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.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.
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