Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Happy Holidays

Just a quick post to wish you all a happy last couple of days in 2009 and a joyous stumble into 2010. Have had a relaxing break from everything and will be back in the UK to resume things in a few days. It has been great having some time away from my desk to reflect on everythng and get a decent opportunity to refresh my batteries.

Have a good one whatever you do, see you all in 2010.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Hybrid platform

Horse Racing
Unit stake: £8.44
Session P&L: £16.68
Average market P&L: £0.93
Racing Bank at end of session: £101.07
Unit stake for next session (10%): £10.11

What a difference proper focus and motivation can make. About this time yesterday I was posting about how dissapointed I was in regards to my performance. I would of been happy with just making back my loss but I almost doubled it without breaking my rules. It's certainly nice to be back on track.

Having used both Bet Angel and The Toy to trade the racing I felt they both had great features. I decided to combine them to make use of all the things I liked and make one optimal platform. I had to change the data requeste on BA to 2 and leave TT on the default of 15, so I'm not expecting any charges. First time I tried this and it worked very well, I think I will continue to use this from now on.

Friday, 18 December 2009

How to lose a tenner in the middle of the night

Horse Racing
Unit stake: £5/10
Session P&L: -£9.70
Average market P&L: -£0.46
Racing Bank at end of session: £84.39
Unit stake for next session (10%): £8.44

A mixture of insomnia and boredom led me to trade at 4am in the morning. In hindsight not the best of ideas, not necessarily because of the time, but more to do with my state of mind and approach. That is, I had no tact to my approach whatsoever, and this meant no graphs or even a site like (which I had bookmarked but just couldn't be bothered to monitor) and of course no pictures or feed at all. Basically I just went in blind, tired and demotivated expecting to profit. Very silly of me indeed and I paid for this on the last race where a huge order pushed the price 9 ticks the wrong way to never return, I finally took this as a hint to stop. I got caught with my net stake in a market and lost about £11 near the beginning, as the race went off exactly on time, again my fault as I should of hedged at 10 seconds but held on for that one tick. Without that I would of actually made a small profit in the end, but still the whole session was based on boredom and really shouldn’t of happened. The fact that I was so tired was just making it worse, as I usually need extra energy to trade well and that was evidently severely lacking.

After I finished trading I still couldn't sleep and had to be back at work for 9am, rubbish. So here I am knackered and I thought the best thing to do would be to write a post. Blogging my progress gives me a feeling of relief, psychologically as soon as I publish each post I feel I can put it to bed much easier and move on. Also I have said from the beginning I would post all session P&Ls, no matter how good/bad.  My unit stake has been reduced due to the slight decrease in my bank and I feel that is scant punishment for my stupidity. Will need to work to build it back up and I'm hoping this post will serve as a reminder of how not to trade!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

A bit of midweek footy

Unit stake: £10.27
Session P&L: £2.73
Average market P&L: £0.38
Football Bank at end of session: £54.10
Unit stake for next session (20%): £10.82

Had time to scalp a couple of matches after work just before KO. Not much done but still I guess it all adds up and gives me another slight increase in unit stake.

Messing around with The Toy

Horse Racing
Unit stake: £2/£8
Session P&L: £10.69
Average market P&L: £1.07
Racing Bank at end of session: £94.09
Unit stake for next session (10%): £9.41

Today was a day of experimentation, I only used The Toy and started with £2 stakes to get a feel for it at first. As with the last post I will include today's result into my racing bank, as I would like my stakes to increase sooner rather than later. After the first four markets I was feeling very comfortable with the software and increased my stakes to £5-£8 as things continued to go well. This has added to my confidence and I will continue to use The Toy along with Bet Angel. The fewer charting options and market overview are planned to be included in an upcoming release, this is great news as I feel without these features my market awareness is slightly limited. This might also just be a reflection of how accustomed I am to using BA. I think it is fair to say though that BAs charting options are second to none at the moment.

However the good points are plentiful with TT. The custom layouts and almost endless array of options are really impressive. I do pay a lot of attention to details and these options have allowed me to make many little changes that for me make all the difference. You are even able to edit the font formatting and cell size on the ladder (I found this particularly useful in prioritising information, for instance putting info I want to stand out in bold and in larger cells etc.).  I also find the financial bar layout on the ladder really useful. You can see by glancing at the ladder how the money waiting to be matched relates proportionally to the rest of the price bands. I could also spot abnormalities easily, like spoof money or relatively large orders. This is similar to the market depth shading which I mentioned in my previous post and also found useful. The speed of orders hitting the market also seems very fast with TT.

Probably one of the most important features that I forgot to mention last time, is the ability to add as many ladders as you wish. Although my two widescreens could accommodate more I have settled for eight (five more than before). If you order your book by price you have no surprises and will always have the top 8 in your sights. I still don't think this is a substitute for the overview feature mentioned, but with the overview included I could easily sacrifice a ladder or two and have everything I need at my disposal.

