Sunday, 31 July 2011

It's been a tough month.

Okay. I'm waiting for the final of the European Darts Championship to begin. Only when we know the result of this match will the final balance for July 2011 be known.

I'll do a quick weekend round up tonight and then take a look back over the last month in posts that will probably be spread over the next couple of days or so. There are some services about which I have a few thoughts that I would like to share, so the monthly review - if you can call it that - will be too long to stick up in just the one post.

Saturday's Betting

Not a great day on the horses or with the darts.

The only winner of the day was the sole tip from The Market Examiner (Zero Money - Newmarket - 5/1, although the return reduced to 4.75/1 after a Rule 4 deduction). On The Nose produced a decent profit on the day by finding the place money with two from their four selections (Valery Borzov - Goodwood - 14/1 and Kanaf - Goodwood - 25/1).

Unfortunately 4PA were 0/3, Northern Monkey 0/5, and On The Oche 0/1.

Northern Monkey: Staked 2.5pts, -2.5pts.
4PA: Staked 3pts, -3pts.
On The Nose: Staked 3.5pts, +2.287pts
The Market Examiner: Staked 1pt, +4.75pts

On The Oche: Staked 1pt, -1pt.

Saturday 30th July: Staked £352, -£167.25.

Today's Betting

Very quiet day on the horses, but what action there was was successful with The Market Examiner providing the only two bets, both of which won (General Elliott - Market Rasen - 8/1 and King In Waiting - Market Rasen - 5/1). Great weekend for The Market Examiner!

So far, On The Oche is 0/1. Let's hope for the right result in the final. I'll let you know how it pans out tomorrow.

Friday, 29 July 2011

So close to a repeat performance.

Very quick tonight. Currently in between darts matches that are carrying On The Oche money. Great way to spend a Friday night. Helen's well chuffed and can barely hide her excitement at being able to spend the evening in front of the darts. She's so excited she's had to take a large glass of wine and her book into the bedroom and has locked the door. It's the only way she can keep herself away. At least I think that's what she said. I thought perhaps she might have said "awake", but surely not...

By the way, On The Oche hit one from three last night for a minute loss and the balance on the day was +£889.75.

Today's Betting

4PA was on Proponent (Goodwood - 16/1 and 18/1) each way, a very fast finishing second and had the winning post been ten yards further back, would have got up and provided a return not far short of that generated by Chasemaster yesterday. So many ifs, buts, and maybes, eh? They did also have a short priced winner (Harbour Watch - Goodwood - 8/11 and Evens) and a loser for what amounted to a second consecutive solid day.

Talking of Chasemaster, they went and rattled in another today from their two tips(High Bird Humphrey - Bangor - 13/2). Don't know what they're drinking at the moment (actually, Champagne probably, thinking about it) but I wouldn't mind a bit of it.

On The Nose had a pretty decent day too, finding a nice winner (Brave Dream - Newmarket - 5/1) and two to place (The Thrill Is Gone - Goodwood - 20/1 and Celendine - Galway - 11/1) from five.

No joy for Northern Monkey (from three bets), PJA NH (one), or The Market Examiner (two).

Northern Monkey: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
4PA: Staked 5pts, +3.883pts.
PJA NH: Staked 0.75pts, -0.75pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 2pts, -2pts.
On The Nose: Staked 4pts, +3.375pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.5pts, +0.765pts.

Friday 29th July: Staked £392, +£237.39.

Now, back to the arrers. I have £250 staked over five matches, and so far we're 0/2. A winner or two would be nice to ensure a profitable day.

No post tomorrow - back Sunday.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Well, well, well.

Today's Betting

Rather a quick one as I'm in late, as is usual for a Thursday. It's also not going to be a comprehensive record of the day's betting as there is some late On The Oche darting action taking place tonight.

Before I go into the ins and outs of what has been quite some day though, just a note that the balance from yesterday was -£75.

Now, any SBC members out there who frequent their forum will know what my thoughts were when it was announced that Chasemaster was to become an SBC run Premier service. I'm not going into the ins and outs again, and I think the folks at the SBC and I, like adults, have concluded that we simply have to agree to differ. At no time though were any of my concerns aimed in the direction of Peter and the chaps at Chasemaster.

At the beginning of the month, I felt for those at Chasemaster. Things were not falling in the way that they would have liked, and I could imagine that perhaps the pressure that you think might well come as part of the package that is a load of new SBC members subscribing, might begin to mount and make life uncomfortable. I don't know if the pressure was felt or not, but if it was myself operating in these circumstances, I'd have been feeling it a touch.

And so it was not only for selfish reasons that I was delighted when their one back tip (Springaway - Stratford - 40/1) strolled home by eight lengths at an SP of 18s. I'm genuinely really pleased for Peter and the chaps. Great, great tip, and very well done to them.

It has been quite some day for the SBC Premium services. We have all been aware of the trials and tribulations of 4PA this month, and so it was with a deal of relief that they found the winner of the first at the festival this afternoon (Labarinto - Goodwood - 6/1). They also had another each way advice place (Dirar - Galway - 9/1) with a loser in between. Not out of the woods yet for 4PA, but a step in the right direction at least.

Perhaps not as spectacular but solidly effective today was On The Nose. A nice winner (Opinion Poll - Goodwood - 11/2) and Dirar each way (8/1) were enough to prduce some nice profit.

The Market Examiner, Northern Monkey, and PJA NH all had just the one selection today but no return.

4PA: Staked 4pts, +6.406pts.
Northern Monkey: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
PJA NH: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
On The Nose: Staked 2pts, +2.75pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.25pts, +6.25pts.

Thursday 28th July: Staked £259, +£902.25.

I'll update tomorrow on how the darts go tonight.

Funny old game, this, don't you think?

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

The Ghost of Tipster Future

There was no delay at all to the follow up email from our man at Shaolin. In it, the chap painted a vivid picture of what is to be, with his wise words...

"Valued members,

it was a while since you last heard from me, and I apologize for this. It was brought to my attention that many of you did not get the notification that there will be no more picks in the 2010/11 season due to a huge mix-up in my email address base, and for this I sincerely apologize, as well as for the fact that I've been very slow to reply some of your emails in the last few months. The fact is that this email address has been mostly deserted over the last few months, as I've been looking to stay away from everything and contemplating about what to do with the service after a breakeven previous season.

The fact is that, for several reasons, previous season wasn't able to live up to the high standards set by the opening season of the service, and I was looking to find out just why, but, after several months of contemplating, I have to say that it was a bad combination of not sticking to the basics at the beginning of the season and an unavoidable poor run the system had in the second half of the season. Some consolation can be taken from the fact that the season didn't end in serious losses, but the expectations I have of myself and my system are much higher and there is no doubt it should've been much better.

Talking about the pragmatic side of things, the fact is that the below par season triggered extension clauses in most of the currently active subscriptions and that it has stalled further interest in the service, with only a few people enquiring about the possibility of joining the service over the last few months - needless to say, this isn't what I was hoping for when I started the season, and it opens the question of whether or not it's still feasible for me to run the service. After comparing performance graphs with what I was expecting for and consulting with other people running paid services, I've come to the conclusions that taking different routes in my betting career would be a better choice than continuing with Shaolin Predictions as a commercial project. Therefore, I am discontinuing Shaolin Predictions as a paid service and no new members will be accepted in the future.

However, there is still the question of the free subscriptions clauses triggered by the poor season as well as the question of members who's subscriptions are yet to expire. Although the service rules don't oblige me to continue providing picks on a free subscription basis in case of closing down of the service, I do feel that I owe something to the members, and with the system still boasting excellent long-term results, and with me ready to eliminate some of the errors in providing picks I've made last season, there is no reason to believe that the upcoming season won't be a profitable one. Therefore, I will continue providing system picks to everyone on the mailing list until the end of the 2011/12 season. However, please be aware that the aforementioned different routes I've decided to take in my betting career prevent me from providing picks past the end of the upcoming season.

To sum it up, the mailing list will continue to work the way it worked so far, in order to honor the subscriptions of the current members, while no new members will be allowed and no fees asked to continue providing picks. Once the 2011/12 season ends, sending of picks will cease.

There is also the case of the website not being updated with one losing selection and the information box not being required - this is currently out of my control, as I am unable to log in for some reason, while my previous attempts to reach our webmasters have been unsuccessful so far, as he is currently on a five month business stay in USA. I will try again to contact him through email and Skype, and will try to resolve this issue as soon as possible. Once we have get access to the website back, the missing selection will be added, while all future picks will be entered as well.

Regarding the upcoming season, one of the reasons why previous season was a rather below par one was starting the service too early, and not waiting until the system was fully loadable. This is an error I won't make again this season, and sending of picks will not start until early September - I will email you all around September 1st with the exact date.

Until then, I am back to regularly checking this email, and am open to all your questions and comments."

That goat of mine that was got yesterday, you know, with the use of the word 'delay'? Well, I can imagine that many in the Shaolin subscriber fraternity had their goats truly got by the opening two words. "Valued Member"?!? Pfft! There must be so many goats got by this choice of opening, that it is a veritable massacre of goats. An orgy of goat related violence. Today would not be the day to be a goat, let me tell you. Or anything that might resemble a goat. An underweight ram, perhaps. Or Ruud van Nistelrooy.

