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.


  1. Sounds like an episode of Reggie Perrin!!!!
    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

  2. Hi Rowan.
    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"
    In my opinion, professional gamblers are people who devise betting strategies, not people who rely on others for the bets to make.
    you are already extremely professional in your day to day betting but you obviously have a well paid job. How many yearss compounding your yearly profit to increase your stakes to a level where you could match it?
    For me. i simply couldnt imagine a more stressfull way of trying to pay the bills given the ups and downs of gambling. I reckon JP s experiment is the way that most peoples venture ends up.
    Its saaid that at the end of ones life you should have no regrets and so if your desire is to go for it some time in the future then i wish you all the best.
    Mrs Rowan must be happy lady coz you must have large cahonys lol

  3. Hi Ian,

    Yeah - take your point about Reggie Perrin. :)

    Interesting how you say relying on others would make things difficult. Not sure I could make my own way in terms of making selections. Pressure would affect my judgment I think. Interesting though - two sides of the same coin, but different psychological pressures on each, I reckon.


    1. Rowan
      It is far easier to make your own niche and follow it than following the "fortunes" of others. There are many difft types of pro gamblers - some who make millions creaming off Betfair and others who work their own systems. You will find that if you can get to a place of picking your own selections your betting accounts will be far more viable. Most betting accounts are closed not because of their profitability but the type of bets they place. You would find it to be a full time job but one that could be enjoyable and profitable. A lot of angst from following tipsters comes from the worry of missing that big win and you end up not only hooked on gambling but also hooked on the tipster that provides the tips - bit of a double whammy really

    2. Hi again, Ian.

      Yes, I agree 100% that the ability to make one's own way is the ideal scenario, and it is something that I haven't yet mentioned but do intend to. In my case I would plough my furrow via trading (with guidance initially). The perfect scenario would be to be able to produce your own monthly "bread and butter" as it were, and then use the tipster services to add icing to the cake. In good months there'd perhaps be more icing than cake, in others we'd be looking at a plain sponge, but running along in the background is a dully reliable income. That is what I would be aiming for. A lot easier said than done of course!

      Like I say though, this is all to be discussed, probably tomorrow (Wednesday).

      Cheers now,


  4. Very valid point you make there, Alan, about recent profit making affecting mindset. I've some thoughts on that which I'll put into the main blog on Thursday I think, but you're spot on mate. Thought would never have crossed my mind even a few short months ago, when I "exploded" on the blog and vented my frustration.

    A lot depends on personal circumstance too, I think. I don't think I'd want to necessarily match my income now because a large part of the process would involve cutting living costs considerably. Thing is, at the moment this is all theoretical, but if I said that my job was 100% safe long term, I'd be kidding myself. It wouldn't be a case of being made redundant, but rather the company going kaput! These are harsh economic times, and if that was to happen, I'd need a back up plan. And I wouldn't mind betting that there are thousands/millions in a similar situation. I hope it doesn't happen (and I don't think it will), but perhaps what they say about necessity being the mother of invention and all that...

  5. Just want to point out that it doesn't necessarily have to be your own circumstances that can spoil going pro. E.g. in my country (and also a lot of other European countries) have introduced gambling laws where bookies have to apply for a license. A political decision you can't do anything about. This has reduced my bookie portfolio with 30% so far and more might be banned too. The loss of Expekt, Bwin, WillHill and actually also 188Bet etc. should not be neglected. What will happen from now? Will the rest of the non-license bookies close down for customers from my country or will it remain as it is now?

    A similar law might be underway in UK?

  6. Hi Anon,

    Again, valid points. The thing is though, a change in legislation can affect any business. Gambling isn't unique in that respect. I'm not saying it's not an important issue worthy of consideration, but ultimately there is a risk of such things having an adverse impact on whatever walk of life we're following. Thorough research into every aspect of professional gambling needs to be done, including the risk you allude to.


  7. Surely it is a risk in any business. I just think the probability has increased quite a lot due to the fact that a lot of other European countries are implementing quite strict legislation.

    Anyway I don't agree with Ian. If the tipsters are well-proven and showing a decent edge (and found during a thorough research) I don't see the problem. Of course it might be quite a lot to rely on other people but on the other hand (if choosing the picks themselves) you might take wrong decisions during a bad run etc. I know this shouldn't be so but I think you might make some bad choises.

  8. You're right, Anon, it is a risk that potentially affects any business.

    I can see where Ian is coming from but like you, as long as you have faith in the tipster's ability and long-term edge, then there's no reason not to rely on them. It's psychological I think - some prefer to be in total control themselves, others are happy to put their trust in "experts". Each to their own I think, in this regards.