Thursday, 28 February 2013

Watching the markets.

Spending a lot of time at the moment trying to get into trading the tennis. It's been a frustrating week so far, with matches starting at inconvenient times, but I do feel as if I'm making a little progress. I know I've mentioned Betfair Guru before and I like his strategies and chat room, but I want to go further and become entirely self-sufficient if I can. It relates to what I hinted at yesterday - that I can't help thinking that the secret to being free of the ties of working for an employer (and I mean free in the sense of being in the position to be able to choose whether or not we work for an employer) is to create three or four revenue streams that you can control yourself.

I suppose this is merely an extension of the principle of diversification that we aim towards when constructing a portfolio. As soon as you put your eggs in just one or even two baskets, then you're opening yourself up to a level of risk higher than is necessary.

Anyway, back to the trading. I've been "watching" the tennis markets for just over a year now, and it's taken me this long to even begin to understand them at a level that can be descibed as being more than basic. Sure, I can see the relevant entry and exit points when following the Betfair Guru strategies, and I could quickly recognise some of the patterns that occur in the markets, but all of a sudden I feel I'm getting to understand them, to be able to read them. Is this normal? Or am I particularly slow on the uptake?

I'm not saying or even hinting that I'm approaching a full understanding; just a realisation that I have taken a bit of a jump forward. The frustrating thing now of course, is that I don't have the time to press on at any greater rate than I have been doing. Time, as ever, remains the enemy.

Wednesday 27th February
Nothing spectacular yesterday, but another solid enough day providing a fair level of profit. A long long way from being one of the greatest days, but if I could secure this solid amount of profit each and every day, I'd be a happy man!

Still no profit on the horses, despite the best attempts of On The Nose. His first bet won nicely (Criqtonic - Wincanton - 2/1), but his second ran a lovely race apart from one blunder down the back straight at Lingfield which judging by the proximity he took to the winner at the line, cost him the race and us an 8/1 winner! No luck for Northern Monkey (0/1).

So again it was the sports services that brought home the bacon. Sportyy's (hopeful) recovery from a poor run since the start of the year continued with two winners from two (Kuznetsov to bt Bellucci at 2.25 and Over 2.5 goals in the Sevilla/Atletico Madrid match at 1.94).

Northern Monkey: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
On The Nose: Staked 1pt, +0.6pts.

Sportyy: Staked 3.5pts, +3.752pts.
Trial service: Staked 2pts, -2pts.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Smelling Cheltenham and the importance of turnover.

You know I know it sounds weird, but I can almost smell the Cheltenham Festival approacing. I take the week off from work each year and follow a set routine: take the kids to school, pick up a Racing Post on the way back, a breakfast of hot coffee and potato cakes with butter and grated cheese (particularly nice with Parmesan, I find) whilst watching The Morning Line, and then a walk out through the fields and local farmland before coming home to read the RP and watch the build up on Racing UK. Bliss.

I don't know if it is just those very first signs of Spring that I notice when Cheltenham is on - although it is often still bloody cold! - but even at home, there's an atmosphere when I go outside that I just can't quite describe. It's like how the wind starts to blow and the way the fallen leaves rustle that means that it can only be late October/early November - you could have just woken from a long coma and you'd instantly know what time of year it was simply from the sounds you can hear. So it is with late February/March time with me, with Cheltenham just around the corner. It's intangible, but no less real because of it. Bring it on!

There was a nice winner last night from Football Elite which meant that the "weekend's" betting for the service was profitable. It is still very early days for the new 'style' of bets we receive from Matt now - ie. more of them, win only, using a bank twice the size in terms of points - but I get the feeling that Matt is going back to his roots, or at least closer to the style I remember from my earlier days with the service. I could be wrong.

Certainly it is too early to gauge whether or not the changes will return the service to producing the high level of performance for which it became famous amongst our betting fraternity. There is a temptation to say that it needs to and I think it fair to say that antepost results apart, there has been a fairly lengthy period of time that has proven fallow as far as growing profits is concerned.

Having said that, whilst having an online discussion with someone whose opinion I greatly respect, a statement was made that really hit home. The conversation was touching upon subjects such as variance, betting turnover, professional gambling and the desire to maximise ROC levels amongst other things, and did not refer specifically to Football Elite at all. Nonetheless, what my mate said struck a real chord...

People winning money from gambling don’t let a poor run of 428 bets affect them.

Like I say, the "428 bets" referred to something else entirely, but we can relate this assertion to Football Elite. 428 Football Elite bets essentially takes us back to the beginning of the 2009/10 season!

A different issue of course, is whether Football Elite's edge remains. I guess at the moment, you have to say that is a moot point and I don't think you can at this stage say with any certainty either 'Yes' or 'No'. The sample of bets is not yet big enough (and some statisticians would say by a long, long way) from which we can draw definitive conclusions. The conundrum we face as investors of course, is that if the edge has disappeared, then the process of finding out is going to prove to be an expensive one.

There is a wider context to all this. I'm fascinated by the idea of gambling providing a living, although I would personally want it to be one income stream of perhaps two, three, or four. I find the idea of the challenge it would provide an absorbing one to contemplate and am always very interested in any insight that someone who relies on gambling can provide. What strikes me though is that there are a lot more ways of skinning a gambling cat. I have a mass of jumbled thoughts in my head and feel that I haven't yet ordered them properly. For example, perhaps to be a professional gambler, it would help to have a very high turnover of bets to ensure that an edge manifests itself relatively quickly and as an aid to reduce the effects of variance (and therefore stress levels). If so, then do services such as Football Elite, Skeeve, The Sportsman or any other relatively low-turnover service provide the right vehicle to enable us to reach our goals? Personally I feel that they must do, if for no other reason that I know the folk that run these services do make their living from betting, although they do also have the subscription fees they receive to contribute, possibly significantly, to their annual income. I guess this goes back to gambling itself being merely a component of an income-earning machine, as opposed to being the exclusive means of generating an income.

Comments welcome...

Monday 25th February
A small profit on the day, but alas nothing on the horses, which have been very disappointing this month. Today saw losses for Northern Monkey (0/1) and On The Nose (0/1).

Football Elite had a loser (0/1), but Sportyy came through with a nice winner (Dodig to bt Dolgopolov at 2.81).

Northern Monkey: Staked 1.5pts, -1.5pts.
On The Nose: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.

Sportyy: Staked 1.5pts, +2.715pts.
Football Elite: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
Trial service: Staked 6pts, +4.44pts.

Tuesday 26th February
A decent day overall, although again, the horses let me down. Losers today for On The Nose (0/1) and Winning Racing Tips (0/2).

I mentioned Football Elite's good winner (Bologna to bt Fiorentina at 3.35) although my policy of waiting for the markets to mature before backing the bets backfired a little on me with this one. The Football Analyst 7/22 came up with a good'un too (Oxford (DNB) to bt Gillingham at 3.4). Sportyy produced a profit for the second consecutive day, finding two winners from four bets (Llodra to win 1st set vs Tsonga at 3.4 and Odesenik to win 1st set vs Kubot at 2.0).

On The Nose: Staked 0.75pts, -0.75pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 1pt, -1pt.

The Football Analyst 7/22: Staked 0.5pts, +1.2pts.
Sportyy: Staked 4.5pts, +1.9pts.
Football Elite: Staked 0.5pts, +1.175pts.
Trial service: Staked 7pts, -7pts.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Giant Squids and missed penalties.

OK so there I am, a member of a small but hardy band of men, women and children fighting for survival in a post-Apocolyptic England, a land largely submerged by flood water resulting from the melting of the polar ice caps and next door leaving their bath tap on when they'd gone on holiday. This is a world where land and sea beast are having to learn to co-operate and to live alongside each other, thereby strengthening their chances of ongoing survival in this harsh, watery world (although naturally, the Sea Beasts don't so much mind the water). To help promote these feelings of togetherness, man and Sea Beast had organised a game of football - a match destined to be the most poignant since the Allies and Axis famously put aside their differences one famous Christmas Eve during the Great War, and faced each other on No-Man's Land to enjoy a good kick about.

Unbelievably, after 89 minutes of rough and tumble, exciting, end to end but scoreless football, Graham Poll awarded the Sea Beasts a very dubious penalty (a blatant dive by the No.9, a Bottle Nosed Dolphin) which is to be taken by the Octopus which itself has put in a fine shift at left back, getting up and down the left flank tirelessly, contributing to attack as well as holding firm in defence. However, one or two of it's tentacles got caught in the grass as it ran up to strike the ball, and consequently, the Octopus succeeded only in gently pushing the ball into the hands of our goalkeeper, the geezer who runs our local chippy. Enraged by it's teammate's incompetence, the Giant Squid spat his dummy good and proper, promptly spraying several players and Poll with black ink and refusing to walk when subsequently shown the red card. The match descended into chaos with lots of pushing and shoving, general handbags and recrimination, before the full time whistle sounded and each participant returned to their camp, tired and dejected.

Any Dream Interpreters out there that could perhaps shed some light?

Weekend Betting
A little underwhelming all told, and consequently it looks like the strong weekend of a week ago has succeeded only in bringing the month up to the break even point as opposed to representing a platform upon which could be built a winning month. I guess we'll know for sure later this week.

Northern Monkey's Sunday afternoon at the football may not have worked out as he might have hoped, but he didn't have a bad time as far as tipping goes, Friday's bet producing just a sliver of profit from finishing second and Saturday's being a nice winner Diamond Charlie - Lingfield - 4/1).
Staked 2pts, +2.525pts

No Arsenal related jokes from On The Nose this weekend, but then no 8/1 winners either. Mind you, weren't so far away with the one selection on Saturday (Duke of Lucca - Kempton - 12/1) which having been backed each way, finished third. No joy on Friday (0/3) or yesterday (0/1).
Staked 3.5pts, -1.5pts

It's been a very quiet month generally for The Sportsman Racing, but we did see one bet over the weekend which finished in the frame and resulted in just a very small deficit.
Staked 0.5pts, -0.075pts

A nice winner at last this month for Winning Racing Tips who backed two horses in the same race on Saturday, one of them finishing first (Annacotty - Chepstow - 5/1). The bet on Friday, like that of Northern Monkey, finished in the places for a tiny profit.

Finally on the nags, 4PA's month finished as it started, a little limply, with no returns from two selectons on Saturday. March should be a big one though, what with Cheltenham and all.

On to the sports side of the portfolio.

