Gambling For Life: The Incredible Story of Professional Gambler Harry Findlay

The story of Harry Findlay is extraordinary. During his life as a professional gambler he has won and lost millions but says even if he loses all his money, he can never be a loser.

Findlay, nicknamed ‘Harry The Dog’, knows what it is like to lose a £2.5m bet. In 2007, he wagered the incredible sum on New Zealand to win the Rugby World Cup. The All Blacks were leading 13-3 at half time in the quarter final against France but ended up losing the game after the referee allowed a forward pass to secure a 20-18-point victory for the French. Findlay had covered some of his loses at half time with a counter bet, but still lost £1.9m that afternoon.

Harry Findlay in 2007, during the peak of his gambling career.

Harry Findlay (right) in 2007, during the peak of his gambling career. ©Alan Crowhurst.

Four years later, in 2011, he bet another £230,000 – amounting to around 60% of his total wealth at the time – on New Zealand to beat France at rugby. This time, the bet held after a narrow 8-7 win over the Kiwis. His passion for sports betting has resulted in meeting several of his sporting heroes, at least, including Roger Federer, Martina Navratilova, Lester Piggott and Jimmy White.

Findlay is comfortable with his life as a gambler and says he has no regrets. He has watched sport and gambled on it for as long as he can remember. Despite suffering with, and recovering from depression he still believes his life would be empty without gambling. The thing that gets him down most, is the fate of people he influences.

He tells the story of his once non-gambling gardener, named Charlie, who after weeks of listening to Harry had withdrawn his life savings and left them on his employer’s desk to place a sports bet on his behalf. The gardener had placed the £28,000 cash in an empty ice cream tub and ended up losing the bet.

If I had £1,000 left and there was a two‑dog race at the bottom of my road and I didn’t know the form, but I could get almost evens on both dogs, I’d put £500 on it. So I’m a bloody gambler. That ain’t changing. Harry Findlay, professional gambler, speaking to The Guardian

Findlay now lives a quitters life in Axminster, Devon. After the £2.5m bet in 2007, he has been playing smaller and smaller stakes. Today, he rarely bets more than £10,000 at a time and says he has won more than £250,000 in the last two years exclusively from small stakes wagers.

His story has been published in a book titled ‘Gambling For Life’ ghost-written by Neil Harman and published by Trinity Mirror.

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