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The Worlds Best Punter

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musha View Drop Down
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    Posted: 13 Feb 2010 at 12:10pm

You can bet on 'The Joker'

  • Nick Tabakoff 
  • From:Herald Sun 
  • February 13, 2010 12:00AM
Zeljko Ranogajec

Zeljko Ranogajec. Picture: Craig Greenhill Source:Herald Sun

SOME call him the "Loch Ness Monster", because of his rare public sightings.

Casinos have dubbed him "The Joker".

And he's the mystery man who raids Melbourne every Spring Racing Carnival, and reaps a fortune.

High-profile racing industry figures say he is the biggest punter not only in this country, but in the world.

Meet Australia's most mysterious and elusive gambling figure: Zeljko Ranogajec, the man acknowledged even by sources close to the TAB to be, by some margin, its largest punter.

Those who know him well describe him as just a normal bloke.

"If you met him on the street, you would never think he's rich," one relative says. Others describe him similarly as "polite" and "unassuming".

But the size of Mr Ranogajec's betting is far from ordinary. It is believed he accounts for 6 to 8 per cent of Tabcorp's $10 billion Australian betting turnover: $600 million-$800 million, and bets tens of millions more with local bookmakers.

But that's just the start. Once the overseas betting turnover of his 24-hour, seven-day-a-week operation is taken into account, his total annual betting spend globally is believed to be well over $1 billion.

One of Australia's most senior racing figures said Mr Ranogajec was truly a global punter: "He goes wherever he can get set late with big bets. That means countries like Japan, England, Hong Kong, New Zealand and America."

"He had one of his biggest wins of the year on Shocking in last year's Melbourne Cup. So You Think winning the Cox Plate was another big result for him," another source said.

"He bets according to the size of the pools, so the Melbourne Cup would be his biggest betting race of the year.

"If he stopped betting today, Australia's three TABs would be seriously affected, and Betfair (a global betting giant) would be in dire straits. He's that big a player.

"He's the best punter in the world. A guy I know who met him described it best. He said there are seven billion people in the world, four billion of them have probably had a bet at some stage. He's just the one person in the world who is the best punter of them all."

Mr Ranogajec is known to regularly splurge more than $1 million on an individual race, and increases his bets as the prize pool grows.

Industry talk has him employing anything from 30 to more than 100 staff just to analyse form.

The operation has generated plenty of wealth. One relative of Mr Ranogajec from his father's side - who spoke on condition of anonymity - said: "I heard just maybe two or three months ago that he's a multi-billionaire."

Yet he has never been mentioned on any Australian rich list, because the secrecy around his operations means no one is able to estimate his exact wealth.

According to the man himself, the talk about the magnitude of his betting and wealth is all just a big exaggeration.

But in Australia and overseas, any number of racing websites, industry analysts and books indicate he is just being modest and is a global betting giant.

One thing is clear: the 48-year-old has come a long way from his days of being kicked out of Hobart's Wrest Point Casino in the 1980s, as a highly successful young mathematics whiz-kid beating the casino at blackjack by keeping track of each card played (not that there's anything illegal about that).

The relative, from the side of his late father, Mirko, claims he had started to work part-time at Wrest Point while studying for a commerce/law degree.

The relative says he met his wife and "first love", Shelley Wilson, while she was also working there.

But the more successful he became at blackjack, the more his studies started to take a back seat. 

His skills as a blackjack player saw him feared by casinos around the world. His business was "politely declined" first at Wrest Point, and Queensland's Jupiters Casino in the mid-1980s. But he did not give up playing the casinos, and moved to greener pastures overseas.

The relative from his father's side recalls him coming home after being too successful on the blackjack tables in the US: "He was in Chicago, I think. They stopped him, and he had to come back."

He increasingly turned his attention to horse racing, as well as other games such as Keno. He once won a then-world record $7.5 million Keno jackpot at Sydney's North Ryde RSL Club in 1994.

He may still have come out ahead because of smaller prizes he collected along the way.

But it is from horse racing that Mr Ranogajec has built his fortune.

Those in the know say the key to Mr Ranogajec's betting is chasing liquidity. He and his associates look for large betting pools awash with "mug punter" money that makes the pool as big as possible.

So private is Mr Ranogajec that there have even been suggestions he is using a pseudonym incorporating his wife's surname. According to records, a John Wilson, born in Hobart with an identical birthdate to Mr Ranogajec and an identical business address, owns a company that has assets including a multi-million-dollar beachfront property on the NSW Central Coast, and a Pacific Highway apartment in St Leonards.

Mr Ranogajec and Ms Wilson have been shrewd investors in property, mainly on Sydney's North Shore. In December 2008, the couple paid $19.75 million for a waterfront property on two blocks at Balmoral Beach, whose value had been hit by the global financial crisis.

The property is in the name of Ms Wilson. Parts of the property had been owned by jailed HIH executives Ray Williams and Brad Cooper.

