Friday 31 March 2017

Concerning Big Data

Marty commented on my post regarding Pyckio's plan to create the biggest sports betting hedge fund in the world, suggesting:

'Big Data' my arse. He just has what he considers to be a large number of observations... that doesn't make it Big Data.
Marty does have a point. The definition of Big Data Analytics is this:
The process of examining large and varied data sets - i.e., big data -- to uncover hidden patterns, unknown correlations, market trends, customer preferences and other useful information that can help organizations make more-informed business decisions.
Clearly, this doesn't appear to be anything close to the proposed strategy for bet selection outlined by Daniel Mateos Vazquez detailed here, which relies on tipster's recommendations, and you don't need Big Data to look at how good a tipster's record is.

In my experience, throwing buzz words such as "Big Data" around tends to impress those who don't understand them, but when a term is used inappropriately, it raises concerns about the viability of the entire presentation / project to those who are better informed.

Even the use of the term Hedge Fund should be questioned. A Hedge Fund is defined as:
a limited partnership of investors that uses high risk methods, such as investing with borrowed money, in hopes of realising large capital gains.
Again, this isn't what Pyckio's plan is, and I certainly hope that none of the investors are playing with borrowed money!
The intention is to build a portfolio of great analysts for each sport and competition we will be focusing on, and offer a variable remuneration depending on the actual results achieved though their picks. If picks are successful, (circumstance that will be based on several factors and in no case will be absent of risks), this remuneration might be higher than the amount received by selling individual picks to punters.
While I can see how remuneration for a successful tipster from Pyckio might be higher than that from selling picks, especially for an unproven tipster, it's hard to understand why a profitable tipster wouldn't invest his own money at the best price before advising Pyckio of the selection. 

Presumably this profitable tipster would be restricted to either the exchanges, which are not that liquid for many markets, or to the books that do not limit bets from winners, because as Daniel says "it helps them fine-tune their quotes" - but the outcome of "fine-tuning" their quotes is unlikely to be that the price will lengthen!

It's hard for me to see how such a collective enterprise can be successful long term. As James pointed out, sports betting markets are miniscule relative to financial markets, and the competition these days is tough - some of the enterprises out there really do use Big Data! 

While we don't yet know what fees and expenses will be charged by Pyckio, if they are in-line with those of managed financial funds, (my thoughts on these should be well known by now) investors are going to be relying on Pyckio finding an edge significant enough to overcome these, never mind all the other costs involved, and if these include fees to betting brokers as mentioned by Daniel, well good luck. 

A true Hedge Fund may have "hopes of realising large capital gains" but for a sports betting fund, such hopes seem highly improbable. Financial hedge funds and markets essentially exist to enable the economy to function and without them we:
would be far less developed, individuals would be significantly less wealthy than at present and global standards of living would be significantly reduced.
Sports betting markets serve no such purpose.

As retirement approaches, I have an appointment next week with a Financial Planner. Perhaps I should mention this new Fund as an option? 

Update: While I hadn't seen Betfair Pro Trader's latest post on this topic before I wrote and posted the above, many of the points I raised are addressed there also, so take a look. 

Thursday 30 March 2017

Circumspection and Mugs

Many readers will be familiar with the name Pyckio, and be aware that this week CEO Daniel Mateos Vazquez made the following announcement:

We’ve been making great progress in our future SPORTS BETTING HEDGE FUND. Tax and legal details are being closed. The fund will be formed in a jurisdiction that permits this kind of financial products and the fund will be approved by a national financial regulator. Our objective is to create the biggest sports betting hedge fund in the world.
We will follow a mixed strategy to find long term value bets by using the recommendations of the best tipsters for each sport and competition and strategies generated internally by Pyckio based on Big Data. The analysis of Big Data will be carried out by qualified professionals part of our team.
The long term success of the hedge fund is expected to be based on detecting market inefficiencies. Bookmakers and betting exchanges set their quotes based on bets made by their clients. We know that individual clients don’t make their decisions in a rational way and that generates quote inefficiencies that can be taken advantage of, specially by using bookmakers with low margins.
Also, even if bookers such as Pinnacle Sports do not limit bets from winners (it helps them fine-tune their quotes), operating through betting brokers remains a possibility.
The Hedge Fund will diversify by sports, competitions and markets. The intention is to build a portfolio of great analysts for each sport and competition we will be focusing on, and offer a variable remuneration depending on the actual results achieved though their picks. If picks are successful, (circumstance that will be based on several factors and in no case will be absent of risks), this remuneration might be higher than the amount received by selling individual picks to punters.
The due diligence process will be thorough. The Hedge Fund will be analyzing metrics such as market / competition liquidity (apart from the published picks), and carrying out a qualitative analysis including personal interviews in order to optimize the selection process.
Even if the hedge fund is not considering Live bets in a first phase, if you think you have a long term winning system or strategy in that market, with a good track record, you can show your interest through Any source of alpha with the potential to increase the hedge fund’s return will be analyzed.
If you are interested, assuming any possible risk which you may be aware of, you can submit your picks at We will be watching all tipsters with positive numbers, and focusing on the ones that excel in a certain competition even if their overall numbers are not good enough to give them Tipster PRO status (Tipster PRO analyst are chosen based on their overall numbers for a certain sport, not for any specific competition).
We are confident in the future success and worldwide repercussion in the sports betting sector of this Hedge Fund, and we would be delighted to valuate your contribution in case you show an express and unsolicited interest in this project.
Daniel's previous venture was which started out well enough in 2010, but finished with a final verified 18 months record (January 2013 to June 2014) of -50.43 points from 987 bets, a less than impressive -5.11% ROI.

As the Sports Tipsters web site writes:
Sports-Tipsters has a material interest in the company, a new tipping community developed by the owner of Sportyy. To avoid a conflict of interest and accusations that Sports-Tipsters was not independent, verification was discontinued on the 15th June 2014.
Additionally, anyone considering subscribing to Sportyy should consider the following information. In August 2013 after a 2-month break, Sportyy relaunched with a new quantitative model developed through a collaboration between Sportyy's owner and 2 university Statistics and Econometrics academics. Between August 2013 and June 2014, the service showed little if any profitability from 850 picks compared to the original service, and punters should consider whether such a quantitative model is really delivering an edge.
Perhaps the new venture will be more successful, but many of the pitfalls of this ambitious plan are covered by James Butler here, with a response in the comments section by Daniel himself, both a must-read if you are at all interested in signing up.

In other news, my old friend Ian Erskine appears to be handing out leaky coffee mugs to attendees of his FTS Income betting seminars.
It's possible that Mr. Yew meant 'poring' of course, and it was just a case of 'poor' spelling, a trait that seems to be all too pervasive in the betting community.

Wednesday 29 March 2017

Chicago Collapse

I'm back, and via email Antoine Anchovy, possibly not his real name, wrote:

Hi there Calcio,

I’d like to do a roundup list of betting experts sharing their biggest WIN and how they managed to pull it off (in 100 words or less).

You being a respected and highly-followed punter online, I’d like to hear your story. What do you think?

Let me know if you need any more details.

Thanks for your attention,
Calcio? While I am, of course, both respected and highly-followed, most people call me Cassini, but I answer to many names, not all of them polite. 

While I've written on my biggest single win before, I've never been challenged to do it in 100 words or less, and I do like a challenge, so here was my reply:
My biggest win occurred on May 26,2011.

Miami Heat was playing an NBA play-off game in Chicago, and with four minutes remaining, trailed by nine points to the Bulls.

I decided to lay £30,000 at 1.03, risking £900. The bet was taken shortly afterwards, and the Bulls price dropped to 1.01 as the lead extended to 12.

I’d accepted the loss, but with 3:02 remaining the Heat, at that time starring LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosch, lived up to their name and got hot.

Miami made up the deficit with one minute remaining, eventually winning by three points.
Exactly 100 words. Perfect for the response, but it's hard to tell the full story in so few words. The bet was taken when the Bulls had an eleven point lead and two free-throws, when 1.03 looked to be a value back. 

I was too slow to cancel it, and was slightly annoyed as the price dropped to 1.01, but any regrets were soon forgotten, and of course the beauty of laying at prices in that range is that the downside is very small.

Ronnie Brewer missed the second free-throw, which kept the lead down to twelve, and with 3:02 remaining, Dwayne Wade reduced the deficit to ten, and then eight after a steal. Momentum can change fast in the NBA.