I digress.

Is this email really a serious attempt at regaining lost credibility? I'm not going to pick my way through it. I think it would be an easy enough task to rubbish literally every sentence. What gets me though, is the sense that he is doing us subscribers a favour by continuing next season, just next season mind. Well, what a gesture! What generosity! I tell you what, mate. Just send back my subs, and do one.

Today's Betting

What a plank I can be! I managed to leave my notebook with all today's bets in it at work. I can barely remember to get up in the morning, never mind which bookmaker I had which bet with and at what price. So what I'll do is forget the official figures tonight and add it all up for tomorrow's post.

Looking at it, The Market Examiner got 0 from 2, Northern Monkey 0 from 1, and On The Nose had an each way bet place (at 16s, I think) but no joy elsewhere. If so, I'm looking at another day, another loss, this time in the region of £80.

I shall try to be more organised tomorrow.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

The ghost of tipster past.

Well, well, well. Guess who sent me an email this evening. The chap from Shaolin Betting, that's who.


Sorry for the delay in reply, there will be an email sent out over the coming days. Don't worry, your subscription shall be honoured,"

Now I appreciate that at times I can err on the side of being just a touch cynical, but the first words rather got my goat. The use of the word 'delay', in particular. Trains are delayed for an hour or two. I might delay crossing the road so as to allow the traffic to pass. Not replying to an email orginally sent on the 10th May is not so much a delay, more a refusal to communicate, I'd say.

Still, as the email suggests, not to worry. Why would I worry? I've already written off the money paid for subs. Unreasonable of me I know, but after no tips for months and no communication - sorry, with there being a delay in communication - I had, rather prematurely it seems, given up on the service.

I must reconsider. After all, the chap's tone is such that obviously there was nothing at all to worry about. And - in what amounts to a real bonus - my subscription is to be 'honoured'. Oh, how wonderful!

I can't wait for the next email. I do hope it won't be delayed.

Today's Betting

As has been the theme this month, today suffered greatly as a direct result of the 4PA results. Another five points dropped at Goodwood today from four selections, and a big loss on the day was a somewhat inevitable outcome after that.

Hats off to PJA NH who did their valiant best to stop the rot. From four each way bets today, they found a winner (Fade To Grey - Worcester - 6/1) and two places (Nesnaas - Worcester - 8/1 and Mibleu - Worcester - 10/1).

Winning Racing Tips were close with their one bet which finished a close second to the hot favourite (Ghalaa - Beverley - 4/1), but only losses accrued from Northern Monkey (3 bets), The Market Examiner (1), and On The Nose (3).

Northern Monkey: Staked 1.75pts, -1.75pts.
4PA: Staked 5pts, -5pts.
PJA NH: Staked 2.75pts, +2.7pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
On The Nose: Staked 2pts, -2pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.8pts, -0.08pts.

Tuesday 26th July: Staked £399, -£227.
Running total: -£899.69 (roi -16.36%).

So July doesn't get any easier, does it?

Monday, 25 July 2011

Template for success

It's coming towards the end of my first month as a member of The Market Examiner and thought I would drop down a few first impressions.

I have to admit, I have been immensely impressed. Results haven't been particularly great and I'm showing a loss of a fair few points, but in all honesty, that hasn't rankled at all. I was more than aware that the odds played at were generally on the long side and as sure as fish goes with chips, with that go losing runs. I'm also conscious that with a service like this, a couple of winners and suddenly the bottom line looks rosy indeed, so there's been no stress.

What I have been particularly impressed by though, is the care and consideration towards customers that Sam obviously takes a real pride in. Messages are prompt, performance updates regular, and in every respect the level of customer service attained is exemplary.

I was both heartened and relieved when a few days into the month, The Market Examiner announced that the doors to new members were closed. Having just edged into the service I was a little smug I confess, but what was gratifying to know was that here was a service that was putting it's current members first, as opposed to always chasing the tail that is attracting new members. It was deemed that prices were coming under too much pressure, and that a step in the right direction as to easing this pressure was to close the doors. Admirable, to say the very least.

Talking of prices, how refreshing to see a more than realistic approach to recording the 'official' odds. On the occasions where prices are dropping fast, even as the email with selections is sent, then Sam will record the bet at the odds that even the tardy are likely to have attained. On many occasions, I have actually secured better odds than those recorded. Not every time, but enough to notice.

The Market Examiner has fitted seamlessly into the portfolio. To be fair, I think that all the services followed now are run by honest, decent folks trying to do their best for their subscribers. The bar has been raised re. tipping services I feel, and each and every one of those in the portfolio have contributed to that process. Now if we can just start to make some decent money...

Today's Betting

A quiet day, but one so typical of July. Five horses backed, and no returns from PJA NH (3), The Market Examiner (1) and On The Nose (1).

PJA NH: Staked 2.25pts, -2.25pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
On The Nose: Staked 1pt, -1pt.

Monday 25th July: Staked £86, -£86
Running total: -£672.69 (roi -13.19%).

Sunday, 24 July 2011


What is it about Mojitos? One leads to another which leads to another ten or so. And then of course, as defences are weakened and all sensibility disappears into a general haze of stupidity and false bravado, you start experimenting with those concoctions that each contain about 20 units of alcohol but taste like Ribena. Oh dear.

And so today I experience pain. An unremitting, dull pain of pains that lodges itself right between the eyes and refuses to shift for the best part of the day. The only respite is when the queasiness in the stomach starts vying for some proper attention.

Who throws a party on their 40th birthday, anyway? And whoever had the bright idea of providing a free cocktail bar for the night wants a damn good talking to. And a smack.

I refuse to accept any sort of responsibility for my delicate state today. Refuse. Oh yes.

To be honest chaps, I have neither the inclination or clear-headedness to blog much tonight. I am still in recovery. I shall keep things brief, if you don't mind...

Saturday's Betting

Right - message for 4PA...hunt down a gypsy and buy some lucky heather, fix that mirror you broke recently, nick next door's rabbit and make an offer it can't refuse for it's foot, and as you're based in Newmarket, there must be a horseshoe or two to be found that can be stuck over your door. They tipped Workforce who would surely have had a decent chance of winning yesterday had it not decided a couple of furlongs out that he'd rather find the nearest bar than run in a straight line. There was also a saver recommended on Rewilding. What happened to that one is no laughing matter, and I have to say, I found the whole thing pretty hard to stomach. Not nice.

On The Nose had a decent day, with a lovely winner (Bonnie Brae - Newmarket - 11/1) and a decent place with an each way shout (The Confessor - Ascot - 11/1).

Unfortunately, that was the full extent of the good news. Northern Monkey was 0/4, and The Market Examiner 0/2.

4PA: Staked 2pts, -2pts.
Northern Monkey: Staked 1.75pts, -1.75pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 3pts, -3pts.
On The Nose: Staked 3.5pts, +5.975pts.

Saturday 23rd July: Staked £221, -£31.50.

Today's Betting

On The Nose continued it's good weekend picking another winner (Medicean Man - Ascot - 3.7/1 on Betfair) and pairing Medicean Man with another that finished third (Foxtrot Hotel - Ascot) in an each way double that provided an extra three quarters of a point profit.

Northern Monkey's sole tip ran well to finish third to Medicean Man but was win only, and The Market Examiner's two selections couldn't collect.

Northern Monkey: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 2pts, -2pts.
On The Nose: Staked 2pts, +2.052pts.

Phil Taylor won the World Mathchplay tonight which landed On The Oche's antepost bet. I believe that members with the service a little longer than I secured an even better price but for those not on at those odds, the 7/4 pre-tournament price was advised. There was a third of a point staked as a saver on tonight's final, but the final balance on my first tournament back with OTO was a very healthy 19.81% return on investment.

On The Oche: Staked 1.31pts, +1.44pts.

Sunday 24th July: Staked £205, +£151.05.

Right. Bed.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Smart arse comments!

Really quick post tonight as it's Friday night! Just one thing though. I've been having some problems recently with the 'Comments' section. Sometimes Blogger doesn't seem to want to let me reply to comments and a couple of times now I have noticed a number of comments have been left, but after trying to reply to the first, the other comments have suddenly disappeared!

So, if you have left a comment and I haven't responded, it's not me being rude, I promise. I just haven't had the opportunity to read it. The whole function seemed to be working again at lunchtime though, so hopefully it's all sorted.

Today's Betting

Another small profit eked out today. Need big profits to get the good ship July back on an even keel, but naturally I'd rather small profits than small/medium/large/humungous losses.

PJA NH read the 5.15 at Southwell rather well, it must be said. Two each way selections in the race, one won (Crosby Jemma - 12/1) and the other finished a head second (Lady Ann Neville - 14/1). Crosby Jemma actually returned an SP of 14s but unfortunately I wasn't on BOG.

Elsewhere in the racing, no joy to be found. Northern Monkey (three selections), The Market Examiner (two selections) and On The Nose (three selections) all fired blanks.

