Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Donald Dumped

And shorten it did, down to around the 1.45 / 1.46 mark, and a nice easy profit if you took my advice. Not bad for a 90 minute debate where Trump was soundly put in his place, and the financial markets in the USA (and Mexico for that matter) reacted favourably to the proceedings yesterday. The second debate is on Sunday, October 9th, but unless Trump implodes and completely loses the plot (something that is certainly not beyond the realms of possibility) any movement in the markets for next President will be less dramatic than seen during the first debate.  

Skeeve wrote another post, with nothing but kind (but well deserved) words for yours truly: 
One of my all-time favorite bloggers Cassini is back after a short break
"One of"? Not sure what he means by that!
If you're somehow not familiar with Cassini, you're probably not interested in betting or trading, but you should know that he's one of the good guys in this chaotic betting world, along with the likes of Joseph Buchdahl, Peter Ling, Rowan Day, Greg Gordon and Stewboss, to mention some of the very few. As you can see, he also has a fine sense of humor, which is probably much more important to yours truly than to your average gambler, but I'm not your average gambler - and neither is Cassini if I may try and observe.
That is some illustrious company there, except for Greg Gordon who (no offence intended) I had never heard of until just now! He must be quite wonderful.

And just like that, a quick Google search reveals that he was featured in The Guardian as far back as 2005 and longevity is a useful indicator of success, or very deep pockets!

Greg also wrote The Progambler Good Tipster Guide back in 2008 so it's a little embarrassing that the paths of such great writers have not previously crossed.

Due to aforementioned Granddad duties, I'm behind on my Draw updates this season, but Kankerganker (possibly not his real name) has some interesting observations that I'll address in more detail in a few more days (although I will not be going anywhere near Iranian football. It's nothing persianal, I just prefer my football (and my country) to be in the EU:
Hi Cassini.
Recently found your blog, I really enjoy it and have been reading back a few months.
I am quite intrigued about the Draw4 system, as i am currently doing something similar, albeit in different leagues.
I have found 2nd best leagues to be quite generous with draws, and i'm currently tracking Ligue 2, Serie B, La Liga 2, Portugal Segunda and Championship draw for the season(and a few others).

In my records i have used the best closing odds between the bookies where i have an account(Pinnacle, bet365 and 5dimes), and the season to date results are as follows:
424 Games +79 units, +18% ROI with 4/5 leagues being in the green (Championship sits at -14%)
An extreme outlier is the Iranian Pro league, with about 50% draws this season, yielding 59% ROI after 56 games. Last season ended with about 35% draws.
What do you think about betting draws by league trends?
I'm looking to narrow down the amount of games to a more playable amount. Perhaps taking the 2-3 most drawing teams from the 5-6 most drawing leagues?
All in all i think draws hold great value, partly since they are so uncomfortable to bet.
I've found that betting on Draws is a bit like sitting on a wooden chair. It's only uncomfortable if you stay there for 90 minutes! A brief stop and you're fine. 

Donald Dumped

And shorten it did, down to around the 1.45 / 1.46 mark, and a nice easy profit if you took my advice. Not bad for a 90 minute debate where Trump was soundly put in his place, and the financial markets in the USA (and Mexico for that matter) reacted favourably to the proceedings yesterday. The second debate is next Tuesday, October 4th, but unless Trump implodes and completely loses the plot (something that is certainly not beyond the realms of possibility) any movement in the markets for next President will be less dramatic than seen during the first debate.  

Skeeve wrote another post, with nothing but kind (but well deserved) words for yours truly: 
One of my all-time favorite bloggers Cassini is back after a short break
"One of"? Not sure what he means by that!
If you're somehow not familiar with Cassini, you're probably not interested in betting or trading, but you should know that he's one of the good guys in this chaotic betting world, along with the likes of Joseph Buchdahl, Peter Ling, Rowan Day, Greg Gordon and Stewboss, to mention some of the very few. As you can see, he also has a fine sense of humor, which is probably much more important to yours truly than to your average gambler, but I'm not your average gambler - and neither is Cassini if I may try and observe.
That is some illustrious company there, except for Greg Gordon who (no offence intended) I had never heard of until just now! He must be quite wonderful.

