Trail Files/Horse Racing Genius Update.

Yesterdays post created a bit of a stir. Most complaints against tipster services are buried deep in forums very few people read, or if posted on the tipsters facebook page or website then they are usually deleted. I’ve built up this site over the past 4 and a bit years, at the start no one came because I was just one more moron who thought they could make money gambling. They were right, I was just like the hundreds of other blogs that started up with stars in their eyes thinking this path was the road to riches. Now statistically one out of those many hundreds would likely actually make money. Just like the tipping industry, where we have thousands of tipsters, over a year almost half will look like geniuses. For them to do it over 2 years then cuts it down to half again, and as we continue to say a 5 year period, we have only a handful if any tipsters that have proven that what they do can not be attributed to luck. I believe over the past 4 and a half years, I can now attribute my success to more then luck. I have learnt so much in that time and I make fewer mistakes (but still many) that cost me profit. My goal to reach $1 million profit by purely following tipster services is 1/3rd of the way there and I’m sure over the next 5-10 years I will have reached that goal. Or I could crash and burn. Whatever happens I’m sure it will be entertaining for you guys.

In my time in this industry there are many things that piss me off. Without doubt the biggest is bookmakers only letting losing punters place bets. A close second is tipsters who take advantage of mug punters who trust what they see on their marketing page. I have posted many times about how poor the bookmakers were, but rarely did I call out a Tipster service. There are a few reasons for this. I believe for the most part it is up to each punter to look into whatever service they are going to spend their money on. If they were going to make any other type of investment then they would do their due diligence, it boggles my mind that they do not take the same care and attention when selecting a tipster. At the end of the day the goal is the same with any investment, they want to take out more then they put in. I also understand that these Tipsters are people too, they are trying to make a profit to feed their families. No matter how unscrupulous some are, their motives are usually the same (provide for myself and my family). So to ruin someones livelihood must be taken seriously. I’m also a team of one, I don’t have the time to devote to writing these posts day after day. Yesterdays post took me 7 hours to research, fact check, write and edit, and then the rest of the day dealing with what comes after.

The Trail files and Horse Racing Genius misleading results were by no means the worst I had seen in the industry, but it was current and would affect a great many people. When you have direct access to many thousands of punters who trust what you say then it is off utmost importance to respect that trust and be honest in all your dealings. I stand by everything that was written yesterday. I have the proof, many others have the same information and if the feedback on twitter and in the comments section is anything to go by, the same sentiments were felt by many others. Whether intentional or not, the results posted in their marketing and the Horse Racing Genius website were at best misleading. Without direct access to their results spreadsheet we will never know what the real results would have been if a punter followed every official bet.

Shortly after the post went live, I was sent a message asking to call Matt (Trial files). I immediately jumped on the phone. Matt was nothing but professional on the call and agreed they had made some mistakes. I respect him for not defending what happened and taking the time to explain his side of the story. I will note that I made a few mistakes in releasing the article before I talked to these guys. I really should have notified them beforehand and given them a chance to respond before posting. I have never “exposed” a tipster before and appreciate that I made some mistakes in how I handled it. In future I will give tipsters a chance to explain their side of the story before posting.

The trial files response is posted below.

Download (DOCX, 40KB)

Kudos must go to the Trial file team for their response. The Wild Charger bet was one of many I could have posted about but am happy to leave it at that. They have admitted they made some errors and there is nothing more I can ask for.

we are 100% happy to acknowledge that we have made and error here

The Horse Racing Genius team were also extremely cooperative and professional in their dealings with me. I believe with this partnership now in place and all this coming to light, the odds recording going forward will be nothing but perfect. They also issued a response and it is available below.

Download (DOCX, 109KB)

First I will acknowledge my mistake in attributing those results in the reply to Trial Files, they are in fact a separate service from HRG. I have posted an edit to the prior article.

Once again, a very professional response from a clearly professional outfit.

These are the things I asked of them.

  1. Email all subscribers and offer a full explanation of what has happened (Results were not real)
  2. Offer them all a full refund
  3. Come out with a statement about the falsified results and link to that statement with a disclaimer on any page referencing the trial files service.
  4. Create a document showing specifically what each bet means to them (boxed Quinella, Trifecta, so on)
  5. Explain in detail their odds recording policy.

All of this has been done in under 24 hours. I have also asked for a few more smaller things done to the site and they have also been done. Now I can not comment on their service in regards to if it is a profitable one, but I can now say that it is run by people who are willing to admit when things are wrong and take steps to correct them.

They also offered me a free subscription to the service so I could keep an eye on the results. I declined the offer, but it shows they are happy to be transparent. I am sure if there are any future issues a reader will alert me to them.

Honestly, I expected them to just go quiet and hope this problem went away or to go on the attack. I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome in this situation.

For those affected

For the customers who signed up off the back of the inaccurate results, you have been offered a full refund. This is what I would do if I was in your situation. If I had signed up purely because I found the race previews insightful and helpful with my betting, then I would have no issue continuing on with the service. These are well written and the lessons learnt could be worth much more then any profit made. But if I had signed up based purely off the results, then I would be asking for the refund.

The thing is we have no idea what the true results are, so in essence we are starting from scratch here. To know if a tipster is anything more then lucky we need at least 250 verified picks when the average odds are $2. For Horse racing where the average odds you bet at are much higher, we would need at least 1,000 tips before we knew if the results were down purely to luck. I know all you want to do is bet on the weekend, and if you really don’t care about long term profit and just want a bit of fun and only to lose a little then continue your subscription. But there is no harm in waiting to see how they go. Keep on their mailing list, and after a year of the service being live you can then make a better informed decision. There are heaps (and i mean heaps) of services out there with results updated daily and way more then 1,000 bets. But even with these you need to be aware that the odds they record at might be fake. Do your research, see if you can find any current customers to talk to and send the owners an email with any queries. This industry is full of sharks and every punter is a little fish primed for eating. Be very careful in the services you decide to swim in.

