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%.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Aussie Open and running hard to stand still.

The Australian Open tennis championships start in the early hours of this morning, and for us serious tennis traders (cough!), it's obviously a big thing. To make it sound like I know what I'm talking about...I've been told that we need to check the liquidity of the markets carefully in the early stage games before getting involved. In fact, I get the impression that selecting the right games is going to be the biggest challenge in the early part of the week.

It's probably high time though, that I should start talking about the trading a little more on here. I don't want to give any secrets away in terms of what strategies are employed because after all, they are not mine to give. Suffice to say that entries into the market are reliant on a situation arising in a match that provides a sufficient risk:reward ratio, ie. very little downside to a potentially significant upside. We rely on swings, have to accept that it is common to go through a series of small losing trades before hitting one or two big winning trades, and are dependant upon being able to read the market and predict where it will go given constantly changing match circumstances.

Am I at this stage yet? Absolutely not. Am I getting there? I think so, yes.

Something I have realised though, is that despite the common perception being that there are two distinct mindsets - that of the gambler and that of the trader - I think in fact the two are inextricably linked. Discipline is essential to both. That is, the dedication the successful gambler must give to consistent staking, to not stopping betting when things aren't going well, and various other aspects that have been discussed at great length elsewhere. When trading, one must resist the temptation to enter the market when the price is very close to the one you know you are looking for (maybe just one or two ticks away) without quite reaching it, to realise that a lot of the trades you enter into aren't going to be winning ones, to block out the messages you're brain is receiving if watching a player during a match cocking everything up and yet knowing that if you enter into the trade you are relying on that player coming back into the match - if perhaps only briefly - for you to make money.

I'll leave it at that for now, but more shortly.

Saturday's Betting

The whole day was rescued somewhat by a touch of inspiration from Skeeve. Wrexham beating Tamworth was a good pick but the type that good football tipsters often go for. A double of Farnborough and Cheltenham was inspired though (Skeeve himself called it perhaps the best double he's ever advised, and who am I to argue?). Anyway, two bets, two wins and a 15 point profit - great stuff!

Skeeve's efforts though, like Winning Racing Tips' on Friday, rather disguised an overall poor return from the majority of tipsters. Again the racing was awful and looking at the last two days combined - the WRT winner removed - it's been a shocking run. No winners on the horses on Saturday.

Football Elite found a very good winner (Ajaccio) from their two selections and The Sportsman gave a good shout for goals in the Berwick/Stranraer match, but had two other losing tips. Two draws from three matches scuppered The Football Analyst's 7/22 picks and all in, the day turned a profit which in the circumstances represents a great result.

Northern Monkey: Staked 1.25pts, -1.25pts.
On The Nose: Staked 2.25pts, -2.25pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 3pts, -3pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.25pts, -0.25pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.8pts, -0.325pts.

TFA 7/22: Staked 3pts, -3pts.
Football Elite: Staked 2pts, +0.907pts.
The Sportsman: Staked 0.45pts, -0.074pts.
Skeeve: Staked 8pts, +15pts.

Saturday 14th January: Staked £800.50, +£70.85.
Month to date: Staked £3,444.50, +£442.74, roi 12.85%.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Time to get a grip!

You know in the context of last night's post, I was made to feel rather ashamed this morning. Waking for the tennis match that started in Tasmania at 1.00am, I was "talking" to a friend of mine who is also trading the tennis. It transpired that he had had a lot less sleep than I over the preceding 48 hours.

Time to get a grip, me thinks. No point in railing against the fact that whilst the tour is Down Under, sleep will be scarce. Them's the facts.

Today's Betting

Winning Racing Tips
had a storming winner today (Cousin Khee - Huntingdon - 5/1), which was a bloody good job because elsewhere was carnage! After having such a fine winner (it was staked more heavily than the average WRT tip), I'm uncertain as to how I should feel. Disappointed at just breaking even, or lucky to have escaped unharmed from the day's events.

No winners or each way selections placed between Northern Monkey (0/1), The Market Examiner (0/5), On The Nose (0/2), or Chasemaster (0/2).

