Thursday, 31 May 2012


You know, writing this stuff about full time gambling this week has really got the old grey matter working. When you start scratching at the surface of the subject a little, you soon realise that there's an awful lot involved in making such a move. A huge amount to think about.

I think the one myth that is very easy to dismiss is the notion that somehow professional gambling is an "easy life". Stick your bets on, count the winnings. Nothing could be further from the truth. I work hard at my gambling now, whilst it is still just a supplement to my main source of income. I try and be as professional as possible without being neurotic about it all. I appreciate the need to secure the best odds possible on each bet and I'm aware that we're working to pretty tight margins, so everything that can be done to maximise that margin should and must be done, within reason. I understand the importance of keeping bookmaker accounts viable for as long as possible and the compromises that sometimes brings. And I have researched, analysed, tapped up others for insight and finally identified a way forward without having to worry quite so much that my betting is going to come to a grinding halt any day now, simply because I can't get a bet on.

The methodologies I follow and the principles of professionalism that I try to bring to the way I gamble would, I hope, make the actual, physical transition into betting for a living a pretty smooth one to make. Anon, in the comments section, forwarded the very sensible viewpoint that professional gambling was no different to any other type of job in the sense that it is something that you get better at over time and with practice. When I think back over the three years that I have been gambling "properly", I cringe at some of the crass mistakes I used to make. And you know something? I still make mistakes, it's just that they tend not to be quite so basic nowadays.

Looking at running my portfolio this context, I see these last three years as amounting to an apprenticeship served. I've completed the YTS scheme (do they still do those?) and am ready to jump into the grown up world and make my way. That is, in terms of the hands-on physical running of the betting portfolio. But there's so much more to the equation than that, isn't there? The actual doing is really only half the battle.

The other half is all in the head. Alan, as is his wont, made a very valid point a couple of days ago in a very succinct manner. He said:

Isn t it amazing how being in profit changes your thinking.
Would you have been asking yourself the same question at this time last year? No. last year the question was, "is this all worth it"

And he's right. Things have gone pretty well on the profit and loss front since last Autumn (although I seem to remember December being a bit sticky). There was a weekend two or three months back that proved so frustrating that I let my pent-up, gloomy thoughts loose on the blog, but generally speaking, things have been going ok. If they hadn't, would I have even raised the subject of betting full time? No.

What I would say though is that I have a keener sense of direction now with my portfolio; a definite strategy, and that helps enormously. Cutting back the number of horse racing bets (through necessity, I might add) has helped massively with the mental side of things. I feel a lot more comfortable with my portfolio now, and that is probably bourne out of the shorter losing runs suffered when betting predominantly on shorter priced football selections. So I would suggest to anyone considering going full time and relying on tipster services, they really do need to mould their portfolio into a shape that fits their psychological profile as snugly as it possibly can. It also makes me realise that I am not much of a gambler, which is kind of ironic, don't you think? I don't like gambling. I do enjoy investing and the challenges it brings, and am prepared to take a risk when doing so. But to be honest, I believe that if I were betting full time, I would feel, no, would know, that what I was doing was running a business. A small one admittedly, but a business nevertheless. Strange that that outlook doesn't provoke the feelings of fear when considering the risks involved as does simply saying simply, "I'm going to gamble for my living".

The final point I want to consider is that of putting your financial security into the hands of others...of relying on the expertise of others to make money compared to finding and exploiting your own edge to exploit. Ian, in the Comments sections said:

I guess things are very different now to what they were 13 years ago when I gave up work. Plus things are very difft running a site which provides an income and relying on my own info for betting. Therein lies the crux - relying on other people would make things extremely difficult

Ian's rationale behind his assertion was that putting your fate into the hands of others leads quite naturally to feelings of angst and frustration when things go badly. Far better, he feels, to find your own way and rely on your own resources. I can see where Ian is coming from, I really can. It all depends I suppose, how much faith you have in the tipsters you're following. But placing this to one side, I would suggest that being able to generate a level of income to add to that generated by the use of third party tipsters would be the ideal scenario?

My vision, my ambition, is to manoeuvre myself into such a position. I have neglected my trading for a little while for various reasons, but it is not something that I have forgotten about. Far from it. The trouble I have of course is that the time I can dedicate to trading is minimal. That of course, wouldn't be the case were I gambling/trading for a living. It would take me time to get to the point where I could come to rely on my trading as a consistent source of income; it would represent another apprenticeship to serve. But, a situation whereby I'm generating a decent income from both gambling and trading does not seem to me to be an impossible dream. In fact, it sounds like a plan.

Today's Betting

Great end to the month for The Market Examiner, following yesterday's winner with a grand one today (Autarch - Brighton - 10/1). Northern Monkey found a nice one to place and provide a very small profit from two selections (Weapon Of Choice - Sandown - 14/1). Finally, no success with a small each way double for Winning Racing Tips.

And that brings an end to another month. Not been too shabby, although not as successful as had appeared possible a couple of weeks ago. I'm off on holiday now for a week so there will be no blog until I return and no monthly review until then. Bottom line though...just over £7k staked and a profit running at a shade over 9%. Not going to complain.

Finally, a big thanks to everyone who contributed this week. Very much appreciated.

See you all later. :)

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Practical considerations.

Get yourself a cuppa or pour yourself a glass of wine and settle in. It's a long one.

I was delighted to have two comments left under yesterday's post, each by folk who are in a particularly strong position to comment on the subject of going pro for reasons that you will read within the posts. The first is from Mark of Tradinghorses...

I've had the benefit of experiencing a big corporate job, followed by 2 years of professional 'gambling', followed by a return this year to a corporate role, so I feel pretty well qualified on the subject!

One element of betting/trading that I overlooked was the self-employment aspect. No paid holidays, no sick pay, no bonus, no company pension contribution, no car, no annual pay award and so on. For anyone used to running their own business the step into professional gambling would surely have less impact, but for me I hadn't fully appreciated just how much I took for granted in the corporate job.

More significant was the amount of time that I spent thinking about my trading when I wasn't supposed to be working. I managed to get myself into a pretty decent position in terms of monthly income and I had every reason to forget the trading until racing started each day, but it was never that simple. I mentioned in my blog the other day that professional betting/trading can become all-consuming. It's so easy to get completely absorbed in the job to such an extent that you don't enjoy your 'free' time as much as you would expect. Some days would be losing ones. I didn't have the mental strength to be able to switch off from a poor day's trading and enjoy the next morning on the golf course before work. I found myself spending some mornings analysing what went wrong and what I needed to do to fix it. Other mornings I would find myself researching new angles with a view to spreading my risk. I've just enjoyed a fantastic week's holiday with the family and have hardly thought about work at all.

A further consideration for anybody contemplating the move is whether they can cope with the loneliness factor. Having worked with large teams of people for most of my career I found myself really struggling with feeling isolated from the world after a few months. This got progressively worse (as did the CV incidentally). Now, having been back in a social working environment for a few months, I know that trading alone in a home-based office will never suit me as well as being out and about. Yes I am no longer my own boss, but with that comes a degree of security that I didn't have whilst trading. You make the point that in today's economic environment every job has its risks, and that's true to an extent, but for me the balance tips in favour of not being solely dependant on myself for my living as long as I can make that last. I now have the support of a large corporation when things are not going so well, and I have my colleagues to have a laugh with along the way.

All of which leads to me to conclude that being self-employed in any business wouldn't suit me as well as being part of a company. This is only a personal view and we're all different of course. One final point I would make is that I don't agree with the comment made yesterday about having to find your own methods to become a true professional. Whilst I did find my own methods, you are still a professional in my view if your main source of income comes from betting/trading, whether you're following tipsters or not.

Then, we have a chap whose name I don't know but who has contributed a couple of times now to the blog, and brings with him a particularly clear insight...

Hi Rowan,

Interesting thoughts.
I became a fulltimegambler 1-1-2011 and still am a fulltimegambler.
I enjoy it very much but I agree with Mark that it can be a bit lonely, and the decisions you have to make on your own, you can never ask someone's opinion because there are no people who you work with together.
A solutions is (what I did) it to find an other gambler(s) to share experiences... I email every day to an other gambler and that helps a lot must say! Sharing experiences is great and discussing a problem with someone else helps me also! A blog is good also, but you never know who is going to read it and with an email you know who is reading it!
Mentally for sure it is tough, especially these bad losings are tough to handle.
That is the hard part, the good part is the amount of freedom of course, to be your own boss and fill in the workinghours as you like, I really like that part!
I usually work between 9.00 -18.00 , after that I stop working, turn my PC off and forget about betting and for some reason that works, when I watch TV for instance I do not think of betting at all, in the beginning I could not do that really but now this is going okay. Just make sure you have some distraction(s)!
For me I have no regrets in trying to become a fulltimegambler... I still do not know if I am good enough or mentally strong enough, time will tell! But being a fulltimegambler takes time, probably a few years to be really good, for sure I am not there yet!

I am following systems developed by other people, but I do not think that is a big disadvantage...
These systems consists of a set of rules, I do not mind that someone else invented these systems.
Making your own systems is a very hard nut to crack, you need very good knowledge of the sports and even than... you are completely independent of course but it is so difficult.

I think the questions you have to ask yourself:
What risk do I really take? If you would quit your job is it possible to go back to your old job if it does not work out, in other words how easy is it to find a job again if things do not work out?
Do I have enough money to survive a certain period (at least one year, preferable three years) without salary in other words what are the financial consequences?
The longer the period you can survive without salary the less stresss you will have...
When I started I could survive three years without salary, that makes it a lot easier, less stressfull than 1 year for example, you get nervous pretty soon!
Maybe you could send SBC an email and ask them about their opinion?

