Thursday, 18 April 2013

Summer Holidays!

Firstly, my apologies for the recent lack of posts. I intend to use this post to explain why that has been the case and to outline my thoughts on the blog moving forward.

I have decided to draw a line under the blog, but only for the summer. I'll be back blogging when the non-league football season of 2013/14 starts in August. To be honest, I was going to bring about a temporary halt in a couple of weeks or so anyway, but with certain things happening at work that very much require my attention, it is common sense to stop now. I have previously mentioned on the blog that this could be a big year, bringing about significant changes. It would appear that those things are beginning to happen now and in the short term, the blog has to become less of a priority.

Thinking about things, this will be a pattern that I will try and follow every year. The longer summer evenings seem to be much fuller than those in the dark depths of winter. I know I took a bit of a break from blogging a couple of summers ago, just so that I could play cricket, tennis and spend time with the kids during their holidays.

Bearing in mind that I've talked recently about a rationalisation of the portfolio, necessitated by the increasing difficulties I'm experiencing in getting my bets on horse racing now, it may be a more slimline portfolio that I will be blogging about come the autumn. Like I said the other day, I see (and am working towards) a future whereby each of the services I currently follow has a part to play. The result of a recent change in personal circumstances is an intermediate period during which I simply can't back horses as I would choose to, nor place bets from as many services as I would like. I hope that those running the services affected will not think me flaky and will happily reopen the doors to their expertise when the time is right. Believe me, when that time arrives, I'll be needing to utilise and exploit their skills, so fingers crossed I don't piss anyone off!

My regret is that the stability I talked so wistfully about just the other day now seems as far away as ever. I guess I always knew that this next year or so was always going to make reaching the desired level of stability a tough task, and so it has proved. It will come though, I'm sure.

When the blog does start up again, after a long and gloriously hot summer that awaits (pfft - fat chance!), I do want to make it a little more professional. I will perhaps change the modus operandi to one that involves posting just two or three times each week. That way, readers will know exactly when they will be able to read about the latest performance figures for each service, and when we can explore a relevant betting topic in some depth. Let's see what happens, but what I would appreciate is some feedback in terms of what you would like to see. That could be topics to discuss, the way performance figures are recorded, anything at all. Stick it in the Comments section where I'll be sure to see it.

Finally, if anyone is interested, the weekend gone was essentially break even, the month to date in deficit but not acutely so, and the year to date doing alright.

Right, that's it until mid-August. Have a great summer, and may it be a scorcher!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Lazy git!

That is what I am.

You see the problem with weekends is that I usually have a kids' football team to manage in the morning, a trip to Stockport County or to a mate's house to watch the racing in the afternoon (and from this week coming a cricket match to ache and groan through), then a curry and a film with the kids in the evening. Then we're into Sunday when it's athletics club for the little blighters in the morning, perhaps a good footie match in the afternoon on the telly or if not a walk out to the woods or somewhere before home for a good Sunday dinner. After that lot, it's all I can do to collapse in front of Real Madrid or Barcelona in the evening. Now, just when are you supposed to blog amongst that lot, eh?

"Ah, yes", I hear you say. "But what about yesterday. A Monday?"

True, it was a Monday, but before you get all smart with me I was off yesterday looking after the kids who don't go back to school until today. My wife though; she did go back to work yesterday so someone had to take the day off. Either that or lock the little bastards in the shed, which even to me sounds a little harsh.

So there you go. Those are my excuses.

I will write a catch up post very soon but not tonight. Arsenal vs Everton you know.

Speak soon. Promise.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Shifting Sands

How hard is it to gamble successfully? There are the psychological challenges we face during losing runs, treating the twin imposters of victory and defeat the same in some vain attempt to maintain some sort of mental equilibrium. There is the reluctance of most if not all of the big name, high street bookmakers to lay much of a bet once they have seen that you really do, despite their constant pleas for attention, have absolutely zero interest in their rigged casino games or online version of the FOBTs. Then there is the requirement to give up a sizeable enough chunk of what is already a busy and full life that all those that don't have the personal wealth of a Roman Abramovich have to deal with, especially if coping with the demands placed on us by young children, teenagers, a full time career, etc., etc.

I think I've learnt how to deal with these things as well as it is possible to. I guess we all have, or are trying to, or I wouldn't be writing this blog and you wouldn't be reading it. There is one thing though that I am really struggling with. The way I get myself set up nicely, into a groove, and then something happens that shifts the sand beneath my gambling feet and suddenly, and without wanting to, I have to contemplate change.

A lack of stability is the one thing I feel I have failed at in my gambling project. It is something I crave, and yet find it an elusive destination to reach. The path to stability feels as if it is lined by Kenneth Williams-voiced Will'o'the Wisps, each of them luring me away from the trail and into the tangled forest of gloom where resides an evil old television called Edna (I might needlessly be harking back a little to childhood tv programmes at this point, but you get where I'm coming from).

It's happening again. This week the bookmakers are making things tricky. I know it's hard to believe, but over the last 14 months or so, BetFred has become an integral part of my betting on horse racing. For 14 months, they have not imposed any restrictions. I put it down to deliberately using the account solely for betting on horses, and keeping average stakes low by spreading bets around. This week, they have restricted my stakes to the extent where I'm struggling to get a tenner on. And to prove the old adage that bad things happen in threes, Coral bookmakers, who have for a long time referred all my bets to traders before saying they're fine, are now referring my bets to traders who now say they are not fine, and Paddy Power have seemingly taken their lead from Coral.

Here is a list of bookmakers offering BOG, with a one or two word description of my ability or otherwise to get a bet on with them...

