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How to Choose the Perfect Online Sportsbook?

May 9th, 2011 Comments off

There are tons of sports betting sites on the internet these days.  What started off as a street shop enterprise has turned the UK gambling industry into an online phenomenon.

And while online operators and sports betting sites such as Betfair, Bet365 and Paddy Power have became increasingly successful (William Hill reported double profits for its online operations compared to offline in 2009), even mobile betting is beginning to take over the internet.

The first online sports betting sites started in around 2000.  William Hill launched their online operators in 2003 while Betfair similarly went online in 2006 offering the world’s biggest sports betting exchange.

Factors to Consider when Choosing a Sports Betting Site

First of all, the name, reputation and history of the brand are extremely important in my opinion.  If you’re going to open an account, deposit and wager money online than you need to know that your funds are safe and secure.  Companies such as Bet365, William Hill and Betfair has a 10+ year reputation operating in the UK and regular feature ads and promotions on TV.  These companies employ thousands of workers, service millions of clients across the world, and are fully licensed by the respective authorities where they are based (e.g. Government of Malta).

The next most important issue depends on whether you’re betting on a game as a one-off or if you’re a seasoned sports betting fan.  The reason I say this is because if you’re simply signing up to bet on a one-off event such as the World Cup or the Grand National than you might be better off finding the biggest deposit bonus for new players.  At Betfair for example, you’ll receive a £25 Free Bet as a new player which allows you to make a free bets without having to risk any money when you sign up.

If you play on betting for a long time on a range of different sports matches each week than new player bonuses won’t be that important to you.  Instead you should check what type of player rewards, re-load bonuses and weekly promotions/competitions the sports betting site offers.  All of these things will be much more important to you in the long run and will ensure you are happier betting online here.

The software, betting features and markets offered by the site are another thing that helps to compare sites.  For example, how easy is it to find the latest sports odds for a particular game, access the live betting section or make a deposit in the cashier.  All of these things should be simple to do.  You might even want to check to see if the site offers cross-over bingo, poker and casino games (virtually all major UK operators do).

Finally, betting features and mobile technology are all becoming really important in 2011 and onwards.  The release of the iPhone and Android smart phone devices has meant that mobile sports betting is far more functional, user-friendly and exciting than ever before.  You can now place bets at Betfair across all of their markets on the iPhone, including making deposits/withdrawals away from your computer and browsing the latest odds and football scores.  If you plan on betting on your mobile than choosing an online sportsbook which offers these sorts of facilities (including an exclusive mobile bonus) is very important.

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Arbitrage Betting at Betfair

December 9th, 2010 Comments off

Arbitrary Betting at Betfair

Betfair is one of the few bookmakers which allow you to place arbitrary bets, also know as “arbitrage” or “arb” betting.

Arbitrary betting is when you are guaranteed to make money on the outcome of the event, by betting both possible outcomes.  It’s called arbitrary betting because you are taking advantage of the odds set in the same market by different bookmakers, enabling to guarantee to make money.  Arbitrage betting is completely legal however of course the bookmakers will want to ensure it doesn’t happen too often since that would mean they are over-pricing their odds a lot.

In order to place an arb bet, you’ll need to find laying odds shorter than backing odds for a two-outcome event e.g. a horse or dog race.  You’ll also need to wager slightly more on the cover bet.

For example, let’s say that you get laying odds of 3:1 on a dog winning a race, and 3.5:1 covering odds of the same dog winning.  If you wager £11 on the dog losing at 3:1 and £10 on the dog winning at 3.5:1 then if the dog loses you will make £1 profit (11-10).  If the dog wins than you’ll make £2 profit (35-33).

Regardless of the outcome of the event you will make either £2 profit or £1 profit.

Tips for Arb Betting

First of all you’ll need access to a sports betting exchange which allows you to place lay bets.  Betfair allows you to do this, however what makes Betfair even better is that their Fav V Fan Bettting system allows you to set your own laying odds. This allows you to receive much shorter odds than a conventional bookmaker would offer.