And just like that, a quick Google search reveals that he was featured in The Guardian as far back as 2005 and longevity is a useful indicator of success, or very deep pockets!

Greg also wrote The Progambler Good Tipster Guide back in 2008 so it's a little embarrassing that the paths of such great writers have not previously crossed.

Due to aforementioned Granddad duties, I'm behind on my Draw updates this season, but Kankerganker (possibly not his real name) has some interesting observations that I'll address in more detail in a few more days (although I will not be going anywhere near Iranian football. It's nothing persianal, I just prefer my football (and my country) to be in the EU:
Hi Cassini.
Recently found your blog, I really enjoy it and have been reading back a few months.
I am quite intrigued about the Draw4 system, as i am currently doing something similar, albeit in different leagues.
I have found 2nd best leagues to be quite generous with draws, and i'm currently tracking Ligue 2, Serie B, La Liga 2, Portugal Segunda and Championship draw for the season(and a few others).

In my records i have used the best closing odds between the bookies where i have an account(Pinnacle, bet365 and 5dimes), and the season to date results are as follows:
424 Games +79 units, +18% ROI with 4/5 leagues being in the green (Championship sits at -14%)
An extreme outlier is the Iranian Pro league, with about 50% draws this season, yielding 59% ROI after 56 games. Last season ended with about 35% draws.
What do you think about betting draws by league trends?
I'm looking to narrow down the amount of games to a more playable amount. Perhaps taking the 2-3 most drawing teams from the 5-6 most drawing leagues?
All in all i think draws hold great value, partly since they are so uncomfortable to bet.
I've found that betting on Draws is a bit like sitting on a wooden chair. It's only uncomfortable if you stay there for 90 minutes! A brief stop and you're fine. 

Donald Dumped

And shorten it did, down to around the 1.45 / 1.46 mark, and a nice easy profit if you took my advice. Not bad for a 90 minute debate where Trump was soundly put in his place, and the financial markets in the USA (and Mexico for that matter) reacted favourably to the proceedings yesterday. The second debate is next Tuesday, October 4th, but unless Trump implodes and completely loses the plot (something that is certainly not beyond the realms of possibility) any movement in the markets for next President will be less dramatic than seen during the first debate.  

Skeeve wrote another post, with nothing but kind (but well deserved) words for yours truly: 
One of my all-time favorite bloggers Cassini is back after a short break
"One of"? Not sure what he means by that!
If you're somehow not familiar with Cassini, you're probably not interested in betting or trading, but you should know that he's one of the good guys in this chaotic betting world, along with the likes of Joseph Buchdahl, Peter Ling, Rowan Day, Greg Gordon and Stewboss, to mention some of the very few. As you can see, he also has a fine sense of humor, which is probably much more important to yours truly than to your average gambler, but I'm not your average gambler - and neither is Cassini if I may try and observe.
That is some illustrious company there, except for Greg Gordon who (no offence intended) I had never heard of until just now! He must be quite wonderful.

And just like that, a quick Google search reveals that he was featured in The Guardian as far back as 2005 and longevity is a useful indicator of success, or very deep pockets!

Greg also wrote The Progambler Good Tipster Guide back in 2008 so it's a little embarrassing that the paths of such great writers have not previously crossed.

Due to aforementioned Granddad duties, I'm behind on my Draw updates this season, but Kankerganker (possibly not his real name) has some interesting observations that I'll address in more detail in a few more days (although I will not be going anywhere near Iranian football. It's nothing persianal, I just prefer my football (and my country) to be in the EU:
Hi Cassini.
Recently found your blog, I really enjoy it and have been reading back a few months.
I am quite intrigued about the Draw4 system, as i am currently doing something similar, albeit in different leagues.
I have found 2nd best leagues to be quite generous with draws, and i'm currently tracking Ligue 2, Serie B, La Liga 2, Portugal Segunda and Championship draw for the season(and a few others).