I also messed around a bit on a footy match in-running by placing orders well out of the money to ensure I didn't get matched. There is a countdown feature which shows you exactly how long before your order hits the market. This was a nice touch and the great thing here is that if after 5 seconds you change your mind you have the option to cancel it even before it has hit the market. Some great features which I'm sure an in-running trader would find very useful indeed.

I'll include a couple of screenshots below of  my current racing layout if anyone wants to have a look. I am changing things around a lot so no doubt it will change again soon - I think I sense a bit of deja vous...

Friday, 11 December 2009

Bonjour The Geeks Toy

Horse Racing
Unit stake: £7.77
Session P&L: £6.19
Average market P&L: £0.88
Racing Bank at end of session: £83.40
Unit stake for next session (10%): £8.34

I only had an hour to trade today and managed to fit in 7 markets. I will include it though as it did contribute positively to my bank and will warrant a slight increse to my unit stake.

Today was also the first day I installed and had a play around with The Geeks Toy. I'm sure most of you have all heard of it by now, but just in case you haven't yet, this is a relatively new free trading application for Betfair which has been getting some good feedback from the trading community.

I do think it's important to have experience on multiple applications, not only for backup purposes but it also gives comfort to not be overly reliant on one application, plus I was curious since its release to see what all the fuss was about. The fact it is free is not really a big deal for me, although its great to not have to pay for an 'no capped' trial. I will gladly pay for something if I feel it is value, and I can only assume there will be a charge introduced at some point in the future. The most important factor for me is which application is providing me with the most effective trading platform.

Of course this is not a review of any sort, just my observations from my first couple of hours. I really need to use it for a sustained period of time to give it a fair trial. I didn't trade any of the races with it today, I only really had time to fire it up and go through all the options and place dummy orders to get a feel for it. I will probably start using it to scalp on the footy as this is very easy compared to the racing and will give me plenty of time to get accustomed to the set up.

I should add I am a very happy Bet Angel customer and have been for a few months now, but of course I am always open to trying new things.  Bet Angel are also on the brink of releasing an update which apparently has quite a few changes, so this is also something I am looking forward to.

So far though I've been impressed with The Geeks Toy. There are plenty of options and as with Bet Angel you can move everything around and customise your screen fully. I would say at a glance there are more details that could prove useful if used effectively. Having the longterm graphs opened and positioned automatically is a nice addition - although the fewer charting options is something I didn't like and I do miss the overview screen as I have been using it much more recently. It also seemed to be running very fast and feels smooth. I do like the shading used on the market depth column which makes it very easy to see at a glance where the money has been matched. I'll leave it at that for now, I intend to give it a good test run over the next couple of months and I'm sure I'll have plenty to say once I've had more experience with it.

Am working all weekend and with a busy week following that, will not have too much trading time but I will try and squeeze in whatever I can before Christmas.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Champions League Night

Unit stake: £9.57
Session P&L: £3.39
Average market P&L: £0.34
Football Bank at end of session: £51.37
Unit stake for next session(20%): £10.27

Monday, 7 December 2009

Monday night football

Unit stake: £9.18
Session P&L: £2.09
Average market P&L: £0.21
Football Bank at end of session: £47.98
Unit stake for next session (20%): £9.57

Couldn't help myself and scalped a couple of matches after work. Got one market completely wrong but ended up with an overall profit. Will probably do the same after work tomorrow on a couple of Champions League matches.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

The Sunday Post

Unit stake: £7.44
Session P&L: £9.58
Average market P&L: £0.25
Football Bank at end of session: £45.89
Unit stake for next session (20%): £9.18

Traded football on Saturday, and one game on Sunday. First day with my increased 20% of bank stake and I made about £7. It felt more laid back and quite boring at times. Perhaps it was just the mood I was in but I mustered up the energy anyway to finish the matches I picked in the morning.

I experienced my first ISP disconnection today, just after I had finished the racing. This was about a minute before KO in the Everton vs Tottenham game and I had positions open on both the match odds and the under/overs. It panicked me a bit as for some reason I decided to call my ISP first to try and get back online rather than call Betfair and close my positions! After about 10 minutes of getting through the seemingly endless standard questions I put my ISP on hold to call Betfair! To be fair to them they did wait patiently until both my positions were hedged. I was fortunate as the positions I had open were counteracting eachother, a goal would have lost me a swing on one but gained me on another. As it turned out no goals gave me a net profit anyway as the draw price had come in more than the over1.5 had come out. It did make me think about in-running football tactics and what combinations could be used to profit from this sort of thing, definitely food for thought. Also got me thinking about getting a backup ISP at some point (like a wireless dongle I could run off my laptop).

Horse Racing
Unit stake: £6.73
Session P&L: £10.68
Average market P&L: £0.43
Racing Bank at end of session: £77.71
Unit stake for next session (10%): £7.77

I was undecided on whether to trade the football or horse racing today. I think what clinched it in the end was that there were four meetings on, plus how bored I got yesterday with the footy - it was nice to switch trading styles and catch a few swings.