In order to make money in arb betting, you generally have to be willing to wager much larger amounts that ordinary fixed-odds bets.  The profit margins are so small in arbitrage betting that you have to wager a lot in order to see a decent return.  However this shouldn’t be a problem since you are guaranteed to make a profit and there is no risk involved in the transaction.

Finally, in order to find the best odds you’ll want to use some sort of odds comparison website or find the best betting lines.  More arbitrage betting users will sign up to a plethora of sports betting websites in order to find the most favourable odds.  You can also shop around on major sports events and use odds comparison websites such as OddsChecker.com to find the best deals.

Finally, remember to take advantage of the best sports betting bonuses and deals whenever you sign up to a betting site.  These not only provide you free money but are also an alternative way of improving your profit margins and ROI since many bonuses provide money-back refunds across all of your first bets.

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About Tradefair’s Spread Betting Platform

November 16th, 2010 Comments off

What is TradeFair

As well as being the world’s largest sports betting exchange with over 4 million users, Betfair continuously adds new features and games to their network.

In 2008, Betfair’s owners launched TradeFair, a spread betting platform that allows users to spread bet and speculate on over 7,000 different financial markets, including the FTSE, DowJones, Securities, Commodities and FOREX (foreign exchange) markets.

About Spread Betting

The decision to start a brand spread betting company comes after the UK has enjoyed successful years of growth in the spread betting industry.  Unlike conventional trading, spread betting profits are completely tax-free in the UK and exempt from Stamp Duty.  This means that you don’t have to pay 40% capital gains tax on your profits nor do you have to pay a 0.5% sub-charge of Stamp Duty when you buy shares like you would have to do under conventional share trading.

Tradefair’s chief executives announced that in the UK spread betting has enjoyed growth of around 20-30% per annum, which is bigger than both online poker and sports betting.  One of the reasons for massive growth in the spread betting industry is because of developments in technology which allow professionals to start opening up accounts online at spread betting platforms (there are now more than 20 in the UK alone).  In addition to this, ever since the technology and internet boom in 2000 lots of spread betting companies joined in the mix and financial markets received a lot more attention in the media from news resources such as Reuters, Bloomberg and Yahoo! Finance.  Asides from Tradefair, other firms such as ETX Capital, Capital Spreads (2003), Inter Traders, Finspreads and Spreadex all entered the market post 1999.

One of the major reasons for using Tradefair as your spread betting platform is that they cover more than 7,000 markets (some of which run 24/7) and they have very tight spreads, usually around 1 pip.  Tight spreads are good for spread bettors because they allow you to make more profit and higher margins on all of your deals.  Since the spread is the difference between the bid and offer price and how the broker makes its commission, a small spread is better for the end user.

Tradefair also provide a fantastic £100 bonus for traders who open new accounts with them.  Whilst a deposit bonus should by no means be the only important factor to consider when signing up a spread betting account, Tradefair also has a very strong reputation in the financial community and offers lots of stop-loss features to prevent you exposing yourself to too much risk on deals.

If you are not yet ready to open up a deposit account, Tradefair also lets users register for a Demo account with $50,000 in play money to trade and invest with.  The demo account is great for letting users get acquainted with the software, learn to execute different types of orders and buy limits, and analyse their trading positions and stock portfolio.

For more information on spread betting and how you and how you can make money on it, along with FAQs and videos on technical and fundamental analysis try visiting the Tradefair website now.  They also has great customer support available through phone and email.

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Betfair iPhone App Released

October 8th, 2010 Comments off

Betfair iPhone App Released!

Good news to Betfair players.  The world’s largest sports betting exchange has now released and brand new official Betfair iPhone App. The iPhone sports betting app allows you to bet across all of Betfair’s markets including both sports and financial betting.

The iPhone betting app comes with a range of features for users (you can read more at http://www.iphonebetting.org/). Users can back and lay teams, use the in-play betting features and they will have full access to their account and cashier.  You can make deposits and withdrawals to your account using the iPhone sports betting app, and it works seamlessly across Wi-Fi, 3G and Edge networks.  One of the best things about the official iPhone app is that it revolutionizes sports betting. You can bet in the live-odds markets on the go or whilst you’re at the football match easily.  The in-brower software, which doesn’t use flash, basically allows you to navigate the entire Betfair website and features.

