Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Consistency of staking and the importance of psychological comfort blankets.

Sometimes, you just have to do what feels right. You can read all the portfolio theory in the world, set your gambling operation up in a truly textbook manner, and adopt a mindset that refuses to allow you any room for slackness or error when placing bets and recording results. But never, and I mean never, underplay the importance of doing what feels right.

With this in mind, I've upped stakes for Summer of Football, but increased bank size from 20 to 25 points. This will obviously affect my recording of the ROC figures for the service in the results section of the blog.

The plan had always been to raise the stakes. If you remember, Summer Of Football was being run over the summer period on a trial basis. The basis of this plan lay in the practicalities of following, not on the short term results - it would be folly to judge the suitability of a service based only on a few month's performance figures. No, if everything fit well in terms of odds availability, bookmakers that I could use, timings of bet release and all the other practicalities that are a part of following a service, then the intention was always to increase staking in the autumn. And autumn is here. You can tell by how bloody chilly it is early morning now.

The thing is though, is that Summer Of Football is a relatively high turnover service. As such, then theoretically, the ride should be a fairly smooth one. Compare with Football Elite for example, which has a considerably lower turnover of selections. With FE, losing runs can feel worse than they really are, simply because there are not that many bets issued each week. A poor run of 10 to 12 bets could take over a month/six weeks from beginning to end. The same number of bets with Summer Of Football could easily be issued over just a week to ten days. In other words, a poor run should be a short, sharp shock and soon over...a 100 metre sprint to losing, in contrast to a 10,000 metre test of stamina and bloody mindedness.

This should mean that I feel more comfortable staking more money over, say, a weekend, on the Summer Of Football selections. But I don't. Flying completely in the face of logic (and I am not a woman, I assure you - let's face it, women often fly in the face of logic; otherwise, why would Helen have ever married me? She really could have done so much better!), I actually feel a little out of my betting comfort zone.

The significance of forcing oneself out of a comfort zone when it comes to gambling, is that in my experience, it leads to making what should be easily avoidable mistakes. It can be very difficult to resist the temptation to lower the size of stakes and revert to allocating lower levels of funds to a particular service, should a poor run arrive, as it surely will. I know this, because I have well and truly fallen into this trap in the past. It was this very mistake I made with Graeme's The Football Analyst systems during Year 1 of following. I knew I was wrong in what I did. I knew then as well as I do now that consistency of staking is imperative if you hope to have any chance at all of making money long term, and yet I still ballsed up. I was mentally weak, and what had weakened me was my not thinking things through properly and not accepting my own psychological limitations. In a nutshell, what happened was that I made good profits, upped my stakes, immediately suffered a poor run and lost a relatively high proportion of the profits, lowered my stakes again, and consequently took longer to recoup my losses and forge further into profit when the good results returned. A nightmare scenario brought about purely by my own doing. By the end of the season, I had made good money following TFA, but nowhere near as much money as it should have been.

Over time, I have realised that my level of psychological comfort is directly related to the size bank I have. I'd have no trouble now (I don't think) quadrupling my stake size across the portfolio, if I had quadruple the size of bank behind me. I suppose I think this way because I've been through a lot of losing spells now, and have come out the other end ok. I can look back on the trying periods and see that actually, because my bank has been of sufficient size, I had never been in any real danger of doing my dough; that I had ample cash reserves to see out the bad times.

And so now, with Summer Of Football, I feel far more comfortable placing more cash on the tips having expanded the size of bank dedicated to the service.

Taking the specifics out of the Summer Of Football equation though, the message in this post is to not underestimate your psychological wellbeing when it comes to your gambling. Sure, let's do things properly. Let's set ourselves up in such a way as to give ourselves the best possible chance of succeeding. Let's not be timid for that would just as easily prevent us from achieving our aims, but when all is said and done, you need to be able to sleep at night. Preferably with a lovely psychological comfort blanket that comes from sometimes simply doing what feels the right thing to do, to keep you warm and cosy.

Tuesday's Betting

Not such a good day. Not disastrous by any stretch, but you know something? I only like making profits! I'm a simple soul in many ways.

Northern Monkey
Two win bets and neither got over the line in first place. The first of them got a shocker of a ride and was never really given a chance. Darned annoying when that happens.
Staked 1.75pts, -1.75pts

Winning Racing Tips
An each way double. I lost interest when I saw the first one lose.
Staked 0.4pts, -0.4pts

Murray winning so comprehensively against Raonic was not good for my betting.
Staked 1.5pts, -1.5pts

Service X
Preventing a whitewash on the day was Service X, which came up with one bet and a winner over in Argentina.
Staked 3pts, +2.19pts

Month to date...

(*Please note that ROC figures quoted are those for the month. I shall put the season to date ROC figures at the end of each month.)

Northern Monkey: Staked 3.75pts, -2.85pts, roi -76%
The Sportsman Racing: Staked 0.5pts, +0.416pts, roi 83.34%
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.4pts, -0.4pts, roi -100%
Total roi -28.32%

Football Elite: Staked 1pt, +/- (+/-£), roi 0%, ROC 0%
Summer Of Football: Staked 6pts, +0.695pts, roi 11.58%, ROC 2.78%
Skeeve (Asians): Staked 6pts, +1.554pts, roi 25.91%
Skeeve (Doubles): Staked 5pts, +8.785pts, roi 175.71%
Skeeve (Shortlist): Staked 2pts, -2pts, roi -100%
Skeeve Total: Staked 13pts, +8.34pts, roi 64.15%, ROC 10.42%
The Sportsman: Staked 0.35pts, +0.213pts, roi 60.85%, ROC 3.55%
Form Lab Lite: Staked 4pts, +2.678pts, roi 66.96%, ROC 5.35%
Sportyy: Staked 6.5pts, -2.232pts, roi -34.33%, ROC -2.79%
Service X: Staked 35pts, -0.543pts, roi -1.55%, ROC -0.54%
Total roi 25.97%

Grand Total roi 21.66%


  1. Almost identical timing! When I actually signed up for SoF I started undertaking (by half), which is a bit of a shame due to their excellent run, and I have always wanted to put it up to its rightful place. Unfortunately it is exactly that excellent run that has put me off, imagining myself going through all that profit - never had such good balances in Pinnacle and 188bet.
    The main trigger to upping stakes to their rightful place has been my experiences with Skeeve. I rather stupidly didn't sign up to Skeeve on renewal, mainly due to the price increase implying a much higher stake than I was comfortable with to guarantee fees covered. I then gained heart when SBC stated places were available but only ended up with Doubles and shortlists. Now a 50 point recommended bank gives a theoretical 10 point bank for the 5pt doubles, meaning I was staking 4 times as much on these than I was on Summer of Football!
    So yesterday afternoon I took the plunge and looked to double my stake on Gremio. The price was already under pressure in the morning and had quite disappeared by 2pm. This gave me a bit of a challenge:
    Luckily I went to my now web-based Football Formlabs lite module and studied the game. I came out with a further 0.65pt stake on W/W and 0.35pt on over 2.5 goals. Not bad result if you ask me!
    Got both bets close to the price this morning, but much bigger hit to Pinnacle account as both with them! Hopefully this great run continues...

    1. Great comment, Matthew.

      There's a heck of a lot that you say that I completely relate to. I very nearly talked myself out of upping stakes on SOF precisely because of the great run they've been on. In the end I told myself not to be silly - stick to the plan I had originally.

      Nice result on Gremio! :)