Monday, 30 April 2012

A strange old month.

Well, another month over. It's been a strange one, really. The first steps taken to change the fundamental strategy that underpins the portfolio means that April 2012 may be regarded as something of a marker in months and years to come. Having said that, it hasn't felt much like a momentous month. Turnover was down (staking just under £8k) as you would expect with placing fewer racing bets and some of the football tipsters treading warily as the season nears it's end. An roi of 10.4% achieved is solid enough without being spectacular, not that I'm complaining about that, you understand.

A big tip of the hat to Wayne at Northern Monkey for producing a fantastic +23pt profit month. It was also nice to see a solid few weeks from Football Elite. Nothing ground breaking or remarkable, but after the good run in March and with the antepost bets looking good for a decent pay out, a solid April should mean a decent season overall for Matt.

The introduction of Summer of Football to the portfolio has made life a little more interesting. In terms of turnover, I've staked more on this than any other individual service, but that's good. One of the reasons I was attracted to the service in the first place is that it will provide some churn during the quieter summer months. For a service with a 50%+ strike rate, it's been quite a volatile ride, not least over the weekend just gone. In fact, at one point it seems that the service's worse ever run of results was reached (on Saturday, I believe), before yesterday's phenomenal recovery that saw seven positive results from nine selections! Anyway, small profit on the month overall.

Part of my research these last couple of weeks has been around the Strike Zone away bets. I know Stewboss is looking at this himself and I'm looking forward to reading his findings over the summer, but at this stage I think I'll be following the away bets next season utilising the asian handicaps. I'm hoping there will be a couple more bets this season, as I want to back them (to small stakes), making sure I'm choosing the right handicap line, seeing whether the lines change through weight of money, etc. Of course I'll be recording these under May's results as you would expect.

I'm also trialling a new football service this month. I don't want to name it as yet, and things may not work out. I'm not checking performance; it has demonstrated a long term edge of 12%+. It's the practicalities I need to be satisfied by - odds movements, timings of bet release, etc. I'm putting all the things I've learnt from the SBC into practice here. Wish me luck! I'll report back on this at the end of May.

Finally in this rather bitty post...Skeeve left a comment on Friday's post with an email address ( should anyone want a copy of his end of season analysis that I was talking about. It really is worth a read, just to see how an experienced, highly successful tipster goes about trying to improve the service he offers. I know what I'd do, for the sake of a quick email.

By the way, I feel I should mention Skeeve and Graeme Dand (The Football Analyst) who between them have been incredibly helpful over the last few weeks. I don't think they've realised just what a help they've been in providing me with a clarity of purpose and ideas as to how I can achieve what I want to achieve. It's not been a case of sitting down and saying right, this is what I suggest. More a case of various emails being swopped (and Skeeve's Mail - a new element to his service that I've mentioned before) that have contained information that provided some real food for thought and new angles that I never knew existed. Fellas...thank you. I owe you one.

Right then, from tomorrow, I shall do my best to bow to the whims of the baying masses (well, the three or four of you anyway!) who have asked for more regular updates as to performance. It means a lot of posts will amount to not much more than a couple of sentences. For that, I'm sure most will be grateful.


Friday, 27 April 2012

What's Pep got that I haven't!?!

So, Pep's left Barcelona, eh? I've long admired him. Humble in victory, gracious in defeat and incredibly successful to boot. Anyone who says that with managing the likes of Messi, Xavi, and Iniesta his was an easy job knows nothing of football. I heard an incredible stat this morning; that of the seventeen trophies that Barcelona could have won under Guardiola, they actually won thirteen! No matter how skilled the players, to maintain the level and consistency of form and performance over a four year period to win over 72% of your matches is a phenomenal achievement.

I know all about Pep's problems. You see, there are an awful lot of similarities between the two of us and from my experience of managing Alderley Edge U9s this season, I am only too aware that conducting your work in a dazzling glare of publicity, having what you say and do analysed forensically by a rabid local media and demanding parents, well, it's not easy I can tell you. What you lot don't see are the man-management skills necessary. My star player (who happens to be my lad) is prone to strops and getting the best out of him out on the pitch every week can be a nightmare. Only the other night he stomped off, just because I wouldn't let him watch the second half of Madrid/Bayern as it was a school night. Let me tell you, dealing with big players with big egos is a thankless task. Pep would back me up on that I'm sure, because he knows. He knows what's involved with managaing a big club. He knows, and I know. We're peas in a pod, I tell you.

I mentioned the other day that there was a lot of work going at the moment in terms of planning for next season. It seems I'm not the only one beavering away, reviewing and planning.

Skeeve sent through the season's review of his main picks this week. Now as far as I'm concerned, Skeeve has to be regarded as the Grandaddy of football tipping services. Over the course of six seasons and over 1,000 bets, to maintain an roi of 14% is a heck of an achievement. What has really impressed me though, is that Skeeve is obviously not resting on any laurels. He continues to analyse his performance, to hone his methodologies, and whilst being careful not to mess about with something that isn't broken, he is not afraid of making changes that he feels will have a positive affect on his performance long term. I know from the review that there are some changes afoot in the set up of his service, geared towards meeting the demands of his clients. I don't know if Skeeve would be prepared to do this, but if anyone who is not a member would like an example of an established and proven service looking at how it can improve itself and conducting some incisive self-analysis, then I'd email him and ask for a copy of his end of season review.