After Taj Gibson missed a field goal for Chicago, Lebron James hit a three-pointer, and all of a sudden it was a five point game, and I started to lock in some profits. It's hard not to do this when that 1.03 / 1.01 shoots out.

Derrick Rose scored a field goal to extend the Bulls lead to seven, but that was the end of scoring for them, with the exception of one free throw.

Dwayne Wade made a four-point play, Derrick Rose missed, and a LeBron James three-pointer tied the game up with exactly 1:00 remaining.

The 18-3 run was closed out by a field-goal from LeBron James, and two free-throws from Chris Bosch.

I paid close to £4,800 that week on Premium Charges, still at the 20% level in those days, but it was a win I'll not forget in a hurry. 

I even made an exception to my rule of sharing neither wins nor losses with Signora Cassini that night, (she's not interested in either, which is good), and her reaction when I woke her and told her? 

"That's quite a lot", she said, and promptly went back to sleep, an activity that didn't come quite so easily to me that night.

Thursday 16 March 2017

Coming of Age

We live in a Golden Age.

In the 2000-01 English Premier League season, the average over-round taking the best available prices from five bookmakers (Ladbrokes, William Hill, Sportingbet, Gamebookers, Interwetten) was 107.55%.

In 2015-16, the average over-round using just one sportsbook - Pinnacle - was 102.04%, and that's the exact same number for this season to date.

Taking the "Best" prices from and the over-round becomes an under-round at 98.17%.

Good luck obtaining the best prices on a long-term basis though, but minimal over-rounds means that even a complete idiot will take longer to lose their shirt today than would have been the case at the start of the millennium.

I'm flying to Philadelphia tomorrow (yes, again), this time for St Patrick's Day and to watch the Six Nations decider between Ireland and England in a decent Irish pub which at least one reader is familiar with, except that the 'decider' is now a dead rubber with only pride and consecutive wins to play for. I'll try to have fun regardless. The lovely, and very fortunate, Mrs. Cassini will be joining me on my travels this time, although her idea of a good time differs somewhat from mine, and will involve spas and massages rather than bars and sausages.

And no rude comments about the latter please. Wings, burgers, ribs and steaks didn't have quite the same rhyme-ability to them.

The blog will also celebrate its ninth anniversary while I'm away. Not a bad run, and back in a couple of weeks, to embark on year ten. And remember:

"Small goals lead to large triumphs"

Monday 13 March 2017

Crossbars and Conspiracy

Another fine performance for the League Two Away System this weekend, with eight winners from the twelve matches and an 88th minute Barnet goal away from nine winners, a profit of 12.59 points at Pinnacle's Closing Price taking the season total to 45.29 points. 

Only one team priced at 4.0 or less failed to win, with Blackpool perhaps unlucky in that they missed an 86th minute penalty, hit the crossbar, and had a "goal" ruled out after the referee decided the ball hadn't crossed the line, in their match at Wycombe Wanderers. It's a conspiracy! Apparently Christopher Sarginson is not following my advice, but perhaps at least Chris K is. And maybe Joey Barton. The game finished 0:0.     

Although for transparency, I use Pinnacle's Closing Prices, the season summary above does show how much more profitable it can be to shop around, and to shop early. 

The "Best" column above reflects the best price available according to Joseph Buchdahl's site, and for anyone serious about their sports betting, the difference between an ROI of 15.7% and 10.6% is huge. 

Saturday's Luton Town v Stevenage game is a good example of shopping early, with Pinnacle's price on the Away steaming in from 4.69 to 3.89 in the 24 hours before kick-off, one of the top ten steamers of the season, of which five have been winners, and worth 14.52 points (or 20.64 at Best).

Phil commented on my Codswallop post saying:
You're ignoring the fact that if Fund C has a higher Sharpe Ratio, you can leverage it to get greater performance per unit of risk than the index. So you can take the level of volatility up to the expected volatility of the index, and outperform.
The real reason the article is stupid is because no one could predict that it was Fund C (rather than the others) that would have the higher Sharpe Ratio.
The article was certainly correct about the Sharpe Ratio, (I checked the numbers myself and came up with 0.29 for Fund of Funds C versus 0.21 for the S&P 500 Index). 
With a small sample size, and nine is small by most definitions, one outlier can have a big impact, and 2008 was certainly an outlier. Not many years see a major stock index decline by nearly 40%. If that decline had been 31%, the ratios would have been the same, but the key point as Phil says, is that Fund of Funds C beat not only the Index but also Funds of Funds A, B, D and E. Its "success" by this measure looks unlikely to hold longer term.