1. Bet365 - no chance.
2. BetFred - severe restrictions.
3. BetVictor - no chance.
4. BetInternet - reasonable restrictions.
5. CorbettSports - reasonable restrictions.
6. Coral - severe restrictions.
7. Paddy Power - severe restrictions.
8. Ladbrokes - no chance.
9. William Hill - no restrictions (yipee!)
10. Totesport - no restrictions (but limited choice of BOG races each day).

I'll not even mention the other, non-BOG bookies. There's no point - I can't get more than £2 down with any of them.

You see my problem. I've learnt enough over the last couple of years to stay under the radar of the traders for as long as possible, but events this week make me think I'm coming to the end of the line with the accounts I currently have. I would use pseudo accounts, but from Monday to Friday I have no means of hiding my IP address so I can't help feeling that opening up these accounts now would not be the wisest move. I'd rather save them for when I am in a position to be able to follow the process through properly.

There are other issues in the background too. I've mentioned on here before that my personal circumstances are going to be changing fairly drastically at some point. I have a plan for when this happens, and that plan includes working with each and every one of the services I currently have in my portfolio. What I am lacking though, is the financial stability I need to make the same plan work in the interim period, and a lack of viable bookmaker accounts. So this period of time requires a different plan, and is one I'm working on. It will require some significant changes to the way I do things. Not changes that will be made overnight, but changes nevertheless. Which is a real pain.

Thursday 11th April
One of those days, with five services in action, all of which posted a loss.

No joy for Northern Monkey (0/1), On The Nose (0/2), and Sportyy (0/1). Winning Racing Tips had one bet finish in the frame but at 7/2 provided a deficit, and an each way treble in which the first two horse won and the last finished unplaced!

The only winner of the day came in the darts, with On The Oche picking one right from three bets (Simon Whitlock (DNB) vs Robert Thornton at 2.25).

Northern Monkey: Staked 1.5pts, -1.5pts.
On The Nose: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 1.8pts, -0.78pts.

On The Oche: Staked 1.5pts, -0.375pts.
Sportyy: Staked 1pt, -1pt.

I'll try to post some basic results posts over the weekend.

Have a good one.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Work smart.

Before I start wittering on again, may I just say that if anyone disagrees with what I write, then please do use the Comments box to say so. This has always been a place for constructive debate, so as long as the comment amounts to more than, "You're a dick cos you support Arsenal", then I'll always explore things further in the main blog. I mean, I may be a dick, but that is entirely incidental to who I support. I could support United and I'd be an even bigger dick, couldn't I?

Anyway, following on from yesterday's musings on the subject of odds recording and all that...

I strongly believe that as I said yesterday, ultimately the way to realise the maximum potential of our results is down to us and what we do. For example, I know that frequently, the Football Elite bets drift in price the closer it gets to kick off. Therefore it makes sense to wait until as late as possible before striking these bets. It doesn't happen all the time, but frequently enough to make a difference. Certainly I don't see any need for a mad rush to get the bets on at 6.00 on the Friday evening.

Contrast this to The Football Analyst, many of whose bets do seem to contract in price as time goes on. With TFA I always try to get the bets placed as soon as I can. It's not always possible for me to do this on a Thursday evening, but still, as soon as I get the chance to strike the bets, I do, knowing that often, the price will continue to contract. Summer Of Football is different again. Generally speaking I can get very close to the suggested odds by placing the bets quickly but occasionally the price does contract rapidly, usually if the team we're supporting is playing in a league that attracts less market liquidity. However, like Football Elite, the odds do often bounce back out as the market matures, so if I do miss a price by some margin, I will wait to see what odds I might get later. It's not a foolproof system, but I reckon it works frequently enough to add a little to my bottom line figures. I am just adopting this strategy with Skeeve's Asian Handicap bets and will run with it from now until the end of the season to see what happens.

It is a completely different scenario when it comes to horse racing. I have tried, with the exception of 4PA, to mould the racing side of my portfolio into a shape which doesn't open itself up to being vulnerable to rapidly shrinking odds. In other, plainer words, I try and follow services whose selections don't cause an immediate collapse in prices. I allow odds availability on selections to dictate to me which services I follow. The prices on the Northern Monkey and On The Nose tips do tend to shorten, but not very often is it that they disappear in a blink as they do with some other services. I believe, from what I read in forums and from what people tell me who are or have been subscribers, that this can often be an issue with Equine Investments and Systematic Betting. Both are fantastically successful services that can boast superb long term results, but a big part of our edge that they provide would be eroded if unable to act quickly enough when the bets are sent through. There's no way my own personal circumstances would allow me to jump on their bets as soon as they hit my inbox, and so these services are not suitable for my needs. I think we as investors perhaps understate the importance of this factor at times, instead getting carried away, as it is so easy to be, by such an attractive performance record that these services can boast via the various proofing services and their own web pages.

To conclude, I believe that as investors in other services, we have to rely on two fundamental priniciples.
- 1. We should always analyse the way a service works and what happens to the prices on the bets they give between release and off time, so that we can formulate a plan/strategy as to how we can maximise returns from that service. We have to accept that this plan will differ from service to service; and
- 2. We need to look beyond the simple ROI figures and other means of service assessment, using them as a pointer/guide as to which services to consider adding to our portfolios and steer away from using them as the sole deciding factor. Returns may appear spectacular, but that's not much use if your own circumstances prevent you from exploiting the service's potential.

Wednesday 10th April
A quiet day, but a pleasantly profitable one, thanks (again) to Northern Monkey. Like the previous day, just the one bet (O Ma Lad - Catterick - 6/1), well supported on course into 7/2 before winning rather cosily. Fine stuff!

No luck for Sportyy (0/1).

Northern Monkey: Staked 1pt, +3.6pts.

Sportyy: Staked 2pts, -2pts.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Getting the right price.

