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.
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