Another deep thinker is Graeme, The Football Analyst. I know last summer Graeme conducted some serious analysis into his system methodolgies, made some tweaks, and reaped the rewards this season with outstanding results. I also know that this summer he is going to be busy exploring new angles and scrutinising new markets (plus launch a spanking new website). Stewboss at Football Investor is also looking at how he can help members maximise their returns and I'm looking forward to hearing from him what plans he has in the pipeline.

We've already seen On The Oche reinvent themselves. Looking at the more recent selections from Football Elite, it seems that Matt too is working on subtle changes that will allow followers to benefit further from his expertise.

All this activity and self-analysis amongst the tipsters is great to see. I don't know about you, but it gives me great confidence. Can't wait for next season now!

One last thing. I've had a few people ask me if I could get back to giving a more or less daily update on performance of the services followed. Now I think you all know by now that I'm an obliging sort, so yes. Why not? Doesn't take too long to write a few sentences. Can't promise every day, but most should be doable. I'll try to to simplify the way of recording the results too - no more 0.15pts for The Sportsman, for example. Give me a couple of days to sort that out and I'll stick up the daily results again. Perhaps 1st May would be a good starting point.

Now, where's Pep's number? Thought I might ask him if he fancies a job swap. Me at Barca, him at Alderley Edge U9s - everyone's a winner!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Not a lot going on...

...and that says it all.

I'm not shirking my blogging responsibilities. Honest.

No. It's simply that there is not a lot to blog about at present. There is a lot going on behind the scenes though. Ideas being formulated, strategies being identified and if I'm quite honest, I'm excited by it all. I'm beginning to see a direction in which the portfolio can move. A future that provides potential for growth and which will not be restricted by a lack of willingness within the High Street bookmaking fraternity to lay a bet.

So don't worry if posts are few and far between for a little while. It will get busy again soon enough. I'm sure of that.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Galloping Moose!

Galloping Moose was a name I attributed to my best mate's first girlfriend. Seriously, she was no looker. This Galloping Moose refers to something quite different though...

My racing star service for 2011 was On The Nose. Cheap and profitable. A nice combination.

2012 hasn't been quite so kind for OTN though. 'The Judge' - the tipster - is a very talented chap, and nothing has happened to make me have even the slightest concern about the service, form being temporary and class permanent and all that. Just recently, I've felt that all OTN has needed is a touch of luck. The tip given two days ago looked to still be going like a dream after three miles of a 3m6f race at Exeter, when seemingly going wrong and being pulled up sharply. Yesterday's tip was going nicely at Cheltenham too, when it looked like something similar happened. Like I say, a bit of good fortune needed.

Today's tip from OTN was running at Cheltenham (Mad Moose - 7/1), advised to win. With about a mile to go, I scribbled down 'Lost' in my notebook as it badly blundered the tenth fence, and I reached for the remote to find the 3.35 at Newmarket on my Sky Plus recording. Not sure what stopped me, but I hesitated and decided to watch the rest of the race.

These are the race comments from

"held up in rear, not fluent 2nd, blundered 10th, not fluent 11th, mistake 13th, 16 lengths 5th when not fluent 4 out, went 3rd after 3 out, closed from 2 out, 10 lengths down last, stayed on to catch weary rivals and lead towards finish."

To my eyes, ten lengths down at the last looked nearer to twenty, but the way Mad Moose motored up the Cheltenham hill was quite something. Couldn't quite believe it when it hit the front, and I certainly don't remember seeing a horse with my money on it winning from such an unlikely position before.

Lovely to see OTN back in the winners enclosure. Nothing lucky about the performance (and indeed I think the jockey - Sam Twiston-Davies - deserves a huge shout out for persevering when many I'm sure, would have given up), but hopefully this result signifies a general change in fortune for The Judge.

After recovering my composure after such excitement, I'm pleased that I did watch the 3.35 at Newmarket. Northern Monkey had issued a 0.5pt ew tip (Mayson - 7/1) which won very impressively, more or less as it liked.

By the way, re. Northern Monkey and the way I'm following. I've decided, after realising that it only takes one or two big priced winners amongst the bets staked 0.25pt ew to cancel out the discrepancy in results with the larger staked bets, to follow the lesser staked bets that are at double figure odds. Should avoid much hair tearing and the wailing and nashing of molars when Wayne bangs in a 66/1 shot at the weekend. Makes sense to me.

So all in all, not such a shabby day all told. Not so shabby at all.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

What a plonker!

Sometimes, I can be a right pratt, too quick to take the moral high ground. Helen tells me it happens quite a lot, but that she has learnt not to bother to argue with me on the occasions that I show what must be a very irritating trait.

There's a chap at Centrebet who must have formed a very low opinion of me, and to be completely fair, is fully justified in doing so. Most of you will be aware I'm sure, that Centrebet have recently been acquired by Sportingbet. Not a great move for us punters that, eh? Gone is a BOG bookie who took most bets to be replaced by some no mark excuse for a bookmaker that doesn't. Anyway (before I start ranting and raving again), Centrebet customers were advised a little while ago to withdraw the balances from their accounts.

So I tried to do just that. Problem was, the bank card I had used to make my initial deposit had expired. I emailed Centrebet customer services, who told me to provide my bank details - ie. account number and sort code - and they would ensure the funds were paid in.

