Wednesday, 30 December 2009
I’m sure you can find a more detailed comment somewhere in my blog about the dangers of betting when in the wrong frame of mind. And probably another one about not learning lessons. Bah.
So two rather more circumspect days to finish the year. Considerably less exciting, but both with a green end result. Typically, my last bet of the year lost. So lots to take into 2010, positive and negative, from an interesting 2009. I’ll prepare a couple of review posts, for the month and year, when I return. Until then, Happy New Year!
Monday, 21 December 2009
The day started well, with a few successful lays at Kempton Park. My main win of the day was achieved with thanks to the Racing Post website. In the 2.30 the favourite, Rondeau, was trading at around 4.0, when the live reporter noted some negative comment about the horse from trainer Pat Chamings. If he didn’t think the horse would win, that was good enough for me. It finished tenth out of eleven.
My other notable success was a little scarier. In my limited time following horse racing, I’ve spotted two distinct types of steamer. The first tends to be a no-hoper, often local to the track, backed in from big numbers to 9 / 12-1, which then holds its own in the market behind the favoured horses. These horses are often worth taking on – there may be stable whispers around, but if it was a crap horse in the morning it probably still is at race time. The second type of steamer is one that just keeps dropping over a couple of hours up to the start time, often from high odds right down to favouritism. These are seemingly backed by serious insider money, and regularly storm home.
I noted Fuzzy Cat in the last race as a potential lay – 25/1 in the Racing Post, and sitting at around 11.0. As it moved to 9.8 I placed my lay, but then watched as it quickly stopped being a ‘steamer to take on’, and piled down to 3.8 favouritism. I could only watch and hope. It finished third, not far off the winner. Gulp.
So I came into this evening’s sparse football card with a decent profit on the day, looking to simply nudge a few additional quid. Unfortunately, the Augsburg / Kaiserslautern game went completely differently to my assessment – the away team had lost one game all season, and had only conceded nine goals in sixteen games. They lost 4-1. Two hits ( match odds, correct score ) and the Robin Hood technique was working brilliantly.
Anyway, I finished the day ahead (again), so it looks like I’m ending the year in good shape. I may be able to make some time for a few of the Southwell races tomorrow, but think I’ll leave tomorrow’s football alone! Then it’s time to head north for a family Christmas.
So good tidings to all, and remember – a sign of a gambling addict is someone who opens Betfair on Christmas Day, just to check if there’s any obscure sport to have a punt on.
Enjoy your holiday.
Thursday, 17 December 2009
Note for 2010: Europa League = bollocks. Just leave alone.
I escaped fairly unscathed from last night's football action, although I scratched most of my Europa League punts. It turned into a good night for an odds-on backer in the domestic footy, so I finished with an overall profit.
Tonight - car crash. I tried to avoid teams with nothing to play for, and still managed to lay winners with unerring accuracy, starting with Timisoara in the early game, and following up with Levski Sofia and Salzburg in the second batch of matches. I scurried around for a couple of hours to trade out my losses, but still ended up giving back most of my racing profit from earlier in the evening.
Just to complete a frustrating evening, during a weak moment I spotted an in-play tennis match - some pointless French exhibition tournament - and was sucked into backing Julian Benneteau ( read through my blog for previous cock-ups involving Benneteau ) against no-hoper David Guez, as the game went into a final tie-break. I soon came to my senses, cancelled out my bet to leave a potential £30 loss on Guez, and a 42p profit on Benneteau. Then I had a lucky break as Guez faltered a couple of times at match point, and Benneteau wrapped it up.
JS commented on my last post about how I deal with losses. It strikes me that I'm still susceptible to chasing a loss, but only for a short time. If I can hang on in there for a few minutes, the need to chase quickly subsides, and I can move forward positively. The Benneteau back was made at that moment of weakness. Until I can totally extinguish this failing, I'll underachieve.
Anyway, the day ended green. Although I'm not sure it was worth the shredded nerves.
It's great to see an old-fashioned chart war going on. Remember Blur and Oasis going head to head in '95? The fuss caused by Frankie Goes To Hollywood and the Sex Pistols going to number 1?
Sorry to sound like an old fart, but today's singles charts tend to be filled by loads of RnB that holds little interest to me, and the majority of the general public. Hope there's a Xmas Day 'Top Of The Pops' if RATM reach the top!
Oh, and Simon Cowell's a twat.
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
Sunday started badly – I was always on the wrong side of the Spanish game between Cartanega and Salamanca and was happy to escape with a £60 loss from what could have been a larger thumping. I did manage to reach break-even around mid-afternoon but, as tends to happen, my losses came in a short sharp hammer blow – two successive racing lays followed by an error ( with hindsight ), trying to be oh-so-clever with the correct score market in the Siena / Udinese match – the odds looked value, but I forgot that the Siena defence are shite. So well into the red, and I settled for keeping my bets tight and just tried to minimise my day’s loss. All taken calmly and serenely, with a shrug of the shoulders.
I was considerably less calm and serene at 2.10 yesterday after laying the first three winners at Plumpton! At these moments, it’s difficult to maintain any sense of calm, particularly as the mega-December I was having was suddenly looking very ordinary. The experiences of the last couple of years have certainly given me the ability to brush myself down, reset my aims and move forward. So, after a break to concentrate on work, I came back with seven successful lays, and a mindset to concentrate on making December profitable and worthwhile, rather than a huge money-spinner. Disappointing, but the strategies of the last month or so seem to have worked, so I’m not going to change everything because of two bad days.
