Friday, 18 February 2011

Always a 'But'.

Bah! Stupid cold!

Well, not sure where to start today. I would say that the most insightful and illuminating writing yet to appear on this blog was posted yesterday, but it wasn't me that wrote it (heh!). Many, many thanks go to Sam, the man behind The Market Examiner service for posting such a lucid account of just what it can be like getting a new subscription service up and running. With a nod to the 'Green All Over' blog, I am going to copy the format adopted there in terms of posting comments and then adding my thoughts in here. I'm going to do it this way because I can't think of a better way, and it ensures that all readers don't miss the comments that are left in the box each day. Imitation is the highest form of flattery, after all.

Sam posted the following in yesterday's 'Comments' section...

Feel kind of compelled to respond as you have summed up my last couple of years almost entirely. I started a blog called, where I listed my days bets each morning, after analysing the morning betting markets. This is something that I had done privately for some years before, but thought it would be fun to put them "out there" as it were. It also proved to be a useful way to keep track of all my bets on a day to day basis, and which bookies I'd placed my bets with.

If for no other reason than the above, it was proving worthwhile and I enjoyed it. After a few weeks/months, and after quite some success, I was getting more and more followers. I've just checked back, and in the first month of posting (March 2009), I had 518 unique visitors, and by July of that year, this number had risen to 6,525! At the end of that month, our first daughter was born and focus somewhat was shifted away for a while, although the blog was still being updated regularly.

In the first couple of months of 2010, I was still getting quite a number of visitors, which would continue to develop as the weeks went by, as the winners came, so much so that I began to think there could be a chance people would actually like it if it turned into a somewhat professional service. Some posters actually ASKED for it to be a paid-for service, perhaps to limit the number of others with access to the bets.

Clearly there were upsides to this for me, with possible subscription fees being paid etc, but it would be quite a leap from where the blog began, a one man adventure backing the horses (albeit with a method I was/still am utterly convinced is profitable).

Anyway to cut a long story short, was formed, with modest subscription rates. A free trial period was successful, profitable, with lots of nice comments etc. All very exciting.

Come last November, with the launch of the paid for service and what happened - yes! A losing month, typical! Then a December which was utterly frustrating because of the weather (we only back turf meetings), and then January stuttered along rather too..

In fairness to our subscribers, they have almost entirely been extremely patient, and aware that losing runs can happen when backing at big odds like we do, but an "anonymous" poster did comment on the blog at the start of this month:


Anonymous said...
Another month - same old story, we got the value but where are the winners!!Tuesday 2 selections both pulled up.That's now 190 points staked for a loss of 52 points, some value that is.
Value without winners is no good to anyone.


I replied explaining how we've always stressed the importance of having a secure betting bank etc, and how losing runs will inevitably come and go, while sympathising that is isn't always easy to think long term.

So the question is - and this is my point I suppose for replying to your post, and rambling on rather like this - did we begin to question our judgement? Did we begin to make changes out of panic/fear of losing people money? No, I'm pleased to say we didn't, and haven't. Ours is a methodical system of analysing betting markets, however, and there is perhaps less emotion involved than for some of the form students out there, and I think this helps.

At the end of January, for example, which we ended 3pts down, we had just two bets in the last four days. I'm sure there are other services that would have made a desperate lunge at the end to make the month profitable, but we kept our displine and will always do so.

But can I appreciate how tipsters (certainly from blog backgrounds) feel pressure? Yes, absolutely, it's not nice when a bad run comes along, not only for ones own pocket but of course for the subscribers that you feel a duty to help. It's horrible, it is, there's no question about it. But I think you have it spot on when you say that those services which are unaffected by the adverse variance that naturally befalls all types of gambling are the ones which will be still profitable in the years to come. It's all about having total confidence in what you are doing.

I'm pleased to say we are bouncing back quite nicely now by the way, with February showing 22pts of profit (70.72% ROI), and we look forward to keeping it going, which I have no doubts we will..

I hope you don't consider this one big plug/advert for our site, I promise you it wasn't intended in that way! It was just your post struck a chord so much so that I felt compelled to respond. If you would rather not post the comment, then no hard feelings whatsoever.

Well, what can you say about that? First of all, thankyou, Sam. There, in a few succinct paragraphs, is the first hand experience of what we are talking about here. What particularly struck a chord with me is the acknowledgement that things had to take a little bit of a backstep following the birth of Sam's first daughter. I know from experience how diverting such a life event is. The thing is though, when my children were born, I was able to take two weeks off - paid paternity leave - I was quite able to withdraw from my work commitments and others in the office were able to temporarily assume responsibility for the obligations I had to my customers/clients. I guess that it is the curse of the self-employed and independent that when such things affect their lives, in a deeply fundamental way, that this safety net does not exist. Moving away from specifically talking about Sam here, how many of us subscribers take into account that the people to whom we pay our subs are not robots, that they like us, have the same worries, stresses, and strains that all of us have to contend with. What do we subscribers actually see from our services? A punctual email or text message each day, outlining the day's selections...that's what. We rush to get the money down and when we have, we breathe a sigh of relief and await the next missive. There is little or no thought or consideration to the tipster, who perhaps is labouring under the weight of behind the scene problems that have nothing to do with racing or football.

Anyway, thanks again, Sam. May I wish you the very best of luck with your venture and let's hope that February's upturn in performance is the precursor to a great year for you.