I felt as if the liquidity was more inconsistent today. Started OK went through a lull midway through the card and picked up towards the end. I would of thought this was due to other events starting such as football matches. Seemed to be plenty of higher prices favourites, particularly towards the end where I ended up scalping more than I would of liked.

That ends my five day stint of trading and I'm feeling quite positive about how well it went. I managed to find time to trade each day in the end which was also pleasing. I'm now due to work six of the next seven days so regrettably there won't be much time to trade next week. Hope you all have a good week.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Oh well

Horse Racing
Unit stake: £6.47
Session P&L: £2.29
Average market P&L: £0.38
Racing Bank at end of session: £67.03
Unit stake for next session: £6.73

As predicted not much done today, after the first 3 races I had to stop for 2 hours and by the time I could get back to it again Exeter had been cancelled only leaving me with a total of 6 markets in the end. Shouldn't of bothered really, but then again it wasn't too long ago when I traded the full card to make a pound so I suppose I shoudn't turn my nose up at today's result in a hurry.

I've also made the decision to use 20% of my bank for the football's unit stake from now on. This should give it a boost in the right direction. I was hoping on building my bank up to use more significant stakes by the World Cup and this should help move things along. Tomorrow I'm giving racing a rest and will be trading all the football I can click my mouse at.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

A bit better

Horse Racing
Unit stake: £5.66
Session P&L: £8.19
Average market P&L: £0.37
Racing Bank at end of session: £64.74
Unit stake for next session: £6.47

Bit better today. Took a long break after the 14:25 which was definitely beneficial. I really liked the Wolverhampton meeting, mainly as I was steadily feeling more comfortable the longer the session went on, and by that time I had found a good rhythm. Also having 30 minutes in between the races meant I got plenty of time to reflect and refocus inbetween races. Might not trade tomorrow as I have a plumber coming round to fix a few things that I need to get sorted before Christmas. Will try and get some markets in though if I find the time. Unfortunately my football trading will have to take a back seat again as I've got big plans for this evening - to relax!

Wednesday, 2 December 2009


Horse Racing
Unit stake: £4.96
Session P&L: £7.30
Average market P&L: £0.37
Racing Bank at end of session: £56.55
Unit stake for next session: £5.66

A good start to December. Traded listening to Timeform radio (thanks for the suggestions Rick) for the first time today and it gave me the confidence to trade right up to the off. I broke one rule of having more than two trades open on 3 separate occasions which made me mad at the time. Looking back though these errors were all made in the last 5 races, and it is obvious to me that I was tiring and consequently losing my discipline. I'm accepting losing trades much better than before but I'm determined to keep drilling in these rules and not let up just because I happen to make a profit on the market. At the same time though I'm also aware of the dangers in having a perfectionist's mindset. As with many things it's finding the right balance. Overall though I feel slightly fortunate, as although I worked hard, I did break a rule more than once and got away with it. Up until that point things were going pretty smoothly. My focus time has improved as I managed three and a half hours trading with no proper breaks. I think if I had a couple of breaks I might not of tired and made those errors towards the end. Something to put right tomorrow.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

November review

November has been a really positive month for me. At the beginning of the month I was quite uncertain about my edge, or even my style, however I do feel the few days I took off work to focus more on trading, coupled with the more frequent sessions, has finally started to make an impact. The time I spent researching and learning about trading psychology in October has also been important, particularly in helping me to understand much about my reactions and how to deal with them more effectively.

I'd also like to say thank you to Rob (Cash or Crash blog) MG (Mind Games blog) and and Steve (Pro trader tip blog)  for sharing their analysis spreadsheets. I have found them very useful in analysing my results, particularly as I wouldn't have a clue how to build a decent one myself!

Horse Racing

The racing started with a £20 bank and £2 unit stakes. At the end of the month the bank stands at £49.25 using the progressive 10% bank staking plan. I did not have any losing days but I will reduce my unit stake accordingly on losing days as I do think it's important to earn each new staking level. I managed to squeeze in a total of 144 markets on my part-time schedule where I averaged £0.20 a race. My style seems to have changed particularly towards the end of the month, with me not scalping half as much as I used to. I was aware of my high strike rate but it does seem rather too high averaging 96.5% per market. I think this has a lot to do with me just scalping for most of the month, and also in relation to my stake size, as it is very easy to get filled with £2 stakes. I'm expecting this to drop next month. As long as it's high enough and my average loss is similar or lower than my average win then I'll be happy.

I'm quite looking forward to December although as the weather gets worse the opportunities will surely dry up. As long as I can continue my rate of progress I'll be happy.