I had in mind a lengthy post regarding mindset in the face of such events, but much of what I had to say was covered by two posts from Cassini and Robbie Fowler which appeared around the same time as my Plumpton fiasco. So I’ll leave the philosophising for now, and move forward with the attitude that has held me in good stead over the last month.
I’ve always had opinions on cover versions. Generally, an original song is hard to top, with the raw creativity surpassing the often more polished but sanitised cover. But occasionally, I just can’t split the two – so in my own tribute to X-Factor, I give you Joe McElderry and Miley Cyrus – The Climb.
Or maybe not.
Saturday, 12 December 2009
Two months ago, I'd have forgotten the Portsmouth lay rather than the Villa lay. That's betting life for you. It may all even itself out in the long term, but luck (good or bad) does seem to come in chunks.
Incidently, the horse racing profit came mainly from a lay of Cesare, in the 1.00 at Doncaster, taken on with assistance from the PG's Tips blog. I may be no racing expert, but there are a few out there in blogland who know considerably more than I do. I use Google Reader to keep track of a large number of blogs, and there's plenty of helpful information available if you're prepared to spend a few minutes each day reading updates.
Just two bets today - lays of Portsmouth and Villa - and I'll have my I-phone on board in case of emergencies.
Wish me luck, it's hell out there.
Wednesday, 9 December 2009
The game was important to both teams, particularly with a trip to Old Trafford as a third round prize. Yet in two hours of action :
· No malicious challenges.
· No ‘simulation’ in an attempt to win penalties or free kicks.
· No backchat to the referee, or constant whining to pressurise the ref.
· No calls to have an opposition’s players booked or sent off.
· No sendings off, two bookings, for fouls, and with no complaint from either player.
· No constant verbal sparring between players.
· No farcical penalty box wrestling matches at each corner or free kick.
· No outraged managers having a go out the fourth official – indeed the Kettering assistant manager, John Deehan, was pictured repeatedly apologising to the fourth official for an expletive.
· No loss of temper or frustrated lash-outs from the away team once the match was beyond them.
· A player-manager happy to chat to a reporter as he left the pitch at half-time.
Yet the game was entertaining and full-blooded. Regular viewing of our top clubs would suggest that this level of behaviour is impossible to achieve. Last night showed it can.
It’s a pity the board of Kettering don’t have the same standards of behaviour as their players. After the game they sacked Deehan, supposedly because of the substitutions he made during extra time! They didn’t bother to consult the manager before doing so. Farce. There are still plenty of muppets in the game.
Sunday, 6 December 2009
There will be losing days to come, so the aim will be to maintain that confidence when they do. The easiest way to a setback will be a slack lump-on bet just to recover a frustrating loss. Whether I’m feeling low or high, the discipline mantra still applies. If only I could find that confidence factor in tablet form, the future would be looking bright.
Thursday, 3 December 2009
So after another decent day, how come a £5 win was my bet of the day? A bet placed on my I-phone, in a supermarket car park, no less.
The early in-play game was a Hungarian league game between Debrecen ( whipping boys of Champions League Group E ) and MTK Budapest. Not a game I’d normally rush to get involved in. I just happened to check Flashscore.com around 6.15ish to check the evening’s Europa League fixtures, and spotted Debrecen leading 2-0 with about an hour played. Stuck £100 on at 1.05. It finished 2-0. Result.
That doesn’t seem clever, you may think. And normally, with a 2-0 scoreline with half an hour to play, 1.05 is a less than attractive proposition. So why the bet?
During my session on Sunday, I came across a bizarre game between Debrecen and an unpronounceable team we’ll call Zagzag. Debrecen were 3-0 up after 17 minutes. Five minutes later, it was 3-2. At half time, 5-3! Both teams must have got a major hairdryer session at the interval, because the game finished 5-3.
So, what message did those Debrecen players have ringing in their ears when they took the field tonight? A clean sheet, or bollocks on the block, no doubt.
Best fiver of the week.
Couldn’t see much value in the Fulham game tonight, so switched over to watch ‘Gavin and Stacey’ on primetime BBC1. Lots going for it – decent cast, decent dialogue - but I eventually sussed that, sadly, it just wasn’t funny. An unfortunate missing element for a comedy. Anyway, great theme tune, by a top bloke, Stephen Fretwell.
Monday, 30 November 2009
Looking at my P&L, there are similarities with October, in that most of the month was spent in the red. But there were two major differences to the previous month –
i. There was no last-day disaster, meaning that I ended November with a modest profit of £325.
ii. I spent less time beating myself up about losses.
A number of the month’s reverses were simply down to the unpredictability of sport. I think this helped me to move on and avoid chasing.
I went into negative territory on the 4th of the month, courtesy of a couple of horse racing lays going astray, and reached a low point mid-month following a period struggling with a limited bank, topped off with a bet on Vincent Van der Voort to beat Anastasia Dobromyslova in the Grand Slam Darts – I can always find a shock result to kick me when I’m down.
So that brought about a hardening of attitude, helped by my blog commitment noted above. Fifteen successive winning days later, I can look back on the month in a positive light.
