Interview to Betting In The Know

TIPSTUNI –> BETTING_IN_THE_KNOW is a PREMIUM Horse Racing Tipster. Why did you choose that sport? Have you considered extending your PREMIUM service to other sports?
BETTING_IN_THE_KNOW –> Since the age of 6 I’ve watched/followed/bet on Horse Racing and I’ve always known that it’s a game that can be beaten.
I don’t know enough about any other sport to have an edge.

TIPSTUNI –> Within Horse Racing, BETTING_IN_THE_KNOW focuses on UK competitions. Why do you bet solely in UK Horse Racing? And even more in particular, BETTING_IN_THE_KNOW has specialized in flat racing. For readers unfamiliar with Horse Racing, what does it mean?
BETTING_IN_THE_KNOW –> There is an awful lot of horse racing in the UK, it’s a full time job just trying to keep up with it. Extending beyond the UK just isn’t possible on my own.

If I’m honest, I’d like to make a bit more effort with Irish racing. In general they have less racing and bigger fields; it would suit my betting style more. Unfortunately my knowledge base of Irish racing is way behind that of UK racing and would take months/years to catch up!

There are several codes of racing in the UK and Ireland; National Hunt (jumps), Flat All-Weather and Flat Turf. The Flat Turf season runs from April until early November. National Hunt and All-Weather racing run all year round.

I would say that I’m strong across all codes of racing but if I had to choose one it would be Flat Turf.

TIPSTUNI –> BETTING_IN_THE_KNOW is being proofed by RACINGPROOFING since December 2015, although your service started in March 2014. However is in April 2015 when BETTING_IN_THE_KNOW launches the PREMIUM service. You are currently ranked at position n.8 (November 2016) with more than 30 services proofed on RACINGPROOFING. What needs to be improved in your service to be at the top of the ranking?
(By the way, in my site tipstuni.com/tipsters-database/ you are right now at position n.2 among 75 tipsters. Good!
BETTING_IN_THE_KNOW –> With the way RACINGPROOFING work their rankings tip volume is massively important. Everybody ranked above me has at least double the tip volume that I have and only one service has a better ROI (that service is rated number one).

If you do the mathematics (I know that’s your bag), that number one ranked service charges more than 20 times what I charge!
So to answer your question; time is the only way that I can rise up the rankings.

TIPSTUNI –> I read in the “News” section of your website that “Premium members are provided with pre-race insight as well as post-race analysis for all selections given”. Why do you think that is important for your subscribers to get this information?
BETTING_IN_THE_KNOW –> I no longer give post-race analysis because it is very time consuming and sometimes feels like I am being forced to make excuses for horses.

I feel that the pre-race insight is important because members will see the reasoning behind the selection. It’s especially important with the longer priced tips/picks. It also adds some value to the service.

TIPSTUNI –> Does your betting strategy follow any mathematical algorithm or consists on finding value from your knowledge of UK Horse Racing? Or is it even perhaps a combination of both?
BETTING_IN_THE_KNOW –> No Algorithms here. My strategy is knowledge/stats based and moving in when I feel a price is out of line.

TIPSTUNI –> According to my analysis, in which I have evaluated your service performance taking the start in March’2014, your yield is 22.54% in more than 2700 bets (November 2016). Congratulations! However I observed some variability in terms of yield consistency when I divide your picks record into 10 blocks of 10% (see figure below). As a potential subscriber that may read this interview, what would you say to justify such variability?

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BETTING_IN_THE_KNOW –> This will sound a little odd but I would describe the service as relatively stable with a couple of blips (the major downward blip is explained in the next question). I’ve only delivered 3 losing months in the last 30, one of the losing months was negligible and the other two came consecutively during a dark period that will also be explained in the next answer.

TIPSTUNI –> As one may take out looking at the graph above; there was a period, around the middle of the record, in which you had negative yield. Checking your monthly stats, this period corresponds to the dates ranging from May 2015 to August 2015. Could you explain how your subscribers at that time responded to this fact? Did you implement any enhancement in your method after such negative period or did you understand this bad run as something intrinsic to statistical variance (a typical long bad run)?
BETTING_IN_THE_KNOW –> This was my fault but at the time I thought it was a very bad run. It will take some explaining, so stick with me!

Leading up to this period I’d had a good March (+56pts +25% ROI) followed by a stellar April (+111pts +45% ROI). April was the first month that I had been charging after providing highly profitable tips for free for more than a year. People were falling over themselves to sign up and I had to deal with lots of admin stuff.