Similarly with the football I started with a £20 bank and £2 unit stakes, the bank now stands at £37.24 using the same staking plan. Most of this profit did come from one fortunate win of £14.34. Disregarding this, I managed to fit in 40 markets averaging £0.09 per market. My strike rate was also quite high standing at about 96%. I would expect this to not drop too much considering the low risk scalping tactic used for the footy. It is good to have another sport to get involved in as the racing slows and I would like to trade more football markets in December providing I find the time. Towards the end of the month I found trading a few markets at the same time more interesing and productive and will continue with this approach.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Dazzling Denman

Racing bank at start: £41.29
Racing bank at end: £49.25
Unit stake for next session: £4.96
Average market P&L: £0.35

Went straight out last night after trading all day for what turned to be quite a night, but boy did I pay for it this morning! Had to call in sick at work as I spent my first three waking hours vomiting what can only be described as bile. So I'm just taking it easy and recovering today, looking forward to watching Arsenal Chelsea soon. Yesterday went well again and I hit £2 on a couple of races which felt great. It has given my unit stake another boost which now sits just shy of £5. I also think its time to start taking proper records and posting monthly reviews. I've got four days off in a row next week where I will try to fit in some trading on each day permitting I feel well enough (and the weather doesn't ruin everything!). I quite enjoyed having the racing on TV and used it for about an hour. I think this is a skill I need to improve on as at the moment I've developed a style that does not use TV pictures at all. When a horse suddenly drifts for no apparent reason I often think if I was watching the build up it would probably be very obvious why that just happened. Looks like it will be April onwards when I can get cable installed (as soon I move flat) and it will be one of the first things I do. I can only see it benefitting my trading once I get used to using it effectively. It was also great to witness such an impressive performance from Denman. I think I'm also starting to appreciate racing more recently, admittedly when I first starting trading I had very little interest in the sport, but now I actually quite enjoy catching the odd race here and there.

Anyway will leave it at that for now, need to get a drink as I'm starting to feel a tad dehydrated oncemore. Next post will probably be my first monthly review. Happy trading everyone.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Just a little bit more

Football bank at start: £36.31
Football bank at end: £37.24
Unit stake for next session: £3.72
Average market P&L: £0.12

Didn't have much energy after work and preferred to watch the football and relax rather than trade the evening racing. Thought I'd try and boost the football bank a bit with some prematch trading before sitting down to watch the games.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Crickey, a whole Pam Shriver

Racing bank at start: £35.41
Racing bank at end: £41.29
Unit stake for next session: £4.13
Average market P&L: £0.29

Yes that’s right I made just over a fiver on the racing, and don't worry I won't go spending it all at once! Jokes aside though, today was different. I thought yesterday that the first 5 or so races were good for swing trading (with odds on favs) but today there were swings on almost every race. I just couldn't justify scalping as the movements today were all over the place. I was quite happy to see this though as swing trading was an area I really wanted to work on. If I had scalped today I would have really struggled. I also hit £1 hedged profit on a couple of races, which felt quite good considering my stake size.

OK so there are some good points. Now for the rest of it. The ups and downs were neverending, I had to constantly focus on the market as things were changing all the time and it felt almost like if I blinked I would be at a disadvantage! And despite all this I still found time to fit in thoughts of 'this swing trading isn't so bad after all'. I think its fair to say that this style does need a slightly different mindset. I also missed many drifters today, this came as no surprise though, with my bias to back first and catch steamers was almost exclusively responsible for the profits. When the fav drifted I caught the steamer whoever that happened to be. I noticed that I used the market overview much more than usual, really useful for spotting that steamer from the pack.

On one race towards the end of the card, when things were looking good, I noticed an almost self-sabotaging behaviour that I had never seen before. Up until that point I was always acting within my best interests but on this race I caught myself thinking 'just enter the market here, it's probably going to come in, no need to check for any other indicators, you're doing really well anyway, doesn't matter if you lose here or not'. It was almost like I wanted to lose some money as things were going too well? Needless to say this attitude didn't last long, I closed for the loss and after taking a few moments, focussed really hard to turn it around before the off. I was quite tired at that point and I think my lack of energy had much to do with this attitude, but I was shocked nonetheless. When reading a bit about financial trading in the past, this was stated to be common amongst profitable traders trying to push themselves further. It was found that their limitations were all psychological and once they overcame this they succeeded in yielding larger profits. It also might of been a sign of overconfidence, it's hard to tell but if I ever feel like that again I certainly won't entertain it. I'm happy to have spotted it early and reacted well in the end.

It's been nice trading two days in a row, but this little run will regrettably have to end now as I do have a day job to get to tomorrow! One thing I have confirmed is the sustainability of progress is much easier on a daily basis rather than having larger gaps in-between trading sessions. I'll be trying my best to trade the at every opportunity before the winter truly kicks in.