Friday 10 March 2017

Corrections and Crashes

James commented on my CFD post, writing:

I agree that market timing is as fruitful as using 99.9% of tipsters but I still wouldn't want to start an index tracker with a one shot CFD at market top.
If you are drip feeding capital into an index tracker then that is okay because in the long run you can do harm. If buying a single contract CFD then market top is not a good idea as you will no doubt need a lot of margin in the short term.
I can understand this attitude from a psychological perspective, but when it comes to stock market trends, when they go on a bull run, the run can last quite a while. 

The conventional wisdom is that a bull market ends with a 20% or greater "correction", but there is no rule that says once this level is reached, it won't carry on falling. 
Indeed this happened relatively recently with the FTSE100, when such a drop was seen on 22nd January 2008 (5,338.70, down 21% from its high of 6,754.10). New lows were then recorded in July, September (now -30.8%), October (-45.7%), and finally (we hope) March 2009 at which point the index was a massive 48.8% down from its all-time high.

It's not until January 2010 that the markets recovers to within 20% of its all-time high, and another 42 months until a new high was recorded.

I guess my point is that even if you wait for a pull back, the only thing you can be sure of is that you are not buying at the top. 

A purchase can be value at the top, just as much as it can be after a drop of 20% or whatever as you can never know for sure where the market will go, at least not short-term. 

Long-term the trend is up unless, as one person cheerfully put it:
The only things that would prevent this from continuing, over the long-term, are things like global thermonuclear war, devastating pandemics that wipe out 50%+ of the population, or the zombie apocalypse
And if any of those events come to fruition, we have bigger problems than our investments!


A rather flawed article by Jared Dillian from Bloomberg poses the question Does Warren Buffett Not Understand Risk-Adjusted Returns? 

It has all the makings of a smoke and mirrors attempt to cast doubt over Warren Buffett's simply stated opinion that:

A number of smart people are involved in running hedge funds. But to a great extent their efforts are self-neutralizing, and their IQ will not overcome the costs they impose on investors. Investors, on average and over time, will do better with a low-cost index fund than with a group of funds of funds.
I'm sure that Warren Buffett understands all too well that risk and returns are related, but the precise terms of the bet chosen by Warren Buffett to highlight his his view was this:
Subsequently, I publicly offered to wager $500,000 that no investment pro could select a set of at least five hedge funds – wildly-popular and high-fee investing vehicles – that would over an extended period match the performance of an unmanaged S&P-500 index fund charging only token fees. I suggested a ten-year bet and named a low-cost Vanguard S&P fund as my contender.
There are thousands of indexes, covering a range of risk levels, so while comparing the returns from a stock index tracking fund against a bond index tracking fund would be meaningless, so is throwing into the debate the suggestion that the degree of risk somehow diminishes Warren Buffett's notion. 

Back to his bet, and so what if the Sharpe Ratio for ONE of the five "funds of funds" had a "superior" score? 
And if you calculate their Sharpe ratios and compare them with the S&P 500, fund C is actually superior to the index. If I were a shareholder of fund C, I would be pretty happy in spite of the under-performance, because I received a better return per unit of risk. In terms of professional money management, that is what you pay for. That is success.
Actually, that is complete codswallop. 

Warren Buffett wasn't talking about risk. Basically he was saying that "having determined your risk tolerance" the optimal way to invest is passively, through a fund tracking the index "of your choice". 

If I were a shareholder of fund C, I would be pretty pissed because of the under-performance, because I received a poor return relative to my risk tolerance. Why pay the extra cost of active management? That is failure. 

Thursday 9 March 2017

Crumbs and Black October (1987)

Regarding my You Win, You Lose, You Just Can't Choose post, Jamie had this to say:

He has dropped crumbs but not actually explained how he avoids premium charge. It has taken different guises from losing on Betfair and winning on another exchange, to trading on someone else's behalf using their account. If he is making good money trading and avoiding the PC then my feeling is as he is part of the vendor team that provides the Bet Trader software from Racing Traders and he also does them day trading courses also, I can only assume that a deal has been struck between vendor and Betfair. Otherwise I can't see it myself.
The crumb dropper is a Tony Hargraves, a.k.a. @SportsTrader_AU and if he has a special arrangement with Betfair, he should probably just not mention the subject rather than make up the nonsense about losing on Betfair while winning elsewhere. Of course it's quite possible that he isn't in Premium Charge territory anyway, because why would he be costing himself money in the form of time and future profits by teaching others how to trade?   

