who paid for his wedding and is now trying to turn £1k into £101k
Monday, April 30, 2007
Cricket World Cup review
Not so much a review of the competition as a whole but rather my trading performance during the world cup. I've mentioned what I thought of the world cup in several posts including parts of this one and this one. Suffice to say now it's all over I thought it was pretty poor in many aspects. I wasn't at all surprised to see that Rudi Koertzen after his, shall we say strange, decisions in the Sri Lanka v New Zealand semi final, appears to have had a leading hand to play in the shambles that marked the end of the final. Knock me down with a shovel but it appears Rudi, as 3rd umpire, didn't know the rules. (Though I wouldn't be churlish enough to blame him entirely) And I find it all a little unsavoury that the death of Bob Woolmer appears to have been swept under the carpet somewhat.
Cricket fan or not though ultimately the competition was about my results. Mercenary I know but that's why I sit there for hours and trade. It's for me. My profits. And paying for my wedding. So, how did I get on?
Well, it was great! Despite a losing start I made precisely £7,175 from the tournament. Small fry to many I know but a great result for me. Better than I'd hoped for before a ball was bowled. And a massive contribution to paying for the big day. I can't be anything but chuffed with that result. It's more than £1k tax free a week and as such will work out at more than I earned from my job! I think I can safely say my trading software paid for itself.
Breaking it down a little, of the 50+ games I got involved in 38. For some I did the whole match, for some most of it and for some just an innings or even just a few overs. Of the 38 games I did have an interest in I won on 33 and lost on 5. My biggest win was £933.44 when Bangladesh turned over South Africa. My biggest loss was £419.97 when South Africa humiliated England and I let a losing position run too long.
I had a lucky escape when the Ireland v Zimbabwe match was tied and once again learned /reminded myself of some lessons about trading cricket including these three. (1, 2, 3)
Ultimately though the size of my final profit on the tournament comes down to a change in bankroll management before it started. I mentioned I was going to trial a new money management system and I did. Not immediately. In fact not properly until well into the Super 8s although I was using aspects of it on some shorter priced games before the Super 8s started.
Reviewing my trading and results on the whole I can call the trial a success. There were aspects I wasn't pleased about but I've identified these and can work on them. On the whole though using the bigger bank was beneficial to me and I've decided to continue with the new money management rules indefinitely. The larger amounts will be for cricket only though - I'll continue as before with other sports - and I'll obvioulsy take account of liquidity in each game before getting too stuck in. Now we're into the domestic cricket season liquidity is generally reduced. Though should still be enough for me.
Anyway, that's that. The 2007 Cricket World Cup is over. I hope it treated you well. From my trading perspective at least it was a success. And I hope I can now carry that success forward into the domestic season. :-)
And when I say a fitting end to the World Cup it's not meant as a compliment. Sure, Australia won as befitted the best team in the world. But organisationally it was a shocking end to what has been a shocking world cup. Farcical doesn't even begin to sum up what should be the showpiece event in cricket.
I just don't know where to even start. The match finished in darkness. After Australia had already celebrated winning once. An understandable reaction when the official scorebaord was congratulating them. Though quite how the scoreboard managed to do display that but seemed incapable of showing what the correct revised Duckworth Lewis total for the Sri Lankan run chase was is beyond me. It was just embarrassing to watch. Especially when the ceremonial / presentation committee were ordered to stop setting up and leave the pitch in darkness because the match hadn't finished, the umpires had to ask Ponting for the match ball back, McGrath for a stump back and the groundsman had to relay the 30 yard white fielding disks he'd already collected. Showpiece event my arse.
It was the darkness that was the most ridiculous though. Here's the last ball commentary from TMS:
"I think he's bowled him. Oh no....... The bails are still there....... I think. Oh well, it's pitch dark all round anyway."
Other commentary gems from tv and radio included "I can't see the ball. A stumping I think. Oh dear. Oh dear. It's bizarre beyond words this", "We're playing out a farce here at the Kensington Oval", "It's quite a strain on the eyes this. Clarke I can just about see" and "Farce adding to farce".
Not exactly selling the game to a worldwide audience is it? And not surprisingly the ICC contingent at the awards ceremony were all roundly booed before boring everyone to death with long winded self congratulatory speeches about what a successful tournament everyone had just enjoyed. Just fecking get on with it, we can't fecking see you properly anyway is a fair reflection of crowd sentiment I think.
Back to the match anyway. Rain delayed and reduced to 38 overs we were still treated to an awesome batting display from Gilchrist who finally found his form. He smashed 149 from 129 balls and treated us to some breathtaking stroke play. Brilliant knock. No other way to describe it. And it rightly won him the man of the match award.
His innings helped the Aussies reach 281 from their 38 overs, a total Sri Lanka were never likely to chase, especially when it was clear the Aussie bowlers were finding more movement with the new ball. To be fair Sri Lanka did have a good crack at the total but ultimately at the cost of too many wickets which effectively made the required run rate impossible before it spiralled upwards.
McGrath managed to take another wicket and finished the tournament as top wicket taker with 26 - bagging the Player of the Tournament award in the process. He took a wicket with his last ball in test cricket and but couldn't quite manage the same feat in ODIs, having to settle for a run out off his penultimate ball. I might have cursed him more than a few times in the past but wish the old man well in his retirement. A class player.
Anyway, that's that. The World Cup is over. And not before time if the truth be told. I'll be taking another day or two away from trading but will do a summary of the tournament and my trading in it when I get a little more time.
Still enjoying a few days away from trading in an effort to recharge and freshen up. Sharp Minds and all that. Thought it might be of interest if I updated a list of betting blogs I like to take a look in on.
Yay! Everyone loves a free bet! A general listing of free bet offers available from UK-licensed bookmakers as well as a daily update of all the event specific free bets and promotions bookmakers try to tempt us into opening accounts with.
Essential reading. Punt is written by Matt, a professional tennis trader. Intelligent, thought provoking and full of useful advice and trading tips as well as some top notch discussion on various issues surrounding full time gambling.
Follow the ups and downs of Ray, a full-time Betdaq trader, who deposited just £200 into his account years ago and now makes thousands a month. The daily blog outlines how he does it and includes discussion on individual trades.
A blog about the life of John, a full time Gambler who also likes his beers! Big winners, big losers and some decent tips to boot. Never afraid to voice his opinion on gambling related matters. Well worth dropping in on.