PJA NH: Staked 1.75pts, +4.5pts.
Northern Monkey: Staked 2.25pts, -2.25pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 2pts, -2pts.
On The Nose: Staked 2pts, -2pts.

In today's darts, On The Oche hit a nice winner by hitting the right side of the Total 180s line in the Lewis/Webster match with what I though was a particularly perceptive piece of analysis. Can't quite get their match bets right so far in this tournament though, with a half staked loser too. Went for what was the obvious value though, so no complaints at all.

On The Oche: Staked 1.5pts, +0.5pts.

Friday 22nd July: Staked £301, +£49.
Running total: -£706.24 (roi -15.39%)

No post tomorrow. I'm at a friend of the wife's 40th birthday party. Not my idea of fun, meeting a load of people I don't know. I think I will engage my usual intellectual approach to making conversation...

"Do you like football? Really, no interest".

"Do you like horse racing? Oh, that's a shame".

"Do you like a bet? You don't. Why am I not surprised?

Oh, ffs - move on! "NEXT!"

I can be right charming at times.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Bumbling fool!

Portfolio performance for 2011 so far has been poor. I have found myself wondering recently how much of this has been down to underperforming services, and how much has been the inevitable result of an underperforming me. Thinking back over the last six months, I can see some absolutely glaring mistakes that I've made that ultimately have adversely effected bottom line performance. Here are three...

1. Joining Shaolin Betting.

2. Stopping following the Sports Investor tips, then going back to backing them again, before stopping again!

3. Constantly changing staking and system followed with The Football Analyst.

There are others, I'm sure. But these are the ones that spring to mind.

Now, there have been other factors that have dragged down performance that can't be attributed to my general incompetence. PJA NH had an horrific first quarter to the year, Football Elite had a dreadful January and a not much better March, and the normally excellent 4PA's standard of performance has dropped significantly from it's 2010 heights. But even if allowing for this, I reckon my mistakes have ultimately been the difference between languishing in negative territory or edging into the land of milk and honey that is profit.

Furthermore, reflecting on the period July to December 2010 - a period in which my betting recorded a profit of over £6,000 at an roi of 10.47% - I recognise that I made other mistakes. Being subscribed to what were patently the wrong services, changing the staking, bottling it when enduring a bad run. You name it, I did it. If I were a racehorse, my betting competence would be the equivalent of running (and being thrashed) in sellers.

Which is all rather encouraging. I can do something about me. Self-flagellation is perhaps going a tad too far (although would probably meet the approval of my staunchly Catholic mother-in-law), but the experience gained and the lessons learnt should stand me in good stead. I can say openly, and with no concern about St.Peter denying me access to the kingdom of heaven for being a "lying git" (his words, not mine) that July's depressing balance sheet is absolutely no fault of mine. I have merely followed orders. And following orders is definitely the way to go until June 2012.

Today's Betting

'Consolidation', would be the right word to use I guess, after yesterday's profit. A small profit today, primarily thanks to a winner found amongst the four The Market Examiner selections (Plattsburgh - Doncaster - 5/1). On The Nose's one each way tip finished third (Shamacam - Sandown - 5/1). The only other service to play was Northern Monkey who drew a blank from their two small bets, although the first was backed down from 14/1 to 5/1 before finishing a not too far away second.

Northern Monkey: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
On The Nose: Staked 1.5pts, +0.188pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 4pts, +2pts.

Thursday 21st July: Staked £88, +£17.76.
Running total: -£755.24 (roi -17.62%).

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

A heads up.

There are a couple of things that I'd like to draw folks' attention to.

The first is a new blog by Paul Ash, who runs the PJA Racing services (NH, Flat, and AW). I've been a member of PJA NH for quite some time now and have swopped a few emails with Paul over my time with them. Paul has always been very professional and is obviously extremely conscientious when it comes to running his services. Anyway, he is starting a daily blog of his own, which will track the performance of his selections and give insights into his thinking. I think he's brave, because no doubt during a bad run he'll be subjected to all sorts of abuse, but I also think it is very encouraging for a service to 'open' out like this and encourage interaction in much the same way as Sam has done with The Market Examiner. I really wish Paul well with it and you can go take a look yourself via the link top right.

There is another new link there too - to Betsmarttrading. This is the brainchild of 'The Judge' who is the mover and shaker behind the On The Nose service. He is creating an online community which includes blogs, discounts for members for trial periods of tipsters, a forum and a load of other stuff too. It's all free to sign up to. I've joined up and no doubt be sticking my oar into the forum and looking at it, the whole venture seems to have a lot of potential.

So there we go. Don't tell me I don't give you anything and this blog is all me, me, me...

Today's Betting

A rarity in recent times - two racing services turning a profit on the same day. Winning Racing Tips take the biggest plaudits after a lovely winner (Taaresh - Worcester - 14/1) which more than compensated for their unsuccessful each way double. PJA NH also found a nice winner (Tegan Lee - Worcester - 11/2) amongst their four selections.

Northern Monkey's sole bet was a loser, as were the two from The Market Examiner and the only bet from On The Nose.

PJA NH: Staked 2.75pts, +1.025pts.
Northern Monkey: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
The Market Examiner: Staked 2pts, -2pts.
On The Nose: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.8pts, +2.96pts.

And so to the darts with On The Oche. One right (number of 180s in the Lewis/van der Voort match) from two for a profit on the night.

On The Oche: Staked 1.5pts, +0.545pts.

Wednesday 20th July: Staked £318, +£202.70.
Running total: -£773 (roi -18.41%).

So, nice to make a profit. Would be nicer if we can repeat the trick tomorrow.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011


Very quick one tonight as I'm in late and don't have a lot of time.

Alan asked for overall P&L figures for the year, after taking into account the cost of subs. Here are the final balances for each month of 2011 so far (it does not make for happy reading):

January: -£273.67
February: +£57.17
March: +£1,444.55
April: -£1,299.60
May: +£1,230.75
June: +£328.71

Fees cost £3k per year, so pro rata £1,500 for this period. Do the sums and it comes to a loss of £12.84.

To answer Alan's question totally accurately, then that £12.84 has to be added to July's dismal performance so far and a further £250 deducted for fees.

Moving forward, I will break down the figures in each post to the daily profit/loss, the month to date performance, and the year to date - the year running from 1st July 2011 to 30th June 2012.

(I have always considered this to be my financial year for two reasons. One, I started following a portfolio of services in a July; and two, I pay for all the football services in the summer (apart from Football Elite, which was one of the first services I ever joined).

At the end of each month, I will deduct £250 for fees from the running year to date total. That way, anyone reading can see exactly where we're up to. Obviously I haven't separated the ytd figures for the month to date figures in July, because they are exactly the same.

As we know, I have the portfolio set up as I want it. Barring extreme circumstances, it will not change until July next year, either in terms of services followed or staking. The plan is to avoid any deviation at all. If by 30th June, 2012 we are seeing a loss or a level of profit that essentially makes the hard work pointless, then I shall admit defeat and have a major rethink. I'm running the portfolio as if following instructions in a text book - let's hope it works, eh.

Today's Betting

Yet another losing day on the racing, albeit just a tiny deficit today thanks to Chasemaster, who broke their recent losing run with a nice winner tonight (Lord Ryeford - Bangor - 9/2). Of the other services, Northern Monkey had one very small bet which lost, The Market Examiner's three selections lost (although they had the horse that finished second to Lord Ryeford), and ProBandit's nightmare week/ten days continued with neither of their selections furnishing a return.

Northern Monkey: Staked 0.25pts, -0.25pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 3pts, -3pts.
ProBandit: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.25pts, +0.703pts.

I thought I might eke out a small profit today, as On The Oche had a treble at the World Matchplay. On previous days the first two had won, and we were on the 1/5 shot Gary Anderson for the final leg, who promptly lost.

It seems that if something can go wrong, just at the moment, it does.

On The Oche: Staked 1pt, -1pt.

Tuesday 19th July: Staked £202, -£106.69.
Running total: -£975.70 (roi -25.15%).

Monday, 18 July 2011

What's happening?

Paul at Winning Racing Tips sent an email the other day, seemingly half apologetic for not giving many selections at present. Actually, apologetic isn't the right word, because if someone apologises, then it signifies that they have done something wrong. Not forcing selections is not doing something wrong, and Paul obviously knows this.

What caught my attention within that email though was the comment that July, for whatever reason, had historically been a poor month for the service. Perhaps this poor period for WRT is simply a coincidence or perhaps there is some logical, underlying reason for it but whatever, it got me thinking a little. It occurred to me that if we listened and reacted to the various reasons I regularly hear for a particular time of year to be a tricky time for the gambler, then we would very rarely gamble at all...

January/February: bad weather causes the postponement of race meetings and some trainers find it difficult to keep their charges fit when the gallops are frozen and unusable, making it very difficult to predict how any horse will run.

March/April: football betting becomes more unpredictable as the teams with nothing to play for go through the motions. Of course, when said demotivated team wins 5-0 away from home, it's obvious that they've played with a new found freedom. Either way, we're screwed.

