Monthly Review – May 2011

Overview
May was really only half a month as I was on holiday for two weeks of it. It was also a rather disappointing month as I missed my target profit by a long way, even allowing for the holiday. In fact I finished the month with a bit of a loss which is always disappointing when you are dependent on your gambling for an income as I am, at least to some extent. I get the impression from the few people I have seen discussing their recent results (and that has been limited to forums as I haven’t had time to catch up on blogs) that others have struggled too.

It was also a fairly swingy month. A big win to start the month was followed by some pretty big losses over the next few days to leave me struggling as I went away. When I came back I was straight back into it with a series of big wins each followed by a loss of almost equal magnitude. It made for an exciting time if nothing else.

May also saw the end of the football season which meant a number of ante-post bets settled this month. I’m never quite sure how best to record ante-post bets in my spreadsheets, at least in terms of assigning a date to them. Most tipsters I use, especially the horse racing fraternity, advise bets for the same day so the bet placement and settlement dates are the same. With ante-post bets there can be several months between placement and settlement. Most ante-post football bets settle in May so should they form part of May’s figures or should I relate the figures back to the month the bet was struck in, often July or August? I always use bet settlement data but this distort the figures somewhat around this time of year. I don’t think that’s a massive problem though as it’s not really fair to judge any service based on their figures for a single month, a longer-term view must be taken instead.

There were no significant changes to my portfolio this month. I did a bit of pruning, getting rid of a couple of underperforming or unsuitable contributors including the Mark Johnston system and Football Betting Data (once the season had ended). I still have a couple more services to look at in more detail before deciding whether to continue with them but my portfolio is stabilising. I am not looking to add any new services at this time. Instead I am looking to consolidate around those already in my list and hopefully start to grow the banks and raise the stakes.

Horses
The Lay’em system was top of the pile last month but suffered a major change in fortunes during May to finish as my worst performing system by some way in this last month. It is my largest lay bank which means that a loss of 30.02pts equates to a significant amount of cash. I opted to increase the stakes on this one partway through April and when you do that and then hit a losing run you always question the decision. However, I still feel it was the right move at the right time and am sure that the Lay’em system will comfortably bound back in the near future. The strike rate for this year had been running a bit above average so May was most likely a statistical correction. That said, it was the worst month on that system for more than two and a half years.

There were quite a few other losing systems and services for May too. A long behind the Lay’em system was Piecost and his SBC forum selections which lost 9.61pts in May. I haven’t compared that figure to the official results but it is complicated by my holiday anyway. That’s three losing months in a row for the Piecost bets and I have made a mental note to keep an eye on that one over the next month or so. Unless there are some reasonable signs of recovery that system may get dropped soon. I still have just over half my system betting bank left though which is why I am not panicking yet.

There were smaller losses for Ladies Lays (-3.28pts), LTO3 (-3.10pts), NH Media (-0.89pts), ProBandit’s A List (-0.82pts) and Sportsman Racing (-0.38pts) but they are all nothing to worry about in the slightest.

As with last month it is a lay system topping the bill of monthly winners. This time it’s the NHPM system coming out on top, racking up 10.14pts during a month which can hardly be said to be prime time for the jumps. But the national hunt racing also gave us profits on the Claiming Jockey (1.50pts) and Info Rated (7.00pts) systems. It’s not all about the jumps though as Winning Racing Tips and Northern Monkey also racked up the profits, netting 5.96pts and 3.64pts respectively. Northern Monkey’s figures include a 22/1 each-way winner so you can see it wasn’t all plain sailing else we’d have ended with a much larger monthly return. I am very pleased with the way WRT are going about business though and am delighted I added that to my portfolio the other month.

I think I took my eye off the ball a bit when it comes to one of my horse racing services this month. Racing Angles isn’t a tipster service but shortlists likely winners of high profile races. I didn’t keep up with all the emails in May so I am not sure if their profiling picked out any winners as I recorded a blank month on this front. However, I am back with it again for the Derby so hopefully next month I can report a nice winner from this service.

