Thursday, 31 January 2013

Too much to do, and not enough time to do it.

I'm afraid, Chaps, that I'm letting my blogging duties slip a little. I'm just a little too pushed for time at the moment simply because there is a bit of tennis on in the evenings now. I am still working on trading but due to work etc, get precious little time to do it. When I get an evening game therefore, I want to be giving it my full attention.

I'm aware a review of January is now due and I'll work on that over the next day or two.

In the meantime, I can report that yesterday was a poor one with bets from Northern Monkey (0/1), On The Nose (0/2), and Football Elite (0/1) all losing.

See you soon.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013


There isn't much going on. No horses and no football today. Just the one The Football Analyst 7/22 bet yesterday which lost and a The Sportsman Racing each way bet that placed for a tiny loss. And that's it.

Big match tomorrow evening so there won't be a post tomorrow, and then I plan to do a quick January review on Thursday or Friday.

That's yer lot for now.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Results Update - Week 4

I think it's going to be a pretty brief update this week with not much by way of commentary with the week's racing decimated by the weather.

I mentioned on Friday that I was a little apprehensive about the weekend. I was anxious that four weeks of building up a decent level of profit wasn't put to waste by a disastrous weekend coming at the end of the month. I'm aware that this is a daft way of thinking, and that in the context of the bigger picture, one weekend's betting performance is neither here nor there. However, I put a little pressure on myself by awarding myself a pay day on the last day of the month by banking any profits I have made. This is my way of drawing a betting 'salary', and it is a little disheartening to see yourself in a good position only for that pay day to be put on hold by just a few bad results. I suppose it is similar to a tipster doing well and then blowing the points profit made at the death, meaning that their monthly table of results doesn't look so good. Of course the tipster has the option of cutting down their tips in such circumstances. I can hardly justify not backing any selections I receive when in this same situation.

Anyway, I came out of the other end of the weekend unscathed and in fact the profitable side of break even, just by £100. So not a spectacular couple of days but at this stage of the month, I was happy enough.

2013 Week 4 - Monday 21st January to Sunday 27th January
Figures in brackets are Month to Date

Northern Monkey
Wayne couldn't really be expected to continue the scorching pace with which he had started the year, and this past week ended up showing a small loss. A saver bet on Tuesday (Woolfall Sovereign - Lingfield - 2/1) paid dividends to produce a small profit, and a placed horse on Saturday at 9/1 shows that NMP is still in very good form.
Staked 6pts, -1.6pts (Staked 24pts, +9.818pts)

On The Nose
The Judge is finding the going heavy still this month. No joy amongst six selections all told.
Staked 5pts, -5pts (Staked 19.75pts, -7.625pts)

The Sportsman Racing
Very quiet. Just two bets, both losers.
Staked 1pt, -1pt (Staked 3.5pts, +0.681pts)

Winning Racing Tips
I mentioned last week what a great month it has been for WRT, starting 2013 very much in the same profitable vein as that enjoyed through 2012. Wednesday was the only day with any action - two bets - one of which got a typical never-say-die refuse-to-be-beaten McCoy ride to provide another fine winner (Ballybogey - Ayr - 10/1).
Staked 0.8pts, +2pts (Staked 7.6pts, +9.634pts)

It's been a poor month for 4PA, but there have been a series of near misses, not least on Saturday. For those interested in racing, all I need to say for you to understand where I'm coming from is Imperial Commander! A poor result in the Thyestes Chase in Ireland on Thursday, plus Saturday's disappointments have meant his has been another losing week for the service.
Staked 7.5pts, -4.5pts (Staked 16.5pts, -11.95pts)

Football Elite
Three winners and one bet returning stakes from six bets over the weekend resulted in a steady if unspectacular profit. I quite like steady if unspectacular. It suits me. Mind you having said that, an roi of almost 30% over a weekend is pretty spectacular when you think about it. Perhaps I do prefer spectacular to steady. I'm all confused...
Staked 6pts, +1.77pts (Staked 12pts, +2.569pts)

The Football Analyst
Not a lot happening here this weekend. Just one E3-E7 bet which returned stakes. Got a 7-22 Home bet this evening. Keep your fingers crossed.
Staked 0.25pts, N/A (Staked 9.5pts, +0.297pts)

Summer Of Football
With ten minutes to go in the Championship games on Saturday, it looked like James was going to be repeating last week's heroics, especially as his two bets on Friday had both been winners. Alas, goals went in at the wrong end and just a small profit registered on the weekend and a tiny loss on the week overall. No complaints though. I'm not going to start whingeing about what might have beens with a service that has had such a strong month.
Staked 6pts, -0.18pts (Staked 22pts, +9.5pts)

One winner and one bet with stakes returned from two for the Asian picks and a great big 'what might have been' with a long price/one point double that very nearly paid off.
Staked 9pts, +3.2pts (Staked 37pts, -8.166pts)

A much quieter week this past week and a profitable one too, thanks in main to a great selection at a pretty decent price (Athletic Bilbao to bt Atletico Madrid - 3.4) given early (on Thursday). Add that to Djokovic to beat Murray in the Aussie Open final, and it's been a decent enough week.
Staked 6.5pts, +4.942pts (Staked 63.4pts, -9.535pts)

The Sportsman
Just the one bet. Just the one winner! Plenty of goals in the Scottish League two match identified as having the potential for many goals. :) Scott proudly pointed out that from the last ten account selections, eight have won and one returned stakes. Not bad at all.
Staked 0.15pts, +0.16pts (Staked 0.45pts, +0.267pts)

On The Oche
Nothing doing.

So, nearly there for another month. Let's hope for no disasters this side of Friday.

Friday, 25 January 2013

What chances of racing tomorrow?

If Cheltenham is having what we're having in the North West at the moment, very slim I'd say.

Bit anxious about this weekend. I'm nicely up for the month but not nicely enough for the figures not to be decimated by a bad weekend, the last in January. Always a bit nervous when this happens. Fingers crossed we all have a good'un, eh.

Waiting for another Summer Of Football tip to play out tonight. The one this morning was a nice winner (Central Coast - 2.03). Have had nothing on the racing.

Have a great weekend chaps. And stay warm.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Asking for a kicking.

First things first. Let me make it absolutely crystal clear that I am no apologist for Chelsea Football Club. But, even so, I don't think Eden Hazard should have been sent off for what he did. Trying to kick a ball out from underneath a boy who is lying on it in an attempt to waste time is not, to my mind, violent conduct.

Allow me to provide some context. Last summer, I was out in the garden playing footie with my then nine year old son. The little git got the ball, dribbled up to me, nutmegged me, scarpered around me like a whippet on Speed, before nochalantly rolling the ball into the empty net for a 1-0 lead. I barely blinked.

Now I grew up with the school of defending that spawned such great and rugged graduates as Tony Adams and Steve Bould. Now obviously I can't step forward with my arm in the air demanding the linesman flag for offside when playing one v one in the back garden, but I can, when provoked, stick in the 'reducer' when done by an opposing attacker. You know, just to let him know I'm there.

I went back to my starting place at one end of the garden. Joe to his. I rolled the ball to him, and off he goes again. This time however, we had a different outcome. As he approached, I leapt forward having been stung by my previous humiliation. Not this time, laddie. No chance. With a primeval roar I launched myself into a two footed, studs up, both feet off the ground reckless lunge, taking ball, man, the whole lot. I kicked Joe up so high in the air he came down with snow on.

