Product Name: The Laying Game
Author: Steve Davidson
Contact Details: firstname.lastname@example.org
Price: A full year’s access is £69.99 – just over 19p a day. There are sometimes price reductions offered online.
Money Back Guarantee: None offered, as is the norm with products from this stable.
What Do You Get? Access to lay selection-producing software program
Where to Buy: http://www.layinggame.com
Brief Summary: The Laying Game is a ‘closed’ piece of software – there’s no user input and no changes can be made to it. Every user will get the same selections. Each day, after 05.30 GMT, it needs to be run just the once in a very simple procedure, and within 10 seconds or so it will produce a list of horses to be considered for laying on Betfair in that day’s British and Irish racing. The layout is simple: just the racetime, track and horse name. This info can be exported to Excel and similar programs via a .csv file. The vendor clearly lays out the options open to a user, and recommends two strategies – one for laying in the win market at Betfair odds of 2.0 to 10.0, and the other for laying in the place market at odds from 2.0 to 4.0.
How Much Money Do I Need To Get Started? The vendor recommends £2,000 in a Betfair account if you can’t trade each race as it comes, or don’t have access to a betting bot. If you are able to trade on a race by race basis, or use a bot that allows flexibility on size of bet placement, then you could be up and running with a lot less – I would suggest that £300-£500 should do it. It is proposed that the user should first consider whether they want to pursue a more aggressive strategy of laying bets to a fixed stake (£10 is the nominal one used in the marketing), or the more conservative approach of laying to a fixed liability (again, £10 is the figure used).
How Much Money Can I Make? Steve Davidson is prolific with his figures when a product is being actively marketed, and daily updates have been provided since May 20th suggesting a positive Return to Risk of 17 to 20% on his recommended place lay strategy, and 4 to 6% with the suggested win strategy. Copious examples with graphs, profit/loss tables and Betfair account print-outs are available online. We know how easy it is to fake betting accounts online, but from the three days of testing completed at the time of writing, the entries are a completely accurate match to the selections provided by the software. Likewise, the profit/loss figures shown in the tables match my tally 100%.It would appear that, if these early results are a roughly approximate snapshot of system performance, an average weekly target in excess of £100 could be predicted working to £10 lay stakes or liability.
How Much Time Will I Need To Make This Work? This depends entirely on you. I will mostly be trialling the selections in real time, so the number of selections per day will determine my active involvement. Saturday 28th provided 20 actual win bets and 15 actual lays over 27 possible horses; Sunday 29th saw 13 and 5 across 15; Monday 30th came up with 12 and 5 from 13 horses. At a minute or so average per laying transaction, that works out at around 15 to 30 minutes a day, plus 5 to 15 minutes to write the selections down first thing. If you use a betting bot, which I don’t, I would guess at slightly less time than this, and if you have a large enough bank to place all your lays in one big hit, then again it should be quicker. I’d say from 20 minutes to 40 minutes a day once you’re up and running, depending upon your chosen approach.
Will I Need Any Equipment To Do This? You must have a PC with broadband access; a Betfair account is essential, with a Betdaq/WBX back-up for security. The software does not work with Macs, although using Virtual Windows might get round that. Two betting bots are recommended by the vendor, one of which is in-house (Bet Engine) and the other of which isn’t, which seems fair. You don’t need a bot, but it may help.
What do I get?: After paying for an annual subscription you will get immediate access to the software, but will then need a licence key to make it work. The guys behind the software are a well-known Australian team who claim to be available much of the time. On this occasion it took a few hours to come through, but it was the middle of the night Aussie-time, so no complaints there. There are videos online that show how to use the software and downloads to tell you how to install it and get the licence key. These are all plain sailing, especially if you’re used to downloading software. Once you’ve entered the licence key, the software is activated and ready to go each morning. It’s one click to launch it, then wait a few seconds until a pop-up box appears with the software logo and a big red box asking you to click on it. Two seconds later the entry screen is with you, and you simply click once on the scan button and wait around 10 seconds for the day’s selections to appear. In terms of ease of use it scores 10/10.
