Here’s an interview with one of our FIRST members on IndexGain. He’s a pro gambler who has invested over £100,000 into Football Index and currently holds over 800 (no typo) players in his portfolio.
He goes by the name of @IndexBig and many of you will already be aware of him on Twitter – and probably fell of your chairs every time he posts a screengrab of his porfolio. In this interview, we try to work out how he manages such a portfolio and what his aim is.
So without any delay, here it is. Enjoy!
So, Big Don, tell us about your background and footy interests….
Big Don, here. That used to be my handle (alter ego) on various betting forums. Don’s a bit of a loose cannon……I’ve toned him down a bit for FI purposes! I started matched betting about a decade ago and ventured into many forms of Advantage Play gambling. FI was a bit of a branch out into pastures new.
As a teenager, I loved football. Supported Liverpool. At about age 16 (I’m 47 now), I realised that there wasn’t anything in it for me. Why should I give a shit about LFC…they don’t give a shit about me! The defining moment was when I couldn’t get FA Cup final tickets in 1986…and a random girl in my class went. Game over. Have taken an interest in football from a betting point of view, but I have a very limited knowledge compared to the early 80’s!
And what is your best footballing moment?
Mark Hughes scoring for Wales against Spain in a WC qualifier (April 85). Wales won 3-0, but was heartbreak in the end when they drew their last match v Scotland (Jock Stein sadly died). Shame Rush and Hughes never got to grace the WC…Wales had a great first 11, but no depth. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMuJ3h6-CXw
I used to love listening to football on the radio. Peter Jones was a great commentator. TV football wasn’t so readily available when I was a lad. It was there, but not to the extent that it is now!
Brill, more importantly, how and when did you discover FI?
I’d heard of FI, but my friend suggested it back in November (17). I was a bit dismissive, but had a dabble, and it grew on me!
Did you “go big quick” or “go big slowly”?
I started slowly in the first month. I bought a diverse set of players. I think around January time, I realised that I was getting consistent dividend payments. My portfolio was actually running at a loss, but I figured that the div payments were very generous. At this point….mid January….I upped my investment. I thought, if the dividends are generous, and I felt that the concept was catching on…..then growth would likely follow. I actually felt a bit addicted, and went a bit OTT. I took a large part of my Betfair (betting exchange used by Advantage Play gamblers) and over a few weeks, filtered it into FI.
I went to the London Traders meet…mainly to see some substance to the company. On the whole, I was impressed. The funny thing was, I went to the meeting with a negative portfolio profit. I got back to the hotel, and I was actually in profit. Obviously, the meeting gave a lot of people confidence in the product. I went to the Manchester meeting too as it was pretty local for me. For FI to put these meetings on, does show a very keen commitment from them in developing their concept. I suppose “mainstream” is the target!
Is FI part of a broader investment strategy for you? Or is it the only place you invest?
I see FI as an off shoot of my betting activity. I’m a full time gambler….FI has become part of my overall gambling activity.
Whilst most of my betting is classed as Advantage Play (where the mathematical value is on your side…..I only ever bet when the return to player is above 100%), FI is not strictly AP, as on the face of it….it is negative value due to the 2% commission plus spread. However, taking a long term view…it is my belief that the dividend structure and the potential growth of the market, give FI a sort of long term value….rather than the “snap shot” value that I normally chase.
What’s your Football Index style? PB or MB or both? Buy and hold or flip often?
My football knowledge is pretty limited….I think you have to play Football Index to your own set of circumstances.
At the London meeting, Adam Cole stated about the purchase of a future being “like a 3 year fixed odds bet”. He was referencing the need to have a 3 year term, in order to avoid any potential capital gains tax issues. However, the quote stuck in my mind. I thought, “If I purchase a future, then lets view it like AC says….a 3 year fixed odds bet. That way, each player that I hold will get 3 years worth of dividends, without having to pay the nasty 2% commission and losing the spread over and over”.
So I am definitely a “buy and hold” merchant. I have sold a few players in the past, but they need to give me a reason……move to China, USA, value reducing injury, age or I think I made a dumb buy.
I don’t flip at all. For the time being, I’m trying to ride the growth…..of course, I’ll have to adjust as time goes on. I did have a real down turn in profits in January, but I rode it out. February, March, April, May have all been good plus profit months. I’m sure more negative ones will come along….but that’s part of the game.
If you had a “Big Don Manifesto” – what would the top 5 points of that manifesto be?
- Keep buying
- Re invest dividends
- Don’t put too much money in, so that I force myself to sell in order to withdraw
- Keep it diverse…in itself, reduces risk
- Stick to my guns…..don’t fear having different tactics to the rest
How do you go about researching or looking for opportunities of where to put your money next?
I use flashscores to look at a players activity before a buy. I use Twitter and IndexGain for pointers. I don’t tend to look too hard though.
Quite a few traders say that FI requires lots of time to keep on top of the news – football is very fast moving – how do you manage your time on FI or monitoring your portfolio?
I do look at my phone re FI, Twitter and IndexGain often. However, as I don’t like selling unless I deem it absolutely necessary, then I don’t really have to stress about exit points etc.
I have 874 players, so some do well/others do badly. I don’t worry about price moves so much.
Emotionally, what do you say you do well – and not so well?
As I play the long game, I don’t really get upset/ happy over dips or rises.
I’d say, I could do with not checking my phone re FI so often. It hampers my other betting/ life activity!
Over 3 years, what sort of expectations do you have for portfolio growth?
Growth and consistent dividends, hopefully.
What’s next for FI do you think? What do you see happening (or would like to see) around the corner?
Hopefully, FI continue to develop the product (get through their 900 item back log!). The Order Book intro sounds interesting. I’d like to see further development on the platform….keep on improving it. It sounds like they are marketing themselves very well, and the regular trader meets do inspire confidence.
My ultimate hope is that FI becomes like a mainstream form of betting and attracts the masses (big spending masses!)
If there’s one thing you know now which you wish you knew 3 months after joining FI, what would that one thing be?
There’s nothing really. I see it as a long journey!
The Rock’s favourite quote was “Can you smell, what the Rock is cooking?” and Hulk Hogan’s was “Whatcha gonna do, brother, when Hulkamania runs wild on you?”. If Football Index Big Don was a football index themed trading wrestler, what would your quote be?
“Follow The Don….You can’t go wrong!”
There you go traders!
Big thanks to Football Index Big Don for the interview. If anyone wants to five him a follow on Twitter then his handle is @IndexBig.