THE PUNTERS AND THE MUAY THAI

Special report by Serge TREFEU (2010)

 

In Thailand the games of money are "officially" forbidden except the national lottery which is managed by the state. But it is an enormous paradox because a large number of Thai are crazy about games. Thai bets on everything, football matches, the fights of cock, fishes of fight, horse-races, the fights of bull, the Muay Thai…

Muay Thai is anchored in the culture of this country, the commission of the culture encourages its promotion, the education of Muay Thai depends on the Ministry of Education and the army manages this sport ardently. But regrettably, today, without "bets" the Thai boxing would not so much be developed. In this country Muay Thai and punters (Khon Len Panan) are inseparable. And have little to say that bets (Panan) makes live the Thai boxing. Among thousands of spectators who fill every big stadium, only a minority of the passionate truth do not bet. They really come to encourage the boxers. The majority of the spectators are punters who very often do not like the boxing. And if bets did not exist we would never see them in stadium…

Because without being boxer the Muay Thai also offers the means for certain persons to go out of the poverty. A bet gained on an important match in a big stadium of the capital can bring back a fortune and change a life. Bets can also engender invert him, to ruin lives…

For the most numerous, occasional punters, the sums generally do not exceed 500 bahts. In big two stadium of Bangkok, Lumpinee and Radja, the small punters (between 500 and 5000 bahts) are in the third floors. In the second floors it is the more important punters who bet more than 5000 bahts. But for the big professionals of the bet who play regularly, the sums often exceed 100 000 bahts sometimes they reach the million of baths. Big punters, often rich businessmen, have downright men in stadium who bet for them. One of the biggest sum was put in games on a fight, so far was 4 millions of bahts!

Every Sunday the fights broadcast by the stadium TV7 on the television are looked by 20 million persons. And practically 20 million punters who put average 100 bahts on a match it makes millions of bahts which are played, an enormous business!

In Thailand the Thai boxing it is as the PMU (HORSE-RACING BETTING) in France. During the matches broadcast on the television, in all the country, the punters meet in rooms and follow live the match and the odds (Rahka). They are informed about the price of the punters in the stadium thanks to persons who their comments live on the evolution of bets. These persons are in stadium with on them of the tens of mobile phones. It allows them to indicate in every corner of the country the odds of the boxers who change ceaselessly. Covered of telephones it is a good business for them because they are paid for every telephone, approximately 4000 bahts a month.

The odds is also made with regard to the boxing record of the boxer before the match. The punters follow all the important matches, they have specialized newspapers (10 in Thailand) which announce the forecasts of the favourite fighters or not the favourites. Sometimes the punters inquire unofficially about the state of the boxer by asking the trainer or the close relations. Then several times false rumours are thrown to destabilize the punters. This information can be good or bad…

Many boxers in service or retired bets often also. Even big champions devote to the vice of the game, most famous and big punter is the former star of boxing rings Somrack Khamsing. The punters are essentially Thai but have found exceptionally some rare foreigners who bet. As professional Nash Ular boxer who lives in Thailand and the former champion Stephan Nikiéma bet from time to time. But to become a diligent punter it is necessary to manage to understand the mechanism complicated with bets of Muay Thai, it asks of time…

First of all it is necessary to know the counting of points during a match. In Thailand the counting is not the same that in Europe. Here is the equivalence of points for every touched blow:

 

-      Fist blow = 1 half point

-      Jab with left + right = 1 point

-      Low Kick = 1 point

-      Knee in the leg = 1 point

-      Knee in the body = 2 points

-      Middle = 2 points

-      High Kick = 2 points

-      Poke = 2 points

-      Clinch (throw) = 5 points

-      Front Kick = 0 points

-      Blocked blow = 0 points

-      Special blow = 30 points (Very rare)

 

The special blows give most points because they are difficult to place in fight. We count approximately ten special blows which are for the most important the turned poke, the blow of knees jumped in the head, the middle jumped in the head, the circular turned kick ("Jorakhe Fad Hang ", crocodile sweeps its tail) in the head, the direct kick jumped in the head. It is necessary to specify that the " special blows " are extremely rare, made these points are attributed only in big stadium of Lumpinee and Radja. For example during a great fight, a made a success boxer a special blow of the style "Jorakhe Fad Hang" (circular kick jumped in the head) by touching well his opponent, the judges, impressed, can give many point for this blow difficult to place in fight. And the note is for the free appreciation of the judge, she can be 10, 20 to see up to 30 points...

Certain blow "whim" are counted on the contrary negative. For example, " special cartwheel " which the great champion Seanchai Sor Kingstar tries every time in his fights is counted - 5. Because the boxer puts his fist on the ground to lean and realized his technique and when the fist of a boxer touches the ground of the boxing ring it is 5 points less (Seanchai allows himself this whim because he is often early in the counting)...

 

A boxer who is counted by the referee loses 5 points in every counting. For example if he is counted until 8, he loses 40 points.

On any fall, even if the boxer slides on an ice cube left on the boxing ring, he loses 5 points.

 

It is necessary to know that the boxer is also judged on his physical condition, on the style of the muay thai that he uses, on his good defense, his attack and on his determination...

 

Everything the punters know perfectly the counting during a fight and can calculate easily points to find their favourite. The punters determine the boxers by their color and not by their fighter's name. The red corner (Sii Deeng) and the blue corner (Sii Namgneun).

