What is a portfolio?
A portfolio is the total holdings of an investor, so in this case that means the whole collection of systems and tipster services that provide me with my bets. And like any portfolio, be it gambling or financial, it is important that there is balance. A fund manager may invest across several different sectors to smooth the ups and downs, I have systems/services covering a number of different sports to achieve the same aim. I’m not 100% sure my portfolio has the right balance yet but I am reviewing it regularly, both in terms of the systems/services included and also the staking of each system/service, in pursuit of that goal.

Systems v Services
I have mentioned systems and services several times but what are they and how do they differ? A system is basically a series of rules that act as filters to select bets from the day’s racecards (or football fixtures). These rules will have been tested on several years worth of previous results to confirm that they are profitable. Once that has been done the system can be followed blind.

Systems are also something I have control over. I know the rules for all the systems I follow and if so desired I can tweak those rules and change the system. This is something that happens very rarely though. To change a system rule I would have to have sufficient evidence from my results that a given rule is adversely affecting the system’s performance. This takes a significant amount of data and is something that is more likely to happen with my football systems than for any of the horse racing systems in my portfolio.

Services, on the other hand, I have no control over whatsoever. In general, by services I mean tipsters. How they arrive at their selections is obviously entirely up to them – they may use systems or they may interpret the form, I don’t know and to be quite honest I don’t really care – all that matters to me is that these services generate a suitable level of profit.

The other difference between systems and services is one of cost. Systems are generally purchased for a one-off payment with no ongoing running costs. You pay someone to tell you the system rules and you’re done. With services there is usually an associated subscription cost. You are paying the tipster a set amount on a regular basis in return for the tipster’s selections and expertise. Tipsters vary in terms of subscription fees and what’s more some of the more expensive services don’t perform as well as much cheaper options so it pays to do some research into tipsters before committing to them. Organisations such as the Secret Betting Club can help here.

A breakdown of which systems and services are currently included in my portfolio can be found here while those on the Watch List can be found here. I also maintain a list of services that were previously part of my portfolio, just for completeness.

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