Trouble is, you have rubber bones at that age. He bounced down, laughing, and grabbed the ball, lying on top of it to prevent me from nicking it and equalising. Naturally I then tried to remove ball from underneath prostrate boy by, you guessed it, kicking it out. Just like Eden Hazard last night. Joe thought it hilarious.

And that's why folks, I don't think Hazard should have been sent off last night, hilarious though it was. And let's face it, the little oik probably deserved it anyway.

*If anyone from Social Services should happen to read this, please note the author is prone to slight exaggeration on occasion. He didn't really come down with snow on him.

It was all about the Thyestes Chase over in Ireland today. 4PA waded in with three selections and On The Nose with a further two. Oh, and The Value Bettor came out of temporary hibernation to pick just the one for the race. There was no luck at all for On The Nose. The well backed favourite (9s into 4s) given by 4PA fell, another came nowhere but the third selection (Panthers Claw - 8/1) ran on into a place to provide some sort of return.

The winner? An 'orse called Jadanli. You know I didn't back it, but I'd read about this horse and it's chances in this race in the email this morning from The Value Bettor. Tipped up at 28/1! The guy is a bloody genius, and I've not got him as a formal part of the portfolio. What does that make me?!? I'll tell you what that makes me, shall I? It makes me a bloody idiot and someone who needs to put this situation to rights, that's what it makes me! Watch this space...

Elsewhere, just the one bet from Northern Monkey on the all weather at Kempton this evening. To my untutored eye, it was given a shocker of a ride. Either way, it lost.

Let's see what tomorrow brings.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

When you're hot, you're hot.

And Winning Racing Tips is the Deep Heat of horse racing tipping services so far this month. Just two bets today, both from WRT. The first was never put into the race and finished so far behind it could have made the running in the next, but the second was another fine winner (Ballybogey - Ayr - 10/1).

No time for a proper post tonight. I've found a decent stream and it's half time. Back to it.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Making hay on the North Pole.

Feels like a bit of a holiday at the minute, what with the weather playing havoc with the racing fixtures. I'm putting so few bets on I don't know what to do with myself. I need a hobby.

Despite the lack of betting activity, BetVictor appears to believe I pose too much of a threat to their empire. This is the fourth Chandlers account I've had closed now, and to me at least, they do rank right alongside Stan James on the scale of uselessness. When BetFred and even Boylesports make you look shite, then you really are!

I only discovered I had this VC account by accident. No idea why, but I suddenly remembered that about five years ago, I had opened a load of accounts in my wife's name. How I managed to recall the correct password, God only knows! But recall it I did, and after changing the address the account was registered to (I've moved house since the account was opened, it was that long ago!) and using Moneybookers to make a deposit, I was away. To be honest, I didn't really think of account preservation with this one. Knowing the way that BetVictor have dealt with previous accounts of mine, I thought I should just make hay whilst the sun shone. Trouble is, 'BetVictor-land' seems to get about as much sun as does the North Pole in the very deepest, darkest depths of midwinter. Still, it was all good fun for a month and I managed to sneak a few hundred out of them.

On a more serious point, I really am going to have to make a serious effort to educate myself about hidden IP addresses, VPNs and the like. I know Kodagira wrote some very useful articles on the subject for the SBC, and although using technology doesn't come naturally to me, I know I need to learn. Like I say, I had no expectations of this VC account lasting at all, but even in the short time I was able to work it, it lightened the load on other, more valued accounts. Even if for only a short while, this had be a good thing.

Funny though, how you adapt over time. When I had my first account closed, I kinda panicked a wee bit. Then I went through the stage of railing against the miserable gits who refused to lay me a penny on an odds on shot, and now I'm just resigned to losing accounts and working hard to protect the ones that are important to me. Certainly I'm beyond whingeing and grumbling about it.

The bastards.

Before I go, a quick point about James at The Summer Of Football. He needs a darned good kick up the arris, so he does. He can give seven winners from seven bets over the weekend - that's all well and good - but last night's bet on Everton didn't come out too well, did it?!? Not good enough. Must try harder. :)

A small winner for Northern Monkey today (Woolfall Sovereign - Lingfield - 2/1) which was intended as a saver bet for the main selection but having drifted from 5/4 with a BOG bookmaker (VC would you believe - my last bet) it actually provided a profit on the race. Only trouble is we still showed a small loss on the day overall as The Sportsman Racing's pick lost. Still, no real damage done.

When is this weather going to warm up then? Can't be doing with all this snow and stuff...

Monday, 21 January 2013

Results Update - Week 3

Many years ago - well not that many, I was about 11 - my Dad used to take me to Edgeley Park, home of Stockport County, for each home game. In those days they were in Division 4 and played their home matches on Friday evenings in an attempt to draw a crowd from spectators who would otherwise be lost to City or United were the fixtures held on the Saturday afternoon. Now they are in the BlueSquare Conference and seem to have given up on attracting supporters of bigger clubs to the ground. On Saturday, I thought I'd brave the elements and take my lad to the game.

As Stockport is only twenty minutes away, we could leave the house at 2.15 after a hot lunch, get there for 2.45, pay on the gate, and choose where we sat, all for less than twenty quid. Joe's ticket was £3. It was a cracking match, two of the three goals were spectacular, and hot bovril at half time to ward off the cold; it was like going to football in years gone by. We both thoroughly enjoyed it and you know, despite my taking my son to Arsenal games both home and away, I think this was his first real experience of football as I knew it when I was his age. Proper football, free of corporatisation and the feeling of being ripped off. We'll both be going back.

So, on to last week's betting. As you'd expect with the weather being as it has been, bets on the racing have been relatively scarce. What there was made a decent profit, but alas this merely countered the losses made on the sports betting side of the portfolio. Overall, the week showed a small loss (under £100), so perhaps the best way to look at the week is as a consolidation after the previous week's big gains.

2013, Week 3: Monday 14th January - Sunday 20th January
*Figures in brackets are Month to Date

Northern Monkey
London bus syndrome. No maximum bets for ages, and then three come along at once. More importantly, all three have won, the latest being last Tuesday (Atlantis Crossing - Wolverhampton - 4/1). This set up the week for Wayne in terms of profits. No joy from the remaining three selections but good figures nonetheless.
Staked 5.75pts, +4.75pts (Staked 18pts, +11.418pts)

On The Nose
Pretty darned quiet. Only Wednesday and Thursday witnessed any action. No winners amongst five selections all told, although we did get a return on an each way that placed at 12s.
Staked 3pts, -1pt (Staked 14.75pts, -2.625pts)

The Sportsman Racing
Just the one bet from Scott, and a nice winner it was too (Marvelino - Lingfield - 11/8).
Staked 0.5pts, +0.687pts (Staked 2.5pts, +1.681pts)

Winning Racing Tips
Nothing at all. All week.