When the fight starts, following the boxer who marks his points, the odds begins.

For example if the boxer in the red corner from the first round touches his opponent with several middle and what the blue does not riposte, it is the red which is favourite.

At the end the fight, the points are added. But according to stadium points are differently counted. For example for stadium of Radja and TV7 it is the first two rounds which are facilitated. In the stadium of Lumpinee it is more the last three rounds.

In Lumpinee, it is the number of gained round that is taken into account. On the other hand in Radja and in TV7 it is the number of gained point that is taken into account. With only two rounds or even a powerful round (ex: 40 marked points), in a close match, the boxer can win at Radja and at TV7!

 

Example for a close match:

                      Boxer red corner                               Boxer blue corner

1st round:    mark 10 points                                 mark 9 points

2nd round:  mark 10 points                                  mark 9 points

3rd round:   mark 10 points                                  mark 9 points

4th round:   mark 5 points                                     mark 10 points

5th round:   mark 10 points                                   mark 9 points

TOTAL :       45 points                                             46 points

 

The boxer in the red corner gained the 1st, the 2nd, the 3rd and the 5th round thus 4 gained rounds but he has only 45 points then if it is in the stadium of Radja or TV7, he loses the match. Indeed the boxer in the blue corner gained only the 4th round but he marked 46 points thus he gain the match. If it was in Lumpinee it is the boxer at the red corner which wins with 4 gained rounds…

If a boxer takes KO not need of counting we know who gained. On the other hand if the fight ends by a draw bets are cancelled. But certain punters can anticipate and bet on a draw. Often the odds for the draw is 5 to 1.

Generally the punters like the matches where the odds is close, 5 to 4 and 10 to 9 are the closest odds. In a fight or both boxers are of the same level, the one can lead the first rounds, then be touched and be counted, then returned in the match. Thus the final result is going to be a close counting, and the odds changed several times during the match.

The punters who bet on the favourite boxer and those who bet on the not favourite have almost each so much luck to gain…

Then in a full stadium in torn, the first ones round, the punters begin their exchanges shyly until reach the fourth rounds an impressive excitement. If the match had a lot of reversal of situation, the odds in changed also during the rounds. We find then an equivalent atmosphere which reigns in the "Rooms of stock exchange in her shouted ", moreover it is a little bit similar, "we buy ", " we sell "…

The punters who choose the favourite indicate it by putting the back of the hand above (Favourite: Pen To = above). For the boxer who loses in points which is not thus favourite, the punters who choose him indicate it by putting the volar region of hand towards the sky (Not favourite: Pen Loung = down). Later every punter determines the odds thanks to signs which they know by heart. If for example a punter chose the favourite and if he wants to bet a odds in 5 to 1 or 5 to 4. He shows the opened hand, five spread fingers.

The punter who wants to bet with him thus for not favourites indicates it by showing the volar region of hand with five fingers spread to bet in 5 to 1.

The one who chooses the favourite always takes the risk of betting more. For a odds in 5 to 1, if he gains, he gains only 500 bahts on the other hand if he loses it is 2500 bahts that he lost. The one who bet for the not favourite if he gains, he gains 2500 bahts and if he loses, he loses only 500 bahts. This difference of earnings bet between the favourite and the not favourite is logical because the favourite boxer is always easier to determine.

The risk of losing is less big when one put on a favourite. On the other hand the odds can be more close and the stake less important for the one who plays the favourite.

For example, for a odds in 5 to 4, the punter for the favourite shows the opened hand,

five spread fingers and the punter who put the not favourite shows the volar region of hand with 5 fingers opened except the thumb (4 fingers).

The punter for the favourite if he wins he gains 400 bahts but if he loses, he loses 500 bahts. And the punter for the not favourite if he gains, he gains 500 bahts and if he loses, he loses 400 bahts. There, the punter for the favourite took a little more risk but no as much as a odds in 5/1 or he can lose 2500 bahts instead of only 500 bahts for a odds in 5/4.

 

THE SIGNS OF HANDS FOR ODDS ARE

 

The money is not visually put at stake, it is fictitious. It takes place in the word. And to determine the stake there are also signs particular. For example to bet 200 bahts, the punter makes a sign with 2 fingers then show his index finger. To bet 2000 bahts, the punter makes a sign with 2 fingers then show his thumb. To bet 20 000 bahts, the punter makes a sign with 2 fingers then show his fist…

For the small sums of money they are exchanged straightaway after the end of the fight in the stadium. But for important sums, generally, the punters wait for the end of the event to make their account in a nice quiet spot. The bad payers in big stadium are very rare because they are to cross off from the circuit of the punters. Although bets are "unofficial" the bad punters are downright arrested by the police. And their photos, as popular delinquents, are bet on a picture in front of the entrance of the stadium of Lumpinee, Radja and Omnoi!

The best punters manage to bet during a match with several punters at the same time with different odds. They are of real phenomenon because they manage to remember themselves of every punter with whom they bet, of every sum which they proposed,

of the odds that they indicated and at the same time they calculate the points of the boxers which fight. We can compare them to the brokers in stock exchanges in the auction which make a little the same style of exercise of sale so difficult!

 

Thanks to Nash Ular who opened us the secret doors of the world very closed by the punters!

 

 

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