Saturday, July 29, 2006

Test match and darts trading

Daily Result: £164.14

Most the profit came from the 2nd test between England and Pakistan which England wrapped up today (Day 3!) in convincing style.

To be honest the green was made during the few hours of Thrusday's action that I mangaged to watch. After Pakistan's collapse an England win was never really in doubt if the rain held off and that was reflected in England's price. So I kind of missed out on any chance of a really decent result by not seeing all of Thursday's action but still happy with the outcome. And great to see Harmison get some confidence back and Monty continuing to emerge.

Had a look in on the darts final tonight too. I used to trade the darts many moons ago but stopped because I had issues with the clock / picture delay. Anyway, I'd been paper trading a few matches recently after a few discussions about what it's like to trade darts these days and decided to try a few live trades tonight as it was the last chance for a while. Was only playing with £50 for a few legs just to test the water as it were. In theory it's a fantastic game to trade and should be nice and profitable for someone with my approach. Made just over £10 either result before leaving it and will probably take a closer look next time a televised tourament turns up. Enjoy watching the arrers anyway! So may well be worth picking up how to trade them properly again.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Back to winning ways

Daily Result: £142.47

Well, Kent tried their best again to make me return a red but this time managed to avoid a loss! Their Pro 40 game with Somerset was quite eventful really.

At the start Kent were a very tempting 2.3. Certainly an interesting price but given their recent atrocious form it would have been a fairly brave punt. I took some on the toss news but laid back as low as 2.12 before a ball had been bowled.

Anyway, it looked a great batting track and the temptation was to trade them on the expectation of a competitive 260/270+. Sure enough they started well but then fell into Kent mode with quick wickets. The innings turned a little farcical after that with comedy run outs and I decided to give up hope on Kent and play as if it was going to be a Somerset win.

So Somerset needed 214 from 40 at 5.35 on what is regarded as the best batting track in the country. What could possibly go wrong? Well, shot selection!! Somerset were skittled for 104. Unbelievable.

Luckily I was taking a very cautious approach to the game and was perfectly happy with the profit. But it's got to be said this was really a great trading game and a bit of missed opportunity to further boost this month's profit. I'm sure there were a fair few on Betfair that had rather good results on this match!

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Monday, July 24, 2006

Twenty20 cricket loss

Daily Result: £155.26

Well tomorrow was another day. But unfortunately Kent were playing again. And again they had a bit of a mare. And again so did I! In fact I'm fearing Kent are turning into the Bjorkman's of the cricket world for me!

So where to start? Well, backing Kent who were batting first of course! Even after yesterday's disaster. I figured I've seen Kent and they usually have a pretty good Twenty20 strategy (something that was obviously missing from their Pro40 match) so I backed them to post a good total.

And while I'm sure Kent did have a strategy unfortunately so did Leicestershire. And it was Leicestershire's that won through with another excellent bowling spell from Broad. He dismissed Key in the first over and by the time Kent lost their third wicket shortly later - to a run out with the batsmen dawdling up the wicket believing there was no danger - I was nicely all red again. And cursing Kent again!

Anyway, Kent staged a mini recovery but were always short of runsas Leicestershire started their innings. I was back to green on Leicestershire but with a moderate red kent when the chasse started slowing. I looked for a quick trade backing Kent at 4.3 just in time for a big Leicestershire over and had to take another loss.

So, that's two pretty bad losing days in a row. For I think the second time this month. Not good. I've never had 3 losing days on the trot since starting the blog so am hoping not to break that particular record.

Anyway, I can't trade tomorrow but should be able to for the Pro40 game on Wednesday. Which, you've guessed it, involves Kent!! I'm sure Somerset will start favourites for that one and fingers crossed I'll turn a profit. Figure Kent owe me that much at least!!

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Sunday, July 23, 2006

Large cricket trading loss

Daily Result: £336.05

Pretty disasterous look in to the Surrey v Kent Pro40 match really. Didn't actually do too much wrong but got caught out badly at the start of the Surrey innings after Kent's poor knock. Was already in a bit of a hole by then though...

Kent batted first and started off slowly as the new ball was swinging. Just as they were starting to pick the run rate up as the shine wore off Surrey moaned about the shape of the ball and got another new one. Which led to another 5 overs of poor run rate. By then I'd bailed from my Kent back.

Anyway, kent were 57 from 15 overs. Poor but with a good batting track and small ground you have to believe they will try and pick the rate up. But despite an adequate cameo from Jones, on break from England duty, the whole innings was dire. And I was left thinking perhaps the wicket wasn't as good as everyone thought. Anyway, couple all that with some pretty poor liquidity and at the break I was all red.

At that point I figured it was worth putting a little more red on Surrey to green Kent up and hope there was a slow start to the Surrey innings - or an early wicket or two. Both of which would have enabled me to get out with a small red each way at that stage.

