Thursday, 13 August 2009

Trading Review 12/08/09

Oh dear where do I start today. I suppose I will go through the P & L in time order. Needless to say after yesterdays loss there was no increase in stakes.

Started off by looking at a couple of vids and reading my review from yesterday. I felt confident and better prepared and jumped straight into the first trade. First race was a disaster, ended up going in running with 8 unclosed £2 scalps. Of course it went tits up and £16 was lost. Relatively speaking this is a complete catastrophe. My learning bank is roughly £20 so putting this into perspective I lost 80% of my bank! The fact that I had 80% of my bank at risk is just ridiculous thinking about all the principles and rules of money management. But it was risked in-running which is the most disappointing flaw of them all.

This was then followed by 3 losing races where I traded poorly, still frustrated from my decision to go in running, I was reading the market very poorly and made bad trade after bad trade, it seemed to never end. On a positive note no matter how bad the red was I did close all trades pre-race and did not feel the need to going in running. However, this discipline wore off gradually as the day went on.

Fourth race onwards I actually started trading properly making more successful scalps then unsuccessful ones, and making steady profits throughout the card. I was feeling more and more in flow with my decisions and this lasted for about an hour or so. At some point I noticed I was feeling tired and it was becoming harder and harder to keep fully focussed and maintain these seemingly foreign and awkward disciplines. Indiscipline eventually caught up with me and I made some poor trades, instead of closing and accepting this I did go IR a couple of times and managed to get away with it – cannot remember the precise races but it was on at least 2 or 3 around 5-6pm (two of the 50p gains).

At the 19:45 however I was caught out again risking and losing about 75% of my bank in running. Felt like I was really going backwards at this point. Was already tired and finding it hard to keep focussed, and once I had started to take races in play again I was almost repeating it until it KO’d me out of the game. I knew deep down that it would catch me out eventually (felt much like my rational and irrational minds were fighting and my old rational – now evidently becoming the little devil on my shoulder – was winning this duel when I was tired and unable to focus on maintaining consistency).

I then proceeded to trade one more race mainly to show myself that after such a catastrophic error I have the ability to get stuck into the next race without letting the emotions affect my focus on the next race. I actually traded it well making 5p, about one 300th of what I had just lost on the last race. Putting it into perspective like this is making me realise just how damaging going in-running is. 300 races with a couple of good scalps per race will be needed just to break even for that one error. Going-in running is quite simply suicide in this game.

However instilling this discipline and completing this reconditioning phase is proving really difficult. I know it is possible though, as if it was not I would of taken all reds in running. I recall quite a few occasions where I was fighting with myself and won the duel and redded out, so beating this bad habit can be achieved. Achieving this consistently however is where I am failing at the moment. Roughly speaking I am taking about 25% of my races IR. I know to succeed this has to become 0%. The task here is to make this discipline part of the routine. Automating this rule and to never have to fight it, and just do like any other natural reaction.

I initially felt I could overcome this by adding it to the list of other disciplines I am trying to implement, and slowly enforce them into my routine. However it is evident from today that psychologically I am not strong enough to overcome this particular discipline with this alone, especially when I am losing focus. I have noticed now that I only seem to take trades IR when I am either not warmed up properly (not into routine yet) or tired and not able to maintain rules constantly. Notably though I do manage to win the duel when I am in a flow and trading well. Also when I have the energy to maintain focussed, even if I am not in the flow, I do manage to overcome the IR temptation at these times. I think focussing on my mental attitude on these occasions and replicating it when necessary is key to overcoming this IR issue.

The need to place more energy on removing IR closures is apparent. I am now dedicated to this cause and if I lose money all session, without taking a closure IR, I would consider this a successful session. This aim has been elevated to top of my priorities, sort of a primary mission objective as opposed to a secondary one as it has been viewed in the past.

What I intend to do now in order to achieve this?
- Close trades early if they go against you. (Ideal and the best prevention action)
- Have only 1 or 2 open trades at any one time in each market
- If 30 secs to go and closures are not met use Take SP all function.
- Edit audio in Bet Angel to state ‘Take SP All’ at 30 seconds to off
- Whenever I feel I am losing focus take a moment to re-focus. Take a break if necessary.
- Think of the specific example of 300 races needed to just break even whenever you feel tempted to go IR

Final observations for the racing include the slight change in the trading screen.

I have moved the clock time nearer to the ladder, to be more aware of the time as I am starting to notice money movement patterns at certain times and am trying to build up a better understanding of this. I have also starting using the ‘Trading Profit Calculator’ to close trades, although effectively the same as the ‘Trading profit’ closure option on the ladder, I find it quicker sometimes to just click on ‘Current Close’, particularly when I am in the red and need to kick myself and snap out of any indecision to red out. Also I am using the back price, long average and envelope on the enhanced ladder real time chart. I find this provides more appropriate information for catching swings.

Observations in my trading style: I am still approaching almost every market with the view to scalp. I know this is just not the way forward and I need to learn how to swing trade, or mini swing trade range bound markets. I did catch a couple of mini swings today and am trying to look out for these more and more rather then just automatically scalping.

At present I do not preview the racing card and try to trade every race as I need the experience. Once I have a good sample size of results I intend to analyse this closer to see if there are any patterns in regards to which races I tend to profit from and what tactics seem to be working. However to do this I need an adequate sample of races where no IR tactics are used. This is notably another annoyance of IR closures, as it effectively ruins any potential unbiased results analysis for the whole session. The sample has to be purely pre-race for it to be accurate, and contain redding out closures for me to see which races are truly profitable pre-race.

