Thursday, 10 March 2011

The Secret Betting Club pt.2

Mark has asked a couple of questions about the SBC in the comments box below yesterday's post and I will endeavour to answer these tonight, so if you haven't read these already, it may make sense to do so before reading on.

So, what might be the drawbacks associated with an organisation like the SBC? I have heard various potential concerns raised about them from various people in various places in the past and being human, it is natural to want to ensure that these concerns are not valid, because if they were, they could seriously affect one's wealth! After all, if we are placing our trust - both financial and emotional - in a company we need to feel secure that the trust will not be abused or taken advantage of. Doubly so in fact in the case of a company such as the SBC; this company is directing it's readers onwards to other services which, if they are not what they are being cracked up to be will result in us losing significant amounts of money, and not just in subscription fees.

The obvious issue to worry about with a service that recommends others is that it is not independent or objective, but instead has ties with the services it recommends. Mark has wondered if by joining the SBC his email inbox won't be inundated with emails from affiliate organisations. Well, I can say with hand on heart, that since becoming a member of the SBC nearly two years ago, I have never, not even once, received such an email. I have also seen no evidence of any covert links with externally run services, at least not in a sinister way. Yes, they have contributions to their newsletters from those that run recommended services, Skeeve being the latest one, but these are simply giving insights into certain areas of gambling and don't "push" the service in any way. Frankly, I think we can put this reservation to bed very quickly. I have not ever read or seen anything that would make me question the independence of the SBC.

Another reservation I have heard is that the SBC are encouraging people to attempt the impossible, ie. to generate a viable income stream via gambling. I'm not too sure what to say about that, other than those sceptics are unlikely to be reading this blog! And if I believed that generating such an income stream was the financial equivalent of licking one's elbow, I wouldn't be writing this blog for the non-believers not to read it. Erm...if you follow.

Perhaps the concern I have most sympathy with when it comes to assessing the SBC, is that by the SBC placing a service under the spotlight, the pressure on the relevant tipster is immediately ramped up. Additionally, when a service is formally recommended, the inevitable surge in membership numbers following that service's selections causes odds to crash upon tip release. Put these two things together, and perhaps the SBC are contributing towards a previously profitable service losing their edge. Now, the reason that I have some sympathy with this viewpoint is that I can see that there is some logic to it. We have already discussed the pressure tipsters come under on this blog, and increased expectations are only going to make that pressure more acute, no? However, I'm struggling to see how the SBC can be blamed for this. Ultimately, I want to be following tipsters who have the mental fortitude to cope with this pressure of expectation, because if they can, I wouldn't mind betting that they can bear the pressure brought about by losing runs too. If they're not, well, that's not the fault of the SBC, is it? With regards to odds crashing, I think the service itself can take steps towards helping prevent this becoming a problem my limiting membership numbers. On The Nose would be a recent example to hold up in this regard. So, in conclusion, I can see why these may be issues, but whether you can lay fault at the door of the SBC I have my doubts. Maybe an interesting point to discuss further.

What of the tipping services that the SBC run - Each Way Value, 4PA, and Mr. Gekko Football Bets? I believe they are proofed externally to a site called ProGambler. Are those that pay a fee to be a member of the SBC being exploited in being asked to pay further fees for membership to various tipping services? Not to me, they're not. Put it this way, the fee I pay to subscribe to 4PA is, bearing in mind the returns I have achieved, the best value service in my portfolio at this moment in time. I would also ask whether it makes much sense for a service like the SBC, which relies almost entirely on a reputation for integrity merely to exist, be at all likely to operate a tipping service run on anything but the most transparent and open of principles. I would suggest not. I guess the jury is still out on the relatively new MGB football service, but looking at the long-term roi achieved by both of the longer running racing services, I would challenge anyone to argue that they don't provide good value. I do recognise the argument that new services should be trialled/proofed for a period of time before being recommended to the paying members, regardless of the identity of the person behind the service. If say, Football Elite, had to proof selections for a whole season prior to becoming an officially recommended service, then shouldn't the MGB football service be subjected to the same rigorous checks? Personally, I don't think it is quite black and white. If the people behind a service have already established themselves as reputable, do the requirements of advance proofing become less important and the standards of testing less stringent? Not sure I know the answer to this one. Using personal experience though, Skeeve proved his ability and all-round "good chapishness" (sic) via his main service, so I didn't hesitate to join the extended 'Late BSS' service when it was launched. I didn't tell myself I needed the late service to proof tips for twelve months prior to joining, because I knew and trusted the source of the tips. It's an interesting point though, and I would like to hear a representative of the SBC possibly comment on this.