Football Elite
No success over the weekend with two losing bets from two.
Staked 2pts, -2pts (Staked 6pts, +0.799pts)

The Football Analyst
The title of Graeme's most recent blog post sums things up very well..."Two steps forward, two steps back." This weekend represented the backwards movement to counter last weekends advance. System 7-22 had a raft of selections but after the weather had done it's thing, only three remained. Two losers from these three, and one returned stakes. Two System E3-E7 bets - one loser and one returned stakes.
Staked 2.25pts, -1.5pts (Staked 9.25pts, +0.297pts)

Summer Of Football
What a weekend! James understandably sounded buoyant in the email he sent out to members on Sunday after securing six wins from six bets on the Saturday (and the one selection on the Sunday was a winner too!). Superb tipping in anyone's book and with results going as they did elsewhere, it saved me from the sort of horror weekend I became only too used to through the back end of last year. I'm telling you there is a lot to be said for a warm climate. It obviously benefits James and as I seemed to spend most of my weekend freezing me goolies off, to say I'm envious would be an understatement of mahoosive proportions. Anyway, well done, James. Same again next week? You know it makes sense.
Staked 7pts, +6.69pts (Staked 16pts, +9.68pts)

I have to confess I'm getting worried for Skeeve now. After another two losing bets from two on Saturday (one Asians, one double), my bank for the service is getting too close to comfort to being accounted for. It's funny, but despite this horror season, I don't for one second think that Skeeve has lost his edge. I know for a fact he is working tremendously hard on his selections and that he remains an expert in his field. I just desperately hope that next weekend we will see the beginning of a recovery.
Staked 8pts, -8pts (Staked 28pts, -11.366pts)

A very poor week at the Australian Open for Dani, although on a number of selections, there were points in the match where the result could have swung our way. Just two winners from 12 bets show that they didn't, but I guess that's all part of the game. One winner from two on the Spanish football but a poor week all told.
Staked 19.9pts, -9.377pts (Staked 56.9pts, -14.477pts)

The Sportsman
Well, Scott is keeping bets down to the minimum just at present, but he's making it pay. Like the racing side of the service, just one bet last week but that one was a winning one (on the Corners line in the West Brom/Aston Villa match). Good stuff.
Staked 0.15pts, +0.107pts (Staked 0.3pts, +0.107pts)

On The Oche
Nothing to see here.

The total ROI after Week 3 on the racing is 46.71%. The total ROI on sports betting is 5.47%.

The total ROI across the portfolio is 16.73%, and the total ROC is 6.42%.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Flying solo.

You know I've never had an eye for a horse. When I first started taking an interest in horse racing and betting, I would often spend my school holidays following the racing closely. I'd nip down the Newsagents first thing in the morning for a Racing Post, take it to my mate's house where we'd spend the hours up to lunchtime searching for winners. Afternoons were spent in a small, independent bookie's office located down a quiet side street (the bigger Hills office of the High Street wouldn't let us in, knowing full well we weren't 18, and anyway going in and out risked being seen by someone you didn't want to see you like parents and the such) to listen to our selections running over the old SIS radio system. If there was a meeting on worthy of Channel 4 or BBC coverage, then a quick chippie lunch was the order of the day, before settling down to watch. Those were the days.

All of this sounds great, but there was one thing sadly missing. Winners. For the life of me, I just couldn't pick winners. Didn't matter that the average odds on my selections must have been about 5/4, I just couldn't find animals that could run faster than other horses in the race. My mate had a bit of success, and even today he has an eye for a potential bet that I just don't have and have never had.

It is within this context that I received the following comment, left by Braveincadublin the other day:

"Its a normal human reaction to place your own thought out bet and to feel very satisfied with oneself when it returns a nice profit. Have you ever found yourself placing a bet it wins and your paid subscription service tips a loser. One naturally feels annoyed, as that advice costed you money to no avail!

You can imagine the wryness to my smile. I honestly can't remember the last time I placed a well thought out bet of my own which then actually won. I don't even try to anymore; I feel I'm placing enough bets following the services I do without adding my own to the workload.

It's strange though that I don't ever feel the need to start doing my own analysis and perhaps trying to find my own edge. I guess I know that I simply don't have the requisite time available to me to allow me to have a go. Perhaps if my circumstances change in the future, I will be more inclined, although even now, thinking about it, I'd have a tendency to try and find an edge that can be utilised via trading, whilst still following the opinion of others with regards betting in the same way I do at the moment.

What is even more strange, when I pause to think, is that I feel that now, I am in a much better position to try and establish my own edge than I have ever been. After seeing how tipping services operate and the methods they use, you can't help but pick things up. Take Winning Racing Tips as an example. WRT utilises a set method, targetting a certain type of race. The method is applied tremendously consistently and therein lies the strength of the service. I'mnot saying I could apply that method as successfully as WRT, but I'm pretty sure I could come up with similar selections. It's a similar story with Football Elite and Summer Of Football. Over time, it is inevitable that you pick up what it is they look for when searching for selections.

Don't get me wrong here. I'm not suggesting that I could match or better what WRT and Football Elite (or others) do. I guess I could imitate their methods and see if it brought me success. But I have no desire to do so. At this moment, with everything else that goes on in life, I'm happy to pay for the expertise and delegate these responsibilities.

I don't know if you get the Punter's Verdict emails that are sent out each week? It emanates from the Oxon press stable, a place I'm sure any of you who have looked at using tipsters before will have come across at some stage or other. In this week's email, The Judge (not the of On The Nose fame, but the author of this weekly missive) put it all rather well:

What I want from a racing [or sports] tipster is something I can’t do or don’t have the skill, experience or time to do for myself on a sustained and consistent basis – like find a stream of decent priced winners (the kind of horses the rest of the market is over-looking or looking at the wrong way).

That’s something worth paying for. And a tipping service that can meet that brief is well worth having on your side – and well worth paying for.

Sums up my stance rather well.

PS. But, having said all this, I do quietly fancy that Sprinter Sacre for the Champion Chase. Got potential that horse. You heard it here first.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Bipolarism and it's effect on tipsters.

Have you ever read Twitter whilst watching your footie team on the telly? I tend not to, preferring instead to concentrate on the match itself, but just occasionally I've taken a peek. What I have seen whenever I have dipped a toe has shocked me. Twitter seems full of so called "supporters" whose whole opinion on the team and manager can swing from one extreme to the other during the course of a mere 90 minutes. The last time I looked was when Arsenal were 4-0 down inside the first half when away to Reading in the Capital One Cup. Twitter was full of self-professed lovers of the "Gooner family" absolutely slating the players and manager. No pride, a disgrace to the shirt, no clue, should all be sold, etc, etc. These were the points being made in a particularly abusive way. Funnily enough, after a 7-5 Arsenal win following a great comeback and extra time, the very same people that were hurling this abuse were "proud of our boys" who demonstrated "great heart" and "played for the badge". The manager went from needing to be sacked overnight to an astute tactician who deserves reverence and acclaim. I was astounded by such hypocrisy and taken aback by the sheer fickleness and the inability of these doughnuts to see the bigger picture or to acknowledge any existence of a middle ground which provides adequate room for properly thought-out criticism or praise. It is this that makes me think that these people suffer a form of bipolar disorder. Perhaps not manic depressives, but displaying similar symptoms albeit within a different context.

Of course with Twitter, it is easy to distance yourself from these characters. All you have to do is hit the 'Unfollow' button and then pretend that the rational world allows no place for such extremists. I think we all know though that this really is burying our heads in the sand and that in reality, the modern world is heavily populated by those that draw immediate conclusions without ever engaging their brain and who adopt a nastily aggressive approach to letting those that cause their ire know how they feel. Was it Darren Gibson who, when still at Man United, opened a Twitter account only to close it the very same day having received all manner of abuse, mainly from United "fans" who, shall we say, doubted his ability to make the grade at the highest level? The last time I noticed, he's making a decent career for himself at Everton.