Getting back to the issue of removing Sports Investor from the portfolio, the topic which earlier in the week kicked off this theme that we have been exploring of tipsters under pressure.

If you remember, I mentioned that aswell as looking for the early warning signs of a tipster's imminent decline, another approach is simply to heed the advice of others. Well, by listening to the message behind the comments made by those that run the SBC service in their forum this week, allied to a couple of other issues around the service at this time, I am going to bite the bullet and reluctantly stop following the Sports Investors selections (I can almost hear the quickening of the hearts of those who are subscribed, excited at the fact that as sod law will dictate, this weekend will now be the weekend when all four of Sports Investor's tips bring home the bacon!). The final straw has been that at this moment in time, the volume of bets provided remains very low despite assurances made in the summer, and subsequently, that the number of bets given would rise; and, that despite a promised use of a more flexible staking system, the same weight of stake has been given for every selection given this season.! Add this to a lengthy period of underperformance, I think further generosity to the service would actually be not so much giving the benefit of the doubt, as flying in the face of all logic. Sincerely and genuinely, I hope that they turn things around, and I wish them all the luck going in their attempt to do just that.

Today's Action

Well, today has seen us post a profit, which is never a bad thing, but there is always, it seems, a 'but'. The 'but' here harks back to something I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. 4PA tipped Tocca Ferro antepost for the Totesport Trophy, the favourite that suffered an injury and was withdrawn from the race. Hence there has been a £120 debt unaccounted for. At the time of withdrawal, I said that I would account for it the day the race was run, and today is that day. 4PA's other antepost tip was Recession Proof (16/1) which prevailed by a short head (perhaps our luck is turning). 4PA did also put up Walk On today in the race, and that one finished unplaced, so after essentially having three horses tipped by 4PA for this contest, the service ended up providing a £100 profit. To be honest, I'm happy to settle on that in the circumstances. Recession Proof it was that was responsible for On The Nose providing the largest singular profit today (14/1). PJA managed to find a return in the same race with Notus De La Tour (14/1) finishing third. Unfortunately they also found three losers, and Winning Racing Tips' sole selection finished out of the frame too.

Just to complicate things, at the time the 4PA antepost selections were given, I was playing at £40/point. I currently play at £50/pt. I shall refer to today's £100 profit as two points profit.

4PA: Staked 5.5pts, +2pts.
PJA NH: Staked 3pts, -1.875pts.
On The Nose: Staked 3pts, +6.75pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.6pts, -0.6pts.
Financial profit on the racing of £161.50.

Friday 18th February: Staked £396, +£161.50.
Week to date: Staked £1,893, -£68.01.
Month to date: Staked 10,556.50, -£341.72, roi -3.23%.

Finally today, can I bring attention to the Patient Speculation blog. For those that haven't been to the site, it is well worth a click from the link above, particularly if you want to follow some very solid each way selections. I have to confess I'm not following with hard cash just yet, but I am following the selections keenly and a nice 13/2 winner today comes hot on the heels of an 8/1 success on Wednesday. I like Mark's style of betting; not too many selections, decent prices, high strike rate of placed horses with frequent good winners thrown in. Mark also provides interesting reading material and an explanation as to his methods of finding his selections. Fascinating stuff.

The weekend is likely to be hectic so please forgive me if the next two posts are short. More likely to be not much more than an account keeping exercise if I'm honest.

Fingers crossed for a good weekend. Laters.


  1. Very interesting to get a "tipsters point of view Sam and have to say an interesting looking service i might add which seems to have slipped under the radar.
    Your prices would allow for sensible small stakes which would be advisable given the liklehood of a steep losing run, although 140 points is an excellent return over the past year.
    Best of luck with your business.

    Rowan you mentioned FE in last nights post. I feel this week is a very important week for Matt. 6 selections could make or break this season given his propensity to either clean up or bomb out. As i mentioned earlier, this has been a poor poor week for me so im not exactly confident but lets keep the fingers crossed eh. Alan
    sorry for hijacking your blog but im using it as therapy myself haha

  2. Hi Alan,

    I couldn't help but think of my comment about FE when it came through tonight that there are six selections this weekend! Fingers crossed, eh?

    It's been tough recently hasn't it? You're not hijacking the blog - that's what it's here for. Tell you what though - if things don't pick up soon, you and me can book in for group therapy somewhere! :).

    Let's hope tomorrow's a good 'un,


  3. Hi Rowan, thanks for the kind words, glad you appreciated my comment, and well done on your profitable day.

    And Alan, thanks to you too, and great that you may consider signing up!

    All the best to you both,


  4. Hi Rowan

    Thanks for mention, no pressure now then ;-)

    Seriously though I give out my selections free of charge but I can say that there is a massive psychological difference between finding selections for yourself and finding selections that will be backed by others.

    On paper there should be no difference because you should just follow your normal steps in the selection process, however once you add the pressure of other peoples expectations it could be all to easy to try to tinker with your method so as to play safe. The obvious result of that will be that you are not then picking the same selections so your performance could slip causing panic which in turn could lead to a downward spiral.

    And all of the above and your not getting paid for your selections, Imagine the pressures when you have an army of paid up subscibers watching over your shoulder!!!

    I think that the tipster must have total belief in the method he our she uses and in themselves.

    I have followed Sams service for a while now and he always remains positive in his approach and I am sure he will remain profitable in the medium to long term.

    Great read again.