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?