I have also noticed that I had a bias to enter a trade with a back first, sometimes I even did this when the trend clearly showed otherwise (looking to catch a tick or two of the resistance). Today I felt comfortable laying first, and profiting on each occasion has given me more confidence to lay first when the signs are there. This is good as I know I need to develop a more diverse style if I intend to profit from all available opportunities. I’m also noticing that favourites do drift more often than I had initially anticipated, and sharper than they come in. By catching these moves you can open and close most trades within seconds to profit quickly, minimising market exposure. Also trading blind (no pictures or commentary) did used to affect my confidence, but after thinking about this for a while I am now realising that laying first can actually be safer when you don’t have pictures, as most of the time these drifts would catch out those who back first, whist everyone with pictures is laying taking the price out quickly. Add this to my reasons why I want to back first and I feel I am starting to approach the market with a more neutral perspective.

A brief mention of the football is due, and this was a silly error on my part. Have successfully scalped a few matches pre-match I was looking to get more experience doing this whenever possible. Added a load of International friendlies that seemed appropriate candidates to my market guardian. Liquidity and activity was poor however instead of scraping this idea for these matches, I decided to continue until the England vs Holland match as I felt that this match would at least have descent enough liquidity.

What happened in the Malta vs Georgia was that I didn’t check whether the game was going IR or not. This was not to trade IR, but to allow me to trade to kick-off comfortably and close in the first few seconds of play if I happened to have any open trades. Assuming it was going IR I traded close to the kick off, and off course it went off about a minute early! This of course left me with a £12 bet on the favourites Georgia who evidently went onto lose the match 2 – 0. Silly error on my part as I had no backup exit strategy. I did not let this affect me too much as I knew it was just bad preparation on my part. Was seconds away from getting closures and my trades were actually good. I now know I should always use this scalping strategy on matches where the liquidity is good and for matches that are scheduled to go IR if I intend to trade to kick off. This is much easier to implement and I will continue to scalp footy matches pre-match only if these 2 conditions are definitely met. Sods law I actually missed the England game scalping opportunity as I was focussing on a race at the time!

So in summary I intend to focus now on implementing the points highlighted above to eliminate any IR closures for racing. That is my main aim for my next session and achieving only this will decide whether it has been a success or not. Profiting and ROI are not feasible for analysis when IR closures are responsible for any part of my P & L.

On a more positive note, my flat will be sparkling clean by the end of the week if I maintain this relentless display of indiscipline!


Cran said...

Lots of experience in a few days...

Main thing is that you are realising when you are doing stuff wrong and giving yourself suitable punishments :)

When you do your daily P&L records just add two 0's to every amount and it helps put it in perspective.

with £2 tick size you shouldn't be getting a £16 liability from 8 bets. That's £1600 if you were staking £200...

Close one trade before starting another, you can maybe add in a second to help scratch it, but no more than that... and if it isn't coming back you just have to scratch quickly and move on.

Obviously when you do scratch, it will then go straight back the way you wanted and you'll miss out on a 20 tick profit, but that's just the trading gods having a laugh...

Have added you to my blog list

Good luck

Remember DON'T GO IN PLAY!
Make yourself close everything out at whatever figure you've got 30 secs from the off...

Steve said...

Sorry too much info to read at once, keep the posts snappy and short if you want more readers.

On the trading side you're just starting so expect the worse and stick with your £2 stakes just imagine in your head they're £200. It's easy at this stage to let £16 go in running cos it's a pittance but don't allow it to happen or it'll become part of your strategy even when using £20's etc. In running is always a gamble and if you want to gamble set up a gambling blog. Everyone gets away with it to start but never in the long run.

Using small stakes whilst starting can be godsend or a hinderance make sure you use them properly. Don't feel the need to close out quickly, let your profits run but don't feel the need to cut losses short, despite the usual trading mantra this isn't the financial world and prices will generally recover as quick as they can go against you.

Use this time to get a feel how far ticks generally move as with £2 stakes 10 ticks or so isn't going to hurt and you'll get a good grounding for your next steps.

Just don't expect things to fall into place overnight but those eureka moments will come. Just try and enjoy the learning experience and don't worry about the early losses that money will be well spent if you learn from it.

Anonymous said...

With regard to you trying to implement a discipline by adding it to the list of disciplines and sorting them out over time, I read in mark douglas's book, trading in the zone, that you cant "practice" being consistent, either you are consistent, or you arent, its impossible to be a bit consistent. So, you need to think " I will consistently close my positions before in play", maybe write it down 100 times, You could also select "Take all SP", so that betangel will close them automatically for you when the race goes inplay. It is a hard battle, and so tempting to "just let 1 go in play", but as you say, its an important part of trading

JS said...

Thanks alot for all of the comments, they really are much appreciated.

I did have a much better session today with the 30 secs rules responsible for much of that improvement. I'm also focussing much more on a maximum of open trades at one time. Thanks for the continued support :)

Thank you for you advise. I am certainly developing my strategy and did have a much improved session today. Definitely will not even think about increasing stakes until the IR temptations are completely eliminated. And apologies for the long posts, the blog is essentially a copy and paste job of my trading journal so it can potentially be long on days I have plenty to get off my chest!

I see your point with consistency either being there or not. I do feel though that to be consistent you need to improve the skills that give you the ability to maintain consistent performance. And at this early stage in my development focussing on making these skills overcome all others automatically is the key. I did use the Take all SP function on a few occasions in todays session. They do help but I feel I need to consciously automate the close myself and will focus more on this from now on.

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