Saturday, January 03, 2009

World Snooker investigate Jamie Burnett betting suspension

From The Telegraph:

"World Snooker has launched an investigation after Stephen Maguire’s UK Championship win over Jamie Burnett on Monday was overshadowed by reports of irregular betting patterns. Bookmakers suspended activity on the first-round match in Telford after a flurry of bets were placed on a 9-3 scoreline in Maguire’s favour. That did eventually prove the final score after world No 45 Burnett missed a black in the 12th frame that would have made it 8-4."

Several days before the match, lots of new betting accounts opened in Scotland, and they all made one bet, and one bet only, that the score in this match would end 9-3...

Here's the last frame from that match

Please read the full article in the Telegraph:

This insident made me remember the European Pool Championships from 2006, in Brandenburg. The event was sponsored by, now, and this was the first time (as far as I know) that online betting was offered to fans and spectators of European pool.

What I am going to tell is not about someone losing on purpose. I saw nothing of that, and the max amount people could bet on these matches were less than $ 500, so it would not be worth it for anyone to even consider doing such a thing.

It was during the 8-ball divison on the European Championship that I decided to watch a match outside the tv-arena, between Goran Mladenovic from Serbia and another player I can't remember right now. Goran is a well-known gambler, and during Eurotour's you can easily find him in action during nights either playing one-handed 8-ball or his famous 2-ball game.

Since I had played him some during an Eurotour in Belgium, I thought I would just check and see if he used his same tactic in tournaments. One of his tactics are the ultra soft-break in 8-ball to frustrate his opponent. And he sure did use it. On several occasions the opponent asked the ref to watch Goran's break to see if 4 balls or more hit the rail after the breakshot :) Goran won that match because the opponent got so frustrated and couldn't keep his head calm when he got oppurtunites.

Later that day Goran was scheduled to play in the tv-arena, and then it was possible to bet on his match, on each and every game. It's possible to bet on winner of lag, how many balls pocketed on break, who will win, how long will the match last etc.

A friend of mine called me when he saw that Goran was put on the tv-table, and asked me immidiately if I had watch Goran play. I said yes, and he asked "how did he break?". I laughed and said he broke so soft that he nearly fouled on each break because barely 4 balls hit the rail. My friend thanked me for the information and said he was going all-in on the option dry break on Goran's first break, meaning he would bet like $ 500 that no balls would be pocketed.

Once again I sat down to watch Goran's match, and after he won the lag he prepared to break. To my big surprise he fired of like I had never seen him before. The balls were flying everywhere, all over the table.

I was shocked by the change of tactic, but was immidiately checking my phone for the text-message I knew I would receive in short time. When the last ball stopped rolling, it luckily didn't find a pocket to drop into, and it DID end up with a dry break!

The text-message came in, and it said: "Oh my god, I think my heart stopped beating. All bets are off :)"

A funny little story about my first experience with betting on pool :)

Regarding the snooker investigation I will keep you updated as soon as more information will be published. It's real sad if they can prove that Burnett was cheating, and it will perhaps make it even harder for snooker and pool to maintain the good relationships with different betting sites.

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