Thursday, May 31, 2007

Only in cricket

Daily Result: £649.53

You've got to laugh. For a while now I've been banging on about the amount of rain we've been seeing in cricket fixtures recently. Or inclement weather as Sky commentators insist on calling it. More was forecast for today's Friends Provident match between Derbyshire and Yorkshire. And sure enough the match was interrupted by the weather. But this time rain wasn't the villain. No. It was the sun. Good light stopped play!!

It's farcical. Here we have a day night game on a ground where cricket has been played for decades. Surely someone has noticed in all that time that the sun sets behind the bowler's arm? Apparently not! So we had the ludicrous situation of missing over 40 minutes of play in a televised match while the sun set. This cut short the game - and kept us sad traders busy later than we should have been. Grrrr. More importantly though it was another embarrassment the world of cricket could do without. It's a day night game. The one scenario in cricket where surely you can get through a game without light hassles you'd imagine!

Anyway, delays aside the match turned out well for me. Picked up just over £530 in a game that was pretty much one sided with Yorkshire never looking like they'd lose. In fact their price never really went above its SP. They got off to a cracking start with the bat and, despite failing to push on properly in the last few overs of the innings, were always still big favourites against a depleted Derbyshire team.

Early wickets in the Derbyshire reply saw the Yorkshire price into sub 1.1 before the sun intervened. following the restart it fell to 1.01 before a fantastic 37 from 25 by Pipe, in a partnership with Botha, saw the price rise to 1.1 again. But Pipe's wicket effectively killed of the remaining slim chance of a Derbyshire win.

The rest of the day's profit came from The French Open. Had a look in on the start and end of the Hewitt v Gaudio match and traded a game of the Sequera v Serena Williams match. Picked up just under £120 in the process and will settle for that!

In fact, with today's result finishing off the month, I'll more than settle for the monthly result too. Well happy with it. The increased stakes strategy for cricket continues to pay dividends and I'll be continuing with it going forward. We're still researching the honeymoon but the extra profit will help to make it all that little bit more special. Can't wait!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Big Brother starts

Daily Result: £45.74

I know, I know, it's sad as fuck but I just love Big Brother. Or rather betting on Big Brother to be more accurate! Over the years it's been responsible for my biggest wins by a country mile. Unfortunately, it's also accounted for my biggest loss.

The outright winner market is a fantastic long term trading market. Even if the downside is you have to watch the show! But to maximise profits you really have to dedicate yourself to it. Needless to say I won't be able to do that this year. Something about getting married and being on honeymoon when the show ends for starters! :-) So this year I've decided to trade the outright market in my blog account. (I did it separately last year). I won't be putting in that much time on it and don't expect to win that much. Instead I'm hoping to just keep a pretty even green book and not have to worry too much about following the show properly. So I won't be reliving former glories on it. But hopefully there will be a nice bonus waiting for me when I get back from honeymoon!

Anyway, as for today's profit. Well, in between work, swimming, shopping and cooking I didn't get much opportunity to do too much trading. I did get a look in for a few games in the Tipsarevic v Safin match and a few more in the Moya v Seppi game making just over £20 on each. Hoping to do the Derbyshire v Yorkshire Friends Provident cricket tomorrow but rain is looking likely to interrupt the match so I may just give it a miss and do some tennis instead.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Fame fame fatal fame

Daily Result: £61.18

As the great Mozzer himself once sung fame can play hideous tricks on the brain. But as I doubt doing my first interview will lift me from my current no mark situation I'm pretty confident my brain won't be experiencing anything too nasty in the near future! That said, it's nice that someone involved in the gaming industry who reads the blog was interested enough to want to ask a few questions. So if suffering my daily ramblings is your cup of tea you might like to read the interview. Many thanks to the guys at Hyperion for getting in touch and boosting my ego. :-)

Anyway, today I skipped the social whirl of envelope openings my new found celebrity status afforded me to do a spot of trading on the French Open. Did the second set of the Baghdatis v Grosjean game and then took a look in on the Henman match. A small profit on each keeps the honeymoon funds ticking over. Some of these places in the Maldives look like paradise. Shame the price ticket is anything but. :-(

The Henman match was pretty interesting even if mainly for the wrong reasons. I'd never seen Gulbis play before but it pretty soon became apparent that he had some heavy ground strokes and wasn't afraid to go for his winners. Henman seemed to struggle against the power and it was no surprise to see Gulbis wrap the match up in 3. Pretty sure we'll see Henman retiring when his Wimbledon finishes.

I made around £37 on the match but it should have been more. At one point I went to back Gulbis and lay Henman at the same time. Both trades got filled and I was all smiles as the price immediately rocketed in my direction. Until I noticed the very red number next to Gulbis! Turns out I'd backed both players at the same time. Doh! Took a bit of work to sort that out as the Henman trade had been bigger but I guess all's well that ends well. Thankfully I was only trading small stakes and it's a good reminder of the dangers of letting concentration slip.

Anyway, must dash. Got to keep one step ahead of those pesky paps! ;-)

Monday, May 28, 2007

Avoiding the frustration trap. Just.

