I love betting shops. I love the smell, the atmosphere, the reek of silent desperation as Racing Posts are pored over in the search of a winner, any winner. The old geezer who, judging by his smell, has done a runner from a badly run care home, but whilst he remains undetected in this shop, is going to make the most of his freedom. The slightly overweight early-thirty something with his tie halfway down his neck and shirt untucked, chewing gum loudly and invading your personal space as he reads the racecards pinned to the wall. You desperately try to avoid eye contact because last time, when you let your guard down, he bored you for what seemed like hours with boasts of his sexual prowess. It sounds like a cliche, but betting shops really are full of characters.
I worked in one once. Briefly. I was 16 and took a pathetic pride in the fact that I was able to get a bet on without being asked for ID. I swear the guy behind the counter knew full well I was underage, but these were the days before I had the self-awareness to acknowledge that as far as picking winners was concerned, I was pretty clueless, and I was contributing to the shop's income with admirable regularity. Certainly he always looked pleased to see me.
Anyway, I walked in one day to find that Sid, the guy who wrote on a big whiteboard the odds for each horse in each race and the days results as they were announced, was off sick. A friend and I volunteered our services. Listening to the info coming through on the old SIS radio broadcasts, writing odds, keeping results up to date, and trying to place a bet? I lasted ten minutes. It wasn't just me though - my mate was as bad. Even with two of us, we couldn't keep up.
What has this pleasant trip down memory lane got to do with running a betting portfolio twenty odd years later? Well, firstly and most importantly, it's vital to know the limits of your abilities. When I first started following tipsters, I conveniently forgot what I had learnt in my youth about being unable to pick winners, and threw in the odd bet based on my own opinion. It may not have amounted to much, but it did adversely affect my bottom line figures. Secondly, it wasn't until I learnt what my strengths were and started playing to them that I started to make money. Thirdly, it's probably a good idea to give things a little time to work out, so that a proper assessment of what you're doing and what you're capable of doing can be made.
One other thing...in a situation in which it seems increasingly difficult to avoid online bookie restrictions, using a bit of cash to place bets in the shops is no bad thing. And it can bring back many happy memories.
Northern Monkey Punter grabbed star billing today as a profit of £46.28 was accrued - if you read yesterday's blog offering, you would know how much making that amount has warmed the cockles of my heart! A 0.75 point each way bet on The Lock Master (winner at 5s) produced an overall profit that got NMP back onto solid ground for the month after going four points down. On The Nose had their obligatory winner - Heavenly Chorus landing a half point win bet at 7/2 - and were also very unlucky with According To Pete who finished a close second in the Yorkshire National at Catterick at 8/1. A small profit secured on this one as it was advised each way. No joy for ProBandit or Chasemaster today although losses were small for each. A mention to PJA NH today too. They didn't really get the rewards their efforts deserved; three selections at 5/1, 5/1, and 8/1 and all placed but no winner. Losses were contained though as the advice, as usual, was to back each way.
Thursday 13th January: Staked £167, +£46.28.
Week to date: Staked £715, +£141.01.
Month to date: Staked £6,363, +£668.22, roi 10.5%.
I'm going to leave out the service "view" tonight - dinner's ready!