The star sport for the month was horse racing. My method is straightforward – lays, no magic system, just review the information available to me on a race-by-race basis. I’m sure these things go in cycles, but I have certainly had a hot streak over the last few weeks. I generally stayed away from tennis, making just a small profit, but had a tough time with football – I still can’t believe some of the results that went against me. My sundry sports bets were less successful than of late – losses on darts, basketball and cricket.
Once again, when I’ve been in a hole, I’ve had the focus and determine to dig myself out. It would be nice to transfer that focus towards making profits rather than just recovery missions. I could do with a cash injection as Christmas approaches.
Thursday, 26 November 2009
Let’s do the basic maths on the workings of Betfair – the exchange take their cut, the rest of the wagered sums are shared between winners and losers. If there were huge amounts of people making a regular and substantial profit, there would probably need to be a similarly huge amount prepared to lose consistently and regularly – I’m not sure there are that many mugs out there.
So there are probably plenty of people in a similar situation to myself. Two years or so into my Betfair adventure, I’ve learnt plenty. My betting methods bear little resemblance to those I used at the start of the journey. I often make worthwhile profits, but the aim of consistent profit remains an arm-length away. I’ve gone past the beginner stage, and I’m sure I’m going through the period where many give up – the basic skills are in place, but I’m still liable to error ( with associated losses ). Only the determined will survive this stage. There remain plenty of disheartening days, and I rely on my undiminished belief that I will eventually succeed to keep me plodding on.
My current irritation is a couple of bad habits I seem to have developed.
· Becoming tentative after a day has started well.
· Rounding up
A P&L from a successful Tuesday illustrates my first issue. Having made a decent sum from a spare couple of hours following the afternoon’s racing, I spent an evening session concentrating on soccer. It seemed to me to be a fairly successful and satisfactory session, but a view of the P&L at the end of the evening surprised me – a largest win of £2.83! I’m unlikely to make much contribution towards the cost of Christmas with too many more sessions like that.
Maybe I’ve got a touch of OCD, but I do like to close a day with a nice rounded up sum, whether it be daily profit or bank balance. But I’m also prone to careless bets, simply to reach a rounded total. There is little more frustrating than throwing away a day’s profit on a risky punt around 11.00pm with the aim of winning £2.50!
I’m in this for the long haul. I’m sure a few less determined will fall by the wayside. Those who succeed will learn from their mistakes. I remain hopeful I’ll be one of them.
Tuesday, 24 November 2009
I think it's since we started hiring in the same referees who usually officiate for Manchester United home games.....
Saturday, 21 November 2009
Bets this week included :
· Vincent Van der Voort to beat Anastasia Dobromyslova in the Grand Slam of Darts ( she’s only a girl! ).
· Phil Taylor to beat Van der Voort on the following evening.
· A lay of Hull with the score at 0-2 to West Ham in today’s Premiership game ( taken all red just before a Hull sending off at 3-2 ).
· A bet on the German 2nd division leaders Armenia Bielefield ( unbeaten in nine ) to avoid defeat at home to the strugglers 1860 Munich ( three successive defeats ).
You can guess the rest.
So how do you recover from chucking chunks of your bank down the drain? Simply by putting the hours in. I suppose I’ve been fortunate that there have been a couple of evening race meetings to supplement the sparse football fare on offer this week, and I’ve also stolen a few daytime hours for some horse racing lays – a benefit of self-employment. And now I feel knackered.
So please dear Lord ( I must be desperate, I’m an atheist ), can I have a nice easy Sunday with no further cock-ups to give me a profitable week that can be consigned to history and remembered only for the final P&L.
Thursday, 19 November 2009
However, today’s huge over-reaction leaves me shaking my head. Yes, it was a hand ball. But there are probably five decisions as bad as this each weekend in the football league. I listened to Liam Brady pleading for France to ‘do the right thing’ and have the game replayed. The FAI have now formally asked for a replay. Tosh.
Sadly, plenty of teams have felt cheated, and I can’t remember too many games being replayed. As Crystal Palace and Watford fans will know, recent times have seen goals given that never went near the line, and goals which were clearly fired into the net, yet disallowed. If every game with a dodgy decision was replayed, we’d have to abandon the June / July break and play for twelve months per year. I bet Terry Fenwick and Peter Reid are dusting off their old kits right now, ready for a rematch of the ‘Hand of God’ game – they might catch Maradona this time. Celtic must have a great case for being back in the Champions League, after Eduardo’s dive ( oh sorry, he was proved innocent. Ahem)
And Thierry Henry? Heard a couple of comments along the lines of ‘I used to respect him….. but now he’s just a cheat’. Sorry, but Henry could fall over in the penalty box as well as anyone during his Arsenal career. Last night, he handled a ball. It’s really a minor misdemeanour compared to the regular over-the-ball challenges and stray elbows that occur on a weekly basis, so why suddenly pillory Henry? Name me the player who would have owned up to the incident and asked the ref to disallow the goal? Thought so.
All last night has proved is that it’s tough to lose unluckily. We all have plenty of experience of that!
Friday, 13 November 2009
I'm away for the weekend in Durham, and it sounds like I'll have howling gails chasing me up the country this afternoon.
