Sunday, 11 March 2012

Move down the bus...

You know, I've had a fair few people who have said that they don't like the name, 'A Punter's Year'. What was wrong with 'The Portfolio Investor'? Well, I must admit, I'm still rather fond of The Portfolio Investor. It has more of a ring to it, don't you think?

So, pack your bags, we're heading home...

See you there.

Friday, 9 March 2012


...but service is temporarily on hold.

Only because I'm off out tonight and will be enjoying a couple of scoops.

Look, let's face it, once I get home tonight, I'm likely to find it hard to find my way to my bed, never mind start typing words of gambling wisdom.

So, back Sunday.

PS.Good day for Chasemaster today with a couple of lovely winners (Rumbrey Grey - Leicester - 14/1 and Noble Witness - Leicester - 7/2). Ensures a small profit on the day at the very least with a couple of footie bets to come this evening. Fingers crossed for a good'un.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Value For Money

Is anybody signed up to the ProGambler website ( I am, just to keep my eye in with such things. You know how it is.

ProGambler is a site run by Greg Gordon, probably best known for running the tipping service Scottish Football Bets which I believe is going great guns this season. He was also, for a relatively short period of time, the editor of the Secret Betting Club's monthly review newsletters. I was, in a previous life, a member of Scottish Football Bets and always found Greg to be charming, hugely professional, hard working and obviously very diligent in his work.

Which is why I found the email that hit my inbox today, sent from the ProGambler site, a little surprising. The email provided a link to a review of a horse racing tipping service that ProGambler have been proofing for the past eleven months. The service under scrutiny is The Horse Betting Analyst ( I have to say, there are a couple of things I take issue with...

Firstly is the length of time of the proofing. The use of "long term" in both the email and in the review to which a link is provided would, to my mind, need the period of proofing to exceed a mere eleven months. Perhaps that's just me.

My second issue is the admission that the service is not the cheapest (£950 for twelve months!), but that many "...would argue that in most walks of life you get what you pay for." I don't know if Greg meant this as a justification for the costly fees or not, but it does read as such, and I would argue that actually in the world of racing tipsters, you can indeed get around the 19% roi achieved by Horse Betting Analyst forking out considerably less for the privilege of subscribing. Just off the top of my head I can think of Northern Monkey (20%+ long term roi at c.£200/year), On The Nose (19% at £200/year), CD Systems Daily Bargain (c.19% at £205/year), The Sportsman Racing (c25%+ roi at £250/year with the sports tips too!), The Market Examiner (c.19% at c.£200/year), and so on. The thing to bear in mind here too, of course, is that these figures have been "proofed" for a lot longer than eleven months and have stood the test of time.

This last point is of particular significance too. Anyone who has previously subscribed to Horse Betting Index and Ultimate Tipster will be aware of what I am referring to.

Look, I have absolutely no reason to even begin to doubt the veracity of the Horse Betting Analyst results, nor their tipping ability (19% roi is rather good), nor their ability to be a tipping service that will stand the test of time. But at £950/year? In this market?

The ProGambler review essentially takes the form of a Question and Answer session with the service owner/administrator. An interview, if you like. There is one question that I would really like to have seen asked...What is the Unique Selling Point of the Horse Betting Analyst service that justifies such a relatively high cost of subscribing?

I would want to see a good answer to this question before parting with my hard earned.

One last point. This may be a personal thing, but I like the fact that I can communicate with my tipsters. I've swopped emails with most of those I follow and I'd like to think I've built up a bit of a relationship with Peter, Dean, Wayne, Scott, Graeme, Matt, 'The Analyst' wouldn't exactly encourage me to try and do the same here, I don't think, especially as 'The Analyst' was previously 'Mr. T' in former ventures. Perhaps that's my foible - I have a few - but still, give me the personal touch any day.

Today's Betting

What a nightmare for Northern Monkey today! A more heavily staked tip, an early 10/1 secured, backed into 11/2 at the off, everything's looking good. Until the stall gates opened...our beast turned it's nose up at the idea of actually running today and instead stood resolutely in the stalls, purveying it's competitor's disappearing backsides with what looked like complete disdain.

However, a small profit on the day was secured by a return to winning ways for The Sportsman Racing (Old Tricks - Wincanton - 10/11). Chasemaster's one each way selection finished third and returned stakes.

Northern Monkey: Staked 1.5pts, -1.5pts.
The Sportsman Racing: Staked 0.5pts, +0.454pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.25pts, N/A.

Month to Date

Northern Monkey: Staked 4.5pts, -4.05pts, roi -90%
4PA: Staked 2.5pts, -2.5pts, roi -100%
Chasemaster: Staked 1pt, -0.45pts, roi -45%
WRT: Staked 3.1pts, +1.393pts, roi 44.95%
The Sportsman Racing: Staked 2pts, -0.237pts, roi -11.89%
On The Nose:
The Market Examiner: Staked 9.5pts, -0.5pts, roi -5.26%

TFA 7/22: Staked 7pts, +4.71pts, roi 67.28%
Skeeve: Staked 21pts, -8.48pts, roi -40.38%
Football Elite: Staked 3pts, +1.707pts, roi 56.91%
The Sportsman: Staked 0.15pts, -0.15pts, roi -100%
On The Oche: Staked 1pt, -1pt, roi -100%
Strike Zone (h): Staked 5pts, -2.103pts, -42.06%

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

The last time yours truly picked a winner.

I mentioned last week that Cheltenham antepost selections were coming through thick and fast, and the flow is showing no immediate signs of slowing. On Monday it was Northern Monkey with coverage of some of the handicaps, yesterday 4PA with their advice for the Triumph Hurdle, and today On The Nose waded in with tips in a couple of races. I have got to admit, I'm beginning to get a little twitchy; I daren't add up how much I have staked now over the four days, and let's face it, the racing is rather competitive and there is obvious potential for disaster. Of course there is also the potential for magnificence. No doubt when all the battles have been fought and the dust has settled, returns will lie somewhere on the scale between the two extremes.

Anyway, there's no point in worrying. The money is down. And it is all rather exciting, isn't it?

Cheltenham. I went once, back in 1996. Gold Cup day it was. I remember catching the train from Manchester Piccadilly with my best mate and his Dad (who was essentially funding the two of us, broke students that we were), discussing the form whilst reading the 'Racing Post'. I was absolutely convinced, and had been for some time, that the hot favourite for the big race, One Man, wasn't going to win. My theory was founded in the methods espoused by Nick Mordin in his book, 'Betting For a Living', a book that I spent much time reading and re-reading. In fact, if I'd spent half as much time reading 'Street On Torts' as I did Mordin's tome, I'd have found my end of year law examinations more straightforward than I did!

Mordin's basic theory was that when looking at a horse's form, certain patterns can often be identified which might give the analyst an insight into what sort of run can be expected. Nothing ground-breaking really, although I seem to remember thinking it was at the time. Anyway, looking at One Man's form, it seemed obvious to me that a 3m2f trip on an undulating track would see it beaten. Somehow, during that train journey, I managed to convince my companions of this hypothesis and between us we settled on Imperial Call as the probable winner of the big race.

The rest, as they say, is history. I seem to remember getting 9/2 against Imperial Call. One Man finished a distant six of seven. This quote from the following day's 'Independent':

Gordon Richards, One Man's trainer, was so perplexed that he sent his grey for a dope test. "The thing is that he went out like a light," Richards said. "It wasn't that he had no stamina because he didn't even get three miles today. The horse just hasn't given a true run and I think there must be something to blame."

Gordon. You should have asked me. I knew, you see. I knew.

Today's Betting

A nice profit today, primarily thanks to Football Elite who have had a good midweek; today's bet a winner to add to the one they picked yesterday.

Quiet on the horses. Winning Racing Tips' only selection finished placed (Sutton Storm - Fontwell - 14/1) to provide a small return. No joy for Chasemaster (0/1) or The Market Examiner (0/1).

The Market Examiner: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.4pts, +0.36pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.25pts, -0.25pts.
Football Elite: Staked 1pt, +1.27pts.

Month to Date

Northern Monkey: Staked 3pts, -2.55pts, roi -85%
4PA: Staked 2.5pts, -2.5pts, roi -100%
Chasemaster: Staked 0.75pts, -0.45pts, roi -60%
WRT: Staked 3.1pts, +1.393pts, roi 44.95%
The Sportsman Racing: Staked 1.5pts, -0.692pts, roi -46.16%
On The Nose:
The Market Examiner: Staked 9.5pts, -0.5pts, roi -5.26%

TFA 7/22: Staked 7pts, +4.71pts, roi 67.28%
Skeeve: Staked 21pts, -8.48pts, roi -40.38%
Football Elite: Staked 3pts, +1.707pts, roi 56.91%
The Sportsman: Staked 0.15pts, -0.15pts, roi -100%
On The Oche: Staked 1pt, -1pt, roi -100%
Strike Zone (h): Staked 5pts, -2.103pts, -42.06%

Now, I've not mentioned the trading for a little while and there is a simple reason for that. I haven't done any. Not through not wanting to, just that the times of matches hasn't been suitable. From today though, there's a tournament starting which will have matches starting early evening our time, and I want to get involved as much as possible. This may well lead to the posts on the blog amounting to not much more than updates on how the betting is going as I simply won't have the time to stick much else up. Having said that, I'm off work for Cheltenham next week, and it would be rude not to stick some thoughts up on what's going on there. We'll see how it pans out.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Strange old day!

Too emotionally knackered to post much tonight! Back to normal service tomorrow.

Today's Betting

Been a strange old day today. A couple of rather good wins and a couple of unexpected losers to wipe out the profits. End up even on the day.

Winning Racing Tips had the good win on the horses (Talking Thomas - Newcastle - 9/2) and came very close to a bumper payout on an each way treble. Talkin Thomas was the first leg, Winstone - Newcastle - 7/2 a successful second leg, but the final horse came a close and battling second. So near yet so far.

