Thursday, 19 June 2014

Inside The World of Drinking And Women

I finished reading "Game Set Cash - Inside The Secret World Of International Tennis Trading" by Brad Hutchins, and I have to say it wasn't too interesting for anyone interested in court-siding. As someone else had said, it was more a series of tales about epic drinking sessions, hot chicks (two activities which really are better experienced first hand than read about), and the ejections by security. All three were repeated a number of times with changes in venues, names and language / approach taken by security, but I suppose something had to pad out 272 pages. To be fair, some of the stories were mildly amusing, and Mr Hutchins isn't a bad writer at all, but what I was interested in was an insight into "the secret world of international tennis trading" which we didn't get.

There were some occasional details given, and one of the things that jumped out was the sheer scale of court-siding operations, with sometimes as many as twenty traders present for a match. It was also not clear what the court-sider was technically doing - at times he refers to his activity as transmitting scores and at others as trading. Perhaps not surprisingly, the book doesn't mention the victims who are paying for his drinks, hotels and air fares around the world other than in very vague terms. It does seem that as with High-Frequency Trading, much of the competition is other traders employing the same strategy, but new money is coming from somewhere.

One other observation is that this practice has been going on for some time. One tale tells of a guy who made one million euros circa 2006 "sitting on the baseline with laptops" and my guess is that activities like this were the driving force behind Betfair's Premium Charge which was first introduced in September 2008.

"While many online gamblers know court-siding exists, most simply don't have the means, imagination or drive to join the party. So, while it's not a completely secret vocations, those of us who do it have been able to operate with a relatively limited amount of competition and exposure. On the whole, the practice remains largely undiscovered by the general public, and we traders do all we can to keep it that way".
The important role of Betfair is made clear also, in this passage after one of their outages:
"The bottom line is if Betfair didn't exist, online sports trading wouldn't exist, and we wouldn't be sat on court crossing our fingers for their server to come back up. I learn there and then that Betfair is our lifeblood and without it our industry would not exist".
When the Gambling Commission looked into in-play betting in May 2008, they sought Betfair's input. Click on the link and read the answers provided. It may be just me, but given the data Betfair clearly had at that time, some of the answers appear to be less than forthcoming.

I may have other observations from the Game Set Cash book in future posts, and speaking of posts, this one should see the hit count for this blog reach two-thirds of a million. I probably won't be in a fit state to blog tomorrow. England matches give me a free-pass for epic drinking sessions, hot chicks not included though.

One-third of a million hits was reached in December 2011 after 3 years and 8 months, so the pace has picked up slowly as we close in on a million.    

2 comments:

Steve said...

"One other observation is that this practice has been going on for some time. One tale tells of a guy who made one million euros circa 2006 "sitting on the baseline with laptops" and my guess is that activities like this were the driving force behind Betfair's Premium Charge which was first introduced in September 2008."

Think I'd agree with you on that one, the PC was basically Betfair's annoyance that people were making plenty of money off them with relatively little efforts. Mainly down to flaws within their system they just couldn't plug as easily as the old tricks like getting in front of the queue when you could bypass Betfairs odds ladder input a hidden 0.0001 on your own odds or the trick of beating the inplay delays that were well known amongst quite a few.

I'm sure there are plenty of books in the wings waiting to come out about the 'scams' in those early days and the fortunes won through loopholes rather than skill. But whilst there's still loopholes there and money to be made I doubt we'll see the likes of the legendary racetech guy's books just yet. I'm guessing Brad Hutchins is now too well known on the circuit to earn so a book is pretty much his only option for now.

Steve said...

"One other observation is that this practice has been going on for some time. One tale tells of a guy who made one million euros circa 2006 "sitting on the baseline with laptops" and my guess is that activities like this were the driving force behind Betfair's Premium Charge which was first introduced in September 2008."

Think I'd agree with you on that one, the PC was basically Betfair's annoyance that people were making plenty of money off them with relatively little efforts. Mainly down to flaws within their system they just couldn't plug as easily as the old tricks like getting in front of the queue when you could bypass Betfairs odds ladder input a hidden 0.0001 on your own odds or the trick of beating the inplay delays that were well known amongst quite a few.

I'm sure there are plenty of books in the wings waiting to come out about the 'scams' in those early days and the fortunes won through loopholes rather than skill. But whilst there's still loopholes there and money to be made I doubt we'll see the likes of the legendary racetech guy's books just yet. I'm guessing Brad Hutchins is now too well known on the circuit to earn so a book is pretty much his only option for now.