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)
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.
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.
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.