In my records i have used the best closing odds between the bookies where i have an account(Pinnacle, bet365 and 5dimes), and the season to date results are as follows:
424 Games +79 units, +18% ROI with 4/5 leagues being in the green(Championship sits at -14%)
An extreme outlier is the Iranian Pro league, with about 50% draws this season, yielding 59% ROI after 56 games. Last season ended with about 35% draws.
What do you think about betting draws by league trends?
I'm looking to narrow down the amount of games to a more playable amount. Perhaps taking the 2-3 most drawing teams from the 5-6 most drawing leagues?
All in all i think draws hold great value, partly since they are so uncomfortable to bet.
I've found that betting on Draws is a bit like sitting on a wooden chair. It's only uncomfortable if you sit on it for 90 minutes! A brief visit and you're fine. 

Monday, 26 September 2016

Trading With Kids

Some of you may have noticed a rather long interval between posts. I have been on Granddad duty looking after two children under the age of two, and to anyone who manages to trade under such a handicap, my sincerest congratulations.

I've written before about how the Exchange concept came along at a perfect time for me, no young kids and a girlfriend - now wife - who likes a quiet life and lets me get on with my stuff, but how anyone can concentrate for more than a few minutes with kids around, is beyond my comprehension right now. When they are quiet, I either want to catch up with my sleep or relax in a mindless fashion watching a film, knowing the next scream / cry is only a matter of time. 

I actually started this post several days ago, but haven't had the opportunity to complete it until now. Another week or so, and my life will be back to normal. I could have used the excuse that I'm actually CEO of a billion dollar global empire and have been out of the country for a while, but surely no one would believe that, would they?

At least I'm not the only one who finds Pinnacle's BetShare Tweets irritating. Stewboss commented:

I also find their Betshare tweets annoying for the same reason Cassini. More annoying than that are the tweets which proclaim that they never close accounts. Eventually I felt compelled to remind them that they closed thousands of UK based accounts in November 2014. Looks like they are planning a return though and all will be forgiven!
I think that while technically Pinnacle have closed accounts for regulatory reasons, and presumably they close accounts upon request also from problem / losing gamblers as requested, I can forgive this technicality.

When they say that they "never" close accounts, they clearly mean "winning accounts", a pitch that separates them from the crowd of all the other books who will close or limit your account as soon as it becomes profitable, or shows some sign that at some point it might have that potential.

Betfair have also closed accounts for regulatory reasons, or for sure stopped accepting bets from certain countries, and have quietly dropped their "Where Winners Are Welcome" mantra after introducing their punitive Premium Charges. I believe they also restrict accounts on their Sportsbook site too.

In the USA tonight, the first debate between the two Presidential candidates takes place, and it could get very ugly for the Republican nominee Donald Trump. 

Whatever your opinion of Hillary Clinton is, no rational person can deny that she is far better prepared to be President than Mr Trump. She has been in politics for a lifetime, was Secretary of State for several years, and will be far better prepared for the debates than Donald Trump. 

Trump is not a politician, and his history of insulting minorities, women, the disabled and his lack of understanding of world affairs ("why can't we use nuclear weapons if we have them?"), how the economy / US National Debt work, and proven constant lying should have already ruled him out as President, but incredibly he is hanging in there, at least for now.

While there are some people who won't be swayed whatever happens, the debates are likely to convince any floaters that Trump is hopelessly unsuited to the job, and the 1.6 available right now on the well-prepared Clinton for next President should shorten during the debate.

During my relaxing break, I did receive an email from non-league specialist Skeeve who has been discussed, in a positive way, on this blog before. He has returned to blogging after a spell away and will be back to advising his official picks in a little under a month. 

Although according to some sources, well maybe one source, I run a global betting empire and am behind multiple web sites, I actually have no business relationship with Skeeve so when I say that he has a stellar record over ten years, and that I have no concerns about his integrity, that is my unbiased and honest assessment. 

The quality of his research is unmatched:
Versatile defender/midfielder Staunton who had started three consecutive games following Williams' injury at right-back moved to centre-back, first-choice left-back Widdowson moved to right-back, central midfielder Raymond moved to left-back and there you have a completely unexpected, but very organized back four that even keeps a clean sheet against Dover (btw it was Justham's fifth clean sheet in ten games so far) who had scored at least once (and up to four - on two occasions) in each game since the opening day.
Specialising in a league where there is less focus than the top leagues has paid dividends over the years.    

