Thursday, 25 February 2010

US Spreads

Spread Betting - NBA
Stake: 1 or 2.5% profit of bank
Session P&L: £49.93
Current Bank %: 112.48%

As ever it's been a busy old week, have been working for six days on the trot and am enjoying a well earnt day off.

Although due to work commitments I have had no time to trade the racing markets, I have been quite busy most evenings looking at many US markets and entertaining a statistical betting system that's been kicking about in the back of my mind for a while. I decided to test this with small stakes for the time being as all the maths and data I have reviewed suggest it will be profitable. I am basing my picks on the spreads offered in the current NBA season, and am quite strict as to what spreads I accept, buying points if necessary. It doesn't take too long to calculate my picks and they can vary from night to night, for instance sometimes I don't find any and last night I found three.

After a bit of thought I've decide to make a staking system based on percentage profit of bank, which also includes two bet types, one for strong selections (2.5% profit per bet) and one for other good selections (1% proft per bet). This well automate the increase in stake per bet if things go well and will also protect the bank from any potential losing runs.

So I then went shopping and have opened about eight new accounts with leading bookmakers, mainly based in the US where the juice on these spreads is more varied. Placed my first bet on Sunday and have now placed eight so far, winning six and losing two, giving me a 12.48% increase to my bank. I'm quite happy with that as my first two bets were losers, but I stuck to it knowing that the stats made sense and have had a warmly welcomed winning streak since.

What I like most about this is the little effort involved as opposed to trading price movements or swings in-play. It takes me about 10 minutes a day to check the fixtures and make a decision on the picks, then another 5 minutes to browse over a few bookies and find the best deal to place my bets, and that's it job done. No need to sweat over how it's panning out or lay off some of the liability or hedge etc. It's a simple betting strategy based on stats, and that's why I like it. Another plus is that I can do this everyday, working or not, as at the moment the first game starts around midnight giving me ample time to get all my bets on during the day. I am also looking at expanding to the NFL when the new season is underway, although will need to do a bit more research before committing to that.  

As I did last night, if I haven't got work the next day I might stay up to catch a game or two, basketball is another sport I really enjoy watching, particualrly the NBA. I'm also entertaining the idea of trading the match odds with The Toy, as I'm noticing certain point leads are key in the fluctuation of odds (and the liquidity traded isn't too bad at all). Although I will need to keep monitoring this for a bit longer before I do get involved. A couple of factors are the reliability of the streaming and scoreboards. Also I'm not too sure if I really want to interfere with my enjoyment of the game, as this would involve sacrificing kicking back and having a beer or two!

Little time to progress with anything else this week although now I have this system set up and running I will have more time next week to work on other areas.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

A few more hours of 'fun'

Horse Racing
Unit stake: £5
Session P&L: £24.59
Average market P&L: £0.57

Just a quick update. Have basically picked up where I left off with QuantSports and traded for a few hours on Saturday and Monday - squeezing in 43 markets. I mainly used £5 stakes for both days as I'm still getting used to the new set up, and also I feel I needed the practice being less active in the markets recently. 

I'm pleased to say after a few more hours of trading with these charts, that they have continued to be beneficial. I think it is important to note to not rely heavily on any sole indicator, and to recognise them on their own individual merits, and weight them accordingly. What I mean by this is all previous indicators need to be used collectively with this tool rather than getting too absorbed in the pretty graphs! Quite a few swinging opportunities available today, which is the way I like it.  I typically wait for swings now rather than scalp, which I rarely do unless it is clearly what is required. I caught some really satisfying swings hedging some decent returns considering my staking.

What I am finding of increasing importance recently is awareness of the full market activity, I'm always glancing at the prices of the other runners to help justify my decisions. I really can't wait for The Toy's release of the overview and advanced charting, as this will literally be the cherry on top for me. What I have noticed since I've been using the QuantSports charting is I generally feel more decisive and as a result less drained, and more relaxed. Perhaps this also has something to do with me gaining some more experience, as ever it’s hard to tell. Either way though,  I'm happy with things moving in the right direction. Right best get back to my day job then..

Thursday, 11 February 2010


Today I found myself in the fortunate position to test out the new QuantSports software with Betfair's horse racing markets thanks to Toby's kind offer. This is a bridge between Betfair and NinjaTrader allowing the user to custom create charts with as many preset or custom made indicators desired. With this tool I could fine tune the degree of technical analysis charting displayed in real time on each runner. Now I'm pretty sure many sports traders would instantly reject the need for such a sophisticated charting option, and to be honest having read a lot about technical analysis in the last year, particularly around the time I started trading, I actually made the decision and proved over the next few months that such advanced analysis is not necessary to profit on Betfair.

Having said this though, I was really glad I gave it a go as how can somebody truly know if they haven't tried something for themselves? I haven't seen anything else like this commercially available for sports trading before, and as it has just been released, anyone taking this view must surely fall into that category. I wouldn't consider excel integration with charting directly comparable as QuantSports is truly realtime with user specified display settings varying from tick, time, range and even volume. Also the range of indicators are huge, and as you are able to create your own scripts or download other end user's efforts from the NinjaTrader forums, this gives you the possibility to specify exactly what you want displayed.