A week later, no sign of the money. Another email exchange assured me the transaction has been processed and the arrival of the funds into my account must therefore be imminent. Another week passed and still no sign. Another email exchange. Another few days...was the money in my account? No, it was not. So now I'm getting stroppy, threatening to go to the authorities (whoever they may be), publicise my poor experiences (what would that matter to a company that shortly won't exist?), and generally acting like a right grumpy old git.

This morning's response from Australia asked if they may confirm my bank details. The account number had a digit wrong - a five instead of a nine. That was it. I wrote what must have been the most condescending, snotty email it is possible to write, belittling their procedures and questioning their integrity.

The email I received in return read:

"Dear Mr. Day,

Thankyou for your observations.

In our defence, I do feel it necessary to point out that the bank account number is the one that you provided us with in your original correspondence...."

I shan't type out the rest. It was very polite. Centrebet are being most understanding as after all, it was "an easy mistake to make". Their words, not mine.

Still, like Mr. Uppity in the Mr. Men books, I've learnt my lesson.

This evening, I went to make a small withdrawal from my Ladbrokes account. Again I was presented with the issue of needing to update my bank card details. However, I was advised by Ladbrokes via email that to update my details, I needed to withdraw the total balance of my account. What? How can I do that? I can't withdraw to an old bank card, can I? If I could, I wouldn't need to update my card details!

I started writing a stroppy email. And then stopped. And pondered, before picking up the telephone to ring customer services.

They were rather helpful. Sorted my issue out quickly and easily, and ten minutes later, I was able make my withdrawal.

Today it seems, two bookmakers have made me a better man. I don't like to think too deeply about what that says about me.

Something else I've done today. Learnt the definition of the word, "Stochastic". That too has made me a better man, and I'm hoping a better gambler too in the months to come. We shall return to this theme shortly.

And on that tantalising note, I'm off. My bed awaits.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Top, top, tipping!

As you know, I never write a blog post the same evening as Arsenal are playing, but today's tip from Northern Monkey deserved a special mention.

Bearing in mind Wayne's most frequently used stake is 0.25pts each way, he went big on Sugar Beet in the 5.00 at Windsor (1pt ew). Advised at 18s (of which I was able to get nearly half of my stake on with the other 55% at 16s), it scooted in.

Very well done, Wayne.

Henrik - I take it you were on that one. :)

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Catch up.

Anyone on Neptune Collonges, then? I was, but only after the race had finished and I was looking at the Racing Post, examining it's form.

Now I appreciate that having just watched the race run it is a little easier to pick the winner. Sure it is. But, NC finished in the frame in the Cheltenham Gold Cup a little while ago. And it had just run a cracking trial race at Haydock when a close second to Giles Cross. And apparently it was joint second on the Timeform ratings. And - and this is the clincher for me - it was a grey. Now, no grey has won it for about 1,012 years, so let's face it, we were due a grey winner. It's all so obvious when I put it like this, isn't it?

Yeah, you see. I put it like that and you're all slapping your forehead with the palm of you hands going, "Doh!". Still, don't be too hard on yourselves. No-one has quite the post race insight that I can give. It's a level of talent not many can boast.

Been quiet in here. Been busy, that's the problem. Bloody work getting in the way again.

The truth of it is though, that I've been doing a heck of a lot of work ("behind the scenes" if we want to sound all mysterious about it) into setting myself up for next season's football betting. I know, I know, this season hasn't finished yet, but as you will have read previously on this blog, the emphasis of my portfolio has changed/is changing. On a serious note, I actually think I can make huge strides forward over the next twelve months and put my betting on a different level to the one it is on at the moment. The only reason for this is that - as we've discussed until we're blue in the face - our beloved BOG bookmakers don't play fair. I don't mind bowling into the wind for a spell, but when the wind has the strength of a hurricane and in fact is whipped up by the forces of hell and not only blows hard but throws John Terry's soiled and festering knackers into your face as you approach the crease, bowling just becomes plain tiresome. Believe me, I've been there.

It was actually having an email discussion with Skeeve that opened my eyes to what can be achieved if playing in a sport in which one can; a. get bets on, and b. raise stakes as you grow. Seriously, it sounds like a brave and bright new world out there. JT's streaked Y-fronts do not play a part. And that prospect alone makes me all happy inside.

So anyway, cutting a long story mercifully short, I've been running tests, analysing results, experimenting with different staking plans to see how season 2011/12 would have fared had I been actually following some of my ideas. I've also been promised some expert help on running my football betting portfolio by an expert on that sort of thing and whose brain works in an entirely different way to mine (more efficiently, for a start) and who is therefore able to point things out for me to consider that I would otherwise never have pondered upon. I'm hoping to talk much more about this on here, but it won't be for a little while just yet.

So, exciting times ahead.

One last thing. A contributor to this blog in days past was a fine chap called Andy, who to be quite honest with you tends to talk a lot more sense than me (which is why I obviously posted up the comments he made as proper blog posts). Anyway, Andy has for a while now been working on developing his own systems for playing the horses and I believe he's had a heck of a lot of success. He's proofing them in the SBC forum and has developed his own site ( so non-SBC members needn't feel like the kid who was always picked last in the playgorund and then never allowed out of goal. So if you're reading, Tony O'Reilly, of St.Wilfrid's CoE Junior School, Northenden, 1977-1982 - you can follow too. I've added a link to the right. Have a look - pretty impressive stuff.

