Month: August 2018

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The start of the revolution?

I thought this week, seeing as it’s so topical, I’d take a break from talking about losing runs and all they bring and instead post a few thoughts on something which on the face of it is a huge positive for us punters.

As most of you are probably aware, BetVictor announced recently that they would guarantee to lay a bet with a liability of up to £500 on all UK and Irish horse racing from 11.00 each morning.  Not long after BetVictor’s statement, Betfair Sportsbook announced they would adopt a very similar policy; their offer would be available from 10.00am but would apply exclusively to win-only bets.

There is no doubt that these moves represent a big step forward in the battle for fair bookmaking practices that has been wagered so vigorously and admirably by the Smart Betting Club and led by the Horseracing Betting Forum.  Undoubtedly as a result of their actions the UK Gambling Commission has been forced to recognise that there is a problem within UK bookmaking practices that requires attention.

So on the face of it, all seems well and good.  However, and here is where you need to forgive me for being something of  a cynical old git, I can’t help wondering about the motivation of BetVictor  and Betfair to lead the way in this betting revolution.  Could it be a relatively short-term PR move aimed at attracting customers before an inevitable weedling out of those that show themselves to be profitable, who will then face the all too familiar account restrictions and closures?  I very much hope not (and think this unlikely, to be honest) but Blacktype’s glorious entry into the bookmaking world not so long ago, with accompanying fanfair around their non-restriction of punters policy proved to be something a false dawn as that policy was seemingly dropped, presumably for commercial reasons.

And to my mind, therein lies the crux of the issue of whether or not BetVictor and Betfair (and perhaps other firms that follow suit) are able to carry their £500 liability policy forward long term.  We have to acknowledge and embrace the fact that these are businesses whose aim (and rightly so) is to make a profit.  I find it fascinating that BetVictor have decided, as they must have, that introducing this new strategy will likely lead to growing their profitability.  After all, standing a bet on the horses up to £500 is a long long way from limiting an account that was open long enough only  for literally a handful of bets to be placed, none of which carried a liability of more than £100, before being restricted to less than a pound on a 2/1 shot!  I speak from personal experience…

We can only hope that BetVictor and Betfair are rewarded for their striking out against the tide of account closures and crippling restrictions in that by doing so, they start making more money.  Yep, it’s a strange old world when I want the bookies to do well!  But if they do, then other firms will undoubtedly follow in Victor’s footsteps and before we know it, we bettors will be in a much better place than we are now.  And even this cynical old git can dream!

Thought I’d leave the figures for a day or two for a ‘Review of the Month’ post, which will follow shortly.

Angels and Demons

Continuing the theme of coping with the bad betting times, the topic I want to discuss in this post and next, is when to drop a tipster that you’re following, and how perhaps to avoid making some pretty common mistakes.

Dropping a tipster you’re following is the easiest thing in the world to do when things are going badly; your instinct tells you to shift responsibility away from yourself and onto someone else’s shoulders and let’s face it, who is the obvious target?  You’ve paid good money for someone’s expertise, but following that expertise is costing you money.  The little demon sitting on your shoulder is whispering in your ear that the solution to your problems, the dead easy way to stop throwing away good money after bad, is to stop putting your cash on this guy’s tips.

Hopefully, sitting on your other shoulder, is a Guardian Angel – let’s call him Gabe (Gabrial is a touch formal, don’t you think?) – who will try to counter the temptations put your way by the devil.

Here are some of the things that Gabe, if he’s any sort of a half-decent angel worth listening to, should be talking to you about and questioning…

  1.  Why did you follow this particular tipster in the first place?  Surely you will have read an independent review about the service that included detailed break downs of losing runs and outlined appropriately sized betting banks before you took the plunge?
  2. You did set aside the recommended size of betting bank didn’t you?  You’re not telling me you took a bit of a risk and thought you’d get by with less, surely?
  3. Obviously, finding losing difficult to take at the best of times, you went into following this tipster with your eyes open to the fact that the guy tips at average odds of 12/1 and losing runs are common and lengthy, yes?
  4. Naturally you will have set up your betting bank from funds that fundamentally, you can afford to lose?  Sure, we all hope that busting a bank won’t happen but we realized it could, didn’t we, before betting the new chaps tips, and if the very worst did happen we’d still be able to cover all our living expenses and then some, right?
  5. And I know you didn’t back a decent priced winner early in the piece and assumed that you’d found the holy grail of betting services and so immediately raised your stake!

