Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Soul searching, naval gazing, temptations to tinker.

Wouldn't it be nice to be able to say that the Monday after the catastrophic weekend saw an immediate upsurge in fortunes as bet after bet is landed providing a launch pad for the start of a strong recovery? It would be nice, yes. The reality? A bloody nightmare on the nags and further losses on the football. I have subsequently discovered that two of the beaten horses traded at 1.04 and 1.09 in running! You've got to laugh, eh?

I'm going to dwell a little on this current losing run through my posts this week. This wouldn't be much of a gambling blog if it didn't give much attention to what is now my biggest ever downturn. Stephen left what I thought was a touching comment after yesterday's post. This is a particularly lonely game when things are going badly, so perhaps having a blog like this to read, and hopefully relate to, will make things a little easier for anyone running a tipster portfolio and who is finding things hard work.

When things are tough, I find myself desperately trying to resist the urge to tinker with the portfolio and make changes based on short term thinking. Should I change the staking of certain services? Should I follow A, B, or C service at all? Does X service really suit me? In other words, I start to ask myself questions that I simply don't ask when things are going ok. Human nature, I suppose.

What I would say is that the first thing I do when suffering a drawdown is analyse what I am doing. I apportion no blame at all to the tipsters whose selections are not performing. I have made the choice to follow them - what happens from that point is purely down to myself, with the proviso that the tipster is not acting dishonestly or demonstrating scant regard for good levels of customer service. I may sometimes question whether a tipster has lost, or is losing their edge, but hurling abuse at the tipster or publicly criticising the service is not only counterproductive, but just downright wrong. No, the first person to examine in myself and my actions.

I have analysed my staking and I think all is well there. I admitted on Friday that the sheer number of bets some of the football tipsters were issuing for the weekend had removed me from my comfort zone, so I did seriously wonder if the structure of my staking was awry. Having considered this further and having analysed my levels of staking for each service on a year to date basis, I think that the likelihood is simply that this last weekend was unusually busy and it was simply this that made me feel a little uneasy.

Having said all that, I am currently thinking of my staking strategy. I'm confident that what I am doing is not wrong as such, but I do wonder if it is the most efficient method to use. This is an issue for two or three blog posts to examine in itself though, so I shall save that for another day. At this stage, suffice to say that my current troubles are not down to any error in how I stake each service.

Where I do think that I may have made a mistake is to come away from the basics in the respect of joining services that I don't really need to have joined. My portfolio is big enough now to drop one or two services without then needing to fill the gap they leave as quickly as possible. One of the fundamentals is to stick with services that really are tried and tested. I have no need to chase new services that haven't been operating in the live environment for anything less than either a couple of years or a few hundred bets. This is why, despite recent traumas, I still trust Skeeve 100%. I have faith in his expertise which has been demonstrated over a period of six full seasons. You know, even if I had to move on from Skeeve because the drawdown deepened to equal the size of bank dedicated to it (ie. 80 points - we're currently just over 40 points down), I would do so with a very heavy heart, not because I like Skeeve and his service but because even under such circumstances, I would genuinely believe him to be the best non-league football tipster out there.

There are however, other services, or elements to services that I perhaps should have just watched to see how they go. A recent example is Northern Monkey's all weather system bets. As it happens, Wayne has decided to pull the plug on these, not because of poor performance (just a point down) but because issuing a name of a horse with no details or form study didn't feel right to him; it didn't feel like a Northern Monkey service. Now as a follower, could someone with the size portfolio I have not just have taken a back seat and watched the system bets for this winter. I know I halved my usual NMP stakes with these new bets, but why did I feel compelled to follow financially at all? There are other examples I could mention...the Winning Racing Systems (Favourites) bets, the Skeeve shortlist picks, even if we were to stretch the point, the The Football Analyst European System bets (although I'm less than half a point down in total with these so far).