I mentioned yesterday that there is an interesting thread in the Secret Betting Club in which the participants are debating the issue of how a tipping service should record 'official' results in a way that was fair to subscribers. I don't want to express an opinion on this blog just yet, as I don't want to be treading on the toes SBC's toes. It would be a bit like a rival newspaper passing off another's 'Exclusive' as their own. Of course that never happens, does it?

I may well address the subject under discussion on this blog at a later date, but for now I want to talk about my own approach to securing the best odds I can with the bets that I place and my own attitude towards any discrepancy there may be between the odds I secure and those recorded by the services I follow.

First of all, I think we, as service subscribers, need to draw a line in the sand to use as a marker as to what is and what isn't an acceptable level of odds movement occuring between the time of bet release and the time we are able to place the bets. If we are striking the bets as soon as the selections hit our inbox, but are consistently securing odds considerably below those officially recorded by the service itself, then something is very wrong. If this is happening, then the service wouldn't be one that I would want to follow, simple as that. To my mind, this issue should be treated in the same way as a service claiming a bet as a winner when in fact, to many subscribers, it wasn't (and that is not as stupid as it sounds; it can and does happen).

So having drawn that line, I have to say that I really don't get too hung up about officially recorded prices providing the service I'm following is playing it fair. I believe it is my responsibility to secure the best odds on the bets I place, not the responsibility of the tipster. Generally speaking, I find that if I have missed out badly on the odds of a particular bet, it is a result of something either I have or have not done, or is due to circumstances peculiar to myself and nothing to do with the tipster whatsoever. Allow me to use Skeeve as an example. Skeeve has a short list of 'official' bookmakers from which he will take the best odds after a set period of time after bet release as those at which he will record results. Now, of these bookmakers, I can only really use two - Bwin and William Hill. Even if William Hill have better odds available on one of Skeeve's doubles, I still choose to use Bwin. Why? Because I'm desparately trying to protect my William Hill account, it being the only BOG bookmaker that thus far has imposed no restrictions on my betting on horse racing. Perhaps mixing profitable non-league football bets with horse racing would play no part in any decision that a William Hill trader may make with regards the ongoing viability of my account, but the decision I have taken, either rightly or wrongly, is to take no chances with what is a valuable commodity to the overall portfolio. The key words here being, "decision I have taken". It is not Skeeve's fault that I have chosen to decline the offer of the very best odds on his tips and therefore, whenever there is a discrepancy between his officially recorded prices and the ones I choose to take, then I have to accept that is my responsibility and not Skeeve's. Of course there are times when the Bwin prices are the best on offer, so I hope it's swings and roundabouts when looking at the long term, but either way, the point stands.

Another example. On Friday, I found the Pinnacle website painfully slow, both in loading up and when trying to place bets. Now as it happens, I was experimenting a little with Skeeve's Asian Handicap bets so it didn't actually matter, but were I trying to place that bet with Pinnacle on Friday evening, I'd have really struggled. No doubt I'd have missed out on the higher odds that would have been available during the window that Skeeve allows before taking the best price from one of the Asian bookmakers. Again, this is no fault of Skeeve and blaming any tipster under such circumstances is ridiculous.

It's important too, to think ahead when it comes to how you're going to secure the best odds. As you know if you have read the blog over this past week or so, I'm rejoining Football Investor. Now I know full well that both Football Investor and The Football Analyst both release their bets for the weekend on a Thursday evening. With the number of bets from each service I anticipate placing, there's no way I'm going to be able to catch the highest odds on each team. But I was aware of this when I made the decision to go back to FI. To complain next year that I'm missing out on some prices would be a justification for Stewboss or Graeme to visit my house in the dead of night to chop my knadgers off!

Ultimately, the point I'm trying to make here is that what concerns me first and foremost is how much money I make via the services I follow. None of them take the piss with the way they record their results so I'm not at all concerned about any discrepancy between my results and theirs. If a problem arises, where I see that for some reason or other I'm missing out on a lot of potential profit, then I may need to analyse why it is, and whether the better thing to do is to persevere with that service, or knock it on the head.

More to say on this tomorrow.

Tuesday 9th April
Much better.

Northern Monkey kicked things off on the right footing with the one bet, a very nice winner (Polski Max - Pontefract - 4/1). If there is such a thing as a textbook tip, this was it. An early 4/1 secured before the horse was backed into 11/4 on course, a top jockey taking advantage of a favourable draw before giving the horse a peach of a ride, culminating in an easy five length win. Why can't it always be like this?

On to the evening's football, and it was a good night for Football Investor's Strike Zone which picked out three winners from three bets. GB bets had two winners from four for a small profit too, whilst Sporty found one from two.

Northern Monkey: Staked 1pt, +2.4pts.

Sportyy: Staked 2.5pts, +1.266pts.
Football Investor (Strike Zone): Staked 3pts, +4.15pts.
GB: Staked 4pts, +0.21pts.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Correlation, bookmakers and ROI

Stephen left a comment under yesterday's post that touched upon a part of the thought process I went through when considering the reintroduction of Football Investor to the portfolio. With plans to expand the selection of The Football Analyst systems utilised in Season 2013/14, would following Football Investor bets not lead to a fair amount of correlation in the teams being backed each week?

I think it is fair to say that yes, there will be some correlation, but I don't see this as being a problem in any way at all. First of all, when looking at the portfolio as a whole, it is set up pretty nicely in terms of minimising correlation. It is inevitable that there will be some, but thus far, very little. Some correlation between the two football ratings services should represent only a very small part of the overall portfolio turnover. Secondly - and this is a more significant point - both Graeme (TFA) and Stewboss (FI) have identified and exploited the potential of the teams that are picked out by two or more of their own respective systems. I'll let you draw your own conclusions, but you can probably see what I'm thinking.