May: a difficult period for gambling on the horses as we see the transition from the jumps to the flat.

June/July: the volatile nature of the typical British summer means that the going at most racecourses fluctuates on a seemingly daily basis between being as hard as a road and as soft as a bog, and this in turn makes predicting the outcome of races incredibly difficult.

August/September: football betting is hit hard as the form of teams is difficult to gauge with so few games having been played as the season starts.

October: tricky with the horses now as we see the transition from the flat to the jumps.

December: well, it's Christmas isn't it!?! Bound to have an effect.

Throw in the fact that the way BetFair can be exploited by the unscrupulous to make money out of losing horses and that in turn means that the whole racing game is bent, plus the fact that all the bloody tipsters are continually losing the plot, and that we all know deep down, don't we, that football is corrupt in Jonny Foreigner-land...what hope do we have?

I think I'll give up this betting lark. Either that or just back the nags in August. What do you reckon?

Today's Betting

Only ProBandit in action today and how they dropped a point is typical of how things are going at present. Their tip was Galpin Junior in the last at Beverley, each way. I managed to get 7/1 this morning. Now even allowing for the fact that there would be a 15p rule 4 deduction as result of two non-runners, you would be optimistic of at least a place return as it was backed down on course to 5/2 favourite. It finished nowhere. That is not a bad tip. But it is another loser.

I'm not going to do the overall figures tonight as there is an On The Oche bet starting shortly, so I'll update properly tomorrow.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Half term report - could do (MUCH) better!

I have a 'Quiet Now' Nina Simone CD on the go as I sup from a large glass of Rioja. The kids have been encouraged to go and read quietly in their rooms. If I had a scented candle I would have lit it. And if this infernal rain was to ever stop, I would go for a walk so that I could take a couple of gulps of reconstitutional fresh air. Yep - you've guessed it. I'm trying to chill out, to relax and allow the disappointments of the punting weekend to fade gently away, consigned to a compartment within my brain labelled, 'Bin'.

Look, we all know the importance of long-term thinking. We know that to become emotionally embroiled is detrimental to our chances of achieving our ambition to at all times adopt a 'professional' outlook on our investing. But you know what? There are times when you wouldn't be human if you weren't effected by a run of poor results. Last time I looked, I was human, and I'd be lying to myself if I denied that I hadn't been effected by this bad run.

Since midway through June, the racing side of the portfolio has badly underperformed. That is a fact. There is no getting away from it and it is pointless to pretend otherwise. From being over £1,000 up for June, to finish that month at +£300, and to now be at -£783 for July is pretty poor.

So let's take a little look at where July is going wrong. Here are the basic figures for each service, month to date (rounded to the nearest point/percentage):

Northern Monkey: +19pts, roi 115%
PJA NH: -1pts, roi -12%
On The Nose: -2pts, roi -8%
The Market Examiner: -7pts, roi -13%
Chasemaster: -1.25pts, roi -100%
ProBandit: -4pts, roi -28%
Winning Racing Tips: -3pts, roi -57%
4PA: -15.5pts, roi -86%.

What can we glean from these figures?

Observation number 1: thank bejingos for Northern Monkey!

Observation 2: in a portfolio of eight services, only one is turning a profit. That is pretty dire.

Observation 3: if we strip from the final balance the two services performing at the extremes of the scale (ie. Northern Monkey and 4PA), the remaining services, although not exactly pulling up any trees, are actually only a shade away from turning things around. Is this clutching at straws? Quite possibly, but it is also a fact. None of these services are beyond the pale for July. They are each only a good winner or two away from turning deficit into profit. And those winners would only bring the monthly strike rate into line with their long term strike rate performance figures.

Of course, those winners may well never come. In which case, August is going to be one heck of a recovery mission!

Weekend Betting

Notable racing highlights of the weekend...The Market Examiner's winner yesterday (Now My Sun - Haydock - 5/1), On The Nose's success today (Captain Carey - The Curragh - 9/1), and, err....oh.

4PA: Staked 2pts, -2pts.
PJA NH: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
On The Nose: Staked 5.75pts, +0.312pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 7pts, -1pt.
ProBandit: Staked 1.5pts, -1.5pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 2.2pts, -1.44pts.
Northern Monkey: Staked 2.25pts, -2.25pts.

A nod of recognition to On The Oche. First bets back and a winner from two settled bets so far. I'll not mention the nature of the winning bet as it wouldn't be fair to the service who put the work into identifying the strategy. Suffice to say, it wasn't a simple match bet.

On The Oche: Staked 2pts, +0.562pts.

Total staked over the weekend: £722, -£226.90.
Running total: -£783.01 (roi -21.8%).

That peace and calm I mentioned I was searching for. Shattered! My daughter's bedroom door may be closed, but her music is blaring. Bloody Katy Perry! May have to dull the senses with a second bottle of Rioja...

Friday, 15 July 2011

I want to start as I mean to continue...TFA 2011/12.

There has been a lot of discussion over in the SBC forum about the plans of The Football Analyst for next season. Regular readers of the blog will know that I essentially had TFA as part of the portfolio last season, but what with changing stakes, changing the systems I followed at certain times, etc., etc., I didn't make anywhere near as much money as I should have. The first half of the season was fantastic and there was one weekend in particular that still brings a warm, fuzzy feeling when I think back to it. However, due to a combination of the systems suddenly becoming a way of securing a fortune on the pools, were you of a mind to, with the incredible number of draws they hit, and my inconsistent staking and strategy, from Christmas to the end of the season was a period in which I gave more back to the bookies than I really ought.

So, lessons learnt. Pick a system, stick to it, and don't alter staking. Easy.

What I, and anyone else following, needs to do is to decide upon which system(s) to follow. There isn't a shortage of stats to look at on the TFA blog which can help with the making of such decisions, but before looking at these, I think it prudent to ask oneself what sort of service is wanted. One of the beauties of these systems is that it is possible to essentially make the service a bespoke service, tailored to the individual's needs. I get the impression from some comments about TFA that there is a belief that you have to place thousands of bets following numerous systems. That isn't strictly speaking an accurate reflection of what the service can provide. You can go for very high churn/lower roi or lower churn/higher roi and anything or everything in between.

Personally, I don't want too many bets each week. With Football Investor/Strike Zone providing a large number of bets and Skeeve's selections needing prompt action to grab the prices, I'm looking for a Football Elite-esque approach - perhaps 3-5 bets each week. System 7-22 has caught my eye with this in mind...the last three seasons have seen an average of 111 bets per season (compared to c.100 for Football Elite), enjoyed a strike rate of 49.96%, produced an average of 30.1 points/season profit at an average roi of 27.2%. As far as results go, attaining just half of that level over the course of the coming season would be fine by me! Only seven of the 28 months played in over those three seasons provided a loss, and two of those covered a month where there was just one bet and another which had just two (May 2009 and August 2009). Even with these included in the calculations, profitable monthly strike rate is 75%.

Mmmm...I think this is probably the direction I'll be looking in. More analysis needed though before any final decision is made.

Today's Betting

I couldn't help but find today rather frustrating. Three good winners, spread across three different services but with each, the winners were staked at a lower level than their other bets. The result was that this was a mildly profitable day, which is better than a mildly losing day, let's face it. But even so, it feels like today was one that got away rather.

ProBandit's first selection ran a shocker but their second got up by a short head to land the spoils (Powerful Pierre - Pontefract - 11/2). Northern Monkey really is alone this month in being in fine form, and today found another very nice winner (Duchess Dora - Pontefract - 7/1) albeit backed only to a small stake. The other service to turn a profit was On The Nose (Abdicate - Hamilton - 5.25/1 after r.4), who won rather well and never looked like getting beaten.

The Market Examiner was the other service in action today. Two losers from two.

Northern Monkey: Staked 1pt, +1pt.
The Market Examiner: Staked 2pts, -2pts.
ProBandit: Staked 1.5pts, +0.996pts.
On The Nose: Staked 2.5pts, +0.625pts.

Friday 15th July: Staked £148, +£44.38.
Running total: -£556.11 (roi -19.38%).

Now, I'm off down to Shropshire tomorrow for the weekend so no post tomorrow. Back Sunday. Have a good one, chaps and chapesses...may the force be with you.

Thursday, 14 July 2011


Really quick one tonight, as I've got in far later than anticipated...close three set match. I won. At this rate I'll be the UK No.3 by the end of the year!

Today's Betting

...was poor.

Summed up in one sentence. Blank day for Northern Monkey, The Market Examiner, On The Nose and Chasemaster.

Chasemaster is going through it a bit at the moment, and has been for a wee while now. Although it wasn't given as a tip, I notice that one of the three associates laid the 7/2 winner of the opener at Cartmel at 7.0 and backed an unplaced horse at 2s for which the SP was 3/1. And I thought I had it bad today! Feel for the guy.

Important to remember though that it was only a couple of months ago that Chasemaster could do no wrong. The old magic will come back for certain, but on a personal basis, I could do with it sooner rather than later.

Northern Monkey: Staked 0.25pts, -0.25pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 2pts, -2pts.
On The Nose: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.