Betting Diary with screen shots of the Assassin of many guises. Gone a bit quiet of late after a bad run but I'm hoping he bounces back. Got a soft spot for the blog as it was the first one to ever link to mine!
Bert is, in fact, Andrew Black. A co-founder of Betfair. I love the "my website" link in his profile. Links to Betfair! A blog about both his own betting and the highs and lows of owning race horses. And believe me, he's got a few!
Modest title from a guy called Gareth who makes a very decent part-time income from trading. Provides frequent write ups and analysis of the sporting events he has traded whether successful or not. Includes a running profit / loss figure.
A rags to riches tail of trading on betting exchanges by a self proclaimed novice trader called Darren who records his profit and loss and details his trades. A long way to go but a steady enough start.
Actually the blog of someone who both trades sports on Betfair and Forex. Posts include details of his bets as well as various software reviews that run through the Betfair API. The only betting blog with a Podcast!
Fairly new blog from someone whose actually been on Betfair for a few years. Daily updates of trading progress with a profit / loss record given in terms of percentage of bank. Averages around 5% profit a month.
Superb tipping blog. Easily the most consistent and profitable return I've seen long term. Recently posted a verbatim conversation with a bookie that limited him to 30p E/W. Hilarious stuff. And the unfortunate price of success!
Not much explanation for his tips but this guy follows both the ATP and WTA tours and bets on them. He uses the blog to highlight his own bets before the matches enabling readers to consider the tip if they want
Going through a poor patch at the moment but I always like to look at this blog as the eponymous Ed always gives detailed reasons for his selections. Whether you agree with his analysis or not it's well considered opinon and food for thought.
There's tips about everything on here! From football and NBA picks to tips on internet marketing, increasing online traffic and Adwords. The idea is to help you make money across a wide area of online activities.
Discipline, trade stop losses, the importance of taking a red, learning from mistakes. Whatever you want to call it today was a perfect example of why it all works. And why as traders we should all do it.
My last cricket loss was £419.97 on the England v South Africa match. I discussed this loss in detail. The outcome was I'd made a basic error. I'd let a loss on an early trade run too long. Didn't cut it in time. And as the market continued to move against me it left me in a tough position for the rest of the match. Unable, infact, to do any more than limit my losses on the game. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but in discussing that loss I said with hindsight I'd reviewed my trading performance, identified the mistake and would learn from it.
Today the pay off came. Because I found myself in the same basic position and once again it was very early in an event. This time, bearing the recent loss in mind and taking all match factors into account, I made an immediate decision to cut my losses. Accept the all round red it left me with and start again. A wise move. Because in less than 10 minutes I'd have been screwed. And within 25 I'd have been facing catastrophic losses. Though my stop loss limit would have forced me out of the market long before that. Instead I learned from an earlier mistake. Cut the loss, took the all red position and was then able to use the subsequent events to turn what would have been a very heavy loss into a very healthy win. Like I said, discipline, stops, taking red and learning from mistakes. Package it together and it works. Taking a red really can be good!
So, what exactly happened today?
Well, I was trading the Australia v South Africa semi final in the Cricket World Cup. South Africa won the toss and decided to bat. The considered wisdom was the they should post a good total on a track that would slow during the day making it harder to chase. As the game got going I had a large back of South Africa sat in my book. I did take some early profit from this but also added to my position as the first few overs progressed. Little did I know what was to come.
Crunch time came in the third over when Smith was clean bowled by Bracken. The market moved against me and I was effectively in the same postion as back in that West Indies v England game. My options? Take the loss. Or hang on, hope there wasn't another quick wicket, and get out a little later, hopefully for a profit. Smith's is a big wicket. And working it out, bailing there and then only left me £75 red each side with nearly 100 overs left to turn that round. Another wicket now and I'd be facing a considerably larger red. Which, given the shortness of the Australian price already, would have been tough to turn around. I bailed. Took the £75 red and started again.
And am I pleased I did that or what! Kallis, another huge wicket, fell in the 6th over. And before 10 overs had been bowled South Africa had collapsed to 27/5 amid astonishing scenes. Australia had traded at 1.04 and the match was effectively over bar a miracle. During the fall of those other four wickets, instead of staring at an increasingly red screen like I would I have done if I had not bailed I turned my £75 red into a green on the fall of Kallis's wicket and managed to build a substantial green on Australia as the other wickets fell.
So effectively less than 7 overs of cricket at the start of a match could have resulted in a maximum loss or a healthy win. Learning from previous mistakes I was lucky enough to have the win rather than the loss. And in the process reminded myself again why taking an all red position isn't necessarily a bad thing. In today's case it saved me a small fortune. And will do again in the future.
Anyway, sorry if that's all a bit long but I think it's important. And by typing it all out at least I'm not going to forget it in a hurry!! :-) After saying I'd felt tired and lacking in concentration while trading recently I again felt better today after taking that short break though there wasn't exactly that much to do after the first 10 overs. However, I've decided to take the next two days off too until the Cricket World Cup final, ignore the tennis and snooker, and freshen up a little more. Good luck if you get involved.
Hmmm. Maybe I should take a break more often! Can't argue with today's result. A big contribution to the wedding funds. Actually won £834.69 on the Sri Lanka v New Zealand cricket but the Mark Williams snooker bet I mentioned the other day lost costing me £100. I remember now why I don't normally tip / pass them on!
Even after just a couple of days off I felt more in the mood when I sat down to do the cricket. Will do tomorrow's semi final too and then probably take another two days off before the final. See how I feel after that.
Despite feeling good I actually had a terrible start in the cricket. Double clicked a sizeable bet on the toss news and ended up in a bit of a nasty position. Got out of it and took a very quick profit as soon as possible in the Sri Lanka innings and thankfully so - as they lost a wicket soon after. So a little lucky to start with but from there on I just seemed to hit the zone for large parts of the game and ended up £450 green either side at the break - an unusually large position for me after 50 overs.
It was an enjoyable innings to watch too. Steady paced with good acceleration at the end and included a superb 115 not out from captain Jayawardene, a fast and useful 73 from Tharanga and a cameo 30 from 27 balls by Dilshan. What made the final total of 289 for 5 even more impressive was the Sri Lankans had fallen prey to some shocking umpiring decisions including two LBWs where the ball hadn't even hit the pads!