It is apparent that these abusers do not limit themselves to social media. There was a sentence in the review of 2012 that On The Nose sent out to subscribers yesterday that caught my attention:

"At the end of December 2011 I had a rather poor Christmas period with the service and a few of our members let me know about it. Fair enough I don't mind constructive and often supportive criticism but there is a line."

This needs context. This was December 2011, the end of a year over the period of which OTN had attained an ROI in excess of 25%. The month itself was hardly disastrous. My records show I lost just over 2.5pts; the official figures were -3.5pts. So we have a couple of poor weeks within a month that was far from being a bad one, coming at the end of what had been a spectacular year. And people are sending abuse to the tipster!?! Abuse strong enough for it to have made a strong enough impression on the tipster to warrant a mention in a review sent out over twelve months later? What do some people get off on?

What really puzzles me is what such people hope to achieve. I don't think you need to be a genius to realise that a confident tipster is more likely to make money than one coming under pressure from followers who see fit to throw abuse when results don't go their way. Surely folk can see that being aggressive can only be counterproductive. It's like booing the footballer on your team whenever he gets the ball because he's having a bad game. He's never going to be encouraged to play better by being booed, is he?

In my experience, most reputable tipsters encourage and even invite constructive criticism of their service. I think (although don't know for a fact) they do so because they feel they can learn something and I'm sure within many a tipster's subscriber base there lie some experienced and knowledgeable gamblers whose opinion is worth listening to. But there's a massive difference between constructive criticism and aggressively thrown abuse - no-one invites abuse (with the possible exception of Joey Barton). I can't help but think that if you're sick of the performance levels of a tipster you're following, then press the equivalent of the 'Unfollow' button and simply don't renew subs when the time comes. Simple.

This post might perhaps appear as a piece of propaganda for those that run tipping services. It isn't. It reflects my own thoughts. I do intend though, to provide some balance by writing a post from the punter's perspective, and asking what can we do to make sure we get what we want from a service to which we pay our hard earned cash. Keep an eye out. It's on it's way.


Just a quick final note to say that SBC members will soon be able to read an interview with my old mate The Value Bettor, who incidentally weighed in with another nice winner yesterday (Virginia Ash - Plumpton - 11/2). It promises to be an interesting read and if I was able to choose any of the questions posed, it would be how on earth does he remember the race a horse ran in over a year ago and use that as a basis for a selection. Go and read his blog update if you want to know what I'm on about.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Results Update - Week 2

You know the only problem with this plan of mine to write a weekly update every Monday is that it is going to make my life fly by faster than Frankel on Speed.

It's been a superb week. It's not true, for I know there are plenty of times during each year when I make no money from the portfolio but don't lose any either, but it really does feel sometimes that either everything goes wrong at the same time or everything goes right. I suppose it is what makes the game so hard.

This past week, almost everything has gone my way. Read the Northern Monkey section below. It is worth reading every time you have a last minute penalty go against you as a result of a shocking refereeing decision, or your horse hits 1.01 before somehow finding a way to lose. Next door may by now, be missing their cat. It was, as I mentioned last week, about to be sacrificed, and I must now tell you that it is an ex-cat. But I tell you something. My act of rampant barbarism seems to have done the trick.

2013, Week 2: Monday 7th January - Sunday 13th January
*Figures in brackets are Month to Date.

Northern Monkey
A fairly quiet week which I imagine could well be the way of things for a while as Wayne adopts a more selective strategy to betting on the all weather. The strategy has so far paid off. Wednesday saw the second Maximum bet of the year which didn't so much romp home as laugh at it's rivals as it zoomed past them in the final furlong to win as it chose (Diamond Charlie - Kempton - 9/2, SP 7/4). Top tipping.

However, yesterday saw things really go my way. Wayne issued a tip which very unusually for the service, was advised in the Betfair Place market. I didn't notice that, and backed the horse to win at the bookies (Waking Warrior - Lingfield - 8/1), realising my error just one minute before the off. The beast was slowly away and had only one behind it entering the not massively long straight. But, I noticed it suddenly seemed to pick up and I thought that it was all just bloody typical - it might just, if fortuitous enough to be granted a clear passage through the field, scrape into the frame and thus ensuring that I lost on what should have been a winning bet. What actually happened was that within the space of about 20 yards, the beast went from doing a fair impression of a lumbering carthorse to a turbo-injected Pegasus, sprouting wings and flying home to get up right on the line to win by a nose. If you don't believe me, read the race comments on the Racing Post website or Sportinglife. A nose. And the nose of a horse is, let's face it, about the width of a knat's todger. Unbelievable.

Wayne recorded the result at the Betfair place SP (2.5). For the purposes of results recording for both NMP and the portfolio, I shall do the same. As for the extra money, I shall put it in a 'Rainy Day' pot because as sure as eggs are eggs, I'll make a similar mistake again only next time, more likely than not, it will cost me money as opposed to make it for me. Let's look at the extra cash as constituting a 'Contingency' fund - after all, all good businesses have them. :)
Staked 5.25pts, +7.668pts (Staked 12.25pts, +6.668pts)

On The Nose
The week started well with a nice winner found on Tuesday (Reginaldinho - Leicester - 5/1, SP 2/1), which was followed up on the Wednesday with a long-priced horse backed each way finding the frame (Go Set Go - Doncaster - 25/1). No luck since then though, so a small loss on the week.
Staked 7pts, -0.375pts (Staked 11.75pts, -1.625pts).

The Sportsman Racing
Just the one bet, on Saturday, winning nicely (Emerging - Lingfield - Evens).
Staked 0.5pts, +0.5pts (Staked 2pts, +0.994pts).

Winning Racing Tips
The Star of the Week. Absolutely superb day on Thursday with two selections winning to provide a great return (Miss Conduct - Leicester - 8/1, SP 5/1 and Only Orsenfoolsies - Catterick - 7/1, SP 5/1). I commented to a friend of mine, who is also a WRT subscriber, that Paul keeps on churning out selections using the same method which he applies as consistently as George Graham's Arsenal used to grind out 1-0 wins, and over any decent period of time, such an approach makes money.
Staked 5pts, +5.722pts (Staked 6.8pts, +7.634pts).

A blank week. No bets.

Football Elite
Just the two bets on Sunday, and two winners. I've got to say, putting money on United to win just makes me feel dirty, and celebrating Van Twatsie scoring a goal? Nope. Not this little duck (not that I'm bitter or anything). Having said all that, a nice winner at 1.909 is never to be sniffed at. Elsewhere, Catania (2.42) did Matt proud and produced a good week for FE.
Staked 2pts, +2.329pts (Staked 4pts, +2.799pts).

The Football Analyst
A profitable week as System 7-22 seemed to rediscover it's mojo a little, producing two winners on Saturday from two bets (Scunthorpe DNB - 2.19 and Burton - 2.11). E3-E7 also turned a small profit, finding one winner from two (Rayo Vallecano DNB - 2.95).
Staked 3pts, +1.442pts (Staked 7pts, +1.797pts).

Summer Of Football
A good week for James, who identified five winners amongst eight selections. He's certainly enjoying the Australian league (Western Sydney (+0.25) - 1.79 and Sydney (-0.25) - 2.03).
Staked 8pts, +2.14pts (Staked 9pts, +2.99pts).

Bwin. Bloody useless! I placed one of Skeeve's doubles with them. As it worked out, one of the teams won (Basingstoke) but the second match was postponed. This means it was a winning bet, but I don't know my return. Still. I've emailed Bwin and am awaiting a response. It's a good job I'm not holding my breath, for if I had been I'd now be in the same place as that bloody cat! I'll not post the figures and wait instead until I know what exactly what they are. Does anybody know the rules?

