News of latest activityPrevious blog entriesMy apprenticeship  

From draw advantage expert to strategies with spreadsheets.

www.strategy-blog.co.uk

 

A brief history of losing, research and development, and winning,
or how I went from a minor who wasn't old enough to bet,
to a supplier of picks and shovels for the Betfair Gold Rush.

My websites.

betformulas.co.uk
Formulas and maths of trading

betandlay.co.uk
Football trading

betandlay.co.uk/strategies
Strategies for horse racing and football trading

betandlay.co.uk/bookie
Be A Bookie.
Laying strategies and spreadsheets for Betfair trading

startingstalls.co.uk
A very accurate analysis of U.K.  horse racing draw advantages.

I have enjoyed betting and especially horse racing since I was a lad.
Whilst I was still at school, my dad took me to quite a few northern racecourses such a s Thirsk, Ripon, Catterick, Haydock, York, Donny, Redcar, and Stockton (befrore it closed).
That's where my interest in horse racing came from.
Later on we hit Cheltenham a couple of times, when Night Nurse won the Champion Hurdle.
What a great horse he was.

When I got older, we used to meet up on a Saturday afternoon for a few beers and trips across the road to the bookies for a few bets.
There were no pictures in those days, but the commentator on the "bookies blower" could give anyone a heart failure on a Saturday afternoon.
My dad knew an apprentice jockey's dad who lived in our village, and we used to get the occasional tip from the stable.
I'll never forget a horse called Caribbean Boy.
Caribbean Boy was a 7F horse.
The trainer used to run it over various distances and unsuitable ground (I guess) to get its handicap down.
We used to get "the word" when it was due to win.

The race that sticks in my memory was a race at Ripon one Saturday afternoon.
The blower commentator excelled himself that day.
"2 furlongs to go, and its so and so, so and so, so and so, etc., etc," with no mention of Caribbean Boy.
"Entering the final furlong and it's so and so, so and so, so, and so, etc., etc,"
"200 yards to go and it's so and so, so and so, so, and so, etc., etc, with Caribbean Boy making a move from the rear..... "
"100 yards to go and so and so, so and so, so, and so, etc., etc, with Caribbean Boy coming on the outside"
"Nearing the post and it's so and so, so and so, so, and so, etc., etc, with Caribbean Boy still making headway on the outside" ..... Christ  ..........  Come On !!
"Inches to go and Caribbean Boy is getting up !"
With half the village on Caribbean Boy, the cheer that went up that day must have been heard miles away.
The jockey is now a successful trainer.
To this day, in our house we never refer to that trainer by his name.
When we see him being interviewed on television, we always refer to him as "Caribbean Boy".

My dad was very good at picking winners, but I lost every week.
I started to study southern trainers who sent only one runner up to northern race tracks.
My theory was that it probably cost just the same to send up 2 horses as one, so a "One horse raid" was what I looked for.
I used to look for single runners from southern stables at a whole meeting.
If the race meeting lasted 3 days, the qualifyers had to be just one runner throughout the 3 days.
I looked at the final days racing for single runners from southern stables, and then eliminated any of those horses if a the stable had had a runner on one of the previous days.
My selection method improved, and I began to hit more winners.
It paid to specialize.
Ron Boss was my favourite "one horse raider" trainer at that time.
When he sent just one horse up north from Newmarket with the expense of a horse box, staff etc, quite often he meant business.

Later, I began to keep records of other things and eventually studied draw advantages in horse races.
As my knowledge of draw advantages increased, I found I needed to bet on more than one horse, to put my information to best use, so I began to collect different Dutching formulas for the staking of more than one runner.
I taught myself computer programming using BASIC, and built a few programmes for Dutching.
My first programmes were written on a Sinclair computer with a rubber keypad.
I used Dutching to stake up to 6 well drawn horses using bookie accounts, or placed bets in shops.
I now use those Dutching formulas and a selection of Hedging formulas for building Excel spreadsheets.

The Draw.
S
tarting stalls were introduced to The U.K. at Newmarket on 8th July 1965.
They were first used in The Derby in 1967.
It's obvious to me that an analysis of a count up of the number of wins from each starting stall should reveal which stalls are favoured by the draw.
In over 40 years since the introduction of starting stalls, very few accurate studies have been made.
Most draw advantage advice seems to be based on guesswork.
Take a map of the course, a few personal observations, and Hey Presto ! there's your draw advantage advice.
Even today, despite the availability of very powerful computer software, newspaper draw advantage advice and that given by television presenters and web sites, continues to be extremely poor.

In 1982, I published a book of draw advantage charts, with 6 years results 1976 to 1981.
Some years later, I started to build web sites.
I like to think my web sites are functional rather that pretty.