So New Zealand needed 290 to win from 50 overs at a required run rate of 5.8. Well, New Zealand can chase. And anyone who underestimates their ability to do so will learn a costly lesson. But as I said on the Betfair forum I fancied Sri Lanka to win. Though I did expect the Black Caps to have a better crack at the total.
They were up against a lot though. Styris had a hand injury. McMillan had been off the pitch for most the Sri Lankan innings and wouldn't be able to bat until number 7. Fleming has been Vaas's bunny recently and has been out 7 times in 99 balls to him! On top of that the 290 needed would have been the largest run chase in the tournament by a country mile. And the overhead conditions had clouded over somewhat from the Sri Lankan innings. Oh, and New Zealand have lost 4 world cup semi finals previously. So the prospects weren't good!
That said I wasn't going to underestimate the Kiwi's and was aware they would probably go after a quick start so left it a few overs before getting involved. A wicket fell, Malinga was bowling an unplayable spell, the RRR was on the rise and I got with Sri Lanka.
To be fair after losing a second earlyish wicket New Zealand gave the short odds Lankan batters a bit of a scare by the time they were 105/2 and the Lankan price had flown out to 1.5x. Especially as Fernando had gone for 45 of those in just 5 overs. But then came the spinners. And a collapse of English proportions. The Kiwis went from 105/2 to 149/9 and the Lankan price collapsed accordingly. Between them Murali, Jayasuriya and Dilshan - a replacement for Fernando - took 8 wickets in less than 22 overs. And those stats include a 59 run 10 over last wicket partnership. Carnage. And Sri Lanka rightfully emerged from it to claim their place in the final on Saturday.
Unfortunately the news wasn't so good from the snooker. My bet in the outright market, Mark Williams, lost his 1st round match! Yes, yes, he's crap these days I hear you say. What were you doing? Well, I had a tip from someone I consider a good snooker judge and briefly explained the reasons elsewhere on the blog (see comments) but it seems Williams had other ideas. :-( I actually put the match on in the background while I was working. He missed his first pot by a good half a foot and needed two flukes to win the first frame. I wasn't hopeful! But somehow he managed to get to a 4-0 lead at which point I turned off, thought he'd probably win the match and I'd assess my position later on. Was a bit surprised to later see it was 5-4 Williams and just smiled when I saw he'd lost 10-9! Ah well.
Mentioned a few days ago that I've felt I needed a bit of a break from trading recently so that's what I'm doing. Haven't been feeling that fresh recently when I've sat down to trade and have been finding I'm losing interest and concentration part way through some longer events and that is in turn leading to mistakes.
I've been here before and a few days getting on with something else and not looking in on Betfair normally does the trick. Recharge the batteries and all that. So after Saturday's cricket match between West Indies and England I decided I wouldn't get involved in anything until the two semi finals this week, and then probably take another few days off until the final.
Bit of a shame as the Snooker World Championship has started and the early matches often provide good opportunities. I might take a look later in the week if I'm feeling fresher but will probably leave until after the Cricket World Cup final. I've taken a position on Mark Williams on the outright market in the 30s at the suggestion of a friend who knows more about snooker than I ever will. Reckons Williams has been tearing it up in practice sessions recently and is worth backing with a view to trading at a later date. Or even as an each way shot with a normal bookie. Guess we'll see. His first round match is tomorrow against Joe Swail so I'll look out for that result.
As for the West Indies v England game. Again, I started to lose concentration and interest in the actual trading side of it and mainly ended up just watching from that point. Cracking match. And one which saw crazy volatility near the end so I probably would have been sat well out of it anyway for the most part. England won, Michael Vaughn finally got an innings, Pietersen got another century and Stuart Broad again showed he's got a bright future.
The game was really all about Brian Lara though. He was promoted up the order and came in at no.3 after Gayle and Smith had got the West Indies of to a great start. Unfortunately there was no fairy tail ending to his last ever international match and he was unceremoniously run out by Samuels on just 18. He was, however, rightly given a standing ovation both onto and off the field and has probably only just finished his post-match lap of honour! I'd been up to £300 green both sides during the match but wasn't trading well and showing a distant lack of patriotism I was keeping my fingers crossed for the tie by the end as that would have netted me over £500 instead of the £60 or so I made! Still, good to see Duncan Fletcher get a win in his last match in charge of the England.
At the start of the Cricket World Cup I mentioned that with over 50 matches in a 6 week period there was enough action for even the most degenerate trader! So I guess it's a blessing in disguise that it all finally got a bit much yesterday as I can now lay claim to not being totally debauched!
Including today's I've now been involved in 33 of the matches so far. Admittedly some only for a short period but many for large parts, if not all, of the game. Anyway, I've been feeling a bit jaded with the trading for the last few days - even to the point where I'd start doing a great tennis match to trade and then just get out and leave it - and yesterday I decided I needed a break. Guess the long hours of working in the morning and trading a cricket match when I'm done finally took it's toll. Well, either that or I'm a lightweight! Anyway, after a few hours in the West Indies v Bangladesh game I decided I'd had enough and had to leave it despite everything pointing to a perfect position for a big win if I carried on. So I levelled off for around a £60 green and arranged for a night out.
This morning I decided I'd take a couple of days away from trading to recharge the batteries but would do the two remaining Super 8s games, today's Australia v New Zealand match and tomorrow's West Indies v England game first. I'll probably take a few days off after the World Cup has finished too. Anyway, back to today. So I went for a swim and a good walk and made sure I was feeling fresh before the match started. Turned into a game of two halves really (if I may borrow a cliche from another sport!) The first half I traded like a dream and was £600 green either side. The second I traded as badly as I'd done the first half well and ended up losing nearly £200 of the green. End result is, with some tennis thrown in yesterday - which again I found I didn't have the real appetite to do and just left - I've won just under £500 since my last update a few days ago. A pleasing result really given the circumstances.
Looking forward to tomorrow's West Indies v England game. I will trade at least some of it. But to be honest this particular game is not all about the trading. There's been a lot of news about the two teams recently and it's hard to believe it will be Brian Lara's last ever international match. A sad day for the sport. It's an overused phrase but he really is a legend in the game. I'd been looking forward to seeing him tour England one last time starting next month but alas it's not to be. He's sure to get a hero's send off in Barbados and I'm equally sure the ground will be absolutely packed. Stand by for some emotional scenes.