I’ll be testing the software for 60 days from June 28th, with daily updates on the spreadsheet once it’s been set up, and a weekly update on the Race Advisor site.
Week 1 report
To keep things easy, I’m running the weeks from Monday to Sunday as I have with Racing Profit Booster.
There were some ups and downs during the week, as is only to be expected with a laying operation. The vendors suggest one approach for the daring (laying to set stakes) and one for the more risk averse (laying to a set liability), and they performed pretty much in line with their characteristics. – but one thing was shared, and that was a net profit across the board of all four recommended approaches.
The qualifying lay win bets, those with a Betfair SP of 2.0 to 10.0, recorded 89 successful lays from 105 selections at a hit rate of 85%, more than enough to make a profit. To set £10 stake lays the net profit was £180.60, and laying to a set liability of £10 would have netted you £116.94. Both approaches had a small drawdown on day one but have operated in clear profit since.
It was a bit hairier for the recommended place lays, those at BSP of 2.0 to 4.0, with the success rate varying wildly from 40% to 86% per day. Over the week there were 57 selections, of which 36 were unplaced – an overall strike rate of 63%. To set £10 stake lays the profit was a net £26.40, while the £10 liability approach brought in £9.45. There was no real drawdown of any significance for either approach.
So, on the week, those opting for the higher risk set tenner option would have seen their banks grow by £207, and those settling for the safer ride would still have reeled in £126. It’s early days yet, but with the daily success rate of the win lays in a nice, tight range from 75% to 91%, there are certainly grounds for optimism that the Aussies may indeed have cracked the laying game.
Week 2 report
The Laying Game Week 2 report
Snakes and ladders time as three of the four approaches dipped into the red while the other crept over the break-even line, but the Laying Game is still in profit at the end of the second week.
The qualifying lay win bets, those with a Betfair SP of 2.0 to 10.0, recorded 99 successful lays from 129 selections at a hit rate of 77%, some 8% lower than week 1 and the major reason for a turn-round in finances. The set £10 stake lays were the worst hit, recording a loss of £77.60, whereas laying to a set liability of £10 posted a net gain of 60p. The damage was done on three days from Wednesday to Friday, when the lay success rates were 71%, 62% and 70%. There was a good recovery at the weekend with the rates rising to 86% and 84%, just a bit above where they need to be for consistent profits.
The recommended place lays, those at BSP of 2.0 to 4.0, again saw the success rate varying significantly from 50% to 72% per day. Over the week there were 69 selections, of which 42 were unplaced – an overall strike rate of 69%, better than week 1. However, to set £10 stake lays there was a small loss of a tenner, while the £10 liability approach was down £3.39. There was no real drawdown of any significance for either approach.
The position at the end of week 2 is – win lays: set £10 stake + £103.00; £10 liability + £117.54 – place lays: set £10 stake + £16.40; £10 liability + £6.06. A gain of £119.40 for the set options and £123.60 for those inclined towards the ‘safer’ approach.
It’s obviously still early days, but it was encouraging to see the midweek losses mostly clawed back by a strong weekend performance, and profits maintained into three figures after a fortnight provide grounds for optimism at present.
Week 3 report
A few years ago I ran a successful laying advisory service – well, it was successful for quite a while, but then the inevitable losing run cropped up, confidence dipped, and ill health led me to retire it gracefully from view. Since then I’ve subscribed to a number of laying services and found that none of them have stood the test of time: either not hitting a consistently high enough percentage of winning lays or finding just too many going awry at painful prices. The opportunity to trial The Laying Game was therefore too difficult to resist, as it seemed to offer a different approach to the laying conundrum.
Week 1 was good and left me optimistic; week 2 was variable but not too scary; but oh dear, the wheels came off with a vengeance during week 3. Only two days ended in profit, the winning percentages imploded and, although previously there had not been more than two losing win lays on the trot, there was one sequence of five consecutive drawdowns and another of four, significantly holing my recovery staking plan below the waterline.