James commented on my Compensation For Losing post saying:
I have been considering tracking the indices with derivatives. Probably a CFD but not at market top. I don't have spare margin for any near term correction. After a downturn, going in with a 9 month contract and rolling it over at expiry for a number of years.
Needs more research.
CFDs are Contracts For Difference which have their advantages (e.g. higher leverage) but also their disadvantages (e.g. paying the spread on entry and exit).

When the next market correction occurs is anyone's guess - I'm sure an "expert" somewhere has predicted it for just about every month since the current bull market started - and the one who ultimately wins this "musical chairs" of stock market analysis, gets five minutes of fame, is seen as a guru for predicting future market moves until it becomes apparent it was all just a lucky guess.
Trying to time the market is an exercise in futility, a lesson I learned relatively early in life in 1987.

Black Monday, October 19th, saw the FTSE drop 10.84%, and with a little cash to spare, young Cassini, barely out of short trousers, decided this was a prime opportunity to put on his big boy trousers, and pile in to buy some great stocks at now bargain prices.

Cue Black Tuesday, and an even bigger loss of 12.22%, which remains the worst one day percentage decline in FTSE history!

Thursday 22nd October saw a further loss of 5.69%, and the following Monday another drop of 6.19%.

It was an exciting week, and while it wasn't the cheapest of lessons, it was certainly a valuable one. 

Wednesday 8 March 2017

Compensation for Losing

In what version of reality can most of these 'hedge fund professionals' referenced in the article below, possibly think they are deserving of any bonuses? 

Sure, if the fund you are employed to work on beats its benchmark one year, why not reward this achievement, but if your investors would have been better off investing in a low cost index tracking fund, i.e your advice cost investors money, it's hard to see how you can reasonably justify your claim to a bonus, since you added nothing of value.

When it comes to gambling, there's an old saying:

 “You can't win if you don't play”, or “You have to be in it to win it” 
but there is a contradictory quote:
For most people, when it comes to gambling, they would be better served by following this latter advice, and when it comes to investing, they would be better off by following Warren Buffet's advice, and tracking the indexes.

Here's the article from the pages of CNBC:

Hedge funds, as a group, have a lower return than straight-up market indexes do. But professionals in the industry surveyed late last year still expected to take home better pay in 2016 than they did in 2015 — and an even greater portion think they deserve more.
A majority — 53 percent — of those surveyed said they expected to produce higher overall earnings for themselves in 2016 compared with 2015, according to the 10th annual Hedge Fund Compensation Report. That proportion is slightly lower than the year before, where 56 percent said they were expecting an increase in total compensation.
And during a time where the industry has caught the ire of many investors — including Warren Buffett, who last week described the industry's fee structure as "obscene" — an even greater percentage of fund managers reported being unsatisfied with their compensation for the year. Sixty-one percent of respondents aren't happy with what they made.
The report is based on information gathered in the fall from hundreds of partners, principals and employees from more than 200 of the largest hedge fund names, including Och-Ziff Capital and AQR Capital Management. The study also includes some of the smaller names that encompass a large portion of the industry.
That optimism on pay comes amid another lagging year in performance. The HFRI Fund Weighted Composite Index, which tracks various strategies of hedge fund performance, gained 5.45 percent during 2016. That compared with a 10.5 percent increase in the Standard & Poor's 500 index.
Still, the report showed a greater correlation between fund performance and bonus pay than in years' past. Expectations for those employees in firms with lower performance showed lower bonus expectations, and the opposite was true for employees at high-performing firms.
The report showed that among the highest earners, 80 percent of compensation is expected to come in the form of bonuses, which is consistent with prior years. That said, base pay for the highest levels continues to rise, according to the study.
Almost a third of respondents expected the same total compensation as last year, while only 19 percent said that their compensation would be smaller than last year.
"In view of the industry's lackluster average aggregate performance level, it is interesting that a majority of survey respondents still anticipate positive growth in their total compensation," the report said.

