Friday, 27 April 2012

Today's Hero

I will admit that Tom Cannon is not a jockey I have made particular note of before. A quick results check will show that he had a good day today, with two wins at Plumpton to take his season's total to twenty six. But it needs a quick view of the video below to see quite what a great day he had.

Two other gentleman will have particular memories of the incident. Cannon's mount, the odds-on favourite Inthejungle, went on to win the race by 18 lengths. And £330 was matched on Betfair at 1000. It seems extremely likely that the same lucky punter then laid off £165k at 1.29. The unlucky punter may be having a bad evening.

Winners and losers. It's what it's all about.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Praying Mantis On A Bicycle

Well it’s a better title than ‘Irregular Update’. And, no, of course it’s not a bicycle. That’s stupid. Anyway, here’s the update.


I think the major problem I’ve had with my trading / betting over the last year is inconsistency. Of everything - staking, method, style - but mainly caused by a lack of routine. Work determines time on Betfair, and life determines time on Betfair. At a time when I feel I’ve got numerous small ‘edges’ up my sleeve, and my head in a calm and confident place, I could really get stuck into bank building. But I haven’t spent the time on the exchange, and my recent forays have been a little frustrating – I can take positives from sessions where I’ve remained calm when things have gone against me and ended nicely in the green, but I then seem to have lapses in concentration. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but when my time on Betfair is limited, I tend to go searching for opportunities, sometimes with irritating results. However, the April P&L remains green by six hundred quid or so (if below its monthly high point), and it’s certainly comforting when a period seems fairly negative, whilst the numbers turn out positively. I’ve had more than a few times when the opposite has occurred.

Impatience In The Homeland

It’s a couple of months since three Football League chairmen from Yorkshire-based clubs ( Leeds, Huddersfield and Sheffield Wednesday) decided that panic was a better play than patience, and sacked their respective managers despite each club hovering around the play-off positions. So how’s it all looking?

Well, Wednesday fans are presumably fairly pleased with Dave Jones, remaining unbeaten during his tenure, although they have been outperformed by their city rivals and may end up in the play-offs. With only a 25% chance of success IMO -‘who’s in form in May’ is rarely consistent with who has been the best side throughout the season - they may end up as play-off losers, no better than they would have done under Gary Megson. The additional positive is that Megson’s teams have never been renowned for their stylish play, whilst Jones has prepared many attractive teams over the years. So the home regulars may well be seeing better football at Hillsborough.

Huddersfield have made little forward progress under Simon Grayson, and have lost four of their last five games. But, mainly due to Lee Clark’s tenure, they’ll make the play-offs. There’s still a chance for Grayson’s team to gain promotion, but only if that happens could the management change be seen as remotely successful. In both Wednesday’s and Huddersfield’s cases, I’d be concerned that a team in hot form (Stevenage or Brentford) could sneak into the play-offs and then cause an upset come Wembley time.

And what of my own team? Leeds play-off hopes are already dead and gone. The only achievement United are likely to win is the ‘red card’ trophy, carelessly losing four players in the last few games. Perversely, Leeds fans tend to enjoy the rough and tumble, so this new ‘dirty Leeds’ trait won’t do Neil Warnock any harm in the short term. But if next season starts as badly as this one has ended, and the quality of football continues to sink, the move for Warnock may look pretty piss-poor.

As with gambling, patience usually wins out.


My first few blog posts upon arrival in London noted a little celebrity spotting. In my head I’ve been waiting to find four consecutively to take part in my own imaginary version of ‘Celebrity Come Dine With Me’. So my latest four spots are as follows –

Josh Lewsey, Vanessa Feltz, Graham Norton, Tim Lovejoy

I’m sure that would make a decent show.

I also have a ‘super-celeb-spot’, ie one that occurred within a football pitch length of our flat. In the local Waitrose, Olympic silver medallist – John Regis.

Squaring The Circle

Following my recent Sugar Ray Leonard celeb spot here, Soccerdude lowered the tone with his own celeb-spot post, which ended with a urinal-based episode involving the genitalia of two Knights of the Realm and an unsavoury incident involving someone best forgotten. So simply to bring this discussion to a rounded end (and because it made me chuckle at the time), a week after reading Soccerdude’s post, I went to see American rock musician Craig Finn at the Hoxton Bar & Grill. And whilst occupied at the urinal myself, who should appear alongside me but Craig Finn himself.

And, being a builder with high morals and reputation, I kept my eyes firmly fixed forward. Take this on board, dude.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Meanwhile, away from Cheltenham......