I'll be back over the next couple of days or so I'm sure, at least with a bit of a round-up as to how the actual betting has been going. For those of you who simply can't handle that sort of anticipation (and I imagine those of you that fall into that category must run into thousands), it can be neatly summed up as horses poor, football good. Until yesterday. Then it was horses poor, football poor. Pfft.

Over and out.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Sometimes, all you can do is laugh.

So in my last post I explain how, with an eye to reducing the number of bets I need place on the horses and thus reduce the pressure on my bookmaker accounts, I have had to take certain measures. One of these measures is to only back those selections from Northern Monkey that have an outlay of at least 0.75 points. The decision was made for all the right reasons. Wayne had on a couple of occasions pointed out the better roi that would have been achieved had this policy been followed from the start of his service.

So having been a member of Northern Monkey since January 2011, this week I change my policy and ignore the 0.25pt ew bets. Today, Wayne rather spectacularly picked out a 12/1 winning double. How was it staked? Yep, you guessed it. 0.25 points each way.

After kicking an imaginary cat, I've now calmed down a little and rationalised everything. Firstly, I'm really chuffed for Wayne as this double brings to an end a bit of a sticky patch he'd endured. Secondly, my decision only represents a mistake if I suddenly revert back to the way I previously followed the selections and now start backing the 0.25pt each way bets again, just because I've missed a nice win. Consistency is key, and my decision was made after a rational analysis of three years worth of results. Nothing has changed. Yes, I need to keep an eye on things, and if over the next six months we see that I have missed out on a considerable amount of profit, then I will have a decision to make. But that decision is not for now.

The other notable thing that's occured is connected to The Sportsman Racing service. Yesterday was supposed to be a new start. A day to day life of fewer horse racing bets.

In this context, you can't help but giggle at Scott's opening paragraph to yesterday's email...

One main account selection and four horse-racing bets. I've decided to throw caution to the wind on the racing bets. Last April gathered the racing site an awful lot of profit and although the flat season has not started too well and there's a worry regarding the ground turning too soft there's a small window for these bets and it's time to take the risk.

Scott is right. If you look at the results last April they were quite outstanding and obviously Scott believes that this is a time of year that will allow him to cash in. A nice profit today with two winners found (Alive And Kicking - Catterick - 100/30 and Boucher Garcon - Catterick - 9/4), but thigs weren't so good yesterday. Three losers, which is fine, but the first bet I placed turned out not to be an account bet after all. Trouble is, I found that out too late. So instead of dropping 1.5 points yesterday, I dropped two.

My luck's not been in over the last couple of days, has it?

Just one other thing to note. May I just say thankyou to Jason of HCE (see link to right). He's kindly featured this blog on their pop-up website. Much appreciated.

Monday, 9 April 2012

My hand is forced.

A few posts ago I wrote that if I found my bookmaker restrictions becoming harder to get around, then I would have to reduce my betting turnover on horses sooner than is ideal. The original plan was to allow subscription periods to expire and then not rejoin the relevant service, thus phasing out some services over a smooth transitional period. However, I'm now finding it harder and harder to get bets on, and after this morning's experience, I feel that I am left with little choice other than to act now.

I must say that I have been taken a little by surprise by the speed at which the bookmakers have collectively made life tougher over the last couple of weeks or so. As recently as six or seven weeks ago I was finding myself sailing along quite merrily in terms of getting on. Now I'm finding it really difficult. Boylesports (I know, I know) restricted me this morning, the first time with this account. To be fair to this ill-reputed Irish bookmaking firm, this account has been fully operative for seven months now and there hasn't previously been even a hint of a restriction.

I need to tread very carefully though, because I really do not want to give up on betting on horses completely. I have gone into the reasons for this in previous posts and so readers will know that it is with an eye on the future that I now feel compelled to act and so ease the immediate pressure on my accounts. The hope is that by doing so, I will extend the life of these accounts which in turn will allow me to have a portfolio that has at least a reasonable part made up of horse racing services.

In the meantime I will continue to search for longer term solutions. The Market Examiner is utilising BetButler and after one or two teething problems it appears to be settling down into being a potentially useful service. The mindset has to change so that BOG is no longer an expectation, and it must also be accepted that the best price in the market will not always be secured. I will also need to overcome my naturally cautious nature when it comes to trusting such an organisation with my money. I'm sure they are completely trustworthy, but the only way my confidence will increase is by there being a longer period of time where they are producing the goods. I'm certainly not there yet.

Other bookmaking avenues will be explored that will take into consideration those companies that claim to be old-fashioned, personalised - almost bespoke - bookmakers, perhaps operating on credit terms. The disadvantages are that such firms tend not to operate online so bets must be telephoned in which isn't always practical, but every possible way to get a bet on will be examined and assessed.

Perhaps I should just give up work so that I can set up proxy servers and utilise pseudo accounts. Or perhaps not.

Another decision that I've had to make is to ditch 4PA, which bearing in mind I only renewed my membership last month, is a real pain in the 'arris. The difficulties in getting on is the predominant reason, but the fact that today's second - Out Now - produced a small profit on the day to officially recorded prices and yet I'm showing a half point loss due to being able to secure just 16/1 (25/1 was the official price) tells me really that it has become a service that is not right for my circumstances. It's a shame. I've made great money with it in the past. But to carry on as I am doing is just kidding myself that I can make it work. Don't be at all surprised to see it have a marvellous Aintree though!

