing black. You’d be none the wiser if your horses was winning, fallen or in last place!

 

WHAT DO GRAND NATIONAL COLOURS MEAN AND HOW ARE THEY CHOSEN?

In the early days of jockey silks the Jockey Club introduced plain colours to keep things simple. But in the modern era there are hundreds of different styles and colours, plus some more recognisable than others.

The silks are actually associated with the owner of each horse and not the jockeys. Therefore, if a jockey has 6 rides at a meeting on a particular day there is a good chance they will be getting changed into new silks for each race.

Once an owner registers his colours with the jockey club then each horse they own will run in those colours.

 

WHAT IF THE SAME OWNER HAS MORE THAN ONE HORSE IN THE SAME RACE?

It’s actually more common than you think. Yes, the business of owning a race horse is an expensive one. But there are also a lot of very wealthy owners in the sport that have a whole string of horses.

Therefore, there is every chance these big owners will have more than one runner in certain races – so what happens?

It’s simple, they just change the colour of the cap. So, they will run with the same main silk colours (design). But depending on how many horses that owner has in the race, each jockey will wear a different colour cap so punters can still tell them apart.

The jockey wearing the original colour cap will generally be thought to be riding what the owner thinks is his best chance in the race. But it doesn’t always pan out like that – after all this is horse racing and anything can happen!

A recent Grand National example of this would be in the 2016 running of the race as the eventual winner – Rule The World – who is owned by one of Ireland’s biggest owners – The Gigginstown House Stud. They actually had three horses in the 2016 Grand National – First Lieutenant, Sir Des Champs and the winner – Rule The World. However, the winner was actually wearing a blue cap (not the original first choice maroon star), or even the second string white cap that Sir Des Champs wore.

The other main jumps owner that punters will recognise are the green and gold horizontal stripes of popular Irish owner JP McManus. He’s won the Grand National once before (Don’t Push It, 2010), and actually had four runners in the already mentioned 2016 Grand National. So, 17.5% of the 40 runners that year were owned by either McManus or Gigginstown!

 

ARE THERE ANY LUCKY GRAND NATIONAL COLOURS?

With 40 runners heading to post each year then it’s not really the kind of race you see the same horse winning – after all the last horse to win back-to-back Grand Nationals was the mighty Red Rum in the 1970’s. However, whereas we’ve not seen a repeat winner for over 40 years ,we have had an owner that’s won the race three times since 2005!

Step forward – Trevor Hemmings.

His famous green and yellow quartered silks were worn by the 2005 winner – Hedgehunter, the 2011 hero Ballabriggs and most recently in 2015 by Many Clouds. All three were trained by different stables too as Mr Hemmings likes to spread his horses around. Hedgehunter was trained by Willie Mullins in Ireland, while Ballabriggs was for Donald McCain and Many Clouds gave trainer Oliver Sherwood his first Grand National winner.

 

PICKING YOUR GRAND NATIONAL WINNER BY THE JOCKEYS SILKS

Over the years, whether you are a ‘once-a-year’ punter or not you will start to remember certain Grand National colours popping up year-after-year. We’ve already mentioned the big owners like Trevor Hemmings, JP McManus and Gigginstown House Stud so racing fans will always latch onto horses that are running for these powerful owners.

However, some Grand National bets will simple be placed on a horse that has a jockey wearing a set of silks that stand out, or even a favourite colour. The same rule applies to certain names of horses with non-racing fans latching on to memorable names that might have a connection with their own lives. If your favourite colour is pink and you spot a horse with a jockey wearing pink then there is every chance you might be drawn to that runner.

 

SOME JOCKEYS ARE RETAINED BY CERTAIN OWNERS

Once an owner has a horse that makes the final 40 runners in the Grand National his next job is to find a jockey that will ride it. It goes without saying – just like in any sport – the top jockeys with plenty of experience, or ones that have ridden winners in the race before, will be hot property.

However, some jockeys don’t get much of a choice. Big owners – like JP McManus – might have what’s called a ‘retained jockey’ and this means that jockey will ride all their horses. Yes, if – like we’ve mentioned – that owner has a few horses in the race then that retained jockey will have a choice to make on which horse to ride – and they don’t always get it right!

Preventing Grand National Deaths | Horse & Jockey Safety and Welfare

In the build-up to the Grand National, there are always safety and welfare issues that are raised. The 2018 Grand National is expected to be no different. Since the year 2000, there have been eleven Grand National deaths. But in general, deaths in horse racing are still fairly rare. On average, one horse dies for every 250 races run. Having said that, the figures for the Grand National are a lot worse. Between the years 2000 and 2010 there were seven fatalities from the 439 horses that went to post.Over the years Aintree race officials and the British Horse Racing Authority have introduced a number of safety-related changes to the Grand National to make the race safer. This is not only focused around the horses, but also the jockeys. 40 horses running over 30 of the most demanding fences naturally comes with it’s risks. Animal welfare

organisations had long been lobbying for the race to be altered, or even banned altogether.However, in recent times, things have certainly improved on the safety and death toll front. The last of Grand National deaths being Synchronised in 2012. The 2017 race saw just four horses unseat their riders and another four fall. This means 32 either finished the race or were pulled-up without taking a tumble or losing their jockey.

GRAND NATIONAL HORSE WELFARE STATISTICS

YearRunnerUnseatsFalls
20174044
20163965
20153929
20144068
20134062
201240611

PREVENTING GRAND NATIONAL DEATHS – HORSE SAFETY MEASURES

This recent improvement has been put down to several factors. These include altering the fences and also reducing the actual length of the race.

From 2016, the Grand National distance was shortened from 4m4f (4 ½ miles) to 4m2f. The thinking behind this was to reduce the length of time it took to get to the first fence. There are 40 horses that are revved-up at the start of the race. Therefore, there was a tendency to head towards the first fence too quickly, resulting in mistakes and falls.

Other alterations to the fences have included adding in plastic inserts to make the centre of certain obstacles more forgiving. With 16 fences, 14 of which are jumped twice, these changes have clearly made a big difference. Another area the welfare campaigners have focused on in recent times has been the landing side of certain fences being lower than the take-off side. This clearly adds to the difficulty for both horse and jockey with those against it seeing this as a way of tricking the horses. To combat this the Aintree track have made various alterations to the landing side of certain key fences – like Bechers Brook – making the landing side level a lot closer to the take-off side.

The welfare surrounding the Grand National is also not just during the race, but after the contest. The Aintree track and racing officials have put ‘hosing down’ facilities in place to quickly cool down the runners.

In a race like the Grand National there is always going to be people that oppose the race. However, with changes to the length of the course and certain fences, it’s clear these have made a positive impact to the reduction of Grand National deaths in recent years .

The Grand National is billed as the world’s greatest steeplechase. The event provides a stern test for both horse and jockey. Of course, everyone inside and outside of racing wants to make the race as safe as possible, but officials also have to strike a balance that keeps the test of winning the Grand National a unique one and at the moment it looks like they are achieving just that.

 

What time is the Grand National 2018?

You can watch the Grand National at 5:15pm on Saturday 14th April 2018 on ITV1

So, when is the Grand National 2018?

This year, the tapes go up on the 2018 Aintree Grand National Meeting on Thursday 12th April with the Grand National Start times first race at 1:45pm and broadcasting beginning for the race at 2:20pm on ITV1. The Aintree Grand National Festival is always spread over three days (Thursday-Saturday) with the Grand National staged on the Saturday. The gates open at 10:30am each day so racegoers have time to get into the course. The action continues over the three day event. Friday 13th April is Ladies Day and Grand National Day is the sell out day on Saturday 14th April 2018.

 

WHAT DATE AND TIME IS THE GRAND NATIONAL?

In recent years the Grand National start times have been put back to 5:15pm and is now shown on ITV1. The later race time is mainly to attract more viewers as when the race was run around 4pm there were generally a lot of other sporting events – like football – going on at that time too. So now you can watch the Grand National at 5:15pm on Saturday 14th April 2018.

As the Aintree gates open around 10:30am each day, racegoers will have plenty of time to get into the course before the first race. With bars and restaurants open all day, plus corporate boxes and suites offering lunch before the racing starts, then many racegoers will flock to the track between 10:30am and 11am in order to make the most of their day.

The track will also have other entertainment going on so if you are attending the 2018 Grand National Meeting on any of the three days then be sure to explore. Generally, there are shops and stalls onsite that will sell anything things like racing fashion or racing memorabilia like pictures or books.

Also look out for competitions dotted around the track – for example ‘Best Dressed Lady’, Best ‘Dressed Man’, or ‘Best Dressed Couple’. There can often be some decent sponsors prizes for the winners, like cash or even a car! To help you plan your Grand National Day here are the expected running times for each race over the three days.

Grand National Thursday – A Day for Champions

In 2018 the opening day of the Aintree Grand National Meeting will also have a new look and feel. Grand National Thursday is set to honour the local sporting talent that’s come out of Merseyside with a ‘Champions Lounge’.The three-day Aintree gets going each year on the Thursday. Despite the crowds being nowhere near as big as Grand National Day, it’s still a hugely popular day on the jump racing calendar. The Aintree racecourse can still expect around 35,000 people to come through the turnstiles and outside the Cheltenham Festival this is one of the most popular racing days for jump racing fans. The racing gets going on Merseyside at 1:45pm and with seven top-class races to enjoy the Thursday card always attracts runners from National Hunt yards from both the UK and Ireland.

WHEN IS GRAND NATIONAL THURSDAY?

The date of the Aintree Grand National Meeting can often vary and this is mainly due when Easter falls each year. In 2018 the three-day meeting is actually a bit later that usual with Easter Sunday being on April 1st this year. This is great news for both trainers and punters though as the gap between the Cheltenham Festival and the Aintree Grand National Meeting in 2018 is longer than some previous years.

With the 2018 Cheltenham Festival finishing on Friday 16th March, and the opening day of the 2018 Aintree not until the 12th April then there is a full 26 days between the two. This gives horses, that would have raced at Cheltenham, a little bit longer to recover, plus it also gives trainers more time to prepare their runners – meaning there’s a much better chance we’ll see the top horses running at both these big festivals in 2018.

 WHY GO TO GRAND NATIONAL THURSDAY?

The event will open day one with a new name ‘A Day For Champions’ with the main attraction being a Champions Lounge where racegoers can chat to sporting heroes from both past and present. The lounge will be hosted by BBC Breakfast’s Dan Walker next to the Aintree parade ring. Q&A sessions with rumoured stars like Michael Owen, Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Sharp and Olympic gold medallist Sam Quek ready to mingle with the Aintree race goers.

Some say this is the BEST day on the UK Jump Racing calendar offering FOUR grade one races. A number of Merseyside sporting champions will be there for the new Opening Ceremony, and attending the new Champions Lounge. Aintree will also use this day to collaborate with the RAF for their centenary celebrations.

GRAND NATIONAL THURSDAY RACE TIMES & RUNNING ORDER

 

  • 45 The Merseyrail Manifesto Novices’ Steeple Chase (Grade 1) 2m 4f 100,000
  • 20 The Doom Bar Anniversary 4YO Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 1f 100,000
  • 50 The Betway Bowl Steeple Chase (Grade 1) 3m 1f 150,000
  • 25 The Betway Aintree Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 4f 200,000
  • 05 The Randox Health Foxhunters’ Steeple Chase (Class 2) 2m 5f 40,000
  • 40 The Betway Red Rum Handicap Steeple Chase (Grade 3) 2m 90,000
  • 15 The Goffs Nickel Coin Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat (Grade 2) 2m 1f 45,000

 Aintree Grand National Ladies Day

The three-day Aintree Grand National Meeting continues each year on the Friday with Ladies Day. This day, in modern times has been earmarked by many as the ‘fun day’ of the the Grand National festival. Dubbed #FabulousFriday, you can expect a sea of fashion, bubbles and famous faces. With a bigger 45,000 crowd expected at the Grand National Ladies Day 2018, attendance ramps-up from the opening day. While there are high calibre races to bet on, it’s generally party-time for much of the afternoon.Of course, there is top-class racing to enjoy too with seven decent contests that start at 1.40pm. But for many of the 45,000 crowd, the attention is primarily on the other side of the track, with events like the ‘Style Award’. Style Ambassadors mingle with the crowds in the the Red Rum Garden to find the winner of this coveted award. With big prizes like cars, holidays and cash up for grabs, Grand National Ladies Day is a hugely popular day in the UK Jump racing calendar.In 2018 the day also falls on Friday 13th, so let’s hope it’s not an unlucky one for punters! In recent years, the day has also become famous for celebrities, mainly in the Liverpool and Manchester areas, making an appearance at the track – with Coleen Rooney being a current example. With many tabloid newspapers covering the day, this day has a certain hype for the who’s who of the glossy magazines.

 

WHAT IS THE GRAND NATIONAL LADIES DAY DRESS CODE?

Believe it, or not and unlike Royal Ascot Ladies Day, there is no official dress code for Ladies Day.

However, if you did turn up on Ladies day in tracksuit bottoms and a t-shirt, not only would you feel extremely out of place there is a chance you’d not be let in anyway.

Ladies Day is called that for a reason. If you are attending then you have to get into to spirit of the day and dress up. For the ladies this means colourful dress and hats, while for the men you’ll look out of place if you are wearing anything but smart trousers a shirt and a jacket!

 

HOW MUCH DO GRAND NATIONAL LADIES DAY TICKETS COST?

With demand up, prices are also on the increase on Ladies Day. The cheapest ticket £43 for entry into the Tattersalls Stand.

This goes up to £115 for an upper seat in the Lord Sefton Stand, or if you prefer something a bit more in the middle of the Tattersalls and the Lord Sefton Stand then the Lord Daresbury or Princess Royal Roof options at £88 might appeal.

 

AINTREE LADIES DAY’ – FRIDAY 13TH APRIL 2018 RACE TIMES

  • 40 The Alder Hey Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 4f 70,000
  • 20 The Crabbie’s Top Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m ½f 100,000
  • 50 The Betway Mildmay Novices’ Steeple Chase (Grade 1) 3m 1f 100,000
  • 25 The JLT Melling Steeple Chase (Grade 1) 2m 4f 200,000
  • 05 The Randox Health Topham Steeple Chase (Grade 3) 2m 5f 120,000
  • 40 The Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 3m ½f 100,000
  • 15 The Weatherbys Champion Standard Open NH Flat (Grade 2) 2m 1f 45,000

 

Getting to Aintree

Aintree Racecourse is situated on the outskirts of Liverpool, just one mile from the M57 and M58, which link the M62 and M6. Follow the A59 to Liverpool and the signs as you approach the racecourse for routes to the car parks. Many races are held at Aintree, the most important of which is the Grand National. Full address: Aintree Racecourse, Ormskirk Road, Aintree, Liverpool. L9 5AS.

 

GETTING TO AINTREE RACECOURSE BY CAR

  • From the South:
    Leave M6 at J21A and join M62 west. Leave M62 at J6 to join M57, follow signs for the races.
  • From the North:
    Leave M6 at J26 and join M58, follow signs for the races.
  • From Mersey Tunnel:
    Follow signs for Preston, then for A59, then signs for the races.

 

AINTREE RACECOURSE CAR PARKING

Limited on-course parking is available for the Grand National meeting. This can be booked by calling the booking line on 0844 579 3001.

Other than Steeplechase and County Car Parking, there is no other car parking in and around Aintree Racecourse. Buses, taxis, private hire and trains all operate to Aintree and special arrangements will have been made for them.

 

GETTING TO AINTREE RACECOURSE BY BUS

Take bus services: 300, 311, 345, 350 and 351 both to and from Liverpool. From Bootle New Strand take route 61A. For further information on bus routes, contact Traveline or visit Mersey Travel.

 

GETTING TO AINTREE RACECOURSE BY RAIL

The nearest mainline station to Aintree is Liverpool Lime Street. Liverpool Central Station is just a short walk from Lime Street, and from here you can catch a train to Aintree. Trains depart from Liverpool Central every 7 and a half minutes during the Grand National, and every fifteen minutes on race days outside of the Grand National. It takes fifteen minutes to get to Aintree on the train, and Aintree Station is directly opposite the racecourse.

Rail enquiries: 08457 48 49 50
Merseytravel: 0871 200 22 33

 

GETTING TO AINTREE RACECOURSE BY AIR

Liverpool John Lennon Airport is the nearest airport to the racecourse and is a 20 minute drive by road. Alternatively, take a bus to Liverpool South Parkway Merseyrail station where you can catch a train to Aintree (change at Liverpool Central or Moorfields onto the Ormskirk train). Manchester Airport is approximately a 45 minute drive by road.

 

Grand National Stands and Enclosures

 

GRAND NATIONAL STANDS

Aintree has five main grandstands. These include; The Princess Royal Stand, The County Stand, The Queen Mother Stand, The Earl of Derby Stand and The Lord Sefton Stand. Within the Grandstands, racegoers can purchase a choice of standing or reserved seat badges. All Grand National stands have full bar, catering and betting facilities.

 

PRINCESS ROYAL STAND

Seats: Always in popular demand, these seats offer excellent views overlooking the home straight. However, enhancements to the seats make this enclosure one of the most sought after places on the racecourse. Firstly, the enhancements include a newly extended and refurbished lounge with Champagne and Seafood concessions. The stand is situated between the Chair and the Water Jump, hence, offering a view of the final 200 metres. The seats in this stand are mostly undercover.

Roof: Is partially covered standing area, with the Tommy Wallis Suite as its dedicated bar. This enclosure offers a unique vantage point over the racecourse. It is the most suited of the Grand National stands for viewing the exciting final few minutes of every race.

 

COUNTY STAND

Roof: With a birds-eye view directly over the winning post, you can always see who’s won before anyone else. A beautiful uncovered area, as well as traditional architecture ensure this standing enclosure is popular with racegoers.

 

QUEEN MOTHER STAND

Seats: Located close to the start and finish lines and adjacent to the Red Rum Garden, the Queen Mother Stand excellent. It is completely covered, therefore protecting racegoers from the elements. Queen Mother Seats are accessed from the front of the grandstand. Grandstand badges provide designated tote betting within each enclosure, big screen viewing and access to the Parade Ring and Winner’s Enclosure.

Queen Mother Stand Seats are the only section of Grand National stands that are also available with Winner’s Bar badges. Furthermore, the Winner’s Bar occupies the former Weighing Room. Its walls are covered with historical artefacts and tributes to Grand National legends.

Roof: Located just yards past the Grand National finish line, the Queen Mother Stand Roof offers premium standing viewing. It’s close to where the horses enter the racecourse, the Parade Ring and Winner’s Enclosure. It’s also not far from the Red Rum Garden.

 

EARL OF DERBY AND LORD SEFTON STANDS

Seats: Open for the first time at the 2007 Grand National meeting, the Earl of Derby and Lord Sefton grandstands were designed to offer first-class viewing facilities for the 21st century spectator. Subsequently, both stands fit the brief perfectly.

 

Each of these Grand National stands provide two levels of tiered, covered seating (Upper and Lower), higher than any other seated enclosure at Aintree and hence provide breathtaking views over the entire course. Both levels permit access to a private saddle bar overlooking the horse-walk tunnel and Parade Ring, ensuring racegoers are in the hub of the day’s excitement.

Set at a unique angle, overlooking the Grand National start and finish, you probably won’t want to leave your seat all day. Finally, the tiers of seats leave you with a 360° impression of the famous course – the place to be to soak up the magic that is Aintree.

Terraces: Not to be confused with roof badges, the terraces are lower than other standing enclosures but offer a prime spot, closer to the action than anywhere else on the racecourse. Located either side of the horse walk, be the first to cheer a winner on its way back to the Winner’s Enclosure as well as witness the colourful preparations of horses and jockeys at the Grand National start.

 

WEST TIP SEATS

Part of the atmospheric Tattersalls Enclosure, these covered, temporary seats offer great views up the home straight. With a dedicated bar for West Tip seats, you can enjoy luxury, as well as explore the rest of the Tattersalls Enclosure. These seats are always in great demand, so early booking is essential to avoid disappointment.

 

THE TATTERSALLS ENCLOSURE

The Tattersalls Enclosure was greatly enhanced in 2007 with the completion of the new Aintree Pavilion. This new permanent facility supplies one of the largest and most atmospheric enclosures. As well as permitting access to the new Aintree Pavilion, Tattersalls tickets allow racegoers to sample bars and catering areas within the Red Rum Garden and the legendary Irish bar within the Princess Royal Stand. Tattersalls tickets also permit access for viewing of the Parade Ring and Winner’s Enclosure, ensuring you sample the best of Aintree’s unique atmosphere during your visit.

From the Tattersalls Enclosure, racing is mainly viewed from the large Aintree Mound in front of the Aintree Pavilion. Although this facility is not undercover, it does offer great views of the horses racing up the home straight. There is large-screen TV viewing directly in front of the mound. Live music can be found in various locations within the Tattersalls Enclosure, ensuring racegoers are entertained throughout the day.

Steeplechase Enclosure
The Steeplechase Enclosure is a great place to experience the atmosphere of the Grand National. Situated on the far side of the Melling Road, this enclosure allows great viewing of the Grand National itself. A new seating facility, overlooking the Mildmay course, has been created so this Grand National Stands offers viewing of all other races. It is open on Grand National day only. There is no access to the Parade Ring or Winner’s Enclosure from this area. However this area does have its own bars, catering, betting facilities, big screen viewing and live entertainment.

 

Platinum County Lounge
The newest style bar experience at the racecourse today. This exclusive lounge area offers racegoers comfort and luxury for a special day at the Grand National. With reserved covered seats in the County Stand, overlooking the Water Jump and Winning Post, you’re therefore in prime position. You’ll receive premium benefits in this VIP facility. This exclusive area features a private entrance, a reserved seat, complimentary racecard, raceday hostess plus a souvenir badge. Last but not least, you’ll have access to a dedicated Champagne bar (open for an additional hour following the final race). Although this package is not inclusive of food or drink, there is access to the luxury catering concessions.

 

PARADE RING AND WINNER’S ENCLOSURE

The Winner’s Enclosure at Aintree has provided some of the sport’s most memorable and compelling images. Over the years, this is where ecstatic connections have greeted their returning hero. However, 2006 marked the opening of a new Parade Ring, incorporating the Winner’s Enclosure for the Grand National. The new facilities are designed to allow many more racegoers to witness these thrilling scenes.

 

CAR PARKING

There is limited car parking for a fee at the racecourse. The easiest way to reach Aintree is therefore by rail, with Aintree Station directly opposite the racecourse. Limited on-course parking is available with the Steeplechase parking being the nearest car park. This can be booked from August 2011 by calling the course’s Booking Line on 0844 579 3001.

Other than Steeplechase and County Car Parking, there is no other car parking in and around Aintree Racecourse. Buses, taxis, private hire and trains all operate to Aintree and special arrangements have been made for them.

 

DISABLED FACILITIES

The County carpark, situated next to the racecourse, is suitable for disabled parking. However, all spaces are limited, consequently, early booking is absolutely essential for access to Grand National stands. The Princess Royal Stand and Queen Mother Stand offer the best disabled facilities. There are toilets and lift access on all floors.

 

DRESS CODE

Although there is no official dress code, smart is preferable. Sports clothes and fancy dress are subsequently not permitted in the Grand National stands.

 

PICNICS

Food and drink cannot be brought onto the racecourse and will be confiscated by security staff upon arrival. Aintree has a wide range of food and drink concessions on offer in all enclosures. As a result, picnics can only be consumed in the Steeplechase Car Park.

 

OPENING TIMES

Open from 10am on each day of the meeting, get to Aintree early to make the most of your day. Make sure to allow for racecourse security procedures.

 

RACE TIMES

Thursday’s and Friday’s races start at 2pm, whilst on Saturday; racing begins at the slightly earlier time of 1.45pm. The Grand National itself is at 4.15pm. On each day, racing concludes at around 5.30pm.

 

Grand National Prize Money | Prize Fund

The Grand National is one of the world’s richest horse races in terms of Grand National Prize Money. With £1 million in total prize money again in 2018, it’s no surprise the race will attract another big field. Over the years the Aintree Grand National has had many race sponsors, Though the current supporter of the world’s Greatest Steeplechase is Randox Health.In recent years we’ve seen Canadian gin firm – Seagram Distillers – sponsor the race from 1984 to 1991. While since then we’ve had Martell (1992-2004), John Smith’s (2005-2013) and Crabbie’s (2014-2016). Plus, unlike the big championship races like the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle, the Grand National is a race that everyday horse racing owners have a chance of winning.Yes, they still need a touch of class and, of course, stamina to win the race. But being a handicap, this always makes the Grand National open to a variety of horses of different ability.

 

We see heavyweight owners like Trevor Hemmings, JP McManus and Gigginstown House Stud win the Grand National. But in recent years we’ve also seen Grand National Prize money going to the likes of Auroras Encore, Pineau De Re and One For Arthur. They are winning the race for everyday owners, that might only have a few horses running under their name.https://betkingcompare.co.uk/betting/where-can-i-get-free-bets/

 

GRAND NATIONAL PRIZE MONEY BREAKDOWN

In the Grand National 2017, we saw the Lucinda Russell-trained One For Arthur win the race at 14/1 for owners Deborah Thompson and Belinda McClung. These two unknown owners hit the big-time when landing the £560k first prize. With a £1million prize haul, it pays out even on the 10th-placed horse. Getting £1k for just completing the course can pay it’s way.

With 40 runners, this means only 25% of the horses will get prize money. But going down to 10th place is much further down than any other race on the racing calendar.

The winner receives a cool £561k – a life-changing amount for most horse racing owners, plus with all the spin-offs and public appearances at Grand National winner can make afterwards then many boast their earning this way too. With a £350k difference between finishing first and second, the stakes are high. Just a nose – like in 2012 when Neptune Collonges beat Sunnyhillboy can be a bitter blow for the runner-up – not just in the prestige of winning the Grand National, but also by the small sum of £350k!

Third takes home just over £100k, while 4th pockets £52k in cash, with 5th netting £26k – not a bad day’s work if you can get it!

 

GRAND NATIONAL PRIZE MONEY JOCKEYS

In terms of the jockeys, a National Hunt rider will receive in the region of approx £169.85 over jumps per ride, which in the whole scheme of things when it comes to the Grand National is pretty insignificant. We are sure most jockeys would ride in the race for free!!

Some jockeys have personal arrangements with owners and they receive a riders’ retainers fee for riding all that owners horses. Powerful owners like JP McManus is an example of this, who has had AP McCoy riding for him in the past for a reported £1million a year.

As well as their riders’ fees, the winning jockeys will also get a percentage of the prize money. On average this is around 8-8.5% for a winning ride, or 4-5% for a placed finish. Therefore, based on this the winning jockey of the Grand National in the present day will pocket around £45k for riding the winner!

 

GRAND NATIONAL PRIZE MONEY BREAKDOWN

1st £561,300
2nd £211,100
3rd £105,500
4th £52,700
5th £26,500
6th £13,200
7th £6,800
8th £3,600
9th £2,000
10th £1,000

 

Grand National Fences and Course

The Grand National fences are the ultimate test of horse and jockey. The race comprises two full circuits of a unique 2¼ mile (3,600 metres) course. Along the way, challengers face 30 of the most testing fences in the world of jump racing.The Grand National was originally designed as a cross-country steeplechase when it was first officially run in 1839. The runners started on the edge of the racecourse, racing out over open countryside towards the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. The gates, hedges and ditches that they met along the way were flagged. These provided them with the earliest incarnation of today’s Grand National fences to be jumped along the way.

 

Posts and rails erected at the two points where the runners jumped a brook.The runners returned by running along the edge of the canal before re-entering the course at the opposite end. The runners then ran the length of the racecourse before the second circuit and finish at the stands. The majority of the race therefore took place not on the actual Aintree Racecourse but instead in the adjoining countryside. That countryside was incorporated into the modern course but commentators still often refer to it as “the country”. This confuses millions of once-a-year racing viewers.Nowadays, around 150 tonnes of spruce branches from the Lake District, are used to dress the Grand National fences. Each fence used to be made from a wooden frame and covered with the distinctive green spruce. However, a radical change for the 2013 renewal saw that frame replaced by a softer material known as “plastic birch”.

 

SAFETY CHANGES TO THE GRAND NATIONAL FENCES

Following safety reviews after both the 2011 and 2012 renewals, a number of changes were made to the course. This included some reductions in Grand National fences or the drop after fences, plus the levelling of landing zones.

Since 2013, the start of the race is now 90 yards closer to the first fence. This reduced the race to four miles and three-and-a-half furlongs, from four-and-a-half miles. Measures were also introduced to stop horses getting caught up in the starting tape.

In particular, the start now includes the ‘no-go’ zone. This is defined by a line on the track extended from 15 to 30 yards from the starting tape. The starter’s rostrum has been moved to a position between the starting tape and the ‘no-go’ zone. This reduces the potential for horses to go through the starting tape prematurely.

The tapes themselves are also more user-friendly, with increased visibility. While there is now a specific briefing between the starters’ team and the jockeys on Grand National day.

The changes to the start are aimed at slowing the speed the first fence is approached at. While moving the start further away from the crowd reduces noise that can distract the horses.

The makeup of all of the Grand National fences changed significantly in 2013. The new fences are still covered in spruce, but wooden posts have been replaced by “plastic birch”. On top of that birch, there’s fourteen to sixteen inches of spruce that the horses can knock off. The outward appearance of the Grand National fences remains the same.

Other measures included £100,000 being invested in irrigation to produce the safest jumping ground possible. This includes a new bypass and pen around fence four to catch riderless horses.

 

THE START

There is a hazard to overcome even before the race starts. The build up, parade and re-girthing prior to the off lasts for around 25 minutes. This is over double the time it takes for any other race.

With 40 starters, riders naturally want a good sight of the first fence. After the long build-up, their nerves are stretched to breaking point. This means the stewards’ pre-race warning to go steady is often totally ignored.

 

THE GRAND NATIONAL FENCES

1 & 17: Thorn fence, 4ft 6in high, 2ft 9in wide – The first often claims many victims as horses tend to travel to it far too keenly. As described above, the drop on the landing side was reduced in 2011.

2 & 18: Almost the same height as the first but much wider at 3ft 6in. Prior to 1888, the first two fences were located halfway between the first to second and second to third jumps. The fence became known as The Fan after a mare refused at the obstacle three years in succession. But it lost that name when the fences were relocated.

3 & 19 Westhead: This is the first big test with a 6ft ditch on the approach guarding a 4ft 10in high fence.

4 & 20: Plain fence, 4ft 10in high and 3ft wide. In 2011, the 20th became the first fence in Grand National history to be bypassed. It followed an equine fatality on the first circuit. In 2012, it was reduced in height by 2 inches to 4 foot 10 inches (1.47 metres). It was regarded as the hardest fence on the course to jump, along with Becher’s Brook. Its landing area was smoothed out ahead of the 2013 race.

5 & 21: Spruce dressed fence, 5ft high and 3ft 6in wide. Its landing side was also levelled in 2013. It was bypassed on the final lap for the first time in 2012. Medics needed treat a jockey who fell from his mount on the first lap and had broken a leg.

 

BECHER’S BROOK

6 & 22 Becher’s Brook: Although the fence looks innocuous from the take-off side, the steep drop on the landing side, together with a left-hand turn on landing, combine to make this the most thrilling and famous fence in the horse racing world. The fence actually measures well over 6 ft on the landing side. A drop of between 5 and 10 in from take off lies on the other side. Horses are not expecting the ground the disappear under them on landing. Riders need to sit back and use their body weight to act as ballast to keep the horses stable.

As described above, there have been a number of alterations to make it fairer and safer for horse and rider. The whole field managed to clear the obstacle on the first circuit last year.

Becher’s Brook earned its name as one of the most famous Grand National fences when a top jockey, Captain Martin Becher, took shelter in the brook after being unseated. “Water tastes disgusting without the benefits of whisky” he reflected.

7 & 23 Foinavon Fence: Basically an ‘ordinary’ fence (4ft 6in high and 3ft wide) that was made famous in 1967 when Fionavon was the only horse to scramble over it at the first time of asking, following a mass pile-up. The jump is the smallest on the course. Though, coming straight after the biggest drop, it can catch horses and riders out.

THE CANAL TURN

8 & 24 Canal Turn: Made of hawthorn stakes covered in Norway spruce, it gets its name from the fact that there is a canal in front of the horses when they land. To avoid it, they must turn a full 90 degrees when they touch down.

The race can be won or lost here. A diagonal leap, taking the fence at a scary angle reduces the turn on landing. With 30 or more horses often standing at this point, not every rider has the option to take this daring passage. Before the First World War, it was not uncommon for loose horses to continue straight after the jump. They’d end up in the Leeds and Liverpool Canal itself. There was once a ditch before the fence but this was filled in after a mêlée in the 1928 race.