The Asian Handicap bet was a winner (Newport (-0.25) - 1.84) although due to temporary traffic lights on my way home from work on Friday night, I didn't secure a price as high as I would normally do. The other double was a loser. It wasn't until injury time in one of the games, but them's the breaks I suppose.

Not quite so busy this past week, although with the start of the Australian Open I've no doubt this will change. All told, just two winners from eight bets (Baker to bt Janowicz - 2.625 and Falla to bt Zemjla - 1.909). Let's see what the tennis brings over the next two weeks.
Staked 12pts, -3.563pts (Staked 37pts, -5.1pts).

The Sportsman
Not much to report, with just the one bet which returned stakes.
Staked 0.15pts, N/A (Staked 0.15pts, N/A).

On The Oche
The antepost tip for the BDO World Championship came in in fine style (Scott Waites - 4.33) and even allowing for the hedging advised in the final, landed a nice and solid two points profit. It was a shrewd bit of picking, Rich seeing that Waites had an exceptionally favourable draw. To be honest, I've never seen any winner of a darts tournament have an easier time of it before lifting the trophy and I was confident this bet was going to be landed after the first round.

Premier League starts soon, and I'm looking forward to it on both a betting and a spectating basis.
Staked 2.333pts, +2pts (Staked 3.833pts, +2.666pts)

The total ROI after Week 2 on the racing is 42.48%. The total ROI on sports betting is 18.36%.

The total ROI across the portfolion is 26.09%, and the total ROC is 7.21%.

Can't continue like this, can it?

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Raising stakes.

In the Comment section the other day, the following question was asked:

When do you think it is okay to increase stakes rowan ..i was given advice look at where you are at every 3 months and adjust staking if you have made a profit in that term

Good question. And like a lot of good questions, I don't think there is one right answer. It really does come down to the preference of the individual looking to grow their bank via increased levels of staking.

The question was well timed. I think I mentioned last week that I was having to rationalise my portfolio a little after an unexpected expense was incurred (and if I catch those bastard tenants, they'll be what for!) and I had to take the money out of my betting bank. The plan though, is to grow the bank back up again and return to the previous staking levels. It's not a big jump that is necessary, but I did have to think about how I was going to make it. My solution was to drop a couple of services, and use those remaining running at a slightly lower £/pt value until the money I had taken out has been replaced through profits. That's the plan anyway.

I would suggest that there are many different approaches we could take to deciding when was the right time to raise stakes. When I started out, the approach I took to grow the portfolio was to work backwards in my calculations. I first worked out what my target profit figures were (in terms of money made). Then how much capital it would likely take to earn it, and then I would stake at levels that allowed my bank to reach a certain size which meant I could join another service without having to decrease the staking levels I was using on the services I already followed. This process was repeated until I reached the figure I had worked out in Step 2, at which point I stopped. Thus my levels of staking didn't really rise within each individual service, but rather my overall staking levels - or turnover, if you wish - grew as I joined more services and the portfolio expanded. That makes it all sound very simple, which it wasn't of course. Not with joining unsuitable services and the various other mistakes I made.

There are other ways of deciding when to raise stakes. There is the option the chap who asked the question was advised - to see where you are after a certain amount of time and then adjust staking if your have banked a profit. Some services suggest that you do the same but after a certain number of bets, and others suggest using a compounding staking system. Sportyy is one such example of the latter, which involves reinvesting any profits and increasing stakes as you go along; an ongoing strategy that uses the profits you make as soon as you make them. That's not how I follow Sportyy, but I can see how it works.

Another very sensible suggestion that I have seen on the CD Systems website is to double your bank, take your original funds out, and then simply use the profits as your betting bank. I guess then you can simply double your stakes once you have doubled this "second" bank, whenever that may be. I like that suggestion, and were I starting again, I think I would try and adopt this strategy in some way.

Of course this is all dependant on the staking levels you are at. I'm pretty sure for example, that if I doubled my staking levels on the Winning Racing Tips service selections, my bookmaker accounts wouldn't last very long at all. Compare that to say Football Elite - I'm certain I could easily double or even treble my current staking levels if using only the Asian bookies. So perhaps instead of looking at raising stakes on a pan-portfolio basis, it might sometimes make sense to look at the individual services and how much room to manouevre there might be?

So, no right or wrong. Personal preference all the way. But hopefully, there's a few ideas there that provide some food for thought.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

The sports betting services for 2013.

Before I start, may I just say to all Aston Villa fans out there, there is absolutely no shame in losing to Bradford City. No shame at all. Oh no.

Now that declaration is out of the way, let's have a look at how the sports betting half of the portfolio is lined up for the year ahead...

Football Elite
I mentioned when talking about Winning Racing Tips in the racing services preview I wrote last week, that Football Elite was the first sports tipping service I joined. FE is one of those services that is a joy to follow when doing well, and one of the most testing when not. When results are going our way, the ease with which we can get good money into the market, and by boxing a little bit clever can generally secure odds very close to and often better than those advised, allied to a low workload - there's an awful lot to like about following Matt's service. However, generally speaking in life, the strength of something is very often also it's weakness, and so it is with Football Elite. The low turnover (and thus low workload) means that losing runs tend to extend over a fair amount of time, testing the psyche of the follower in a way that not so many other services do. It also makes a service vulnerable to variance in a way that leaves higher turnover services untouched - if there are only around 100 bets in a season, then get on the wrong side of variance and a whole season, ie. nine months of football betting, can easily be adversely affected. This naturally leads to even the most patient of followers to question whether the tipsters methods have changed, if they are as cute as they once were, and whether perhaps the bookies have adapted over time and no longer make mistakes in their pricing up of the markets played in. Being honest with you, at some point or other I have asked these very questions (to myself) of every single tipster I've ever followed. So far, Matt for one, has always come up with the right answers.

The Football Analyst
I'm sure Graeme expected a lot more from his systems than what they have given him so far this season. Certainly I did, although due to the staking system I've used, I've never felt that I'm on some wild rollercoaster or that losses had begun to get out of control. They certainly haven't, and when I look at the figures I've achieved by following TFA since going live a season and a half ago, I'm still enjoying an roi in excess of 20%. So let's put a relatively small sample of bets provided this season into the correct context here, and remember too that results overall across the various systems are far from the worst I've ever seen!

Graeme wrote a fascinating post on his blog the other day. It talked about how on reflection, perhaps TFA portfolios ought to have embraced a little more diversification than some followers opted for this season. I would include myself in that bracket, as I'm only following Systems 7/22 and E3/E7, and this leaves me vulnerable to the same threats from variance that I was talking about with FE. This is something that I have no doubt will be addressed in the summer. Regardless though of results this season, TFA is a service I remain massively excited by and I am totally convinced of it's huge potential.

By the way, that blog post I was talking about. It is very much worth a read for reasons other than those I mention. There's all sorts of fascinating stuff in there.

Summer Of Football
I was impressed by a very sleek 2012 review that James sent out to members this week, and I feel it reflects the way the service has developed as a whole, even from the time I first started following last spring. It was great fun riding the wave that was midsummer, when it seemed that SoF couldn't pick a loser were it trying. It was less fun in November, when the reverse appeared true. Thing is, to a relatively new follower such as myself, it isn't half gratifying to see a service go through a really bad patch, not lose the plot, stay consistent, and come out the other side, which is what seems to have happened. The core strength of SoF, as I see it anyway, is that it produces a pretty high turnover of bets so that even if roi is relatively low (historically under 10%), the actual points profit and ROC, given an average year, is high. 2012 saw an ROC of 143% achieved, which is outstanding.

