Private Investor: The one way to make money from a poker game
Saturday 08 January 2005
Sometimes you buy shares for very odd reasons. I recall buying some shares in an outfit named
Sportingbet.com a couple of years ago, because I met someone who worked for it who told me all about this exciting new venture and I have to say I was very intrigued by the operation.
Sometimes you buy shares for very odd reasons. I recall buying some shares in an outfit named Sportingbet.com a couple of years ago, because I met someone who worked for it who told me all about this exciting new venture and I have to say I was very intrigued by the operation.
If the name isn't a clue, let me enlighten you as to its main line of business: online gambling. Those with an ethical disposition should turn away now. I didn't put much into it, watched it collapse in the great dot. com disaster and didn't bother selling the shares because it was hardly worth it. They were, mentally, written off - until now.
I recently ran into the chap who worked at Sportingbet, and who has since moved on. He pointed out that the shares have been doing rather well lately - so I checked and, yes, indeed they have almost doubled in value since I bought them (at 100p, and they are approaching 200p now) and are up ten-fold on their nadir.
A few interesting things have been happening to this stock. It has had its .com suffix amputated, an occupational injury for companies in this sector; it has bought an American concern named Paradise Poker; and it has been the subject of much takeover speculation and bullish comments from City folk. So my early faith in Sportingbet has been repaid, although it is a rather different animal from the one I initially invested in. Indeed, I have read that it is the biggest online gambling website in the world, which I found rather hard to believe.
However, you can never lose, I have found, by investing in vice. I was a very satisfied investor in the William Hill float and greatly regret jettisoning those shares. The brewers have rarely let me down. Virtue has its own rewards, so they say, but, evidently, so does human vice. So, on the strength of all this, I have topped up my holding in Sportingbet in the hope that it will double again, although the recent very strong run may not be sustained for long.
Poker is the sort of fad that can quickly become an obsession. In the old days, as far as I can see, to get a game of poker going you had to have a group of wise-cracking, hard-bitten cronies like Phil Silvers or Walter Matthau, a bloke with a visor dealing the cards, a bottle of bourbon and an understanding wife who'll make the guys some pastrami-on- rye sandwiches.
Now all you need is a computer. Just think of the potential. You can play cards all day and all night at home or when you're supposed to be working. Doesn't appeal to me, but there's evidently an appetite for it. It has already taken off in the States, and, as we all know, that means it'll be over here before too long. Sportingbet must still have some more growth potential, especially as it is trading on quite a modest prospective PE ratio of about 15. I've even thought of a new slogan for them: "Sportingbet; the global player you've never heard of."
Elsewhere, it's the same old story. Sensible stocks such as Tesco, Vodafone, AG Barr and Shell and the long-term money going into the JPMF Indian Investment Trust showed steady progress in 2004, and should again underpin the wilder bits of the portfolio in 2005. And there is none wilder than Matrix Communications.
I have to stress that I have no connection with the firm whatsoever; it's just a fairly blind punt recommended by a friend unconnected with the City. In fact, he got the idea from the Investors Chronicle, so it's been open secret for a time. Matrix Communications jumped by a quarter on Christmas Eve - a nice little present - and has edged ahead since. It's now up 47 per cent on when I bought it in November. What an exciting time - almost as thrilling as a game of online poker. Just think what it'd be like if the bulls came back to the market.
Independent Partners: See how much you could save by switching credit cards. Compare now
Swedish stars ask fans for £195 pledges on crowd-funding website
sportNapoli 2 Arsenal 0: Gunners must now face either Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid or Barcelona in knock-out stages
musicAs Mariah Carey and Noddy Holder rake in the royalties from their classics, why there hasn't been a decent festive hit for 20 years?
theatreAuthor Daniel Rosenthal recalls the mishaps that almost brought the curtain down on the likes of John Gielgud and Diana Rigg
lifeFull of the joys and want to help your fellow man? December isn't the time to do it
lifeAs the Royal Mail plans to phase out deliveries on two wheels, it's no wonder posties are in a spin
techLuke Blackall reports on precision engineered prams and babygros that monitor your child 24-7
- 1 Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute
- 2 It’s shameful that our universities have accepted gender segregation under pressure from the most oppressive religious fanatics
- 3 Kenyan politician Mike Sonko left red-faced after photoshopping himself next to Nelson Mandela
- 4 Exeter to Edinburgh and back in a day: How one fresher's lost bet left him facing a 900-mile round trip
- 5 Selfie at funeral: Cameron squeezes in on Obama snap at Mandela memorial
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£50000 - £60000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: A leading prov...
