I’m off work next week and ultimately, this is the week of the year when I start pulling together my plans and thoughts around what I need to do this Summer in preparation for next season. At the moment, I actually don’t have any concrete plans and it’s difficult to make plans when I’m feeling quite down about how the season has gone. I’ve already said the service needs a massive revamp, the ratings need a lot of work potentially, the systems need binned or at least, filtered in some way to reduce my workload and make it easier for followers of my ratings and systems. I can probably do with starting with a blank sheet of paper and mapping out how I think my ratings and systems should look but being honest, I don’t know if I can be bothered with it.
Anyone who reads my emails will know this season has been one massive pain the arse for me and when you have a month like Sep-13 was (massive losses), it suddenly seems like a much tougher season from there on and ultimately, just when I seemed to get back on an even keel, March then came along and was worse than September! At the moment, my mind is a little bit of a mush and it’s difficult to think clearly about where I go from here. Tuesday night was like another massive blow (Sheff Wed and Woking losing late goals caused me to have a substantial swing on the night) and it’s hard to pick myself up at the moment.
Personally, coming into this season, I increased my betting bank by 150% from last season as most of you know and I had huge plans for how I would spend my profits this season! A new Garage for the house, paying off some more of my mortgage, reinvesting some more of the profits into my betting bank. That’s the 3 areas where my profits were going from this season. Ultimately, as things stand today, my betting bank is 20% lower than when I started the season.
I always knew my issue at this game would be when I had a loss. It’s easy to have the right mind-frame at gambling when you are winning but for someone who isn’t used to losing, how would I cope with a loss? Well, I already knew the answer to this and I’ve admitted it a few times but I’m a terrible loser. I hate losing (doesn’t everyone?) but I really struggle to accept losing. In the same way as in my personal life, I struggle to accept doing things wrong or struggle to accept criticism for the way I do things.
Now I’m facing up to a losing season, where do I go from here? Part of me says that I’ve had 3 great seasons, this season has brought me down to earth and now is the time to bail out and keep the money I’ve won over the last 4 seasons. I gave it a really good go, created something that was pretty good but at the end of the day, a season like this shows what can happen when things go wrong and ultimately, do I really want to risk losing money at betting?
At the moment, I’ll be honest and say this part of me is winning unfortunately. The other part of me are my usual characteristics and the fact I always believed I have something pretty special here and ultimately, I don’t want to stop after a losing season. I struggle to accept the fact I’ve made a loss this season (I shouldn’t lose at this game!) and therefore, I need to put it right and at the very least, get back the losses people have suffered this season along with me. I’m not a quitter!
I’m always honest on the blog and I know Steve (Daily 25) doesn’t really like his tipsters having emotions but thankfully, all my bets are automated and therefore, I can say what I want about the systems, my losses, how I feel etc. and it has no impact on the future performance of the systems. Therefore, that’s where my head is at today. I need to quickly make some decisions as the greatest workload at this for me is during the Summer and if my heart (and head) are not in it, I can’t continue beyond this season. I’ll give it some thought next week and I’ll either start planning for next season and my Summer workload or I’ll start winding down.
One thing I have been giving a lot of thought to is the performance of the systems this season and the fact that the Draw Systems appear to be doing really well whereas the systems that are more established are struggling. Is this a new phenomenon? Well, no, because last year, the New Systems outperformed the Est Systems and therefore, is it the case there is a time decay issue with my ratings?
Before I try to answer this, I need to again state that I don’t refresh my rating algorithms every Summer with new data. If I want to do anything, I add new rating algorithms or add new systems but I don’t refresh the algorithms I already have. As I’ve admitted a lot over the last 2 seasons now, with hindsight, I’m not sure this is the correct way to approach this game but it’s the way I chose at the outset.
My concern with refreshing the algorithms was that it meant that every new season, I would effectively be following a rating algorithm that wasn’t the same algorithm as last year. The weightings will have all changed and therefore, I thought this brought additional risk. Obviously, it means that all my rating algorithms have a shelve life and I’ve made this clear since day one that the Est Systems would one day probably need to be replaced. Hence, I built New Systems a few years back. My intention was to continue building new algorithms each Summer but of course, I soon realised that there is a limit to what I could do and given the Est Systems continued to perform well, maybe I could squeeze a good number of years from each algorithm I currently had.
The other way to work with rating algorithms is to try to employ a method of continuous improvement with the ratings and every Summer, use the data from the season past, refresh the ratings based on the new data and then you are good to go for the new season. My issue with this and why I have steered away from this is that it seems so easy to fall into a process of backfitting data. Hence, I have an unbiased algorithm, I bring in new data, change the weightings with the various constraints on returns and bet numbers and then end up with a statistically biased algorithm.
After seeing the results this season, my thinking has gone 100% full circle and I think to stay ahead of the market, you need to be taking into account as much recent data as you have available. At the moment, my first two algorithms were developed using data from 2006 and 2009 and clearly, the power of these ratings have waned over the last couple of seasons. The second half of last season probably painted over the cracks with these two algorithms in particular as at Christmas time last season, I was all for refreshing these ratings in the Summer. The second half of the season was amazing though and I decided it wasn’t worth the risk.
What I have been looking at is the performance of my systems based on how long they have been live. At the moment, 40 of the 41 UK systems are in profit since they went live. The system that is not in profit is losing 0.2pts! As I’ve said before, I think my ability to build profitable football systems is probably unrivalled over the time I’ve been betting on football.
In total, the profits if following all 41 UK systems are:
A 6.5% return from nearly 27.5k system bets. Admittedly, it was a better at the start of the season but at the end of the day, when I started out at this game 4 seasons ago with my first system, if you had said I’d have these returns after nearly 4 seasons which included a terrible season in there, I’d have accepted this I’m sure.
However, the interesting point I want to make here is that if you break the returns down by how long the systems have been live, it looks very interesting. I currently have systems at the moment that are in their first season (Draws), second season (Some New Systems), Third Season (Some New Systems, Misc Systems, Under-Over Systems) and some systems in their 4th season (Est Systems). Therefore, the Est Systems have been alive for 4 seasons but their results have got worse as the seasons have gone by. The same is true for the other systems in the main. Putting this altogether, you get the following table of results:
Now, I find this table absolutely fascinating! When systems are in their first season, as I already knew and as anyone following the systems will know, the returns have tended to be very good. Admittedly, this tends to be the time we go easy with the staking as the systems are unproven but as the results show, this is when the systems are at their most powerful. As time goes on, the systems and ratings appear to become less profitable. What causes this?
Well, I don’t think it’s too difficult to jump to the conclusion that due to the fact I don’t employ a continuous improvement process with my ratings and don’t use refreshed data, this potentially means my ratings become dated to an extent and therefore, the best time to catch my systems and ratings is in the first season. Of course, my advice before this season has always been to be wary of newer systems and ratings as it seemed risky to take the plunge with unproven systems when there were already proven systems available to follow!
I’m conscious of the fact that this could all be bullshi* and maybe I’m looking for a solution for a problem and it just so happens I appear to have found one but I actually think this makes sense. What it means though is that I have a big issue with my current ratings and systems as they are all out of date and need reworked!
This feels like this post has come full circle…..Do I have the appetite to start again and refresh the rating algorithms, build new systems and so on? I don’t know…………….