Thursday 14th July: Staked £99, -£99.
Running total: -£600.49 (roi -22.06%).

The little worm that is July needs to turn. Soon.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Who do they think they are?

I don't like hypocrisy. In fact, I hate it. I instantly lose respect for anyone when they do or say something that is undeniably hypocritical.

With this in mind, you can probably guess the reaction I had to the LloydsTSB customer service representative who was trying to explain to me why it was that their employer had prevented me from making two online payments, both to football tipping services.

I think I stayed remarkably cool - for ten seconds or so - but then the bluster and crap that I was subjected to became too much to bear. It probably wasn't Dawn's fault that my payments had been declined, but by golly was she going to cop an earful!

The bank had taken it upon themselves to act as my moral Protector you see. They obviously did not want me to succumb to the evils of gambling. I believe that they had conjured an image of me rising from the coal face in a South Yorkshire mining town, picking up my week's wages of two and sixpence, sinking a pint or two in 'The Carthorse' before stopping off at the bookies on the way home to fritter away most of what little remained of the family's income for the week on a couple of nags at Pontefract. Waiting at home for me would be my long-suffering wife (that bit's true, I guess), having to feed eight mouths with whatever pittance was left. The six kids would have to make do on cabbage soup for the week again, and two of them were showing signs of scurvy. And it was all my fault - all this was the direct result of my irresponsible gambling habit.

But hope was at hand. Those moral crusaders, the banks, had decided to intervene. And so it was that two of the finest football services in the land had to wait for their subs for next season whilst I sorted this mess out.

Seriously, the bank told me (through Dawn), that seeing attempted payments going out to "gaming" services had alerted them to potential breaches of security, and that said "gaming" services was on their list of undesirables. I pointed out that if they cared to look over my statements, every other transaction was either to or from a bookmaker. I also pointed out that this was the third time they had frozen my account, and that my levels of frustration were becoming dangerously high.

Dawn didn't sound too impressed with my reasoning. In fact, she sounded bored. Talk about red rags... I was off. How dare the bank attempt the moral high ground. I rather forcefully suggested that it was the "gamblers" employed by the invesment banks and those of the investment arms of the high street banks that had cocked up so magnificently that the world was facing it's biggest economic crisis in living memory. That it was because of the pension fund's "gamblers" making such a balls-up of investing my money for my future that I had to seek other sources of income to try and ensure that I don't spend my retirement in abject poverty. Stick that up your moral arse, I suggested to Dawn.

"Have you quite finished, Sir?", she said. "I've cleared your account and you will be able to make your payments now, Sir".


Today's Betting

The next time I decide I'm going to write a post sticking up for one of the services that is going through a lean spell, I shall stop a while and think. For it seems that by doing so for ProBandit the other night, I placed upon them a curse that inflicts a plague upon the ProBandit house. Today was a shocker for them.

Northern Monkey and The Market Examiner provided no returns, and Winning Racing Tips - which recommended an each way double - saw the first horse scoot home but the second finish a distant second, so a small loss there too.

A decent tip from On The Nose though (Suited And Booted ew - Lingfield - 14/1) which finished third and a return of just under a point.

Leaving the best until last though, PJA NH came up with the winner (Diamond Mm - Worcester - 8/1) and third (Bon Spiel - Worcester - 10/1) in the 9.10. Saved the day a little, that.

PJA NH: Staked 2.75pts, +3.375pts.
Northern Monkey: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
The Market Examiner: Staked 2pts, -2pts.
ProBandit: Staked 2.25pts, -2.25pts.
On The Nose: Staked 1pt, +0.9pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.8pts, -0.118pts.

Wednesday 13th July: Staked £259, -£33.12
Running total: -£501.49 (roi -19.08%).

Day off tomorrow. Any chance of sun?

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Quick one.

Very quick post tonight as I'm in late and I'm starving. Need my dinner. I get grumpy when I'm hungry.

Today's Betting

One small step forward yesterday, and a small step backwards today.

Northern Monkey: Fine form continued as NMP found the only winner of the day (Mojolika - Beverley - 100/30). Trouble is, it was also the smallest bet of the day.

The Market Examiner: Not such a good day with four selections beaten.

On The Nose: One small win bet that didn't.

ProBandit: After yesterday's post I could have done with the two selections in the race coming first and second. They didn't. They came second and third.

Northern Monkey: Staked 0.5pts, +0.833pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 5pts, -5pts.
On The Nose: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
ProBandit: Staked 1pt, -1pt.

Tuesday 12th July: Staked £111, -£89.34.
Running total: -£468.31 (roi -19.77%).

Right. Where's my grub?

Monday, 11 July 2011

Decoy runs.

Everybody who seems to know what they are talking about preaches the necessity to gamblers of adopting the long term approach if ultimately they are to be successful. We learn of the detrimental effect to our short term performance that can be caused by variance. Seasoned gambling pros tell of the need to give a system/tipping service/methodology sufficient time to prove itself before jumping in with both feet and going large with stakes. Most serious reviewers also warn against drawing premature conclusions about a tipping service over too short a period of time, either when things are going badly or amazing profits being made. A sample of results, it is said, must be of a certain size before they are at all meaningful statistically.

It's all well and good, this need for a long-term "mindset". But it's not so easy to train the brain to concentrate on the long-term and dismiss the need for some short term gratification. It's all very well Sting being into all this tantric whatnot. I bet there are times when he simply fancies a quickie. And so it is with betting. I don't know about you, but I am constantly having to draw my neck in and keep reminding myself of the importance of not getting too absorbed in the here and now. When running a sizeable portfolio of tipping services, the skirmishes with the bookmakers occur each and every day. There is no let up. No respite. And it is this grind - this incessant, remorseless need to get bets on day after day after day - that makes maintaining a mentality focused on the long-term so very difficult. It is only human nature, is it not, to want to see some sort of reward for all the effort that is going in? It's not jam tomorrow that I want. It's milk and honey today.

Let's look at ProBandit in this context. Now I know (and I mean know), that here is a service that can rack up good profits over a sustained period of time. I saw it with my own eyes and my betting returns were considerably boosted by my following this service over the second half of last year. Since then though, things have become much tougher for PB. The calendar year to date has seen the balance sheet showing a deficit of around half a point. Half a point! That's not so much standing still as lying in a bed in a Critical Care Unit in a comatose state for six and a bit months. All that bet placement. All that result recording. For what? What has been the point of it all?

Well I have a view on this. I think it is very easy to disregard the role that a service that hasn't lost any meaningful amount of points over a decent period of time plays in the wider context. If we accept that it simply isn't possible for every service to be racking up great profits month after month, then we must look at the alternatives. How would we feel if every service we followed was either flying or slumping? I know how I'd feel. I'd be an emotional wreck. A quivering jelly. So I don't look at ProBandit as being pointless. I see it as being solid. A rock. But I have the advantage of knowing that this rock has the potential to one day "find" itself again and start to contribute strong profits once more. At this moment in time, I liken ProBandit to the forward who hasn't scored for a while but keeps making the decoy runs that pull opposition defenders out of position, and by doing so, allow his teammates to score. The scorer gets the plaudits from the fans and the media, but the guy who made the goal possible receives the acknowledgement of the manager, the chap who really knows the player's worth to the team.

So there we have it. ProBandit is currently the Emile Heskey of the portfolio. But there will come a time when it will be the Thierry Henry again. Of that, I am sure.

Today's Betting

Very quiet day today, but a couple of winners and a profit.

Northern Monkey: Continued their fine form today. One selection, one winner (Timeless Elegance - Ayr - 4/1). It's been a great start to the month for NMP and I'm really hoping they push on and produce that really big month that they contribute from time to time.

The Market Examiner: Another service finding winners now and one more today (Cruise Tothelimit - Windsor - 11/2) from their two selections.

Not such success from On The Nose or Winning Racing Tips which each gave one tip which didn't make the frame.

Northern Monkey: Staked 0.75pts, +3pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 2pts, +4.5pts.
On The Nose: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.4pts, -0.4pts.

Monday 12th July: Staked £88, +£70.
Running total: -£378.97 (roi -16.79%).


I wrote a post last night. It started with an explanation that it was to be a short one as was being temperamental. It finished with the words, "I hope I can publish this post...". Well, I couldn't.

In short, £152 lost from £152 staked as PJA NH, The Market Examiner and Chasemaster drew blanks.

Hopefully normal service will be resumed and I'll be able to post properly again tonight.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Rapped knuckles but relief all the same.

Now I know that you know that I rambled last night. "Why use one word when ten will do?", was the question that immediately sprang to mind when I read through my own post. I knew that there'd be someone out there who could say the same thing, only more succinctly, and in a way that made much more sense. Curly it was, who stepped up to the plate, and became that someone...

"I think a simple way to look at it is through flipping a coin (I appreciate that your tipsters may select the same selection and/or different selections in the same race and so it's not a direct comparison).