So no betting until Monday. I'm just leaving one open bet - a lay of Exeter at 7.0 away at Colchester. The home team have looked strong under Adie Boothroyd, and it's a long trip from Exeter.
Hope all have a profitable weekend.
Wednesday, 11 November 2009
The end of the road for two of the ATP’s, er, characters – Fabrice Santoro and Marat Safin - who’s defeats in Paris bring retirement at the ages of 36 and 29 respectively.
Santoro could certainly be described as a journeyman, with a highest ranking of 17 over a twenty year career. But he has become better known as ‘The Magician’, due to his ability to cut ball-girls in half during changeovers in matches. Er, maybe I’ve got that wrong. The nickname came from Pete Sampras, and is more likely to be due to a playing style involving great variety and craft. In turn, this style was required to overcome his comparative lack of power, when opposed by bigger and heavier-hitting opponents. The Frenchman holds the record for grand slam appearances – 69 - and also won two grand slam doubles titles – at the 2003 and 2004 Australian Opens.
Trivia time – Santoro won his first Challenger title in Telford. Glamorous life, eh. And he remains one of the most famous people ever to be born on Tahiti.
Safin – where does one start. Massive talent, massive underachievement. He turned pro in 1997 and by 2000, at the age of twenty, he was world number one with seven ATP titles in the season, and became US Open champion by defeating Pete Sampras in the final at Flushing Meadow. After that, injuries and a baffling temperament saw him yo-yo up and down the rankings, but he never regained the heights of the 2000-2002 period, although a second grand slam was earned in Australia in 2005. Maybe Federer’s consistency and the emergence of Nadal hindered his progress, but his inconsistency was often head-scratching.
Personally, Safin became the first male name on my ‘avoid completely’ betting list. I also tended to keep away from Santoro – would he be overpowered, or bamboozle his opponent? But it’s sad to see the end of anyone on the ATP Tour who could be termed ‘charismatic’ – the sport is sadly lacking in such men.
Sunday, 8 November 2009
Having abandoned tennis for the year, I settled down to a Saturday afternoon session, looking at the day’s football and racing. Things went ok in the early afternoon, with some fairly predictable Premiership games helping me towards a decent day. Everything seemed to go awry from the moment I placed my biggest horse racing lay of the day ( Kelso 4.05 ), and had my only loser.
This has always been my moment of weakness, so time for a deep breath, accept the loss and move on. I’m actually worse than ever at achieving this – as my strike rate improves, I lose less often, but seem to take the losses badly. In this case, I took the loss calmly, abandoned the racing and concentrated on rebuilding my profits with the day’s soccer. But everything kept kicking me in the nuts – I laid three away sides with solid reasons for doing so (Lens, Waalwijk, Mouscron ), kept my nerve when they all went ahead early ( I’m regularly scratching bets that go on to win ), and watched as the bets sailed down the river. I then topped it off by laying second-bottom Guimaries against the unbeaten Portuguese table-toppers, Braga. Again, Guimaries scored. Again, I held my bet in the expectation of a Braga equaliser. Again, it never came. Bollocks.
So by yesterday evening, any belief in an edge I may have had also sailed down the river.
My mood improved today by spending a little time analysing my three-month results. My impression has been that horse racing and tennis have been crap, soccer adequate, and sundry opportunities successful. In fact, regardless of sport, my post-loss selections have been crap and everything else is perfectly acceptable. Cut out the chaser bets and disgruntled OFI selections, and I am capable of achieving decent profits on my three main sports. So that put me in a good state of mind to start a Sunday afternoon session, which passed by without calamities and pulled back a decent chunk of yesterday's losses.
My day was also brightened by watching ITV’s coverage of the FA Cup second round draw. Remember Tony Woodcock, the former Nottingham Forest, Koln and England striker from the late seventies and early eighties? He can be forgiven his perm of that period, a fashion statement shared with his peers Kevin Keegan and Bryan Robson. But his 2009 haircut – WTF!!
I’ll finish by using the excuse of Jay Z’s stellar performance on this week’s Jools Holland show to bring out my favourite corny joke. Sorry to any non-music fans for whom this may miss the spot completely.
‘What did the ice-cream seller say after falling out with his confectionary supplier?’
Saturday, 7 November 2009
Maybe that’s why he’s not world number one - not selfish enough.
Contrast his efforts with those of Serena Williams. As the USA take to court in the final of the Federation Cup against Italy, Serena has other priorities – flogging her book on the Jonathon Ross show.
Monday, 2 November 2009
Well the new set-up hasn’t stopped the dodgy odds. I checked Monday’s in-play games last night, and in a rare in-play Greek second division match, Egalio were at home to Ilioupoli. I took screenshots of the league table and Betfair odds at the time, as once again they just don’t seem to add up. For a team who are bottom of the league, without a win, playing a team unbeaten in their last three games, 1.45 for a win is way off – that’s similar odds to those currently offered for Manchester United against CSKA Moscow tomorrow at Old Trafford!
Anyone who’s read my recent posts would realise I’m in no position to take punts that the odds were wrong, particularly as the previous games I mentioned seemed suspicious. But I’m still interested in finding anyone who knows what the hell is going on in this league.
Oh, the final score – 0-1 to Ilioupoli.