In the interests of transparency, I declare now though that I have already reached the stage of placing 99% of my football/sports bets with one of Pinnacle, 12bet, 188bet and SBO. I can get the odd bet on with Coral, Hills, and Bwin, but the days of me trawling through a host of bookies seeking the stand out price are long gone, I'm afraid. The knock on effect of this lack of choice in terms of where I can strike my football bets is that I am highly unlikely to be able to match the officially recorded ROI figures of the football services I follow. Again though, I am unconcerned. Let's remember that the point of the exercise in following more TFA systems and adding FI to the mix is to increase betting turnover and ROC, the new altar at which I worship.

I don't want anyone to be under the misconception that if and when the results recorded on this blog are running at lower levels of roi than those officially recorded by the services involved is due to those services being unfair or unrealistic in the way they record their performance. Let's face it, this is an accusation that can be levelled at some of the less scrupulous operators with some justification. There is an interesting debate around this subject in the SBC forum presently. It's noticeable that the main protagonists in that debate are the tipsters who, in my experience, operate the fairest policies towards the odds that they use to record their official results.

This is a subject I intend to discuss further in here. Not the content of the SBC forum debate, as that would be unfair. More the approach I take to trying to secure the best odds possible for each of the bets I place. Generally speaking, this involves no more than striking the bets as soon as I can after they hit my inbox, but there are one or two other points that are worth exploring.

More on this tomorrow.

Monday 8th April
Another losing day yesterday, although only mildly so. It would be nice to post a winning day sooner rather than later though, just so we can say that the recent rot has possibly been stopped.

No joy for On The Nose (0/1), Football Investor (Strike Zone) (0/1), or Football Investor (Combo) (0/1).

The one Winning Racing Tips bet finished second, providing a tiny profit (took me three bookmakers to get the bet on though, which isn't good!).

On The Nose: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.8pts, +0.033pts.

Football Investor (Strike Zone): Staked 1pt, -1pt.
Football Investor (Combo): Staked 1pt, -1pt.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Back to the Future with Football Investor.

Settle in. This could be a long one.

I don't know about you, but I am always thinking and planning for the future of my gambling. I have an ambition, an end-game or target if you like, but feel that I am still learning in terms of the best way of getting to where I want to be. To be honest, I want to learn. I believe that the moment you stop learning is the the moment you start going backwards, and that isn't something I want to do.

At some point in the relatively near future, a point in time that lies somewhere on a timescale covering the next couple of months to the next couple of years, I am going to have more funds at my gambling disposal. When this happens, gambling and trading is going to play a much more significant part in my life than they do at present. That's not belittling the role and importance of the income I currently generate from the portfolio - long term readers know what started me off on the gambling path and why it is I depend to an extent on this secondary income. But things are going to be ramped up, which in turn means that I must alter my mindset and methods of investing, changing my priorities slightly in terms of how I go about utilising the portfolio to squeeze the maximum from it. In short, gambling/trading will become less a profitable pastime, and more a full time business.

With this in mind, I have been analysing the way the portfolio is currently set up and have drawn two conclusions.
1. I am going to need to reduce my risk exposure (insofar as this is possible bearing in mind that any speculative operation has to, by definition, carry a level of risk that cannot be avoided); and
2. I am going to need to try to minimise the effects of variance on my capacity to generate as steady an income as possible (which is of course, closely linked to No.1).

Before we explore these points further, I just want to take a step backwards for a moment, and try to put all this into the context of making as much money as possible. You may remember me quoting a phrase on the blog a little while ago that I first heard from Graeme Dand (The Football Analyst) - "ROI for show, ROC for dough".

What Graeme was driving at is that at then end of it all, what really matters more than anything else is how much profit we, as investors, make. It's all very well shouting from the rooftops that an ROI of 20% was achieved over the last twelve months, but ultimately if the ROC over the same period equated to 20% (ie. the bank was turned over just the once) then the fact is that you wouldn't have made as much money as you would, had the roi been just 5% but the bank turned over several times. A bank of £10k turned over once each year but yielding an ROI of 20% gives the investor a profit of £2k per annum (20% ROC). A bank of £10k turned over ten times each year and yielding an roi of 5% gives the investor a profit of £5k per annum (50% ROC).

Obviously these figures are a little simplistic and things aren't that clear cut in real life, but you can see the point I'm making. So what does it mean going forward?

It tells us that turnover is key, assuming of course that what we are using to generate the turnover does possess an edge on the book (all this theory goes out of the window of course, if we're following tipsters who can't produce a profit, but let's assume that we're working with good tipping services here). It also tells us that the significance of ROI is lessened considerably, and the importance of ROC increases massively. It tells us that we need to be exploring ways to ensure that our portfolios are maximising the potentially achievable levels of ROC; in other words, our portfolio needs to be making the money devoted to it by means of a betting bank work as hard as it possibly can for us.

That's the theory, but how can we take steps towards making this a reality? It is here that I return to the two conclusions I made and mentioned above. Not only are we now concentrating more on maximising potential ROC levels and increasing betting turnover, but we are at the same time trying to reduce risk levels and the potential effects of variance. Increased turnover, generated through services that are proven to be profitable and which use a high number of bets to achieve their aims (and so turn over their bank at a good speed), should help the investor to meet all of these targets.

Let me use The Football Analyst System 7-22 as an example to illustrate my point. As you know, I am a disciple of this system, and from amongst the smorgasbord of systems offered on the TFA platter, is the sole UK system I picked out to follow this season. It hasn't let me down either, now running along rather nicely. But the fact is that it filters out a lot of the bets from the other UK-based established systems and the number of bets over the course of a season is going to be relatively limited. I'm not doubting the system's ability to turn an exceptional profit, nor to achieve a highly impressive ROC, just has it has done thus far, but with limited bet numbers it is susceptible to variance. Anything slightly out of the ordinary in terms of negative variance could potentially have a distinct adverse affect on a season's betting performance, despite that variance representing just a tiny blip in the grander scheme of 7-22 things. Which is fine when in my current position, but when considering a future change in circumstance in which overall, betting is going to be ramped up, does it not make sense to reduce that potentially erosive affect of variance by adopting more TFA systems, thus producing more bets, which will in turn work through the cycles of variance much more quickly? I'm sure that this principle is a massive part of why Systematic Betting is so successful...high and fast turnover. Losing runs and drawdowns are just as deep, but are over and done with much more quickly.