The surprising losses both came from The Sportsman Racing...two short priced losers, the second of which was backed into 4/11 favouritism at the off! No luck for Chasemaster whose only selection was never really in it, nor for The Market Examiner.

Quite a bit of footie action tonight, too, and Football Elite had a nice winner to kick things off. The Football Analyst System 7/22 managed one win from two for a small profit, but no joy for Skeeve or The Sportsman.

The Market Examiner: Staked 2.5pts, -2.5pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.25pts, -0.25pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.9pts, +2.118pts.
The Sportsman Racing: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
The Football Analyst 7/22: Staked 3pts, +0.46pts.
Football Elite: Staked 1pt, +1.437pts.
Skeeve: Staked 4pts, -4pts.
The Sportsman: Staked 0.15pts, -0.15pts.

Month to Date

Northern Monkey: Staked 3pts, -2.55pts, roi -85%
4PA: Staked 2.5pts, -2.5pts, roi -100%
Chasemaster: Staked 0.5pts, -0.2pts, roi -40%
WRT: Staked 2.7pts, +1.033pts, roi 38.27%
The Sportsman Racing: Staked 1.5pts, -0.692pts, roi -46.16%
On The Nose:
The Market Examiner: Staked 8.5pts, +0.5pts, roi 5.88%


TFA 7/22: Staked 7pts, +4.71pts, roi 67.28%
Skeeve: Staked 21pts, -8.48pts, roi -40.38%
Football Elite: Staked 2pts, +0.437pts, roi 21.87%
The Sportsman: Staked 0.15pts, -0.15pts, roi -100%
On The Oche: Staked 1pt, -1pt, roi -100%
Strike Zone (h): Staked 5pts, -2.103pts, -42.06%

I need a drink...

Monday, 5 March 2012

Not a lot to report.

It's all a bit quiet just at the moment. Not much betting action and not a lot going on elsewhere to provide much material for the sort of witty and insightful commentary you're used to on this blog. *cough*

Today's Action

Only The Market Examiner with anything to follow today, and how unfortunate they were for their first selection to beaten by a mere short head. The second selection drifted wildly and ran as you would expect in such circumstances. Can't win 'em all.

Yesterday was similarly quiet. The Market Examiner dropped a point and of the three Strike Zone bets, only the one was a winner. That one of the losers was Spurs took the edge off losing the money a touch, I must admit (no offence Spurs fans).

Month to Date

Northern Monkey: Staked 3pts, -2.55pts, roi -85%
4PA: Staked 2.5pts, -2.5pts, roi -100%
Chasemaster: Staked 0.25pts, +0.05pts, roi 20%
WRT: Staked 1.8pts, -1.08pts, roi -60.25%
The Sportsman Racing: Staked 0.5pts, +0.307pts, roi 61.52%
On The Nose:
The Market Examiner: Staked 6pts, +3pts, roi 50%

TFA 7/22: Staked 4pts, +4.25pts, roi 106.25%
Skeeve: Staked 17pts, -4.48pts, roi -26.35%
Football Elite: Staked 1pt, -1pt, roi -100%
The Sportsman:
On The Oche: Staked 1pts, -1pts, roi -100%
Strike Zone (h): Staked 5pts, -2.103pts, -42.06%

Sunday, 4 March 2012

How to make money betting on football.

I must admit I had a wee chuckle when I read on a forum recently, a post bemoaning an inability to make any profits with football betting. The post was followed by another, claiming that it is horses where the money is to be made...after all, double priced winners on football just don't happen. The conclusion was that the bookies have the footie markets sewn up.

I then read a post on another forum, written not long after the final whistle had been sounded on this Saturday afternoon's fixtures...

"7-22: normally no more than 5 minutes a week to place bets, check results and count winnings"

The 7/22 referred to is System 7/22 of The Football Analyst's portfolio, the system followed in fact, by my good self (although this wasn't my comment made on the forum). There had been two selections this week (Colchester and Aldershot) and two winners.

My figures following System 7/22 this season now read:

Points Staked: 68
Profit: +29.6
ROI: 43.5%

(*Please note I stake two points on the home selections, one on away)

Now I understand that it might be a bit much to ask for such a rarified level of ROI to be maintained ad infinitum, but looking at the system's overall performance figures for last season too (Bets: 131, Profit +32.6pts, ROI 24.9% - to level stakes), we can see that we now have a season and two thirds of proofed excellence.

Throw in Skeeve's consistency in attaining a 14% roi over goodness knows how long (six seasons, actually), and The Sportsman's 15% roi just from his football bets since August 2009, I think you can safely say that we don't need winners at 10/1+ to make decent money from the beautiful game (and after watching Robin Van Persie on Saturday, it really is beautiful, isn't it?). Sure, Football Investor and Football Elite have had a tricky time of it this season but have a long term track record of success, and there are others out there making the football betting game pay.

Saturday's Betting

As far as the 'orses were concerned yesterday, a nice winner for The Market Examiner (Handy Andy - Newbury - 8/1, SP 6/1) was the only success. No joy for 4PA or Northern Monkey, the only other two services in action.

I've already mentioned The Football Analyst's returns for the weekend. Skeeve dropped a few points on what was a frustrating day for the non-league whizz, and Football Elite's sole bet of the weekend lost too. Strike Zone (homes) found one from two but at the odds made a small loss on the day. Heh! - perhaps betting on footie is a mug's game after all!

4PA: Staked 2.5pts, -2.5pts.
Northern Monkey: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
The Football Analyst System 7/22: Staked 4pts, +4.25pts.
Strike Zone (homes): Staked 2pts, -0.636pts.
Skeeve: Staked 17pts, -4.48pts.
Football Elite: Staked 1pt, -1pt.

Month to Date

Northern Monkey: Staked 3pts, -2.55pts, roi -85%
4PA: Staked 2.5pts, -2.5pts, roi -100%
Chasemaster: Staked 0.25pts, +0.05pts, roi 20%
WRT: Staked 1.8pts, -1.08pts, roi -60.25%
The Sportsman Racing: Staked 0.5pts, +0.307pts, roi 61.52%
On The Nose:
The Market Examiner: Staked 3.5pts, +5.5pts, roi 157.14%

TFA 7/22: Staked 4pts, +4.25pts, roi 106.25%
Skeeve: Staked 17pts, -4.48pts, roi -26.35%
Football Elite: Staked 1pt, -1pt, roi -100%
The Sportsman:
On The Oche: Staked 1pts, -1pts, roi -100%
Strike Zone (h): Staked 2pts, -0.636pts, -31.8%

I'm going to leave today's results to tomorrow's post, simply because I have a footie bet running this evening and I'll have likely gone to bed before it finishes. Need to be bright eyed and bushy tailed for work in the morning, eh?

Friday, 2 March 2012

Weekend. Nice One.

Won't keep you too long tonight. It's Friday, and the priority is takeaway food, a couple of beers, and a good film.

So, without further ado...

Today's Betting

A mediocre day today. Winning Racing Tips had a bit of a disaster in the opener at Newbury, picking two each way against the hot favourite. The hot favourite didn't get up to win, but unfortunately neither of our two got up to place! Northern Monkey had three today, one of which found the frame but a loss of just over a point in all. The Market Examiner had just the one, half point bet which lost.

One winner was found though, courtesy of The Sportsman Racing (Za'Lan - Lingfield - 8/13) who won rather cheekily, I thought.

Northern Monkey: Staked 1.5pts, -1.05pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
The Market Examiner: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
The Sportsman Racing: Staked 0.5pts, +0.307pts.

Month to Date

Northern Monkey: Staked 2pts, -1.55pts, roi -77.5%
Chasemaster: Staked 0.25pts, +0.05pts, roi 20%
WRT: Staked 1.8pts, -1.08pts, roi -60.25%
The Sportsman Racing: Staked 0.5pts, +0.307pts, roi 61.52%
On The Nose:
The Market Examiner: Staked 2.5pts, -2.5pts, roi -100%

TFA 7/22:
Football Elite:
The Sportsman:
On The Oche: Staked 1pt, -1pt, roi -100%
Strike Zone (h):

Have a great weekend, all. Back Sunday with a weekend round-up.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Spring has sprung.

Spring is very definitely in the air. The sun has been out today, the birds were joyous in their enthusiasm for the dawn chorus this morning (bastards woke me up!), and there are snowdrops and crocuses (croci ?) bravely contributing a splash of colour to the garden. You know what all this means don't you, my horse racing chums? Yes, it means that Cheltenham is just around the corner. That's what it means.

Mind you, for anyone operating a portfolio of tipping services that includes at least a couple of racing specialists, it would be only too obvious that the Festival is not so far away. My inbox has been inundated with antepost tips. 4PA, Northern Monkey, On The Nose, and The Sportsman have all been busy analysing the big races and drawing their conclusions. God knows how much money I have tied up in 'Pending' bets. I would think it enough to finance a revolution.

Anyway, talking of Cheltenham tips, I have a plug to make. I've mentioned the chap before, but if you're not reading The Value Bettor blog, you really should be. The guy knows his onions, of that there is no doubt...and he is doing a Cheltenham Special. At just a tenner for the four days (which my calculator tells me is only £2.50/day) you will receive one heck of a good insight into each of the races. Will I be following? Unfortunately not. I already have about four selections in each race and my capacity for Festival betting is full. But don't allow that to put you off. Take a nosey over there (link is to the right). You know it makes sense!

Today's Betting

Close to being a nice start to the month for Winning Racing Tips. The first leg of an each way double came in the winner, the second leg came in second. Shame.

Chasemaster's one tip today managed to cling on to third place by the width of a gnat's eyelash, so a very small return there (Theatre Diva - Ludlow - 7/1).