OK, so the way I’ve written the above might mean I’m coming over as being a little facetious, but being totally honest with you, they outline the mistakes I have made myself with my own betting.  I’ve signed up to services that really weren’t for me, that relied on long-priced winners that were relatively few and far between with many spells of drought between drinks from the well.  Psychologically, at the time I joined these services, I wasn’t ready and prepared to ride out the storms.  I have also thought I’d get by with inappropriately sized betting banks, believing that the profits from my other tipsters would cover things if my new addition didn’t do so well, only for my “tried and trusted” to embark upon a losing run at the same time as my new service.

And yes, I did once sign up to a new tipster, back a 20/1 winner on my first day of following, and promptly up my stakes dramatically – big mistake!

Of course it is not always the right thing to do to continue backing a tipster come what may.  We read so much about the “long term” and having to expect losing runs that we can forget that going to the opposite extreme – continuing to back the selections from a service that has lost it’s edge – is just as wrong as dropping a successful tipster at the first sign of trouble.  The trick of course, is identifying when that tipster might have lost it’s edge.

We’ll cover that in the next post…

Betting for Tuesday 14th August – Monday 20th August

AH Edge: Staked 9pts, n/a, ROI n/a

Jason James: Staked 13pts, +2pts, ROI 15.38%.

MVS (Lite): Staked 8pts, +4pts, ROI 50%.

Fake Mug Bets Club: Staked 16pts, +8.25pts, ROI 51.56%

Northern Monkey: Staked 12.5pts, -0.95pts, ROI -7.6%.

Pilelist Racing: Staked 17.516pts, +10.891pts, ROI 62.18%.

Racing Service B: Staked 25pts, +5pts, ROI 20%.

Racing Service C: Staked 7pts, +0.5pts, ROI 7.14%.

Total for the week: ROI 26.09%, ROC 2.35%.

Preparing for the worst.

Last week we spoke about the dreaded losing run and hinted at the difficulties in developing a coping mechanism that cab be relied upon when one strikes.  I mentioned that I’d write a series of posts around the subject.  This is the first.

To be totally honest, it took me a good long while to even begin to cope when things turned sour.  I made all the basic, text book mistakes; dropping a good tipster who was simply going through a temporary bad patch, jumping to new tipsters that hadn’t really proved their ability over a large enough sample of bets or for a long enough period of time, reducing stakes, etc., etc.  Whatever it is you are told not to do, I did it, and I paid the price in hard cash, never making as much as I ought to and losing more than I should.

When I thought about how I would approach this series of posts, it dawned on me that the very best thing anyone can do is to pre-prepare for losing runs.  Instead of simply learning about what you should and shouldn’t do when a drawdown actually hits, better by far to put yourself in a place where you are pre-empting the worst before it actually happens.  Readying yourself for the inevitable, if you like.

So what is the first step?

I’d suggest that before anything else, we need to truly accept that there will be times when our betting looks bleak, pointless, is mentally draining and worrying.  Now, do you really accept that this is so, or do you actually merely pay lip service to the notion, telling yourself that periods of sustained loss will happen, sure, but if you pick the right services to follow, they won’t happen to you?  I have spoken to so many bettors who tell me that when a sharp drawdown arrived, it actually took them by surprise despite the fact they’d read all about them and had thought they were ready, but in fact weren’t anywhere near prepared.

And there it is in a nutshell…being prepared.  Even if we think the worst won’t happen, why not set your betting operation up in such a way that if (when) it does, you’ve built yourself the best, most sturdy of shelters to resist the ravages of the storm?

How do you do this?  Simple.  You make sure that your betting bank is big enough.  Again, I can pass on that the number of people I’ve spoken to during my betting consultancy sessions who massively overstake in relation to their available funds is huge.  My belief is that it is the most common error people make when it comes to betting – they’re underfunded and overstaking.  We’ll explore the consequences of having a betting bank that is not built for the stakes being used in later posts, but for now, take this one point away with you – make sure your betting bank is of sufficient size.  If it’s not, then reduce stakes or drop services, even if only temporarily whilst you build your betting bank to the size it ought to be.  Believe me, this one simple measure will keep you in the game long term, and in the beginning, that really should be your sole aim.