But disaster! First ball was a no ball. With a free hit. Next ball was a no ball with a free hit. So that was 8 of the first ball and the Surrey price was in freefall. 17 came from the first over, Surrey were 1.12 and I was screwed! So much for a tight start from Kent. Has to be said their batting was pretty dire, but the bowling was if anything worse.

Anyway, position was unrecoverable from there unless there was a minor miracle (there wasn't!) or I deposited more money to trade with (Which i don't do). So I ended up taking the hit with my position going from managable and ok to disasterous in less than an over.

Know it's, of course, my fault and I shouldn't blame Kent but it's bloody tempting! Was a pretty inept display all round really. Oh well, to borrow a phrase, tomorrow is another day...

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

U19 cricket and The Sportsman

Daily Result: £17

I'd got through a fair bit of work this morning so decided to have a look in at the Under 19 ODI between England and India. The perceived wisdom on Betfair was that India would walk it and they duly did.

Liquidity was pretty poor though so after a quick early trade or two I decided to leave it and just had it on in the background before going up the driving range. Playing a couple of friends tomorrow afternoon and haven't had a swing for a couple of weeks. No idea how we're going to make it around and may even opt for 9 holes. Knocking 60 balls off the driving range nearly killed me in this heat!

Nothing to really trade tomorrow apart from another under 19s game. If you fancy an outright punt at short odds 1.28 is available on Betfair. (See some early birds got as high as 1.5) Hardly a tip at that price, especially when they were 1.6x before yesterday's match. But the Indian bowling that I saw yesterday was very disciplined and pretty impressive to be honest. Really can't see anything other than a 3-0 series win for the Indians. Leave it up to you to decide if you think the price is value. Not my cup of tea but for any short odds punters out there it's at least worth a quick look.

Finally, a quick word on The Sportsman. Unfortunately it's been placed into administration but will continue to be published. I know it's not perfect but at least it's an alternative to the Racing Post. And if the Sportsman goes the Post will simply revert back to its monopoly position and standards will fall further again.

It seems the Sportsman needs a daily circulation of 40,000 to survive. After the initial honeymoon period post launch it's fallen to less than 24,000. If you've ever moaned about the quality of the Racing Post do your duty and go and buy a Sportsman today! Surely it's better to at least have an option to buy it even if you don't read it regularly?

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Pro40 trading experiment

Daily Result: £103.47

Well, considering I somehow managed to find myself £230 red any result at the change of innings I'd have settled for any green on today's Worcestershire v Gloucestershire Pro40 game. So a win of just over £100 is a bit of a bonus really.

After 10 overs I was £100 green the pair which makes the half-time loss even more perplexing. Of course, I know how I got there. Just a bit pissed off I did! Especially as I was feeling pretty smug as I'd finally got round to buying a fan for my office and for once it didn't feel like I was sat in a sauna! A cool head though doesn't always lead to a cool thought process it seems.

Truth is I usually don't leave myself exposed to the market for very long at all. In and out very quickly. But for longer events, like the recent test match I'm prepared to take a more of a positional approach, stick with open trades for longer and not worry so much about a few ticks.

I know people have very different methods of trading and today, once I had some green behind me, I thought I would try this longer term approach as an experiment in a shorter event. It's something I've been wanting to try for a while. But unfortunately I screwed up. Twice.

For starters I took both positions at the wrong price and for too large a sum. Worcestershire for 1k at below 1.5 with Glos 65 odd for 3 in the first innings wasn't the smartest move. Bailed from that one to lose the green I'd already accumulated. Then, just to prove I really can be dumb sometimes, I did the same again later in the innings. Really got screwed that time as the liquidity seemed to dry up and I stuggled to dump it finally bailing out at 1.69!!

So after levelling out at £230 red the pair at half time I decided to get back to basics for the Gloucestershire innings. Thankfully the market obliged with first Worcestershire, and then Gloucestershire going short enabling me to simply trade away the red and settle for £100 green the pair again as I hitched a ride on the prices.

Not the most successful of experiments then. Ultimately pleased with the green because of the earlier mess but can't help thinking what could have been if I'd just stuck with the usual trading pattern. Still, you learn through experimenting. Will just put more thought into the next time I try something different. And it probably makes sense to trial it away from the blog, and for smaller sums.

Not sure if I'll get round to trading tomorrow. No televised tennis. And not convinced this England u19 ODI appeals. I don't know very much about either team at all really and am sure the liquidity will be pretty poor too. Been meaning to do a big post about trading stats for a while so might get round to that instead with the game on in the background.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Pro40 cricket trading

Daily Result: £211.59

Had a look at the first ever televised Pro40 match today. So ok, it may be yet another rehash of the old Sunday League, but a 40 over innings match is a great trading opportunity and that was enough for me to tune in!