Football bank at start: £35.22
Football bank at end: £36.31
Unit stake for next session: £3.63
Average market P&L: £0.14

Tried to get the most out of the scheduled  football. It's a shame so many games start at the same time as my bank could only really sustain about 5 markets with a couple of positions open at a time. I picked 2 games from the 7.45 KO trading a total of 3 matches in the end. As I had a selection of games I tried to pick the ones where I thought my tactic would work best, and it seemed to go quite well in the end.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Back to it

Racing bank at start: £32.40
Racing bank at end: £35.41
Unit stake for next session: £3.54
Average market P&L: £0.14

Everything felt a bit better today, although the mistakes are still plentiful, I am spotting them sooner than before. As I'm improving in certain areas I'm also uncovering new habits which I didn't notice before. One main issue I'm having now is taking the most profit out of my swings. I'm catching more of them now, however I'm taking less profit than I should. I only took about half the ticks on many occasions today, mainly when I saw premature signs for a reversal. I need to focus more on making the most out of these swings as I would of made a significantly larger profit (maybe even as much as double on most markets). I noticed a slight improvement towards the end of the session when I was more aware and focussing on it, and hope to sustain this into the next session. I also think it has a bit to do with the scalping mentatilty that has been my prominent style.

I felt midway through the card my focus dwindiling a bit, I needed a short break to get my mind back on track and finished stronger. Still cannot maintain that focus throughout the session but I'm noticing improvement so I'm happy to see progress. Not even sure if full time traders maintain that focus for the full card but I think it's important to keep pushing myself as much as possible.

I also changed the trading screen around again, no surprises there then! The main reason for this was to allow me to focus more on important information.  It was fine before but over the past few sessions I noticed I tend to look at the ladder too much and that I look at the far right of the screen the least. So I moved the ladder to the far right. The charting is now all on the left screen including the weight of money indicators chart (which I had also missed). I had almost neglected the weight of money indicator due to spoofing but I'm noticing it's usefulness most recently, paticularly whilst swing trading.  I also downloaded a useful free 'Post It' application that allows me to pin messages onto the screen. I use it to remind me of rules and make brief notes just before I start trading each market. This helps me understand the market a bit better after trading it, by comparing what I had written to what actually happened.

Football bank at start: £34.35
Football bank at end: £35.22
Unit stake for next session: £3.52
Average market P&L: £0.06

I thought I would give the few available football markets a go. It's been a while since I traded these markets however compared to the racing they are pretty straightforward. I tried to trade all the under/overs and match odds simultaneously to get the most out of my scalping. Worked out alright considering I only traded 4 matches, and admittadly I almost forgot about the second one and only traded it for about 3 minutes. As the racing slows I can see the football picking up more but at the moment the racing seems to have taken the lead, even after that £15 gift in the Liverpool match I had at the beginning of the month.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Lucky Luke

Racing bank at start: £29.33
Racing bank at end: £32.40
Unit stake for next session: £3.24
Average market P&L: £0.24

Again it felt like tough work today. After the last race I needed to go for a walk and get some fresh air to clear my head. I got more involved in the markets by trying to formulate an opinion on what will happen in the 10 minutes before the off, before actually placing any trades. I think this helped with my resolve but It did take up more energy, which explains why I felt so tired after just over 3 hours of trading.  I also feel that I was fortunate again on a couple of occasions and it's almost a miracle I didn't have a losing race today. Particularly the last race where I botched it up and ended up in a large red about 4 minutes before the off, after which I redded out and carried plugging away with the view to reduce the deficit as much as possible. A large order gave me a nice 4 tick swing which resulted in a small green in the end. Still, as I've had a few go against me in the past, it might just be karma evening things out. I was particularly happy with the way I traded the 14:00 Lingfield, I felt very relaxed and reacted quickly to the opportunituies. I think out of all the 13 markets that was the only one where I felt like that, still working on how to encourage and sustain that state for longer. Trouble is as soon as you're aware of it you start losing it, and before you know it you're thinking more about your state of mind instead of focussing on the markets. Evidently this is still a work in progress!

Will leave it at that for today as I'm busy this evening, shame as I would of liked to give the evening card a go particularly as there are two meetings. Friday will hopefully be the next day for more trading.

Sunday, 15 November 2009


Racing bank at start: £25.56
Racing bank at end: £29.33
Unit stake for next session: £2.93
Average market P&L: £0.19

Shattered after a draining day. I never really felt I got into a sustained comfort zone, instead I was almost flip flopping between mindsets where I was even tempted to go in-running at one stage. A brief relapse which I'm happy to report didn't materialise. The week's break has expectedly made it tougher to pick up where I had left off. On retrospect I should of taken more breaks as when my energy was low I made most of the mistakes. Caught a couple of nice swings but again I do feel I'm closing them too soon to protect profit. Back first bias is still prominent and I even relapsed a couple of poor entry habits that I thought had been long gone.