I’m sure that most regular readers of this blog will be spending a fourth successive day with thoughts only for the rolling Gloucestershire countryside and matters equine. The high point of the national hunt season seems to be, once again, gripping the sports fan, whether a horse racing connoisseur or ‘once a year’ enthusiast.

Personally, I’m a couple of quid down, but remain frustrated about missing a wager whilst distracted by work matters, typically the one big winner I would have had - Son of Flicka in the Coral Cup. I’m sure many others will have similar tales to tell.

But it seems that whilst we all stay within our Cheltenham cocoon, another major news story has emerged to shake the British establishment to its foundations. How am I aware of this fact despite never lifting my head from the Racing Post for days? Through a quick check of my own blog. The stat counter shows that yesterday had more page views than any single day since 2009, and a mighty (by my standards) 160 visitors in the day.

I assumed that my recent Sugar Ray Leonard piccy may have been the answer to this mystery, but a delve into the stat counter shows an overwhelming onslaught of google image searches for the term ‘Emma Jesson’. By swiftly switching out of racing mode back to the real world, I found that Emma’s ‘beau’, one William Roache (born 1932), has been putting it about at a rate most rabbits would be proud of over the years. Bill, or ‘Ken’ as more than one of his conquests referred to him, at first glance seems to have admitted to 1,000 liaisons (that’s about 20 a year over 50 years). He actually admitted to over 100, and was pushed to ‘not denying’ it may have been nearer 1,000. But that’s not as good a story, is it?

Surprisingly, many of my new weather-presenter obsessed readers also stayed around to read a few more pages. I hope they found something of interest.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

This Never Happened In Lichfield

I was just strolling towards the nearest betting shop window in time for the Cheltenham opener earlier today when I came across this rather popular book-signer.
Yep, a real life legend - Mr Sugar Ray Leonard!

Friday, 9 March 2012

Writer's Block

An opening appears in my busy schedule for a blog update. But what to write about? Things currently filling my head –


I hope the Tory voters are feeling pleased with their government’s decision to close Remploy factories, based on an idealogical idea of an ‘integrated workforce’. In practice, they’ve just kicked thousands of disabled people in the nuts. Cunts. Anyway, too angry to write with any purpose on his one, move on…

Manchester United

Would Rafael or Johnny Evans get a place in the line-up of any decent Championship side? Doubt it. Maybe Fergie’s main weakness is loyalty. (But covering plenty of ground better said by others, so..)


I’m sure I’ve got a good post in me about the blue plaques seen around the city, particularly those with a music or sport link. But a bit more research required.

Damaged goods.

Managed to dint my laptop lid, and smash the face of my I-phone, all within 7 days. I hate damaging my possessions. Don’t get me on to cars….

Betfair Forum

In the end, someone did the job for me. With thanks to ‘The Mover’, a little piece from the football forum which nearly all exchange users will recognise, particularly if you’ve spent any time on the forums. Not within the spirit of blogging maybe, but more entertaining than anything I could come up with this morning:

When Not To Bet – The Road To Perdition

It's getting late, the last live football on the telly has just finished. Confirmation of this has been reached by flicking through all the channels. You curse under your breath that with all the satellite channels you subscribe to there is not one damn live football match on. You know damn
well there will be a game on somewhere but no it's just not on the telly. "f'em I will find one online" you hear yourself saying as you open up some more tabs.
Ok plan B is needed. A quick loading up of livescore or futbol24 and you find a match is coming up. Oh good its FC Dogsbollox against FC Shoitepile. A quick scan of the Betfair markets and yes it's there. A quick look at the odds reveals Dogsbollox at 1.3 and Shoitepile at 10's. "This looks like a money spinner" goes through the mind "Dogsbollox must be like Barca". All I need to do now is find out where Dogsbollox are as you know full well it's important that you at least know which country they are from and how high their ground is above sea level before you can even consider entering the in-play thread on the forum.

A quick google search and Dogsbollox are found to play in the Philippines Premier Leaga Uno. A quick look up on soccerstats reveals Dogsbollox are top of the league and unbeaten in 10, great stuff. Oh but hang on where are Shoitepile? Oh damn, it’s not a league game it’s the Copa del Carp and Shoitepile are from the Malaysian Poop League. Oh well fear not the forum will know about this sort of match and I need to get on quick before it starts.

So in you go to the "Dogsbollox v Shoitepile" thread and sure enough there are some posters in there with their bets and match analysis. Some poster called "donemyconkers" is going full bank
on Dogsbollox and "gettheforkinthere" is going in big on goals. Great stuff it's on Betfair video and now I know my bets are on Dogsbollox and goals.
So all loaded up and ready for the kick off with total confidence of a home win and goals. Suddenly "donemyconkers" posts asking what colour Dogsbollox are. Oh fcuk goes through the mind, hes the guy that posted about full bank on Dogsbollox and he doesn't even know their home kit. Even though I'm in the same position having bet on Dogsbollox and not knowing which team they are I wait patiently for a reply so I can see who is who on the vid. 15 minutes of the match goes by and someone called "nailedon" posts it’s going to be 0-0. How can this be when
"gettheforkinthere" has gone big on goals goes through the mind.