In the aftermath of the HIH collapse in 2001, the couple had bought another Balmoral property for a knockdown $5.96 million, again in Ms Wilson's name.

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VPI View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VPI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Feb 2010 at 12:41pm
Originally posted by VPI VPI wrote:

The point I wanted to make was the controlling forces in the market are not wildly guessing or having just an "opinion". They do trip handicapping from video study quantifying race and horse attributes combined with other form variables analysis and sophisticated mathematical formulae to produce fairly accurate if not perfect ratings. With rebates from totes, this is the competition you are betting against, not the fellow punter in the TAB, not any price a winner. Unless a systematic or if you have the skills, a comprehensive video anlaysis approach is taken you are likely to be taking unders (over a period). 
 
At the moment Tasmainia's tote (via supertab) are allegedly offering substantial rebates, but their supertab involvement will soon cease. I wonder whether NZ tab co-mingling are offering rebates? 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote andynr123 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Feb 2010 at 5:58pm
I'll tell you something - the size of his operation is simply unbelievable. Think as big as you can get, then multiply it by 1000. And all he does is video work, as VPI suggests. It is all video analysis. Forget form, really it means nothing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Titans2010 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Feb 2010 at 6:19pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Harry T Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Feb 2010 at 7:04pm
Wink the reputation grows and grows to the point it has no representation of reality at all!
Strive to be happy
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ringlock Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Feb 2010 at 7:07pm
I'd like to know if he pays income tax on his profits.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gently Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Feb 2010 at 7:09pm
I'd prefer his tips!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote orpen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Feb 2010 at 7:17pm
Video analysis is doing the form, probably the best method.
It isn't mediated by a 3rd party. WYSIWYG..What you see is what you get.
The difficulties for most traditional form guide punters is they don't have the time for video analysis. You can't short circuit it if you do it properly.
I think The Joker is a big employer of astute video watchers.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote andynr123 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Feb 2010 at 7:23pm
Originally posted by Harry T Harry T wrote:

Wink the reputation grows and grows to the point it has no representation of reality at all!


On the contrary, anyone who knows about betting knows that the reality is far greater.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote D.OLIVER 2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Feb 2010 at 7:30pm
Originally posted by Ringlock Ringlock wrote:

I'd like to know if he pays income tax on his profits.


Yes and a plenty of it, but because it is a structured as a business.....his company can claim the input tax credits as losses.



I just won the Melbourne cup...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gently Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Feb 2010 at 7:34pm
Originally posted by orpen orpen wrote:

Video analysis is doing the form, probably the best method.
It isn't mediated by a 3rd party. WYSIWYG..What you see is what you get.
The difficulties for most traditional form guide punters is they don't have the time for video analysis. You can't short circuit it if you do it properly.
I think The Joker is a big employer of astute video watchers.

I agree totally Orpen - a mate of mine paid his way through Uni watching videos for one of this town's biggest punters. This punter had half a dozen watchers that he trusted and he would watch back only the recommendations from this team.

I've often seen a horse that finishes in the placings that I know cannot win it's next start, or alternatively a horse that is just tuning up in finishing out of the placings (like Speedy Natalie - just don't think MV is the best fit).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HUSSLER Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Feb 2010 at 8:18pm

I dont know where they got the photo from but that looks nothing like me

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VPI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Feb 2010 at 8:19pm
Originally posted by Ringlock Ringlock wrote:

I'd like to know if he pays income tax on his profits.
Humbleton is a publicly listed company.
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Harry T View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Harry T Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Feb 2010 at 8:45pm
Originally posted by andynr123 andynr123 wrote:

Originally posted by Harry T Harry T wrote:

Wink the reputation grows and grows to the point it has no representation of reality at all!


On the contrary, anyone who knows about betting knows that the reality is far greater.
LOL oBVIOUSLY YOU KNOW VERY LITTLE!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Browndog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Feb 2010 at 8:53pm
Originally posted by Harry T Harry T wrote:

Originally posted by andynr123 andynr123 wrote:

Originally posted by Harry T Harry T wrote:

Wink the reputation grows and grows to the point it has no representation of reality at all!


On the contrary, anyone who knows about betting knows that the reality is far greater.
LOL oBVIOUSLY YOU KNOW VERY LITTLE!

You seem to be speaking from a position of advantage here Harry. Having entered the conversation suggesting the article is flawed, will you share with the rest of us what we are missing, and fill us in on the real situation
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Enlighten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Feb 2010 at 9:31pm
Taj has lost some weight . That diet must have worked Taj old son  LOL
If its no longer fun .......How can it not be ???
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Harry T Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Feb 2010 at 9:57pm

Seems a man of many names - none of which he is personally known as. 'Zed' has involvements in numerous investments but many of the punting 'syndicates' that operate have nothing to do with him. Whenever some big splurges happen and no one knows the punters (corporates), they call it the Joker (stupid name). Over time, he has been attributed to billions of $ of punting. In his humble words..."I'm simply not that stupid". For years Tajodds assessments were syndicated to a group of guys from Malaysia and areas of Indonesia backed by Z. Nowadays this only happends for some of the big Spring races.