If you flip a coin once the two possible outcomes are either heads or tails - so if you bet £50 @ evens on heads the expected value or number of heads is 0.5 and therefore you have an equal chance to double your money or lose all of it. If you decide to flip this coin 4 times you now only have a 1/16 chance of doubling or losing all your money but you also have a range of options inbetween - a 1/4 chance to win £50, a 1/4 chance to lose £50 and a 3/8 chance of breaking even.

Assuming all your services have the same Expected Value (essentially the mean of their results) then by including more services you are in theory reducing your risk to randomness or, the variance in the results. Of course if your services expected value is actually negative then by reducing the variance you're increasing the likelihood you'll lose although the rate at which you lose will likely decrease."

The significance of that last sentence mustn't be missed. Ultimately, all is flawed if the services that make up the portfolio are flawed, and money will be lost over the long term.

Anyway, thankyou Curly. For more logical writing and dare I suggest, not a ramble in sight, please read Curly's blog. I've stuck a link up top right.

Today's Betting

Reading the Racing Post this morning, I thought that if I could escape with a of loss under £100 today, I'd be doing ok. Nightmare, big-field handicaps. Open and competitive group and listed races. On the face of it, the cards looked collectively like a punter's worst nightmare. So to make a profit, even if only a smidgeon, I see as a right good result. Thing is though, to end in positive territory, I needed to rely on a huge piece of luck. I only gained the opportunity to enjoy that piece of luck by being completely incompetent. And that pees me right off. I got away with it today. I won't always.

4PA: The piece of luck I'm referring to was that I sloppily misread the 4PA message this morning, putting 1.5pts on Pekan Star win only. The actual bet was 1.5pts each way. As the horse finished way out of the frame, my mistake saved me £60, and thus ultimately I finished the day with a profit and not a loss.

Now that's all well and good, but I hate making mistakes like that. It doesn't happen very often, and I pride myself on paying attention to detail. The thing is you see, if this sort of mistake was to become a habit, then it would be only a matter of time until a big win is missed. The sort of win that can greatly effect the final year's figures for a service, never mind the day's figures. Imagine putting only half of the correct stake on a 33/1 winner, for example.

So, rapped knuckles for me.

Poor old 4PA is having a rough time of it at the moment. Their other two selections also ran poorly and nothing seems to be going their way at present. Matter of time of course, before it all turns around again. Form is temporary and all that.

Northern Monkey: In contrast, what a very pleasant couple of days it's been for Wayne at Northern Monkey. Yesterday's triumph with Coeus followed nicely today with a decent bet (the largest from Northern Monkey on the day) on Medicean Man (Newmarket - 6/1) , a nice winner in the last.

On The Nose: Real signs of a return to form here too as yesterday's 14/1 winner is followed by another victory found amongst today's four selections (Masamah - York - 13/2).

The Market Examiner: Difficult to improve on a one bet, one winner day that TME had today. Two winners in two days at Chester (Colour Vision - Chester - 7/1). As this morning's message said, there were all sorts of market moves going on today, so to sift through all and find just the one that went in nicely is top tipping in anyone's book.

ProBandit: Just one small and ultimately unsuccessful bet from ProBandit.

4PA: Staked 3.5pts, -3.5pts.
Northern Monkey: Staked 2pts, +3.25pts.
On The Nose: Staked 4.5pts, +1.4pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 1pt, +7pts.
ProBandit: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.

Saturday 9th July: Staked £280, +£19.
Running total: -£296.97 (roi -14.72%).

Right then. I'm off to enjoy a bottle or two of Peroni and the finest of traditional English cuisine - a lamb chilli massala - in front of a film.


Friday, 8 July 2011

A step in the right direction.

It's official. I am a wreck. A poor excuse for a man.

Having taken a week to shrug off a cold, I woke this morning to a raging eye infection. Seriously, couldn't open my right eye and when I forced it open, the light was a nightmare. Acute conjunctivitis, according to the quack. So, antibiotic ointment and eye patch (yes, an eye patch!) in hand, I somehow struggled into work to receive the sympathy and understanding of my long-term comrades. Perhaps a cuppa and a biscuit brought to my desk? No. One colleague saw fit to take a photo of me looking like a cross between Captain Pugwash and Gabrielle and stick it up on Twitter. Sods!

Another question in the 'Comments' box last night...

Hi,i read a fair few blogs from time to time, the one thing i dont understand is why pepole have so manys racing sevices on the go at the same time. could you please tell me your thinking behind this? from a wannabe.

I can understand this question being asked, particularly when things aren't going so well. During a bad patch, the potential to be losing money at a rapid rate of knots is increased somewhat by there being many drains down which the cash can be swept.

However, by diversifying, the risk of losing more, is actually lessened. Now a proper analysis of the principles of diversification in correlation to risk management is beyond me, I'm afraid. There are people out there much more qualified than I to talk about this - Graeme Dand of The Football Analyst, Mr Gekko at the SBC, and Mat Hare who writes the Secret Diary of a Professional Gambler blog are three that immediately spring to mind. Perhaps though, I can show the relevant laws in action via example...

A lot is made now of the need for the individual to create their own pension pot. Due to longer life expectancies and a larger population, to rely on the state pension and retiring at 60 is no longer an option. So instead, we have to save.

So say at 25 years of age, I start to put some money away each month into a company pension scheme. That scheme is managed by a Fund Manager who decided which shares should be invested in using my money, the aim being that over the years to retirement the overall value of the shares will grow and produce a return. Over the course of my 35 year career, I only put my money into this scheme. But, horror of horrors, in my last year before retirement, there is a stock market crash and my returns from my pot are reduced significantly. I've been stung, simply because all my eggs were in just the one basket.

Now compare that situation to one in which I split my savings between the pension fund, a buy to let property or two, a direct investment in government bonds, in gold and precious metals, etc, etc. My eggs are spread and I ought not, theoretically, be left in the same mess when the stock market crashes, because the price of gold has risen and is strong, and I am receiving an income from the rent on my second property. In other words, you have spread your risk. Yes, the stock market crash has diluted your returns somewhat, but you are not wiped out.

In a gambling scenario, if we look at the first quarter of this year with a portfolio of just PJA NH, you'd have lost a considerable amount of your bank. However, if you had both PJA NH and The Market Examiner, you'd have made an overall profit. In six months time, The Market Examiner may be really struggling, but PJA NH be playing a blinder. And the more services there are in the portfolio, the lower the probability of your entire portfolio performing abominably over a sustained period of time. In other words, the overall returns from a larger portfolio ought to show a smooth upward curve. Yes there will inevitably be short term blips, but over time. the graphline should be nice and steady.

One last thing I would say though, is that ideally, the portfolio of services should show diversification in itself. If all the services that you followed adopted similar methodologies and targeted the same types of race, then you could be in trouble. I think mine reflects this principle. Winning Racing Tips go each way in non-handicaps, Northern Monkey and (generally speaking) On The Nose go each way in handicaps, 4PA targets the big races, Chasemaster the NH chases at minor tracks, PJA NH handicap chase and hurdle races, The Market Examiner win only at long odds in all kinds of races, and ProBandit dutching at shorter prices on the flat. That's a fair old mix.

Anon - I hope that answers your question. One thing though - all this is theory. It makes sense, but when the services are all underperforming at the same time, as they have over the last few days, it is very easy for the brain to forget these principles and simply concentrate the mind on the money being lost. And that is when the devils start to whisper in your ear, getting you to change stakes, reduce services, etc. In the grand scheme of things though, a few days really is completely irrelevant, and that's what we need to focus on.

Today's Betting

Well, that's a bit better. A profitable day at last, and a good one at that.

4PA: I don't know who PCB has upset, but he needs to go find them, apologise, and get the curse lifted. His first bet was an each way bet at a long price which didn't place which is fair enough, but in the second race he played in he had Memory which refused to leave the stalls, and Saphresa, whose jockey raced far too far back before passing every horse except the winner who had first run on him. For the second time in a week, 4PA was on by far the best horse in the race but didn't collect.

On The Nose: Three selections today from Dean and the last of them was a lovely winner (Kanaf - Ascot - 14/1) backed win only. Hopefully this signals a return to a bit of form.

Northern Monkey: Similar story here. A fantastic winner at a good price, and staked more heavily win only (Coeus - Newmarket - 14/1). There were five selections in all and I thought most of them ran well enough to be honest so again, I'm hoping a bit of form is being hit. The signs have been there for a little while now actually.

The Market Examiner: Another nice winner amongst their three selections again today (Jungle Bay - Chester - 9/1). Becoming a bit of a habit.

4PA: Staked 4pts, -4pts.
On The Nose: Staked 2pts, +5.5pts.
Northern Monkey: Staked 4pts, +18.5pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 3pts, +7pts.

Friday 8th July: Staked £316, +£404.
Running total: -£315.97 (roi -18.19%).

Still a long way to get back to break even, but a step in the right direction.

Thursday, 7 July 2011


Three observations today.

1. Ocean Colour Scene's 'Moseley Shoals' is a jaw-droppingly good album. In fact, if I was the sort of chap to compartmentalise everything in my life, this album would be placed in the box marked 'Ambrosia'. That's the sort of ambrosia defined in the OED as, "the food of the gods" (in ancient Greek mythology). I wouldn't be wanting to compartmentalise Moseley Shoals by putting it in a box of supermarket rice pudding. No. That would be all kinds of wrong.