VALENTINE’S BROOK

9 & 25 Valentine’s Brook: The third of four famous fences to be jumped in succession. It is 5ft high and 3ft 3in wide with a brook on the landing side that’s about 5ft 6in wide. The fence was originally known as the Second Brook. But it was renamed after a horse named Valentine was reputed to have jumped the fence hind legs first in 1840.

10 & 26: Thorn fence, 5ft high and 3ft wide that leads the runners alongside the canal towards two ditches.

11 & 27 Booth: The main problem with this fence, which is 5ft high and 3ft wide, is the 6ft wide ditch on the take-off side.

12 & 28: Same size as the two previous fences, but with a 5ft 6in ditch on the landing side, which can catch runners out.

The runners then cross the Melling Road near to the Anchor Bridge. It’s a popular vantage point since the earliest days of the race. This also marks the point where the runners are said to be re-entering the “racecourse proper”. In the early days it was thought there was an obstacle near this point known as the Table Jump. It may have resembled a bank like those seen at Punchestown in Ireland. In the 1840s the Melling Road was also flanked by hedges and the runners had to jump into the road and then back out.

13 & 29: Second-last fence on the final circuit, it is 4ft 7in high and 3ft wide. This is the other obstacle to have had its landing side smoothed out ahead of the 2013 renewal.

14 & 30: Almost the same height as the previous fence and it is rare for any horse to fall at the final fence in the Grand National.

 

THE CHAIR

15 The Chair: The final two jumps of the first circuit form the only pair negotiated just once. They couldn’t be more different. The Chair is both the tallest (5ft 2in) and broadest fence. It has a 6ft wide ditch on the take-off side.

The landing side turf is actually raised six inches above the take-off ground. This has the opposite effect to the drop at Becher’s. After having stretched to get over the ditch, horses are surprised to find the ground coming up to meet them. This is spectacular when horses get it right and, for all the wrong reasons, when they don’t.

This fence is the site of the only human fatality in the National’s history. Joe Wynne sustained injuries in a fall in 1862. This brought about the ditch on the take-off side of the fence. The fence was the location where a distance judge sat in the earliest days of the race. On the second circuit he would record the finishing order from his position. He would declare any horse that had not passed him before the previous runner passed the finishing post as “distanced”, a non-finisher. The practise ended in the 1850s but the monument where the chair stood is still there.

The fence was originally known as the Monument Jump but The Chair came into more regular use in the 1930s.

16 Water Jump: This 2ft 9in fence brings the first circuit to an end. The sight of the runners jumping it at speed presents a terrific spectacle in front of the grandstands. The fence was originally a stone wall in the very early Grand Nationals. On the final circuit, after the 30th fence, the remaining runners bear right, avoiding The Chair and Water Jump, to head onto a “run-in” to the finishing post.

 

THE FINISH

The 474-yard long run in from the final fence to the finish is the longest in the country. It has an acute elbow halfway up it that further drains the stamina reserves of both horse and jockey.

For numerous riders, this elongated run-in has proved mental and physical agony. The winning post seems to be retreating with every weary stride.

Don’t count your money until the post is reached as with the rest of the Grand National course. The run-in can, and usually does, change fortunes. The likes of Devon Loch, Crisp and Sunnyhillboy have all famously had defeat snatched in heat breaking fashion.

 

COURSE WALKING

No visit to Aintree would be complete without taking the opportunity to see some of these famous fences close up. The whole course can actually be walked on the morning of the race (subject to ground conditions and security requirements). Walkers should leave an hour to do a circuit, which must be completed one hour prior to the first race. Maps, guiding racegoers to the start point, are located around the racecourse.

 

GRAND NATIONAL HANDICAP HISTORY

Historically, the allocation of weights for the Grand National was crucial for the prospects of trainers, jockeys and owners. The Grand National Handicap has cleared the path to big-race glory or produced a burden too heavy to overcome.

Unlike the other most prestigious steeplechase of the year, the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the Grand National is a handicap race. This means horses carry differing weights according to their previous form. The idea behind the Grand National handicap is to make for a more even race. The handicapper’s ultimate (though unfeasible) aim is for all horses to pass the winning post in a dead heat.

The Grand National is the only race where the British Horseracing Authority’s Head of Handicapping, Phil Smith, can use his discretion to determine the weights. He can personally select what each horse will carry and can deviate from the normal handicap ratings.

The “best” horse in the race is given the top weight (about 11st 10lb). The weights allotted to the other horses are set in relation to this. This means if the top-weighted horse drops out, the weights for others may alter but will not change in relation to each other.

 

GRAND NATIONAL HANDICAP MINIMUMS

Even if a horse is allotted 8st 12lbs, it must carry 10 stone, the required minimum. This means some horses will be carrying possibly a stone more than they should be (known as being out of the handicap). This disadvantage should suggest they are likely to perform less well than their rivals. Many punters will automatically put a line through horses who are out of the Grand National handicap. As the quality of the horses has improved, few horses if any are running off anything other than their mark.

In allocating a weight to each horse, handicapper Phil Smith must take a variety of factors into account. This includes form – a horse’s recent/previous performances and the course: the so-called ‘Aintree Factor’. This begs the questions, does the horse like the track? Is (s)he proven over long trips?

The final field is determined by each contender’s rating. The highest-weighted horses given preference in a maximum field of 40.

Until Many Clouds, no horse carrying more than 11st 7lb had won since Red Rum‘s 1977 third victory, (11st 8lb). However, in the 25 runnings between 1984 and 2009 only one winner (Hedgehunter, 2005) carried more than 11st. The win in 2010 of Don’t Push It carrying 11st 5lb clearly heralded a change in this trend. Many Clouds shouldered 11st 9lbs.

 

CHANGES TO THE GRAND NATIONAL HANDICAP

Five of the last seven winners in the Grand National Handicap have carried at least 11st. There is now a widespread view that horses at the top are no longer at a big disadvantage. In part, it’s due to a new formula for handicapping the National devised in 2001. Essentially the handicap has been compressed, decreasing the gap between the top and lowest weighted horses, creating a more competitive race.

According to Phil Smith: “Looking back over the history of the race, we realised that the highly weighted horses had a moderate record, so we thought something needed to be done to try to not overburden the better horses.”

Some 15 years ago, the Grand National field was still largely made up of horses out of the handicap. They were carrying the minimum 10st weight. On the final race card these could sometimes account for 70% of the field. But, as we’ve already said, in the past few years, every horse has got into the handicap proper. In 1999, the lowest-rated horse in the race had an official rating of 110. In the 2011 renewal, the lowest-rated horse, Golden Kite, has a rating of 135. So, the quality of the field increased by 25lbs in that 11 year period. Last year’s bottom weights had a mark of 139.

The result is that the top weighted horses will have only a few pounds more than their rivals. Officials will be giving no more than a stone and a half to any runner. It’s a far cry from a century ago, when Manifesto, the 1897 and 1899 winner, gave 48lb to some horses in the 1900 race.

 

GRAND NATIONAL HANDICAP COMPRESSING

All of this means that shouldering a burden of 11st or more – previously considered insurmountable – is no longer the task it used to be. When Hedgehunter carried 11st 1lb in 2005, he was the first National winner to carry over 11st in 22 years. But 2009 winner, Mon Mome, carried 11st to win the race in a year in which the top four horses all carried 11st or more, whilst the 2010 winner – Don’t Push It – carried 11st 5lb and the runner-up – Black Apalachi – carried 11st 6lb.

In a single, idiosyncratic race like the National, there will always be outsiders. But it is likely that Aintree has seen the last of winners such as Bobbyjo who, carrying 10st in 1999 and racing from 14lbs out of the handicap, streaked to victory by 10 lengths. In fact, the recent dramatic increase in the quality of horses taking part means Bobbyjo wouldn’t have made the starting line in any of the past 10 runnings. According to Smith: “Weight is important but it’s not the be all and end all, it’s just the trainers who think it is.”

Thus, whilst Red Rum remains the last horse to win the Grand National Handicap off top weight (and the first since the 1930s), it may not be long before that achievement is repeated – 2013 winner, Neptune Collonges, was the fifth top weight, whilst only former Gold Cup winner Lord Windamere had more weight than Many Clouds.

As sporting sights go, few can match the sheer excitement of 40 horses thundering towards the first fence at Aintree in the Grand National.

 

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Breakout Gaming Casino does not accept players from the following countries: Afghanistan, Antigua And Barbuda, Anguilla, Netherlands Antilles, Antarctica, Australia, Aland Islands, Belgium, Bulgaria, Bouvet Island, Cocos (keeling) Islands, DRC, Cuba, Curacao, Christmas Island, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Western Sahara, Spain, Falkland Islands (malvinas), France, French Guiana, Alderney, Gibraltar, Greenland, Guadeloupe, Equatorial Guinea, South Georgia And The South Sandwich Islands, Guyana, Hong Kong, Heard Island And Mcdonald Islands, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Isle Of Man, British Indian Ocean Territory, Iraq, Iran, Islamic Republic Of, Italy, Jersey, Japan, Kahnawake, Chosŏn Minjujuŭi Inmin Konghwaguk, Cayman Islands, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Marshall Islands, Myanmar, Macau, Northern Mariana Islands, Martinique, Montserrat, New Caledonia, Norfolk Island, Netherlands, Niue, French Polynesia, Philippines, Poland, Saint Pierre And Miquelon, Pitcairn, Portugal, Reunion, Serbia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Singapore, Saint Helena, Svalbard And Jan Mayen, Syrian Arab Republic, Turks And Caicos Islands, French Southern Territories, Tokelau, East Timor, Turkey, United States Minor Outlying Islands, United States, Holy See (vatican City State), VG, Wallis And Futuna, No license, Yemen, Mayotte, Yugoslavia, and Vatican.

Other Products

In addition to standard casino games, Breakout Gaming also offers their players a full sportsbook as well as a poker client.

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Fun Casino – Bitcoin Accepted!

 Fun Casino Review 

Fun Casino really does live up to its name! Its also without doubt (in our opinion) the best bitcoin casino online. With an almost endless choice of online casinos in 2018 its refreshing when we find a website like this one that really stands out. Its a really nice site with all the popular slots you would expect to find at any other trusted online casino. The welcome offers and ongoing promotions also very generous.

To people who have nothing positive to say about gambling, the level of entertainment, thrill, and fun that it offers to millions of people around the world should be proof that it is going to be around for a long time. With sites like Fun Casino coming onto the scene with new games and models of winning, willing players do not have to travel to Monte Carlo or Las Vegas to join in the fun.

The gambling industry is characterized by competition as new sites devise ways to entice and hold players. The most common strategies for attracting and retaining new players is to offer them bonuses at every stage of play and in other sites just for being logged in. The Fun Casino is likely to be similar in retaining players just like the physical versions did. In essence, we anticipate the site to center its activities on giving players a fun experience.

VISIT FUN CASINO
 
have uk licenseUK LICENSE IN PLACE.
UK-players are accepted.
Casino:Fun Casino
Website: www.funcasino.com
Established:2018
Head office:Malta
Customer Service:E-mail, Live chat, Phone
Mobile support:Yes
 
 
 

 Fun Casino Bonus

Playing for real money requires wagering real money but human nature is such that many people would shy away from putting their money into something they are not sure about. How about free money? Other casino sites are offering bonuses at sign up and when money is deposited.

Players expect Fun Casino to also do the same, first, because others are doing it and second, because giving of free money for gaming is a standard practice of the Fun Casino. Armed with real money, it is up to players to earn real money from gambling.

Awards and bonuses given to those who report wins are another way to entice players to try out new games. We expect players to aim high so it will not be a surprise if Fun Casino becomes one of the most competitive gaming sites.

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 Fun Casino Free Spins

An experienced gambler knows that there is nothing like a sure bet and that is why the general advice given is to wager money you are prepared to lose. That said, most casinos give players an opportunity to win free spins in certain games.

By using Fun Casino free casino, players are using free money to make actual money. You may want to argue that free spins do not equal free money but think about it; you are only allowed to spin the wheel after placing a bet. Spinning without a bet is a free chance at winning. If Fun Casino will offer such opportunities to players, then there is no doubt it will top the charts of the most pocket-friendly casinos online.

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 Graphics & Features at Fun Casino

A walk into a casino may be by accident but beautiful graphics and colorful gaming interfaces are what might make a player to stay on. An online casino might not have room for displaying spin wheels and slot boxes but they can invest in a graphic design team to make the site fun to look at.

Fun Casino through its many years of operating land-based casinos was keen on having an attractive display. Out with the equipment and in with the design team; we expect to be glued to the screen at first glance.

 Top Notch Support at Fun Casino

In a land based casino, an experienced casino manager would ensure that the floor of the casino is going well according to set rules and regulations. To replicate this experience on an online casino, the Fun Casino will definitely invest in training personnel to manage the various interaction points within the site.

Since all other online casinos have working customer support departments, the only difference that Fun Casino is dedication. Having a site representative at all time will help in smooth running of games and gaming events.

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Slots Casino

Slots casino

Slots Casino - Slot Machines have always been the most popular element of any online casino and here at Bet King Compare we have spent 100's of hours testing (basically having fun) and putting together detailed reviews of all the available slots games at popular online casinos.

Most slots fans will have played popular games such as Rainbow Riches, Starburst & Gonzos Quest but in total there are over 1000 slots to choose from so are there any hidden gems that you should be made aware of? Well, we have found one or two!


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Hidden Gems

Aztec Idols - A parody of Indiana Jones, this tomb raiding Aztec Idols mobile slot has a decent RTP (return to player) rate of 96.65%, you are sure to find a few hidden treasures. If you don’t believe us, have a few spins for yourself and have a roam in the deep jungles. Riche Wilde, the main character is a little cheesy for our taste, but the Aztec Idols slot and icons are fun.

Supernova - If you’ve ever wondered just how rewarding watching Supernovas could be – then you’re going to love “Supernova” the online slot game from Quickspin. Get rewarded for spotting all sorts of space stuff from Supernovas to Complex Light Patterns to Wormholes in this unique slot game, whilst get all those rewards multiplied by the special Multiplier Feature which will boost wins up to several times before your bonus gets stopped by a Wormhole.

Cleopatra - The original IGT Cleopatra slot machine out of the Vegas Casinos gets the mobile treatment. Revamped and as great as the original game. This IGT slot will always hold a special place in people’s hearts. There’s not a lot of casinos who haven’t had this slot machine on their shop floor at some point and many, in fact, still do. It’s one of the classic video slots for land based gambling establishments and gamblers love it. Then Cleopatra 2 came along. And then Cleopatra 3. Each an improvement on the other.

Mega Fortune - What can we say about Mega Fortune slot that hasn’t been said a million times before? Well for one, what are your chances of winning the Mega Fortune jackpot on your mobile? And does it play as well on Android as your iOS device? Mega Fortune mobile slot is one of the best jackpot slots around. We saw no major differences in terms of game play or quality between all the devices. Mega Fortune Touch works great, whether as a, Android slot, iPad slot or an iPhone slot.

Treasure of Troy - With 1024 ways to win and seamless game play, we highly recommend Treasures of Troy mobile slot.You’ll notice two things about this IGT slot. One, the (at first appearance) complicated Multiway Xtra win mechanics that give this slot 1024 ways to win. The second is that if you play Treasures of Troy free, the betting limit is ridiculously high. Well don’t worry, in real money play, this goes down to normal levels.


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sports betting

Cheltenham Gold Cup Runners

Cheltenham Gold Cup Runners

16 Mar 2018 15:30 Cheltenham

Winner: £649,380 (Penalty: £369,822 )
Distance: 3m 2f 70y;
Class: 1;
Eligibility: 5YO plus.

Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase (Grade 1)

No/
(Draw)
Horse/JockeyOdds
1
(0)
Light green, white stars, royal blue sleeves, light green stars, light green cap, royal blue starAMERICAN
N D Fehily
25/1
2
(0)
Emerald green, yellow hoops, royal blue capANIBALE FLY
B J Geraghty
22/1
3
(0)
Light blue, orange star, light blue sleeves, orange stars, light blue cap, orange starBACHASSON
D E Mullins
33/1 
4
(0)
Light green, dark green chevrons, red sleeves, white and red striped capDEFINITLY RED
Danny Cook
10/1
5
(0)
Pink, light green spots, pink sleeves and capDJAKADAM
Mr P W Mullins
28/1
6
(0)
Light blue, royal blue star, white and royal blue check sleeves and capDOUBLE SHUFFLE
A P Heskin
40/1
7
(0)
Emerald green, yellow hoops, white capEDWULF
Mr Derek O’Connor
16/1
8
(0)
Royal blue and white stripes, white sleevesKILLULTAGH VIC
P Townend
9/1
9
(0)
Light blue and yellow check, orange and black hooped sleeves and capMIGHT BITE
Nico de Boinville
4/1
10
(0)
Emerald Green, Yellow hoops, Emerald Green cap, White starMINELLA ROCCO
M P Walsh
22/1
11
(0)
Red and purple (quartered), yellow sleeves, red capNATIVE RIVER
R Johnson
4/1
12
(0)
White, emerald green star, striped sleeves and stars on capOUR DUKE
R M Power
5/1
13
(0)
Maroon, white star & armlet, white capOUTLANDER
J W Kennedy
28/1
14
(0)
Maroon, white star, armlets and star on capROAD TO RESPECT
S W Flanagan
11/1
15
(0)
Black and white (halved), red sleeves and capSAPHIR DU RHEU
Sam Twiston-Davies
66/1
16
(0)
Beige, grey epauletsSHANTOU FLYER
James Bowen
100/1
17
(0)
Orange, black star and star on capTEA FOR TWO
Lizzie Kelly
66/1
18
(0)
Red, white chevron, white chevrons on sleeves, quartered capTOTAL RECALL
D J Mullins
14/1

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all british casino

All British Casino Review

Welcome Offer: 100% Bonus Upto £100 + 100 Bonus Spins!

For full T & C's please visit here

All British Casino was launched back in 2013 and is powered by the two biggest software providers on the market  (Microgaming and NetEnt) the players can expect that they will find a wide range of remarkably designed games. That is the other reason why All British Casino is increasing its popularity day by day.

Their games are available in an instant-play format, which means that you just need to load the preferred game in the browser and start to play. What is more is that the casino also offers Live Dealer gaming options, which is one of the best experience for every player. The live games bring the atmosphere of a brick-and-mortar casino in your home.

All British Casino complies with the different needs of every player and thus it offers various deposit and withdrawal options, which can match everyone’s taste. Being that flexible, this casino offers its clientele great convenience in terms of every aspect. All payments are processed in a very fast and safe way with minimum or no additional charges. The policy of this online casino also puts an emphasis on the privacy of every user, so that the personal data is protected by use of advanced SSL encryption technologies and not shared with third parties.

As a final touch, this online casino offers different bonuses and promotions to its users. These are generated the moment you create your account. What is the most exceptional with All British Casino is that it offers one of the most profitable payout rates for all the games of chance. The casino also takes care of its users by providing them with a 24/7 assistance for any inquiries. The promotional incentives, fair and convenient environment, and perfect customer support is the reason for the constantly increasing reputation of this casino.

Software Providers

All games, offered by the platform of All British Casino are powered by the two most successful software providers. Thanks to that partnership, all players are offered a notable selection of games, which includes only the best of the two providers. This means that you can find your favourite games with outstanding designs, flexible interfaces, interesting animations and credible audio effects. Even though the website offers a great diversity, it always manages to enrich its catalogue of games with something new. Thanks to that, it is hard to be bored with the games offered by this casino. It should be mentioned that all games run not only smoothly, but perfectly on every modern portable device. No matter if you play on a big or small screen, the resolution is crystal.

Microgaming Casino Software Provider

Microgaming is undoubtedly the best in its class. Nowadays, it operates as a well-established company, which powers the games of many online casinos. Being in the trade since 1994, the company has a good knowledge on what is mostly appreciated by the players and namely, this is incorporated in every game. All games, released by Microgaming are absolutely fair and audited by eCORGA – an independent company that protects the fair play.

One of the most spectacular things in the long history of Microgaming is that it is among the founders of the Interactive Gaming Council. The main purpose of this organisation is to ensure fair and responsible gaming environment. What is more is that namely, Microgaming has released the first networked progressive jackpot slot game. Shortly after that, these variations of the slot games has become one of the most favoured in every casino. Its fair share in the gaming industry cannot be denied. The company has developed also a software that allows players to download casino games, without interrupting their current game.

NetEnt Casino Software Provider

NetEnt is the other great company on the gaming stage. Their games appear to be one of the most searched on the Internet. It is hard to outline only one reason for that, since their games are a mixture of sophisticated designs, qualitative graphics and sound effects. All these collaborate in a perfect unison to create a second-to-none experience for every player. Founded only 2 years later than Microgaming, the company managed to catch up quite a lot over the years. Despite its humble beginning, the company offers a broad assortment of all type of games. The bountiful selection of games, featuring different motives can match the taste of everyone.

All British Casino Game Selection

When it comes to an assortment of games, All British Casino has a lot to offer. And it could not be the other way around, taking into account that its platform is powered by the two most successful software providers. It is easy to orient in their website, even if you enter it for the first time. The games are grouped into categories, so that the player can browse the titles, which are under one category. If you know which game exactly you would like to play, you just type its title into the search field and you will find it in a flash.

The website also offers all the games in a fun mode, which means that the players are not required to play with real money. Of course, this is not valid for the games with live dealers, because these are held in real time by real dealers. What is more is that all you need to do in order to play your favourite game is to access the website of the casino. As mentioned above, the games are arranged in different categories, which characterise them perfectly.

Video Slots

Compared to the other categories, the category of video slots is the richest. But having in mind that the games are powered by the two great specialists in slots, the big choice should not surprise you. Besides the great diversity, All British Casino offers one of the most qualitative video slots, which are available online. The graphics are absolutely flawless and not to mention that the visual effects are more than amusing. Moreover, these provide some interesting prizes, which are worth the attention.

It should be mentioned that the players can find all three variations of slot games, but in different categories. The category of video slots offers the so-called five-reel slots. These are based on the classic variation of the game, but also offer more improved animations.

Slots

In this category, the players can find the classic variation of the slot game, also known as the three-reel variation. All British Casino offers enough titles to choose from. Even though these are classic variations, the graphics are impeccable and the designs are very interesting. Thanks to the easy-to-use interface, the players can place their bets and play with a simple click of the mouse. The best is that the players, who go for All British Casino can play on the go with the same perfect quality as on the PC.

All progressive jackpot slots offer wonderful graphics and remarkable styles, intermingled with a thrilling atmosphere. Before you go for these slots, keep in mind that the bet limit here might be a bit higher than all the other variations, simply because the jackpot is based on the bets of the players.

Some of the most well-known titles are Mega Moolah, Hall of Gods, Mega Fortune and others. These games offer really life-changing jackpots and what is more is that namely Mega Moolah paid off the highest jackpot, which has ever been won in an online casino.

Table Games

The fans of roulette, Hold’em, baccarat, blackjack and mucch more definitely need to pay attention to the great diversity of table games, which All British Casino provides. Alongside the classic variations of the game, the online casino has improved its selection of table games with some very interesting variations. The players are provided with an easy interface, so that they can easily deal with the games, without being experts. What is more is that these games are entertaining and engaging with their various designs. These games are available on both portable devices and PCs, without compromising the quality.

 

In this category, the players will find different variations of bingo and keno games with very artful and colourful designs. Some of the games are based on the classic variation, while others feature some very entertaining animations. The quality of the graphics is irreproachable, even if you play on your mobile phone. These games are entertaining and simple, even though these do not offer life-changing prizes.

Live Casino

As every reputable online casino, All British Casino offers to its users the opportunity to play with real dealers. The platform of this online casino offers roulette and blackjack, which are governed by the traditional European rules. These games are held in real time, directly broadcast from the top Portomaso Casino, based in Malta. The players, in fact, play on a real table and communicate with flesh-and-blood dealers via live chat. What is considered as a great advantage is the fact that the live casino games are available 24/7.

What is more is that the quality of the footage is remarkable. Thus, the players can be absolutely sure in the fairness of the game. You can play live casino games even from your mobile device, but the enthusiasts should bear in mind that these games are available only if you play with real money.

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Supported Devices

As mentioned above, the players can access this online casino not only from the PC, but also from every portable device. The best is that you do not need to download any additional applications, which will slow down the work of your device. To play the games, you just need to load them in the browser and that is all. Most of the modern devices use Java and Flash, but it should be mentioned that if these are not enabled on your device, the player needs to install them.

Accessing the website of All British Casino for the first time, the players will be required to activate the so-called cookies. This is a necessary step, which provides the players with better experience of using the website. The cookies are small data files, which bear the information of the website and help it to adapt to the personal device of the player. The cookies are definitely useful to every player in order to enhance the gaming environment.

All the games run smoothly in every modern browser, including Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, Chrome, Opera and etc. Of course, it will be better to have the latest versions installed, because otherwise some old versions encounter problems and slow down the course of the play. When it comes to OS of the device, there are no special requirements. The users of Windows, Linux and Mac can be sure that they will be able to access the website and load all the games without any problems.

Being that mobile-friendly, All British Casino can be accessed by use of tablets, smartphones, iPads, iPhones and even Android. The only thing which the user will need is a good internet connection in order to load the games fluently. The players should also not be disturbed if they appear to be disconnected from the network, since all the games are “frozen” to the moment you played. This is also something good about this casino, since you will not lose your bet.

To be even more appealing to its users, All British Casino offers a welcoming bonus. After the player has successfully made the first deposit, the bonus package is automatically generated in the personal account. Of course, all bonuses can be cancelled in case the player is not willing to benefit from them.

The welcoming bonus in All British Casino is received only once. It includes 100% the amount of the deposit. The maximum amount, which you can get as a bonus is £100. As if that is not generous enough, the casino also offers 100 complimentary spins for Starburst, Pyramid or Aloha.

As a matter of fact, everything good comes at a price. When it comes to the welcoming bonus of All British Casino, the players need to meet certain wagering requirements, before they are able to withdraw the money from the bonus account. In a nutshell, the players need to place 35 times the bonus amount, keeping the 30 days deadline. In case the player fails to meet the wagering requirements, all bonuses plus the winnings, accumulated by use of the bonus money, will be forfeited.

It should be noted that not every game contributes with a full percentage to the wagering requirements. The players should bear in mind that all slots, video slots, lottery and the games in the category of “Others” are fully inclusive of the wagering requirements of the bonus. On the other hand, live casino games do not contribute in any way to the wagering requirements.

When it comes to the complimentary spins, the things are pretty much the same. All winnings are added to the bonus account until the wagering requirements are not met. This means that the player needs to wager the bonus amount at least 35 times before any withdrawals are enabled. The deadline to meet the wagering requirements about the complimentary spins is only 48 hours.

To require a bonus package, the minimum deposit should be no less than £20. Otherwise, the players are deprived of the opportunity to use the welcoming bonus. The maximum wager is £5 a spin. The only thing, which can be deemed as a disadvantage of this online casino is that the bonuses are available only to British residents.

Payment Methods

The moment when you decide to play with real money, it is time to make your first deposit. It is not surprising that the main currency, maintained by the All British Casino is the good old British pound. Security is an important aspect when it comes to the personal data and payments. That is the reason why this online casino utilises one of the most advanced encryption technologies, which protect the personal data.

All British Casino accepts payments via credit and debit cards, as well as the innovative e-wallets such as Skrill, Neteller, and Boku. Paysafecard is also an option. The reason why most of the people prefer to use e-wallets is that the transactions are processed in a faster way than with the credit and debit cards. What is more is that the player needs to comply with the minimum deposit requirement, which is £10. Of course, you should be aware of the fact that this is the minimum deposit to play, but it does not give you the right to claim a welcoming bonus package. If you decide to use bank transfers, the minimum deposit, which is required is £30.

When you decide to withdraw your money, you need to bear in mind that the minimum is £20 and the maximum is £5,000 per day. The players should know that winnings are paid off via the same method, which was used for paying the deposit. This means that if you used MasterCard to pay the deposit, you will get the winnings via MasterCard.

The moment you require a withdrawal, the money in your account will be locked for certain time due to identity checks. This takes no longer than 24 hours. After the transaction is made, the money should appear on your bank account between 2 to 3 working days. The fastest way to get your money, though, is to use an e-wallet – only 24 hours. Usually, the payment methods offered by All British Casino are free of charges, which is also worth to be noted.

 

An important aspect, which should not be undermined is the 24/7 assistance. Regardless of day and time, the operators are available to answer any questions, which the players may have. What is more is that even on weekends and bank holidays, you can get the needed information, without any delays.

The players can contact the assistants via e-mail, phone call or live chat. The representatives usually respond immediately, especially if you use the phone call or live chat option. That is why the players are advised to use one of these two methods for more urgent inquiries. The live chat can be activated only with a single click of the mouse and you will get an immediate response.

The players outside the UK are recommended to use the live chat. In that way, they will avoid any additional fees for international calls. The players, who decide to leave an e-mail will receive a feedback within an hour, so that is not the most suitable in need of an immediate response.

The customer support is available only in English, but that should not be a setback, taking into account that English is the business language. All operators are friendly and able to provide you with adequate and detailed information.

Licensing and Restricted Countries

All players can feel sure that their personal data are protected thanks to the sophisticated SSL encryption system. The given information is used only for service purposes. As an additional secure measure, the casino also uses firewall protection system, which is used by banks as well. What is more is that the casino offers the most trustworthy payment methods, so that your funds are also absolutely protected.

Many people deem it risky to play in an online casino. When it comes to All British Casino, you may be sure that the casino operates within the letter of law. Being mainly a British casino, it is licensed by the UK Gambling Commission, which is one of the most reputable regulatory bodies on the market. This online casino is owned and maintained by L&L Europe Ltd, which is regulated by the Malta Gaming Authority.

To prove that all games by chance are genuine, these are audited and verified by Malta LGA. Hence, all the players can be sure that the games, offered by All British Casino are absolutely fair and not manipulated in any way.

For full T & C's please visit here

Online Casino – Tips for finding the best online casino offers in 2018

Best Online Casino Offers

Here at Bet King Compare we search the online betting and gaming markets to bring you the best offers available. We are also here to provide tips, articles and tons of useful information to make your online betting experience more enjoyable. We only display offers from trusted Online Casinos and Betting Sites which have passed several tests and been reviewed thoroughly by our experts.

Top Rated Brands

bgo

This UK-based casino has been making some pretty big noises online, not least thanks to their diminutive spokesman: Verne ‘Mini-Me’ Troyer as ‘The Boss. However, there’s certainly nothing pint-sized about bgo, especially the enormous jackpots you have a chance of winning there!. Read Full Reviewplay now


mr green

After entering the online gambling work in late 2008, Mr Green’s refreshing layout, unique sense of humor, and distinctive visual style provides something different from the usual online casino experience.

It’s the little things that really sell this Swedish company as distinct from its rivals; fun trivia facts relating to the player’s choice of game in the corner of the screen, for instance, or the unusual and striking imagery used throughout the website. Read Full Review

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joreels

JoReels Casino is among the latest addition’s to the online casino gaming world, and among the latest picks for review by us…

The casino is owned and run by MT Secure Trade limited, a firm incorporated in Malta and licensed and regulated by both Malta Gaming Authority and the UK Gambling Commission. Perhaps, the one thing we really love about this casino, besides its crisp site design, is the king like treatment that it affords both new and professional players. Read Full Review

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powerspins

Power Spins is an exciting casino experience – they want you to enjoy free spins every day and they start you off with up to 50 spins when you make your first deposit as a new member.

The site is from the people at bgo, so they know what they are doing – slots are already a big part of bgo.com. This site has some table games, but the focus is definitely on the slots. Read Full Review

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jackpot strike

Jackpot Strike Casino is another new entry into online gaming scene, brought by Nektan in May 2016. While the company itself has not been around for decades, thanks to its clear focus on mobile gaming opportunities and a sound business strategy, they have quickly grown into a leading B2B mobile gaming content developer and platform provider. Jackpot Strike joins more than 20 online casinos operated by this reputable company. Read Full Review

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pots of luck

Ireland, and the Irish, are emblems of good luck and prosperity — just ask the wee leprechaun at the end of the rainbow! The luck of the Irish is a phrase you’ve probably heard exclaimed many a time, whether it’s to do with sports or on the casino floor. Now you can test out if you’re lucky too at Pots of Luck Casino. Read Full Review

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william hill

William Hill Casino is owned and operated by the UK based William Hill Company founded by William Hill back in 1934. Originally just a sports book, the expanded services now include, in addition to sports betting, a full service casino. The site also includes a separate poker room and bingo room.

