To bet, or not to bet. That is the question (when the odds aren’t right).

It’s a little known fact that in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the agonizing and moaning over suicide and the unfairness of life that began with this famous quote was misspelt by the printers.  Dopily, due to a mead or two too many over lunch, they omitted the ‘t’s, changing “To bet or not to bet” to “To be or not to be”.

You see Old Bill Shakespeare had an eye on forging a career for himself as a racing pundit and of penning a regular betting column in the weekly publication “Turf Wars”, a 16th century forerunner to the ‘Racing Post’.  Word has it he was a fearless gambler, appreciating always the need to find value, and he would spend hours deliberating whether a price being offered down the local bookies was one he should take or not.

Hamlet wasn’t the only work of Britain’s finest ever writer to reveal his love of the nags.  It was in the midst of a dreadful losing run that Wilbo was inspired to write the famous quote we see in Richard III: “A horse. A horse. My kingdom for a horse.”  You can see how desperate he was getting for a winner, and the contempt he held the beasts in that were losing him money hand over fist.  The theory is that Big Bill S was being mithered by the heavies employed by Stratford’s bookmaking fraternity who, if they’d managed to catch him, would have made pretty sure his writing days were ended, what with not having any fingers left in one piece and all.

Anyway, I did actually have a serious point to make.

Reading the excellent Making Punting Pay blog I read how the author, should he not be able to take an acceptable price on a tip, wait for the price to hopefully rebound, thus maximising his chances of tying in the value.  Now I’m certainly not going to advise against this approach and there’s a lot to be said for it.  If we’re not betting at value prices, we’re not going to make any money.

However, I do wonder if things are quite as clear cut as this.  Something A. of Racing Service 2 is regularly pointing out, is that money coming in for horses that have caught his eye as potential winners, especially when arriving closer to the off, is often highly significant.  In these circumstances I’d suggest, that even if an advised price of say 10/1 was missed, and in the pre-race market the odds continued to contract, a 5/1 or 6/1 SP might still actually hold a decent level of residual value.  Looked at from the opposite angle, if a tipster advises odds of 10/1 which you take, but the horse has drifted to 20/1 by the off, your 10/1 doesn’t look to have much value in it at all, does it?

I really don’t know what the answer to the conundrum is.  The other thought that has crossed my mind is that provided for the majority of your bets you are getting the advised prices (ie. those at which your tipster believes there to be sufficient value to merit striking a bet), actually backing the odd one that has contracted significantly (and is therefore more likely to win) will potentially smooth out the losing runs a little.

It’s a minefield, I don’t mind admitting.  I’d be interested in your thoughts.

PS. If you’re not reading the Make Punting Pay blog, you really should – it’s excellent.  He doesn’t write nonsense about gambling playwrights, either.

Portfolio performance for November to date

A word for Bet Alchemist who is almost singlehandedly trying to prevent November from being one of the worst months ever.  An amazing 33/1 winner last week – what a hero!  Nice to see Racing Service 2 knock in a 14/1 winner too.  There is cause for optimism.

Main portfolio: ROI -5.46%, ROC -1.6%.

Individual Service Performance

Bet Alchemist: Staked 16pts, +26.225pts.

Racing Service 1: Staked 18pts, -15.9pts.

Football Lay Profits: Staked 68.9pts, -4.5pts.

Football Service 1: Staked 8pts, -5.341pts

Golf Insider: Staked 13.5pts, +3.1pts.

Northern Monkey: Staked 14pts, +2.074pts.

Precision Value: Staked 58pts, +7.531pts.

Football Service 2: Staked 17pts, -3.787pts.

Racing Service 2: Staked 9.75pts, +2.625pts.

Racing Service 3: Staked 33pts, -25.2pts.




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