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Maintaining a diverse portfolio

On Sharplayer

As the UK football season draws to a close, a lot of advantage players worry that the next few months will be quiet ones in the sports world. Thats because 80% of sports advantage players make 90% of their wagers on soccer markets. Infact there is almost always a major sporting event running, creating value opportunities for the more diverse player.

This summer we'll see the Brazil World Cup, which should keep the football bettors busy throughout June, but we have to wait until September before the major European leagues get started again. Since becoming a full time gambler, I've found I have diversified the sports I wager on far beyond football. For example, I spent most of this morning creating a book for the Golf Players Championship which will take place this weekend. Then theres the snooker which has just finished, and several great tennis tournaments over the summer months. Add to this baseball, american football, ice hockey, and theres more than enough value to keep us ticking whilst our domestic teams take a rest.

This is another example of why it's important to continue to cast our nets wider than we find comfortable. Discovering opportunities in new sports is difficult, time consuming, and risky. However once you have established where the value presents itself and what the rule differences are between books, it's just another angle to add to your armoury.

I'm still negative for the month at the moment, but came very close to poking my head back into the green earlier today. Unfortunately this was followed by another bad variance swing, but at least we're only in 3 figure numbers again now (just). Hopefully we'll be out of this soon and back on track.

Indian sport in 2015 and the decade ahead: Why we need cricket to fail, and fail big

On der Wille

I have engaged in this discussion more times than I care to remember - by most estimates at least thrice a week for the past seven years. So this is a topic close to heart but also very well debated and honed. A look at the Dutch disease and the fallacy of composition can help us understand why India needs her cricket team to fail spectacularly, and regularly, for Indian sport to truly flourish.

The cricket world cup is less than two months away and it could turn out to be one of the most important sporting events of this decade - even bigger than the triumph in the previous edition in 2011. But only if India fails. A victory, even though it will be much celebrated, will see (even) more money being poured into the sport and (even) more kids seeing cricket as the only viable professional sport option in this country. The popularity of the game itself has never been the chief concern - till it has reached the current scale. This popularity has led to investment, talent and a country's sporting vision being squandered on a game which holds limited appeal to most of the world, doesn't earn a single Olympic, Commonwealth or Asian games medal, a game which doesn't foster a "sporting culture", a game which doesn't require its players to be athletic or fit, and most importantly a sport which has grown so big that it dwarfs all others, much to the detriment of every other sport.

The Dutch disease is a curious economic phenomenon. A mineral rich country sees its manufacturing sector battered, because all the exported minerals make the country's currency stronger (because of higher demand for the country's currency), thereby facilitating cheaper imports (as the relative cost of local manufacturing has gone up). Adam Smith's invisible hand is at play here. What this also does is shrink investment in the manufacturing sector and sees more money being poured into the commodity unearthed and its ancillary industries - setting up transportation, refining/processing and marketing activities around that commodity.

The parallel with Indian cricket is there for all to see. Without even discussing the most brazen brainchild of the governing body of Indian cricket, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the Indian Premier League which has sucked in large amounts of investment, the realization that a sporting Dutch disease has afflicted India is quite clear. Take the BCCI Corporate Trophy for example. This is an almost unheard of league, but serves as a traditional curtain raiser for the Indian season. The aim is to involve promising local players, discared players from an erstwhile rebel league (the ICL) and a few star players in order to showcase the "employability" of cricketers to corporates. The winning team bags INR10million. The runner up nets INR5million. That is 15 million rupees that have just been "awarded" to showcase "employability". A gargantuan waste of money in a country where the total amount of investable funds for sport doesn't grow much year on year. To help you put the plight of the nations "other sports" in perspective, the national football team earned INR28mn in sponsorship in 2013 - and sponsorship, along with broadcasting rights are two of the largest streams of income in sport.

A provincial cricket league which dwarfs all of Indian football

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