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Barton Bank
04 Apr 19 19:35
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Date Joined: 31 Jul 01
| Topic/replies: 9,530 | Blogger: Barton Bank's blog
Well, it's been fun, it's been profitable, challenging at times, sometimes frustrating and often amusing. Been doing this (serious punting) nearly 20 years on here and about 23 in total. The betting game has changed a lot in that time and will no doubt change a lot in the future. Racing is a sport battling against economic issues and is no doubt going to be facing some serious problems with funding in the next few decades which will inevitable further weaken racing both as a sport and has a betting medium. The silly season is about to kick off with afternoon and evening fixtures overlapping and the punter has several months of raceclashes and plummeting liquidty to battle. I think it is going to be harder than ever and I wish you all luck with it.

Here are some of the reasons I am going to sign off my account and retire from serious punting (If you're bored already feel free to stop reading)

LIQUIDITY - (PRE RACE as most people assume all liqudity threads are about I/R) -  Anyone who has read my posts on here in the last few years will know I often comment negatively on liqudity on the Exchange but I genuinely believe it is falling markedly now (away from the big meetings) and can confidently predict that it is about to drop through the floor. We are now seeing gaps in prices and tiny amounts avaliable even quite close to the off on UK races when they are not even clashing with other races. This used to be an extremley rare occurance. A couple of grand (even very close to the off) can knock a horse from 5s to 7-2 or similar (this is just an example). Liqudity cannot improve and can only continue falling towards rock bottom because of the following factors (and others I have not thought of)
1) Betfair pushing all new customers on to the sportsbook - A few of the more successful ones may find their way on to the exchange but the vast majority won't and as punters die off, retire, give up etc the numbers of punters on here will continue to fall.
2) Declining public interest in Horse Racing - self explanatory.
3) Potential economic issues for the UK outside of Horse Racing which may or may not happen - it is not my wish to get into a political debate here.

Whatever the reasons, if you can't bet anywhere else and you can only bet on here within 2 minutes before the off and your bets move the prices against you nearly every time, it becomes increasingly difficult to convnce youself it is woth persisting. Particulary when you think the bottom of the barrel has been nowhere near reached.

DIFFICULTY LEVEL - Liqudity aside there are other issues that make it much harder than it used to be to strike value bets. For example
1) Lack of "mug" punters - Not a great term and apologies if it offends anyone. I use it because it is the terminology most people would utilise. Anyone who isn't a winning punter or at least has some concept of value can happily bet with bookmakers who are delighted to accomodate them and to court them with numerous special offers and then take thieir bets of unfavourable terms. Nowaday s Betfair itself is tapping into this market via the Sportsbook. Hence most people on here know what they are doing. It is very hard to lay the ones you think can't win or to get on the ones you think are overpriced (NOTE - this does not apply if you're stakes are small enough when the very volatile markets may actually be an advantage to you)
2) Media saturation - The pace of races etc is now done to death so much in the media that it is now very difficult to predict the tactics of races because there is more awareness and therefore more likelihood of a switch in tactics to avoid a speed duel or being caught off a steady pace.
3) Increased overlap of form between countries - won't dwell on this, simply to say nowadays you need to keep on top of Irish form (doable but time consuming) and further afield (very difficult to assess without huge effort)
4 BOTS -A massive issue. Crossmatching between the win and the place markets is an absolute killer when you are wanting a decent win/place wager. There are clearly bots set to follow large stakes that appear and use their presence to cream off money by (I assume) two-way trading as the price inveitably contracts or drifts (if laying). Can I prove this? No, but I have been doing this long enough to be confident I am correct.

Again the above is just scratching the surface


MOTIVATION - Full time punting can't be done half heartedly. You need to be dedicated. I'm not going to dwell to long on this as what is relevent to me isn't relevant to everyone.
Suffice to say - I don't need to make any more money, I don't want to follow racing 7 days and 6 nights a week any more and I think I have devoted long enough to it and probably owe it to myself to find a new challenge and do something else. I also don't want to keep having to consider needing to keep on top of the form as a major consideration in my life. As anyone who does this for a living or has done it for a living knows it can take over your life. You find yourself constantly clockwatching, turning down invitations etc and even organising your holidays around the racing. I can't justify doing it any more. I've taken time out travelling in the last couple of years and intend to do more of it, which is very difficult to combine with serious punting.

I generally feel most of the time that I would rather be doing something else.