As it was Essex were obviously the big pre-match favourites over Northamptonshire and unfortunately won the toss and elected to bat. I usually prefer the underdogs to bat first as there's bigger scope market movement if they get off to a good start and post a decent total. As a result, although some lucky sod appears to have got 1.7 about Essex pre match, once it got in play the pressure was pretty much downwards from a 1.5ish start to the finish which limited any real opportunity for juicy trades at least.

Should have really cleared £300 on the game but with two wickets down in the Northants innings, and Sales showing he's still a class batsman at county level, I had a cheeky, and as it turned out foolish, lay of Essex. Was hoping for a few more quick runs and a nice trade. What I actually got was a wicket two balls later and a reduced win.

Didn't actually watch too much of the second innings after the first 12 overs or so as the result was a bit of a no brainer at 1.07 ish. But I have seen 1.01s get turned over in cricket before so did keep an eye on the game. And was pleased I did as someone decided to have some fun. With Nottingham around 90ish runs for 4 wickets, and needing over 9 an over from the remaining 20 or so someone put up a £2 million lay of Essex at 1.02. Not the biggest sum I've seen on Betfair by any means but I suspect whoever it was endured a bit of a brown trouser moment when Sales was out and they rushed to cancel the bet hoping they hadn't just dropped £40k by being too slow!! Guess you've got to be pretty sure of your computer set up and internet connection to play around with that kind of cash.

Anyway, pleased with the profit. All helps to build the month's profit after a poor start and keeps the wedding funds ticking over nicely. Tomorrow sees Worcestershire v Gloucestershire in another Pro40 game on Sky so will probably have a dip into that one at some point too.

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Monday, July 17, 2006

England v Pakistan test match

Daily Result: £441.90

First of all apologies for not posting for a few days. In between it being my birthday, enjoying the weather and bit of a break in decent televised tennis I've not got round to much trading. However, over the last few days I have been dipping in and out of the test match between England and Pakistan and the result was around £450. Poorer than it should have been but got to be pleased really. Enough for my fiancee to decide she's buying a new necklace for the big day at least!

Anyway, after the short break I'm looking forward to getting back down to it again. The new Pro40 cricket starts tomorrow, the Twenty20 cricket restarts on July 24th and there's also the two Twenty20 semi finals and final on August 12th. Definitely keeping that day free for a spot of trading - should be a cracker!

Tennis wise Sky start the big build up to the US Open (Aug 28th onwards) with coverage from the Toronto and Cincinnati ATP events from August 8th so will be looking to get involved in those. In the meantime I guess I'll have to endure the Eurosport and, heaven forbid, Eurosport 2 coverage of whatever matches they decide to show "live". Plenty of cricket to keep my busy in the meantime though - in fact virtually a televised match a day for the forseeable future!

So the test match? Well, there's so much to say I'll probably not say too much or you'll soon get very bored! Got to be happy with the profit but the reality is I was over £400 green any result at the end of day 3 and managed to screw day 4 up completely. Quite how is a mystery as the markets didn't move very much. I could even see that and should have just left it rather than trying to nick a few ticks here and there which eventually ended up with my losing money. Complete waste of a few hours on a glorious afternoon to be honest. And very frustrating.

Anyway, looking forward to the first Pro40 game. Best of luck to anyone who dips their toes into it. Can't see how it can be anything but a great trading format.

And for anyone that has left comments / emails that I haven't replied to apologies but I'll get round to answering them over the next day or so.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Gstaad tennis trading

Daily Result: £11

After the excitement of two Grand Slam tournaments in quick succession a return to the clay courts of the Gstaad open was always going to be a bit of a climb down.

Especially as it was being shown "live" on Eurosport 2 - which seemed more interested in showing adverts about the fact that it was covering the tournament than it was in actually showing the any of the tennis action. (How difficult it is to return from an ad break in time to catch the first point?!)

Anyway, started trading the Novak v Kohlschreiber match but quickly realised I wasn't really interested and stopped to get on with some proper work. Looked back in later hoping to catch the Ljubicic match but it turned out there were big rain delays so left it for the day. Though I guess at least the Novak match was played to completion as there was an extra £11 in my account this evening!

Will get on with some work tomorrow and have the 1st England v Pakistan test on in the background. Generally find I become more of a position taker in the early stages of test matches and am involved far less in terms of trades made. So should be able to get some work done while easily keeping tabs on the match. Looking forward to it.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Sussex v Essex 20/20

Daily Result: £27.80

Not a lot to say really. Got on the wrong side of a couple of early trades and was £70 red the pair at the break. Didn't really fancy Essex to make the chase but Irani finally had a decent televised innings and a four off the last ball did it. (I was hoping for a dot ball and a tie!) Didn't see the whole game and left it at around £30 win or lose when they were about evens thinking Sussex would nick it. Too late to get out really when I got back to the game so just left it.

Anyway, that's it for Twenty20 games until the 1/4 finals later in the month. Been a good couple of weeks dipping into them. Enjoyable fast paced stuff but attention now turns to the first test on Thursday. Will be very slow in comparison but looking forward to watching it.

