Saturday, March 31, 2007

Short priced Super 8s wins

Result since last update: £150.92

A good end to what has turned out to be a great month trading wise - despite the slow start and initial loss. Picked up the £150 from two short-priced matches in the Cricket World Cup Super 8s - England v Ireland and Australia v Bangladesh.

Both satisfying wins although the England game was a little annoying. Would have made around £80 more on it but was pub bound and so closed a position that I didn't really want to for the simple reason that I wasn't prepared to leave a sizeable liability on Ireland, no matter how unlikely they were to win. The annoying thing was I'd been trying to lay England at 1.01. Stacks got matched and I figured I was close to the front of the queue. At which point the layers moved to 1.02. So I sat there. And again must have been near the front until the price went to 1.03, and 1.04. Ended up laying at 1.05 after two dropped catches by England and a pretty decent Irish partnership. Frustrating but the unbelievable end to the South Africa v Sri Lanka match the other night was a timely reminder that no matter what the circumstances you simply do not leave a sizeable unmanaged position on anyone in a cricket match!

Australia v Bangladesh turned out to be nothing more than lump on job. Reduced to a 22 over game a side I got 1.03 on Bangladesh after their terrible start. Thought it was great value. Obviously kept an eye on the game and was prepared to trade out for a few ticks loss if required to but the situation never really arose. Bangladesh's 104 was never going to be enough and the Aussies duly wrapped up a quickfire 10 wicket victory with Hayden and Gilchrist seemingly engaged in a private competition to see who could hit the biggest 6.

Anyway, it's been a good month and I'll do the monthly roundup soon. In the meantime I thought I'd leave a reminder of the exclusive free API trading software trial I mentioned a while back. The extra free trial time is still applicable.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Getting value by listening

Daily Result: £263.43

Happy with today's result. Another £260 odd is another good chunk to add to the wedding funds. And keeps the monthly total ticking over nicely after two weeks off at the start of the month. Of the £263 I made in the West Indies v New Zealand match though I'm most pleased with a small win of £34.94 on the highest first 10 over total market. Let me explain...

Put simply I thought the price I took on New Zealand having the highest first 10 over partnership was screaming value. One of those opportunities that is just presented on a plate and can seem just so obvious that you almost completely overlook it. So why did I feel my 1.88 was value?

Well, New Zealand won the toss and chose to field. Apart from anything else it wasn't the clearest of days, there'd been rain around the ground and one could again expect some early movement for the New Zealand bowlers. But far more importantly the West Indian captain did an interview after losing the toss, importantly a day after his team suffered another batting collapse, and clearly said, before stressing again, that the main aim was to simply see through the early movement without the loss of a wicket and start racking the runs up after that. Add to that the difficulties even Matthew Hayden had during the first overs in the morning at the same ground before his sensational 158 and close to evens on New Zealand having the highest 10 over total seemed a steal!

So I took the price. Small stakes only, as ever for me with the subsidiary markets. It didn't take long for the price to fall, and then crash once the Windies batsmen got in and tried to execute what Lara had said they would. I layed off at 1.0x and pocketed a nice profit. All because I simply listened to what Brian Lara said. He spelt the early game plan out in black and white. And even with the unpredictability of Chris Gayle at the top of the order (and I was concerned) I defy anyone not to take the 1.88! For the record the West Indies made just 27 in their first 10 overs. Like I say, it can sometimes pay to just simply listen!

The game itself didn't go to plan for the Windies. A slow start, in which they lost wickets anyway, (there was wicked movement for Bond in particular) followed by the regular loss of wickets, and some comedy batting at the end, reduced them to 177 all out off just 44.4 overs. Shocking stuff really. New Zealand knocked the total off with ease, despite the loss of a couple of early wickets, and picked up the points. They're looking good for the semi finals now and those who've long been saying it will be a New Zealand v Australia final could well be right.

Incredible cricket scenes

Daily Result: £510.03

Wow. What an incredible game today's match between Sri Lanka and South Africa turned out to be. First up we had Charl Langeveldt bowling an amazing triple wicket maiden as Sri Lanka spectacularly collapsed at the end of their innings - losing their last four wickets for 1 run. Trying to match that Murali narrowly missed out on a hat trick as a bat pad appeal turned out to be just a pad.

But undoubtedly topping the lot was Lasith Malinga taking four wickets in four balls at the end of the South African innings! An absolutely staggering ODI first which nearly completed what would have been one of the greatest victories of all time. South Africa were cruising to their 210 run target for victory at 206 for 5. They needed just 4 runs with 5 wickets in hand before Malinga's superhuman effort. In the end the final wicket partnership somehow lasted 11 balls before Peterson edged the ball for two runs and victory. Absolutely astonishing scenes. And one would imagine also very relieving for the people who had layed Sri Lanka for £65 at 1000! (£130 was matched) Let alone the people who'd ploughed tens of thousands into South Africa at 1.01!! A truly awesome finish. And people still say cricket is boring?!!

So it may come as a surprise, especially with today's healthy profit, that I actually lost around £25 on the match! Got my first trade of the game wrong and after sorting some of that out there wasn't much to be done before the South African run chase. I followed the market down as they progressed nicely until I had a small green South Africa, a moderate red Sri Lanka, the price was about 1.03 and I switched over to watch the football.

So flick between the football and cricket I did. Luckily I flicked to the cricket as Malinga was taking the ball to try and bowl his hat trick. I went to lay the 1.01 that was still available on South Africa to green out (should really have done this a long time before) and, of course, he got the wicket. The price flew out and I settled for a small all round red rather than risk a larger one if a miracle happened. All I can say was I was very pleased with that decision when he took another wicket the next ball, the Saffers were reduced to their last wicket, there was another seismic shift in odds and there was a serious brown trouser moment for all the short odds backers and long odds layers! People on the Betfair forum were actually saying they were shaking it was so dramatic. No doubt helped by the fear of facing the rather large red figures many must have had on their screens. Simply stunning stuff.

In comparison the end of the West Indies v Australia match, carried over to today as a result of yesterday's rain, was dull in comparison. The West Indies needed 323 from 50 overs and simply never looked like making it. In the end Australia wrapped up a straight forward 103 run victory. This was the match I made all today's money on though. I was £150 green either side overnight and after watching the first few overs took a view that Australia's price was too big in the mid 1.2 range and backed them accordingly. The price duly fell steadily until it hit 1.01 and I simply followed it down. With a virtually impossible run rate the match was effectively over a long time before the last Windies wicket fell in the 46th over and the Aussies made it 4 out of 4 Super 8's points.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Cricket World Cup rain

Daily Result: £12.63

Well it finally did it. After weeks of threatening to the supposedly sun soaked West Indies were just plain and simply rain soaked today. So much so that today's match between West Indies and Australia was abandoned and will continue on its official reserve day tomorrow. I had a little moan about the amount of rain we're getting in the world cup the other day but this is really starting to bug me now! We're actually getting less rain in England!!

Apart from the time sat just waiting and working out revised Duckworth Lewis targets the real annoyance with this is that when the match resumes tomorrow it'll clash with the Sri Lanka v South Africa game which promises to be a cracker. I'll probably end up finishing off the West Indies game now and then doing the second innings of the Lankan match. A lost profit opportunity either way.

Anyway, no result in the cricket accounts for the small green today. Made that on an innings runs market and messing around on some tennis during rain interruptions. In the main outright market I'm sat with £150 green each team so it's not all bad. And means I could just leave it and concentrate on the Sri Lanka match if I decide to.

The irony is I made more of that £150 equal green in five minutes trading the weather at the end of the day than I did in five interrupted hours of trading the cricket! So I guess that's compensation for the weather! Id still rather just be able to trade a match without interruptions though and be able to do each match in full rather than miss some as I will tomorrow.

Finally, a bit of a shocker in the tennis when I got up this morning. (Like today I sometimes write these the following morning). Rodger Federer lost to qualifier Guillermo Canas. Again. For the second time in two weeks! I missed the start of the game and Federer being broken in the first set but had a quick mess around on the match none the less and and left it tiny all green. Kind of wish I'd stayed up for it now. Sounds like it was a great match to trade. As well as being another wake up call for the "Free Money Bank of Fed" types!


Err, not got round to this bet yet! Should be up early May hopefully. :-)

Monday, March 26, 2007

Sony Ericsson Open tennis trading

Daily Result: £259.07

Excuse me for being super smug but today was just one of those days where I think how lucky I was to be made redundant just over five years ago and to have been self employed since. If only every day went so smoothly!

Had a lie in before going to the gym for a quick 20 lengths in the pool and 10 minutes in the steam room. Back for an early lunch and then spent a few hours catching up on some job-related paperwork and invoices before tuning into the Sony Ericsson open. Cleared around £200 in a couple of hours and had the dinner on and the wine chilled before Emma got back from work. A quick look in at the tennis again later in the evening netted another £50 or so before a browse through some honeymoon brochures. It has it's downs but life can be good sometimes! :-)

The tennis itself was pretty interesting. Was trading to half stakes as I haven't been trading the sport much recently. I didn't manage to do a complete match but ended up looking in on 6 matches in total. Some for substantial parts of the game. Others for just a few points. I traded off both Sky Sports pictures and non-televised games via a scoreboard.

The most profitable games were the ones where the favourite got turned over and my biggest winner was the Davydenko v Delic match. Looking back through my trades I actually backed Davydenko at 1.05 and layed him at 1.03. Not sure if he got any shorter than that but towards the end of the first set he just seemed to lose the plot. Seeded four and number four in the world he crashed out to Delic, who had to win two qualifiers just to take part in the tournament before prgoressing through the rounds to set up today's match. Either way there was some desperate stuff from Davydenko, Delic was brilliant in the second set and tennis saw yet another short priced favourite get gubbed.

Tempted to do the tennis again tomorrow but think I'll concentrate on the West Indies v Australia Super 8s match. It could be a great match to trade so can hopefully save a few more pennies for the big day.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Cricket World Cup weather

Daily Result: £80

Is it just me being grumpy or is anyone else getting a little bit fed up with all this rain we're getting in the Caribbean at the moment? The West Indies is getting millions of pounds of free tourist advertising here and instead of images of sun sea and spliff we're being treated to persistent rainfall that even Mancunians are starting to snigger at!

Which all means the cricket is being interrupted too often for my liking, the old Duckworth Lewis calculators are working overtime and this cricket trading lark is getting to be just a little bit more stressful that it really should be!

Today was another case in hand. Bermuda v Bangladesh. Easy win for the Bangles you'd reckon. And in the end it was. But not until four rain interruptions reduced it to a 41, 35, 30 and then 21 over match. And left batting conditions absolutely treacherous. So much so that a couple of the Bermudan bowlers were in danger of looking world class with the movement they were generating and wickets they were taking. Of course, my gripe is the weather cost me money - around £100 - as I ended up having to protect a large red on Bermuda. And I was also sat up until god knows what time on a Sunday night to make £10 profit on a cricket match!!

Still, I guess that's just cricket trading. I know it as well as the next person. And to be fair the weather has been useful in the past. For now though I just wish we could get a string of games together where we could bet on the cricket rather than paying as much attention to the weather.

The weather wasn't all bad news though as it meant I could look in on some rugby and tennis after a visit to the wedding venue early this afternoon for an open day. Just dipped into a few games really making around £20 on the rugby and £50 on the tennis. There's no cricket tomorrow as the Super 8s start on Tuesday so will no doubt have a look in on the Sony Ericcson Open again if I get round to trading.

World Cup roundup

Result since last update: £229.4

Well what a few days. Not so much on the results but the emerging Bob Woolmer story. Obviously it's been confirmed it was murder - he was strangled - and three members of the Pakistani tour party have been questioned for a second time. Former captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, caretaker coach Mushtaq Ahmed and manager Talat Ali.

Of course, that doesn't imply guilt and all three are currently on their way back to Pakistan. Rumours are wide spread that an arrest is imminent - of someone unconnceted to the squad - and everyone still seems more than a little stunned about what has happened. Not least of whom is me. As a scheming former tabloid hack with more hunches than Quasimodo my first reaction when I heard he was dead was a gambling fix related murder. Always looking for the dynamite story and all that. Told to behave by friends I conceded a stress-related heart attack was more likely and have watched gobsmacked as the story has unravelled. It's simply stunning. And equally tragic for the both Woolmer's family and cricket itself. I think we can all see where it might be leading in respect of future investigations on behalf of the ICC. At least in the short-term, with the security at the hotel, cctv and swipe card system, I'd imagine we can expect further swift progress in the murder investigation.

As for my trading it does seem a little out of place to discuss it all but life goes on. Made the £230 on the India v Sri Lanka and the Australia v South Africa matches. Had to play a patient game in the Indian match after screwing up towards the end of the Sri lankan innings. I traded expecting the usual flurry of runs only to see the wickets of the two set batsmen fall and the runs effectively dry up. Had a small red both sides by the end of the innings. Really didn't fancy India to make the chase, especially at the odds they were, but decided to simply be patient and wait for a team to get on top before getting involved further. Patience can often be the best policy in an increasingly volatile market where one mistake could make your position unretrievable. Especially in today's game where the weight of money for India to win throughout the match was simply incredible. Skewed the market somewhat and made it very difficult to oppose them until the dam finally broke and everyone realised that it was, in fact, Lanka's match. That's the movement I tried to catch and catch it I did with the fall of a couple quick Indian wickets. Was only involved for small stakes though and gave some of it back near the end when Dravid hit four boundaries in a row and I decided I'd have a profit on the match no matter what the result.

Missed the first half of the Australia v South Africa match. Bit disappointed as the Aussie innings was a run fest. But to be fair to the Saffers the start of their innings was too as they progressed to 220/1 while keeping with the run rate. The match turned though when Kallis came to the crease and Smith retired with cramp shortly after. Put simply Kallis's strike rate wasn't good enough. To put it in perspective every Aussie batsmen had a strike rate of 100 or better. As did the Saffers openers. Kallis crawled in with one of 76. He used up over 10 overs, increased the pressure on the his partner batsmen and in the end they cracked trying to play bigger and bigger shots as the required run rate increased.

Of course chasing 378 to win was always going to be a huge ask and Kallis can't cop all the blame for the defeat. But there's no doubt the South African innings lost impetus when he arrived and his strike rate was clearly lower than every batsman that had gone before him on the day. It's all very well playing to be their at the end but he wasn't, and at some point you have to say right the required run rate is getting too high now.

Looking forward Bangladesh play Bermuda later today. Bermuda will have the support of a billion Indians - India need Bermuda to win to stay in the competition - but somehow I don't feel even that much support will be enough and we'll enter the Super 8s in the unthinkable position of having neither India or Pakistan in the tournament. Not sure I'll be able to do much of the game as we're off to the wedding venue for amongs other stuff but good luck if you get involved.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

First decent profit of the world cup

Daily Result: £373.89

Well it's taken a while but I've finally managed to pull a good result out of the hat for the cricket world cup. Made most the days profit in the Netherlands win over Scotland. The irony is once again I showed why I don't do tips as yesterday I said I fancied Scotland to win! To be fair I did mention I thought their price was too short and as such, after taking toss news, weather and pitch conditions into account my first trade of the match was a lay of Scotland. They lost a wicket in the second ball of their innings and from there on it was the Netherlands all the way.

For a match billed as the unofficial world cup between the minnow nations it was all a little disappointing really. Scotland just failed to turn up and were lucky to make 136 after being reduced to 8 for 83 after losing their first four wickets for 15. Considering the Netherlands dropped two sitters in the slips, another catch behind and a simple stumping the match really should have been even more embarrassing for the Scots.

Perhaps even more surprising than an easy 8 wicket victory for the Netherlands was the behaviour of the market throughout much of the match. Put simply it was massively favouring Scotland for considerable periods, despite the actual reality of what was happening in the game. It was the same before the match, which is why I mentioned I thought the price was too short. During the game itself there's just so many examples of prices that didn't just look wrong but plain and simply were wrong. Anyway, it all led to much discussion on various cricket betting forums. Perhaps the best example I can give is when Scotland were batting, deep in trouble, with the Netherlands priced at 1.28. A single wide ball pushed their price out to 1.32!

Anyway, it's good to finally get a decent win under my belt. And because the match finished early I was able to make a small profit on the darts in the evening too. The win takes me through the £12k profit mark since I started the blog for the first time. Small fry to many on Betfair I know. But I'm pretty pleased with how it's going and I remain hopeful that rather than making just a substantial contribution to the wedding as I'd first planned I might just cover the entire cost, including honeymoon. Progress has been slow this year but hopefully today's win will mark the start of a nice winning run as the world cup prepares to enter its more competitive stages. Tomorrow's India v Sri Lanka match certainly looks a cracker!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A steady day's profit

Daily Result: £118.57

Pretty pleased with today's profit as I didn't get too involved in either of the day's games from the Cricket World Cup. I did follow the first innings of both games on and off before braving the world of fitness fanatics at the gym for the first time in the evening.

Barely looked at the Pakistan v Zimbabwe match and managed one trade for a one tick profit! A green is a green though. There were emotional scenes both before the match during a tribute to Bob Woolmer and also when Inzi was out with players from both teams gaving him a respectful send off from international one day cricket. Spent more time watching the Bangladesh v Sri Lanka game and that's where most the day's profit came from.

Lanka batted first, got off to a good start and the odds simply shrank from a starting 1.2. Never got bigger. I followed them down a little but put more effort and attention into the innings runs market. Used to play these regularly but seldom do any more. Really should be though, especially in these low odds matches as it's where the bigger profits can be made even if liquidity is lower. Going forward I'll be looking to get a little more involved in these.

Tomorrow's match between the Netherlands and Scotland should be a good one for the outright match market though. My pick for an outright bet when looking at this match a while back was Scotland. But I'm surprised at the current 1.57 about Scotland now. A little skinnier than I'd anticipated. Either way, although the quality of the cricket may not be the best I'm hopeful it'll be a competitive game with it being billed as the "unofficial" world cup final between the minnow nations. Hopeful of a good trading event anyway. There should be plenty of scope for some nice price movements.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

New Zealand cruise past Kenya

Daily Result: £29.98

Lost the money on the Kenya v New Zealand match today though it can hardly be said that I traded it. I simply laid New Zealand at the start hoping for early wickets. There was one and I hung on for another which didn't come and I eventually got out for a few ticks loss. Rather than lump on New Zealand and leave a liability that would have needed watching for the next 8 hours for the sake of £30 I just left it and got on with other stuff.

The shame was Kenya dropped so many catches, including one very early on, that this match could have been so much more competitive. As it was New Zealand posted 331, their highest ever World Cup score, and eventually, after rain delays, won by 148 runs.

It's a bit slack I know but the original lay was always going to be a first 10 over gamble really today and I had no intention of sitting through the whole match. Always expected New Zealand to win. Just thought they might drift a little more with wickets. Unfortunately dropped catches don't win matches and the Kenyans had obviously been eating well buttered sandwiches. :-(

Will probably have a look in on the Bagladhesh v Sri Lanka game tomorrow. The outright Sri Lanka price isn't as short as those in today's games were but I may finally take the plunge into a subsidiary market rather than the outright.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Windies qualify for the Super 8s

Daily Result: £61.91

Not much to say really. I didn't really trade the match between West Indies and Zimbabwe but more just put some money on the Windies and kept an eye on the match. The result was never really in danger and as I didn't want to get tied up on the subsidiary markets today there wasn't much to do.

Although they weren't particularly inspiring the Windies wrapped up the win with 6 wickets in hand. Good for the tournament, and the competition atmosphere in general, that the host team is through and I doubt we've seen the best of them yet. Happy enough that they made me £60 today though.

You always felt someone was going to feel the backlash of India's defeat to Bagladesh and unfortunately for Bermuda, the lowest ranked team in the tournament, they were India's next opponents. India smashed a record cricket world cup score of 413 which included 18 sixes! It all made for great viewing before India took to the field to wrap up the victory by 257 runs.

Tomorrow's games are also pretty short-priced affairs so I doubt there will be much doing on the ourtight markets. South Africa are alreadys 1.01 against Scotland and with New Zealand 1.08 against Kenya. Might get involved in one of the games though am hoping to make it to the gym for a leisurely swim so might just leave the games for the day.

Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer dies

Just wanted to pay my respects. Former England cricketer and Pakistani coach Bob Woolmer died on Sunday from a suspected stress induced heart attack following his teams loss to Ireland the previous day.

It just shows the immense pressure the spot light can put on coaches. We see them sat their looking relaxed staring at their lap tops during the games and perhaps forget the strain they are under to produce results.

Woolmer was 58. My condolences go to his family and friends.

Bob Woolmer
obituary, tributes, more tributes and career history.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Cricket world cup: The minnows bite back

Daily Result: £109.05

Well well well. Who'd have thought it. Both Bangladesh and Ireland winning yesterday. Against India and Pakistan. Now that would have been a nice win double!! Effectively it means both teams are through to the Super 8s, unless Zimbabwe can pull a shock win of their own out of the bag. It also rates as one of the all time great embarrassments for Indian cricket, possibly the greatest ever results wise for Pakistani cricket. And of course, means there's a hell of a lot of sore Irish heads around this morning with the win coinciding with St Patricks day as it did. :-)

Results wise I made on ok profit and it means I'm now into the green for the Cricket World Cup after a poor start. Truth is though I wasn't really involved that much in either match. And really should have made a few hundred more when I did finally enter the markets.

Missed the start of the games as I was out trying on groom outfits for the wedding with my best man. After a quick waist measurement we both decided to join a gym straight after! Still, at least it has a bar. :-) When I did get back the Betfair API was down. So I played a bit of poker, had the games on in the background and placed the odd trade through the normal Betfair interface. Was barely involved though until later in the evening when the API had been up for a while, I thought it was stable and both Bangladesh and Ireland were into their run chases.

Made around £95 on the Bangladesh match but my attention was mainly on the Ireland game. Really should have made around £400 instead of the £12 I did. Was in a great position, thought I had all bases covered and then learned another trading lesson. Basically I was nicely green Ireland with a largeish red Pakistan when the players went off for poor light. As they did I ploughed in to the Ireland price. My thinking was there was unlikely to be more play, and even if there was I'd simply get out if it looked like the covers were being removed.

So I sat there watching the square on interactive tv when suddenly the price leapt out. I assumed something must have happened but as the covers were on couldn't work out what. Until of course it became clear the Sky Sports shot of the square wasn't live but a picture taken about 20 minutes before hand, which they then switched for another picture of the square with the covers off! I don't know. Just when you think you might just be getting on top of this trading lark you realise there's always more to learn. So lesson learned. And a costly one. As it wiped out around £250 of my Ireland green. :-(

Was still on for a 3 figure win but when Ireland lost 3 quick wickets on resumption I reduced my Pakistan red to a manageable size incase they actually pulled of a miracle win and left it at that. Still £13 is £13. Not quite what I thought I'd make but a profit none the less. And helps put me in the green for the World Cup to date. Now I've just got to build on it!

Friday, March 16, 2007

I believe in miracles....

Daily Result: £0

So much so that I even paid homage by having a cup of hot chocolate before I went to bed last night! Honestly!! But seriously I had a Houdini like escape in the Ireland v Zimbabwe match yesterday. So much so that this morning I still felt the need for a rousing burst of
The Great Escape.

So what happened? Why all the relief? Well, it' simple. I got in a hole, was facing a maximum loss and the match was a tie - meaning all bets were void. So my red disappeared and I headed out for an ill deserved beer and curry with a "he needs sectioning" sized grin on my face.

Of course, the Betfair cricket forum went into meltdown when people realised that the rule next to the market that says: "If the official result is a Tied Match in any Test, County or Limited Overs match then all bets on Match Odds markets will be void" really means what it says. There were the usual threats to tell tales to the Racing Post about how unfair it all is even though it's there in a black and white and there's a Tied Match market. Well, all I'm saying is the rule has cost me in the past, especially in taking out needless tie insurance in close games, but has also saved me money in the past. Yesterday it saved me again. And while I don't particularly like the rule right now I'm a big fan! Traders are nothing if not fickle!! :-)

Which is all well and good. But the real question is how the hell did I get in such a hole, especially when I was over £50 green the pair within 10 minutes of the match starting. Simple really. Forget everything that went before it the real turning point in this match was fairly deep into the Zimbabwean run chase. By then my book was smallish green Zimbabwe, medium red Ireland (I'd traded pretty poorly after a good start) and I had Zimbabwe down as the winners.

I then made a classic mistake. Truly dumb. Schoolboy. Village. In fact any "you're crap" cricketing cliche you want to throw at it. All are applicable. I stopped concentrating. Was too busy chatting to various people on MSN. The Zimbabweans lost a wicket. No hassle I thought. Until my red on Ireland suddenly increased. I'd accidentally left a back of zimbabwe in the queue earlier and someone unsurprisingly had helped themselves to some free money.

My book was now a little uncomfortable. As another wicket and I'd be approaching my maximum loss. So what do I do? Dress it up how you want but effectively I chased the loss on the accidental position I'd just opened. Decided to make several quick sizeable trades to increase my Zimbabwe green at the short lived higher odds so I could get back to where I was quickly as the price started coming in again. Of course I got caught. There was another wicket. And I lost another 30 points. Result? Max loss territory. Within 10 minutes I'd gone from being in a fairly comfortable position where I could profit whatever the result to being in a deep hole with no way out. (Well, by then I was joking about the tie but never actually expected it!)

So there you have it. A stupid lack of concentration followed by a poor decision nearly cost me a maximum loss and I had a very lucky escape. Ridiculously fortuitous in fact. I still can't figure out how Zimbabwe managed to snatch a tie from the jaws of victory.

Anyway, the end result is I've had a serious reminder about the importance of concentration. It's one of the basics. I ignored it and didn't deserve to escape as I did. I was lucky. Don't intend to put myself in that situation again. And reckon I might just buy a lottery ticket this week!

Looking ahead, today's big match is New Zealand v England. And I'm likely to miss all of it! Heading out shortly for the day with Emma to buy some furniture and then out with my best man later for some drinks. Might catch a bit of the game but after yesterday's near disaster it's probably best to just take a break and clear my head. Best of luck if you get involved. And concentrate!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Cricket World Cup: first profit

Daily Result: £118.65

Good to get the first green on board for the competition following my loss on the opening day. Got involved in two matches today. Mainly the Canada v Kenya game though I did manage to sneak some 1.01 Australia against Scotland in the end. :-)

The Canada v Kenya match was pretty interesting. Despite already saying I had it down as a clear kenya win the 1.23 before the start, with Canada batting first, seemed a little short so my opening play was a lay of Kenya after a few wicketless overs. After those few slow overs to start Canada actually got off to a good start and were 40/0 after 10. Wickets did start to fall, but the run rate also increase up until around the 15/16th over and the Kenyan price got as far as 1.6x.

At which point the Kenyan's bought on a spinner in a Power Play which naturally meant only two fielders outside the circle. A brave move I thought, despite his historical econimical figures. But a great move too as it turned out. The Kenyan spinners totally strangled the game, took care of 30 overs and ensured Canada didn't reach 200. OK, the quality of the match might not have been top notch but in the context it was a brilliant display of containing, wicket taking spin.

Which all left Kenya needing exactly 200 from 50 overs. The price at 1.32 was so tempting, just asking to be smashed into, but my approach was more cautious. Any team can collapse, my knowledge of Kenyan batting isn't the best and do I really want to risk too much on Kenya?

As it happens a successful chase was never really in doubt once the Kenyan's got going. The run rate was never going to be a problem and the Canadians were gifting wides all over the place. Eventually took the plunge and went from all green to moderate green Kenya, largish red Canada, a position I inteded to hold and add to as the game was played out to a Kenyan win.

However, nothing is ever that simple and my crawling into bed past 5am the previous night started to take it's toll. When the second Kenyan wicket fell I decided I was too tired to continue and needed a break. (I'm so lightweight in my old age these days gusts of wind concern me!)Kenya were well on their way but I levelled off a little, ultimately costing me around £90 on a Kenyan victory, and went for a drink and some fresh air. Got involved again a little later in the match but nothing too heavy. More of a watching brief really and was catching some of the Murray match too.

Anyway, despite not quite being able to last the pace I'm pleased to get a couple of wins under my belt and hope to bag a few more going forward. Tomorrow's Bermuda v Sri Lanka match will be all about the subsidiary markets again but the Ireland v Zimbabwe game on Sky interactive is the one to trade for me. Today's liquidity on the interactive game (Kenya) wasn't great but was enough for me. Especially as I started off in blocks of just £250. Hoping there's similar money around tomorrow.

Finally, just a thought on England's match on Friday. Sure, we didn't exactly see any real quicks in the Kenyan match today. And England's bowlers will get more out of the pitch. But we did see what spin can do. Whether Fletcher persists in picking Dalrymple before Monty or not surely Monty gets a game against New Zealand in a second spinner spot? Can certainly see New Zealand going for both Vettori and Patel.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Cricket timing misfires

Daily Result: £222.88

Ah feck it. So wanted a winning start to the world cup but it wasn't to be. In fact I was lucky to escape with the red I did. All started so well too. Was very wary not to rush in too soon so started trading the opening game between West Indies and Pakistan in small sums and cautiously. Managed to build up a small but satisfying green either result early doors before giving a masterclass demonstration in how to mistime trades and plunge into the red.

There were several instances where I opened a position only to see it move pretty quickly against me. Even laying Pakistan as Lara and Samuels started to get going the ball before Lara was out wasn't the worst example in terms of cost! That honour goes to bailing from a small green Windies / large red Pakistan position 4 balls before the Inzi / Yousuf partnership was broken. Sure, I was already in a bit of a mess to get in that position. But as the partnership grew the Windies price started drifting very quickly. I had a cut off point at 1.85 and a good 35/40 point drift in not much more than 5 minutes saw the price arrive so I bailed for an equalish red. Four balls later Yousuf was out, the Windies price collapsed and I was screwed! :-)

From there on the Windies price made a beeline for 1.01. When the result became obvious I used some funds above my £1k to trade my red down a few ticks here and there. Very cautiously. But an example of how I can make more efficient use of my time, and potential profit, at the end of low volatility cricket matches as I discussed in the recent cricket world cup money management post.

So, despite all the earlier errors I was just 4 balls from a profit in the opening match. But hindsight is a wonderful thing and I wasn't to know. Bailing was the right thing to do. The market would have continued to move rapidly against me without the wicket that fell. I guess there's always going to be days where the rub of the green appears to go against you but these things even out over time. And anyway, there' still 50 odd games to go. Marathon, not a sprint and all that. Onwards and hopefully upwards!

Speaking of which I was greedy and tried to get some 1.02 about Australia v Scotland tomorrow. Was near the front of the queue with a lot of 1.01 on offer but after the Windies game the 1.01 disappeared pretty quickly and I don't have a position. Will probably take a look in on the Kenya v Canada match tomorrow though. Kenyan win for me as the price suggests. The game is on Sky interactive so it'll be interesting to see what the liquidity is like. Whether people will play that or get involved in the subsidiary markets in the Aussie match instead as that's the main Sky Sports offering.

Anyway, hope you all had a better start to your cricket world cup campaigns than me. Catch you tomorrow.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Cricket World Cup money management

So as I mentioned earlier in the week I went away for the the weekend and so didn't get round to trading. Missed some good events but it was great to have a break after all the recent DIY. And anyway, with the start of the Cricket World Cup tomorrow we have the first of over 50 matches in a 6 week period. Enough for even the most degenerate trader! Anyway, I also mentioned I would be using some different money management rules from my usual during the World Cup so I thought I'd outline them here before a ball is bowled in anger.

In a nutshell I shall be increasing my bank and stakes. This is something I've mentioned I would probably do several times once I'd built up over £10k profit so as I passed that milestone earlier this year the World Cup seems as good a time as any to give it a go. Especially as some of the matches will be more than a little one sided and a larger bank will hopefully make the time spent involved in the short-priced matches more worthwhile.

Essentially my previous money management method involved an event bank of £1k with a normal trade size of £500 although, depending on circumstances, I would often use less than this. I had a maximum allowable event loss of £500. If I hit the maximum loss I simply bailed out of the event and left my book alone. Damage done. Take it on the chin job. At the end of each day I would either withdraw any profit above £1k, or put my bank balance back up to £1k if I'd lost.

The new method will run along similar lines but the event bank will be £4k and the maximum allowable loss per event will be £750. I plan to make the normal trade size £750 though will use a sliding scale depending on match factors as I have in the past. I don't anticipate making the maximum loss but as I've hit the existing £500 maximum loss three times since I started the blog last May it is a possibility. I'm happy to take this risk however in the belief that profits will be greater on the matches I do win on. Basically the changes being made will have a net profit effect. Fingers crossed. :-)

Immediately it's noticable that the bank has increased by a far larger percentage than the maximum amount I'm willing to lose on an event. The main reason for this is I've realised for a while now that I was not making the most efficient use of my time towards the end of a match when it becomes pretty clear a team will win. In the past when a team's price has hit the 1.1ish range I've often upped my betting stake to £1k. I've explained this previously pointing out that I do it only when there is good liquidity and very little volatility. This way if the price moves against me and I want to get out I can for only a couple of ticks loss. The trouble is a £1k position at 1.1 makes you £100 (before commission). A £2k position would make you £200. A £4k position £400. Multiply these numbers by maybe the 25-30 televised world cup matches and you can see why I'm trialling a new money management system.

Now of course just because a team is a short price it doesn't mean the team will win. And we've all seen 1.01s overturned in cricket. The skill will still be in reading the match and choosing when to get involved. And when to bail. That's the same as it's always been. It's just that when I get involved now I'll have the opportunity to make more profit. I won't always be lumping the £4k on looking for a tick or two profit. In fact I doubt I'll use that amount that often at all. Previously I've always kept in mind my exisiting position when placing my maximum £1k trades. If I have a profitable position that is only small I will protect that first. By that I mean I won't open a position that is too large in comparison to my existing position. In this case a move of a few ticks against me could wipe out all the profit for that game. Everything will remain in proportion as it has done in the past. The key however is that by trading in £750 chunks instead of £500 I'm hoping to have more green to play with towards the end of a game. Which in turn will allow me to open larger positions in the low volatility markets that often occur at the end of cricket matches. While at the same time keeping everything roughly in proportion to each other.

So there you have it. Obviously I'm not going to rush into it. And for tomorrow's opener between Pakistan and the West Indies It'll be business as usual. Afterall, I've had a few weeks away from trading cricket - and done very little on any other sport too. But once I feel I'm back into the swing of things I'll pick a suitable match to start with the larger figures and see where it leads. It''ll be interesting to see what kind of psychological impact the rise in stakes has in my decision making. But hopefully my thought processes will remain clear and at the end of the tournament I'll have a nice profit and more wedding funds! :-)

Just remains to be said I wish you good luck if you're planning on getting involved in the world cup. Well, unless you're the one filling my trades anyway!! :-P

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

It's good to be back!

Well thank feck for that! The new carpets are down, most the painting is done, the electricity works again and I'm back online and rearing to go. Typically there's nothing for me to actually trade today - but with some more cricket world cup warm ups later this week - before the main event itself - it's going to be a busy couple of months trading from here. Can't wait to get back into it all again and hopefully save a little more for the big day.

Still got some painting to do but it's not where the carpets are new and can be done over the next few weeks. So for the next few days I'll be trading what I can inbetween sorting out my new office. (Den as Emma insists on calling it). Lots of new gadgets to hook up and I'll finally have a trading station worthy of the name.

Only caught some small parts of the warm up games to date but enough to assess the various wickets I've seen so far. Have also put some thought into the new money management system I'll be using for cricket matches during the world cup and I'll outline this shortly. I'm away for the weekend so will probably put it up over then.

Anyway, that's it, I'm back and hopefully the blog posts should return to normal now. Apologies again for the lack of recent updates but we had to virtually gut half the house and I just haven't always been able to get online to trade or update - or even work!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Weekend update

Been a hectic week trying to get all the DIY done before the carpets are fitted on Monday and Tuesday and have barely had a chance to turn the computer on let alone trade. The end is in sight though and by Wednesday next week everything should be back to normal. So apologies for the lack of updates recently but I've been desperately trying to get everything sorted before the cricket world cup starts which it will all be now.

The opening ceremony is on March 11th with the first match taking place on the 13th when hosts West Indies play Pakistan. That match is the first of 51 including the final on April 28th. That's going to be a busy 6 weeks cricket trading! Starting tomorrow we have 4 days of warm ups. Hoping to catch some of the games to get a look at the pitches etc before the tournament proper starts.

I'd decided to implement a new money management strategy for the world cup and will do a write up on it before the event proper starts. Basically it will give me some greater flexibility to hopefully make more from some of the shorter priced matches that will be around at the start of the tournament.

In the meantime I've got another couple of days of DIY to finish. Emma's back from her business trip now so hopefully we can get everything finished quickly and be ready to trade properly again shortly. I guess on the plus side the trading break will hopefully mean I'm refreshed and sharp minded!