Just to add salt to the wounds, the On The Oche BDO World Championship antepost pick was knocked out last night.

Northern Monkey: Staked 0.75pts, -0.75pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 5pts, -5pts.
On The Nose: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 1.2pts, +3.6pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
On The Oche: Staked 1pt, -1pt.

Friday 13th January: Staked £284.50, +£3.50.
Month to date: Staked £2,644, +£371.89, roi 14.06%.

Friday. Wine. Bed.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

A second wind needed!

You know I have read, across many sites and in many different forums, of the various attributes deemed necessary for one to be a good trader. Discipline, the ability to spot value, patience, etc., etc., blah-de-blah. I don't remember ever reading - although in my current addled state, I can't be entirely certain of this assertion - that the singularly most important ability a trader must possess is that to do without a good night's kip!

My current routine is this. Arrive home from work at 6.15. Dinner with the wife and kids, update the betting figures for the day, and go to bed between 8.00 and 8.30. Rise nice and bright at about 2.30 in the morning, have a go at the trading until about 6.30am before leaving for work at 7.00. There is the odd twist which involves waking at midnight, trading until about 2.30 - 3.00, and then trying to catch a couple of hours before the alarm goes at 6.15. Suffice to say, I feel more deprived of sleep than a British national abroad who is in the custody of the British Secret Services having been arrested under the suspicion of plotting a terrorist act! And that's after caving in and having a night off last night (from trading that is; not from plotting some terrorist atrocity or other).

Hence the lack of regular "proper" blog posts. Sorry and all.

What I am going to try to do though, is provide more updates on performance. To be quite honest, doing it every few days, I forget the winners and it's a right pain in the 'arris looking back through the records. Quicker just to type a short update.

And so, on that note....

Today's Betting

Pride of place today goes to The Market Examiner, which from one bet (Dirty Deal - Fontwell - 9/1) struck gold. The beast drifted from an earlier snapped up 5/1, so must confess to being a little surprised when that one went in.

A winner too for Chasemaster (Next To Nowhere - Catterick - 3/1) and to my eye, a rather fortunate winner it was too. Nowt wrong with that of course, and it's rather nice to see things fall the right way because let's face it, we quite frequently think (kid ourselves!) that fortune has been against us. This however was a belter; obviously held in second place when the horse looking like it was going to hose up fell three out, leaving ours about five lengths to the good. Our selection was however, joined two out by another that looked like it was going far the better before it fell at the last, leaving ours about ten lengths clear! An added brucie bonus was that in falling, the beast had badly hampered the only other opponent in sight, bringing it almost to a standstill. When you consider that ours held on by a rapidly diminishing neck, you can see just how lucky we were. I'll take them any day!

Chasemaster also found one to place from their three other selections (Massini Sunset - Fontwell - 8/1).

On The Nose, which continues to tread carefully this month, had one each way selection which finished second (Cool Mission - Catterick - 14/1), and the Winning Racing Tips sole bet finished third for the place money (King Of The Celts - Catterick - 7/2).

No luck today for Northern Monkey (0/2) or The Sportsman Racing (0/1).

Northern Monkey: Staked 1.5pts, -1.5pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 1pt, +9pts.
On The Nose: Staked 1pt, +1.25pts.
The Sportsman Racing: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 1pt, +0.375pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.8pts, -0.12pts.

Thursday 12th January: Staked £253, +£42.80.
Month to date: Staked £2,359.50, +£368.39, roi 15.61%.

Right. It's past my bedtime. I'm off.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Quick update

A very quick portfolio performance update tonight. Got to get a really early night as the plan is to get up at 3.00 in the morning to trade the tennis in Australia. Must be nuts!

Truth be told, it's been rather quiet.

The only noticeable racing bet has been Qhilimar, put up at Sandown on Saturday by Chasemaster at 22/1 before running a fantastic race to finish third and provide some nice place money.

Sportswise, On The Oche got the BDO World Championships off to a good start on Sunday by getting two from two match bets right, and Strike Zone (homes) was able to boast identical stats on the same day. Good day, Sunday.

