Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Decisions, decisions.

Better day today (thankfully!)...details further down.

It seems my comments about Sports Investor yesterday have struck a chord. Skeeve has left a comment that really does highlight the reality of the situation in very clear terms and as a subscriber, when you read it you realise that now really is the time to think long and hard about whether or not to stop following this service. There are also threads on gambling forums discussing the very same issue.

Making money gambling is a hard business, and as such I appreciate that there is no room for sentiment when making this type of decision. However, I have to admit that on a personal level, dropping a service is hard to do. I can't but help thinking of the pressures that those running the services come under when results are going against them. I want services who are obviously conscientious (as those who run Sports Investor are) to succeed, for their sake as well as mine. To me, the common enemy is the bookie, and tipsters and punters should be working together to better that enemy (I may not believe in Valentine's Day, but deep down, I'm a romantic!).

Skeeve makes an extremely valid point in his comment...and it is a point that all those who run a portfolio must heed if they are to have any hope of being successful. A chronically poor tipster performance can really drag down overall portfolio performance. Sure, if a portfolio is doing it's job, then individual services can and should be afforded the luxury of being carried during periods of poor form. After all, it should never be expected that all services will produce a profit in any given month. The trick is to have more making a profit than making a loss, and that is what usually happens, but if a service underperforms for a period as long as a year, then really it is acting as a deadweight, dragging overall portfolio roi down. And frankly, that cannot be allowed to happen.

So, how do you make the right decision about dropping a service or not? I think the first thing that a portfolio investor has to come to terms with is that there is no guarantee that the decisions they make turn out to be the right ones. What they must ensure though, is that the decsion they come to is being made for the right reasons. If this is achieved, then once the decision has been made, the investor must move on. It is human nature to fear making the wrong turn. In the gambling world, this fear is felt most acutely I think, when considering giving up a service due to poor performance. I hope Skeeve doesn't mind me using him as an example, but how would he feel if having made a loss from Sports Investor since December 2009, he was to give up at the end of this month only to see SI go on a lengthy winning run? Put another way, how would he feel knowing that had he persevered just a little longer, he would have recouped all he had lost and then secured some welcome profit? You know, I don't believe there is one single person who reads this and who has used a tipster service, that hasn't at some point agonised over the prospect of this exact scenario. But if it transpires that the gambler does get his timing all wrong when dropping a service, there is the potential to create a real mess. You could easily end up following the service while it loses, miss out on the profits, and rejoin just in time for more losses. Make the decision, and then have the cojones to follow it through regardless of what happens next.

Ok, so we aknowledge that we have to make some tough calls, and there is a chance that we could get some of these calls wrong. We also have to accept that if we do err in our decision making, then we must accept the consequences and not look back with regret. Fine. Still doesn't answer the question of how do you make the decision to drop the service in the first place though, does it?

To my mind there are several factors that we can take account of when trying to make our final judgment call. We can watch out for early warning signs from the services that something is not right. We can look at the psychological pressures that a tipster will be subjected to during a losing run and try to assess if these are having an impact and we can take advice from others, perhaps from those that are more experienced in such matters. I think these issues are deserving of more attention in themselves, and intend to post further thoughts on each. Mark left a comment last night refering to the psychological burdens that tipsters must bear. I think we'll look at this aspect first, and I will post some thoughts in a couple of days. But for now, I shall stop this post before it crosses the line and becomes a ramble.

Today's Action

Made a decent profit today, and whilst that in itself comes as a relief in these testing times, I can't shake the nagging feeling that I've missed out a little.

Racing-wise, Winning Racing Tips was top of the class, picking One Pursuit, a winner at 12/1 at Southwell. Great tipping, but then the edge was taken off their success by their second tip, a larger staked selection that finished out of the places altogether and at a far more conservative 11/4. Don't get me wrong, a very good day for the service, but the sheen was taken off a touch. In second place was Chasemaster, whose only bet for me was a nice winner (Delgany Gunner - 3/1 - Folkestone). Northern Monkey Punter managed a winner (Mush Mir - 6/4 - Southwell) but still lost on the day overall. PJA NH had no success from either of their selections, On The Nose had one placed from two, and disappointingly, The Sportsman Racing had a loser with a 4/6 shot. You see what I mean about not quite cashing in as much as I would have hoped in the circumstances?

