Friday, 14 August 2009

It's All About The Confidence

Every cloud has a silver lining. Tonight’s match between Federer and Tsonga was possibly my silver lining after the dark tennis cloud that has settled over me in the last month.

First, the match. A high quality if serve-dominated first set, with Tsonga taking the tie break. Federer moved from his pre-match 1.18 to circa 1.60. Federer whipped through the second set 6-1, and then broke Tsonga twice in the final set to take a 4-0 lead, at which point (unsurprisingly) 1.01 could be laid. Tsonga then stormed back, winning five successive games and having three match points at 5-6 0-40. Federer recovered to take the match to a tie break, which Tsonga took 7-3 for a miraculous victory.

So I made a good profit? No, a £12 loss. But it struck me how my current lack of confidence may have saved me from a serious clobbering. I remain a Federer fan, and have backed him heavily in the past. A month ago, I would probably have placed my initial bet on Federer, remained calm through the first set setback, and then greened-up at the latter part of the second set. But I may well have determined that Tsonga had blown it once broken early in the third, and piled in on Federer.

Instead, the tennis-shy Rob stuck £50 on Federer pre-match, and then went all red at the end of the first set, tired of my selections regularly sailing down the river. I then watched the coverage of the remainder of the game with no desire to risk further losses. Good choice.

I’m still doing reasonably well on my discipline this month, less well on profit generation. I’m feeling fairly comfortable with soccer, and horse racing is still a work in progress, so as long as I can stay ahead of zero I’m content. It’s actually been the ‘sundry’ backs that have offset my tennis calamities, with worthwhile profit from cricket and Aussie rugby league. Oddly, most of this money has been gained using Betfair Mobile whilst having the odd 10 minute break from work, rather than during a structured betting session. Maybe it’s sometimes easier to just look at one sporting event in isolation, and make a single decision based on the odds and information in front of you. During a three/four hour session, you can become influenced by the successes and failures of the session, with losses leading to inconsistent staking and frustration, and gains bringing overconfidence or tentative bank-protection.

Finally, I’ll use the news of the death, at the age of 94, of an American guitar legend – Les Paul – as an excuse to add a picture of the instrument which famously carries his name, the Gibson Les Paul Standard. It remains one of the greatest guitars ever made, and one of the most beautiful, so Paul’s legacy will remain for decades to come. I own a Fender Stratocaster, never practise enough to make any progress with my playing, but remain hopeful that my Betfair exploits may pay in the future for a Les Paul Standard, and maybe even guitar lessons.

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