There's no getting away from it. The first half to the 2012/13 season has been disastrous. Skeeve has not panicked at all. Naturally disappointed at results I'm sure, but no sense of real crisis, and in fact Skeeve exudes a very real confidence in his ability to turn it all around, a confidence that I imagine is borne from experience and having having seen it all before. Certain adjustments have been made - I am no longer following the Shortlist picks and Skeeve himself has just tapered the staking slightly on some bets from five points to four - and the hope is that the second half of the season proves much kinder. One thing is for certain; I know for a fact that no-one will be working harder than Skeeve to put things right.

On The Oche
The last few months were a little disappointing for OTO too, and 2012 as a whole didn't reach the heights of the previous year. The thing is with darts though, is that more than any other sport, the margins between success and failure are so very, very fine. I would say that Rich, the tipster, has demonstrated a massive edge in the sport which becomes apparent when conducting any analysis of the service over what might be deemed a decent amount of time. Ally this to Matt's approach to running the service, which has seen some alterations to the format I experienced when a member two or three years ago - and in so doing freshening the service up a little - then I believe we have a winning combination. I guess that it is possible for an edge to be eroded over time, but with an roi running at north of 30% over five years, it has some way to fall to be one that has disappeared completely. I'm rather hoping it hasn't been eroded at all!

The Sportsman
This service quietly goes about it's business. Nothing flash, backing a lot of odds on shots, and you get the impression that before issuing a bet, everything around it is given very careful consideration. And then each month you read Scott's monthly review which includes a breakdown of the rois of each sport covered since the service started. At the end of December the overall roi across the site was 15%, football running at 12%, darts at 12%, and antepost horse racing bets at 22%. Pretty impressive, huh? After a good month, I often look back and wonder how I'd made as much as I had. December was a prime example - just seven bets, six winners and an roi of 70%! Because the bets are few and far between, you don't get sudden rushes of profit; it's more a slow accumulation. That's fine by me, and although with the low turnover ROC is never going to run away with itself, there is a very clearly defined niche in the portfolio for The Sportsman.

The star of the latter part of 2012, and without it I'd have been in a real mess. Dani has written an article on the blog (that you can find on his website) that is well worth a read. He is realistic enough to know that not every subscriber is going to be able to get the best odds on each selection, but I must admit, since subscribing in June, I have never failed to secure at least the minimum odds advised. Not once. My roi since subscribing is lying at nearly 10.5%, and bearing in mind I got off to a bit of a horror start (June produced a small loss, July a very big one), I'm very pleased with that and I think the figures show that you can get a good return from the odds attainable. The blog ppst produces a breakdown of where the profits have come from, and the thing that struck me was that if anyone is looking for a really good, free service, you could do a heck of a lot worse than follow Sportyy's Spanish footie bets.

And there we have it. Now we just need to make some money. I've no doubt over the next twelve months, there will be times when my feelings towards some services will change. Ultimately though, and to sound like a football manager adept at talking only in cliches, this is a results business. The harsh reality is that if results are poor, there will ultimately be a time when the wise thing to do is to srop following. That is the pressure that all tipsters work under. They know that the success of their service in commercial terms is massively reliant on the results they produce, which is of course the way it should be. It would be great if I could get to the end of this year with the whole portfolio looking exactly as it does now. Here's hoping.

Finally today, a quick note that it's been a good one. Northern Monkey found another maximum bet to go in at a good price, and although The Value Bettor isn't an official part of the portfolio, mention should be made of his performance today. Two winners from two bets at 10/1 (backed into 11/2) and 11/4 (backed into 2/1). Go read his blog for details.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Better late than never! Results update - Week 1

Right. Remembered the notebook.

I'll try and keep the result summaries succinct, mentioning only the notable winners by name. These posts will never be very long, but hopefully those that are interested can keep tabs on the portfolio performance on a week by week basis. In subsequent posts, I'll add the month to date figures to the weekly performance of each service, and at the end of each month, I shall round things off with the year to date figures.

Obviously if figures aren't your thing, ignore these posts and come back to read the good stuff (*cough*) on a Tuesday and Thursday. Or Wednesday and Thursday if I'm a bell-end and leave my figures at work again.

I'm not pretending that this blog is "proofing" bets from each service, but where there is value I think, is that you can see what a bloke with a full time job and kids is getting from each service. There will be times when the best odds are missed, and even the occasional bet, but this is what happens to the 99% of us who are in this situation isn't it?

Without further ado...

2013, Week 1: Monday 31st December - Sunday 6th January

Northern Monkey
I've mentioned previously, but Wayne didn't let a New Year hangover get in the way of wading straight in with a maximum 3 point bet as the first for the year - a nice winner it was too (Woolfall Sovereign - Wolverhampton - Evens). Unfortunately, subsequent selections didn't quite run so well and a small loss on the week.
Staked 7pts, -1pt

On The Nose
Fairly quiet from OTN, what with the weather and all. Just the one winner coming on Saturday (Big Fella Thanks - Wincanton - 6/1) from ten selections.
Staked 4.75pts, -1.25pts

The Sportsman Racing
Two winners from three bets, one on Wednesday (Captain Starlight - Kempton - 8/13) and the other on Friday (Drawnfromthepast - Wolverhampton - 11/8).
Staked 1.5pts, +0.494pts

Winning Racing Tips
The busiest of the racing services through the first week of the year. I've already mentioned the great winning double last week. No more winners since, but no massive erosion to the profits secured.
Staked 1.8pts, +1.911pts

It was here that a lot of damage to the overall performance to the week was done. Saturday was a bit of a punting disaster with no returns from seven points staked (including a point lost on an antepost selection that didn't make it to the race). If Teaforthree had not been the victim of a ride from heaven by Paul Carberry on Monbeg Dude, it would have been a different story. Ifs, but and maybes, eh?
Staked 9pts, -7.45pts

Football Elite
Just the two bets from FE over the weekend, one winning (Levante - 2.47) and the other seemingly unfortunate - Catania drew 0-0 but were down to ten men after just quarter of an hour. Suppose these things happen.
Staked 2pts, +0.47pts

The Football Analyst
Very quiet weekend - just the one E3-E7 bet that proved to be a winner with a last minute goal. Always nice when that happens (Parma - 1.91). This cancelled out the tiny loss suffered on New Year's Day and provided a small profit on the week.
Staked 4pts, +0.354pts

Summer Of Football
Very quiet from James too, as the lucky bugger buggered back over to Sydney. 43 degrees! Pfft. One bet on Saturday, one winner (Aston Villa - 1.85).
Staked 1pt, +0.85pts.

Still no joy from Skeeve, who reverted to the previously utilised staking system of four points on certain bets that previously this season would have carried five. This is an exercise in bank preservation and I have no problem with it. Still no luck though, althougb a last minute equaliser did mean that the four points on the Asians bet was recovered. Let down though by one leg of the Double.
Staked 8pts, -4pts

Busy, busy, busy. Tennis has started up again. Lots of points being staked. A few winners, a few losers. Got something to mention about Sportyy that I'll do in tomorrow's post.
Staked 25pts, -1.537pts

On The Oche
Just one bet so far in the less glamorous BDO World Championships which was a small loser. Hopeful though about the antepost bet which has shortened significantly in price after just the first round. Fingers crossed.

