Tuesday, 23 March 2010


I kept away from Betfair yesterday as I felt a little under the weather. Fortunately the expected cold symptoms have not appeared today, so my emergency diet of fruit and hot tea seems to have done the job. It seems obvious to avoid the laptop if you’re unwell. But we’ve all done it, you’re in the house, there’s little to do, so why not try a make a few quid? In the past, I've had to learn that lesson the hard way.

I watched the Mumbai / Kolkata game yesterday afternoon, tucked up on the sofa with a duvet. I had watched a previous Kolkata game, and ( like Ronnie Irani in the ITV studio ) had been unimpressed with Sourav Ganguly’s performance with the bat – too slow, lacking in awareness of the match situation. He was no better yesterday. An under a run-per-ball innings, on what turned out to be a decent pitch. He must be the only player in the IPL who’s looking to improve his batting average.

I once had a celebrity encounter with Ganguly – in a Pizza Hut at Fosse Park, Leicester. I think the Indian squad were based in the area for the 1999 World Cup. I remember his disdainful smirk as he avoided any eye contact with the locals, many of whom were from the local Indian community and clamoured for his autograph. Nothing doing. That same smirk was constantly on his face throughout yesterday’s game. He seems to be more interested in Sourav Ganguly than in the Kolkata Knight Riders.

I’m now further in the red than I was at my last post. I had a couple of successful hours on Friday evening. Easy money. I went out on Sunday, but managed to sneak a couple of hours on my return, making over £100. I spent another couple of hours on Monday evening. More easy money. But Saturday…… ( silent groan ).

I am hopeless nowadays during long sessions. Whilst I know that you’re going to lose a few bets if you spend a long period betting, I just seem to get grumpy and my technique and tactics deteriorate. I then move into a semi-zombie state, watching my bank disappear down the plughole with what at the time seem like a series of unlucky bets. It’s only when you step away and come back the next day that you realise how crap many of the bets were. I must learn to break up these long weekend sessions, they just don’t work for me. Fortunately, spring is with us and I’m considerably more likely to get out of the house at the weekend in the spring and summer. I’ll be glad to see the back of March.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Still In The Red

A quick thought. Who would you rather have managing your team. Roy Hodgson or Rafa Benitez? Thought so.

Haven’t posted for a while. As Cassini pointed out recently, it’s no fun writing about a losing pastime. And since my last post, I’ve done more losing than winning. So March is turning into a crap month. I’ve only really been involved in racing and football betting, and both sports are showing a loss. The racing deficit is not yet a concern. I have commented on my failing to stick with a strategy for any length of time, and following last month’s successes I’m happy to keep moving forward in the hope that the short-term loss is a correction that will, in the medium term, still result in a profitable outcome.

I seem to be heading down a cul-de-sac with my football selections at the moment, probably due to the sort of loss of confidence which condemned my tennis betting to a spell in the wilderness recently. In the same way that I got into a routine of taking all-reds too early when tennis games started to go against me, I seem to be in the habit of going all-red in games where my selection is eventually successful. I did it again tonight with a lay of Werder Bremen. So I think my weekend will be better spent reviewing where my profits and losses have been made on football over the last year, rather than piling into more losing bets.

My limited bank is also an obstacle at the moment. I try to be cautious by cashing out profits on a monthly basis, but it leaves me open to a losing spell coinciding with a withdrawal. It happened over the weekend, meaning the dreaded ‘deposit’ button had to be pressed. I was fortunate that a bad start to Sunday was halted by a prior engagement ( Fun Lovin’ Criminals at the Leamington Spa Assembly ), before I managed to blow all of the newly deposited funds in frustration. I’ve now accepted that March is going to be a losing month, as I’d rather make a few steady steps forward for the rest of the month than increase my level of risk just to reach an arbitrary figure.

I’ve been following Cheltenham with interest ( for the first time! ) but it’s of little use for my laying methods. Most races seem to have live potential winners out at 25’s and 33’s. I’ve laid a couple, came a cropper with Weapon’s Amnesty in the RSA, but also had a fiver on Big Zeb in the following race. Overall, my Cheltenham P&L currently sits at +£54, so no complaints.

Finally, RIP Alex Chilton. Influencial in the States, unknown over here, I only know him for one song, but it’s a hell of a tune, from the 1974 album ‘Radio City’. May I introduce you to Big Star’s ‘September Gurls’.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010


dabble – to take a casual or superficial interest.

I should have stuck to my word and avoided Betfair yesterday. Instead, I dabbled. And for about an an hour this afternoon, I dabbled. The result – after the first week of March my monthly P&L sits at ( £101 ).