Northern Monkey's one selection wasn't quite quick enough to place. The Market Examiner's two selections were similarly unsuccessful today.

From Sam's note today, it seems as if he is getting used to the little foibles of Bet Butler, but he seems well in control and is ensuring he is getting the best prices available at the time of placing the bets. Obviously this is a work in progress, but reading Sam's observations, progress is obviously being made and I'm confident that before too long, the whole system will be running as smoothly as a hand made Swiss clock. And believe me my friends, that is smooth.

On The Oche also played tonight, but unfortunately their one selection was a losing one.

Northern Monkey: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.25pts, +0.05pts.

On The Oche: Staked 1pt, -1pt.

Month to date

Northern Monkey: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts, roi -100%
Chasemaster: Staked 0.25pts, +0.05pts, roi 20%
WRT: Staked 0.8pts, -0.08pts, roi -10%
The Sportsman Racing:
On The Nose:
The Market Examiner: Staked 2pts, -2pts, roi -100%

TFA 7/22:
Football Elite:
The Sportsman:
On The Oche: Staked 1pt, -1pt, roi -100%
Strike Zone (h):

Thought some might like to see the month to date figures for each service. Provide some context. I'll try to keep it updated each day.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

The shape of things to come?

As readers of this blog will know, a couple of weeks ago I was bemoaning the sheer workload that following a portfolio can produce. After a while, that workload can, like a job, get on top of you. The placing of bets is relentless. Taking a week out from time to time is one thing and in fact is something that I can see myself doing more often. But missing bets when you are "working", following your portfolio, is a big no no. The odd good priced winner that might elude you can, over time, make a big difference to returns.

Wouldn't it be nice if someone else could put the bets on for you?

Well, Sam of The Market Examiner fame, is going to do just that. Let me tell you more...

Of all the services I follow, The Market Examiner is the most prolific in terms of number of selections issued. Following correspondence I had with Sam, he had the thought that an added element to his service that people could benefit from, would be if he could place his subscribers bets himself. For those who are busy at work and who can't physically place the bets when the tips are issued, or for those who for some other reason - such as relocation, for example - can no longer place bets, Sam's solution could potentially be a real godsend.

Sam's idea is to utilise the Bet Butler bet placement service. There has been some debate as to the merits of Bet Butler on various other blogs/betting information services, but so far there have been no reports of major issues arising. Instead, the impression is of a smooth, reliable and most importantly, efficient service. There are some points to be aware of, most notably the fact that there can be no guarantee that the odds secured are BOG, but if Sam's edge, shown by the fact that the SP on his selections is consistently lower than the price at time of bet issue, then I'm hopeful that this shouldn't have too much of an adverse effect on returns generated. Still, it is one thing to keep a close eye on.

So anyway, following a long conversation between Sam and I, I have decided to be a guinea pig, a guinea pig that all you readers can follow with an eye perhaps to the future. I have deposited some money in Sam's care and he will do the rest. I shall be receiving a daily report, an emailed note of all bets placed, and a dividend in the form of profits made over a set period of time.

Sam is cautious and I agreed with him wholeheartedly with his stance that we should not rush in. The deposit with Bet Butler is not a large one. This is very much a testing phase and like anything to do with gambling, exposure should be limited at such a stage. I'm quite excited by it's potential though, for if this were to work, it could be the answer to many a prayer.

I shall update the The Market Examiner results on a daily basis, just as I do with the other services. Naturally, should any issues arise or difficulties present themselves, I shall write them up in detail.

Let's see what happens. I'm looking forward to this!

Today's Betting

Well, only the one bet for me to place today. Northern Monkey's sole each way bet just missing out on reaching the frame.

As for bets placed on my behalf though...well a good start, with The Market Examiner finding a nice winner from their four selections today (Upham Atom - Folkestone 6/1 (SP: 4/1)).

Northern Monkey: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 3pts, +4pts.

Now. Off to watch the football. Stuart Pearce, England manager, eh?

No, no, no, no, no.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Streamlining. A positive move?

I was reading the My Betting Life blog today, and some of the comments left after recent posts (see link to the right). There was some very well-meaning advice being left, suggesting a more streamlined portfolio should be the way forward.

The author of the blog is currently looking to do just that, and I can understand why he might wish to do so. Some of the services he follows are among the more expensive to subscribe to. In this day and age, with more and more services conscious of providing not only winners but also real value to their customers, there is no longer any need to pay £1k+ annual fees for the privilege of following a tipster with a long term record of success. The most expensive service I follow is Skeeve. For less than £500 per year, I have access to the advice of a chap who obviously puts in a heck of a lot of work into research and service delivery; hard work that is rewarded with a service that over the last six years has produced an roi of 14% and a return on capital of just shy of 800%, produced from a sample of over 1,000 selections.

At £75, The Football Analyst has produced a series of systems that have generated an excellent level of profit; £200 for On The Nose and a similar amount for Northern Monkey, two racing services with a long term roi that has settled at around the 20% mark. £250 for The Sportsman, a sports betting service boasting an roi of 15% but which includes free access to racing selections that have produced an roi of 19%. The list goes on and I'm sure you get the point. No longer is it necessary to pay big bucks in an attempt to secure strong returns.

Getting back to my original point though about streamlining portfolios. I think there is a natural desire, when things are not going well, to cut the size of the portfolio of services being followed. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that if the services that are not currently perfoming are cut out of the portfolio, profits will subsequently receive a boost. Of course it never quite works like that. The underperforming services are usually simply going through a lean spell. All services do at some point in time. The periods of profit-making that made them such attractive propositions when you first joined but which seemed to have disappeared are, more often than not, waiting for you just around the corner. In the meantime of course, the services you continue with start to go through their lean spells and before you know it, you're still not having a good time of it and the tipsters you dropped are now the ones making money! Nightmare, and this is why I always dread dropping a service. Having said that - and this is where this is such a challenging game we're playing - there are occasions when those services that you really do think you should drop but don't, never regain their form. Sports Investor and ProBandit would be two examples where I have come a cropper in this respect.

The bigger issue around streamlining portfolios though, the principle that it is wise to pay heed to, is that a portfolio with few services lacks diversity. I believe that diversity is absolutely paramount for any investment strategy to be successful in the long term. An investment strategy that lacks diversity is ultimately doomed to fail. It is inevitable. And this counts for all manner of investments, not just gambling.

The chap at My Betting Life is, I believe, looking to reduce the number of services he follows to six or so. I think you can attain a strong level of diversity within that number. I get the impression that he is looking at other aspects to his portfolio, such as value for money, as opposed to making a reduction based on a recent lack of positive performance. That to me, is legitimate planning.

Personal circumstances too can justify a reduction in the number of services followed - I'm in this position myself, as you know, and other practical issues may mean that downsizing is a positive step to take (such as protecting bookmaker accounts, for example). But, downsizing just because things are not going so well? Nope, not for me.

*Diversity is a topic worth further exploration, and I plan to do just that in the not too distant future.

Today's Betting

As was the case yesterday, just the two services in action. Chasemaster found a winner (Bruslini - Catterick - 4/1). Now I don't know if this will be corrected or not, but Ladbrokes seem to have overpaid me. I split the bet between Ladbrokes and Paddy Power. The return from Paddy Power is less and having worked it out myself, I agree with the Irish bookmaker. Let's see if Laddies realise their error and reclaim some of the money credited to my account. Chasemaster also played two horses in another race but unfortunately neither quite made the frame. Bruslini was a pleasure to watch though (I record the racing and watch it when I get home). Fast and fluent over the obstacles on what I believe was it's chasing debut, it was given a peach of a front running ride by Tom O'Brien that was a joy to see. As it happens Bruslini was the only horse to finish, but winning was never really in any doubt.

The other service to play was Winning Racing Tips whose selection (Rosairlie - Catterick - 12/1) finished a distant third, never threatening to win but producing a small return nonetheless.

Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.4pts, +0.28pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.75pts, +0.312pts.

Now, there may well soon be news of something a little different that involves The Market Examiner. It's an idea that I believe holds significant merit and potentially solves a lot of problems that all serious punters face. Let's see if it develops, and as/if/when it does, trust me, you'll be the first to know.

And with that tantalising little titbit, I bid you goodnight.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Easing back into it.

Well, not much going on today at all! Just two bets to ease my way back in.

Northern Monkey's main selection finished a close second (Kylladdie - Wolverhampton - 5/1) to return stakes, although a very small loss as a saver win bet in the same race failed. Chasemaster was the only other service in action and was unlucky not to see a return. Their selection approached the last fence very much in contention (and a certainty to place and so return stakes) but of course blundered and unseated it's rider.

Northern Monkey: Staked 0.6pts, -0.1pt.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.25pts, -0.25pts.

One other thing before I go...I'm in love with football again. Temporarily at least.

Saturday, 25 February 2012


Well, I don't mind admitting, I've rather enjoyed the break. As I indicated, I have continued to place the sports bets over the last week (or to be precise, the good lady of the house has, until today that is, when I reassumed responsibilities) and thanks to On The Oche on Thursday, and Football Elite, The Football Analyst and The Sportsman today, have managed to add a couple of hundred profit to the couple of hundred I'd made prior to my "holiday". Which can't be bad, can it?

I've got to recommend this taking a break thingy though. I had real reservations about doing so but I've not regretted the decision at all. I thought I might stress about missing potential profit making, and for the first day, I did. But I soon dismissed betting from my mind entirely, consciously pushing it right back into the far recesses of my brain, where it stayed until a couple of days ago when I started to put some serious thought into how to move things forward.