So tomorrow, in some ways, seems to be like a new start. I am leaving my staking levels as they are until the end of the season with the various football services followed. Ramping up the staking levels at this stage makes little sense. Over the summer though, I will be implementing changes in this respect, all ready to go when the new season starts in August.

I shall try to post later this week but I can't guarantee it. I've simply got a lot on but I'm also anticipating a fairly quiet time of it over the next couple of days anyway, at least until Aintree starts. Mind you, with no 4PA, and with concentrating only on the more heavily staked Northern Monkey selections, even that might be quiet. I suppose this will be the way of things now. Better get used to it.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

What would you do?

Shropshire is a beautiful county, of that there is no doubt. I took the kids out for a stomp yesterday afternoon. Wellies on, hoods up against the soft, grey blanket of mizzle rolling down from the Welsh Marches, strolling along the river. Flashes of electric blue as Kingfishers flit from branch to overhanging branch, brilliant against the dark water. Wild deer disturbed from their grazing, clambering up wooded banks, startled. Wild garlic growing among the nettles, free to pick. And best of all, not another person spotted in the two hours we were out.

Bollocks to it!

It's all very well this solitude, this scenery. But could I get my Live Scores app to work? No, I flaming well couldn't. Perhaps it wasn't a bad thing, but it meant I was completely in the dark as to how the footie was going.

As it happens, it was going very nicely, a last minute winner for Kidderminster meaning that it was one from one for The Football Analyst 7/22, a winning single for Skeeve, and part of a winning double too to add to the profits in what was an all-round top weekend for the non-league maestro. Big goal, and scored in the 91st minute at that.

The Sportsman landed their Over 2.5 goals bet, Strike Zone's one home bet won, and the Summer of Football found two winners from four to add to their two winners on Friday night (from two bets). One winner from two bets today too, so a good weekend for the new boys.

Finally, Football Elite, whose new policy of seeking draw cover paid off as both selections on Saturday drew.

The Form Analyst: Staked 1pt, +1.8pts.
Skeeve: Staked 15pts, +11.75pts.
Summer Of Football: Staked 7pts, +3.76pts.
The Sportsman: Staked 0.15pts, +0.085pts.
Strike Zone (homes): Staked 1pt, +1.02pts.
Football Elite: Staked 2pts, +/-.

That's the good news. Now the bad news that is racing.

The poor run on the horses that started at the back end of last month has very much carried on into the beginning of this. Nothing unusual of course, but putting on the bets over the weekend has created a real dilemma, and to be quite honest, I really don't know how I'm going to play it. Let me explain.

I resubscribed to 4PA last month, just prior to Bet365 restricting my account and Paddy Power tightening their restrictions. Yesterday, they tipped Fantasy Gladiator at Kempton (advised price: 14/1, which was "generally available"). I had Bestbetting odds comparison site open as the tip came through. The best price available was 10/1, so I waited until 8.30 when some of the bookies provide a window during which they push out the prices to what they were before being backed in (or at least mentioned as the Pricewise horses).

At 8.30, I was ready to get a half point each way and a half point on the win on Fantasy Gladiator. This is what I had to do to get this money on, a total outlay of just £45...

£2ew 16/1 Paddy Power
£7.50ew 16/1 Boylesports
£5.50ew 14/1 Hills
£10 12/1 Coral
£5 10/1 Betinternet


So what do I do? I really don't want to be going to this level of hassle to get on the 4PA bets, but I have five months of subs remaining.

There is likely to be a 4PA bet in the Irish National tomorrow. Later this week, Aintree will start and that will surely be three busy days for the service.

What would you do?

4PA: Staked 2pts, -2pts.
On The Nose: Staked 6pts, -4.391pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 1.25pts, -0.469pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 4pts, -4pts.
The Sportsman Racing: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.4pts, +0.02pts.

One last thing. I was in the coffee shop at the Assembly Rooms in Ludlow yesterday for 8.00. I left at just after midday. I drank five coffees, each costing £2.15. It was quite pleasant sitting there, I must admit. I don't get much chance these days to read the papers and I was able to do just that, nicely chilled. But...BT Openzone = £5 for 24 hours internet connection. Think I might do that next time. :)

Thursday, 5 April 2012


You know as you get older you come to accept that there are things in life that you just don't get. Things that you are just no good at. I tried putting air into my tyres yesterday. They ended up flatter than they were when I started, which I'm pretty sure isn't supposed to be the way of it. Still, I have over the years mastered the art of at least looking like I know what I'm doing, and I'm sure the young lady sitting behind the counter at the Shell station in Wilmslow was pretty impressed as I swaggered off the forecourt, jumped into my car and drove off with severely flat tyres. I wonder if she recognised the car when half an hour later my wife returned to do the job properly?

