I’ve spent many years both gambling and betting, yet I’m still striving to learn new ideas that will improve my work. I placed my first bet when I bunked off school to go to Anfield for an FA Cup replay; £1 on Crystal Palace to win. I’ve played FOBTs and blackjack to basically a pro-level, staked five-figures on the outcome of a pre-season friendly involving Reading (which lost), rode the Gretna Peterhead Asian Handicap train and had some amazing memories due to The Bank of Frankel. That’s not even 1% of my betting career and there’s plenty for me to learn in an ever-changing marketplace.
I started Cherry Analysts back in 2012 as a way to help me concentrate more on my betting. The thinking was that by tweeting and blogging I would have to think harder about my strategies. I’ve learnt a lot from social media interaction and that has definitely improved my betting. I took a year off from the website as it takes up a lot of time, which I just didn’t have. I now have some more time on my hands, so I’ll be looking to get some more content out.
Two things you’ll hear from a lot inside the betting community and definitely those outside are:
- The bookie always wins
- Quit whilst you’re ahead
If you’re going to take your betting seriously, then stop with this idea that it’s you against the bookie*. All this BOOM BOOM bash the bookie rubbish you see on social media is nonsense. It’s punter v punter. If I back Crystal Palace +2 at Manchester City, I’m not betting against a multinational corporation. I’m betting against those who have backed Manchester City -2.
*There are small niche markets/time periods where it may be you v bookie but if you beat the market, you’ll be limited. Basically, it’s not really worth the effort in my opinion.
I always have to laugh at people who say “quit whilst you’re ahead” – what does that even mean? If I’d stopped when I was ahead I then yes I would’ve been able to shout about my 600% lifetime Return on Investment (ROI), but my entire betting career would’ve seen me make £6.
One of the major things I’ve learnt over the last few years is that turnover is key. I’d rather make 5% of £500,000 than 200% of £1000. Not only is the former more profitable, it’s more sustainable.
The flip side of this high turnover ideology however brings different challenges. I used to turnover decent figures on football in my late teens; things were a lot easier in the mid-noughties. If you wanted £2000 on Gretna -2 v Alloa, you could get it on without many issues, safe in the knowledge that the line would move to -2.25 or bigger by kick-off. Fast Forward a decade and markets are wiser, limits are lower and instead of getting your half-a-goal swings, you’d be very lucky to find enough 0.25 swings that you can easily get four figures on. My solution to this problem was to have around fifteen times more bets, but to lower stakes per match.
This change in ideology requires a change in attitude as the high turnover low margin outlook sees slower progress than the boom and bust philosophy of ‘lumping on’ one. I now see my day to day football betting (Asian Handicaps and Total Goals) as an investment. I don’t really care what happens week to week, as I know that when I’ve got to my target date I would’ve increased my bank.
What do YOU want?
The first piece of advice that I now give to anyone looking to either start out or ‘improve’ their betting is to “set realistic goals”. The first thing to do is to ask yourself “what do I want from betting”. For me, I have different aims for different events:
- Asian Handicaps & Total Goals = Long Term Savings Account
- November – April Horses = Pay for Dubai World Cup Trip
- Flat Season Horses = Keeping me in champagne through the summer
- Everything Else = Day to Day Life
Once you know what you want, you can then work backwards from the maths. If you believe that you can guarantee making 50% ROI a year and get significant stakes on, then you’re wrong. A good multi-event strategy would usually return around 5% ROI. To earn the UK take home wage of £22,300 you’d need to be betting £446,000 a year. You can then ask yourself:
- Do you have the bankroll to bet that much each week?
- Are there enough events to place the number of bets required?
- Is there time to place the number of bets required?
There’s no point lying to yourself as that just leads to frustration when the realities of the game become apparent. One thing that has helped me with the above is the development of a mathematical based model for football betting. I simply run my model and it gives me a list of bets, which I deem of value. This makes bet selection easier, therefore I can spend more time on development and general life whilst increasing turnover. While this isn’t exciting and isn’t a get rich quick scheme it works for my end goal.
Never Stop Learning
A few years ago I stopped believing people should be having fun betting and accumulators were a complete mugs game. I saw the game as just another job. You should always be looking to learn and admit when you were wrong, so I’ll hold my hands up, you CAN have fun with betting and it’s possible to place value accumulators.
If you find four value bets with the same bookmaker, putting them in an accumulator multiplies positive expected value. For example back heads x 4 at 2.10 (11/10) in an accumulator pays 19.44 on a 16.0 shot. That’s >20% EV and if you can get that on every single bet you’d end up a winner.
Cheeky Nando’s Acca
In the business of coin-flips, variance still occurs. This is why I put up a ‘Cheeky Nando’s Acca’ every Saturday. This is how I used to describe the ‘Nando’s Banter Lads’ bets of Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham in an acca. They then cry on Twitter when it doesn’t win or give it the ‘MEGA BOOM’ when they cash-out for £12.50.
I put up a 1X2 Accumulator each Saturday consisting of some of the teams my model has highlighted. The purpose of this was to embrace variance. As bettors, many of us look at the downsides and forget that the inverse of a maximum drawdown is the inverse upside. I don’t expect this type of bet to win every week, but at the time of writing there’s been 120/1, 45/1 and 35/1 winners in the 2018/19 season. To put that another way, that covers 200 losing Cheeky Nando’s Accas, or around five years worth of the bet.