Finally, Mark asked for an opinion on the forum. I would say that there are some knowledgeable people in there. Most of the posts are understandably centre around individual services, but within them you get some pearls of wisdom that make you think. And being made to think is no bad thing. I do on occasion see opinions I just don't agree with, but forums would be pretty sterile places if everyone agreed on everything, as would blogs!

Before I end for the day, I would like to draw attention to a comment that Stephen made under yesterday's post. He makes some valid arguments. I believe that I gave my own viewpoint about the issues he raises above, but I stress, this is just my opinion. I am not the type to say I'm right, you're wrong, so bugger off! It's all good debate and I will probably come back to Stephen's comment tomorrow, so if there are more opinions out there, stick them on and we can have a right old barney tomorrow night!

Today's Action

Alan left a comment too yesterday, at the end of which he expressed some dissatisfaction as to how things were going. He's not alone, and has a great deal of empathy emanting from this little corner of Cheshire! Today was again the type of day that simply eats away at previously earned gains. I'm not so much standing still at present as being statuesque. Not losing, but unable to get ahead. I think it's called being in the doldrums!

Felt a bit for Northern Monkey Punter today as he found two second places from his five selections at odds of 16/1 and 11/1. Backed each way so some consolation but a small loss posted when it could have been so much better. Winning Racing Tips had a small each way double which went down with the first selection and Chasemaster couldn't find a return from either of their two selections.

Northern Monkey Punter: Staked 2.5pts, -0.45pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.4pts, -0.4pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
Financial loss on the racing of £63.

The Sportsman had a small bet on the darts tonight which lost.
Financial loss on the darts of £20.

Thursday 10th March: Staked £124, -£83.
Week to date: Staked £1,349, -£77.06.
Month to date: Staked £5,017, +£152.23, roi 3.03%.

Finally, just to say that after some further analysis of the portfolio, there are just one or two housekeeping items I will detail tomorrow that will affect the staking of a couple of services. Nothing too radical and only giving details in the interests of transparency.


  1. Hi Rowan

    Thanks for taking the time to explain your thoughts at such an open and comprehensive manner regarding the SBC, I did not realise it would cause such a lively debate when I asked about them, but from the reaction that the question has caused, I am very pleased that I asked because I feel that I am learning all of the pros and cons from people that are already with the service.

    No organisation is perfect but it is good to get a balanced view before making a decision.

    I look forward to tomorrow’s instalment and I would just like to thank you again for taking the time to address my questions.


  2. No problems at all, Mark.

    I had a feeling the subject would cause debate, but that's good. That is what I want this blog to do. I can give an opinion, but then others can give theirs. That way, hopefully the blog remains of interest and we can all learn something.

    Tonight's installment will be the last on this subject, but thanks for raising it in the first place.


  3. Hi There,

    First of all, good luck with your betting quest, I am a big fan of certain betting strategies and will follow your progress via The Portfolio Investor Blog with interest.

    I was wondering if you would be interested in a link exchange with my blog?
    If its not something you are interested in, no worries, I have already linked you to my blog as I find this a excellent read........


    All the best!


  4. Hi Dean,

    It would be a pleasure.

    Viking there was a beast! Remember watching that one come up the Cheltenham hill a few times!

    I saw your blog mentioned on the SBC forum yesterday and popped over to have a look. Nice blog and a link from here will make it easier for me to come over each day.

    All the best,