Monday, 19 April 2010

The Way Forward

Right, as promised, a few thoughts on where I am at the moment, and then some necessary changes to the portfolio and the staking.

It's just over nine weeks since I started up again this year with the intention of trying to make a living out of this game. I was under no illusions as to the task ahead, particularly given the way that last year ended, but I was confident that I had a good portfolio of services, was adequately bankrolled, and experienced enough to cope with the stresses and strains of doing this on a daily basis.

I still feel that way, but the seemingly relentless losses I've incurred over the last couple of months have taken their toll - probably more than I've realised.

In terms of the amount lost - then that's nothing unusual compared to the last couple of years, I've lost more than £6000 in four days before now, but when you watch every race and see things played out in front of you each day it somehow feels different.

It doesn't help that it has immediately followed the shocking run at the end of last year, and I'm sure the psychological wish to make a good start is another factor.

The results over the last six months have been very bad really - I've said before I was clearly pushing my luck by the time last November came round, but with only one losing month in the previous twelve I was trying to cash in even more, especially as November/December 2008 were my most successful months the year before.

When I consider the £18,000 loss I had in November / December, the amount I spent on my holiday, the losses since I came back, and the bills I've had to pay each month it is quite sobering to think about the amount of money I've got through in the last six months !

Have to admit that the last few weeks have been pretty stressful - I think it's one thing to try and make money out of this on your own account, it's quite different to entrust everything to the thoughts and advice of other people - as good as a lot of that advice has been over the last couple of years.

However, it has become clear that I need to take much more control over things - been on about it for long enough but my own pre race, or in-running trades will form a much bigger part of what I do from here.

Doesn't mean I'm abandoning what I've done before, but I need to take some remedial action and try and get things back on track.

The portfolio summary for this year to date is a sorry sight - with red figures everywhere, and while I've already dropped the Punter Profits NH systems and Winabobatoo recommended bets from my portfolio, I need to cull a few more.

With immediate effect, I am dropping both Tipping Legends and The Form Guru - these two services combined have lost me over 200 points in the last nine weeks, and that is just not sustainable.

I have Tipping Legends 78 points down (75 to advised prices) so far this year - and that doesn't include the 88 points they lost in the first part of 2010 when I was away. In fairness I should point out that they won 200 points between September and December 2009 , but these ridiculous swings are impossible to sustain for someone in my position, particularly for a service that pitches its prices at the top end of the market.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll know that I stopped following them at the end of August following a prolonged period of disappointing results. In September, there was a re-organisation at Tipping Legends, an adjustment to the staking plan and an immediate upturn in results which was maintained for the remainder of last year.

However, this year has been terrible - which prompted another round of contemplation from JC with the aim of re-focussing for the flat season. So far he's a couple of points in front for this month - that's despite two 28/1 winners at Aintree, but I've decided that I'm going to sit and observe from the sidelines again.

As far as The Form Guru is concerned, they are 96 points down to advised stakes and prices (!) since I re-started - I don't have figures for the beginning of the year as they aren't published anywhere, but they made a fair start from what I heard.

I'm over 120 points down this year, partly due to the recent change to stake everything 2 points win or 1 point each way, but also due to the constant problem with this service - that you can't achieve the advised prices. Quoting prices which are only available with firms such as Sporting Bet, Betfred, Skybet etc (who are bookmakers in name only) is just misleading. There have also been numerous instances of the prices not being there at all when the e-mail is received.

At £35 a month, it's not an expensive service compared to many - and I do believe that Chris knows the time of day, he's found some great winners over the last year.
However since I came back I've lost everything I won last year and after 1400 bets over the last twelve months for what is now no financial reward, I think it's time to give up the chase.

I signed up with Formbet a couple of months ago, and while their ratings sheets and the website is very good, the bets which have been recommended on the daily e-mails have proved expensive to follow - with a sizeable loss shown. I'm no longer following the bets, and I need to work out whether I can make any use of the site and the ratings in future - not made my mind up yet.

The form of SLH over the last few months has been a big concern, with no profits made since last June, following a golden period of 400+ points in less than 18 months prior to that.

I've always tried to take the long term view ever since I started doing this - as difficult as that can be at times, but it really is time that SLH kicked on again, as the current run isn't acceptable for a premium service such as this one.

I've also decided to level stake SLH's bets - either win or each way. The 3-4 point bets don't sit comfortably with me, and while level staking wouldn't have made a huge difference in the returns over the last couple of years, I prefer it to SLH's current staking plan.

