Monday, 18 April 2011

Perspective and context.

Following on from yesterday's post, there is one thing I want to make clear. The thinning out of the portfolio is very minor and is not being done because of the current losing run. The reasons behind it are simply that I need to free up a bit of time to spend doing something other than betting, recording betting results, thinking about betting, breathing betting, dreaming get the picture. My belief in the principles of portfolio investment have not changed - that diversification is preferable.

There is a thread currently running on the SBC forum in which many are questioning whether it is possible to make money long term by using the portfolio approach. I would contend that it is possible. It is not easy, but it is possible. When I take a step back and look at my own performance, judging purely on service returns I am just over £700 down for the year. Hardly titanic amounts, particularly when put in the context of the solid £6k of profits made since doing all this properly since the summer of last year.

When you look at the figures in this context, things aren't so bad. I appreciate that subscription fees need to be accounted for, but even after doing so, the figures are far from catastrophic. They certainly feel it because we're slap bang in the midst of a slump. Those demons are whispering in our ears, sowing seeds of doubt, leading us down the path of wondering if this is it, that a lot of the services have lost their edge, all at the same time, and that we are in freefall. They are telling us that we are in an aeroplane spinning out of control, crashing down to earth and soon to be consumed within a fireball of destruction, or something like that. Stupid really, to think like this. When things were all hunkydory in September (a month in which I made in excess of £2k), did I think that this was it, that it was smooth profit making from now on and lasting forever, that there was no downside to this gambling malarkey, no bad patches to endure? Did I bollocks!

Perhaps I'm deluded. Perhaps it is impossible to make decent money by following a portfolio of tipsters. But I don't happen to think that it is. I do think that pressure can lead to making bad decisions though. For example, it would be easy to reduce staking, but now is not the time to do it (in fact it is vital that staking isn't altered - that could potentially have negative ramifications that are felt for a very long time). I would rather take a break completely than start messing with my staking. No, now is the time to decide whether to have faith in the services followed, or not. If not, stop completely. If so, then back them to come good. These are the times that make or break the wannabe professional gambler, because these are the times to have the courage of our convictions and to make the hard call.

Last night, Graeme of The Football Analyst contributed possibly the best post I've read on the SBC forum. It was actually on a different thread, one relating to natural variance, but amongst a lot of other really good stuff, he said...

"I think at the end of the day, no matter how much you try to analyse tipsters and systems and the like, it comes to following the ones you believe in. If you don’t believe in it, you shouldn’t be following it. If you go broke following something you really believe in, I don’t think you can be too hard on yourself...

I think this game is much more than just picking systems which are profitable. If all systems were profitable with a 45 degree P&L graph, running a portfolio would be easy…….. It isn’t like that though!"

I'm not for one moment denying that if things were to continue downwards, then there would come a time when a complete reassessment and overhaul of the strategy would be necessary, and quite possibly a long-term halt drawn to proceedings. I'm not discounting the possibility of this happening. I would be stupid to dismiss the notion out of hand and to do so would be a display of arrogance that would make failure deserved. But what I am saying, is that I'm a fair way from reaching that point yet.

One last thing. Mr Gekko of the SBC - he's doing alright, isn't he? Even if he has the advantage of not having to pay subs costs (and I don't know if he does or doesn't), there is an example of someone who is making his portfolio investing produce dividends. If he can, why not anyone else?

Moving on and talking of excellent posts, Peter of the Chasemaster service left a superb comment after last night's blog post. If you haven't read it, please take the trouble to do so, it really is enlightening. I have a lot of thoughts about the issues Peter draws attention to, and those in itself need a proper blog post to do Peter's points justice. I've also not forgotten Andy's post last week about being aware of the possibility of bookies going bust and taking our money with them, and how he prepares for that eventuality. So much to talk about... but it might not be until Thursday before we make a start.

Performance since Friday 15th April

After all the losses suffered, Friday 15th felt like I'd won the lottery - a profit of £25.70!

Saturday 16th was a disaster, losing another £376.85. There were wipeouts from PJA NH which undid the work of the previous day's good winner, 4PA didn't cover themselves with glory, On The Nose went the same way as PJA and Northern Monkey found a winner but no profits. The football was not really any better with Skeeve having a blow out, Football Elite's one selection a loser, as was The Sportsman's. The day could have been so much worse though, were it not for Chasemaster who found two winners, one at 14/1 and the other at 8/1. Chasemaster has been one of the very few bright sparks in this oh so gloomy month.

Sunday 17th at least saw a profit although not on the horses where four services failed to produce a winner between them. But with Football Elite's tip a winner added to Sportyy's winner, a profit of £124.55 was chalked up overall.

Today was quiet and a small loss of £37.86.

Month to date: Staked £8,652.50, -£1,607.59, roi -18.57%.

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