Unspectacular Profits

At the risk of tempting fate I appear to have turned a corner. I had been enduring a bad run which peaked at around the same time as I was given the opportunity to write a blog about my approach to betting. I was beginning to fear that my approach to betting had the potential to be summed up by the word ‘losing’ but, so far at least, November has seen an improvement.

In order to give some context let me clarify/interest/bore (delete as applicable) with a summary of my betting history over the last three and a half years.

I began keeping records of every bet I made and to which system each bet belonged, in July 2012. It was all going along swimmingly for so long. My first losing month was not until month 18, by which time I had amassed a profit of 1333 points (I will refer to points rather than pounds to enable you to contextualise things in terms of your own betting bank). Things however never stand still. I had discovered a wonderful spread betting loophole which I began to exploit in August 2012 and which was responsible for 757 of the 1100 points profit I made in the 12 months to July 2013. Unfortunately what I had foreseen as being a long-term goldmine instead saw profits dwindle as the loopholes were closed. Month 12 saw only 10 points made and from then on there has been almost nothing. When combined with the fact that any attempt I now make to place a bet results in my offer being rejected and a new price quoted I have given spread betting up as a lost cause. The remaining five months of 2013 saw profits of only 118 points in total and included my first losing month as mentioned. With my most lucrative system removed I would have to look for new opportunities.

I began operating laying systems I had researched myself in April of 2013 and although these had been very successful to begin with a loss of 100 points in December was entirely responsible for that month being a loser and resulted in a thorough review, especially as I had now discovered the Horse Race Base website I featured last week. I set about 2014 armed with a series of laying systems which covered all odds ranges with varying stakes. Even with reduced stakes lays at longer-odds can have horrendous liabilities and I would caution anyone not to go there unless you have VERY robust criteria. Losses are rare but can be cataclysmic.

Having made 129 points with my 2013 systems I found my enhancements brought an improvement and 340 points were added to the coffers via these systems alone during 2014. Together with continued use of matched betting and bookie offers, occasional arbing and other bits and pieces I made 812 points over the year, with again just one losing month. So, in summary, after 30 months I had been up in 28 and had made a total profit over the whole period of 2047 points. As 2015 arrived I felt secure in my methods and with a ratio of 14 winning months to every losing one I felt confident that another positive year was in store. Oops.

2015 did not start well. A 54 point loss on one of the long-odds laying systems saw January move from a position of profit to a 16 point loss on the final day of the month. I told you a loss on those systems can be cataclysmic!

February saw a return to profit but March and April were both losing months and saw my worst single result ever when Gentlemen won a Wolverhampton maiden at 100/1. I still don’t really want to talk about it, although it was directly responsible for me changing my rule so that when a long-odds horse qualifies in two different systems I no longer double my stake! From two out of 30 I had now suffered three negative months in four and a third of the way through the year I was 35 points behind.

A blistering May, reasonable June and very good July saw profits, mood and confidence restored. But then….then…. Oh dear God what happened from August?! Well, in short, every photo finish seemed to go against me; every tipster I followed seemed to have a bad run, every system I operated seemed to collapse – all at the same time! August -72 points, September -14. By the middle of October that month was down an eye-watering 148 points! At one point my entire profit for 2015 was standing at only 54 points.

I wrote my first ‘A Bettor Way of Life’ piece at this time and you can almost sense my anxiety transmitting itself through the page. It focused on the ability to quit something while you are still behind in order to stop losses – something very much at the forefront of my mind at the time. I was spending a lot of late nights in front of the computer re-analysing old systems, researching new ideas and looking for something, anything, to give cause for optimism.

Although October finished as my worst month yet I did claw things back slightly over the second half. November, thus far, sees me ticking along quite nicely if unspectacularly. To be honest though I don’t want spectacular. I was happy chugging along making regular profits for 28 out of 30 months. I have been down in six from ten so far this year and I don’t like it let me tell you!

Still I have to look at it this way: I am now 131 points better off than I was at the start of the year, meaning I am up 2178 points overall since July 2012. I am acutely aware that complacency is not an option. Lucrative seams such as my early spread companies’ loophole can disappear as fast as they arrive. A system laying long-odds shots may have proven long-term success but can be horrendous if a couple trot up in close succession. Potential routes to profit can be closed as bookies remove access to bonuses, or restrict accounts, as has happened with annoying, if inevitable, regularity this year. 2015 has had more ups and downs than a kangaroo on a pogo stick on a trampoline on a bouncy castle and almost as many as bad similes in the last sentence. It is in no way a certainty that the current positive run will continue, but at least I have renewed confidence that I have in place a fairly solid, robust and reliable set of systems, tipsters and angles. I am also relieved to have rid myself, at least temporarily, of the fear that this column was to be a record of a man’s descent into breakdown and bankruptcy. How it all pans out from here only time will tell and you, dear reader, will get to hear all about it.

As long as I’m not too depressed to write of course.


Paul Dixon is a lifelong sports fan and author of the book Fun and Games in Fife and Gretna– a humorous look at an Englishman’s journey into Scottish football. He has been making regular profits from betting since 2012.