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Monday, July 10, 2006

Cricket trading: 20/20 match

Daily Result: £155.21

Was out and about today but caught some of the rescheduled Glamorgan v Gloucestershire Twenty20 game this evening. Traded the Glamorgan innings and thought they'd actually made a fair go at it. With 190 runs on the board with a ground average of 165 I was surprised to see 1.5x available at the innings break. Sure, bowling with a wet ball isn't easy but the outfield was slow and the boundaries big.

The reason, of course, was the Gloucestershire opening pair of Harvey and Spearman. I decided to keep my green pretty level until they were out and was pleased I did as they made a good start on the run chase. Only got to see a few overs of the reply though before I had to stop trading the game.

Shame as it looks like the markets would have been all over the place with Gloucestershire making an unlikely 37 off the last 3 overs to win. Still, after a poor recent run I'll settle for the green I did get. Good to be back into profit for the month!

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Sunday, July 09, 2006

Freddie Flintoff returns to cricket

Daily Result: £41.68

And what a simply stunning return it was too. I mean, can you think of anyone who can produce figures of 3 overs, 0 maidens, 4 runs and 3 wickets. In Twenty20?!! Awesome stuff. And the big man seemed to make it through the game injury free too. Great to see him on the road to recovery.

Get the feeling the game itself would have been pretty costly to some. And it nearly was me. I got the news that Nottinghamshire had won the toss and decided to bat before it got on Cric Info so cracked out a fair old back of Notts. The news that Flintoff was playing was old, and, so I thought, factored into the market already.

But no. It seems as soon as it was announced on Sky the Lancs backers piled in. (Honestly, the news was 24 hours old!!) I hung on hoping for a few quick runs. 9 off the first over but still Lancs were shortening! Put it down to the Flintoff Factor or the usual Lancs being over bet. Either way I was pretty incredulous. And then Cork picked up a wicket. I bailed. And thank f*ck I did! Notts ended up 14 for 5 from 6 overs at a not so impressive 2.33 runs an over! Which kind of made it a non event trading wise. And left me rather thankful I followed some basic stop loss rules. Made a profit on the game but was peanuts compared to what some must have made in 15 minutes without an original hefty back of Notts to take care of.

Caught part of the last set from the Wimbledon men's final but Federer was already a break up and 1.04. Watched the last few games and made a few quid though it would be stretching the truth to say I "traded" it. :-)

And then on to the World Cup. Pleased Italy won. My finacee's deep dislike of Arsenal (She's from Manchester and is a big United fan) must have finally rubbed off on me as I just couldn't have Henry holding the cup. Was really just hoping for an enjoyable match. Wasn't bad as a spectacle until it became clear extra time was going to be played. Just a shame Zidane lost the plot. From hero to villain in a few crazy seconds. Would just love to know what Materazzi said to him.

Anyway, after the tennis trading disaster earlier in the month I'm back into profit for July again. So smiles all round and, touchwood, I can now build on the green.

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Saturday, July 08, 2006

Twenty20 cricket trading

Daily Result: £136.9

A pleasing dip into the Twenty20 cricket match between Durham and Derbyshire. Good result, good game to trade and exciting to watch. Another last ball thriller in fact!

Missed most the Derbyshire innings so picked the game up half way through. Think there was general agreement on the Betfair forum that Derbyshire was overpriced at 2.1x at the half way stage - and a couple of quick Durham wickets saw the Derbyshire price plummet. Just followed the price down as the wickets fell and within 9 overs had picked up a 3 figure green on each result.

With the match seemingly all but over I had a cheeky lay of Derbyshire at 1.06 hoping for a big scoring over. Some awesome batting put Durham right back into the game - and they even went favourites - but unfortunately I'd long since closed out the 1.06 lay. Shame as missed out on some big profit. The Twenty20 markets are so volatile in close matches though I tend to just make some profit if possible and just enjoy watching the end of the game. Getting involved at the death of these games is for braver types than me! Anyway, the game boiled down to 3 needed off the last two balls, then 3 off the last. But a last ball wicket clinched the win for Derbyshire.

One interesting thing during the game was at the fall of the 4th Durham wicket. I placed a back at 1.08 and got matched. Only to see the market suddenly shoot out to 1.13 for a split second before settling back to 1.08. Meaning I missed out on 5 ticks and someone else got the 1.13! So what happened? Well, I guess I just beat the other players into the market because of the one click trading software I use. The software (There's a free trial for anyone interested) often enables me to pick off a price just before a stack of other money tries to get the same price. Which is obviously an advantage. But it seems today getting my trade submitted so quickly was a disadvantage! And someone slightly slower got the best price!! Still, more often than not it works to my advantage so can't really complain!