All this is not to say that I am going to be radically altering the make-up of the portfolio. I'm not. Despite what I have just said, I still see an important role for the lower turnover services that utilise specialist knowledge to create and exploit an edge. The likes of Skeeve will remain as integral constituents of the portfolio. Skeeve's edge is based on the acquisition of knowledge and of becoming more expert on the Blue Square Premier League than the traders that work for the bookmakers. The Sportsman exploits markets that perhaps are not given the same attention by the traders as are the 1-2-x markets. What these services provide of course, is diversification, an important element within any portfolio that is balanced to minimise risk.

However, I do wish to considerably up my turnover via football betting (because I can get bets into the market via Pinnacle and SBO), and the easiest way to do this is via proven, profitable systems based on ratings. I have The Football Analyst of course, but I can reveal that as of now, I am adding Football Investor to the portfolio.

I mentioned a few days ago how wrong I was to fail to renew my subs after a poor season in 2011/12. It was a repeat of a mistake I had previously made with On The Oche and I am without an excuse, because the circumstances that led to each decision were almost identical. So, a slap on the wrists for me (that's the problem with writing a blog - mistakes are there for everybody to see and laugh at!).

Stewboss, the chap whose service is Football Investor, has transformed the offering made to subscribers. There are now more systems, more bets, improved returns; it's not hard to see why, in the context of this post, why I am now so attracted to it. Football Investor can now play a large part in raising my overall portfolio to where I want it to be, it is as simple as that. Ally this to a wider TFA system portfolio for next season, and to another series of ratings-based football bets that I pick up from a private forum (these will be known as GB bets to appeal to the pariotic amongst you!), and you can see how my betting turnover is going to go up significantly. When you consider that Summer Of Football is relatively high turnover and that the new approach adopted by Football Elite has led to an increased number of bets, then you can see that I am going to be a busy boy. Ultimately, you deserve nothing to my mind, unless you're prepared to work for it. If working harder leads to more money coming in, and to what that means in the wider scheme of things, then it has got to be worth it. Hopefully, I'm not only going to be working harder, but also smarter.

I want to round this post up by thanking Stewboss. Quite rightly in my opinion, he doesn't take on monthly memberships, and he has closed the service for the season for obvious reasons. He has allowed me to jump on board though to enable me to see just how much workload I can take on in readiness for next season. I'm playing the bets this month and then will sit down to work out my FI portfolio for 2013/14, although I already have a pretty good idea exactly what that will be.

I'm excited. Without going into detail, life is going to get pretty interesting. Like I say, events may happen very quickly. They may take longer to materialise, possibly even a couple of years, but the one thing I know for a fact is that they will, at some point, happen. When they do, it will be all systems go (heh! - no pun intended). I'm very aware however that I need to prepare myself as well as I can and take steps now to gear the portfolio up to exactly how I want it moving forwards. Bringing Football Investor back in to where it should never have left, and targetting overall ROC as opposed to ROI, is a big leap towards that end.

Weekend's Betting
Now I know this is rather low calibre of me, but to be quite frank, I really can't be arsed totting up the points totals for each service from Friday through to Sunday. I'm going to have to start sticking up a quick results post on the Saturday and Sunday I think, because come the Monday, it has become a chore.

All you need to know for the weekend just gone is that it was a crap one. The only services to avoid making a loss was Skeeve - and the profit here was minimal - the aforementioned GB bets, and Winning Racing Tips which had a winner on Friday (Romantic - Dundalk - 9/2). Every other service either lost or didn't provide bets. Adding everything up, the overall deficit was pretty sizeable.

More worryingly is that all of a sudden, the bookies are putting the squeeze on. I have to seriously consider whether continuing to follow 4PA is at all practical and getting the stakes on each of the last three Winning Racing Tips has been problematic. I understand that the nature of the races targeted by WRT are such that you might expect difficulties, but up until now, I've never had too much of an issue. I get the feeling that some of my remaining horse race betting bookmaker accounts are on their last legs, and if so, is a real problem in the making.

Saturday, 6 April 2013


Sorry, Folks. No post yesterday. With Skeeve releasing his bets later in the evening I was bullied into watching a film with the kids (Brave is very good if you haven't seen it) with pizza and beer. Well, the kids didn't have beer. That wouldn't be responsible parenting. Not with Joe having a big cup game for the U10s this morning. I told him, if he didn't have a game in the morning I would quite happily have seen him sink a few. Good for team bonding. I'm not Fabio Capello you know.

Anyway, the film led to a fascinating documentary on the Rolling Stones and before I knew it, it was gone 11.00 and I was pooped. That's the medical term for 'knackered'. Either way, pooped or knackered, I was beyond posting blogs.

I will catch up. I have written a big post. It will be on here shortly (Monday?). Stick with me.

Up the Arsenal!

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Review for March 2013 - Sports

I always feel as if Aintree passes me by a little. It's rather too close to Cheltenham to justify taking another couple of days off work and yet there is still a Morning Line, and there's still top class NH racing on, and I still like potato cakes for breakfast. As my wife works in a school, she is currently at home. Apparently she is going to watch, not because she has an interest in horse racing as a sport, but simply because she can. There are times when life is not very fair at all.


Right, on to the review of the performance of the Sports services through March.

