Monday, 29 March 2004

Cricket betting: Hyderabadi punters have the field day

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, March 29: When Pakistan won the Bangalore test to level the cricket series with India, punters in Hyderabad made a big celebration. It was really an occasion for them to celebrate as the money involved in the betting game was quite high and it's all for them to take home.
Unlike their counterparts elsewhere, city punters favoured Pakistan even before the start of the third test, despite the fact that the Pakis were almost written off. City punters are "double-happy" as their earlier prediction of a India win at Kolkata test also came true.
According to a bookie, punters here loaded odds 2:1 in favour of Pakistan as India had never won a test match in the Garden City.
Points out satta bazar operator Pradeep, "Of the four test matches India played on the Chinnaswamy Cricket Stadium in Bangalore against Pakistan, it lost three and drew one test. Pakistan won three matches there earlier. Moreover, Pakistan was under tremendous pressure to win the Bangalore match to level the series. We loaded the dice in favour of Pakistan and our prediction came true."
Strangely enough, city Task Force police, who conduct regular raids during cricket series, are silent during the ongoing Pak tour of India. None of the bookie hideouts was raided this time though police officials admit in private that the city's satta bazar had made a turnout of at least Rs 40 crore during the first three test matches.
Punters all over the country changed odds quite frequently as the chances of the match heading for a draw were high at least till the tea break on the final day of the Bangalore test. But the Hyderabadi bookies stuck with their favourite Pakistan even when India was at 108 for two.
"We do not know about punters outside Hyderabad. As far as we are concerned, we take a decision after working out several details including individual statistics of cricketers, ground and team. We work it out so meticulously that most of our predictions come true. Say 99.99 per cent. We bid for India at the Kolkata test and India won", observes a bookie from Begum Bazar area of the city.
Test series is over and punters have made a big money. And what about the one day internationals that begin on April 2? As bookie Mahesh reveals, the odds are "yet to be fixed".
"The lots will be thrown just a day before the first ODI at Kochi or after the toss. Right now we cannot say anything. Betting turns more serious after a couple of ODIs if India or Pakistan clinches them", he says.
Cricket satta bazar in twin cities operate in three different ways - in person, through cell phone or laptop (internet). But the cell phone type is the most preferred one for its secrecy. During the Bangalore test at one stage the odds against India changed from 2:1 to 6:1. A notable feature of bookies in the city is that they take a day off from their routine business or work to concentrate on betting. Monday was the busiest day for bookies as the odds changed quickly after lunch.

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