The 1st July represents the first day of The Portfolio Investor's new financial year! It was two years ago today that I started gambling with any sense of purpose, and one year ago where it could be said that I had a portfolio to run.
These last two years have been a mission for me. At times I have thought it a Mission Impossible. The aim was to gradually acquire returns from gambling that could be reinvested until I reached the stage where I had my portfolio at the ideal size of 15 services. The plan was to reach this point and then stop reinvesting my gains, stop adding a bit from my monthly salary every now and then, and simply run the portfolio to make money. And that is now where I'm at.
I had actually reached this point a few weeks ago, but thought it would square things neatly to wait until the start of July to mark the beginning of the next phase. I can now draw a line between the "acquisition" stage, and the optimistically titled "money-making" stage. Phase 2 starts now. I'm now at the point where my profits can be spent as I choose and I can answer once and for all those all important questions...
Is it possible to run a portfolio of gambling services and make a consistent, long-term profit?
Can this be done whilst still maintaining bookmaker accounts that will allow you to place a bet?
Can a proper portfolio be operated successfully by somebody in full time employment?
What returns are realistically achievable?
The next twelve months or so should provide answers to all these questions and more.
Additional Racing Service
I mentioned yesterday that I had in mind an ideal number of racing services. I've already added to that number by one! I simply couldn't resist the lure of The Market Examiner though, and I badly wanted it on my side. Why am I so keen?
Quite simply, from what I have seen and heard of the service, it ticks all the right boxes...
1. The chap who runs it, Sam, has interacted with the blog on a couple of occasions and his desire to provide a service that he could be proud of came through very loudly and very clearly. Furthermore, this transmitted itself in a way that was not self-promoting in any way. It was just obvious that he had a fledgling service that he was immensely proud of, and that he wanted to show to others how good it is;
2. The subscription costs are extremely reasonable, bearing in mind the track record to date;
3. Staking is straightforward and there aren't a huge number of bets each day; and
4. The returns are pretty darned decent.
So, after taking all of this into account, I decided to take the plunge and add that extra racing service to the portfolio. This means that there are eight racing services to seven sports-based tipsters. I had meant it to be the other way around, but The Market Examiner was providing a package with so many plus points. Just by watching from afar, I was essentially being made an offer I couldn't refuse.
Sam might not thank me for saying this, but I do go into the service half expecting to start by experiencing a bit of a rough patch. There's no logical reason for this, just that the 40%+ roi achieved since the start of the season can surely not be maintained. There has to be a period of "correction", doesn't there? Well, if so, I'm prepared for it. Over the long term, I'm 100% confident that the decision to add The Market Examiner will turn out to be the right call to make.
Additional Sports Service
I'll say more about this when I have actually signed up. Contact has been made - just awaiting a response. All will be revealed.
You may well be wondering why it has taken me the best part of two years to get to this point. Mistakes. That's why. Mistakes? Pff! I've made a few...
I challenge anyone to say, with hand on heart, that whilst they were learning the gambling ropes, they didn't fall into any/all of these traps:
- Increasing stakes after a winning spell.
- Decreasing stakes after a losing spell.
- Becoming disillusioned with a service whilst it loses, stop following until it hits a few winners and then start backing again, and then get completely disillusioned when you realise you've missed all the profits and suffered all the losses.
- Joining a service that on reflection you should never have joined.
- Believing the grass is greener elsewhere and chucking a service away to join another only for long term results to show you'd have been better off staying put.
- Paying too much for a service and then realising that at your staking levels, it's going to be hard to make any sort of profit.
- Allowing the negativity of others to affect your own thinking and letting it cloud decision making.
Yep, I've committed all of these gambling sins, and I could probably think of a few more if I set my mind to it. But I feel my two year apprenticeship period has been time spent learning many a useful lesson. If I could pinpoint one principle that I have learnt must be adhered to religiously though, it is the absolute necessity to maintain consistency of approach to every aspect of gambling. That refers to bet placement, staking, service membership, everything.
To that end, I want to make it clear that the portfolio now is exactly how I expect it to be on 30th June, 2012. My minimum expectation of a service is that it "wash it's face", ie. it covers it's fees so money isn't lost over the year. But even if well down, I intend to give it the full twelve months before drawing any hard and fast conclusions. I think that's only fair.
My ambition is to run the portfolio on text-book principles. Believe me, if I have succeeded in this aim and yet I am not making any money, then I shall knock gambling on the head. There will be no excuses for failure. I will just resign myself to the fact that the hope of being able to generate a reasonable second income from following a portfolio of reputable tipsters is a false one. And I shall give up.
Quite simply, I set out wanting to emulate JP's blog. I had been inspired by it. JP was doing what I wanted to be doing. Sure his stakes were heavier than mine, but nevertheless I could identify with him, with what he was trying to do and I loved reading his blog every night. It made sense of the struggles I was experiencing with my own gambling, of the ups and downs and the way to handle them.
So when JP stopped, it left a hole and after a long while, I thought bugger it, why don't I try to fill it? Thing is though, I knew I couldn't. Not properly. So I tried a different tack. I thought I'd try to make the actual performance of the portfolio of secondary importance to the mechanics behind it. Trouble is, there's only so much material that you can do this with.
Then, only a few days ago, I thought I'd write two posts a week. One detailing performance, the other discussing some topic or other. But what I quickly discovered was that things would crop up that normally I would mention in the blog, but couldn't because I wasn't "planning" on blogging that day. So that idea was shelved.
I'm going to go back to basics. This blog will simply be the blog of a portfolio investor. I hope to post most days. Predominantly, the blog post will be a simple description of the day's results/performance. When something crops up that I feel worth commenting on, then I will. I know this will turn some readers off. So be it. If however, you wish to see an ordinary guy trying to make some money through gambling, whilst doing a full time job and with a family to consider, stay tuned.
Let's see what happens.
Well, things can only get better, I guess (and hope!). Not the bright new dawn one might hope for. A total of 9 bets and not a return from any of them. Trouble is, the previous day provided 10 bets, with a frighteningly similar level of return!
Three bets from The Market Examiner, two in the same race from ProBandit, and a mix of doubles and a treble from On The Nose - all unsuccessful.
The Market Examiner: Staked 3pts, -3pts.
ProBandit: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
On The Nose: Staked 2pts, -2pts.
Friday 1st July: Staked £112, -£112.
Running total: -£112 (roi -100%).
Long post tonight. I'm whacked.