Saturday, 14 April 2012

National Lottery

"It's a myth that the National is a lottery," says top sports trader Matt Finnigan. "The last 10 winners have all won listed or graded races beforehand."
I have no reason to doubt the last part of that statement, but the first part is certainly misleading.

The last 10 winners have been at prices ranging from 7/1 to 100/1. Two joint favourites have won, and one favourite. Go back 10 more years and you can add in two more favourites. 30 more years, add one more favourite and a joint favourite. Four favourites, and three joint favourites in 50 years with two 100/1 winners is hardly a ringing endorsement of form showing through. The chances of finding a winner may not technically be in the 'lottery' realm, but as sports go, they're not far off.

But good luck to anyone betting for more than a little entertainment. Trivia item: One hundred years ago, the race was won by Lester Piggott's granddad Ernest, (jockey, not horse), the first of his three National wins. Not a lot of people know that.

As I wrote three years ago, I can well recall watching black and white TV with my Dad in 1967 as Foinavon won - one of the 100/1 winners mentioned earlier. I'm also of an age where the Grand National will forever be associated with Red Rum, and in 1976 I remember listening to the Grand National (Rag Trade 14/1) on the terraces at Stamford Bridge as Crystal Palace came up short in their first ever FA Cup Semi-Final, but these days, I can't even be bothered to watch it.

The FA Cup Semis are far more interesting. The game today will be Liverpool's first FA Cup Semi-Final at Wembley ever, and Everton have only one such appearance (three years ago, they beat Manchester United on penalties). Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur have been more frequent visitors, with Chelsea playing there four times, winning all four, and Spurs three times winning one.

The 'recent' history of all FA Cup Semi-Finals shows teams likely to win to nil - 14 of the last 20 matches have been won to nil. Under / Over is 12/8 for what that's worth. Probably not too much, given the small sample size!

The Unders at 1.76 is slight value today, by the way.

Thanks to Pete Nordsted (@petenordsted) for his mention on Twitter, which resulted in a boost to my followers count.

And finally, to return to the last post on full-time trading. Lambretta said that:
I had a corporate career and all the trappings that come with it. Had I not, perhaps I would not be a full time trader today. However, I make more than I ever did in corporate and work approx 4 hours a day, which leaves plenty of time for hobbies. As for the industry changing, well risk taking is what we traders do.
There's a difference between risk taking with spare change, and giving up a combined lifetime income likely for most of us to be seven figures. I do concede that there are very few jobs for life around these days, and a career can be derailed at short notice by downsizing, but if you have close to 40 years ahead of you, earning an average (median) £25,123, then that is a lot of money to be giving up. I.S. commented:
I'm somewhere in between on this subject. It's true what you say, but if the darkest scenario happens you can always go back to 9-to-5ing. It's not like you choose your path and there's no possibility to correct the decision. The corporate world will always be on the look for trained monkeys that will sit behind the computer, click buttons and create huge profits for them.
One comment there is that it might not be that easy to step back onto the corporate ladder. Industries vary of course, but coming from an IT background, I know that skills soon get rusty, and large gaps in a CV are not looked upon favourably. Lazy Trader said:
Like most things in life until you've tried it yourself you'll never really know what to expect. Luckily for anyone considering going full time they'll always be prophets like Cassini to give them the bad news :)
Indeed, that first part is true. My thoughts on this subject are admittedly negative, (I am writing primarily from my own perspective, and for me it makes no sense to go full-time), but the decision for anyone has to be theirs, based on their personal situation - age, responsibilities, prospects etc. It's one thing being 60, in a low paying job, working for a company in a declining industry, with a paid-up house, savings in the bank and no responsibilities, and have traded profitably for some time - it's another to be 21, with a decent degree, no money, no house, but a solid future ahead of you in a noble profession.

My words may come across as those of a doomsayer, but they are merely meant as a warning that the grass might not be quite so green all over on the other side as you might initially think.


Steve said...

Solid post Cassini, I like the last few paragraphs to keep our feet on the ground, I'm happy with my 7 till 3 job with time to trade when I want, without thinking is this money betfair needed for the gas bill. As always very entertaining and thanks.

NICK said...

The only prophet I'm interested in and that's the green variety :~)

AL said...

Cass old boy, I would say that betting on the national is nothing like doing the national lottery.

For one, you have a 44/1 chance of picking a winner and 7m/1 chance of winning the lotto.

The odds of winning the lotto are so stacked against you that there is no value in even playing unless the jackpot goes up to a certain level.

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