Qudos to James of Summer Of Football who dealt with trans-oceanic travel, different time zones and attending a conference to still provide members with three tips. Friday's was a winner (Nimes to bt Istre at 1.84), and Saturday's provided a half winner and a loser. I bet James slept well when he got home!
Staked 3pts, +0.34pts

The travails of Sportyy continued. There weren't any bets over Saturday and Sunday, but Friday saw another loss as only one bet from four came in. This is a worrying run now and unfortunately, thus far, it has really dragged down the whole portfolio performance this month. More on this later this week, and in the meantime, let's hope the next few days bring some winners to reduce the damage.
Staked 8pts, -3.568pts

Just one bet for The Sportsman which returned stakes.
Staked 0.15pts, N/A

Saturday was a decent day for Football Elite with two winners from four, but unfortunately almost all the profit made was given back by two losers on Sunday. Good winners on Saturday though (Hannover to bt Hamburg at 2.75 and Norwich to bt Everton at 3.5).
Staked 6pts, +0.125pts

A solid enough weekend again for The Football Analyst, with the one 7-22 bet coming up nicely (Notts Forest (DNB) vs Charlton at 2.04), and E3-E7 finding one winner from two home bets on Saturday (Augsburg to bt Hoffenheim at 2.23). The one E3-E7 away bet on Sunday was a loser.
Staked 1.75pts, +0.385pts

Finally, as he said himself, this weekend represented a return to the Twilight Zone for Skeeve. The Asian bet was a loser, as were the two doubles. It shouldn't be forgotten though that it's been a strong month for Skeeve. Let's hope he can end the season well.
Staked 10pts, -10pts

Finally, subscribers to The Value Bettor and to the SBC will be aware of Andrew's decision to terminate the service for this season. Having met Andrew and having swopped many emails since, I consider him a friend. I would like to pass on my best wishes to Andrew and very much hope he will be back soon.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Round up.

Difficult to blog tonight. I'll stick to a round-up.

Thursday 21st February
A small loss on the day.

Only On The Nose in action on the nags. No luck yesterday (0/2).

A good night for On The Oche with two winners and a third bet that returned stakes in the evening's Premier League.

No joy for Sportyy (0/1).

On The Nose: Staked 1pt, -1pt.

On The Oche: Staked 1.5pts, +1.14pts.
Sportyy: Staked 1.5pts, -1.5pts.
Trial service: Staked 4pts, -4pts.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Comedians everywhere.

Flamin' 'eck! He picks a nice winner and then starts making jokes on Twitter at Arsenal's expense! Yes, TJ, I'm looking at you!!! :)

Of course, I shall keep TJ's identity a secret, and I won't mention which service he runs (*cough - On The Nose - cough*). Nor shall I bear any grudges, providing one condition is met...we keep getting winners like the one we got on Tuesday. Those are my terms. What say you?

Tuesday 19th February
A good day. Sportyy returned to betting action after a short, self-imposed break to provide a winner (Kuznetsov to bt Volandri at 2.4) and The Football Analyst 7-22 had a nice away winner to add to the profit on the month (Oldham (DNB) to bt Stevenage at 2.17).

On the nags the day belonged to On The Nose (whose owner would never, and I mean never, go onto social media sites to poke fun at the mighty AFC) who selected Marie Des Anges (Wetherby - 8/1). Strange one this. I took 7/2 in the morning, and yet the beast drifted to 8/1 before sauntering to a wide-margin victory. It was possibly the most brutal race I've ever seen, too. Plenty of horses didn't just fall, but suffered horrible, somersaulting, crashing falls. It wasn't pleasant viewing, but that's the game I guess.

No success for Northern Monkey (0/1) and the Winning Racing Tips bet placed at 5/1 to return stakes.

Northern Monkey: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
On The Nose: Staked 0.5pts, +4pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.9pts, N/A.

Sportyy: Staked 1.5pts, +2.057pts.
TFA (7/22): Staked 0.5pts, +0.585pts.
Trial service: Staked 4pts, -0.56pts.

Wednesday 20th February
Not such a good day with a manageable loss accruing.

On The Nose followed up the previous day's win with another amongst three selections (Monkerty Tunkerty - Doncaster - 4/1). Northern Monkey produced a small profit via one that placed at 10/1. I also backed the smaller staked bet in the same race as it was a 20/1 shot and I'd have thrown myself off the nearest bridge had that won without my money on it. As it happens the 'orse ran well, finishing just out of the frame but there was a point in the race where it looked like it might have had a chance.

An expensive loser for Winning Racing Tips unfortunately, which traded at 1.16 to win when not too far from home.

Only Sportyy representing the sports betting side of the portfolio, without success (0/1).

Northern Monkey: Staked 2pts, +0.25pts.
On The Nose: Staked 1.5pts, +1pt.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.8pts, -0.8pts.

Sportyy: Staked 1.5pts, -1.5pts.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Lunchtime update.

Really not very much to report at all from yesterday, and as is the way of things at the moment, I thought I'd just post up a quick lunchtime update.

Monday 18th February

On The Nose: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.

Trial service: Staked 2pts, +2.52pts.

Spare me a thought tonight. At 7.45pm I'll be as nervous as hell. By 7.55pm, I'll likely be in despair.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Keeping the faith.

Telford to draw with Tamworth at 3.25.
Forest Green to beat Gateshead doubled with Salisbury to beat Billericay at 2.04.
Mansfield to beat Cambridge doubled with Eastleigh (Double Chance) at 2.71.
Eastleigh to beat Chelmsford doubled with Dover to beat Weston at 4.85.

