A Q and A with Pete Ling of the Secret Betting Club

1. Hi Pete and many thanks for joining us this month. First up would you tell us a little about yourself and your background? 

My pleasure. 

I am 37, English and for the vast majority of my working life have been involved in the betting industry. 

Predominantly this has been helping take on the bookmaker, whether it be as a punter myself or as more recently, helping others do the same. 

My background is as a multimedia designer, which I have to admit I was fairly average at…Thankfully I was much more skilled when it came to betting! 

2. What attracted you to the world of gambling and how and when did you decide to set up the Secret Betting Club? 

From a young age, I was always fascinated with stats and maths, so the attraction to betting was fairly natural, especially as for me it was such a numbers game. 

Early on, I remember building my own betting systems using literally thousands of race print-outs and looking for patterns and angles I could attack from a betting perspective (This was before I got to grips with spreadsheets!). Flush with a little bit of early success, I became more and more involved as a punter. This later involved joining a few tipsters I found on the internet, although I quickly latched onto the fact that not all of them were created equally. Some were as good as they claimed, such as Laurence of Equine Investments – one of the first I discovered and who is still going strong. Others were a clear scam, yet there was no way of easily figuring out which was which. 

Thus, the idea of the Secret Betting Club was born and back in 2006 the service was setup with my business partner at the time. It’s safe to say that whilst we were good at betting, we were fairly wet behind the ears about running a business, but our passion and love of what we were doing drove us on, alongside the genuine belief we were doing something useful. 

3. We understand that you are very much hands on with regards to the Club, what is a typical working day for Pete Ling. 

First things first, it’s all about figuring out what I am going to bet on each day. Although there are lots of demands on my time running SBC, I do try and isolate at least 30 minutes at the start of the day to figure out my bets. 

Then once they are all placed or lined up, I crack on with the daily agenda for the Secret Betting Club. This might mean liaising with the SBC team on our reviews or tipster profit reports, replying to emails from SBC members or various meetings and calls. 

More recently, I have been heavily involved with our Better Betting Campaign, which is calling for a fairer deal for punters and has led to interviews with the likes of the BBC, the Horseracing Bettors Forum and the new bookmaker, Black Type. All of which has taken a lot of time and effort to put in place, yet given some of the progress made on many of the issues impacting punters these days, has been very much worth it! 

4. We know that you are an experienced gambler. What advice would you give to anyone just thinking of starting out in the gambling world given the minefield of information out there? Are there any key mantras you suggest that they follow? 

Firstly when it comes to finding good tipsters – my advice is to look for genuine, independent reviews, which are not biased by affiliate cuts or profit-sharing by those writing them. I see too many examples out there of ‘review sites' giving a positive review to a tipster or system simply because they are getting paid to do so. Very often these products are fundamentally flawed and the reader is the only one losing out. 

There is a similar issue with some social media tipsters too, who hype up their ability and recommend their followers place bets with certain bookmakers. 

The only reason they do is that the bookie is paying them a cut of any losses each referred punter makes. Both the bookie and tipster are in cahoots and its catching lots of unwitting punters out. 

My other key bit of advice would be to spend some time understanding the psychology of betting and how it impacts you. 

Too many punters fall short of winning simply because they don’t know how to handle losing runs or just losing bets in general. Whether it’s because they are getting too wrapped up in short-term form (i.e. living out every bet as it happens) or simply by not setting up with a proper betting bank and/or using money they can’t afford to lose. 

The one thing that all true winning punters have in common is the ability to handle losers. Unless you have some amazing high-strike rate method, most of the bets you place will lose so you better learn to get used to it! 

5. The book maker industry is constantly being criticised these days for their treatment of their customers with account restrictions etc. Is this something you have a strong opinion on and if so what do you feel needs to be done to give the punter a fairer deal? 

Don't get me started on this topic, we could be here for hours! 

Briefly though, yes, I do have a strong opinion on it – although it’s probably best visiting the Better Betting Campaign at secretbettingclub.com/better-betting-campaign to find out in greater detail what that is. 

As to what can be done about it? Well we have seen significant progress in recent months, with widespread media exposure of various unfair practices, the launch of a joint investigation by the CMA and Gambling Commission into bookmakers PLUS the very first ‘winners welcome' bookmaker for horse racing, Black Type. 

We must not sit on our laurels though and its important punters continue to bang the drum for change, whether that is by driving awareness of the practice of bookmaker restrictions, demanding answers from their MP, or by informing the Gambling Commission as to how bookmakers have unfairly treated them. 

6. What style of betting do you advocate and use yourself? Would you ever advocate loss retrievals systems and if so why / why not? 

Due to the work I put into running SBC, the time I have left for my betting is a lot less than I would like it to be these days. 

Still, I place several single bets on the horses most days, alongside a good few trixies / doubles for further interest. 

I am a big fan of multiple betting as if you have a good strategy and patience, it can reap major dividends. Over the summer, I made upwards of £1600 profit from just 3 trixies and a really simple strategy I wrote about here: http://secretbettingclub.com/blog/magical-multiples-54-staked-over-3-bets-1600-profit/ 

I'm not a fan of loss retrieval systems – it’s not something that ever crosses my radar to be honest. Far better to stick to a sensible staking plan and make consistent profits. 

7. What traits do you think make a good tipster service? What should the average punter consider when investing in a tipping service? 

Honesty, Professionalism, Consistency, Fairness, Experience…just a few key things I look for before I consider joining any tipster. 

These days, punters should also watch out for the time of day a tipster puts up bets as if it’s a racing tipster advising 12/1 shots at 5pm the day before racing, chances are it will be nigh on impossible to achieve those odds. Evening-before racing markets are extremely flimsy and even the smallest amount of money for a horse will see its odds slashed and the accounts placing these bets marked. 

I would also recommend only looking for tipsters with at least a 12 month record of proofed results (and even more if possible). There is a good reason the average age of a SBC Hall of Fame service is over 3 years – because they have proven themselves again and again. 

Too many punters are taken in by the tipster newcomer with impossibly good records they can’t ever expect to maintain. Get over the idea there is a ‘pot-of-gold' system or tipster that will change your life forever and allow you to retire early. Stick to the ‘boring' guys making a good 15-20% ROI year in, year out. 

8. Do you have any personal gambling experiences which when reflecting back bring a smile, or for that matter any which bring a grimace; you can share with our readers? 

Most of my betting is not flashy – I prefer to bet volume and to average stakes so it’s rare I have ‘big winners' to shout about. 

Although in saying that, the success of my aforementioned trixie betting strategy was very enjoyable. It required a fair bit of patience earlier in 2016 with several near misses before reaping some major dividends over the Summer (not all of which I blogged about for fear of attracting too much attention to my bookmaker accounts!). 

Bet365 are now known by my wife as the bookmaker that paid for us both to go away on holiday recently. 

Grimacing, it’s probably been my form lately as throughout November it seems that every bet I have placed has lost, whereas every shortlisted bet I narrowly decided to not place has gone onto win! That's just the way it goes betting some days and months – I know through experience it will all even out in time and look forward to the rewards when it does. 

9. What does Pete Ling do to relax and unwind? What interests do you have outside of the sporting world? 

When I’m not betting on sport, I like to watch sport – mainly Cricket, Racing & Football and my beloved Everton. I also try and grab a couple of 5 a side games each week and get out on my bike as often as the weather allows.