Tom Segal and Pricewise. Punters either love him or hate him. Bookies just hate him. Well, they probably don't hate him, just his knack of picking big-priced winners.
Tom Segal and Pricewise, punters either love him or hate him.
Bookies just hate him, because they are in business to make profits from punters.
Please read the guide to understanding bookmakers.
Well, they probably don't hate him, just his knack of picking big-priced winners.
Over the years, and the various tipsters who have worn the 'Pricewise' hat, the latest incarnation - Tom Segal - is by far and away the best.
So, how can punters make the best of Pricewise?
There's no doubting the extraordinary success, but that success has come at a cost. It is such a high-profile column that bookies are extremely wary of it.
Therefore, it sits on top of their risk priorities every weekend or major meeting, so much so that it is extremely difficult to get on with bookies at the recommended prices.
In recent times the way that the Pricewise tips are released has changed. It used to be that there was a mad scramble to get a physical copy of the Racing Post as early as possible first thing on the morning of a big race meeting. Then the event of digital newspapers meant that the selections were accessible online from 3am. Now though, Segal's best Pricewise Tips tips are released as part of the top-level subscription package (Ultimate Members' Club) of the Racing Post at around 6pm the previous evening. Segal does still tip up additional horses in the digital newspaper but these appear to be no longer given at a recommended price. For example, On Saturday 11th February 2023, Segal gave two tips in the Betfair Hurdle via the Ultimate Members' Club pages, each WITH a recommended price. He then gave two additional tips via the digital newspaper which were given WITHOUT a recommended price. As it happens, one of the selections given without a suggested price won at 16/1!.
When odds are recommended, they only last for minutes, if at all in some cases, and punters are left with the choice of taking shorter odds or simply not betting - not ideal when one wins and the Racing Post trumpet announces in bold type yet another bookie-basher for the column.
First, you have to understand the reason behind a Pricewise selection.
Tom Segal doesn't approach a race looking for the winner.
Along with many high profile tipsters, the bookmakers are aware when the tips are placed and often react by cutting the odds.
If that sounds strange, then join the many who feel that way and probably don't follow the column as a result.
That said, his column isn't simply about highlighting big prices.
A selection has to have a relative chance to win, but that is most importantly allied to a price bigger than Segal thinks it should be.
The whole ethic of the column is based around value, and that's the key to what we can consider here.
When Pricewise puts up a horse at 25/1, then that's the value.
If, by the time you get round to betting, the horse has dropped to 14/1 (yes, that's what happens), the option of betting the horse isn't really an option at all.
"Why," you may ask since he's tipped it?"
It's simple, really. If 14/1 was the original price for the horse, it is almost guaranteed it would not have been put up as a selection.
That's the golden rule in value-betting, when there is no value, there is no bet.
Given that the column is aimed at finding big-priced winners, this should be the main option, obviously, although it requires a commitment that not everyone is able to meet.
You have to be available to bet when the bookies reissue the original odds (forget trying to get on at any other time - the prices simply don't exist.)
The Racing Post's new iPad app allows you to get the Racing Post from 8 pm the day before, but that's no advantage to Pricewise followers because the prices have already gone.
Prices are reissued usually at 8.30 am online on the morning of the races, and opening time for the shops, but bookies vary slightly.
This Racing Post link shows the times when/if bookies reissue the original odds for punters, online and in shops (the main info in this section is only for members club subscribers but close the subscription window if that appears and the "Bookmaker Policy" link will be available to open).
So, you're up early and you've got your Racing Post and the computer switched on. What now?
Be quick when placing bets, because the odds will disappear rapidly with some bookies, while others will not reissue the odds at all.
The value of a bet is eroded when you accept a shorter price.
Be sensible when placing your bet. If you try to get £100 on, you'll quickly find that doesn't work, and it also puts you right in the centre of the bookie's radar.
Contrary to what a lot of people think, most bookies do try to accommodate as many punters as possible, but will restrict stakes in order to do so.
One punter at £10,000 = 1000 punters at £10.
Be prepared to miss the recommended odds on occasions, but don't slide too short.
If the pick is 25/1, I tend not to want to go below 20/1 if I miss the bigger price.
The shorter you go, the more the value is eroded.