11 points staked. Accrued profit: 20.29pts

It's no secret that Skeeve has had a bit of a 'mare over the first half of Season 2012-13. I'd mentioned in passing that at one point the bank was feeling the strain, as no doubt, were Skeeve himself and all of his followers. I was, I can admit it.

But, and it's a big but, I didn't ever lose faith in Skeeve himself. My confidence was knocked and if the bank had been blown, I'd have had no choice but to draw a line and move on. I was dreading this prospect. Seriously, really dreading it. I felt conflicted - how can someone whose methods and sheer hard work I admire hugely and trust implicitly be perilously close to blowing the bank?

The thing is, and this is the reason why the horrible run had such a profound effect, was that going into the season, Skeeve was one of the two or three services that I consider real keystones of the portfolio. The track record of the service, gained over the period of time it has been operating successfully, demanded that it be regarded as such. And so to see Skeeve suffer like he wasn't easy.

All of this explains why I was so delighted on Saturday when the results listed at the top of this post materialised. Pleased for myself, obviously, but really chuffed for Skeeve. And look, I'm not counting any chickens here. Next weekend could be a blank one. This is gambling when all is said and done. There is still a lot of work to be done if the season as a whole is to produce any kind of profit and of course, that is not a good situation for a service that lies at the more expensive end of the market to subscribe to to find itself in. But February's performance as a whole makes things look a whole lot better than it did, and I for one, am delighted.

Elsewhere it was a good weekend for Summer Of Football which found five winners from seven bets. What I really like about this service is the consistency in approach to finding the selections, and yet I get the feeling that James himself feels he is still learning and improving as a tipster. I may be wrong about that, and I don't want to be putting words into his mouth as it may not be the case at all. It's just the impression I have, and I like it.

The Football Analyst 7-22 couldn't have maintained the pace it had set so far this month, and indeed it dropped a point and a half on Saturday, although E3-E7 came up with a nice winner.

Not such a good weekend for Football Elite which hit the target just the once from five tips.

The racing wasn't great either, with the only notable winner being Northern Monkey who found one winner from just one bet on Saturday (Solar Deity - Lingfield - 4/1).

So the figures from Friday 15th to Sunday 17th are:

Northern Monkey: Staked 1pt, +2.4pts.
4PA: Staked 2.5pts, -2.5pts.
On The Nose: Staked 2.5pts, +0.05pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.7pts, -0.7pts.

Summer Of Football: Staked 7pts, +2.83pts.
The Football Analyst 7-22: Staked 1.5pts, -1.5pts.
The Football Analyst E3-E7: Staked 0.5pts, +0.505pts.
Skeeve (Asians): Staked 2pts, +4.5pts.
Skeeve (Doubles): Staked 9pts, +15.79pts.
Football Elite: Staked 2.5pts, -1.235pts.
Trial service: Staked 32pts, +2.253pts.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Catch up.

As promised, a quick run through of what has happened this week.

Tuesday 12th February
While I was freezing me wotsits off at Edgeley Park, Stockport, Graeme Dand's big 7/22 hope was doing the business for us nicely (Brentford to bt Stevenage at 1.905) to continue the fine start that the 7/22 home bets have had to the month. Unfortunately The Sportsman's bet in Scotland on the footie failed to be landed by the absence of just the one goal.

There was no joy at all on the horses; Northern Monkey (0/1) and On The Nose (0/2).

Northern Monkey: Staked 1.5pts, -1.5pts.
On The Nose: Staked 1pt, -1pt.

The Football Analyst (7/22): Staked 1pt, +0.905pts.
The Sportsman: Staked 0.15pts, -0.15pts.
Trial service: Staked 4pts, -4pts.

Wednesday 13th February
Very quiet with just Winning Racing Tips getting involved, their each way double containing a winner and a placed horse.

Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.8pts, -0.13pts.

Trial service: Staked 8pts, -8pts.

Thursday 14th February
A better day.

Northern Monkey found an easy winner amongst three selections (Thecornishcockney - Kempton - 5/1 and 9/2), Winning Racing Tips finding a big-priced horse to place (Snowboarder - Meydan - 16/1), and the one The Sportsman Racing bet was a winner too (Coverholder - Kelso - 10/11). No return for On The Nose (0/1).

On The Oche turned a small profit from three bets in the Premier League which threw up one win (Andy Hamilton (DNB) vs James Wade at 2.2), one bet returning stakes, and one loser.

Northern Monkey: Staked 2.75pts, +1.2pts.
On The Nose: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.2pts, +0.22pts.
The Sportsman Racing: Staked 0.5pts, +0.454pts.

On The Oche: Staked 1.5pts, +0.1pts.
Trial service: Staked 6pts, +4pts.

And there we have it. Speak soon.


I know, I know. There's been no post over the last couple of days and it is completely remiss of me. I can only apologise.

Back at the start of the year I mentioned that 2013 could be a big one. As things have worked out, things have been happening far sooner than I expected and I've been caught a little on the hop. I'm not going to bore you all with details about my personal life - this blog is about betting, not me - but if things go according to plan, then next week I will know for sure if this turn of events that might happen will happen. If they do, then the impact on my betting and trading could be profound, in a (hopefully) good way. Trouble is, the short term impact will be that my evenings for the next couple of months or so are going to be accounted for and there's simply no way I'll be able to blog every night. :(

That's not to say that I won't be blogging at all. I will. Just please forgive me if posts are a little sporadic. What I might do is at least keep portfolio results up to date by grabbing five minutes at work during my lunch break to at least provide the basics.

