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Have You Got What It Takes ?

Last updated: 12 Apr 10:45

As you have already might know we are closely collaborating with one of the leading UK tipsters Mike from Winabobatoo who has been online since 2006. We have recently made a deal with him which is beneficial for all Betting.com users. Mike agreed to offer 12,5% discount of his regular subscription to all Betting.com members – you can read more about the discount here. We want to underline that we do not have any affiliate deal with Winabobatoo we simply believe that the information provided by Mike is worth it and it will help any punter to improve its results.

I was thirty when I decided to make betting my “full-time” job. It wasn’t an easy decision to make as I’d built a career during the previous 10 years. I was going to give all that up.

Of course, I wish I’d known then what I know now, that’s human nature, but I had a self-belief that I could cope with the mental strains that betting would bring. I had some slight doubts about whether my bet selection methods would stand the test of time but I was prepared to work on that if the need arose. It was my belief that I could cope with any adversity that made me feel I was going to be doing the right job for me.

Twelve years ago, I set up the Winabobatoo football match ratings service. Whatever feelings of “stress” my own personal betting had created was nothing compared to the stresses brought about by feeling responsible for passing on advice to other people!

After setting up Winabobatoo, I soon released that most people are quite ill-prepared for the betting challenges they face. Quite why that is, I’m not sure. I have a few hunches. I suspect that people who rely on tips from other sources, rather than backing their own judgement, find themselves in a different “starting place”.

It’s quite possible that someone who buys tips from someone else probably starts out by not recognising that the risk of losing money still exists. Just because a tipster has a proven track record of success, it doesn’t necessarily mean the tipster is skilful; they may have been lucky. Even if they have been skilful in the past, they may be unlucky in the future. The fact that you have paid for something doesn’t remove the risk.

When risk is not properly recognised, the inevitable outcome is that most people will be staking too highly relative to the size of their bankroll. Their focus will be on maximising the “winnings” rather than being concerned about “possible losses”.

I’d not been running my Winabobatoo service for very long before I started to learn about the extent of these problems. From the outset, I always made a point of telling my customers that betting must be viewed as a long-term project. With that in mind, I’ve always insisted that people sign up to my service for a full season. A couple of weeks into the 2008-09 season, I got a message from someone who had just signed up. They were asking for their money back as they could no longer afford to bet. They’d lost all their money on the first six bets they’d placed!

Admittedly, this was an extreme case but it provided me with my first indication of how easily some people can get into trouble. Before I gave the guy his money back, I spent quite some time swapping emails with him to try to help him understand some of things he clearly had no grasp of. He may have just been a “chancer” who wanted to try to “get rich quick” and found a way of “getting poor quickly”. I don’t think he was. More likely, he’d been misled by advice he’d been given elsewhere and was quite prepared to accept that advice without challenging it.

There’s so much poor advice scattered around the internet. Most of it isn’t concerned with telling you the truth or helping you, its aim is to make sales and earn them some money. Not many people are prepared to talk about risk, they’d rather tell you how easy it is to make money. There is a reason for this: they’ll probably get a cut of whatever you pay, should you sign up to the service they’re talking about – even though they almost certainly won’t tell you they’ve got a vested interest in you parting with your money, and they most certainly won’t reveal that the general going rate is to take 50% of the lifetime income generated from such links.

These relationships are called “Affiliate Links”. I’ve always steered clear of using Affiliate Links as a means of advertising my service. Why? Affiliates will not be objective in what they say. If they tell someone they will double their money in a month if they sign up to Winabobatoo, and they don’t, who will get it in the neck? I will! The Affiliate will be laughing all the way to the bank. I’ll be left to pick up the pieces!

No, Affiliate Links are a shoddy way of working when it comes to betting advisory services. Whilst I have no “paid for” adverts on my website I am happy to promote the “good guys” like Betting Metrics for nothing.

You must be careful if you read rave reviews about tipping services. Make sure they’re independent reviews and the writer isn’t going to take a cut of any fees you may pay. So, not only do you need the right temperament to succeed at this game, you have to make sure you don’t become attracted to something that may not be what it seems. Try to be self-sufficient in your bet selection processes if you can as this helps you to maintain control.

Getting back to the original subject, I don’t have a problem with any bettor who wants to adopt a higher risk strategy with the hope of doubling their money relatively quickly, as long as they fully appreciate the risks they’re taking. If you want to win quickly, you run the risk of losing quickly too. It’s not my preferred way of doing things but I’m a cautious character generally.

It isn’t a coincidence that during my entire betting career I have never felt under pressure financially. That’s not because I haven’t hit bad times and losing runs, I have. It’s because I have never staked highly, relative to the resources that I have. Betting isn’t really a game for someone who is starting out with very little. You need to have more than enough money at the outset in order to give you the best chance of succeeding in the long-term. If you’re starting out with a lower level bankroll, you must be incredibly patient, and not try to build the bank too quickly.