Talking of antepost bets, the long term selection for the PDC World Championships was landed (Taylor the Catankorous - 3.75 and 3.5) although the bet was hedged before the final to guarantee a profit. Not sure how to record the stakes under these circumstances, so I'll just say it was one point staked (which was the original stake placed on Taylor). The situation is further complicated by the fact that I've reduced the £/point value a little since I placed the bet, so I've used the current exchange rate, if you see what I mean.
Staked 1.5pts, +0.666pts

The total roi on the racing after Week 1 is -8.92%. The total roi on sports betting is 0.3%.

The total roi across the portfolio is -2.7%, and the total ROC is -0.36%. So a small loss on the week, the damage, as has so often been the case over the last few months, being done on the Saturday. There were four profitable days, and two loss making.

Tomorrow, I'll go through the sports side of the portfolio for the year ahead. See you then.

Monday, 7 January 2013

What a plank!

You know when you have the very best of intentions, and then you go and do something you don't mean to or forget something that results in you not being able to carry out those intentions? No? Perhaps it's just me then.

First Monday of the new blogging year was supposed to be when I posted up the figures. And what do I do? Leave my bloody notebook with all my bets written in it at work. So I don't have details of the winners and losers, and nor do I have yesterday's figures with which to update my spreadsheet. Knock on effect - I can't write my results post.

Sometimes I surprise myself at the levels of stupidity that I reach. Still, forgetting my notebook is not in the same league of stupidity to that which I showed in the kitchen yesterday...

1. Dice onion, causing tears to stream down face.

2. Finely chop red chilli, thus covering fingers with raw spice.

3. Slice garlic, but take chunk out of finger, allowing raw chilli and garlic to enter bloodstream. Think lemon juice in a paper cut.

4. Swear profusely at pain in finger and immediately put chilli/garlic infused finger in mouth to suck blood.

5. Swear profusely as oral senses are afronted by chilli and raw garlic.

6. Caught up in own misery, forget level of pain that is an inevitable outcome of wiping away onion-induced tears from eyes with fingers that have just been through a raw chilli and garlic bath.

Anyway, the new plan is to post up the results tomorrow, and follow it up with normal blog posts on Wednesday and Thursday. That, and to convince the wife she should be the one to do the cooking from this point on.

Still, at least the family didn't notice the blood in their food. Amazing what you can hide with a can of chopped tomatoes.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

The racing services for 2013.

You know I really am blessed when it comes to the readership of this blog. Two comments were left after the first post of 2013, both of which are well worth reading.

Firstly, Paul left me a link to a website where I can purchase Arsenal pyjamas, and if you're reading this Dear Wife, and if I may be so bold as to drop a wee hint, it is nearly my birthday (August will be here in a flash, you know).

Secondly, this:

"Good luck in the new year, Rowan. I was a bit surprised to read that you seem disappointed with a 5% ROI for 2012. I believe most tipsters aim for a 10% ROI and seeing that it's near impossible to catch their quoted prices and get all bets on, your 5% seems decent enough. Just saying :) Back when I was betting with a big bank I would categorize 5% ROI as a decent year."

As it happens, a mate of mine emailed me on Wednesday to make the very same point, adding that as we all know, ROI isn't the be all and end all when it comes to assessing the success or otherwise of our betting, and reminding me that parameters such as ROC are those we should be paying attention to. But, while we're at it, the Commentor above is quite right and deep down, I'm not really too disappointed with 5% in the overall grand scheme of things. Where I was coming from was that back in the autumn, I was riding a bit of a wave - Sportyy and Summer Of Football were picking winners like there was no tomorrow, Service X was, pardon the expression, shit hot. On The Nose and Northern Monkey were rediscovering their form and Winning Racing Tips racking up the profits. This was at a time when I was looking forward to the British/main European football league season getting underway and I was optimistic that Football Elite, Skeeve and The Football Analyst were going to start weighing into the merry-making too. We know now of course that this isn't quite how it panned out and instead the last couple of months of 2012 were poor ones, and it is more from that perspective that I was writing about being disappointed. Still, quite right, it could all have been a lot worse, and I shall stop being such a grumpy bugger.

Right. To the main business of the evening - an outline of the racing side to the TPI portfolio as we head off into 2013. Let's go through service by service with one or two thoughts on each.

Northern Monkey
This is the start of Year 3 with Wayne, and I'm looking forward to it. There is a subtle change though to the way I will be following. I shall be adopting an approach that I tried last year and quickly gave up on when I found I wasn't entirely comfortable with it. However, with another year's worth of data that Wayne has analysed, I have told myself to grow up and to do what really does look like the right thing to do - follow the more heavily staked bets only (0.75pts+). Again last year, the roi and, more importantly, monetary gain, would have been increased had this policy been followed. There's always a chance that this coming year could be different, but as is stands at this point in time, this new policy is the way to go.

On The Nose
Third year with The Judge, too. The first year was spectacularly successful, last year less so although as mentioned above, the latter half of 2012 witnessed something of a return to form. But, the harsh reality is that we could really do with a good start to 2013 to start boosting the figures covering the last twelve months or so which in isolation, are showing a loss. I have absolutely no doubt that The Judge is a tremendously talented tipster who makes the game look ridiculously easy when things fall right, capable of going on a run that produces 20-40 points profit within a single month. It is this, and memories of how good 2011 was, that leads to my being hopeful that 2013 will prove to be a strong one for the service. A slight change in luck would be useful mind. Two times over the Christmas period horses at double figure prices didn't so much snatch defeat from the jaws of victory as look victory steadfastly in the eye before laughing in it's face, one horse doing a fine impression of the lovechild of Gareth Bale and Luis Suarez in the penalty area when streets clear at the last, and the other a surefire winner had the last fence not been omitted. I didn't so much have time to simply count my winnings before the horses crossed the finishing line, as count them, go to the Amazon website, order my goods and pay for them before these cruel twists of fate denied me. I shall go and find a suitable sacrifice to offer up in return for the fickle finger of fortune to turn when it comes to the performance of the OTN horses that lead approaching the last. It's looking like the days are numbered for next door's cat...

The Sportsman Racing
A relatively recent addition to the SBC's Hall of Fame but a service I have been following since the summer of 2011, since when, in terms of ROI at least, it has been my best performer. It is obvious that Scott has built up some strong connections within the racing world, and allied to a shrewd eye for the formbook, he has a winning combination. Most selections are at short prices, but anyone who says that value cannot be secured at this end of the market should take a look at what Scott does. The odds against most of his selections shorten significantly, and not necessarily through weight of money following him in, as prices tend to continue to shorten on course. If you're backing 5/4 shots that go off at 4/6, then as far as I am concerned, you're securing great value. Such odds movements happen far too frequently to be coincidence.

I shall also be keeping a close eye on TSR's 'Bet of The Day' over the coming months. This is a feature introduced last September, such a selection being given on any day that doesn't carry an official Account bet. Currently running at an roi of 17%, this aspect to the service shows a huge amount of potential and as it significantly boosts turnover, if such performance levels can be maintained - or even drop to the 10% mark - then it would prove worth following with hard cash. I'm cautious as ever though, and will make a decision on this after the summer when more data can be reviewed.