Sunday, 1 November 2009
An old demon cut those profits away to give me ( sorry for nicking Cassini’s line ) ‘Red October’. Yep, the old one-two. Chasing a loss. A bet on Bayer Leverkusen at 2-0 away at Schalke was looking good when the lead was maintained for 40 minutes or so, but the failure to green up was the source of what followed. Schalke brought it back to 2-1 with six or seven minutes remaining, but my frustration at a mistake compelled me to hold out for an all-green position. Then ‘market suspended’, an equaliser, and half the day’s profit gone. Time to step back and take a deep breath? No, time for a big horse racing lay to recoup my loss! Now I can bleat about being unlucky, but picking out an 11-1 winner (Bended Knee, Newmarket 4.15 ) is always a risk, and if your staking is inconsistent you’re liable to get stuffed. I did. Anyone who’s been doing this game will know how easy it is to undo weeks of effort with minutes of lapsed discipline.
As at yesterday lunchtime, tennis was my only losing sport for the month, football and horse racing the most profitable. The Bended Knee lay blew away my horse racing profit, so I ended the month with two sports in the red. I had bets on eight other sports, and not for the first time, all were profitable. As I have noted before, these were opportunities that opened up for me, rather than bets I was searching for. There’s a lesson to take on board.
So November begins back where I’ve been a number of times – a limited bank to attempt to build up (again). However, I currently feel no urge to deposit any cash into the bank, just a determination to put in the time and effort to recover my losses from the last two months through sensible betting. I’ve had two spells in recent months where I’ve earned good profits from disciplined and controlled trading. I have to keep that mindset in place for the whole of November – there’s little point in continuing with the inconsistency I’ve been afflicted with for periods of the last two months – I can’t afford a hobby which costs me money.
The positive for the month – in October I invoiced out my highest charges since I began self-employment in March, so the lack of any Betfair profit had no material impact upon my finances. I will make a profit in November, it may be modest but I’m now fed up of throwing hard-earned profit away with childish tantrums. A silver lining – I’ve begun November with a 14% increase on bank so far today.
Whether I can maintain profitability month in, month out remains to be seen. History suggests not, keeping discipline for long periods has not been a strength. And lack of discipline is now all that stands between my success and failure. Time to get real, or get out.
Saturday, 31 October 2009
I’ve come to accept that I’m not a natural tennis trader, I hate the flip-flop of odds, and I’m more comfortable with the ATP, where there is less of this ridiculous blowing up under pressure. As I’ve commented on before, I believe the only way to success with women’s tennis is by laying heavy favourites in-play. And I’m not good at that, so I’ll continue to avoid around half the players on the tour, simply because I don’t trust them to keep their head together under pressure.
Another good reason for keeping big money in your pocket at this time of year is injuries. We’ve already had two back-up players competing in Doha, some wag on the Betfair forum suggested they’d be calling for Kristina Barrois soon ( world number 71! ). This weeks ATP tournaments have been littered with retirements, and we’ve basically got a load of knackered players trying to squeeze out a few more rankings points before the season ends.
So who’s backing at 1.01 in WTA games? The whole point of Betfair is matching money, and a laying strategy seems so obvious, but the money’s there to match. Surely once you’ve been burned a couple of times, you wouldn’t back in similar situations again? I’ve no problem with money-buying at 1.01 in the right situation, but any top-level WTA game is not the right situation. Fact.
Tuesday, 27 October 2009
My betting tip for the week - avoid completely. There is no-one on earth who's got a clue as to what may happen in each match. Sure, there'll be flip-flops to trade with but, frankly, it's not worth the stress on your organs. There's plenty of more suitable sport for betting around this week, including three ATP tour events. Let the girls have their highly-paid vacation.
I'd have had a chunk on Serena to have the most inappropriate outfit for the ball if that had been on offer. That's one area she's always consistent.
Sunday, 25 October 2009
So on to the follow-up. A lay of Manchester United. Bullseye. Ok, it was only a small bet, but I do get great satisfaction from a smart win, often much more than from a more lucrative but obvious selection.
My best bet of the day? No, that was the lay of Arsenal at 1-2 about three minutes before the West Ham equaliser to red up at (£5) after an initial back of the favourites which I foolishly failed to green up.
I ended the day with a decent profit but, not for the first time, what could have a cracking day was hijacked by red cards. I had to set-off plenty of potential profit following three sendings off ( for Hamburg, Club Brugge and Livorno ). Bloody refs.
Saturday, 24 October 2009
On the occasions when I’m out for the afternoon, I usually have a little lunchtime punt on a selection of the afternoon’s domestic matches. This has over time evolved into a series of lays of away teams, although whether backing or laying, I always seem to end up close to zero profit. What does this prove? Either that I’m an average tipster, or more probably just that the odds setters often get it right.
Today I followed my usual routine – I picked out a batch of potential selections based upon the available odds and my own opinion ( in this case eighteen games ). I then researched the form and stats for each match, before whittling down to my chosen lays.
So today, I arrived at nine away lays ( Doncaster, Grimsby, Yeovil, Walsall, Wycombe, Swindon, Crewe, Accrington Stanley, Grays ). Result - seven wins, two losses. As usual (and as I have come to expect ), the resultant odds brought me back close to where I started ( well an £8 loss actually ).