I also put some serious thinking into what I hoped to achieve from this blog. Sure, it's fun to write, but ultimately I'd quite like it to deliver a bit more than just a whimsical read. I'm concerned that if I'm not careful, it might become a bit frothy. A pop diva as opposed to a rock chick, if that makes sense? I'd rather there be a bit of substance to it, a sense of purpose, and perhaps over time it might become a useful resource to some. So, with those lofty ambitions in mind, I've made a few plans and am chucking a few ideas around. I'll go into more detail when I have worked out a way forward and sorted the many ideas I have into some sort of order. Presently it's all a bit of a mish mash, a tumble of ideas that need arranging logically and a plan of action drawn up. I'll get there.

One change that I am making with immediate effect is the way I record results. I'm going to knock the monetary detail on the head, and instead concentrate on reporting the profits and losses of each service in terms of points. If anyone really wants to know how much actual money I am making/losing, then my own £/pt value is easily found within the blog. No, what I want to move towards is a situation where followers can see how much they could be making if following the same service(s) by applying their own staking.

What else do I want to introduce? Well, maybe a regular review of the services I use. Articles on various aspects of gambling from mindset to staking to record keeping, etc. Maybe I can convince some service operators to be "interviewed" and provide an insight into playing this game from the other side of the fence.

Of course, the SBC already do all of this and more. I'm not trying to compete. I can't. But what I can do is be the Average Joe figure that the SBC lack (a full time job, a family, bookmaker accounts under continual pressure, paying subs fees, and receiving tips at the same time as everybody else). Mine is a balanced portfolio - six racing services, six sports betting services. It is both large enough to provide a sufficient level of diversity and small enough to be relatively practical to follow. All of the services to which I subscribe are recommended by the SBC. Many reside within their Hall of Fame. If I can't succeed following these services, then might I suggest that nobody can?

I shall make a commitment to recording the results as frequently as possible. Most of the time, that will be each day, and can start from Monday. I will endeavour to provide some commentary too, as opposed to simply providing a list of results.

As far as writing on other subjects is concerned, I will attempt to provide as and when certain topics raise their head. To a large extent though, that will be dictated by when I can fit it around my tennis trading. If there are evening matches, my attention will be elsewhere. Rest assured though, I want this blog to be an acorn. Only hard work will make it grow and that hard work will be going on behind the scenes to put the other ideas I've referred to into place.

Let's see what happens.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Nothing to see here!

Well, not been much going on around here, has there? And that's the way it's going to be for the next couple of weeks or so because I've made the decision to take a wee holiday from the betting. Nothing sinister, it just seems as good a time as any; the losses made earlier in the month have been recouped and in fact I'm a couple of hundred quid up. No doubt each and every one of the tipsters will launch themselves into a frenzy of profit making in my absence, but hey, long term is what counts, does it not? And anyway, it's only the racing tipsters that are going to be put on hold as the good lady wife has said she'll put the footie bets on as they can be done in the evenings. Woe betide her if she doesn't beat the recorded Skeeve prices tonight - I'm not taking over cooking responsibilities for nothing, let me tell you!

Why have a break from it at all? Well, it's been three years now without one and as I've intimated previously, following the portfolio has started to become more of a chore than a pleasure. I know in the long term the dynamic of the portfolio needs to be altered a touch - fewer bets to have to place, essentially - but for now I just feel as if the old batteries need recharging a little and believe the best way to accomplish this is to come away from it all for a fortnight. Hopefully come the first of March, I'll be raring to go and to get stuck in again.

So there we have it. A little break, during which I have nothing to worry about other than who Arsenal will draw in the next round of the Champions League. After all, the second leg is but a formality.


Sunday, 12 February 2012

Weekend round up

Very quick one tonight.

Solid but unspectacular is how I would describe the weekend's betting performance. No winners on the nags but a couple of placed efforts limited the damage. Football Elite called one right from two yesterday, and I have to say, I've never been more pleased to lose £80 than when the living deity that is Monsieur Henry scuppered the chances of stakes being returned on one of the bets! The Sportsman too had a winner which ensured profitability on the day.

Quiet today too, but special mention to the returning honeymooner Graeme at The Football Analyst whose System 7/22 had one selection this week - West Brom - upon which I had snaffled an early price of 11/5. Nice.

One thing before I go. As anyone who has read my blog for any meaningful length of time will know, having grown up where I have supporting Arsenal, Manchester United have hardly been a club held close in my affections. But the way Luis Suarez and Kenny Dalglish have conducted themselves these past few weeks or so, well, let's just say I was pleased with yesterday's result. To get me into a situation where I'm pleased with a United win, you've got to have acted like Grade A morons. I don't think there are many out there who might think that the pair haven't done just that.

Friday, 10 February 2012

A microcosm of portfolio gambling.

I hadn't intended posting anything for a couple of days or so, but as this blog is supposed to chart the ups and downs over a year of punting and trading, I thought it a dereliction of duty to not post something this evening.

The post last Sunday, bemoaning the poor performance of the portfolio over the preceding three days or so, was a deliberate attempt to capture the frustration that I was feeling at the time. Very rarely do I post in the heat of the moment. Better to allow emotions to calm a little and type with a little perspective. Not that evening; I thought it would be more insightful as it was, and I'm sure people could relate to the sentiments expressed. No-one likes to lose a fair whack of money in a short period of time, and I'm no exception to that rule.

Now, less than a week later, after two incredibly successful days punting, I have reversed those losses and actually stand in a position of profit for the month.

Yesterday, On The Oche picked two winners from three bets in the Premier League Darts, with the third returning stakes. By doing so, OTO have almost eradicated the losses accumulated during last week's disastrous World Cup tournament.

Today, The Sportsman Racing provided a lovely 12/1 winner (Oscar Prairie - Kempton), which was backed in from the tipped 16/1 (I wasn't quick enough) to an SP of 7/1. The official form comments on it's run read:

"made all, quickened clear 2f out, pissed it"

With £25ew on that, and with Northern Monkey weighing in with a nice winner (Spin The Coin - Dundalk - 9/2), it's been a decent day!

This is all a bit ridiculous really, isn't it? Sure, gambling is known to have it's ups and downs, but these last couple of weeks have been absurdly volatile. And it is this that makes me realise that the changes I talked about in my doom-laden post of a few days ago are very necessary. Yes, it's been great these past couple of days, but as I hinted last Sunday, it is this volatility that after a couple of years is beginning to take it's toll psychologically. Battle fatigue, I think it's called.

These changes won't be made overnight. Much better a gradual transition towards where I wish to be. Unless days like these last two become the norm, eh?

Can't see it somehow. Can you?

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Thinking for oneself.

Right then. No more navel gazing around here. Onwards and upwards. Tally Ho! Let free the dogs!

Ah, you can't keep a good man down for long....and me neither.

Sultan, he of Centre Court betting blog fame, left a comment after my post on being a little anal when I was trading a match a week or so ago ("Perhaps discipline is better left to the Spartans"). For anyone who didn't see the comment, here it is:

"Oh boy, it's good to know I wasn't the only one who got stung in this game! I had a large green on Gonzo and was fully prepared to let the whole trade run, at least into set 3. I think where I differ from you is that I am more flexible in my approach. I don't have set exit points based on exact prices. I use my intuition and game reading to make that decision, which is something I much prefer to do as every game is different - though of course, there's no right or wrong way, just waht you are comfortable with.

So I am not so pissed off that I missed out on the green because that's the way I trade. Just one of those things; who would've seen Gonzo throwing away a double break up? The only important thing is that you exit for as little loss as possible.

I think it's important that people don't feel they have to copy everything their 'guru' tells them anyway. Trading styles are very personal and not everything you learn will be something that suits you."

It's an interesting point made about flexibility. To be honest, the rigidity I currently have in my trading is a direct consequence of not yet feeling 100% confident in what I'm doing, particularly when flying solo as it were, without the guidance of an expert. My comfort blanket is having a set point (hah - no pun intended, I assure you!) in my mind upon which to focus - the price hits this point under these circumstances, I enter the trade...hits this price under certain circumstances, I exit the trade. Trading by numbers, essentially.

Now I accept entirely that that approach does not a good and skilled trader make. But I also accept that a good and skilled trader, I am not (yet).

As far as game reading is concerned, that is a skill that I wish to develop. Just for the moment though, it is something I am anxious to avoid indulging in too much. Utilising the strategies that I'm using - which are very much swing-based - if I tried to read the game and let this effect my trading, I don't think I would ever enter the market. In fact, at this stage I think that it might almost be an advantage not to be even watching the match I'm trading so as not to be dissuaded too easily. It still amazes me when I watch so many games that appear to be going only one way, for it to then swing around completely and head off in the complete opposite direction.

The Sultan is right of course, when he says that it's important for people not to just swallow everything a 'guru' may tell them and accept what they are told as a matter of course. If I fell into that trap, then I know that I will never develop as a trader in my own right. I would simply become a robotic automaton, blindly following orders and not actually learning anything. I wish ultimately to be self-sufficient, and an independent mind is a prerequisite if this status is to ever be reached. Having said all that, I believe 100% in the strategies that my 'guru' advocates, have seen them working well, and I accept the long term potential they offer. What I would say though, is that developing my own style of trading is very much what I see as being the next step, and is something I am actively working towards. More of that anon.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Community spirit.

Hi Chaps.

Just wanted to say thankyou to those who have left comments after last night's post. Much appreciated.

There are a lot of valid points made that I intend to comment upon and this will give the blog subject matter for the foreseeable future, I think. As always of course, it becomes a matter of time, but there's no rush.

One thing I do want to make clear is that I have no intention of stopping. Adjustments do need to be made, that's for sure. But changes must be made for positive reasons, and not as a knee jerk reaction to what is simply a very trying spell. Like I said yesterday, it's not the actual losing that is the issue. I've endured worse spells. It's more the fact that this losing spell has made me realise that I have become too absorbed by gambling; it has become too intense, a job instead of a pastime. I believe that is the crux of the issue. I need to make changes that will enable me to lighten up, to stop stressing and enjoy the ride for what it is. If having done this, and I still keep losing money, then I will simply draw a line under the whole thing and move on. To not do so would be foolish - I'm not made of money. But I'm not at that point just yet.