Football
As I mentioned earlier, with May being the end of the season a number of ante-post bets get settled and included in May’s figures. Despite that it is a very quiet month for the football arm of my portfolio, primarily because many of the ante-post bets came from sports tipsters rather than football tipsters. I reserve the football category for those tipsters that bet solely on football, e.g. Football Elite. Services that include some football bets in their offering but also mix in bets from other sports, such as Bet Bank Alerts and The Insider, get labelled sports tipsters. This is mainly due to the way I record and classify bets in my spreadsheet but it suits me. An alternative would be to split the football and sports services and have Bet Bank Alerts (Football) and Bet Bank Alerts (Sports) but that makes it harder to manage betting banks and generally clouds the issue more than helping anything so I will stick to my current way of doing things. But I digress.

Towards the end of the season the form book often goes out the window. Some sides have their backs to the wall and are really fighting for every point while others are assured a midtable finish and some of their players are more or less already on holiday. That’s why Matt of Football Elite has very few bets at this time. In fact with my holidays in there too I didn’t actually record any individual match bets from Football Elite in May. The service still made a profit though as an ante-post bet on Man Utd to win the Premiership came good. There were a couple of ante-post top goalscorer bets settled this month too – on Robin van Persie and Jermain Defoe. Van Persie made the places while Defoe was nowhere and with both being backed each-way the win on the Arsenal front man was exactly wiped out by the loss on the Spurs’ striker to leave those bets breakeven. Still, a profit of 2.40pts from the Man Utd bet made for a pretty decent end to the season for a service that ha struggled and taken some flak this season. I’m sure Matt will bounce back next time out though.

The other football service to contribute this month was Football Betting Data although I could have done without the contribution they did make. There weren’t any individual match bets to worry about but a number of top scorer ante-post bets were settled – each and every one of them as a loser for a loss of 8.50pts. The bets covered a few top club scorer markets, the golden boot handicap and the top midfield goalscorer handicap market too. Every single bet was a loser which was obviously very disappointing. Some of the surefire bets such as Darren Bent to be Sunderland top scorer were perhaps scuppered by the January transfer window but the possibility of players shifting around has to be factored in to these bets and personally I wouldn’t have taken the 1/2 about such a bet. But this is a tipster service I was following to the letter so placed the advised bets. I have since removed this service from my portfolio following a comprehensive review.

Sports
This is where most of the ante-post football bets come into it. The Insider especially likes to get involved in these markets and come mid-May bets across numerous European divisions and cup competitions were being settled and returns totted up. No doubt the star of the show was an each-way Scottish double – Hearts w/o the Old Firm and Dunfermline to win division one. Both obliged for a 30/1 winner which obviously helps bolster returns. All in all The Insider racked up 32.14pts in May. It’s a tidy profit but it comes off the back of four losing months in a row. This service is one that tends to deliver big profits once or twice a year while running at a slight loss the rest of the year. That’s perhaps the nature of ante-post betting though.

Bet Bank Alerts had a few football bets this month but they were nothing much to write home about. Other than that it was a very quiet month (at least for me with my holiday in there too) and a small profit of 0.18pts was the result. Sports Bet USA wasn’t quite so lucky and ended down 0.71pts. I’m still not getting the best out of this service as I am missing a number of bets due to the time at which they are posted and the fact they are often posted without prior notice. Better text notification or bet delivery by email would be a great help but I doubt we’ll see either unfortunately.

I haven’t mentioned The Sportsman yet but my records show they didn’t advise any sports bets this month.

Poker
I had a brief session at the limit cash game tables and lost 12.30pts. However, I learned a hell of a lot from that session and the follow-up analysis. So much so in fact that it has had a fundamental impact on my approach to the game. I have changed the way I think about the game and how it fits into my future plans. In short, I have decided poker doesn’t actually full the role I hoped it would so will be steering away from the tables in the future in order to concentrate on other projects. I will be discussing this decision in more detail on the blog soon.

Other
I still haven’t found a way to really get on the Sportsman trades. As I mentioned previously I can get half the trade on but I find the timescales for the closing half of the trade a little tight so it turns a trade into a straight bet and that’s not how the information is supposed to be used. I am still mulling over some aspects of trading but in the short-term it looks like it will not be a significant part of my portfolio.

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