Result since last update: £275.3

Phew. The test match has finished. A great result for England too. Subjecting the West Indies to their heaviest ever defeat of an innings and 283 runs. But bloody hell was it a nightmare to trade or what?! Not really about the cricket at all. More to do with studying for a degree in meteorology. I'll be dreaming about sodding weather charts if this weather keeps up for the third test!

Of course, rain and cricket have been uneasy bed fellows for years and will always be. And I knew the forecast when I got involved in the match. I didn't trade the game very well at all though and found myself having to be up early to catch forecasts when I'd rather have been catching up on beauty sleep. The whole match was all a little frustrating really. Missed the juicy prices before a ball was bowled by being too price sensitive and ended up just playing a patient waiting game before getting properly involved - only to then get it wrong. It says a lot that I made more on the match from arbing a prematch draw bet than I did from 5 days of trading it on and off.

That said, I made a profit. A green is a green. A seemingly disappointing one. But one nonetheless. I realised as the match progressed I wasn't going to make as big a profit as on the last test. That was easy to accept. But I allowed myself to get too frustrated at the weather situation, my own lack of pre match trading progress and my failure to take advantage of favourable early trading opportunities. Not good. And as such I'm happy with the profit. Because when frustrated it's too easy to get thrown off a proper trading equilibrium and suffer losses as a result. Avoiding this trap is a positive to take out of an otherwise fairly poor test from my perspective. Ensuring I don't get frustrated in future is something to work on.

Anyway, well done to those who caught the price swings right. There must have been some very nice books out there! Aside from the cricket I've had a quick look in on The French Open and also had a quick go at some of the Premier League darts finals night. Picked up a small profit on each of those and hope to be able to get stuck into the tennis a little more this week.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Quick catch up

Result since last update: £211.25

I've mainly been concentrating on the 2nd test between England and the West Indies since my post about the Betfair new commission rates. Not been having the best of times on it but have at least managed to pick up some profit on some of the side markets. Add that on to a quick dip into tonight's Wigan v Hull rugby league and that's where the profit since the last update comes from.

As for the test itself I just haven't been on song. The best move I've made so far was catching the draw price at 3.0 when some of the firms went up with their initial prices. I eventually effectively arbed this today in another Betfair account when it was becoming apparent it was that or lose the stake, but even then I missed the sub 2.0 prices on the draw and effectively lost out on a few hundred pounds extra profit. I don't normally bother arbing but as the West Indies started losing wickets you could just smell the proverbial Calypso Callapso!

The weather has been frustrating in as much as it simply hasn't arrived! And the forecast has improved markedly from the doom laden washout we were being promised just a few days ago. That said, tomorrow will see the worst of it so I dumped some England green at 1.13 at the end of play today and hope to get it back higher at some point before play resumes.

My overall book on the game isn't looking that great. About £150 green all round if I was to level out. But in practice I have reds of over £2k each on the West Indies and the draw. Kicking myself I'm not in a better position. Really missed the boat several times in the match so far. I've already mentioned missing the pre match swings by trying to be too greedy. Worse was today though. My reading of the various weather sites I use was that the weather simply wasn't going to be as bad as the market thought. The market was insistent though. And I just didn't have the courage of my convictions to lay the draw heavily. No doubt partly due to the fact that I was effectively several hundred red all results at the time. Any rain would have crashed the draw price. And I couldn't have predicted the scale of the Windies' batting collapse either.

Still, opportunities may have been missed but the bottom line is I'm in ok shape and, fingers crossed, should be able to increase my green before the match finishes. You can't beat yourself up over these things. On another day I'll get it all right and be all smiles. Just can't do it all the time. And anyway, we've also been treated to some fantastic batting - a double century from Kevin Pietersen and a century from Michael Vaughan on his return to test cricket - which has made game great to watch for several periods.

What else? Well, following the new commission point structure I've booked a Betfair points holiday for next week. Will probably do the darts, some tennis and the domestic day / nighter but figure I won't make as many points as I'll lose in this week's 15% weekly decay. By taking the holiday I'll be on a 6% reduction rate. Not quite the 10% I would have been on without the change but better than the 4% I'd be on without the holiday. I need to take one anyway so it seemed as good a time as any. I'm sure a fair few people will be doing the same to save a bit of commission.

Anyway, that's that. Pub time. Be lucky and catch up again soon.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Betfair new commission rates

I was getting all excited about today's post. Had reached a little milestone and was quietly pleased about it. I was going to be saving money and I felt good about all things Betfair. Unfortunately I no longer have that good news. And where I was going to save money I'm now going to be worse off. It seems 24 hours is a long time in the world of Betfair. :-(

My good news was that after nearly 13 months of trading yesterday I'd finally collected enough Betfair points to reach a 10% reduction on commission. Not a huge increase in reduction from the 5% I was on but worth having all the same. However, from next week, due to the
new Betfair commission rates, I will be on a 4% reduction.

So I've lost a 6% reduction rate. You can play with stats in an unlimited amount of ways to make this sound worse than that. Or show how badly this will effect me - and you! Doesn't matter how you play with them though, even with my lack of maths skills, you can't make a case for me being better off. I'm not pleased!