More anon, with a catch up on the results for this week.

Cheers for now.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

I know, I know...

I'm losing my marbles in my old age. I'd forgotten that I'd told Joe I was taking him to Stockport County this evening. I'm just on my way out and to be completely honest, I'm not going to be up for writing a blog post when I get back. Thing is, I've a few things I want to talk about. Fingers crossed I can start catching up tomorrow.

Monday 11th February

Just one bet, from On The Nose. It didn't win.

On The Nose: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.

Monday, 11 February 2013


...but I've no time to spare! It's a nightmare.

Back tomorrow with a proper post, but at least here are yesterday's figures (not a great day!).

Sunday 11th February

On The Nose: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.

Sportyy: Staked 4.5pts, -4.5pts.
The Football Analyst (E3-E7): Staked 0.25pts, +0.285pts.
Football Elite: Staked 1pt, +0.602pts.
Trial Service: Staked 5pts, -5pts.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Saturday's results

OK, just a quick Saturday round up, starting with the racing.

4PA turned a profit via it's antepost pick for the Betfair Hurdle (My Tent Or Yours - Newbury - 9/2) and an easy win for Gold Cup contender Silvianico Conti (Newbury - 8/11).

No joy for Northern Monkey (0/1) or On The Nose (0/5).

A sliver of profit from the one The Sportsman Racing each way bet that placed.

With regards to the football, Summer Of Football suffered a loss after finding two winners from six, as did Football Elite with one win from five. Sportyy's poor run continued (0/2).

The star of the show was The Football Analyst 7-22 which enjoyed the benefit of injury time winning goals in two home team bets to make it 3/3 for the home bets. The one away 7-22 bet and the one European E3-E7 bets were losers but the second consecutive excellent Saturday for TFA.

Not very far behind at all was Skeeve, whose one Asians bet won, as did the main four point Doubles bet, The only loser was the one point staked double.

Dead level for The Sportsman with the one bet returning stakes.

A small loss on the day overall via the racing, the football breaking even (well, £3 up if you want to be pedantic).

4PA: Staked 5pts, +2.227pts.
Northern Monkey: Staked 1.5pts, -1.5pts.
On The Nose: Staked 4pts, -4pts.
The Sportsman Racing: Staked 0.5pts, +0.031pts.

Summer Of Football: Staked 6pts, -1.393pts.
Sportyy: Staked 3.5pts, -3.5pts.
The Sportsman: Staked 0.15pts, N/A
The Football Analyst 7-22: Staked 3.5pts, +2.441pts.
The Football Analyst E3-E7; Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts
The Football Analyst (Total): Staked 4pts, +1.941pts.
Skeeve Asians: Staked 4pts, +3.88pts.
Skeeve Doubles: Staked 5pts, +3.4pts.
Skeeve (Total): Staked 9pts, +7.28pts.
Football Elite: Staked 2.5pts, -1.285pts.
Trial Service: Staked 3pts, -3pts.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Friday's Betting

Just the figures and a "Well done" to Northern Monkey (Flying Power - Wolverhampton - 6/1) and On The Nose (Alderluck - Bangor - 6/1).

Northern Monkey: Staked 1pt, +3.6pts.
On The Nose: Staked 2pts, +2.25pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.7pts, -0.156pts.

Summer Of Football: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
Trial service: Staked 3pts, -3pts.

Friday, 8 February 2013

And on the seventh day...

In the beginning, God created heaven and earth, and drew up an iniitial draft prototype of Dennis Bergkamp. And God said let there be light, and there was light. Male and female He created, and after six long days of hard yakka creating all manner of shit, He was taking a well-earned break somewhere in the Caribbean. Swinging lazily in His hammock, dipping His toes in the warm water and sipping on His mojitos, news reached Him of that daft bint Eve's succumbing to temptation in the Garden of Eden and her eating the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Furious to have His seventh day afternoon snooze disturbed, He sought out Eve.

"Oi, you!" said He, pointing at Eve. "What is this that thou hast done that so disturb my napping? As punishment for your weakness to the wiles of that cunning snake, Ashley Cole, you are cursed to suffer painful childbirth."

Turning His attention to Adam, He pointed in angry accusation. "And as for you, Chum. You are cursed to toil and work the ground for food. And from this point on, all your colds and 'flu-like bugs will be twice the curse and cause you twice the hardship than the colds and flu-like bugs that afflict Wo-Man. And this shall be known as Man-Flu. Innit."

This is how, dear readers, being a man and all, I now come to have the Mother and Father of all colds. I don't care what anyone says, this is way worse than childbirth. In fact, it's way worse than anything.

Have a good weekend. I'm off for whisky and lemsip.

Thursday 7th February

A very small loss all told. Summer Of Football had a bet in Australia (Central Coast vs Adelaide - Over 2.5 at 1.96) that provided a nice win and a new service that I'm trialling to small stakes (more on this at a later date - probably at the end of the month) gave two winners from two.

No such luck anywhere else though - On The Nose (0/2), On The Oche (0/1) and Sportyy (0/2)

On The Nose: Staked 1pt, -1pt.

Summer Of Football: Staked 1pt, +0.96pts.
Sportyy: Staked 3pts, -3pts.
On The Oche: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

The Chelsea captain's undercrackers.