So, for the figures-oriented among you...

Chasemaster: Staked 3.625pts (£290), +1.456pts (+£116.50), roi 40.17%
Northern Monkey Punter: Staked 6.916pts (£207.50), -3.541pts (-£106.24), roi -51.2%
On The Nose: Staked 7.25pts (£145), -4.5pts (-£90), roi -62.06%
The Market Examiner: Staked 19pts (£190), -1.5pts (-£15), roi -7.89%
The Sportsman Racing: Staked 1pts (£100), +0.125pts (+£12.50), roi 12.5%
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 3.8pts (£228), +1.27pts (+£76.20), roi 33.42%
Total: Staked £1,160.50, -£6.04, roi -0.52%

Football Elite:
On The Oche: Staked 1.35pts (£108), +0.8pts (+£64), roi 59.25%
Skeeve: Staked 14pts (£280), -0.016pts (-£0.32), roi -0.11%
Strike Zone (h): Staked 5pts (£250), +3.95pts (+£197.50), roi 79%
The Football Analyst 7/22 (h):
The Football Analyst 7/22 (a): Staked 3pts (£120), -0.125pts (-£5), roi -4.16%
The Sportsman: Staked 0.15pts (£60), +0.226pts (+£90.65), roi 150.66%
Total: Staked £818, +£346.83, roi 42.39%

Total: Staked £1,978.50, +£338.50, roi 17.1%

Next time, I'll stick up a few thoughts on the trading. Just now though, the land of nod beckons. Good night.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Downright stupid.

You never get a new manager's job when a team is doing well, do you? Alderley Edge Under 9s in September: Played 3, Lost 3, For 2, Against 3,422. The team needed a manager, so I stepped up to the plate.

Since when, form figures read: Played 5, Won 4, For 16 Against 3. Yes, yes, I know. I'm a bloody genius. How did I effect such a transformation? I tell you, it's simple. Raw, toe curling fear. Oh yes. I look deep into each player's eyes before each game and they know. They know that if they make one mistake, allow their concentration to lapse for just a split second, let the player they're marking to get even a yard free, then there will be consequences...concrete boots and a stroll along the river. Not quite consistent with the FA's directives to build confidence in young players and encourage them to express themselves free of any fear of failure, I grant you. But those nine year olds - I'm making men of them I tell you.

Which is all well and good, but they cost me the prices on Skeeve's selections last night, and they cost me again on The Sportsman's winning bet this afternoon which I backed at a much shorter price than available when the bet was released. All I will say is that come training Monday night, the boys are not going to know what hit 'em!

Have you come across The Value Bettor blog (link to the right)? If you haven't done so, do so. I know the guy who writes it and I know that he knows an awful lot about horse racing and of obtaining big prices on horses that get backed in like there's no tomorrow - this might be a bit of a problem as he tips the horses the night before racing, and if there is no tomorrow, although value may be secured, it would be kinda pointless because, well, the race would never be run and, well...... You get the point anyway. He's darned good.

Now, considering that this darned good, value-securing tipster with the ability to end the world within 24 hours is providing these tips (plus detailed rationale) for free, and that in November - his first month of blogging - he produced 40 points worth of profit, you'd think you could be fairly confident that criticism would not be thrown his way.

Wrong! This comment was left on his blog as December neared an end and overall profit provided dropped to a "mere" 32 points or so:

"This has got to be the worst tipping service ever!! I think out of all your selections the winners can be counted on one hand. The fact that the few winners you did tip won at ridiculously high odds conceals the fact that almost everything you tip loses. Most of your race reviews are nothing more than winging excuses as to why the shite you selected ran accordingly. Do us a favour .. retire!!!

And by the way .. this is not Marvin but another idiot who has lost a fortune following your garbage tips."

Erm...where do you start with that? Seriously, where? There are three words that do make perfect sense. You can find them down at the bottom (I've bolded them to make it easy!). Other than that though, it's all a little puzzling.

So mate, you might have given some winners at really good odds that have produced a massively impressive roi. And you might have done all this for no cost. And you might have provided an insight with your selection rationale that allow readers to learn a thing or two about horse racing. And you might have given me 30 points worth of profit within a two month period. But basically mate, you're "shite"!