The progress is there but it feels more in the fashion of 3 steps forward two steps back sequence. I've booked a few days off during the next 3 weeks in order to trade more frequently. I'm aiming to trade a full card about twice a week, perhaps even three if possible. When I was trading more frequently the progress was more sustainable, this should also help me strengthen and maintain the correct mindset. I'm also looking at techniques to maintain a coherent state, and to deal with difficult scenarios more efficiently. No football trading this weekend, I decided to call it a day after the racing, feeling drained. Next trading session will be Wednesday, will report back then.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

My mid-week blues

Seems like I haven't traded for ages when that clearly isn't the case! This week is looking pretty bleak on the trading front which I am finding rather disapointing. I'm quite eager to push things forward as I now know the better I do, I will be rewarded with higher stakes next time. Even if I don't do well I'm learning much from these experiences, I guess I'm just hungry for progress. Thursday is the only weekday off this week but as I am busy during the day I might not be back in time for the racing. If I don't make it then Sunday is the only other day available, usually I don't bother with Sundays for racing but it looks like Channel 4 are covering some of the Cheltenham and Fontwell races so I'm expecting it to be alright. On the football front the fixtures look a bit dire with the Internationals approaching but I might give a couple of matches a go if the markets look worthwhile. I do take some comfort in knowing that the quality of racing isn't great at the moment with most racing traders taking more time off this time of year. I really can't wait to get back in the hotseat again though.

Anyway hope you all have a good week whatever you do.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Breeders Cup

Racing bank at start: £23.94 
Racing bank at end: £25.56
Unit stake for next session: £2.56
Average market P&L: £0.18

Thought I might be too tired to trade this meeting after work, but I felt focussed when I got home and gave it a go. The markets felt quite different to the UK meetings, with so much money just lying around it was a bit harder to get matched. The price movements seemed more predictable and even if you got it wrong you had more time to get out with the market being more rigid. Good for scalping or taking an early position and being patient as the price moves slowly in your direction. I basically scalped from the 10 minute mark and with the racing being slightly delayed used Betfair's live videos to judge when to get out. To get an idea of true market price I used the Ladbrokes book as a guide.

Thursday, 5 November 2009


Racing bank at start: £22.19 
Racing bank at end: £23.94 
Unit stake for next session: £2.39
Average market P&L: £0.14

Only managed to trade for 2 hours on the racing today having been busy in the morning and returning home at lunchtime.  Glad to report some more positive results warranting another increase in stakes.  The liquidity today was noticeably poorer than yesterday and it was a good day for catching swings (an area I'm keen to improve in). I did catch a few and am getting better at it, but I did miss out on a fair few too. Still I can't expect to master this skill overnight.   

Part of my new approach is to pick out a couple of markets at the end of each session , at least one where I traded well and one where I trading poorly, and watch the video of them later (having recorded the whole session). I then analyse my trading on these vids and take note of what can be improved next time.  This is the compromise I have come to in regards to my analysis, as going over hours of footage after trading for hours is just not practical and means I miss out on some of the footage (which could potentially be the most valuable parts).  At least this way I touch on the main issues by being selective on what to view whilst the day's events are still fresh in my mind.

The first one today was the 15.30 Lingfield where I traded the moves all wrong. I did this about four times in a row! and this was after I had correctly identified what was likely to happen. I managed a small profit but if I had been focusing properly and stuck to my guns I would of made a much healthier ROT.  I'm looking forward to when my stakes are large enough to be split into part closures, as I think  this will help me to have the confidence to hold onto the swings, rather than feel the need to green out after seeing a sign for reversal. 

The positively traded market was the last race 16.10 Haydock. I was actually tiring towards the end of the card and after taking a moment to refocus traded this one well.  I was particularly pleased as I quickly scratched three trades that would of gone against me quite quickly. When I eventually got what the market was doing I caught a short swing to profit nicely at the end. I was mainly happy with my resolve to quickly scratch the poor trades and objectively rethink and apply a better strategy.

Football bank at start: £34.35
Football bank at end: £34.41 
Unit stake for next session: £3.44
Average market P&L: £0.02

Not much to report here with a whopping 6p profit!  I started looking at the 1.5 markets where the price movements are quite mechanical prematch. However the liquidity was poor and I don't feel the scalping tactic used was really scalable - although perhaps it was because so many games were staring at the same time. I'll switch back to match odds but I do like the over/unders prematch, and will take a look at the 2.5 markets next time where the liquidity should be much higher. 

With a cherry ontop

Found out that the overtime I was due to do yesterday was not required and when given the option to work half of the shift or have the day off, I decided to stay at home and use the opportunity to trade.

Things started off quite difficult. For some reason during the first hour I just could not get into the correct mindset, and I kept having to try and focus really hard on the markets to prevent myself from making a daft mistake. I felt like packing it in at one stage thinking to myself it might be better to take a long break or even leave it for today. I was really struggling to concentrate and after about an hour of this I finally started to feel focussed. From that point onwards I felt switched on, and after I caught a couple of nice swings my confidence really started to build and time seemed to fly by.

I traded 34 markets in total, 26 racing and 6 football. As I managed to make a profit on both, the staking will be increased  for my next session. I'm hoping for this to be tomorrow however this depends on how my morning pans out.