Of course there's been news in the England camp too. It will be Duncan Fletcher's last game in charge. In the light of recent results it's been all too easy to forget just what Fletcher has helped England achieve. Perhaps ODI performances never quite hit the highpoints but his test match record is superb and I'm sure history will quite rightly look kindly on his reign as England coach.
Anyway, enjoy the match if you watch it. There might not be much to play for but it's going to be some occasion and the atmosphere will most definitely finally be carnival like! Even the Barmy Army will no doubt be drowned out by the West Indian fans as they send off one of their cricketing heros. Though I'm equally sure they too will be paying their respects to the great Brian Lara.
Always good to have a winning day after a losing one so pleased to claw back some of yesterday's loss and get the wedding funds heading in the right direction again. Didn't really get too involved in anything today. Just had a quick look into a few markets as the day went along.
The cricket today was Ireland v Sri Lanka which made for a very short priced jolly. Which became unbackable long before Ireland, who were batting first, went from 28-0 to 77 all out. I made a small amount on the outright market and a little more on the Irish innings runs by laying 200 but was never properly involved.
Instead I'd decided to do some tennis figuring it was a better proposition. I started doing the Gasquet v Hrbaty game from the Monte Carlo Masters but realised pretty quickly that I simply wasn't in the mood so just levelled out my green and left it.
Emma was out for the evening so I decided to get involved in the West Ham v Chelsea match. Regular readers will know that I don't normally trade football matches and have admitted in the past this is because I can't find a way to consistently win. However, since the start of April I have been trying something new and gave it go again last night. It's early days yet and everything is to small stakes. Infact my biggest win has been £3.85. The amounts aren't really the point though. Since April 3 I've now traded 12 football markets and not lost on one. There's a long way to go yet, and I'm not convinced what I'm doing will work long term, but perhaps maybe, at long last, there might just be a bit of light at the end of the football trading tunnel!
Anyway, tomorrow's cricket is the West Indies v Bangladesh. The Windies seem a little skinny at 1.22 but there again I can't see the Bangladesh batsmen fancying the track. Both teams are already out of the competition so if I do get involved it will be cautiously to start with. The tennis might prove a better option yet. Probably get my day's normal work out the way and then watch the start of the cricket and make a decision from there about what to spend my time doing.
Well I guess it couldn't last. Had a great run of results recently and was due a loss. Today it arrived in style in the South Africa v England game and bought me back to earth with a bit of a bump.
I'm not especially annoyed about the size of the loss. Sure, it's never nice to lose but it's well within my old maximum loss limit of £500 and even further within my trial max loss limit of £750 for the duration of the Cricket World Cup. And a positive to take away from it is that I managed to stay perfectly in control when it was obvious everything had gone more than a bit wrong. The match reached a point in the England innings during the collapse where it seemed pretty obvious South Africa were going to win. At that point I could have deposited more money and bought myself out of the position and ended up with a small green. Of course, the risk is something out of the ordinary then happens and I do my absolute nuts trying to chase. Take that "buying your way out of trouble" route too often and you will get bitten badly eventually. So best to leave it, take the loss on the chin and stick to the money management principles that were worked out when I was clear headed and not under any trading pressure. And that's exactly what I did today. I used most of my daily bank to back South Africa (albeit too late and at pretty short odds), worked out what the price was where I would have to bail for my maximum loss if the Saffer's price started to drift and just got on with some other stuff. Nothing to worry about. All very calm really. The decisions were effectively out of my hands and money management rules had taken over. Thankfully the South Africans made a beeline to 1.01 and I lost £420 rather than the £750 I could have.
I am a little more frustrated with the result from a trading point of view however. Basically because I made mistakes. But there's one that stands out and really set the scene for the loss that eventually materialised. The irony is after yesterday's post about the toss it was a toss related mistake that got the ball rolling. Basically England won the toss and I got on them. However, they chose to bat and the market didn't like it. The price drifted rapidly. It did then come in slowly but I still hadn't quite got back to my break even point when they went out to bat. This is where a crucial decision was required and, although it's easy to say with hindsight , I got it wrong. Hindsight or no hindsight.
The problem was I'd both layed South Africa and backed England on the toss news. Heavily. At the start of the innings I needed South Africa to come in 6 ticks, with the appropriate drop in England's odds, to get out level. I should have just got out red there and then and started again. Especially given my opinion on the quality of England's top order in ODIs at the moment. What stopped me doing it was the size of the red I would be facing if I got out. So I made a mistake and decided to stay in the position. Calculated risk. I basically figured a couple of quick boundaries in the first few overs and I'll be in profit.
Of course, that didn't happen! England redefined their own already exemplary definition of negative batting and managed to score precisely 1 off the first 3 overs. Of course, the market was moving against me and alarm bells were ringing. But it got to the stage where I figured if a wicket goes now I'm only going to lose another 10 ticks so take the risk. Colouring this decision was the acceleration, when it comes, will still see me level very quickly.
Well, the acceleration never really came. But the wickets did. Turning what could be argued was a very slow but steady start keeping wickets in hand ( 9 off the first 7 overs!) for an onslaught later on into a disasterous start for England that saw me bailing for a sizeable loss.
I then compounded these losses by laying South Africa once it looked like Strauss and Pietersen were getting going. More quick wickets fell and I reached the position where if I put my daily bank on South Africa I'd end up with a smallish green on them. Of course, rather than doing that I waited for their price to drift a little to make the green bigger but the wickets kept falling. Again I'd wait to get a bigger price - and again wickets would fall. My timing was awful. In the end I took the plunge but by then it was too late and I was left all red and with not much else to do for the match. Indeed, I didn't trade a large part of the end of the England innings and none of the South African one. Just had it on in the background out of interest with my max loss stop in place in the market. Though I even took that down when it became clear South Africa were blitzing the English bowling and we were in for a quick result. In the end they made the chase (they needed 155 to win) and won the game by 9 wickets with more than 30 overs to spare. Total humiliation for the England! But one which might now finally ring some changes after the World Cup.
Anyway, it's not all doom and gloom. Realised today that it is exactly 5 years since I went self employed so that was worth a drink or several :-) And today's loss prompted me to see what my overall position is on the World Cup so far. Small fry compared to many I know but today's loss left me on £4.8k profit. Didn't even realise I'd been above £5k. And even though I changed my money management for the world cup I'd have ripped your hand off for anywhere near £5k before the tournament!! So, the plan is to put today's loss behind me - afterall, I've still got more than I had yesterday morning - and to make sure I'm clearly focussed next time I get involved. Hope I'm back to winning ways soon! :-)
Got caught with my pants down today in the Sri Lanka v Australia game. I guess anyone who bets on cricket knows the toss can effect the market. So it's good to get the toss news as quickly as possible and bet accordingly. Which is what I did today as usual. Jumped in when Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat and market moved my way. Nice green. Smiles all round.
