Thursday, 17 February 2011

If I were in their shoes...

Before I start to pontificate again, I thought I'd just outline my thoughts as to where I want to take this blog.

One of the reasons I wanted to start this blog was because there have been times over the last year or so when I have wished that there were people who were doing a similar thing to myself that I could share my thoughts and experiences with. There are a couple of forums that I frequent that are extremely helpful, populated as they are by likeminded folk with whom losses can be whinged about and successes celebrated. But since JP finished with his blog, there hasn't been somewhere you could go each night to read about how someone who was doing what you were doing (perhaps on a different scale, admittedly) were getting on and what issues they were wrestling with. I, like many others I'm sure, became very attached to JP's blog - it was like a gambler's comfort blanket at times.

In light of the above, I have been delighted to see people posting comments. I have said it before (and I'm about to say it again!) that I would like this blog to develop a strong interactive theme to it. If two heads are better than one, then how effective can many heads become? We're all trying to achieve the same thing and that is to make some money through gambling efficiently and effectively. If someone who is following a couple of services or has a portfolio of many tipsters and wants an opinion on something, then ask away. I can give my opinion and perhaps analyse situations more, go into more depth with high-brow (ahem!) philosophical thoughts that may provide food for thought or provide a different perspective. But so can others - I'm no know-it-all, as I hope you have realised by now. I also have a couple of ideas which hopefully will allow those reading to gain a real insight into some of the services they may be using, perhaps in a way that ordinarily they may not do. Watch this space. More on that in a few weeks.

Jon left a comment on yesterday's post that is worth reading if you haven't done so already. It relates to a recent theme we explored of sharing the workload to ease the pressure of placing a lot of bets on a day to day basis. What he proposes is an interesting idea and if anyone wants to discuss his idea further with John, post a comment and I can put you in touch with him. I don't know John personally and there is no "agreement" between us, but if what he suggests has potential as far as you are concerned, what harm can it do to talk? I don't have to publicly publish any comment either, so if you'd rather not post publically, just say, and I'll keep it confidential.

Right then, to the main theme for today...

A couple of nights ago, in the context of Sports Investor, I outlined a couple of factors I thought were relevant to making a decision about dropping a service from the portfolio. One of these was to consider what pressures tipsters themselves may come under, and how potentially that could affect their performance levels.

Try and place yourself, if you will, into the mind of a tipster. Let's track your history and trace your story up to the present day.

You possibly started following the horses or football betting a few years ago and were able to use your skill to generate a high level of profit for yourself at the bookies. After you had shown to yourself that you could turn a profit over an extended period of time, you thought that selling your advice could provide a bit of extra dosh for your betting banks. A blog seems a good idea; you could use it to post your selections publically, let people see how good you are and then after word has spread and you have generated a decent following, you could start to charge for your tips. This all goes swimmingly, and you start proofing your selections to bodies such as the SBC or ProGambler. You're riding a wave of confidence, your service is making a name for itself, perhaps even a limit to member levels will have to be imposed. Goodness me, you're in the SBC Hall of Fame! You have a waiting list of people waiting to pay you a lot of money, just to get your tips! In essence, you have created a full on income stream - all you need to be financially comfortable is a Paypal account...

...and winners. After a couple of years of unremitting success, your 8/1 shot (advised win only at 16s in the morning), is beaten by a short head, or your 5/2 football team lets slip a lead in the 94th minute to lose the bet. And the problem is, this bad luck is just the start of a downturn and it keeps happening. And you develop a losing run. Which grows. And becomes a monster. You're reading comments about your service in forums - these bitter people seem to have forgotten the profits you have previously made for them. New members are well peed off because they joined just as your last really good winning run came to an end and all they have done is make a significant loss. They're not happy bunnies, and they let you know in no uncertain terms. Your inbox is filled with emails declaring people's disgust at what you are doing and how you are under-performing.. Long-term members are no longer renewing their subs. The income upon which you have come to depend is decreasing, sharpish. The review bodies are no longer recommending your service and this leads to fewer and fewer new memberships. What are you going to do?

Now I know that this is a fictitious scenario, but I bet with some it's not a million miles from the truth. These people are human and they probably work long and hard to make the right selections and to provide their members with a service strong on customer focus. When things aren't going well, I'm sure many put even more hours in in a concerted effort to turn their poor form around. But under this sort of pressure, how likely is it that they can stay completely focused and remain unaffected? I tell you something - I don't think I could.

Here's the thing though. As an investor, you've surely got to look for signs of a service being adversly affected and then act. It may be subtle changes in staking (that can't really be justified), more selections at far shorter prices than the ones that previously produced all the profit, irate and irritable excuse-making emails bemoaning the previous day's ill fortune, etc. And when this happens, personally, I think it is a long way back for that service. And it needs to be dropped.

On the flip side, if a tipster has been through all this turmoil, and come out the other side winning, well, you have a real weapon in your armoury. And that, is how I feel about Football Elite. During his recent losing run Matt, to me anyway, didn't seem to blink. There were no excuses. Selection criteria remained consistent. The strategy remained steadfast. Food for thought.

Today's Action

The first weeks of this year are proving to be tough. It's like wading through treacle at the moment.

Winning Racing Tips seem to have found a little of the form they had waylaid for a while. Following Tuesday's strong performance, they found another nice winner today (Bogside - Kelso - 8/1) and also selected Hollins later on the Kelso card, a horse that finished third at 33/1. You would think that this would set me up nicely for a profitable day on the horses. Oh, no! Think again. Northern Monkey Punter and Probandit continued their recent run of poor form, and Chasemaster too failed to register anything in the profit column. Balls.