The match nears half time and it's still 0-0. Dogsbollox are down to 10 men and Shoitepile have a corner. It rebounds off 5 players before hitting the crossbar and going in off the back of the goalies head. 0-1 Shoitepile. You curse at the screen as the Shoitepile backers post Booooooooom
and GTFI in the forum. How can this be possible? Dogshoite are far better team than Shoitepile, they must be they were 1.3 ffs. Half time 0-1. But wait, whats this? "donemyconkers" is going to
bed! with a full bank on Dogsbollox? How can this be? "gettheforkinthere" replies saying good night and hes off as well as he can't see any more goals and he's greened up from the first goal to finish off a good day.

With hopes fading with the loss of "donemyconkers" and "gettheforkinthere" it goes through your mind that the goal was lucky and even with 10 men Dogsbollox will surely get back into this as its the Copa Carp for god’s sake. Half time comes, the score still 0-1. Shortly after half time a penalty to Shoitepile and you decide you've done your dough and it's time for bed if it goes in. Sure enough in it goes. The laptop lid gets slammed down and you go to bed promising yourself not to get involved in the Copa del Carp again and that it's a mug cup for mug teams.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Alternative Universes

I hope everyone had the opportunity to watch last evening’s terrific documentary about QPR – ‘The 4 year plan’.

What a shambles the whole Ecclestone / Briatore ownership was. Flavio Briatore, in particular, stood out as chief imbecile amongst a group living in the above mentioned ‘alternative universe’. Amongst many ‘mouth open’ moments -

  • Paul Hart, the sixth manager put in charge in under eighteen months (including caretakers), sounding fed up and defeated in his first press conference ( he lasted under a month )
  • Mikele Leigertwood, put in front of the press as a long-serving pro alongside the newly incumbent Neil Warnock. ‘What’s it been like for the last couple of years, Mikele?’ ‘A nightmare’.
  • The laughable chairman Gianni Paladini, clearly scared in the presence of Briatore, noting how unlucky the board were to have chosen five ‘idiot’ managers in a row.
  • Paladini and Briatore discussing how they could text their in-game instructions to a manager.
  • Board member Amit Bhatia, a puppet for ‘8th richest man in world’ Lakshmi Mittal, hosting a money-saving meeting where a £1/head drop in the cost of executive box meals was discussed in detail as a worthwhile saving which may avoid selling players!

My favourite moment was when Warnock somehow managed to get the team to the verge of promotion, despite the board’s attempt to hijack everything with the ‘Faurlian’ ownership issue. During the match where a point was needed for promotion, things were going poorly at half time. Briatore was apoplectic – ‘idiot coach’, ‘coach doesn’t want to win’, ‘coach doesn’t know what he’s doing’. This obviously being the coach who had gained 78 or so points during the season. What a knob.

The most astonishing fact about the whole documentary was that those shown in it allowed it to be subsequently televised to the world. (Shakes head incredulously).

I don’t know how the Tony Fernandes era will turn out, but it can only be an improvement over his predecessors. Although I may have said something similar about Portsmouth.

Having returned to an old subject – Neil Warnock – some may have noticed that my ‘Bete Noir’ of football managers is now in charge of my own club, Leeds United. He is therefore in tandem with that most unlikeable of club owners, Ken Bates. And he’s made a cracking start by writing a fawning and flattering review of Saturday’s opponents, Southampton, before the game. Good for his own team’s confidence then? Southampton won.

It brought me to the thought of fans’ allegiance. I’m Leeds born, but now live 200 or so miles from Elland Road. I dislike the manager. I dislike the chairman. Most of the decent players are sold off on a regular basis. So why do I have to support Leeds? Is it possible to change allegiance?
At age thirteen, probably. But at forty-six? I’m fairly close to the grounds of Crystal Palace, Millwall or Charlton. But could I ever have that instinctive passion for my team, when they are newly adopted? The answer is probably no. I have too much history – my first match in the ‘73/’74 championship-winning year, a foggy ’75 night in the European Cup, the piss-poor mid-eighties teams, followed by the Howard Wilkinson team’s mighty rise to the championship, debuts for Cantona and a teenage Speed, the Ridsdale/O’Leary ‘living the dream’ years. These events are part of your life, never forgotten, and therefore I think I’ll have to get used to cheering along Neil and Ken, or become a ‘Blackburn-style’ fan, mercilessly booing my own team. Now there’s a thought…….