Monday 6 March 2017

Closing Prices

Following on from Chris K's comments on the League Two Away trend, here are the updated numbers for the season's with Pinnacle's Closing Prices through this weekend, which incidentally added another 5.42 points to the total:

On the subject of using Pinnacle’s Closing Prices (PCP), I noticed that Trade On Sports Paul Finn is not using them in his records.

‘Officially’ down 29.40 points this season from 218 games, an ROI of -13.49%, when calculated using PCP, the loss increases to 30.18 points.
The results from the Russian Premier League can't be verified as the league is not covered by, and if we exclude these matches from the results, the 'official' P and L is -47.92 and against PCP, is -48.70 (from 199 matches), and ROI of -24.47%, which means that Paul has a big edge in Russia, a smaller one in La Liga, and a negative edge everywhere else.

The days of services arbitrarily picking their recorded odds should be behind us, but it’s interesting that the recorded price on winning bets beats Pinnacle's Closing Price 72% of the time.

This could be because Paul's Draw selections are driving the price down, although how long this effect might continue as the losses mount, remains to be seen. 

Sunday 5 March 2017

Creditable Returns

While no readers have attempted to argue against the logic of investing passively rather than in actively managed funds, one person apparently has.

Hedge fund founder David Harding (now THAT's a surprise!) made a very weak attempt to defend his business, but came up a little short.

As one commenter on the Yahoo!Finance article said:
He did not give precise figures for returns. That pretty much says it all.
The full article: 
David Harding, founder of one of the world's biggest hedge funds, on Friday defended his firm against Warren Buffett's criticism of hedge fund fees last week.
Multi-millionaire Harding said Buffett has a "habit of being right" but added that his own Winton Capital business, which manages more than $30 billion, offered lower fees and creditable returns to investors.
Buffett told investors last Saturday that low-cost index funds are a better option for most than paying higher fees to managers who often under-perform, specifically hedge funds.
Harding is one of the first senior figures in the hedge fund industry to respond publicly to Buffett's comments.
"This is withering criticism of the active fund management industry overall, and it is hard to argue convincingly against," said Harding.
But Harding, who set up Winton in 1997, cautioned against tarring all firms with the same brush.
He argued that his Winton's funds have much lower fees than hedge funds are generally assumed to have and that the firm's risk-adjusted returns have been creditable. He did not give precise figures for returns.
Hedge funds made 5.51 percent on average in 2016, compared to losses of 1.12 percent in 2015 and gains of 2.98 percent and 9.13 percent in 2014 and 2013, respectively, according to data from Hedge Fund Research.
Arguing that his firm's returns have been 'creditable' but without offering any data to support that claim, is really a weak effort. His firm may well have lower fees than the average hedge fund, but that's a long way short of refuting Warren Buffett's claim that investing in low cost, index tracking funds is the optimal play for most of us.

I took the time to show how much you would have 'lost' investing 100 units in Hedge Funds versus the S&P 500 using the numbers provided in the article. In just four years, you'd be 33.9% better off with the latter, and that doesn't include re-investment of dividends. 

Saturday 4 March 2017

Curse and Time

The Curse of Cassini has struck poor old Steve of the Mull It Over blog. After Steve had proudly claimed a few days ago that he'd been "blogging everyday since September 2009", this happens:

Apologies for no blog yesterday. Virgin Media had some unscheduled downtime in my local area.
Ain't that typical? Well, the blog is still worth checking out, if you like music, and there's some horse stuff on there as well if you're into that sort of thing. Steve wrote:
Hopefully a little more traffic will come along now just in time for the Cheltenham Festival.
I'm not sure if that is a music festival or something else that is coming up soon, but I'm sure some readers will know.

My old friend Fizzer also stopped by to say this:
I'm not a trader - I'm a bet and forget man - first because I'm not very good at trading (I prefer considered decisions rather than being in the middle of the action) but also because I don't want to give up the amount of time involved.
I'm reinforced by this comment and video about Warren Buffet and his time.
How well are you investing your time? This week, when Bill Gates was asked by Charlie Rose what was the biggest thing he had learned from Warren Buffett, he said it wasn’t about how he invested his money, but about how he invested his time.
We all have the same 24 hours of time each day. When you begin to value your time more, you waste less of it and invest more of it. As Warren Buffett says: “There’s no way I will be able to buy more time.”
How can you be more effective by being less busy? How can you invest your time better by saying “no” to the wrong things and “yes” to the right things?
“Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.”
Always got time to read Green All Over though!
It's a short (1:31) video and well worth watching (as is the next one about Necker Island, Richard Branson, and what is important in life). 