PJA NH: Staked 2pts, -2pts.
Northern Monkey Punter: Staked 2pts, -0.75pts.
On The Nose: Staked 1.5pts, -0.188pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 1.5pts, +2.6pts.
The Sportsman Racing: Staked 0.75pts, -0.75pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.5pts, +1.5pts.
Financial profit on the racing of £142.25.

On the football, my mate X advised a really nice bet on Newcastle, which at the price gave me a very nice return. But my paid for services then let me down...The Sportsman's selection losing and 0/5 for Football Investor.

Football Investor: Staked 5pts, -5pts.
The Sportsman: Staked 0.2pts, -0.2pts.
Financial profit on the football (despite the above) of £103.73.

Tuesday 15th January: Staked £505, +£245.98.
Week to date: Staked £837.50, -£2.14.
Month to date: Staked £9,501, -£275.85, roi -2.9%.

I will post tomorrow night, but with Arsenal/Barcelona, win, lose or draw, I will be in no fit emotional state to do much more than give an account on the day. I'll get back to the meatier stuff on Thursday.

Oh, and well done Spurs...I suppose.


  1. Hi Rowan its Anon again lol. Firstly, When you pay a Tipster money, you pay for a service which should make you a profit! If that service doesnt make you a profit you should drop it. End Of. And especially after a years use.
    I see that you are a football fan. Think of your Portfolio as your beloved Arsenal! Each service is a player in that team and if you want to win that Trophy of a nice profit, then every player has to pull his weight.
    You should consider yourself the manager of that team and you should always be looking for ways in which to improve your team.
    I hav a concern over a player in my team. namely Pro Bandit!! No profit for months and i feel this is a service under pressure. I have alot of time for the guy who runs it but a terrible run through the All weather where he normally excells has got me twitchy about the future so i have my scouts out looking for a new Striker LOL.
    Keep up the good work Rowan, the blog is becoming essential reading each day. Alan

  2. Alan - what a great comment! I think you've made a statement! (lol).

    What you say is dead on the money and despite all my pontification, what it all boils down to is does the service make money or not?

    Great analogy - you've just transformed my way of managing my portfolio. Just hope I end up as an Arsene Wenger and not a Bryan Robson!

    Must admit I'm not too concerned yet about ProBandit. He contributed a large part of my profit in the second half of last year but he has been treading water more recently, so I can see where you're coming from. Fingers crossed he comes good soon because I really like his style.

    Anyway, great comment and thanks for taking the time to do so.

    Cheers now,


  3. Would you not rather end up as Alex ferguson?

  4. You have to be careful that you don't drop a player or service too quickly though. Anyone can and almost certainly will have a bad season or year at some point.

    Fergie could have easily got rid of Berbatov after last seasons showing.

    Over the course of any players career there will be good years and bad years. If you drop every player after a bad year you are going to be chopping and changing a lot. If you know the player is a good quality player overall why get rid because of one poor season?

  5. Anon 2 - Bang on. I hope that one theme that runs through the blog is that if you're judging a service purely on it's performance levels, it is essential to give the service time. Form is temporary and all that.

    Good point about allowing a service a poor season. I think it can depend on many things, most of which unfortunately are intangible, or at least just small factors that perhaps combine to leave you with a gut instinct? Funnily enough, I have been asking myself what I should do about Football Elite next season, after all they have not produced much profit in this season to date. But other factors have led to the conclusion that even if no more profits are made this season, I will still follow next. I'll mention this in tonight's (Thursday's post). Very good point, though, and thankyou for posting to make it.