My neighbours I'm sure, would have appreciated my fine musical taste as I had it blaring on the car stereo as I left for work at seven this morning. In fact I know they did. My immediate neighbour, the one with the new born baby that isn't sleeping so well yet, gave me a real stare when I arrived home tonight at the same time as he. I read that stare - there was a lot of respect in it. You could tell by the way he puffed his cheeks and shook his head slightly as if to say, "Wow. Respect.". Oh yes, I can tell these things.

2. Congestion/mucus/snot - call it what you will - is a monstrous and evil thing. I spend the first half hour of my day sneezing, coughing, blowing my nose and generally emptying my upper respiratory system of what looks like that bright green slime stuff that was all the rage about 25 years ago. This, people, would be placed in the box marked 'John Terry'. And then burnt. The box that is. Not John Terry. Although two birds, and all that...

3. A chap called Curly left an extremely good question after last night's blog post. The sort of question that IF I was prone to self-indulgence (heh, the very idea of it!!!), I could take about a week's worth of blog posts answering. So I shall place my box of chocolates to one side, tell my wife to stop peeling the grapes for me, take a last draft from my bottle of Petrus '61, and start to put down my thoughts...

Here is the question:

"Long time reader, first time commenter. Or something like that anyway.

I like the fact that you had an original plan and stuck to it. I also like that along similar lines you're fully prepared to ride out variance and give all your services a fair chance to make money over 12 months. I don't run a portfolio of tipster services, in fact I've never even paid for a tip so my experience and knowledge of the area is limited. However, it stands to reason that any long term punting strategy will inevitably suffer a significant drawdown. It also can't help that the European football seasons are still weeks away from starting, as increasing the number of selections should reduce the variance.

I was wondering a couple of things - both of which I'll understand if you don't want to get into. Firstly, how big of a drawdown does £640 represent against your combined banks? I notice that you obviously have varying banks for your services which I assume must be weighted against your projection of expected risk/reward. To that end if you were to smooth out your average expected returns where would you expect to be? I guess this links in with your expected maximum % drawdown and likely/(eventually) actual length of recovery.

Anyway, completely understand if you'd rather not answer, I'm really only curious.

Well, first things first, Curly is dead right when he points out the fact that the lack of football betting at the moment is meaning that the porfolio is more susceptible to the kind of losing run it's currently enduring. There are fewer bets at longer prices. That equals an increased risk of suffering drawdowns. I probably won't be thinking so logically when I'm lumping on the On The Oche bets a little later in the month. Not because of a lack of trust in On The Oche, it's just that the bet size will be considerably bigger and I'll be thinking I've lost enough money already to be risking that size of stake. Psychology is a wondrous thing. But I know that Curly is dead right.

As far as the drawdown is concerned, well it's now bigger than £640. That amount is also not recognising that halfway through June I was £1k up for the month and yet finished only £300 up. So the drawdown is actually nearer £1,500 now. As a portion of the sum of my financial banks, this is about 7.5%; a not inconsiderable chunk, but far from disastrous. I do leverage the banks at a rate of 1.5, ie. 50% of the "paper" bank (the 7.5% figure is of the real financial bank, not the pre-leveraged amount). This, I believe, is a pretty high leverage figure, but I feel it is justified by the diversity in the portfolio - in other words, the fact that there are 15 services allows me to push the leverage a little. Others may have a different opinion on that, but, as I'm about to explain, I wonder how relevant this is anyway.

Before I go on to explain myself though, I shall try to answer the second query re. where I would expect to be if I smoothed out my average returns. Well this of course is all hypothetical but I shall break down my expectations. My staking of each service in terms of £/point is such that using previous staking levels as a guide, each service should have wagered on their selections about £12k per annum. Thus over the year, the total amount staked is 15 services x £12k = £180k. My target roi is between 5% and 10%. Taking the middle ground of 7.5%, on £180k turnover that would be a gambling profit of £13,500, or an average of £1,125/month, which (assuming a 30 day month) equals a daily profit of £37.50. (Doesn't sound a great return for so much work when you put it like that, does it?). Of course, I hope for an roi of 10% and maybe a little more - certainly the track record of each service would suggest that 12-13% shouldn't be out of the question, but I don't want to be greedy - and if that level can be reached, then great. The way I look at it, that £13,500 (and let's not forget that we have to deduct fees) is the equivalent of an addition to my salary of about £23k at the tax band I'm in. Put like that, the returns are a little more palatable.

So where would I have been yesterday if the returns had been averaged out? 6 days x £37.50 = £225 up, instead of £640 down.

Now that I've essentially answered the questions (I hope), some further comments. Curly's question does, if you allow it, lead to some deep philosophical thinking on the different approaches to gambling. The issue of banks and leveraging for example, can lead you in all sorts of different directions.

I believe there are two types of folk that try to run a portfolio of tipsters. There are what might be termed the stats men, or those that mathematically do everything by the (maths)book, working out expected returns and likely sizes of drawdown linked to probability, etc. That's not me. I fit more into the second category - those that look more at the human angle. It's the psychology of gambling and how to handle it, and how those that run the services handle it, that is important to me. This different approach is probably due to the fact that maths/stats/probabiities do not come easily to me. I understand why a bank needs to be of a certain size. I know that diversification reduces risk although the amount being staked is greater as a result. I know that the effects of variance must be accepted. But I do not try to deduce likely depths of drawdowns or length of recovery periods. I concentrate on living in the here and now and making sure I can cope with that.

I try and keep things very simple. I go from day to day, trying to be as methodical as I can be and I work hard at not being psychologically bullied by the ups and downs. I believe my banks are adequate and trust them more than I trust myself.

What do I mean by this? Well, I believe 100% that my bank assigned to each service is of the requisite size. I use the SBC guidance and the tried and trusted rules that dictate the appropriate size of a bank. However, say you have a total financial bank of £20k that covers all your services. And then say you embark on a lengthy and unprecedented losing run, so that real inroads are made into that £20k. How many would keep going, staking as they are, until every penny of that £20k has gone? I know I wouldn't. And that's what I mean about not trusting myself. I know, deep down, that if I lost a certain amount of the funds I have put aside for gambling, I would quit. Or if not quit, reduce staking or drop some services to reduce my outgoings. And hand on heart, how many out there wouldn't do the same?

So really, the size of the accumulated banks becomes a little irrelevant, doesn't it? It's not the maths that a gambler has to battle with. It's the game itself and what it does to the mind. And that's where I concentrate my efforts. On doing the best I can to remain detached, aloof, and ready for the next day. Yes, financial planning plays a huge part in helping gamblers do that. The larger your banks, the warmer the comfort blanket, but let's not kid ourselves that we would happily continue to lose as we got down below say 50%, or 40%, or 30% of our original bank size.

Ultimately, this is why I couldn't gamble for a living. I know there is a line marking losses, that I just couldn't bear to fall below. The only way I could do it, I think, would be over the years to plough back profits until I had no leverage. If I could run services to make a good profit over a number of years, and have banks 150% of the recommended size for each service, and not have any level of leverage at all, then I might consider going full time. I tell you something though - just at this moment in time, that prospect seems a heck of a long way away.

Right. I've fallen into the trap of rambling tonight. Let's bring this to a close.

Today's Betting


4PA. One account bet - Mijhaar in the 2.25 at Newmarket. One basic system bet - Fulgur at 9/1. Basic system bet declined. Look up the result if you haven't guessed it already (or backed it yourself of course!).

On The Nose. The very poor start to July continues - four bets, no returns.

Northern Monkey. Found Malthouse to place to small stakes (Newmarket - 22/1) but two losers.

ProBandit. Got the winner of the first race at Newmarket (Masked Marvel - 5/2) but then a loser to minimise profit.

The Market Examiner. I've just watched the 9.05. Nice one, despite being Rule 4 effected! (Baldemar - Epsom - 7/1). Two other losers, but all of a sudden I'm in a forgiving frame of mind!

So another losing day (eight on the bounce now). Things have got to change soon, haven't they?

Northern Monkey: Staked 2.5pts, -1.562pts.
On The Nose: Staked 3pts, -3pts.
ProBandit: Staked 1.5pts, +0.25pts.
4PA: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
The Market Examiner: Staked 3pts, +3.95pts.

Thursday 7th July: Staked £240, -£74.85.
Running total: -£719.97 (roi -50.66%).

Wednesday, 6 July 2011


You know back in the second part of May/early part of June, I remember going on a run of about ten consecutive days where the portfolio made money. Some days it was a small amount only, on others the profits were significant. After about six days or so, I remember thinking each morning about how much I was going to make that day. I knew the run couldn't and wouldn't last, but the fact is that I expected to be recording gains at the end of the day.

Today was the seventh consecutive losing day. I am now waking up, expecting to lose money. All I wonder is how much.