Do the sums yourself. Apply them to your own rates. Looking back at recent results this would have cost me as much as over £6 extra on just a single market. Multiply that by several hundred events a year and it doesn't take a genius to work out how much extra using Betfair will be costing me going forward. It's some price rise. And I'm small fry. Out and out punters who get involved in far more markets than me will be hit even harder.

Ok fine. Betfair will, fingers crossed, still be profitable for me. But my % of commission paid compared to profit made, which is already high, will be higher. Of course, it doesn't take a genius to work out why Betfair might have done this. And there's a whole host of "maybe" secondary ideas that could help explain it too.

But fuck me. Talk about a kick in the teeth. The day after I finally reached the hallowed 10% reduction I'm unceremoniously dumped back down to 4%! Lower than the 5% I was on after this week's reduction is taken into account. I had one market settled with the 10% reduction. The new charges are implemented on the 29th - before the 2nd test ends - so the chances are it will be the only ever market I have settled at a 10% reduction. :-(

The irony is all this comes in a week when another exchange has approached me and offered 0% commission for an introductory period. It's not rocket science what I'm going to do is it. But at the same time there's no point in cutting my nose off to spite my face. Sure I can use other exchanges and do. But I need the liquidity Betfair offers. Betfair knows this, and uses its virtual monopoly to cash in. That's business. I know it. You know it. And most people will simply accept it. I expect some people will leave. But that loss of business won't cost Betfair as much as the increased revenues from the commission price hike. Pissed off? Yes. Much I can do about it? Not really. Still use Betfair? Yes. Prey for decent competiton? You can bet on it! :-)

So all that kind of left a sour taste in the mouth. Especially as it was wrapped up in a "We wish to thank you for your valued custom" context!! Yeah. Thanks for your custom. In fact we're so grateful here's a big price hike. Still, I guess at least this time no attempt was made to pretend we'll all be better off.

So today wasn't a particularly good day. And it got worse as I was looking at the 2nd Test match market between England and West Indies. Bit of a mixed box this one. I got a fair bit on the draw at 3.0 with bookmakers when their prices first went up the other night. Am tempted to take the free bet on this, or get really low and dirty ;-) and just arb it for a nice few hundred profit either way!

On Betfair I've screwed the market up somewhat though. There wasn't the liquidity when I got on with the bookmakers to get on at 3.0+ on Betfair. Didn't really matter as my main play was going to be to lay England. But I missed the boat big style by trying to be too greedy. Tried to lay around the 1.8 mark the first night the market went up. Went unmatched. Tried for 1.87 last night. Could have taken 1.88 there and then but figured I'd be matched overnight. I wasn't. And the price was 1.95 when I got up. So I tried for that. Missed it. Missed 1.99 too and by the time it got to 2.1 I figured that's it. Leave it.

To compound it I backed the draw far too low (considering my interpretation of the weather at the time and the habit Headingley has to move the game on quickly on days 4 and 5) thinking it was a lay but if people were going to continue to push the price in I was going to ride it. Within 10 minutes the price had drifted 8 ticks and I was £80 down. Not my day! Still, there's five days of match action with which to get involved so hopefully I can turn a profit. And my position with the bookmakers is a bonus.

Right, one more thing as I know this is already long. Regular readers will know I'm a big fan of
Punt. Always a good read. Anyway, I thought this article was excellent. As is the link from the first comment. It'll take a good 20-25 minutes to read it all but it's well worth setting the time aside. Top stuff.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A day of cricket trading

Daily Result: £624.15

It has its drawbacks but I guess one of the great benefits of being self-employed is sometimes you can just think sod it, I'm having the day off. And as I wasn't feeling particularly industrious this morning that's exactly what I did today. Answered a few emails and decided that was that. Went for a swim and then came home for a day of cricket trading broken up by some less than taxing sun bathing. Glorious! :-)

I got involved in three matches through the day. Caught some of the last day of the first test between Bangladesh and India, had a couple of looks into the Pakistan v Sri Lanka 3rd ODI and also had a go at the first day nighter of the domestic season between Sussex and Surrey.

Had the test down as a draw but a, shall we say, sporting declaration by India, livened the match up. At least it meant, for a while anyway, that all three results were possible at a stretch of the imagination. It soon became apparent that Bangladesh weren't going for the 250 runs they needed off a maximum of 43 overs though and the match petered out to a draw. Can't say I blame them. They wouldn't have got all the overs in and it's obvioulsy a lot harder to score in test cricket than ODIs. I'm sure the Bangers would have settled for the draw as a decent result before a ball was bowled in anger anyway.