Paul Jones service is just about over for this season, and while he didn't hit the heights of previous years at the festival, I'll definitely be re-subscribing when the renewal comes around in October. The new midweek service didn't really fire either, although plenty of those selected ran well and I still don't believe that photo of Imperial Commander losing to Kauto Star at Haydock !

Very much looking forward to Equine Investments getting started again on May 1st - had an amazing first year with them, and I'm hoping Laurence will pick up where he left off last season !

Nearly the end of the football season now, and Football Elite has been a star performer, with Matt producing some great results - particularly before Christmas. A return of over 20% on football betting is outstanding.

I've made a losing start with Skeeve, but he clearly knows the score as far as the non league scene is concerned - the biggest issue for me is getting the prices, but as long as the edge is big enough - which I think it is, then I should do OK here.

I'll keep going with Birdie Golf, although it seems a long time since that great night with Ryan Moore last summer. However I've just added the Betting Zone golf tips and will stake all these at the same level.

Of the services I've recently started trialling , some of these look very promising and I'll make a final decision on which ones I will continue with over the next few weeks.

That's how I see things at the moment - it's been a tough few weeks for me, and for anyone who is following a similar path.

I do still believe I can crack it this year, my only target when I came back was to remain in the game - and that remains the target.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

When you say you are going level stakes with SLH are you planning to use your current stake size with a 2pt cap? ie: £80 each way or £160 win?

I currently back all his selections £100 each way unless the available price is less than 3/1 in which case I back £200 win. Fortunately I pegged back some of his losses by backing each way and getting at least 90% of my money back with several of his 'losing' albeit placed account bets. I know it's being over cautious but he's been on such a bad run since last October that I felt there was some justification in backing his selections each way, especially as his advised price is normally at least 4 or 5/1 (ie: money back if it comes 2nd or 3rd). I have no confidence in his ability as a flat racing tipster so will take a break from the service in the near future. I seem to remember last year he wasted a lot of telephone time with no account bets on the flat. I can only remember 2 flat bets all season, which both lost (something at Newmarket early on and then one at York). That was it - I remember wondering at the time why he bothered putting a message out at all.

Anonymous said...

SLH's website claims his service offers: "No expensive calls. All calls are at national standard rate. There are also special low cost lines for callers outside the U.K." I really think he should realise that to call a 0871 number from a mobile phone costs 25 pence per minute. He must realise we live in the age of mobile technology. Why can he not send out texts or e-mails? It is beyond me. It's unjustifiable. Look at the model Matt at FE sets - bang on 6pm e-mail message (free) and the bet review comes the morning after (also free as e-mailed). Why can't SLH do the same? It strikes me as mean and money-grabbing, especially the time he faffs around with his review message and midweek call backs.

Daniel said...

Tough times need radical action, I'm sure these changes will do good to your portfolio. For many readers you are true inspiration once again thank you for sharing your quest with us!

Daniel

Anonymous said...

I don't envy the tough decisions you've got to make, sods law will mean the ones you drop will no doubt come good now.

The start of the flat season is always a bit dodgy until the form starts to hold up for the more experienced handicappers. Have you done any stats/breakdowns into the tipsters and races they're currently tipping on.

Good luck with the coming months it's hard enough when you're relying on your own judgement let alone others who've at least got some cushion with the subs they take.

Anonymous said...

Some hard but good, sound, sensible decisions.

I have to draw particular attention to Form Guru, who as you state are way off the pace.

I wish you well with the bigger emphasis on your own bets.

Tiger W1 said...

Hey JP,

I feel your pain man. This has been an unprecedented bad run for this group of tipsters.

I started this tipster portfolio thing about a year ago after stumbling across SBC. Before then I just bet myself, fairly successfully, on golf mainly. The tipster thing has been a bit of a disaster for me really. For the first six to eight months, it was entirely my own fault, jumping from tipster to tipster and system to system in the hope of finding a get rich-quick scheme.

After deciding on a portfolio and promising to stick with it around 6 months ago however, I really was hopeful of turning a decent profit, or at least a profit of some kind.

Alas, it has not been the case. I didnt conceive things could go as badly as this, and I have been greatly chastened by the experience.

One thing I have realised is that making money from tipsters is extremely hard. The successful ones, too often, just get their prices smashed to the point where its not worth following, particularly if they are known to the general public like Tom Segal and Hugh Taylor (and Packed Pockets looks like going that way to me). Others do well for a year, then hit a collosal losing run, and either give up or lose their confidence and objectivity (I worry Tipping Legends has gone that way).

I am coming to the view that I will only subscribe to tipsters who have a proofed record of consistent success over a number of years. I dont think its any coincidence that two of the most profitable services this last 6 months have been EI and Football Elite, which have shown profit year in year out.