I had my reasons for following all the above mentioned, and I maintain they were - and are - valid reasons. Should I have delayed following though, and given each of them time to establish themselves more, or am I being unduly harsh on myself? In the context of running a gambling portfolio, this may seem to be a strange question, but do I need to speculate at all with any service, even those run by people I trust implicitly and who I know are very good at what they do? And believe me, Wayne of NMP, Graeme Dand, Paul Ruffy and Skeeve are all exceptionally good at what they do. That is a fact.

In the SBC interview I did, I said that I believed I was still learning and (hopefully) improving as a gambler. A month or so after I was asked those questions, and already I'm thinking that that statement is proving to be prophetic. Time will tell, I guess.

Yesterday's Betting

Not good. Again.

No winners to be seen amongst Football Elite (0/1), Northern Monkey (0/1), On The Nose (0/1), Winning Racing Systems (0/1), Winning Racing Tips (0/3), or The Market Examiner (0/2).

The only success came from Sportyy (Over 2.5 goals - Real Sociedad vs Rayo Vallecano - 1.74).


Northern Monkey: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
On The Nose: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
Winning Racing Systems (Favs): Staked 1pt, -1pt.
The Market Examiner: Staked 2pts, -2pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 1.2pts, -1.2pts.

Football Elite: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
Sportyy: Staked 2.5pts, +1.85pts.


  1. Hi Rowan,

    Like Stephen, I was also looking forward to your Monday post as I had had a massive stinker this weekend.
    It has certainly made me had a good review of my portfolio and I've come to some conclusions.

    I'm overleveraged, this isn't helped by having my bank for Form Lab totally wrong as I mentioned in a previous post to you.
    I'm using an untested service, TFA Euro.

    So, going forwards I'm making the decision to drop the TFA Euro bets, I don't think there's anything wrong with them but they are untested in a live season.
    I'm down a total of £3 on these bets so far, so it's not hard for me to drop it.
    I would like to point out that the decision to drop these bets is totally unrelated to the main TFA service which I'm happy with.

    I'm also dropping Form Lab for a number of reasons, the amount of bets that come out on a Friday evening are huge and very time consuming, some of the bets are quite esoteric lets say and betting on over 3.5 goals on Romanian and Turkish games is a sure fire way to start getting accounts limited. I don't like the amount of money that is being tied up in ante-post bets, this is just a personal preference, I just don't like seeing all that money tied up, it makes me nervous and resentful. Currently there is about 14 points tied up. It's very expensive and lastly over 400 bets and 6 months i'm 4 points down, I feel like I've given it a fair crack but it's just not for me.

    Skeeve, Skeeve, Skeeve, just when I join up you have a dip, never mind, seeing your long term record fills me with confidence.

    Summer of Football, a nasty drawdown but expected after an all too amazing run, back to slow steady growth soon I hope.

    The other service I'm using which is Cassini's Green All Over service is treading water (I'm betting on the U2.5 market rather than the draw) but I really quite like this service (just about every single bet is through the Asians) and it should hopefully start to turn positive soon after an initial very big drawdown at the beginning.

    I'm not going to replace the 2 dropped services with others and this should help sort out my leverage.
    I do have a problem with diversification though, something to address in the new year I think.

    Anyway, you're not alone, it was a stinker of a weekend, so was the weekend before actually.

    Here's to brighter times ahead!


  2. Hi RT,

    Many thanks for posting in such a detailed manner and it seems we've been having similar thoughts about a lot of things.

    I find there's nothing like a bad run to make you really analyse what it is you're doing and sometimes I find it gives clarity as to where I may have strayed from the basics. This seems to have happened to you too, and even though you can identify areas of the portfolio that are possibly weak but which haven't actually contributed to the current downturn, you spot areas that potentially could cause you issues in the future. This can only make us more self-aware and ultimately better at what we are trying to do.

    Good luck with it all, and like you say, fingers crossed we start going in the right direction soon!