Still, we have to respect that everyone is entitled to an opinion. May I humbly suggest that everyone is indeed entitled to an opinion, except those who are so exceptionally thick that they automatically give up their rights. Including that of freedom to be a part of society, because anyone leaving a comment like that really ought to be locked up.

Still, at least the chap had the decency not to shirk away from any responsibility and front up to his somewhat controversial opinions by leaving his name on the blog.

Step forward...Mr. Anonymous.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Week 1 Round Up

Quick end of week round up.

I'm very conscious that this blog should be more than just a profit and loss account but I also think that there is a place for including results on an ongoing basis. I know a large part of my being addicted to reading JP's infamous blog was to see how services were performing. I enjoy reading My Betting Life because the chap writing it has a portfolio of his own, and I like to see how it's going for him. One of my favourite parts of the monthly SBC newsletters is the section near the beginning that goes through the monthly performance of monitored services. So despite the fact that this sounds like I'm trying to justify myself, I'm making no apologies for posting up performance details from time to time. If you don't like it, bugger off!


Chasemaster grab the plaudits for the biggest contribution to getting 2012 off to a good start, finding winners at 15/8, 8/1, and 9/2. Top tipping in anyone's books! Felt for The Market Examiner on Monday when from five selections they had three come in second at average odds of about 1,990/1! Not to be deterred though, they had two from three come in yesterday at 11/2 and 5/1 which with an earlier winner at 4s have turned a profit despite hitting the woodwork so frequently previously. Winning Racing Tips and The Sportsman Racing have contributed winners and profits too. Nothing spectacular but nice and solid. Only On The Nose - uncharacteristically quiet this week - and Northern Monkey have missed out on making a profit but no real damage done at all.

Sports Betting

On The Oche were on James Wade to beat Adrian Lewis in the PDC World Championships. In a first to 6 set match, at 5-1 Wade, it was looking good. But oh no. If you didn't watch, you can guess what happened!

It's been very quiet for sports betting this week. The Football Analyst 7/22 found one winner from two, and Strike Zone Homes two from two, and that's been it.

So, the figures...

Chasemaster: Staked 2.25pts (£180), +1.828pts (+£146.25), roi 81.25%
Northern Monkey Punter: Staked 4.35pts (£130.50), -3.1pts (-£93), roi -71.26%
On The Nose: Staked 3.75pts (£75), -1 pts (-£20), roi -26.66%
The Market Examiner: Staked 14pts (£140), +3.5pts (+£35), roi 25%
The Sportsman Racing: Staked 1pts (£100), +0.125pts (+£12.50), roi 12.5%
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 3pts (£180), +1.03pts (+£61.80), roi 34.33%
Total: Staked £805.50, +£142.55, roi 17.69%

Football Elite:
On The Oche: Staked 0.35pts (£28), -0.35pts (-£28), roi -100%
Strike Zone (h): Staked 2pts (£100), +1.9pts (+£95), roi 95%
The Football Analyst 7/22 (h):
The Football Analyst 7/22 (a): Staked 2pts (£80), +0.875pts (+£35), roi 43.75%
The Sportsman:
Total: Staked £208, +£102, roi 49.03%

Total: Staked £1,013.50, +£244.55, roi 24.12%

Skeeve's back from his mid-season break. I managed to miss the odds tonight, trying to sort out various problems with the U9 footie team that I manage on a Saturday morning! Not best pleased. Bloody kids!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

We'll get there!

I'm truly knackered. Shagged. Exhausted. You get the idea, I'm sure. This trading malarkey is all very well and good, but when the games targeted are in Australia and New Zealand, it means that sleep becomes something of a privilege, a luxury that is rationed and believe me, the portions at the moment don't amount to much.

It was with much relief therefore that last night (at about 2.45 am), I had closed two trades within the same match that coughed up a very nice 50 tick return. Previous to this, I'd had one very small losing trade (6 ticks) and endless frustration as for one reason or another, entries into the market were kept dangling close enough to tempt, but at a distance sufficient to dissuade from engagement.