Betfair’s iPhone Client:

  • Back or Lay bets on your iPhone
  • Bet on any Betfair market
  • Check your account status
  • Easy to use
  • Fast over Wi-Fi, 3G or Edge

If you want to start betting on your iPhone all you have to do is sign up an account at Betfair and download the official app from the iTunes store.  You can log in with the same username and password as your computer account and you’ll be able to start placing bets with your account immediately.

Betfair’s iPhone App was released on September 2010 from the guys at Betfair Labs.  Betfair purposely targeted the iPhone and mobile betting market after they saw a surge in profits in mobile betting.  Their revenue in mobile betting increased 40% from last year according to Betfair executive.  In doing so, Betfair also became the first UK bookmaker to release an official app for the iPhone, which is now in its 4th generation aka the iPhone 4.

Unfortunately, the Betfair iPhone App will only work within the geographic regions of the UK and Ireland.  Betfair have worked alongside excisting GPS technology in the iPhone to ensure that it is locked outside of these jurisdictions.  In addition, you will have to be over 18 to use the application in accordance with UK gambling legislation.

£25 Betfair Bonus – £25 Free Bets

iPhone users can still take advantage of the fantastic £25 Betfair Bonus when they sign up and make a deposit through their iPhone.  In order to take advantage of this offer, all you have to do is sign up an account at Betfair and make at least £25 in bets.  Once you have done this you will receive an additional £25 in free bets to use across any of the fixed odds or in-play betting markets.

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Betfair Live Video

September 29th, 2010 Comments off

About Betfair Live Video Streaming

There have been all sorts of phenomenal developments in online bookmaker software and features.  Things like mobile betting; daily match pics, odds calculators and in-play betting have become the norm.  Now though you can even get involved in all of the action by watching live streaming games on Betfair Live Video.  In order to watch hundreds of live sports events and games during the week, all you have to do is sign up to Betfair and register an account.  Don’t forget to make a deposit and take advantage of the £25 Betfair Bonus too! 

Betfair Live Video

Betfair’s Live TV streaming channel, “Betfair Live Video”, let’s you watch a number of live sports games during the week.  The sports that Betfair Live Video offers include Football, Horseracing, Tennis, Basketball and Snooker. 

European football fans should sign up to Betfair to take advantage of the types of football games and European leagues that you can watch. Betfair have the rights to show Serie A, Portuguese Superliga, UEFA Cup and most importantly international friendlies.  One of the upcoming football games include Santos v Joe Public and Estudiantes v Gimnasia La Plata.  A month ago Betfair even broadcast the Spain vs Argentina match after the World Cup which Argentina went on to win 4-1, courtesy of some brilliant goals by Athletico Madrid striker Hun Aguero.

What’s really nifty about Betfair Live Video is that you can use it in concatenation with live in-play betting, which allows you to become fully ensconced in the action and drama.  You can sit at your computer watching the Horse Racing and Football Derby for instance and place bets at your disposal as you watch the event live.  A tip when you are planning on watching or betting on  live football streaming is that you need to be aware that the feed broadcast has a 10 second delay. This is very important since the live odds will not necessarily be in synergy with the time of play.  It only takes 2 seconds to score a goal, so you have to be careful not to rely too much on Betfair Live Video services just in case you’ve missed an important event like a penalty of goal that inflates or creates big changes in the live odds.  The same caveat can be said about horse racing too.  Your favourite horse called “junior” or “deathtrap” might be in front in Betfair Live Video, but in actual fact with a 10 second delay the horse race could all be over in real-time before you even saw it start.  Your horse might even have had a cardiac arrest, have fallen flat on its rider and killed him, bailed every other single horse in the race, all before you can even see it happening on the Betfair video feed.

In order to use Betfair Live Video services for Horse Racing, you need to have placed a minimum of £2 on the “Day of the Race Market”.  Tote bets do not qualify for this service and you’ll also need to be aware that SP bet don’t qualify as match bets until the start of every race.

Start Watching Live Football Games by Signing up to Betfair.