I also think I will look a lot more at how tipsters do it - what is their edge, can you clearly identify it and see it continuing to work. Again, with the two above I think I can do that.

Although this has been a highly chastening experience, I feel like I have learnt some important lessons. I think in losing control, I actually learnt the importance of it. I think I understand so much more about things like strike rate, roi, bank management and staking. Most of all, I think Ive looked at how other people, some of them very successful, go about making profit from gambling and its definitely improved my gambling.

As to the future, I may just whittle down the services I use to a small number that I truly trust. If they continue to perform how they have over the last few years, then with gradual and consistent building of the banks, they could churn out big profits in a few years. If not, then as I say, at least I have learned alot more about gambling.

I hope you view things with the same positive light when these dark days come to an end (which I am sure they will soon).

"PLAYING IT SAFE' said...

Good luck JP,

Sure the winners are just around the corner, hang in there like you have always done.

Be Lucky


Dean

Clive said...

18 months ago I decided to give betting a go to try and make 400-500 Pounds profit per month after expenses. I came across your blog about a year ago and to be honest was quite jealous when you were making large profits month in month out while I was losing. When you luck changed and you had those two awful months last year although not glad it happened it did give me some relief in that it can happen to what I regard as the best of them.

I am still losing a small amount overall this year, but have winning days a lot more often. I think I may have turned the corner and profits will follow. Hang on in there JP your luck will change for the better again very soon I am sure.
Dutchy

Jay said...

Hey JP,

Sounds like you've had it tough.
Like I say to myself, I can't win all the time, just have to win more than I lose.

It's hard to see past a losing streak, especially if they've always been on a constant winner, as most services have shown throughout last year.

Keep plugging on.
As always your blog is a very good read and an insight to services and the up/downs of punting.

Regards
Jay
www.amanthatlays.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

JB says
http://www.punterslounge.com/forum/f21/total-corner-spreads-holy-grail-276-bets-23-yield-80745/

spreadbetting on total corners.
have a look. been doing them for 3-4months...but only the sell trades as yield is much higher

adrianb said...

Hi,

Thanks for being so honest. I hope things turn out right. This game is all about the emotional roller coaster and our temprement. One minute you cannot see how it is possible to lose the next your thinking the bookies are conspiring against you. The portfolio approach has to be right, but how big the portfolio? how do you set the stop losses? and how do you marry staking to the return and volatility of each service to ensure the portfolio is balanced?Sorry dont have the answers only the questioons!!

I had a good Cheltenham making a good return on my own advices but broke even following one of my portfoilio services. I was a bit frustrated at the time but that service has since returned the losses and I learned more about how to manage my own particular approach so all in all it was a positive experience. I know we have to use the past to inform the future and once you have agreed the revised and improved approach you should only look forward. Thats easy once you are winning but...........

Good Luck

Adrian

Anonymous said...

good luck jp
if you dont win its gonna be hard for all of us, im now ditching the form guru for the third time , had loads of free months :{

Mick said...

Good luck with the new approach JP. FWIW I think it makes perfect sense to concentrate on fewer services and to try and make more use of the time you have available to you.

Anonymous said...

Hello JP. I believe that SLH (who only advises on NH racing?) told his clients, on his line yesterday, to call at 1pm today even though there was no afternoon NH racing. On the 1 o'clock call he asked his clients to phone again at 4pm. The 4 o'clock message stated there was no selection but then I believe he started going on about racing at Punchestown when he has never covered Irish racing before. Surely there was no need to ask clients to ring at 1pm or is it a case of him gettig as much income from the phone lines before people start stopping renewing? JB.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jp

Read the post with interest and i will be joining you in ditching the No form Guru at the end of the month, people just can,t keep taking losses like this.

Just had another blank day with 3 tips that wouldn,t look out of place on Blackpool pleasure beach including another of his fabled 3 pointers that would have been beaten by an asthmatic ant carrying some heavy shopping.
You know it is time to give up when you sigh with relief at the email from TFG that says there will no bets tommorrow!

Best of luck with your future career.

Dave

JG said...

Hi JP,

Been following your blog for around a year now, and seen you blog the high's and lows of punting for a living, which i must comment on being highly enjoyable, you have had a terrible run of luck now since beginning your large decrease on funds last November. I myself have followed a couple of the tipsters you use on and off including tipping legends, and also services like pricewise and hugh taylor.

One question I do ask myself sometimes is are you using too many services?? Now there are two ways of looking at it, more services your using more chance of winning etc, and I understand staking plans are continually being monitored, but wouldnt it be wise to drop services you are not getting any profit from and begin building up again? Again this is only a question just wondered what your thoughts are etc?