I seem to have an awful lot I want to blog about. I have an opinion to give on what is perhaps the most senseless, idiotic and downright thick comment I have ever seen left on a gambling blog. A new blog to link to and draw attention to that I have so far enjoyed reading, despite it being written by that strangest of folks, the Spurs fan. Thoughts on various end of year reviews I have read from the betting services I follow that have been thought provoking and have provided a fascinating insight into the thought processes of the tipster. Endless musings on the trading this week, and details of my battle with a bookmaker. I'm also mindful of the fact I haven't posted yet on how things are going this month.

Let's see what I can stick up over the next few days. Stay close, chaps. We'll get there.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Horse Racing Services

Any readers of The Portfolio Investor will spot only minor changes to the services being followed this year from last.

Before I run through them though, an apology to all those who told me to give up on ProBandit when results there took a turn for the worse.

"Patience!", I cried, "It's variance doing it's thing. Stick with it and all will be well". Well, it wasn't. And it's all very well and good me sticking to my guns and ignoring all advice to the contrary, but I met my match in trying to resist the guy who ran the service when even he decided enough was enough! Sadly, ProBandit is no more. I wish Paul, the (ex) service operator all the very best for the future, and I hope at some point he rediscovers his mojo. A good guy who acted in the best interests of his subscribers.

I'm not going to describe the services I follow here for fear of repeating myself. If anyone wants a description, go trawl through the TPI pages.

I list the services I'm following below, and have added the £/point value that I use for my staking. I think some may be a little surprised at the relatively low values I assign to each point, but they are figures that attempt to ensure some sort of levelling out over time in terms of how much money is staked on each service, and are set at a level at which I feel comfortable. Experience has taught me just how vital this is. The lower figures too, reflect my sensitivity when it comes to bookie accounts. I am desperate to stay under the radar for as long as possible. There are weaknesses in my staking strategies; they don't maximise returns, but they do minimise my levels of anxiety! When all is said and done, a typical month will see a turnover of between £10k and £15k. That's quite enough for a little lad like me!

Sadly, I have had to stop following a couple of racing services that I previously subscribed to. This is in no way a reflection on the performance of the services involved. It is solely a consequence of my bookmaker accounts being placed under unsustainable pressure by volume of bets and in one service's case, the nature of the selections. I'm not going to name those services here because I worry that by doing so, people may form negative opinions that the services concerned truly don't deserve.

Enough of such vagueness. Let's list the services in the spotlight for 2012. In alphabetical order...

Horse Racing

1. Chasemaster (£80/pt)
2. Northern Monkey (£30/pt)
3. On The Nose (£20/pt)
4. The Market Examiner (£10/pt)
5. The Sportsman Racing (£100/pt)
6. Winning Racing Tips (£60/pt)

Sports Betting

1. Football Elite (£80/pt)
2. Football Investor (Strike Zone - home bets only)(£50/pt)
3. On The Oche (£80/pt)
4. Skeeve (£20/pt)
5. The Football Analyst (System 7-22)(£40/pt, but note 2pts staked on home team selections)
6. The Sportsman (£400/pt).

The make-up of the racing portfolio is designed to minimise correlation (ie. the situation I often used to find myself in of having about five selections in just the one race), and finding a balance between minimising the actual number of bets struck whilst still maintaining a decent level of diversity. The Market Examiner is about the most prolific in terms of volume of selections, hence the low staking level assigned.

Similarly, I have successfully reduced the correlation between selections in the sports portfolio. Not eradicated it, but certainly reduced it.

One change from last year is my concentrating only on the Strike Zone aspect of the Football Investor service, despite my making a good profit from the "original" FI bets last season. I did set out this season following, but by the beginning of September, I had decided that for personal reasons it was better for me to stop. I frequently spend Friday evenings travelling from Cheshire to either London or Shropshire to see family. The sheer number of FI bets coming through on the Friday evening and the consequent time it took to strike them all, made this tricky. As it happens, FI have found the going very tough so far in the first half of the 2011/12 season, but from what I can gather nothing has changed from the times when were doing very well, and I'm confident good profit-making will return. I should also mention that I'm keeping a close eye on the Strike Zone away bets with a nod to next season too.