The casino itself is relatively new, originating in 2009. Actually, there are three casinos in one which gets to be rather confusing: the Bonus Casino, the Vegas Casino, and the Live Casino. Read Full Review

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types of bets, tips and info – everything you need to know about placing an accumulator bet and more!

TYPES OF BETS: ACCUMULATOR

Here at Bet King Compare we like to make sure that our players are armed with all the available information needed when placing a bet on football. In this opening section we will take a look at the most popular type of football bet – the “acca” or accumulator to give it its full name.

Most people who read this will have some experience of placing an accumulator bet and know how frustrating it can be when just one team lets you down for a massive payout (we’ve all been there dont worry). So, first of all lets start start with the basics.

How does an accumulator bet work?

Picking winners in football betting can be difficult enough, so adding multiple teams into one bet is making it very hard for your wagers to win.

Accumulators are popular with football fans as they allow punters to bet on short-priced favourites at decent odds by combining them with a number of other teams.

There may be little logic in placing a bet on Barcelona to win a game if they are priced up at 1/8, but by adding them into an accumulator with other teams you also expect to win, the odds can become a lot more appealing.

Working out a football accumulator is fairly easy and there are a number of online calculators that make it even easier. Bookmakers will also show the odds you will receive as you add teams into your planned acca.

Its always a good idea to shop around for odds to make sure that you get the best possible price on football accas.

How to win accumulators on football

How to win a football accumulator?  erm, unfortunately there is no easy answer, otherwise we would all be billionaires! There is a reason you never see a poor bookmaker, after all.

A good starting point when putting together football accas can be to think of odds in terms of percentages. For example, a team that is priced up at 6/4 with the bookmakers to win a particular game should have a 40% chance of winning that match, if the odds are fair. Traders who think that team has a much better chance of winning than 40% should consider putting that team in their accumulator.

For example, let’s say that Manchester United are at home and are priced at 1/9 to win the game. This means they have a 90% chance of winning the match. While they are highly likely to win on the day, there is always a chance in football that a shock result happens, so perhaps it is better to avoid the short-priced teams in accas.

Another important thing to keep in mind when placing accumulators as a football trader is to get the best possible odds. Compare odds online to make sure you are getting the top price available, as the odds for 10-team accumulators can vary wildly from bookmaker to bookmaker, hitting your profits hard if your bet is a winner.

Draw no bet accumulator explained

There are loads of different football accumulators you can place, although we have mainly focused on the match odds markets in this article. For example, a lot of people like to place Both Teams to Score – or BTS – accumulators as these can be alive in the very last minutes of the game regardless of which teams are winning. Accumulators based on under/over 2.5 goals are popular too, while big odds can be achieved by combining match odds and BTS in an accumulator.

One type of football accumulator that is becoming a lot more common, especially with football traders, is the draw no bet accumulator. So, how does a draw no bet acca work? Draw no bet means that your selection is void if the game ends in a draw, with the bet similar to the double chance option that is available, with the benefit of the odds being better.

DNB accas can therefore be a good way to side with less-fancied teams, but there is always a fair chance that your bet will end up void as a result of at least one draw result. The rest of the bet continues with reduced odds if one of the games ends in a draw, keeping the bet alive for longer.

Research has also shown that DNB accumulators are more profitable than when double chance bets are used instead, so it is well worth traders experimenting with this type of bet. As always, before committing serious sums of money on bets make sure you are fully comfortable with how they work, the risks involved and the profits you can expect to reap as a result.

Explaining Different Types of Bets

Single

A Single is a bet on 1 selection in one event. Your selection must be successful to get a return.


Each Way

You bet on a horse to Win or be Placed. However the term “Placed” can vary depending on the type of race and the number of runners: The place portion of this bet pays out at 1/4 of the win odds. A £1 unit stake Each Way bet would cost £2 (£1 to win + £1 to place). For example, if the horse wins at odds of 8/1 the £1 win portion of the stake is multiplied by 8 and returned with the original £1 win betting stake paying out £9, just like a normal ‘Single’. And the £1 place portion of the betting stake is multiplied by 1/4 of the odds, so 8/1 becomes 2/1, with the original £1 place betting stake paying out £3 – thus total winnings of £12. But If your horse finishes in second, third or fourth the £1 win portion of the stake is lost and ONLY the £1 place part of the betting stake is multiplied by 1/4 of the odds, resulting in total winnings of £3.

Number of Placed Positions

  • 2 to 4 runners = each way betting does not apply
  • 5 to 7 runners = first two places pay out
  • 8 or more runners = first three places pay out
  • 16 or more in a handicap = first four places pay out

Accumulators

Also called a ‘Roll-Up’ or ‘Acca’. One bet requiring any number of selections but all the selections must win to have a return. The winnings are calculated by placing all the money on the first selection, then the winnings from that bet is placed on the next bet, etc.


Doubles, Trebles, Four-Fold Accumulators, etc

A Double is an accumulator of 2 selections, and a Treble is of 3 selections. After that, they are just known as a ‘Four-Fold Accumulator’, ‘Five-Fold Accumulator’, etc…


Trixie

A Trixie consists of 4 bets involving 3 selections in different events. The bet includes 3 doubles and 1 treble. A minimum of 2 of your selections must be successful to get a return. For example, if your 3 selections were A, B and C, then your 4 bets would be AB, AC, BC, and ABC.


Patent

A Patent consists of 7 bets involving 3 selections in different events. The bet includes a single on each selection, plus 3 doubles and 1 treble. Just one successful selection guarantees a return. For example, if your 3 selections were A, B, and C, then your 7 bets would be A, B, C, AB, AC, BC, and ABC.


Yankee

A Yankee consists of 11 bets involving 4 selections in different events. The bet includes 6 doubles, 4 trebles, and an accumulator. A minimum of 2 of your selections must be successful to get a return. For example, if your 4 selections were A, B, C, and D, then your 11 bets would be AB, AC, AC, BC, BD, CD, ABC, ABD, BCD, ACD and a Four-Fold accumulator ABCD.


Lucky 15

A Lucky 15 consists of 15 bets involving 4 selections in different events. The bet includes 4 singles, 6 doubles, 4 trebles, and 1 four-fold. If only one selection wins, as a consolation returns are paid to treble the odds. If all four selections win, a bonus of 20% is added to total returns. For the bonus to apply, all selections must win (does not apply to void or non-runners). If only one of the selections wins, you receive treble the odds. For each-way bets the consolation is paid only on the win part of the bet. Lucky 15 bets are accepted on horse racing, greyhounds only and correct scores.


Canadian

A Canadian (also known as a Super Yankee) consists of 26 bets involving 5 selections in different events. The bet includes 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 four-folds plus an accumulator. A minimum of 2 of your selections must be successful to get a return.


Lucky 31

A Lucky 31 consists of 31 bets involving 5 selections in different events. The bets include 5 singles, 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 four-folds and a five-fold accumulator. If only one selection wins, returns are paid to four times the odds. If four of the selections win, a bonus of 15% is added to total returns. If all five selections win, a bonus of 25% is added to total returns. For the bonus to apply, all selections must win (does not apply to void or non-runners). For each-way bets the consolation is paid only on the win part of the bet. Lucky 31 bets are accepted on horse racing, greyhounds only and correct scores.


Heinz

A Heinz consists of 57 bets involving 6 selections in different events. The bet includes 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 four-folds, 6 five-folds and a six-fold accumulator. A minimum of 2 of your selections must be successful to get a return.


Lucky 63

A Lucky 63 consists of 63 bets involving 6 selections in different events. The bet includes 6 singles, 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 four-folds, 6 five-folds and a six-fold accumulator. If only one selection wins, returns are paid to five times the odds. If five of the selections win, a bonus of 20% is added to total returns. If all six selections win, a bonus of 33% is added to total returns. For the bonus to apply, all selections must win (none void or non-runners). For each-way bets the consolation is paid only on the win part of the bet. Lucky 63 bets are accepted on horse racing, greyhounds and correct scores.


Super Heinz

A Super Heinz consists of 120 bets involving 7 selections in different events. The bet includes 21 doubles, 35 trebles, 35 four-folds, 21 five-folds, 7 six-folds and a seven-fold accumulator. A minimum of 2 of your selections must be successful to get a return.


Goliath

A Goliath consists of 247 bets involving 8 selections in different events. The bet includes 28 doubles, 56 trebles, 70 four-folds, 56 five-folds, 28 six-folds, 8 seven-folds and an eight-fold accumulator. A minimum of 2 of your selections must be successful to get a return.


Straight Forecast

A Straight Forecast involves 2 selections in 1 race finishing 1st and 2nd in the order named.


Reversed Forecast

A Reversed Forecast involves 2 selections in 1 race finishing 1st and 2nd in either order. As such it is two straight forecasts, AB and BA.


Combination Forecasts

Combination Forecasts involve 3 or more selections in a race, with any 2 to finish 1st and 2nd in any order.


Straight Tricasts

Straight Tricasts involve 3 selections in a race finishing 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the order named.


Combination Tricasts

Combination Tricasts involve 3 or more selections in a race finishing 1st, 2nd and 3rd in any order.

online casino

Online Casino – top rated casinos, reviews & vip welcome offers

Welcome to the most comprehensive guide to online casino on the internet

Here at Bet King Compare a big part of our job is to test and review all the available offers on the market. Our team is testing online casino,sportsbook & bingo on a daily basis and this has been our full time job since 2015. In this section we will be taking a look at the online casino world and seeing whats on offer. We will also be giving you expert tips, strategies, information on wagering/winnings plus lots more. This really is everything you need to know about online casino!.

The world of online casino today is one of ease and simplicity when it comes to access. The introduction of mobile casino with the advancements made in smartphone technology means you can play slots, roulette or pretty much anything you like, from anywhere you like. With this level of freedom its also important to guard yourself when it comes to choosing what to play and where to play. We make sure that only trusted online casinos make it onto Bet King Compare.

The History of Casino

The word “casino” comes from the Italian for “little house.” It originally referred to a small pavilion located on the grounds of a large villa. The little house was used for parties that featured music and dancing and socializing and, sometimes, games of chance. Over the course of time, the games became the dominant feature of the casinos and the little house grew into a big gambling club.The first modern casino as we know it was established in Monaco, still a center for gambling today, in 1861. Casino gambling for real money became legal in the UK in 1960, although this did not prevent large numbers of British citizens from continuing to travel to Europe to enjoy the casinos there.

In the US, gambling for real money has been legal on and off for centuries. The first gambling laws there were passed in the 1600s, although games of chance had already been part of the traditions of the American Indians for long before that. In 1931 the state of Nevada legalized gambling, which led to the establishment of Las Vegas as the city of casinos. The Foxwoods casino in the state of Connecticut has 6,000 slot machines and 350 gaming tables. The “little house” is not so little anymore.

The History of Slot Machines

The slot machine was invented by a mechanic named Charles Fey in California in the 1890s. He called his slot machine the Liberty Bell, but the slot machine became popularly known as the One-Armed Bandit. Over time, the slot machine developed with more reels and paylines, more interesting themes and symbols, and more sophisticated technology as the random number generator eventually replaced the mechanical reels. All of this progress culminated in the introduction of the online slot machine in the 1990s, exactly a century after the invention of the Liberty Bell. The develpment of online slots, in turn, led to the creation of its cousin, online video poker. In fact, the story is far from over, as newer, better, and more exciting online slot games are still being created every month.

History of Card Games

Modern cards as we know them today were adapted by the French in the 1300s. These cards were adapted from ideas that were picked up in Central Asia and the Arab countries. The French nobility were known to play cards with pictures of Napoleon and other emperors on them. Originally cards had totally different pictures on them from what they have today, and were carved from wood. The French are responsible for giving the card suits — spades, hearts, diamonds, and clubs. From the cards developed games such as Poker and Blackjack. Blackjack is considered to be a later version of a game known as Trente et Un, which, in order to win, the player needed to get as close to the number 31 (Trente et Un) as possible. From the Trente et Un came Vingt et Un which is French for 21. Other variations of this game developed over the years, but the game that remained the most popular in its many versions is blackjack or, as the English named it, pontoon.Poker as named by the French was developed from the Persian game of “As Nas”. Poker developed and spread across the continents through the years to become one of the most popular casino games today.

Casino Games from Ancient China and Rome

There are many Chinese proverbs that incorporate hints of how to win at games of chance, although such games can be found dating back to the festivals of the Druids. The Chinese have always been known for their games of numbers and from them many modern games such as keno have developed.Casino games were not just limited to the Chinese. There is one story of how a Roman nobleman insisted that the interior of his carriage be redesigned so that he could play dice games on his way to different meetings. It is also noted that there was a law passed by the Roman Empire decreeing that all sons learn how to gamble and throw dice in order that they could join in with their fathers as they came of age. This shows how important gambling and casino games were to Roman culture and society. Betting on the outcome of fights has been common throughout the history of both Eastern and Western cultures.

Craps and Roulette from Egypt and France

If one looks at all of the modern casino games that there are today, one can see that they are based on ancient games from one culture or another. Craps, the game of dice, is known to be descended from the Egyptian practice of Witch Doctors whereby they threw numbered stones together with bones to determine the fate of people who were in poor health.Roulette, which only really caught on in the second half of the 19th Century, was derived from the famous mathematician Blaise Pascal, who came upon the roulette wheel by chance when he was experimenting with perpetual motion. From his invention of the roulette wheel, the popular game of roulette developed and became the flagship symbol for many casinos.

The Online Casino Takes Off

The most recent and exciting development in the history of casino games is the online casino. With the development and widespread acceptance of computers, new types of casino games have become available. People who used to have to wait in line to play their favorite slot machine can now play slots online whenever they want to. Games that were previously thought of as too exclusive for most players became available to play on the Internet. One such example is baccarat. In land-based casinos, only the most exclusive guests were allowed to enter the roped-off area set aside for that game. Online casinos have made baccarat more accessible to any type of player, and the betting minimum is much lower than in the fancier gaming houses on land.With the development of the Internet and Random Number Generators (RNG), online casino gaming really took off in the 1990’s. Since the 1990’s there has been a boom in real-money online casino gambling because of the easy accessibility and also the low betting minimums. There are over 2000 online casinos today that offer nearly every type of real-money casino game possible.

It is natural that people want to relax and enjoy themselves after a hard day’s work, whether the work was in the California gold mines at the time of the gold rush, or the work was at a computer station in the modern world. Casino games have always been thought of as a way of escaping the hustle and bustle of regular life and a way of enjoying oneself. Casino games have developed over the years as the needs of the players have changed, but the original games still exist in one form or another. From the Egyptian Witch Doctors to the Roman Gladiators to the inventors of the Random Number Generator, each has given a great contribution to the enjoyment of casino games. When playing any of the many casino games, one must always remember the rich history of culture and society that lies behind each game.



Slot Machine History

The slot machine was invented in 1895 by a man named Charles Fey in San Francisco, California. Fey had a background in mechanics, and his first slot machine, which he called the Liberty Bell, was indeed a brilliant mechanical system of reels and levers.

The First Slot Machine

The original Liberty Bell slot machine had three spinning reels that featured pictures of playing cards. On each reel there was also a picture of a cracked Liberty Bell. The game was played by pulling the lever at the side of the machine. This set the reels in motion. The player would watch the wheels spin around and eventually come to a stop. If the reels stopped with the three Liberty Bells lined up, the player won the grand jackpot of 50 cents. The machine caught on like wildfire and the culture of slot machines had begun. The original slot machine invented by Charles Fey can still be seen in a restaurant in Nevada.

Slot Machines and Fruit Machines

In 1902, slot machines were banned in many states in America, but this did not deter Fey or any of his competitors. Instead of pictures of playing cards on the machines, they introduced pictures of fruits and candies. If the slot machine showed three pictures of chewing gum or some such item on a line, the player would win an actual packet of gum. This was a way around the gambling ban, but still allowed players to enjoy the thrill of the slots game. From this improvisation, slot machines became known as Fruit Machines, a name that is still widely used in the UK.For many years, slot machines were totally mechanical. They were operated by pulling a lever at the side of the machine. There has always been a great amount of satisfaction in pulling the lever of a slot machine and feeling the pull behind the motor, as it made the player feel that he was actually controlling the game. The pull on the lever sent the reels in motion, and it also wound up a clockwork-type motor which timed the braking of the reels and when the payout could be released. This type of mechanism was ingenious and was not superseded for many years. The slot machine became known as the “one-armed bandit,” referring to the lever that was pulled as being the one arm.

Advances in Slot Machine Technology

Eventually, modern technology caught up with the traditional slot machines and fruit machines. In the 1960s, the first electromechanical slot machines were invented. The most famous of these is Bally’s “Money Honey.” By the 1980s, the electromechanical machines were replaced with the electric machines which, as technology advanced, were replaced by the true electric machines which were powered by electric microprocessors. This type of casino slots machine allowed bigger bets to be placed, which meant there would also be bigger payouts. Slot machines continued to grow in popularity and one could see slot machines in practically every leisure club all around the world.With the introduction of the Random Number Generator, slot machines gained even more popularity. The Random Number Generator is a computer that is programmed to simulate spinning reels and to produce a totally random outcome to the spin. With the introduction of the Random Number Generator, the traditional one-armed bandit machines soon began to disappear. The slot machine could now be operated with just the press of a button. This new technology opened up a whole new world of slot machines,as manufacturers could now develop slot machines with every imaginable type of theme and symbols and with multiple payout lines. Slot machines have become so popular that they now make up about 70 percent of casinos’ floor space and revenue.

The Random Number Generator also permitted the development of the progressive jackpot slot machines. With progressive slot machines, multiple slot machines in the casino, or even in different casinos, are connected electronically. Every coin that is played on any of the connected machines causes the jackpot to grow. The progressive jackpot has no limit; it just grows and grows until somebody wins.

Online Slots Are Born

The biggest advance in slot machine history since the invention of the Liberty Bell was probably the invention of the online casino. The online casinos really took off in the 1990s. And naturally, online casinos, like land-based casinos, have adopted slot machines as their flagship game. Many thousands of people now play slots online from the comfort of their own homes. Online slots offer everything that the physical machines do and more. The lights and colours of the online slot machines beat any land-based game, and as long as the online casino you are playing at is licensed and certified you can be sure it is a fair game.There have been numerous instances of progressive online slots games paying jackpots of over a million dollars in real money. This is due to the fact that the Internet allows the progressive online slots games from different casinos to be linked together, so that thousands of online slots players are feeding into the jackpot until one lucky player wins at the slot machine and takes it all home. Conversely, online slot machines also offer low bets; coin sizes can be as little as 1 cent which allows the average player a good game with very little investment.

Online slot games offer multi-reel and multi-line payouts; the Cashapillar online slot machine actually has 100 paylines. The possibilities are vast with online slot machines changing every day with the introduction of more advanced computer technology. Online casinos are able to change their graphics and slot machines very easily, providing much more variety for the player. All Slots Online Casino, for example, has over 200 different online slot games and continues to add new slot machines every month.

Online Slots Tournaments

The next big step, after the development of the online slot machine, was the online slots tournament. In an online slots tournament, slots players from around the world are linked to one another electronically as they compete to accumulate the most coins in their Coin Box and win prizes. The biggest tournament in slot machine history was the $500,000 World Series of Slots, which took place in All Slots Online Casino.

Slot Machine History Marches On

Slot machines have come a long way from the humble beginnings of the Liberty Bell Slot machine in a mechanic’s garage to the vast array of online slot machines and online slots tournaments available at online casinos today. The term “one-armed bandit” will always remain with us, but his arm is slowly becoming history as technology progresses and more and more people play slots online. Slot machine history marches on.


Online Casino FAQs

What is the legal age to gamble online?

Underage gambling is strictly prohibited at online casinos and betting sites and players must be over 18 to be able to open an account and play. In different jurisdictions minimum age may vary.

How does playing at an Online Casino benefit me?

Playing at real money online casinos have become a popular pastime for many because it allows you to play from anywhere at any time on your pc, tablet or mobile device. There are hundreds of slots and other games to choose from that can be played from the comfort of your own home.

Is it safe to play with real money online?

The answer is YES, if you follow our gambling guide and avoid playing at rogue gambling sites.

Where to find out the gambling licence and payout reports in online casinos?

Each online casino recommended by us includes information about their monthly payout reports and type of licence and jurisdiction. Most often the information is located at the bottom of the website. Look for the following trusted online gaming regulators and jurisdictions: eCogra, Malta LGA, Alderney Gambling Control Commission, Isle of Man and Government of Gibraltar.

How Can I Deposit Money?

Online casinos provide players with a wide variety of payment methods that range from credit cards to e-wallet solutions. All ranked sites featured here offer a variety of safe and fast banking options that will make your deposits and withdrawals hassle-free.

Is it safe to use my credit/debit card at gambling sites?

Absolutely Yes; all credit/debit card details are stored on a secure server protected by the latest firewall systems. If you don’t feel safe using your card, you still have a great choice of other casino banking methods accepted by most online casinos. Pick your favourite deposit and withdrawal options from our list of online casino banking methods.

Is My Money Safe?

The best real money online casinos make use of highly advanced security features to ensure the safekeeping of financial and personal data gathered from players. We make sure that these listed sites keep up with data protection legislation and that their slots and other games get audited by external security companies.

What currencies can I play in?

The top rated online casinos offer players a variety of currencies to play in such as US dollars, Canadian dollars, Euros and UK pounds. A selected few offer players the chance to play in Australian dollars as well. They aim to allow players to deposit funds and collect winnings in their currency of choice.

What is the minimum deposit?

Some online casinos and betting sites accept as little as £5 as deposits.

Can I use more than one payment method?

Yes, online casinos allow you to have two or more deposit and withdrawal options. Bear in mind that for fraud prevention purposes, an online casino will not accept a deposit by card and request for a withdrawal to a different method such as eWallets. Remember to always request your withdrawals to the same method you used to deposit.

Can I play in the flash casino and download casino of the same casino?

You can play at both from a single account. Most online casinos feature No Download Required, an instant play flash casino as well as a Download Software application compatible with Microsoft Windows computers. If you decide to install online casino software, in most cases you’ll have access to more casino games than the instant play format.

Can I play flash casino on a Macintosh OS?

Yes, most online casinos, bingo sites and poker rooms are compatible with Macs. From 2011 all Microgaming flash casinos are now working on a Macintosh OS. Unfortunately, you cannot download the software application of many online casinos on a Mac. To overcome this problem you can either install Boothcamp or a software application called Parallels.

How fair are the games?

All our recommended online casino sites have implemented a Fair Gaming Policy. All reviewed casinos on our site are independently audited and checked to ensure they run an unbiased and secure random number generators system. Games like roulette, slots, video poker, blackjack and baccarat have been created by trusted gaming providers who implement and ensure the integrity of the games. A random number generator RNG is used to randomly produce the gaming results. Slots in a land based casino work on the same principle by producing the game outcome with the help of integrated RNG chip.

What is Return to Player and how does it affect me?

Return to Player (RTP) percentages is set by independent auditing companies to show the expected average rate of return for an online casino. A 95% RTP rate indicates that for every dollar you gamble, you will win 95 cents back. This is an estimate calculated over hundreds of thousands of transactions.

What is the Reverse a Withdrawal feature?

To reverse a withdrawal means that you have a limited time to return the whole or portion of your withdrawal back to your gaming account and continue playing instead of making a deposit. Not all online casinos offer this feature, please check our Online Casino Reviews to find out more.

Is there a limit on how much I can withdraw?

Most of our recommended online casinos have no limit on the amount you may withdraw. However, some casinos can not pay more than £5000 a week, which depends on your account status and payment method. Please check each casino for T&C's for more details.

What is a bonus or promotion?

Bonuses and promotions are the incentive of online gambling sites to attract more players and reward the most loyal customers. Casino Bonuses offer the opportunity for players to boost their play balance, playtime and stakes.

What are Wagering Requirements?

Most often, accepting a bonus requires the meeting of wagering requirements, also referred as play-through requirements before you can withdraw your winnings. Wagering means every single bet you place on a game, no matter if you're wining or losing. This simply means that you have to keep betting until you have bet a certain amount of money for your bonus to clear.

What is a match bonus and how do I get it?

You receive cash rewards each time you put money into an online casino, when applicable. Depending on the active promotion, these amounts could be a 100% match to your deposit or more. Depositing €/£/$500 with a 100% deposit bonus will push your deposit total up to €/£/$1,000. Always read through the terms and conditions before depositing to make sure you are eligible. Loyal players are often rewarded with free spins and extra special deposit bonuses.

Are there any game restrictions if I play with a bonus?

Casinos have the full power to void your winnings if you play restricted games with a bonus. It is very important that you read the bonus terms and conditions before accepting it. Of course, there are bonuses that can be played on any casino game, but sometimes Slots Bonuses are not allowed to be wagered on table games.

What is a free play bonus?

Free Play Bonuses are designed to get you familiar with the games before playing for real money. On top of that, if you’re lucky and win over your initial free play bonus you can get a cash bonus for free by depositing the minimum amount in the casino.

What is a free spins bonus?

Free Casino Spins can be added to a particular slot game. You need to open the game and play the free spins, which accumulate wining combinations and at the end of the free spins you get the free spins accumulated value as a cash bonus with play-through requirements.

What is a free cash bonus?

Free cash bonus is free casino money offered by online casinos for players to play without depositing their own funds. You should meet the wagering requirements on a free cash bonus before requesting a withdrawal. Almost all free cash bonuses have a maximum withdrawal amount, about 10/20 times the bonus amount.

What is a Tournament?

Tournaments are quite popular at online casinos and poker sites. You have the opportunity to win big prizes by playing free tournaments. Other tournaments require paying a small amount to continue playing and compete for the first place. Grand Slam of Slots II is the Microgaming, biggest ever slot tournament featuring the slot game of the decade, well known Thunderstruck II. First place winner walked away with massive $100,000 cash.

What is a Loyalty Bonus?

Online casinos offer a variety of loyalty bonuses for regular players. Your status level is measured based on your gaming activity and progressed to the superior VIP levels, where exclusive promotions and special gifts are always available for you.


 


Finding A Good Slots Online Casino

Many online slots from the biggest developers can be found at the best online casinos around. Some developers will have exclusive deals with Internet casinos to provide their slots portfolios, but be warned – not all online casinos are created equal.

How To Play Online Slots

When real money online slots first appeared in the mid-1990s, they had just a few reels and one payline. Today, you can find slots with 3 reels, 5 reels, 1,024 paylines and expensive animated sequences – there are even slots based on the latest Hollywood blockbusters. Whichever  slot you pick, they basically work in the same way, although there are slight differences in features from developer to developer. Remember, you can often 'try before you buy' and there are numerous websites which offer free-play versions of these games. Many of the big slots developers (see below for a good list) will also have free-to-play versions of their real money games on their websites.

Spinning The Slot Reels

After loading up an online slot from an online casino or instant play site, you'll be presented with a game screen filled with reels. The classic slots have three vertical reels but most modern video slots will have five (see types below for more).
Each reel will have typically upwards of 20-25 symbols on them, relevant to the slot's theme, and the aim is to spin the reels and hit winning combinations of symbols as the reels come to a stop. With so many symbols on the reels - and so many paylines - this can add up to millions of possible combinations to hit. You'll see a 'Spin' button to the bottom right of the screen which sets the reels moving. Some games will have a 'Skill Stop' button so that you can stop the reels yourself. Before you've even spun a reel, click on the 'Paytable' or 'Info' icon on the game screen; that will take you to a separate screen with all the game info you'll need. Here you'll find the various payouts for hitting different winning combinations, a list of the different symbols, and details of any bonus rounds, if any. Some, but not all, developers will list the theoretical Return to Player (RTP) percentage too. There's more of that below.

Bet Sizing And Paylines

Before you play a real money slot machine, set the bet sizes and number of paylines you want to play. For lower variance games – i.e. slots that appeal to smaller wallets – you'll find betting starting from as little as £0.01 a line.

Next, pick how many coins you want bet on a particular line. You can usually bet anything from 1 to 10 coins per line. Then choose how many paylines - combination of symbols across the reels – you want to play. You can bet on one payline or the maximum available – simply click on the paylines down the side of the gamescreen.

So, for example, let's say an online slot has 25 paylines, and betting which ranges from £0.01 to £1.00 a coin. The slot allows you to bet up to 10 coins per line. Therefore, you can play one coin at £0.01 on one payline, meaning your bet per spin is just £0.01, or plump for the maximum - £1.00 a coin, 10 coins per line, and the maximum 25 paylines. This would mean that your bet per spin would be £250.

Look for the 'Max. Bet' button – every real money slot has one – to jump to this option.

Other slots, meanwhile, will have fixed paylines, meaning that you have no choice in how few, or how many, paylines you get to play. It can lead to bigger cash outlays over time, but you'll also have a chance of hitting more winning combinations.

Gamble / Double Up

Then, once you're set, hit the 'Spin' button. The reels will spin and come to a rest. Any winning combinations will be paid out, but some real cash slots give you the option to double your winnings (look for the 'Gamble' button), usually via a simple 'red or black' or 'higher or lower' card game.

Slot Game Symbols

You'll typically find about 10-12 different individual symbols in a typical real money slot, and depending on the theme can consist of anything, ranging from the classic melons and cherries, to superheroes, aliens, bank robbers, cuddly bunnies, mythological characters, diamonds, treasure, gold, poker symbols like jack, queen, king...in fact, if there's a theme, chances are there's an online slot invented to cover it.

Wilds And Scatters

Winning combinations of symbols generally pay from left to right, with consecutive symbols contributing to a winning payline. However, every video slot has special images/symbols that result in bigger prizes for the player.

The Wild symbol can substitute for regular symbols in the game in order to create a winning combo. There will also be a multiplier attached to the win, meaning that win may be doubled or trebled if formed with a Wild icon.

Meanwhile, the Scatter symbol pays out if you hit two or more ANYWHERE across the reels. Normally, however, hitting three or more Scatters on the reels will trigger a special bonus feature as well as a special bonus cash prize.

Bonus Rounds

So, you're playing an real cash online slot and you hit three Scatters or 'Bonus' icons on the reels. What kind of bonus can you expect to trigger? The most common bonus round in a real money slot machine is a straight free games win. You may win anything from 3 to 50 free spins (spun automatically by the computer) and often the spins can be retriggered, i.e. if you manage to hit a further three Scatter icons on the reels during the free spins round, you'll win a further batch of freebies.

Pick 'em Bonus

A Pick 'em Bonus round will occur when hitting three Scatters. You will be taken to a separate game screen and be required to choose from a selection of symbols, each one revealing a different prize or multiplier. The icons will generally follow the theme of the slot (treasure chests for an Aladdin-themed slot, oxygen tanks for an underwater-themed slot). Keep picking icons until you hit the 'Collect' icon and you return to the base game screen. Your total win for the bonus round will be totted up and added to your bank.

Click Me Bonus

This feature is triggered when three relevant bonus symbols appear on the reels simultaneously. You simply choose from three icons on the reels to reveal a cash prize.

Other Bonus Features

Certain developers will have unique features to their respective game, and you will often find one or more at different slots:

Cascading Reels, or Avalanche Reels, is an interesting feature whereby a winning combination vanishes from the reels and is replaced by symbols above falling down to take their place. This allows for more winning combos and adds to the excitement. Expanding Wilds can appear on one or more reels, and will expand to fill an entire reel, essentially making the entire reel Wild. Sticky Wilds remain in place on the reels while the rest of the symbols spin alongside them. Some of the big-money slots tie-ins will feature more interactive arcade bonus rounds with some skill involved. This could be a battle sequence, target shoot or puzzle round. IGT's Reel Edge titles, the bonus rounds are modeled after arcade games, so that players can earn prizes based on their performance.

RTP and RNGs

There are two three-letter acronyms that online slots players should pay attention to: RTP and RNG.

Random Number Generators (Rng)

The Random Number Generator (RNG) is responsible for the payout percentage of the real money slot game. That percentage has to be certified by a third party authority to ensure fair gaming. The rules require that a minimum percentage has to be paid back to players.

RNGs work in the same way to online roulette and blackjack games; fair software systems that ensure responsible and random events. When you check the paytable for various winning combination payouts, the amounts reflect the virtual odds of a certain combination; the higher the jackpot is up for grabs, the lower the chance of hitting the right winning combination.

Return To Player (Rtp)

This payout percentage, or Return to Player (RTP), varies from game to game, and developer to developer, but generally in land-based casino slots you could find RTPs of around the 80-90% mark, but that rises significantly for online slots, and further still for new mobile slots.