The most lucrative in terms of bottom line cash profit was Skeeve, and you've no idea how pleased I am to be saying that after the testing first half to the season we subscribers endured. 2013 is going rather well and if looking at results over the course of the season, those losses that accrued prior to Christmas have been more or less wiped out. How much profit, if any, will be made by season end we will have to wait and see, but I'd rather be fighting from this position and not the one Skeeve found himself in in December. All credit to him for staying focused, refusing to panic, and using his experience to get back on track.

It was the Skeeve's Doubles that came up with most of the goods (+21.252pts at an roi of 66.41%), despite being thwarted by postponements throughout the month. The Skeeve's Asians bets washed their face (+0.192pts at an roi of 0.74%) but didn't add too much to the profits. I'm going to experiment a little in April, in terms of when I place the Asians bets. It may pay off, it may not, but it's worth a go I think. I'll keep you posted.
Staked 58pts, +21.444pts, roi 36.97%
(ytd: Staked 133pts, +39.979pts, roi 30.05%, ROC 39.97%)

It's been fascinating watching Football Elite's new approach start to take shape. More bets, relatively longer odds, and fewer DNBs. The 'more bets' bit is particularly relevant, but more on this tomorrow. I like it. The service feels a little fresher, and I could be wrong but I wouldn't be surprised if Matt isn't a little happier adopting this approach as he doesn't have to agonise so much over what should make the 'Official Bet' list. This is pure guesswork from me; it's just a feeling I get. Either way, it's been a good month for FE. Playing at longer odds, I think we have to ready ourselves for some blowout weekends. They're bound to happen, but the good weekends now have the potential to be very good.
Staked 15pts, +3.45pts, roi 23%
(ytd: Staked 42pts, +2.342pts, roi 5.57%, ROC 4.68%

Another very impressive month for The Football Analyst. I feel slightly in limbo with TFA at the moment, and somewhat torn psychologically. There will undoubtedly be a change in the way I utilise the various systems next season, and to be honest I'm really looking forward to that, but at the same time I have a deep affinity to System 7-22 which has done so well for me. It's a bit like raising kids and then seeing them fly the nest. 7-22 will always be my baby (well, Graeme's actually, but you know where I'm coming from) and I've no doubt that in years ahead, I'll be sitting on the verandah (when I have one) sipping Jack Daniels and staring somewhat wistfully towards the setting sun, reminiscing to the wife (providing I've forgiven her for watching Aintree when I couldn't!) about 7-22. There will be many, "Ah, those were the days..." and, "Do you remember when good old 7-22 came up with Arsenal to beat Chelsea at 7/2 at Stamford Bridge and that Dutch traitor with the prematurely greying hair scored a hat trick to bring home the bacon?".

Actually, in March it was the European System E3-E7 that came to the fore (+2.075pts at an roi of 83% (!)) and that was good to see. Of course 7-22 didn't let me down (+0.984pts at an roi of 10.93%) as it never does. Where's the JD?
Staked 11.5pts, +3.059pts, roi 26.6%
(ytd: Staked 36.25pts, +9.056pts, roi 24.98%, ROC 45.28%)

A decent month for On The Oche too. It has been very much a case of a steady accumulation of unspectacular pieces of profit each week on the Premier League that together has added up to a more than respectable amount. I can understand the reticence at the weekend to place at risk a large chunk of that meticulously accumulated profit in one day's betting, but the strategy paid off with a small amount to add the month's pot. As mentioned at the time, it could have been a sizeable addition, but it was not to be. Still, if every service produced this amount of profit every month, I'd be a happy man. It might not have been spectacular, but who cares about that? Bottom line is what it is all about.
Staked 8.1pts, +1.741pts, roi 21.5%
(ytd: Staked 19.683pts, +6.117pts, roi 31.07%, ROC 17.47%)

I was ultimately a little disappointed with how the month ended for Sportyy. At one point it was on for a bit of a stormer but it all rather tailed off towards the end. It's fair to say that the first quarter of 2013 has been disappointing but the fact that the month ended in profit hopefully signifies a change in fortune.
Staked 60pts, +3.38pts, 5.63%
(ytd: Staked 172.4pts, -21.371pts, roi -12.39%, -26.71%)

Another fairly quiet but solid month for The Sportsman who had a couple of bets return stakes so with a shade more luck it could have been a very strong March. Never mind. It will come.
Staked 0.45pts, +0.09pts, roi 20%
(ytd: Staked 1.35pts, +0.207pts, roi 15.33%, ROC 5.17%)

Finally, I think we'll draw a line under March for Summer Of Football and put it down to one of those things. James has already set off on the path to building profits back up again.
Staked 26pts, -7.889pts, roi -30.34%
(ytd: Staked 72pts, +3.098pts, roi 4.3%, ROC 8.85%)

The ROI for the sports portfolio over the month of March was 10.83%.

So there we are. A good month. 'Nuff said.

Wednesday 3rd April
Pretty quiet.

One bet ( a loser) from Northern Monkey, and that was it.

Northern Monkey: Staked 1pt, -1pt.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Review for March 2013 - Horse Racing

March was a good month. If, as an investor, you're not pleased with an roi of 14.59% across the portfolio, then you either set very high standards or you're a miserable git!

Let's take a look back and sum it all up, starting with the racing.

Last month I wrote the following about On The Nose:

I feel that the service just needs the rub of the green and given it, has the potential to fly again. I certainly want to give it every chance to do so. Ultimately though, a line has to be drawn somewhere, at some time. Let's hope that time can be avoided.

How pleased I am that I persevered with The Judge and decided that the time wasn't right to be drawing any lines. What happened to this service in March fundamentally changed the way I look at services and how long I should give an underperforming tipster to turn things around. My blog posts on this subject in March led to Matt of Football Elite sending through an article which I linked to in here, which in turn was published by the SBC in their forum. This subsequently led to the start of an ongoing debate that I'm sure the SBC members that read this blog have followed with interest.