Anyway, a quick congratulations to Mauresmo on winning Wimbledon. True to my poor form of late I suggested I wouldn't back her outright to win (though did say she'd be good to trade at her starting price.) I didn't see the match but have been told Henin-Hardenne basically bottled it. True or not it was Mauresmo who I thought would have the mental problems when the winning line came into sight and it seems she held on this time. So well done, and it should finally silence the doubters about her Australian open win over the Belgian too.

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Friday, July 07, 2006

Trading and psychology

Daily Result £50.85

Back to winning ways. Just. But winning ways none the less. I traded two events today. Lost around £150 on the Baghdatis v Nadal tennis semi final from Wimbledon and won around £200 on the Lancashire v Yorkshire Twenty20 cricket clash.

Just seem to be going through the doldrums at the moment when it comes to trading. By that I mean the first three trades I placed on the tennis I had to close out for a loss. And then once the cricket went in running it was the same with the first two. Couple that with the amount of times I've had to close out for losses over the last few days compared to usual and it could be said I'm going through a bit of a bad patch.

As it is once I was around £150 red the pair in the tennis I simply left the match. By then it I couldn't even green up on Nadal even if I dumped my trading balance on him and figured my time would be better spent trying to make money on the Twenty20 cricket, which was about to start, rather than trying to reduce my tennis red. Basically there was more potential - and this kind of decision is something I discussed recently on the post about my biggest tennis loss to date. So maybe I did learn something from that loss!

Anyway, I switched at the end of the first set and got on with the cricket. Enjoyable game despite the poor trading start and although Yorkshire walked it in the end it was close for a long time and I kept my green pretty even throughout.

The experience of the last few days - with the market frequently moving against me as soon as I enter it - reminds me of when I used to play poker more seriously. I used to play a lot of short handed no-limit holdem cash games and even managed to win some pretty substantial tournaments both on and offline.

I had the full set up and used poker tracker to monitor results, target players, pick games and decide where to sit on games I entered etc. And also used GT+ for real time stats overlays when I was playing. Ultimately I reduced my playing hours as, for the stakes I was willing to play at, trading on Betfair provided a better hourly return - and, of course, the returns were more consistent. Afterall, it doesn't matter how good a poker player you are you are going to suffer bad runs where you seem to constantly lose to bad beats. Over time luck will even out. But that doesn't mean you won't get your fair share of poor luck.

Anyway, in conjunction with using all the software I read *a lot* about poker. And in amongst all the books on strategy, tells and statistics etc was a gem called Zen and the Art of Poker.

Now the book didn't really say anything I didn't already know. And, in fact, had some pretty poor strategy advice in I thought. But what it did have, all in one place, was thoughts on how to deal with losses, poor runs, bad beats and all things shit that poker throws at every player at some point.

And this is the real point about this poker anecdote. Ironically, although it has absolutely nothing to do with trading, for a long time I've considered the book one of the best you will ever find on the pyschology of trading. Amazingly enough, when I just went to Amazon to provide a link for the book, I found a user review which concurs precisely with what I'm trying to say. Infact, the guy sums it up better than I can when he says:

"Poker and trading are strikingly similar disciplines. They are both one man endeavors; they are both zero sum games played for financial gain at the expense of opponents; they are both oriented towards luck in the short run but skill in the long run; they both require proficiency in the realm of probability and statistics; they both require a taste for risk and an aversion to risk in equal amounts; they both require an ability to read the emotions of others while controlling the emotions within yourself; and they both see profits consistently flow from the losing many to the winning few over time. Because of these similarities, the skill sets of the poker player and the trader are in many ways interchangeable."

What a fantastic summary. I'm sure many of you traders out there who also play poker must be nodding your heads in agreement.

Anyway, of course, what it all boils down to is the fact that in the last couple of days I've dug out my copy of Zen and the Art of Poker and had a flick through. Just to remind myself to stay calm, not chase and ride out the rough patch. Stick to the basics that I know work and wait for the poor run to pass.

And you know what. It's worked! I'm calm about the rough patch, focussed on what to do and not to do next, and looking forward to what I hope will be a return to form over the next few weeks. A highly recommended read.

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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Tennis and cricket trading

Daily Result: £75.95

Well, I accepted yesterday's loss but am more annoyed with this one simply because I made a pretty basic error.

Started out with the Mauresmo v Sharapova match. Hard work. I don't care what people say Mauresmo has problems when the winning line comes into sight. And it's not just at the French. Today she managed to lose the second set from 4-1 up and on serve. And nearly did the same in the final set from 4-0 up and on serve. Which all proved rather frustrating for me to trade and I ended up making less than a fiver having to bail from short priced backs when she should have been mopping the game up.

Not going to bet outright on the final but honestly wouldn't even consider Mauresmo at the 2.92 she currently is on Betfair. May make a fair trade yes but as an outright punt I'd leave it. Just can't trust her to close a game out with any authority whatsoever. (Just watch her walk it now!!)