So, let's say a slot has a 95% RTP. That means out of 100 coins, 95 go back to the real cash slots player over time. The rest is the online casino's margin.



How to Find the Best Online Slots Sites

Before you launch headlong into the first online casino site you see, take some time to read up on the best slots, online roulette and other casino games you can experience in the online gambling world, and get some help from people who use the sites, like us.

Visit A Few Sites Before Choosing

It's your money, so spend it wisely and take your time looking into the casino sites available. You can see which sites have the most slots games – some have dozens, others a mere handful – and which offer you free games to test out before you sign up. Some casinos will allow you to try out these games without having to hand over any personal information, so do look around. Only some casinos will offer Progressive Jackpot slots, for example, so if they're your main aim, make sure your casino has the right games for you.

Look For A High Sign Up Bonus

The good news is that, what with all the online casinos available, sites compete for your custom, offering increasingly attractive welcome bonuses for players who are just signing up. With so many new casinos appearing on the market all the time, these offers are very competitive, and this has meant that playthrough requirements are quite relaxed, too. Try out a few online slots sites to make the most of the free money available.

Play Anywhere, Anytime

The best part about playing online slots in 2018 is that you can enjoy mobile gaming on the move. Online casinos make it their business to offer the smartest technology for gamers, making mobile sites and apps that can accommodate a full range of games for practically any smartphone or tablet on the market. If a site doesn't offer you mobile slots there's really no excuse. Just switch to a casino that does.

Stay Safe Online

If you want a quick way to find out if you are on a casino site you can trust, check for an eCOGRA seal. The authority regulates sites and audits their games to make sure all's fair. Visiting the best online slots sites will ensure that you get a fair game and that your money is secure with the cashier.

Find Good Customer Support

What sucks more than hitting a jackpot on that online slot but suspecting something is up with the payouts or software? Who do you turn to? That's why picking the right casino is so important - the best places online will have professional, 24/7 customer support that can answer your questions without delay.

Top Tips To Improve Slots Play

Online slots is not about slamming buttons furiously like you see in a land-based casino. There's such a vast array of slots on the Internet, with such a wide variety of themes and betting available, that it's hard to know what to pick in order to make money in the long-term.

1. Bet the Max

It may seem counter-intuitive to wager so much, but as long as you have the bankroll, pick the total number of paylines available and the maximum coin bet. Betting more paylines gives you more chances to win, and you will trigger those lucrative bonus rounds more often too. Those classic 9-payline slots may be simple and fun, but they get boring after a while and you may be better off aiming for the 20-30 payline games for better chances to win.

2. Mind the RTP

Before you play, check the paytable for the RTP%, if supplied. You're looking for something over 95% if possible. Some online slots won't even reach 91%, and unless you're particularly attached to a slot theme, it won't pay to stick with lower payout games.

3. Don't Get Attached to One Game

When you start playing online slots, choose a portfolio of games, three to five, and stick to them. Choose one that has good free spins bonuses, one progressive jackpot, one with plenty of Wilds like Sticky and Expanding Wilds, and another low-variance game. By alternating play between the games, you'll get a better feel of the various games out there, and keep things fresh.

The Different Slots Types

3-Reel/Classic

Whatever online slot you find, they will generally fall into two camps: classic and video. Classic slots are a tribute to the slot machines you'd have found in land-based casinos over the past 30 years, with three reels, minimal paylines, and classic symbols like BARs, melons, cherries and bells – a hark back to the early 20th Century machines that used to dispense chewing gum.

5-Reel

Most of today's online slots are 5-reel games with 3 or 4 rows. This allows for many more paylines, but a 5-reel, 20-payline game is standard among online slots.

3d Video

Some slots have slick animation, interactive graphics and expensive intro sequences that wouldn't look out of place in a modern computer game. Purists may baulk at the distraction of following a relatively lengthy animated sequence whenever you hit a winning combo, but with computers and tablets able to handle more memory-heavy games, expect the trend to continue.

1024-Ways

These slots are high-variance, but instead of selecting paylines, you automatically bet on all 1,024 paylines available. You'll normally have to bet about 30 times your coin size, and winning combinations are distributed accordingly.

243-Ways

Similar to 1024-ways slot, 243-ways-to-win slots offer 243 possible paylines.

Progressive Slots

Progressive slots are offered by most big developers. Here, part of your bet goes towards a jackpot spread across the every online casino that offers the game. Progressive jackpots are normally triggered when betting the maximum amount, and so are quite rare – and expensive – to hit. Progressives can be won via a bonus round or triggered randomly, and can often run into thousands of dollars before they're hit. The world record stands at $22,974,400, won by a Finnish player in 2013 at the online slot, Mega Fortune.

Mobile Slots

Many developers are re-launching popular slots, and releasing new ones, specifically tailored for the new generation of smartphone and tablet. They will often feature many of the same aspects as their online cousins, including jackpots and bonus rounds, but the buttons and game screen may vary in appearance.



Five Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Slots

  1. Online video slots have been around since the mid-1990s, when Microgaming introduced a basic slot with just three reels and one winning payline.
  2. Online slots have become so popular that big-movie tie-ins have become commonplace. Cryptologic's extremely popular Marvel Superheroes slots like Iron Man 2 and Hulk featured bonus rounds with arcade-style 'skill' elements. Marvel's new owners, Disney, recently cancelled the Marvel slots tie-ins, distancing themselves from the gambling element of these games.
  3. Progressive jackpots – big-money pots created by players from multiple online casinos – have reached staggering proportions. In 2011, a 20-year-old Norwegian man won an €11,736,375 progressive jackpot playing Microgaming's Mega Fortune online slot.
  4. Classic slots feature fruit symbols like cherries, lemons and plums. They're a reference to the very first slot machines that appeared in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. To get round prohibitive gambling laws, the popular machines would dispense flavoured chewing gum as prizes instead of cash, hence the name, 'fruit machines'.
  5. With the rise in mobile gaming, many of the most popular slots can be enjoyed on smartphones and tablets. The games are specifically tailored for smaller screens but still carry the same great graphics and gameplay as their online cousins.

Major Developers And Popular Slots

Slots Strategy

Microgaming

Microgaming launched the first ever online slot in the 1990s, and they continue to lead the way in making popular online slots. Microgaming boast big-film tie-ins like The Dark Knight, progressive jackpot slots like Mega Moolah, and immersive character-driven games like Immortal Romance, plus boast possibly the most popular online slot of all time: Thunderstruck.

PLAY: Thunderstruck I/II, Mega Moolah, Mermaid's Millions, The Dark Knight Rises, Break Away, Immortal Romance

Slots Strategy

Playtech

The huge online gaming developer is behind big-name tie-ins like the Marvel superheroes slots – Iron Man 2, Hulk and Wolverine – and their multi-layered bonus rounds continue to enthral slots fans everywhere.

PLAY: Fantastic Four, Iron Man 2, Plenty O'Riches

Slots Strategy

Bally

Another slots developer who have been around for decades, Bally started out in Las Vegas with some of the landmark mechanical slot machines. Their transition to video slots hasn't been so successful, and compared to some of the 3D video slots developers their games can feel dated. Saying that, Bally's games still have a huge following.

PLAY: Cupid and Psyche, Pharaoh's Dream, Cash Wave

Slots Strategy

Betsoft

The pioneers of 3D Video slots, BetSoft's games boast slick animated sequences, original themes and great bonus rounds. Arguably, they make some of the best-looking slots around.

PLAY: At the Copa, Safari Sam, After Night Falls

Slots Strategy

Cryptologic

An award-winning online casino developer, Cryptologic is a company devoted to delivering the best customer and player experience in the industry. Their games cover all the popular slots themes: superhero tie-ins like Superman, American Indian slots like Native Treasure, and video game crossovers like Call of Duty 4. A respected and trustworthy slots provider.

PLAY: Wonder Woman, Bejeweled, The Amazing Spider-man

Slots Strategy

Gamesys

Gamesys started off offering online bingo to the masses, and they are one of the few online slots makers to never have launched a land-based slot machine. Their games are low-volatility, offering lots of small wins, and they were the first company to launch a social gambling game on Facebook – Friendzy – back in 2012.

PLAY: Buffalo Wild Wins, Valley of the Kings

Slots Strategy

IGT

More recognized for their brick 'n' mortar casino slots, IGT's online versions have proved just as popular with gamblers. Their Cleopatra and Da Vinci Diamonds slots are two of the most popular slots ever released, and most good online casinos will stock them. Solid slots from a well-respected developer.

PLAY: Da Vinci Diamonds, Cleopatra, Rainbow Riches

Slots Strategy

OpenBet

OpenBet have been around since the 1990s, offering top-quality online casino and betting sites. As such, their online slots are second-to-none, and boast some interesting tie-ins, like The Price is Right, Top Trumps and Robocop.

PLAY: Robocop, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, X Factor

Slots Strategy

Novomatic

The popular developer behind land-based 'Gaminator' slots has made a seamless transition to online games. Novomatic merge classic slots with slick games and great software.

PLAY: Book of Ra, Book of Ra Deluxe, Lucky Lady's Charm, Sizzling Hot

Slots Strategy

Sheriff

Another leader in top 3D video slots, Sheriff's games mix humor, innovative bonuses and slick animation.

PLAY: Alawin, Dr. Magoo's Adventure, Zoo Zillionaire, The Robets

Slots Strategy

Leander

A relative newcomer to the 3D online slots party, Leander have some really interesting new slots with unique features, with great cartoony graphics and original bonus rounds.

PLAY: Little Pigs Strike Back, Potion Factory, Dragon Slot


Play & Win With Real Money Online Roulette in 2018

Your complete guide to playing online roulette
 

Online roulette allows you to experience the thrill and ambience of a real casino from the comfort of your own home.

Not only that, but when playing roulette online, you're more likely to get a better deal thanks to the vast amount of bonus options out there. That's right, real money online roulette sites will often give you free money just for playing at their sites.

Whether you're spinning the online roulette wheel from a mobile device or a desktop, you can be sure that your information is kept safe and secure with this list of trustworthy sites. Our top reviewed sites, like William Hill will give you the real casino experience while playing from the comfort of your own home.

How To Play Online Roulette

Roulette StrategyOK, so you want to play online roulette for cash at home. After you have signed up for an account at a real money online roulette site and downloaded the software client (or logged in to play at a site's no download casino), you'll be dying to get into some hot action. But where to start?

At gaming sites on the net, the most standard roulette online games you'll find are American Roulette and European Roulette. You can find all the games in the casino's lobby, together with the stakes.

For the standard "American" version of roulette, there are 38 numbered slots - slots 1 to 36 plus a zero slot and double zero (00) slot. The European version has only the single zero slot. Betting on an individual number pays odds of 35-to-1, but the odds vary depending on where you bet.

Place Your Bets

Start off by choosing a betting limit – anything from a cent to a few dollars, or more if you're a big betting fiend – and place your chips. This is fairly straightforward – just click on the numbers you want to bet on.

Once you've placed your bets, the virtual dealer will call, 'No More Bets', and the wheel will spin. Once the wheel comes to a stop, the ball will rest in a particular slot and all winning bets will be immediately paid out.

But hang on, what are those other areas to place bets on? Well, a roulette table features plenty of other areas to put your chips.

A regular American or European online roulette game will allow you to bet on whether the ball falls in even spaces or odd, red or black, or even columns or sections of numbers. Columns pay double your money, while winning on red or black, or even or odd bets pays out even money.

So far, so standard, but plenty of additional betting options are available during real money matches of online roulette.

You can place bets on adjoining numbers – called a 'split' – where you can bet on two numbers (odds of 17/1) or four numbers at once (place your bet on the inside corner of four numbers) which offers an 8/1 payout.

Free Roulette Odds Chart & Cheat Sheet

Speed up your learning of roulette odds and strategy by downloading the CardsChat.com guide to roulette. Print it out, and keep it by your computer whilst you play online for quick reference.

This easy to use 'cheat sheet' shows you the different bets, odds and payouts.

Understanding Online Roulette Odds

It's worth understanding the odds involved in all the bets on a roulette table. The most common bet – the Red/Black or Odd/Even wager – pays even money, meaning you'll earn back what cash you bet. For example, a winning $20 bet on Red will pay $40 ($20 plus your original $20 bet).

Those even-money bets are good if you want a good chance of long-term profits, but there's usually a slightly higher minimum real money bet required for those 'outside' bets.

If you want to have some gambling fun, however, make the occasional bet on single numbers. These pay 35/1, which means if you bet $10 on number 36 and it came in, you'd win $360 ($350 plus your original $10 stake back). Not only that, but the minimum bet on those 'inside' bets is usually lower.

Find A Good Online Roulette Casino

By turning on your desktop PC or Mac, or switching on the smartphone or tablet, players can enjoy a whole range of roulette games at home, and what's more, you can earn a great deposit bonus while you do it.

Whether it's classic American roulette for stakes lower than any brick 'n' mortar casino you'll find anywhere or high-stakes Multi-Ball Roulette for added excitement, if there's a real money roulette game on the web, chances are there's a top online casino that offers it.

What Makes a Good Online Roulette Site

Logging onto a random Internet casino and firing up the first online roulette table you lay eyes on isn't the way to go about starting your spin frenzy. Before you start your online roulette journey, take a few tips from us.

Try Before You Buy

Before choosing to sign up for a real money account at an online casino, do your homework. Check how many roulette games the casino has – some have many varieties, others one or two – and make sure there are play-money versions of the games so you can try before you buy. Some online casinos will even let you try out the play-money games first without even handing over any details, so it pays to shop around.

Get A Good Welcome Bonus

Get a good bonusThere are dozens of online roulette sites around today, all fighting over a growing pool of online gambling fanatics. Many online casinos, especially the many new ones cropping up every week, are offering tempting welcome bonuses for new players. Some casinos will even offer free cash with little playing requirement, so make sure you sign up to a few casinos and make them pay.

Join The Mobile Revolution

Mobile GamesTake advantage of the mobile revolution in 2018 and get clever with your smartphone. Mobile casinos are the future of gaming, and there are more and more, exceptional casinos cropping up every month. With the coming explosion in Internet gambling in the US imminent, expect the range of games and sites to grow even further, way past 2018.

Top casinos today offer a special smartphone/tablet app so you can play many of their games when on the move. And if your favorite online casino doesn't offer a download app, play their games via a no download web browser site – many of the features will still be there, and you can play on the move without any fuss. As with any mobile games, make sure your Wi-Fi connection is hot enough so your roulette games don't go down mid-spin.

Staying Safe & Secure

SecureA safe and secure environment is key to anyone's online casino experience, so check for the eCOGRA and SSL signs on the casino's homepage to know that the site is legit. Top online roulette games and their RNGs (Random Number Generators) are independently audited to ensure total fairness. If you know a casino is above-board, you know its roulette games will be too. Remember, there are Live Dealer Roulette games out there, so if you still aren't comfortable with the software on a classic online game you can indulge in some Live Dealer betting with a real-life croupier calling the shots.

Find Good Customer Support

Good customer supportWhether you're playing roulette on a mobile phone or desktop PC, if anything goes wrong with your account or you're not happy with the games on offer, you will need someone to talk to. Luckily, the best casinos will offer 24/7 customer service so you can speak to someone in minutes to sort out your problems.

Roulette Online Strategies - Mastering A Winning Roulette System

If you want to play online roulette for real money in 2018, chances are you're not getting in on the action to lose. But, with a game of chance, how exactly can you land a winning bet every time?

While the odds of online roulette are like goalposts that can't be moved, this hasn't stopped a few savvy players coming up with a strategy or two. Each of which they claim will improve your chances of walking away a winner every time you take on roulette online.

In this section we'll take you through the basics of the top 5 roulette online systems that you can take advantage of in 2018. In the hope of turning the wheels of fortune firmly in your favour.

The Martingale Strategy

The Martingale roulette system is by far one of the most famous strategies when it comes to online roulette. In this online roulette system, players are encouraged to double the value of their bet after every loss. Which in theory, will ensure you always recoup any previous losses when your bet does eventually land a win.

This method can only be applied on bets that have 50/50 odds. So either black or red, or on even versus odds bets can be made using The Martingale Strategy. For the strategy to work players have to be confident in doubling the value of their previous bet every single time following a loss. Falter from this and the system completely falls down.

This is something that players on a so-called 'losing streak' often struggle with. As increasing your bet while your bankroll is dwindling can be difficult. The Martingale system can also see you quickly eat through your cash flow. So players who adopt this online roulette strategy need to be prepared to part ways with a lot of their own real money before they see a penny in return. And, there's still no guarantee that you will win eventually. In which case you could actually walk away with a massive loss.

The Reverse Martingale

In the Reverse Martingale, players are encouraged to increase their bets when they win and decrease them when they lose. The premise of this online roulette strategy is that you'll limit your losses and capitalise on your winnings. Therefore coming out up overall. Or at the very least, minimalizing your losses.

For the system to be successful you need to make a few wins in quick succession and know when it's time to quit. Judge this incorrectly and you could come out worse off than before you started playing. So the Reverse Martingale, like The Martingale, doesn't automatically guarantee you'll make money.

The D'Alembert Strategy

This online roulette system is generally considered to be a little safer than the Martingale's. Namely because it encourages you to bet more conservatively when you lose. The other notable thing about the D'Alembert online roulette strategy is that it's an even chance system. So you can use it to bet on the outcome of even and odd numbers and 1-18 and 19-36 as well as black and red.

In the D'Alembert system, players increase their bet by a denomination of 1 every time they lose. So, let's say you place a bet of $2 on red and you lose. The next time you wager $3 and so forth. Simply increasing your bet by 1, each time you lose, no matter which native currency you're using. Similarly, when you win using the D'Alembert strategy you decrease your next bet by 1. Providing you win as many rounds as you lose, you're guaranteed to come away with a profit.

The Fibonacci Strategy

The Fibonacci roulette online strategy is a little more complex than the previous three. It's named after an Italian mathematician who has the following sequence of numbers famously named after him: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 233, 377, and 610. What's significant about these numbers? Each one in the sequence is generated by adding the previous two numbers before it together. For example, 1 + 1 = 2, and 3 + 5 = 8. And so on. But, why oh why does this matter when it comes to online roulette strategy?

In a similar fashion, the Fibonacci roulette online system involves making bets that equal the total value of the last two bets you placed combined. The idea is that you still make a profit, even if you lose more games than you win. However, just as with the D'Alembert strategy, knowing when to bow out of the game is crucial. The further along the sequence you go, the higher the value of the bets. Which in essence could mean a lot more money lost if you judge your timing incorrectly.

The James Bond System

This online roulette strategy coined by Bond author, Ian Fleming, involves making column bets. It also requires players to have at least $200 at their disposal to play with. So for that reason alone it's more popular among high rolling roulette players online.

The James Bond roulette strategy works as so:

  1. You bet $140 on high number columns (i.e those numbers between 19-36).
  2. 50$ then gets spread across numbers 13-18.
  3. Leaving a remaining $10 that you should place on 0.

If the outcome is a number between 1-12 then you've lost all bets. At which point you can use one of the other roulette online systems to try and make a comeback. But, if one of your bets comes good - you've collected a very sweet return. $80 on an outcome of 19-36, $100 on 13-18 and $160 if the ball lands on 0.

A Small Consideration

Of course, with all roulette online strategies there are no guarantees you're going to finish the game with more money than you started with. Each strategy is still subject to chance. The outcome in roulette never changes. And one of the worst things you can do while adopting an online roulette system is to start believing in gamblers fallacy.

It doesn't matter how many times the ball lands on an even number, or on a black square. The fact remains that the odds are 50/50 every time that wheel is spun. So don't fall into a trap where you start believing that just because black has been called 5 times on the trot that a red outcome must be on the horizon. It just doesn't work that way.

Likewise, don't get caught out by online systems that claims to be 'the most reliable and genuine roulette winning software' or roulette systems that work 70%. No roulette strategy can improve your odds in that favour. Only the five systems we've shown you here are tried and tested. And if you're going to attempt any of these out for size then do so cautiously. Never bet more than you can afford to lose. And most importantly of all, know when to walk away.

The Different Roulette Online Variations

Roulette StrategyIf you are choosing real cash online roulette over land-based games, another of the benefits players get is the sheer range of games on offer.

Unencumbered by floor space or overheads, web casinos can offer players whatever roulette variation they want, at virtually any stake they wish.

That's why online you will find many roulette games that you may never have even heard of before. Let's take a look at some of the games typically found at top online casino websites.

American Roulette vs. European Roulette

As we have stated already, the biggest offerings you'll find will come in the classic American or European roulette games. Both games have the numbers 1-through-36, a single zero (and a double zero in the American version), and options to bet on Red or Black, Odds or Even, and even columns of numbers.

The house edge is something worth paying attention to. The addition of the 00 in the American roulette game significantly increases the house edge. Playing European roulette puts you up against a 2.70% house edge, as opposed to American roulette's stingier 5.26% edge. Essentially, the payout odds on the colors - Red/Black - or Odds/Evens is the same: you get even money. Betting on columns of numbers pays out 2/1 your money. Payouts on a single number, however, rise to 35/1.

French Roulette Games

French roulette is harder to find at most real cash online casinos, but it's an intriguing addition to your online roulette arsenal.

Like European roulette, the French game has a single zero but if the ball does land there – and you didn't bet on it – you will only lose half your bet. This is called the 'La Partage' rule and offers a little more insurance to gamblers.

Another feature worth paying attention is the 'En Prison' rule, whereby if you make an Odd/Even bet, and the ball lands in zero once again, your bet will placed 'in prison'. If your bet wins on the next spin you will win your original stake back. Cool, huh?

Roulette Strategy

Premiere Roulette Diamond Edition

Seen at more and more top Internet casinos, Premiere Roulette – or PRDE for the acronym fans – makes use of the web casino's graphics by coloring various sections of the roulette table green, yellow, purple and blue. This gives real money gamblers who want a new twist the chance to bet on more colors than just the conventional Red and Black.

Multi-Ball Roulette

Perfectly designed for today's slick online roulette games, Multi-Ball Roulette sees up to three balls spun on a wheel at the same time. What does this mean for the savvy punter? Well, more bets, more action, and more chances to win real cash, with your bet split three ways if you hit one of the numbers. Multi-Ball is a great, fast, online roulette game, and the perfect game for multi-tabling if you want to up the number of games you're playing at any one time.

Spingo – A New Twist

Only seen at a handful of good casino sites in 2015, Spingo combines the thrills of online roulette and bingo in one unique game.

Rather than the classic 1-through-36, players bet on three different colors and the numbers 1-through-10. Randomly picked balls are selected, Lotto-style, once the wheel starts spinning and they then fall into various roulette slots to determine the winning bets.

Multi-Wheel Roulette

Here's a game the Internet was invented for – Multi-Wheel Roulette.

Multi-Wheel games allow you to bet on up to eight real money roulette wheels at the same time, with bets placed on a single board. A separate ball will spin on each wheel, but your bets carry across all wheels. That means if you bet on the number 36, you will have up to eight chances of hitting that number. For spreading your action and getting game volume in, there's nothing better.

Live Dealer Roulette

Finally, the true innovation of online casinos. If you crave the action of a land-based casino but don't want to leave the warmth of your front room, you can now bet via your computer on a REAL roulette wheel, with a REAL dealer spinning a wheel in a REAL casino.

Yes, Live Dealer Roulette lets you place bets on your machine in the normal way, with the action conveyed via a webcam in a land-based casino joint. You can even interact with the dealer and indulge in a bit of banter if you wish. Great casinos offering Live Dealer games will have croupiers who are quick, know their game, and are friendly enough to chat with you and answer all your questions.

Live Dealer games are also good for Internet players who don't 100 percent trust the Random Number Generators used to govern real cash online roulette games. When you see a real-life dealer overseeing proceedings, you can be sure of the 'human' element.

Roulette Online - Play For Free Or Real Money Roulette 2018

To bet or not to bet - that is the question. Ok, so not exactly how Shakespeare put it. But, it's an important question that all online roulette players should ask themselves none the less. Do you want to play for fun and entertainment's sake? Or do you want to upload cash and play online roulette for real money?

For some online roulette players this is a total no brainer. They're in it to spin the wheel online and win instant cash. But, playing roulette for free does have its advantages. And even if you don't play roulette online for real money in 2018. You can still recoup a profit, without risking a cent of your own cash.

Just look out for no deposit casinos or casinos offering free cash to play with deposit-free. This means that you can play with real money without having to first upload any cash to a casino account. In essence, allowing you to spin the online roulette wheel, completely risk free.

Playing roulette for free online is also a good way to get to know the game and how the main betting outcomes work. Especially if you're new to online roulette or you're playing a roulette variant you're unfamiliar with. After all, why dive in and blitz through your bankroll when you can take part for free first? Familiarising yourself with an online roulette variation in free play mode is a great way to gain the upper hand and come in with an advantage when you do start playing roulette online for real money in 2018.

Five Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Roulette

  1. The French mathematician, Blaise Pascal, is generally credited with inventing the first roulette-type game in 1657.
  2. One of the first roulette wheels in America had the numbers 1 through 28 as well as an American Eagle section. The Eagle slot was originally a house section, but quickly became unpopular because it offered the house too great of an edge.
  3. The "five number bet", (0, 00, 1, 2, 3,) is the worst bet on an American Roulette table. The house edge jumps to 7.89% for that bet.
  4. British businessman Ashley Revell sold all of his possessions in 2004 and put the whole lot on Red in a Vegas casino roulette game. The ball landed on the 7 Red and the Brit walked off with $270,600.
  5. When all the roulette numbers are added together the sum equals 666. Spooky!


How to Play and Win at Online Blackjack

Your complete guide to playing online Blackjack
 

t's long given a mainstay of land-based casinos the world over, and now blackjack is forming the centerpiece of all top online gambling sites' casino suites.

Taking pride of place at the top of the lobby, William Hill blackjack offerings cover a range of variants. In fact, thanks to the 30 different variants on offer, including European, Multi-Hand and Vegas Strip, you'll be able to enjoy a complete blackjack experience without leaving your own home.

The internet boom has also given gambling fans a whole new range of blackjack options. Each time you ante-up at top online casino sites you'll be given a slew of resources to assist your play. Whether you're looking for a reminder of the game's fundamentals or some slick tricks to help boost your win rate, the leading online blackjack sites will provide you with a wealth of in-game resources.

With this in mind, let us help you find a top online casino site and you can take advantage of a superb deposit bonus when you sign up.

The Blackjack Basics

Blackjack StrategyA classic casino card game that has been around in one form or another for centuries, the object of blackjack is to draw a hand whose value is higher than that of the dealer's, but without going over 21. If you go over 21, you "bust" and lose.
In blackjack, the cards 2 through 10 are worth their face value, and all face cards – Jack, Queen, King, etc - are worth 10 as well. An ace is worth either 1 or 11. A hand with an ace that is counted as 11 is called a "soft" hand, so an ace and a five, for example, is called a “soft 16.” A hand with an ace counting as 1 is called a "hard" hand.

Starting A Game of Blackjack

After placing your real money bet you will receive two cards face up. The dealer also receives a card face up. (Check out some of the other variations of blackjack where the dealer may receive two cards face up.) If your two cards make a total of 21 (e.g. A-10, A-K), you immediately have "blackjack" and the dealer will pay you odds of 3/2 on your bet. However, if the dealer also has blackjack you will tie – or ‘push' – the hand, and your original stake will ride on the next hand.

Playing Your Hand

OK, so getting blackjack right at the start is the ideal scenario, but what if you haven't hit that magic 3/2 jackpot?

Well, if you haven't made blackjack, you have a series of options.

First, you can ‘stand', which is electing to take no more cards. Play will then move on to the next player – if any - and then the dealer. You can elect to ‘hit', which is to take another card to make your total closer to 21. You can carry on hitting until you go bust or you choose to stand.

You can also, if you are dealt two cards the same, opt to ‘split'; that is to split the cards, double your bet, and play the hands separately. Players can ‘double down' – or double the amount of your bet, taking just one more card, then stand.

The Dealer's Play

Blackjack StrategyWhat makes blackjack so fun for the player is that the dealer plays too!

Well, kinda. He certainly has some stock moves he or she has to pull when he takes part.

When it comes to the dealer's turn, he turns over his down card (if he has one) or deals himself a second card face up. Depending on what total his cards come to, the dealer has a few options:

If his cards total 16 or less, the dealer MUST hit. If he has 18 or more, he MUST stand. If he's dealt a ‘hard 17' – that is, a card worth 10 and a 7 – he MUST stand. However, if the dealer has a ‘soft 17' – an ace and a 6, for example, which can count as 7 or 17 – he must hit. Rules vary from game to game online, however, so make sure you read the rules at your favorite online casino to see where you stand (pardon the pun).

Taking Insurance – The Blackjack Kind

Let's say the dealer is dealt an ace face-up. Here you have the option to take ‘insurance' - that is, paying another real money bet (equal to half your original bet) in the advent that the dealer's second card will make him blackjack. If the dealer does make blackjack you'll win 2/1 on the insurance bet. If he doesn't hit that magic blackjack, however, you'll lose your cash.

Finding A Good Blackjack Online Casino

I think we've done enough to convince you that real money blackjack online is the thing of the future. Actually, it's the thing of the PRESENT, as thousands and thousands of Internet gambling fanatics continue to get their fix of betting games at all times of the day.
It's hard to sort the wheat from the chaff, but luckily sorting wheat from chaff is what we do best at CardsChat. We deposit our own hard-earned dollars onto dozens of sites to find the ones hitting blackjack and the ones most definitely busting.

So, how do you choose from the many real cash Internet blackjack casino websites plying their trade in the virtual gaming space? Other than following our top recommended links on these pages, make yourself a little checklist. Some real money gambling players may have different priorities but everyone shares the same goal: finding the best web casinos offering blackjack.

What Makes a Good Online Blackjack Site

Safe And Secure Blackjack Sites

Baccarat StrategyYour safety online is a prime consideration when it comes to depositing real money or submitting private information. The very best casinos on the net will be independently audited and regulated, and will come equipped with the best SSL security encryption so your bank details are totally safe. After all, what's worse than winning a bunch of cash, only for some douche to hack into your account when you're asleep and steal your dollars?

As we mentioned earlier, Random Number Generators are key to a successful online casino. These RNGs govern the spinning of the roulette ball or the shuffling and dealing of the cards, and the best sites will have their RNGs regularly audited and tested to ensure totally fair gameplay. Remember, it's not in a reputable online casino's interest to have crooked games!

Find A Good Range Of Games

You're probably aware now that there are almost as many blackjack variants online as there are online casinos, and for the keenest blackjack fiends, a casino offering lots of good real cash games – be it regular blackjack, Multi-Hand or Surrender - with a range of stakes to boot is somewhere you should be playing.

How To Earn A Welcome Bonus

Baccarat StrategyAll good Internet casinos will offer a tempting welcome bonus for players making their first real-money deposit.

After you have signed up, downloaded the client, whipped out the plastic and entered the exclusive bonus code (we have plenty on these pages) you'll be eligible for a generous bonus. The bonuses can vary from 50-100 percent cashback up to a few hundred dollars – it depends on the site.

But don't get starry-eyed just yet – there's a catch. To activate the bonus you will often have to ‘play through' a set amount of money at the blackjack tables in order to earn your bonus cash. There will also be a time limit attached, so unless you're planning on playing a lot of games, think twice about applying for the bonus.

If you are seriously contemplating a deposit bonus, what could be better? Earning hundreds of dollars of free cash just for playing the games you love!

The Mobile Blackjack Revolution

Baccarat StrategyIn 2018, online blackjack almost seems as old-school as land-based casino blackjack. As mobile technology grows exponentially, so does the number of betting games available to players wanting to play blackjack on the move.

You can now enjoy real money blackjack on your tablet or smartphone for real money, and the number of mobile casinos is growing every week.

Whether you're on the train to work, sat in front of the TV at night or in the back of the car when your buddy is driving you home, getting in a few hands of 21 has never been so easy or accessible.

Top 5 Tips For Better Online Blackjack

1. Know When To Hit Or Stand

There are no hard and fast strategies about when to hit or stand, but you should get a basic grasp of what to do when you're dealt certain cards, particularly when compared to the dealer's cards.

For example, if you're dealt a total of 4 to 8, and the dealer has any card showing, always Hit. If, however, you're dealt 12 to 16, and the dealer's up card is similarly low, you should stand. Remember, the dealer has to make decisions you don't, so let him go bust if he is forced to. The worst cards for the dealer are the two through six; they will bust more times with these cards showing.