Next up was the ODI. Live on ARY Digital on Sky 792 the liquidity was pretty poor. Which was a real shame as pakistan could be layed in the 1.7x range at the start and Sri Lanka had hit 1.4 within 10 overs or so. With more money in the market there would have been a lot more opportunities but as it is I was just playing for small stakes. And didn't let a win run long enough anyway. I left my book all green and turned to the Sussex v Surrey match, coming back in the innings break just in time to catch 5 Pakistan wickets for 9 runs and the collapse in the Sri Lankan price to 1.01. Pocketed just over £410 on the game. Very pleased with that. :-)

Ironically the Sussex v Surrey game is the one I caught the most of but also the match I made the least on. Ended up with around £70 green in the end. To be fair I was mainly playing for small stakes for most the match. Wasn't an awful lot of price movement in most of the parts of the game I caught until near the end when it got very volatile for a while. By then I was having connection problems and didn't want to risk losing the small amount of green I'd already banked so mainly just left it alone. Did catch the point where the market finally believed Sussex could make their run chase and we saw a 40+ tick price move in 4 balls but I only had a small amount on the move and got out pretty quick to level the green. Just in time to see the market flip back in fact. These volatile markets must be great for the those with a stronger disposition than me! Someone would have a made a small fortune on that price swing. Of course, the downside is someone would have lost one. Me? Well, I'm happy just to pussyfoot around when everything gets that volatile! Especially when my conncection is playing up. :-)

Anyway, that's it cricket wise until Friday when the 2nd tests between Bangladesh and India and England and the West Indies start. Hope you've got your eyes glued to the weather charts!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Big win but frustrating test match

Result since last update: £1651.38

First of all apologies for the lack of updates recently. Apart from being very busy with normal work I've been trading the first test between England and the West Indies and with hindsight should have done some daily updates outlining my position and thoughts rather than waiting till the end of the match. Think I'll switch to the more frequent updates idea when the 2nd test from Headingley starts on Friday.

As for my result on the match? Well, it ended in a draw and it's my biggest individual win since I started the blog. So I'm chuffed to bits. :-) It's a lot of money! That said, and I'll know it'll sound churlish, but I really feel I should have made more. I always had it in the back of my mind that with my new money management rules for cricket, and the fact that we finally had a 5 day game to get stuck into, there was a possibility the profit could be a record for an individual event since I started the blog.

For a long time though I had a large red against the draw with some enormous greens elsewhere but the weather and game didn't really pan out my way and I eventually realised I was going to have to switch my position to get the draw onside. Don't get me wrong. Now the match is over and the dust is settling I'm delighted with the profit. Sure, it may be a lower than I'd hoped for at one stage during the match. But as ever, a green is better than a red, and the reality is it pays for upgrades to business class when we jet off on honeymoon! And that's got to be good!! :-)

As for the match itself, well, it was a mixed bag. Four centurys for England is the first innings was astonishing. And the first time England have managed the feat since 1938. Hoggard getting injured, Harmison losing his radar and the bad light / rain was not so good. In fact it was simply frustrating for a long time. Ideally I wanted England to win the toss and use the conditions and rip into the West Indies on Day 1. But the toss went against me, as many factors seemed to, like the plum Collingwood LBW given not out before he made a century, and you just got the feeling the Windies' bowlers weren't quite match ready and didn't use the best of what was on offer.

In tests, especially in relation to the draw, I think very much in terms of how far a match has progressed. Once England's bowlers failed to have the impact I'd envisaged, I basically decided I couldn't hold my various draw lay, result back positions much longer and slowly started to turn things around when the opportunities arose. That's one of the great things about test cricket. It requires thought but there's plenty of time to mull over the decisions and try to get them right. Thankfully I did and, although the final result could have been better with a little more luck, at the end of the match I've made over £1.6k. Offer me that at the start of the game and I rip your hand off. So a great result all things considered.

Looking forward, I might have a quick go at the last day of the 1st test between Bangladesh and India tomorrow. That is looking like a draw. And tomorrow also marks the first day / night game of the new domestic season with Sussex playing Surrey in the Friends Provident. Cant wait! Then from Friday we're into the second test. Here's hoping for a cracking game of cricket but one suspects we might all be spending as much time studying the weather charts again as admiring the stroke play. Test cricket - don't you just love it?!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Hamburg tennis trading

Daily Result: £191.87

Just got involved in the two tennis matches from Hamburg today. Did most the Federer v Monaco game before having a look in on the Kohlschreiber match. Nothing too spectacular but kept the wedding / honeymoon funds ticking over nicely in the run up to tomorrow's first test.

The Federer match was another rollercoaster. So much so that at one point I just wanted to stop the ride and get off. Fed is plainly not himself at the moment and despite winning the match was a real struggle for him. Prices were pretty volatile during parts of the game. From a trading perspective I started off well, blew my early profit and then recovered it. At one point I'd have been ecstatic with a Monaco win but took the safe option, levelled out green and was later pleased I did. Could have won a small fortune on the match with more balls. (Couldn't we all?!) Of course, the flipside is I could have lost one. Fair play to those that got stuck in and made more than the £80 or so I managed. For large parts of the match I was just sat there, trigger finger itching to get involved, but telling myself out loud "Just leave it alone". Which I did when I felt it was necessary.

The Kohlscreiber match was one of those I tend to like. Just about evens the pair at the start and a nice opportunity to simply lay each player at around 1.92ish as the other served while keeping an eye out for breaks. Knew I wouldn't be able to do the whole game and just levelled out green near the start of the second set and settled for the £110 or so. Would have been a great match to continue doing but I guess you can't do them all.

