My head hurts. I feel completely drained; physically and mentally worn out. I've never been the best of sleepers anyway, and it has never taken much by way of distraction to have me lying awake for hours, the same thoughts frantically hurling themselves around my head again and again and again, like crazed moths around a searchlight. It's not worry that's keeping me awake. It's ideas, plans, fault-finding. I feel like I'm in some all-consuming quest to identify what has gone wrong, which is all rather stupid. It's obvious what has gone wrong - a number of my tipster services have all lost form at the same time. It really is as simple as that.
Trouble is - and I mentioned this last week - it is when you endure a losing run that you find that perhaps you haven't been set up as well as you thought you had. You identify reasons why a service isn't perfectly suited to your needs. It's almost as if you are looking for excuses to drop a service, to write it off, to find reasons that you can use to convince yourself that you have shown it the patience you afford your children when they're trying desparately to learn to do something that they are finding difficult, such as walking or riding a bike. But then just when you are sure that by cutting the service loose you are doing the right thing, there is a small but persistent voice in the back of your head that questions your decision making. I suppose that voice is called a nagging doubt, and mine is driving me to distraction.
Anyone who read the interview I did for the Secret Betting Club, the second part of which was published last week, might remember my saying that I preferred a sharp losing run to periods that might last for weeks when no real loss or any meaningful profit is made. Well, when I said that, it was true, and I meant it. However, that summation was naturally based on my dealing with the losing runs I had experienced up to that point. This losing run is a different kettle of fish entirely. This is a tsunami that makes all previous bad spells look like the ripples on a pond caused by an alighting dragonfly. Seriously, this is by far the worst drawdown I've ever suffered and I'm undoubtedly feeling the effects of that.
Frankly, I've had enough at the moment of espousing the virtues of proper bank management, sensible and consistent staking, and the rest of the text book responses to cope with what is currently happening. I'm not saying that these principles are flawed. They're not. And ultimately, I'm
Should I take some time off? It's bloody tempting, I can tell you. It seems a lot of the racecourses are vulnerable to the incessant rain we're suffering here in the UK so I can't envisage a particularly busy time of it on the racing front. Perhaps this is a good time to refresh the batteries. I know I took a holiday in October but bar a couple of bets, I placed everything as usual. I can see the logic - the new month starts on Saturday, I'm not going to miss much - why not take four days off? The only reason I wouldn't is for fear of missing a couple of football bets during the midweek fixtures that provide an end of month upswing - not enough to make this anything other than a disastrous month, but a little bite back at the losses nonetheless. The gambler's dilemma - an answer to which I must find I think, if I'm going to develop my skills.
I have made some decisions though. I think a weakness of mine is that sometimes I can be too patient, too understanding of the difficulties experienced by the tipsters who I know suffer when things go awry. It doesn't help that I really like most of them, have built up a relationship with them and that most of the blighters read this blog! This in turn makes me indecisive, and if I want to get to where I want to be, I can't let these issues, these weaknesses of mine get in the way. I feel I do need to be a little more dynamic with the running of the portfolio and a little less passive, without going too far the other way and making changes for changes sake.
Having said all that, I also realise that now is not the time to be making swingeing changes. I don't yet trust myself to make sound decisions when so obviously affected by the simple fact that this last month has been the worst I've known, and by some distance. The plan therefore is to pause a little, carry on largely as I have been through December, and then mould the portfolio into the shape I want it for the start of the New Year. Nothing radical - just a little trimming, a neat short back and sides as opposed to a restyling. A Claudio Ranieri style minor tinker as opposed to suddenly going from 4-4-2 to the sweeper system overnight. There's not too much wrong with it, but there are one or two fundamental requirements of an efficient portfolio that I'm not currently meeting and these issues need to be addressed. Except in one case. I am dropping a service for December, and ironically it is one that I have made very good money with over the last few months and hasn't caused me any losses this month when every other footie tipster has. More on that tomorrow.
So. There we have it. A "from the heart" post that perhaps folk can relate to, that shows that behind all the rules of 'proper' gambling and principles that rightly act as a guide to what we do, there is underpinning it all a massive human element. It is how we control this, and cope with the psychology of what we do, which separates the men from the boys. But then I guess we all knew that already.
It's late and I've been typing for far too long, so I'm not bothering to put up yesterday's performance figures. Suffice to say they're not impressive.