The dealer's up card will often shape your decisions a lot more than you think. If, for instance, you are dealt 12 to 16, and the dealer has higher cards – say, 7 to Ace – you should hit and get as close to 21 as possible. You may go bust, but the chances of him beating you are higher anyway. Find a good chart of when to hit or stand and stick it on your computer screen before you play!

2. Don't Take Insurance

Generally speaking, if you are dealt a blackjack and the dealer shows an ace, ignore the dealer's option for you to take insurance. You are better off winning 3/2 on your blackjack than betting even more money on whether the dealer also has blackjack.

3. Always Double Down On 10 Or 11

When you double down you are allowed to double your bet after receiving your fist two cards. You then receive one card only on your hand. Most casinos will allow you to double down on any two cards.

This move is advisable, especially if the dealer is showing a 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6, as they are more likely to go bust with an up card like this. Yes, you'll have to bet double the amount but you'll have twice the chance of winning!

4. Forget Card Counting

You probably heard about card counting before you even heard of blackjack, and while it has happened before (and in the case of the infamous MIT teams of the 1990s, very profitably) it's pretty hard to do, especially if a blackjack game has seven or eight decks of cards at any one time. Card counting – working out the rough frequency of tens and low cards being dealt by the dealer so you can alter your betting accordingly – only works in land-based casinos as online Internet sites utilize much more stringent RNGs, so if you are thinking of learning card counting, stick to the brick ‘n' mortar joints.

5. Understand The House Edge

It's fair to say Blackjack offers better house edges for the player than say, roulette, but pay attention to the numbers of decks being used. Different blackjack games can use anything from one to eight decks during a game, and the house edge increases as more decks are added.

For example, a single deck game gives the house a 0.17 percent advantage, while this jumps to 0.46 percent for adding a second deck. Seven decks, meanwhile, gives the house a 0.64 percent advantage and this rises to 0.65 percent for eight decks. Make sure you know what you're getting into before you play blackjack online, and do your research.



Different Blackjack Games Online

Blackjack StrategyJust as with roulette online, blackjack on the web opens up the possibilities as to what games you can play.

Real money Internet gambling casinos aren't stifled by floor space or limits – if there's a variant invented, chances are you can play it on the net.

Some of the blackjack variations you'll find online are played with one deck of cards, others with several; the dealer's actions on his hand may vary from game to game, and the basic gameplay of each game may be totally different to one another.
Let's have a look at some of the various real cash blackjack games you may find at your friendly local online casino.

Blackjack Surrender is a common variant of everyone's favorite casino card game. In Surrender, if, after the dealer has checked for blackjack, you think that your first two cards will not allow you to beat the dealer's hand, you can choose to surrender your hand. If you surrender, your hand automatically loses, but you get half of your original bet back. This way you do not lose the whole bet.

In Double Exposure Blackjack, meanwhile, both of the dealer's cards are dealt face up. In Spanish Blackjack, all of the tens are removed from the deck, and Bonus Blackjack has special bonus jackpots for certain hands. Triple 7s Blackjack is a unique online blackjack game with a big progressive jackpot for big winners. Multi-hand Blackjack games allow you to play multiple hands of real money online blackjack at the same time. Just as single-hand online blackjack comes in many different variations, there are also many variations of multi-hand online blackjack.

Blackjack Strategy

Blackjack Tournaments

Think blackjack is all about playing every hand for cash? Think again. You can now ante up at an Internet casino and play blackjack in a tournament format.

How does it work? Well, after paying your entry fee, players are randomly assigned seats at a blackjack table and play several hands of blackjack. You'll start with a set amount of chips, just like in a poker tournament, and the aim is to end the rounds with the most chips. The players with the most chips progress to the next round, and players are eliminated along the way until you play a ‘final table' with the last remaining players. Payouts will be split on a percentage system among the top 10 percent or so of players.

Live Dealer Blackjack

Live blackjack online sites are becoming incredibly popular because they're so fun and so easy to play. All you need is a computer with a decent Internet connection. After you create your free live blackjack account, you can sit down at any table and start playing.

However, instead of the computer doing the dealing/shuffling/paying, a real-life dealer in a real-life casino, dealing real-life cards oversees the action. Yes, it's a real dealer, beamed onto your screen through video.

You control the game much like you would a regular real cash Internet blackjack game, using your cursor to move your virtual chips onto the betting area of the felt. But instead of clicking the ‘Deal' button on the web, the dealer decides when the game starts after all bets have been placed.

What's great about Live Dealer Blackjack is that you can chat in real-time to the croupier, ask them questions or advice (they can read your questions on their monitor and respond to camera) and have a bit of banter. In all, it's just like being in a land-based casino – in the comfort of your own home!

Not only that, but Live Dealer Blackjack is a great game for casino players who like the human element when cards are handled and dealt. Of course, Random Number Generators that govern the software at an Internet casino should be above-board, but the Live Dealer element allays any extra fears.

Blackjack Tailored For Your Smartphone

Mobile blackjack games are specifically designed to fit your smartphone or tablet screen, and if you think your particular device won't support casino games, think again: most casinos now run downloadable apps or instant play suites via the web browser for all models.

So, if you're an Apple iPad user, and Android nut, or you've just got your hands on the latest Windows Phone, hunt out the best blackjack casinos for mobile devices now. Better still, let us do the hard work for you.

Five Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Blackjack

  1. Although the origins of Blackjack are unclear, the variety of the game we know and love in 2018 spread in popularity in the US in the early 1900s. French colonists imported their own twist on the game – Vingt-et-Un – into Canada around the same time. The original version of blackjack included more betting rounds and the dealer was allowed to double down!
  2. The aim of Vingt-et-Un was to get a “natural” 21. The cards were dealt in rounds, with betting inbetween each round. The first person to reach 21 won.
  3. The first scientific study of blackjack – Beat the Dealer by Professor Edward Thorp – was published in the early 1960s. In it he established a basic strategy for beating the game and introduced card counting to an eager blackjack-playing populace.
  4. Ben Mezrich's Bringing Down the House tells the true story of the infamous MIT Blackjack team, a group of maths students who developed a card counting ring and took Vegas casinos for millions of dollars. The book was later turned into a film – 21 – starring Kevin Spacey.
  5. The chances of being dealt a blackjack is 0.024%, equal to one blackjack being dealt roughly every 42 hands.


How to Play Real Money Online Baccarat

Your complete guide to playing baccarat online
 

You've all seen the films – James Bond sitting in a dinner jacket in a swanky European casino, cleaning up at the baccarat tables.

But there are also plenty of thrills and spills to be had in the comfort of your own front room, regardless of whether you're playing baccarat online at an established favourite such as William Hill or a recent upstart.

The good news is that in 2018, the casino favourite of the rich and famous can now be enjoyed by you at home and on online, playing for real money.

But how do you play baccarat online, where can you play, and how can you beat the house for everything they've got? Worry no more, we've got you covered on all counts!

How To Play Online Baccarat For Real Money

Baccarat is a table game played with several decks of cards, kept in a 'shoe'.

Cards are dealt out to the player and the dealer (or 'Banker'), with the goal being to create a hand which has a points total closest to 9, without exceeding it.

Players at the table simply place a bet on the Player, the Banker or the hands ending in a Tie.

The dealer then deals two cards to each side and the winner is the side closest to a total of 9. In some circumstances play may advance to a third card, but never beyond.

Counting The Points

Several basic rules determine how to count the score on the cards, so it pays to be up to speed on these rules before starting to play baccarat online for real money.

Picture cards count as zero, and if the total is over 10 then the left-hand digit is dropped. For example, 18 becomes 8 (the 1 is dropped), 16 becomes 6, and so on. Hands worth both 8 and 9 are called "naturals", with 9 beating 8. If the Player hand or the Banker hand has a natural 8 or 9 and the opposing hand has a lower point value, the natural hand wins.

When Is A Third Card Dealt?

Baccarat rules state that there are certain cases where a third card is dealt.

Let's consider the Player's hand first. If the total of his cards is 5 or less, another card is dealt to him. For the Banker, there are rules too. If his total is 2 he draws another card, no matter what the Player's third card is. If his total is 3, the Banker draws a third card unless the Player's third card is an 8. If he has 4, the Banker draws unless the Player's third card is a 0, 1, 8 or 9. If the Banker has 5, he draws if the Player's third card is 4, 5, 6 or 7. If the Banker has 6, he draws a third card if the Player's third card is 6 or 7. Finally, if the Banker's total is 7, he stands.

It's worth writing these rules down, or making mental notes on them – they will be clearly shown on your screen, but it's still worth remembering them so you can follow the online baccarat action much more clearly.

Previous results will also be shown on the online casino's screen, so if you're superstitious or into betting systems, these may help you decide how to play the next hand.

Baccarat Betting And Payouts

Betting real money in baccarat gives you three options: you can bet on the Player, the Banker or a Tie. If you bet on the Player and win, you will receive a 1/1 (even money) payout, so a $10 bet would pay back $20 ($10 plus your original $10 stake).

A winning bet on the Banker also pays out even money, but you must pay a 5% commission back to the casino, collected at the end of play. The commission exists because the Banker has a statistical edge over the Player.

Betting on the Tie – although not recommended pays out 8/1. However, this is the least likely of all outcomes.

Side Bets In Baccarat Online

If the regular real money betting action in baccarat online seems a little skinny, the good news is that many casinos offer an array of side bets to spice things up a bit.

Just click on the relevant button on-screen to place your extra bets. Players can bet on Player Pair, Banker Pair, Perfect Pair, Either Pair, or Big and Small.

The Player Pair and Banker Pair side bets win if the first two cards dealt to the Player and Banker form a pair, e.g. the Banker gets the King of Diamonds, and the Player gets the King of Hearts. The Either Pair wins if the first two cards on either the Banker's or the Player's hand (or both) make a pair. The Perfect Pair, meanwhile, wins if the first two Player's or Banker's cards form a pair of the same suit. The Big wins if the total of the cards dealt to Player and Banker make 5 or 6, while The Small pays out if the total between Players and Banker is 4.

There will be a paytable in your real money online casino with the payout odds of each of these side bets. Side bets are a fun way of keeping the action interesting while you play baccarat online and remember, you don't even have to bet on the main game, you can play purely by betting on side action.

What Makes a Good Online Baccarat Site

Safe And Secure Casino Sites

Safe baccarat sitesIt doesn't take a genius to know that your personal details and funds are of paramount importance when gambling online for real money. After all, who wants their account hacked into and either their information stolen, or worse, their hard-earned winnings?

That's why sticking with only the best, most popular, most trusted, betting sites is the way to a happier online gaming experience. Follow our top links as we only recommend those sites with the proper SSL security procedures in place and eCOGRA auditing.

While we're on the subject of security, you need to know that the baccarat website you're playing on has fair shuffling, above-board Random Number Generators and safe software overall. The very best casinos are independently and regularly audited so that any problems with their encryption and software is solved.

Big Welcome Bonuses For Your Bankroll

Baccarat welcome bonusIt's only natural that all good casinos want your business, and they will all entice you in with promises of riches. New online baccarat customers will be offered deposit bonuses so you can have a chance of earning some free cash.

Normally, the bonus will be 100 percent up to a certain amount – say, $200 – and it works like this: you deposit your cash with a special promo code, start playing, and once you've 'played through' (win or lose) a certain amount of hands, in a certain timeframe, you will get paid out the bonus – usually in increments. So, for example, let's say you put $200 into an online casino. You play through 16x that amount in the first month of play (standard) and the casino will then pay you $200 totally free.

Don't get starry-eyed about welcome bonuses straight away. They do offer lots of lovely cash, but unless you're seriously going to play through hundreds and hundreds of baccarat online hands in your first few weeks of play, they may not be for you.

24/7 Customer Support Is Important

Online casino customer supportGot a problem with your casino connection? Don't understand how that real money deposit bonus works? Suspect that the RNGs may not be so random? Confused about how baccarat online games work?

That's what the customer support team are there for. Every top casino has good customer support, but not every casino is created equal: some casinos online may only have customer service for a few hours a day, they may be available during hours that are totally unsuitable – especially true if the online casino is based on the other side of the world from you – or you find that they're downright unhelpful and unknowledgeable.

By following the top links on our pages, you'll be OK. All our recommended online baccarat websites have great customer support who can help you out with any problems you may have. If a casino has bad customer service, we won't recommend them – it's that simple.

A Wide Range Of Betting Limits

Good online casinos should have a broad range of limits to suit every betting budget. After all, nothing's worse than signing up to your first baccarat casino, only to discover that they only cater for high rollers.

Mobile Baccarat Casinos

Mobile baccaratIf the thought of ditching the tux, slipping on the bathrobe and playing baccarat online on your laptop sounds good, things have just got better: now you can play anywhere you want on your smartphone or tablet.

Mobile casinos are rising in popularity exponentially, and with the ease which they allow gamblers to play betting games on the move, they're surely set to grow and grow.

Good casinos on your mobile will offer a whole range of games you know and love, and the games will be tailored to fit your screen. So don't worry if that 3.5” touchscreen seems a little small to start with!

You can play mobile baccarat for real money via the casino's downloadable app – available from the App Store for iPhones and iPads or Google Play for Android devices – or by simply playing instant play games. As long as you have a decent Internet connection or good Wi-Fi wherever you are, you shouldn't have any problems.

Five Tips To Improve Your Online Baccarat

Baccarat chips1. Learn The Rules And Table Layout

OK, this probably goes for most betting games, but start off playing for free first before making a real-money deposit. All of the top casinos we recommend will have play-money versions of baccarat so you can ‘try before you buy.' Get a good feel for the layout of the baccarat table and where bets are supposed to go. You can also access online stats and betting histories at your casino, so make good use of them.

2. Never Bet On A Tie

As a rule, baccarat online casinos offer payouts of 8/1 or 9/1 on a Tie bet, and while this may seem tempting, it rarely happens. Also, the house edge is around 14% on a Tie so steer clear.

3. Know Your Limits

As with all online betting games, set aside a bankroll and never exceed it. Keep track of all your bets (the casino online will have a history tab to enable you to do this), wins and losses. And, of course, if you're having a downswing, know when to turn off the machine and walk away.

4. Forget Card Counting

Card counting is possible – although frowned upon by land-based casinos – in baccarat, just as it is in Blackjack. However, don't think about card counting in online baccarat – the RNGs (Random Number Generators) are far too sophisticated for any patterns to be picked up.

5. Ignore The 'Systems'

There are many betting systems out there for baccarat, but they generally rely on an exponential rise in betting in order to cover any losses, such as the ‘Martingale' betting system where players double their bets in the advent of a losing bet.

Other Online Baccarat Games

OK, so we've covered the baccarat basics for you. What about the different variants of the game you may find at top online casinos in 2018?

Mini BaccaratMini Baccarat

Mini baccarat is a smaller version of the popular casino card game, where players can play for smaller stakes and at a smaller table. This makes it perfect for new players or those unfamiliar with the rules.

You can even play mini baccarat live with a real-life dealer calling the shots as in a conventional casino. This is great if you want to learn the ropes and ask plenty of questions while you do it!

Live Dealer Baccarat

Mini BaccaratThe beauty of online casinos in 2018 is that you're not restricted to just playing against a computer dealer.

The live game allows you to play against a real-life croupier sitting in a real-life casino environment, dealing real-life cards for all to see.

In live baccarat online a human croupier, you can see them via the casino's webcam, will deal out the hands and prompt the betting in real-time. This way, when you're dealt either a Player, Banker, or Tie hand, you'll be able to see exactly what's going on and exactly whom you are competing against.

And if you're new to the game, don't worry – you can simply type a question into the chatbox and it will be read by the croupier and answered right away. But don't stop at newbie questions, you can flirt, indulge in some banter, and enjoy your game just as if you were playing in person at a brick 'n' mortar casino.

Live dealer baccarat not only allows you to interact with a real-life croupier, it also means that fans who aren't 100 percent comfortable with computer RNGs can see the cards actually being dealt. Those RNGs are independently audited, of course – and all our top sites will have fair software – but the “human element” is something many players prefer.

Five Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Baccarat

  1. A card game similar to baccarat was first documented in France in the 1400s. It was reported to be related to an ancient pagan ritual where a young virgin was required to throw a nine-sided die to decide her own fate.
  2. There are several versions of baccarat around in casinos in 2018: Chemin de Fer, Baccarat Banquet, and Punto Banco. All variants are similar other than the way the cards are dealt. US casinos mainly offer Punto Banco as the most popular version of the game.
  3. 'Baccarat' means 'zero' in Italian.
  4. In February 1990, Akio Kashiwagi - nicknamed “The Warrior” - made baccarat history when he won $6 million in Atlantic City's Trump Plaza casino. Ultimately he would end up $10 million in the red after a six-day marathon session.
  5. In 2018 you can play a wide range of baccarat games online, particularly the mini version which offers quick, simple betting thrills.

Finding A Great Baccarat Online Casino

Whatever real cash baccarat game you want to play, it's essential to find a good casino online. There's nothing that can sour the fun of Internet gambling quicker than a poor user experience, and that's where we come in.

Use our reviews, scour our top links and you'll find only the very best places to play real money baccarat online. We pick out the best sites for making deposits on, the casinos with the fastest cashout times for your winnings, and the juiciest welcome bonuses - so you can start earning as soon as you start betting.



Your Guide to Playing Online Video Poker

How to Play and Win at Real Money Video Poker
 

Video poker has been around in Vegas casinos since the 1970s and it remains one of the most popular forms of casino gambling both live and inside top online casinos such as William Hill.

Thanks to the mobile revolution of the last few years, you can now enjoy great real money Video Poker games from the comfort of your own home, with a wide range of varieties and betting limits, on your PC or smartphone.

In fact, for betting fans who like games of skill, low house edges, and the potential to win some juicy progressive jackpots, there's no better option than Video Poker.

Today, there are almost as many real cash Video Poker variations online as there are online casinos, so choosing the right ones is essential. Fortunately, we're here to help with our guide to all things Video Poker.

How To Play Video Poker

Once you've chosen a great real money online casino to play at (check our recommended links first and get yourself a top deposit bonus), head to the games lobby and find the Video Poker options.

Start off with something simple – Jacks or Better, for example – and choose your coin limits. Games normally allow you bet anywhere from 1 to 5 coins per hand, and one good tip is to bet the maximum if possible. This gives you a better chance over the long-term of hitting the big real cash prizes.

Make Your Draws

Once you're set, hit the Deal button. You will then receive five cards face up. Look at your cards and decide which cards you want to ‘hold', or keep in place, and which ones you want to re-draw. Choose the cards you want to change by simply clicking your mouse on them.

If you've ever played 5-card Draw Poker you'll recognize the play from here on in. After clicking on the cards you want to keep, hit the ‘Draw' button and the remaining cards will be re-dealt. All you have to do now is make the best possible 5-card poker hand.

Depending on what hand you have at the end, you will get paid out accordingly.

Winning And Payouts

Depending on which variation of real money Video Poker you're playing, you will get paid out accordingly. Check the paytables for your chosen game – better, LEARN them – as it's good to know which hands you're drawing to.

In a game of Jacks or Better, for example, the minimum hand you can get paid with is a pair of jacks. (Usually 1 coin at the bottom end of the betting spectrum.) The payouts then increase depending on the hand, and they follow standard poker rankings. Let's take a standard Jacks or Better game to see the payouts in coins. (Note: payouts are for a 5-coin bet):

The poker hand rankings remains pretty constant in most real cash online Video Poker games, but the payouts vary wildly from game to game, so it's really worth paying attention to the paytables for the game you're playing.

For example, you can see a Flush in Jacks or Better pays 30 coins on a 5-coin bet, but in Deuces Wild it drops to 10 coins, in Double Joker it's 20 coins, and in All American Poker, 40 coins. And where one Video Poker game pays higher on a flush, another may be better for straights – it can vary from game to game.

Hitting the Sequential Royal Flush

Note that there is a top payout for a Sequential Royal Flush. Many online Video Poker games have this extra payout. Sequential Royals are simply royal flushes that go in order across the screen from left to right, eg. 10-J-Q-K-A of spades. Some games will also pay out on a Reverse Sequential Royal Flush, which, as the name suggests, is Royal Flush running right to left.

Double Or Nothing

You've won your first hand of real cash Video Poker – well done! Before you take your money, however, you'll be offered two choices - Collect or Double.
You can simply choose to collect your winnings, which is fine, but you can also opt to choose a high card in order to double your haul. The screen will display five cards, with one face up. Simply click on one of the face down cards and if it's higher than the up-card you'll double your money – sweet! Remember, if you miss out by picking a card that's lower, you'll lose your money.

Some games even give you the chance of gambling just half your winnings if you don't fancy risking all of it.

Basic Video Poker Strategy

The key strategy of any Video Poker game is knowing which cards to hold and which to swap. Do you opt to play safe and go for the small two-pair wins, or go for those higher-paying flushes and full houses?

There's no definitive strategy in how you should play, but generally speaking it pays to go for as BEST A HAND as you can possibly hit.

For example, let's say you're playing Jacks or Better, and you're dealt Jh Jc Ah 2h 3h. You've already hit a pair of jacks so you've got 1-5 coins in the bank already. But wait – there's a flush draw out there. To go for the heart flush you'll have to opt to swap the Jc and try to complete your flush. With a flush paying 30 coins at that betting level you have to make the decision to either collect the 5 coins or gamble and go for 25 more.

That's why looking at the paytables is essential when you're playing Video Poker for real money. Try and work out the rough odds of improving your hand compared to the increased potential winnings.

What To Look Out For In Video Poker Games

Different Games = Different Minimum Winning Hands

There are so many different Video Poker variants online, it's worth knowing what the minimum payout in a game is.

For example, in Jacks or Better a pair of Jacks is the lowest payer. In Joker Poker, meanwhile, it's a pair of Kings. In Double Joker, where two jokers are in play, you'll need two pairs in order to make any money at all.

Wild Cards

Video Poker games with wild cards give you much more chance of winning. However, they also have a higher minimum qualifying hand. That's understandable – after all, if you're utilizing wild cards, you won't get expected to get paid out on a measly pair of jacks.

Games with Wilds are like slots with Wild icons – they can turn crummy combos into winning ones, but payouts may be smaller.

Jackpots

You should always be aiming for the maximum payout in any game – the jackpot. Some games, like Jacks or Better, will have a jackpot worth 4,000 coins for hitting a Royal Flush at the maximum 5-coin betting limit. But it can vary: Joker Poker has a higher 5,000-coin jackpot, and there are some great Progressive Jackpot Video Poker games that have much, much higher jackpots.

How To Find Good Online Video Poker Sites

Finding a great online casino to play at is almost as essential as finding a good Video Poker game.

There are dozens of Internet casinos out there but they're certainly not created equal. Quality can vary dramatically in terms of software, range of games, customer support, player traffic and security.

What Makes a Good Online Video Poker Site

Game Variety

Video Poker comes in so many different flavors it pays to do your homework when hunting out a casino to open an account with. Good casinos will have at least five or six Video Poker games, and online casinos with progressive jackpots prove they have the traffic to cope with creating large prizepools, and are well-respected.

Get A Good Bonus

Get a good bonusThere is so much competition online these days, casinos online will come up with many different promos in order to attract new customers to their websites. A real cash welcome deposit bonus sucks in the gambler and gives you the chance to earn some cash absolutely free.

Welcome deposits work like this: when you sign up and make your first real-money deposit, you will trigger a bonus – let's say, 100% of your money back up to $500 – and you will then have to ‘play through' a certain number of Video Poker hands or dollar amount in order to earn the bonus cash. Therefore, if you play an awful lot of Video Poker over a relatively short space of time, you can earn some serious money.

But wait – make sure you read the casino's rules and regulations before you commit. Deposit bonuses often require a lot of commitment – sometimes wagering up to 20x the bonus amount in dollars – and the playing requirements can differ wildly from game to game. You may find that some casinos require more than 20x the wager commitment for their real money Video Poker game, or that they don't even include Video Poker in their list of permitted games.

Whichever real cash online casino you choose to sign up with, always make sure you know where you stand with promos before getting out the credit card.

How Secure Is Your Site?

SecureGreat casinos online will have top security in place to help protect your personal and financial details. Their software will also be independently audited and come with excellent encryption in place.

Fair Video Poker relies on its RNGs (Random Number Generators) being totally above board, and that means fair shuffling and dealing without the chances of glitches or impropriety. Check your casino's homepage for the SSL and eCOGRA logos, or their equivalent – they're marks that the software all-round can be trusted.

We Find The Best Video Poker Sites

If you're looking for a top casino with a range of slick, fair and reliable real cash Video Poker games, make sure you check out our recommended links. Our team of experts tests and compares dozens of Video Poker betting sites to make sure they offer a great experience for you.

If the customer support sucks or isn't awake when you are, we'll tell you. After all, there's nothing worse than questioning a Video Poker game or having an important query as you're dealt another hand in Deuces Wild, only to discover the customer service team isn't around.

We also make sure our top sites offer plenty of deposit methods so you can get your cash into your account in no time, and have quick cash-out times so you can get your hands on your Poker winnings straight away.

Top 5 Tips For Good Video Poker

1. Stick To Jacks-Or-Better At First

OK, we know we've been bigging up some of the variants of Video Poker on the market. But for some quick, regular wins, try sticking to the basic Jacks-or-Better type games for a while. Remember, a pair of jacks or queens pays 5 coins in a classic video poker game, but they pay nothing in a game with Wild Cards. Jokers and Wild Cards may make things exciting in other Video Poker variants, but you'll have to hit those bigger hands to earn anything back.

2. Bet The Maximum Coins

With a low house edge (Jacks or Better has a house edge of around 0.46%) it pays to bet as much as you can. You have a maximum of five coins to bet with, so go for this in order to give yourself a chance for the best payouts.

3. Know When And What To Hold

It's worth memorizing the best pay tables for your favorite games. But before you play, look for the best possible paytables before you play. This will help you decide what hands to go for. Also get your hands on strategy cards for each game you're going to play. This will tell you the chances of hitting various hands after Holding. You should be looking for the BEST POSSIBLE HAND you can hit after redrawing, so focus on hitting that. If you have 4-to-the-Flush and a Low Pair, for example, re-draw and go for the Flush.

4. Use The Internet To Improve Your Game

If you're struggling to keep up with your game AND trying to work out the odds of hitting the cards you need in order to improve, it might be a good idea to invest in software. There are a bunch of good tools online which you can run behind your game screen and that will help to you bigger wins.

5. Search For A Good Online Video Poker Site

Does your online casino offer a dozen Video Poker variations with a Progressive Jackpot or two thrown in? If so, it's proof that the site is respected, well-run, and has plenty of traffic to bump up those prizepools. Online casino players are savvy and will gravitate towards good casino websites. Learn to follow the crowd.

Variations Of Online Video Poker

Jacks-or-Better

We've looked already at Jacks-or-Better. Available at most online casinos, the object is to make the best five-card poker hand after one draw. Remember, though, in this game you only get paid out by hitting AT LEAST a pair of Jacks. A pair of Jacks pays 1 coin, with Two Pair paying 2 coins, Three of a Kind 3 coins, and so on.

4-Lines Jacks-or-Better

Why play one game of Jacks-or-Better when you can play four at once?! On the screen in 4-Lines Jacks-or-Better you'll be presented with four rows of cards, with each lines being treated as a separate hand. Bet on each hand simultaneously and watch the money roll in.
Power Poker

Here's an interesting twist on the classic 4-lines game. In Power Poker you'll be dealt four hands containing five cards each, but when you choose the cards to hold in your first hand, the cards in the same position in your remaining hands take on the value of the card you held.

For example, you're dealt K-J-K-6-2 in your top hand. You choose to hold the kings, and then the first and third cards in your remaining hands will also become kings. Play then proceeds and the computer deals your replacement cards.

Wild Card Video Poker

Games like Deuces Wild use a Wild card which can substitute for any other card. In Deuces Wild, for instance, 2s are wild, so if you were dealt A-A-J-6-2 your 2 would become and ace to give you three-of-a-kind.
Remember that the minimum cash payouts in Wild card games are higher than conventional Video Poker games. That three-of-a-kind you just hit will probably pay the minimum so you have to decide whether the benefit of the wild 2s is worth it. Joker Poker games work in a similar way, with the Joker substituting for any card.

Progressive Jackpot Games

Like online video slots, playing Video Poker for real money at dozens of top casinos gives you the chance to win some tasty progressive jackpots.

Progressive Jackpot Video Poker games take a portion of every bet staked and pools it together with games across dozens of other casinos on the net. Then, if you trigger the progressive jackpot in your favorite Video Poker game you'll take the lot!

Ways of triggering progressives differs from game to game, so make sure you read the rules at your online casino before playing. One thing to remember is that you will probably have to be playing at the maximum stakes on a game in order to qualify for the progressive jackpot.

Mobile Casino Video Poker

It's worth mentioning how the mobile casino boom is revolutionizing online casinos in 2018. A few years ago it would be laughable to suggest you could enjoy REAL-MONEY betting games on your phone on the move.

Now, however, there are new tablets and smartphones being released every month, with ever-increasing power and graphics capabilities. Mobile casinos adapt many of their games to fit your tablet or phone's screen with little loss in playability compared to their PC cousins.

Mobile casinos are THE big thing for 2018 and beyond, and luckily the top casinos online will offer some great Video Poker games just for you.

Five Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Video Poker

  1. Si Redd invented the first Video Poker machines, but after his employer, Bally, dismissed the idea, he bought the patent and launched it himself. His company would later become IGT, one of the world leaders in modern casino games.
  2. The biggest draw of Video Poker is the low house edge and the possibility of finding games with a payout percentage of over 100%.
  3. Just as Video Poker was the first video game that appeared in land-based casinos, so it was one of the first games that was adapted into online betting games in the 1990s.
  4. The earliest version of Video Poker – Jacks-or-Better – remains the most popular form of the game for casino and online casino players.
  5. The odds of hitting a Royal Flush – the best hand in Video Poker – are 649,739/1.


Complete Guide to Live Dealer Casinos Online

Faster network speeds and better computers have made it possible to enjoy hybrid live and online casino games. These feature a live dealer and cards, streamed onto your machine. At the same time your bets and in-game decisions are controlled via your mouse. These tables can get very social, with interactive chat with the dealer too. They are usually dealt by attractive women, and you can even find “playboy” versions too. This guide will show you how to get the best from your live dealer casino experience.

Not all games are suitable for live-dealer online casino action, and first up below you’ll find an overview of the games to expect and the pros and cons of playing them with a live dealer. After that you’ll find some advanced information on the software providers who run live dealer games and their relationship with the casinos. Finally, you will find a handy checklist of what to look out for before you deposit at a live dealer casino.

Live Dealer Casinos – What Games Work Best?

Table games that involve simple betting decisions and a fast game flow are the best for live dealer games. Favourites include blackjack, roulette, baccarat (punto-banco) and some casino poker games too. In this article below, I have covered what you can expect at each one.

Live Dealer Blackjack

This game is prefect for live-dealer action, with simple decisions (well, most of the time!) and fast-paced action. You will find this game a little slower than the one-on-one online games against a computer. This is because there are up to seven players in each game, which helps pay for the cost of the dealer and setup. Usually the games run pretty smoothly; however, you can sometimes get one slow player or maybe a bad connection. Bets usually start at $5 rather than the $1 of computerized tables. Again, this is because the overheads are bigger for the casino – so running the smallest games would not really make financial sense. The decks are usually shuffled at half-way (four of the eight) to prevent card counting.

Live Dealer Baccarat

This is often the punto-banco faster version of baccarat. Again, you can expect a higher betting limit, with $5 or even $10 being the starting point. This game works great in a live-dealer environment, and is a favourite among online high-rollers as well as high-rollers from brick-and-mortar casinos. The dealing rules are fairly complicated; however, you do not need to know all the details to enjoy this game. Simply avoiding the bad odds of the tie bet should keep you on the right track.

Live Dealer Roulette

A lot of players can enjoy a single live dealer roulette game, which will keep the minimum bets down compared to some of the other games. You’ll usually find the double zero US wheel in use, which does have a slightly bigger house edge. One good idea is to look for enhanced payouts, which make up for this somewhat.

Live Dealer Casino Poker

This is usually based on casino Hold’em, which is a cool variant on Texas Hold’em and does feature a flop, turn and river. However, it is player against house instead of player against multiple other players. Your key decision of whether to play or fold will be based on a real flop in this game. Again, you can expect $5 minimum bets.

Live Dealer Casinos – How the Software Providers and Casinos Interact

Some players download a brand new casino, only to find exactly the same games and live dealer tables from the one they just left. The key is that the casinos are not the same people who are creating the software or organizing the live tables. These are provided by software houses who then license their suite of games to the individual casinos. Big names like MicroGaming and PlayTech are the industry giants, though there are plenty of niche and upcoming houses including BetSoft.

