Bagged myself a few gaming bargains this Christmas

I genuinely think there’s never been a better time to own a console than right now. There have been previous generations that have been great fun but right now the combination of cheaper than ever consoles and heavily discounted games, is a potent combination. I mean, I paid £189 for my Sega Megadrive back in 1990. That’s £425 in today’s money but you can get a PS4 or an Xbox One S for under half that now.

The decision I made when I got my PS4 is the same one I followed when I got my Xbox One- digital only games. I know it’s a risk with the possibility of account suspension or downloads not being available in the future but with huge day one patches and small children who have rendered several Wii U games unplayable by mauling the discs, I figure it’s worthwhile.

This Christmas has seen some real bargains in both the PS Store and the Xbox Market place. I’ve availed myself of the following:

Xbox One

  • FIFA 17
  • Resident Evil 4
  • Forza 6 Standard
  • Gears 4
  • Marvel Super Heroes
  • Star Wars Battlefront season pass


  • Star Wars Battlefront season pass (yes I know)
  • No Man’s Sky
  • Battlefield 1
  • Black OPS III
  • Ratchet & Clank
  • Slain: Back from Hell

I think the most I paid for any of them was 25 quid, and most were less than that. And that’s on top of the bargain prices for stuff like TitanFall 2 in the lead up to Christmas.

I’m not a huge fan of first person shooters on consoles but I’m trying. Oddly I’m finding Star Wars Battlefront noticeably easier on the Xbox One S. It must be down to the controller, ever since the days of the PS1 Dual Analogue, I’ve not really gotten on with their analogue sticks and I find the Xbox controllers a lot more comfortable and precise (for my hands anyway).

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Words that don’t mean “yeah”

I’ll happily admit that with predictive text and the speed at which I write, I often have a few typos in a lot of things I do. I might be 41 years old but I still haven’t quite mastered apostrophe’s either (did you see what I did there?).

Still, one thing that winds me up more than it necessarily should are people who can’t spell “yeah” correctly. I know, I know, pulling someone up on using a slang word that is a more informal “yes” is more than a bit petty but that’s how my brain is wired. It’s also likely that my irritation is partly due to knowing what the incorrectly used words actually mean and how they’re pronounced. Continue reading

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The “Influencer” issue and Mafia III

Adweek ran a long article on the rise of Influencer marketing last year, as though it was a brand new concept and gave exciting/new opportunities for brands to reach out to consumers who are tired of seeing paid ads- apparently the average American is exposed to 5,000 ads a day, so you can imagine how much attention they pay to each of those- and whilst I suppose this is confirmation that this alternative approach to advertising is moving in to the mainstream, I’d argue the frontier of influencer marketing began almost ten years ago when brands started throwing free stuff at bloggers to see what sort of coverage it would give them.

I see an influencer as distinct from a blogger though, although a blogger can definitely be an influencer. Influencers, as the name suggests, are individuals who are deemed to have the reach to take a message to a large audience. Increasingly this means social media, rather than organic search results for a subject that could drive traffic to a blog. It can be chicken and egg, because if you have a super Twitter following that you engage with, you’re likely to be able to drive traffic to your blog but even then, the conversation about your views tends to stay on the social media platform rather than the comments section of the blog. Continue reading

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Matched betting, how much risk free money can I make in a month from a £400 deposit?

The return you get on savings is now horrendous. This, coupled with the fact we have no short term borrowings, led me to investigate other avenues of making a bit of blogging money work for me, and I ended up with matched betting.

Anything with gambling in it will automatically turn off the vast majority of people, me included but I read up on a particular matched betting system that uses incentives and free bets to guarantee you won’t make a loss on your initial deposit and decided to give it a punt. Everything I read said it was basically risk free and my initial investment would not be at risk. How? I hear you say, you’re gambling, it’s inherently risky. Well the matched betting system I chose to use from Profit Accumulator (affiliate link) effectively relies on free bet sign up and “reload” offers to guarantee profit.