Because the Pricewise selections are based on getting value (bigger) odds you can expect long losing runs.
Tom Segal only occasionally indicates in his column what odds he feels a selection should be so you have to be careful.
I work on the educated guess that the perceived value is around 30-40% (i.e., a 25/1 Pricewise pick's true odds being around 16/1).
Expect long losing runs.
As with any betting method, you need to have a bank that can sustain the inevitable long losing runs, and Pricewise is no different.
In fact, because he concentrates on bigger prices, long losing runs are normal for Pricewise followers.
I would suggest you have a bank that will sustain a losing run of 30pts (i.e., £10 per pt would mean a bank of £300).
The Racing Post stopped providing a profit/loss table on Pricewise a long time ago but OLBG ran a recent test on 241 Pricewise selections which returned 28 wins, for a loss of 12.4pts at recommended odds. As mentioned earlier, getting on at 'recommended odds' can be difficult to do so if you're unable to bet when Pricewise odds become available, then backing them is not going to be profitable for you, but you could consider the following options instead.
Yes, that's right. You could lay them on the exchanges instead.
Apart from extremely rare occasions, the odds on Pricewise picks tumble rapidly.
They'll get to a point where laying becomes an option.
The losing runs of Pricewise picks mean that - numerically at least - you'll win by laying more often.
Care needs to be taken to make sure that the odds you lay don't still offer value to the backer.
If we take our 25/1 example again, that price will contract rapidly and quickly.
If we're correct in the assumption that the true odds could be around 16/1, then anything below that could be valuable for a lay.
It's not uncommon at all for a PW 25/1 pick to be as low as 10/1 come the off, and that is definitely a lay option.
The same advice about a betting bank also applies here, although the approach is slightly different.
When a price contracts this gives the shrewd punter the opportunity to be against the horse and a lay bet can be an option.
You will not have long losing runs when laying PW picks, but you do need to have enough to cover wins.
Tom Segal rarely has two wins in one day, and it is also not common for him to have two winning weekends.
However, he did have one famous winning run several years ago which saw him pick a winner on TEN consecutive Saturdays.
That was nothing short of extraordinary and will probably never be repeated, but it does show the importance of having a betting bank, even when laying.
Conversely, it has been suggested that Segal once went with over fifty selections before he hit a winner, although this is hard to substantiate due to the lack of proofed record from the Racing Post.
Like all tipsters, Pricewise will have both good runs and bad runs.
This is an option for those who can't quite get on early enough but the prices haven't yet contracted as much as they will.
It also appeals to some punters even if they DO get the recommended odds.
The method is simple enough: bet the PW pick at the best odds available, then wait till it shortens a little further and lay off on Betfair or any of the exchanges.
Except for rare occasions, PW picks shorten in the betting.
The initial drop from 8.30 am online/shop opening times is noticeable, but they will still contract further as the late-morning punters get on at whatever prices they can.
Some PW selections will continue to shorten throughout the day till the off. The potential definitely exists to bet first, then lay off later at shorter odds for a small profit.
The returns are smaller but frequent, and once you get the hang of it, you'll come on top virtually every time. The beauty of this method is the knowledge that virtually every horse will shorten in odds from the recommended column odds.
You can even use this method to get a 'free' bet on PW picks.
The opportunity to back at 25/1 and lay at 16/1, thus creating a winning trade can be available for the early riser
Let's say we back our 25/1 recommended odds, for £10. That's a potential profit of £250.
Later on Betfair the odds are down to 16/1.
You lay £160 to win £10 on the exchanges, thereby giving you a free bet to win £90 on a Pricewise horse.
The shorter the odds the greater the potential 'free' profit.
A slight adjustment to the lay will also cover any exchange commission if you want to be particular about that.
This can negate the effect of a long losing run on Pricewise picks on your betting bank.
There's little doubt that Tom Segal and Pricewise provide a wealth of information, and the sheer popularity and faithful following the column has ensured something rare in betting - an almost guarantee of shortening of odds and the prospect of playing for profit.
N.B Since writing this article the timing of bookmakers releasing odds has changed, odds are now available on horse racing even earlier, so you need to be even more on the ball when betting or laying or trading Pricewise or any high profile tipster advice.
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