Anyway, tomorrow is all about the first test from Lords. Sad I know but getting very excited by it all. Been on weather watch again today while closely watching the draw price drift a little. Expect to see it a little larger in the morning before a ball is bowled in anger. Of course, a sniff of rain and it'll probably come crashing in. Would be great to bet on the cricket rather than the weather but it's all part of the test match challenge. Best of luck if you get involved.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Un Murray Minted

Daily Result: £172.22

Andrew Murray. I may have taken the piss out of the Scottish Sulker on numerous occasions last year but today I had sympathy for him. Totally bossing his match against Volandri before what looked like a serious wrist injury caused him to quit while 5-1 up and serving for the first set.

Of course, in true scum of the earth trader style the sorrow I felt at his exit was probably more to do with myself than him. By not completing the first set before retiring he cost me around a £230 all green position. Another green wiped out by a tennis retirement. :-( What was doubly annoying was I'd decided to play about in other games but do the Murray one properly. And I was trading it like a dream. Was looking at my first decent tennis win for a while.

To be fair though there was absolutley no way he could carry on. In fact I was totally staggered he went back onto court to try after calling for a trainer the first time. He could be quite clearly heard saying: "I can't play. It's painful, there's something moving in there." The doctor seemed more interested in pressuring him to go back on court though and suggested a strapping. Fucking ridiculous! All he had to do was look at the footage of the breakdown to realise there was no way on earth Murray should go back on court and risk worsening what already looked a bad injury. I think with a little more experience Murray would simply have refused point blank. But given that he was, in his own words, "playing the game of my life" he risked it. Hope he learns from that. A silly decision made under pressure. And we now await to learn the extent of the injury.

The day's profit did come from some other tennis from Hamburg. I had a look into a couple of games of the Becker v Hernandez match just to warm up for the Murray game. But once Murray retired got on with some work until the Waske v Melzer game and that's where the majority of today's £170 or so green came from. Not to be sniffed at. But disappointing given the possibilities of the Murray match.

Anyway, still on weather watch for the first test. Been tempted to level out my draw lay at 3.25 in the hope that the rain forecast early Thursday morning will push the draw price in so I can lay it again at a lower price. Have left it though. Can't see the rain delaying play and if England win the toss I can see the Windies being 3 or 4 wickets down before lunch. Well, in my dreams.... :-) Tomorrow's forecast should give us a better idea anyway.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Netting a tennis profit

Daily Result: £28.30

Just a quick look in on the tennis today really. Been pretty busy and was up late last night playing poker. Well, when the cat's away and all that...

Got involved quickly in two matches from Hamburg. Hewitt v Calleri and Gaudio v Gasquet. Spent much of the time during the Hewitt match recovering from an early small 3 figure red position which I eventually managed to turn to a small all green figure. A pleasing turnaround and was happy with my trading during it. Ensured a small profit on the day anyway and small consistent profits is what it's about.

Looking to tomorrow I probably won't get up for the 3rd ODI between Bangladesh and India. Given the recent matches I'd rather catch up on some much needed beauty sleep than risk the weather. That said the weather is what it's all about on the betting front for the first test between England and West Indies on Thursday.

I layed the draw at 3.1 this morning. Just felt it was a little low. The draw price always gets pushed down but the forecasts are now better than they were and I just didn't think the news had filtered through to the market. Weather can change of course and the draw price can come in but I'm figuring on there not being much, if any play, lost to rain. Perhaps bad light yes. But that means overcast conditions which I figure will aid the bowlers early doors.

Anyway, that's not a tip! Especially after the last time I mentioned one of my bets, it promptly lost and loads of people then told me they'd had the same bet!! Layers should also keep their eyes on the Flintoff situation of course. And recent test results at Lords. That said though, whatever the weather, and whoever plays, I'm looking forward to Thursday a lot. Seems an age since we've had some test cricket to get stuck into after all the recent ODIs. Here's hoping it's a cracking match. With lots of early wickets to help that draw lay!!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Back to winning ways

Result since last update: £141.10

In the grand scheme of things I never really pay too much attention to a losing day. Or a losing week even. In fact, assuming normal trading patterns, monthly results is the about the smallest time frame I really pay attention too, That said it always feels good to pocket a win after a losing day so this £140 or so put a smile on my face.

Made the money from the Bangladesh v India 2nd ODI and the Gonzalez v Nadal tennis final from Rome. In all honesty I can't say I traded the cricket on Saturday. I went to London on Friday, picked up the resized wedding ring (it fits!) and headed out for drinks and a meal. Was feeling too delicate to get up for the pre-dawn start so got up at a more leisurely hour. Knew Emma was going away on business today too and we had shed loads to do so was going to give the trading a miss totally.