One point I'm sure we can all agree on is that the markets are in a constant state of change and assuming that the analysis required to profit last week, month or year will work equally well today is in essence false due to their changing state. We've all seen the hoardes of Betfair systems being sold all over the net which might have worked one day, but things change. So what will enhance our edge? Perhaps this might just be the ticket.

I was a bit gutted to only have a couple of hours in the afternoon and only one more in the evening to give this a go. For most of this time I was adjusting settings and generally getting accustomed to the NinjaTrader program, which to be fair was a bit fiddly but did exactly what was asked in the end. I loaded it up on my laptop so it didn't interfere with my main trading setup, fired up The Toy on my main PC and started clicking away.

Only having a couple of hours to trade I'm not going to write too much about it now as I would like to have some more hands on experience to integrate my trading with QuantSports, but what I will say is that it has impressed me to no end so far. Some of the indicators predicted swings and reversals seconds before they occurred, and I often found myself entering swings right at the top just before the big money came in. I have rarely been in that position so many times in one session before today. I think the main observation so far is that QuantSports has provided me with more confidence to enter aggressively without hesitation and a clearer idea as when to close. Although I would add closes were more effective whilst using different indicators, which I tested on the last couple of races.

I'll leave it at that for now as I do need more time to test further, but no doubt I will be writing more about this little gem as I explore it's features. Here are a few initial screenshots from today:

I have also been watching the tennis markets keenly since my decision to learn more about trading these markets. Mainly I've been watchng matches at work with the Betfair market open to see how certain points and incidents affect the prices. It has been very interesting so far and to boot I've witnessed some great tennis! I am currently arranging a Skype session with TraderShark soon which I am very much looking forward to.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Branching out

The little trading break I've had has got me thinking much about where I am headed. At the moment I have traded profitably on two sports, horse racing and football, both of which I was attracted to by the liquidity and opportunities to profit. More recently, particularly when the challenge to profit was not so apparent, I have become increasingly disinterested in trading horse racing. I'm not entirely sure why however my efforts to learn more about the sport, listen to commentaries, watch more races and even trade in running have not really made the impact I thought they might. When I started trading on my days off, it seemed like a challenging and exciting activity, recently this rarely seems to be the case, and my enthusiasm is just not what it used to be. As stated from the start of the blog  my preference was always racing due to opportunity, and the less trading time I found myself with, has eventually left me just trading racing and nothing else - not really what I had intended. I don't feel that the racing is particularly boring as such, but the exclusion of everything else to focus on it alone has made me feel bored due to the lack of diversity.

I think the solution to this is straightforward. I need to have a more varied schedule, which would mean to not only include football equally again, but leave time to experiment with other sports also. I will continue to trade the racing as part of the new schedule. Although I have never mentioned it before, tennis has always been a sport I much prefer watching, probably even more than football. I think now is a good time to explore these trading opportunities. Ultimately I'd like to have a diverse portfolio and be able to trade all the major events at different times of the year, for this to happen I need to start branching out and tennis will be the next sport I attempt to trade.

Reading around the forums and other bloggers it seems that there are quite a few tennis strategies being discussed which I have found interesting, particularly the mechanical and momentum orientated ones. I'm not such a big fan of the punting side based on price but if I find a strategy that looks profitable, I'm likely to give it a go initially just out of interest. My research has been limited so far but it is already apparent that TV pics are not fast enough anymore to scalp IR - a bit of a let down as this was the first tactic I was looking at (mainly as I could watch the match whilst I traded).

Anyway that's enough rambling for one post, if I do this right February and March should include racing, football and tennis. Let's see how it goes.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

February quite contrary

Horse Racing
Unit stake: £5-10
Session P&L: £10.84
Average market P&L: £0.84

Can finally put January behind me, it's been a frustrating month with such little opportunity, firstly by me needing to settle into a new job and simply not having the time to trade, followed by the effects of the extreme weather on the cards, and then finally the API failing on almost a daily basis. The latter point still looks like it has not been fully resolved yet by Betfair, but today I simply had to go for it as I found myself with a rare whole afternoon available. Had my backups all ready just in case I needed to close out suddenly, thankfully everything seemed to be running well. Today held another personal test as since 19th December I have only traded 2 days prerace, and it has been nagging me as to whether my progress' momentum would suffer. The change of software has also had its impact and although I felt uncomfortable at first I feel better for it now. I don't seem to have lost much in regards to reading the markets from the break, and if anything I felt more patient today then before. I did notice a few bad habits creeping in, in fact they almost all made a brief appearance at some point. Gladly I feel like I'm spotting and controlling them faster than before which can only be a good thing. I started with £5 stakes to ease my way in for the first 3 markets and used £10 for the remaining 10. Although no losing races a couple of the small greens above represent poorly traded races, I lost much of my green due to some poor decisions, but I suppose its all part of the game. Should also mention that there will be no January review for lack of activity.

Am hoping to have some time again tomorrow and will definitely be trading if that's the case. Hope today faired well for the rest of you.
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Other software I have found useful so fa..

Soccer Mystic - Betfair trading software