Until of course, the Sri Lankan team news was annouced maybe 20-30 seconds later. Malinga still out. Well, I knew that. But Murali and and Vaas both out too! Being rested or "injured". I'd not been so quick to pick up on the team news and the market suddenly swung massively against me as the proper shrewdies sprung into action. Afterall, it meant the Lankan's 3 top bowlers were out. I went from a nice green to a bad red in seconds before I realised what the hell was going on! Always best to keep calm and think clearly in these situations so I simply dumped everything I was still holding, thought about it for about it for a few seconds more and decided the market still had further to go. So completely reversed and rode the market back into green. Even then I got out way too early though and ended up backing back a lay of Lanka at low 3.x in the high 3.x range before it went to around 4.5/4.5. Similarly I got out of the reverse backs of Australia at 1.46 and 1.47 too early in the mid 1.3 range when they went as low as 1.28 before the game got started.
Still, a lucky escape really. Not been caught out like that before. Doesn't matter how much you think you know there always seems to be another way you can do your bollocks if you're not careful. And today I discovered another one to watch out for!
The match itself was a bit of an anticlimax. Not surprising after the team news. The Lankans got off to an ok start causing the Aussie price to drift but three quick wickets soon slowed the run rate down and the odds corrected. A fantastic 4th wicket partnership of 140 between Jayawardene and Silva pulled the game back for the Lankans, costing me money as I screwed the trading up for that part of the innings, before a comical collapse at the end, which included 5 wickets for 17 runs, left the Sri Lankans on 226 all out.
With the Sri Lankan second string bowlers on show, and several Aussie batsmen in fine form, the run chase was never really in doubt. Obviously the Lankan's needed to keep it tight and take early wickets. 11 runs off the first over set the tone though and the Aussie price plummeted. Bounced around a little with wickets later on but the result was never really in doubt after a good start to the chase and they ran out 7 wicket winners with more than seven overs to spare.
All in all a bit of a disappointing match really. Another nice profit so can't really complain as that's what it's all about. But I was expecting something a little more competitive until the team news was announced. Anyway, tomorrow is South Africa v England with the winner likely to make the semi-finals. With everything to play for there should be full strength teams out and hopefully we'll get a cracker of a game to both watch and trade.
I'd been looking forward to today's game for a while. It "should" have been India v Pakistan, one of the cricket world cup marquee matches. And one of the few games that was sold out in advance. Instead we had Bangladesh v Ireland. The two surprise Super 8s qualifiers maybe. But a match with equally as much pride at stake. And one that would see Ireland receive an official ODI ranking if they won. It was set up to be a trader's dream and it didn't disappoint.
To be honest I had Bangladesh down as the winners at the off and backed them in the high 1.3x range on the toss news making a few ticks. It appeared a strange decision for Ireland to elect to bat with the moisture in the pitch. By the start of the play they were trading in the low 1.3x range and during the first over they went as low as 1.26. Crazy price. Whether I fancied them to win or not they weren't a 1.26 shot so I layed and mentioned it on the Betfair forum. It was like a huge overreaction to previous matches. Sure there was bounce in the pitch but seemingly not as much movement and the price soon rebounded a little. Most unusually I actually managed to lay at the lowest price they were matched! Hardly ever achieve that. :-) While I usually like to just ride the market momentum there comes a point when you just have to oppose it and somehow I managed to get it spot on today for a change. :-)
Anyway, a few wicketless overs later and the pitch wasn't looking too bad. The decision to bat was starting to look like a good positive one and the Bangladesh price continued to drift despite huge resistance. It just seemed to take a while for the market to realise that Ireland might actually post a competitive score - despite the fact that the 92 they put on for the first wicket was an Irish record. I guess the market was just wary of a then moderate run rate and the 3 Bangladeshi left arm spinners.
Anyway, the Irish plan of not losing early wickets paid off later in the innings. Despite some stupid run outs they still had enough firepower left at the end of the innings to up the run rate and post a more than reasonable 243. Especially when you consider the highest successful run chase this world cup is 248. And that was by Australia. Yet still Bangladesh were 1.8ish shots. Though they did drift during the innings break a little.
I levelled out green during the innings break. With the prices as they were it was always going to be a volatile market for a large part of the run chase and wow, were we not let down! In one over alone around 1/3rd of the way into the chase the scoring went . 3 4 6 wd wd and by then the Irish price had drifted 35 ticks and I'd wiped around £150 green from both sides of my book!
For maybe a 20 over stretch trading was not for the feint hearted. The trouble was although they were losing wickets for a long time Bangladesh were up with the run rate - or keeping it manageable. A classic situation for maximum volatility. As Bangladesh scored the Irish price drifted quickly. But as the wickets fell the Irish price plummeted. Very volatile. And very dangerous to get involved with. Great if you get it right. Wipe out time if you get it wrong. Me? I bottled it! Especially after that 35 tick loss in less than one over!! I protected my green and kept it pretty even. Nicked a few ticks inbetween balls (the market was so volatile you could nick 5 ticks just doing that!) chose when to stay in a little longer very carefully and basically waited until one side got a little more on top. It was a great opportunity to make a lot of money. But there was also a danger of losing a lot. Quickly. I prefer consistent small / medium wins to inconsistent big wins and big losses and so tempered my trading accordingly. But well done to those with balls bigger than mine that got stuck in and cleaned up! A little later I saw someone get £250k matched (Over £500k traded) at 1.31. Next ball there was a wicket and price crashed to 1.1. Nice work if you can get it!! :-)
Aside from recognising the volatility and trading accordingly perhaps the biggest lesson to pull from all today's market madness is provided by the fact that it was such an interesting trading situation. By that I mean the required run rate versus the wickets remaining. There comes a point no matter how "manageable" the RRR sounds you have to question the ability of the batsmen left to do it. For me it became "unmanageable" when Iqbal, and more importantly, Ashrafal, went. From memory the rate was still around a run a ball. Even under. Very achievable. But who was left to bat? All the main guys were gone. But it seemed the market caught on slowly and the Irish price continued to drift alarmingly until each wicket fell, even though the RRR started to climb until it did finally get clearly out of reach. Picking that point, where the RRR looked achievable but infact was out of reach, was really the key to the second innings once I'd run scared from the volatility. And it's the point where I started to get involved more heavily again once I thought we'd reached it.