Matthew left a comment the other day:

"Hi Rowan, I am in a very similar boat, and coming quickly to the same conclusions. My list of bookies gone is almost identical except Will Hill now has me very restricted on horses as well. This and Bet 365 were the killers for me.
The turning point for me in terms of horse racing tipsters was equine investments turnover. Towards the end of a very profitable years subs, the prices were gone in seconds and the new package of pay as you win did not appeal based on a perceived inability to get the prices. This to me is a twofold problem, firstly the price pressure from a successful tipster and secondly having to place bets in dribs and drabs due to my restrictions.
With this in mind I am trying to go through a process of concentrating on big meetings and weekends, although 4PA is a bugger to get on, especially with pricewise's current godlike status.
To me other sports have to be the way, and finding ways of replicating the bigger price winners. Golf has been quite successful but the 4 day duration can be quite taxing! Cricket also with top batsmen bets has been quite profitable too.
I am very reluctant to lose the racing, both from a diversity and profitability angle but also for the enjoyment factor. Both the buzz of the sport and those big winners in such a short period of time (compared to football match or golf tournament) is hard to replicate.
But there are pluses, I think my day will be easier as tips come at more convenient times and don't seem to have the same time pressure as those issued on the horses.
Sorry to write such a long first post, I have silently been reading your excellent blog for over a year now, but could contain myself no longer as we seem to be reaching similar conclusions.
All the best with whatever decisions you make."

I know exactly what Matthew means about the buzz you get from betting on racing. I know the "professional" stance taken by the "serious" punter is that the emotional state should stay constant. Avoid getting too depressed at the downs or too elated at the highs, and all that. Well I'm sorry, but I'm not having that. I enjoy horse racing as a sport, and I enjoy it even more when I have a bet on it, and I call anyone a liar who claims that they look on completely dispassionately when they see a horse they've backed antepost at 10/1 to good stakes come to the front jumping the last at Cheltenham and storm up the hill to win by a neck. Either a liar or an emotional vacuum who is likely to have issues in the bedroom!

This is why my inability to continue to bet on the horses in the long term is such a pain. I love watching good racing whether I have a financial interest in it or not. Horse racing can be a great sport. I hugely admire jockeys. Their bravery, strength and will to win is, on occasion, awe inspiring. I deny anybody with an appreciation of sport to watch a competitive race at Cheltenham and not be stirred. The participants in the racing game are not, on the whole, carrying huge egos and although those at the top end of the sport are paid fairly generously, you always feel that they do what they do first and foremost for the love of the game. Now stick the financial aspect as a result of having a bet into this already potent mix, and you've got something special. That is why I'm peed off with what's happening with the bookmakers at the moment. And no, I'm not forgetting the mid-winter meetings at Wolverhampton where the cards are full of races attracting horses with minimal talent, some of which we back and do our dough. I'm not suggesting that we don't get incredibly frustrated by losing runs that are an inevitable part of gambling on the outcome of horse races, very few of which have the glamour of being a part of Cheltenham, Royal Ascot, or some other top meeting. But if we had caviar every day, we'd get bored of it. The wet Wednesdays at Southwell make the electric big race days when the cream of the sport compete that much more energizing. It is in this context that the prospect of Cheltenham 2013, with very few bets being placed, is one that makes me sad. Sure, I'll still enjoy the sport and marvel at the participants, both human and equine. But something will be missing. Thankyou Mr Chandler, Mr Done, Mr Bet365 and your smarmy publicity reps who smile into the Channel 4 cameras at every available opportunity, laying claim to being the punters' friend. Always happy to lay a bet. Thankyou, kind Sirs. Thanks a million.

Today's Betting

Winning Racing Tips came close to a successful each way double, finding a winner at 3s, but the first leg finishing second. No success today for The Market Examiner (0/1), On The Nose (0/1) or Chasemaster (0/2).

The Market Examiner: Staked 2pts, -2pts.
On The Nose: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.4pts, +0.064pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.25pts, -0.25pts.

Month to Date

Northern Monkey: Staked 0.75pts, -0.75pts, roi -100%
4PA: Staked 2pts, -2pts, roi -100%
Chasemaster: Staked 1.25pts, -0.723pts, roi -57.87%
WRT: Staked 1.7pts, -1.236pts, roi -72.7%
The Sportsman Racing: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts, roi -100%
On The Nose: Staked 1pt, -1pt, roi -100%
The Market Examiner: Staked 5pts, +1.532pts, roi 30.64%

TFA 7/22:
Football Elite: Staked 2pts, +2.355pts, roi 117.75%
The Sportsman:
On The Oche:
Strike Zone (h): Staked 4pts, +1.775pts, roi 44.38%
Summer Of Football: Staked 2pts, -0.06pts, roi -3%

I'm off down to Shropshire tomorrow to see the cronies. So, with little by way of internet connection (and I'm not going to some cafe at night for the sake of this poxy blog!), there'll be no post until Monday evening. Have a great long weekend folks. Fingers crossed it's a profitable one.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

A shift in attitude.

Flamin' 'eck! Where did that come from? I was in t-shirt and shorts mowing the lawn on Sunday. Wake up this morning to great big fluffy snowflakes coming tumbling out of the sky!

I mentioned yesterday that I'd post a few thoughts on how I feel that my mindset is going to have to alter a little with a portfolio that had more weighting towards football betting and less on horse racing.

I ran a theoretical "What if" exercise over the weekend. That is, trying to get an accurate impression of how I might feel when following my future portfolio.

Doing this is simple. It is simply a case of logging all bets for each service over the last six months and seeing what the ups and downs were if staking to intended levels. Doing this is a real eye opener and is an exercise I would recommend to anyone before actually enlisting with a tipping service. It's all very well seeing that a service has an overall roi of 20%+, but if you're not prepared for the levels of volatility that might be associated with the service, it can be a recipe for disaster. It's a mistake I made more than once when I first started following tipsters.