If you want to try out a few different live dealer casino games, then you can check which software provider your casino is using – and make sure your next choice uses a different software provider.

Live Dealer Casinos – Other Things to Look for in a Live Dealer Casino

The software and games might be the single-most important thing to look out for in a live dealer online casino; however, this is not the only important factor. One thing that you rarely find in comparison tables is the length of time a casino has been in service and, along with that, their reputation for fast payouts and fair handling of any issues. The recommendation of many casino players is to look for at least five years’ track record, though some people go for even more.

Bonuses are important too, though for me the ongoing rewards are even more important than the initial headline bonus amount. After all, the welcome bonus will be gone reasonably soon and comps, reloads and promotions could be keeping your bankroll topped up for many years to come.


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cheltenham festival

Cheltenham Festival 2018 bets, tips and odds | everything you need to know about Cheltenham Festival

Cheltenham Festival Day 1 Tips (Tuesday)

13:30: Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle 2m ½f

To win - Summerville Boy (N D Fehily) 9-1 

Result - Correct

 

14:10: Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase 2m

To win - Footpad (R Walsh) 5-6

Result - Correct

 

14:50: Ultima Handicap Steeple Chase 3m 1f

To win - Coo Star Sivola (Lizzie Kelly) 5-1 

Result - Correct

 

15:30: Unibet Champion Hurdle 2m ½f

To win - Buveur D'Air (B J Geraghty) 4-6

Result - Correct

 

16:10: OLBG Mares' Hurdle Race 2m 4f

To win - Benie Des Dieux (R Walsh) 9-2

Result - Correct

 

16:50: National Hunt Steeple Chase Challenge Cup 4m

To win - Rathvinden (Mr P W Mullins) 9-2

Result - Correct

 

17:30: Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase 2m 4½f

To win - Rather Be (J McGrath) 12-1

Result - 2nd (Very Close) - Winner - Mister Whitaker (B Hughes) 13-2

Cheltenham Festival Day 2 Tips (Wednesday)

13:30: Ballymore Novices' Hurdle Race 2m 5f

To win - Samcro - (G Elliott / J W Kennedy) - 4/5 - Certainty

Result - Correct

 

14:10: RSA Steeple Chase 3m ½f

To win - Monalee - (H de Bromhead / N D Fehily) - 7/2 - Best Bet of the Day

Result - 2nd - Winner - Presenting Percy

 

14:50: Coral Cup (handicap hurdle) 2m 5f

To win/each way - Topofthegame - (P F Nicholls / Sam Twiston-Davies) - 11/1 - Huge Potential 

Result - 2nd by a nose - winner - Bleu Berry

 

15:30: Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase 2m

To win - Altior - (N J Henderson / Nico de Boinville) - 6/5 - Certainty

Result - Correct

 

16:10: Glenfarclas Cross Country Steeple Chase 3m 6f

To win - Tiger Roll - (G Elliott / K M Donoghue) - 11/2 - Best Value Bet

Result - Correct

 

16:50: Boodles Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap 2m 1½f

To win - Veneer Of Charm - (Kennedy, J/ Elliott, G) - 33/1 - Best Looking Horse

Result - Correct

 

17:30: Weatherbys Champion Bumper 2m ½f

To win - Relegate - (Walsh, Ms K/ Mullins, W) - 28/1 - Where the Bet King's Money is Going

Result - Correct

Cheltenham Festival Day 3 Tips (Thursday)

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13:30: JLT Novices' Chase 2m 4f

To win - KEMBOY (P Townend) - 11/1

14:10: Pertemps Network Final (handicap hurdle) 3m

To win - LOUIS' VAC POUCH (R Johnson) - 10/1

14:50: Ryanair Steeple Chase 2m 5f

To win - UN DE SCEAUX (R Walsh) - 4/6

15:30: Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle 3m

To win - SAM SPINNER (J Colliver) - 3/1

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16:10: Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate (handicap steeple chase) 2m 5f

To win - THE STORYTELLER (D N Russell) - 6/1

16:50: Trull House Stud Mares Novices' Hurdle 2m 1f

To win - LAURINA (R Walsh) - 4/7

17:30: Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Steeple Chase 3m 2f

To win - MISSED APPROACH (N McParlan) - 10/1

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Cheltenham Festival Gold Cup Day Tips (Friday)

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13:30: JCB Triumph Hurdle 2m 1f

Apple's Shakira @ 6/4 (B J Geraghty/ Henderson, N)

 

14:10: Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle 2m 1f

Whiskey Sour @ 14/1 (D J Mullins/ Mullins, W)

 

14:50: Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle 3m

Chris's Dream @ 7/1 (M P Walsh/ Bromhead, H De)

 

15:30: Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase 3m 2½f

Native River @ 9/2 (R Johnson/ Tizzard, C)

 

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16:10: St. James's Place Foxhunter Steeple Chase Challenge Cup 3m 2½f

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Everything you need to know about the Cheltenham Festival 2018

The Cheltenham Festival 2018 is fast approaching and begins on 13th March with the Supreme Novice’s Hurdle. Here is everything you need to know about the big four days at Prestbury Park in this amazing day giving us excuse to bet on sports

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When is the Cheltenham Festival?

The 2018 Cheltenham Festival will take place between Tuesday, March 13 and Friday, March 16.

Where is the Cheltenham Festival?

The meeting takes place at Cheltenham Racecourse, Prestbury Park, on the outskirts of the Gloucestershire spa town of Cheltenham.

How do I buy tickets?

The easiest way is usually to buy tickets through the racecourse’s website. On-the-day sales are sometimes an option, but are not recommended and the final day of the meeting, headlined by the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup, historically sells out.

How do I follow it on TV and online?

Coverage of the Cheltenham Festival will be on ITV, which will show the first five races on each of the four days. Full televised coverage of all 28 races can be found on the Racing UK subscription channel.

What are the big races?

The four main championship races headline each of the four days. Tuesday, known as Champion Day, includes the Champion Hurdle. Wednesday, Ladies’ Day, the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Thursday is known as St Patrick’s Thursday, whichever date it happens to fall on, and hosts the Stayers’ Hurdle (as well as the de facto fifth championship event, the Ryanair Chase). Gold Cup day features the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the most prestigious prize in jumps racing.

What about the other races?

Just about every division in National Hunt racing is covered in the Cheltenham Festival, which earns it the moniker of jump racing’s Olympics. Some races are subject to long-term sponsorship deals and are better known by those names. The full schedule is as follows:

Tuesday

1.30 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
2.10 Arkle Challenge Trophy
2.50 Festival Trophy Handicap Chase
3.30 Champion Hurdle
4.10 David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle
4.50 National Hunt Challenge Cup
5.30 Centenary Novices’ Handicap Chase

Wednesday

1.30 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle
2.10 RSA Chase
2.50 Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle
3.30 Queen Mother Champion Chase
4.10 Cross Country Chase
4.50 Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle
5.30 Champion Bumper

Thursday

1.30 JLT Novices’ Chase
2.10 Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle
2.50 Ryanair Chase
3.30 Stayers’ Hurdle
4.10 Festival Plate Handicap Chase
4.50 Dawn Run Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle
5.30 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup

Friday

1.30 Triumph Hurdle
2.10 County Hurdle
2.50 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle
3.30 Cheltenham Gold Cup
4.10 Foxhunters’ Chase
4.50 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle
5.30 Grand Annual Handicap Chase

Who are the star names?

At the time of writing, two of last year’s champions are on course to mount a strong defence of their title. Buveur D’Air is a warm order for a second Champion Hurdle, while Sizing John has good claims of following up in what looks an open Gold Cup.

Special Tiara, last year’s Champion Chase winner, is also a likely runner but has looked a fading force this season. He also has to contend with jump racing’s rising star Altior, who won the Racing Post Arkle last year and remains unbeaten over both hurdles and fences.

One of the star human names is Irish champion trainer Willie Mullins, who along with stable jockey Ruby Walsh has plundered plenty of prizes at the meeting in recent seasons, especially on day one. British champion trainer Nicky Henderson is set for a big week with both Altior and Buveur D’Air in his care, while Gordon Elliott, last year’s leading trainer at the meeting, saddles big novice hurdle hope and Irish banker Samcro in the Ballymore.

About Cheltenham Racecourse

Cheltenham is at the heart of almost every aspect of Jump racing. This is the place where owners, trainers, jockeys, stable staff and breeders dream of having winners. It’s the place where the most important races are run. This is where many stars of the future go through the sale ring. But most of all, this is the place where the equine and human champions forge their reputations.

As always, there is much to look forward to in the season, with 16 exciting days of top class Jump racing. Hundreds of thousands of racing fans come to Cheltenham every year, but you don’t need to be an expert to make lasting memories.The wide variety of experiences range from the relaxed feel of the meetings in October and April, to the heady excitement of The November Meeting and the family fun of New Year’s Day.

However, the focus of any jumping season is always The Cheltenham Festival which is the shining jewel in jump-racing’s crown. It is four days of magic, magnificence and madness, played out on a stage framed by the breathtaking vista of the Cotswold Hills. It features a cast of the best horses, jockeys and trainers playing to an audience of 260,000 people, all of whom are determined to have the time of their lives.

£45 million redevelopment of the Home of Jump racing

Cheltenham Racecourse opened its new, five and a half storey grandstand, The Princess Royal Stand, on the first day of The Open, Friday 13th November 2015, on time and on budget. The grandstand is the final part of a £45million redevelopment of the course.

Over a 19month period, from 2013-2015, a number of different areas of Cheltenham Racecourse were redeveloped, with the new stand the centrepiece of the project. The grandstand provides a number of bars, toilets, restaurants, private boxes and viewing facilities for racegoers.

The ground floor of The Princess Royal Stand consists of a public bar, called the Vestey Bar after Lord Vestey who was Chairman of Cheltenham for 21 years until 2011. A bistro also provides hot food and a seafood offering.

The first floor of the stand provides a great new bar for Annual Members who have access directly onto their own section of steppings looking on to the racecourse. The remainder of the first floor is the Big Buck’s Champagne Bar, named after the horse that won an unprecedented four World Hurdles and 18 consecutive races, also with direct access onto the viewing steps of the grandstand.

The second floor of the grandstand consists of an Owners & Trainers Bar, with a balcony overlooking the Parade Ring, horsewalk and course and The Cotswolds Club, an area available to those who used to have one of the A+R boxes which were removed to make way for the new stand.

Moving up a floor, the third floor, to The Royal Box and 11 private boxes. Finally the top floor houses The Cheltenham Club, where members are allocated a table for the season, from which to enjoy a four course, a la carte lunch, stunning views of Cleeve Hill and the Malvern Hills at the back of the stand and even a fireplace to keep warm between races during the winter months. This facility provides an unrivaled offer of fine dining combined with a stunning sporting setting.

The opening of the new stand signified the end of a £45million redevelopment of Cheltenham Racecourse, the largest of its kind by The Jockey Club. A total of 14 different projects have been completed over the 19 month construction period, including a refurbished weighing room, a new first aid room and the new crescent walkway which greatly assists racegoers’ mobility behind the grandstand and offer additional viewing of the parade ring.

Paul Fisher, Group Managing Director of Jockey Club Racecourses, commented at the time: “The Jockey Club exists to support the long-term future of British racing and we see this £45m development as an important investment in Cheltenham and Jump Racing as a whole, on the back of putting more than £400m back into our sport in just the last decade.

“We’ve been delighted with the feedback as each project within the development has been completed and opened, but the centerpiece has always been the fantastic new grandstand. We were clear we wanted to offer something for everyone in the facility and a huge credit must go to all of the Cheltenham team as well as our development partners, primarily Kier, and architects Roberts Limbrick for completing a project of this scale not only on budget but ahead of schedule and to a standard fitting of the Home of Jump racing.”

The History of The Cheltenham Festival

The first organised Flat race meeting in Cheltenham took place in 1815 on Nottingham Hill, with the first races on Cleeve Hill in August 1818. Racing’s popularity soared over the next decade with crowds of 30,000 visiting the racecourse for its annual two day July meeting featuring the Gold Cup, a 3m flat race.  Since 1815 we've been betting on horses!  You'd think we'd be good at it by now!

In 1829, Cheltenham’s Parish Priest, Reverend Francis Close, preached the evils of horseracing and aroused such strong feeling amongst his congregation that the race meeting in 1830 was disrupted. Before the following year’s meeting the grandstand was burnt to the ground!

To overcome this violent opposition the racecourse was moved to Prestbury Park, its current venue, in 1831. Steeplechasing became established in nearby Andoversford from 1834 and moved to the present course in 1898.

In 1964, Racecourse Holdings Trust (now Jockey Club Racecourses) was formed to secure the future of Cheltenham. The group now owns 13 other racecourses – a combination of jump, flat, dual purpose and all weather racecourses. Wholly owned in a trust by The Jockey Club, the racecourses reinvest all profits into the 14 racecourses to ensure the continued success and development of British horseracing.

The changing face of Cheltenham Racecourse 1950s

The stands changed little between the 1930s and 1950s when the National Hunt Steeplechase course ran behind the back of the stands.

1960s and 1970s

The original Tattersalls Grandstand was opened in 1960 to cope with growing crowds. The Weighing Room was underneath the Festival Restaurant and the Winners Enclosure above the Parade Ring. During this period the centre of the racecourse was developed and became a popular raceday enclosure.

1980s

The main Grandstand was completed in 1979 and extended twice in the 1980s. The top two levels were dedicated entirely to Private Hospitality, and in 1982 the Parade Ring, Weighing Room and Hurdlers Hall were built behind the stands with terraced viewing for 4,000.

1990s

The new stables complex was opened in 1990 adjacent to Hunters Lodge, our stable staff hotel built three years earlier to sleep 124. The Pre-Parade Ring was used for the first time in 1992 and Hall of Fame Entrance officially opened in 1993.

The Cross Country Course was introduced in 1995 and is now raced on three times each season, including The Festival. The race weaves around the centre of the course with natural obstacles including hedges, banks and ditches. In 1997, the original Tattersalls Grandstand was knocked down and replaced with tiered viewing and the Panoramic Restaurant which boasts spectacular views across the racecourse.

The Millennium

During 2003-2004, £3m was invested in the Best Mate Enclosure in the centre of the racecourse, giving a new grandstand and arguably one of the best views of racing. During the same period, £17m was invested in providing additional raceday facilities with The Centaur, a new conference and events centre. Accommodating up to 4,000 visitors, The Centaur is the biggest venue of its kind between Birmingham and Bournemouth. In 2005, The Festival was successfully extended to four days.

Investing in the future

The racecourse employs more than 80 permanent staff, which rises to approximately 1,000 for a race meeting and more than 5,000 at The Festival. The Festival is worth an estimated £100m to the local economy and hosts the largest tented village of any kind at a sporting event. Prize money at Cheltenham exceeds £6m throughout the season with £4.1m on offer at The Festival alone, making it the most valuable and prestigious fixture in Jump racing.

The racecourse is also home to many other organizations and businesses including Cotswold RDA, Cheltenham Archery and Clubs for Angling and Model Aircraft. Throughout the year we welcome over 700,000 visitors to the racecourse and hope that every visitor – horse or human – enjoy their visit and will be back soon.

About The Jockey Club

Cheltenham racecourse is part of the The Jockey Club, the largest commercial group in British horse racing.
With a 266-year heritage at the heart of British racing and governed by Royal Charter, The Jockey Club invests all profits back into the UK’s second biggest spectator sport.

The Jockey Club owns 14 leading racecourses, including Aintree, home of the Randox Health Grand National; Cheltenham, stage for the prestigious Cheltenham Festival; Epsom Downs, home to the Investec Derby; and Newmarket’s Rowley Mile and July Course, considered Flat racing’s global HQ.

Other parts of its Group include Jockey Club Estates which operates the famous training grounds at Newmarket and Lambourn; The National Stud, its Thoroughbred breeding, boarding and education arm; and charity, Racing Welfare, which offers help to all racing’s people in need.

The Jockey Club is also the largest shareholder in QIPCO British Champions Series, which aims to throw the spotlight on the very best races in the UK Flat season, and climaxes with QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot in October each year.

It is also the largest shareholder in media company, Racecourse Media Group, which includes satellite TV channel, Racing UK, online service, RacingUK.com and betting shop TV service, TurfTV.

Cheltenham Racecourse Committee:

CHAIRMAN

Robert Waley-Cohen – Robert took over as Chairman from Lord Vestey after The Festival in 2011 when his horse Long Run won the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Robert has owned four other Festival winners and five winners over the Grand National fences. Robert has been on the committee of the TBA National Hunt Committee since 2006 and Chairman since 2010. He has been a member of the BHA Jump Race Committee since 2010. Robert served as a Steward of The Jockey Club from 1995 to 2000, the last three years as Deputy Senior Steward and was Chairman of the Point-to-Point Authority from 2005 to 2011.

COMMITTEE

Rupert Sweeting – Rupert was a successful amateur jockey and continues to steward at Aintree, Ascot, Newbury, Towcester, Warwick and Windsor. He is on the Licensing Committee of the BHA. He has three broodmares and a filly in training with David Pipe. He is a proprietary partner of Knight Frank heading up the Country Department and is a director of Heritage Diversified Investments PCC Ltd.

Alice Fox-Pitt – After starting out as a runner on Festival Radio, Alice, née Alice Plunkett, moved on to having her own show there, at the Derby and Royal Ascot. She then did a screen test for the Racing Channel and worked there until the broadcaster closed, then becoming a host on At the Races before moving across to Racing UK on its inception. Her role on Channel 4 Racing began with the Lunchtime Show and she was brought into the main team in 2001. She now fronts all the Jump racing action for Channel 4 and from 2017 ITV Racing. She is the only woman to have ridden around both Aintree and Badminton Horse Trials. She represented Great Britain at the European Three-Day Event Championships under 21 and, as an amateur rider, partnered winners over hurdles, point-to-points and charity Flat races.Plunkett is married to eventer William Fox-Pitt and they live in Dorset with their four children.

William Rucker – William is Chief Executive of Lazard in London. He is also Chairman of Crest Nicholson Holdings plc and Quintain Estates & Development plc. He has many horses in training with Evan Williams and his horses have finished in the top four in six runnings of the Grand National, with familiar names such as Cappa Bleu and State Of Play, the latter of which also won the 2006 Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury. He also has horses in training with Fergal O’Brien and with Sir Mark Prescott on the Flat.

William Vestey – William has grown up with Cheltenham Racecourse as a big part of his life, as his father Lord Vestey was Chairman for over two decades. He is Lord Vestey’s elder son and is Associate Director for the family business, Vestey Group. William has horses in training with Jeremy Noseda, Nicky Henderson and Charlie Longsdon.

Sir Richard Stagg KCMG – Sir Richard joined the Cheltenham Racecourse Committee at the start of the 2015/16 season. He had recently retired from the Foreign Office, having been High Commissioner to India from 2007 until 2011 and after that was Ambassador to Afghanistan from 2012 until 2015. He is Chairman of Rothschild India. He has owned a number of racehorses in the past and has a varied background in racing from sponsoring pony racing on the ice in Bulgaria; to presenting the Queen’s Cup at Calcutta Races.

Grand National Runners 2018 Guide

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Best world cup odds - updated daily

Brazil

To Lift The Trophy - 4/1

 

 

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Brazil vs Switzerland - 17/06 19:00

Brazil vs Costa Rica - 22/06 13:00

Brazil vs Serbia - 27/06 19:00

Germany

To Lift The Trophy - 5/1

 

 

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Spain

To Lift The Trophy - 11/2

 

 

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France

To Lift The Trophy - 13/2

 

 

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Argentina

To Lift The Trophy - 10/1

 

 

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Belgium

To Lift The Trophy - 10/1

 

 

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England

To Lift The Trophy - 16/1

 

 

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Portugal

To Lift The Trophy - 25/1

 

 

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Uruguay

To Lift The Trophy - 25

 

 

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Croatia

To Lift The Trophy - 33/1

 

 

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Colombia

To Lift The Trophy - 40/1

 

 

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Russia

To Lift The Trophy - 50

 

 

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Poland

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Mexico

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Denmark

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Switzerland

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Serbia

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Peru

To Lift The Trophy - 150/1

 

 

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Sweden

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Egypt

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Nigeria

To Lift The Trophy - 250/1

 

 

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Iceland

To Lift The Trophy - 250/1

 

 

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Senegal

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Morroco

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Japan

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South Korea

To Lift The Trophy - 500/1

 

 

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Costa Rica

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Iran

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Australia

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Tunisia

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Panama

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Saudi Arabia

To Lift The Trophy - 1500/1

 

 

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The Fifa World Cup 2018 will take place between June 14th - July 15th in Russia. 

The 2018 FIFA World Cup is scheduled to take place in Russia from 14 June to 15 July 2018, after the country was awarded the hosting rights on 2 December 2010. This will be the first World Cup held in Europe since the 2006 tournament in Germany; all but one of the stadium venues are in European Russia, west of the Ural Mountains to keep travel time manageable.

The final tournament will involve 32 national teams, which include 31 teams determined through qualifying competitions and the automatically qualified host team. Of the 32 teams, 20 will be making back-to-back appearances following the last tournament in 2014, including defending champions Germany, while Iceland and Panama will both be making their first appearances at a FIFA World Cup. A total of 64 matches will be played in 12 venues located in 11 cities. The final will take place on 15 July at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

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World Cup 2018 guide | bets, odds & information

Group A

Russia

Stanislav Cherchesov became Russia's manager after disappointing performances at Euro 2016 and the former goalkeeper has changed a lot, mainly in defence where he has brought in the youngsters Viktor Vasin (CSKA), Fedor Kudryashov (Rubin Kazan) and Georgi Dzhikiya (Spartak Moscow) to replace Sergei Ignashevich and Vasily Berezutski. He also plays three at the back instead of four. The biggest talking point has been the exclusion of Igor Denisov, who is arguably the best defensive midfielder but fell out with Cherchesov at Dynamo Moscow. Russia’s attack is impressive. Alan Dzagoev is still going strong and the strikers Fyodor Smolov and Aleksandr Kokorin scored a lot of goals in 2017. Special attention should be paid to the twins Aleksei and Anton Miranchuk from Lokomotiv Moscow and Aleksandr Golovin from CSKA. They are young technical midfielders who could have their breakthroughs at the World Cup.  There are a lot of people betting on Russia to do well at this tournament.  They're not stupid!

How they qualified Hosts Preferred system 3-5-2 Star player Igor Akinfeev (CSKA Moscow) One to watch Aleksandr Golovin (CSKA Moscow) Manager Stanislav Cherchesov Odds 40-1

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia may be the lowest-ranked qualifiers but there is never a dull moment when the Green Falcons are around. Few managers last more than a year in the hottest of hot seats but Bert van Marwijk was in charge for two and led the team to a first World Cup since 2006. It was not always pretty but the side took maximum points from the weakest teams and did enough against Japan and Australia to squeeze into the second automatic spot. Days later Van Marwijk was heading home after a disagreement with the Saudi FA, replaced by Edgardo Bauza. The Argentinian lasted two months and five friendlies before getting the boot. Three days before the draw in Moscow, Juan Antonio Pizzi – who led Chile to the 2016 Copa América but could not take them to Russia – was appointed. His squad has some talent but lack international experience.

How they qualified Second in Asian Group B (round three) behind Japan Preferred system 4-3-3 (in qualification though new coach may change) Star Player Nawaf Al Abed (Al-Hilal) One to watch Fahad Al-Muwallad (Al-Ittihad) Manager Juan Antonio Pizzi Odds 1,000-1

Egypt

Happy to sit back and defend, Egypt are difficult to break down. Only once (in 30 games) have the Pharaohs conceded more than one goal under Hector Cúper. But despite taking Egypt to the Afcon final and a 63% win rate, the Argentinian has been criticised for his defensive style. Egypt’s squad are a mixture of youth and experience, with the goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary set to become the oldest player at a World Cup at 45. In front of him Egypt have the solid defensive partnership of Rami Rabia and West Brom’s Ahmed Hegazi. The midfield is built around Mohamed Elneny and Al Ahly’s Abdallah Said, who at 32 will bring a creative spark. Egypt hope Mohamed Salah’s fine form continues and on the other wing can choose from Ramadan Sobhi, Kahraba and Mahmoud Hassan “Trézéguet”, one to watch for his direct runs into the box.

How they qualified Winners of African Group E (round three) ahead of Uganda Preferred system 4-2-3-1 Star player Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) One to watch Mahmoud Hassan “Trézéguet” (Kasımpaşa, on loan from Anderlecht) Manager Héctor Cúper Odds 250-1

Uruguay

Óscar Tabárez’s team went through qualifying with unusual serenity. After four consecutive World Cup play-offs they finished second behind Brazil to qualify in style. Now, though, he has a big decision to make: will he continue to rely on the attacking approach that has served him so well or make changes? The answer seems to lie in the changing of the guard in midfield. Federico Valverde (Real Madrid, on loan at Deportivo La Coruña), Matías Vecino, (Internazionale), Nahitan Nández (Boca Juniors) and Rodrigo Bentancur (Juventus) are young and attack-minded players who have earned a place in the team, leading to this increased focus on attack. However, the November friendlies ended with a 0-0 draw against Poland and a 2-1 defeat against Austria, so expect some tinkering before the World Cup.

How they qualified Second in the South American section behind Brazil Preferred system 4-4-2 Star player Luis Suárez (Barcelona) One to watch Federico Valverde (Deportivo La Coruña, on loan from Real Madrid) Manager Óscar Tabárez Odds 40-1

Luis Suárez is set to form a formidable striking partnership with Edinson Cavani in Russia.

Group B

Portugal

“Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Germany and France are the favourites to win the World Cup,” says the Portugal coach, Fernando Santos, before adding: “Then we have other candidates, who want to get as far as possible, and win the tournament if possible, and Portugal are in this second group.” Santos is cautious, despite winning Euro 2016 but he is looking forward to the World Cup with optimism and does so with good reason: Portugal seem stronger now than a year and a half ago, having added creativity to the defensive organisation that underpinned the 2016 title. Bernardo Silva and André Silva have been important factors in this attacking upgrade and in general the team have more depth. The one area which is perhaps weaker is the defence, where it has been hard to find replacements for Pepe (who will be 35 next summer), José Fonte (34) and Bruno Alves (36).

How they qualified Winners of European Group B ahead of Switzerland Preferred system 4-4-2 Star player Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) One to watch Bernardo Silva (Manchester City) Manager Fernando Santos Odds 20-1

portugal euro 2016 winners

Portugal are arguably a stronger side now than the team who won Euro 2016.

Spain

La Roja are still La Roja and crashing out at the group stage in Brazil 2014 and the disappointment of France 2016 were not at all cathartic in the end. At the age of 51, and without much experience as a coach at elite level, Julen Lopetegui has managed to conserve the essence of what made Spain so successful. The backbone of the team who qualified brilliantly for Russia 2018 are the same as those who failed in France a year and a half ago. Eight of the team who lost against Italy in Paris would start in Russia if the World Cup started now: David De Gea, Gerard Piqué, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Andrés Iniesta, David Silva and Álvaro Morata. In addition, the wonderful Isco has found his feet with the senior squad, as have several of the under-21s who won the Euros with Spain and Lopetegui in 2013.

How they qualified Winners of European Group G ahead of Italy Preferred system 4-5-1 Star player David Silva (Manchester City) One to watch Isco (Real Madrid) Manager Julen Lopetegui Odds 15-2

Morocco

The Atlas Lions are roaring again. Twenty years after a heartbreaking elimination from the group stage at France ’98, the first African team to reach the last 16 are back at the World Cup. Morocco, the only African team to qualify for Russia without conceding a goal, have built their game on solid defence and hard work. The experience of Karim El Ahmadi, M’barek Boussoufa and Juventus’s Mehdi Benatia fits well with the intelligence of Hakim Ziyech and the strength of Nordin Amrabat. Hervé Renard is in charge but the advice coming from one of his assistants, Patrice Beaumelle, is vital. The former Coventry City midfielder Mustapha Hadji is also key in the setup, sharing his experiences and acting as a role model for this generation. The team’s main weakness used to be on the left but Real Madrid’s Achraf Hakimi has filled the gap admirably since September.

How they qualified Winners African Group C (round three) ahead of Ivory Coast Preferred system 4-5-1 Star player Hakim Ziyech (Ajax) One to watch Sofiane Boufal (Southampton) Manager Hervé Renard Odds 250-1

Iran

Team Melli are playing in a second successive World Cup for the first time. Carlos Queiroz’s men were the first Asian side to qualify for this tournament and did so with 12 consecutive clean sheets. The main aspect of Queiroz’s tactics is “reactive football” with a deep-lying defence and quick counterattacks. However, in recent friendlies against Russia, Panama and Venezuela, Iran played with a different tactic, pressing higher up the pitch and adopting a more aggressive approach. Queiroz, despite a temper and petulance that has caused many seemingly pointless controversies in recent years, is very popular in Iran because of the results and performances. Many believe he has given a real character to the national team. Iran have many Europe-based players this season and Queiroz tends to select those who play outside their homeland.

How they qualified Winners of Asian Group A (round three) ahead of South Korea Preferred system 4-2-3-1 Star player Sardar Azmoun (Rubin Kazan) One to watchSaman Ghoddos (Ostersund) Manager Carlos Queiroz Odds 1000-1

Group C

France

“We are not at the same level as Germany, Spain and Brazil – yet,” says Didier Deschamps. “We may not control all our games with the same authority but still, we have a strong and competitive team with a great potential.” France blew hot and cold in qualifying, winning their group despite losing to Sweden and drawing against Belarus and Luxembourg. Deschamps has a thrilling and explosive attack of Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappé and Ousmane Dembélé (if fit). There is a strong midfield built around Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kanté, lots of technical ability all around with such as Thomas Lemar and a sound defensive axis. Still, France appear more effective when playing on the break and using their speed. The weakest link? The left-back position if Manchester City’s Benjamin Mendy does not recover from his knee injury.

How they qualified Winners of European Group A ahead of Sweden Preferred system 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 Star player Antoine Griezmann (Atlético Madrid) One to watch Kylian Mbappé (Paris St-Germain) Manager Didier Deschamps Odds 11-2

antoinne griezmann

Antoine Griezmann wheels away after scoring against Wales during a friendly in November.

Australia

The 31st team to qualify worked harder than anyone else, with around 250,000km travelled and trips to far-flung destinations such as Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Tajikistan, Iran, Japan, Malaysia and Honduras. The Socceroos’ place in Russia is secure but the identity of the manager who will lead them there remains a mystery after Ange Postecoglou quit following the play-off win over Honduras in November. As such, Australia present something of a challenge for opponents scouting them, and uncertainty hangs over whether Postecoglou’s preferred – and controversial – 3-2-4-1 will be retained, as well as over the names that will fill those starting slots. There is still an over-reliance on Tim Cahill – who will be 38 this month – for goals but with Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic and Massimo Luongo, there is talent elsewhere; how to get the best out of them and their team-mates will depend on who takes the job.

How they qualified Third in Asian Group B (round three) behind Japan and Saudi Arabia, then play-off wins against Syria and Honduras Preferred system 3-4-1-2 (but that may change when the new manager is appointed) Star player Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield Town) One to watch Mathew Leckie (Hertha Berlin) Managernone Odds 300-1

Peru

Peru are back at the World Cup after 36 years, having gone back to their roots. Ricardo Gareca has brought in new, young players and reintroduced a style that had been lost for some time. Short passes and possession are part of the football DNA of Peru again – with excellent results. They are a young side who have responded to tougher discipline with increased commitment. The spine is made up of a very confident goalkeeper in Pedro Gallese; the skilful leader Alberto Rodríguez in defence; the physical and intelligent Yoshimar Yotún, who runs the midfield; and Jefferson Farfán and Paolo Guerrero up front. The wing-backs Aldo Corzo and Miguel Trauco are tactically astute and important. For a bit of inspiration to unlock opposing defences, there is the talented Christian Cueva.

How they qualified Fifth in South American section, then play-off win over New Zealand Preferred system 4-2-3-1 Star player Jefferson Farfán (Lokomotiv Moscow) One to watch Christian Cueva (São Paulo) Manager Ricardo Gareca Odds150-1

Denmark

Not only did a World Cup qualifying campaign end successfully for the first time since 2009 but the public fell back in love with the team. Denmark crushed Poland 4-0 and the Republic of Ireland 5-1 in the space of two months in the autumn, with Christian Eriksen reaching a Michael Laudrup-level of play, scoring 11 goals in 12 matches. “The World Cup deserves a star like him,” says the coach, Age Hareide. “We will be a danger to all teams because of him.” Denmark will continue with the direct style of play that Hareide turned to in the autumn, an approach that suited the box-to-box midfielder Thomas Delaney, who was the second-highest scorer for Denmark in qualifying. Up front Nicolai Jorgensen, Andreas Cornelius and Nicklas Bendtner fight for one place, while in central defence Brentford’s Andreas Bjelland and the captain Simon Kjær are picked ahead of Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen.