Anyway, in the end Ireland ran out comfortable winners by 74 runs. But for a period in that second innings it was an absolutely cracking match to watch and trade. Bangladesh, with their dropped catches and questionable shot selection, will feel they perhaps should have done better. But you can't take it away from the Irish. After their mauling by Australia they bounced back, showed their resilient team spirit again, deserved the win and secured an official ODI ranking.
I'm pretty sure there isn't anyone in the world who is betting on the cricket world cup who hasn't noticed that many of the games are following a bit of a pattern and today's was no exception. It's tempting to say New Zealand won the toss, and therefore the match but it would be a little disingenuous. An advantage it was yes, but the Black Cap bowlers also put in a fantastic performance to help seal the victory.
Unusually I took an outright punt on the toss news today as I felt the 2.38 about New Zealand was just too attractive not to. I explained my reasons on the Betfair forum before the game but basically because of the prices my thinking was if New Zealand won the toss there would be a much bigger price move in my favour than the move against me would be if South Africa won the toss. As the toss was an even money proposition I convinced myself I'd found a value punt and went for it. New Zealand duly won the toss and their price went to 2.1x before the match started. A pleasing if lucky start.
Black Cap openers Franklin and Bond then made it an even better start taking a wicket each in the opening overs. The New Zealand price crashed and I never really looked back for the rest of the day. There was clearly a bit of moisture in the pitch and as overused a phrase as it is some of the deliveries were simply unplayable. World class batsmen not even able to edge the ball! The result was that after 10 overs South Africa had managed a tournament low of just 12 runs! The most amazing thing about the whole situation though was that South African captain Graeme Smith made it clear he would have batted first given the choice! The mind boggles...
I made a mistake of getting out of some of my New Zealand backs too early but managed to pick up some more profit during the innings as South Africa got bogged down and continued to lose wickets. So tied up were they by the Black Cap attack that by the start of the 45th over they'd only scored 6 boundaries in the entire innings.
Fleming is often described as the best international cricket captain in the world and did this claim no harm today through some inspired decisions in the field. The most remarkable of which was bringing on 7th choice bowler Craig McMillan near the end of the South African innings! There were barely disguised guffaws from commentators but McMillan duly obliged by taking a wicket. Commentators backtracked but stressed he'd done his job and it was time for the front line bowlers. Fleming disagreed, bough McMillan on again and eventually gave him 5 overs in which he took 3 wickets for 23 runs - a career best performance which continued to stun the commentators who simply joked each over that surely it would be his last! Afterwards Fleming nonchantly explained:
"He has the ability to just grab a wicket from anywhere. There's a few subtleties in there that do the trick." Quite!
Anyway, New Zealand came out needing just 194 to win and it was immediately obvious that the pitch was playing better than it had been first thing in the morning. The sun had helped to dry it out and despite losing some wickets the run rate was never going to pressure the batsmen and they made the chase quite easily - with the help of several dropped catches - winning by 5 wickets with 10 runs to spare. Although not top scoring McMillan's 38 not out was good enough to wrap up a well deserved Man of the Match award.
New Zealand's victory sees them through to the semi finals and also sets up a cracking match on Tuesday between South Africa and England with the winner of that match also likely to make the semis.
Sri Lanka eased past New Zealand today in a textbook 6-wicket victory. They took early wickets, contained in the middle overs and then set about showing how to properly chase a small total - a lesson England could do with learning after yesterday's woeful effort against Bangladesh.
New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming won the toss and took the decision to bat first. Not the worst of decisions but a case could be made that it lost them the match. Because Vaas used the slight moisture still in the pitch to provide his usual party trick of early wickets and the Black Caps were under pressure at 4/2 before they'd really started. I pointed out on the Betfair forum at the start of the innings that Vaas had got Fleming out 6 times in 94 balls so it wasn't a total shock when he made it 7 in 98 balls!
Struggling to rebuild the innings New Zealand were on just 18 runs after 10 overs - the lowest of the tournament so far - and despite a good effort to get back in the game Murali's magic later in the innings meant the Black Caps just about scraped a respectable score. Well under par though. And never likely to be defended.
So out came Sri Lanka chasing 220 to win. Not disimilar to yesterday's match where England came out chasing just 144. Both teams had contained the opposition to low scores and both were clear favourites to knock the runs off.
But what a difference in the approach! And one that highlights the difference in quality of the relative top orders. Whereas England came out and struggled to score, let the run rate rise (though it was never a real danger) and heaped the pressure on themselves by getting bogged down the Sri Lankans came out, smacked the ball around, quickly reduced the required run rate from 4.4 to under 4 and then just strolled to the total with the pressure off. Sure they lost some wickets on route but the batsmen coming in faced very little pressure because of the good positive start by the top order batsmen. None of the English negativity. Just positive stroke play that eased the pressure and set up a comfortable win. And put the shine on a text book ODI win. Early wickets... containing economic bowling... positive batting early doors... sensible batting thereafter... comfortable win.
All of which resulted in my picking up nearly £300 in profit. Pleased with the result but the truth is I didn't trade the game particularly well. Made a few costly mistakes and missed some of the juicier price movements. Still, with another £300 or so banked towards the wedding funds I can't really complain. Would definitely have settled for it at the start of play and maybe next time I'll catch the prices a little better!
Well it was hardly convincing but England kept their slim World Cup chances alive today by beating Bangladesh. I managed to make a profit on the match but if I hadn't had the very real worry that they would struggle to make a poor Bangladesh total - which forced me to alter my book substantially - I'd have made a great deal more. I don't know. Sometimes you just wish England could win convincingly.
It all started well. Early wickets slowed the Bangladesh run rate and at 65/5 you felt England should be looking to finish the match off in quick time. But they let Bangladesh of the hook - and again at 113/8 - meaning by the time they batted England needed 144 to win. Still a pretty straight forward total you'd imagine. But not for England today.