Winning Racing Tips
Other than Football Elite, I've been with WRT for longer than any other service in the portfolio. It is good at what it does - the same methodology is applied ultra consistently and over any decent period of time, it produces positive results. I'll always be somewhat limited by not being able to place big stakes on the selections; if I did then I would very quickly have no usable bookmaker accounts open to me due to the nature of the bets provided, but WRT is a very stable and strong brick in the portfolio wall. 2012 was a very good year. Let's hope for more of the same over the next twelve months.

New Entry - 4PA
Well, sort of a new entry. I've been with this service before, know how it works, and have in the past made good profits. The issue I've had with 4PA previously is securing anywhere near the officially recorded odds but I have a cunning plan up my sleeves, a plan so clever and far-sighted that if I may say so, marks me down as something of a betting genius. It involves getting up earlier on a Saturday morning. I know, I know. Please do leave comments on just how much admiration and respect I've just gained from you and how in years to come you are convinced I will be recognised as a true pioneer in all matters betting.

On a serious note, a bigger issue to me than securing the odds when previously a subscriber, was actually getting my bets on. I'm sure placing large amounts on Pricewise selections is going to be quickly noticed by the bookies and certainly I used to find it a far from easy task to get my full stake on. This time however, my £/point value is lower and so far touch wood, I've not had any problems. Fingers crossed that remains the case. We'll see.

Finally, I should mention that I am drawing to a close, temporarily at least, my experiment with Winning Racing Systems. I made a decision to join based on sound reasons, ie. betting at short prices would hopefully help me to lie underneath the bookies' radar and that the systems were developed by someone I trust and respect. And you know, I wouldn't be surprised if the poor results experienced so far aren't reversed in the months ahead and if they are, then I may well revisit in the future. But, with the rationalisation that I've had to go through that I mentioned the other day, this was an obvious service to press on the pause button.

And so there we have it. My racing portfolio for the start of 2013. Nothing would please me more than if it looked exactly the same on January 1st, 2014. Here's hoping.

Betting: Monday 31st December - Wednesday 2nd January

No betting on New Year's Eve although I was able to secure just over a point of profit by following the advice from On The Oche to hedge the long term antepost bet on Phil Taylor to win the PDC World Darts Championship.

The weather has adversely impacted the racing of course, but that has not stopped me from enjoying a strong start to the year, primarily courtesy of Winning Racing Tips which selected a winning double yesterday (Green Flag - Ayr - 5/4 and Imjoeking - Ayr - 7/2). Northern Monkey too went straight in with a maximum three point bet on Tuesday which produced a winning start to the year (Woolfall Sovereign - Wolverhampton - Evens). The one 4PA bet on New Year's Day reached the frame for a very small loss, and one small On The Nose bet on an outsider at Ayr yesterday failed. The Sportsman Racing got their year off to a winning start though with an easy winner (Captain Starlight - Kempton - 8/13).

Only Sportyy (three winners from six tennis bets for a small loss) and The Football Analyst 7-22 (two winners from five for a tiny loss) in action on the sports side of the portfolio, which will be the subject of next Tuesday's blog post.

Tune in on Monday for a results update (figures and everything) and in the meantime, get through tomorrow and then enjoy the weekend. Laters.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013


So here we are, on the other side. Carols sung, pressies opened, too much food eaten and too much drink drunk. Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid, Morecambe and Wise Christmas Specials and The Great Escape watched for the umpteenth time. And it's back to work tomorrow. Ho hum.

But let's not get too depressed. Happy New Year, folks! Let's hope that 2013 is a vastly profitable one. An annus horribilis for the bookies, an annus victorius for us punters who as we all know have the causes of justice and righteousness on our side. Oh, yes. And may Fred Done, Victor Chandler, William Hill, Paddy Power and Chris Kamara get what's coming to them. Even that half arse Ronnie Corbett is in my sights. If you dance with the devil, Ronnie... (And let's face it, we all know that Barker was the funny one anyway!)

On to the serious business.

Before I talk about what this new year will bring for the blog, a quick word on December. It was a month which unfortunately produced a small loss to go with the bigger loss suffered during a nightmare November. It means that over 2012 as a whole, the portfolio roi was dragged down to a figure just north of 5%, which is very disappointing. It was a tough, tough year all round. The racing boys found the first few months of 2012 particularly tricky, and the big hitters of the football specialists have struggled since season 2012/13 started.

This underperformance has meant that I have taken a really hard look at the portfolio, the result of which is just a couple of minor tinkerings. I'll explain what these are in a couple of subsequent posts within which I will talk separately about the racing tipsters and the sports tipsters. I stress though the use of the word, "minor". There is no need, I don't believe, for revolution. Being frank about things, I have had to adjust the portfolio slightly due to a need to take some money out of the betting bank for personal use (nothing to worry about - I'm not going bankrupt!) to deal with the sort of expense that can and does arise out of the blue. I considered simply leaving the portfolio as it was and increasing the level of leverage applied, but ultimately decided against doing so. I am leveraged, but to only to what I consider a very conservative level - I have 80% of actual funds to cover 100% of "paper" funds. It is with this level that I feel comfortable. Knowing myself as I do, if I started to leverage to levels any higher than this, then I think the losing runs that we all know happen from time to time would have the potential to prove too much for me to handle, and of course this would never do.

I do though want to adopt a slight change in philosophy to the way I run the portfolio. I hinted before Christmas that I felt I should have a slightly more dynamic approach and to react to changing circumstances a little quicker than I have been doing. The seed of this desire is sown in the knowledge that I'm not always the most decisive when it comes to determining when to drop a service due to ongoing substandard performance. There have been occasions in the past when the good relationship I have established with a tipster has led to me giving a service that has been performing badly for too long the benefit of the doubt. I'm not suggesting for one moment that a long-term view towards gambling isn't a prerequisite for success. It is. But I do think that sometimes it is preferable to counterbalance long-termism a little by keeping an eye on the here and now too.

So with this in mind, I am going to allow myself to be guided more by the Secret Betting Club. I have not always agreed with some of the things they have done in the past - and on occasion have let it be known in their forum - but when I said in the interview I did with them last year that they have provided me with a huge amount of guidance and expertise from which I have not only benefited but also relied upon, it wasn't a case of sycophancy. I meant it.

I'm not saying that it will be as simple and straightforward as when the SBC downgrade a service, then I will end my membership to it. I absolutely reserve the right to exercise my own judgment too; I was bitten a couple of years ago in such circumstances by not exercising my own discretion sufficiently. But, if I am having doubts about a service, and subsequently the SBC express similar reservations about that service, then I shall see it as a sign that perhaps it is time to cut the strings of attachment. The way I am looking at this, it is an approach akin to delegating a responsibility to an expert advisor to whom I will listen intently before making a final decision - and accepting full responsibility for it - myself. It is a subtle change in policy that I hope will lead ultimately to making more money, and it is on that that I feel the need to concentrate this year!

As for the blog, I intend to write three times each week. I will do a weekly results post/commentary on the Monday (which feels like the natural time to do this, following what are usually busy betting weekends) and then write biting comment/inane crap on the Tuesday and Thursday. I have to confess, like an overpaid and underworked Premiership footballer moaning about how playing three games in a week is too much (bless!), I was finding attempting to blog most nights too much for me. That is of course where the similarities end - what with me not being overpaid and generally crap at football.

So there we have it. Plans for the year ahead. Let's hope it's a good one, eh?

Just one last question before I go...Was it wrong of me to feel jealous of my ten year old boy when his Auntie bought him Arsenal pyjamas for Christmas?

See you soon.