Wednesday, 3 August 2011

What's it all about then?

Influential chap, that Joey Barton. Certainly he's influenced me. No, I've not gone out and bought a packet of three Hamlet and made a note in my diary as to when the next work do is scheduled. Nope, rather Our Joey's recent stream of quotes from the great authors and philosophers on Twitter (that's Joey on Twitter - not Nietzsche, Descartes or Voltaire - I don't follow them) has put me in something of a philosophical mood. And as such, I find myself asking this: just what am I trying to achieve with this gambling malarkey? Where is it all going? What am I trying to achieve?

Deep, I know. But have you ever asked yourself these questions?

Let's face it, for the majority of the time, there is a heck of a lot of hard work going into something that doesn't seem to be giving you much back. No matter how much equanimity you can bring to your gambling, serious gambling (and by serious I mean working to a plan as opposed to haphazard betting) raises one's stress levels does it not? Losing runs are common, occasionally interrupted by the high induced by a good win. Is this enjoyable? Not as much as it should be - whenever I have a really good day, yes there's a rush of adrenalin and satisfaction, but it is soon reigned in by my "serious" betting head instructing my "frivolous" betting heart to "Get a grip, Man!", and to "Stay calm, check your emotions before you allow them to run away with you. Stick a pillow over your joy and suffocate the life out of it", and other such sensible, if verging on the sinister, mutterings.

I work for a living. At this point in time, I can't envisage ever gambling professionally in the true sense of the word (although that doesn't mean I wouldn't like to try). So if us serious gamblers don't really allow ourselves to enjoy what we do too much, and if those of us who work don't rely on the income we hope to generate to live our lives, then just what the heck are we trying to achieve? Are we some form of collective saddos (what would be the collective noun? A sigh of punters? A coven of gamblers?), experimenting in some weird form of masochism?

I'd be interested in hearing people's views on this. Leave comments if so inclined. Tomorrow, I'll see if I can give my answers to these questions.

Today's Betting

Just five horses backed today and one rather nice winner.

It was only two days ago, in my July racing review, that I mentioned that I thought that On The Nose was running into a bit of form. This theory was based on the fact that over the last few days of the month, they had repeatedly got long priced horses to place, but none had actually won. Well, call me a genius (because I am, you know) but look what happened today...(Conciliatory - Brighton - 16/1). Don't you just hate people who say I told you so!?!

No luck today for The Market Examiner (0/1) or for ProBandit (0/2).

The Market Examiner: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
ProBandit: Staked 2pts, -2pts.
On The Nose: Staked 1.5pts, +9.5pts.

Wednesday 3rd August: Staked £114, +£106.
August to date: Staked £436, +£97.55, roi 22.37%.
Running total (inc.fees): -£211.25, roi -2.74%.

Tomorrow I will tell you all the winning numbers for the Euro Lottery draw, admittedly not necessarily in the right order. Even I can't be expected to do miracles you know.


  1. Morning TPI,

    I found myself asking the "What am I trying to achieve?" question much more often when I was following a portfolio of tipsters, like yourself. I think it's a lot to do with not being in control of your own destiny. Even with the most well thought through portfolio the losing runs can really get you questioning why you're working so hard for little or no reward.

    I was lucky enough to uncover a few trading edges which I've been relying on for my income ever since. Now my questions are different; "How long can I possibly keep this going?", "Will Betfair exist in 5 years time?", "Will the edges disappear?". They still keep me thinking in broader terms but it's more about what might go wrong than why I'm doing this.

    Going back to your question I think the answer possibly lies in the Chinese proverb: The journey is the reward. Oh, and the day Joey Barton gets quotes published we should all be worried.

  2. Nice post. My comments below are in the context of being a regular winning punter (small or large).

    I think its important if you are treating your gambling seriously to have some sort of medium or long term goal for yourself. For a small few going professional would be the ultimate goal and with Betfair (concerns re premium charges noted), a decent bankroll, a stable of decent tipsters or systems that is much more a possibility than ever before. For most that is a goal that is either not realistic or even desirable. I’m not sure the solitary lifestyle is good for most people and the financial uncertainty is a factor too easily glossed over before taking the leap.

    A more realistic goal for the punter in a consistent winning groove over a long enough time period might be to work part time. For me for a long time this has been a goal of mine. I would like (and indeed for mental stability would need) a security blanket of some sort of regular employment especially in the current climate. The work I do I could do a half day albeit unlikely to be able generate ½ my current salary. I would however forego a certain level of income if I could be relatively certain that I could generate enough from my punting to bring my overall earnings up to say 75% to 80% of my current level of income. The loss of income would for me be more than offset by the increased freedom to do something I enjoy. It would also make getting back into employment full time in the event of a punting meltdown much more easily manageable. Last September I actually thought by the end of this year (2011) that I might be in a position to achieve this but for various reasons (self inflicted and otherwise) I took an absolute 6 month pounding and am now rebuilding. Realistically I have put myself back a year if not 18 months in this quest but it is still a goal for me and one I am pursuing vigorously.

    For other winning punters not interested in going full time or part time I think a decent goal is to provide a regular secondary income for either “treats” or to supplement their income. A good piece of advice given to me was that if you are not building your bank (or have built it to a level that your stakes are comfortable with) that you should pay yourself a “salary”. I’ve used money in the past to amongst other things – repair the roof of the house, take an extra few days holidays with the family, upgrade my laptops etc. The satisfaction to be able to do this without dipping into salary and savings was immense and is tangible reward for the hard work put in and lets face it there is a serious amount of effort involved here.

    I think goal setting is needed in punting just like anything else – this means financial goals and personal goals.

    Banaz (SBC)

  3. I actually gambled for a living back in 2002. It was soul-destroying. In essence you're moving money around for the sake of hopefully turning it into more money. There is no contribution to society and the stress it puts on you when you're trying to pay the bills off the proceeds can be awful.

    I see it as an intellectual exercise. It's an attempt to predict the future in a small way and to have proof that you are able to analyse and predict certain events in a way that others have not yet thought about.

    We all want to make a pile of cash, but for me that's just a way to keep score.

    Keep it up, keep going, and don't get too deep!

  4. all i can say is it's a lonely life and very stressful. good luck

  5. Hi All,

    Firstly, thankyou for taking the time and trouble to post in detail. Some fascinating thoughts and insights there.

    Mark - you have confirmed something in my own mind that needed to be confirmed. More of that to follow.

    Banaz - reading your comment I found myself constantly nodding in agreement. I think we have a lot in common and again I want to explore this further in some proper posts which I'll probably have to do early next week.

    Paul R. - I'd be interested to know if you followed tipsters or your own selections when you went pro. It's stressful either way, but not sure on a personal level if I could avoid the stress effecting my decision-making were I backing my own horses/football teams etc. At least by following others, you just have to follow orders, although that can be hard enough to do at times!

    Oh, and I'll try to avoid getting too deep. :)

    Thanks again chaps. Much appreciated.


  6. Hey Rooster,

    I think you summed it all up in one sentence. A bit more succinct than me! :)