Skeeve writes:
I'd be glad to send the 2015/16 season review to everyone who's interested and there's currently a 5% discount available (until the end of the month) if subscribing for the whole season (http://skeevepicks.com/index.php?page=members-only).
The 5% discount is through September, so act fast, but if you mention my name and that I was late publishing this post because of my granddad duties, maybe he'll extend the discount by a few days!

His unofficial selection of Dagenham and Redbridge to win promotion was made a couple of weeks ago when they were around 6.0, and the best available now is 4.0 with betway or BetVictor who may let you have 50p on if you're lucky. 

Friday, 9 September 2016

BetShare

Sarcasm may have been banned in North Korea, (nuclear bombs are still fine though) but it is alive and well in my Inbox with Tony writing:

While you are being so generous giving out 1-day a year specials, here is one for you.
Unfortunately, as with the All-Star Break System, we will have to wait about 10 months until the next opportunity for Tony's discovery, as the "one-day" in question is July 4th. 

What makes these "one day specials" interesting is that there is some rationale behind them. A finding that says, for example, that the 10th day of May is a good day for backing underdogs is probably irrelevant. If a trend were found for April 15th, now that might be interesting. MLB aficionados will know the meaning of that date.

The NFL season got off to a profitable start, with followers of this blog happy to see their balances higher this morning with a never-in-doubt win on the Under 41.5 market. No "thank you" donations yet, but it's still early and I'm sure they'll be flooding in soon. (Can you tell I don't live in North Korea?).

More seriously, readers will know that I am a big fan of Pinnacle and their business model, but am I the only one who finds their BetShare Tweets annoying? 

For serious bettors, it's of minimal interest that 67% of bets were placed on the Carolina Panthers last night. 

What is of interest is how much money was placed on the two teams, and how the Panthers drifted before kick-off. Not the number of bets on each side.   

What is useful to know is how the line moves relative to the BetShare.  

If two bettors had fun bets of £10 each on the Panthers, but the third puts £100 on the Broncos, the line will move out on the Panthers, despite the fact that they have received 67% of the bets. This is what is interesting. Smart money - i.e. large wagers made by single individuals or betting syndicates - causing reverse line movement.

If you see anyone promoting their BetShare numbers, less sophisticated bettors could be excused for thinking they are following the money, but in reality, there is a very real chance that the book is trying to balance its books. 

The line doesn't care if 999 people place £1 on one one side and one person places £999 on the other side.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

All-Star Cameos

July was a poor month for betting MLB favourites this year. It's always a disjointed month with the flow of the season interrupted by the All-Star break, (I keep records for pre and post break periods) but since the reverse favourite-longshot bias evaporated in the 2012 season, July 2016 was the worst month for favourites at 1.5 or shorter.

One trend that did hold true again this season was that of favourites doing well in their first games after the break. The rationale for this is that although the better teams are likely to be better represented at the All-Star game, many of those will only put in a less than exhausting cameo performance, while the majority of their players enjoy the break and get some rest which apparently benefits better teams more than worse teams.

These once a year trends are of limited value of course - come next year and 99% of people reading this will have forgotten about it. One idea with season long potential was triggered by a conversation with baseball expert Fizzer on the topic of matches with high run totals. 

A little more research on this shows that in games where the run total is set high, underdogs perform well
Our results showed that as totals increased, underdogs performed increasingly well for bettors. Essentially, high totals equate to more scoring and more unpredictability and this volatility was disproportionately beneficial to the team receiving plus money.
I took out the no-hoper underdogs, and so far this season the ROI is 12.9% from 79 selections. In 2015, ROI was 5.8% from 48 matches, but was a losing play in 2012, 2013 and 2014 so no champagne celebrations yet.
Hopefully some of you took the Under 41.5 at 2.0 on tonight's opening NFL game as recommended here earlier this week. The price right now is 1.84 / 1.85 on Betfair, trading as low as 1.80, and a good call if I do say so myself. 