£70000 - £90000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: A leading mark...
£60000 - £80000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Harrington Starr: Product Specia...
£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Harrington Starr: Business Analy...
Day In a Page
A Grade II-listed home with six bedrooms, secluded landscaped gardens and views across Hadley Green
A Grade II-listed mansion with two apartments and a cottage, near Gretna Green
A three-bedroom Grade II-listed mews house with vaulted ceilings and roof garden
A spacious Grade II-listed family home with annexe and equestrian facilities among four acres of land in Itchingfield
A four-bedroom home with exposed brick walls and open fires in the picturesque village of Northill
A Grade II-listed property with five bedrooms and unique tower, overlooking Hastings Old Town
A charming five-bedroom detached family home, set within half an acre in Kew
A two-bedroom maisonette set on the top two floors of a period building, close to Kentish Town Tube.
Take advantage of the extra space provided by former stables and outbuildings at this five-bedroom farmhouse.
This three-bedroom Victorian terrace is near to Queen’s Road Peckham station, Nunhead station.
A five-bedroom modern house with terrace, swimming pool, Zen treehouse and large carp pond
An unexpected gem with four bedrooms, remarkable vaulted reception and a galleried study area
A five-bedroom house in one of Lymington's most sought after tree lined avenues, moments from the marinas and sailing clubs
A grand early 19th century B&B close to the historic harbour, with four en suite bedrooms
A four-bedroom, 17th century home with walled gardens, a landscaped terrace, cellar and open fires
A six-bedroom house with five bathrooms and four reception rooms spread over 4,000sq ft of luxury living space
A stunning three double-bedroom apartment with two decked terraces in the exclusive gated community, Bromyard House
A 10-bedroom period, family home amid beautiful surroundings in the centre of the Wentworth Estate in Longcross village
A stylish three-bedroom apartment with two bathrooms and private landscaped garden, moments from Fitzroy Square
A Grade II-listed Elizabethan barn with landscaped gardens, exposed elm beams and four bedrooms, all with lovely views
A six-bedroom family home, dating back to 1280 with four reception rooms, barn, swimming pool and tennis courts in Harwell
A spacious two-bedroom flat, refurbished to a very high standard with private landscaped garden, close to Kentish Town station
An exceptional two-bedroom apartment with balcony and underground parking in the centre of Richmond
A one-bedroom, luxury, duplex apartment in the grand landmark building, Imperial Hall
Run a fabulous boutique shop, live above it in a one-bedroom flat and let a second one-bedroom flat that comes part and parcel
A Grade-II listed, thatched cottage in Hundleby village, with five bedrooms, a coach house and three and a half acres
A spacious two-bedroom flat in the heart of Hoxton Square with wooden floors and roof terrace
A five-bedroom family home with stunning pool and gym complex set among two acres of land
A six-bedroom period house with heated swimming pool and a separate two-bedroom annexe cottage in Townlake, £795,000
A spacious and contemporary two-bedroom flat arranged over three floors, with garden patio close to St George Square, £600,000
A one-bedroom flat in a beautiful Regency building opposite the beach in Kemp Town, £190,000
A two-bedroom flat with London skyline views close to Surrey Quays. £395,000.
A seven-storey tower with three bedrooms and a stunning roof terrace. Guide price: £850,000.
A 16-bedroom country pile with nine reception rooms, four self-contained flats and a 13th century Peel Tower. £850,000.
A classic six-bedroom Victorian Manse house 10 miles from Edinburgh. £495,000.
John Lennon's childhood home in Liverpool to be sold at auction. Guide price: £150,000-£250,000.
A six-bedroom detached period property with secluded gardens, ample parking and a double garage in Rye, £675,000.
A large split-level property with three double-bedrooms and roof terrace, close to Crouch End Broadway, £625,000.
A charming barn conversion in the picturesque Cotswold village of Ilmington with three bedrooms, a detached garage, workshop and beautifully manicured gardens £675,000.
A three-bedroom new build, ground-floor flat with two bathrooms, close to Bermondsey tube, £445,000.