Progress to the total was slow. Painfully so. Sure, forget the run rate. The win is more important. Get close to it and then perhaps go for it in the last few overs to improve the Net Run Rate. But there comes a point when batting can be so negative all it achieves is to pile pressure on yourselves. Just look at the 2nd Ashes test this winter when negative batting snatched defeat from the jaws of a draw. (In the process we scored 30 runs in 28 overs in an entire morning session, 70 runs in the 54 overs we faced on the final day - and lost 9 wickets for 60 runs as we got totally bogged down) Today just reminded me of that. To give an example England managed to allow themselves to be restricted to 22 dot balls in a row today. Now i've no idea if that is a world record in a ODI but I don't reckon it will be far off!
In the end England made the total of 144 in the 45th over. It's not uncommon for teams to score quicker in test matches. Even the Cricinfo commentator appeared to be falling asleep. So much so that when England achieved two singles in consecutive balls he described it, toungue firmly in cheek, as "carnage".
Ok, ultimately it's the win that's important. And England got it. But you're not telling me the team will be happy with the nature of it. Even Vaughn has conceded the display was slack, lacklustre and far from convincing. Put it this way, England are hardly striking fear into future opponents.
Still, cricket can be an odd game. Who would have forseen England's total transformation to win the recent Commonwealth Bank Series with a string of successvie wins over Australia? Something similar could happen again. However unlikely it seems. I guess I'm just a little annoyed that the laboured nature of today's win cost me money.
Been a little snowed under for the last few days and not got round to updating the blog as often as I'd like so apologies for that. Everything is settling down again now though and things should be returning to normal. We had a couple of day trips away over the bank holiday weekend and managed to get lots more stuff sorted for the wedding. I did manage to fit in some trading here and there to help top the funds for the big day up though. But best of all though my mum is due out of hospital this evening so that's great news. :-)
On the trading front I had a dip into several events for varying periods of time. Had a disappointing result of around £10 profit on the Australia v England match. At one point I was well over £100 green the pair but managed to screw up in the Aussie run chase. Made up for that a little when I got back from Birmingham on the Monday with a quick £80 or so in the Ireland v New Zealand match and most the rest came from yesterday's game between the West Indies and South Africa.
It turned out to be another abject display from the Windies but was also a cracking match to watch during the South African innings. Boucher hit 46 from 16 balls before going on to make 52 from 23 balls and Kallis let rip with 81 from 86 balls (and was well above a 100 Strike Rate for most of his innings) But star of the show was AB de Villiers whose 146 for a strike rate of over 112 also marked his debut ODI century.
It wasn't so much the fact that he made a century so quickly that was impressive though - but rather the way in which he accelerated towards the end of his innings. Racked with cramp, he first took a runner, and then was then being picked up of the pitch by teammates for another crack at the bowling after collapsing each time he sent the ball crashing over the boundary. Forget cricket, it was like watching baseball as he smashed six after six while being barely able to walk properly. It made for sensational viewing. And still people say cricket is boring!
Anyway, I'm getting ready for this afternoon's match between Bangladesh and England now. Have a small green on England already and am hopeful of making another profit. Just want to get a proper look at the pitch / catch the toss news before getting too involved. At the moment everything seems to be pointing to a good batting track which should hopefully reduce the impact of the 3 left arm spinners in the Bangladesh ranks and should make an England victory more likely. That said you just never know in cricket. And it's not as if Bangladesh haven't provided a surprise or two already this tournament! Best of luck if you get involved anyway.
Well I've said a few times I didn't begrudge them making the Super 8s and today we finally got the pay off. Bangladesh beat South Africa, overturned a 1.02 shot and pocketed me a healthy contribution to the wedding funds in the process. In addition the result opens up the question again of who will qualify from the Super 8s to the semi finals. And there was no rain. A rare good day for the tournament all round!
Ended up with a good profit on the day but made all the money during the South African run chase. I'd had a look in earlier in the match but a lack of concentration led to a loss on Bangladesh innings runs market and I had a small red on the South Africans too. My mum is still in hospital. Stable at the moment but I'd been to visit and my mind just wasn't really on the job. So I took a break, freshened up and started again in the second innings with a clear head.
To be honest I thought the South African's would make the required 252 run chase. But the price was crazily short so my opening play was a lay of South Africa at 1.15. Never really looked back from that really. A steady of fall of wickets and rising run rate saw the South African price slowly rise before the market realised Bangladesh could actually win and we had a massive shift on the fall of one of the wickets.
The result was definitely one for the Betfair cricket forum. Several posters had suggested a lay of the Saffers and there was plenty of comment about how the Bangladesh 3 left arm spinners could turn the match. Something they eventually did through containment.
So a good day for the Cricket World Cup and a good result for myself. I actually made a 4-figure some on the outright market which is very unusual for me. The daily result was a little less because of the loss on the first innings markets. Anyway, looking forward to tomorrow's Australia v England match. Hoping England bat first, get off to a good start and open up some more good trading opportunities. And hopefully some more profit!
So I took a loss on yesterday's match between England and Sri Lanka. Cracking game. Had plenty of opportunity to green out for relatively small amounts but took a rare calculated risk on a much nicer result.
All of secondary importance though and I don't have time to go into it as my mum was admitted to hospital over night with a reoccurrence of the illness she had when I first started the blog. So I'm about to shoot up there now to visit and then have to be in London early afternoon to choose some wedding rings.
I'm going to be revamping the blog shortly and including a much larger list of regularly updated blogs. If you run a blog and would like me to link with you please just get in touch or leave a comment below with your details. I know several have already and I'll add your links very shortly. Please feel free to remind me though!
Right, that's it. Wish you luck with whatever you get involved with today and will be back tomorrow.
Not the whole competition you understand. But today was the first day I just thought sod it, not wasting my time doing this any longer, exited my positions and turned over. Not quite cutting my nose of to spite my face. I just figured it wasn't really worth my time for the amount I was likely to win. And, more importantly, I just didn't want to do it. Getting on with some other work and watching the football just seemed a more attractive proposition.
I guess the perpetual rain, the short-priced favourite and the uncompetitive nature of the match - three key ingredients we're getting far too much of - finally took its toll.
Today's game was Ireland v South Africa. The Saffers' price was as low as 1.02 before the off. When it finally did start that is. As the match was delayed by rain. Again. As it was at 17/1. And 17/1 again. And 23/1. And by then I'd lost interest to be honest. Did pop in very shortly a little later to check but effectively my trading for a profit was over for the day.