Know When To Fold'em

Bossman Megarain comments on the Gambling Commission's report on In-Play Betting:
Hiya,
This is all good, and I tend to agree .. but, something isn't quite right.
The matched amounts in cricket games, have been steadily rising, probably more so, than any other 'in-play' trading. An average international T20, might get $25m traded. A domestic one (on Tv), $20m.
At the English grounds, members of the English Cricket Board (ECB) integrity unit, police the ground, and allow courtsiders with laptops, to tap away, but, will eject those, only with phones, relaying ball-by-ball info.
Now, I know betting is illegal in India, and, its likely this is where the majority of the liquidity comes from .. but, how, can the matched amounts, be so steadily growing, if these accounts are consistently losing ?
I promise u .. there are edges in these games .. maybe not as big, in the shorter format, as 5 day tests, but, u don't have to be present to win.
U just need strategies, which protect u, from courtsiders.

As a further aside, I found it interesting, the GC specifically noted, that courtsiding was not be considered cheating. This might be important, for US legislation .. down the road.
Relative to other markets that I am familiar with, those numbers look impressive. The biggest market currently on Betfair is the US Presidential Election with over £32m matched, so $20m (£15m) for a single T20 game is pretty decent.

I'm not sure betting is illegal in India - it may be technically, but  believe rules are loosely enforced, and Betfair is available there.

As for the logic of ejecting phone users relaying info but not those with laptops - really? With everyone having phones these days, that would appear to be an exercise in futility.

An increase in liquidity could be simply courtsider betting syndicates going up against each other. 

Logically, if the same accounts are consistently losing, whether they be from Delhi or Southall, those accounts would stop playing. 

If there are edges on cricket, and there are courtsiders, then MegaBoss RainMan (surely not another global CEO?) is saying that the people behind the courtsiders don't know what they are doing with the information they are getting. Considering the costs of acquiring that data, and the number of courtsiders likely active at a big cricket game, I'm not sure that's a scenario that is probable or sustainable. If courtsiders are leaving money on the table, that inefficiency would soon be resolved. 

I'm reminded of an old joke where a priest was on his way to Heathrow Airport having been summoned to Rome upon the, as yet, unannounced death of the Pope. He comes across a homeless man, and taking pity on him gave him some money and whispered "go to the bookies, and put this all on a new Pope by next week". 

Upon his return, the priest saw the same guy shuffling along, and went over to him and said "What happened? Didn't you do what I told you? I told you there's be a new Pope - You could have more money than Big Pairs by now," to which the homeless man replied "Oh I heard you Father, but I did him in a double with the Archbishop of Canterbury". 

It's one of my cleaner Catholic jokes, (the others usually relate to priests preying, or similar), but there is simply no way that long-term you could gain an edge over someone with faster data than yourself, unless your opponent doesn't know how to use the data. 

Short-term, yes, you can get lucky. Long-term, no. Try playing Texas Hold'em against someone who knows the Flop, Turn or River cards before you see them. Sure, you might win a few hands, but if your opponent knows how to play poker, you'll soon get cleaned out. 

On the 'cheating' topic, I don't think there was ever a case that courtsiding was cheating. The problem with it is that relatively few people have access to this data, with the vast majority of the markets watching pictures on TV, which will always be delayed to some extent. 

That this scenario is not fair to the home traders doesn't mean that a few are cheating, but it should make the operator take steps to ensure that the majority are not being taken advantage of, as well as safeguard their product long-term. 

People tend not to like being taken advantage of, and putting up a disclaimer and charging the few a 60% tax on their winnings, is arguably not the best long-term solution for a company to this situation.

I suspect that James has decided writing another book is too time consuming, and has replaced Bernie Taupin and started writing lyrics for Sir Elton John. 

It's nice to see James in a partnership.

His first effort is a song to be called "I Just Wanna Make Money":
Why are you telling me this Cassini?
I just wanna make money.
You keep telling me how hard it is and all the work I have to put into it.
I just wanna make money.
I hate my job. They make me do things. It's too hard. They make me think.
I just wanna make money.
Tell me how the others do it. You know, easily.
I just wanna make money.
I have the chorus of Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" running through my head now! 

James had another comment, this one on my last post, writing:
There is no beginning to your talents.
I think he meant no "end" to my talents. 

Hey, wait a minute... how rude! 

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Bolly, Broncos, And Blagging

I have sad news regarding Betfair Pro Trader and best-selling author James "Bolly" Butler

He's dead.