I hope you keep the faith and keep plugging on at it because i'm sure it will come right eventually,

all the best,
JG.

Marc Owen Banks said...

Hi Jp,

Good luck with the shuffle of the services,

This last four weeks or so have been pretty drastic, i am struggling at this time too. not that it can be put down to early season flat, or late season jumps form, i had a terrific April last year.

The best thing i guess is that averages have a tendancy to even themselves out over time, so i would guess without too much tinkering the good times are just around the corner.

mrh-beats said...

Hey JP,
Read your post with a great deal of interest last night. Certainly been a tough time for the last few months. I've tried to wipe the last couple of months of last year from my memory as it was a disappointing end to the year. Started fresh like yourself in the new year after a break and it's been a slog since for me too as I have a similar portfolio to you.

Got to be fair that I really appreciate your honesty with all this and it certainly helps us fellow bettors and I hope you find it cathartic too!!

I read a really interesting article in the SBC Betting Portfolio newsletter about the need for greater diversification. While i know that sounds like teaching your granny to suck eggs its about widening the portfolio and reducing stakes so your still betting the same each month. Found it worthwhile.

Glad you've decided to go down the same route on SLH bets. There's something not feeling right about the service at the moment though.

All i can say is that things are going to get better! Absolutely

Cheers
Malcolm

mickk said...

Hi JP just read the comments below,and if nothing else you have got a great bunch of followers,All those well wishes have got to do some good,and are a testament to your perseverance and honesty.

You have got the makings of a great forum here mate.

Changing days said...

Yes, absolutely I agree with Mickk, you should be really chuffed I think to have such an army of well wishers. Richly deserved though JP, your blog's always been a facinating read.

You make an interesting point about the losses being more difficult to stomach when you physically watch every race, not that there's a lot you can do about that really. If you're at home anyway I defy anybody to flick over to deal or no deal when a race you have interest in is about to start! But still, yes I can really appreciate how that must make keeping spirits up all the more tricky.

All the very best for the future, am sure things will turn around for you before too long.

Cheers,
CD

Stuart said...

Hi JP

Fantastic Blog, been lurking for a while.

Was just wondering how you chose your new services?

Have yo heard of mine - Football Investor?

I'm due a full review in the SBC magazine at the end of the season.

I recently came out on top of all the football services they rate.

The site is www.football-investor.co.uk

Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

RE Form Guru
From my records from the beginning of the year he was 51 points up from 1/1/10 to 31/1/10, since then he's dropped 126 points to -75. I'm just glad I was only paper trading and have just cancelled my subscription.

Anonymous said...

Hard for everyone at the moment JP.

FE has been amazing again this year and just keeps me hovering around the break even mark.

Just imagine if EI started with a shocker now..

Personally think a lot of these sites are too big for their boots.
Too many members, ridiculous subs for their ROI. The admin on TFG is amongst the most appalling I've experienced anywhere (supposedly acceptable because it is "cheap" and SLH's baffling refusal to send out even just an email (which would take him 15 minutes to set up and less time each day than doing a phone message!)

JP said...

Hi anon #1,

I'm just going to stake SLH £100 win or £50 e/w.

Will be interesting to see what his approach is for the summer campaign. As you say last year just a couple of losing flat bets otherwise it was all summer jumping. Lost count of the number of losers he had at Worcester !

After the very disappointing jumps season that's just finishing he needs to pull something out over the next few months.

*

Hi anon #2, agree with all of that. But as he is continuing with the phone messages, then the very least he should do is ensure the messages are released bang on time every day so that everyone has an equal chance.

*

Cheers Daniel, all the best to you.

*

Hi anon #3 #4,

Have to draw a line somewhere and move on.

I don't go into too much depth regarding which races they're tipping in - although the flat is beginning to dominate now as you'd expect. SLH is a jumps man, JC will now concentrate on the flat handicaps now the main jumps season is over, Fryboy looks to be flat only, while TFG will tip in anything !

As I said, I'll be looking for more of my own as well, see where it all ends up.

*

Hi Tiger, brilliant post that - and everyone who is serious about making money at this game would do well to read it.

I noticed you stopped your blog a while ago, and I'm sorry you've had a tough time over the last few months.

I still believe in the idea of having a portfolio of services, and I'm sure it will continue to be a profitable strategy in the future - but you have to get the right ones ! Time will tell whether the latest changes have the desired effect for me.

