Friday, 11 March 2011

Good Housekeeping

I hope people will agree that the discussion and debate around the Secret Betting Club this week has been worthwhile (if not, too bad!), and I had intended to wrap up the subject tonight. However, there will be a small delay before a line can be drawn underneath this topic. The reason is that in yesterday's comments section, Stephen left what amounted to a fairly strong criticism of the way that the SBC handled the launch of their MGB football service at the beginning of this season. I left my thoughts as regards some of the issues raised by Stephen in last night's post, but I wanted the debate to be opened up further, and in the interests of fairness afford the SBC the right of reply. I approached the SBC to ask if they would like to respond, and yes they would. This will be coming next week, so we will revisit the theme then.

Instead tonight, I will go through the "housekeeping" issues I mentioned yesterday.

I spoke earlier in the week of doing some analysis of each of the services in my portfolio, as I am wont to do when things are not progressing as I would wish. I broke down the three, six, and twelve month performance figures for each service. Unfortunately, it was the straw that broke the Sports Investor back.

If ever you want an example of someone making a pig's ear of something, my management of the removal of Sports Investor from the portfolio sets a standard that is exceptionally difficult to beat. Having decided to do this at the beginning of the month, I then had a change of heart, thinking that a more appropriate time to judge would be at the end of the season. So, after missing a couple of winning bets, I reinstated it, only to back a couple of inevitable losers (plus one winner). Perhaps my reinstatement was a symptom of my tendency to always want to give a service the benefit of the doubt, but looking at those periodic figures, I realised that my confidence was shot. To be showing a deficit in each of the 3/6/12 month time periods shows an acutely consistent loss of form. Really, there is only one decision I can make now.

There are however, knock on effects. I don't want my turnover on football betting to decrease too much, but at the same time, I don't think that now is the time to join a new football tipping service. So, someone somewhere has to take a bit more of the load. And Skeeve, is from this point, going to be carrying a little more of my money. Why Skeeve? Well, it boils down to the fact that I was willingly understaking a little as the service was new to me this season, so there is more room than with other services to increase the weighting on Skeeve without unbalancing the overall portfolio staking. It's a fairly significant increase...£15 to £25/point, making the average stake on a bet £100 instead of £60.

The other service to be effected, albeit indirectly, is The Sportsman. If you remember in the monthly review for February, I mentioned that I was chronically understaking this service but I had concerns over whether or not I'd be able to get the requisite money on some of the selections should I raise the bar. Well, there is only one way to find out, and this seems to be as good a time as any to do so. Increased staking will pick up some of what had previously been used on Sports Investor, and it gives me from now until the end of the season to see if I can continue with the service next season. I hope it all works out, because although returns have not exactly been spectacular so far since last summer, I do like the feel of the service. £200/point to £400/point, which should bring me up to the staking levels this service really needs to bring in worthwhile returns.

I hope this post has given a bit of an insight into some of the ongoing decisions that need to be made when running a portfolio.

Today's Action

Another disappointing day on the nags today. PJA show no sign of reversing their poor form. Five bets today, no winners and just the one placed. They really are on a shocking run, but they have done the same before and turned it around. Fingers crossed they do so again, but I could do with it being sooner rather than later. Chasemaster's only selection couldn't land the spoils and ProBandit's one each way bet placed and so stakes were returned.

PJA NH: Staked 3.5pts, -2.838pts.
ProBandit: Staked 1pt, -/+.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
Financial loss on the racing of £80.75.

Friday 11th March: Staked £140, -£80.75.
Week to date: Staked £1,489, -£157.81.
Month to date: Staked £5,157, +£71.48, roi 1.38%.

Just as a footnote, I was seriously impressed by an email received from Chasemaster today, which told members not to expect much, if any action from them at Cheltenham next week. It's not their area of speciality you see. They are strong in the Class 3 to 5 chases, which of course are held predominately at the smaller tracks. Now I love Cheltenham, and am looking forward to it immensely (only four more sleeps now!), but I would much prefer services on whose advice I am risking hard earned cash stick to their niche.