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The Check-Raise in NL Holdem

September 13th, 2010 Comments off

The Check-Raise in NL Holdem

The check-raise is a relatively simple yet profitable concept to execute.  From my experiences there are plenty of low stakes players who check-raise boards when the time is right.  The biggest problem however, is that they don’t always apply it to their game relevantly or against the right sorts of opponents.  Often in 6-max cash games I will implement the check-raise against loose aggressive opponents who I know are cbetting virtually every flop I check to.  In order to exploit these opponents and extract maximum value from a big hand like trips on the flop, I will check-raise them out of position.

The best boards to check-raise opponents are one’s that are either likely your opponent has missed and is cbetting blank, or one where you know your opponent has a good chance of catching up with you and will happily call a re-raise.  If he has a flush draw or outside straight draw, then he might be calling for implied odds.

In terms of who to check-raise, the best types of players to pull off this move against are LAGs who overplay their hands post-flop.  The majority of LAGs will be cbetting flops with thin air.  They also tend to attack pots with limited action and take advantage of weaknesses at the table.  This means that next time to have a superb hand like AQ on a A-Q-5 board, against a LAG, you should be happy to check-raise in position.  You can also do this against TAGs too, but given their lack of aggression in post-flop play on missed boards, a lot of the time you’ll only be getting called by hands that beat you and folding hands that are behind.  In either case, the foundations of a successful check-raise is that you’re confident that your opponent will fire into the pot as soon as you exhibit weakness..  The last thing that you want to do in this situation is give your opponent a free card and limit how much value you get from a strong hand on the flop.

The size of a typical check-raise should be no less than 3x the opening raise, and sometimes even 3.5x.  This is a scalable amount, because if you bet less than this than you’ll be giving good pot odds to your opponent.

On a final note, a really important message that I want to render across is that you should actively be check-raising with a variety of hands.  This is known in the mid-stakes world as balancing your range, and when you look for poker sites you should always be looking for the fishiest sites where this move is most profitable.  The reason it’s important to vary the sorts of hands you check-raise with is because you want to keep your opponent guessing and keep extracting maximum value down the line.  If you only check-raise with monster hands then you’re opponent will learn to stop calling these value bets.  But, if you start check-raising with a loose range of hands and include the bluff-raise into your arsenal, then you can end up stealing more pots and getting better calling equity for your premium hands.

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Online Craps Rules

September 12th, 2010 Comments off

Casino Game Craps

You’ll find a number of different games and tables at the casino.  One of the most popular casino games around the world is Craps.  The Craps tables are normally swarming with players and women screaming in excitement as the dice get thrown.  Hence, why wouldn’t you want to find out more about this game?

Casino Craps has a very simple spine yet can be a turn off to first-time players because of the strangeness of the Craps table.  It can look extremely awkward to first time users – with lots of different segments, dotted-lined boxes and areas to place your chips.  Boxes such as the Come, Pass Line/Don’t Pass, Field Bets etc all make it appear difficult to understand, and gazing at it for the first time isn’t exactly straight forward.  What’s more, the chaos of chips being thrown, the number of dealer surrounding the table (including stickmen, 2x base dealers and a pit boss) and the massive variety of betting  options doesn’t make the game easy for new players.  A great way of learning the rules of the game that I’ve found is by playing online craps.

The truth is, Craps is a very simple game to learn.  It revolves around wagering on the roll of the dice, which are always thrown by the “shooter”. Players take it in turns to be the shooter in clockwise manner, you of course skip if wanted.

 To begin the game, the shooter must place a Pass Line or Don’t Pass bet and wager his money on the first roll.  The first roll is also called the Come Out roll, as it establishes the Point number which all the other players can cover or lay bets against.  If the first roll is a 7 or 11, players who made a Pass Line bet will straight away receive double their money back.  If a 2, 3 or 12 is roller (Craps) then the Pass Line bet loses its money.  (In contrast, if you make a Don’t Pass bet by placing chips in the Don’t Pass Line section of the board, then you win 2:1 if Craps is rolled and lose your money to a 7 or 11).