I have uploaded what is called a P-value test (created by Joseph Buchdahl from Football-Data). This excel sheet is pretty simple to use. Just put in the number of bets you have placed with a service, the return on investment and the average odds. It will then tell you if the service has simple been lucky or if it is that rare unicorn we all search for. Again, if you are using results supplied by the tipster themselves, make sure you know the results are not faked.

Download (XLSX, 25KB)

That wraps up an interesting week on the blog. I am very pleased with the final result here and hope I taught some readers a few simple things to look for when evaluating a tipster. Remember that it just isn’t the subscription fee that you will lose if you follow the wrong tipster, you will lose even more by following the bets. Take your time and do research on every single service you think about joining.

 

By joining the Daily25 email list, you will get updates and insights into how I am doing, what tools I use, the services I recommend, and what is happening in the gambling industry.

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  • JCog

    I’m really impressed by the response of Trial Files and HRG. Let’s hope it starts of trend of better transparency and odds recording.

  • time will tell. I will update again in 6 months.

  • Insidetheracinggame

    These blokes could sell ice to the eskimos Steve. I see a lot of public bullshit just sold here, they associate with plenty of people who have to defend their image day in and day out. They are fully aware of what they are doing to market their product and were alerted to this on twitter several times. The only reason you got a response is because you can draw a crowd, others just get blocked. Maybe if they publicly apologised on their twitter and it was put in front of their customer base you would believe them, but as a punter I look forward to an update in 6 months that says they haven’t changed. Lesson for you, don’t believe a word your told in the racing industry.

  • Luke Anders

    Hi Steve/readers,
    I posted a number of responses to your article yesterday. I attempted to give an outline of my personal experience of the HRG/MVP Genius/TTF services based on my dealings with them. I had incorrectly assumed that given there has been some collaboration of the HRG and ITT services, it was TTF team now providing tips for HRG. So, my apologies for not realising this was not the case. I can attest that HRG did notify all it’s customers of the change in tipster at the time. For which I thanked them for their honesty and transparency. I also incorrectly said 5-6 weeks ago instead of two months ago.

    On a number of occasions in response to yesterdays article, I believe I was defensive of the MVP/HRG service (which was noted by Steve). I felt it important to defend them, as there are so many fraudsters out there in the tipping game that when you actually find a genuine service, which in all my dealings over the last 2 years has been completely transparent, honest, timely and profitable, I didn’t feel it right to have them tarred with the same brush as other services. I couldn’t ask much more from such a service.

    I did note that my experience of TTF was limited, so was unable to provide feedback on them other than receiving tips recently which had been profitable which was too small a sample size to make a proper assessment. I also noted that there was a few alarm bells ringing for me in terms of some of their practices/recording. These concerns for the most part have been addressed. I’m happy with the service I’ve received from them so far. Their response has satisfied me. I will continue to use their tips. For me, having MVP Genius’ support instills me with a greater level of confidence that they (TTF) are above board, that’s how highly I rate MVP/HRG’s professionalism. Time will tell.

  • Insidetheracinggame

    Surely this shows you the professionalism of this company..

    http://horseracinggenius.com.au/trial-files-result/2014

    Look at yesterday
    1.5 units x 4.05 = 6.075. Minus 1.5 stake = 4.575
    then 4.575 – 0.35 – 0.75 – 0.40 = 3.075
    they have the day at profit/loss of 2.6

    Surely it’s not too hard, but hey their tipping would want to be better than their record keeping.

  • They have the win at 4.05 and the total of 2.6 checked out (2.55).
    My concern is the N/A for odds.

    Please continue to keep a record for me and let me know of any irregularities. If there continues to be problems, I will once again call them out and some real justification will be required.

  • Insidetheracinggame

    Yeah, I think their record might be confusing for people to follow but will monitor myself. Good to see a pick by pick record.

    The N/A price is certainly a concern. Yesterday they quoted $4+ on Twitter for their winner then were questioned about it and then said they got $3.70 (https://twitter.com/thetrialfiles/status/522612218416738305).

    It’s great they are picking winners, they are just a little sloppy when it comes to recording them which is a big concern now that they are charging (potentially misleading prospective customers).

  • Luke Anders

    It’s 1.5 units x 2.3 = +1.95. So the maths adds up.

    I haven’t seen the odds listed as N/A before. Only listed as N/A for yesterday’s tips under TTF’s tips, but is listed for HRG’s results.

  • Insidetheracinggame

    Yep my bad on the “Units Returned”. Just realised it includes stake.

  • Tage Poulsen

    I tried the P-calculator with 250 bets, odds 2 and your yield of 2.27%.
    The result is a p-value of 0.360.

    As far as I know this signifies that such a betting record has 36% chance of just be in profit by luck!!

    Your advice:
    “To know if a tipster is anything more then lucky we need at least 250 verified picks when the average odds are $2.”

    is dangerous, especially for newcomers to sports betting,

    Serious bettors look for a p-value of at most 0.01.
    More risk willing bettors accept 0.05.

  • Hi Tage,
    As we discussed over email, this is what was recommended by the author of the document as a minimum. It will at least give a beginner some information about how the tipster is going.

    We would all love to see thousands of recorded bets to the actual odds, but in many cases 250 bets could be a whole years worth of results.

    We do the best with what we can get.