I guess the most important part is to be realistic with your (financial) expectations...

With levels of prescience that the Oracle of Delphi could only aspire to, Mark and Anon have touched nicely upon points that I had always intended to address in today's post - what practical elements do we need to consider before making the jump from salaried employment to professional betting?

There is no doubt that the "fringe" benefits of salaried employment would be missed, not least a regular contribution to the pension pot. Contrary to the impression you may get from some of the ramblings you often get from me on this blog, I do still possess my marbles, and am physically and mentally capable of placing my bets, recording my results, analysing my performance and executing all the other necessary gambling related tasks. Can I guarantee that I could when I'm 70 though? No. I can't. More to the point, would I want to be relying on day to day gambling or trading and the natural stresses that go with them when I'm that age? No, I wouldn't. So immediately we can see that we must look above and beyond simply existing on a day by day basis; that the revenue we generate must allow for forward financial planning that will provide sufficiently for when we get to the stage of life when we are incapable or unwilling to lead the life of a professional gambler.

Other benefits associated with working for a company will fall by the wayside too. Private health insurance possibly, paid holidays definitely. Increases in basic salary to counter the effects of inflation. Car allowances/company cars? What happens if we get seriously ill? I guess the Missus could take over (certainly she's capable) but it is far from ideal with no sickness coverage. All these things must be accounted for and planned for in the sense of ensuring that we can pay for adequate cover. I'm not an insurance junkie, but I can see it's worth in certain areas of life.

Funnily enough, I think all of the things I've mentioned so far can be covered with adequate and realistic planning (allied to appropriate shifts in lifestyle). It's Mark's point about how professional betting/trading can easily become all consuming that really chimes the warning bell, for on a personal level, I can easily see this happening. Which would be silly, for if a part of going pro' is to bring about a change in lifestyle, then you would want the new lifestyle to be as you had hoped. Otherwise, what would be the point? You know, this is where I would rely on family. I think at the beginning they would need to impress upon me the need to turn off, to remind me what it was we were trying to achieve together. It wouldn't be easy. In fact, this would be one of the hardest aspects for me personally to deal with in the change.

Contrary to Mark and Anon's thoughts (they are obviously both nicer blokes than I am :) ), I would find "loneliness" not even registering on my personal "to be concerned about" radar. I'm an unsociable git! If I didn't have family, I'd spend my holidays on the most remote of Scottish islands. All I'd need is a good stock of books, cases of wine, food and firewood. Ah, bliss! Seriously though, the idea of a remote rural existence appeals - just me, the wife and the kids. I've online friends (and that's not the sort of online friend who calls herself Cindi and who spends most of her time scampily clad in front of a camera in her spare room) and a good mate since childhood, but other than that, I tend to have acquaintances rather than proper friends. I get on very well with my work colleagues but the relationship there is different. When you work with the same six people for at least ten years and as many as sixteen, the relationships you forge are more akin to siblings than workmates. They can visit! All that said, I do like Anon's idea of communicating regularly with fellow professional gamblers - I can see that helping deal with the stress. But this blog isn't supposed to be about me - Mark's/Anon's point is a valid one, and one most would need to consider long and hard before leaving the 9-5 workplace. Me? Nah.

Finally, the last practicality we must be assured of is the ability on an ongoing basis to get our bets on. This of course is a subject that has had a great deal of coverage in this blog. The ability to strike bets is also the central motivator behind my forced move away from such exposure to horse racing and increasing my exposure to sports/football betting. I wouldn't want to put all my financial eggs into the one Asian bookmaker basket though, and back up plans would be necessary to counter what would otherwise be a catastrophic event should Pinnacle or the like go out of business or decide that Betfred was the business model to copy. There's not the room here to go into all of this again. Suffice to say, before going pro', you'd need to be as sure as you can be that you're physically going to be able to get your money down.

Last installment on this subject tomorrow, I think, before I disappear on holiday. So if anyone has any more thoughts, now's the time to get them over. :)

Today's Betting

It sure has been an up, down and up again month for The Market Examiner. Started off very well, desparate losing run, and now the winners are coming again. Amongst today's three selections lay a very nice winner (Landaman - Beverley - 13/2).

Not much happening elsewhere. The Winning Racing Tips bet came second for a very small loss, and no luck for Northern Monkey (0/1). The Summer Of Football bet last night in Brazil was a loser.

Northern Monkey: Staked 0.75pts, -0.75pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 1.2pts, -0.05pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 3pts, +4.5pts.

Summer Of Football: Staked 1pt, -1pt.

By the way, I've typed this post whilst listening to Radio 5's special programme on Hansie Cronje. Absolutely fascinating, and follows on from another great production I listened to the other night on the best ever pieces of football commentary. Radio, and the BBC at it's very best. If you get the chance to listen on the BBC website, do so. You won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Psychology - can we control it's impact and effects?

First off, thankyou to the posters who left comments under yesterday's posts. Worth a read if you haven't done so already. Some interesting issues/suggestions raised.

Right, I think I need to make one thing very clear after yesterday's post. I am NOT thinking of jacking my job in to go full time punting. As things stand at the moment, even if I wanted to I couldn't, for reasons that will become apparent later in this post.

What prompted me to blog on the subject of going pro' was a comment I made last week about putting myself in the position where I could if I chose to. Getting myself into a position where I have the choice is going to take time. It will mean a) making profits; that b) can be ploughed straight back into the betting operation. 'B' could be tricky, as the income generated by my betting does come in more than handy with coping with the costs of everyday life.

The point I was really trying to make yesterday was that with job security becoming something to be enjoyed only by a privileged few, taking the risk of jumping into full time betting may not be the leap it once was. The risk part of the risk:reward ratio aligned to such a move has and is decreasing. People giving up a salaried job are perhaps not giving up as much as they once were, for not only are there decreasing levels of job security, but the ability to save adequately for retirement - even if salaried - is becoming more and more compromised.

Having said all that, there surely remains a huge psychological gap to jump if giving up the monthly pay cheque in favour of relying on the outcome of football matches and the ability of certain horses to run fast for one's financial wellbeing. I would also suggest that if we are to go betting full time to allow more time to be spent with the kids, etc., then spending all waking hours stressing about bets and losing runs might just take the edge off it all! There'd be no point in changing lifestyle if you still couldn't enjoy it, would there?

If we analyse the sources of stress when gambling, what do we find? Is it possible to identify specific sources of gambling-related stress and then do something about them to facilitate a life of gambling largely (but not entirely, I'm sure) devoid of the causes of stomach ulcers and tension headaches?

Possibly, is my answer. To my mind, and I speak entirely subjectively here, if you have a number of services that you have faith in, and you have a bankroll of sufficient size, plus funds in the bank that you can call on to act as a buffer to the inevitable losing spells to draw upon to maintain your standard of living for a decent period of time (perhaps two years?), then the stress would possibly be soothed. I can't imagine it would disappear entirely, but rather hang around, lurking just beneath the surface, ready to cause havoc given half a chance.

I'd wager (heh!) that the most common cause of gambling-stress is trying to achieve too much with too little funding. A betting bank of insufficient size or over-leveraging, perhaps. If I were going full time, I would forget about leveraging. I leverage my betting funds at the moment. But were I gambling for a living, the sense of security I would get from not leveraging at all would probably provide a rather snug comfort blanket. It would make little financial sense and would mean that looking at things entirely objectively, some funds were being under-utilised, but what I might lose from not maximising the impact/power my betting bank might hold would be countered by the psychological benefits. Possibly as confidence grew from making a success out of things, then an element of leveraging could be introduced. But as the biggest part of the battle, initially at least, is a psychological one, would this not make sense?

So, there's my solution, and therefore ultimate win enough to get to the point where there are a couple of year's living expenses in the bank and separate betting funds sufficient to not feel obliged to apply leverage. Getting to that point might be dependant to an extent upon profit-making, but let's not forget that I was talking about changing lifestyle. I guess people in my situation could gain a significant, if not the total sum of necessary funds from the process of "downsizing" that would be an inevitable (and desirable) part of the whole process.

I know from experience what it is like setting up a new business. Although the company I work for is not my company (err, obviously), I was one of two members present in the office on Day 1, the other being the owner. I was 24, had just six months' experience gained at a "big" company, had just taken out my first mortgage two months' previously, and my wife (girlfriend as she was then) had just quit her deadend job to start upon a "proper" career role. It was high pressure, but it was an opportunity. Would changing to gambling for a living, with funds behind you that were sizeable if not bottomless, really involve more pressure than that scenario sixteen years ago? Does it provide a real opportunity? Of course, all these questions are rhetorical, as I've not done it. There may be a few readers who have made the jump who are laughing their socks off reading this "shit", thinking I don't have a clue. And who would I be to argue with them?

I'm aware that what I'm writing here is only from my own personal viewpoint. Others may have bigger concerns and sources of psychological pressure when it comes to gambling. The point remains though - can these sources of pressure be dealt with sufficiently to make professional betting a realistic career-option, and one that is no more stressful (when we think about it) than the sort of salaried position that most endure?

Tomorrow, the practicalities.

Today's Betting

Not much by way of returns today. The Sportsman Racing had an each way selection come in second (Raleigh Quay - Ripon - 100/30 and 7/2) for a small loss. No success today for Winning Racing Tips (0/1) or The Market Examiner (0/3).

Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.3pts, -0.3pts.
The Sportsman Racing: Staked 0.5pts, -0.079pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 3pts, -3pts.

Summer Of Football have a bet tonight in the Brazilian second division (never thought I'd see the day when I was playing in that league!) but as it doesn't kick off until 11.30, you're going to have to forgive me if I don't report back on that one until tomorrow.