CORRUPTION - Another topic that's been done to death. So I will simply say this. The BHA does not police the sport properly and horses are been hooked on a daily basis. I've spent far too much time typing this to get it deleted by naming names and most people on here will have some idea who some of the regular offenders are. Some people say corruption doesn't matter from a punting perspective. But of course it does. If the markets are often cornered by a handful of triers it is much harder to get an edge. And it is quite easy to take "value prices" about some of the non jiggers even if you broadly speaking know what you're doing. I've benefited from the innovation of Betfair but I believe it has increased skullduggery by providing certain "shrewd" operators with an opportunity.

So in summary that's me pretty much done. I'm lucky that I have been able to achieve what I have as people starting out now are going to need to be a hell of a lot better at this than the likes of me. If there are people on here in ten years time still making serious money betting on horses, I salute them.

I've put this on here because the General Betting forum is a bit of a ghost town these days and it won't simply disappear like it would on Horse Racing. I thought it might be an interesting read for some. Or it might not. Doesn't really matter. It is more a stream of consciousness written for my own benefit in case I question a few months down the line whether I have done the right thing by moving on. I'll keep my horses in trainng and go and see them a bit more, I just won't be on here battling with the robots scrabbling around for prices in an ever declining market.

Bit like War and Peace that, but nothing like as well written (I assume having never read any Tolstoy). Hope it's not too dull.

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Replies: 64
By:
second again
When: 05 Apr 19 07:44
An interesting read,I agree with most of what you say.I am only on here to pass time now between holidays.I think it was easier to keep on top of the form before AW racing and Sunday racing.I still use paper form books,I suppose computers would be quicker,but I prefer paper.Enjoy your holidays.I can't remember the last decent bet I have had,I used to pay more tax than what I bet now.It is not the same game now.I did not find your thread dull.Best wishes.
By:
Latalomne
When: 05 Apr 19 10:44
Good read, BB.  I've always enjoyed your contributions and I wish you well with whatever the future has in store.
By:
The Management
When: 05 Apr 19 11:49
Enjoy your retirement BB. I look back fondly on the glory years 2000-2006 (for me) when horse racing on BF was like shelling peas - but imo we got a pretty good first glimpse of what the future might hold for horse racing (largely due to BF) from about the time of the Hillside Girl "incident" (Summer of 2003? iirc). I am only surprised that it actually then took so long to descend to where it is today. I still love racing but as somebody that never really looked to adapt from an "old school" approach, I largely walked away from most of it as a trading/betting medium in about 2012 for some of the reasons you have highlighted - especially the time element.

I admire you for persevering with racing until now. I can imagine that if I was still active (especially with my prehistoric methodology!) it would now be all consuming time wise, especially compared to the other markets where I am still active with my abacus! My take on racing now is best summed up by Mr Spock - "It's life Jim but not as we know it".

Good luck and best wishes with whatever you do next!
By:
Templeton Peck
When: 05 Apr 19 12:43
Interesting post, BB, and thanks for putting on here.  I don't touch horse racing but your sentiments echo my own and I know it's only a matter of time now before I call it day and move onto pastures new.
By:
Barton Bank
When: 05 Apr 19 13:17
Cheers folks. Appreciate the best wishes and interesting (but unsurprising) to read that others feel similalry about the way the exchange is going. The peak years for me on here were probably 2004 to about 2012. In reality the exchange model was always going to have a limited shelf life without new streams of punters coming in to the system. I think a lot of what I said above could have been summarised by saying that you have to work harder to win less because of the nature of both the sport and the weakenss of the markets!
By:
Barton Bank
When: 05 Apr 19 16:28
Silly season not even kicked in yet and we have
5.15 Aintree
5,20 Wexford
5.25 Leicester
5.30 Wolverhampton
5.35 Sedgefield
5.40 Dundalk.
Worse from late April onwards. If you want a good bet on any of those races and you aren't wanting to play or lay the favourite, good luck.
By:
Rigsby
When: 05 Apr 19 18:49
BB - Unsuprisingly, I could have written the same, except for the fact the game is in my DNA (was a runner for a bookies runner in my childhood) and I retain an interest and very rarely bet on the gee gees these days, mostly for the reasons you have given.
I concentrate on soccer now. I do a lot of work with statistics, which keeps my old brain going, and there are many good short odds on opportunities, although I think most of the liquidity is bot v bot.
Enjoy your retirement.
By:
lewisham ranger
When: 06 Apr 19 12:56