Right, I'm waffling. Time to go. Back soon.

Sunday, 1 January 2012


I guess I'd better wish everybody a Happy New Year! And yes, any cycling bin men out there, that includes you lot too. We shall enjoy a 24 hour rapprochement. A ceasefire. Perhaps we'll lay down our arms, cautiously walk towards each other to meet, shake hands, exchange gifts of cigarettes and brandy before breaking into an impromptu game of football on no-man's land. We will be joined by that which we have in common - our very humanity - before sadly, hostilities are renewed tomorrow.

And believe me, when they do....

Anyway, trading. I thought I'd start with giving a bit of a run down on my thoughts on trading before I do my betting services because, whisper it quietly, I actually think the potential for long term gain is much stronger trading than gambling. I know, I know, that's not what you gamblers out there wanted to hear and believe me, twelve months ago I never envisaged that I would think this way myself. But bear with me. Let me explain.

What is the biggest problem for profitable gamblers? Answer: getting your bets on. It is a fact. Yes, we can all utilise pseudo accounts, have friends and families open new bank accounts, etc, etc. But the fact remains, this represents the biggest challenge that we as gamblers have to overcome.

Now consider this. On an "average" ATP/WTA tennis match, getting as much as £1k or more into the market to lay a player at somewhere between 1.10 and 1.80 (and usually higher if that is what you want to do) is never a problem. You are in a different world to the one in which you want to back a 20/1 shot in the 2.10 at Cheltenham, ask for just £10 each way, and are offered £9.39 instead (not going to mention any names here...Paddy Power. Ooops!).

I realised last year that if I wanted to make an ongoing income from gambling, I would have to look at different angles and strategies. I knew that long term, unless I cut down on the number of bets I was having - and therefore services I was following, particulary in horse racing - I was living on borrowed time. I needed to extend the lifetime of my bookmaker accounts as much as I possibly could, and the way to do that was to use them less and place bets to lower staking levels. Trouble with that though, is that it would obviously reduce my earning potential; I needed a different outlet, and from reading the paragraph above, you can see why I saw trading as a viable option.

Now all this is all well and good, but I knew nothing of trading, or how to go about it, nor which sports I should concentrate on. And then I found my master. A chap who from the first contact I had, I could see that he would be able to help me, teach me, and provide ongoing guidance. In short, just what was needed. (For anyone interested, google "Betfair Guru"). I will tell you more about him and what I've learnt so far at a later date, but naturally I don't want to detail any of his strategies and methods. That wouldn't be fair. Suffice to say, the aim is to minimise risk and maximise the risk:return ratio in our favour. That's a philosophy that struck a chord and appealed to my conservative outlook.

There are however, challenges to face.

The first part of the year sees the tennis being played in Australasia/Asia. Time differences mean that games are played overnight, our time, and from Tuesday, I return to work.

I can try to ensure that I maximise the amount of time I can trade, take measures that will allow me to both trade and perform at work, but it is inevitable that I will miss some moves that would provide the profits. The nature of the trading strategies that I will be utilising is such that it is usual to go through a sequence of four or five small losing trades (say 5-7 ticks) before hitting the move we're looking for and banking 50-80 ticks. We can guess what the Law of Sod is going to say about that and how easy it will be for it to manipulate my situation so that I miss out on a move or two!

But assuming that I can look Sod's Law in the face and stare it down, and ultimately gain a measure of ongoing success, then the issue of the Betfair PC raises it's head. Dealing with the Betfair PC though, represents something of a bridge that can be crossed as and when appropriate. To be honest, getting as far as facing that problem remains something of an ambition at this stage. Mind you, I remember thinking along similar lines when starting out on the gambling - I guess I've now achieved the "ambition" of having the bookmakers reluctant to take my bets. Whoppee-bleedin'-doo!!!

And talking of that lot, I bet Paddy Power doesn't stop at red lights when he's on his bicycle either...