However, job one on the list was to get the remaining invites out so we stuck the cricket on as we stuffed and licked envelopes. Couldn't believe what I was seeing. Bangladesh were 90/4 from 19 overs and chasing 284 in a total of 49 overs. The required run rate was around 6.5. Fully expected no price available on India. But 1.02 was there. So I took it for a sizeable sum, right in time for the fall of another wicket, which did make India unbackable. Can't really call that trading. More lumping. But guess it helps to make up for my shocking timing the other day. :-)

India went on to win by 46 runs though the match wasn't as close as the result makes out. With the game all but over Mortaza decided to go out all guns blazing and made a quickfire 42 from 40 - which included 4 consecutive sixes!! But with so few wickets left, and so many runs to get, even such a superhuman effort merely served to make the loss more respectable.

As for the tennis I just took it easy today after dropping Emma off. Nadal notched up his 77th consecutive win on clay and will be will be into the 80s if he can keep up current form till the end of the French Open. It just sounds too ridiculous to even consider but, still aged just 20, and seemingly without equal on the red stuff, anyone else reckon he could make it to 100 straight wins on it?!!

The match? Well, he dismantled Gonzalez 6-2 6-2 and picked me up around £70 in the process. Nice to get a tennis win under my belt after after the recent Davydenko disaster.

Anyway, Emma is known abroad until next weekend. Reckon there's a chance I might get some trading and poker action in this week ;-)

Friday, May 11, 2007

Back to earth with a bump

Yesterday's Result: £316.83

Well I guess after the recent highs and my celebrations over the blog's 1st birthday there was a kind of inevitability about yesterday's loss! The irony of losing after getting so many emails saying well done for winning is certainly one that appeals to my warped sense of humour. And the outcome of a losing day first day back after a couple off is one I might have even had a sneaky side bet on if I could have!!

It's not all bad news though. The amount certainly isn't pleasant. But losses are always just around the corner and this one serves a useful purpose. Brings me back down to earth and is a timely reminder that noone ever really cracks this trading lark. It's not just a case of turning the computer on, watching sport and making money. Profits require concentration, strategy, discipline and a good old dollup of Lady Luck. Enter the markets without them all and you'll quickly kiss your money goodbye. As I proved rather well yesterday.

My timing was just awful from start to finish really. In fact, it seems my only really good piece of timing was not bothering to get up early for the start of the Bangladesh v India ODI and then discovering it had been rain delayed and I hadn't missed that much of the match anyway! But unfortunately it was pretty much all downhill from there. A pretty steep one at that.

I won't go into too much detail but I was amazed to see the India price was 1.25 when I got up. Considering this is what it had been when I went to bed and Bangladesh were 74-0 from 15 overs I considered it a massive lay. So after a quick check of the match thread on the Betfair Forum and catching up on team / pitch news I layed them - though the price had reached 1.29 by then. Great timing! Two wickets in three balls put it down to the mid 1.1x range and left me wishing I'd stayed in bed!

Still, it didn't leave my book in too bad a shape and there was plenty of time to put it right. Unfortunately I made a few more mistakes along similar lines in the Indian run chase and got caught out by a fast and large price swing against me. Was literally unable to lay Bangladesh from 1.9 to 2.4 during maybe a 5 minute period no matter what price I seemed to offer! Throw in a slap in the face from Lady Luck - Dhoni, who saw the Indians home in an impressive innings, was given not out to a plumb LBW when facing his first ball of spin - and I ended up with a not so healthy all red situation.

The amount, including insurance on the tie, wasn't too big though so I waited until I had India as the winners and started reducing it on them. Just by small amounts. I'd already decided I'd take a loss if needed rather than start getting involved for large sums and risk too big a liability for the sake of a small green. The end result was a £130 or so loss on the match.

Later on I had a look in on a couple of tennis matches and made around £60 of it back before totally screwing up the Starace v Davydenko match. The root of which was a total lack of concentration. Completely my fault. Was going along well with a nice green when I took a call. Part way through the call I realised I had a red figure next to Starace's name and judging by the price he'd broken Davydenko's serve. Like a true muppet I'd left a back of Davydenko in the system without cancelling it and someone had helped themselves to some free money.

I left the position pretty much as it was but when Davydenko went a break up in the second I switched. Had fancied him to win from the start and still did. Unfortunately that's when my poor timing resurfaced again. He served two double faults and made two unforced errors in the next game and the set was back on serve. Throw in a couple more positions that I got into and ended up having to bail from for a few ticks loss here and there and before long I had a not so nice all red book.

At which point I decided to just leave the match. Everything I touched was going wrong. It was probably a mistake to have started the game. And I figured it would definitely be a mistake to carry on. Just wasn't feeling right about it. Was annoyed by the silly mistake. Didn't want to increase my red. And the match was getting towards the more volatile stages with the extra risk that involves. So I quit and walked away. Live to fight another day and all that. I simply levelled my red off at around £250 the pair, turned the tv off and got on with some other stuff. Only realised Davydenko had won this morning.

So there you have it. A £315 or so loss. Not the best of days really. But certainly not the worst and I'll have put it out of my head before I get involved again. As for when that'll be I'm not sure. Off to London shortly for a meeting and then to pick up my resized wedding ring before drinks and a meal this evening. So not sure if I'll fancy the early start for the 2nd Bangladesh v India ODI tomorrow morning. Emma goes abroad on business on Sunday so no doubt we'll spend tomorrow afternoon doing something together rather than me hiding away in my trading den. So unless I do get up early tomorrow it'll probably be Sunday or Monday before I fire up the trading software in anger again.