Make the most of the evening sun. Looking at the forecast, it could be the last we have for a while. Probably until next summer in fact.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Deep and meaningful.

My oldest and closest friend and I were having a long chat on Saturday. As two 40 year olds, each with young children and each in a job they've been doing for fifteen years, the conversation was always likely to turn all deep and meaningful as some sort of explanation (justification?) was sought for the lives we lead.

Modern life is quite tough really, isn't it? Job security is largely a thing of the past. Gone are the days that a university education almost guaranteed a natural entry into a profession, within which would lie a career path that could be mapped out with a fair amount of accuracy from the off. Retirement would be reached forty years later as the individual hit sixty, and it would be a comfortable one, eked out of the years of national insurance contributions allied to the extra put away into personal savings of some form or other.

I get to my place of work at 8.00 am. I leave it at 5.30-6.00. Not the longest of working days really, and certainly 15 years ago when I was a bright eyed, bushy tailed go-getter (*cough*) I was doing longer hours. But that said, that's a heck of a large proportion of my life spent working. And for what? Well, it pays the mortgage, and my children's school fees, and a week away each year (before school fees, that would be three weeks - the sacrifices we make!). What it doesn't do is guarantee a decent, comfortable old age free of financial concerns. I put away what I would guess is more than the average into my pension each month, but the annual statement makes for depressing reading. The likelihood is that I will be lucky if I can retire at 60, and if I can, my annuity will not be that impressive.

The daily commute is one that I have done every working day since 1996. I sit amongst fellow commuters at the traffic lights, and looking at my fellow drivers, rarely see a happy face behind the wheel.

I'm an expert at what I do, and on the face of it, am relatively well paid. I get on very well with my six colleagues, all of which I have known for a minimum ten years. We have a laugh. It could be worse.

But it could be better, too. I spend a lot of time stressing over the future of the small company for which I work, which is undoubtedly suffering from the effects of the recession and has done since 2008. I worry about beng able to provide for my family, the stress that my wife comes under doing a job she really doesn't enjoy.

In my line of work I often see honest, hard working folk in their fifties who have worked for established, big corporate companies for twenty years or so, before being forced into redundancy. They then find it impossible to get back into work because they are seen as not having as much to offer, and are more expensive to employ, than the younger, up and comers that they are competing with in the job market.

Does all this sound familiar? I'm sure it does to many - I think I'm typical of millions of working people. It's life. But - and here's the thing - I can't help thinking that I could well get to 70 years of age, look back, and think, "What the hell was I doing?". Why am I doing the same thing every day, just to keep the lifestyle that is easy to grow comfortable with, but comfortable only in the sense that it's "safe". What example was I setting to my kids, who went the traditional route and now find themselves trapped in a job they may not enjoy doing with a mortgage to pay and bills to meet? Was it worth the stress?

Well it is, if there is no viable alternative. Of course, finding an alternative is the thing a lot easier said than done. Now, this being a gambling blog, I'm sure you can guess the next gambling a realistic option?

Up until fairly recently, I would have said not. Now, I'm not so sure. The biggest obstacle most people put up to the idea of gambling for a living is that the sheer insecurity of it all renders it a daft option for someone in a full time, "proper" job. Really? In this day and age of mass redundancy? In these times where lots of companies, both large and small, are looking to take as many measures as possible to minimise costs (despite many of them, especially the bigger corporates, sitting on massive cash reserves).

I don't accept the "you can't gamble for a living because it is too inherently risky" argument any more. No pun intended, but to my mind, that is a redundant argument. There is very little/no security in this day and age. For some, yes, they may be fortunate to be entitled to feel pretty secure in their place of work. For many though, such a position would be a luxury.

I'm hoping to dig deeper into this subject throughout the week, at the end of which I'm buggering off on holiday for a few days. All this isn't leading up to an announcement that I'm quitting the day job and am punting full time. I'm not. But what I do want to do is set out the arguments for and against, see how preparation and adequate setting up of funds might make it a more viable option; how income generated would need to provide for the future, and not just for the here and now, and how that could be achieved; and what differences would gambling full time make fundamentally to lifestyle, for better and worse?

This may be a shot in the dark, but I know there are a couple of blog readers who have gone "professional". I would love the input of people who have done so and would be prepared to say why they did, what difficulties they've had to overcome, how they've adjusted and ultimately if they feel it was worth doing. It would make fascinating reading. If someone would like to contribute but not "formally" to be published verbatim on the blog, they could always leave a comment which I won't publish, asking for my email address. I've no issue in putting things into my own words based on what they email to me.

Perhaps no-one will respond to this invitation, which is fair enough. Would be great if they did though. :)

Today's Betting

A good day for The Market Examiner, making just one selection which won at a very nice price Act Your Shoe Size - Windsor - 7/1. No such luck for Northern Monkey (0/1), or Winning Racing Tips (0/1).

Two bets from Summer of Football, one of which returned half the stake.

Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.4pts, -0.4pts.
Northern Monkey: Staked 2pts, -2pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 1pt, +7pts.

Summer Of Football: Staked 2pts, -1.75pts.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Sunday's Results

Northern Monkey: Staked 1.5pts, -1.5pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 1pt, -1pt.

Summer of Football: Staked 3pts, +0.88pts.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Saturday's Results

The Market Examiner: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
The Sportsman Racing: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
Northern Monkey: Staked 2.5pts, -1.25pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 1.3pts, +1.866pts.

Summer Of Football: Staked 1pt, -1pt.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Staying within the Elite of Football betting services.

Reading the recently released SBC end of football season review this week, it was noticeable that Matt of Football Elite described his season as having been a solid one, rather than spectacular. I know what he means, but really, when you take a step back and look dispassionately at 2011/12 now - which is easier to do now it is finished - I think he's actually understating his performance somewhat.

To my mind, a nigh on 15% roi is pretty spectacular over any season's football betting activity. Just think about it for a second. 15%. That's pretty darned decent, isn't it? Anything above 10% is not too shabby in my book, so for 15% to be "solid"...well, it's the kind of solidity I like!

There is no doubt that FE's final figures owed much to the success of the antepost bets struck before the season started, but I've heard some make reference to this in terms that although not critical, do seem to be a little disparaging. An attitude that, yeah, 15% ain't bad, but you know if it weren't for those antepost bets....

I don't get that. Were those bets not struck? Did Matt not advise them as official selections? Historically, FE's antepost bets have performed strongly and they are both a valuable and integral part of the FE package. To look upon those bets as anything other than this is plainly wrong. If all Matt's match bets throughout a season simply broke even (which wasn't the case, by the way - they constituted around half of the total profit made), but then his antepost bets made significant profit (ie. provided an overall roi of 15%), then so what? In the final reckoning, I've made 15% roi. End of.

Having said all of this, I know what Matt means by "solid". In fact, around January/February time the season felt anything but solid, as performance wasn't exactly exhilerating and this was coming off the back of what had undoubtedly been a disappointing 2010/11 season. Being completely honest, I did pause momentarily when it came to renewing my subs around early spring time. But then a bit of experience kicked in. And thank the Lord Bergkamp it did, for the remaining months of the season saw a return to the form that FE built it's reputation on. A couple of years ago I don't think I'd have renewed. If ever there was an example of the benefits of experience, there it was.

Looking back now, I realise that Football Elite as an individual entity is, by it's nature, extremely vulnerable to the ravages of variance. With around 100 bets per season, there simply isn't enough churn to get variance out of the system, as it were. This is always a risk for low turnover services, and FE is no exception. What we have in FE though is a service that has been profitable for each of the six seasons it's been in existence, returning an overall roi around 16%. That is a very defined edge that Matt has demonstrated, and has demonstrated it within markets that many believe are the most efficiently priced by the bookmakers, the top European leagues.

So where are we with FE? A long-running, successful service, run by a seasoned pro with a sound methodology, making selections in markets which are easy to get big money into.

That'll do for me.

Today's Betting

Northern Monkey got one placed from two. No luck for The Market Examiner (0/2).

And that was it.

The Market Examiner: Staked 2pts, -2pts.
Northern Monkey: Staked 1.5pts, -0.712pts.

Just to say, as usual I won't be posting much up over the weekend. But, what I will do is put the stats for each day's betting. Call me a lazy sod, but I don't enjoy collating each service's weekend performance on the Monday. All gets a bit messy.

Have a great weekend. Time to dust off the barbies.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Fanciful ambition or realistic expectations?

I was banging on yesterday about making sure that I use the summer wisely to ensure that I get my strategy right for the 2012/13 football season. I'm part way there, but there is still a bit of liquidity to my plans and I'm still kicking around a few thoughts in my head. There's no immediate rush of course, as the summer months will provide plenty of time for contemplation.

There are some services that I obviously know already I will continue with, and I have no need to put any thought into them. The whole picture as to who I shall follow is not yet entirely clear though. Strange though it might sound, it is not simply a case of picking what on first impressions appear to be the best services out there. Instead, it is more a case of getting the right services to get me to where I want to get to and then keep me there, and it's not necessarily just the highest roi that will do that.

Yes, roi is a factor, but as (if not more) important is ROC, the number of bets a service has issued and established it's level of performance over, the ability to get money into the markets played by a service, the ability to ramp stakes up on a service's bets over time, and the ability to secure somewhere within 5% of the officially recorded prices but using only the Asian bookmakers (you can see I'm planning for the future!).

What I'm doing is adopting the attitude that I am gambling for my living. I'm not, but the ambition is to develop things to a point whereby I could go full time if I chose to. How long is it likely to take before I get into that position? How long is a piece of string? I honestly have no idea. I don't even know if it's possible at all in practice (it certainly is in theory), but I'm the sort who thrives on having a target and a challenge, so that is what I have set myself. It's a different mindset, and perhaps one impossible to truly replicate without actually being full time, but already I have started thinking differently about things.

