Firstly today, John mac reflects on the performance of his selections over the weekend:
‘When I place a bet it is always in the belief that I had found an opportunity to make some money. Obviously, plenty will fail to work out. However, I find it good practice to go back over the bet and try to understand where I got it wrong and if I could or maybe should have avoided backing the selection altogether.
Let’s start with SO YOU THINK.
Personally, I have no problem with this bet as he handled the dirt fine as I expected him to. He was competitive throughout the contest and ran a thoroughly creditable and honourable race to finish 6th, having briefly threatened to be a race winner early in the home straight. To summarise, I would note him down as probably, and very simply, not quite good enough on the day.
STATUS SYMBOL was well beaten in the end but ran the race as predicted and for a few heart stopping seconds he looked like he might run away from them just off the home bend. Sadly it wasn’t to be as he faded badly from just over two out, finishing out the back. Interestingly, he hit an IR low of below 11/4 despite being freely available at much better than the SP of 16/1 throughout the day on Betfair. There is plenty of money to be made on horses and situations like these and a full explanation will follow. I record my bets religiously and carry out the same analysis on all of them. It is just as important to understand why you lost as it is to celebrate when you have won.
AKA The Trials and Tribulations of Dealing with a Dishonourable Enemy
I remember the sense of outrage vividly. William Hill had restricted my account to bets of £0.00. How could they do that? They had been happy to take my money for years when I was losing or breaking even but within a matter of months of running a profitable account with them they had decided they no longer wanted my business.
Cue endless frustrating customer service conversations in which I would simply be informed that a trading decision had been made to limit my account. Not even close and it and send me a letter confirming it. Simply limit it to a bet size of zero.
In the years since that first account restriction, innumerable accounts, with pretty much every bookmaker online, have gone the same way. I’ve even had loss making accounts restricted because I had been consistently beating starting price. The odd one has been closed completely but the majority are restricted so low as to make them unviable.
Many readers of this blog will have experienced the same situation and felt the same sense of outrage. More than happy to take your money when they know they have the edge. Instantly cutting you off when they feel that the tables have turned. Despicable. Truly despicable.
I’ve never been able to understand why they need to operate in this way. How difficult can it be to balance your book in this day and age, with the easy hedging opportunities offered by the exchanges? Think of the advertising capital that could be made from making it public that, as a bookmaker, you allow winning customers to continue betting. You would be deluged with punters, and not all of them shrewdies. I wish they had the foresight to welcome at least a few consistent winners. Well, me at least. However, as my Dad used to say, if you wish in one hand and p**s in the other which is going to fill up first?
So what is a winning gambler to do? Give up and go back to the 9-5 drudgery? Not likely. Let’s look at the options available to us.
Betfair can work for some types of betting but the majority of my bets are not suitable for Betfair. I know a number of people who make a handsome living on the machine (or did until the 60% charge made it pointless and forced a switch – Nice one Betfair – “Winners are always welcome” my arse)
There are still some pros who operate by just betting with cash in the offices but it’s hard work and not conducive to always getting best price. It’s not a bad solution if you are very selective with your betting (though you will attract an inordinate amount of attention if you try to place any kind of chunky bet) but no use if you churn your money over many times a day. The logistics will crucify you.
Even if you are able to operate in the offices alone, don’t think you will get away with it forever. Mrs MYBP was’ lucky’ enough to be employed as an office manager in 2 of the big three bookmakers back in the 90’s and they had a list of banned customers (with photos) that was circulated to all the offices daily. They take the removal of winning customers very seriously.
Commission agents have their uses but can seriously eat into your edge when used exclusively. Unless your Patrick Veitch (who, according to his autobiography has never paid a penny to his army of agents, over and above giving them the name of his selections), they will demand a hefty percentage of your turnover and that can be seriously damaging to profitability. I’ll use them but only in a pinch when every other avenue has been exhausted and I know I have a sustainable edge.
The best (if sneakiest option) is to use ghost accounts opened by friends and family. It’s not very ethical I guess, but what’s ethical about the way bookmakers operate? We have to fight fire with fire! It’s a lovely feeling when you get your hands on a set of virgin accounts and can go into battle with both your edge and the oh so generous new account bonuses! Lovely jubbly as a famous Peckhamite would have it.
Obviously, if you are going to be placing portions of your betting bank in somebody else’s bank account, you need to trust them implicitly. Close friends and family (if you deem them trustworthy!) are ideal for this. But what happens when you exhaust your supply of trustworthy close friends and family after several years in the game? Back to square one.
Or are you?
I discovered a very nice little trick about a year ago that has opened up a whole world of possibilities on this front. I was scratching my head for a way to use other peoples’ bookmaker accounts without having to exercise the great deal of trust needed to place large sums of money in their bank accounts. If I could find a way to do that, I could use the accounts of mere acquaintances that might be happy to earn a few quid by renting me their bookmaking facilities. Was there a way to do it?
I discovered that there was!
I could fund the bookmaker accounts directly via Moneybookers with the bookmaker being none the wiser as to where the funds were coming from. That way there was no need to trust anybody with large quantities of my money! The whole thing then becomes a straight business transaction between myself and the other party – a party that I didn’t need to know all that well. Obviously the account holder could ask for a withdrawal by some other method and get the funds that way but there wouldn’t be the temptation of the money being sat in their bank account. The best scenario of all is if the other party has no existing bookmaker accounts at all and no existing Moneybookers account. I can then open them all myself in their name and they need never have the details of the account.
I’m aware that these elaborate security measures make me seem more than a little suspicious and mistrustful but you only need to be burnt once to become ultra-cautious!
This one discovery alone has made my life a lot simpler and stress free. It’s not quite as simple as I’ve made it sound above (there can be some hoops to jump through when making a withdrawal) because I’m loathe to reveal the exact mechanics of it for fear of the loophole being closed! The only other drawback is that some of our esteemed bookmakers won’t offer the new account bonuses if you fund via Moneybookers. This is not a huge issue for me as the bonuses (nice as they are) aren’t really what I’m after!
I’m sure there are even more devious ways of getting around these issues and I would love to hear readers’ tales of imaginative ways they have found to get on. Please leave a comment below if you have something you want to share.
Have a great day
PS Don’t forget that some bookmakers (not all) track their customers IP addresses as a way of identifying customers with multiple accounts. Make sure that you have a dynamic IP address or use a virtual proxy server that will hide your address.