The qualifying lay win bets, those with a Betfair SP of 2.0 to 10.0, recorded 91 successful lays from 130 selections at a hit rate of 70%, down from 77% in week 2 and 85% in week 1. The set £10 stake lays were again the worst hit, recording a loss of £344.30, whereas laying to a set liability of £10 proved negative to the tune of £99.49. Sunday was again a good day with profits all round and a hit rate of 87%, but four days stuck at 65% to 67% ensured a glum week.
The recommended place lays, those at a BSP of 2.0 to 4.0, again saw the success rate varying wildly, from 25% to 72% per day. Over the week there were 64 selections, of which 33 were unplaced – an overall strike rate of just 52%, at which profitability is simply not possible. To set £10 stake lays there was a loss of £160.30, while the £10 liability approach was down £105.41. Thursday was the only decent day.
The position at the end of week 3 is – win lays: set £10 stake – £241.30; £10 liability + £18.05 – place lays: set £10 stake – £143.90; £10 liability – £99.35. A loss of £385.20 for the set options and £81.30 for those inclined towards the ‘safer’ approach.
Three weeks into a 60-day trial is no time to be making conclusions, so let’s see how much of a rollercoaster ride the next seven days give us…
Week 4 report
After the disastrous third week of testing, The Laying Game bounced back encouragingly over the next seven days, with all four aspects showing a net profit.
The qualifying lay win bets, those with a Betfair SP of 2.0 to 10.0, recorded 102 successful lays from 129 selections at a hit rate of 79%, the second best week so far. The set £10 stake lays were £166.50 to the good, whereas laying to a set liability of £10 came up with a profit of £75.00 after Betfair commission. Sunday was yet again the best day across the board, and this aspect is starting to look rather interesting.
The recommended place lays, those at a BSP of 2.0 to 4.0, as has become usual experienced massive success swings, from 25% to 100% per day. Over the week there were 56 selections, of which 35 were unplaced – an overall strike rate of 62%, at which break even plus a little bit was achieved. To set £10 stake lays there was a gain of £10.10, while the £10 liability approach was up by £6.80.
The overall position after four weeks is – win lays: set £10 stake – £74.80; £10 liability + £93.05 – place lays: set £10 stake – £133.80; £10 liability – £92.55. A loss of £208.60 for the set options and a profit of 50p for those taking the ‘safer’ approach.
One of the most popular ways of generating profits from laying with an approach that produces plenty of selections – and The Laying Game is putting up an average of 18 a day – is to use a stop when you’re winning approach on a daily basis. I’ve delved into this for you, and the results of the first 28 days suggest that this strategy is well worth a shot. You’d have walked away with a profit from race 1 on 22 occasions, and hit any reasonable target on race 2 for a further four days. July 8th with a losing lay at 7.58 provided a winner in race 2 at 5.3, so race 3 might have been needed, with another winner coming to the rescue at 2.36. That leaves just one blot on the record, when the first two lays on July 19th failed at 4.5 and 5.4: the next three obliged at 7.1, 3.13 and 4.0, enabling a profit to be accrued, probably without too much distress.
I’ll be searching for other angles this week, so come back in seven days and see what I’ve unearthed.
Week 5 report
Whether it’s good, bad or indifferent that I missed the weekend action in week 5 due to work commitments (DJ-ing at a music festival, since you ask) I have no way of knowing at present. This report has been delayed while I awaited the completion of the results pages on the The Laying Game website so that I could play catch-up – the horses given are always 100% accurate and a fair reflection of the software’s selections – but sadly no August figures of any kind have been uploaded to the site. I will therefore report on what I can for week 5, which is the Monday to Friday session from July 28th to August 1st.
The results across the board were hugely disappointing, with two profitable days swamped by the losses inflicted on two of the three non-profitable ones.
The qualifying lay win bets, those with a Betfair SP of 2.0 to 10.0, recorded just 51 successful lays from 83 selections at a hit rate of 61%. The set £10 stake lays lost £418.40, while laying to a set liability of £10 provided a lower loss of £142.09 after Betfair commission. Tuesday saw a strike rate of just 47% from 19 selections, and only one day reached the needed win percentage of 80-plus.