Getting back to the original point though, you can perhaps see why I want to take time to really think my decisions through. My football/sports portfolio needs balance between high churn and low churn services and also exposure to summer betting in an effort to ensure that there is at least some potential income to be generated all year around via sports betting. It also needs to consist predominantly of services that have a large sample of proofed bets or have stood the test of time. If you were doing this for your and your family's living, would you be so tempted by that new, very promising but ultimately unproven service? Or would you rather put your fate in the hands of a service such as Skeeve's or Football Elite, each of which have over 1,000 and 500 proofed bets respectively and have each operated over at least five full seasons?

Trouble is, the number of services with 5+ seasons' of proofed high performance are rather few and far between (which rather tells you something, does it not?). So along the way, compromises do need to be made. The trick I feel, is identifying and selecting the right compromises to make. An example of such might be The Football Analyst. A set of results proofed within a publically live environment for two years, but a 15% roi achieved over a sample of 2,000 bets for the established, combined systems. Those sort of figures mean that the "compromise" with TFA, is a very small one indeed.

The word "proofed" is vital here. I can't afford to take the results of backtested systems at face value, as perhaps I might have done previously. Nor can I take a service that has a proofed record over say, 12 months, that is consistent with it's unproofed record over the previous 12 months. If you're gambling as a means to produce non-essential additional disposable income, as I have been doing, then you can afford to take more of a punt on something. If you're gambling to earn your crust...? No, all data upon which decisions are to be made, must be judged over a significant period of time, or be of sufficient size.

There is one more thing to add to all this though. Whatever the analysis carried out, and whatever decisions that logic will dictate, there will always remain a place for gut instinct. I tend to listen to mine, and I've not been let down too badly by it yet.

Today's Betting

Very good day, all told.

There were four selections for Northern Monkey, and three of them reached the frame to provide an each way return. Among them was a very nice winner (Oriental Scot - Haydock - 8/1). The only other service to provide any action on the nags was The Market Examiner, and they too found a decent winner (Winners Wish - Sandown - 5/1).

There was also a nice winner in the MLS overnight from Summer of Football (San Jose DNB - 2.635).

Northern Monkey: Staked 2.75pts, +3.337pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 2pts, +4pts.

Summer Of Football: Staked 1pt, +1.635pts.

Last day of the working week tomorrow, and a sunny weekend to look forward to. Life's not too bad, I suppose.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Forward planning.

Whisper it very quietly, but it does appear that summer has arrived. The sun is out, the birds are singing, and England are building up to yet another massive anticlimax at a major football tournament. Make the most of it mind, for in a month's time the summer equinox will have passed and the nights will be starting to draw in again. Now there's a cheery thought.

Wayne of Northern Monkey didn't have a bet today, but he did send out an email to his subscribers apologising for yesterday's poor showing in the 6.30 at Kempton, in which three points were lost. Great customer service, and it's always good to see that the tipster cares, but I must confess I had just put it down to one of those things. A disappointing race, sure. But I doubt I'll remember it in a week's time; not unless specifically reminded of it.

Now what does my reaction tell me? Well first off I guess, that I have complete faith in Northern Monkey as a service and Wayne as a tipster. I suppose there would come a time when my faith would be tested by an extended losing run with any service, but I've got to say, I do completely believe in the four racing services I'm left following. I can't envisage not making money with each and every one of them in the long term, and I do find it easier now to cope with the losers and the losing runs. It sounds like awfully cliched sales-speak, but I do now feel that each loser is just another step away from the next winner (perhaps I should go into motivational speaking!).

I must say, I feel in a good place with the gambling at the moment. I imagine I'm only a bad losing spell away from that changing, but at this moment in time, in the words of Steve Earle, I feel alright. I'm aware I need to sort out in my own head what I'm going to do with the football next season. Being blunt, this is more important than getting the racing side of the portfolio right, for it is on football that I will be able to increase stakes over time and build the whole operation up. The dynamics of football betting means that there is far greater growth potential than that offered by the nags - in fact I think I'm now at maximum capacity with the horses in terms of being able to get my bets on and still stay - relatively speaking - under the bookies' radar. That's not to say there isn't an ongoing place for betting on horses in the portfolio. There is, and it remains very much a part of my long term plans. There is no escaping the fact though that by this time next year, I will have staked a lot more money on football bets with the Asian bookmakers than I will have with the likes of Ladbrokes and Hills on the horses. So it is imperative that I get my summer decision making and strategy analysis right.

So what are other people's thoughts for their gambling when it comes to next footie season then?

Today's Betting

I believe Dean of On The Nose is taking a holiday for a week or so after today and he very nearly signed off with a heck of a day. With an each way double that had the first selection win at 4/1 (The Lock Master - Southwell) but the second horse finish second at 15/2, and with an 18/1 each way bet run a stormer to finish second (Wake Board - Worcester), we had a profitable day, but not as spectacularly profitable as it could easily have been.

No success for Winning Racing Tips today, nor The Market Examiner.

On The Nose: Staked 1.5pts, +2.375pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 2pts, -2pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.8pts, -0.8pts.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012


An apology. I'm sorry I didn't update last night. I'd like to say that I have a great excuse. Testing an exciting new system/service that looks like it produces a long term edge reflected by a 50% roi figure, or that I'd been invited to next-door-but-one's swingers' party, but alas not. No. What actually happened is that I fell asleep on the sofa watching the telly. When I awoke, I'd found the missus had draped a blanket over me and it was 2.15. I decided not to blog. Weak, I know.

Still, let's look on the bright side. Instead, we have that update today. Yay!

Weekend's Recent Betting

Let's start with the footie.

A busy weekend for Summer of Football. 11 bets, by my reckoning. A poor Saturday was rescued by a decent Sunday and no real damage done at all. The profit for the weekend came courtesy of the on trial Form Lab Lite, who have been on quite an amazing run of form. Now I'm well aware that it's not like this all the time (if only), but a good run of results can't help but stick a positive slant on things whilst you're trying something out. More - much more - on this at a later date.

Racing-wise, things weren't too shabby, either. Saturday was pretty decent with The Sportsman Racing coming up with a winner (Mukhadram - Newmarket - 4/6), Winning Racing Tips pushing on with their fine recent form (Victor Leudorum - Uttoxeter - 7/2), and On The Nose continuing to show signs of rediscovering it's mojo (Mount Athos - Newmarket - 11/2 and 6/1).

Northern Monkey found a winner too (Mince - Newmarket - 7/2), but losers elsewhere meant a small loss on the day for Wayne, and no joy for The Market Examiner.

Pretty quiet and winners notable in their absence over Sunday and Monday.

Today's Betting

Bloody disaster, today. In fact, since everything was going so swimmingly on Saturday, I've not backed a winner on the horses.

So, no returns at all today from On The Nose (0/1), Winning Racing Tips (0/2), Northern Monkey (0/2), or The Market Examiner (0/3).

On The Nose: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
The Market Examiner: Staked 3pts, -3pts.
Northern Monkey: Staked 3pts, -3pts.

OK, I'm off to next-door-but-one's. Want to know why I never got that invitation.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Blogger problems. Normal service resumed soon (I hope)

Am having real problems with Blogger. Will try and get it sorted.

Two ok days yesterday and today.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

"Don't waste your words I don't need anything from you..."

...Stone Roses, I Am The Resurrection.

You know as I was typing my (very) mild mickey-take of Kenny Dalglish last night, the thought did cross my mind that someone might get their knickers in a twist.

They did.


Oh dear,
You are obviously one of "them" who have been conned into thinking that finishing in 3rd or 4th is something to celebrate.

Mind you, Arsenne has you all in his trance.
"look into my eyes supporters, give me a grand a year and dont expect any trophys coz were playing the kids in these poxy english cup competitions. You will be happy having a 3rd place open top bus celebration"

TPI17 May 2012 05:37

Erm...sorry, Mate, but perhaps if you could point me to just one sentence held within the 240 posts this blog has published that makes you draw the conclusion that I think as you suggest...

Mate - get a grip (and a sense of humour). Kenny was an embittered dinosaur who has guided Liverpool to what must be their lowest ebb since being relegated in 1954. Under him, whether LFC fans like it or not, the club has become a laughing stock. In all seriousness, it's sad to see, because they truly are a "great" club in every sense of the word.

Anonymous17 May 2012 09:16

perhaps you should look closer to home before talking about clubs who are a laughing stock. It seems that you must be happy with your 3rd place (Yipee) to criticise another club who have actually won a trophy this year and went to the final in another.
Your club is just a corporate club with no real soul(Highbury Library etc) with a manager whos record couldnt even get close to Kenny Dalglish s.
Perhaps It is time for the King to abdicate but you need to show a little respect to a true great of the game.

Just one point I would like to make before moving on. The "King" didn't "abdicate". He was sacked. Dismissed. Got rid of. Given his marching orders.

For being incompetent.

Now, having had the last word (although no doubt not amongst the 'Comments' section), Blogger seems to be playing up and I want to watch the darts. Betting update tomorrow...

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Best Odds Guaranteed - do we really need it?

This is a topic I've been meaning to write about for a little while now, and I was minded of the subject by an email I received today from Paul Ruffy of Winning Racing Tips. The email was in relation to a system that Paul follows, but the general subject of BOG concessions, or the denial of, has long been a thorny one amongst us punters.