When I decided to go full-time, it was on the back of having built up my betting bank to a level that I knew was high enough to allow me the best possible chance of coping should I hit a prolonged bad spell. Being properly funded was key to what was going to happen to me in the future. Had I got that wrong, I would have found it harder to cope when the going got tough, and that could have been my downfall.

Another aspect of my character, which I think is probably quite different to the “average bettor” is that I’m not a natural risk-taker. I have never felt any need to bet at any point during my life. If I have a night out at the dog racing, I feel very reluctant to part with any cash because I know the bookmakers have the edge over me, and it doesn’t sit comfortably parting with my cash in those circumstances, even though the amount at risk might only be £5 per race!

I’m not saying you have to be the same as me to be a successful bettor, I’m trying to outline why I think certain things have worked well for me. I have always felt very much in control of what I’m doing, rather than feeling a situation is in control of me.

In the early days, I used to get emotional about winning and losing. I still say “Yes!” when I see a winner, and “B------!”when I have a loser but my emotions are fundamentally removed these days. The most emotional I ever got was when a horse I owned some shares in won, but that wasn’t directly related to having a winning bet. The most emotional I probably ever got when backing a winner was on the very first occasion I staked £100. That was in the 1980s on a horse called Grange Hill Girl. Horse races weren’t routinely filmed at the time but I managed to buy a video of the race from the racecourse. Allowing for inflation, the £100 I staked would be similar to staking £255 today. My first £100 bet was quite a big milestone for me.

Whilst my Winabobatoo service is mainly designed to provide my customers with match ratings and guidance on all matches played, allowing members to use my numbers in conjunction with their own judgement in order to select bets, during the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons, I included a section called, “Recommended Bets”. I would highlight the bets that seemed likely to generate the best profits.

During that two year period, the “Recommended Bets” gave 1,015 bets. Placing a one point single win bet on each team made a profit of +131.29 points, giving a return on investment of 12.93%. The bets were proofed to the UK press and other reliable proofing sources. I have always limited the number of people having access to my data as this helps everyone to place their bets at the top end of the prices.

Things took a turn for the worse during the 2009-10 season. Due to the feedback I’d received from members, I reduced the number of bets as 500 bets season appeared to be too high for many. 500 bets per season worked out at around 12 bets per week. The 2009-10 season saw 229 bets given, reducing the number of bets by more than 50%. Unfortunately, the 229 bets in the 2009-10 season made a loss of 23.01 points, -10.05%.

One particular customer was writing to me virtually every week throughout the season asking questions such as, “When are we going to start winning then?” and “Do you really know what you’re doing?” Of course I was well cheesed-off that the season was a losing one and I felt for everyone who had lost money but the results were proof that we simply don’t have the levels of control that we think we perhaps have when we bet.

The overall results for the full three year period showed the 1,244 bets made a profit of 108.28 points, +8.70%. These results were very good but they didn’t show a straight line of profits. The Winabobatoo members who had been betting on the Recommended Bets throughout were still significantly up but the member who regularly wrote to me, and others who had joined for the 2009-10 season, were down.

My regular corresponder was clearly of the view that I could take the risk out of betting and I also gathered from the messages he sent me, he was staking amounts that he couldn’t easily afford to lose. Yes, I felt extremely bad that 2009-10 didn’t work out very well and if I had a magic wand to change things I would have done. Had the person stuck with me for future years, I’m sure he would have got his money back and more but he chose to leave on the back of the 229 bets that made a loss.

Of course, it’s not easy keeping faith with either your own selection methods or with tipsters when hitting losing periods but keeping a context on the short-term is extremely important. What happens over a series of up to 100 bets is almost certainly a reflection of luck rather than skill. It is only when we reach the 1,000 bet level that we can reasonably sure that skill is taking over from luck.

Dealing with the challenges I’ve outlined today is essential if you’re going to spend a lifetime betting, rather than betting being a short-term phase in your life. Some people have the temperament to be able to deal with these issues much better than others.

If you find it tough, try not to put too much emphasis on any one single bet. Accept that backing losers is all part of being a long-term winner. Don’t think you have control over what happens during the next 100 bets. Luck will determine whether you win or lose; accept that lack of control. View betting as a 1,000 bet project and never stake amounts that make you feel a financial pain if your bet loses, or if you have a sequence of losers.

These are coping strategies that I have had in place throughout my betting life. They’ve certainly made a difference. I hope they may help you too.

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Author:

Teemu Maarela

Esports & Ice Hockey Specialist

Bio:

Teemu is an enthusiastic Finn who spent his childhood around ice hockey and video games, and he has 10+ years of experience with sports betting industry. Teemu specialises in analysing esports and ice hockey games. He contributes to Betting.com website in English, writing about his two passions - ice hockey and esports.
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