Taj himself is not a big punter these days. One or 2 bets per week I would think but always 4 figures never 5. Ace pretty much the same. A couple of our customers are betting $10000+ on weekends. Z knows the internationals markets and spreads but is not betting anywhere near what the media would like to think.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VPI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Feb 2010 at 10:09pm
So you are saying you know very little?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Harry T Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Feb 2010 at 10:12pm
No - I'm saying he is an honest guy and he has said to us that his so called punting 'investments' are a media beat up.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Browndog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Feb 2010 at 10:25pm
Many of the big punters of the past like, Filipe Ismael Mick Bartley, Eddie Birchley, George Edser, Perc Galea, all used to say their betting activities were grossly over-estimated. It is just the nature of media I suppose, to exaggerate in order to garner comment. If, as it seems he prefers to remain anonymous, and would deny anyway,  it is easy to attribute grand sums and extra-ordinary activities to him. I would believe however that "where there is smoke..."
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VOYAGER Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Feb 2010 at 10:25pm
Look I am not here to say if it is a beat up or not but I wish to point out one thing.
 
The more money you have at your disposal to bet with the more you can make if you are any sort of form analyst.
 
What I would like to do is give him $1000 and then give some poor soul off the street who has punted all their lives and who is a good form student $1000 and then let us see who is the better punter.
 
I am not sure of this guy or syndicates background but I think some tipsters in this forum, myself included could do just as good a job as he does if we had his money to bet with.
 
Just because you are betting large amounts and win more than you lose that does not make you the worlds best punter, maybe the biggest, but not the best.
 
Max Presnell in Sydney is hopeless at tipping winners and the only winners he does tip are the ones that he has got information on, maybe resorting back to his association with crooked George Freeman, that does not make him a form expert, it makes him well connected. 
Remember, it might take intelligence to be smart , but it takes experience to be wise
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VPI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Feb 2010 at 10:33pm
The exact numbers, who knows? but I'd say the article is pretty accurate.
 
Here's a piece from Tony Wilson about a former contemporary who wasn't so media shy. http://www.tonywilson.com.au/writing/alanwoods.php
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VPI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Feb 2010 at 10:48pm
Here's an article about a current business contemporary, for those who don't know where there punting dollar is going.  http://www.theage.com.au/news/arts/the-collector/2007/04/12/1175971260216.html
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Harry T Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Feb 2010 at 10:57pm
Love that black swan!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kavg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Feb 2010 at 11:46pm
Harry,
Are you saying that Zeljko uses TajOdds and the Acetip?
 
Because if you are, you are sadly mistaken and quite possibly the most delusional thing you have ever said.
 
Please explain yourself.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kavg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Feb 2010 at 9:24pm

Bump for Harry to explain himself.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote spleeep Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Feb 2010 at 10:09pm
Harry/Taj I've always found it's the people who don't spruik how much $ they have (or even deny the extent of their gambling/investments) are often the MOST wealthy.

The fact that you pretended to have some knowledge on the subject, and Zed's operation - 'For years Tajodds assessments were syndicated to a group of guys from Malaysia and areas of Indonesia backed by Z. Nowadays this only happends for some of the big Spring races.'

....but then turn the discussion to (very subtly) tell us that "Taj himself is not a big punter these days. One or 2 bets per week I would think but always 4 figures never 5. Ace pretty much the same."

Totally off topic and you're basically talking yourself up. And judging by the look of the house in the background of the Tajodds videos.... is doesn't look like the house of a 4 figure gambler.

Turn it up.
Am I gambling with more than my money? Probably...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mellifluous Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Feb 2010 at 10:12pm
Tajodds thinking they supply material to Zed.
 
What a joke !
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BROOKE Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Feb 2010 at 10:28pm
Video study is the key. There is no doubt.
Assessing a horses ability and action, through video, is by far the most superior way to win in the long run.
You have to trust your eye. It really is a "seeing is believing" ideology.
Not suprised he backed Shocking. Shocking clearly ran the best cup trial.
In my opinion, Psychologist ran the most dominant Blue Diamond trial.
You can see it pinged out of gates, rushed forward hard and the gapped the field finishing even harder at the end. Thats just a case of seeing is believing. And I would suggest that he probably bets on horses that back up quite quickly after an impressive run. Based upon the belief, the horse can hold its form at a given time frame.
But overall, when studying video, I think your own eyes can clearly see when a horse has a sense of "dominance" about its run. Thats the ones they bet on.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mellifluous Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Feb 2010 at 10:31pm
You will be surprised on how important it is when doing the form on horses on the quick back up etc. I know the IAS main form man takes this into account every time he does the form and it is scary how horses really do perform on the quick back up. Trainers giving them a run around the week before followed by a good win the next week.
smooth.
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