Dom Joly: Free bet that proved costly for Andy

I was elated and gripped with Andy-fever – he was going to make me rich
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The Independent Online

I got a very exciting email last week. It was from a well-known online gambling site telling me that I had £140 in my "account". I'll be honest here – I have absolutely no memory of joining up or putting any money into it. Then I got distracted and did not do anything about it until the following day when I got another email from the same site telling me that they had made a huge mistake. Apparently, I should not have been sent the previous email and I should ignore it. Obviously, I went straight to the site, logged on and found that I did have £140 in my account.

Either this was a very clever marketing device to lure me onto the site with a freebie in the hope that I would spend more or, more likely, I was very, very drunk one evening and decided to bet on how long the 10 minute, midnight "freebie" would last on the Adult Channel. I have no idea. What I did know, however, was that I must bet this "free" money before it disappeared. I had a look around – I wanted to bet on something sporty that I knew about.

Regular readers of this column will know that this left me with a big problem. I briefly considered doing my usual of putting money on the next race and backing a horse whose name I liked. Then I considered having a go at the "wisdom of crowds" thing and ask my Twitter followers whom I should back? I put the question out and got such a barrage of different tips that it became impossible. I am sure that there was some wisdom in there somewhere but I was too lazy to find it.

Then I remembered my close, personal friend on Twitter, Andy Murray. Again, regular readers of this column will know that I often keep you up to date on Murray's Tweetlife. I am also a huge tennis fan and, as he was about to play his Australian Open quarter-final in two hours time....I took the plunge and betted on a British tennis player – never a smart move. I watched the match with extra interest and whooped and hollered around the house when the angry Scotsman beat Rafa Nadal. I was elated and gripped with Andy-fever – he was going to make me rich.

I raced back to my computer and there were my winnings, already credited to my account. I should have withdrawn my ill-gotten gains there and then and taken my wife out to lunch. But I got greedy. I put my original £140 plus the profit from my first bet onto Murray winning the semi-final. I was in this big time now. It is not often that you can actually contact the person you're betting on, but, since I was following him on Twitter- I did not hesitate. As usual he was Tweeting some rubbish about watching television. I sent him this – "I've got serious money on you winning the Aussie Slam Murray, so stop fucking Tweeting and get practising... don't fuck up."

I didn't get a reply but there were no more Tweets, just a vaguely homoerotic photo of him in an ice bath. The boy was listening to me.

Then came the semi-final. Murray wobbled at the start but then played like a demon. He won in four sets and once again I rushed to my laptop to check my winnings. Like a moron, I could not help myself – I piled the whole lot into him winning the final.

Now I really needed him to take this seriously – so I Tweeted him again: "Good work son.... now into the ice bath and early to bed – I've got money on you and I know where you live....."

Once again there was no reply. He was apparently busy watching Gavin and Stacey. This worried me – I find that programme depressing and did not want him in a bad mood for the final. Then one more Tweet from Murray, Chris Hoy had texted to congratulate him and Ricky Hatton was a "nice guy." This was all very well but he needed to concentrate. There was nothing more I could do however. It was now just a case of waiting and hoping that he could beat the Swiss cyborg. After the final, I thought, I would either be in the Bahamas or on my way round to the Murray residence with a baseball bat.

Sadly, it seems my Twitter coaching didn't pay off and I now owe a lot of money. I blame Gavin and Stacey, just wait until I catch up with them online...

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