Thursday 12 January 2012

Centaur Caught Trading Badly

A couple of readers, fairfranco and Baz, commented yesterday that perhaps my hit counter doesn’t accurately reflect the number of readers this blog has, and a quick look around the web suggests that people using a blog reader such as Google Reader are in fact not being included - Statcounter counts only the hits. This is rather upsetting! Almost as upsetting as finding out about the Premium Charge! Well, maybe not quite, since once costs me money, while the other is just a curiosity, but I do like my numbers to be as accurate as possible. Baz suggests that my “readership may be more than you think, millions perhaps.” Perhaps. What we need to do is have everyone who reads this, donate £1 to me via the PayPal Donate button, and I’ll let you know if we get to a million! If it turns out that I have zero readers, yet a few hundred hits, we will know something very strange is going on.

A day too late, but I thought of an analogy for backing a team to win the FA Cup at the start of the season. Given the unknowns, it occurred to me that it was akin to backing a horse to win a race, without knowing the distance, or whether the race was on the Flat or over jumps. It seems to me that this bet is more for the casual punter fancying a flutter on his team than for the serious investors among us. As evidence, I can reveal that my first bet in a betting shop (Coral's in Oxted) was on Crystal Palace to win the FA Cup in 1976, £2 at 66-1. Value? Arguably. I had just seen them not only beat, but outclass, Leeds United, and they made it to the semi-final where they were favourites to win. There was no laying off in those days though, and Palace lost and down the drain went my £2. That was rather upsetting too! That was a lot of beer back then.

Another observation from the NBA on opposing marquee teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat. On Sunday night, the Lakers were at home to the Memphis Grizzlies, and were of course big favourites to win, which they did. But as late in the game as five minutes from the end, the Grizzlies were within six points, and with two free throws to come. They made just one, but this, by any definition, is now a close game, yet the market seems unwilling to face reality and the Lakers stayed, in my opinion, too short at, as best I can recall, around 1.15 or so. A stop on the next Lakers possession, and a score by Memphis, and the price starts to shoot out. This was one lay that didn’t work out, the Lakers pulled away as the Grizzlies shooting went cold, but it’s low risk, high reward strategy that admittedly loses more than it wins, but when it wins, it wins big. In the past, I have backed a team at short prices, if I feel that price represented value, but when I compare my emotions in that situation versus being on the lay side, there is no doubt that I am far more comfortable with the latter. Buying money is incredibly stressful. Who backs at 1.01 with a full quarter of a game to go? I understand that 1.01 can be value, but in certain sports it does seem that such low prices are matched before that is the case.

Last night's example - the Orlando Magic game at Portland Trailblazers, and the Magic led by 23 points, and traded at 1.01 before Portland rallied to within three, and the Magic's price had bolted out to 1.35. After hitting 1.01 again, it then rebounded to 1.1. The Magic held on to win by three, but laying at 1.01 gives you far more options than backing at that price.

Scott Ferguson has already covered Centaur's move into administration, a company I wrote about almost two years ago:
Looking at the results for MaxLay, which works on the same principles as Maxnet, but for rugby, golf, tennis, cricket and horse racing in 2008 (2009's are curiously unavailable) their results are pretty solid overall, although the fund went almost two months without a winner between September 12th and November 7th picking six consecutive losing bets. No doubt, many of us are looking at them thinking "I can do better than that".

85 bets, 55 wins, and £10,000 turned into £12,252.24 in 12 months? Not bad, and I would probably be happy with that ROI on punts, but I would be disappointed if my trading profits were in that range.
The earlier posts in full were Galileo - Pisa Cake and Sports Intelligence. It is likely that a lot of people lost a lot of money, as I believe the minimum initial investment was €100,000 (£90,000) and in Gibraltar, the total amount of compensation is below UK levels at the sterling equivalent of €20,000.

And finally, this puzzler from the Betting Crunch - Do “Stop At A Winner” Systems Work? Surprisingly, the answer, in my opinion is yes. The problem is that 'Stop' here is not a hard-stop. It's a pause, and you start again, typically on the next day, and thus there is no rhyme, reason, logic or sense in pausing unless the pause is because you are awaiting value, which should always be the case.


Gambling Geek said...

Use feedburner to identify your rss subscribers

500-5000 said...

Just looking at the NBA earlier. I didn't trade any (wish I had) but Miami Heat were trading at 1.3 at one point against the LA Clippers. If you had laid Miami, at those fairly low odds you would have won, as the LA Clippers won the game. Bugger, wish I had put some money on it now.

Average Guy said...

"There was no laying off in those days though". I'm surprised, why not dutch back the other 3 teams, was that not the equivalent ? Had you not evolved into the omnipotent trader / gambler, if not, when did the transition take place ?

Scott said...

considering the amount of referrals I get from your site each week, your Alexa rank is also very poor. But Alexa stats have been shown to be flawed anyway, and you say that much of your audience is via RSS feeds...

Brian H said...

Hi Cassini, I'm one of the 600 (or more?!) who reads your blog daily. It's a great read and the first I added to my blog. I'd really appreciate it of you could add my new blog ( to your blogroll.