We all know that the bookies often take their ball and piss off home with it as soon as someone has the temerity to show any sign at all that they are not a complete mug. Frequently though, the intermediary stage that we reach prior to having our account severely restricted or closed completely is the withdrawal of the BOG concession. When this happens, most of us throw ourselves with gay abandon into a right old session of wailing and gnashing of teeth. I know I did, and judging by posts within various forums I read, others have done too.

Despite my recent exchange with the Customer Services department of Boylesports, I have resigned myself to the fact that when we engage with the bookmakers, we do so in the knowledge that it is a loaded game that we're playing, and it is the enemy that have things very much in their favour. We know that at some point, they will arbitrarily tells us to sling our BOG hooks, and there is bugger all we can do about it.

What's that quote about having the wisdom to differentiate between what we can control and what we can't and not to expend wasted energy in worrying about the latter? (I've no idea what the actual quote is but you know the one I mean). Well, with that in mind, I've girded my loins, belted my braces, and have decided that a lack of BOG is not worth worrying about. In fact, the new, positive me is telling (trying to convince) myself that if I'm following tipsters whose edge is demonstrated by prices that generally contract from that advised into SP, then over the long term my returns should not be too adversely affected. My new couldn't-give-a-toss attitude also means that I can spread my bets like a hyperactive farmer during muck-spreading season, not worrying too much about whether or not my bet will provide a bigger payout should it drift.

Perhaps I'm paying a reckless disregard to the laws of profitable gambling and in twelve months time I shall see a much reduced roi, and have only myself to blame. We shall see. In the meantime, I ain't going to worry about it.

Now, on to a comment left after yesterday's post extolling the many virtues of The Football Analyst. Here it is:

Hi Rowan,

With much interest I read your thoughts about the Football analyst, I have looked at this system before in the past and it is probably one of the best footballsystems/tippers.
You say you are going to play system 7-22, system 7-22 has 70 bets with a ROI over 27 %.
This is excellent of course, but like you rightly say any system that throws up just 70-100 bets is vulnerable to the whims of variance.

The problem I have with so few bets is that your stake has to be relatively high to make some money. The higher the stake , the more stress, it is not my style of gambling.
I rather prefer to play 1000 bets with a stake of 10 euro than 100 bets with a stake of 100 euro.
At this moment I play a system with about 1000 bets a month, another one with 200 bets a month... the good thing about that is that you do not have to stake high to make some money.

When I start to play a system my targetROI is 5 %, so I would make 3.5 (70 * 0.05) points with TFA 7-22.
The costs for TFA are about 200 euro per season.
So if my stake is 100 euro per bet, my netincome would be (100 euro * 3.5 points) -/- 200 = 150 euro.
That is not worth while, to make it really worth while I probable have to stake 500 (!) euro or higher.... and that is much too stressful to me! Of course I could set my target on 10 % but I think a target of 5 % is more sensible.
The other problem with staking 500 euro that you get restricted by bookmakers sooner than staking 100 euro.

I would rather play system 6-21..... the ROI is lower but the number of bets (500) suit me more, I do not have to stake that high!
With a targetROI of 5% I would make 25 points profit with TFA 6-21.
So I get the same netincome in playing system 6-21 with a stake of 3.5 / 25 = 14 % of system 7-22.
With a stake of 500 euro for 7-22 I could play 6-21 with a stake of 500 * 0.14 = 70 euro!
For that reason I would prefer to play system 6-21, less stressfull, less volatile and less problems with bookmakers. I know the ROI for 6-21 (10 %) is lower than 7-22 (27 %) but I will settle for 5 % so I still have a 50 % margin.
I could also play all the combo systems of course but the volatility increases with multiple bets and.... there are bets which are selected by 6 (!) combosystems so the stake is going to be very high for those multiple bets, 6 times the initial stake!

What are your thoughts on this Rowan? You do not have to say what your stake is but I am interested in your thoughts about this..

OK, where to start?

First things first - the subject of variance I really want to address properly and intend to do so in the not too distant future. This was the reason for the question I asked last Friday about sizes of data samples.

Now, I understand what you're saying here but I think we need to be careful how we analyse things. What you've done with your calculations is assume the same (target) roi for System 6-21 as 7-22, and to my mind that is a false assumption. We can't say that it is better to follow 6-21 than 7-22 simply because 6-21 provides more selections, even if by doing so variance should be less of a factor.

The main point I was making yesterday is that there really is no right or wrong way of following TFA, and therein lies the beauty of it. There really is something for every approach. My strong suggestion is to go to the TFA website and read the section devoted to subscriber feedback. Here you will find about ten different strategies outlined with returns for this season. The link is

My final point though is this: I may increase the number of bets I take from TFA next season, but if I was placing all the System 6-21 bets, I'd soon be a single man! System 7/22 suits my individual needs - it provides an extremely manageable number of bets that minimises the time I spend in front of the laptop, at an extremely high rate of return. It also fits nicely into the rest of my portfolio. This is the reason I stopped following the Football Investor bets this past season and concentrated on Strike Zone - it was not a decision made on an assessment of performance, but simply on the time that I could afford to give as a chap with a wife, two young children, a full time job and a blog to write! Were I gambling for a living, it may well be different and I'd be prepared to increase the number of bets to lessen the potential levels of variance experienced. But I'm not. So I can't. :)

I hope this helps, but please do visit that link to the relevant part of the TFA website. After that, I know a chap who will give you all the advice and insight you could possibly want. He goes by the name of Graeme Dand, The Football Analyst.

Today's Betting

Another decent day to follow yesterday's success. I was so, so pleased for Dean at On The Nose to see the second of his tips today run away from a competitive field in the 1m4f handicap at York today to win hard held, and at mighty fine odds too (Mulaqen - York - 12/1). There's still work to do for OTN to get back into profit this month but this result should give Dean a mighty boost as he seeks a return to the exquisite form that us followers have got used to.

The other winner came from The Sportsman Racing (Kris Cross - Perth - 7/2 to 9/2), a service that has shown admirable patience whilst the country has suffered from shocking weather leading to all sorts of going concerns.

Not such a good day for Northern Monkey (0/4 - although The Cheka caught a place at 10/1) or The Market Examiner (0/2).

Northern Monkey: Staked 4.25pts, -3.416pts.
On The Nose: Staked 2pts, +6.5pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 2pts, -2pts.
The Sportsman Racing: Staked 0.5pts, +1.16pts.

And finally, a quick word for King Kenny, sacked today by Liverpool FC. I for one will miss his cheery post-match persona, his keen eye for a bargain in the transfer market, and the charm and wit that was always to the fore in the many interviews he freely gave as unlike many of his contemporaries, he understood the importance to a big club of a figurehead that was prepared to engage with the masses. Above all though, he should be remembered for his sterling work in ensuring that the valuable top four places were made more readily available to others. Kenny - come back soon!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Any longer term readers of this blog will be well aware that I have been following The Football Analyst since inception. I saw the seeds of an idea sewn, and from those seeds have grown a mighty collection of highly profitable football systems. Bets were proofed for a whole season within a private forum of which I am massively fortunate to be a part, and then system bets were proofed for the entirety of this season on both Graeme Dand's blog and within the Secret Betting Club forum.

Last night, Graeme launched his new website, for next season he is hoping to expand his subscriber base and finally gain some recompense for the endless hours of hard work and diligence that he has invested in developing a tremendously powerful weapon that can be unleashed upon the bookmaker.

Hyperbole? Not really. These are my figures following System 7/22 over the course of Season 2011/12:

Bets: 70
Points staked: 92
Profit: 29.24pts
ROI: 31.78%
ROC: 97.46%

I have read many things about Graeme's systems in varous places and there is some major misconceptions floating about. Too many systems, too many bets, difficult to follow, etc, etc.

Err..too many bets? I placed 70 over the duration of the season.

Erm...too difficult to follow? I've had no problems securing the best odds and spent about five minutes per week placing the bets.

So what of all the other systems available? How do I decide what to follow? What approach will suit me best?

Well, if I know Graeme, a quick email exchange will give you some strong ideas as to how best to move forward. The very beauty of TFA is that whether you want plenty of churn, a few bets each week, happy to accept more volatility for a higher roi or would prefer a smoother ride in exchange for a slightly lower but still extremely good roi, there is something available.

There are 11 established systems, fully proofed. Of those eleven, no less than ten have achieved an roi in excess of 10%. Over the last two seasons proofed results, an overall roi across the eleven systems of greater than 10% has been hit, and that across literally thousands of bets. Eight of the last eight months have been profitable.

It has to be stated that such a high level of performance that I've enjoyed benefitting from this season may not be repeated next. Any system that throws up just 70-100 bets is vulnerable to the whims of variance, and let's face it, to maintain an roi in excess of 30% would be a big ask. But what I would say is that performance could drop by 50% in terms of roi, and it would still be highly profitable. Having said that, I need to put some thought myself into how to play next season. I know Graeme is working on European leagues and looking at utilising the Asian Handicap markets. Put it this way, I will have options.

I sound like I'm plugging the service. And this is a blog, not an advertising board. The thing is, you see, I feel like I have an emotional investment here. I remember talking to Graeme at Aintree a couple of years ago when he first started out on this venture. To see it all get from there to where it is now, launching a brand new website with a couple of seasons' worth of proofed results behind him is highly satisfying. I know the work that has gone into it all - I've seen it. I wish Graeme all the very best with it. And speaking selfishly, I hope to see the profits next season continue to be made hand over fist, as they have done this.

You know, I genuinely think that we currently benefit from what might be termed a "Golden Age" of football tipsters. The Football Analyst is a relatively new service, albeit with two full season's worth (and high number) of proofed results, but we also have proven long-termers who can only be bracketed in the "Superb" category such as Skeeve and Football Elite (I think most know what I think of these services). We have The Sportsman gaining an increasing reputation for excellence. I know too that Football Investor/Strike Zone has had a tough season but looking at the bigger picture, I have a feeling things will come good there too.