If a 1, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10 is rolled then it establishes the Point Number.  Players with a Pass Line bet will win 2:1 on their money if the Point number is rolled again before the next 7.  If a 7 is rolled first, then the round ends and Pass Line bets lose their money (known as seven-out).  In contrary, players who made a Don’t Pass bet will be betting on a 7 being rolled before the Point number.

Understood everything so far?  Right, well this is where the game gets kind of tricky…If you’ve seen any Craps table, you’ll have seen all the different boxes with numbers on.  It can look very confusing and obfuscated, but each of these areas represents a type of bet you can make.  In Craps, there are a number of bets you can make which each have different odds.  For example, you can make Field Bets, which involves betting on the next roll of the dice; Come/Don’t Come Bets, which is when you bet on a 7 being rolled again before the last number rolled, Single-Roll Bets (e.g.  betting on 2 or 6), Hard Way Bets (2,2; 4,4; 6,6 etc) or Pass Odds bets (these let you cover certain numbers being rolled at true odds so long as you have made a Pass Line/Don’t Pass bet.  Casinos normally limit these 5x your pass line bet).

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Types of Odds

August 12th, 2010 Comments off

Types of Odds

In sports betting, odds are used to determine how much money you will win per unit wagered.  True odds reflect the real probability of an event happening.  If the probability of Rooney scoring a goal in his next match is 50%, then the true odds are 2.0 or 2/1. 

It is the bookmaker’s job to set the odds for different outcomes so that it established a betting market with fixed odds for punters to wage money on.  The bookies make a profit by charging a small premium on odds known as the juice.  The juice for most uk bookmakers is around 4% – 8% however in Asian Betting this is much lower at around 2% – 5%.  Notably, the odds that a bookmaker sets will be slightly worse than the true odds, so for a coinflip scenario with true odds of 2.0, the bookie might set odds of 2.1 or 2.2.

Odds Betting Systems

In the UK and US, there are 3 main types of systems used in betting markets to display the odds: decimal odds, fractional odds and the US points or line system.

Decimal Odds:Decimal Odds are the most common type manner which odds are displayed in the UK.  They are also the most easiest to understand which is great for new players.  Decimal odds display how much a punters will win per unit waged.  For example, odds of 3.0 mean that a player stands to win £3 if he bets £1.  All you have to do to calculate your winnings is multiple the decimal odds by the stake amount.

Fractional Odds: Fractional odds are another common method used in betting markets.  Fractional odds are numbers displayed in fractions, however they can easily be converted to decimal odds by dividing the numerator by the demominator i.e. top by bottom number.  For example, 5/2 = 2.5.

US Lines or Spreads: Unlike UK/European betting markets, the US use a system very unique.  If you bet at any major US sportsbook such as Bodog, the odds will be displayed in the form of lines or spreads.  Underdog teams are given a handicap, indicated by a plus e.g. +150.  The favourites are given a negative number such as -170.  All you need to understand is that when betting on the underdogs (+), in this example, for every 100 you bet you will stand to win 150.  The number with the minus (-) indicates how much you need to wager to win $100.

You can try using both types of decimal and fractioanl odds at betfair now.

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Poker Tournament Strategy

July 14th, 2010 Comments off

Tournament Strategy

For those who don’t know, playing tournaments are quite different to regular cash games, and the strategy varies considerably.  Not only this, but the poker strategy you apply in tournaments at Betfair should vary depending on the stage of the tournament, your chip size, and the type of players on your table.

Early Tournament Strategy

At the start of the tournament, you should only be playing your best hands possible.  This includes any high pockets, AK AQ AJ, and possibly high suited connectors or middle pockets (depending on your table position and implied odds).  The reason you need to play so tight at this stage in the tournament is that there are so many players on your table.  This makes it very likely at least one will have a great hand, so entering the pot with a poor hand will usually just cost you chips facing a dominating hand.  Another reason for playing tight so early on, is that your chipstack in relation to the blinds in most tourneys is very low – plus you only have one buy-in.  This means you can’t afford to take risks calling the flop with bad hands, because at the end of the day you will just bleed your chips away.  Don’t worry about doubling up too quickly at the beginning of a tournament, there’s plenty of time for this in the middle stages.

