Thursday, 8 December 2016

Intense Scrutiny

I mentioned yesterday the "bloggers, web sites, tipsters and betting clubs out there who would have you believe that making a fortune from betting is as easy as opening an account and getting started" and each of these have their reasons for doing this.


In the 'bloggers' category are the likes of 'Big Pairs' who of course vanished without trace once the whole nonsensity of his posts was exposed, The Sultan, who used his blog as a means of selling his "Tennis Trading Manual" and Adam Heathcote whose amazing edge vanished overnight after starting his tipster service. What Big Pairs' motivation was remains unknown, but it would appear to be related to a deep rooted psychological need to be admired. It seems to be a common theme, as my attention was drawn to the following statement from none other than Peter Webb in his latest 'anyone can do it' post:
I realise that I’m pretty unique, in that I can trade confidently at pretty much any level.
Despite the repetitious use of the word 'pretty', it's not a pretty sentence at all. Leaving aside for a moment that there are no degrees of uniqueness - something is either unique or it's not - that's an interesting, if not very modest, statement. 

At 'any level' is of course subjective, but one of the limitations of sports trading versus trading in financial markets, is that the volume is relatively low. One might expect such a Trading Titan to be flexing his muscles in the more lucrative financial markets, rather than piddling around with the 2:10 at Ludlow. Not many Betfair Exchange markets let you risk more than four figures at the best price, so there are really not that many levels at which one could be trading confidently.
I have far too much capital to put to use and therefore my range of opportunities are limited

Peter's interest in preaching the message that 'anyone can do it' is that he has a product to sell, and telling novices that they are unlikely to succeed isn't going to lead to big sales. 

However illogical it is, the idea that everyone can be a winner is far more palatable.

It's also interesting to note that the Premium Charges that Peter is presumably liable for, haven't been mentioned since 2011. It's curious that the impact these charges have on trading aren't discussed, though perhaps warning people that they might win too much and have to pay a charge in the future, isn't good marketing!   

I liked a comment I read today which was:
Intense scrutiny is not the hallmark of the Betfair forum
Unfortunately, intense scrutiny isn't the hallmark for many things related to most 'get-rich-quick' schemes, which is why anyone thinking of turning to trading as anything but a hobby should read articles and books by the likes of Joseph Buchdahl and James Butler before jumping in, and not allowing themselves to be influenced by posts and comments from those with an agenda.

Finally, if anyone has any suggestions as to where Peter might put his excess capital, let me know. The winning entry will receive a free subscription to this blog for 2017! 

Investing Done Proper

Has anyone else noticed the rather confusing way in which Betfair shows the scores of the NBA fixtures?

From the other night, the NBA page showed this:

A reasonable man might be forgiven for assuming that the Chicago Bulls were leading by a score of 38 points to 25, yet when you go into the specific match markets, the score is magically reversed, and correct:
An opportunity for improvement, one might say - our Premium Charges at work.

In other news, the hit count for this blog has now surpassed the 1.4 million mark, thank you, with 1.5 million the goal for 2017, and James left a comment on my 'working 95 hours a week' post:
Another mug reporter caught out by survivorship bias. For every successful millionaire on the extreme right of the distribution of wealth there are many more scraping along and many doing worse. I see survivorship and confirmation bias everyday in sports and financial trading.

There has to be many losers to pay for the one big winner. If everyone was a winner then we would all be losers minus commission. The paradox of skill as Buchdahl calls it. The better we all become as traders, the harder it is to profit and luck takes precedence over skill. Take commission from that and you are left with a loss. If you can't see why then you need a new hobby.
For any readers not familiar with my dry sense of humour, the post wasn't intended to be taken too seriously. 

Anyone earning a median salary would become a millionaire in less than 40 years simply by working 95 hours a week and saving 15% - it's called the power of compounding - but why work hard and save when you can "comfortably double your money in the space of a year" simply by signing up with a few good tipster services?

The suggestion to "spend 55 hours a week trading - there are plenty of sites out there saying how easy it is to win all the time" was very much tongue in cheek, and a gentle dig at all the bloggers, web sites, tipsters and betting clubs out there who would have you believe that making a fortune from betting is as easy as opening an account and getting started.

James mentions Joseph Buchdahl, and while I was away I noticed the following exchange on Twitter:
Betting is not a good form of 'investment' for most people. The article itself begins:
Betting is a great way of investing money, but that short sentence above in italics (if done properly!) is an extremely important proviso. I don’t personally know of a better investment vehicle than betting but only if executed properly, in a way that minimises risk and maximises potential returns.
"If done properly"... The author continues:
I guess the biggest benefit is that the potential returns are so good. For a strong, well-balanced portfolio of tipsters, returns should see annual bank growth of somewhere between 60 and 120%. What other investment can comfortably double your money in the space of a year?
Really? 60% to 120%? Comfortably double your money in a year? It's that easy? 

