For those who followed our gambling contest during the election campaign: we have the final tally.
Jim: I can’t claim to have made a fortune (for Room to Read, the charity) but at least finished slightly up on my starting £100 of bets – a profit of just over a fiver.
The most frustrating result was my bet on the Lib Dems getting 60-69 seats. My estimate, which seemed ridiculously low during Cleggmania turned out to be – bizarrely – too high by just three seats. The 7-2 bet on Labour winning Brighton Pavilion was not far out either; the party picked up 29 per cent against the Greens’ 31 per cent.
The most duff wager I took out was on Labour losing Harrow West, a waste of £20, which I blame on an erroneous tip from a Tory contact. I’ve already eaten humble pie and apologised to incumbent MP Gareth Thomas.
That still leaves the winners; Labour held Dundee West against the odds, the Tories got 306 seats (within my range), John Bercow kept his seat and the BNP didn’t win anything. A triumph of sorts.
Alex: Propelled by a mix of wishful thinking and greed, I bought into the Great Clegg Bubble and had my fingers burned. Unlike Jim, I wasn’t even able to win back my £100 betting pot, and ended up £39.70 down. But I stick by the “hare strategy” of picking outsiders, not least because this exercise was for charity. While Jim may have kept his dignity, there’s not much to be said for a £5 return. I see my effort (such as the mad-cap 40-1 bet on the Lib Dems taking Cardiff South) as more like dressing up in a furry gorilla outfit and running a marathon.
Alas I failed. So as penance I’m going to cover the losses myself (please take note FT finance director) and donate £40 to the charity. That’ll teach me to gamble.
There were a couple of bets that did come off. My £20 bet on turnout staying below 67.5 per cent was spot on (it rose, but only to 65 per cent). A couple of Lib Dem wins — in Wells and Redcar — paid out. There were also a close call in Ashfield (which went to a recount). But the bookies have no bailout fund for losers, however close you may have come.
The less said about the others the better. The theory was that the Clegg bounce and differential turnout would help in Lib Dem target seats. In the event, some constituencies barely registered a rise in the Lib Dem vote. My Tory bets (Feltham & Heston and Cardiff West) all turned out to be duds. I never blame sources but you know who you are.
Anyway, I will now retire to eat my super-sized portion of humble pie. My mum (a former casino manager) was right: never gamble, especially when you can’t fix the result.
UPDATE: Jim has been shamed into increasing his charitable donation. He’s sent £25 to Room to Read.
|Who will win Dundee West?||Labour||£5||6/4||William Hill||£12.50|
|Who will win Brighton Pavilion?||Labour||£5||7/2||William Hill||£0|
|Total number of Lib Dem seats||60-69 seats||£5||4/1||Paddy Power||£0|
|Who will win Harrow West?||Conservatives||£20||3/2||Ladbrokes||£0|
|Who will win the TV debate?||Nick Clegg||£4||13/8||Paddy Power||£0|
|Which foreign country will be mentioned first in the debate?||America||£1||8/1||Paddy Power||£9|
|What size audience for the last TV debate?||5m-9.99m||£5||3/1||Ladbrokes||£20|
|What size audience for the last TV debate?||10m-14.99m||£10||5/4||Ladbrokes||£0|
|How many seats will the Conservatives win?||301-350||£15||4/5||PaddyPower||£27|
|BNP not winning a single seat||NA||£20||1/4||Ladbrokes||£25|
|The Speaker, John Bercow, to hold his seat||NA||£10||1/6||Ladbrokes||£11.67|
|Total bets and return||£100||£105.17|
|Who will win Cardiff South?||Lib Dems||£10||40/1||William Hill||£0|
|Who will win Cardiff West?||Tories||£10||4/1||Betfair||£0|
|What will voter turnout be?||Under 67.5 per cent||£20||8/11||Sky Bet||£34.55|
|Who will win Mid Sussex?||Lib Dems||£5||6/1||Paddy Power||£0|
|Who will win Newcastle East?||Lib Dems||£5||13/8||Victor Chandler||£0|
|Who will win Newcastle Central?||Lib Dems||£5||2/1||Ladbrokes||£0|
|Who will win Ashfield?||Lib Dems||£5||5/2||Ladbrokes||£0|
|Who will win Weston-Super-Mare?||Lib Dems||£5||7/4||Betfair||£0|
|Who will win Wells?||Lib Dems||£5||7/5||Betfair||£12|
|Who will win Redcar?||Lib Dems||£5||7/4||Ladbrokes||£13.75|
|Who will win Woking?||Lib Dems||£5||6/1||Ladbrokes||£0|
|Who will win in Feltham & Heston?||Tories||£10||13/8||Paddy Power||£0|
|Who will win Wrexham?||Lib Dems||£5||5/2||Betfair||£0|
|Who will win Broadland?||Lib Dems||£5||2/1||Paddy Power||£0|
|Total bets and return||£100||£60.30|