Once again, Warren Buffett nails it, and as Fizzer says, the time required for trading at some point becomes too valuable. 

If you're sensible with your profits, and invest them along with savings from your 'proper job', you'll get to a stage where you're earning far more from them than you are from trading, and with zero time spent. Oh, and please, re-invest those dividends. You'll thank me when you're as old as I am.  

I think Fizzer is a little like me in that he sees betting as a hobby and as a challenge, and the "bet and forget" method works well for that.

Perhaps Fizzer will be sharing his thoughts on the upcoming World Baseball Classic? This is the fourth World Cup of Baseball, and the USA has yet to make the final. As my name might suggest, I'll be supporting Italy who were the second best European side in 2013 reaching the second Round with two wins. The Final is actually on my birthday anniversary, which I shall be celebrating in Philadelphia with the lovely Signora Cassini and my son, and while Americans pretend they don't care about this tournament, should they be in the final, you can bet they'll come out of the woodwork and it'll suddenly be hugely important to them!

I appreciate the closing line of Fizzer's comment - some things are worth making time for! 

You Win, You Lose, You Just Can't Choose

As anyone who pays them knows, once you hit Betfair's Super Premium Charge threshold, it's no simple task avoiding them. 

One Tony Hargraves, someone I am not familiar with, though some readers may be, claimed this week to be avoiding Premium Charges by "losing in chunks in Betfair" while his "wins are in Betdaq, Matchbook, Pinnacle" - not Betfair.

What an absolutely genius idea! 

I'm quite amazed that nobody has thought of this before.

Well of course they have, and it's nonsense, and perhaps Mr. Hargraves does't actually pay Premium Charges, because with logical thinking like that, he probably doesn't make any money.

The problem with his "strategy" is that it doesn't work. 

It is simply not possible to choose where you win and where you lose - and if you could choose where and when to lose, you'd save yourself money and never place those losing bets in the first place! 

The laws of probability mean that if, for example, you backed short priced favourites (say 1.11) somewhere other than Betfair, and layed the outsider on Betfair at 10.0, in the long-term, your win rate would be around 10% and would total the same in money terms, if not in frequency, as the non-Betfair bets winning around 90% of the time.

There's no way to guarantee a loss on Betfair, even if you wanted to.

Assuming a 100% book, whatever you back or lay, in the long-term you'd break even there, and be down the commission. 

I'm not sure what Tom Makinson is doing by telling tales and "reporting" this to Betfair. It seems a bit like telling the pit boss that someone is writing down the results of the roulette spins. So what? 

What Tony Hargraves is attempting to do is perfectly within the rules, and I'm sure Betfair welcome this type of a punter and his flawed "strategy".    

Friday 3 March 2017

Stuff, Vandals, Oscars, and L2A

A deluge of rain in Ireland, so I am told, and a deluge of comments too as the blog closes in on 2 million hits… OK, so that’s likely three years away, but it's been a busy week at Villa Cassini. Here are some of the comments received - I'll get to the rest later:

First up was Irish Jimmy, formerly known as James, who had some stuff to get off his chest:

Stuff is the downfall of the aspirational, who assume the super rich go online everyday to clean out Amazon, eBay and a car dealer.
As the Buffet video you recommended showed, the super rich spend a lot of their time deciding how to give their money away to those who just want to scratch a living.
Incidentally, my car is 20 years old and counting. I like working on it. Hopefully, it is my first and last car, driving being something I never aspired to as I got a license late in life.
Any gadgets I have tend to be secondhand and purchased cheaply at the end of a product's consumer life cycle.
Though I have no billions to give away, my wealth is destined for charity when I pass on. The reason is personal but also, if I gave my wealth to a person they would most likely fritter it away as any lottery winner would.
I think James means "no billions - yet". Surely all he needs is to believe in himself?

