Thursday 8 December 2016

Investing Done Proper

Has anyone else noticed the rather confusing way in which Betfair shows the scores of the NBA fixtures?

From the other night, the NBA page showed this:

A reasonable man might be forgiven for assuming that the Chicago Bulls were leading by a score of 38 points to 25, yet when you go into the specific match markets, the score is magically reversed, and correct:
An opportunity for improvement, one might say - our Premium Charges at work.

In other news, the hit count for this blog has now surpassed the 1.4 million mark, thank you, with 1.5 million the goal for 2017, and James left a comment on my 'working 95 hours a week' post:
Another mug reporter caught out by survivorship bias. For every successful millionaire on the extreme right of the distribution of wealth there are many more scraping along and many doing worse. I see survivorship and confirmation bias everyday in sports and financial trading.

There has to be many losers to pay for the one big winner. If everyone was a winner then we would all be losers minus commission. The paradox of skill as Buchdahl calls it. The better we all become as traders, the harder it is to profit and luck takes precedence over skill. Take commission from that and you are left with a loss. If you can't see why then you need a new hobby.
For any readers not familiar with my dry sense of humour, the post wasn't intended to be taken too seriously. 

Anyone earning a median salary would become a millionaire in less than 40 years simply by working 95 hours a week and saving 15% - it's called the power of compounding - but why work hard and save when you can "comfortably double your money in the space of a year" simply by signing up with a few good tipster services?

The suggestion to "spend 55 hours a week trading - there are plenty of sites out there saying how easy it is to win all the time" was very much tongue in cheek, and a gentle dig at all the bloggers, web sites, tipsters and betting clubs out there who would have you believe that making a fortune from betting is as easy as opening an account and getting started.

James mentions Joseph Buchdahl, and while I was away I noticed the following exchange on Twitter:
Betting is not a good form of 'investment' for most people. The article itself begins:
Betting is a great way of investing money, but that short sentence above in italics (if done properly!) is an extremely important proviso. I don’t personally know of a better investment vehicle than betting but only if executed properly, in a way that minimises risk and maximises potential returns.
"If done properly"... The author continues:
I guess the biggest benefit is that the potential returns are so good. For a strong, well-balanced portfolio of tipsters, returns should see annual bank growth of somewhere between 60 and 120%. What other investment can comfortably double your money in the space of a year?
Really? 60% to 120%? Comfortably double your money in a year? It's that easy? 

My friend Steve "Holiday Hamper" M doesn't seem to be finding it that easy, and if anyone knows about finding strong tipsters, it is surely he. The truth is that good tipsters are hard to find. Skeeve comes to mind as an exception, achieving an edge by specialising in a niche market, but most others have no edge at all. For any that do have an edge, it is an edge that will erode rapidly once they start publicising their selections. I believe it was James who said that an edge shared is an edge eroded, or words to that effect.

Betting is a fun activity with a small amount of money, but the fun lies more in the intellectual challenge of beating your opponents than in the profits themselves, and it's unlikely to ever be an 'investment' whatever anyone tells you. 

Ten to fifteen years ago, when the exchange concept was relatively new and court-siders and the Premium Charge didn't exist, it was possible to make a good second income from betting / trading but the markets have evolved as you would expect them to. It's not that easy now.

To finish on an upbeat note, at least for me, here's what I wrote about Leicester City back in August:
Back to football, and while I'm not a big fan of tying my money up for a full season, I have had a few bets matched laying Leicester City in the Premier League this season, including for a top 10 finish at 1.46. I suspect that Leicester City's bubble has burst, and with the added distraction of Champions League football and a key player departing, can see them struggling rather like Ipswich Town did in their first season (17th of 22 teams) after surprisingly winning the League.
And struggling they are, currently 16th of 20 teams and very much 'doing an Ipswich' with more than a few Champions League group runners-up hoping to draw them in the knock-out stage I'd suggest.

No comments: