who paid for his wedding and is now trying to turn £1k into £101k
Sunday, September 24, 2006
End of the English cricket season
Daily Result: £191.33
So today's Pro40 playoff between Hampshire and Glamorgan bought the curtain down on the 2006 domestic season. Would be nice to say the first ever playoff in domestic cricket was a thrilling climax to what's been a great season but given the damp squib of a game it was it would be more than a bit of a fib. So I'll satisfy myself with collecting the £190 green - which is ultimately what it's all about anyway - and admitting that I spent more time watching the golf than the cricket!
Glamorgan won the toss. But despite their successes at chasing this year I'm sure I wasn't the only one who thought the decision to field first was, well, odd. As well as just plain wrong as it turned out. Hampshire got off to a flyer making 105 from the first 15 overs. And despite having Brown given out stumped when he clearly wasn't they cruised to 265. A brilliant 158 from Benham (from 130 balls) was the backbone of the innings and it was a shame he was yorked in the penultimate over. Still, 158 is now the highest score in Pro40. Mascarenhas' 30 off 20 was also a bit special.
In reply Glamorgan never really got going and in the end were 114 all out. A wicket on the second ball of the innings didn't help. Harrison was sent in to pinch hit and did a good job until out. But when your opening bowler comes in at 3 and highest scores you're not going to win. In fact, you're going to get hammered. As Glamorgan were.
So anyway, Hampshire are promoted to the first division for next year's Pro40 and Glamorgan will be in the second. But while next season may seem a long way off yet there's plenty of cricket to be traded between now and then. Not least the small matters of the Ashes and the World Cup. The next stop for me cricket wise will be the ICC Champions Trophy in early October. Before that there's a bit of tennis to have a look at - and I've been working on some snooker and NFL in-running strategies so may have some small stake trial runs at those. Popular links:Betfair trading software .....Bookmaker Free Bets.....Bet365
Not traded anything since Sunday. Not really through choice but after several months of being spoilt for choice there's a bit of a lull in televised tennis and cricket at the moment.
Following the problems with my Sky box I didn't subscribe to Zee TV for the DLF Cup so the next cricket for me will be the Pro40 playoff on Sunday. Then from October 7th there's nearly a ODI a day in the ICC Champions Trophy from India. (And thankfully every match is a day nighter so it'll be a normal morning start rather than those horrific 4am get ups we were all having to endure when England were over there earlier this year!)
Tennis wise on Sky there's a few days of Davis Cup action coming up later this week, a couple of days from the Thailand open next week and that's it until the Madrid Masters which starts on October 16.
So I'm afraid it'll probably be a little quiet for a while. But on the plus side it means I can get on with some normal work - and catch up with some DIY around the house.
Also means I'll be putting up that long-promised review of Bet Angel - an excellent piece of Betfair trading software I've been trying out - over the next couple of days. There is a free version available but the paid for version is the one I'll be reviewing as it simply has so much more functionality and is the version of two that anyone whose serious about trading will use. In the meantime check it out for yourself - there's a few video tutorials that will give you an idea of what it's all about and what the advantages of it over the traditional Betfair interface are.
What else? Well, I've been paper trading a football trading system for a while and have recently started using real money - though small stakes - as a trial. If it still looks like it's working in a month or so I might start trading it for proper money and reporting the results on here. See how it goes I guess. Not had much luck with football trading in the past so have left it alone for a long time. There's just so many matches on throughout the year it's made me take another look. And will help fill these quiet periods in the future if I take it up.
A timely reminder for us all today that if a bet looks too good to be true there's normally a pretty good reason for it. Like it is too good to be true. And you're about to do your money. So why not listen to those deafening alarm bells?!
And so it was with an interesting case that cropped up on the Betfair cricket forum over the last few days. Where a punter, let's call him Punter A, ended up betting £1k on a 1.02 shot thinking the result was already known and he was taking £20 off some mug - only to realise he'd just struck the dumbest bet he's ever likely too and had effectively just thrown £1k away. Distraught he turned to the forum for advice and an interesting tale unfolded.
The market involved was the Completed Match market in the 2nd ODI between South Africa and Zimbabwe. Heavy rain meant the match had been abandoned. And at that point Punter A read a post on the Betfair cricket forum pointing out there was still money available both ways on the completed match market.
Thinking he could nick a few quid Punter A rushed over to the market and made the 1k bet at 1.02 on the match not being completed - as it had already been called off - and then no doubt sat back congratulating himself on how he'd just made a simple risk-free £20 at the expense of some numpty.
Except, of course, life isn't that simple. There was the little question of the reserve day the next day that the match was to be played on. With a rain-free weather forecast. And some Betfair rules that quite clealy stated:
"Please be aware that this bet will carry over onto any reserve day and will be settled on the official result of the match."
Whoops. Goodbye £1k. Cue distraught Punter A explaining his story on the forum. With much sympathy it must be said given the circumstances involving the initial post he'd read - but also some saying he got what he deserved. He was trying to take "free money" off someone - and got trapped himself.
But then, with his £1k down the drain the most extraordinary thing happened. Betfair settled the market in favour of Punter A a day before the rescheduled match was due! Cue heated debate about what the hell was going on. Which got even stranger when those on the other side of the bet later reported they had also been paid out as winners!!
Now I've no idea how Betfair reached their decisions on these markets. I suspect a mistake was made and the sums involved were so little they just accepted the cost rather than take money back from customers. It's easy to make a convincing argument for settling the market either way but I'm not going into it here. Though perhaps a clarification on the rules might be useful for the future.
Of course, the guy who emerged with the biggest smile on his face at the end of it all was Punter A. Who thought he was making free money, apparently got trapped himself, thought he'd lost £1k (far more than his usual bet size it turned out) only to find the money back in his account leaving him trying to work out why!
So for whatever reason Punter A got lucky. But in the mean time provided a good reminder us all that the old cliche is true - if a bet looks too good to be true it probably is! So check it out properly before you lump on!! Popular links:Betfair trading software .....Bookmaker Free Bets.....Bet365
Can't believe many would have had their money on Durham for this one. What with Essex's Pro40 record and the fact they needed to win the game to guarantee winning the tournament - and that was before they won the toss and chose to bat first.
But it turned out to be one of those occasions where it was a bad toss to win. Essex got off to a snail-paced start (averaging 2 an over after 9 overs!) and were also losing wickets at an alarming rate. Of course, one of the great strengths of Essex is they bat a long way down - to no. 11 in fact, and eventually they rescued the position to a respectable 201-8 after a good innings from Andy Flower who held it all together as the wickets fell around him. After losing so many early wickets you always felt Essex were holding back and it cost them runs but I still thought 201 was probably the winning score.
Shows what I know as Durham walked it. Their odds quickly plunged as they reduced the initial 5.07 required run rate in each of the first 5 overs. Durham had promoted Phil Mustard up the order to get them off to a quick start and he didn't disappoint as he started spraying boundaries around. In fact at one point I was starting to wonder if he and Jimmy Maher might win the match without the loss of a single wicket. Cracking partnership which effectively won the game for Durham. In the end the partnership ended at 152.
I gave away some of my green at the end so I could enjoy the Arsenal / Man Utd match without having to keep a constant eye on the cricket but it was a small amount and I'm still more than happy with the £160+ green for the day.
Anyway, despite losing the match Essex clinched the Natwest Pro40 title after Sussex collapsed to 110 all out at Nottinghamshire. So well done to the Essex boys - it's been fun watching and trading this year! Popular links:Betfair trading software .....Bookmaker Free Bets.....Bet365
Well, that was a pretty stressful couple of days hours or so. My blog disappeared earlier in the week and didn't reappear again until late Saturday night. Just vanished. Disappeared into Cyberspace without a goodbye or word of warning
Blogger, which hosts my blog, had a serious problem and all the blogs they host went down. Most were decent enough to put in a reappearance after an hour or so but some - mine included - decided to play silly buggers for a bit longer. So long infact that Blogger made an announcement that everything was fixed - and I was still blogless. :-(
Everything seems sorted now though so I'll be putting in the entry from yesterday a little later. Haven't actually traded that much this week anyway. Had a funeral to go to on Wednesday and there was also the fact that my Sky Box decided to take early retirement during a heavy thunder storm and I had to wait until the end of the week for it to be replaced. Which all meant I didn't bother signing up to Zee TV for the current DLF Cup and probably won't bother now with just a few games to go.
Anyway, hopefully that's the end of any technical glitches for a while and I can get back to saving some more funds for the big day. In the meantime thanks for everyone who asked where the blog had got to via email and the Betfair forums. Nice to know someone out there is reading my ramblings! Popular links:Betfair trading software .....Bookmaker Free Bets.....Bet365
A nice profit but also a little disappointing given the market movements during the game. Still, a win's a win and it's a bit more banked towards the big day.
Got off to a slow start. I've mentioned before that recently in these day/night Pro 40 games I've been generally laying the side batting first in the opening overs before perhaps switching the position to start me off in a game. Tried it once too often in the last match I traded and got stung as Surrey got off to a great start. So, with Surrey batting first today, admittedly not at The Oval this time, I decided to leave any early trades and see what was happening. So, of course, within no time at all they were 13-2 and that lay I didn't make would have been sitting pretty!
Anyway, Surrey turned round the poor start and following a good solid innings from Butcher made a very respectable 220. Liquidity was pretty poor - no doubt due to the DLF Cup game on at the same time - but obviously the odds moved to reflect the score and by the break I was around £200 green Surrey and £200 red Worcestershire.
Didn't really fancy Worcestershire to make the chase at all. Apart from being under lights in the middle of September 220 is also a pretty good Pro40 total. Worcestershire got off to a good start though so I reduced my red on them - just to see a wicket 2 balls later. But they picked up again and in the end only failed to win because of a spectacular collapse which included 5 wickets for 17 runs in a 4 over period. Basically they had the game in their hands but threw it away. Comical stuff but certainly got the markets moving. Though by then I wasn't fully concentrating on the match and didn't get to take full advantage of the situation. Happy with the £130 profit though. Popular links:Betfair trading software .....Bookmaker Free Bets.....Bet365
Had one of those classic situations today where my instinct on the Surrey v Gloucestershire Pro40 match was spot on but I made a real mess of when to get involved.
Given the "stars" in the Surrey squad they're often priced pretty short before a ball is bowled and I thought tonight was no exception. Sure, Gloucestershire were missing John Lewis but Surrey were missing Rikki Clarke. Perhaps more importantly Ian Harvey was also back in the Gloucestershire team.
Anyway, I know runs get scored at the Oval but recently a strategy of laying the batting side in the first 6-8 overs has worked pretty well. So when the first ball of the Surrey innings beat the outside edge I layed them at 1.62 for £500. Big mistake! The next ball went for 4 wides and by the end of the over Surrey were 14-0!! And the carnage continued with an average runs per over sequence of 14, 9, 10, 9, 8.8, 9.6, 10.4 etc etc. And with no wickets to compile my misery I ended up bailing from my initial position within just a few overs at 1.41 - way before Surrey moved onto 73 from 7 and 100 from 11.1.
Anyway, by the end of the Surrey innings I'd turned the red around on them to a small green and was level Glos. There's an old saying in cricket that you should never judge a wicket until both teams have batted on it. So although Glocestershire needed a 6.97 r/r I was still tempted to lay Surrey again at sub 1.2. So after a few balls I did. And again I got it wrong. For although Glos made a decent start with Spearman finding boundaries the run rate started edging up and I ended up dumping the trade at a lower price to leave me a red on Surrey.
Anyway, in the end Gloucestershire made the chase. An awesome partnership from Marshall and Harvey did the damage and enabled me in the process to green up again. Though having come back from a bad position twice, when I got all green again I basically just stopped trading seriously and just got involved for smaller stakes. I guess I just didn't want to lose on the match after turning around two bad positions and was happy to make the £35.
So despite getting the result I fancied from the start I only managed to make a very small profit. The game was a great one to trade and I'm sure there were some pretty heavy wins on it as the prices yoyoed. Unfortunately I managed to screw the timing of trades up more than once and didn't really get to benefit from the big swings. Still, I guess you can't get it right all the time. Popular links:Betfair trading software .....Bookmaker Free Bets.....Bet365
Blimey. Isn't it strange how things can work out? Dragged my cold-ridden body out of bed this morning (I say cold-ridden, my fiancee sighs and mutters something about "Man Cold") and plonked myself infront of the computer for an uninspiring day of loading a database up with some articles I've been writing recently. The misery of trying to remember how the hell to do it was rapidly broken though by a flow of emails telling me my blog was featured in the Racing Post today!
It seems little old me wittering on about my rather small wins and losses has caught the attention of Alex Hankin - aka Net Prophet - who dedicated today's column on Page 7 to us saddos who keep betting blogs.
After explaining the phenomenon of blogging Hankin concludes with these rather pleasing words:
"I particularly recommend looking at thebetfairtrader.blogspot.com for some entertaining, intelligent content from a long-term sports exchange trader."
Well, what can I say. This Hankin chap obvioulsy knows his onions! A most astute and knowledgeable writer who evidently deserves an immediate and very over-sized payrise!!
What a day. One of the oddest games of cricket I've ever been involved with - and I must have done something to offend the trading gods who evidently decided it was time to dish out more than a little bad luck in my general direction.
So why was the Pro40 game betweent Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire so strange? Well, apart from little things like it starting early so Betfair didn't put the market in running there were other oddities. Like the umpires temporarily abandoning the game to take the players of the pitch when it wasn't raining when it would have needed just 5 more balls to constitute a completed match. Which was particularly amusing as there had been at least a 15 minute delay earlier while the floodlights were set up and put on. (Surely they knew when it was going to get dark?!)
The umpires actually pulled the players off the pitch for their own safety. Because although it wasn't raining, this being the British summer, there was still very high winds and lightening nearby. Which meant the floodlights also had to be lowered again. And although we were told via the match referee play would continue with low floodlights it didn't. Just like we were earlier told earlier by the match referee there would be a normal break between innings. There wasn't - it was reduced. Then, just as the players were preparing to go on the pitch again it, of course, finally decided to rain! Which all meant that by the time the play did start again, and the floodlights had again been put up, Worcestershire had a ridiculously favourable Duckworth Lewis target to reach. Which they did their best to fail by sacrificing comedy wickets before scraping it. All very odd.
But the real killer was here at home. We had a thunderstorm here. A big one. Which meant first I lost my Sky pictures, then my internet connection and then my entire power supply! Which all left managing my position rather difficult!! The power did come back on, although the Sky+ Box had had enough, refused to work, and is now being replaced on Friday for £60+ quid as I'm "out of warranty, sir." The internet connection, though intermittent, also started working again, though the Betfair forum was having one of its shall I or shan't I work days and it was still not easy to work out what was going on in the game. Anyway, with a few overs to go our normal Sky box started to work and by the end of it all I was lucky to only lose as much as I did.
So between losing the money, spending ages on the phone to Sky's tech bods, downloading new Sky software and trying to fix the box, get an internet connection and work out what the hell was going on in the game itself, it wasn't the best of nights! And, to top it all, I was sniffing like a well supplied cokehead as I've managed to pick up a streaming cold.
Well, I guess if you'd offered me £339.93 at the start of the game I'd have ripped your hand off so ultimately have to be pleased with the result. But I know it should have been at least £200 more. Just can't decide whether to blame England or myself!.
Got myself into a great position during the Pakistan innings and as the wickets fell I let my England position run, as per previous discussions, rather than taking the profit and reopening more positions. Which all left me just shy of £600 green on England, with backs at 1.9x and 1.3x by the time Pakistan had scraped their way to 154 from 50 overs. And with the England price at 1.1 to back it was all looking good.
Strauss and Joyce got the England innings off to a good start and despite a few wickets falling (including one Joyce will want to forget pretty quickly!) the run rate was way above the required rate and the price was soon into 1.0x. With it looking like England were strolling and victory, and not thinking it necessary to trade out,I retired to the garden to soak up some rays and enjoy a cold one for 10 mins or so. Only to return to see the price at 1.4x, with England having lost 3 ridiculously quick wickets.
I figured England would still win but there's always an element of doubt. And if another wicket fell I estimated the price at 1.6x/1.7x which would have been left facing an all red position if I levelled out. So I reduced my Pakistan red to just under £500 (the maximum loss I allow myself) and hoped England could settle things down again.
Another wicket did fall soon after. With less red on Pakistan I probably would have backed England again at the pnew prices available but by then was more than happy to settle for the £300+. With only around 30 runs needed the market was moving pretty quickly and luckily England reached the total easily in the end. But I had failed to back them again so just made the £340.
Anyway, of course I was cursing England when I realised the 3 wickets had fallen quickly. Always seem to make a difficult job of an easy task when I have money at stake! But ultimately I was just being a little greedy. Or stupid. Probably both. Shouldn't have left the match for so long without reducing the Pakistan liability. But didn't want to throw away £50 or so by doing it. While away I later saw England had traded at 1.01! Guess if I'd have been watching the game I may have laid that to get out, and probably another £500 / 1k for the sake of another £5 or £10 off the green. Now that would have made the final daily result interesting!!
But, of course, it's easy to say what I might have done with hindsight. Well done to those who actually did it, dumped their 1.01 lays at up to 1.7ish, stuck with the match and didn't skive off to the garden! Sure their profit on the game will pale mine into insignificance!! Popular links:Betfair trading software .....Bookmaker Free Bets.....Bet365
Knew from the start that I'd only be able to do this one for a short while so kept my green pretty level throughout before retiring for some beers. Looking at the result it looks like it would have been a great game to trade. Bit of a missed opportunity really then but happy enough with the quick £80. And it was a good night!
Anyway, probably not going to be able to trade again until the final one dayer between England and Pakistan on Sunday so the best of luck with your own betting and I'll no doubt update again on Sunday. Popular links:Betfair trading software .....Bookmaker Free Bets.....Bet365
Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. What the hell was Shoaib Akhtar doing with his thumb and that seam? In close up. Live. In front of dozens of camers? I have the benefit of writing this after match referee Mike Proctor has cleared Akhtar of any wrongdoing. For the good of the game I say fine. That's the decision and I go with it.
But fuck me. Even if it was completely innocent, what on earth possessed him? Just two weeks after the disasterous Oval test following ball tampering allegations he's clearly seen running his thumb down the ball's seam. It's been suggested that Shoaib was merely cleaning some dirt from the seam. Ok. But even that is illegal under the rules of the game. Only the umpire is allowed to do it.
I thought someone may have posted the most debated incident on YouTube but alas no. So although not the incident that caused most the fuss these still shots published by the Australian media still show why the debate took place in the first place.
There are many who believe the whole incident has just been swept under the carpet to avoid any further ball tampering controversy on this tour. Others say although there were grounds for suspicion there is no way of telling if a thumbnail was actually used as the pictures and video footage are inconclusive. Whatever happened I accept that you have to abide by the referee's - and governing body's decision. And I do. Akhtar did nothing wrong.
But that doesn't mean I can't think former England captain Nasser Hussain hasn't got a rather pertinent point when, considering Akhtar has not only been reprimanded but also banned for ball tampering before, he said:
"At best he's been very, very silly. To do that in the present climate is stupid."
As for the game itself. Well, I was stupid! I fancied Pakistan to win. I backed them to win. They did win. But I lost! Like I said - stupid!
To cut a long story short I simply tried to hard in this one. Tried to make too many quick trades for extra profit when I should have really just left it. Ended up with a small red either side at the change of the innings. Waited a few little while, still fancied Pakistan to win so lumped on at 1.51, again looking for a quick trade. The run out the next ball didn't help and I ended up trading out at 2.04 fearing another wicket for a larger all round red.
Anyway, catches might win matches but Khan and Yousuf showed the value of a decent partnership, and although there were some hiccups Pakistan made the total quite comfortably. I'd continued to mess around on the match but rather than risk a very large red for a small green I ended up keeping the reds fairly level and costing myself a little extra. Also had a rather speculative £10 on a tie at good odds just incase as it would have turned a fairly substantial loss into a decent win but no joy with that.
It may have been a weakened England team, with perhaps Pakistan's best line up, but even given a good England total the gulf in class in the one day game was there for all to see again. (I'm sorry, injuries are not, but Mahmood should not be playing ODIs in my humble opinion) Pakistan are a pretty good shout for the World Cup next year on recent performances. Their price has come in a recently but it's well worth keeping an eye on the in the forthcoming Champions Trophy as some good results there and surely it will contract further.
Again this a bit of a late entry and I've lost my notes for the game. But I did do this game properly and did get round to letting a winning trade run for longer than I used to along the lines of my recent post.
The game was Gloucestershire v Hampshire. Harvey was a big loss for Glos, Warne a big plus for Hampshire (despite his duck!) and with Hampshire batting first and Glos facing a chase under the dreaded lights on a drizzly September evening there was only ever really going to be one result once Hapshire posted a reasonable total. Took the market a while to realise, and for a short while it looked like the match might be abandoned. But in the end we got a result in a reduced overs game and I pocketed a nice win to help keep me on a good start to the month. Popular links:Betfair trading software .....Bookmaker Free Bets.....Bet365
Have had a couple of days away from trading recently. Was feeling a little tired / stale and also had a family bereavement so took the opportunity to take a short break. Had a go at today's Worcestershire v Derbyshire Pro 40 match though was very much dipping in and out while getting on with other stuff rather than doing the whole event.
Am actually writing this one up a few days late and have lost my notes on the game so will settle for saying I won £126.29 and am pleased with that. Good to have a winning start to the month! Popular links:Betfair trading software .....Bookmaker Free Bets.....Bet365
Regular readers will know I'm a fan of small consistent wins rather than risking everything for a big payout. So it may be a bit of a surprise that my recent results have often been pretty large wins (1, 2, 3) and losses (1, 2 ) compared to similar results in June for example. In fact in the last couple of weeks I've had both my biggest wins and losses since starting the blog. So what's happening?
Well the answer is pretty simple. I've altered the way I trade a little. One of the great things about doing the blog is I get a lot of emails from other Betfair users and get to chat to a lot of people on MSN whose opinions I respect. My style of trading was very much one of get in and out of a market very quickly, often within seconds, nicking a few ticks along the way. The trading software I use made this possible, and it meant I was usually making small profits on the events I traded. They were consistent, but perhaps I was not being as efficient as I could be.
Anyway, one of the topics that was continually cropping up was why don't I let my winning trades run longer? Afterall, it's one of the great sayings in Financial markets that you should run with your profits and cut your losses. So I decided to give this a go. It's quite startling what this subtle change has resulted in. Perhaps the best way to show this is the graph below, which shows my profit / loss in relation to the number of markets traded since I started the blog. (Just click the picture for a bigger version)
I guess the first thing to note is that's quite a lot of events! But many of them are just ones I dip into for a single trade or two. I'm not actually trading the entire event. I'd had some time off trading when I started the blog so initially used blocks of £250 just to get me back into it. But from somewhere around Event 10 I started using my regular £500.
Anyway, the interesting thing is this. It's pretty clear just from looking at the graph when I switched to letting my wins run for longer. On first impressions it looks like around Event 109, which is where the gradual climb in profits finishes. The turn point was actually around Event 120 and the dip before that, from Event 109, was a bad patch I went through that I have discussed previously.
Until the switch the profit grows in a pretty smooth consistent manner. There are ups and downs but the trend is pretty clear. After the switch the consistent growth disappears. There are some very big wins which see the profit line turn much steeper. But some of the losses are also much bigger than usual. Basically there is far less consistency in the results, as evidenced by the patch from around Event 142 onwards.
I guess that's partly what is to be expected. Though the irony is, if I put a trend line on the graph the finishing profit position is almost exactly where I'd expect it to be if I hadn't made the change to letting my wins run. (It's actually just above) The trouble is, if my wins are as bigger as they have been I should be further ahead. Which leads me to think I'm doing something wrong.
And, of course, I am. And my mistake is this. Although I'm letting my wins run, I'm also letting my losses run longer than I used to. This explains the recent spate of heavier losses, especially in tennis where the markets often move a lot quicker than in cricket. Trading my old way I used to cut losses very quickly. But in letting my wins run I've also started to let my losses run too far. The solution is, of course, simple. Just cut the losses like I used to. Hopefully then the profit figure will continue to increase more sharply than in the original steady growth period and I can save funds quicker for the big day!
So what does it all mean?
Well, this may all be very boring to some of you but has been a good exercise for me. It shows that what I was doing was profitable. But perhaps was not the most efficient use of my time. The graph clearly shows the benefits of letting my wins run longer. My mistake has been to let my losses run longer too. Show the same discipline in cutting them as quickly as I used to and hopefully I can start winning at an increased rate. Popular links:Betfair trading software .....Bookmaker Free Bets.....Bet365