Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Success Breeding Complacency?

The title of the posts refers to something that popped into my head when I was writing the monthly review for December. I started off writing the first paragraph and I was pretty downbeat and mentioning the fact that it has been a very quiet month for the systems. I didn’t use the word disappointing in the paragraph but I was definitely thinking to myself as I was writing the opening paragraph that it had been a disappointing month for the systems.

Of course, as you all know, I’ve had 3 very disappointing months within my 13 months of live results and these disappointing months cost the established systems 62pts in Feb-11, 94pts in Apr-11 and recently, 86pts in Sep-11. Therefore, there is something not quite right with my thinking when the systems make a profit of 26.6pts from 295 bets (ROI of a measly 9%) and I’m classing it as a disappointing month.

What causes this? It can only be one thing I guess……. a loss of perspective from the writer of this blog!

If someone had offered me a 9% return at the start of the month for the established systems, would I have accepted it or got insulted by the mere suggestion that the profit in the month was only going to be 9%?

I think this is the first time in a while that I’ve maybe let my personal feelings get in the way of being as unbiased as I can be about tracking the systems. My own P&L in the month for the established systems was much in line with the overall return (even though I back DNB away and outright homes) and yet, I ‘m feeling down this month.


Well, my second portfolio using a bunch of the newer systems struggled badly in December and being honest, so far this season, it has been a waste of my time. A waste of time tracking the systems, a waste of time placing the bets, a waste of time calculating the profit (or lack of it!) and for someone like me, time is my most precious asset and yet, so much of it so far this season has been spent following rubbish systems with smaller stakes for next to no return.

The ROI on the second portfolio is only 2.8% this season after December. Of course, with smaller stakes and the fact these systems are unproven, it’s meant to be one step up from paper trading but being honest, I’ve never paper trialled a betting system in my life. I’m just not cut out for it and if I’m going to spend endless hours finding bets, updating results, tracking systems, then what’s another hour here or there to place the bets using small stakes (that being honest, I won’t miss as the other portfolio will pay for any losses many times over!).

However, I think I need to stand back for a moment. A 2.8% ROI may not be very good but considering it is over in excess of 650 system bets, it’s still a profit of 20pts. 20pts profit at low stakes may not mean much to me and definitely doesn’t cover my time of doing the work on these newer systems but what was I expecting to achieve this season?

I think that’s the crux of what has been bothering me over the few weeks. I expected these new systems to be very successful and be better than my systems from last season. Why did I think this? Well, because I’d built two algorithms 18 months ago, I expected the 3rd algorithm to be better and I even expected the Similar Games Model to be better than what I’d built previously!

I think I need to appreciate the systems I already have more and stop worrying about trying to find something that’s better than what I already have. Of course, for someone like me, searching for a better edge than the one I already have is what keeps me going but I can’t let it affect my judgement on the edge I already have.

The title of the post says it all really. Maybe I should be celebrating the success I’ve had so far this season with my established systems rather than worrying about the lack of success with the newer systems…….

Anyway, just a few thoughts from me which I thought I’d share. The monthly review for December is in the usual place. You can find it by scrolling down to the bottom of this page.


  1. Hi Graeme,

    A great post. Over the years, this subject has been something I have considered a great deal.It seems part of the human condition that we tirelessly push, push, push to find that genie in the bottle which meets the heights of our successful bettor imagination. Perhaps it can be found. Perhaps it is waiting for the person with that Midas touch, to find that elusive key which transcends our wildest dreams. But where do we stop? A day too late: too early. I agree that it is often too easy to forget what a success you have. I it is just as important - if not more - to take stock of all our knowledge as individuals, those factors which work as examples of pride and passion, astonishing in the endless hours they have taken to hone. There is a lot to be said for taking smaller steps rather than worrying about those restless pangs which drive us to leaps and bounds. New ventures, analysis, may seem small and insignificant on many levels but they can become monsters to test the great minds and take their toll on your psychology. That looking so hard for ''what next'' can be a silent,unwitting & dangerous distraction and reason why those ''true'' gems of wisdom should be most prized.

    Kind regards,

  2. Great comment Jason.

    Yeah, I think it’s easy at this game to forever go looking for a new edge or a way to maximise your edge when in reality, the hardest thing for most people at gambling is finding an edge. You guys have clearly done that with the two year old racing and it shows I think.

    I have uncovered a decent edge with my first set of systems and yet, I’m trying to find another set of systems that may be better. Possibly trying to achieve the impossible I suspect….