Racing Bank at start: £20.00 
Racing bank at end: £22.19 
Unit stake for next session: £2.22
Average market P&L: £0.08

On the first two races I used the bookmaking feature as they both seemed like suitable races for this. On the first one I was out at about 15 minutes before the off. That was ideal as the prices were quite stable. Was a bit trickier on the second one, I got out with a scratch at the 8 minute mark not wanting to risk getting caught by any big moves. Good thing was as I had been monitoring all of my positions for over 10 minutes I got a really good feel for that market and felt the favourite would steam in a few ticks with little support for the other main runners. I decided it was definitely worth finding out and after the price did come in I managed to profit from the race in the end.

I then had that awkward time mentioned earlier trying to get myself into the right mindset. I tried a few different methods until things started to click, one alteration was adjusting the layout of my trading screen . I basically moved the candle stick graphs onto the main left monitor with a 10 minute history, as I felt I could keep a closer eye on them being next to the ladder, and moved the overview screen to the right. I then increased the resoulution on the right screen just because I needed more space to squeeze in the market overview. I think this helped a bit in keeping me focussed on the longterm moves and I will probably try this next time to see if it works again. Here is a screenshot:

Football bank at start: £20.00
Football bank at end: £34.35 
Unit stake for next session: £3.44
Average market P&L: £2.39

I had planned to trade a few more football markets but didn't have the time to catch them all, mainly because I was also trading the evening Kempton card and spending too much time in my kitchen making coffees. I was basically breaking even on the footy before given a free present. Up until that point it was all prematch scalping. Whilst watching the Liverpool game, after the first goal I noticed Liverpool's price rapidly swinging in a 10 tick range , I thought it would be good time to quickly scalp a few of these ticks before the market settles, by placing a few orders at the top of the range with offsets and wait a few seconds for the market to match my orders. Once I was matched I then decided to leave it at 50p green before Lyon got a chance to score. What surprised me was when I next glanced at the screen I had about £15 greened up across the book? Scratching my head I was struggling to see how I generated that amount with a £2 stake. Looking at the log it was made clearer, someone had money sitting to lay Liverpool at 9.6! which is what I managed to get filled at. A warmly welcomed bonus to round off the day!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Melbourne Cup

Decided to stay up and trade the Aussie markets. Still using minimum stakes I managed to profit in each race, although I did have a couple of hairy moments.

Will keep it short as I need to get some sleep having to be at work in a few hours. Next day off will be Thursday and I plan to trade the full UK card. It will be the first day of my staking plan and I expect things to start getting more interesting soon after.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Racing weekend

Had a little go on the Aussie racing this morning and the liquidity was really good on the big races. I had no idea what to expect from these markets and started out with the impression they would be similar to the UK ones. This was a mistake that actually ended up costing me as I had a lay order stuck in a poor liquidity race that was not going in running and the market suspended. I lost about £6 on that one race. Lesson learnt and after speaking to Peter and Andy on the BA forum they gave me some much appreciated guidance on which races were worthwhile and on connection settings. The loss didn't really bother me at all as I knew it was something out of my control and would not happen again now  that I know which races to be extra careful in. I actually felt really confident I could make a fair chunk of it back, and didn't feel like increasing stakes or chasing it. This was a great feeling and it signified for me that I had truly accepted the loss and had just moved on calmly - a skill I have been battling to summon at will for quite some time. I stuck to the higher liquidity races and managed to keep profiting and reduce some of that earlier loss. Was really handy having someone to talk to inbetween the races, it helped ground myself more than anything. 

After some sleep I got up at about 1pm and following a little snack I was back on my PC again to catch some of these UK markets. I  think my confidence has reached a good level these past couple of days. Although I'm very careful of not being overconfident and careless. I went through a darker time recently and could not on occasions find the energy or motivation to trade. In almost stark contrast I now cannot get enough of it. I have this hunger for market experience and each and every market I trade is proving to be very enjoyable (doesn't feel like work at all). It really is a great feeling and although I know there will be many more ups and downs I think the attitude I've got at the moment is spot on for my development. It's hard to tell when your training yourself and this is where being part of the forum / blog community really helps. So I'd also like to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who has offered advice or comments, they have all contributed good or bad to where I am today. 

Deep down I now have this belief that despite what happens in each individual market I have an edge to profit in the long run, and that is a great feeling, one I must say I did not have before. I don't fear the markets as I used to and approach them much more positively than before. 

The operating system debacle
I've been really impressed with the OS changes, the dilemma I have now is which one do I prefer! Without a doubt Vista comes last but between XP and 7 I'm not so sure which one is better for my trading.  XP is lighting fast and looks really old school after I stripped it down to the bare minimum. However 7 is equally fast and looks / feels impressive. The main issue I have though is that XP only recognizes 4 of my 8GBs of RAM. For this reason alone I thought I should lose XP and just simply dual boot 7, keeping one for trading. It's hard to tell whether having 4 or 8 GBs ia actually making any difference though, and if anything XP still looks faster despite recognising less RAM. I will keep experimenting with them both for now and can only expect 7 to get slower as it gets more cluttered. Haven't got around to installing Linux yet but I will do as soon as I find some time. 