I'm glad I took the time to do this exercise. December was a bad month for many of the football tipsters, and with having a much larger £/point value with football, the losing run that occurred would have meant my losing far more in terms of hard cash than I have ever previously done. In terms of percentages of banks, then it was nothing out of the ordinary, but how would I have felt losing £3-4k? Not great obviously, but at least next season, when such a losing spell is sure to be repeated, I'll be ready for it. I think.

You can see from the above though, that mentally, a slight shift in outlook is needed. It was noticeable that for much of the period I recorded the results as they happened on a daily basis, a little was lost or a little gained - at times it felt as if progress was very slow. But when things went well, profits mounted very quickly in terms of money in the bank, and when things went badly, money was lost at a rate which would have been a completely new experience to me. It was also noticeable that on the busier days, I was laying out a lot more hard cash than I'm used to too, which would probably take a little getting used to. Still, I have all summer to get myself prepared mentally.

Matthew left an interesting comment after yesterday's post. He is experiencing exactly the same problems as I am with regards account restrictions, and feels a very similar way to myself about the whole thing. More on that tomorrow.

Today's Betting

The Market Examiner found a winner today (Earcomesthedream - Hereford) upon which odds of 9.22/1 were secured via BetButler. However, a rather brutal Rule 4 applied which reduced the return to 5.532/1. A nice tip nonetheless.

No success today for The Sportsman Racing (0/1) or Chasemaster (0/1).

The Market Examiner: Staked 2pts, +4.532pts.
The Sportsman Racing: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.125pts, -0.125pts.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Looking forward.

Right. As promised, today's post is all about the future; what I'm aiming for and how I intend to get to where I want to go.

First, a summary of exactly where I'm at right now.

My portfolio is currently split evenly between services that specialise in horse racing and services that have an expertise in sports betting, predominantly football.

As far as placing bets on horses is concerned, I long ago waved goodbye to accounts with Victor Chandler, Skybet, Stan James/Corbetts, 888/Bluesquare, and Corals. I am restricted by Paddy Power and those restrictions are getting tighter and as you know, Bet365 recently imposed restrictions that to all intents and purposes render the account dead. Ladbrokes have restricted one bet thus far, although everything I have asked for since then has been accommodated.

The bookmakers that so far have left me alone and have taken every bet that I have asked for are BetInternet, Hills, and Totesport. I also have accounts with BetFred and Boylesport (in my wife's name) that have remained viable for a surprisingly long period of time, but I'm not holding my breath on these holding out too much longer.

Now compare this situation to that which I face when putting a bet on a football match. I have accounts with Pinnacle, SBO Bet, 188bet, and 12bet, all of which impose a maximum stake that is way way above my requirements and who all have a reputation for not closing accounts or imposing effective restrictions (although I have heard one or two rumours that 188bet may not be quite so pliable). There are also the likes of Bwin, Expekt, Gamebookers, BetChronicle and most of the high street bookmakers who so far, have allowed me to place what I want on football matches.

So it doesn't take a genius to work out what I need to do. I need to engineer my portfolio so that I significantly reduce the number of horse racing bets I place and increase the number of football bets struck, or at the very least work out a way whereby I can increase my staking levels on sports bets.

This situation is far from ideal. Any portfolio needs diversity to be fundamentally sound. It is possible to diversify within the one sport though, and this is something that I am going to be concentrating on as my portfolio changes shape and structure.

Unfortunately, I am having to say goodbye to some of my racing services. The plan is to continue to follow all bets provided by any one service until the date my subs expire. However with an eye on the future, this may not be possible. If one more bookmaker makes it impossible for me to place a sensible bet on the nags with them (and by sensible I mean £20-40), I will simply stop following certain services, regardless of the fact that my subs haven't expired.

Why is this? Well, I do still want to follow three racing services for some considerable time, just so that there is at least a measure of diversity within my portfolio in terms of the sport engaged in. I have identified the three and they have been chosen essentially on grounds of practicality. I should be left with three services that place the minimum strain possible on my surviving BOG bookmaker accounts. Hopefully I will be in a position where I'm only placing an average of three racing bets each week with any one bookmaker. But, and it's an important but, to be able to do this, I am going to need around five viable accounts, and this is why I will have to sacrifice following tips from memberships that haven't expired if another bookie lets me down. Let's hope this doesn't happen and that the transition taking place can be done smoothly over a period of months.

One last thing to mention on the point of horse racing gambling. From the beginning of this month, I am only following the tips issued by Northern Monkey that have at least 0.75pts wagered on them. Wayne's analysis that covered the lifetime of his service has shown that this is where the profit lies. The smaller bets provide turnover and to an extent smooths out the ride, but such considerations are now a luxury I can't afford. Fewer bets and a (hopefully) increased roi is the way for me to go now.

Now this is all well and good, but is only half the equation. What about expanding the football/sports side of the portolfio?

Well, I've already taken steps in that direction. The SBC recently reviewed a service called Summer Of Football which despite the name, does issue tips all year round. Now in an ideal world, I would wait a while (probably at least another six months), just watching and observing how the service goes. But this is not an ideal world and needs must. So, having taken up the offer of a week's free trial to gain a feel for the service, I have now joined properly. My only concession to the fact that this is a relatively unproven service is that I am staking at half the levels I am doing on the likes of Skeeve and Football Elite, and will review staking in August when next season's football betting starts in earnest.