One more point.  You may see discussion about leveraging your funds.  In other words, you are assigning a theoretically larger bank than you actually possess in cash terms, across two or more services.  The principle is that as you diversify and spread your risk across a number of different tipsters, you can afford to spread your funds and make the money you do have work harder for you.  Be careful – I can see the point of this if you have a larger portfolio of services (I do apply a little leverage to my own private betting), but when you’re starting out, why increase your exposure and therefore risk?  By re-investing profit, you can build your portfolio steadily and safely without leveraging funds at all.  And then, when you have done this, sure, apply a little leverage, but don’t go mad, for if you do then it adds to the pressure when a losing run hits, which in turn can have a very real, detrimental affect on you as a bettor.

More on losing runs next week.

Betting for August 1st to August 6th.

Well, things are looking a little brighter than they were.  Good weeks for Northern Monkey and Racing Service B at Glorious Goodwood (with NMP knocking in the winner of the Stewards Cup at 20/1!).  The star of the show however was the Fake Mug Bets Club which was one of those to really suffer in July.  Saturday saw three of five daytime selections winning which meant a number of successful Combo bets landed and a very nice return indeed.

AH Betting: Staked 5pts, -0.157pts.

Football Service 1: n/a

Fake Mug Bets Club: Staked 60pts, +47.75pts.

Jason James: Staked 17pts, -6.5pts.

MVS (Lite): Staked 19pts, -0.25pts.

Northern Monkey: Staked 13.875pts, +9.437pts.

Pilelist Racing: Staked 6.733pts, +0.433pts.

Racing Service A: n/a

Racing Service B: Staked 22pts, +15.7pts.

Racing Service C: Staked 21pts, -1.625pts.

Total month to date: ROI 25.01%, ROC 2.76%.

July review – a bit of a ‘mare.

Oh, dear.  Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.  Not good.

July has been my worst month of betting for quite some time.  In fact, off the top of my head I can’t remember when things went quite so badly.  Of the eight services in the portfolio that provided bets, six of them generated a loss; five of those six produced losses that can be accurately described as being significant.

There really was very little let-up.  Four of the services – MVS (Lite), Fake Mug Bets, Jason James and Pilelist Racing – went on losing runs that I’ve not seen for some time.  I guess with the Fake Mug Bets, playing in multiples as it does, the drawdown must be expected, but backing the horses in singles as is the case with MVS (Lite) and at relatively short odds…it’s not easy to take.

The chap behind Pilelist Racing is obviously feeling the pressure a little too – it’s not been a good year so far and towards the end of the month it was clear (because he said so) that a short break was needed.  This game can do that to you.  It can be unremitting and bleak, testing the will of those with the strongest of mentalities.

It wasn’t all completely bleak.  Northern Monkey had a stormer, and thank goodness it did because if it hadn’t, the overall losses really would be big.  It was good to see Wayne come back to form after a sticky spell of his own, and let’s hope that now he’s hit his straps, the rest of the summer remains kind.

What is a little galling when I look at the losses is the fact that we’ve had our most consistent summer weather for about 40 years.  We had no significant rain throughout the entire month, and it is common belief that when going conditions are consistent, the form book is easier to interpret.  Good weather = good results…or not, it seems.

So what to do?

Nothing at this moment in time.  We just carry on, plugging away, hoping that those currently in a trough pull things around sooner rather than later.  What I am going to do though from this point, is dedicate two or three posts to that old chestnut of handling losing runs.  What to do, what not to do (and why not), how to protect ourselves, how to cope mentally, and how to judge when a tipster might really have lost it and should be “unfollowed”.

Until the next post then, here are July’s sorry figures:

AH Edge: Staked 13pts, -0.744pts, ROI -5.72%, ROC -1.24%.

Fake Mug Bets Club: Staked 148pts, -80.312pts, ROI -54.26%, ROC -20.07%.

Football Service 1: n/a

Jason James: Staked 92pts, -60.85pts, ROI -66.14%, ROC -30.42%.

MVS (Lite): Staked 73pts, -12.625pts, ROI -17.29%, ROC -14.02%.

Northern Monkey: Staked 81.333pts, +48.844pts, ROI 56.36%, ROC 57.3%.

Pilelist Racing: Staked 41.4pts, -21.288pts, ROI -51.42%, ROC -28.38%.

Racing Service A: n/a

Racing Service B: Staked 77pts, +13.825pts, ROI 17.95%, ROC 6.91%.

Racing Service C: Staked 50pts, -8.154pts, ROI -16.3%, ROC -8.15%.

Total: ROI -13.98%, ROC -5.87%.