Turned to the Essex v Middlesex match in the evening and contrived to turn a £130 all green into nearly and £80 loss. Couple of losing trades accounted for some of it but ultimately the costly mistake was thinking a six had been hit when in reality the batsmen had been caught out on the boundary!

I managed to get my £500 at 1.37 matched and was rather chuffed - only to see the maket rocket out to 1.6x a split second later. Doh!! Did show something interesting though and that was that I was the fastest into the market. By that I mean I managed to get my 1.37 back into the market before anyone laying managed to get their 1.6x lays into the market. Guess it shows the absolute value of the one click trading software I use. But is also a lesson in being careful with it!

Anyway, that's two losing days in a row. Never gone more than that since starting the blog so keeping my fingers crossed for tomorrow. Will skip the Federer match (has there ever been a shorter priced semi final favourite?) and probably concentrate on the Nadal game and the Lancashire v Yorkshire 20/20 match. That should be a cracker.

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Biggest tennis trading loss

Daily Result: £577.8

Feck it! And then feck it some more!! So I suffered my first maximum loss today. The market I screwed up on was Stepanek v Bjorkman. And you could say I'm not best pleased! But, strange as it may sound, although I'm obviously very disappointed with the end result I'm not actually that annoyed with my trading performance. That's not to say I didn't make mistakes - I've just made worse in the past and there were some positives to draw from it too. Let me explain...

Having thought on it overnight (writing this next morning) and with the benefit of looking what happened with fresh eyes it's pretty clear this isn't the worst match I've traded in terms of what I actually did. Sure, I've identified three mistakes whch I'll discuss below, but ultimately much of the loss boils down to the simple fact that I had to close off a large number of positions for a loss. Just seemed like one of those games where everytime I touched it the market moved against me and I had to take another loss. Add all the positions up and the losses mount. Just as if you add all those winning trades up the winnings grow. That said, if I hadn't made any of the three mistakes the losses would have been smaller.

Mistake 1 - Not quitting the match earlier
I enjoy trading. A lot. But this game was not fun. Ended up trading it because I had to rather than because I wanted to. And that is not a situation I like. I was never all green during the match and wanted out of it from the first rain break. Instead I spent the best part of seven hours watching the game and waiting for it to restart during rain breaks. Might sound ridiculous but I was knackered by the end of it. Couldn't believe Stepanek prolonged my misery by missing match point in the 4th before condemning me to sit through another set!!

My red was up and down throughout the match - and at one point early in the second I could have levelled out for around £5 red the pair. Attempted one more trade so I could quit the match ahead but lost on it. And the next.

Even at the time I realised this was not a "predictable" match in the way many are and as such I should have just quit it for a better prospect. I so nearly did level out for a £250 loss either way when the Hewitt v Baghdatis match started. (This was the match I had down as the best one to trade for the day.) But in the end I missed the whole thing preferring to try to reduce my red on the Stepanek v Bjorkman game rather than trying and make some green on the Hewitt match.

Mistake 2 - Not levelling out early enough in the final set
Could have levelled out at around £150 red the pair at one stage. Bjorkman was a break up, his price was in freefall, I was a few hundred green on him and Stepanek looked like he'd totally given up - to the point where he'd even stopped running to try and save points. That was a key decision point. Take the £150 loss right there or run with the game. I thought Bjorkman was bossing it at that stage, couldn't see Stepanek coming back and hung on for my green. Usually I just make these decisions and level out, or adjust my red / green to reflect the odds, but this time, probably because of Stepanek's body language, I left the position alone. The decision was made in conjunction with my thinking on mistake 3

Mistake 3 - Misjudging the potential market swing
Hands up. This was the big one. And the one I'm most annoyed about as Im usually pretty accurate in predicting market movements. Shortly after the decision point in mistake 2 I was over £300 green Bjorkman and over £900 red Stepanek. Regular readers will know I have a maximum £500 loss limit on any market. (A figure which before this match I've thankfully not got too near.)

Anyway, Bjorkman was low 1.6x. As mentioned I have him down as the winner at this point. But always with an eye on my maximum loss I'm obviously working out what happens if Stepanek breaks back, however unlikely I think it is. I figured that Stepanek would definitely go odds on even though it would be something like 4-4 in the 5th set. The market would recognise the momentum was also now with him and factoring that in I believed his price would be around 1.7. Which meant I would be able to bail for around a £400 loss either way if, in what I considered the unlikely scenario, that he did break back. So everything was looking good.

Except he did break back. His price went into freefall on his own serve and I was left chasing the market. There wasn't enough liquidity on Bjorkman's side at the right price so I had to back Stepanek at 1.42 for £900. (And I was greatful for that price as it did go as low as 1.3!!). By then there was no decision to make. I'm not prepared to lose the best part of £1k an any event so had to level out for what I knew would be a heavy loss.

