Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Nothing Left In The 2009 Tank

I’m slowly bringing my betting 2009 to a close with a whimper, before a two day trip to London for New Year. I made a disastrous return to the laptop following the Christmas break, with a ‘session from hell’ on Monday evening. Tired, slightly sniffly and frustrated from a painful journey home, I attacked the evening’s sport with the thoughtful application of a bull terrier full of turkey leftovers. It was almost an out-of-body experience as I piled into each transaction, dull old thoughts like ‘bank management’, ‘exit strategy’ and ‘risk reduction’ left far behind, instead just backing my, er, judgement. Result – a predictable meltdown. Not exactly tarnishing my December P&L, more dousing it in paintstripper.

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

More Sherwood Forest Capers

Bloody cold out there! My main concern when I grabbed a couple of hours during the day to follow a little racing was that my laptop would freeze over in a scarcely heated office.

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

New Betting Technique

For the last two days, I've been developing a new technique I'll call the 'Robin Hood' style, whereby I take from those villainous racing backers, and give back to the needy football punter.

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.


Just spent 99p of my daily winnings ( that's a big chunk gone! ) on a download of a song I already have on CD.

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

End Of The Roll

So my winning run ended at twenty seven days. Not too concerned really, it was difficult to get a sense of how much of my betting was good strategy, and how much was luck, when everything seemed to fall in my lap.

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

You Know You're On A Roll When........

..... you post a quick blog post before going out for the day, and then get distracted by Mrs B's indecision regarding her choice of coat, make a late decision to also lay Bolton and Everton, but forget to place that £100ish lay on Aston Villa.

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.

Defensive Tactics

Having brought my run of profitable days to a record ( for me ) twenty six, I've devised a cunning plan to extend it to twenty seven - I'm going Christmas shopping. I'm already £8 up today ( courtesy of the early Aussie footy ), so a day in Birmingham awaits.

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

Numbers, Numbers

Just worked out that the Arsenal shirt numbers for the game in Olympiakos add up to 259.

Maybe I need a new hobby.....

Old Fashioned Values?

I spent last night watching 120 minutes of Leeds against Kettering in the FA Cup second round replay at Elland Road on ITV4. A decent spectacle, and the 5-1 final score rather misrepresented the game – the goals flooded in at the end, against tiring part-time opponents. But I was left with one overriding impression.

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

In A Good Place

Following a decent start to December, I am now on a satisfying run of twenty successive profitable days. My betting state of mind is in a very different place to where it was only a short while ago, when each bet was placed with trepidation. I had reached a point at the end of the tennis season where each in-play move I made seemed to swing against me, often within seconds. A few bets were placed with the expectation that I would get clobbered! Clearly, this mindset will lead to being tentative. Suddenly, instead of looking for value, you look for certainty. That is not an easy element to find in the world of sports betting.

Yesterday gave a great example of how confidence affects performance. Having had a couple of horse racing lays go against me, the swift turnaround in the Wigan / Birmingham game left me £80 down on the day at 5.00pm. Yet four hours later, without resorting to any lump-on bets, and with consistent staking intact, I had a decent profit. A few weeks ago, by 5.00pm I would probably have been feeling sorry for myself, and plotting a way to recover my money in a couple of big gambles. With a decent bank in place and the confident expectation of profit to come, it is considerably easier to move forward with a consistent mindset. It helps when you back Almeria at big odds against Real Madrid when 1-0 down, and lay them off at 1-1 and 1-2!

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

Warm and Fuzzy.

A bet’s a bet, right? No, there are good and bad bets. And then there are the one’s that feel really good when they come off. Often the amount of satisfaction bears no relation to the profit involved, but generally the sense of having found an edge gives a warm and fuzzy feeling.

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 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.