Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Getting nearer to the Holy Grail?

Profit since last update £915.65 plus £40 subs (in addition to £140 subs already banked this month)

These blog updates are becoming less and less regular no matter how hard I try to find time to write them but that’s the way it has become I’m afraid.

I do want to try to get in a routine of writing a weekly blog post with some thoughts but it is very difficult to find the time. If I do find a bit of time at weekends, it’s better spent on doing something at the site, studying some results or doing some form study etc. so the blog has dropped down the pecking order of things to do.

However, as I said on the last post, the blog will not ‘die’ until The Experiment finishes, so those of you that like to read blogs and have enjoyed reading mines should keep stopping by to see if there are any weekly updates.

In the summer of this year, I think blog readers were spoilt for choice as there were a number of daily gambling blogs on the go and mines was just one of these. You also had Leon’s blog, Alistair’s blog and JP’s blog to name but a few. Leon is updating his blog as irregularly as I am, so that’s two of the best blogs gone in my opinion.

I still read JP’s blog and Alistair’s blog regularly though and there are links at the side.

So, what’s been happening with me and the subscribers at The Form Analyst site?

I’m sure lots of you keep tabs on my tipping and I’m sure lots of you want to see me do well. I also know a fair number of you want to see me fall flat on my face which always spurs me on a little during the bad times but it’s all part of being a tipster I’m afraid.

My tipping has been very good and the results speak for themselves. Here’s a graph of my P&L for the Form Analyst which looks like the one at Racing Index apart from this graph is to suggested odds and not Starting Price:

I’m not going to rub anyone’s face in how good I’m doing at the tipping as it’s not going to get me anywhere. Most people knew I had the potential to do something pretty special at the tipping game with my knowledge of horse-racing but I blew my best opportunity during the free trial month.

I’ve decided that I’m going to keep the service going into the New Year and I’m hoping most of my current subscribers will stay with me. I’m looking into other avenues to grow the business but I’m being very careful about where I look for potential subscribers.

I don’t want Joe Punter subscribers who look at my results and think I can make them a million in a year. I had a bad experience with these types during my free trial month and I can do without their subscription fees. I’m being very careful about recruiting new members and I’m not going to discuss it on here even. Let’s just say that I’ve a few things in the pipeline.

One of the reasons I keep a blog is to obviously record my own punting activities and it’s been a strange couple of months.

Since I started giving out analysis, I’ve dabbled between trading and punting. I started off punting and switched to trading after being well down during the month of October and having a poor September but it has worked well. I’ve still been continuing to trade my selections this month and it’s probably cost me a fair few quid but I’ve been doing OK on other races where I haven’t given a selection but fancied a horse to run well, so it’s all looking pretty good at the moment.

This is the best month I’ve had this year trading/punting by far and I’m sure it’s no coincidence that it has happened at a time when I’ve been reading races very well and giving out a lot of winning tips. So much of the tipping and trading game is about confidence and I’ve been flying high on confidence for most of this month, so it has followed that I was going to win a fair few quid from trading my own selections.

I’ve written lots and lots on here about whether my trading strategy works or not and people have their own views on it but being honest, when you’re selecting decent priced horses that trade very low IR, anyone could trade these horses and not lose. I gave up on trying to be a good trader a few months ago and I’ll never be a trader that can make money by trading odds movements on Betfair.

However, I have shown consistently on here that if you trade the right horses, you can’t fail to do well and since I’m picking the right horse to trade for many races this month, I’m doing well. Here’s my P&L for the last 3 months:

I’m only using a bank of a couple of hundred pound still (drawing down every week to help pay the bills at the moment!) and my staking size is around £30-£60 on most races I trade, so the returns are off the planet compared to a scalper but I take more risks than scalpers by letting trades go in play in many races, so it’s a simple risk v return game where my risks have worked very well this month. I’m not stupid enough to believe that these returns are achievable every month but I won’t complain about this month.