Replacing a car unnecessarily frequently must be one of the most wealth damaging actions you can take. While not all of us can keep a car for as long as 20 years, there’s certainly no need, firstly to buy a brand new car, and secondly to replace your car within a handful of years.

As for giving any money I may have left over upon my death to charity, my wife, kids and grand-kids might have something to say about that.

James also sent me a link to a story about some football fans who inadvertently vandalized their own team bus, presumably after mistakenly believing it belonged to the opposition. 

Mistakes will happen. Just look at the award for Best Picture this week, which Trader 247 suggests may have been intentional. 

I wonder if there'll be any time left for news outlets to talk about the racism story after this staged, oops, I mean unfortunate mix-up?

What a suspicious mind. Conspiracy theorists will no doubt have their opinions, but mine is that one of the two Pricewaterhouse Cooper's accountants simply made a mistake. Humans do that.

TMZ explains it more fully:
His name -- Brian Cullinan -- an accountant at Pricewaterhouse. He's a veteran ... 30 years at the accounting firm.
Here's the thing ... Brian was supposed to discard the spare Best Actress envelope and hand Warren Best Picture.
As for why ... we know this. Brian was tweeting like crazy during the ceremony, posting photos ... so he may have been distracted. Brian has since deleted the tweets, but one was a pic of Emma Stone with her Oscar. If it was tweeted right after her win, that's exactly when Brian should've been prepping for the next category ... Best Picture.
No word on whether discipline is in store.
You had one job… I would not have wanted to be in his shoes the next morning, although I believe that while he has kept his job, he will not be in his usual role at the Awards next year.

One unfortunate aspect of the screw-up was that the Moonlighting team’s moment was somewhat diminished by the chaos and confusion playing out on stage. The previous two Award ceremonies were criticised for their ‘lack of diversity’, and with hindsight, perhaps more attention should have been paid to the impact of this on voters. Maybe next time Jordan Horowitz is up for an award, we should factor in the fact that voters will recall his classy handling of the error and reward him accordingly.

Steve of Mull It Over overcame his envy of my numbers to write:
Well done on the longevity of the blog- I still look in with regularity.
Mull It Over is still going strong- blogging everyday since September 2009. I can't boast those numbers however haha.
Every day since 2009 is impressive! Almost everyone reading this will know I’m not a horse racing man myself, but it does seem that blogs specialising in this sport have greater longevity than those of other sports. 

I did take a look at Steve's blog and he has some cool videos on there, some of which took me back to my youth! Check it out.

And the final comment was from Chris K who has looked into the League Two results:
I took a closer look into the L2 results for away wins recently, seems to be down over 20points this year, a "system" which is likely to achieve big DD's at times i'd imagine. It was up over 13p's Dec 16.
Would be really interested to know what the results were like in years with a lower away win %, from 2011-2015- would it still have been profitable? If we think the trend of away wins growing will continue i'm sure we could put up with the big DD's, i guess you have to look at the factors that could be causing the away win % to increase, less hostile crowds etc.
Enjoy the blog, keep it up. Regards, CK.
I’m not sure what a ‘big DD’ is, but I do know that as I was googling the term, my wife walked in, and I’m not sure she completely believes my story. I’ll assume it means DrawDown, and yes, if you look at a small sample size from a month or two, you are always going to have large swings, so I take a longer view on these plays. Although Mark Iverson illogically thinks that there is something special about days 1 to 31, 32 to 59, 60 to 90 etc.. there really isn’t. To further highlight the ridiculousness of it, last year the key days were 1 to 31, 32 to 60, 61 to 91 etc…

The vagaries of the fixture list can also play a big part in a short period of time, so I prefer to look at the numbers over a longer period.

I'll try to find time to retrieve the numbers for earlier seasons this weekend, although prior to 2012-13, and we don't have Pinnacle’s Closing Prices courtesy of Joseph Buchdahl. 

Prior to that season, the prices are snapshots and still in flux, and while they were better than nothing, scraping a price sometimes three days before kick-off is not ideal and not data I’d trust.

While the average number for Away wins across all the leagues and divisions I track is ~27.77%, the last season that League Two was below this was 2005-06. 

The other key point is that there's little point in looking back to results / returns prior to the trend being identified. 2015-16 saw a 15% increase in Away wins, and so far in 2016-17 the trend is holding, and is profitable, but from the chart left, you can see how 2007-08 was a false dawn.