My friend Steve "Holiday Hamper" M doesn't seem to be finding it that easy, and if anyone knows about finding strong tipsters, it is surely he. The truth is that good tipsters are hard to find. Skeeve comes to mind as an exception, achieving an edge by specialising in a niche market, but most others have no edge at all. For any that do have an edge, it is an edge that will erode rapidly once they start publicising their selections. I believe it was James who said that an edge shared is an edge eroded, or words to that effect.

Betting is a fun activity with a small amount of money, but the fun lies more in the intellectual challenge of beating your opponents than in the profits themselves, and it's unlikely to ever be an 'investment' whatever anyone tells you. 

Ten to fifteen years ago, when the exchange concept was relatively new and court-siders and the Premium Charge didn't exist, it was possible to make a good second income from betting / trading but the markets have evolved as you would expect them to. It's not that easy now.

To finish on an upbeat note, at least for me, here's what I wrote about Leicester City back in August:
Back to football, and while I'm not a big fan of tying my money up for a full season, I have had a few bets matched laying Leicester City in the Premier League this season, including for a top 10 finish at 1.46. I suspect that Leicester City's bubble has burst, and with the added distraction of Champions League football and a key player departing, can see them struggling rather like Ipswich Town did in their first season (17th of 22 teams) after surprisingly winning the League.
And struggling they are, currently 16th of 20 teams and very much 'doing an Ipswich' with more than a few Champions League group runners-up hoping to draw them in the knock-out stage I'd suggest.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

The 9T5 System

While a seven figure net worth isn't what it used to be, and easily achievable with a steady income and some financial discipline, it still makes a good magazine headline or book title, e.g. The Millionaire Next Door, Milllionaire Habits In 21 Days, Millionaire By 28 (OK, so that one might be a little ambitious) but you get the idea.

According to CNBC's Kathleen Elkins, it's all a matter of putting in the hours - forget 9 to 5, and think nine-ty-five. Here's her article, of course with 'millionaire' in there:

Self-made millionaire: If you want to get rich, start working 95 hours a week
Grant Cardone didn't always have millions in the bank. At age 25, he was deep in debt and stuck in a sales job he hated.
The entrepreneur, who owns and operates four companies that do nearly $100 million in annual sales, reached seven-figure status by putting in more hours, he writes on Medium: "Most people work 9 to 5. I work 95 hours (per week). If you ever want to be a millionaire, you need to stop doing the 9 to 5 and start doing 95."
He's not the only self-made millionaire to say that the steady salary that comes with a 9-to-5 job is holding people back from getting rich.
Steve Siebold, who also spent 25 years studying wealthy individuals for his book "How Rich People Think," notes that there is a critical difference in how the wealthy and everyone else choose to get paid:
Average people choose wages based on time — an hourly rate, for example — while the rich are typically self-employed and get paid based on results.
"The masses almost guarantee themselves a life of financial mediocrity by staying in a job with a modest salary and yearly pay raises," Siebold writes.
They "wait on the sidelines, terrified to get in the game for fear they will lose the little money they have. Meanwhile, the world class is earning more in a year than the average person will make in a lifetime."
If you want massive success, you have to focus on earning and be prepared to grind, Cardone says. And once you do start seeing financial gains , don't change your mentality: "If you gave me $5 billion, I'd still be grinding tomorrow.
"My life is not in the stands. My life is not as a spectator. My life is being a player on the field."
Remember, "there's no shortage of money," Cardone writes. There's just "a shortage of people doing 95 hours each week."
While most long-time readers of this blog will already have achieved millionaire status, or at least should have if they have followed my advice, for any newcomers wishing to speed up making their first million, it's simple. 

1. Spend 55 hours a week trading - there are plenty of sites out there saying how easy it is to win all the time

2. Keep your day job, and invest at least 15% of everything you make in a long-term savings plan just in case some of those sites aren't quite correct

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Land Of Youth

Philly was chilly, but not bitterly so. As some of you will know, the live sporting highlights were a Sunday night Flyers v Calgary Flames (ice) hockey game, followed by a Monday night (American) football game between the Eagles and the Green Bay Packers. Two more entries to check off in my I-Spy book of Sports Venues. My son and I did consider going to the 76ers v Cleveland Cavaliers game earlier on the Sunday, but decided to save that one for February or March.