By 2006, I published 10 season's results on my web site, startingstalls.co.uk counting the number of wins accurately for literally thousands of races.
Using the presentation method that I perfected in the late 1970's, the advice I produced was extremely accurate, and was backed up by years of experience and past record keeping.
I reckon I was the country's expert on the subject of draw advantages for quite some time - World Champion.

Every week on my web site, I published newspaper draw advantage advice for high profile meetings and big races, and compared newspaper advice with results on the racecourse.
None of the newspaper advice was worth the paper it was printed on.
If you compare the advice given by The Racing Post, Sun, Star, and Mirror, you will see no end of totally opposing views.
They cannot all be correct.

You can take it from me, that draw advantage advice in this country is extremely poor, and probably always will be.
My guess is that if you bet on the horses, you more or less ignore the draw.
Why ?  Because the advice available in newspapers doesn't work ...............   it never has done.
It's not based on facts and will let you down, probably sooner rather than later.
In my opinion, draw advantages are affected by drainage, distance, the number of runners, and the positioning of the stalls - against the Low rail, the High rail, or in the centre of the track.
Drainage and the going.
If I race against you and I run on dry ground whilst you run on softer ground, who's going to win ?
It is obvious that horses run faster on dryer ground.
Identify where a faster strip of ground is, and you could be onto something.
Distance.
Races of 5F and 6F are a controlled dash for the winning post.
In races of 7F and further, tactics come into play, so draw advantages deteriorate dramatically as distance increases.
Number of runners.
In races with large numbers of runners, there are often traffic problems, which usually causes draw advantages to be less effective.
Also, at some courses, a few runners make break away from the main group and race at the other side of the track, searching for faster ground - again, not good for predicting draw advantages.
Concentrate on races with limited numbers of runners, and from a draw advantage point of view, these problems are largely eliminated.
Stalls positioning.
Positioning of the stalls against either rail or in the centre of the track is often overlooked, but stalls positioning ALWAYS has an effect on the draw advantage pattern.

This is all obvious stuff, but drainage, distance, the number of runners, and the positioning of the stalls  are rarely researched correctly.

The information I provided was very accurate, and allowed the reader to make his own decision regarding the draw if he chose.
I provided a write up for every course and distance up to a mile, but anyone who could read a graph could draw their own conclusions from the presentation.
Some of it was very powerful stuff.

I like to think that my findings were responsible for Epsom Racecourse positioning the starting stalls next to the stand's rail in all 5F races since the mid 1980's.
Previously, the stalls were usually positioned against the low rail (far side viewed from the stands), sometimes centre, but never against the high, stand's side rail as they are now.
Also, I like to think I caused Doncaster Racecourse to lay new drains in the straight in the 1980's.
That's how good my information was.
Before you criticize those 2 observations, just ask yourself "What is your contribution to racing ?"

These 2 links show articles published in the National Press concerning race results prior to these measures at Epsom and Doncaster being taken.   Epsom 5F        Doncaster    
Shortly after these articles were published, Epsom and Doncaster took action.
The timing of their actions could be a coincidence, but I don't think so.
Judge for yourself.

From 2003 to 2007, I published draw advantage advice on my Starting Stalls web site.
Site visitors who were willing to pay for draw advantage information in 2003 - 2004 were few and far between, so I made the information free from 2005 onwards.
I began to concentrate my efforts on Excel trading spreadsheets from 2006 onwards.

During my draw advantage web site period, I offered to supply draw advantage information to The Racing Post, and Channel 4, but nothing came of it.
I stopped updating my information after the 2006 flat season.
I ceased all the links on the Starting Stalls draw advantage web site, but I have uploaded the old files again for 2009, and put the links back on the web site.
If you don't mind the info being a bit out of date, you can view my draw advantage advice, and see the method I used to show how results can be analysed accurately to produce excellent draw advantage advice.

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Once Betfair came along, it was some time before I started to use the site.
I transferred my Dutching formulas onto spreadsheets for my own use, and also expanded into Hedging.

In 2007, I started a spreadsheet web site with just a few spreadsheets.
Be A Bookie and Hedge Your Bets were my main spreadsheets.
A customer asked me if I could build a spreadsheet for the Football Cash Generator method that he had bought for 150.

He sent me a paper copy and I built him a very rough spreadsheet.
I now sell a "Hedge The Draw" spreadsheet package for 10.
I realized that there were virtually no trading strategies available other than trying to anticipate odds movements in order to Hedge.
That is still very much the case these days.
Most traders seem to rely on anticipating odds movements of single selections.
For example, if you were to purchase 100 minutes of Bet Trader Pro or Bet Angel, you would probably need to use the software on your own trading strategy.
Although there are training videos and lots of encouragement and assistance in the use of these software packages, I don't believe you are presented with a selection of strategies to go with them.
At least that wasn't the case the last time I used one of them.