Today's Betting

You know sometimes you try things and they feel right. Other times something you look at simply doesn't fit right. It doesn't feel right. It's in the latter category that I would place my trial of not placing Northern Monkey's smaller staked bets. I don't feel comfortable with it. Yes, I know the stats say that my long term roi would be boosted by ignoring them, but you know, if there's one thing I've learnt about gambling is that you need to do what feels right, and this strategy doesn't. No, it's not a big winner that I've missed out on that makes me feel like this. There hasn't been one. It's simply been a case that it just hasn't felt like it was the right thing to do from the start, so why prolong the experiment?

Today for Northern Monkey? One larger bet (Diamond Blue - Beverley - 7/2 and 100/30) that placed for a small loss.

Now, Winning Racing Tips. What a fantastic performance today! Two doubles, four winners...(Billy Merriott - Hereford and Adiynara - Wincanton) and (Dutch Supreme - Kempton and Cape Express - Southwell)!!! As someone pointed out to me this evening, probably the best single day's return from the service that I (or he) has ever seen, and both of us are long term members. Well done, Paul.

Finally, no success today for The Market Examiner (0/4).

Northern Monkey: Staked 1.5pts, -0.245pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 4pts, -4pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 1pt, +5.852pts.

Monday, 14 May 2012


Well that was an exciting finish to the Premier league season, wasn't it? If Kieran Gibbs hadn't thrown himself heroically in the way of whichever West Brom player it was who was about to equalise in the last minute, well, I shudder to think. People tell me there were equally as exciting things happening at other grounds but I'm not sure what they're on about to be honest and struggle to believe that it could be so.

A weekend round-up then...

Horse Racing

Northern Monkey had three selections on Saturday, none of which ran well enough to provide a return. On The Nose's recent travails continue, dropping another 2.5 points from five selections. Dean sounds like he's really struggling at the moment, not enjoying the breaks and enduring the sort of spell that all successful tipsters have to put up with before coming good again. Come good again he will though, of that there is no doubt. Stick another half a furlong onto the race that Tony Star (Haydock) ran in on Saturday, and On The Nose followers would quite possibly have been celebrating a 16/1 winner. Fast finishing, Tony Star was to grab second for the place money.

The Market Examiner did find two winners to continue their recent run of fine form.

Northern Monkey: Staked 2.75pts, -2.75pts.
On The Nose: Staked 6pts, -3.5pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 6pts, +7.5pts.


A very quiet weekend on the football front, but thanks to Football Elite's perfect antepost selections, a very profitable one.

Robin van Persie's Golden Boot (10/1) and Wayne Rooney finishing placed in the same market (9/1) meant a 3.44pt profit, to add to the 3.5pt profit secured on Blackburn's relegation (7/2). Top, top tipping and thoroughly deserved for Matt who has endured a difficult season at times to come out smiling at the end of it all with an roi of just shy of 15%. A c.15% roi is outstanding for any football tipster, so a genuine "Well Done" to him.

The Sportsman too had an antepost bet settled last night. Manchester United may not have won the title but they finished ahead of Chelsea which was what this bet was all about. Of course, we knew this to be the case weeks ago, but it would seem the bet settlers at Corals did not. The money went in this morning.

Scott's sole bet over the weekend was unfortunately a loser, but The Sportsman is another sports service to have had a fine season.

Summer of Football had just one bet this weekend, and a winner (Molde) it was too.

Finally, a rather good weekend for Football Investor Strike Zone. The home bets came up with Everton (hurrah!), and the aways with Kilmarnock and Dundee United, winners both. These were backed using the Asian Handicap markets so odds were shorter than for the straight win.

Football Elite: Staked 2pts, +6.94pts.
The Sportsman: Staked 3pts, +0.333pts.
Summer Of Football: Staked 1pt, +0.91pts.
Strike Zone (h): Staked 1pt, +1.3pts.
Strike Zone (a): Staked 2pts, +2.14pts.

So there we have it.

Tomorrow I want to talk about The Football Analyst, as there are things afoot over at TFA Towers. Exciting things at that.

I also want to write later this week on some of the other footie services and how I see next season starting out as far as the portfolio is concerned.

At some point in the not too distant, I also want to discuss the answer posted in the comments section on Friday about data samples. It was an interesting comment left by someone who went to gambling full time back in January 2011.

So, lots to look forward to, eh?

Now, what to think of the Champions League final on Saturday? As a Gooner, it raises quite a dilemma...

Friday, 11 May 2012

For the Stats guys out there...

...a question.

How big does a sample of data need to be (ie. how many bets) before conclusions drawn from it be deemed reliable?

Any thoughts?

And on a completely unrelated note...

We've just managed to get rid of the tenants from hell. They may have paid their rent in their time they were in the house, but f**k me, the state they've left the place in! Seriously, it isn't just filthy. It is slum-filthy. It literally stinks. In 18 months, they've rendered new carpet completely useless. The place needs to be fumigated, and I'm not exaggerating. What they've done to the garden amounts to criminal damage in my eyes. I'm hoping it is in the eyes of the law too, because I'm going to report it as a crime and issue civil proceedings in the small claims court.

Seriously, what is wrong with people? Why does it feel like so many lack common courtesy and simple respect for others and their property? If it was up to me, I'd introduce birching for people that pepetrate mindless crime. If some scrote runs a key down the side of someone's car, seriously, I'd have them publicly whipped. Why not?

I just can't get into the mind of people that do these sort of things. I can understand someone committing a murder more than I can simple petty crime. I can see that murder or theft has a motive, however misguided, plain wrong or deranged as it may be, but what is the motive behind causing physical damage to something just because you can? I don't get it, I really don't.

I think I'm fairly liberal in my outlook. I'm certainly not right wing. But for mindless vandalism and the like, I reckon electrodes attached to the testicles is the way forward.


Today's Betting

A day to forget. Nothing for anyone.

Northern Monkey: Staked 0.75pts, -0.75pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.8pts, -0.8pts.
On The Nose: Staked 1.5pts, -1.5pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 6pts, -6pts.

I feel much better now. A short, sharp rant. There's a lot to be said for it. :)

Have a great weekend, folks. See you Monday.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

A tipster replies...

You know, whenever I write this blog, I am always very conscious of affecting the reputation of any particular betting service, or indeed the perception of it in the mind of the reader. I don't think I am going to surprise anybody who has read this blog for any meaningful period of time that my opinions and views tend to be pro-tipster.

That is not to say that if a service does something that I feel is worthy of criticism, that they are immune from negative coverage. Last year I let my feelings be known on the farce that was Shaolin Betting, for example. Generally speaking though, I try to see things from the tipster's perspective. I often think providing betting advice for a paying clientele is a thankless task; open to opprobrium - and on occasion, outright abuse when things don't go well - which I doubt is adequately counterbalanced by praise when things are going hunkydory. Don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting tipsters need constant tender and loving care. After all, they are paid for their expertise, some quite handsomely. But when all is said and done, I do think it appropriate to sometimes try and see things from the tipster's point of view.

It was from this stance that I wrote yesterday's blog post on Hirtos' Standard Picks, which drew the following response from Hirtos himself...


I was not going to reply here but I think I must defend me and my work, because I can't accept several things.

First of all, my name is HIRTOS, not Hortis or something like this.

Second, my service is verified by both BettingAdvice and Blogabet! All picks are true and real.

Third, Since start of the month, I have sent the picks&analyses to the customers the following time:

23:45 CET (Yes, I admit it is too late but I have just read very important news and I have expected the Asians to destroy the odds before next morning)

09:43 CET

10:28 CET

07:33 CET (Yes, again it is too early, but it is a midweek pick and I had no Internet until late afternoon).

Most of my picks are sent in the period of 09:00 - 12:00 CET. Some even later. In my opinion, most of my picks are send in appropriate time for the punters, especially when you have in mind that alongside the email notification, I send and SMS notification. But, of course, I can't argue if you live in Brazil or Argentina or Canada, for example.

Also, Each subscribers has a 5-unit guaranteed profit in his subscription period or he gets a new subscription period for free. So, with a stake of at least 50 EUR there should be no problem to be in profit with our service.

Anyway, I do not want to advertise my service or something like that. It is a free world and everybody decides alone what to do. I just wanted to express my side of the story.

Good luck,

Right, first things first. May I apologise unreservedly for spelling the name incorrectly? It was a crass and clumsy error. If it's any consolation, I get the same thing all the time at work and do get irritated by it. I often leave messages on people's voicemail, only for them to call back asking for Ronan, Ronald, or as happened the other day, Ashley (how the hell do you get Ashley from Rowan?!?). Anyway, sorry.

On a more serious point, I did not want to give any impression whatsoever that the picks are not genuine. I mentioned Blogabet in my post, which I see as a valid source of "proofing". The bets and results are clearly recorded accurately and I have no issue at all with it. BettingAdvice too. Believe me, if I thought there was even the slightest hint, a merest whiff of innacurate record-keeping or false claims, I would never have subscribed in the first place.

With regard the timing of the emails. The email that was sent at 23.45 CET (22.45 BST), I didn't receive until around 3.00 am. I know this because when the email hit my inbox, my Iphone beeped and woke me up! I'm not suggesting the email wasn't sent at 23.45 CET, I'm simply stating the fact that I didn't get it until much later. Upon checking my 'phone, I did see that a text had been sent. At 22.45 my time though, I didn't have my 'phone with me (I was probably watching telly and not expecting any bets to come through at that time), so even if I had received the email when sent, the outcome would have been the same.