For those that don’t know June and July is when British racing is at its busiest because evening racing gets into full swing.

I was under time pressure and a few of the wrong people had my ear; they were telling me to get the tips/picks out as early as possible to get the best available prices.
All in all the service had become rushed and I could not see it!

A marginal profit was made in May (+1pt +0.68% ROI) due to 25/1 and 16/1 winners on the last Saturday of the month.
The crash came in the June (-67pts -33% ROI).

Now, on top of the loss of confidence I also had to deal with a lot of disgruntled members, cancellations and in a few cases hate (e)mail.

It was much of the same in July with another loss posted (-19pts -10% ROI) and my membership rightly evaporated.

I was treading water in August (+3pts +1.6% ROI) and still tearing my hair out trying to find what I was doing wrong/differently. It was around this time that I decided to give it until Christmas and if the corner hadn’t been turned by then I would end the service.
September saw another negligible profit (+2.7pts +1.6% ROI).
October saw a lot of big priced near misses in the first few weeks and was looking like being another poor show until I finally made the realisation that the tips were going out too early. I know the exact day that the realisation was made because the very next day, as if by magic, I tipped two winners at 16/1 and 15/2. From there things haven’t looked back (October +71pts +36% ROI).

We haven’t even gone close to a losing month since although at the time of writing November is looking bad and I might be posting a losing month. I think it’s what the stats geeks call regression to the mean; everything went right in October (+167pts +79% ROI) and in turn nothing has gone right so far in November.

TIPSTUNI –> Let’s suppose that I am your follower and planning to subscribe to your service but I still have some uncertainty about the reliability of your method. Well, you already have a sample of more than 2700 picks record, but the question would be whether that sample is large enough to take out strong conclusions on your numbers. Which would be in your opinion the minimum number of bets that you as a tipster and as an experienced betting person consider statistically reasonable to rely on a given betting system or strategy?
BETTING_IN_THE_KNOW –> I think you can take a view after quite a small number of bets. I’d say 100 tips/picks (around a month of my service) will give you a strong feel for whether a service is profitable or not. Obviously you would need a far larger sample to be 100% certain that an edge is there.

In any highly profitable system/situation the bulk of the value lies in early stages and diminishes quickly as other people catch on. If you want to wait until you are 100% sure that the situation is profitable then you might find yourself boarding the ship just as it starts to sink!

TIPSTUNI –> The maximum DD (Drawdown) of your record, close to 54% (see figure below), occurred in October 2015. This number suggests that a potential subscriber must be psychologically prepared to suffer important drops. In the “FAQ” of your website there is a paragraph dedicated exclusively to that situation which states that one has to be constant enough to keep on following the strategy as it is even in the bad runs. My question to you as a tipster: When you are facing a long negative run, are you psychologically strong enough to remain calm and wait for the “greens” or inevitably you need to spend some time to re-calibrate your method?

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BETTING_IN_THE_KNOW –> Bad runs affect confidence which in turn increases the chances of extending the bad run. No one is immune to losses of confidence and you do start to question your methods. More often than not it’s just the negative side of variance and making a change could be detrimental. Unfortunately it’s difficult to take a step back and look at the situation 100% logically when you are in the depths of a long downswing.

TIPSTUNI –> Your WR (Win Rate) has been really constant over time, ranging from 25% to 35% (see figure below). It is worth mentioning that statistically the WR increases when the average odds decrease, and vice versa. In the case of BETTING_IN_THE_KNOW, the average odds are about 9.00 (decimal), i.e. high odds with low probability of success, and therefore the conclusion out of this is that your WR is really good. But I have noticed that the WR trend curve is slightly decreasing over time and in parallel the average odds are in an increasing trend. Why are you now posting picks with higher average odds?

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BETTING_IN_THE_KNOW –> I know that most of my edge comes from my bigger priced selections (picks at higher odds). In the perfect world I would only tip big priced horses.

Unfortunately that doesn’t make for a very ‘followable’ service because of multiple reasons; longer losing runs, less tips, more days with zero tips and the whole service would be a lot more ‘swingy’.

I keep my Win Rate high by betting a lot of my bigger priced tips/picks each way (win and place). If I were being particularly cutthroat then I would change this and there would be a rise in the overall ROI. However, the Win Rate would decrease quite drastically and it would also make the service harder to follow.

I used to be a little frightened of putting my more speculative tips/picks up as selections because they are the ones that are most likely to be badly beaten (backers may not get a run for their money). I know that to the majority of subscribers/bettors a good tip/pick is a horse that runs well and a bad tip/pick is a horse that runs badly. To defend these people, it is difficult to take a long term view when your horse has never been sighted in a race even when that tipster has made you plenty of money in the past. It’s a very here and now sport.