This isn't meant to be doomy and gloomy though. I've been through these runs before, and they do get easier to deal with. I know it is when, not if, things will turn around. I've seen all this before and I guess it's when experience really does count. Mentally I'm fine - just bored. Bored with losing. I want to win just to break the monotony, if you know what I mean? Perhaps tomorrow.

Today's Betting

A blank today from three selections from The Market Examiner.

ProBandit played in three races and found the winner of one (Red Courtier - Kempton - 9/2) to produce a profit on the day.

A very small loss from Winning Racing Tips, whose selection finished third (Thirsty Bear - Bath - 4/1).

Finally Chasemaster suffered from non-runners in their selected race this evening. Two of the blighters meant a 17 horse race paying each way on the top four was reduced to 15 runners, each way paying first three home. You guessed it Ours was edged out for third on the run in.

Wednesday 6th July: Staked £190, -£38.40.
Running total: -£645.12 (roi -54.62%).

Drip, drip, drip...

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Up and running with TME

Really quick one tonight, as I'm in late.

Today's Betting

Well, despite Andy's assertion in the Comments under yesterday's post, today wasn't the day when the rot was stopped.

Like yesterday, PJA NH managed to find one to place (Snake Charmer - Uttoxeter - 14/1) but the other lost and with more staked on the loser, it was a small loss on the day.

I had my first winner from The Market Examiner which was most welcome (King Kurt - Pontefract - 6/1) but their second selection was unsuccessful. Great to get off the mark though, as it is when you join any service.

The sole On The Nose selection was backed in from 12s to 5s at the off and ran well to finish second without ever really looking like winning (Fontley - Pontefract - 12/1).

Blank days though for Northern Monkey, ProBandit, and Winning Racing Tips who each had one selection.

PJA NH: Staked 1.25pts, -0.37pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 2pts, +5pts.
On The Nose: Staked 1pt, +0.7pts.
Northern Monkey: Staked 1.5pts, -1.5pts.
ProBandit: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 1pt, -1pt.

Tuesday 5th July: Staked £182, -£42.88.
Running total: -£606.72 (roi -61.22%).

It would be nice - and I don't think I'm asking for too much - if perhaps just one of the racing services could edge into profit for July. You know. For me. I really would be very grateful. How about it, chaps?

Monday, 4 July 2011

Football #2

Thought I'd outline the other footie services I've lined up for next season. I've already posted thoughts on Skeeve, Football Elite and Football Investor/Strike Zone. Now the others...

4. The Football Analyst. Having seen first hand the amount of sheer hard work that has gone into the development of these systems, added to the positive results attained last season, I'm looking forward to implementing consistent staking with my chosen system(s) over the course of the forthcoming season. Had I had a consistent approach last season, I would have made a lot more money from TFA than I did, and what I did make wasn't bad at all. Obviously Graeme is launching commercially for 2011/12. For £75, I suggest it's as good value as can possibly be secured anywhere in the paid for tipster world.

5. The Sportsman. Not strictly speaking a football service per se. In fact forget that. Not even loosely speaking are they a football service per se, as there is also solid involvement in darts and racing too. Footballistically (sic), The Sportsman complements the other services nicely, as bets tend to focus on different markets - Over 2.5 goals, corners, bookings are typical markets played in, which are completely different from anything the other services do. I felt that I really only saw this service flourish in the second half of last season. The run up to the New Year was far from disastrous, but no real forward momentum was being attained. It's inevitable that all services go through periods like this I think, and then when it did click, I rather enjoyed the ride. High hopes for next season.

So with On The Oche just added, there's a lot to like about the look of the "Sports" section of the portfolio. Roll on the footie season. I just hope Arsenal have eleven players to put out by the time August rolls around. First home game, I might just take my boots.

Today's Betting

The losing run continues. That's five consecutive days now, and only two of the last eleven have seen a "+" sign preceding the day's balance.

Just three services in action. ProBandit was the most successful, finding a winner this evening (Blue Maisey - Windsor - 4/1) but this wasn't enough to avoid an overall half point deficit.

PJA NH started ok, finding one to place (Chapel House - Newton Abbott - 10/1), but the other two finished out of the places.

Finally, The Market Examiner had three which disappointed.

PJA NH: Staked 2.25pts, -1.375pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 4pts, -4pts.
ProBandit: Staked 1.75pts, -0.5pts.

Monday 4th July: Staked £165, -£99.
Running total: -£563.84 (roi -69.69%).

Odds on a winning day tomorrow?

Sunday, 3 July 2011

The losing run continues...

Title says it all.

Today's Betting

It could all have been so different though, as The Market Examiner's 2 point bet on The Snail was foiled by a neck after a battle between ours and the favourite in the 3.30 at Market Rasen. I'd missed the 20/1 this morning as I was watching my lad play football, but two points at 16s would have been a very nice return. Oh well.

The other two selections were never really in it, and nor was Northern Monkey's sole half point win bet at Ayr, Bowmaker, who didn't really seem to help himself by running first right, then left, and then right again as it gently meandered up the straight.

Brown Panther had landed a nice touch for 4PA at Royal Ascot, but disappointed today in the German Derby. The other 4PA selection in the race, Arrigo, finished out of the frame.

So another very disappointing day in what has been a very disappointing week (-£438.10). I've seen all this before though and I'm not losing any sleep. Just money.

Waiting for a spark to turn it all around again.

4PA: Staked 2pts, -2pts.
Northern Monkey: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 4pts, -4pts.

Sunday 3rd July: Staked £138, -£138.
Running total: -£464.84, roi -72.18%.

Now, I'm off into the garden to enjoy the 3Bs - barbecue, burger, beer.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Old Friends.

I'm in the missus' good books. I've lost my voice.

Stupid cold.

Well, the mystery 15th service has been subscribed to today, and I have been allowed to rejoin On The Oche.

Those mistakes I was talking about last night. Well one of them was leaving On The Oche when I did. At the time, it seemed like the right move to make. Performance had been poor for a little while. The number of bets felt like they were drying up and when the SBC dropped OTO from their Hall Of Fame, it was enough for me to decide that I should stop putting my money on Rich's selections.

I kept an eye on them though. In the back of my mind, niggling away at me was the question: could a guy with such an obvious edge in darts betting really just "lose" it in the space of a few months? Now that I know more about the effect that variance can have on short term performance (or even medium term come to that), and how a small sample of bets really is never a solid basis upon which one can draw firm conclusions, I can see that my decision to drop OTO was the wrong one.

In Matt's Football Elite end of season review he produced a small table of figures (relating to the performance of OTO) that really brought home, in very stark terms, just what a wingnut I had been. I've not asked permission to reproduce this table, so I won't copy it in it's entirety, but I will provide the most important figures and hope that Matt doesn't object...

2007 - Bets 90 -- ROI 94.3%
2008 - Bets 113 -- ROI 24.7%
2009 - Bets 97 -- ROI 25.1%
2010 - Bets 96 -- ROI -13.6%
2011 - Bets 46 -- ROI 69.7%

You see what I mean.

Now, rather like with The Market Examiner, I have (re)joined at a time of what is quite possibly considerable overperfomance, and it would come as no surprise if a period of correction was imminent. But I would chalenge anyone who looked at those figures and denied that here was a service with a very clear edge in it's chosen area of expertise. And that being so, in the long term, I really should be alright.

Today's Betting

My first half of June was truly excellent and then performance really slipped to leave it being a slightly profitable but generally mediocre month. The way July has started, I'm just hoping that July will be June in reverse...a bad start and then a great second half.

There was one service that did ok today and that was ProBandit who played in just the one race, with just the one horse, and just the one horse won (Millyluvstobouggie - Leicester - 11/4). That came early in the day, and I thought I might possibly be in for a good one. How wrong could I be?

4PA went in with a few selections this morning and whilst three of them simply ran poor races, there was one tip that really should have won. I have never seen anything quite like it before. Ever. Vita Nova was the horse in the Lancashire Oaks at Haydock. I managed to get 7/4 this morning, but it was backed in on course to 10/11. As it came to win it's race - and believe me, it was going to win it's race - the jockey's saddle slipped. Nearly exiting stage left, Tom Queally somehow managed to stay on board and with about 30 yards to go, rode it in the style of John Wayne in Rio Grande, spurting forward to finish second. When luck's against you...

Continuing the theme of not getting the rub of the green, one of The Market Examiner's three selections had me pulling out what little of my hair I have left. Slowly away, Aerial Acclaim found itself right at the back of the field. Storming past most in the last couple of furlongs, it was repeatedly prevented from enjoying a clear run, and it eventually finished third.

You always notice the hard luck stories more when you're losing.

A day to forget for On The Nose as none of their four each way selections made the frame, and a small win bet from Northern Monkey was also foiled.

The last three days have really not been much cop at all.

4PA: Staked 5.5pts, -3pts.
Northern Monkey: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 4pts, -4pts.
On The Nose: Staked 4pts, -4pts.
ProBandit: Staked 1pt, +1.198pts.

Saturday 2nd July: Staked £394, -£214.84.
Running total: -£326.84 (roi -64.59%).

Right. The traditional methods of finding relief from all symptoms of colds and flu have not worked. There's only one thing for it - kill the bastard thing with alcohol!