MOTIVATION - Full time punting can't be done half heartedly. You need to be dedicated. I'm not going to dwell to long on this as what is relevent to me isn't relevant to everyone.
Suffice to say - I don't need to make any more money, I don't want to follow racing 7 days and 6 nights a week any more and I think I have devoted long enough to it and probably owe it to myself to find a new challenge and do something else. I also don't want to keep having to consider needing to keep on top of the form as a major consideration in my life. As anyone who does this for a living or has done it for a living knows it can take over your life. You find yourself constantly clockwatching, turning down invitations etc and even organising your holidays around the racing. I can't justify doing it any more. I've taken time out travelling in the last couple of years and intend to do more of it, which is very difficult to combine with serious punting.

I generally feel most of the time that I would rather be doing something else.


seems to me the issue isn't just with the money won/lost, but more like the loss of time that gambling has on a gamblers life.

It's my firm belief that gambling is generally a navel-gazing activity and a lot of gamblers would be much happier if they followed a line of work that actually brought them into contact with other people; staring at the computer screen or pouring over form doesn't promote a healthy mind.
By:
Barton Bank
When: 06 Apr 19 13:05
Interesting point Lewisham. When I made the vast majority of my money I was betting about 360 days a year bar the very occasional holiday and a 6-month break from serious punting I took in 2005. I don't regret doing it but there were times when it was stressful and I always kept contact with other people and had the odd hobby. I know of some propunters who have said they went days without speaking to people in person.
By:
Barton Bank
When: 06 Apr 19 13:16
Tell you one thing I won't miss. The daily dose of Harry Redknapp doing annoying adverts. Sick of the sound of him.
By:
Latalomne
When: 06 Apr 19 15:48
'Undred uh wun?
By:
Barton Bank
When: 06 Apr 19 17:13
"Is it bin day today?" FFS.
By:
GoBallistic
When: 06 Apr 19 18:19
Good luck BB

I don't envy anyone who does horses full time on here.  In the two decades I've been on here I've gone from 90% horses and 10% other stuff to 10% horses and 90% other stuff.  I would be skint otherwise.  It's only because I still love the challenge of working out a big race that I do anything at all on the horses
By:
Barton Bank
When: 06 Apr 19 18:53
With the big races you have a proper market. Unfortunately most races nowadays you don't. There was a horse today at Chepstow that within the space of a few minutes went from about 8.2 to 2.5 then back to 4.2 and back in to about 3.2. That is insane! And the amounts available at those prices were small for the most part. There is also a lot of price spoofing due to the weakness of the markets which is a nice bonus for anyone connected who likes to play that game.
By:
roadrunner46
When: 06 Apr 19 21:54
enjoy your retirement, none of the above would bother me in the slightest, the very best bets never move in the market's anyway. things like corruption in racing,its usually in the races that are easily avoided imo
no doubt there will always be opportunities for form readers and strategist's. with the wealth of data available to punters these days, will always be people around smart enough to exploit the formbook
By:
Barton Bank
When: 07 Apr 19 08:14
Well if the "very best bets never move in the markets" then my point about most of the markets being completely lacking in liquidity due to their being fewer and fewer people betting on them and hence causing the prices to jump around all over the place for peanuts is even more valid then, isn't it?
By:
roadrunner46
When: 07 Apr 19 10:38
all the points you made were valid, its your experience of gambling for a living, did your betting evolve and change during this period? im sure most people who have been on here a long time would completely agree about the points you made and the pressure of gambling for a living, the wealth of data around now, gotta be more than just a form reader these days imo, after learning the game for last 10 years, havent even started making money yet, completely understand the dedication it takes to make money now. well done with lion hearted he
achieved his best speed figure on the 12th march TS 76, only got a TS 1 LTOLaugh
By:
Barton Bank
When: 07 Apr 19 11:29
Will try and answer your question about whether my betting evolved -
Yes. Mostly through necessity. When I started betting seriously it was pre-Betfair and hence I was betting with bookmakers. In those days the early price opportunities with bookmakers gave you MUCH better value because the Betfair markets didn't exist and cause the prices to be slashed before you could bet. Can recall plenty of times backing horses (average stake at the time 200-500 quid) at more than double the SP. You could win more before you got your accounts closed in those days.
On Betfair I didn't intentionally change my strategy but basically gave up with large sections of the racing partly due to not wanting to put the same level of effort in and partly due to declining liqudity.
Cheers for your Lion Hearted comments. No surprise the TF was so poor last time given the ridiculously slow pace they went. Still maintain he's done well to win given how hard he pulled. Should be back next week at Chelmsford.
By:
mega88
When: 07 Apr 19 18:48
See you tomorrowExcited
By:
big aitch
When: 08 Apr 19 08:44
Thanks for the write up BB, one of the things that attracted me to BF is the fact you don't have to talk to anyone. Over the years I have always been involved in sales and recruitment and spoken to all sorts.