He's actually been dead since 2004, which makes it all the harder to take, and very sad considering how popular he was: 

That popularity ranking was from his street by the way, not his country, in case there was any confusion. 

Or perhaps it was all a mistake, and a timely example not to believe everything you read on the Internet. 

James actually sent me that link himself, so he really is alive and well, no doubt busy thinking about his next blockbuster, even if he's not actually working on it. 
The above Tweet linking to my previous post might have given readers the slightly misleading impression that I never invest in-play, and that the sole reason for that is the presence of courtsiders.

I do occasionally venture into these potentially dangerous waters, but it’s never (OK, rarely) on events where courtsiders are present, and never on events that I don’t understand well enough to have a reasonable shot at finding an edge in.

When you factor in that I’ve also reached an age and a stage in life where the time required for in-play trading just isn’t worth it to me, (despite what you may have heard, I really do need my beauty sleep), and nor is the stress desirable, (Signora Cassini assures me it is very bad for ones health), it should come as little surprise that in-play trading is something of a rarity for me these days, and why a ‘bet and forget’ approach is so appealing.



[I'm also the CEO of a billion-trillion dollar global enterprise in my spare time as some of you know, running a cosmic empire of gambling web sites and blogs from my Cassini Towers, Titan Station headquarters].

Longtime readers will know that I have never (OK, rarely) been involved in horse-racing, or tennis, or cricket, my logic being that these are such popular sports in the UK that I really would have to be delusional to think that I could have an edge over all these people, either pre-game or in-play.

The fact that I don’t particularly enjoy watching any of these sports just made the decision to leave them alone even easier.

Football is another sport where I am realistic to know that despite having watched it for most of my life, others understand the game better than I do, and for in-play there are some well-funded and sophisticated trading operations out there.


That still leaves a few niche sports, although any ‘big’ events around the world will now be attended by courtsiders, and ‘big’ events includes all NFL and NBA games. Without giving too much away, the proliferation of flags in the NFL does reduce the advantage of fieldsiders in that sport. Hence I said ‘rarely’ above. Matches with 1.01 traded on both sides are far from unusual events with several occurrences during a season.

The new season kicks off on Thursday night with a rematch of February’s Superbowl between the Carolina Panthers @ Denver Broncos – who won the 2015 finale 24-10.


The Panthers are favoured by 3 points on the road, (the Broncos have Quarterback issues) and opening weeks since the 32 team format was introduced in 2002 have seen Unders predominate in this spread range.

Including the 2.5 and 3.5 lines, Unders has been the result 50 of 79 matches (1.58), with one Push, and Pinnacle are offering 2.0.  

The favourites have won 52 of 70, an implied price of ~1.35, but for road teams, the implied price is 1.625, which is about where the Panthers are currently priced.

On the theme of not believing everything you read, Jamie (a popular name these days - good enough for Jesus' little brother I suppose, although religion is yet another topic that should be looked at with some healthy scepticism) commented:
I remember the Heathcote one. He disappeared without trace also. People need to realise there are more blaggers out there than there is people actually making any money. Talking of blagging the youtube video is still up there of Heathcote turning £7 into £1300 in 3 hours trading on the horses. I'd struggle to do that even if you told me the race results before the event.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwevwGUTIi4 
Unfortunately, poor film editing resulted in the scene where £2,000 is deposited into the Betfair account being cut. Oh I'm sure some people believe it's that easy.   

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Commission Position Comes To Fruition

Courtesy of Megarain, I see the long awaited Gambling Commission report into in-play betting has been published. Officially titled In-play (in-running) betting: position paper, this is the follow up to their 2009 paper which has been discussed previously on this blog. 

"Courtsiding" does get a mention, with the conclusion being that so long as operators have a disclaimer explaining that "'live' TV or other broadcasts are delayed, and that others may have more up-to-date information" there's no problem.