The actual bets are not that significant, a couple of European football games going against me, and one of those ‘three in a row’ racing lay disasters. But the mindset behind them is. I just wanted to make a few pounds easily, without putting in the effort to analyse and research. Which leaves you wide open to the unexpected result or, more accurately, the superficially unexpected result. I laid Polish side Odra ( bottom of the table ) away at Legia Warsaw ( third place, unbeaten at home ), at odds of 16.5! Not odds I would regularly be involved with, but I was just looking for easy money. So no consideration of a two month winter break, no consideration of Odra’s relegation situation, no consideration of the likely odds in the event of the away team scoring first. A crap bet basically.

Again, at first glance, my main racing lay loss ticked all the boxes in terms of my decision to lay. But my stake was too high ( following a previous loss ) and, more irritatingly, there was another horse in the race which fitted my lay requirements, and was at lower odds. But I was looking for a quick fix, so didn’t bother to delve deep enough.

I have no problem with losing money if I have analysed properly. This is sports betting – the unexpected happens. But throwing away hard earned money, and learning nothing in the process, is pointless.

Most Betfair traders and gamblers want to make a profit. For many, it’s a hobby that may make a few pounds each week. For others, there is a wish to obtain a regular additional income. Many bloggers have indicated an aim to trade on a full-time basis if they can remain successful. And of course, there are a few who rely fully on their Betfair income to live. Whatever your motive for betting, it seems a straightforward objective to maximise your profit to a point limited only by betting bank and time. A tip to help you do this - spend a minute before you connect to Betfair. Decide what you intend to achieve, and what rules you wish to apply to your betting. If you come away from a session having made no profit, but have learnt something, it’s been worth it. I’ve learnt nothing new in the last two days, and lost money.

I have a bit of a problem with ‘challenges’. I see many appear amongst the betting logs, but I think they’re generally misguided. What’s the point? Most deviate away from the objective noted above – to maximise profit. Why tie one hand behind your back? Whilst I accept that using a limited bank of say £100 can be useful during a learning stage, it’s only realistic if the same rules are applied regardless of bank size. Many challenges make huge initial returns on small banks, but they’re unsustainable. If you’re betting in an artificial environment, you are missing out on opportunities to learn. This game’s tough, so unless you’ve got hundreds of thousands in the bank and play on Betfair purely for fun, forget challenges and concentrate on improving your performance.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Why I Hate Mike Ashley

I have nothing against Newcastle United, the team owned by Ashley. I admire the fan’s dedication to their club through the regular ups and downs, and always looked forward to Leeds/Newcastle games – my first ever visit to a football match was a game against Newcastle at Elland Road in March 1974.

My ire comes from a rare visit to a ‘Sports Direct’ store. The chain is also owned by Ashley, and on a previous visit to a store I came away with an impression of a disorganised place selling third-rate rubbish. However, requiring a cheap top for work use, I made the unfortunate decision to visit their Birmingham store yesterday. It must be the worst shopping experience available. The place is a disaster. Most of the stock is on the floor, the remainder is just thrown on racks, with no sense of showing off goods at their best. ‘70% off’ labels adorn everything in the store – I doubt anything has ever been sold at full price. There are various cardboard boxes and step ladders left on the shop floor. Payment is made at a back of store counter, where clueless shop assistants couldn’t even work out who was at the front of the queue ( which was informally put together by customers as there is no obvious queue position ). It’s a craphole.

The customer is given a variety of brands to choose from ( Dunlop, Slazenger, Donnay, Lonsdale ) which are all owned by Sports Direct, and all appear to have similar design quality ( bugger all ). Yes, there are a batch of leftovers from Nike, Adidas and Reebok, but it’s basically set up for mug customers who continue to buy crap in the belief they’re getting good value. Avoid.

I did my regular Saturday football punt yesterday, as I was out all afternoon and early evening. I picked out ten matches, generally staking to win around a fiver. I managed to scratch one bet on my I-phone, leaving me with seven winners and two losers. The result – a red £1.68. It’s amazing how many times I arrive back near zero.

The main culprits were Austria Vienna, previously unbeaten at home, but turned over by LASK Linz ( no previous away wins! ). I was struck during analysis of the Europe-wide results that we are heading into the latter part of the season, where previous form is less important than league position in selecting winners. It’s time to be wary of those sides under relegation threat, and where those in safe mid-table positions are hard to predict. I will only bet on football for another month, once April is upon us it tends to become a lottery as the promotion/relegation issues are resolved.