One of the criticisms that many people threw at me when I was thinking of starting a tipping service was the famous quote “why don’t you just back your own horses with your own money if you’re any good?” and I’ll repeat what I’ve always said. There are punters out there in a much better place financially to be able to exploit my knowledge better than me and it’s these guys that I wanted with me at the site.

I have a very diverse bunch of guys at the site who are playing with stakes from £4 a point to £50 a point. All of them are well in profit this month and overall and obviously, the ones who play with higher stakes are the guys that can exploit me to the full! My target for the service is to make 20 points a month and I’m doing a little better than that after 2 months.

If I can make 240 points a year, that means that the £50 a point guys make £12k and out of this, I’d only take a return £500 or so across the year. Seems like everyone’s a winner and this was always the plan when I started the site.

Obviously, other tipping sites charge much more than my site but as I’ve promised on here before, I’ll never overcharge for the service. If I don’t get enough subscribers to make it worthwhile, I’ll stop the service as I wouldn’t expect subscribers to pay more no matter how good I do at the tipping.

Overall, it’s been a great month for me and the subscribers and I’m now past the £4.5k mark this year with my trading/punting which is a nice achievement. Obviously, I’m not spending much time on the trading now and I’m sort of happy with my own trading strategy on Betfair and most of my time is going to spent on trying to grow the subscription business.

I feel in a great position now whereby if I do decide to stop the tipping, I know I can make a nice sum from just trading my own selections on Betfair which is basically the Holy Grail for most punters. 2009 could be a big year for The Form Analyst……..

Sunday, 9 November 2008

46 points profit in 8 days!

Profit since last update £118.76

I’m not sure what happens but every time I write a blog post, it appears I then follow it up with a succession of losers! Thankfully, I stopped the rot yesterday and managed to pull out a 22/1 winner (20/1 SP) which was a nice way to stop a poor run.

One of the most satisfying things that has happened during this tipping spell to me was when I saw that someone had re-subscribed to the site today. Given my current form, this wouldn’t be a surprise that someone had re-subscribed but this person had the worst luck of all time!

Basically, he joined after I had hit 5 winners from my first 11 selections and he probably thought it was the best investment he could have ever made. Unfortunately, his first 34 ‘tips’ lost and he lost 45 points during this run. Before he joined the site, he asked me how many points of a bank would he need and I said 60 points although most people on the site were playing with 100 points in a bank.

Therefore, he had lost 75% of his bank if he was playing with a 60 point bank and I’ve no idea what must have been going through his head. I haven’t heard a peep from the guy to be honest and I’m not sure what I would have said if he had got in touch with me. Anyway, his 1 month subscription was up today and by my reckoning, he must be about 1 point up overall after this month.

Clearly, this isn’t what he hoped for when he joined the site but to be able to get back to level from being 45 points down takes some going and I was pleasantry surprised that he has joined for 2 more months!

The plan has always been for me to have a go at this for 3 months and then see what options are on the table. One thing that is a shame is that I haven’t had a new subscriber apart from the guy above and I’ve now lost a fair few who gave up on me too early, so it’s not like the service is growing at the moment.

One thing I would need to consider in the future would be the potential reward versus the time, effort and mental strain that comes with providing the service. One thing that I decided a while ago was that I would never charge a high price for the service no matter how good the service was. I like the idea that normal people playing small stakes can use the service and this is vitally important to me. I’m in the same sort of boat and therefore, I would never consider pricing the service outwith their price range.

Obviously, this does raise lots of questions about you can run a successful service and charge a low price when you don’t have many subscribers! If I decide I would like to carry on with this, I’d really need to look into growing the subscription list. However, I could somehow try to link the service to profits made in some cases which would help to fund the service. Why should someone playing £4 a point pay the same as someone playing £50 a point? They both value the tips differently, so maybe they should be charged differential prices?