If things were going swimmingly, I wouldn't be making any changes at all. I'm honest enough to admit that. One thing I've learnt about gambling though, is that more time is spent losing than winning. What I need to do is slow the rate at which losses are made during the bad times, and lighten the burden of the daily workload. I was having an online chat with a good friend last night, a chap who has been in the position in which I find myself now, and he pointed out a few home truths (in a very non-confrontational way, I might add). One of the things he could empathise with is how drawn in you can become by placing bets, protecting accounts, recording and analysing results, etc., etc. If the correct balance is not struck, then when things do go sour, there's an inevitable reaction; a feeling of despair almost at the sheer injustice of it all - it's natural to want some sort of positive return for all your hard work and effort. With good tipsters onside, that reward should ultimately arrive, but in the midst of the daily grind, that is scant consolation.

Some big decisions need to be made. There will inevitably be a shedding of some services as this is the only way I can see to lessen the work and time involved in running a portfolio. Care must be made to ensure that it's not simply a case of persevering with those services that aren't doing so badly right now, and ditching those that have had a horrendous time of things lately. The analysis needs to dig much deeper than that and instead address issues of practicality, enjoyment, and yes, cost. Let's see what transpires.

Now in the meantime, there's some decent WTA tennis action starting tomorrow. I haven't forgotten the constructive comments left after the last trading-related post. SJ, Sultan - bear with me. And good luck with your trading this week.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

I give up!

I'm going to break a rule I had set for myself to never blog in the immediate aftermath of bad results. Emotions run high and it's amazing how after even a short space of time - time that allows for some proper reflection and perspective - things can feel very different.

Right now though, I feel I've been beaten by this gambling game I'm playing. Something inside me feels that something has fundamentally changed. Let me explain.

Over the last few days, results have gone badly awry. There is nothing new in this; I've been through similar spells before and come out the other side smiling. Ultimately I'm only about £600 down since the start of the year. Not good but I've had much worse spells.

No, what has hit me hard have been the circumstances of many of the losing bets. Phil Taylor at odds of 1.05 - that's 20/1 ON - Fleetwood at odds of 3/1 ON, late goals, jockeys falling off their mounts on the flat, Chelsea at 3-0 up and drawing...all these things have cost me a lot of money.

The thing is, for the first time really, I've found myself not enjoying what I'm doing. I was unnecessarily and unfairly irritable with my son this afternoon. I've hated watching 'Super Sunday', found myself distracted most of the weekend, and generally have been pretty miserable. And you know something? I don't think it's worth it. In fact, I know it's not worth it.

What I'm about to type seems a little melodramatic, but it's what I truly believe. If I read the above paragraph, and then not do something to change things, then the conclusion would be that perhaps there is a problem here. I don't have an addictive personality, but if what is essentially a hobby becomes something that is not enjoyable and actually starts to have an adverse impact on other parts of your life, well, it doesn't make much sense just to carry on, does it? And if you do just carry on under these circumstances, what does that say?

Over the last two years, I have made money. Not a massive amount, but enough to make the hassle worthwhile. Now though, after two years or so, I'm beginning to find things more of a struggle. Getting bets on is becoming harder as bookmaker accounts get ever more restricted. I put myself under more pressure to succeed, to catch the best odds, to ensure the correct mindset is constantly applied to my betting activities. And I think that perhaps it is getting to be a bit too much. I've been sucked in and have lost perspective as a result. Consequently, for the first time I'm asking myself, can I hack it? The more pertinent question to ask though is, do I want to hack it?

So where do we go from here? To answer that, I need to think. I don't want to give gambling up completely. That would be throwing the baby out with the bath water. But what I do need to do is to change things in such a way that I can get back to enjoying it all again.

My immediate thought on how to do this is to downsize a little. Downsizing would mean fewer bets, less time spent placing bets, and generally the whole gambling experience becoming a little less intense.

A well-thought out selection policy upon which services to follow is needed too. I hate dropping services, largely because I like the people that run them and in a very real way, I feel that I am letting them down. These guys get all sorts of shit when things don't go well which frankly they don't deserve. They all have a long term edge. They all work hard and provide great customer service. And I feel like a right git when I stop following. I hope they understand.

Well, what a miserable old read this has turned out to be. It wasn't supposed to be. The weekend has been a real eye-opener. A watershed. Ultimately though, I'd be a fool not to listen to what my heart is saying. I suddenly realise that I miss putting my feet up at the end of the day, reading a book or a newspaper with a glass of red in front of the fire. Simple pleasures. That's what gambling should be. A simple pleasure; a hobby, not a second job. I think I need to adjust my sights.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Perhaps discipline is better left to the Spartans

I was left feeling extremely frustrated on Thursday night, and it had nothing to do with the good lady wife professing to a headache. No, it was the result of the trading I'd executed in a tennis match in Chile between a geezer called Souza and another geezer called Gonzalez.

Now I don't think I'm being unfair in calling Souza a tennis journeyman. I hadn't even heard of him before Thursday, truth be known. Gonzalez however, reached the giddy heights of being ranked No.5 in the world not that long ago, before injury rather set him back a bit (well, a lot, actually). Anyway, he obviously was the classier player of the two and having watched his match in the previous round I could see that he was playing well and figured he'd show his opponent a thing or three.

Of course pre-match, he was at what I perceived to be unbackable odds. After the first four games of the match though, during which Gonzalez didn't know which end of the racquet to use, his price had drifted rather. And as it went, I built a nice position, provided of course that Gonzalez would at some point remember that the strings were what he needed to be hitting the ball with. And after winning a couple of games in the first set to show signs perhaps that he was going to make a better fist of things, he promptly murdered his opponent in the openings to the second set to break twice and to look like he was going to squash Souza into the red Chilean clay.

Naturally, Gonzalez' price started to tumble, and the amount of my green started to rise. Happy days, or so I thought.

Now I remember posting a couple of weeks or so ago about the importance of discipline in terms of entry and exit points when trading. I've seen my mentor not enter the market for the sake of a couple of ticks. And it was with that mindset, with Gonzalez at 4-1 up in the second set, trading at 1.53, I decided to wait for my target price of equal or lower to 1.5 to be hit before exiting and banking my profit. For the mathematically challenged (like me), and for the emphasis, that's a change in price of 0.03. 0.03!!!!

Gonzalez lost his service game. And he didn't break back. And he lost his next service game too. He had gone from looking like an amalgam of the best bits of Bjorg, McEnroe, Sampras, Federer and Djokovic to playing like Gunnosaurus, the 7'6" Arsenal dinosaur mascot - wearing flippers.

So with the score at 5-4 to Souza, who was already a set up, I took an opportunity to exit for a small loss. A small loss after being 0.03 away from an exit point for a very nice profit. What a bell-end!

If there are any more experienced traders reading this, I'd love to know their thoughts. My trading guide suggested (very politely, I thought, that perhaps it would have been sensible to take the 1.53). He did acknowledge though, that with the player I was on playing like a dream, 4-1 up in the set, on serve, perhaps I wasn't being that unreasonable in hoping to go below that 1.5 target.

To my mind, on reflection, I would suggest that I got into my anally retentive mode, as I tend to do when it comes to gambling and trading, trying to do everything exactly by the book. I showed the flexibility of a splint, just because I was so hung up on doing everything "properly". I mean, come on...0.03!?!

I should point out, I was flying solo on this one. This wasn't a match or trade that the BetfairGuru was concerned with, so I was making my own decisions.

What a shame.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

If to err is human...

...then I am truly Homo Sapiens!

I've made a mistake. A costly one. Back in November, I stopped following 4PA, just as a temporary measure. It wasn't as a result of awful performance, although standards had dropped from those I'd previously enjoyed. It was simply a case of there seeming to be a bit of a struggle within the tipster behind the service in terms of how closely to stick to the basic system bets and to what extent to rely on his own sources of information. I just got the feeling that suddenly, he was feeling his way a little.

So it was in this context that, taking on board lessons learnt the harsh way in the past, I drew a hiatus on following the 4PA bets with hard cash. After all, a winning service will win long term, so missing out on a month or two whilst ensuring things were settling down would be the best move to make. Or so I thought.

Sure enough, it looked like Mr 4PA was allowing himself to be guided a little more firmly by the basic system and at the turn of the year I was tempted to start backing the selections again. For some reason, I thought I would give it one more month. I think we can guess the rest, can't we? A fantastic month for 4PA with winners galore and points profit made for fun. So I have erred, and problem is I find I can't forgive myself either, so it seems I'm certainly human and nowhere near divine. I suppose we knew that already though.

Wayne, the brains and tipping expertise behind Northern Monkey, strikes me as being the sort of chap I would like to share a pint with. And it would be my shout too. What a decent bloke he is.

January hasn't been Wayne's finest month. To be honest though, he had to be due a downturn of sorts after the way he racked up the profits last year, especially over the last three months or so. Over the entirety of 2011, Northern Monkey was a model of consistency and the longer term roi is in excess of 20%. Despite this though, Wayne has rather generously extended memberships by 2-4 weeks by way of apology for January's losses, which let's face it, have been far from catastrophic. Well done that man, and Wayne, if you happen to read this and are ever in the North Cheshire area, let me know and I'll buy you that pint!

Sam at The Market Examiner has also been showing signs of being generous beyond the call of duty. No NH racing today so no bets, but a day added to membership. Apparently this is the way of it. So Sam, if you're ever in the area, let me know and I'll buy you a pint too.