Trying to follow Hugh Taylor is a waste of time, the prices are slashed without being laid and taking the reduced odds is pointless - he makes a significant loss at SP. I've never tried following Pricewise in the paper, although Pricewise Extra on the RP website has similar issues. The bookies just will not stand anything nowadays.

Anyway I wish you well with your own quest, play a long game and you'll come out ahead I'm sure !

*

Hi Dean / Clive, thanks very much for that, appreciate it. Best of luck to both of you.

*

Hi Jay,

thanks for your comment mate, hopefully things are going well for you at the minute.

Just have to wait for things to pick up, as I'm sure they will soon.

All the best

*

Anonymous said...

It's been so bad since Nov last year that I've moved into laying, and I'm making a nice profit. Losing days when laying are really bad, and the ups are never so great as paying win bets, but the steady upwards climb of profits is nice at the end of the week.

If you are interested let me know and I'll let you know the services I use.

JP said...

Hi JB,

That's not something I've ever looked at to be honest, but thanks for flagging it up.

*

Hi Adrian,

Thanks very much for that. As I said before, I still believe in this approach as a way of making money out of this game.

Have put a lot of thought into the weighting of the portfolio and the staking, but while it all looks very good in theory the practice can sometimes be very different, as I've found over the last few months.

Two years of big profits has shown what can be achieved but it's really hard to see beyond this current run at the moment.

Can't dwell on it though, it is where it is at the moment - see what happens over the next couple of months.

Best wishes to you.

*

Hi anon #5

Well I'm doing my best but it's very tough at the minute ! Wish you well with your bets.

*

Hi Mick,

Cheers mate, more than one way of making this pay as you know.

I'll be giving it my best shot anyway !

All the best

*

Hi JB, There was no lunchtime call that day, he told everyone the day before to ring at 4pm, which is what I did. I never rang but assume he left a message for those who didn't pick up on it.

*

Hi Dave,

Nice Blackadder quote :)

Yeah, when you're hoping for no bets, I think you know it's time to stop !

Best of luck to you.

*

Hi JG,

As I've said in response to another comment, I still believe there is very good money to be made from following a portfolio of tipsters - the last couple of years proves that. It's a question of signing up to the right ones.

I've dropped quite a few different ones over the last two years due to poor results, and I'll not hesitate to do the same again.

The whole idea of this is that the profits of the best performing ones will cover the losses from those which are struggling. It's not working at the moment - one look at the results I posted on Sunday will show why !

Don't worry I'm still keeping the faith.

*

Hi Marc,

Not much I can do with everyone struggling at the moment other than try and ride it out until it turns.

As I said before, April was my best month last year, similarly Nov/Dec 2008 were fantastic and in stark contrast to last year.

Best of luck to you in the weeks ahead.

*

Hi Malcolm,

Well I know I'm not alone in struggling so far this year, not that it's much consolation for any of us !

Writing the blog does help keep me sane at times like these, it's a good way of venting my frustrations when things aren't going well.

I read with interest that SBC article, would love to know what services he uses and how he managed to achieve a ROI of over 7% given the way most have performed this year.

It does strike a chord with me though, all I really want now is steady returns (any returns would be good just now), and while the spectacular wins I had last year were fantastic days, there were some shocking days along the way also.

Just feels like I'm banging my head against a brick wall at the minute, and I'm sure you feel the same.

I know what you mean about SLH, this time last year he was over 100 points in front, but there's something missing at the minute. Said the other day, he needs to be digging out more of these value e/w doubles rather than the short prices selections which seem to be prevailing just now.

As you say, things will get better.

Best of luck.

JP said...

Hi mickk,

been very gratified to receive so many comments in response to the post.

Just looking forward to having a different story to tell !

Cheers.

*

Thanks very much CD. Watching all the races being run is tough to take sometimes, but I should try and keep focus on the bigger picture rather than each individual race.

Good to see things continue to go well for you, looking forward to hitting the winning trail here as well :)

*

Hi Stuart,

Yeah, I've heard of your site and will find some time to have proper look at it.

Had a couple of services this season which didn't perform so will be looking for something for next season.

All the best

*

Hi anon #6,

Thanks for those results, knew they had made a decent start - awful since !

*

Anon #7,

Yeah, have to hope EI gets off to a decent start and a few of the others chip in as well.

Made my views on SLH's delivery of his tips many times already, and the issue of TFG's admin was raised on the blog last year.

Did actually get a response from TFG themselves at one point, but doesn't seem anything has changed.

Someone I know has recently been charged after cancelling and has heard nothing back despite sending 5 e-mails.

JP said...

Hi anon #8,

Laying some of the tips I've had would have been a starting point for me !

Best of luck anyway.