I’m a little gutted to find no All Weather racing card today. This seems to have become the mainstay of my profits in recent weeks. So I think betting will take a back seat today, I’ll be watching the two FA Cup ties and sorting out my business finances. Enjoy your day.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Thoughts Of The Day

Guess where I’ve been working today? Anyone who can identify the mystery town from the picture I took on my I-phone on a glorious morning earlier today get’s a free lay of the week (worth about 7p) from me.

I’ve noted that both Cassini and 70k have been having a little stick from various ‘Anonymous’ types in comments to recent posts. In my year of blogging, I’ve never received any negative ( or even anonymous ) comments to my blog posts. This is clearly because I’m such a great guy, and the fact that I never seem to make any money is purely coincidental.

I was interested in the GB line-up for the upcoming Davis Cup tie in Lithuania announced earlier – James Ward, Dan Evans, Colin Fleming, Ken Skupski.

The Lithuanians must be shitting themselves.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Career Change?

A flying start to March. Not.

I think it's going to be a slow week, as I won't be having any more than token interest in the international football.

Driving home tonight, I was sorely irritated by the amount of 'public service' adverts on my chosen radio station, Birmingham's rock channel Kerrang Radio. In the good old days, you'd be bombarded by DFS sale adverts, but now the retailers are all hanging onto their cash and we're pounded by information on the ill-effects of smoking, chlamydia, truancy, teenage abuse and, er, obtaining a provisional driving licence.

On one hand, we're told that our teenagers are brighter and better educated than ever, but then it seems that those in authority think they're incapable of any common sense whatsoever, and need to be force-fed information.

Best of all, I heard a recruitment ad for MI6! On a brummy rock station! I know the days of Oxbridge 'funny handshake' recruitment have long gone, but I wasn't ready for that. Anyway, I've sent in my application form.

February - Racing Certainty

It’s noticeable how my attitude towards betting is changed by one decent day. The month has been mixed, but started with a good day ( +£86 ), and ended with a good one ( +£131 ). So I can analyse from a positive viewpoint, which saves my readers from another longwinded moan about my inconsistency and indiscipline.

The month started well and I reached my P&L high point on the 11th of the month ( +£851 ). It started to unravel a little when I decided to increase my staking on a couple of tennis matches ( having made a cautious start to the year ). I then had three successive losing days of tennis betting, ending with a substantial hit when getting involved in a flip-flopping WTA game between Sybille Bammer and Aravane Rezai. This just brought back too many memories of the stresses ( and losses ) I’ve incurred over the years when getting on the wrong side of WTA matches. And as I don’t seem to pick enough regular winners nowadays to offset the hits that a bad trade can bring, I subsequently backed away from any more serious tennis betting.

My football betting went reasonably well for the first three weeks or so of the month, but most of my profit was wiped out by one bad weekend. After that, I just had one of those spells where every selection went wrong, and I seemed to spend the latter part of the month taking all-red positions. I don’t believe there was anything particularly wrong with the individual bets, so I’ll put it down to a bad run, and start afresh in March.

I was pleased with my discipline in keeping away from the ‘sundry’ sport punts which have sometimes tarnished my monthly P&L’s. My monthly total for all sports other than my main three ended at + £1.96, from considerably less bets than in recent months.

And finally the month’s success story. Horse Racing. In my last monthly review, I identified that I needed to be a little more selective and reduce the quantity of bets, having suffered a loss in January. And it made a difference. Upon reviewing my P&L breakdown, I was surprised to find that I had made the highest monthly profit on one individual sport since commencing the blog a year ago – well over £1,000. I had only four losing days in the month, and am feeling pretty confident in my ability to lay losers as the month-end arrives. I also tweaked my average lay odds in the month, looking to shorten the odds, with a lower average liability which would be offset by a lower strike rate. This was mainly psychological – I’ve gone backwards in recent months in my ability to take a loss without going on tilt, and felt that if I could have more losses without it affecting my overall P&L, this would make me less likely to sulk when each inevitable loss comes along. And that has probably been my major success of the month – taking a loss without emotion remains the holy grail of gambling ( in my humble opinion ), and I seem to have taken a positive step forward.

So I’m reasonably satisfied with a month where I incurred overall losses on football and tennis, yet had a final profit of just under £750. Particularly as my expenditure in the month exceeded my income ( note for the self employed : January is a shit month for earning money ). Whilst I prefer betting as a hobby, it’s handy to have a little income stream when needed.

And finally I must thank a number of bloggers whose insights on horse racing have helped me along over recent months. With limited personal knowledge, I need every piece of informed opinion I can get my hands on, and there has been plenty of useful ( and free ) information out there in blogland.