*I'm beginning to detect a theme here. A good one mind, with beer involved.*

The serious point here though is that we really do seem to be in a time whereby reputable tipping services are prepared to go the extra mile when it comes to customer service provision, and it's good to see.

And so January is over, and what an anticlimax it proved to be. I'll post the figures below for anyone who is interested. No damage done, but a lot of effort getting bets on as always for no reward. Part of the game though, eh? And as my old Mum likes to say, if you keep putting the balls in the box, some you'll be able to drive to the cover point boundary for four. Or something like that...

January's Figures

Chasemaster: Staked 10.75pts (£860), -1.468pts (-£117.50), roi -13.66%
Northern Monkey Punter: Staked 24.666pts (£740), -11.041pts (-£331.24), roi -44.76%
On The Nose: Staked 29.75pts (£595), -15.812pts (-£316.25), roi -53.15%
The Market Examiner: Staked 69pts (£690), -3pts (-£30), roi -4.34%
The Sportsman Racing: Staked 4pts (£400), -0.687pts (-£68.71), roi -17.17%
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 13.9pts (£834), +2.635pts (+£158.10), roi 18.95%
Total: Staked £4,119, -£705.60, roi -17.13%

Football Elite: Staked 11pts (£880), +1.855pts (+£148.40), roi 16.86%
On The Oche: Staked 2.6pts (£208), +0.487pts (+£39), roi 18.75%
Skeeve: Staked 62pts (£1,240), +13.564pts (+£271.28), roi 21.87%
Strike Zone (h): Staked 19pts (£950), +2.69pts (+£134.50), roi 14.15%
The Football Analyst 7/22 (a): Staked 9pts (£360), +0.195pts (+£7.80), roi 2.16%
The Sportsman: Staked 0.75pts (£300), +0.265pts (+£106.35), roi 35.45%
Total: Staked £3,938, +£707.33, roi 17.96%

Total: Staked £8,057, +£1.73, roi 0.02%

That's a fine profit, isn't it?

Monday, 30 January 2012

Stuck in the mud.

Blimey O'Reilly, it's cold!

Winter - pah.

Well, January really has been tedious. The second half of the month has seen decent profits accrued being handed straight back to those odious and generally horrible bookmaking chaps, as horse after horse carrying my money has steadfastly refused to run very fast. Bother.

This theme has run strongly through this past weekend. The only racing service to turn a profit has been The Market Examiner which found two on Saturday (Sandynow - Uttoxeter - 7/2 and Module - Cheltenham - 6/1). This was followed up today with another winner (Overlady - Ayr - 15/2) and I can't help feeling that I'm due a good run with TME. Here's hoping.

Footballistically (!), Football Elite had a good weekend which included a 2.55/1 winner (Genoa), one winner of two from three bets. Skeeve dropped 5.5 pts but this wasn't enough to prevent the month from being a good one, and all in all, the consistently good form shown by the sports services has mercifully counterbalanced the consistently poor performance of the racing services (Winning Racing Tips honourably excused). I suppose that is the object of the portfolio approach to betting and who knows, perhaps in a few months time, we'll be able to look back and view January as being a solid base from which good profits grow. Tell you something - standing still is far preferable to plummeting into the abyss. And I'll tell you something else...anyone who says an abyss is not entirely unpleasant is a damned liar! An abyss is always, and I mean always, best avoided.

Month to date: Staked £7,700, +£119.39, roi 1.55%.

Now, it may be a little difficult to post every night over the next few weeks. Although the Australian Open has put bags under my eyes that are large enough to wobble if I jump up and down, the early evenings were at least left free to allow blogging responsibilities to be met. Now though, parts of the Tour are in Europe, and I'm rather hoping for some good trading action to fill my evening hours. So, if I'm not around for a wee while, worry not. I won't have forgotten and it's just a matter of time before more wise and erudite (yeah, like chance would be a fine thing!) words are forthcoming.

See you soon.

Friday, 27 January 2012

What was that I was saying about Sod's Law?

Just a quick note to say that there will be no proper post tonight. I'll be waiting until late for all relevant results to come through and quite frankly I've better things to do with my Friday than spend hours on this blog! No offence, like.

Before I go though, just a mention on the trading. A great move was caught this morning in the Murray match, one that would have put the Aussie Open firmly into profit. Naturally I was at work at the time.

Anyway, for the next enthralling and unmissable update, tune in Monday.

In the meantime, have a great weekend, folks.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

What's that they say about pride and falls?

The Australian Open tennis championship is coming to an end, and to be quite honest, I'm not sorry. The routine of waking in the middle of the night for two or three hours is taking it's toll. It wouldn't be quite so bad if once I'd finished at say 4.00, I could go straight off to sleep for a couple of hours before the 6.15 alarm call, but I find that when I close the laptop down and lay my head on the pillow, it is impossible to empty my mind of what has just played out on the tennis court and any trades that took place. Well, that's usually what's going through my mind, although admittedly thoughts do tend to wander down an entirely different path if Maria Sharapova or Ana Ivanovic have been playing.

This is probably a good time to take stock though and review my progress, or even ask myself if indeed there has been any progress. In monetary terms, then the tournament has not been a success. Too many one sided matches in which one player's price has steamed in to never reverse, trades entered in promising positions merely to see the swing upon which profit is dependent fail to materialise, and my missing the successful trades through the indubitable law of the sod courtesy of getting some sleep at least. All these things have conspired against me/us and led to a distinct lack of green. Not that it would amount to much anyway, based on the minimal stakes I'm currently using.

Strangely, in view of all this, I do genuinely feel that I have made some steps forward. I was particularly pleased with myself last night in the Azarenka match. I successfully resisted the temptation to get involved when on a couple of occasions in the first set, it looked a good time to enter the market. But the price wasn't quite right. It wasn't a million miles away, but one thing my Mentor has instilled into me is the importance of resolve and discipline to wait for the correct entry point. By doing so I entered at a really good point, minimising as much as possible the potential downside and of course maximising the potential upside. As it happens, the required swing for profit didn't materialise - although it really should have done (Clijsters hang your head in shame!) - but my entry meant that the loss I took was negligible. Now my Mentor wasn't actually in the Chat Room at this time - I was operating without his instruction (although there were plenty of like-minded folk around), so I felt genuinely proud at having read the markets correctly, entered at the right time, and exited quickly with minimal harm done, having put myself in a position that a big profit was a mere hair's breadth away. I tell you, losing had never felt so good.

My bubble of pride was soon pricked though, as it was pointed out to me that with the entry I'd made, I could actually have allowed the trade to run a little longer and given it a greater chance of paying dividends. The extra risk involved would have added perhaps a tick or two onto the loss figure (which was only three ticks anyway, once the loss had been hedged). As it happens, it made no difference as events in the game dictated that the extended trade would still have been a loser, but it was an important point to learn. I had got so absorbed by trying to the right thing, I missed a potential opportunity that other, better traders than I would have spotted and tried to exploit.

In summary then, my feel for the tennis markets is improving and compared to where I was at at the turn of the year, I'm happy where I'm at right now. Having said that, I'm aware that I'm very much closer to the white belt end of the competency scale than the black. Perhaps a yellow. Others who know more than I may disagree and suggest that I'm not so much white as albino. And who would I be to argue?

Today's Betting

Chasemaster's rather tasty winner (Morgan Be - Newcastle - 10/1) was welcome, but ultimately only enough to cover the losses made elsewhere. I said last night that I'm finding the racing so very frustrating just at the moment, and today was no better in this respect. Ten other losers, which is fine. You know, it happens. But recently, the number of horses I've backed that are simply never put in the race, are never put in a place to at least be competitive, is driving me nuts. Such a high proportion of them are held out the back, way off the pace, their jockeys showing no urgency. Perhaps I don't know what I'm talking about. Perhaps there are very good reasons why they are ridden like this and it is in fact maximising these particular horses' chance of being successful, but it sure doesn't feel that way.

Northern Monkey: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 3pts, -3pts.
On The Nose: Staked 1.5pts, -1.5pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 1pt, +0.987pts.

Thursday 26th January: Staked £155, +£4.
Month to date: Staked £6,435, +£209.99, roi 3.26%.

Nothing to get up for tonight. Bliss.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012


Just a very quick round up tonight as I plan to go get some sleep before waking at 2.00 for a tennis match that could provide some decent trading opportunities.

Today has been one of those days that make me think that a lot of the time, I really don't enjoy betting on horses. I've got into the habit of recording the racing and watching it after I've put the kids to bed, so I get to see my selections run before I know what the results are. Now today has not been a disastrous day by any stretch, but the majority of the horses today ran absolute stinkers. I find that incredibly frustrating.

An honourable mention to Winning Racing Tips though which did provide a winner (Sainglend - Hereford - 9/2), although there were two further bets that provided no returns. The one On The Nose selection also ran creditably to place, but the others...

No luck for The Market Examiner (0/3), Chasemaster (0/2), or Northern Monkey (0/1).

Northern Monkey: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 3pts, -3pts.
On The Nose: Staked 1pt, +0.437pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 1.7pts, +0.52pts.

Wednesday 25th January: Staked £207, -£45.05.
Month to date: Staked £6,280, +£205.99, roi 3.28%.

Bit grumpy tonight. Can you tell?

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Football. Bloody Hell!

I've been musing. Hope you don't mind...

What is football to you? Is it what it is - an enjoyable distraction and a vehicle that allows you to have a bet? Or does it mean more to you than that?

The answer to that last question possibly (although not necessarily) relies upon whether or not you support a team. And I mean really support a team, not just follow one. I really support a team, and have done since being a six year old kid obsessed and enchanted by Liam Brady's left foot. I remember being devastated when Brady left Arsenal to go and play in Italy, and you know, 30 years later, it was only the rational part of the brain that develops as a natural consequence of adulthood that prevented me from being equally as devastated when Cesc Fabregas swapped North London for Barcelona last summer.