And how many of the original eighteen would have been losses? Two! Irritatingly, the average odds of the nine discarded lays was considerably lower than the chosen nine. This game does your head in sometimes.
I’d be surprised if anyone can consistently make money from picking football winners ( as opposed to in-play trading ). If anyone knows different, please put me right. Until then, I’ll accept that those Saturday afternoon punts are just for fun. And try to make a profit elsewhere.
Tuesday, 20 October 2009
A little later, Caroline Wozniaki lined up against the local ‘lucky-loser’ – Anne Kremer – in Luxembourg. Dead cert. But not enough cash in my bank for a worthwhile bet, so I stuck just £15 on to win a quid! ( I’m a sucker for rounding up balances ) before popping out with Mrs B for half an hour. Check out the Betfair forum for more detail of what happened, but to summarise –
At 5-5 40-A first set, Wozniaki called the trainer, took an injury time-out and had her thigh heavily strapped. From that moment, she destroyed Kremer, moving to 7-5, 5-0. She then shook hands and retired! A 1.01 gubbing. Carnage.
From reading the forum, it seems that at 3-0 second set, a guy on the forum had warned everyone that Wozniaki’s dad had told her to retire at 5-0, so that the local girl could win! I’m sure this will keep the forum excited for a few hours.
I’m just feeling lucky. This could easily have been my first bet after a major bank deposit. Phew.
A look forward to tomorrow, and a match of interest in Stockholm. To those who have only been following tennis for a couple of years, the name of Joachim Johansson may mean little. The 27 year-old Swede with the ‘Pim-Pim’ nickname has a current world ranking of 511 after an injury ravaged couple of years, but for a short while during the middle of the decade he was a rising force in the game, with a career-high ranking of number nine in early 2005, based around a huge serve ( I’m talking Karlovic-style ). Unfortunately this great strength led to ongoing shoulder problems, which in turn led to his retirement in early 2008.
I noted his tentative ATP Tour comeback a couple of weeks ago in Malaysia. Having played one Challenger tournament per month through the summer, the Kuala Lumpar ATP tournament was a warm-up for his main target for the year – to compete in his home event in Stockholm. He still managed to blow away Lleyton Hewitt in straight sets in the opening round, and follow that by reaching 6-4, 6-6 against Richard Gasquet before going down in three sets. Interestingly, he commented on his own lack of match fitness after the Hewitt victory, and withered in the third set against Gasquet. In Stockholm, he beat 83-ranked Peter Luczak in straight sets in the first round and tomorrow evening plays Juan Monaco ( who’s had injury problems in the last couple of weeks ). Johansson is currently 1.51 and, if I’m home in time, I’ll be on Johansson with the hope of greening-up after the first set. He will be extremely motivated and I expect a quick start. It may be that his comeback has a limited shelf-life, so this tournament is a huge one for Johansson. But if it goes to three sets – get on Monaco.
On non-sporting matters, two news items today have made me doubt the future of humanity. Firstly, I note the nomination as ‘Celebrity Mother of the Year’ for Katie Price, a plastic-breasted self-publicist with no discernable talent who seems happy to hawk her children around the world to suit her own agenda, regardless of what may be best for them. This decision can presumably only have been made on the basis that she is popular with the brain-dead.
A similar audience must also be those targeted by the producers of the record which will this week become Britain’s biggest-selling single of 2009 – some manufactured soulless pap sung by Cheryl Cole, wife of Ashley and former nightclub punch-up specialist. I understand how a song performed on primetime TV on a Saturday evening to fifteen million people is likely to sell in large quantities, but am deflated by the ease with which the audience continue to fall for this same trick year after year, buying fourth-rate drivel regardless of what their ears are telling them.
Maybe this is evolution – eventually we will all become brainwashed zombies who do exactly what we are told to by the black box in the corner of the lounge. Darwin didn’t see that coming.
Tuesday, 13 October 2009
The offending trade was a back at 1.08 on South African side Eagles against Sussex in the Twenty20 Champions League. Low odds, but I just couldn’t see how the Eagles could fail to knock off a small remaining total with loads of wickets in hand. I slowly watched the scoreboard unravel, as Sussex’ slow bowlers put the brakes on the scoring rate. I made the decision to first offset my anticipated profit to lower my liability, and shortly afterwards I took a £20.00ish all-red.
My second error got me out of the mire. I made it unknowingly at the time of placing the bet – ok, who checks the rules of the bet regularly? As the game reached a tight climax, I’d already written off my £20. With five required to win off the last ball, a boundary forced a tie ( Eagles went on to take the match in a one-over ‘super over’ contest ). I assumed a tie would average the red/green position of each team – in my case a £20 loss.
Wrong – match void. A windfall!
It’s worth checking the rules occasionally, particularly if you’re trading competitions you’re not too familiar with.
Sunday, 11 October 2009
Would England have been beaten in Ukraine if they had needed a result? I doubt it. In the majority of games, teams needing a result achieved their aim when competing against opponents with nothing to play for. Only Bulgaria blew my argument, capitulating to Cyprus. I’ll put that down to the south European temperament. Stand-out results were away wins for Paraguay and Chile in the South American qualifiers, Serbia’s demolition of Romania to confirm their qualification to South Africa, and Germany’s win in Russia.