Around the New Year, I read a number of annual reviews of performance prepared by some of the services I follow. Generally speaking they amounted to an exercise in self-analysis, identifying areas where there had been success and profits made and also areas of weakness that had perhaps provided losses, or maybe a level of profit that lay below the desired mark. These reviews got me thinking, and an email that I received last night, along with all other subscribers of Football Elite, made me think some more.

Football Elite is to undergo some change and those changes are going to take place with immediate effect. In essence, there are to be more bets and a bank doubled in size from 25 points to 50. One of Matt's hopes for this move is that it should, over time, reduce the exposure to particularly high levels of variance over the course of a season. The problem with Football Elite is that when a season may see only 100 bets being struck, variance can take a pretty devastating thwack at the results over the nine months or so of betting. It is an issue that I believe The Football Analyst 7-22 system has had to face this season too, as have services such as The Sportsman and On The Oche in the past - it's the nature of the beast for any service or system that provides a relatively low turnover of bets. The lower turnover means that poor runs tend to last longer in terms of actual time elapsed from the start of the bad spell than do the poor performing periods of higher turnover services. In other words, it can take longer for the edge enjoyed by a low turnover service to show itself.

As far as Football Elite itself is concerned, I have no doubt at all that Matt will have given the proposed change to his service a lot of very deep and serious thought. He has earnt my faith in such matters by his track record with On The Oche, essentially rejuvenating the darts service by finding new ways to exploit the edge that Rich, the tipster, has in the sport. I remember saying on this blog that I had noticed a marked difference when I rejoined On The Oche to the service I joined and then left prior to Matt being involved. What I'm trying to say is that if anyone has proven an ability to make changes to a service and by doing so improve it, then it is Matt.

I was relieved to read that Matt isn't changing his selection strategy for the Football Elite picks. He obviously has 100% belief in the strategy he uses and that it is fundamentally successful. Sticking to the same selection criteria therefore makes sense. From my point of view, it is the strategy that I originally bought into and which is proven in the long term, if not performing as well as we would like more recently. All that Matt plans to do is to avoid filtering out profitable bets which he feels is a trap that he has fallen into. He believes that this filtering process has resulted in him being too selective as to what does and does not qualify as an official selection. Matt has discovered from his analysis that over time, the bets he has filtered out have ultimately been as profitable as those that have gone onto the account. I can understand why Matt went the way he did. Apparently, the results between 2006 and 2009 suggested strongly that the policy of filtering potential qualifiers was absolutely the right thing to do, but since 2010, the stats show that in fact filtering out the bets was not the right move to make. My interpretation of this is that if the sample of bets is looked at as one whole chunk of data, and not as two distinct parts, then the performance of the bets which Matt filtered out was actually pretty good. Hence by reinstating these selections that up until this point we members had not been receiving, the number of selections rise, poor runs which are the result of natural variance will be shorter, and extra profits made. That's the theory anyway. Of course, the proof of any pudding is always in the eating and let's hope that this pudding is the delicious apple crumble and custard type and not the sort made from rhinoceros dung and the essence of John Terry's soiled undies.

Which brings me back to the thoughts I mentioned had been going through my head when reading the annual reviews of various services a few weeks back. The questions I asked myself then are these: why is John Terry in the habit of soiling his undies? are tipsters in danger of eroding their edge by looking a bit too deeply into their stats? Are they at risk of overcomplicating things by seeing that they haven't made a profit for a while in a certain area and then deciding to cut out recommending bets in that area? I guess it all comes down to sample sizes. I have no idea how large a sample of bets needs to be to allow reasonably sound conclusions to be drawn from it (and if anyone would like to proffer an opinion on this then please do leave a comment - I would be genuinely interested). I do wonder if, motivated by the very best of intentions, tipsters are sometimes guilty of talking themselves out of delivering increased levels of profit by analysing samples that are possibly not quite big enough. And that's not to say that tipsters shouldn't analyse their figures as an exercise in self-improvement. I'm just wondering out loud if there is a possibility that sometimes the trap of talking oneself out of profits is a very difficult one for a tipster, any tipster, to avoid.

Of course it could very well be said, and justifiably so, that I haven't a clue what I'm talking about (and believe you me, that is an accusation that has been levelled at me so many times in my life that it can't be a coincidence) which is why I am not making any sort of assertion here. It's just a few thoughts.

What do you reckon?

Wednesday 6th February

A small profit yesterday, coming courtesy of Sportyy, whose single selection (Nieminen to bt Davydenko at 2.64) came in. The only other bet was a loser for Winning Racing Tips.

Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.7pts, -0.7pts.

Sportyy: Staked 1.5pts, +2.467pts.

I have the makings of a cold. Bollocks.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013


Watching the tennis tonight, so just time for a very quick post. Could be the way of things for a little while.

Tuesday 5th February

A horrible day. The only highlight was a winner for On The Nose (Le Reve - Market Rasen - 9/2) from their two selections. Elsewhere, it was a tale of woe, especially for Northern Monkey who drew a blank from two bets including a maximum three pointer. Winning Racing Tips (0/1) and Sportyy (0/2) added to the losses.

Not a great start to February but a long way to go yet.

Northern Monkey: Staked 4pts, -4pts.
On The Nose: Staked 1pt, +1.75pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.3pts, -0.3pts.