I have found that most people are liars and will just waste a lot of your time. To a certain extent I am free to relax and trade/bet on here in a relaxed environment at home with my wife and cats around. I wish I knew now back in the early days, I just used to lay horses I didn't fancy.

After reading more about trading on here I have been doing more of that and have good runs and bad runs, as things do tend to alter on here although there are many styles of trading and betting to try and I feel comfortable with the one's I do now.
By:
dan hardcore
When: 08 Apr 19 11:53
Well played and good luck!
By:
cpfc4me
When: 09 Apr 19 19:20
A good, and well-written, read. Horse Racing has never been my thing, with a lesson early in life enough probably saving me a fortune over the years. https://green-all-over.blogspot.com/2009/01/two-swallows.html

May I ask why you only seem to bet on Horse Racing? In my opinion, other sports offer better opportunities to make money. If you have the skills to be profitable in Horse Racing over 20 years, I'd suggest that in less popular markets you could do even better. You don't have to like the sport and watch the games!
By:
Coachbuster
When: 10 Apr 19 02:24
Interesting and well written post Barton Bank -  more confirmation on how the exchange has gone, if needed
By:
Barton Bank
When: 10 Apr 19 07:15
cpfc4me, what makes you think I would be able to make money betting on sports that I may not necessarily like or know anything about? I concentrated on Horse Racing because the two sports I know more about than the vast majority of punters are Horse Racing and Rugby League. It is virtually impossible to get a worthwhile bet on the latter (sometimes even the TV games have hardly any money in the markets). Horse Racing offered strong markets initially where an edge in knowledge made it easy to get bets on at over the true odds. Nowadays it doesn't because hardly anyone bar the people who really know what they doing are betting on them on the exchanges.
By:
reb
When: 10 Apr 19 10:45
Great post, Barton.

Well worth a read for anyone spending time on here.

I can identify, in particular, with your MOTIVATION paragraph. We can all keep impeccable records of our betting activity based on monetary profit and loss but it's a different story when it comes to knowing how much time we are spending doing what we do. There comes a point where we need to recognise that the time spent betting, or thinking about it, may not be worth it anymore.


The industry has all changed so much in the past 20 years. I used to work for one of the big chains and one of my biggest life interests now is highlighting how much more could and should be done by the betting industry and Governments to help that small proportion of bettors that have a serious addiction problem. 

Well done on your decision and thanks for your very insightful post; you seem like a very wise man.
By:
cpfc4me
When: 10 Apr 19 20:29
@Barton Bank - what makes you think I would be able to make money betting on sports that I may not necessarily like or know anything about?

It's a common misconception that it's easier to make money betting on sports you like or know anything about, over other sports. In fact, this confidence in one's knowledge is often an over confidence, and leads to losses. It can be an advantage NOT to know anything about the sport, as it allows you to focus solely on objective data. Since you appear to have the ability to analyze data, you should be able to use this skill in other sports where there is plenty of data, and only two or three possible outcomes. It's about reading markets and numbers (data) - the teams, sports, participants are all irrelevant.
By:
Barton Bank
When: 10 Apr 19 21:15
I don't believe it to be a misconception that it is easier to make money on sports you know something about. Yes, I can analayse data but I'm not interested enough to spend my time number crunching even if the sports have sufficent liqudity (and most won't) to justify the effort. I don't need the money and I wouldn't enjoy it.
By:
Barton Bank
When: 10 Apr 19 21:17
Reb, missed your post. Cheers for your good wishes. Good luck trying to get the betting industry and Goverment to listen to you.
By:
roadrunner46
When: 11 Apr 19 15:32

Apr 7, 2019 -- 6:29AM, Barton Bank wrote:


Will try and answer your question about whether my betting evolved -Yes. Mostly through necessity. When I started betting seriously it was pre-Betfair and hence I was betting with bookmakers. In those days the early price opportunities with bookmakers gave you MUCH better value because the Betfair markets didn't exist and cause the prices to be slashed before you could bet. Can recall plenty of times backing horses (average stake at the time 200-500 quid) at more than double the SP. You could win more before you got your accounts closed in those days. On Betfair I didn't intentionally change my strategy but basically gave up with large sections of the racing partly due to not wanting to put the same level of effort in and partly due to declining liqudity. Cheers for your Lion Hearted comments. No surprise the TF was so poor last time given the ridiculously slow pace they went. Still maintain he's done well to win given how hard he pulled. Should be back next week at Chelmsford.


exactly being able to win off that slow pace last time out and the previous win, when lion hearted achieved that TS 76, were all positives. well done to yourself and connections.

By:
the man
When: 11 Apr 19 22:09
Good Luck Barton Bank. I haven't posted for ages but I'm still doing well, the last two years my best ever. Chairman of Barrow now so can't bet on Rugby League. Enjoyed your posts on the Rugby forum and I used to hear a lot about you at the Betfair hospitality days but they said you generally turned the invites down. I enjoyed those days but my invites are now counted on one finger per year as they prefer to invite the big losers.
By:
Barton Bank
When: 12 Apr 19 13:01
Hello, the man. Long time no speak. I can't bet on Rugby League now because you provided all the liqudity and are not allowed to! I didn't tend to bother with the invites because they generally interfered with me keeping on top of the racing and making money. Now I am not wanting to work my ass off on a daily basis, they never offer any! Sod's law. Didn't know you were chairman of Barrow. I am sure you will be less controversial than Mr Johnson. Not impossible I will join the board at Widnes at some stage in the not too distant future.
By:
wolf3011
When: 12 Apr 19 13:25
Good luck Barton, I'll be leaving as well next week. I've received an email from betfair informing me that my usage is consistent with a " commercial user " despite not using bots and these days placing maybe 6 bets a week all under £100 on football matches. If that represents commercial use lol probably best I leave this site as after calling up the customer services line , I was advised to email the "relevant department" as they couldn't help. The betfair customer service these days is truly awful and don't believe the site is as secure as it was when I joined over a decade ago.


As if I'm going to deposit any major sums when an email comes through basically stating they can close accounts at any time if they are believed to be commercial ( wrongly) and no contact number to even discuss it, just an email address where they may or may not respond. This place is  utterly farcical these days and now in my 40s time to call it a day leaving the bot geeks to it. I've never understood "bots " and had any interest in them which seems to be the only way to make money long term on here... it stopped being a sports betting site years ago and is now more a site for who has the most advanced software.
By:
Mordin.
When: 16 Apr 19 15:26
No mention of the higher premium charge BB? Surely you must be paying that.
By:
pmbets
When: 16 Apr 19 15:53
Great post BB and I will miss you.Take care my friend.
I believe the biggest scandal in the betting industry post FOBT ,is account restrictions.
Even people in the house of lords who enjoy a bet have had their accounts restricted.
It's about time the government do something to prevent value customers been singled out.
After all the bookies entice customers in with their value offers.
It's a national disgrace that this is allowed to happen.
Where is the gambling commission.When is the government going to help.
I agree with you barton that the exchange markets are unplayable now and will be for decades to come.
By:
Deltâ
When: 24 Apr 19 22:09
all that's happened is, you have aged BB Grin


GL
By:
Desert Pilot
When: 06 May 19 08:42
Great post. Anyone who shows the slightest modicum of ability around horseracing will have their accounts restricted in double-quick time. I think more and more people will end up trading and liquidity will actually increase over time. But there's no guarantee here.
By:
dpm
When: 09 May 19 12:16
Don't think that will happen as most of the people restricted will be backers so will be more on the exchanges fighting for less money. It would be better if bookmakers actually stood a bet to lose say £500 on a no frills account basis.
By:
ItsMeSwaddle
When: 15 May 19 13:00
Good luck, posts always informative.

Sad this couldn’t go on the Horse Racing forum for all the guff.
By:
macarony
When: 18 May 19 13:12
Blogger: Barton Bank's blog

Interesting point Lewisham. When I made the vast majority of my money I was betting about 360 days a year bar the very occasional holiday and a 6-month break from serious punting I took in 2005. I don't regret doing it but there were times when it was stressful and I always kept contact with other people and had the odd hobby. I know of some propunters who have said they went days without speaking to people in person.
Sounds like wagon driving



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