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.


  1. Hi - great blog. Was wondering what you do when one ofyour tips is for team a to beat team b , and another tip is to lay team a ?

  2. Hi Rowan , you need to use the tipping service (horseracing) that uses industry sp to settle accounts p/l.That way you are g'teed to get your money down.
    One day all tipsters will advise bets to sp then you will discover who the really shrewd ones are.
    The model you have bought into is fundementally flawed ,what surprises me is that the cracks have taken so long to appear.
    You join a service with a proven track record,it continues to maintain its edge,you eventually have your first set of accounts closed.You open the next batch and so on until you've exhausted the list of people you can trust.Now what?
    Exposing bookmaker early pricing errors isn't difficult.The bookies know this which is why they use them primarily to mark their card,you'd be surprised how little it takes for the bookies to run for cover.Allied to this further protection is sought by the overround.The bookies have changed with the times like all successful businesses do.They know there are people out there smarter than them and the risk of that exposure has to be cut.

    1. Hi Steve,

      Thanks for taking the time and trouble to post.

      I agree with a lot of what you say and I have come to realise that the model does have flaws, which funnily enough I'm in the process of trying to sort out at the moment with a plan for how to move forward. Obviously I'll be blogging about this and I'll use your Comment as the starting point for that if I may.



  3. Steve,

    Can I ask you which horseracing tipsters use Industry Sp's




  5. No tipster as far as I know uses SP to proof.

    I'd agree 100% with Steve's comments - the current tipster model (at least for racing) is bust for all those bar a few who can manage multiple accounts and / or runners to plaec cash bets.

    You need to be making money on Betfair and be able to get enough down to satisfy your absolute returns at a point between 30 minutes before the race and the off in my view. Thats what I have been working to for the last two years. A long long struggle. More money down for less return but at least I dont have the constant battle to get on with bookmakers who wont stand a bet of any consequence. The golden age of tipsters is over in my view and anyone relying on racing tipsters and bookmaker accounts has a limited shelf life betting.

    I make around 5.5 points per week on average for the last 18 months. I'll make maybe 300 points this year if I am lucky and 200 points if I am not.I'm staking at a level I'm comfortable with and that my bank can stand. I take a small sum out every month (generally 5 points) for the little things that make life a little bit easier and a larger sum mid year to pay for the family holiday. The rest is reinvested. My bank is growing but slowly. I've come to the realisation that I'm never going to make anything approaching a living with this but I can have a nice small supplemental. It isnt easy and at times feels very like a second job. There have been days I can barely look at my database and I think I'll scream if I see another I take a day a week off (Sunday).