So can I carry this opinion forward into a profitable strategy? In international qualifiers and Champions League games, probably. In league football, different rules seem to apply. I’ve basically given up on football betting during the last month of the league season, due to the daft results which occur. What’s the difference? Probably my old nugget – ‘mental fragility’. Lesser teams will crumble under pressure, whereas top players improve their performance.
I’ve added the highlights from Argentina’s win over Peru – an incredible finish. I particularly enjoyed the Argentinian defender’s attempt at a backheeled flick clearance from his own penalty area, with his team leading 1-0 after 89 minutes.
Friday, 9 October 2009
A stylish playmaker with an eye for goal and a willingness to work hard for his team, Ireland is quickly becoming an established star of the Premier League.
However, great footballing ability tends to go hand-in-hand with crap taste, whether it be in music or purchases. Pictured below is Ireland's girlfriend, one Jessica Lawlor, at the wheel of a white Bentley Continental R that Stephen managed to pimp up to the total value of £260k.
Wednesday, 7 October 2009
The weekend just passed was one of the hardest I’ve been through in the last couple of years. My main chosen weapon was a lay of away teams, and a few outright backs where the favourites looked solid. There were plenty of successes, but United’s performance against Sunderland ( an equaliser way too late to trade out my back of the home side ) and Sunday’s defeats for Marseille and Juventus took away most of the profits gained. My mood was also severely damaged by the large amount of scratched trades as a batch of home favourites went behind, and I lacked the conviction to hold out for a home equaliser ( which usually appeared just after I’d scratched ).
I finished Sunday with a kick in the teeth – a lay of mid-table IK Start in the Norwegian top flight away at Rosenborg ( season’s record – played 26, won 19, drawn 7, lost 0 ). Rosenborg led 1-0 and 2-1, so I saw no need to green up. That Start scored in the 89th and 90th minute to win 2-3 should just go down as a reminder of why sport is so interesting, and a warning about the pitfalls of gambling – there’s no such thing as a certainty. But after the frustrations of the weekend, I was in no mood for philosophical amusement at my downfall. ‘Pissed off’ does not convey my thoughts. And October started in the red.
So what strategy do I have in my locker to bring things back on course? That hackneyed old phrase – ‘back to basics’. Yep, the only way to succeed in the long term is through discipline, bank management and waiting for opportunities, rather than forcing issues. So I’ll plug away with football betting and any random opportunities which fall at my feet. Horse racing and tennis bets are limited at the moment ( for an 8 till 6 worker ), but that’s hardly disastrous, based upon a glance at my recent P&L’s.
I did have an interesting play with one of my old spreadsheets, one that was used at a time I had a percentage-based daily or weekly target. These targets proved to be unhelpful , causing inconsistent staking and chasing to meet an artificial goal. But using the sheet simply as a guide as to possible profits gives a worthwhile example of what can be achieved with steady and modest gains. Think you can make £10 a day with a £150 bank? Think you can make £30 a day with a £1,000 bank? £50 a day with a £2,000 bank? Doesn’t look impossible, does it? Achieving this regularly can quickly add up to a substantial profit. My past error was to be too ambitious with my targets, and to allow daily losses to affect my medium-term strategy.
Less greed, more patience – a recipe for getting out of a rut.
Sunday, 4 October 2009
Despite originating from the heartland of British Rugby League ( born in Leeds, and once lived just five miles from three club stadiums – Castleford, Featherstone, Wakefield ) I have never had any great interest in the game, being a lifetime football fan. But I have had good recent results following this season’s NRL action, and had another small win on the Grand final today. My P&L for the last three months shows 20 transactions, with 19 wins and one scratch. I’d be ecstatic if I could transfer that hit rate onto Football or Tennis.
Why the success? It’s certainly not down to research. I simply check the NRL ladder and recent results, before watching matches develop (on a scoreboard!) and backing in-play at an appropriate moment. I have only two answers :-
· The better teams generally hold on to leads ( as happened this morning, despite a few scares ).
· I am betting in the morning.
As many who trade on Betfair as a hobby will know, you are often in situations where time on the computer has followed a day’s work, and mental fatigue becomes an important factor. I’m sure I’m not alone in having my performance ( and P&L ) deteriorate at the end of a Betfair session, particularly during the evening. Whilst the successful full-time traders will be in optimum mental state for their allocated working hours, the part-timer has to find whatever time is available, and often that may be when the brain is functioning at well below it’s best.
It seems to me that my NRL bets were done with a positive and decisive outlook, and that my confidence was rewarded with profit. I spend plenty of time in the evenings scratching bets and taking small reds on other sports as my confidence evaporates at the first sign of a turnaround in a match. Is a sharp mind also a brave mind?
Maybe I should move to Canada. Then I could follow Saturday’s European footy in the morning.
Thursday, 1 October 2009
French showman with a bad habit of saving his calamities for the big occasions.
Tough-tackling full back turned radio pundit, who bizarrely managed to gain 19 England caps.
Cultured ex-Chelsea and France centre-back, now living in L.A.
Ex-Arsenal and QPR defender from a time when bald top and long sides were perfectly acceptable.
Like Mills, ex-Charlton. Like Mills, a tough tackling full back. Like Mills, no hair.
The legendary 'comb-over'. Nuff said.
Fan's favourite for many years at Middlesboro and Southampton in the seventies and eighties, with 3 England caps.