Recently though, I have found myself hankering after the good old days in football (ie. pre-Sky), and resenting more and more what the game has become.

I love football, but I hate/resent/am saddened by:

- The sterilisation of the game so that hard but fair tackles are now recognised only by the giving of yellow cards.

- Beautiful new stadia that are exquisite triumphs of modern architecture, but which are too clean, too comfortable, and which lack the comforting grime, dirt, and memories that make the place "home".

- Bell-ends dressed as six foot dinosaurs/lions/owls prancing about before the match, acting as if they have some sort of significance to the "match day experience".

- Being subjected to a proclaimed "match day experience" which doesn't involve nervy but strangely exhilarating walks from station to ground trying to avoid the attentions of opposition hooligans, a march that tunes into that primitive part of the brain that holds man's deep desire for tribal belonging.

- "Match day experiences" that involve spending £40+ for a ticket, £4 for a beer, £3 for a programme, etc., etc. thus ensuring that taking the next generation of fan (ie. the children) to the game is something that can only be done two or three times a season.

- Corporate hospitality boxes, the occupants of which miss roughly a third of each match as they take their seats ten minutes after the game has started, ten minutes after the second half has started, and leave ten minutes before the final whistle.

- A sensationalist media desperate for clicks, hits, and newspaper purchases, which to encourage such, talk/write absolute bollocks; a media that employs thick f**kers as "expert summarisers" simply because they once played the game (mentioning no names of course eh, Robbie Savage/Alan Shearer?), or guest columnists incapable of stringing two words together (Ian Wright?).

- A weekend league schedule that has games kick off on Saturday lunch time, Saturday tea time, early on a Sunday afternoon, late on a Sunday afternoon, and on Monday evening.

- An FA Cup which is a victim of the above, has done away with replays (who can forget those midweek replays, tuning nervously into Radio 2's 'Football Special' as your team takes on lower league opposition that they have been incapable of beating in three previous matches, listening to the dulcet and delicate tones of Peter Jones and Bryon Butler?), which no longer has the radio-only draw on the Monday lunchtime, and plays semi-finals at Wembley. And people wonder why the FA Cup has lost it's magic.

- A "European Cup" that is no longer knock-out but which has a laboriously boring group stage designed to maximise the revenue of the big clubs, is won more often than not by a team that failed to win it's domestic league the previous season, and which has determined that finishing fourth in the league is more important than the glory of winning a trophy.

- The demise of terraces. I appreciate the importance of learning the lessons of Hillsborough, and not for one minute do I, even in my warped state, believe football to be something worth dying for, but ultimately it is quite possible to have safe standing areas. It works very well in Germany and the result is noisy, atmospheric grounds which allow mates to stand and sing together. Now that is what a "match day experience" should include.

- Spurs not being shit anymore.

Football should be about emotion, passion, caring deeply about the most important unimportant thing in the world. It should be an escape, the game of the people that it used to represent. It should provide joy, grief, pride and shame in equal measure; and it should be recognised that these extremes of emotion that the game does so willingly offer up to those that allow themselves to be seduced are mercifully short-lived compared to the things that occur in "real" life, the things that really matter - births, deaths, illness, personal triumphs and tragedies. These are the things that render football entirely inconsequential. And that is the beauty of the beautiful game.

Today's Betting

Well, it seems that some folks read last night's post and decided to do something about it. Well done Northern Monkey (Ridgeway Hawk - Southwell - 15/2) and On The Nose (Don't Tell Sailor - Leicester - 6/1).

Northern Monkey: Staked 2pts, +2.25pts.
On The Nose: Staked 0.5pts, +3pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.25pts, -0.25pts.

Tuesday 24th January: Staked £90, +£107.50.
Month to date: Staked £6,073, +£251.04, roi 4.13%.

Oh. I also miss Dennis Bergkamp. And Robert Pires. Patrick Vieira. Tony Adams and Kenny Sansom. Oh for David Rocastle. Charlie Nicholas, Steve Williams, Martin Hayes...(ahem!)...

Monday, 23 January 2012

Ups And Downs - Weekend Round Up

Well, as far as the weekend has been concerned, downs and downs.

What a shocker, and what had been a good, solid start to the year, has largely been demolished.

But, let's not be doomy and gloomy. Still in profit and amen to that.

In the main, it's the racing that's letting me down. Today and the weekend have seen 20 different horses backed, and only one provide a return of any sort - that tipped by The Sportsman Racing on Saturday (The Real Milan - Haydock - 10/11).

Don't get me wrong, the football betting hasn't been great. Skeeve put in a solid performance gaining just in excess of four points profit, The Football Analyst System 7/22 did very nicely thank you with two bets and two wins, and The Sportsman gave just one selection which was a winner. A bit of a shocker though for Strike Zone (home bets) (2/7) and Football Elite (0/4 - although one bet returned stakes).

Northern Monkey: Staked 1.5pts, -1.5pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 6pts, -6pts.
On The Nose: Staked 4pts, -4pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 1.2pts, -1.2pts.
The Sportsman Racing: Staked 0.5pts, +0.454pts.

Strike Zone (homes): Staked 7pts, -3.33pts.
The Football Analyst 7/22: Staked 3pts, +3.32pts.
Football Elite: Staked 4pts, -3pts.
Skeeve: Staked 20pts, +4.1pts.
The Sportsman: Staked 0.15pts, +0.113pts.

Month to date: Staked £5,983, +£143.54, roi 2.39%.

Still, at least the footie went well yesterday for us Gooners! (*cough*).

Friday, 20 January 2012

Let down.


Well, Mrs. Campbell is a lovely lady I'm sure, but she couldn't tell me juicy stories on Paul Merson's drug habit or Tony Adams' drinking binges now could she? No, she couldn't, so I wasn't going to waste time finding out how lovely she is or otherwise. Acting in a way that possibly betrayed my disappointment a little - disappointment which struck from the moment when, from the upstairs window, I could see that there was no sign of Mr.C - I shoved her son towards her as soon I opened the front door, before marching her quick smart off the premises.

Worry not though, for I have a cunning plan.

I left Mrs. C in no doubt as to the correct protocol in these situations. That of course is a quickly made reciprocal invite to tea, with the emphasis on the word "quick". When the relevant day arrives of course, I shall insist that the missus put her feet up whilst I, thinking only of the best for her, will insist on taking my boy to his mate's myself. Once there, I shall refuse to leave until I get what I wish for, and that goddammit, is an audience with the Great One. Oh yes, I am a determined and focused man.

Joking and jesting to one side though, it really is a strange feeling seeing the son of a footballer who you watched play game after game for the team you support, coming around for tea. Very, very strange.

Sam, of new SBC Hall of Fame entrant service The Market Examiner, sent an email out to members today outlining the pros and cons of each way betting compared to the officially advised win only style of following their selections. Since the beginning of 2010, the returns from backing win only tower over those gained by going for the place aswell. The thing is though, I have to confess that I do like to maximise stability in my betting and for obvious reasons increasing the percentage of selections from which I gain some return rather appeals. It should be noted that backing TME's selections each way did produce an admirable level of profit. Anyway, the email has stirred the old grey matter. Is doubling the stake but backing each way a means of striking a happy medium, I wonder? Answers/thoughts/opinions on a postcard welcomed (that is comments left in the appropriately named section below).

Today's Betting

Poor day today, easily summed up. No returns from Northern Monkey (0/2), The Market Examiner (0/3), or Chasemaster (0/1).

Northern Monkey: Staked 1.5pts, -1.5pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 3pts, -3pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.125pts, -0.125pts.

Friday 20th January: Staked £85, -£85.
Month to date: Staked £4,386, +£541.34, roi 12.34%.

Weekend. :)

Thursday, 19 January 2012

What to wear?

I'm a bit giddy tonight.

"Why's that?", I can hear you all ask.

I'll tell you why, shall I?

I'm a bit giddy because tomorrow, after school, the son of an Arsenal legend is coming around for tea! How cool is that!?! The lad of a guy who has won Championship medals with the mighty Gooners. A European Cup Winners' Cup, FA Cup and Littlewood's Cup winner! And I'm kinda thinking (praying) that the man himself might come around and pick his lad up.

I mean, it's a proud day whenever my lad lines up alongside son-of-someone-I-used-to-cheer-when-standing-on-the-North-Bank in the same school team, although I suppose I've got over the excitement of them simply being classmates as that's a day to day thing. But this?

I hope I know what to say. Can't concentrate tonight. Got to go. Need to choose a frock.

Today's Betting

Not such a good day today with just the one winner from The Market Examiner (Michael Flips - Taunton - 5/1) not enough to compensate for the losers. Winning Racing Tips' one each way selection finished second and Chasemaster had one finish in the frame but the more heavily staked horse in the same race finished nowhere. No luck for On The Nose (0/3).

The Market Examiner: Staked 3pts, +3pts.
On The Nose: Staked 2.5pts, -2.5pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.75pts, -0.475pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 1pt, +0.1pt.

Thursday 19th January: Staked £200, -£52.
Month to date: Staked £4,301, +£626.34, roi 14.56%.

Just had a thought. I hope his Mum doesn't come and pick him up. Wouldn't want to be rude but that'd be a real let down.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

In a nutshell

Since I restarted the blog, I have been trying to articulate exactly where it is I'm coming from with the trading. Frankly, I have found it a struggle. I don't feel that I have been able to explain in anything like a satisfactory manner what it is that I'm attracted to by it and the underlying philosophy behind the trading style and approach that I am trying so hard to learn.