I thought my assessment of the service yesterday a fair one. I acknowledged the edge that blatantly exists and the hard work that obviously goes into researching the picks. My conclusion to stop following was simply based on the practicality of my following. After only nine days, I had missed two bets due to the time of release. The odds had collapsed to such an extent that the value in them had gone.

Timings of bet release must prove a headache to tipsters, especially those like Hirtos who work within what I would call a "niche" market. The edge over the bookmaker is gained by being better (and usually faster) informed than the market makers. News of weakened teams, illness striking a squad (anyone remember Spurs' dodgy lasagne?) or some other factor that renders the bookies' odds out of synch with true probabiities offer up opportunities that need to be exploited and sometimes I can see that fast action needs to be taken. Therein lies a true dilemma for the tipster. What was Hirtos's alternative with the late information he learnt that led to a pick being released particularly late one evening? Does he release the pick for the benefit of his followers at such a time, or does he forget sharing it, back it himself, and see the value disappear later as more people learn what he has learnt? It's a difficult one, but I'm afraid as a tipster, I'd have to say the latter approach is the better one to take. The art of being a good commercial tipster, is to enable others to follow you in at something like similar odds to those spotted as being incorrect, every time. This is why I mentioned the other services - week in and week out, you know that at a certain pre-determined time, bets will be released. Skeeve, himself an expert within a "niche" market, makes a similar point himself in his comment under yesterday's post. Personally, I would think a good compromise would be to relay the relevant information to subscribers but with the proviso that it not be an "official" pick for results recording purposes. That way, the customer has the opportunity to take advantage of the tipster's expertise who will benefit from the ensuing goodwill, but for those that understandably miss the bet bearing in mind the unusual time of release, they are not left with a slightly sour taste in the mouth. Chasemaster are good at this when on occasion they receive information about certain horses that connections believe will run well, as does The Sportsman Racing.

I'm delighted that Hirtos posted his comment. In my direct reply to him, I made the point that I will never deny anyone a right to reply on this blog. For what it's worth, I will conclude that his service is a worthy one and I would regard it as one with a huge amount of potential. If Hirtos could introduce set time windows for release of his picks, I would subscribe like a shot (if he'd have me!). I don't think I can say fairer than that. Hirtos - if you read this and you do introduce such measures, please let me know.

Today's Betting

Very quiet today, with just one half point win bet on an On The Nose horse that didn't.

On The Nose: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Some you win, some you lose.

You may remember that I've recently mentioned my trialling a couple of new football betting services. Each test period was supposed to last a month, but I've made the decision to stop the trial of one of those services this week, just nine days in.

The service I'm referring to is one called Hortis' Standard Picks. Hortis is a tipster who originally "proofed" his tips on the Blogabet website prior to launching a subscription service. Specialising in the South American football markets, asian handicap bets are provided from within the Bolivian, Columbian, and Ecuadorian leagues (amongst others). His website can be found at

When I originally looked at the Hortis service (having been given a tip off by someone whose opinion on football betting matters I hold in the highest regard) I could see some real potential for it to carve a worthwhile niche in the portfolio. The obvious plus point Hortis had going for him were the markets played in. There would be no correlation with any of my other football tipsters at all. On top of that, the guy tips throughout our summer months, and would thus provide some much needed churn at a time of year where things can go a little stagnant, and with a proven track record of a nice 12-14% roi achieved over two years, it looked well worth a go.

So why hasn't it worked out? Why have I pulled the plug so soon? One reason. It has already proven to be completely impractical for me to follow. So far I have received the text/email containing tips mid-morning Saturday (workable), early morning Saturday (acceptable), 3.00 one morning (heh!) and about 6.15am on a Tuesday morning (WTF!). On the occasions where I was simply unaware of a text/email being sent (because I was soundly in the Land of Nod!), I missed the odds to such an extent that it really wasn't worth putting the bet on.

It's a real shame that I can't see a future with Hirtos. He obviously has an edge and the write ups explaining the rationale behind his selections show that his tips are well researched. But his is not a cheap service, and for the money I would want and expect a manageably consistent time for release of bets. As a punter, it makes you realise how good services like Skeeve, Football Elite, Football Investor/Strike Zone, The Football Analyst and The Sportsman are with their fantastically consistent approach to releasing their advice to members. Results for Hirtos are good, but having made enough profit to cover the £40 it cost me to subscribe for the month, I've drawn a line under the service and shall turn my attention elsewhere.

Today's Betting

Erm. I've been a bit of a plonker. In fact, I've been a big bit of a plonker.

I've gone and left my notebook with today's bets written in it in my desk at work. Can't remember which bookies I placed which bets with and with a couple of each way bets coming in placed today, I can't check exactly what I've made or lost. How daft is that!?!

I do know Northern Monkey had a good winner (Confessional - Chester - 5/1), as did The Market Examiner (Mister Hyde - Ffos Las - 4.3/1).

Other than that...???

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Quick update

Just time for a very quick update today.

Great day for The Market Examiner who struck gold with a rare two point bet and Sam secured 10/1 via BetButler! (Royal Curtsy - Fakenham).

Winning Racing Tips the only other service providing action, with a small double unsuccessful and a single returning stakes, finishing second at 5s.

The Market Examiner: Staked 3pts, +19pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.7pts, -0.2pts.

There. Short and sweet, eh?

Monday, 7 May 2012

The reply.

I have a reply from Boylesports. It has been sent from Linda Gray, nominally at least, although a comment left under the previous post by someone who has an insight into the corporate customer service environment perhaps casts doubt as to whether it does actually come from the Head of Customer Services herself. Let's not be too cynical and instead take it for what it is, which is a simple brush off, albeit a polite one.

Many thanks for contacting Boylesports Customer Services.

Firstly, let me apologise for your having to take the time to raise a complaint following your experience with the customer support team.

On review of the chat, I can appreciate the frustration that you must have felt in light of the contradictory information that was offered. In response to the points that you raise, the agent you spoke to is new to the department and as such this has highlighted an obvious knowledge gap that I will ensure is addressed internally and indeed promptly. I can only apologise that the information offered on this occasion was inaccurate.

Secondly, I can officially confirm that those who were removed from our special offers and enhancements on 10/04/2012 were not informed of such removal. I acknowledge that this was not the information that you were furnished with on your original chat but this ultimately is the result again of a knowledge gap.

With regards to the points raised on the BPG advertisement on the website, this is displayed on the site regardless of whether a customer is logged in or not and is not tailored to a specific group of customers. In addition, you acknowledge that you freely accepted our terms and conditions. Each time the website is used by a customer, they are ultimately agreeing to all terms associated with the operation of their account. In this particular instance, you placed a bet and expected that you would receive BPG on your particular selection however the terms and conditions supercede any information display on the website and as such, as your account had been restricted from special offers you were not eligible for the better return.

Whilst the poor experience you received from the chat support team is regrettable, you have my assurance that this is something that I will focus on in earnest as it is not our intention to mislead or provide inaccurate information to our customers. With regards to the BPG and special offer restriction, I am afraid I cannot offer any additional advise. I acknowledge your complaint however the situation in this respect will not change.

If you are dissatisfied with my response, I would encourage you to contact IBAS. Their contact details can be found at this link

Kindest regards,

Linda Gray

Customer Support Manager

The issue of whether or not the company's Terms & Conditions of business are superceded by the laws relating to (un)fair advertising is rather neatly sidestepped. It is a legal point upon which I am really not sure of my ground. I remember from studying the law of contract that if a term of a contract is either blatantly unreasonable or runs contrary to statutory law, then that condition is deemed "unfair". I still recall that there is a satute - The Unfair Contract Terms Act - that is specifically relevant to this issue. Unfortunately, I learnt all this back in the dim and hazy days of 1994 and as a typical student of the time, I spent most of that year pissed. Let's just say I don't want to go in there all guns blazing, quoting this statute and that. Not only might I be completely wrong, I'd look a right prize arsehole to boot!

Where I am perhaps to force the issue further is when the time inevitably arrives when the account is rendered effectively useless by severe staking restrictions. At this point I will ask for a copy of all my personal information held on file to be sent to me, and for their copy to be destroyed. I know that this too runs contrary to Boylesports' Ts&Cs, but the laws of data protection I know from my own place of work are not to be dismissed lightly. This is a battleground I am more confident of fighting on.

In the meantime, if anyone has any suggestions as to how I reply to Ms Gray's response, let me know in the "Comments" section.

Weekend's Betting

Not too impressive on the horses. Northern Monkey and On The Nose were in action on either day, and from 13 selections a return was secured from just one, and that was merely for a place. Elsewhere, The Market Examiner found a winner on Saturday that provided a 0.33pt profit, but were unsuccessful with one bet on Sunday.

Northern Monkey: Staked 3.75pts, -2.25pts.
On The Nose: Staked 5.75pts, -5.75pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 5pts, -0.67pts.

Not that great, but not disastrous either, was the footie. Summer Of Footballl came out just the wrong side of neutral, Strike Zone (homes) the same, and The Sportsman and Strike Zone (aways) dropped a single point each.

With the services I'm trialling pulling in a small profit between them though, the overall loss on the football was less than a point, so really no damage done.

Summer Of Football: Staked 5pts, -0.125pts.
Strike Zone (homes): Staked 2pts, -0.09pts.
Strike Zone (away): Staked 1pt, -1pt.
The Sportsman: Staked 1pt, -1pt.

A couple of people have asked me which services I'm trialling but I'm not going to say at this point. I want to see what happens over the next month or so, see what issues may or may not arise, and then report back. I'll mention the results in passing, but nothing specific. I'm keeping results separate from that of the main portfolio (although keeping a record of the grand total, obviously), so reporting on the blog can continue as normal.