Sportyy: Staked 3pts, -3pts.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

January review

In terms of straight cash profit, January gave me about what I would expect to make over the course of an average month. I therefore have to be satisfied. This though is perhaps understating the overall performance of the portfolio which returned an ROI figure of 11.35%. To my mind, anything north of 10% has to be viewed as being pretty decent. What stymied the actual cash return amount was the lower betting turnover through the month as a result of the weather. Many race meetings were abandoned, as were football matches as snow and ice covered much of the country.

Here are the figures:

Northern Monkey: Staked 27pts, +6.818pts, roi 25.25%, ROC 11.36%

On The Nose: Staked 22.25pts, -10.125pts, roi -45.5%, ROC -8.1%

The Sportsman Racing: Staked 4pts, +0.651pts, roi 16.28%, ROC 2.6%

Winning Racing Tips: Staked 7.6pts, +9.634pts, roi 126.77%, ROC 32.11%

4PA: Staked 16.5pts, -11.95pts, roi -72.42%, ROC -14.93%

Total for January (Racing): roi 19.35%

Football Elite: Staked 13pts, +1.569pts, roi 12.07%, ROC 6.27%

The Football Analyst (7/22): Staked 8.5pts, -0.895pts, roi -10.52%
The Football Analyst (Euro): Staked 2pts, +0.192pts, roi 9.6%
The Football Analyst (Total): Staked 10.5pts, -0.703pts, roi -6.69%, ROC -2.81%

Summer Of Football: Staked 22pts, +9.5pts, roi 43.18%, ROC 27.14%

Skeeve (Asians): Staked 20pts, +2.567pts, roi 12.83%
Skeeve (Doubles): Staked 17pts, -11.733pts, roi -69.01%
Skeeve Total: Staked 37pts, -9.166pts, roi -24.77%, ROC -9.16%

The Sportsman: Staked 0.45pts, +0.267pts, roi 59.46%, ROC 6.67%

Sportyy: Staked 63.4pts, -9.555pts, roi -15.07%, ROC -11.94%

On The Oche: Staked 3.833pts, +2.666pts, roi 69.57%, ROC 7.61%

Total for January (Sports): roi 7.89%


I'm not going to provide a running commentary as the figures are self-explanatory, but I must mention the outstanding efforts of both Winning Racing Tips and Summer Of Football. Without them, the portfolio performance as a collective would have made for sorry reading. At the other end of the scale, 4PA and Sportyy will be hoping to pull things around in Fenruary. No cause for any major concerns for 2013 yet though.

Monday 4th February

Just one bet struck today, the Winning Racing Tips each way selection finishing second at 5/1 and 9/2 for a minute loss. I had made a daft mistake in staking it to 0.5pts each way instead of the 0.7pts advised. Can't say why. Just an abberation, but it didn't matter in the end.

Winning Racing Tips: Staked 1pt, -0.014pts.

That's not the whole story though. 4PA had, a few weeks ago, tipped up Darlan antepost for the Champion Hurdle and today it ran, and died, in a prep race at Doncaster. I'm not overly sentimental when it comes to animals, but I have to say the pictures of the horse in obvious distress, although only fleetingly visible on the screen, were enough to turn the stomach. Andrew, The Value Bettor, put it in a way that struck a chord with me and explained my feelings better than I can myself.

The fatal fall of Darlan at the final flight was a truly sickening sight to witness...
The horse travelled like a top class animal - and I have little doubt he would have won yesterday, had he stood up.
Alas, jumping is the name of the game - and when you hurdle at the speed Darlan did, the margins for error are tiny.
The horse was probably tiring a little at the end of the race, and when AP encouraged him to pick up, he had a moments indecision, with tragic consequences...
Without doubt, it can be a very cruel game at times. The consequences of a fall at speed, can often be horrific.
The harsh truth, however unpalatable it may feel, is that these horses - and their riders - put their lives on the line, day in day out, for our entertainment...
A fact worth bearing in mind the next time one of them doesn't quite perform as we had hoped....


Monday, 4 February 2013

How to inspire loyalty...a message to tipsters.

It's always been a bit of a bug bear of mine. Many companies seem to spend a lot more time, effort and resources on attempting to attract new customers than they do keeping their existing clientele happy. The deals new customers get from Sky, from telecoms companies or banks are always better than those deals offered to existing customers whose subscription fees or business they often appear to take for granted.

I mention this because a few days ago I received an email from Dani, the brains behind Sportyy, saying that because there hadn't been many tips issued recently, he'd be extending the membership period by a couple of weeks to compensate. It's not the first time the tennis maestro has made this offer, and it's heartening to see a tipster look after their subscribers.

I count myself fortunate that most of those that run the services that make up my portfolio have, over time, made similar gestures. Just last year, offers were made to current subscribers by On The Nose and Northern Monkey, extending membership periods at a lower subscription rate to help make up for disappointing results.

In this context it was interesting to read Football Elite's thoughts in an email subscribers received today. Matt certainly does carry the burden of responsibility for performance squarely on his shoulders and in what has been a disappointing season thus far, is talking about reviewing the system behind subscription rates in the summer for those that remain loyal to the service through the thin times. I do think that this is something that all good tipping services should look at closely. Rates for new subscribers can be set at a certain level, sure, but if someone is with a service for a decent length of time and has lost money in the short to medium term, is it not worthy customer service to introduce reduced rates in return for sticking with a service for the long term? I'm not disputing that with any service, there will come a point in time where should performance be consistently poor for long enough then a line must be drawn. But in a betting world in which the punter is told to never draw judgements based only on short term results and to keep focused on the end game, to forget the frustrations of losing spells and to be forgiving of the cruelties of variance - in other words to be in it for the long haul - wouldn't it be nice if adopting such a stance was recognised by the ones providing the tips?

