Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Time is of the essence.

Right then. A couple of days ago Mark asked for some guidance on time management. Well, I'm going to get together a quick post whilst I have a couple of minutes...I was late home from work, my wife has gone to a PTA meeting at the school so I just need to feed the kids, get them through the shower, read a story to my youngest, cook some pasta for dinner, check today's results, update my records, oh...and I'd quite like to catch up on an episode of the 'Soprano's' that I'd Sky Plus-ed recently.

I'll stop being facetious, but you get the point. I think Mark was quite right to address the issue of time management and ensure that he gets it right as he starts to run his own portfolio. Unfortunately though, Mark, I don't think there are any short cuts to explore. I've always thought that if gambling was your primary source of income, the hours would be the equivalent of a good, honest, part-time job. Stick it on the end of doing a "proper" job though, and I think that you are literally doing a job and a half, and that is going to test the time management skills of the best of them.

I think what is essential is to keep things simple. Let's not waste time doing things that don't need doing. When you look at running a portfolio, ask yourself which tasks are those that you must complete, that is once you have chosen which services to follow, set up your banks and sorted your staking? I would suggest they are:

1. Putting the bets on.

2. Keeping your betting records up to date.

3. Performing ongoing analysis of portfolio and individual service performance.

4. Analysis that will guide your choice of future additions to the portfolio.

The first point requires no explanation!

With regards to the second point, I mentioned in the introductory 'Idiot's Guide' that I posted last week how important it is to keep up to date betting records. How time consuming this becomes depends on the individual I think, and what you are trying to achieve. On a personal level, I record the 'top line' details - winning strike rate, placed strike rate on each way bets, no. of bets, how much staked (in points and monetary terms), profit/loss (in points and monetary terms), and roi. I do this for each service on an ongoing monthly and overall basis. I don't record horse/team names, course and all the other variables that might be involved in an individual bet. I could, but it would take time that I simply don't have. I did try to once. Didn't work.

The ability to conduct effective analysis of course, leads on from your record keeping...

I alluded to this recently, but I do think that if you use a service like the SBC, and if you trust your judgement in choosing the services to follow that you do, then much of the relevant analysis is done for you. This can involve taking a leap of faith, admittedly. If you have spreadsheets that provide you with stats and facts and you have basic Excel skills, you can of course analyse your services/bets from all sorts of angles and perspectives. You can then potentially work out whether certain bets of a service are worth ignoring and others should be staked more heavily. Kodagira ( is currently doing some sterling work with ProBandit, examining the performance of the 'System' bets compared with the 'NQ' selections. His findings have been of great interest and could well/are very likely to lead to achieving a higher roi over time. But you have to ask yourself whether this is something that you have time to do. If you're working full time, something has to give - the ability to prioritise effectively is a skill that once mastered, will lead quite naturally to more effective management of your time. Ask yourself this - if the like of SBC have introduced a service into their Hall of Fame, or you have identified a service as being long term profitable, it will have been done on the back of the service's results as they stand...ProBandit gained SBC approval based on the performance of both the 'System' and 'NQ' bets, not one or the other. Your projections as to ultimate profitability are based on this analysis. Yes, further examination of the stats may increase your roi, but if you were happy to follow the service based on the figures that the analysis was based upon, then that should be enough. Save the extra analysis for when the pressures on your time are not so intense.

If you are not working full time, and you are able to devote hours to the sort of deeper analysis that Kodagira is executing, then by all means, see what you you can do to increase your levels of profitability. You may of course, be a born analyst, someone to whom analytical work comes quite naturally and is therefore not so time consuming. The guy I know who has the most amazing analytical insight is Graeme Dand ( He has a skill that I simply don't possess - his brain works in a different way to mine (more quickly, for a start!) and therefore for someone like him, conducting this deep-mining analysis will come relatively fast and not take up as much time as it would if I even attempted to do the same. If you have a real talent for analysis, go for it. If not, recognise that you need to play to your own strengths and put things into context.

As far as analysis of services that you might like to add to your portfolio in the future, well, I find this no bind. My 'research' consists merely of reading SBC monthly newsletters and other people's blogs. My laptop, a good glass of red and a roaring log fire in winter, or the laptop, a chilled white and a seat in the garden in the summer - I'm not sure I want to time manage this element of running a portfolio!

If you take the time initially to set up your portfolio the way you want it, with services that you are happy with, and ensure that your staking levels are as you would want them, then actually running the portfolio should be relatively time efficient, provided you don't get dragged into micro-analysing each detail. I would go as far to suggest that it's not necessarily time management skills that you have to practice, more the ability to get the basics in place and then allow yourself to go with the flow, at least until each month end. I believe my time management skills to be excellent (they have to be with everything else going on in my life). It's the going with the flow bit I struggle with. But you know what they say...practice makes perfect.

