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.
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.