Best of luck if you get involved in the mean time :-) And a big thankyou to everyone who left left comments and sent emails following my post about the blog being 1. Much appreciated.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Betfair Trader Blog is 1 today.

Wow. It's hard to believe but it really has been a year. I traded my first event for the blog on May 8th 2006. The blog is one today! And boy what a year it's been!! Totting up the totals this morning I realised that yesterday I passed the £20,000 profit mark. I'm stunned. Honestly. Over the moon, a bottle of champange chilling in the fridge and party head on for tonight. But still stunned. Fucking staggered in fact.

When I started the blog I was hoping to make a healthy contribution towards the cost of my wedding. My
first day's trading resulted in a profit of £18.10, an amount I noted at the time had taken care of the first bottle of wine for the wedding! I never really expected to cover the costs of the entire event. But took the view that consistent small profits would add up to a welcome contribution. Well they have! Because the reality is with £20k profit now banked and earning interest the wedding is paid for. And we're going to have one hell of a honeymoon!

I'm actually a little bewildered by it all. And have spent some time pouring over my results to see how it has all happened just to check it has. And it has! Here's a snapshot of my profit, after commission, between May 8th 2006 and May 8th 2007. (Just click images for larger versions.)

Sure, I know the results are small fry to many. But I'm chuffed to bits with them. Betfair isn't my main income source. It's a hobby. I run my own business from home to keep the tax man and bank manager happy. Fortunately it's a business which enables me to watch a lot of sport and put a fair amount of time into my trading. I know others make far more on Betfair than me. But that's not really the point. I set out with a goal and have somehow achieved it. Perhaps the thing that pleases me most though is I've surprised myself and managed it without a losing month.

Ok, I came close to loss in October! But £39.91 is £39.91. A green number. And a profit! Looking deeper into the stats I can see I've traded 8 sports over the year. Of the eight I have a winning record on six. Here's the breakdown of my profit on each sport.

I guess regular readers of the blog won't be surprised that the vast bulk of the profit has come from trading on the cricket. Especially given the recent World Cup and my money management trial for larger stakes during it. I'm a little surprised though as when I started the blog I figured any profit would be split more evenly between cricket and tennis. And certainly during the first few months tennis was providing more profit than cricket. However, I then went on a three month losing streak on tennis, at the same time as my cricket results picked up, and ever since I've concentrated more on cricket trading. I guess my reading of a cricket match is just better than my reading of a tennis one. And from a trading perspective cricket can certainly be kinder if you find yourself in a bad position. Besides cricket and tennis, darts, snooker, rugby and football have also been profitable. Though as the figures suggest I spend a lot less time doing them and usually trade with far smaller stakes than usual.

Of course, if I traded 8 sports and won on 6 that means I lost on two. And here are the villains.

The racing loss is a prime example of why you shouldn't trade something just for the sake of it. I used to trade the favourites before the off and, bored one day, had a dip back into it with a view to perhaps trialling some new trading software in the future. The result was immediate losses. The NFL I'm a little annoyed about. Only traded a few games during the year and made a profit on most of them but had a
sizeable loss on one which led to the overall negative for the year. Still, reading my write up of the loss it was some game!

Anyway, I could provide more stats but lost some data referring to total turnover and commission paid earlier this year which makes it incomplete so I'll leave it. In danger of getting all a bit stattastic anyway.

One thing that might be of interest though is that during a year of trading in which I've made over £20,000 profit I have never had enough Betfair Points to have more than a 5% commission reduction. Which seems crazy given that I can play low limits on the Betfair Poker tables for a few days and find myself on 10% or even 15% reduction. I guess that's just one of the drawbacks of my approach of small consistent profits. A costly one though. Afterall, it means I may have won £5465.97 last month. But I also paid £306.84 in commission. It doesn't take a genius to work out how much extra profit I could make over a year with a reduced commission rate and this is something I should take a look at.

Enough of the general overview though! What have I actually been writing about for a year? After all, this is my 266th post. So what the hell have I been going on about?

Well, I started out by
explaining who I am, what I was doing and how I was doing it. Basically the answer was I'm self employed, am marrying the gorgeous Emma, had £1,000 and planned to win enough with it to help pay for my wedding.

I must have kept banging on about how I like to try and make consistent profits with lowish risk exposure as people started asking what my
money management ideas were. I stuck with those principles until I was over £10k in profit and the start of this year's Cricket World Cup was upon us when I trialled this new money management system. After reviewing my world cup trading performance I decided the new system worked, I was pretty much happy with it and would adopt it going forward, for cricket trading at least.

So, what else? Well naturally a lot of the posts have been about my trading performances from day to day. So I've had smiles on my face while talking about my
biggest individual win and my biggest winning day. While I've been banging my head against the wall inbetween facing up to my biggest individual loss and biggest losing day. Still, at least they weren't as bad as possibly the biggest Betfair loss ever!

