I live by a few rules. One of which is “don’t regret anything you do”.
But I can regret not doing things. Of course, everyone is wise in hindsight and can say “if only I had backed Jeremy Corbyn to be Labour leader when he was 200-1”.
For the purposes of this post, I am only discussing those bets that I strongly considered placing – and didn’t. Occasionally a lack of confidence in my instinct, normally because the odds had shortened since I first considered it.
1. Not backing a hung parliament. Shortly before the Corbyn-surge, I realised how bad May’s campaign was, and checked the odds for a hung parliament. 14-1. I then went out, got rather drunk, and didn’t check the odds for a couple of days, by which point it was closer to 7-1 and I deemed it bad value.
2. Donald Trump. There were 3 times when I nearly backed him – when he was 25-1 early in his candidacy, when he was 9-1 after a badly-received primary, and then when he was 6-1 after a pussygate, or whatever it was.
3. Brexit. I always thought remain would win, but I said if the odds got to 5-1, then I would stick some money on it – as it would be good value in a tight two-horse race. And on the last day, I saw odds of 6-1 – I was tempted but so convinced my preferred side would win.
4. Emmanuel Macron. This is one that I truly did pick up way before anyone else – way before any bookie, in fact. You could only get odds at Betfair Exchange – 22-1, if I recall correctly, and I chose to wait until other bookmakers offered odds as I didn’t have an account there. And then when he was around 12-1, I chose to wait until his odds went back out to something like 22-1. They didn’t.
5. Vince Cable. He was 3-1 recently when Jo Swinson was favourite. I couldn’t understand why she was favourite. Then she didn’t run.
6. Jeremy Corbyn. I cannot claim to have even known who he was when he was 200-1 to be next Labour leader. But he was around 25-1 when I noticed that he had the momentum. He still couldn’t win though, surely.
The moral of the story is that I must take more notice of political momentum, trust my instinct, and allow it to overcome my political ‘sense’.
Thankfully, I remain in profit this year.