I think there is a lot of trust between myself and all the guys at the site. If I did think of doing something a bit different with subscriptions in the future, I'm sure they'd be keen to give a view of how things can work also. I'm just throwing around some potential ideas in my head but we'll see what happens!

I’m trying to not think too much about the future as things can change in this game very quickly I’m finding and the next long losing run could just be around the corner but that’s the life of a tipster I guess.

I’m sure a few of you are tracking my profits/losses on Racing Index. I decided a few weeks ago that I’d never manage to do well on RI simply due to the fact that all my winners have shortened significantly and therefore, it’s not a true indication of my profit.

Amazingly, I’m now in profit on RI and when you consider I was 28 points down on the 30th of October, to be in profit now shows the sort of form I’ve been in recently. To SP, I’ve made 36 points profit in 8 days and to suggested odds, I’ve made 46 points profit in 8 days.

46 points profit in 8 days...... :)

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Much more like it!

Profit since last update £376.46 + £140 subscriptions

Just a quick post to say that I’ve managed to haul my ass off the floor and start picking some winners again.

It’s been an amazing last week or so and with a little more luck, I’d be looking at much more profit than this. Importantly, the subscribers would have been looking at much, much more profit than this but this will come in time hopefully.

As at last Thursday, I’d managed to select 31 straight losers and being honest, things were looking very bleak. I’d lost all of the profits that the subscribers had won at the start of last month and I was 99.9% sure I was pulling the plug on the service at the year end as I’d have no subscribers left and we’d all be skint! :(

Roll on 7 days, 4 winners later (14/1, 5/1, 5/1 and 11/4) and placed horses at 10/1,13/2,9/2,12/1,10/1,9/1,14/1,10/1 and 7/2 and the world seems a much better place!

As I hinted at above, lady luck has deserted me big time and after seeing Idle Talk (14/1) trade at 1.04 on Sunday and lose on the run-in, I was all for jumping off the nearest bridge but thankfully, I followed it up with a 14/1 winner yesterday which made up for it in part.

I’ve now had 12 horses trade odds-on IR and lose in the past 3 weeks and this includes 2 in the past 3 days at 1.25 and 1.04 which is a killer!

Even allowing for the bad luck and missed opportunities, the P&L for the form analyst now looks like this:

Obviously, we could analyse this to death but basically, I went on the sort of run that would give any tipster a nightmare but it happens to everyone I guess. I’m probably more prone to longer losing runs due to the fact I’m very inexperienced at this game and when I hit the bad run, I struggled to cope with it and it just seemed to snowball and at one stage, my confidence was about as low as you could ever get!

At the moment, I’m feeling good again but probably not as good as JP as you can read across at his blog. http://spenner68.blogspot.com/

JP has been following me with chunky stakes since I started and the mind boggles how he managed to keep on going during the bad run but thankfully, he kept the faith and he’s now on an amazing streak himself and let’s hope it continues for both of us.

I’m up just over 30 points in 5 days which is a great run and I’m now looking forward to every selection running at the moment whereas a week ago, I was dreading it as I didn’t think any selections would win.

As you will have noticed, I’ve stopped quoting figures to SP as it’s not an indication of my subscribers’ profit. Every single selection that I’ve tipped and has won has shortened dramatically in price and Ashley Brook was another example yesterday. It was freely available at 14/1 all day and it opened on course at 14/1 and was backed down to 8/1.

I can see I’m 8 points down to SP on Racing Index now which will put me mid-table on there but a better indication is the fact I’m 14 points in profit to suggested odds. Some people would quote that Betfair SP works better but that only works if some of the winners are drifters. All of mines shorten pre-race, so the BF SP isn’t much different to the SP.

I’ve obviously cost myself a few pounds by not just following a staking plan and by laying off IR over the past week but I can’t have it both ways! Obviously, when I hit lots of winners, I’ll miss out but when horses like Idle Talk trade at 1.04 after being 16, then it makes it an easy decision to lay IR.