Thursday, 24 February 2011

Let's see what happens.

Yesterday, Winning Racing Tips gave a selection at 16/1. It wasn't staked heavily, 0.25pts each way. To my staking levels, that equated to a total stake of £30. I had to spread that stake across three bookmakers. Victor Chandler allowed me £4ew, and Stan James £7ew. I had to make up the rest at BetInternet who were offering only 12/1. I know for a fact that Paddy Power would have severely restricted my stake on this horse, and I wouldn't be surprised if Coral would have had a problem with it too, judged by the number of bets of mine that they are referring to their traders.

I appreciate that backing horses at long odds each way in non-handicap races is not a strategy likely to warm a punter to the cockles of a bookmaker's heart, but really, three of the bounders to stake £30! Pathetic it may be, but as a serious punter (serious in terms of adopting a strategy you understand, not in terms of size of stakes - I'm no JP McManus!), this inability to get what you want on your service's selections is an issue that must be resolved, and there is no point in merely wailing against the system and gnashing one's teeth! Instead, thought has to go into how to overcome this obstacle, and unfortunately, I'm beginning to think that the solutions may lie in a fundamental rethink around how else we can achieve our aims. In other words, perhaps we have to change our means to reach our ends.

I think I have mentioned this in an earlier blog post, but I never stake more than £50 on any one horse with one bookmaker, even if this means accepting slightly lower odds than those advised by the tipster. I also note which bookmaker I have placed a bet with and ensure I spread my bets as evenly as possible amongst the different firms. But despite these measures, Chandler has already closed one account of mine completely, Corals are referring me to traders more and more frequently, and Paddy Power restrict my stakes on anything other than horses running in the important weekend/festival races. And therein perhaps lies an important point. As yet, I don't have any problems getting my stakes on horses running in handicaps, and although the 4PA selections are staked much more heavily than those from other services, I never have a problem getting these on either. I'm sure this is because the horses picked are running in the races with the strongest markets.

So, does this mean that in the future, choosing which services to follow really is dictated by the likely ease with which it is possible to get the money down on their selections? Does this mean that other services may have to be dropped for no other reason than the nature of their selections are going to produce difficulties in this respect? Does it mean that over time, we have to accept that horse racing services are going to have to step back a little in favour of an increased portfolio weighting on football betting, which will allow the more robust Asian bookmakers to be utilised? If so, I would suggest that judging from the difficulties I am beginning to come up against, this phasing in process may have to be started sooner rather than later.

Don't get me wrong, I am not pulling the plug on Winning Racing Tips specifically and nor do I have the cards of some of the other racing services I follow marked. I have been a member of WRT for two years and made darned good money with them in that time. I can still get on their selections, it is just becoming a little trickier, that's all. I would also say that their style of betting is so well in alignment with my own psychological gambling profile that I would be loathe to give them up and in fact would encourage anybody to seriously consider them, or those who bet like them, as part of a balanced portfolio. No, what I am actually saying here is that moving forward, it is becoming apparent that the overall "look" of the portfolio may have to change slightly as circumstances dictate. Let's see what happens.

Today's Action

Rather ironically in the light of all the above, there has only been racing action to concern us today. It did produce the fourth consecutive profitable day though, and the largest contributor to this today was ProBandit which played three horses in one race, two of which finished first and second. The winner was Interchoice Star (Southwell - 7/1). Good to see ProBandit pick up a couple of points and I'm really hoping that this signals a real return to form - there have been one or two small signs of that happening this week. Fingers crossed.

Elsewhere, the other winner finder was (again) On The Nose (Laterly - Huntingdon - 7/1), their only tip today. Winning Racing Tips found one placed horse from two selections and a small loss overall. Chasemaster followed yesterday's heroics with a blank day from three selections, and Northern Monkey Punter continued in the doldrums with 0/2.

Northern Monkey Punter: Staked 1.25pts, -1.25pts.
On The Nose: Staked 0.5pts, +3.5pts.
ProBandit: Staked 1.575pts, +2.425pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 1.3pts, -0.42pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.875pts, -0.875pts.
Financial profit on the racing of £64.30.

Thursday 24th February: Staked £228.50, +£64.30.
Week to date: Staked £1,605.50, +£602.39.
Month to date: Staked £14,037, +£389.12, roi 2.77%.


  1. Hi Rowan
    Tell me, do you include your subscription costs into your P&L figures?

  2. Hi Alan,

    I haven't done as yet.

    What I thought I might do is at the end of each month, add a 'Year to date' figure and then minus the fees on a pro-rata basis.

    The fees come to a total of £248/mth (let's call it £250 for cash) and I would then deduct this from the ytd figure to give a "real" balance.

