Perce Galea: The Prince

Among the ranks of big Australian punters, during the times when wagering on horse races often attracted an element of society not noted for exemplary scruples, Percival John Galea, a.k.a. “Perce” and “The Prince,” left his inimitable, indelible mark on the Sport of Kings in Australia.

Born 26 October 1910 in Malta, one of 10 children, his family immigrated to Australia around 1912, settling near Sydney. Perce began his punting career as early as 1924. Working as a newsboy outside Central Railway Station, he used his earnings to place small wagers.

By 1926, he was employed as a milk man, and had his first taste of the good fortune that was to follow him for the rest of his life.

This good fortune took the form of one of Galea’s customers by the name of Rodney Bangor who happened to be the owner of none other than Peter Pan. Perce took Bangor’s tip to back Peter Pan in the 1934 Melbourne cup, for which he earned a $150 payday, a considerable sum in those times.

For the next several years leading up to World War II, he was employed as a wharf labourer. The outbreak of World War II up to around 1948 saw him occupying the role of a registered bookmaker for the Wentworth Park greyhound races, along with running baccarat “schools” with Samuel Lee and a man with criminal connections, Sid Kelly.

Galea placed a $2,500 investment in Lee’s company in 1949 and given the title of director, worked as a host and manager in Lee’s restaurant. It was during this time, 1952, that he had a brush with the law over the purchase of black-market beer. He went on to become co-owner and manager of a nightclub in Elizabeth Bay called the Roslyn Social Club. The club was raided by the police in 1953 and produced 46 arrests. Galea was fined a small amount for running an illegal gambling house, from which he learned a lesson of the benefit supplied from the right amount of money placed in the proper hands. The authorities never bothered him again with the exception of a run in with the taxation commissioner over his understatement of his income between 1955 to 1963.

Galea was experiencing some financial difficulties when Lady Luck smiled on him again and bestowed $12,000 in the form of lottery winnings. This is when his punting career took off.

He took enough prize money to buy his first race horse in 1961. He regularly plunged large sums in what could have been considered as a sign of a compulsive gambler, but he adhered to the old adage that you don’t have a gambling problem if you’re winning. Even after suffering a heart attack in 1962, he continued to wager big, plunging as much as $25,000 on a single race.

1964 produced his best year as a horse owner. His horse, Eskimo Prince, won the STC Golden Slipper Stakes, bringing Galea something in the neighborhood of $33,000. He very nearly touched off a riot, when receiving an enthusiastic welcome afterward, he began tossing bank notes to the crowd.

Eskimo Prince also took the Rosehill Guineas and the AJC Sires’ Produce Stakes, bringing Galea great sums to add to his tote, however, he reputedly gave $40,000 back when Eskimo Prince failed to place in the AJC Derby.

The third stroke of luck to grace Galea bore an eerie resemblance to that experienced in 1960 by Melbourne Mick Bartley. Perce, in 1975, cached $200,000 from the Sydney Opera House lottery.

Perhaps to make up for the undesirable elements in his life, Galea made generous donations to the Catholic church in Sydney as well as staging an annual party for the less fortunate.

Galea was elected a provisional member of the Australian Jockey club in 1976, which somewhat smacks of irony given Galea’s past associations.

Percival John Galea suffered another heart attack in 1977, died, and was buried in Botany cemetery.

He left behind an estate worth over $400,000, along with a reputation of being a good friend, admired by his fellow punters and feared by bookmakers.

Blackjack Side Bets Are Bad Bets – Avoided Them While Playing

Most blackjack games in casinos today offer optional bonus or side bets. Once rare at a basic blackjack table they are becoming more and more widespread. The rational is simple because they carry a huge house edge. Anywhere from 3% to 20% or more compared to the 0.5% edge when playing straight up blackjack while using correct Basic Strategy. The bigger the edge, the more money the house makes.

The side bets do have an upside for the player in that all winning bonus wagers will pay out even if the player loses the original hand, and the large payouts are tempting. If you care to venture in, here are some of the most popular ones:

Twenty-One + 3

This side bet incorporates a little 3 Card Poker excitement into the mix in that your first two cards and the dealer’s up card are the determining factors. After you’ve made your BJ and optional Twenty One + 3 wagers, the combination of the three cards must equal a flush, straight flush, any straight, or three of a kind. The bet wins 9 to 1 on a six or eight deck game. The house edge is about 3%.

Royal Match 21

This one is based on your first two dealt cards:

Any two suited cards pay 2.5 to 1

A suited King & Queen (Royal Match) pays 25 to 1

A player Royal Match & dealer Royal Match in any suit pays 1000 to 1

The maximum bet allowed will vary between casinos. With the outcome based on your first two cards, the house edge is about 6%.

Bet the Set 21

This side bet focuses on your first two cards after you’ve made you’re blackjack wager and a Bet the Set wager. In some jurisdictions this bet is also known as Pair Square. If you are dealt any pair you are paid according to a pre-determined pay table based on the number of decks in play:

Single deck – pair pays 15 to 1

Double deck – pair pays 10 to 1, suited pair pays 25 to 1

Four, six or eight deck – pair pays 10 to 1, suited pair pays 15 to 1

Depending upon the number of decks in play and the pay table which varies between jurisdictions, the house edge varies between 5 & 6%.

Dealer Bust 21

Player wins if the dealer busts with various up cards showing. The winning payouts are paid according to the following table:

Bust with Ace up – Pays 10 to 1

Bust with 10 to K – Pays 4 to 1

Bust with 7 to 9 – Pays 2 to 1

Bust with 2 to 6 – Pays 1 to 1

The house edge is about 10% if the dealer stands on soft seventeen, about 8% if the dealer hits soft seventeen.

Over/Under 13

A player can wager on whether the total of his first two cards will be over, or under, 13. An exact 13 total always loses and Ace always counts as 1. The house edge for the Over 13 wager is 6.5 %, and for the Under 13, it’s 10 %. The side bet is usually offered on six- and eight- deck games.

Pair Square

A player wins if his or her first two cards are the same rank (such as a pair of 8’s). An unmatched pair (like an 8 of Clubs and an 8 of Hearts) pays 10 to 1. A matched pair (like a pair of 8’s of clubs) pays 15 to 1. The house edge is 10.6 %.

Super Sevens

In addition to your blackjack game bet, wager $1 that you will be dealt from one to three sevens resulting in the following payouts:

One seven pays 3 to 1

Two unsuited sevens pay 50 to 1

Two suited sevens pay 100 to 1

Three unsuited sevens pay 500 to 1

Three suited sevens pay 5000 to 1

The house edge is about 12% with no third card dealt and about 11% when a third card is dealt.

Lucky ladies

Here is a bet where any hand totaling 20 wins something. If you’re lucky enough to have a pair of Queens, you’ll win more, as the following pay table shows:

Pair of Queens with a dealer Blackjack – pays 250 to 1

Pair of Queens – Pays 25 to 1

Any suited 20 – pays 9 to 1

Any unsuited 20 – pays 4 to 1

The house edge is between 17 & 20 % depending on the jurisdictions pay table.

Always keep in mind that your bankroll is at a greater risk of a quicker depletion while playing blackjack games and making these tempting side bets.

Good Luck!