Sure there are other markets to get involved with. Innings runs is always a bit risky with the rain about though. And the handicap markets / top batsmen / highest 1st 10 over scores etc don't have the greatest of liquidity. Meaning I don't like to get involved too heavily incase I can't get out where I want.
Wisden recently ran a report on viewing figures for cricket. Test match audiences in the UK had fallen from an average of 1-1.5 million per broadcast in recent years when matches were on Channel 4 - peaking at 3 million when England won the Ashes - to less than 250,000 after the switch to Sky. If I were a betting man I'd wager a shiny £1 coin the average figures per match for the World Cup are even lower. ;-)
While I'm not knocking the switch to Sky - we get a lot more cricket to trade even if far less people get to see it - I'm sure there's some executives sat somewhere in Sky Towers thinking "Where the hell has this all gone wrong? Viewing figures were supposed to be higher. Ad revenues were supposed to be higher". And that's just in England. I hate to think what their counterparts in Pakistan and India make of it all!!
The answers as to where it's all gone wrong are all over the Web. And there's plenty of them. I thought this piece from Cricinfo was a pretty good round up though. It starts from an interesting angle and highlights quite what a PR disaster the 'ICC Cricket World Cup West Indies 2007' has become. (You'll understand the fancy title when you read the piece). And while the author may not quite be Will Self he did spring a new word on me - pusillanimous! Well......... it was more interesting than the cricket. :-(
Anyway, it's not all doom and gloom. Tomorrow is, after all, another day. And we do at least have the prospect, weather permitting, of a competitive match - Sri Lanka v England. And I guess the bottom line is the World Cup has also been a profitable one for me so far. Though I believe, although not begrudging Ireland and Bangladesh their places in the Super 8s, it would have been more profitable so far if India and Pakistan had got through.
Ultimately, mercenary as it sounds, it's that profit that's the bottom line for me. The fact that I'm deflated about the competition is less important. I'm a punter more than a fan. My profit comes first. Enjoyment second. Unfortunatley I guess that makes me a little hypocritical. As, sadly, it appears to put me in the same boat as the ICC.
Well I guess there's no real surprise at the result. Maybe at the size - New Zealand beat Bangladesh by 9 wickets - but with the price as short as 1.06 before the off I guess you could say the actual result was in little doubt.
Still didn't stop me from having a cheeky lay of New Zealand to start with though. Unlikely as it was to be profitable it wasn't the biggest of lays and was easily reversible. As it happens Bangladesh got off to an ok start. The run rate was always a little on the low side but for a long time they kept wickets in hand, a half decent total was on the cards, and the New Zealand price even drifted a little.
For the second match in a row though Bangladesh collapsed - this time going from 3 for 122 to 9 for 140! An unexpected last wicket partnership saw them to 174 but it was never going to be enough and New Zealand knocked the runs off with ease in under 30 overs with Fleming making an unbeaten 102.
Tomorrow serves up another short-priced mismatch. Ireland v South Africa. Today's 1.04 about South Africa is no longer available and they're now a best priced 1.03 on Betfair. Hope they bat first I guess so at least we can have a play on the innings runs market. The trouble with both that, and the handicap markets, is the liquidity just isn't the same.
I don't begrudge Ireland or Bangladesh their places in the Super 8s. They got there on merit. Pakistan and India, the two teams everyone expected to be there instead of them, simply didn't deserve to progress. Of course, the problem is we're now being left with very short-priced non-competitive matches which don't make for the best trading. Or, indeed, viewing. It's all a bit annoying but ultimatley fair enough. You never know, we may get another upset, but the reality is give me another suitable sporting event to trade and I'm switching channels.
At their brilliant best they're more than a match for any team in the world. But when they're bad they can be simply awful. And today they were just that - simply woeful. Dropped catches, overthrows, wides, misfields. Chris Gayle, the bowler with perhaps the shortest run up in international cricket, even managed two no balls in one over! When a dog ran onto the pitch to leave a steaming pile of something or other in the middle one couldn't help but smile at the sentiment.
It's a crying shame really. There's obviously internal conflict in the West Indies set up and it seems to be manifesting itself in the on pitch performances. The World Cup is struggling enough as it is with Bob Woolmer's death, perpetual rain, empty grounds due to a preposterous ticket pricing policy and the unexpected loss of India and Pakistan. The last thing we need is for the host nation to drop out so early. They haven't quite. But their future in the World Cup no longer rests entirely in their own hands.
Everything seemed to start ok. The Windies won the toss and fielded. Two early wickets appeared to justify the decision and their heads were up. But as Jayasuriya and Jayawardene put on 183 for the 3rd wicket you could see the Windies' heads drop. Their game fell to pieces and it all got a bit embarrassing as it took them nearly 4 hours to bowl their 50 overs.
Which all begs the question how I effectively only had a small green each way at the innings break. (I was actually green Lanka and red Windies) Truth is I fancied there to be early wickets but kept getting involved too late. I finally took the plunge when the out of form Jayawardene arrived at the crease and I backed the Windies at 1.77. Mistake! Shortly after Jayasuriya gave a batting masterclass hitting 36 off 14 deliveries, moving the Windies price to 2.5 in the process! I'd got out but it was all a little quick, I was too slow and I was effectively all red. Totally missed the momentum behind the big swing. Poor trading which took the rest of the innings to sort out as Jayasuriya went on to smash 115.
With Sri Lanka posting 303 it was always going to be a tough run chase. My real concern was Gayle would be able to go out, cut loose, and play his natural game. I backed the Lankans anyway with a stop on the trade in place but the market never hit the stop. Gayle failed to fire again and there were other early wickets, including Sangakkara's awesome stumping of Brian Lara.
The market just fell and continued to fall really. Bravo failed to capitalise on a decent start and although Chanderpaul and Sarwan put on a good partnership their strike rates were simply too low and the run rate rose to such a point that the market simply hit 1.01 with the fall of a couple more wickets. The match was effectively over hours before it finished in a 113 run victory for the Sri Lankans. Though after their own exploits against South Africa the other day I doubt many switched off before making the sure the victory was in the bag.
So a good profit on the day but not the closest of matches. As a trader all I should be concerned about is the money. It was a good result. And not the hardest match to profit from. But as a cricket fan I'm disappointed. And am increasingly so with the entire competition. Mustn't let my heart rule my head though. Bit mercenary but ultimately my trading results come first.