For the Thanksgiving weekend we ventured down to Washington DC, followed by a trip to see relatives in Maryland. The highlight of the DC trip was my son getting lost for about seven hours, his sense of direction taking him on an adventure which ended when he arrived back at the hotel at 5am. One minute he was with me about to enter a steak house, the next he had vanished, and with both our phones dead, no way of getting in touch. How did people manage before cell phones? 
The bar bill for the pre-dinner drinks for the two of us came to $137.74 (£108.22) which may go some way to explaining the mix-up. Considering that was all beer, and in an unpretentious sports bar, that was apparently quite a session. 

We also had a couple of good Saturdays in a downtown Irish pub (Tir Na Nog) watching Crystal Palace lose and the Rugby Autumn Internationals. At least one reader will recognise that pub name, having met me there during Palace's summer tour of the USA. It's a small world. 

Philadelphia has  large Irish community, and there were a lot of rugby followers for the Ireland games. Quite a few people I spoke to had been in Chicago for Ireland's famous win over the All Blacks there a couple of weeks earlier. In fact, it was so much fun I plan to go back there for the weekend of what should be the Six Nations decider on March 18th in Dublin.

What else is new? James has published a new book called Betfair Trading Techniques which looks worth every penny of £19.09. Unfortunately, the book is priced at £19.10... 

Despite the lack of new posts, the blog has averaged over 300 hits a day during my absence, which is a little surprising. Now I'm back, I expect that number to decline significantly, but 1.4 million by year end is looking probable.

As for betting, one of my NFL Small Road Dog System bets happened to be the game I was at in Philadelphia last Monday which made the game a little more interesting. The Packers were +4 and won outright 27-13. For the season to date:
The College version is performing slightly better, but both have been strong systems so far this season.
Early days still in the NBA season, but the BLUnders is not off to the best of starts with just 8 wins from 20 so far. The Golden State Warriors v Phoenix Suns game tonight has the highest total (229.5) of any game this season other than a couple of Warriors v Lakers games. 

The Lay Last Loser System for this 2015-16 season came to end today with Tottenham Hotspur's thrashing of Swansea City, meaning that three of the five qualifiers won immediately, and thus we took a small loss of 0.7 points on the season.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Gold Help Us

There are tipsters covering probably every sport, but I have identified a gap when it comes to Political betting, and after my success at tipping Hillary Clinton at 1.6 back in September I've decided to start a Cassini Political Advisory Service.

When I said to back her, I meant to win the Popular Vote of course - I hope I didn't need to spell that out.

The subscription cost will not be cheap - not because the advice will be valuable, but because I have US Presidential Election and Brexit losses to recoup (although the latter is in better shape following the misunderstanding by many that the initial result was actually anything but an expensive opinion poll).

Clearly, like most sports tipsters, I have a significant edge.

When I give you advice, you lay it.

On a more serious note, it appears to be a disastrous result for the US and the world last night, although for the sixth time in seven elections, the Democratic Party may well win the Popular Vote. 


Time to buy gold. Stock Markets down around the world. I don't think I'll be updating my spreadsheet tonight.

With Trump just confirmed as the Next President (faithless electors permitting), any plans to visit the in-laws in California will be on an indefinite hold. They have an unhealthy obsession with Muslims and Mexicans, an irrational hatred of poor people having access to healthcare, think climate change is a hoax, just to name a few issues I have, and the gloating will be intolerable.

Moving on, and Steve 'hamper boy' M had another post within minutes of my previous one. I mentioned that we were both at the Rugby World Cup Final a year ago, and Steve references this event as something of a turning point in his fortunes:
Since returning to Australia, I have been on a $250,000 losing run. It took 5 and a half years to build up to half a million in profit and just 12 months to give back 50% of it. Ouch.
Ouch is the word. Steve keeps his foot on the pedal with his betting approach, but burning through 50% of 66 months profit in just 12 can't be easy to handle, although Steve does a good job of staying the course. Hopefully the tide will turn soon. Maybe he'll be my first Political Advisory Service subscriber? Alain Juppe anyone? 

Signing off now for a few weeks to visit the newly red state of Pennsylvania, and James wishes me well: 
Have a safe trip and return to us reinvigorated.
May I suggest some music for your long journey?
Status Quo with "Whatever You Want"
We wouldn't want anything radical for the journey ahead.
Francis Rossi lives in my home town, although his house is a little more expensive than the manger I was born in. Back in December. 

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Cruising To 270

Steve M’s latest post makes me realise that he and I have more in common than I had thought.

Aside from the obvious - good looks and hairy chests (though mine is perhaps a little greyer in hue) – we both have Italian roots (though mine are perhaps a little shallower in depth having eroded away over a couple of centuries).

We both write blog posts in a friendly, upbeat style and we both call out bullshit when we see it.

We’re like identical twins, separated only by a generation and a few thousand miles.

Steve and I go back a long way. As part of Project Verdana, I came across a post thanking Steve for the very generous gift of a hamper delivered to my front door almost four years ago, his quite unnecessary and generous way of thanking me for some Draws that had been sent his way. He commented, and I paraphrase here, but it was something like:

Never before in the history of football, have I enjoyed so few goals, in so many matches, for so long.
Thanks for a great year of draws. Never have I watched matches and been so bored and yet happy at the same time when a game ends 0-0.
Another coincidence was that we were both at the Rugby World Cup Final a year ago, but anyway, Steve is one of the good guys - normal, extremely generous and with a positive outlook on life, a trait that has no doubt come in handy following the recent downturn in his betting fortunes.

Although it wasn’t related to betting, Steve’s latest post provides details of his Mediterranean Tour from May / June this year which will have made many of us slightly envious, and congratulations to him on his engagement.

Steve mentions that one downside of cruises is the expense and availability of Internet access, but for me this ability to escape from work and go off the grid for a few days is a definite upside to cruises. 

On the subject of escaping from work, I'll be off to the important election state of Pennsylvania next week to spend Thanksgiving with my son, and hopefully celebrate the election of a second President Clinton with a few pints of Allagash.

It's hard to see how Hillary can lose. She has 269 Electoral College votes in states where she has an 80% or greater chance of winning, meaning she needs just one more vote to reach the 270 winning line. 
Nevada has 6 votes and Secretary Clinton has a 78%+ chance of winning there. If she takes Florida and its 29 Electoral Votes, it's all over, and she has a 67%+ chance there. 

North Carolina (15 Votes) is the sole toss-up state, but Hillary Clinton can probably afford to lose there. Her final rally was, perhaps not coincidentally, in Raleigh last night, with the penultimate one notable not only for the appearances of the Obamas, Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen, but also for the attendance of my son - his second Clinton rally of the campaign. I've raised him well.  

Donald Trump has 180 Votes in states where he has an 80% or greater chance of winning, and 215 in states where he is expected to win. Where is he going to get the other 55? 

15 votes from North Carolina would give him 230, still 40 short. If he somehow wins Florida, New Hampshire and Nevada, he's still one vote short. Michigan is his next best chance, and perhaps the reason why his final rally was in Grand Rapids last night. More lies from him there incidentally, but not the place to discuss that here.  
In summary then, Trump needs to win every state he's expected to win, plus a handful of states where he is not favoured. Can that happen? Of course. Is there a 19% chance it can happen? No, and the stock market doesn't think so either.  

Get on Clinton at 1.22 / 1.23 - sorry, already took the 1.6. 
I've also had a speculative bet on Clinton getting 300-329 Electoral College Votes at 3.05, which is likely dependent on her winning Florida.   

I meant to mention at the weekend that one of my local teams, Merstham, somehow managed to get to the FA Cup First Round for the first time in their history, where they hosted Oxford United last Saturday, a team from four levels above them, and Merstham aren't even that good - 19th of 24 at the time of writing with their next match at the not so mighty Wingate & Finchley tonight. Attendance there could be slightly lower than Saturday's 1,920.

Anyway, while betting on Cup games isn't something I usually get involved in, I did take a look at the prices for this one, and couldn't believe that Oxford United were 1.41 on Friday.
The gulf in class showed as Oxford United ran out easy 5:0 winners.

Finally, Trump's advisers took away his Twitter access at the weekend. Not sure if it was in response to my comments on twittering or not, but bizarre that win or lose today, so many people think a man who can't be trusted on social media is fit to be President. He's not. If you have a vote, use it. 

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Comment Catch Up

I've had a few comments in the past week that I've been tardy in replying to, but here goes.

James questioned:

Too much Tweeting is bad for you?
But "successful" traders like Mr Iverson and an Australian friend of his called The Bodger (I think that's his name) are never off Twitter.
I've set my clock back.

To 1993, when democratic principles were usurped by the shadowy elite.
If you are a Remoaner then I suggest setting your clock back prior to 1665. Some people are desperate for civil war.
As I'm not a follower of Mark Iverson or 'The Bodger' on Twitter, I have no idea about their twittering, but I would say that in a slow game such as cricket, which Mark used to do very well in, posting comments is probably a good way to alleviate the boredom!

A quick look at Mark's recent use of Twitter reveals I'm not missing much. A few comments on the Bangladesh Premier League and the use of grown up terms such as 'pile of pants' suggesting his target audience isn't the same as mine.
As I said in the original post, most Tweets are completely pointless and adding absolutely nothing of value. 

