Saturday, 28 January 2017

The Pimp Syndicate

It used to be a rarity that the daily hit count would exceed a thousand, but the past week has seen a huge uptick. Unfortunately the daily posts will be interrupted as I take another trip to Philadelphia, this time for a mid-Winter break which happens to coincide with the Superbowl.

James took a break from his new book "Reverse Portuguese Calculus" to ask about his latest best seller:
Am I writing this blog in my sleep or something?
Is the book any good, that's what Tony (and others) want to know.
I haven't finished it yet, but with a few hours of flying time coming up, I hope to have it completed by the time I return, but so far it hasn't disappointed. As you might expect if you read James's blog, it's targeted at the more discerning reader, and tells the truth as unpalatable as that might be to some people. 

James also replied to Prabhat's question from a couple of days ago, which I shall repeat here for clarity. Prabs wrote:
So are you saying that other than the information edge from knowing the game state earlier, there is no edge at all in sports betting?
Apologies if I'm getting you wrong, but from what you said that necessarily follows, since all the data is visible in pretty much every major sport.
Not agreeing or disagreeing for the moment, just trying to establish whether that's what you think.
I posted some thoughts of my own here, but James had a fuller reply, and is far more knowledgeable about tennis trading than I am:
As Cassini said more recently, it depends on the sport and the level of competition. You would think that Slams and high ranking point ATP/WTA tournaments are very closely watched by those in the know.
As I say, in another publication (available from independently reviewed booksellers), there are those who specialise at trading the lower level tennis tournaments and soccer leagues.
However, they must also factor in match fixing, which can eat into any informational edge they may have.
You could trade players outside of the top 100 in Challenger and Futures tennis tournaments but it only takes one or two bad eggs to throw matches and put a spanner in the works.
Personally, I am not a fundamental trader, just a technical trader. I have considered setting up a syndicate but it would need muscle as much as brains to run it. I know, from other income streams, that when you start to drain someone else's income stream they tend to plug the hole by putting a hole in you.
I was approached by someone wanting to set up a tennis trading syndicate. I did some research on him and discovered he was a convicted pimp. That's the sort of people you are dealing with.
No thank you.
The problem with setting up a tennis trading syndicate at this stage of the game, i.e. several years after the first syndicates started up, is that your competition is already in place with plenty of experience. In 2015, a BBC article reported:
Steve High says he has been told reliably that 75 people were at last year's Wimbledon final, "sending information back or betting on their own".
At some point, there's not enough money to go round. James mentions the more serious issue of match fixing, and the same BBC article has this to say:
Even supporters of tougher measures against courtsiders, like Chris Eaton director of sports integrity at the International Centre for Sports Security, thought the police had picked the wrong target.
"Courtsiding should be criminalised but the fact is it's a very minor issue compared to match-fixing and the corrupting of sports organisations in South-East Asia," he says.
European football is also mentioned in that BBC report, and if cricket is your sport of choice, in 2014 the Daily Telegraph reported:
The England and Wales Cricket Board released the fact that in summer 2013 there were 23 people ejected for what was believed to be courtsiding. 

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