How they qualified Second in European Group E behind Poland, then play-off win against Republic of Ireland Preferred system 4-3-3 Star player Christian Eriksen (Tottenham Hotspur) One to watch Thomas Delaney (Werder Bremen) ManagerAge Hareide Odds 80-1

Group D

Argentina

Argentina made it in the end and it will be a farewell party for a lot of senior players. Sergio Romero, Ángel Di María, Sergio Agüero, Gonzalo Higuaín, Lucas Biglia and Éver Banega, among others, are almost certainly about to play in their final tournament. For Lionel Messi – the captain and main reason they reached Russia – it is also pretty much a case of now or never. With that in mind, Jorge Sampaoli is likely to go on the attack in his attempt to secure Argentina’s first World Cup since 1986. The team were unreliable in qualifying and it is up to Sampaoli to make them stronger in defence. Gabriel Mercado, Javier Mascherano and Nicolás Otamendi are likely to occupy the spots in the back three, with Biglia and Enzo Pérez expected to take the central midfield places.

How they qualified Third in South American section behind Brazil and Uruguay Preferred system 3-4-3 Star player Lionel Messi (Barcelona) One to watch Paulo Dybala (Juventus) Manager Jorge Sampaoli Odds 8-1

Iceland

Will supporters from the smallest nation ever to qualify for the World Cup be able to support their team in Russia in the way they did in France? Almost 10% of the nation travelled to Euro 2016 and there could be similar levels next summer but Moscow and Saint Petersburg are obviously easier to reach than Ekaterinburg and Volgograd. Iceland had to overcome a series of problems to qualify: the loss of their main striker Kolbeinn Sigthorsson to injury, Lars Lagerback’s departure and a draw that placed them with three teams who reached Euro 2016. However, they won their group and Heimir Hallgrimsson, who is now in sole charge, has shown more tactical flexibility than Lagerback did. Iceland still mainly play 4-4-2 but Hallgrimsson changes this to a 4-5-1 in certain games, to good effect. Apart from Sigthorsson, everybody from the starting lineup in France is expected to be in Russia.

How they qualified Winners of European Group I ahead of Croatia Preferred system 4-4-2 Star player Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton) One to watch Hordur Bjorgvin Magnusson (Bristol City) Manager Heimir Hallgrimsson

Croatia

a’s results became progressively worse during the qualifiers before, as usual, the manager was fired. The new man in charge, Zlatko Dalic, was appointed two days before the final – and decisive – group game but it was enough for a triumph of improvisation in Kiev, and then Croatia disposed of Greece with authority in the play-offs. Luka Modric is 32 and most of the other likely starters will be 29 or older – and the tournament may well be the last realistic shot at something big for this extraordinary generation, the best Croatia has had since the 1998 bronze-winning team. But the perennial dark horses have been caught in a web of internal divides involving key national federation men, the fans, the media and politics, decimating their support at home and making it difficult for them to focus.

How they qualified Second in European Group I behind Iceland, then play-off win against Greece Preferred system 4-2-3-1 Star player Luka Modric (Real Madrid) One to watch Nikola Vlasic (Everton) Manager Zlatko Dalic Odds 25-1

croatia

Croatia’s form got progressively worse during the World Cup qualifying campaign. 

Nigeria

Placed in a group with Algeria, Cameroon and the 2012 African champions Zambia, the Super Eagles qualified with a game to spare. The comeback victory over Argentina in a recent friendly in Russia further fed optimism regarding what the team can achieve under Gernot Rohr. The German manager has radically improved the side, infusing the freshness of youth into a team who failed to qualify for two consecutive Africa Cup of Nations tournaments before his appointment. Since he took over last year, the former Bordeaux manager has lost one game and knitted together a ruthless counterattacking side who feature the outstanding Alex Iwobi and with Chelsea’s wing-back Victor Moses playing as a dynamic, talismanic winger. The team are based on a sturdy defence, with energetic ball-winners at the base of midfield and the calming presence of Mikel John Obi to funnel balls to the attack.

How they qualified Winners of African Group B (round three) ahead of Zambia Preferred system 4-3-3 Star player Victor Moses (Chelsea) One to watch Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) Manager Gernot Rohr Odds 150-1

Group E

Brazil

Tite has not had 20 games in charge but Brazil’s transformation from a rudderless wreck to World Cup contenders has been astonishing. Tite has implemented a 4-1-4-1 and carefully navigated the lack of club playing time for some of his players. He has accommodated Neymar on the left, Casemiro in front of the backline, Gabriel Jesus in the centre of attack and has got the best from the full-backs Dani Alves and Marcelo. Renato Augusto is another performing at his peak, and Paulinho, one of Tite’s favourite players, has managed the transformation from the Chinese league to Barcelona remarkably well. The process has risks attached to it, too. Apart from the regulars in the starting XI there is not much depth – Willian and Roberto Firmino aside, Tite does not seem to have faith in many other players.

How they qualified Winners of the South American section ahead of Uruguay Preferred system 4-1-4-1 Star player Neymar (Paris St-Germain) One to watch Paulinho (Barcelona) Manager Tite Odds 5-1

brazil

Brazil line up to face England at Wembley in November.

Switzerland

People in Switzerland expect their team to reach major finals these days so there was no euphoria when the place in Russia was booked. The expectation is for Vladimir Petkovic’s squad to reach at least the last 16. “My team has a got an excellent team spirit and have a tremendous will to succeed,” says Petkovic. Granit Xhaka is at the heart, dictating the pace of the game. With creative and quick players such as Xherdan Shaqiri and Steven Zuber, Switzerland are always capable of creating something on the flanks, especially as the wingers have strong full-backs behind them in Juventus’s Stephan Lichtsteiner, right, and Milan’s Ricardo Rodríguez, left. With Fabian Schär and young Manuel Akanji there is also a solid central defence to lean on. The weakest part of the team is the centre-forward position, which is almost always occupied by Haris Seferović.

How they qualified Second in European Group B behind Portugal, then play-off win against Northern Ireland Preferred system 4-5-1 Star player Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) One to watch Denis Zakaria (Borussia Mönchengladbach) ManagerVladimir Petkovic Odds 66-1

Costa Rica

Costa Rica were a sensation four years ago, reaching the World Cup quarter-finals, and face the challenge of emulating that. The coach then, Jorge Luis Pinto, has been replaced by Óscar Ramírez and his team showed in qualifying they are the Concacaf team to beat, qualifying with two games to spare. Ramírez has continued to deploy the 5-4-1 that served Pinto so well. It asks a lot of Bryan Ruiz and Celso Borges; Ruiz is the main reference in attack and Borges gives balance in midfield. Keylor Navas is the star, with Marco Ureña, who plays for San Jose Earthquakes in the MLS, adding pace to the attack. Costa Rica may struggle to repeat a place in the last eight but they have the quality to reach the knockout phase.

How they qualified Second in Concacaf round five behind Mexico Preferred system 5-4-1 Star player Keylor Navas (Real Madrid) One to watch Marco Ureña (San Jose Earthquakes) Manager Óscar Ramírez Odds 400-1

Serbia

Serbia qualified for their first major tournament for seven years in comprehensive fashion. With only one defeat in 10 matches, they pipped the Euro 2016 semi-finalists Wales and Republic of Ireland to first place in their group, but that was not enough for Slavoljub Muslin to keep his job. The 64-year-old’s conflict with the president of the Serbian FA, Slavisa Kokeza, over the style of play and squad selection – with the star midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic at the epicentre – resulted in Muslin being fired. Mladen Krstajic took over as caretaker and immediately brought Milinkovic-Savic into the team for the November friendlies. The Lazio man repaid the faith with superb performances and an assist, sending a message that he could be trusted to lead a star-studded but ageing Serbia side.

How they qualified Winners of Euopean Group D ahead of Republic of IrelandPreferred system 3-4-3 Star player Nemanja Matic (Manchester United) One to Watch Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Lazio) Manager Mladen Krstajic (caretaker)

Group F

Germany

After Germany lost to France in the Euro 2016 semi-final plenty predicted the Joachim Löw era was slowly coming to an end. However, the team bounced back impressively and qualified for the World Cup with a perfect 10 wins out of 10 while scoring a joint European-record 43 goals. Die Mannschaft have not lost since that defeat against France and, rather frighteningly for their rivals, won the Confederations Cup in the summer without all of these missing players: Jérôme Boateng, Mats Hummels, Manuel Neuer, Toni Kroos, Mesut Özil, Thomas Müller, Mario Götze, Ilkay Gündogan, Marco Reus, Sami Khedira and Leroy Sané. New players (such as Timo Werner, Lars Stindl and – above all – Leon Goretzka) have staked their claim, meaning competition for places in the World Cup squad will be immense. Goretzka’s impressive displays for Schalke should see Löw pick him ahead of Khedira in central midfield.

How they qualified Winners of European Group C ahead of Northern Ireland Preferred system 4-2-3-1 Star player Toni Kroos (Real Madrid) One to watch Leon Goretzka (Schalke) Manager Joachim Löw Odds 5-1

Mexico

The team had no problem reaching the World Cup but Juan Carlos Osorio is still being questioned, because in more demanding fixtures, such as against Chile in the Copa América Centenario and Germany in the Confederations Cup, El Trilooked lost, being beaten 7-0 and 4-1 respectively. However, some of the players are in their prime. Guillermo Ochoa, Andrés Guardado, Héctor Moreno, Héctor Herrera and Javier Hernández have at least five years of experience in Europe and this could be the difference for Mexico to finally make it to a fifth game at the World Cup. Osorio’s system has been changing of late. When the Colombian took over he always used a 4-3-3 but in two recent friendlies he played with two midfield enforcers, something he may repeat (along with a five-man defence) in Russia.

How they qualified Winners of Concacaf round five ahead of Costa Rica and Panama Preferred system 4-3-3 Star player Javier “Chicharito” Hernández (West Ham United) One to watch Hirving “Chucky” Lozano (PSV Eindhoven) ManagerJuan Carlos Osorio Odds 66-1

Sweden

Euro 2016 saw the end of the Zlatan Ibrahimovic era as well as that of the manager Erik Hamren. The new Sweden team, under Janne Andersson, are extremely hardworking and disciplined. The 4-4-2 and tactics are reminiscent of the successful period from Lars Lagerback’s days in the early 2000s – but with players from more anonymous clubs. The stars of the Lagerback-era played for teams such as Arsenal, Juventus and Barcelona – today they represent clubs in Denmark, Greece, Russia, Scotland and the United Arab Emirates (apart from Emil Forsberg at RB Leipzig and Victor Lindelof at Manchester United). The play-off win against Italy was deserved and the big talking point now is whether Ibrahimovic will come out of international retirement for the World Cup. If so, will he fit in the collective Andersson has created?

How they qualified Second in European Group A behind France, then play-off win against Italy Preferred system 4-4-2 Star player Emil Forsberg (RB Leipzig) One to watch Viktor Claesson (Krasnodar) Manager Janne Andersson Odds 80-1

sweden

 Emil Forsberg has starred for club and country throughout 2017, including against Italy in the play-offs to reach Russia.

South Korea

They struggled throughout the qualifiers through being anemic in attack and defence and narrowly qualified after a poor run which resulted in the firing of Uli Stielike. Shin Tae-yong, who was the manager of the under-23s and under-20s, is not a master tactician but he is a good motivator. Only a few people in South Korea have high expectations and, surprisingly, most fans are waiting for the return of the former coach Guus Hiddink. With a team lacking world-class talent, the manager has to depend on two standout players: Son Heung-min from Tottenham Hotspur and Ki Sung-yueng from Swansea City. Shin often plays a 4-4-2 but seems obsessed with a fluid back-three system so it is not clear how South Korea will play.

How they qualified Second in Asian Group A behind Iran (round three) Preferred system 4-4-2 Star player Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur) One to watch Kwon Chang-hoon (Dijon) Manager Shin Tae-yong Odds 500-1

Group G

Belgium

Belgium broke all sorts of records in qualifying: they were unbeaten, they got 28 points from 10 games, they scored 43 goals and Romelu Lukaku became the country’s record goalscorer. However, the last two friendlies, and especially the 3-3 draw against Mexico, have left fans, pundits and players worried. True, Belgium were without Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and Vincent Kompany against Mexico but the replacements could not fill the void. Kevin De Bruyne, for one, did not hold back. “Mexico were just better tactically,” he said. “Their system made our five defenders sit deep and we were up against it in midfield – it was five against seven. If we don’t have a good tactical system, we will have difficulties against countries like Mexico. It’s a pity that we have not found a solution yet.” The main problem is that, after two years with Roberto Martínez, there is still no real defensive organisation.

How they qualified Winners of European Group H ahead of Greece Preferred system 3-4-2-1 Star player Eden Hazard (Chelsea) One to watch Thomas Meunier (Paris St-Germain) Manager Roberto Martínez Odds 12-1

Panama

“We’ll go to the World Cup to learn and compete. It’s an experience to enjoy,” said Hernán Darío Gómez, and he should know: the Colombian has led four teams at World Cup finals. His experience has been crucial in turning a mature squad who had performed well at age-group levels into the country’s first qualification. That feat owed much to the defensive colossus Román Torres, who scored the goal that took them to Russia, and the midfielder Gabriel Gómez, the brains of the operation. It is a team built on solidity, discipline and hitting on the break. Alberto Quintero’s creativity is the key source of chances for Gabriel Torres and Blas Pérez, the most-used forward pairing. Fidel Escobar, Michael Murillo (both of New York Red Bulls) and Deportivo La Coruña’s Ismael Díaz add youthful endeavour.

How they qualified Third in Concacaf round five behind Mexico and Costa Rica Preferred system 4-4-2 Star player Gabriel Gómez (Atlético Bucaramanga) One to watch Román Torres (Seattle Sounders) Manager Hernán Darío Gómez Odds 1,000-1

Tunisia

After a 12-year absence Tunisia are back at a World Cup but their path was not entirely straight. They sacked Henryk Kasperczak soon after losing in the last eight of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations. Nabil Maâloul was appointed in April and steered the country to the World Cup, mainly using a 4-2-3-1. The full-backs are encouraged to attack and on the left Ali Maâloul of Al Ahly is key because of how much he contributes going forward. The midfield are dominated by two hard-working ball-winners in Ferjani Sassi and Mohamed Amine Ben Amor, with the MKN trio of Youssef Msakni, Wahbi Khazri and Naïm Sliti adding flair. Msakni, who plays in Qatar, is a tremendous talent and often carries the team. The manager sometimes switches to 4-3-2-1, especially against attacking teams, incorporating the defensive midfilder Ghailene Chaalali instead of Khazri or Sliti.

How they qualified Winners of African Group A (round three) Preferred system 4-2-3-1 Star player Youssef Msakni (Al-Duhail) One to watch Naïm Sliti (Dijon, on loan from Lille) Manager Nabil Maâloul Odds 400-1

England

The most amazing statistic about England is that they have not lost a qualifying match for any major competition since October 2009. It is an incredible run, covering 39 games, with three different managers in place since the team, then led by Fabio Capello, went down 1-0 to Ukraine. Gareth Southgate has certainly had an eventful year since being promoted from his role as the manager of England’s under-21s. Southgate has moved out Wayne Rooney and overseen a period of change that now has England operating with a younger, more experimental team in a 3-4-2-1 formation. Yet there are lingering questions about whether they have improved since the ordeal of being eliminated by Iceland at Euro 2016. England fans even staged a walkout at the qualifying match in Malta.

How they qualified Winners of European Group F ahead of Slovakia Preferred system 3-4-2-1 Star player Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) One to watch Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) Manager Gareth Southgate Odds 16-1

england

England’s squad has been revamped by Gareth Southgate since the Euro 2016 debacle, with Daniel Sturridge among those unlikely to travel to Russia. 

Group H

Poland

Adam Nawalka’s side always looked certain of qualifying and won eight of their 10 games. The captain, Robert Lewandowski, hit a record-breaking 16 goals and his leadership was crucial as Poland returned to the biggest stage after a 12-year absence but they are not a one-man team: other players also contributed heavily to ensure that Poland ended up in pot one for the draw. The defence is a concern (Poland conceded 14 goals – the most of all groups winners) but Nawalka is capable of sorting it out with Poland having the second-best defence at Euro 2016 until the quarter-finals. He has six months to fine-tune his plans, which include working on a formation with three central defenders. Poland have a strong backbone of Wojciech Szczesny-Kamil Glik-Grzegorz Krychowiak-Robert Lewandowski with Hull City’s Kamil Grosicki another key player with his pace on the left flank.

How they qualified Winners of European Group E ahead of Denmark Preferred system 4-2-3-1 Star player Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) One to watchPiotr Zielinski (Napoli) Manager Adam Nawalka Odds 40-1

Senegal

This will be Senegal’s second World Cup finals after Aliou Cissé, who was the captain of the 2002 side under the late Bruno Metsu, guided his team through a difficult qualification group containing Burkina Faso, South Africa and Cape Verde. Cissé has moulded a team strong in all areas. The addition of M’Baye Niang to a forward line who include Keita Baldé of Monaco and Liverpool’s Sadio Mané has allowed Cissé to play 4-3-3, although in the crucial victory over South Africa West Ham’s Diafra Sakho started in a 4-4-2. Much will be expected of Mané, who has been the star man for several years and has been compared to El Hadji Diouf, the talisman for the 2002 side. His injury problems have slowed down a brilliant start to life at Liverpool and he will need to be at his best in Russia.

How they qualified Winners of African Group D (round three) ahead of Burkina Faso Preferred system 4-3-3 Star player Sadio Mané (Liverpool) One to watch M’Baye Niang (Torino, on loan from Milan) Manager Aliou Cissé Odds 150-1

sadio mane

 Liverpool forward Sadio Mané will be Senegal’s main goal threat at their second World Cup.

Colombia

Colombia will aim to repeat their performance from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, when they reached the quarter-finals but it will be harder as they are not among the top seeds. That is an indication of the fact qualifying was not straightforward. “Qualifying was really hard,” says the coach, José Pékerman. “We’ve never experienced a situation where so few points separated so many teams.” Three factors explain the difficulties Colombia had: the need to inject youth in defence, the lack of playing time for the stars (James Rodríguez at Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, Radamel Falcao at Monaco and David Ospina at Arsenal) and the lack of options going forward. Pékerman often plays 4-2-3-1 but has tried 4-3-2-1 away from home. Colombia had their best results when they were more defensive and compact between the lines, hitting on the counter with speed and very few passes.

How they qualified Fourth in the South American section behind Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina Preferred system 4-2-3-1 Star player James Rodríguez (Bayern Munich, on loan from Real Madrid) One to watch Davinson Sánchez (Tottenham Hotpsur) Manager José Pékerman Odds 50-1

Japan

Japan have traditionally preferred a possession-based style but Vahid Halilhodzic demands his side look to play on the counter. His drastic reforms have seen Japan’s two biggest stars, Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa, dropped from the squad as they failed to fit into this philosophy – or, in other words, preferred Japan’s traditional approach. There is also no room for Shinji Okazaki of Leicester City, because Halilhodzic opts for a lone forward capable of holding up the play. These choices, and the manager’s overall style, have been the subject of fierce debate in Japan. Halilhodzic has vast experience of international football and took Ivory Coast to the 2010 World Cup (although he was dismissed before the tournament) and Algeria to the 2014 tournament.  Japan are more of a force to be reckoned with than you may believe. I wouldn't bet on them to go out early!

How they qualified Winners of Asian Group B (round three) ahead of Saudi Arabia Preferred system 4-3-3 Star player Maya Yoshida (Southampton) One to watchYosuke Ideguchi (Gamba Osaka) Manager Vahid Halilhodzic Odds 250-1


Schedule

GROUP STAGE
DateMatchVenueKick-off
Thursday June 14 Russia v Saudi Arabia (A) Moscow (Luzhniki) 4pm GMT
Friday June 15 Egypt v Uruguay (A) Ekaterinburg 1pm
Friday June 15 Morocco v Iran (B) St Petersburg 4pm
Friday June 15 Portugal v Spain (B) Sochi 7pm
Saturday June 16 France v Australia (C) Kazan 11am
Saturday June 16 Argentina v Iceland (D) Moscow (Spartak) 2pm
Saturday June 16 Peru v Denmark (C) Saransk 5pm
Saturday June 16 Croatia v Nigeria (D) Kaliningrad 8pm
Sunday June 17 Costa Rica v Serbia (E) Samara 1pm
Sunday June 17 Germany v Mexico (F) Moscow (Luzhniki) 4pm
Sunday June 17 Brazil v Switzerland (E) Rostov-on-Don 7pm
Monday June 18 Sweden v South Korea (F) Nizhny Novgorod 1pm
Monday June 18 Belgium v Panama (G) Sochi 4pm
Monday June 18 Tunisia v England (G) Volgograd 7pm
Tuesday June 19 Poland v Senegal (H) Moscow (Spartak) 1pm
Tuesday June 19 Colombia v Japan (H) Saransk 4pm
Tuesday June 19 Russia v Egypt (A) St Petersburg 7pm
Wednesday June 20 Portugal v Morocco (B) Moscow (Luzhniki) 1pm
Wednesday June 20 Uruguay v Saudi Arabia (A) Rostov-on-Don 4pm
Wednesday June 20 Iran v Spain (B) Kazan 7pm
Thursday June 21 France v Peru (C) Ekaterinburg 1pm
Thursday June 21 Denmark v Australia (C) Samara 4pm
Thursday June 21 Argentina v Croatia (D) Nizhny Novgorod 7pm
Friday June 22 Brazil v Costa Rica (E) St Petersburg 1pm
Friday June 22 Nigeria v Iceland (D) Volgograd 4pm
Friday June 22 Serbia v Switzerland (E) Kaliningrad 7pm
Saturday June 23 Belgium v Tunisia (G) Moscow (Spartak) 1pm
Saturday June 23 Germany v Sweden (F) Sochi 4pm
Saturday June 23 South Korea v Mexico (F) Rostov-on-Don 7pm
Sunday June 24 England v Panama (G) Nizhny Novgorod 1pm
Sunday June 24 Japan v Senegal (H) Ekaterinburg 4pm
Sunday June 24 Poland v Colombia (H) Kazan 7pm
Monday June 25 Uruguay v Russia (A) Samara 3pm
Monday June 25 Saudi Arabia v Egypt (A) Volgograd 3pm
Monday June 25 Spain v Morocco (B) Kaliningrad 7pm
Monday June 25 Iran v Portugal (B) Saransk 7pm
Tuesday June 26 Denmark v France (C) Moscow (Luzhniki) 3pm
Tuesday June 26 Australia v Peru (C) Sochi 3pm
Tuesday June 26 Nigeria v Argentina (D) St Petersburg 7pm
Tuesday June 26 Iceland v Croatia (D) Rostov-on-Don 7pm
Wednesday June 27 South Korea v Germany (F) Kazan 3pm
Wednesday June 27 Mexico v Sweden (F) Ekaterinburg 3pm
Wednesday June 27 Serbia v Brazil (E) Moscow (Spartak) 7pm
Wednesday June 27 Switzerland v Costa Rica (E) Nizhny Novgorod 7pm
Thursday June 28 Japan v Poland (H) Volgograd 3pm
Thursday June 28 Senegal v Colombia (H) Samara 3pm
Thursday June 28 England v Belgium (G) Kaliningrad 7pm
Thursday June 28 Panama v Tunisia (G) Saransk 7pm
LAST 16
Saturday June 30 1C v 2D (Match 50)Kazan 3pm
Saturday June 30 1A v 2B (Match 49)Sochi 7pm
Sunday July 1 1B v 2A (Match 51)Moscow 3pm
Sunday July 1 1D v 2C (Match 52)Nizhny Novgorod 7pm
Monday July 2 1E v 2F (Match 53)Samara 3pm
Monday July 2 1G v 2H (Match 54)Rostov-on-Don 7pm
Tuesday July 3 1F v 2E (Match 55)St Petersburg 3pm
Tuesday July 3 1H v 2G (Match 56)Moscow (Spartak) 7pm
QUARTER-FINALS
Friday July 6 Winner 49 v winner 50 (57) Nizhny Novgorod 3pm
Friday July 6 Winner 53 v winner 54 (58) Kazan 7pm
Saturday July 7 Winner 55 v winner 56 (60) Samara 3pm
Saturday July 7 Winner 51 v winner 52 (59) Sochi 7pm
SEMI-FINALS
Tuesday July 10 Winner 57 v winner 58 St Petersburg 7pm
Wednesday July 11 Winner 59 v winner 60 Moscow (Luzhniki) 7pm
THIRD-PLACE PLAY-OFF
Saturday July 14Losers of two semi-finals St Petersburg 3pm
FINAL
Sunday July 15Winners of two-semi-finals Moscow (Luzhniki) 4pm

Russia World Cup 2018 – in numbers

Teams: 32
Playing venues: 12
Matches: 65

Opening match: Luzhniki Stadium
Final: Luzhniki Stadium

Average venue capacity: 49,300 seats
Largest venue: Luzhniki Stadium (81,000 seats)
Smallest venue: Kaliningrad Stadium (35,212 seats)
Average no. of matches per venue: 5.33


Moscow

Luzhniki Stadium | Capacity: 80,000 seats | Opening: 1956

Luzhniki Stadium

Matches:

14 June 2018 18:00 – Russia vs Saudi Arabia – Group A
17 June 2018 18:00 – Germany vs Mexico – Group F
20 June 2018 15:00 – Portugal vs Morocco – Group B
26 June 2018 17:00 – Denmark vs France – Group C
1 July 2018 17:00 – 1B vs 2A – Round of 16
11 July 2018 21:00 – W59 vs W60 – Semi Final
15 July 2018 18:00 – W61 vs W62 – Final


Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg Stadium | Capacity: 67,000 seats | Opening: 2017

Saint Petersburg Stadium

Matches:

15 June 2018 17:00 – Morocco vs Iran – Group B
19 June 2018 21:00 – Russia vs Egypt – Group A
22 June 2018 15:00 – Brazil vs Costa Rica – Group E
26 June 2018 21:00 – Nigeria vs Argentina – Group D
3 July 2018 17:00 – 1F vs 2E – Round of 16
10 July 2018 21:00 – W57 vs W58 – Semi Final
14 July 2018 17:00 – L61 vs L62 – Third Place

Sochi

Fisht Stadium | Capacity: 48,000 seats | Opening: 2013

Fisht Stadium

Matches:

15 June 2018 21:00 – Portugal vs Spain – Group B
18 June 2018 18:00 – Belgium vs Panama – Group G
23 June 2018 18:00 – Germany vs Sweden – Group F
26 June 2018 17:00 – Australia vs Peru – Group C
30 June 2018 21:00 – 1A vs 2B – Round of 16
7 July 2018 21:00 – W51 vs W52 – Quarter Final


Ekaterinburg

Ekaterinburg Arena | Capacity: 45,000 seats | Scheduled opening: late 2017 | Status: under construction

Ekaterinburg Arena

Matches:

15 June 2018 17:00 – Egypt vs Uruguay – Group A
21 June 2018 17:00 – France vs Peru – Group C
24 June 2018 20:00 – Japan vs Senegal – Group H
27 June 2018 19:00 – Mexico vs Sweden – Group F


Kazan

Kazan Arena | Capacity: 45,000 seats | Opening: 2013

Kazan Arena

Matches:

16 June 2018 13:00 – France vs Australia – Group C
20 June 2018 21:00 – Iran vs Spain – Group B
24 June 2018 21:00 – Poland vs Colombia – Group H
27 June 2018 17:00 – Korea Republic vs Germany – Group F
30 June 2018 17:00 – 1C vs 2D – Round of 16
6 July 2018 21:00 – W53 vs W54 – Quarter Final


Nizhny Novgorod

Nizhny Novgorod Stadium | Capacity: 45,000 seats | Opening: 2017 | Status: under construction

Nizhny Novgorod Stadium

Matches:

18 June 2018 15:00 – Sweden vs Korea Republic – Group F
21 June 2018 21:00 – Argentina vs Croatia – Group D
24 June 2018 15:00 – England vs Panama – Group G
27 June 2018 21:00 – Switzerland vs Costa Rica – Group E
1 July 2018 21:00 – 1D vs 2C – Round of 16
6 July 2018 17:00 – W49 vs W50 – Quarter Final


Rostov-on-Don

Rostov Arena | Capacity: 45,000 seats | Opening: 2017 | Status: under construction

Rostov Arena

Matches:

17 June 2018 21:00 – Brazil vs Switzerland – Group E
20 June 2018 18:00 – Uruguay vs Saudi Arabia – Group A
23 June 2018 21:00 – Korea Republic vs Mexico – Group F
26 June 2018 21:00 – Iceland vs Croatia – Group D
2 July 2018 21:00 – 1G vs 2H – Round of 16


Samara

Samara Arena | Capacity: 45,000 seats | Opening: 2017 | Status: under construction

Samara Arena

Matches:

17 June 2018 16:00 – Costa Rica vs Serbia – Group E
21 June 2018 19:00 – Denmark vs Australia – Group C
25 June 2018 18:00 – Uruguay vs Russia – Group A
28 June 2018 18:00 – Senegal vs Colombia – Group H
2 July 2018 18:00 – 1E vs 2F – Round of 16
7 July 2018 18:00 – W55 vs W56 – Quarter Final


Saransk

Mordovia Arena | Capacity: 45,000 seats | Opening: 2017 | Status: under construction

Mordovia Arena

Matches:

16 June 2018 19:00 – Peru vs Denmark – Group C
19 June 2018 18:00 – Colombia vs Japan – Group H
25 June 2018 21:00 – Iran vs Portugal – Group B
28 June 2018 21:00 – Panama vs Tunisia – Group G


Volgograd

Volgograd Stadium | Capacity: 45,000 seats | Opening: 2017 | Status: under construction

Volgograd Stadium

Matches:

18 June 2018 21:00 – Tunisia vs England – Group G
22 June 2018 18:00 – Nigeria vs Iceland – Group D
25 June 2018 17:00 – Saudi Arabia vs Egypt – Group A
28 June 2018 17:00 – Japan vs Poland – Group H


Moscow

Spartak Stadium | Capacity: 42,000 seats | Opening: 2014

Spartak Stadium

Matches:

16 June 2018 16:00 – Argentina vs Iceland – Group D
19 June 2018 15:00 – Poland vs Senegal – Group H
23 June 2018 15:00 – Belgium vs Tunisia – Group B
26 June 2018 17:00 – Serbia vs Brazil – Group C
3 July 2018 21:00 – 1H vs 2G – Round of 16


Kaliningrad

Kaliningrad Stadium | Capacity: 35,212 seats | Opening: 2017 | Status: under construction

Kaliningrad Stadium

Matches:

16 June 2018 21:00 – Croatia vs Nigeria – Group D
22 June 2018 20:00 – Serbia vs Switzerland – Group E
25 June 2018 20:00 – Spain vs Morocco – Group B
28 June 2018 20:00 – England vs Belgium – Group G


History of FIFA

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) was founded in the rear of the headquarters of the Union Française de Sports Athlétiques at the Rue Saint Honoré 229 in Paris on 21 May 1904. The foundation act was signed by the authorised representatives of the following associations:

Present at that historic meeting were: Robert Guérin and André Espir (France); Louis Muhlinghaus and Max Kahn (Belgium); Ludvig Sylow (Denmark); Carl Anton Wilhelm Hirschman (Netherlands); Victor E Schneider (Switzerland). Sylow also represented the SBF while Spir performed the same function for the Madrid Football Club.

  • France - Union des Sociétés Françaises de Sports Athlétiques (USFSA)
  • Belgium - Union Belge des Sociétés de Sports (UBSSA)
  • Denmark - Dansk Boldspil Union (DBU)
  • Netherlands - Nederlandsche Voetbal Bond (NVB)
  • Spain - Madrid Football Club
  • Sweden - Svenska Bollspells Förbundet (SBF)
  • Switzerland - Association Suisse de Football (ASF)

When the idea of founding an international football federation began taking shape in Europe, the intention of those involved was to recognise the role of the English who had founded their Football Association back in 1863. Hirschman, secretary of the Netherlands Football Association, turned to the Football Association. Its secretary, FJ Wall, did accept the proposal but progress stalled while waiting for the Executive Committee of the Football Association, the International FA Board and the associations of Scotland, Wales and Ireland to give their opinion about the matter.