Monday, 20 February 2012

Life Choices

On a couple of days in the last few weeks my income for the day has been reliant on the Betfair screen rather than any construction-based activity. Without wishing to regurgitate the never ending ‘full-time’ theme prevalent within the betting blog community, I felt it worthy of a post to compare a day on the exchanges against my main income providing days.

Firstly, I felt it important to make the time feel like ‘work’, and this entailed leaving my flat for a public place with Wifi access, to allow the day to be broken into sessions, whether for analysis or trading. It also allows for the laptop to be turned off and the session brought to an end at an appropriate point (after a loss, when sloppiness kicks in, or when I need another beverage). This does rather rely on having a couple of suitable coffee shops within close proximity of each other, but seems to work ok. It’s often helpful to have a couple of minutes of fresh air to reset your head during the day, and a walk between cafes fulfils this requirement.

The biggest negative for me is definitely the large amount of time available. This brings a huge amount of potential opportunities, and it requires plenty of patience to avoid over-betting. Additionally, an increased quantity of bets inevitably leads to losses. I have been ok with losing in recent times if my bets have been thought through. I remain susceptible to frustration if losses are due to mistakes. And over an eight/nine hour period, errors are more likely to occur than over an hour and a half on a weekday evening. In turn, I found that on more than one day, by mid afternoon I was frustrated and annoyed, regardless of my P&L position, after brooding over mistakes. The impact on profit had much less bearing on my mood than the nature of the error – hindsight can be a hopeless companion at times of stress.

A second issue is the ‘need’ to make profit/income. Many have commented that successful betting is about finding value and opportunity. This does not become available evenly over any time period, yet I am put in a position where I am committing a whole day to the exchange. I can’t simply come away from the day bet-free, having found no value. So anyone intending to bet as a sole income generator needs a strategy which finds an edge over a fair number of wagers, or in a sport which offers regular (if not daily) opportunities. Whilst a set target is probably unhelpful, I have found that with my style of betting (regular small wins from trades and lays) I am most comfortable if the daily profit is creeping slowly upwards towards a notional expected income, and that losses can be shrugged aside if the trend is upwards. My most difficult day was one which started with three successive losses, meaning that the remainder of the day was simply a damage limitation / recovery exercise. To spend over eight hours attempting to nudge upwards without chasing, in the knowledge that the day will still end in the red, is tough. At these times, a large bank may offer a potential ‘easy’ way out. So limiting a bank size so it is appropriate to your technique is probably more helpful to a novice. I’m sure those who have been successful in the long term will have overcome the frustration of errors, but I can admit that I never reached that point during my enforced period of Betfair reliance a couple of years ago.

As a comparison, most of my contract work comes with a set fee charged out, and at a fee level (once income tax has been deducted) that I would be happy at as a daily Betfair gain. The major negatives are also based around frustration – dealing with people I have little respect for, clients who believe they know everything, incompetence. But I am more confident that the income will be in the bank in a couple of months’ time. I would suggest that the successful full-time Betfair traders get more enjoyment out of a day on the exchanges than I have from my recent forays. I have found the days, whilst generally profitable, more stressful than a ‘normal’ day. More positively, I would also say that there can be a sense of achievement upon completion of a long session , particularly if you’ve worked your way through a few pitfalls to a profitable end. Every day? No thanks. But, as I have commented in the past, it’s a nice back-up plan in the event that a preferred career dries up.

I would suggest that there are far too many guys out there who have made some decent profits over a short period and think this can translate into a full-time career. I would venture that, unless your P&L shows profits of a magnitude you can live on comfortably over years, not months, the dream is best kept in a box, whilst you let someone else send a monthly salary cheque in your direction.

So who’s the bloke with a boat? Some metaphor for drowning in the gambling mire? The open seas of opportunity? No, but a link to an obituary found via Twitter. There is a tenuous link to the previous subject matter, in that John Fairfax (who died this month) lived out the latter part of his life playing the card tables for income. However, it was his previous exploits which captured the attention of someone on my Twitter timeline, and the following copied sentence which caught my eye –

‘At 20, he attempted suicide-by-jaguar. Afterward he was apprenticed to a pirate.’

Much of the debate about ‘hobby-as-career’ stems from an unhappiness with the mundane elements of life, and a hope that a flexible income stream will improve work/life balance. It’s something most of us over forty think about. Mr Fairfax certainly knew how to live life away from the norm. I’m not sure I’m ready to take such dramatic steps (yet).