My trading screen is feeling more comfortable, I have made a slight addition of just below my ladders. This did come in handy today and it gave me a more objective view as to where punters and traders money is likely to go. Here is a picture of the screen layout, notice the old school WinXP/2000 look! 

I think I have reached a point now where I can start increasing stakes gradually with both the racing and football, and that 10% of my bank is adequate for trading purposes. I'm still a little shy of my 20 pound racing bank after the Aussie racing incident, so when I hit 20 after each session it will be adjusted accordingly. Doing it race by race would be better but it does makes things unnecessarily complicated, particularly if I'm trading a busy card. 

Won't be trading tomorrow as I'm due to be working. My schedule at work has now changed again but it's not so bad as it gives me random weekdays off where I look forward to trading more UK racing markets.  

Thursday, 29 October 2009


First day back trading the horses for a while with mixed feelings in regards to my performance. The profitability was good however my new rigid set of rules were not fully met. I will need a few more sessions to get back into things before I would consider myself ready to start increasing stakes. I also felt my focus often wavering mid session and dropping considerably towards the end. My new rules are much more specific and when I was applying them quickly early on things were running very smoothly. The longer the session went on the more I noticed my bad habits creeping in, which is why I decided to not trade the full afternoon card and take some time to relax instead. I actually came back from a trip to Denmark late last night and feel that I was still a bit tired from that. I'm glad I gave it a go though, as the new approach is looking promising. Particularly as a couple of bias' I am trying to reduce (scalp and back orientated) were noticeably less frequent. I managed a couple of drifting swing trades that I found quite satisfying.

I decided to make a few changes to my PC in the evening as my free Windows 7 upgrade arrived this morning. I created a couple of partitions, one for Win 7 and the other for Win XP, whilst still keeping the Vista partition as is for backup. The plan is to use a stripped down version of XP solely for trading, and 7 for everything else for a couple of weeks. If all goes well Vista will go and I will also install a Linux OS on anoher partition. This would be just for my interest as I've read much about it over the past couple of years and would like to give it a go. From what I gather Vista is the most resource hungry OS so I'm expecting the changes to optimise my system. Let's see how it goes.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Football Sunday

Have used today to focus on some football tactics I've been developing recently. I've decided to setup a separate £20 bank for the footy and intend to keep it separated from the racing from now on. The staking plan will be increased similar to the racing, although I feel that the footy account will grow faster judging by today’s performance and where I'm at with the racing. It will be interesting for me to see which sport is in the lead in say 6 months and 12 months time having both started on equal banks.

It was a rather odd day as although I profited and did not lose on any match, I did not feel particularly comfortable with some of the risk involved. I recycled my £2 stakes many times and used a combination of prematch and inrunning scalping tactics on all of the matches. I felt like I got the balance of when to be passive and aggressive much better today.

The inrunning stuff, although calculated and well worked, was where I felt most uncomfortable. I was using a lay to back tactic on the winning team trying to catch the resistance, this worked quite well and by offsetting my bets I could even leave the PC at times and come back to find I've been matched. The risk here was minimal and I managed to profit on every match, but the profit was not great. We're talking 1 tick scalps plus the odd time when I did not get filled I scratched or took a 1 tick loss, collectively the green was there but not a great ROT. I liked the scalability aspect as I could of easily used £100s or even £1000s in most of these markets without standing out.

I then experimented with back to lay scalping on the winning team, which was of course more risky and profitable. The market is moving in your direction which is a big appeal, but a goal from the trailing team would knock you back quite significantly so you have to pick your times very carefully. As it turned out my cautious approach paid off and I managed to only get caught out twice, however on both of those matches I found good scalping opportunities later which managed to get me into the green. I'm still undecided on this tactic as if I was using larger stakes I do not feel it would be worth the risk, and on a different day I could have had many more goals causing large dents in my P&L. Do not think this is a trading style I feel will pay off in the long run so I will stick to the lay to back lower risk style for now.

The prematch scalping is where I feel most comfirtable. I can see myself raising stakes here sooner as I now have a larger sample size and it all looks good to me so far. This is the only footy tactic so far I feel I will definitely be sticking with although I am looking at testing out others. I like trading tactics where an opinion on the teams ability is not necessary, although being a big footy fan and knowing a fair bit about most teams I'm trading forming an opinion is almost automatic. I think looking at so many matches and knowing the results later is starting to give me a better idea of whether the prematch odds are value or not. I feel the better I get at this, the more it will benefit the prematch scalping, as I could use this as a factor in determining whether a team's price will come in or not. 

Here is a quick screenshot of the footy trading screen. It is similar to the racing screen but I have replaced the charting with a browser displaying livescores and some other info:

Completely free Betfair trading software..

Other software I have found useful so fa..

Soccer Mystic - Betfair trading software