Former Sampdoria, Juventus and, er, Crystal Palace wingman
with 19 Italian caps.
Popular centre forward for a string of clubs, who started and finished his 20 year career at Norwich City.
Birmingham City fans will remember the young blond-locked Johnson. Everton and Fulham fans wont.
Anybody I've missed?
Wednesday, 30 September 2009
‘It seems to me, now more than ever, that having one's head in gear is significantly more important than the mechanics of the trade itself. Keeping the mind in shape should be at the top of our list.’
I’m going to blame rock festivals for my September performance, which was certainly more to do with mindset than any particular bet or trade. I’ve had an enjoyable summer, with regular festival weekends tucked between worthwhile and satisfying work, and fairly steady betting. With the end of the festival season, I think I lost the nice routine I had developed, spent too much time in front of the laptop and struggled to remember what my aims were.
I made an error in removing too much cash from my Betfair account early in the month, which left me with a smaller bank than I’m comfortable playing with. I subsequently went into a pattern of haphazard betting which led to an unsurprisingly loss-making month. I whittled away the bank, redeposited the money I took out earlier, blew that deposit, and spent most of the month playing with a tiny bank, making little progress. I finally deposited £500 into Betfair and had a couple of days away from the laptop to clear my head and start afresh in October.
I’ve made losses in the three major sports traded – football, tennis and horse racing. Probably as these are the sports generally available for me when I wish to throw an ‘Oh-sod-it’ bet. My most successful sport in the month was Australian Rugby League! Gah. There’s little point in deep analysis of the bets placed, nearly all the losing ones were either ill-researched, frustrated follow-on bets after a loss, or simple OFI punts. So probably best to forget September – a losing month where I learnt little to help me progress.
I’ve read plenty of blogs lately, and re-read a chunk of my own blog. It strikes me that there is no formula for success on Betfair, but all the successful guys have their own technique which they follow consistently, and have confidence in their own ability. So my October aim is to get back to doing what I’m good at, and try to keep in mind what I’m trying to achieve during each Betfair session.
It can’t be any worse than September!
Sunday, 27 September 2009
Contrary to my thoughts, Date wasn’t beaten by Hantuchova, nor anyone else, and won the Korea Open. She will be 39 tomorrow, and last won a title thirteen years ago. This week she’s beaten a series of decent names from the ‘second tier’ of the WTA – Kleybanova, Hantuchova, Kirilenko, Medina Garrigues – and is the second-oldest title winner in WTA history. Come on then, who backed her pre-tournament? No hands up then. The oldest winner ever? Billie-Jean King.
As I suggested, Peer did win the Tashkent Open without losing a set, just as she had in Guangzhoi during the previous week. Best bet of the coming week? She’ll pull out of the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo citing injury!
A step up in level for the WTA this week in Tokyo, with only Serena and Kim Clijsters missing of the big guns. Take out the only two with any consistent form, and you’re struggling for pointers. Safina is the defending champion, Venus the favourite (just). So it’s anyone’s tournament, basically. I can lend a pin to any optimists who wish to pick the winner.
I’ve noted before how my odds-on instincts often frustrate. I sniggered this morning at the odds available on Flavia Pennetta to beat Roberta Vinci ( 1.16ish I think ) in a first round game in Tokyo. Pennetta is inconsistent, Vinci limited but tough. Yet it didn’t occur to me to lay Pennetta, I just moved on to find the next value back. Vinci won 6-1, 6-2. A lay would have been a damn easier (and lower risk) way of making money than the long session I’ve just endured to pick off £3 and £4 wins on the evening’s footy.
Monitoring the cricket from Centurion today, it struck me how the odds-makers (and gamblers!) have no trust in England’s ability in the one day game. The odds on England remained extremely generous throughout the game, and I won a tenner backing at 1.61 and laying off at 1.07. Plenty of fingers must have been burnt recently, I assume. England are now third favourites to win the Champions Trophy. Don’t you just love sport.
I’m having a couple of days away from Betfair now – basically work-related, but September has been a shocker and I want to restart again refreshed for October. I’ll hopefully have time to put together a doom-laden month-end review post for Wednesday!
Thursday, 24 September 2009
The tournament is the Hansol Korea Open, and the player Kimiko Date of Japan ( now known as Date-Krumm ). As the tennis world prepares for the return of Justine Henin, the Date comeback at the age of 39 is less likely to create shockwaves throughout the sport. But she’s a tough competitor who gave Caroline Wozniaki a scare at Wimbledon. Tomorrow, she’s up against the number one seed, Daniela Hantuchova. The Slovak should win, but my fact for your consideration – of Date’s twelve defeats this season, nine of those matches went to a third set. For a tournament winner, I quite like the look of Vera Dushevina. She’s won a title this year (in Istanbul) and took a set off Venus at the US Open.
The other WTA tournament this week is in the Tashkent, Uzbekistan ( check your atlas ). I generally like to bet against the winner of the previous week’s tournament, particularly on the WTA, as fatigue seems to be a more important factor than form . But Shahar Peer breezed through the tournament in Guangzhou last week without losing a set, and may do the same this week, at least until a likely final against Shvedova.
Any bets I place will be small – I’ll be asleep for most of the WTA games, and at work for the ATP tournaments.