Betfair's standard disclaimer notably fails to specifically  mention that "others may have more up-to-date information". It's implied in the second part:

Customers should be aware that:
Transmissions described as “live” by some broadcasters may actually be delayed and that all in-play matches are not necessarily televised.
The extent of any such delay may vary, depending on the set-up through which they are receiving pictures or data.
I'm not sure that the requirement for operators to include this information on their main in-play betting pages 'where practicable' is being adhered to either by Betfair, since it is somewhat hidden away under the Rules button. Here are the GC's comments: 
3.3 The term ‘courtsiding’ (coined due to its initial prominence in tennis) is often used to describe the practice of using or transmitting information from a live sporting event for the purpose of gambling. The practice involves a spectator at a sporting event taking advantage of the delay between the live action and TV or data feeds. The spectator can use (or pass on to a third party) the real-time information to place bets on in-play markets before a betting operator, or other betting exchange user, receives the information and adjusts their odds accordingly to reflect the state of play. This results in the bettor being able to obtain more favourable odds.
3.4 We do not consider that courtsiding amounts to an offence of Cheating under section 42 of the Gambling Act 2005. The practice may however breach the entry terms and conditions of a tournament/event.
3.5 Information Provision Annex 3 of our Remote gambling and software technical standards (RTS) refers to in-play betting. It requires operators to provide information that explains that ‘live’ TV or other broadcasts are delayed, and that others may have more up-to-date information. Additionally operators must design main in-play betting pages to include this information where practicable. 
While the cheating accusation was always a non-starter, the bigger concern for Betfair has always been how to address the situation whereby courtsiders, and their associates, were consistently winning, as you might expect they would with such an edge. Premium Charges was Betfair's answer, and let their former employees carry on for a fee, but it was a solution that did nothing to address the inevitable decline in in-play liquidity which will follow when the information is so lop-sided.

One footnote that might help to explain why markets with courtsiders still attract players at a disadvantage is this:
27.4% of online gamblers who bet in-play were classified as problem gamblers, compared to 10.9% of all online gamblers
When you are watching an event and can tell what has happened by the price movement, before you see the action on TV, you know courtsiders are present. Why would any rational person continue armed with this knowledge?  

You may get lucky in the short-term, but long-term, you have no chance, so the only liquidity should be from courtsiders, problem gamblers, and maybe a few newbies who haven't yet worked out that they are at a disadvantage.  

Monday, 5 September 2016

Anaphylaxis


I was a little surprised to read via a comment on my last post, that former blogger Mark Iverson has apparently lent his support to the Big Pairs character, despite the overwhelming evidence presented showing that the claims and the content of that blog just do not make sense. 

Big Pairs profiles are a little inconsistent - in one place he is CEO of a "multi-billion dollar organization", yet on Blogger, it would appear more likely he works in a leisure centre. 

I didn't actually realise Mark was still trading full-time, with the Super Premium Charge (PC3) presumed to have had its intended effect. It certainly took the wind out of my sails when I hit the threshold in September 2012, but as a part-timer, it wasn't the end of the world. Mark went full-time in 2011 I believe, but after reaching the PC3 threshold himself was having second thoughts in late 2014:
2014 has been a year of 2 halves; the first 6 months contained a flurry of big events, big wins and record months whilst the second has been a story of grinding days out, living with increased premium charges and contemplating life away from Betfair. As we approach the beginning of a new year I’m probably more uncertain about what the future holds than I’ve been for some time.
In short, things have become a bit of a struggle.
Okay, I knew things were going to change, and yes it’s pretty much panned out the way I thought it would, but what I hadn’t fully appreciated was how much my motivation to keep going would come into question.
Is it time to move on?
Each to his own, but at 39 and with three young children to support, trading sports for a living would not be my choice over a career with its security and benefits. Not only have the markets become tougher to beat - in Mark's own words:
there’s no doubt the markets have become wiser as technology has become smarter.
- but handing over 40%, 50% or 60% of your profits each week is one heck of a hurdle to overcome. When we started out, we'd take home 95% of our profits. In late 2008 we were down to 80%, and in 2012 for me it was 50%. 

I know that if my full-time job cut my net pay by almost 50%, I'd be looking at other options, and I'd only stay there if there were no other options. 