Through a bit of research and talking to people in the football tipping world, there are also a couple of more obscure services that I'm currently watching closely too. I have no need to go rushing in there with these just yet, but I am hopeful that over time there are a couple of potential additions to the portfolio.

What mustn't be overlooked too, of course, is how I can squeeze extra out of my existing services. Top of this list and a definite addition next season will be the Skeeve shortlist picks. They have proven to be profitable this season and the only decision that needs to be made here is over staking. I might just let myself be guided by the great man himself in this respect.

I'm looking closely at the Strike Zone away bets, and I know Graeme at The Football Analyst is working on a few things (when isn't he?!?) that may provide additional angles that can be utilised.

So there we have it. The future. There are consequences to what I am doing. A subtly different mindset for one. But this post is in danger of becoming a rambling waffle, so I'll keep thoughts on this until tomorrow.

Today's Betting

Disappointing day today.

Chasemaster got a couple to place from three selections. No joy at all for On The Nose (0/1), or Winning Racing Tips (0/1).

On The Nose: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.75pts, -0.223pts.

Month to Date

Northern Monkey: Staked 0.75pts, -0.75pts, roi -100%
4PA: Staked 2pts, -2pts, roi -100%
Chasemaster: Staked 0.875pts, -0.348pts, roi -39.81%
WRT: Staked 1.3pts, -1.3pts, roi -100%
The Sportsman Racing:
On The Nose: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts, roi -100%
The Market Examiner: Staked 1pt, -1pt, roi -100%

TFA 7/22:
Football Elite: Staked 2pts, +2.355pts, roi 117.75%
The Sportsman:
On The Oche:
Strike Zone (h): Staked 4pts, +1.775pts, roi 44.38%
Summer Of Football: Staked 2pts, -0.06pts, roi -3%

Monday, 2 April 2012

Day at the Seaside.

Here are the final figures for March...

Northern Monkey: Staked 32.5pts, -10.86pts, roi -33.41%
4PA: Staked 49.5pts, -7.437pts, roi -15.02%
Chasemaster: Staked 10.125pts, +1.232pts, roi 12.16%
WRT: Staked 13pts, +3.741pts, roi 28.77%
The Sportsman Racing: Staked 5.75pts, +0.863pts, roi 15.01%
On The Nose: Staked 29.25pts, -1pts, roi -3.41%
The Market Examiner: Staked 46pts, -10.245pts, roi -22.27%
Total roi on racing: -1.55%

TFA 7/22: Staked 15pts, +7.325pts, roi 48.83%
Skeeve: Staked 70pts, +4.541pts, roi 6.48%
Football Elite: Staked 14pts, +4.445pts, roi 31.75%
The Sportsman: Staked 0.8pts, +0.242pts, roi 30.33%
On The Oche: Staked 4pts, -1.75pts, roi -43.75%
Strike Zone (h): Staked 13pts, -3.5pts, -26.92%
Total roi on sports betting: +13%

I don't want to go into too much detailed analysis, a simple regurgitation of the facts. Wouldn't be right though if I didn't point out the superlative returns generated by The Football Analyst System 7/22, or the splendid month that Football Elite produced after what had been a difficult period. The Sportsman continues to provide superb value for money when you consider that The Sportsman Racing tips are free to subscribers of the sports service.

March has been a profitable month overall, my total roi a shade over 5%. I remember that the first quarter of 2011 was similarly underwhelming. The monthly roi for March is actually consistent with that of 2012 to date - enough to be making a profit but nothing earth shattering. Damn sight better than losing hand over fist though.

Now, as my last post (last Thursday) suggested, I've been thinking very long and very hard about the future. I now have concrete plans and it's a good job I do, because over the weekend it has become apparent that I may need to start acting on my plans a little sooner than I had anticipated (and indeed, hoped). What happened over the weekend? Well, for the first time, Ladbrokes restricted one of my bets (admittedly just one of five, but still), and the restrictions that Paddy Power have forced me to work within for a while now were made that little bit tighter. The noose around my betting neck is tightening. I need to act before I'm left hanging.

Today's Betting

The school my wife works at was open today. The school my children go to wasn't. So I took the day off and thought it'd be nice to go to the seaside. Never one to let poor weather stand in the way of a good time, we packed a picnic and several layers of clothes. Whilst on the beach, having a whale of a time, today's bets started coming through. You know my kids couldn't care less about gambling (although my nine year old boy is starting to take an interest - he seems to see it as a way to boost his pocket money!) and there we were, collecting shells, chasing each other in and out of the freezing water and generally having a ball. I thought a bit of perspective was needed. A bit of prioritisation. Bugger the bets, it's not fair on the kids. Let's take a day off from the gambling and just enjoy ourselves.

So you know what happens, don't you? I miss a nice winner from Chasemaster. Still, we get home at about 3.50pm, so I thought I'd put the WRT bet in the 4.00 on, and also the remaining Chasemaster bet in the 5.30 - which both lose.

Still, I'd like to think I got my priorities right. Days like these with the children are so, so precious.

But I can tell you this. They're not going to happen again. No bloody way! Those damned kids can forget about ever going out and having fun again. I missed a winner and they have to pay, dammit!

The Market Examiner: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.8pts, -0.8pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.125pts, -0.125pts.