The recommended place lays, those at a BSP of 2.0 to 4.0, again came up with massive success swings, from 33% to 100% per day. Over the five days there were 23 selections, of which 13 were unplaced – an overall strike rate of 57%, with losses incurred for both approaches – to set £10 stake lays there was a deficit of £23.20, while the £10 liability approach was down by £25.85.
The overall position after five weeks is – win lays: set £10 stake – £493.20; £10 liability – £49.04 – place lays: set £10 stake – £157.00; £10 liability – £118.40. This represents a loss of £650.20 for the set options and a shortfall of £167.44 for those taking the ‘safer’ approach.
The stop at a winner approach was torpedoed on the Tuesday, when the first four horses laid each won their race, at BSPs of 6.0, 2.0, 5.14 and 5.0 – any form of staking plan would have folded under the weight of those results and the following ones, as there were further losses in races six and nine.
At the moment, I’m unable to identify any area from which a consistent profit could be achieved, but I’ll keep trying…
Week 6 & 7 Report
The system was monitored for 11 days out of 14 over the past fortnight, and its downward trend continued with two more losing weeks across all four suggested approaches. It’s interesting to note from visiting the website that the detailed daily results are no longer provided, and that the two recommended areas for laying (places at Betfair SP of 2.0 to 4.0 and wins at BSP from 2.0 to 10.0) have disappeared, with a recommendation now to concentrate on laying in the win market at odds between 3.0 and 4.0 – a clear piece of back-fitting with no logical foundation other than that it’s a tight field that fits with the stats.
Concentrating on what this review was set up to monitor, i.e. the two areas above to £10 stakes and £10 liability, the results over the past two weeks are consistent with most of the previous period. Win lays recorded a success of 146 bets out of 195 at a hit rate of 75%, while the places were successful on 51 occasions out of 88, at a strike rate of 58%. The seven-week achievement rates of 75% and 59% are as near as damnit the same. It is simply not possible to make a profit from laying in the suggested odds range with percentages like these. The losses to £10 stakes now stand at £1085.00, and to £10 liability they are negative to the tune of £215.23.
There have now been 771 win lays and 357 place lays since the start of the trial, and with 11 days to go these figures should be around the 1000 and 425 by the end – more than sufficient to be able to provide definitive conclusions. I have put together figures to cover the success rate of all selections, not just the recommended ones, and will provide these as well in my conclusion. The pile of daily records and number crunchings is already quite daunting, but rest assured that I am on top of it…just!
The Laying Game started out looking good and ended up looking pretty woeful. Over eight weeks of testing, 50 race days were covered in full, across the two options initially recommended by the software vendor. It should be noted up-front that both of these options have since disappeared from the vendor’s site, and have been replaced with one very restrictive and back-fitted recommendation. The major part of this review is based purely on what it was set up to do – look at the performance of the computer generated lay advices for win lays at Betfair SP odds of 2.0 to 10.0. and for place lays at Betfair place SP odds of 2.0 to 4.0.
Over the 50 days there were 882 win lays at an average of just under 18 a day, and 407 place lays, working out at just over 8 a day. Of the win lays, 666 were successful at a strike rate of 75.5%, while 237 place lays scored at the rate of 52%. These are substantial totals of bets, and more than adequate to accurately judge the capabilities of the product. For each of the two options, the vendor suggested an aggressive staking approach of laying at level £10 stakes, and a more risk-averse solution of laying to a liability of £10 a bet. I calculated the return on each of the 882 win lays and 407 place lays to both of these approaches, always taking the Betfair deduction on winning transactions at the standard 5%. Hard work? You bet. Rewarding? Ultimately, no.