Anyway, bottom line is the lower then expected price left me over £500 red the pair. And that was that. Loss limit reached. Not allowed to get involved any further. So I just equalled the red out to the pound and sat there watching the last 10 minutes of the match.

Which is, of course, when Bjorkman delivered the final insult and went and won the bloody game! So if I hadn't have levelled out red 10 minutes before I'd have won over £300! That said, if he'd lost I'd have lost the best part of a grand. Looking back I made the right decsion to accept the loss. And I'm pleased I made it. Showed that even under the shittest of trading conditions I had the control to stick to my set of rules and take the loss on the chin. And I hope that if I ever reach that situation again I'd do the same thing. By that stage it was a pure gamble on who would win. (With hindsight I just wish I levelled out earlier!)

Looking forward
Well, a maximum loss was always going to happen sooner or later. The longer an event I trade is the bigger the potential for a large win or loss. Simply because I open and close that many more positions. And weighing in at around 7 hours I guess this match qualifies as being a long event!

And although I may have had far bigger wins and losses away from this blog in the past a maximum loss is still a maximum loss. Not pleasant. And it wiped out my profit for the month and left me a little in the red.

But there's no point in dwelling on the loss. I've done the blog entry, looked at what went wrong and will put it behind me. Chin up. Back to the basics and continue building those wedding funds :-) Talking of which Emma, my finacee, was incredibly good about the loss. Obviously she asks how I do each day and reads the blog. And although disappointed she tried not to show it and basically said it happens, learn from it, try not to do it again and put it out of your head before you start trading again. Sound advice. So we went out for beer, football and curry for some quality head clearing!

Anyway, obviously for every losing bet on Betfair there's a winning bet. So well done to whoever got my money and enjoy it. But be warned - I want it back with interest!! :-)

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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Wimbledon ladies 1/4 finals

Daily Result: £158.45

Women's quarter finals day at Wimbledon. Prefer to trade men's matches so it was the first time I'd had more than a quick look at a women's match this Championship. Obviously been reading about the players and matches but always a bit wary when I've not seen the games and player's form for myself.

Started with the Sharapova v Dementiev match. Pova pulvarised her. Though to be fair Dementiev never gave up and did launch a mini comeback from two breaks down in the second before losing in straight sets.

Went for a cuppa and some toast and missed the start of Li v Clijsters which I thought could be interesting. Clijsters had broken in the 1st game and was already very short so messed around picking up a tick or two while waiting for the Mauresmo v Myskina match to start on the other side.

She may be the no. 1 but recently, especially after her performance at the French, you can't help but wonder if Mauresmo will bottle it when the winning line is in sight. And with Myskina. Well, a bit like Tursunov, you just never know which version of her will turn up. So it had the possibility to be a cracker.

It was a poor start though. Rubbish in fact. Mauresmo did her best to hand the first game to Myskina through a mixture of double faults, crap volleys and over hits. But not to be beaten Myskina showed that whatever Maursemo could do she could do better - and lost her first service game to love. To be fair they did then settle into it, there were some decent rallies and I traded most the three sets before having a break.

Had a go at the Surrey v Sussex Twenty20 match in the evening. Not very successful. Had to bail from too many losing trades. Still, made a small profit but nothing on the scale of the last few matches I'd done. A green's a green though and it all helps pay for the big day.

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Monday, July 03, 2006

Tennis trading mistake

Daily Result: £200.61

Well it looks like a good day's result and I guess it is but the the truth is the green figure hides a total disaster. In fact, if you'll excuse the language, a fucking nightmare is more apt. Let me explain...

As regular readers know I use the BetTrader PRO one click software. Unfortunately the server this runs from was down and undergoing maintenance this morning. No worries I thought. I'll use some other software that works through the Betfair API and trade the Bjorkman v Mirnyi match. Which I did.

I started near the end of the second set and all was going well till I tried to make a cheeky lay of Mirnyi at sub 2.0, managed to back by mistake at 2.16 and then watched him lose the next point - and set- and fly out to some ridiculous price while I was still trying to work out what the hell had happened! Turns out that because I was trying to submit the bet fast Iforgot you had to click the *opposite* sides to make a back and lay from the usual software I use!! Doh!!!!! My fault completely, not the software's (which I'll do a review of once I've used it a bit more) Anyway, it left me in a horrible hole with around £265 red on each player. Nice start to the day that!

Anyway, luckily the match went to 5 sets and by the end of the 4th I had it down to £30 red the pair when I got on the wrong end of a Mirnyi service break. Ended up losing £96.60 in the end.

What was really annoying though was I was only doing the Bjorkman game until the Scottish sulker got going against Baghdatis on a show court. Murray games have been great to trade recently but by trying to reduce the red in the Bjorkman match I couldn't get involved with the Murray game until half way through the 3rd set. Eventually managed to pick up £66.93 on it but was kicking myself I'd missed the rest of the match. Half of Betfair was chirping about how much they'd won on it. (I guess the less vocal half lost!)