Guérin, secretary of the football department of the Union des Sociétés Françaises de Sports Athlétiques and a journalist with Le Matin newspaper, did not want to wait any longer. He contacted the national associations on the continent in writing and asked them to consider the possibility of founding an umbrella organisation.

When Belgium and France met in the first official international match in Brussels on 1 May 1904, Guérin discussed the subject with his Belgian counterpart Louis Muhlinghaus. It was now definite that the English FA, under its president Lord Kinnaird, would not be participating in the foundation of an international federation. So Guérin took the opportunity and sent out invitations to the founding assembly. The process of organising the international game had begun.

The first FIFA Statutes were laid down and the following points determined: the reciprocal and exclusive recognition of the national associations represented and attending; clubs and players were forbidden to play simultaneously for different national associations; recognition by the other associations of a player's suspension announced by an association; and the playing of matches according to the Laws of the Game of the Football Association Ltd.

Each national association had to pay an annual fee of FF50. Already then there were thoughts of staging an international competition and Article 9 stipulated that FIFA alone was entitled to take over the organisation of such an event. It was decided that these regulations would only come into force as of 1 September 1904. Moreover, the first Statutes of FIFA were only of a provisional nature, in order to simplify the acceptance of additional members. On the day of foundation, the Deutscher Fussball-Bund (German FA) sent a telegram confirming that it would adhere to these Statutes in principle.

The first FIFA Congress followed immediately and on 22 May 1904, Robert Guerin was elected as President. Victor E Schneider (Switzerland) and Carl Anton Wilhelm Hirschman (Netherlands) were made Vice-Presidents. Louis Muhlinghaus (Belgium) was appointed Secretary and Treasurer, with the assistance of Ludvig Sylow (Denmark). These pioneers were faced with an immense task because FIFA only existed on paper, as it were. Now came the real work: to give this new body shape and attract new members. In the first place, the English had to be convinced that their membership of this newly created organisation was indispensable.

On 14 April 1905, the Executive Committee of the FA recognised the national associations affiliated to FIFA and joined. This was FlFA's first big success and the credit was due Baron Edouard de Laveleye. With great personal effort, the president of the Union Belge des Sociétés de Sports Athlétiques dissipated the last misgivings of the English. The Baron became the first honorary member of FIFA.

The second FIFA Congress took place in Paris from 10 to 12 June 1905. In the meantime, the associations from Germany, Austria, Italy and Hungary had joined FIFA; Scotland, Wales and Ireland would follow England's example. There was already talk about an international competition to take place in 1906. It would consist of four groups and Switzerland would be in charge of organising the semi-finals and the final. There was a proposal to involve the best club teams and Schneider, the Swiss Vice-President, had already donated a trophy.

The FIFA Executive Committee was elected for a further year but now the difficulties were accumulating. The first international competition was a failure. Various national associations had major worries, with the French governing body divided internally. These difficulties were a heavy burden for the FIFA President who had set about his tasks with so much enthusiasm. Guerin increasingly withdrew from the sport and handed over the administration to Vice-President Schneider and Espir, his personal assistant.

All the same, FIFA could now give a sign of its strength. When the 'English Ramblers', an improvised English football club, wanted to play games on the continent without the authorisation of the FA, FIFA forbade its members from playing against this team. The FA, which like its three fellow British associations now had a good relationship with FIFA, was particularly impressed by this strict and uncompromising stance.

This was in clear evidence at the next Congress in Berne in 1906 where - with Schneider conducting negotiations in the absence of Guérin - Daniel Burley Woolfall, an Englishman, was elected the new President. Woolfall was a pragmatist and had gathered a great deal of experience on the administrative board of the FA. Under his guidance, English and continental football became more united. Moreover, he also led the push for uniformity in the Laws of the Game.

The idea of holding a major international competition was still up in the air and so the FA in England assumed the responsibility for staging a tournament that took place as part of the Olympic Games in London in 1908. Some problems arose in the organisation, which were still unsolved four years later in 1912, when the tournament was played in Stockholm. The new sport was regarded with suspicion at the Olympics and was considered as a show and not a competition. Given the amateur ethos of the Olympics, the problem of professional players also arose - a thorny problem which would be pursued in decades to follow. England won both the 1908 and 1912 tournaments.

The Congress which, in accordance with the Statutes, was to be held in different cities on an annual basis, was always presided over by President Woolfall. The will to impose uniform football rules on an international level always featured at the top of the agenda. This had a positive effect, resulting in the basic rules of the federation, which are still partly valid today and which allowed FIFA to create a solid base and develop clear guidelines.

Under the guidance of the English President, obvious progress was also made in the administration. The first official FIFA bulletin was published. It was agreed to have French as the official language. The application of the Laws of the Game, strictly established according to the English model, became compulsory. A clear definition was made of international matches - national selections and inter-club - and outsiders were forbidden to organise games for lucrative purposes.

FIFA only consisted of European Associations up until 1909. The first members from overseas joined in the following order: South Africa in 1909/10, Argentina and Chile in 1912, United States in 1913. This was the start of FlFA's intercontinental activities. The long path towards full expansion had been sketched out.

The start of World War One caused a major interruption. Who talked then about football and its mission to unite nations? And yet, the ties that had been developed were not fully broken, even if they were only maintained on a small scale. There were some international matches played, albeit organised on neutral territory. However, given the difficulties some members faced in crossing frontiers, there would be no Congress for seven years from 1914.

President Daniel Burley Woolfall died in 1918 and that FIFA did not fade out altogether was down to one man only, Carl Anton Wilhelm Hirschman. He carried out his tasks as honorary secretary from his offices in Amsterdam and carefully kept the organisation alive, maintaining correspondence with his foreign colleagues. This way, he looked after the FIFA Secretariat on his own, and at his own expense.

Hirschman had an incredible capacity for work and dedicated his life to sport in general and football in particular. A former general secretary of the Dutch Football Association, he also helped establish his national Olympic Committee. One of the founders of FIFA, he made contact with all the members at the end of the war, on the initiative of the President of the French Football Association, Jules Rimet. Hirschman actually convened an assembly in Brussels in 1919 but negotiations advanced slowly. After a long, bloody war, wounds had not yet healed. Many delegates, particularly the British, did not yet want to accept yesterday's foes.

A meeting was eventually held in Antwerp in 1920 and a new administrative Board of FIFA was elected on a provisional basis. It comprised the following: Rimet as chairman, Denmark's Louis Oestrup as deputy chairman and Hirschman as honorary secretary. The results of this election were then submitted to all affiliated associations which unanimously gave their approval by mail. This was the last time that such a procedure was employed, as the next Statutes excluded voting by mail or by mandate.

Rimet became FIFA's third President on 1 March 1921 and the game's governing body became the life task of the then 48 year-old Frenchman. He took over a federation that had been shaken by World War One and counted 20 members. The British had left in unison and neither Brazil nor Uruguay were present. Over the 33 years of his presidency, FIFA experienced an incredible upswing - and this in spite of the subsequent horrors of World War Two. One ought to talk about a 'Jules Rimet era' in view of his success in reorganising FIFA and realising the dream of a world championship. On passing on the reins of FIFA in 1954, as he opened the FIFA World Cup ™ in Switzerland, the federation counted 85 members.

Rimet was hardly an unknown. While president of France's Ligue de Football Association, he had participated in the 1914 Congress. The following proposal was ratified on that occasion: "Under the condition that the Olympic Tournament take place in accordance with the Regulations of FIFA, the latter shall recognise this as a world football championship for amateurs." FIFA had underlined its eagerness to assume responsibility for organising the Olympic Football Tournament and in the first years of Rimet's reign, it did just that.

The 1924 Olympic Football Tournament in Paris featured 24 teams and proved a great success. The British stayed away but the Americans were there and a team representing faraway Uruguay showed how football was played in South America, much to the delight of the public. Uruguay's results were astounding: 7-0 against Yugoslavia, 3-0 against the United States, 5-1 against France, 2-1 against the Netherlands. Sixty thousand spectators followed the final between Uruguay and Switzerland, which the South Americans won 3-0. Uruguay had the gold medal - and were celebrated as world champions in Montevideo.

South America's predominance was even more impressive at the Olympics in Amsterdam in 1928. Uruguay retained their gold medal at the expense of their neighbours and final opponents Argentina. It was not long before the teams were facing each in another final... for an even greater prize.

The success of the Olympic Football Tournament intensified FlFA's wish for its own world championship. Questionnaires were sent to the affiliated associations, asking whether they agreed to the organisation of a tournament and under what conditions. A special committee examined the question, with President Jules Rimet the driving force. He was aided by the untiring Secretary of the French Football Federation, Henri Delaunay.

Following a remarkable proposal by the Executive Committee, the FIFA Congress in Amsterdam on 28 May 1928 decided to stage a world championship organised by FIFA. Now, the organising country had to be chosen. Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden submitted their candidatures. Right from the start, Uruguay was the favourite and not simply for its Olympic gold medal wins in 1924 and 1928 - the country was celebrating its 100th anniversary of independence in 1930 at great expense.

Moreover, its national association was willing to cover all the costs, including the travel and accommodation of the participating teams. Any possible profit would be shared, while Uruguay would take on the deficit. These arguments were decisive. The FIFA Congress in Barcelona in 1929 assigned Uruguay as first host country of the FIFA World Cup ™. The other candidates had withdrawn.

With Europe in the midst of an economic crisis, not everything went to plan during the countdown to these first finals. Participation did not only involve a long sea journey for the Europeans; the clubs would have to renounce their best players for two months. Consequently, more and more associations broke their promise to participate and it took much manoeuvring by Rimet to ensure at least four European teams - France, Belgium, Romania and Yugoslavia - joined him on the Conte Verde liner bound for Buenos Aires.

The first FIFA World Cup opened at the brand-new Estadio Centenario in Montevideo on 18 July 1930. It was the beginning of a new era in world football and the inaugural event proved a remarkable success, both in a sporting and a financial sense. Of course, the organisers were disappointed that only four European sides had participated. The anger in Montevideo was so intense in fact that four years later, world champions Uruguay became the first and only team to refuse to defend their title.

When the Congress convened in Budapest in 1930, it thanked Uruguay for staging the world championship for the first time in difficult conditions. It also noted its regret at seeing only a minimum number of teams participating from Europe.

The significance of the new tournament only increased following the setback FIFA suffered in the lead-up to the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. After failing to settle differences of opinion over the amateur status of footballers with the International Olympic Committee regarding the amateur status of football players, plans to organise the Olympic Football Tournament were abandoned.

FIFA chose Italy ahead of rival candidates Sweden to host the second FIFA World Cup and this time it took qualifying matches to arrive at the 16 finalists. Unlike in 1930 there were no groups and only knockout rounds, meaning Brazil and Argentina went home after playing just one match each. Once again, the home team prevailed, Italy winning the Final against Czechoslovakia in extra time. For the first time, the Final was transmitted on the radio.

Four years later, Rimet saw his wish fulfilled when the third FIFA World Cup took place in France, his home country. Again not everything ran according to plan: Austria had disappeared from the scene and so Sweden did not have an opponent in the first round. Uruguay still did not wish to participate and Argentina withdrew. This is why the national teams from Cuba and the Dutch East Indies came to France. This time, there was no home victory and Italy successfully defended their title.

The FIFA World Cup should have taken place for the fourth time in 1942 but the outbreak of World War Two meant otherwise. Although FIFA maintained its Zurich offices throughout the conflict, it was not until 1 July 1946 in Luxembourg that the Congress met again. Thirty-four associations were represented and they gave Rimet, who had been President for a quarter of a century already, a special Jubilee gift. From now on, the FIFA World Cup trophy would be called the Jules Rimet Cup.

As the only candidate, Brazil was chosen unanimously to host the next FIFA World Cup, to be staged in 1949 (and postponed to 1950 for time reasons). At the same time, Switzerland was given the option for 1954.

The event was celebrated with a match between Great Britain and a 'Rest of Europe XI' played at Hampden Park, Glasgow on 10 May 1947.Billed as 'The Match of the Century' by the press, it drew a crowd of 135,000 spectators and receipts amounted to £35,000. As a sign of goodwill, this sum was placed at FlFA's disposal in order to help the governing body surmount financial difficulties brought on by the war years. The British won the game 6-1.

The first post-war FIFA World Cup™ was staged in Brazil in 1950, where the hosts lost out on the title to Uruguay. For the second time, the 'Jules Rimet Cup' was bound for Montevideo.

The start of the fifth finals in Switzerland in 1954 signalled the end of Rimet's long reign. After opening the tournament in Lausanne, the 80-year-old President confirmed his retirement at the Congress in Bern on 21 June. Rimet earned a standing ovation from his fellow delegates and, moreover, became the first Honorary President. For the last time, on 4 July, the 'Father of the World Cup' presented the captain of the victorious team, West Germany's Fritz Walter, with the 'Jules Rimet Cup'.

Rodolphe William Seeldrayers was the fourth President of FIFA, stepping into the shoes of Jules Rimet whom he had assisted as Vice-President for over 25 years. In his new function, he celebrated the 50th Anniversary of FIFA, which now counted 85 members. Yet his reign was brief, curtailed by his death in October 1955.

Seeldrayers' successor was Arthur Drewry who was elected President on 9 June 1956, but had already headed FIFA for over half a year on an interim basis. He chaired the Study Committee for the new FIFA Statutes and opened the sixth FIFA World Cup in Stockholm in 1958. Brazil captured their first world title in Sweden but it would prove the only finals of Drewry's presidency. He died on 25 March 1961 aged 70.

FIFA's operations were controlled for six months by the Swiss Ernst B Thommen who, as chairman of the Organising Committee for the 1954, 1958 and 1962 FIFA World Cups, gave great service to the world governing body. Then, on 28 September 1961, Sir Stanley Rous was elected the sixth President of FIFA.

Rous was an international referee in his younger years and in the late 1930s had helped rewrite the Laws of the Game. It was to his great delight that during his term of office, England won the world crown in 1966. As President, Rous oversaw further expansion. During this post-colonial period, the number of members grew steadily with affiliation to FIFA among the first steps taken by many newly independent nations. The television transmission of the FIFA World Cup also contributed considerably towards the worldwide expansion.

As a private institution, FIFA's means and possibilities were still very much restricted as it received neither governmental subsidies nor funds from other sources. Income came strictly from profits from the FIFA World Cup and this money had to be spread out over a four-year period. It took a great deal of self-sacrifice, therefore, to maintain FIFA's good work and Rous achieved this. In recognition of his merits, he was made Honorary President in Frankfurt on 11 June 1974. On that day, the Brazilian Dr Joao Havelange took over the reins of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association.

From the moment the South American Confederation, the Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol, presented his candidature for the FIFA Presidency in 1970, Dr João Havelange had looked for solutions to the major problems of world football. When the Brazilian was elected at the 39th Congress in 1974, he was ready to consider football not only as a competition but also to try and find new ways and means of promoting technical development worldwide.

Havelange's installation in FIFA's headquarters heralded the dawn of a new era. Previously, with survival dependent almost exclusively on FIFA World Cup™ proceeds in four-yearly intervals, the world governing body had been somewhat conservative when it came to taking decisions. In no time, Havelange transformed an administration-oriented institution into a dynamic enterprise brimming with new ideas and the will to see them through.

The actual address in Zurich, home to FIFA since 1932, did not alter but beside the Derwald Villa on the Zurichberg, which in 1974 housed a staff of just 12, a modern office building now rose housing almost 100 employees coming to grips with an ever increasing workload.

Back in 1974, FIFA was flexing its muscles in readiness for the tenth FIFA World Cup, which was very much a trial of strength between Europe with nine teams and South America with four. The ripples created by political upheavals, particularly in Africa where many former colonies had been granted independence, were beginning to be noticed on the international sports scene. At that time Africa, Asia, and CONCACAF were each still sending one selection each to the world football showpiece. For the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain, Havelange duly increased the table of competitors from 16 to 24 teams.

Since that decision, the unqualified success of teams that were once derided as also-rans has reinforced Havelange's notion that his policies were right. For the 1998 finals in France, the field was increased again to 32 finalists, allowing even greater participation from all the confederations.

On a political level, Havelange firmly followed the course of appeasement and service, following the principle of universality to which FIFA has committed itself. Under his leadership, the FIFA offices became the hub of sporting diplomacy. One notable example of this was when representatives from Iraq, Iran, the two Koreas, Japan and Saudi Arabia came face to face in Zurich in July 1993 to discuss the Asian final qualifying round for USA 94 in an atmosphere of friendship and peace.

Havelange had already shown his flair for taking advantage of the conciliatory potential of football at exactly the right moment. After intense diplomatic activity - the Brazilian visited every association at least once- he smoothed the way for the People's Republic of China to return to FIFA. In 1991 the two Koreas sent a joint team to the FIFA World Youth Championship in Portugal. And because of its particular situation, Israel began competing with European teams in all FIFA qualifying competitions.

Over the past 25 years football has enhanced its status as the world's leading game, reaching into other branches of society, commerce and politics. Football, more than any other factor, has enveloped whole regions, people and nations.

With approximately 200 million active players it now constitutes a substantial chunk of the leisure industry, having opened up new markets for itself and for the rest of the business world.

The potential has yet to be exhausted, especially in Asia and North America. As of mid-2007, FIFA has grown to include 208 member associations, thus making it one of the biggest and certainly the most popular sports federation in the world.

On 8 June 1998 Joseph S. Blatter was elected as successor to Dr João Havelange and became the eighth FIFA President. This victory at the 51st FIFA Ordinary Congress in Paris elevated the Swiss, who had already served FIFA in various positions for 23 years, on to the highest rung in international football.


Winners of the World Cup

Brazil have won the World Cup a record five times, with Italy hard on their heels with four wins and West Germany on three. Here is a list of all the World Cup winners along with runner-up and final score.

YearHostWinnerRunner UpScore
1930UruguayUruguayArgentina4-2
1934ItalyItalyCzechoslovakia2-1
1938FranceItalyHungary4-2
1950BrazilUruguayBrazil2-1
1954SwitzerlandWest GermanyHungary3-2
1958SwedenBrazilSweden5-2
1962ChileBrazilCzechoslovakia3-1
1966EnglandEnglandWest Germany4-2
1970MexicoBrazilItaly4-1
1974West GermanyWest GermanyNetherlands2-1
1978ArgentinaArgentinaNetherlands3-1
1982SpainItalyWest Germany3-1
1986MexicoArgentinaWest Germany3-2
1990ItalyWest GermanyArgentina1-0
1994United StatesBrazilItaly0-0 (P)
1998FranceFranceBrazil3-0
2002South Korea/JapanBrazilGermany2-0
2006GermanyItalyFrance1-1 (P)
2010South AfricaSpainNetherlands1-0 (AET)
2014BrazilGermanyArgentina1-0 (AET)

FIFA World Cup All Time Statistics

EDITIONTEAMSMATCHES PLAYEDGOALS SCOREDAVERAGE GOALSAVG. ATTENDANCE
2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil ™32641712.752,918
2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa ™32641452.349,669
2006 FIFA World Cup Germany ™32641472.352,491
2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan ™32641612.542,268
1998 FIFA World Cup France ™32641712.743,517
1994 FIFA World Cup USA ™24521412.768,991
1990 FIFA World Cup Italy ™24521152.248,388
1986 FIFA World Cup Mexico ™24521322.546,039
1982 FIFA World Cup Spain ™24521462.840,571
1978 FIFA World Cup Argentina ™16381022.740,678
1974 FIFA World Cup Germany ™1638972.649,098
1970 FIFA World Cup Mexico ™1632953.050,124
1966 FIFA World Cup England ™1632892.848,847
1962 FIFA World Cup Chile ™1632892.827,911
1958 FIFA World Cup Sweden ™16351263.623,423
1954 FIFA World Cup Switzerland ™16261405.429,561
1950 FIFA World Cup Brazil ™1322884.047,511
1938 FIFA World Cup France ™1518844.720,872
1934 FIFA World Cup Italy ™1617704.121,352
1930 FIFA World Cup Uruguay ™1318703.932,808

FIFA WORLD CUP - ALL-TIME RANKINGS

RANKTEAMPTSMPWDLGSGAAV. PTSAPPS.
12271041717702211022.220
22181062020662241212.118
315683172145128771.918
414077211442131841.816
5995918122992661.71

Players

PLAYERS WITH THE MOST TOURNAMENT PARTICIPATIONS

PLAYERPARTICIPATIONSEDITIONS
51950, 1954, 1958, 1962, 1966
51982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998
51998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014
41950, 1954, 1958, 1962
41950, 1954, 1958, 1962

MATCHES WITH THE MOST GOALS

MATCHGOALS SCORED
26 JUN 1954 - 17:00 Local time
QUARTER-FINALS
La Pontaise
Lausanne
Austria
AUSTRIA
Switzerland
SWITZERLAND
FULL-TIME
7-5
12
05 JUN 1938 - 17:30 Local time
FIRST ROUND
Stade de la Meinau
Strasbourg
Brazil
BRAZIL
Poland
POLAND
FULL-TIME
6-5
Brazil win after extra time
11
20 JUN 1954 - 16:50 Local time
GROUP 2
St. Jakob
Basel
Hungary
HUNGARY
Germany FR
GERMANY FR
FULL-TIME
8-3
11
15 JUN 1982 - 21:00 Local time
GROUP 3
Nuevo Estadio
Elche
Hungary
HUNGARY
El Salvador
EL SALVADOR
FULL-TIME
10-1
11
08 JUN 1958 - 19:00 Local time
GROUP 2
Idrottsparken
NorrköPing
France
FRANCE
Paraguay
PARAGUAY
FULL-TIME
7-3
10
19 JUL 1930 - 15:00 Local time
GROUP 1
Estadio Centenario
Montevideo
Argentina
ARGENTINA
Mexico
MEXICO
FULL-TIME
6-3
9
17 JUN 1954 - 18:00 Local time
GROUP 2
Hardturm
Zurich
Hungary
HUNGARY
Korea Republic
KOREA REPUBLIC
FULL-TIME
9-0
9
23 JUN 1954 - 18:00 Local time
GROUP 2
Hardturm
Zurich
Germany FR
GERMANY FR
Turkey
TURKEY
FULL-TIME
7-2
9
28 JUN 1958 - 17:00 Local time
MATCH FOR THIRD PLACE
Nya Ullevi
Gothenburg
France
FRANCE
Germany FR
GERMANY FR
FULL-TIME
6-3
9
18 JUN 1974 - 19:30 Local time
GROUP 2
Parkstadion
Gelsenkirchen
Yugoslavia
YUGOSLAVIA
Zaire
ZAIRE
FULL-TIME
9-0
9

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Most of us here at Bet King Compare are partial to a little bet on the footy. Theres nothing quite like that moment when a 12 team acca comes in (albeit once in a blue moon). Most of us, in reality, are more akin to seeing one team letting us down by conceding in the 91st minute and scuppering any plans we had already made in our heads on how to spend our winnings!

In this section we will look at this years major footballing events & dates plus take a delve into the beautiful game itself and its history.


The Beautiful Game - Dates to put in your diary!

The first piece of silverware on offer this season is drawing ever closer with the EFL Cup final just around the corner.

wembley stadium

When is the final?

The 58th EFL Cup final takes place at Wembley Stadium on February 25th, 2018.

Do the winners qualify for Europe?

Yes, the winner will enter the second qualifying round of next season's Europa League.

Should the winners finish fifth or above in the final Premier League standings, the team who finishes sixth gets the spot.

If the FA Cup winners finish fifth or above, the spot goes to the seventh-placed team.

Who is in the final?

Arsenal V Man City will contest the 2018 EFL cup final at the home of English Football.


The FA Cup

FA Cup

The Emirates FA Cup
Season 2017-18
Round Dates & Information

Extra Preliminary Round Saturday 5 August 2017

Preliminary Round Saturday 19 August 2017

First Round Qualifying Saturday 2 September 2017

Second Round Qualifying Saturday 16 September 2017

Third Round Qualifying Saturday 30 September 2017

Fourth Round Qualifying Saturday 14 October 2017

First Round Saturday 4 November 2017

Second Round Saturday 2 December 2017

Third Round Saturday 6 January 2018

Fourth Round Saturday 27 January 2018

Fifth Round Saturday 17 February 2018

Quarter Final Saturday 17 March 2018

Semi-Final Saturday 21 April 2018

The Final Saturday 19 May 2018

Who has won the FA Cup the most times?

The record for the most wins is held by Arsenal with 13 victories. The cup has been won by the same team in two or more consecutive years on ten occasions, and four teams have won consecutive finals more than once: Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal.

When is the final?

English football's showpiece event will take place at Wembley on May 19th, 2018.

Do the winners qualify for Europe?

Yes, the winners of the FA Cup will go to the Europa League group stage - unless they have already qualified for Europe through other means. Therefore, if Manchester United win the FA Cup but qualify for the Champions League (by finishing in the top four) their Europa League spot is passed on.

Who is in the final?

TBC


UEFA Champions League

uefa champions league

When is the final?

The 2018 UEFA Champions League finale will be held at NSK Olimpiyskyi Stadium, Kyiv and is scheduled for Saturday 26 May, kick-off 20:45 CET (19:45 GMT)

Do the winners  automatically qualify for next years competition?

Yes, the winner will enter the 2018/19 competition at the group stage.

Who is in the final?

TBC.


UEFA Europa League

uefa europa league

When is the final?

The 2018 UEFA Europa League final will be played at Stade de Lyon on Wednesday 16 May, kick-off 20:45 CET (19:45 GMT)

Do the winners  automatically qualify for Europe next season?

Yes, the winner will enter the UEFA Champions League group stage in 2018/19.

Who is in the final?

TBC.


The Origins of Football

history of football

When was football first invented? 

Records trace the history of association football back more than 2,000 years ago to ancient China. Greece, Rome, and parts of Central America also claim to have started the sport; but it was England that turned football into the game we all know and love today.

The Football Association, English football’s governing body, was formed in 1863. ‘Organised football’ or ‘football as we know it’ dates from that time.

Ebenezer Morley, a London solicitor who formed Barnes FC in 1862, could be called the ‘father’ of The Association. He wasn’t a public school man but old boys from several public schools joined his club and there were ‘feverish’ disputes about the way the game should be played.

Morley wrote to Bell’s Life, a popular newspaper, suggesting that football should have a set of rules in the same way that the MCC had them for cricket. His letter led to the first historic meeting at the Freemasons' Tavern in Great Queen Street, near to where Holborn tube station is now.

The FA was formed there on 26 October 1863, a Monday evening. The captains, secretaries and other representatives of a dozen London and suburban clubs playing their own versions of football met “for the purpose of forming an Association with the object of establishing a definite code of rules for the regulation of the game”.

fa minute book


The English Premier League

When did the English Premier League start?

It was on 17th July 1991 that the founding members signed the agreement that would change the face of english football forever, heralding in a new era that would bring excitement and wealth to the clubs involved, thanks to Sky TV. The timing was also perfect, with English football having being exiled from all European competitions for five years it had started to lag behind the likes of Serie A, Primera Liga & Bundesliga.

The first televised Premier League match was between Nottingham Forest and Liverpool, with a solitary goal from Teddy Sheringham (on his Forest debut) enough to clinch the game and a special place in history.

Who were the first Premier League Champions?

The inaugural Premier League season ended with Manchester United being crowned as champions. This was the season that Sir Alex Ferguson would win the first of his 13 Premier League titles. The nomadic yet brilliant Frenchman, Eric Cantona, proved to be the catalyst for Ferguson's United and they would go on to dominate English football for years to come.

man utd premier league championsThe Manchester United squad celebrating after winning the very first Premier League Trophy


Most wins in a season?

In 2016/17 season Chelsea racked up an incredible 30 wins in 38 Premier League games on their way to winning the title.

Fewest wins in a season?

The 2007/08 season was one to forget for Derby County fans as they only once in the entire campaign.

Has any team gone a season without losing?

Yes, this has only happened once since the Premier League started. It was the Arsenal 'invincible's' who went the entire 2003-2004 season without losing a single game. That was one heck of a team may we just add, with the likes of Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires & co they made winning look easy that year!

What is the highest Premier League attendance?

A record 83,222 people witnessed Tottenham Hotspur beat their arch-rivals Arsenal by a solitary goal on 10 February 2018.

What is the most goals scored in a Premier League Season?

In 2009-10 season Chelsea scored a record-breaking 103 goals on their way to lifting the Premier League Trophy.

What is the most goals conceded in a Premier League Season?

Back in 1993-94 season, Swindon Town made their only ever appearance in the Premier League but were soon relegated, conceding 100 goals. This is the only occasion when a century of goals has gone against a team in a Premier League campaign.

What is the most points achieved in a Premier League season?

In 2004-05, Jose Mourinho led Chelsea to the Premier League title and they amassed a record 95 points that year on their way to being crowned champions.

What is the fewest points achieved in a Premier League season?

This unenviable record goes to Derby County who racked up a measly 11 points in what was a difficult 2007-08 campaign for them in the top-flight.

Which player has the most Premier League Appearances?

Gareth Barry made a total of 652 appearances in a 20 year career that began on 2nd May 1998. He went on to retire in 2018 following a successful career in which he represented Aston Villa, Manchester City, Everton & West Brom. He also made 53 appearances for England scoring 3 international goals.

Who is the oldest player to play in Premier League?

In a career spanning almost thirty years, John Burridge became the oldest player in Premier League history in 1994-95 season. The veteran goalkeeper made 4 appearances for Manchester City that season at the age of 43.

Who is the youngest player to play in Premier League?

At just 16 years 65 days old, Matthew Briggs became the youngest ever player to appear in the Premier League when he came on as a substitute for Fulham in a game against Middlesborough in May 2007.

Who has scored the most Premier League goals?

Newcastle, Blackburn and England legend Alan Shearer still holds the record for all-time Premier League goals. He scored 260 goals in total and was considered by many to be the 'ultimate number 9'. He also played 63 times for England, scoring 30 goals before retiring and becoming a regular pundit on BBC's Match of the day.

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golf masters 2018

Golf Masters 2018 Bets, Tips & Odds | Everything you need to know about the 82nd edition at Augusta

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Golf Masters 2018

The 2018 Masters Tournament will be the 82nd edition of the Masters Tournament and the first of golf's four major championships to be held in 2018. It is scheduled for April 5–8 at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia.

The Masters has the smallest field of the four major championships. Officially, the Masters remains an invitation event, but there is a set of qualifying criteria that determines who is included in the field.

Each player is classified according to the first category by which he qualified, with other categories in which he qualified shown in parentheses. Dates when a qualifying category will be completely determined are indicated in italics.

Golfers who qualify solely based on their performance in amateur tournaments (categories 6–10) must remain amateurs on the starting day of the tournament to be eligible to play.


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The Course

Par 4 445 Yards

The slight dogleg right is not the easiest tee shot golfers will face. Carrying the fairway bunker will require a drive of 300 yards, and shorter hitters will face an uphill shot to the undulating green.  It's always interesting when you're betting on this specific hole!

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Hole story

No. 1 was first named Cherokee Rose for Georgia's state flower.

Significant changes since opening

  • Fairway bunker adjusted, 2006
  • Trees added to left side of fairway, 2006
  • Tee moved back 15-20 yards, 2006
  • Back of tee reduced 7 yards and scorecard changed to 445 yards, 2009

About the plant

  • Evergreen, can be pruned into a tree or bush; Tiny white fragrant flowers bloom October to March.
  • Spot it on the course
  • It's to the right of the fairway and rear of the green on No. 1.

Where and how the plant grows

  • Native to eastern Asia
  • Grows slowly but can reach 30 feet high and 20 feet wide
  • Full to partial sun -
  • Acidic, well-drained soil
  • Moderately drought tolerant, once established - Propagation by cuttings

 

Hole No. 2 - Pink Dogwood

Par 5 575 yards

A slight draw off the tee sets up a chance to reach the par-5 green in two. Bunkers in front of the green often come into play.

Hole story

Before it was Pink Dogwood, No. 2 was named Woodbine.

Significant changes since opening

  • Fairway bunker shifted to right, 1999
  • Tee moved back 20-25 yards, 1999

About the plant

  • Deciduous, flowering tree
  • Pink, biscuit-shaped blossoms from March to May
  • Red berries in fall are a favorite of songbirds.

Where and how the plant grows

  • Can grow 20 to 40 feet high and wide
  • Shade tolerant
  • Moist to dry, well-drained, acidic soil
  • Moderately drought tolerant
  • Propagation from seeds
  • Sensitive to