Ah, those were the days….

I used to love betting shops. I loved the smell, the atmosphere, the almost tangible pall of silent desperation as ‘Racing Posts’ were pored over by all and sundry in the increasingly urgent search for a winner…any winner.  I’m going back about 25 years here, before the bookies’ offices became what they are now – full of FOBT machines and no smoking allowed.  They were choc-full of characters; the old geezer who, judging by the smell coming off him, had done a runner from a badly run care home and who was using the shop as a refuge. As long as he remained undetected, he was going to make the most of his freedom!  Then there was the overweight thirty-something with his tie halfway down his neck and shirt untucked, chewing gum loudly and invading your personal space as he read the racecards pinned to the wall.  I remember this guy well.  Many times I tried desperately to avoid eye contact because whenever I made the mistakeof even just nodding acknowledgement of his presence, he’d bore me for what seemed like hours with boasts of his sexual prowess, capacity to sink 12 pints, ability to down the hottest curry in the Jai Kathmandhu, and his latest winning bets that had landed him thousands.  I couldn’t help but think at the time that with all these winners, he really could afford to jack in the call centre that was paying him below the minimum wage, but he never seemed to quite be brave enough!

The point I’m making though, is that these filthy, smoke-filled dens of iniquity were full of characters, and I miss them.

I worked in betting office once. Briefly.

I was 16 and took a pathetic pride in the fact that I was able to get a bet on without being asked for ID. I swear the guy behind the counter – Eamonn, if I remember rightly – knew full well I was underage, but these were the days before I had the self-awareness to accept that as far as picking winners was concerned, I was pretty clueless.  I was contributing to the shop’s income with an admirable consistency.  Far from banning me for a couple of years, Eamonn always seemed pleased to see me!

Anyway, I walked in one day to find that Sid, the guy who wrote the odds for each horse in each race and the results as they were announced on a great big whiteboard, was off sick.  So myself and a mate of mine volunteered our services.  I can honestly say it is the hardest job I have ever done.  Listening to all the info coming through on the old SIS radio broadcasts, writing up odds, keeping results up to speed, and trying to place a bet amongst it all?  I lasted ten minutes!  And it wasn’t just me – my mate was as bad.  Even with the two of us, we just couldn’t keep up with the pace of it all.  So my career in bookmaking lasted from the start of the first race of the day to the result coming in for the second.

So what has this trip down memory lane got to do with running a betting portfolio twenty odd years later, you may ask?  Well, perhaps most importantly, it’s a good idea to know the limits of your abilities if you want to be in this game for the long term. When I first started following tipsters, I quickly forgot that I couldn’t pick a winner to save my life, and regularly threw in my own bets based on my own (usually wrong) assessment of a race. It meant my tipsters were making money, but I wasn’t, or at least not as much as I should have been making. Secondly, it wasn’t until I learnt what my strengths were and started playing to them that I started to make money consistently.  And lastly, I reckon it’s probably a good idea to give things a little time to work out.  Longer than I gave my job in the bookies, anyway.

Betting from Saturday 14th January to Friday 20th January

Another really strong week.  It’s all very nice when things go as smoothly as they have been doing since the start of the year.  This last week ran at an ROI of 40.86% and added another 9.93% to the bank.

Top of the Pops last week was Northern Monkey, and Top of the Pops this week was….Northern Monkey!

A superbly consistent week’s betting from NMP and a masterclass in staking.  Most of the week’s 17 points profit came from bets that were staked a little more heavily than the norm, plus a nice winning double.

The good form of Morning Value Service (Lite) continued with another four winners to add 6.75 points of profit, and Racing Service A came good with a lovely winner on Friday at 20/1 to bring January into profit overall.  Let’s hope he builds on that and gathers some momentum.

Pinpoint Golf has started the year well with another 13 points boosting the coffers, although reading his weekly performance review I wish I’d backed the Top 10 and Top 20 market selections as they had a stormer!

The only negative this week was Jason James who struggled a little, but who has still posted strong figures for the month to date.

Here are the figures for the month:

Chasemaster: Staked 16pts, -0.05pts.

Jason James: Staked 87.5pts, +20.141pts.

Morning Value Service (Lite): Staked 27pts, +9.125pts.

Northern Monkey: Staked 35.16pts, +34.373pts.

Racing Service A: Staked 5pts, +0.625pts.

Racing Service B: Staked 68.5pts, +14.283pts.

Football Service 1: Staked 3pts, n/a.

Pinpoint Golf: Staked 27.162pts, +18pts.

January’s performance to date: ROI 40.86%, ROC 9.93%.


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