  1. Hi Rowan,

    Your blog is always an interesting read and puts forward much to consider and debate.

    I wonder if you have any guidelines in place helping you make a decision where to draw the line if a service in your porfolio goes into decline. I can imagine there is no easy answer to this question beyond the realisation such losses are near impossible to re-coup. Clearly, a decision would need to be made long before that point. Considering bettors with a portfolio of services sink or swim by the performance of the respective services they follow, for me, the key factor of any portfolio investor is the timing of making such a decision. In effect it is the most crucial decision you have to make. I just wonder if you have any guidelines such as if a service loses a given number of points etc that it will be dropped or if you feel that it would be in your interests to have an objective measure of when to drop a service. The only reason I say this, is that for my style of gambling (and this should probably apply to most) it is important to have an answer to a question. I have many answers to many questions because they keep me grounded and on the right path. I have found that not to have an answer to a question can be a very costly error (there will always be a new problem of some kine arise but they do get less with time). These answers (gems of wisdom) have come with experience. They are very important to my success. I have made many a rash decision simply because I didn't have a specific answer to a question when it was needed. Clearly, you have more time to make an assessment than perhaps me encountering a problems moments before a race is off (i.e: what to do if a horse rears over etc and then given the nod to race: should I lay the bet or keep it?). I am interested in hearing your views on this point because without such objectivity I fear that many portfolio investors could jeopardise their long-term success.


  2. Hi Rowan,

    Thanx for all the kind words about my service. I'm glad you're increasing the stakes, that means I'm doing a good job.

    As far as my contribution to the latest SBC newsletter is concerned, Dan asked me if I could write an article about building a betting niche, but as I'd just started with my weekly non-league research monster marathon at the time, I've decided to write something straight away and get it over with (not exactly an article, but something concise and as stupid as always). So I wrote the 'ten commandments'. I didn't get paid, I didn't get extra promotion (in fact, Dan didn't even mention I'll be closing the waiting list for next season in a few days which is why I immediately replaced all the senior marketing advisers with machines - only joking of course - so I guess he at least owes me a beer, although, truth be told, it only took me fifteen minutes to write it anyway, so there are no hard feelings:) and that's exactly how things should get done.

    SBC have been nothing but professional and helpful in our communication, I'm in their Hall of Fame for almost three years now for a reason (as modest as always, am I?:) and if anyone wants to share some advice, free picks, an article or a poem about succesful betting, it should be done to share some experience (there isn't a magic formula to be scared of giving away - it's just a lot of good, focused work) and not just for the extra promotion.

    thanx again,

  3. Morning, Jason.

    Your comment raises a lot of good points, but I guess you've not been reading from the start. :)

    I wrote a few posts on just this subject (when to drop a service) a little while ago, examining the signs that we should be looking for that might indicate that a tipster is losing their edge.

    Having said that, I think you have added a layer of thought that I didn't cover, but to answer you fully, I think that would be best for another post in itself. Having an answer to questions before you actually have to ask yourself that question - that is a gem of gambling philosophy that I hadn't ever even considered (so thankyou!).

    If it's ok with you, I'll do a post next week (weekend evenings are always limited to a more prosaic, result reporting post) highlighting this comment and some thoughts.

    Looks like it's going to be a busy week next week! (LOL).

    Thanks again, Jason.


  4. Hi Skeeve,

    I think your description of your dealings with the SBC reflects my own experience of dealing with them - they have always been professional, helpful, and genuine. I hope this message has come through in my posts. And, at the risk of sounding like I'm sucking up to you here, it is articles like the one you contributed in the recent newsletter that adds to their value. You're dead right - the gamblers amongst us may have different opinions on things, but ultimately there is just one enemy that is common to us all - the bookmakers. And by sharing insights, ideas, etc, well that to me makes us all the stronger in that fight.

    As far as increasing staking is concerned, I've just brought forward a couple of months what I had intended to do anyway at the beginning of next season. With my finally dropping Sports Investor after all the prevarication, I needed a service to pick up that slack (especially when you consdier that I'm not staking Shaolin Betting as I had first intended either).

    Keep in touch - always good to have your input.