Northern Monkey Punter: Staked 1.5pts, -1.5pts.
ProBandit: Staked 2pts, -2pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.9pts, +1.8pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
Financial loss on the racing of £32.

More frustration this evening. The Sportsman gave two bets on the Premier League Darts; one winner one loser for a small loss.

The Sportsman: Staked 0.3pts, -0.03pts.
Financial loss on the darts of £6.

Thursday 17th February: Staked £254, -£38.
Week to date: Staked £1,497, -£229.51.
Month to date: Staked £10,160.50, -£503.22, roi -4.95%.

Roll on the weekend.


  1. Very interesting post, and a great blog.

    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.. TBC..

  2. .. in two parts because of character limit!..



    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.

    Anyway all the very best to you and good luck to you and all your services.

    Kind regards,


  3. I have used many tipsters over the years.from my first one which was called Stable line which made me a pretty penny. 2 things can happen to service. They either make you money, hit a losing run then you give your profit back( plus some more) because you felt you owed it to the tipster to keep the faith. Or that tipster gets so consistantly good that they bump up their prices and want you to pay a year in advance!! Eventually they will have a bad year tho (equine investments). Just imagine if you are part of the latter, lets sey you have 100 clients who you charge 1300 a year. 130 000 grand wages before you have even tipped a horse. Do that for 2 or three years and you aint doing too badly thank you. I wonder if you would worry too much about spending all day form studying!!
    Personally i very rarely pay a tipster for an extended period for that very reason.
    What alot of them do once a service fails is that they start up another one and the cycle continues.
    Never feel sorry for them when it concerns YOUR money!!
    I have a little theory by the way, Once a tipster gets into SBC hall of fame, its time to look to replace that service as its obviously been around for a while and doing well and so a downturn is due.
    Well this year is turning out to be a challenging one, I havn t been in profit since early Jan and losses have galloped this week especially,
    Oh the joys eh

  4. Sam,

    There wasn't much chance of my not publishing the comment! (lol). And no, certainly don't see your post as self-advertising.

    Thankyou very much for giving a real insight. I'm not being sycophantic when I say that I admire what you are doing and those who do the same. AS I mentioned in the post, even if I had the ability to find an edge gambling my own selections, I'm not sure I could handle the pressures that running a subscription service must bring.

    One thing you said really struck a chord with me though, and that was when you mentioned the birth of your daughter. I do think as a subscriber it is easy to forget sometimes that tipsters are just as affected by "life-events" as everybody else.

    The period you describe (November-January) when the service became live, as it were, must be the law of sod working it's dark magic! Pleased this month is better.

    I recognised the service name from the SBC - I believe they are monitoring things too? The very best of luck with everything. Genuinely hope things go well for you and thankyou very much for posting. It was a fascinating read.

    All the best,

    Rowan (TPI).

  5. Morning, Alan.

    I'm no financial analyst or investment guru, but I think your approach is known as being "contrarian", and from what little I know of that principle, there's a lot to be said for it. Is it Warren Buffet who adopts such an approach to spotting investment opportunities? I might be wrong there, but I'm sure I remember reading something about him along those lines.

    I can see a lot of advantages to this strategy, but whether it would be for me, I don't know. But I do think the merits of it should be explored a bit further, especially in the context of another comment that was made on a post earlier this week referring to giving a football service more than one poor season to turn things around. I can feel a lengthier post coming on! Tricky to do too much over the weekend, but Monday evening could be the time.

    What I would say (despite what I said above about this approach not necessarily being for me) is that you have raised a lot of good points that I can see the logic behind.

    Cheers, Alan - looking ahead a little, I can see us having many a friendly debate! :)

    Hope the profits start to come in soon, for both of us.


  6. Hi Rowan,

    Thanks for the reply, glad you liked my comment! Yes we are proofed by SBC (and, so hopefully we can be in the "hall of fame" one of these days (although it sounds a poisoned chalice if Alan's views are shared by many others!).

    Your good luck message certainly seemed to help by the way, as we had a cracking day today, long may it continue!

    All the best to you,


  7. Hi TPI,

    Thanx to your excellent blog, I'm actually feeling worse every day about publicly commenting on the Sports Investor. They're a fellow SBC HoF service and I probably should've known better.

    But, as a fellow portfolio investor, I don't feel that bad about it - god knows I had plenty of ups and downs myself, you should see some of the hate mail I used to recieve (thankfully, most of my clients nowadays are serious investors who trust my methods, appreciate the work I put in and know all about the long-term perspective), but I've never made a loss over the course of a football season (or a calendar year), not to mention Sports' Investor staking plans they simply don't stick to.

    If you've been their client last season, you probably remember the staking plan they presented at the beginning of the (2009/10) season. They didn't stick to it and because of that most of us made much less profit than we could've. This season I decided to go with one-point flat stakes - and I'm currently at eight and a half points down since August. However, this probably isn't the right time to drop a service and I'm prepared to stick with them until the end of the season and decide then.


  8. Ah, timing is everything, Skeeve. Just as I'm clicking the 'Publish' button on tonight's post in which I say that I'm dropping Sports Investor, you're posting a comment saying you're going to persevere until the end of the season! (LOL). Well, when tomorrow's SI selections net you a small fortune, you'll know who to thank!

    I was a member last season, and it is because of the points you make that I've finally come to the decision I have. Why say you're going to do something if you don't then follow it through? It is this combined with the underperformance that has led to my conclusion. Having said all that, for their sake (and yours), I hope they finish the season strongly.

    Hi Sam,

    That'll be the magic touch, you see. Doesn't work on my own gambling at the moment it seems though!

    Alan's point about the HoF is one I've heard from one or two others and I think it's worth a look at next week.

    Best of luck with the proofing.

    Cheers both and have a good weekend,