Merthyr may not offer too many career options, but at least Mark is likely no longer encumbered with a mortgage payment:
Here is the comment from James:
A simple question beginner traders might ask themselves after reading that someone is a CEO of a "multi-billion dollar global organisation" is why bother?
Wikipedia defines a CEO as "the position of the most senior corporate officer, executive, or administrator in charge of managing an organization".
Now, if Big Pairs is the CEO of a multi-billion dollar organisation then that is going to put his salary well into six figures if not the millions. With bonuses and stock options added on top of that you have to ask why the flippity flip flop is he wasting his time with sports trading when he earns more in the blink of an eye?
Also, why does he think that walking out of such a lavish job and into sports trading would not result in a massive decrease in earnings?
Big Pairs just comes across as someone very young who hasn't thought through their imaginary lifestyle and who many have a screw loose. No wonder he has a nut job like Joey Bside sticking up for him. I wonder if they are related.
If such simple questions don't occur to people reading blogs like these then you are probably not going to get far as a trader. And I direct that at people like Mark Iverson who stand up for Big Pairs. Obviously, Mr Iverson is not as bright as he thinks he is.
Mark has never claimed to be bright, in fact quite the opposite as he admits his academic achievements were poor
...so it was no great surprise that I ended up flunking my A-Levels (despite being taught by my Dad), dropping out of College and instead tried to work my way up the career ladder via a handful of companies.
However, academic failings were no impediment to him finding an edge in a couple of sports, but as Mark knows, and admits to himself, he isn't an optimal trader, letting his emotions get in the way, and of course the nonsensical change of strategy based on the time of the month, the summary of which is one of the more popular posts from this blog's illustrious history, and not an approach that Mark was able to justify.
It could be seen as a weakness, but I’m quite an emotional guy so I have to keep that part of my personality under tight control.
I have no doubt that Mark Iverson has done very well out of trading his niche sports of Cricket and the NFL, and we actually collaborated on a live NFL trading project a few seasons ago. 

My main recollection of this was Mark making a profit in the first half, and then stopping, an approach that to me seemed extremely risk averse given that it was a close game and the opportunities in the second half would be even greater. Perhaps it was late in the month! Akin to the number one trading error of cutting your winners short.

So while anyone reaching the Super PC threshold can justifiably be called a success, Mark's shortcomings as a trader have meant that he should have been even more successful with a more professional approach, which you would expect a professional to have. 
  
The final comment on Mark is a reminder of the awful and dangerous Soccer In Play app that he was disingenuously promoting in 2012 - perhaps not a coincidence that this was just after he had reached Super PC and may have been looking for additional income streams: 
This was the bookmaker sponsored app which was, to put it politely, absolute crap, for example generating just four prices for Home wins:
A couple of comments have compared the Neil v Graeme debate with the occasional disagreement between myself and Mark Iverson, the latest being the frankly dangerous and awful Soccer In Play app which seems to me to be nothing more than a bookmaker sponsored gimmick designed with the sole intention of making the less sophisticated bettor think they have an edge, and throw money away.
As I pointed out in this post, the app has a grand total of FOUR sets of results, with no details on how, when, or from what leagues these numbers were obtained. Enter any two classifications of teams for any league in the world, and your pre-game probabilities will be one of the following:
That Chelsea would have the same probability of beating Tottenham Hotspur or Crystal Palace would seem to most of us to be quite ridiculous, and how Mark can claim that the app is in any way a useful betting tool is frankly incredible. Football matches cannot be broken down into four outcomes.
The most worrisome aspect of this misrepresentation is that a few less than sophisticated bettors will possibly be seduced by this toy, and lose money, and to highlight the occasional ‘win’ as support for the idea that the app is anything but garbage is disingenuous to say the least.

The basic idea remains a good one though, but to be useful you need to be able to enter individual teams, and the data needs to be league specific and frequently maintained. Many of us have our own models that we update each week, (time-consuming, but essential), and the odds on a home win will not always be one of these four - 1.55, 2.02, 2.42, 3.52
If you seriously believe that football prices can be broken down in such a simplistic way, then you are gullible, and if you are gullible, you lack the skills to sniff out the bullshit in a blog, which is so obvious to others. Joey Hughes is a vile piece of work by all accounts, but I think Mark Iverson is a decent chap who means well, with the Soccer In Play app an error of judgement. If he is making another error by supporting the nonsense from Big Pairs, I can only assume it's because he hasn't done his research. The evidence is clear.