So in a nutshell, recognise where your strengths lie, and play to them. At first sight you would think that running your own portfolio is something that doesn't involve tasks that can be delegated, and physically, they can't. But that doesn't mean that you can't rely on the expertise of others to make your burden that little bit lighter, and perhaps allow you to catch the 'Soprano's' before falling into bed, exhausted.

Today's Action

Only the racing today and a small loss overall. No hard luck stories at all. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I thought I detected signs that ProBandit was perhaps finding things fall their way a little more than they had done over the previous few weeks and I'm pleased to say that the solid, steady and unspectacular gains that make them such an appealing service seems to be the order of the day again. Let's hope it continues.

The only winner of the day was provided by ProBandit (Best Trip - Kempton - 5/1) but their other two selections also provided place returns (Duneen Dream - Kempton - 7/2 and Desert Strike - Kempton - 4/1). As advised, Desert Strike was backed on the BetFair place market which turned out to be a good call as the horse finished third in a race reduced to seven contestants by a non-runner.

Chasemaster also had their each way selection (Marleybow - Haydock - 5/1) place but also had a loser.

Blanks for PJA NH from two selections, Northern Monkey from two and On The Nose from one.

ProBandit: Staked 2.25pts, +1.658pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.5pts, -0.25pts.
On The Nose: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
PJA NH: Staked 1.5pts, -1.5pts.
Northern Monkey: Staked 1.5pts, -1.5pts.
Total financial loss on the racing of £28.68.

Wednesday 23rd March: Staked £200, -£28.68.
Week to date: Staked £652, -£129.68.
Month to date: Staked £12,156, +£240.37, roi 1.97%.

Time for the 'Soprano's'...


  1. Great article once again mate. I honestly don't know how you "manage the time" to think and type these daily blogs. Each one just seems to have so much information in them it's hard to take in on one reading, so i can only imagine how long it takes you to think and write it. kudos to you.

    So i'm going to say a little piece on my thoughts which should tie in with your article. I'm sure you won't mind, will you?

    Time management i believe coincides with the profit you can make and sustain in a portfolio. It's something i have given a backthought to in recent months.

    I only started discipline betting May 09-May 10 and tripled my starting bank from £800-£2549. I then took 8 months off to travel some of the world and restarted in February this year with the goal of doubling the bank.

    This first year where i tripled my bank only took a few hours out of my week after my full time job. So as it wasn't a big time drainer it was certainly value for money.

    What my thoughts are - (this does not include choosing which tipster time, which can take 1 day - several months, depending on your comfort levels to choose)

    1. My recent approach - Maintaining a very small portfolio which only takes a small amount of hours a week to maintain. i.e 3 or 4 services (mainly weekend based). A decent second income and relatively little hassle.

    2. Bigger portfolio - Where you do the more "Rowan" approach. You have more tipsters and takes you a while to work out which the most profitable are and spend more time maintaining your records and it means more to you than just a background hobby.

    3. Full-time - This is where you have a sound knowledge of the tipsters available to you but you also have enough time to delve deeper inside their selections and work more profitable angles as well as the prospect of coming up with your own methods.

    These are just generalisations and i'm sure if had more time i could write something a bit more substantial on it, but i hope it gives a little thought on time and income potential.


  2. Hi Rowan

    I think that in the past I have been trying to over analyse my results . I have recorded every conceivable variable and I must admit that I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the amount of work it takes just to record the information and that is one of the reasons I have shyed away from running a portfolio.

    As you point out it is a balancing act whereby we need to record enough information for what is important, but there becomes a point where the extra benefits from recording extra information is not worth the extra time it takes to record that information.

    I think that I will look at each service and see what is important and what is not. For example there may be important benefits from recording trainer and jockey information on for certain horse racing tipsters ie those that concentrate on prerace price movement!, but for others that information may not be relevent.

    You have left me with plenty to ponder.


  3. Hi Andy,

    Just a little secret re. the writing the blog - I tend to start writing at my desk at lunchtime. That way I can get most of it done and it's just a matter of sorting out the actual results reporting in the evening.

    Do I "mind" you commenting? Absolutely not, mate, in fact I need people to post comments. I want the blog to be as interactive as possible, where people can make points (and they don't have to agree with me) and there can be some sort of debate/conversation going. That's why I'm only too happy to answer Mark's queries about getting his portfolio up and running.

    I think your comment in spot on re. time invested/returns gained. If it's ok with you, I'll post your comment on the blog tonight as it's so relevant.

    Cheers again, and some interesting thoughts there.


    Hi Mark,

    If you now have plenty to ponder, I feel I've succeeded. If you want an opinion on anything more specific, you know where I am.


  4. Definitely ok with me Rowan, you have my permission to copyright haha.