I felt the Football Cash Generator method was very high risk if I hadn't exited the market well before the end of a game.
Using that method, if no goals are scored, or the odds of the draw don't lengthen sufficiently after one goal, you have problems.

I looked for an alternative method of trading in matches where the draw odds didn't lengthen sufficiently after a goal was scored.
An example would be a game in which the outsider of the 2 teams scores first.
In these games, the market may expect the losing (favourite team) to equalize and go on to win the game, so if the outsider of the 2 teams scores first, the draw odds may not lengthen to any great degree.
I have developed a Dutching exit strategy for such games.
I thought it a  far safer trading method than chasing losses though the Next Goal - No Goal Market advised by the Football Cash Generator method.

Next, instead of Hedging the Draw, I decided that Dutching all 3 outcomes in the Match Odds Market should produce similar profits for the same liability.
My "Dutch A Football Match" spreadsheet has a very similar format to "Hedge The Draw".
This strategy uses Dutching of draw score lines as an exit strategy if the odds don't move sufficiently.

Most of my spreadsheet packages contain several spreadsheets.
"Hedge Your Bets" is included as part of several packages.
This spreadsheet allows the user to hedge out of any situation by equalizing a trade to a red or green outcome depending on your position at the time.

After that, I began to study different football markets and how the odds were related.

From this, I developed several football strategies with spreadsheets using a range of different Dutching and Hedging formulas.
The Correct Score market can be used as an equivalent market in quite a few instances.
For example in a football match, the odds of The Draw in the Match Odds market should be somewhere close to the combined odds of the 0-0, 1-1, 2-2, 3-3.
Of course Any Other Score also covers 4-4 plus a range of Home and Away score lines with 4 or more goals, but the odds of these 2 markets will usually be pretty close.
There are other equivalent markets.
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The only certain way that I have found to make money from gambling is trading bookie's free bet offers.
Trade these offers correctly, and you are betting on a mathematical certainty.
If you stake correctly, it doesn't matter whether you hit all winners, all losers, or something in between, you will win handsomely.
You can even bet low and lay high in all your trades and still make a very good profit.
All you need to do is bet with the bookie, and lay the same selection on Betfair or WBX.

The only complication in these trades is what the bookie offers in terms of free bet stakes retuned or not returned, or different percentages of winnings awarded if you happen hit a winner.

The spreadsheet package I offer covers different types of bookie offers :-

  • Free money such as the Betfair offer.

  • Bet a deposit, free bet stake IS returned with winnings.

  • Bet a deposit, free bet stake is NOT returned with winnings.

  • Bet a deposit, get a percentage free bet, with free bet stake not returned with winnings

  • Bet a deposit, get another free bet on the same selection, with free bet stake not returned with winnings

My spreadsheet package covers all these free bet situations.

If my dad was still alive, he wouldn't believe that any bookie would give anyone a free bet.
There has never been a better time to be a punter.
If you or I were to chuck money into the betting pool in the form of a free bet, would we expect to come out winning ?
Of course not, and that applies to bookies.

In my opinion, bookies are idiots to have gone into competition with one another with these free bet offers.
There can only be one loser - the bookie.
In this case, the bookie cannot win, provided you and I trade these B ...... wonderful offers correctly.

The mathematical certainty of trading a free bet.
If you stake correctly, it is impossible to lose when you Hedge a free bet.
Even if you Bet Low, Lay High to the maximum when you Hedge a free bet, you will still make a profit.
Here are the maths of a (theoretical) 1000 free bet Hedge, using the worst odds possible.
Bet odds 1.01, Lay odds 1000 :-

Bet odds of 1.01 with the Bookie, but Lay odds of 1000 with Betfair.
Bookie return = 1000 x 0.01 = 10.  (Free bet stake is not included with winnings).
Betfair Lay stake = 10 / 1000 = 0.01.

Win .......  10 with Bookie, (1000 x 0.01) less Betfair Lay liability 9.99 (0.01 x 999) Profit = 0.01.
Lose ....... Zero with the Bookie + 0.01 successful Lay on Betfair.    Profit = 0.01.
All hypothetical, but a profit is shown no-matter what odds you use.
These Free Bet trades are a mathematical certainty, and the VERY LARGE percentage profit that you will get from Hedging them will  ALWAYS cover any loss you may make whilst trading your deposit.
Profit from Hedging your Free Bet is a nailed on certainty.
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That's a brief history of my gambling to date.
You can see my apprenticeship was very long.

Good luck with your trading, and many thanks for your interest in my web sites,
Howard Hutchinson.

3 - 9 - 1946.  Aged 65,  not that it matters.

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