Then blew a stupid £30 on Federer. I keep thinking he's too short. (Laid him twice in April before I started the blog) and he keeps winning leaving me no chance to even make a tick. Just thought the first set may go to a tie breaker. Berdych may win it. But no. I laid him at 1.05 at 2-2 in the first. £30 wasted really. Within 10 minutes he got the break and I was bailing at 1.02.

Had a break from trading then before having a look at the Northants v Worcs Twenty20 Cricket match. And a great trading event it was too. Huge price swings throughout the match and very enjoyable to watch. Think they lost four balls in the first innings as sixes didn't only clear the ropes but the stands as well! Anyway, picked up £260.58 on the game to put the day into profit. Still gutted about the wrong click mistake though. Complete waste of money.

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Sunday, July 02, 2006

Twenty20 cricket trading

Daily Result: £65.82

Another dip into the crack cocaine of cricket trading but this time the game was played out to a formality really with Warwickshire walking all over Somerset. It's a small ground in Taunton and there were a few lost balls in the Somerset innings as the sixes flew out the ground. But with a 1st innings 20/20 average score of 198 on the ground Somerset were always going to be up against it trying to defend their 167 total.

And they were. Warwickshire walked it. 18 in the first over, 17 in the second.... great viewing but the match quickly became a non-even trading wise. Warwickshire did lose their first 3 wickets rather needlessly so for the sake of a small % of my green I laid them at 1.0x for a few hundred hoping for a mini collapse and some panic but it ended up to be just throwing money away really. Before long they were 1.01 and I was getting the BBQ going in the garden. Didn't even see the end of the match.

Probably take another look at the tennis tomorrow. The Scottish sulker is always worth a trade or two. Just wish I'd been involved in his win over Roddick.

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Saturday, July 01, 2006

Cricket trading: 5th ODI

Daily Result: £7.24

So England got knocked out of the World Cup today. Bit gutted to be honest. And while the 10 man performance was gutsy if I'm equally honest we've just not performed like we should have the whole tournament. Wrong team, wrong squad, wrong formation and ultimately the wrong manager. Heaven help us when the man who likes to give away a three goal start before he shows his "genius" takes over. Just feel that the current generation of England players - and it is one of the best we've ever had - has been somewhat wasted through poor management. Bollocks.

Anyway, to add insult to injury today's final ODI between England and Sri Lanka looks without doubt like it would have been the best of the 5 to trade profit wise. England starting just above evens, drifting to around 2.5, no doubt reaching more than 2s on before Sri Lanka had a knock and then the Lankan's making the target.

Was busy this morning though - and then out to the pub early for the game - but did have a very quick dip into the match hence the £7.24. Well, every penny helps pay for the big day.

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June 2006 trading round up

Monthly Result for June: £2243.03

Another good month's result really. Beat May's total comfortably and it added to the wedding funds nicely. So pretty chuffed with how things have gone. And it's nice to know people are reading the blog and wishing me luck with the challenge through the comments being left and the emails I'm receiving.

As I said in the what's it all about section the wedding is in August 2007 so if I carry on at this rate I'll more than cover the costs. Long way to go yet though and losses keep reminding me that this isn't like picking money off the floor. Falling into the trap of thinking it's easy can be expensive and I've certainly made some pretty stupid mistakes this month!

Anyway, some key figures for the month:

Biggest win was netting £448.74 on a Rusedski v Dupius game. Biggest loss was getting smashed for £242.19 on a Dancevic v Roddick game.

Biggest winning day was spent trading a ODI between England and Sri Lanka. Made £401.04. Worst losing day was £210.07 and involved the Roddick game already mentioned.

I've tried to answer all the questions I get asked so have chatted about the one click trading software I use through the Betfair API (There's a free trial at the moment if anyone is interested) and have also discussed my bank and money management.

Obviously I'm pleased with the month's profit. I know it's small fry to many on Betfair but I'd don't claim to be a pro, do this part-time and never have more than 1k in my Betfair account at the start of each day.

I haven't been so pleased with my consistency this month though. In total I traded 56 events (not all the way through - some I only dipped into for a minute or two). However, of the 56, I lost on 8 which is more than I would expect and is certainly worse than the 3 I lost on last month out of 44. I had a losing start to the month, and then went through a pretty bad patch mid month too.

However, it's these bad results which led to the thing I'm most pleased about this month. I knew the results were less consistent so spent some time analysing the losses. OK, you can't win all the time but I did find a common element in some of the losses and noticed I'd started making a pretty basic error without realising. The leak had cost me around £400-£500 and I discussed finding it and how I was going to put it right this post about learning from trading mistakes.

Anyway, obviously I can't be anything but very pleased with the month's profit and am hoping I can continue the good run into July. That said, I'm taking a break this afternoon. Off out to the pub to watch the England game. C'mon!!!