Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Phootie Alpha Live

Thought I might as well post a little update.

So my first football bot Phootie went live on the 7th May. After a few successful days testing on the 2.5 goals market,  I added the 3.5 market to the equation, and after a few more days the 1.5 & match odds markets were also included. The bot itself is relatively simple and basically seeks out value and bets accordingly in-play.

I actually felt a bit gutted as it went live just in time for all the major European football competitions to come to a close. My prior analysis indicated that Phootie's tactic would be suitable for these higher liquid competitions. Plus I always feel that the end of a season is not the best time for football betting in general, as you can't help but feel that many teams & players are not quite as keen as they would otherwise be. This makes it a bit trickier to determine true value (particularly for my simpleton bot!)

I decided to continue testing during the off season anyway, mainly to gather data as I have no data for this time of the year. It would if for nothing else give me a good indication of whether to pursue with this tactic at this time of the season in the future. Surely enough, I'm noticing a clear difference in results even with this minimal data.

I've included a graph below of just under 2000 markets Phootie decided to participate in. This is not a particularly adequate sample size, but I thought I would include it here to demonstrate the clear distinction I'm noticing. Also remember this is split unevenly between 4 differnt market types and is mostly for football during the off season, as this was when all 4 were mostly firing. It would have been better if I had started all 4 markets at the same time but I needed to test the waters for a few days as I was not sure at that time if my bot was actually going to work. The green line shows approximately when the major football competitions ended and the red my starting bank.

So even form the above data the off season is looking like a clear loser for Phootie, however I will continue with it anyway for the reasons already mentioned. My staking here is tiny and the profit or loss made is not really the main purpose. What is promising is even for that small window when the major football competitions were still running, profits were being made & the bot seemed to handle a couple of busy weekends flawlessly. I don't think I will be convinced to really go for it with Phootie though until I have a full season under my botting belt.

As mentioned previously on the blog, I do like to branch out and will continue to do so. I am now working on a horse racing bot however due to the increased sophistication required for that project, it will take some more time to get that one up and running. My programming skills are improving but the learning curve has somewhat steepened as this bot will be doing much more than Phootie. Tennis, Dogs and perhaps even Basketball also look likely to follow. I also think some different football tactics might be worth pursuing. Happy to report roboguilt has subsided and I'm looking forward to getting stuck into these projects over the next few months.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Beware Bfexplorer

As you can imagine I have contacted quite a few people over past few weeks in regards to getting a simple bot operational. The main purpose is to test the waters and hopefully build a positive relationship with a developer, which will eventually give me the ability to create and run more complex botting ideas.

I did not feel the need to share all of my poor experiences, as I would expect to deal with a few parties before eventually settling on one. Plus I'm not really one to dwell on negativity and ineptitude. However I have made an exception for one chap, Stefan of bfexplorer, whos persistant amateaurish behaviour has left me with little choice. This post is mainly to warn any prospective traders/botters to stay away from bfexplorer following my poor experiences. I apologise for anyone else who may be associated with this product, however as Stefan clearly associates himself as the representaion of bfexplorer my experience reflects the product as a whole and not just Stefan.

I would consider myself a realist as in I expect a fair standard of support from someone who is offering a service for £30 a month. Even without a subscription fee there are a few basic standards that you would expect anyone to adhere to, no matter what part of this planet they came from.

The first is that personal correspondence is in fact kept between corresponding parties unless both agree otherwise. Solely deciding to share private content to others is not only terribly amateurish and unprofessional but also very worrying if you were an actual paying customer with a valued history of correspondence. Could you imagine a few months down the line, after you had spent a decent amount of time & money developing a working bot and were corresponding with Stefan throughout, he then decides to share all your correspondence with everyone just because he feels like it. I can't imagine how any long term subscribers (if indeed there are any) must be feeling knowing that all correspondence with Stefan, in his view has no privacy boundaries whatsoever. This must be doubly concerning when discussions involve sensitive information such as specific botting strategies.

Another point to consider is that Stefan likes to twist reality to validate any points he is trying to make. Let's look at an example of this. He clearly states on his site that if you have an offer for the subscription fee, or if you have a blog and are willing to promote his product then send him an email. When someone does send him an email, for one reason or another this becomes an issue for Stefan. Strange behaviour as this is what he requests, particularly if they have a blog. At any point did my email ask for free access to his product? The answer is no. Of course, he is trying to make a point and decides that I was asking for free access and that me writing in with an offer is completely unacceptable. I had to write again after he ignored me initially to get this comical response:

'I am sorry man, but what you offer is not interested for me.'
'I did not give him free access to bfexplorer.'

I have corresponded over a few emails, and although after only a couple I felt using his product would carry some additional uncertainty, I could never imagine somebody in his position to have reacted in such a childish and unprofessional manner. The sad thing is his product does actually look decent enough to do the job, but his poor communication skills coupled with his attitude makes this risk unacceptable. I suspect maybe some will feel I might have a personal problem with Stefan, or perhaps my experience is just a one off. Sadly this is not true, there is some more recent evidence here, here and here - and I can only imagine how many others have discarded his product due to this poor form. Moreover, when I first asked around the trading community about his product, it didn't take long for me to get ample feedback, confirming that my initial suspicions were regrettably all true.

The bottom line is no matter how good the product is, it pales in comparison to others because Stefan is inadequate to fulfil basic standards of support. The only reason I felt the need to post about this is because of continued poor standards and attitude, and unfortunately for Stefan my views are shared by many others in the trading community.

I do hope this serves as an adequate account of why anyone considering using bfexplorer should definitely not do so. There are plenty of alternatives out there that perform similar functionality, are cheaper to run and offer great support. As a trading app £5 a month may seem reasonable at first, but then again The Toy is a far superior product, offers great support & banter in the forum, and of course it's completely free. For botting functionality Market Feeder Pro is the way forward. Functionality is on par, price is cheaper particularly on longer term packages, and the support is excellent both by email and in their forum.

So you have been warned, I hope this post serves the purpose on saving someone the sheer shenanigans of dealing with this imbicile and everything that he represents. 

Following on nicely from that, I am testing some strategies with MFPro at the moment, and so far have been very pleased with both the performance and support. Will be posting more about this on another post.
Completely free Betfair trading software..

Other software I have found useful so fa..

Soccer Mystic - Betfair trading software