Through my time as a tipster I have been lucky enough to develop a core of subscribers that have been with me through thick and thin. They don’t complain on losing runs and I know they have confidence in me. That has given me the confidence and freedom to tip/pick the longer priced horses where I know the most value lies without the fear of a terrible performance. Yes we will have losing runs and the hangers on/more narrow minded subscribers will drop off like they always do but the core members will still be there because they’ve seen it all before and know that the next big winner is just around the corner.

TIPSTUNI –> BETTING_IN_THE_KNOW uses a narrow range of stakes. The average stake per pick is 2.00. There is a long discussion within the sports betting community about whether to use variable stake or flat stake. Your strategy seems to be closer to the second than to the first. May we know your opinion on this issue? Assuming that the calculation of the value (advantage over the odds) differs from bet to bet, why is it worth using flat stake instead of variable stake?
BETTING_IN_THE_KNOW –> As I’ve said in other answers I feel that most of my profitability comes from my bigger priced tips/picks. Keeping flatter stakes means that my subscribers will tend to have as much on a 20/1 shot as they will on a 3/1 shot.

That goes against how people generally feel about betting (most punters will have larger bets on shorter prices, tapering down to very small bets on very big prices. That is almost saying ‘I don’t want to win too much’), but is by far the more profitable approach.

The most profitable approach would be to weight it so that large bets go on to the big priced selections where I feel we have the most edge. Unfortunately in today’s climate with bookmakers not that keen to take a bet, I don’t think it’s logistically possible.

That is why there are very few 4 and 5 point tips/picks. They tend to be restricted to shorter priced tips/picks; otherwise those members with larger point values would struggle to get on. Imagine a member who bets at £100 per point trying to get 5 points win on a 14/1 shot; he/she is not getting on unless he has a vast array of accounts/friends!

TIPSTUNI –> Another aspect that I realized is that the average number of picks you post per month is slightly rising. You now post about 100 picks per month. Does that mean that you find more value now with respect to the past or is it due to other reasons?
BETTING_IN_THE_KNOW –> I think that’s just a ‘time of year’ thing. August, September and October tends to have lots of big handicaps and plenty of racing that suits my style. I think you’ll see the number of tips/picks drop off a little now.

TIPSTUNI –> To get access to your PREMIUM service one must pay almost 35₤ per month. Given that you are currently posting about 100 monthly picks, it means that each pick costs 0.35₤. In contrast to the majority of PREMIUM tipsters that I have so far analysed, your PREMIUM service is one of the cheapest. Why did you consider this price to be the most appropriate?
BETTING_IN_THE_KNOW –> I think I am affordable (that’s probably a better word than cheap!) and I think that my prices will rise in time. But for now I want my service to be available to as broad a range of subscribers as possible. If you want to bet just £2 per point on average you will make back more than double your subscription costs every month.

TIPSTUNI –> According to the recurring abuses that bookmakers continually do (i.e. closure or limitation of winning accounts, etc.), how does it affect both the Horse Racing betting market in general and the UK Horse Racing betting market in particular? To what kind of scenarios should a potential subscriber must be prepared?
BETTING_IN_THE_KNOW –> A potential subscriber must be aware that it’s a battle to get bets on when you show bookmakers that you are making profitable bets. There is plenty of information available on the internet on the subject of keeping your accounts/options open.

TIPSTUNI –> As you surely are aware, it is general that the greater the number of bettors in illiquid markets the faster the odds drop. In this regard, do you restrict your PREMIUM service to a limited number of subscribers in order to maintain the quality of the service (in terms of avoiding such drops)?
BETTING_IN_THE_KNOW –> At the moment my prices tend to ‘hold up’ after the selections have been sent out. That won’t be the case after a particularly good run because people are probably riding their luck and over staking, but in general the prices do hold up.
When that stops being the case I will cap the membership.

TIPSTUNI –> Last but not least, what added value does BETTING_IN_THE_KNOW offer compared to other Horse Racing services? In other words, why should someone subscribe to your PREMIUM service?
BETTING_IN_THE_KNOW –> I think that my service is very cheap for what it offers; thoroughly thought through tips/picks, with all of the thinking there for you to read; a full results archive with all deductions taken into account; a history of good, consistent profits; good customer service.
Everybody should be doing this!

By the way, let me congratulate you for your superb October! Awesome month!

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