It works something like this:

  1. Open an account with a betting exchange like Betfair or Smarkets. Deposit several hundred pounds (I put £300 in).
  2. Work your way through a list on Profit Accumulator that has sign up offers in it. Each offer has a methodology of what to do-
    1. how much you need to deposit,
    2. what odds to put your bet on from your own money to trigger the free bet,
    3. how to “lay” the bet on the betting exchange to cover your exposure,
    4. how to utilise the free bet to make a profit.

When you bet with your own money, you also hedge your bet by betting against (laying) the bet you’ve made by using a betting exchange. This usually leads to a small loss- up to a pound or so on a £10-£20 bet- on your enabling bet. I’ve considered this an entry fee for a guaranteed profit on my free bet.

When you lay a bet on a betting exchange, you’re effectively offering some punter the chance to bet on an event. So if I bet my own money at a bookies for Arsenal to win, at the exchange I lay an amount of money on Arsenal not to win (draw or lose effectively). This hedges my exposure and with the help of Profit Accumulators calculator, I can ensure my loss is minimal. If I win at the bookies, I lose at the exchange and vice versa.

Because an exchange charges a commission, (ranging from 2-5%), it’s unlikely you’ll make any money hedging your own bets (pun intended) but since the purpose of making a bet of your own is to enable a free bet, it doesn’t really matter. When you hedge the free bet, you’re guaranteed a tidy profit, with a couple of provisos. Firstly you might need quite a bit of cash in your exchange account to cover the potential loss, for example:

  • If you placed a £30 free bet at odds of 17/4, the Profit Accumulator Oddsmatching system would tell you that you would lay £19.38 but need £108 in your exchange account to cover the bet if you lost it.
  • If you win your free bet, your loss in the exchange by laying the bet of £108 is offset by the win of £127.50 on the free bet, giving you a profit of £19.50
  • If you lose the free bet, you haven’t lost any actual money, but you’ve won £19.38 on the betting exchange.

Secondly, you need to make sure when you sign up that you haven’t already got an account with that bookmaker. Often they’ll let you sign up and deposit money and then merge your account with an old one at the same address with the same contact details, even if you’ve used a different username. This means you won’t qualify for the free bet.

Finally, you need to check and double check everything. Some accounts will require you to click to confirm, this is easy to miss, some exchanges have confusing layouts, you might accidentally lay against the wrong outcome, and sometimes the odds might change suddenly. As long as you check what the expected return and liability are against the oddsmatching calculator and they agree, you should be good to go.

This is how my journey has gone so far:

5 days

£100 cumulative profit

Lots of simple sign up offers, only limiting factor is how the amount of cash needed in my Betfair account to lay off bets.

10 days

£153 cumulative profit

Some bets tie up a lot in my exchange account (switched to Smarkets as lower commission) for a while as we’re on an international break for football.

15 days

£195 cumulative profit

In to the reload offers now, which don’t quite yield as much in terms of profit, and sometimes need a little more thought to benefit from but it’s still all good. Slight hiccup as most of my money is now in Smarkets and I have to wait 3 working days for a transfer back to my current account to put cash in to my bookmakers accounts.

20 days

£288 cumulative profit

Couple of big joining offers in this 5 day period- £50 free bet if your first £50 bet doesn’t win, which saw me gain £38- but it could have been so much more. One bookie is doing a £25 free bet on the first televised game each Saturday and Sunday if the team you’ve backed is losing at half time. Since you’re laying the bets off anyway, it should be relatively easy it pick up but in both cases (Man U and Southampton), my team were comfortably ahead at the break, which meant I didn’t get £50 worth of free bets/£30-£40 of additional profit. Oh well!

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Sometimes I love IT

The behemoth has been returned; the Nighthawk is gone. Whilst it was undeniably an awesome router that let all our gear fly, I’m not in a position to spend several hundred quid on a new one. I think it’s telling what Netgear are saying at the roll out of their new Orbi multi wireless system (also over $400):

“Today we can’t sell a Wi-Fi router less than $99 because the products less then $99 are no better than what you have in your home.”

Continue reading

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