My teacher, Betfair Guru (, sends out a daily email which outlines potential trading opportunities across a variety of sports but with particular attention paid to tennis. This acts as a useful guide but for members of the Live Sports Trading service, such as myself, the benefit of BG's expertise is available in a live environment with clear trading instructions given at the appropriate time. This is great when completely new to trading, as I was back in the autumn, and it also acts as a great teaching tool on an ongoing basis (and believe me, I still have a lot to learn). I still follow BG's instructions, but I'm now beginning to understand why we are making the trades we make and recently, I have started to anticipate opportunities arising myself, which does feel like a big step forward.

Anyway, I digress. In today's email, the message contained a few paragraphs that laid out in clear terms what it is that this style of trading is trying to achieve; the philosophy if you like, behind the mechanics. It sums up what has so attracted me to this style of tennis trading in a way far superior to anything I could write.

So here it is...

"The underlying theme of everything we do is market dynamics and risk reward. It's very important to distinguish between price related entry and opinion related entry.
For our entries it doesn't matter for a second who wins the match eventually but what we do need is tight closely fought games.

One of the points I push repeatedly in the chat room is I have as much chance of knowing who's going to win the next game as you do. IF we take that approach we are basically guessing and hoping we got it right and that's not a road I want to go down.

Our approach is based on taking good risk:reward positions over and over again as long as the price and dynamics are right. Over time we will win an awful lot more than we lose, but lose we will... repeatedly in fact. And that's just the price you have to pay to have your money in the market with a chance of a big swing. The losses are tiny and the wins are big and that's how we make our money.

The MOST IMPORTANT thing to implement here is patience and discipline..... I cannot make the opportunities arise, they just happen or they don't. When they do we'll make the appropriate entry, if they don't come then there's no way I'm going to advise anybody to put their money in a spot that I am not prepared to. Over time you will begin to make your own entries but it's vital that they are at the right places. "

And that, is the context within which I talk about trading on this blog. I hope that makes where I'm coming from that much clearer and gives an insight into what we are trying to achieve.

Today's Betting

Northern Monkey has had a rather testing start to 2012. A period of adjustment was due after a storming Autumn/Winter period. But had this fallow couple of weeks cowed Wayne (aka. Northern Monkey) at all; led him to be more cautious in his approach to his tipping perhaps? Nope. Not a bit. Bang! - a 1.25pt win bet advised on a 12/1 outsider in a seven horse race. It didn't win, but I was impressed - Wayne had conviction and that is great to see in any tipster, especially when they're not getting the breaks. Losses on the day were only lent too, as a lovely winner was found in the second race played in (Prince Of Burma - Kempton - 8/1). This was the only winner of the day, but proved enough to provide a decent profit as Chasemaster, Winning Racing Tips and On The Nose found each way selections finish successfully in the frame.

Northern Monkey: Staked 2.5pts, +3.5pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
On The Nose: Staked 1.5pts, +/- 0pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.5pts, -0.2pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.8pts, +0.16pts.

Wednesday 18th January: Staked £203, +£88.60.
Month to date: Staked £4,101, +£678.34, roi 16.54%

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Some thoughts on Football Investor

I was really pleased to see that the weekend just gone had been a great one for Football Investor, despite the fact that for this season I had decided against following the FI bets myself and therefore missed out on such impressive profits. As mentioned previously on this blog, this decision was founded purely on grounds of practicality. I had made good profits from FI last season so a lack of performance was not a consideration at all when determining my FI strategy for 2011/12. No, I was dictated to by personal circumstances which meant that placing a large number of bets on a Friday evening was often a wholly impractical task for me to execute. Placing Football Elite bets, Skeeve bets, Strike Zone bets and Football Investor bets after getting home from work at 6.00ish with a 200 mile trip down to London or a journey down the dark and windy A49 to Shropshire to negotiate....well, it just didn't work.

The irony is of course that Stewboss - the Head Chef at Football Investor - recently changed the release date for the weekend selections to a Thursday evening. I never travel to London or Ludlow on a Thursday night, do I? No, I don't. Now I know that this time of release is currently on a trial basis only, but believe me should the trial end and the decision taken to move bet release time to a Thursday on a permanent basis, then I should think that I will be getting involved again next season. There are though some thoughts running around my bonce that I may follow the FI selections with a bit of an added twist. More on that as and when the time comes.

In the meantime, I'm chuffed for you FI followers out there who have endured a bit of a sticky time of it over the first half of the season. As a neutral observer, I just couldn't see why a ratings system that had demonstrated such a healthy edge over a number of years and on such a consistent basis should suddenly hit a brick wall. Easier said from my perspective of course, what with not losing any money following and all. Whether I'd have been so sanguine were I financially involved is open to some doubt. I never like it when a service deems it necessary to expand the size of it's bank, having been happy enough with it's size for a fairly lengthy period of time whilst things were going well. I see doing this as the equivalent to quantitative easing, and lets face it, I don't think anyone thought that when the central banks and governments of the world decided to embark upon that particular policy that it amounted to much more than applying a sticking plaster to stem the flow of blood from a severed artery. Having said that, it must be acknowledged that when faced with a crisis, something ought to be done, and Stewboss did it.

Pleased for FI followers as I am, I am more delighted for Stewboss himself that this weekend was such a good'un. If subscribers were pulling out their hair at such unusual and unexpected underperformance, Stewboss must have been doing his nut. To his immense credit, his emails have always been calm and considered and I know he was hard at work to see if anything could be identified as a root cause of the poor run. I do not get the impression that Stewboss is the type of chap who would just shrug his shoulders and stand impassively by, secure in the knowledge that he had his subs fees in the bank and so all was fine and dandy thank you very much. In common with all the people who run each and every one of the services I follow, Stewboss is as dedicated and focused on providing as high a level of service for his customers as it is possible to attain. And it is because of this, that I really hope FI enjoys a storming second half to the season.

Today's Betting

Small loss on another very quiet day.

The Market Examiner did find a winner amongst their three selections (Mallin Head - Folkestone - 9/2), the first "Early-Bird" tip provided by TME. This is a new angle to the service, aimed at capitalising on particularly early and significant market moves. Mind you, in this instance, it seems that there was early money, late money, and everything-in-between money as the horse was backed from a (very) early 5/1 into an SP of 9/4!

The Sportsman Racing was the only other service in action and no joy there today.

The Market Examiner: Staked 3pts, +2.5pts.
The Sportsman Racing: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.

Tuesday 17th January: Staked £80, -£25.
Month to date: Staked £3,898, +£589.74, roi 15.12%.

Now, it's 8.15 and I'm off to bed. Up at midnight for a couple of hours. Got my beadies on a couple of tennis matches. Now, where's my alarm?...

Monday, 16 January 2012

Rising costs

Today I received an email from On The Oche, outlining the changes they were making to their fee structure for future subscriptions. This follows an email received a little while ago warning members that a price rise was imminent.

I have to admit to rather mixed feelings on this score. Nobody likes increases in the cost of anything they buy, and I'm no different to Joe Bloggs in that respect. But, I do realise that for a tipping service to be viable, it must make a decent profit for the people whose expertise it relies upon. And let's face it, in any walk of life, if somebody has a talent that can be marketed and can be utilised for others to benefit from, then that person has the right to exploit their talent and profit from it. It must be acknowledged too, that there is nothing at all wrong with that.

I can also recognise that for a service like On The Oche, there are a number of reasons why membership levels might be restricted, and that in itself will place an upward pressure on the costs of subscribing. I get the impression - although I could be wrong - that since it was dropped from the SBC's Hall of Fame, OTO has become a little unfashionable. Another guess, albeit an educated one, is that what the SBC says about a service and the status it affords it will exert a huge influence on the numbers of members that service will have and can attract. This is not a criticism of the SBC, but I do sometimes wonder whether they have an unhealthy level of power in that they can either make or break a service, but that's perhaps a discussion for another day.

Back to OTO. Another reason why the darts service cannot really carry a larger number of subscribers is the nature of the markets they play in. In his earlier email, Matt himself explained that in this regard, OTO is radically different from his own Football Elite. FE is able to carry more members and thus keep costs lower because the markets it specialises in can absorb a large amount of money being placed on the selections. A similar amount of money going into the darts markets would I'm sure, not so much have a negative impact upon the odds availability of the picks, than obliterate the markets completely.

In summary, the point I'm trying to make is that if a service is consistently profitable, and yet it cannot for whatever reason bear the weight of a heavy number of subscribers, then the only way it can make the profit it deserves to is to charge the members it does have that bit more. With this though, will come added pressure on those running the service. There will be less patience amongst subscribers during the unavoidable lean times, a higher expectation in terms of being able to secure odds close to those recommended, and I'm sure there will be members who when the time comes to renew their subscription, may well ponder just that little bit longer before doing so.

For what it's worth, my own belief is that as we stand today, the long term record and practicality of following the service is such that the increased cost still represents value and the price rise is justified. I really hope I can say the same in six months time when my own subs are due for renewal.

Sunday's Betting

Another blank day on the horses with no success from three bets - Northern Monkey 0/2 and The Sportsman Racing 0/1.

Footie was good though, with Strike Zone (homes) enjoying three winning selections from three and Matt's sole Football Elite bet a winner too.

Northern Monkey: Staked 1.25pts, -1.25pts.
The Sportsman Racing: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
Strike Zone: Staked 3pts, +3.07pts.
Football Elite: Staked 1pt, +1.15pts.

Sunday 15th January: Staked £317.50, +£158.

Today's Betting

Quiet today, but marginally profitable as The Market Examiner's only runner was a nice winner (Pretty Penny - Plumpton - 6/1). Winning Racing Tips went for an each way treble on three short priced favourites, a bet that came a cropper when the first selection to run crashed out at the last hurdle with the race in it's grasp! No joy either for Chasemaster's only bet.

The Market Examiner: Staked 1pt, +6pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.6pts, -0.6pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.125pts, -0.125pts.

Monday 16th January: Staked £56, +£14.
Month to date: Staked £3,818, +£614.74, roi 16.1%.