On The Nose excelled at Cheltenham. You know I try to remain as detached as I possibly can from the bets I place. Sure, I enjoy the big wins although I'm pretty good at not getting carried away when they happen, and similarly I generally succeed at avoiding getting too gloomy and doomy when things aren't going so well. Occasionally though, something happens that makes such an impression that it goes down in a personal betting Hall of Fame, providing a memory that will remain forever as clear as if the event had happened just the day before. Backing Carrickboy at 65/1 on Betfair, on the recommendation of On The Nose, and then watching the horse bravely make all before gamely plugging on up that gruelling Cotswold hill to cross the line first, is one such occasion. Truly marvellous.

The big priced winners didn't stop there though. The preceding Saturday saw First Avenue tipped up at 22/1, Lord Windermere, winner of the RSA Chase, had been supported antepost at 20/1. There were winners at odds of 6/1 and 8/1 too, aswell as a couple or three at shorter prices. It's been a heck of a month and just as it's easy to criticise services when results are poor, so too must we praise them when things go well. TJ - well done!
Staked 37.75pts, +36.077pts, roi 95.56%
(ytd: Staked 86.5pts, +22.202pts, roi 25.66%, ROC 22.2%)

March was another very impressive month for Northern Monkey. Wayne must be delighted with the way 2013 has gone so far. Indeed, Wayne is so pleased with the way his all weather season has gone since he slightly modified his selection criteria that he is now carrying these methodologies into the turf season, hopefully leading to a similar set of results.

Highlights in March include Ladies Are Forever at 10/1 and Clear Praise at 11/1, but what I was really impressed by was the way that Cheltenham was, apart from a small multi-bet which I didn't get involved with anyway, ignored. NMP's strength is obviously the flat, and much as I love the Festival, as an investor I would much rather back a 2/1 winner at Southwell (which NMP provided on the first day of Cheltenham) than a loser at the Festival. Wayne did produce for his members a superb written review of a Cheltenham preview evening he attended which was both great to read and an illustration of how customer-focused Wayne is, but when it came to the betting, he steered clear and stuck to his strengths.
Staked 30.75pts, +9.135pts, roi 29.7%
(ytd: Staked 83pts, 26.095pts, roi 31.43%, ROC 43.49%

A relatively quiet month for Winning Racing Tips but nicely profitable nonetheless. Not a great deal to comment on really. This service just keeps plugging away, doing the business, and there's a heck of a lot to be said for that. Well, erm, actually not that much to be said I guess, as I'm struggling to think of anything to say. You know what I mean though.
Staked: 4.9pts, +2.162pts, roi 44.12%
(ytd: Staked 21.9pts, +8.82pts, roi 40.27%, ROC 29.4%

A quiet month for The Sportsman Racing (although slightly busier than last month) with a small profit registered. Long term figures are excellent and the time of year we're approaching has in the past, been a relatively busy one for Scott.
Staked 2.55pts, +0.216pts, roi 8.49%
(ytd: Staked 8.05pts, +1.277pts, roi 15.86%, ROC 5.1%)

So the only racing service to lose money this month was 4PA, but the deficit is the least of my worries with this service. I have no doubt whatsoever that the profits will return, and likely with a bang when they do. My issue is that I am finding it increasingly difficult to get on. In the past, I've always been able to have each bookmaker site open so that when the bets come through, I'd be on them like a shot. Now though, I am rarely able to get on with just the one bookmaker and the need to split the stake over two or even three slows me right down. Of course this in turn means that by the time I've covered one bet, the odds on the others have all but disappeared. More frustratingly, some of the bookies I use, particularly Corals, refer the bet to a trader and many a time have I been waiting for the bet to be accepted or rejected but in the time it takes to find out, the 5-10 minute window of opportunity that exists when the bookies revert to the advertised prices on all Pricewise selections has closed (Paddy Power will only let me have about £2 on this price anyway!). All in all, it's a bit of a mess, through no fault of the service itself. It's both a pain in the arse and a real shame because I like the service, but I just can't see a solution other than having pseudo accounts, and my current circumstances just doesn't allow for this. I intend to persevere, at least until my subscription period is up if possible.
Staked 52.2pts, -13.325pts, roi -25.52%
(ytd: Staked 83.2pts, -30.447pts, roi -36.59%, ROC -38.09%)

All in all it was a cracking month on the nags, returning an ROI figure of 21.98%. This has boosted the year to date ROI on the horses to xxx%

Now, this post has gotten rather lengthy, so I will delay the review of the Sports portfolio until tomorrow, and then all things being equal, write the "reveal all" post on Friday. Bear with me.

Tuesday 2nd April
Not such a great day for On The Nose, not helped by two of the five selections falling before each race really got serious. In all there were no winners from five bets, although one found the frame at a decent price (Burn And Turn - Fairyhouse - 16/1).

On The Nose: Staked 5.5pts, -3.4pts.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Easter Weekend betting review

After last night's digression into the world of politics and the demonstration of how we can climb out of the deep economic malaise that the country finds itself in, back to matters betting today, and a review of the weekend's performance.

Friday 29th March
No racing held on Good Friday, so the only action involved football.

I could feel the relief emanating from Summer Of Football HQ when two bets both came in as winners. It's been a fairly sharp drawdown that the service has suffered this month and I guess it's always good when the first steps on the road to recovery are taken in such circumstances. It was the second tier of the French football hierarchy where value was identified (Laval (-0.25) vs Le Mans at 1.85 and Tours to bt Istres at 2.06).

The only other service with bets was The Football Analyst 7-22 which hit the target with one (Brentford to bt Notts County at 1.83) from two.