The point was made in the Comments section of this blog a couple of weeks or so ago, that subs are paid to tipsters with no guarantee of returns. Of course this is the nature of the beast with gambling - there are no certainities when it comes to making a profit. But tipsters, and indeed any business, that find ways of looking after their customers, particularly when times are tough, should in the long term reap the rewards by way of a more loyal and stable subscriber/customer base.

As I say, I'm fortunate that the services I use treat their customers well. Like anything though, there's always room for improvement if improvement is hard enough sought. To this punter, charging a long term subscriber a lower rate than new customers, regardless of whether performance has been good or not so good, would be an improvement. And if poor periods of results were similarly recognised by lower subscription fees until the points lost had been recovered, so much the better. Over to you, Chaps. :)

Sunday 4th February

Unfortunately I ended up giving most of what I made on Saturday back to the dastardly bookmakers yesterday. Still, a profit over the weekend is a profit I suppose.

The recent rot suffered by Sportyy was hopefully stopped whose one bet returned stakes. Summer Of Football found one winner (Real Sociedad vs Mallorca Over 2.5 goals - 1.95) from two bets to produce a tiny loss. The one Football Elite bet was a loser.

No joy on the horses either, with two On The Nose tips unsuccessful.

On The Nose: Staked 1.75pts, -1.75pts.

Summer Of Football: Staked 2pts, -0.054pts.
Football Elite: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
Sportyy: Staked 2pts, N/A.

Finally, a heads up for anyone interested. On Radio 5Live at 7.30 tomorrow is a program that concentrates on the hard life experienced by jump jockeys and the day to day dangers that they live with. I believe Tony McCoy is shadowed for a day and other notable names of the jump racing world interviewed. It should provide a fascinating insight.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

A new blog to read and a Saturday round up.

Before I round up Saturday's betting action, a mention of a new blog that from the first couple of posts looks like it will be well worth following. It's called Sporting Value and you can find a link on the blog roll to the right. The author is a one time tipping portfolio investor, who having learnt a lot from the tipsters he followed, is now making a go of coming up with his own selections. It's written in a style that is easy and interesting to read, and I believe it could well fill a niche in the blogging world. What's more (and this is the most important issue of all) it's written by a fellow Gooner. Go and give it a read.

Right, yesterday's betting action, and it was really pleasing to say that the two real stars of a day that made a decent if unspectacular profit were The Football Analyst and Skeeve. These are two tipsters who put their heart and soul into their work and who I know invest an awful lot of emotional energy into their respective services. Neither has had a great time of it recently, so when things take a turn for the better, I am genuinely pleased for them. Skeeve has been through the mill this season, so when his two four point doubles came in - Mansfield to beat Dartford paired with Welling to beat Dorchester at 2.16 and Grimsby to beat Alfreton paired with Salisbury to beat Bromley at 2.37 - it came as a great relief to both myself and I imagine, to Skeeve himself.

Listening to the scores come in on the radio on the way back from watching Stockport County, it was also great to hear that the three The Football Analyst 7/22 home bets had been successful - Mansfield at 1.73, Derby to beat Huddersfield at 1.815, and Cheltenham to beat Torquay at 1.93. 7/22 had just the one loser, a more conservatively staked away bet. The European E3-E7 system had just one away bet too, which was similarly unsuccessful, but tot it all up and it was a really good weekend for Graeme's service.

On The Oche made a good fist of the PDC World Cup, finding two winners from three bets, the winners coming at fairly tasty odds - Japan to beat Ireland at 3.39 and South Africa to beat Ireland at 2.39. Not a day to be an Irish arrow chucker, eh?

A frustrating afternoon for Summer Of Football who scored with two from four - Barnsley +0.75 of the handicap against Blackpool at 1.955 and Bordeaux at -0.75 on the handicap against Valenciennes at 1.85 but Adel Taraabt missing a penalty for QPR was a bit of kick in the gonads.

Unfortunately Football Elite could find only one winner from three - Fortuna Dusseldorf (DNB) versus Stuttgart and Sportyy's poor recent form continued into February with three losing Spanish football bets from three selections.

Not a lot to mention on the nags with no winners from 4PA (0/2 - although one of the selections returned stakes by finishing in the frame when backed each way) or Northern Monkey (0/1). On The Nose did turn a small profit by identifying one winner from the five horses given (Cloudy Too - Wetherby - 9/2).

4PA: Staked 3pts, -0.9pts.
Northern Monkey: Staked 1.5pts, -1.5pts.
On The Nose: Staked 2.5pts, +0.25pts.

Sportyy: Staked 6pts, -6pts.
Summer Of Football: Staked 4pts, -0.192pts.
The Football Analyst: Staked 3.75pts, +1.724pts.
Skeeve: Staked 8pts, +10.13pts.
On The Oche: Staked 1.5pts, +1.39pts.
Football Elite: Staked 3pts, -0.56pts.

You may have noticed I've gone back to the old style of results reporting, and I hope to do this every day now. To be honest, I found the weekly summaries time consuming and boring to write. So I shan't. I'm very conscious though that I need to do a January review which I promise is in the pipeline.

Back to work tomorrow. Excellent.

Or perhaps not.