Lenard M asked:
Hi Cassini,
What do you make of a fella called Caan Berry. Tweets a good bit, has some sort of sponsorship I believe with Geeks Toy software, has multiple Youtube videos up dealing with all aspects of trading etc pimps a racing book and a costly video service. Comes across as a sincere guy however was wondering what your thoughts on him are, have you had any dealings?
In a word, no - I haven't had any dealings with Mr Berry, probably because his world is primarily Horse Racing and Tennis I believe and mine isn't. I do have a link to his blog on my blog roll, and he has been around for coming up to six years which is a good sign, but his side business of selling trading guides is, of course, suspect.

It should be obvious that the suggestion that for £39 you can become a winning trader is nonsense. 

With all these winning traders, is anyone actually losing money on the Exchanges these days? 

Why would Mr Berry, or anyone else for that matter, sell a winning formula, knowing that his profits would suffer as a result? The Betting Exchange market is a very small world. It's not like teaching someone 200 miles away to grow vegetables where their success has no impact on your vegetable growing business. 

What you are expected to believe with these traders are that they are conceding a slice of the small exchange pie. If that slice is worth just £39, then you would have to ask yourself how useful the information is going to be.

The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings published its 2016 provisional results last month, and the average weekly gross wage in London is £671. I'll let the reader do the maths. 

James, presumably tired of waiting for a response from me, stepped in and volunteered:
@ Lenard M...

The first thing you need to ask yourself when you see an eBook is, "Why is it not on Amazon?" After all, if you want to get your product seen by as many people as possible then Amazon Kindle is the way to go.
For the consumer it means they get to see reviews from verified purchases. You don't get that with an eBook sold exclusively on the author's website. It's a punt.
I put that question to The Bodger who also flo... I mean exclusively sells self-published PDFs, I mean hand-crafted eBooks on his website. His answer was, "Amazon don't sell gambling books." Funny, I thought, Amazon is full of "gambling" books and I thought you are supposed to be teaching people how to trade, not gamble.
http://www.betfairprotrader.co.uk/2016/10/how-to-read-sports-trading-website.html
James has a point:
And of course James comments on my Brexit post with:
Fear not, punters.
Normal service will resume shortly when Crystal Palace win and Cassini cheers up.
Cassini is rather pleased with how the whole Brexit debacle is playing out and is in quite a buoyant mood. A long way to go yet, and a lot of damage done, but amusing to see the Leave's line of wanting to take back control explode in their faces:
My NBA Blunders post drew this Anonymous comment:
Looking at those two tables, the -9.5 selections have a marginal ROI of 0.000043%...
529 extra bets for .23 extra profit.

I'd save yourself the time and stick with -11.5 only.
Or one could always adjust the stakes for the 'stronger' selections. While I record results for these systems to a one point level stake for transparency, I don't limit myself to level stakes in practice.

Bossman Megarain wrote:
Hiya,
Thx for the mention -- I get at least 5 referrals from your site .. // almost doubling my readership, lol.
Just as well, we don't do it for the money.
I have tried collaboration, but, am usually disappointed, by the lack of skills, most people have. Programmers especially, seem totally over-rated, and can basically only code, if u dot every i etc. For all this, I have a fondness for seeing blogs, which run automation scripts, showing P/L's, for a few pence here and there. It can be done .. just, not by me.
As an aside, I hope u are aware of the PC exempt trials, for Basketball, over the next season. Maybe it will be worth, getting up in the wee hours, to make a market.
Always pleased to double someone's hit count!  

And finally, this unintentionally amusing line from someone who should know better:
...or if you have not yet looked at the Greyhound markets then I would defiantly recommend doing so...
Bold disobedience it is then!

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Cubs Win! MLB Systems Wrap 2016

With the 2016 MLB season finally over, the good news was that for the third consecutive season, the UMPO System finished in profit.

The more disappointing news was that the profit was 0.05 of a point, or an ROI of 0.2%. Should anyone be interested, here are the full results:

The T-Bone System ended in profit for 2016 too, with all three bet types (Money Line, Run Line and Overs) profitable.  Results for the past five seasons updates here.

Backing very hot favourites (Implied Probability >= 0.75) continued to be profitable this season as the reverse favourite-longshot bias continues to appear to no longer exist in this sport:
For those who like their favourites a little more tepid with an Implied Probability of 0.667+, the 2016 numbers were +1.23 points from 284 selections, an ROI of 0.2%. I've seen that number somewhere before. 

The reason profits were so low was due to a very strange July when these favourites hit at just 54.9%, the worst month in almost 12 years.