Middle Tournament Strategy

The middle stages of a poker tournament are most important, because it’s where you need to accumulate most your chips, and its also where the blinds/antes become significantly large.  This increases the value of each pot, which makes it more important to bluff and use aggressive tactics such as 3betting, value shoving and blind stealing.  Its important if you want to succeed in tournaments, to constantly take advantage of your table position and pick off weak players.   The middle stages of tournaments is also importantly because it’s where you’ll reach the bubble i.e. payoff level.  You can afford to open your hands and starting range a little more now to include smaller pockets, suited connectors and generally anything else with potential.  If you become short-stacked (less than 20xBB), you need to be going all in regularly and value shoving to double up.  Try to get your stack in as early as possible with any of your top 70% of hands dealt. 

Late Tournament Strategy

Most importantly, make sure you change the way you play as the tables become short-handed.  You should open your starting hand range up greatly to include even mediocre hands like A7 or J9.  Another important rule of thumb in the late stages of a tournament is avoid heady confrontations with a deep stack (unless of course you have him dominated).  Playing against big stacks at this late stage can end your entire tournament, and its much more practical and less risky to focus on picking off the small-medium stacks first.  If you find yourself small stacked at this stage, it might be best to sit out and hope someone goes out before you, giving you a better payday.  For a big stack at this stage, you should be looking at 1st place, so keep playing aggressively and hitting back at players, however make sure you don’t aimlessly throw your chips about.  Be the policeman at the table, not the village idiot.

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Laying a Team

July 14th, 2010 Comments off

Laying a Bet

A great bet that can be rewarding in the short term is to bet on a football team NOT to lose.  This is great, because there can be two outcomes in the game in which you’re still rewarded – a draw or a win.  This type of best is most valuable and cleverly applied when your team’s opposition is basically just trying not to lose.  The outcome of this normally provides a weak opponent whose attacking motives are severely limited; hence your team is very unlikely to go behind or lose.  A complacent team is rarely a danger on the counter attack. 

Bet on a team not to lose.

A great type of bet is where your team doesn’t even have to win for you to make money. It’s called Double Chance, because you back two outcomes: a win and a draw. If you can identify a situation where one team is unlikely to lose, this kind of bet might be attractive to you. But keep in mind the odds will be lower than simply backing a team to win.

There are a several situations where this can be a useful bet, but one of the most common is when one team is playing for a draw. Try and pinpoint a game where one team’s aim is simply not to lose. A club employing such a negative strategy will very rarely win. Even if they succeed in drawing the match, your Double Chance bet against them is a winner.

Another important football betting tip in this category is to place such bets when the opposition has a leading goal scorer left out of the squad/injured.  If a football team is heavily reliant on one or two key figures (such as Torres at Liverpool), then the value of the bet usually becomes high – as many sports betting sites will give you better odds and not take into account the significance of this fully.

Look for Unusual Home & Away Form in Football

The most natural trend in football is for teams win more matches and points in their home games.  Of course the sports betting sites and bookies recognize this fact, which is why the odds are shorter for home wins in football betting.  This being said however, there are plenty of teams in the English football leagues (including the Premier League, Championship an Football Leagues) that go through unusual runs of form away from home, yet can’t seem to earn points at home.  This can be down to multiple reasons, such as a more closed counter attacking side away from home, or just home form pressure from disgruntled or hallowing support.  Either way, taking advantage of these scenarios provides a great tip in football betting because the bookies won’t take note of this – or will give you favorable odds to say the least.  Example of this unusual type of home/away form in football includes Wigan FC in the 2005/2006 season, where at home they manage 7 wins, 3 draws and 9 losses; where as their away form earned them 8 wins, 3 draws and just 8 losses.

Bet on the draw

The truth about football betting, is that bookies earn most their revenue (over 70% at Ladbrokes) from draws.  This is because the majority of punters in UK football bet for a sensational win or loss – this makes perfect sense as punters like to take a “stab” so to speak, or support their own team.  The truth though, you will massively reduce your losses in football betting by placing the majority of your bets on draws.  These actually carry the best relative odds in most football matches, for instance the recent Arsenal Liverpool game had 4.0 for a draw.

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