    The only problem with doing it this way is that fees change, services are dropped and replaced by another that could be cheaper or more expensive but it's the closest I can come to getting a figure that is accurate on an ongoing basis.

    The alternative would be to deduct the fees at the end of the year. This would be more accurate as it would reflect the fees actually paid over the course of the last twelve months. If I remember rightly, although I could be wrong, this is how JP did it on his blog.

    Hopefully there won't be much in it as the portfolio will have remained stable. On that note, wherever possible, I try to only stop with a service at the end of a subscription period.

    What would you prefer I do?


  3. Hi Rowan

    With regards to the problems encountered with the WRT tips I can totally sympathise.

    I think that the selections I pick have a lot in common with theirs and I do know the bookmakers do not like that type of selection.

    The only advice I could give would be keep the stakes to a low level and mix the bets in with bets of a bigger nature from tipsters whose strategy the bookmakers do not frown on.

    Great post by the way, I had been thinking about just this problem today after both my selections made money at Baldies.(betfred)

    Hope this helps

  4. I dont mind Rowan.
    Also did you subtract your subs from your yearly profit you quoted from last year?
    Now before you think im "getting at you," LOL, Dont! You see i am very interested in the psychology involved in gambling. I find that it is human nature for a gambler to be economical with the truth( even with oneself) to counteract the feelings of guilt we can have when speaking to others (especially non gamblers and even worse, AHHH Parents). E.G you may be discussing with someone how you bet regularly, you see the disgust or that look which instantly means that they have weighed you up as a waster. Now, i tend to immediately say something like, " oh i dont gamble heavy" just 20 e/w, which is true...... ish. However i dont tell them that i bet the equivelant of the average mans weekly wage, each day!!!

    The guilt i felt last week during my bad run took me by surprise a little because it was, on the face of it, nothing really. But, add it on to the fact that i am still in a loss for this year and a particularly quiet spell at work and therefore not as "quids in as i usually am and it all builds up to increase pressure.
    Being able to juggle all those plates is half the battle really isnt it and i certainly havnt mastered it yet but its a work in progress LOL.

    A good week for me so far this week and the world doesnt seem so bad. Very small profit for this month tho slightly down for the year (300)

    OH yea and that includes subs LOL

  5. Hi Rowan,

    Do you bet solely with bookmakers or use exchanges, too?


  6. Hi Mark,

    The thing is with your style of betting and WRT's is that it finds value on the place side of the bet as well as the win side. Double value, if you like! You're right though, in that you have to box a little clever when backing this type of selection - as you say, spread the stakes as thinly as possible. So for example, as yet I have had no problems at all with Hills/Bet365/Ladbrokes but even if I can place a bet with one of these firms, I will split the stake with another bookie.

    The post was really about being aware of the issues and taking steps to counter the problems.

    Nice winner, by the way, yesterday!



    No, don't worry - I don't feel you're getting at me at all. I'd tell you if I did!

    No, it's a very relevant point and I should have made it clearer on the blog what I am doing regarding accounting for fees. So what I will do is give a fuller answer in tonight's post so that everyone reading the blog can read it (I'm not sure if everyone reads the comments or not).

    In the meantime though, I can tell you that last year's figures do include deductions for fees...when I wanted to post them on here I just opened my figures record and quickly copied them.

    The bit about guilt and the temptation to be economical with the truth....I know what you mean but tbh, not many know about what I do. Only my gambling friend, wife, sisters and my wife's brothers. My parents would worry too much so I've not told them! My wife keeps me very much on the straight and narrow re. gambling (she's like that!), and sisters/brothers-in-law only know because they have opened up bank accounts in their name/address to be utilised as time goes on, if you know what I mean.

    All the best,


    Hi Jason,

    I rarely use the exchanges for horse racing, simply because a high percentage of my bets are struck each way, and obviously it is difficult to get the value on the place part of the bet with BetFair and the like. If I have a longer priced, win only selection though, I will always look on the exchanges to see if there is additional value lurking there.



  7. Great answer Rowan, thanks for your honesty.

    Isnt it wierd tho that because we make extra cash betting on sports that we keep it hush hush, whereas if we were to run a little sandwich shop or something similar we would be lauded as having entrepreneurial skills and we would be happy to discuss this with anyone.

    In fact we should be very proud to have entered a world where so many people have failed, and to have succeeded.

    Its a strange old world eh

  8. Rowan
    It's nice to read a betting blog with some interesting comment - have added a link on my home site SBI - a link back would be nice but don't worry about it

  9. You're right, Alan, but if we were running a sandwich shop or other small business, we'd be paying tax on the profits, too.

    It's not all bad. :-)

  10. Hi Ian,

    It would be a bit churlish of me not to put up a link after such a comment (lol!).

    Seriously though, no problem at all, and thanks for doing likewise.