Today's Betting

Not much to cheer about today. On The Nose (0/3), The Market Examiner (0/4) and Summer Of Football (0/2). Doesn't read well, does it?

On The Nose: Staked 2pts, -2pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 4pts, -4pts.

Summer Of Football: Staked 2pts, -1.5pts.

Back to work tomorrow. Joy.

Friday, 4 May 2012

The letter.

Below is a copy of the letter I sent to the Head of Customer Services of Boylesports.

Dear Linda,

Username: ****

I have been moved to write an official complaint for what I regard as being treated with a level of customer service that I regard as negligent.

The incident relates to your removal of your BPG guarantee facility from my account.

Here is the transcript of a conversation I had with one your representatives earlier this week:

Connected to
Session ID: 173727
Cathal has joined this session!
Connected with Cathal. Your Reference Number for this chat is 173727.

Welcome to Boylesports live help. How can I help you?

Hi. Can you please explain why my bet today was settled at the price I originally took and not at the BOG price?

One moment please and I will check that for you.

(after about five minutes of waiting): Any joy?

You placed the bet at the early price this is why you did not receive the bpg.

You advertised BPG - since when have I not been entitled to BPG? I have had no notice.

we offer bpg on the sp. Not on antipost prices or early prices. If the price is better then the sp we offer the better price.

What?!? Best Price Guaranteed means the best price is paid out, whether that be the SP or the early price. That is the way all my bets have been settled up until today.
What you have just typed is just plain wrong!

apologies .

So back to my original question - how come my bet has not been settled at the best price as you took my bet on a BPG basis?

Your account no longer avails of there bpg. You would have received an email in regard to this.
This was a management decision. It is nit just for your account but for numerous account.

I have just checked my in box on my email account - I have received no email. Can you please forward the original email sent so that I can check you have the right address? Please forward the original though, so I can see when exactly it was sent.

The email address I have for you is ****** is this correct.

Yes - but I still want you to forward the original email so I can see when it was sent. I have received no email.

I will organize for the email to be sent out for you.

The original?

That is correct.


There are two points I would like to raise.

1. How can your representative be so blatantly wrong in his description of the BPG principle? Either he requires considerably more training, or he was attempting to pacify me by lying.

2. You may note that I asked for the "original" email that your representative stated to me had been sent, warning me of the imminent withdrawal of BPG from my account. I asked for this, because I checked my email account and no such email had been received.

This Live Chat conversation took place at approximately 6.00 - 6.15 in the evening. At 7.06, I received an email saying that my entitlement to BPG had been withdrawn. It was not a forwarded version of a previously sent email, rather an email sent for the first time.

The following morning I consulted one of your reps via Live Chat again. During the conversation, the lady admitted that I had been given the wrong information the previous evening, and in fact no such email had been sent to me prior to the removal of my BPG entitlement. In other words, Cathal had, in fact, blatantly lied to me, a customer.

Being lied to is, as I suggested previously, inexcusably poor customer serice. I would like your opinion on this.

The lady I conversed with in my second Live Chat conversation pointed out to me that it is stated within your Terms & Conditions that you may, at any time and without prior warning, withdraw a client's entitlement to the BPG offer you provide. I accept that entirely, as I do the fact that I opened an account with Boylesports having freely accepted those Terms & Conditions.

However, it is my belief that a company's Terms & Conditions of Business are rendered redundant if they run contrary to statutory or common law.

In this context, please note that without prior warning of the withdrawal from my account of the BPG facility, I placed my bet via the Boylesports website because I believed you were providing me with a BPG guarantee. When I placed the bet, the BPG symbol that you use with a tick next to it, advertised the fact that a bet placed on that particular race was subject to BPG, would you not agree? That tick purports to an advertisement and therefore my business was thus secured via a form of false advertising.

Please can you state your position on this?

Many thanks for your consideration on these issues and I await your response.

I'll let you know the response after the weekend. Let's see what they say.

Today's Betting

A marginally profitable day to end the working week.

On The Nose found one to place at decent odds (Honeymead - Musselburgh - 14/1) from their two selections for a little profit and Winning Racing Tips picked an each way double in which both horses placed and another single which also placed to return stakes.

No luck for Northern Monkey (0/2) or The Market Examiner (although TME came close with a 14/1 shot that finished a head second).

The profit was provided by Summer Of Football who had a winner in the French second division (Troyes - 10/11).

Northern Monkey: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
The Market Examiner: Staked 3pts, -3pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 1.1pts, +0.049pts.

Summer Of Football: Staked 1pt, +0.9pts.

Long weekend. Hurrah! No post tomorrow - see you Monday.

Thursday, 3 May 2012


I know there is little to no point in fighting against the restrictions that the bookmakers impose upon us. I am aware that resisting their unjust practices is an exercise as futile as attempting to persuade Joey Barton to enter the priesthood. But that doesn't mean that we can't try.

Expressing frustration in forums and on blogs is all well and good, but why moan about something and then meekly accept the status quo? Not much bulldog spirit in being passive, is there?

Let the battle commence...

Here are the facts.

I backed a WRT tip earlier this week at Boylesports. The early price was 7/1, which I took. When I struck the bet, I did so in the belief that Best Odds Guaranteed would be applicable in the event of the price lengthening.

Apparently not! After very strong on-course support for the favourite, the horse I had backed drifted to 14s before running well to finish in the places and entitle me to a return. Checking my account statement, I saw that the bet was settled at the price I took, and not at the longer price that was the SP.

Here is the "conversation" I had with the Boylesports customer service representative using their "Live Chat" facility:

Connected to
Session ID: 173727
Cathal has joined this session!
Connected with Cathal. Your Reference Number for this chat is 173727.

Welcome to Boylesports live help. How can I help you?

Hi. Can you please explain why my bet today was settled at the price I originally took and not at the BOG price?

One moment please and I will check that for you.

(after about five minutes of waiting): Any joy?

You placed the bet at the early price this is why you did not receive the bpg.

You advertised BPG - since when have I not been entitled to BPG? I have had no notice.

we offer bpg on the sp. Not on antipost prices or early prices. If the price is better then the sp we offer the better price.

What?!? Best Price Guaranteed means the best price is paid out, whether that be the SP or the early price. That is the way all my bets have been settled up until today.
What you have just typed is just plain wrong!

apologies .

So back to my original question - how come my bet has not been settled at the best price as you took my bet on a BPG basis?

Your account no longer avails of there bpg. You would have received an email in regard to this.
This was a management decision. It is nit just for your account but for numerous account.

I have just checked my in box on my email account - I have received no email. Can you please forward the original email sent so that I can check you have the right address? Please forward the original though, so I can see when exactly it was sent.

The email address I have for you is ******* is this correct.

Yes - but I still want you to forward the original email so I can see when it was sent. I have received no email.

I will organize for the email to be sent out for you.

The original?

That is correct.


After laughing at the rep's cackhanded explanation as to what the BPG prinicple is, the important points to note are that a) my entitlement to BOG had been withdrawn, and b) the customer services rep claimed to have informed me of this withdrawal via email. I got the impression that this claim was a lie. I did indeed check my email address and there was no email to be found anywhere from Boylesports. Hence the reason I asked for the ORIGINAL email to be forwarded to me, so that I could see when (if) it had been sent.

This conversation happened between about 6.00 and 6.15 pm. At a time after 7.00pm, I received the following email...

Further to your query,

We wish to inform you that we are making changes to the way we administer your sports betting account. As you are aware, provides extra value for its customers through regular promotional offers such as Cashback Specials, Best Price Guaranteed and Free Bets.

After a review of your account we have decided that it will no longer benefit from these and other gestures classified as ‘special offers’.

Should you have any queries regarding this change in policy, please contact our customer service team.

Kind regards,

Customer Support Team

This was not a forwarded email. This was simply an email that had been sent following the previous Live Chat conversation.

The next day, I engaged Live Chat again. The Boylesports representative admitted to me that in fact, I had not been sent an email warning me that the BOG facility was being withdrawn; that in fact I had been given the wrong information. However, they continued, their Ts&Cs did state that no prior warning was necessary before removing the BOG facility. In other words: tough luck, Buster.

So, I had been lied to, which is simply not good enough when it comes to providing any meaningful level of customer service. I also wonder if a company's Ts&Cs, even if agreed to by a client upon registration, supercede the laws relating to advertising standards. I would suspect not, although I don't know for sure. I would ask that if a bookmaker is advertising the fact that they provide BOG (and Boylesports certainly do so via a BPG and tick symbol next to the racecard that you visit when placing the bet), is that not attracting business under false pretences if subsequently and without prior warning, they do not honour the promise made by their advertising at the time the bet is struck?

These are questions that I am posing in an emailed letter sent to Linda Gray, the Boylesports Head of Customer Service. I look forward to reading her reply.

Today's Betting

Decent day in the end.

Northern Monkey had two each way bets, the second of which (My Girl Anna - Tipperary - 9/2) managed to hold on to third place. No luck today for The Market Examiner (0/2).

The profit was made by this evening's sole On The Oche bet (Andy Hamilton - 9/4).

Here are the figures (those in brackets being the month to date):

Northern Monkey: Staked 1.5pts, -0.745pts.
(Staked 3.5pts, +8.129pts).

The Market Examiner: Staked 2pts, -2pts.
(Staked 7pts, +5.575pts)

On The Oche: Staked 1pt, +2.25pts.

Right. I've decided that the fact that tomorrow is Friday should be marked by enjoying a beer, and there's a nice bottle of Ruddles County sitting conveniently on the top of the fridge. In a bit.