To level £10 lays, the win bets returned a loss of £1,151.70 at a Return On Investment (ROI) of minus 7.7%; the place bets lost £100.90 at a negative ROI of 8.7%. To a liability of £10 per bet, the win bets were down by a more manageable £15.99 for a virtually breakeven ROI; the place bets lost £64.49 at minus 5.7% ROI. However, these figures would all have been improved by lower Betfair deductions.
Success rates in laying of 75% and 52% are highly unlikely to result in a long-term profitable outcome. On days when they hit 85% and 62% they do, but there were just 12 out of 50 days during testing that posted across the board positive figures. The highest number of win lay bets on a day was 26 and the lowest 9; for place lays the range was from 4 to 17. The software is set to produce a maximum number of 31 selections a day, for reasons that are unclear, so often evening meetings are not considered in their entirety.
So how did the selections as a whole fare, looking at all the lays outside the win zone of BSP 2.0 to 10.0? The odds-on shots did well from a laying perspective, and would have lost you just an extra £8.50 across 79 bets, but the longer shots, of which only six prevailed, would have dented the kitty by a further £144.51 – both to set stakes of £10 (life’s too short to have calculated the liability losses as well).
The number of selections in total that ran came to 1018, with a win lay strike rate of 73.7% and a place lay strike rate of 45.4%. As a result, you’d probably expect me to give The Laying Game a massive thumbs-down. Instead, I’m going to play devil’s advocate and suggest that, for the current reduced cost annual rate of just under 60 quid, which works out at 16.4p a day, it has one solid positive going for it. The long-term laying success rate is established pretty firmly at 3 bets in 4, over an average of 20 selections a day – that’s a pretty good basis for a daily shortlist that you can then assess using your own skill, ratings, tipsters (and my favourite ally, the Race Advisor daily stats pack) to create a sound laying platform of your own, with the initial ‘dirty work’ done for you in just a few seconds. It’s just a thought…
As a reminder of what you will get if subscribing to The Laying Game, in return for your twelve-month subscription, you get full access to a piece of software that needs to be downloaded just the once onto your PC/laptop. [Note for Mac users – RPB is for Windows only, but I believe it will work if you have Virtual Windows up and running – please check this out with the vendor before you take out a sub.]
The software is extremely simple to download – instructions were provided by the vendor, but anyone who is used to downloading would complete the task in a few seconds. Based on my experience the verification code you need to get the program working will arrive very promptly, but be aware that the vendor is on Australian time and make some allowance for this. The code only needs to be entered once, and from then on firing up the software each day/session from your desktop or toolbar takes around 20 seconds, after which the master screen appears. Click where it tells you to, then click on scan, and in three or four seconds the list of potential lays for the day appears in race-time order. It’s just course, off time and horse name, with no frills or confusions. I have never needed to remove/reinstall the software and it has always loaded up fully at the first time of asking.
And so to the conclusions.
Profit – none of the four options tested produced a profit over an eight-week period and 50 full days of testing. In my view, a long-term profit will not be achieved by blindly laying every selection, nor indeed within or outside any odds criteria suggested, as the strike rates are a few percentage points below what is needed. As no profits were made and some of the losses quite considerable, I can record no positive figure under this heading.
Ease of use – getting it up and running is very simple, and based on when the detailed results were up on the vendor’s website, I’m confident that every user will get the same clearly defined selections. It takes very little time to get the daily list, and from then on you can either transfer it to an Excel (or similar) spreadsheet, cut/paste and print the list, transfer the data to a betting bot or simply do what I did and write it out long-hand.
Cost-effective ratio – under the annual lease on current offer terms, it works out at 16.4p a day. For a program that makes an overall loss, that’s £59.97 a year wasted. For a laying shortlist at very little effort, however, that seems quite fair.
Support – I haven’t needed to request any, but when I have on another program the responses have been speedy and friendly, even late into the Australian night.
I wouldn’t expect anyone to make a long-term profit from this product as it stands, but with a bit of tweaking I’m sure it can be done. From my dabbling, the areas I would suggest for further investigation, apart from concentrating attention towards the head of the market, are: type of race, class of race, field size, trainer’s course performance and recent trainer form.[review]