Summer Of Football: Staked 2pts, +1.92pts.
The Football Analyst 7-22: Staked 2pts, -0.17pts.

Saturday 30th March
The last Saturday of the month is always a nervous time. You don't want to be blowing good profits made through the rest of the month, nor do you, if in a losing position as the month nears it's end, add significantly to your woes. As it happens, Saturday was profitable, if not spectacularly so. I was quite happy to settle on that.

The racing lost money. 4PA provided three tips in the Lincoln, with one placing for a small loss overall. On The Nose drew a blank (0/7). Northern Monkey was busy, staking six points, and things got off to a good start when an each way 20/1 shot finished 2nd, but then two losers left the NMP account in deficit for the day, and that deficit remained despite one other 6/1 shot filling the frame. Finally a winner to report on the nags, for The Sportsman Racing (Upsilon Bleu - Carlisle - 6/5).

Obviously the profit came from the football. The largest contributor was Skeeve Doubles which had just the one, successful bet (Kidderminster to bt Braintree and Mansfield to bt Tamworth at 2.34). Skeeve was slightly unfortunate that Kidderminster didn't quite cover the handicap to make the Asians bet a winner too, but good profit for the non-league service nonetheless.

The Football Analyst's 7-22 bet came in (Wigan to bt Norwich at 1.93), to add to the profits which were dented only marginally by Football Elite who found two winners from seven selections (Cagliari to by Fiorentina at 3.36 and Lavante to bt Sevilla at 3.5). The Sportsman gave one bet which returned stakes.

The Football Analyst 7/22: Staked 1pt, +0.93pts.
Skeeve (Asians): Staked 2pts, -2pts.
Skeeve (Doubles): Staked 4pts, +5.352pts.
Football Elite: Staked 3.5pts, -0.07pts.
The Sportsman: Staked 0.15pts, n/a.

Sunday 31st March
Sunday showed a smallish loss. Just about enough of one to counter the previous day's profit.

No great success on the nags. On The Nose did find a winner amongst four tips (Byerley Babe - Cork - 11/4) but showed a small loss overall, as did Winning Racing Tips whose sole bet finished in the frame at 9/2. No joy for Northern Monkey (0/1).

Summer Of Football's slowly slowly approach adopted over the weekend paid off again with one winner from one bet (Chivas vs Vancouver Over 2.5 at 2.06). On The Oche suddenly weighed in with seven bets and can be regarded as being unfortunate that only a small profit accrued. There were three winners (Suljovic at 2.28, Smith at 2.7/2.65, and Part at 2.46), but of the four losers, two lost the deciding leg in the race to six, one from being 5-1 up. The muppet!

No success for Football Elite (0/2).

Northern Monkey: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
On The Nose: Staked 2.75pts, -0.875pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.8pts, -0.067pts.

Summer Of Football: Staked 1pt, +1.06pts.
On The Oche: Staked 3.5pts, +0.201pts.
Football Elite: Staked 1pt, -1pt.

Monday 1st April
Horrible day on the horses. Excellent day on the football. Small profit made overall.

4PA had two for the Irish National, one of which found the frame but a loss registered. Northern Monkey's horse finished plumb last, On The Nose missed securing any sort of return from five bets, and Winning Racing Tips played an each way trixie that didn't quite work out.

As for the footie, the star was The Football Analyst 7/22 which secured two nice wins from two bets (Wolves DNB vs Birmingham at 2.89 and Rochdale DNB vs Exeter at 2.56). Excellent stuff!

Sportyy had two bets over in Spain, one losing and the other returning stakes.

4PA: Staked 3pts, -1.084pts.
Northern Monkey: Staked 1.5pts, -1.5pts.
On The Nose: Staked 3.5pts, -3.5pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 1.2pts, -0.916pts.

The Football Analyst 7/22: Staked 1pt, +1.725pts.
Sportyy: Staked 3.5pts, -2pts.

Now that really only tells half the story as far as yesterday's football betting is concerned. I don't want to tell the other half just yet though, as it merits writing a proper blog post. Hopefully I'll be able to get the review for March done tomorrow, and then I can write that post and reveal all. :)


Monday, 1 April 2013

Lots to get through this week.

Well this is better, isn't it? If a political party wanted to put in it's manifesto for the next election that four day working weeks were guaranteed and that it would be made illegal for employers to reduce pay pro rata, then I for one would vote for it. It's got to be the way forward. Cameron/Clegg/Milliband - get it sorted!

Just think of the benefits. There'd be more time for precious sleep, and, erm, more time for sleep and that. More sleep would mean improved efficiency levels at work meaning increased output. The wheels of industry would begin to turn that little more quickly, salespeople and business men and women would approach the task of selling their product with renewed vim and vigour, leading to increased levels of exports. The value of the pound would therefore rise and before we knew it, Britain would be challenging India and China as the emerging global economic power, attracting external overseas investment which in turn would allow money to be spent on improving the road and rail infrastructure. This would increase output capacity for our rejuvenated manufacturing industry, leading to more sales, more exports, more inward investment, etc in an ever increasing circle of economic output. Hell, the government would be so enriched it could cut taxes, reintroduce child benefit, and play hard ball with slackers with no ambition to ever get a job. They could reintroduce national service for anyone unemployed for two years with no valid excuse. The numbers in our armed forces would swell and discipline would become a national characteristic as a cherry on top of a cake of reduced unemployment. Britain could and would be great again!

And all achieved by cutting the working week to four days. Think it through. You know it makes sense.

Anyway, I have digressed. My plan this week is to write up a quick round up of the weekend's betting tomorrow, write a review for March on Wednesday, and then there are a couple of posts I want to produce later in the week which relate to planning for the near future of the portfolio. Stay tuned.