Away from actual profit and loss figures I had a look at the beneficial effects a change in trading strategy to
letting wins run longer reaped, gave my views on dealing with bad spells in a discussion on trading and psychology and had a stab at answering one of the questions I'm asked most frequently - the why don't you go full time on betfair issue!

Think I got a bit negative about the full time question and also had a downer several times on the
Free Money merchants as well as giving an example that if something looks too good to be true then there's a reason. Like it is.

It wasn't all doom and gloom though.
Brett Lee invited everyone to take the piss out of him, I previewed the doomed Ashes series with a look at some classic Ashes sledging and while trading the Stella Artois final last year even somehow managed to reveal how I'd once been escorted out of Queens Club by security with the helpful, if not very English, suggestion that I might like to fuck off.

On the trading tips front I haven't posted that much. Much like posting betting tips it just tends to be more trouble than it's worth. That said I do get asked a lot of questions in this area and, although there are others far better at this Betfair lark than me, perhaps should do more posts on these topics in the future.

Anyway, I did give some very basic strategies for
trading tennis and rugby in the comments sections on those two links. And although most other tips were event specific I did also look at the idea behind identifying free lays, the value of simply listening to what is happening and the importance of knowing the market rules before you get involved. I'm also a big fan of learning from both wins and losses, as in the most recent learning from mistakes post. I also recommended a read of Market Wizards. And have banged on enough about the two pieces of trading software I use, BetTrader PRO and Bet Angel, that I must have bored everyone rigid on the subject!

The blog hasn't just been about what I've written though. I've had some great comments left, emails sent and MSN conversations as a result of what I write. Whether wishing me luck, asking questions or especially offering advice, I'm very grateful for them. Perhaps the most useful comment during the year was left anonymously on this post where I was discussing the difference between
punting and trading. Woke me up to the ideas of, and surrounding, Prospect Theory. (see, 1,2,3 and 4 for a quick intro.)

Finally, one other thing I must get in before I wrap up the review of the blog's first year and that was my mention in the
Racing Post. Very chuffed at that. Pleased they felt it's worth looking in each day. Something I hope you continue to do.

Right. Drink time! I've got a lot of celebrating to do!! :-)

Friends Provident cricket trading

Daily Result: £934.08

So after losing on my first traded match of the domestic cricket season by getting too greedy today's result in the second has got me a little excited. Not just because of the £833 I made on the match between Durham and Lancashire but more importantly because of what it might mean for the rest of the season.

After a glut of ODIs with impressive liquidity I was a little concerned that recent improved results with a larger bank would be harder to replicate in less liquid markets. I still think they will. But today has shown me a few things. Namely that there is still sufficient liquidity for the relatively low levels I usually play at. And that although it is thinner, with wider gaps between prices, it is still possible, with a little thought, for me to get involved for as much as I want. There are certain aspects of what I do that I need to be more wary of but the basics are the same and appear to work. I guess we'll find out over the next few months but with several domestic tournaments being televised along with international ODIs and, of course, tests (Sad I know but is anyone else getting excited about these?!) I'm hoping I can continue with recent trading successes and enjoy a fantastic summer of cricket trading.

Anyway, back to today's match. Don't really have much to say. Just one of those dream games where I managed to read it well for the most part. Missed bits of the match here and there but essentially was on the right side of the Lancashire drift during the Durham innings before the Lancashire price fell again, and then got on the right side of Durham in the Lancashire run chase. Perhaps a little late with larger amounts of money but after losing on the match the other day I was happy to just try to ensure a win either side until I felt I knew the result.

I had a small 3-figure green on the snooker overnight. Didn't catch any of the afternoon session inbetween the cricket and furniture building but caught some of the evening one. Managed to add to the overnight position before getting on the wrong side of a fairly heavy losing trade when Higgins missed a sitter. At that point I decided to more or less stop and just watch the match. I was determined not to lose on the match for reasons I'll explain in tomorrow's (Monday's blog entry) I did get involved again right at the death and eventually made just over £100. Got to be said Selby made a mighty effort at the comeback and deserves great credit. Shame I missed those frames. At one point I was convinced he was going to win! Fair play to Higgins though. He saw off the challenge, regained his composure and finished the match in style with a couple of exceptional breaks under immense pressure in the last few frames. On reflection the worthy winner.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Snooker and cricket trading

Result since last update: £85.88

Not done too much trading since the last update. More a case of dropping in on some snooker and cricket when I've had the opportunity. Been far more interesting things to do like watching my local football team get promoted and celebrating with a drink or two. :-)

Anyway, I got involved in both the snooker semi finals from Sheffield to varying degrees. I knew I wasn't going to be able to watch all of either match so each time I had a dip in for a frame or two I simply looked to make some green on the outright match odds market and then level it out. Missed the end of both games while out celebrating but made just over £86 on each match. Got to say the Murphy v Selby match was doing my head in somewhat. Just seemed that everytime I got involved Murphy was having one hell of a run of the balls at my expense! I'm sure the luck was being levelled out but I just didn't get to see it. :-(

Then had a bit of a disaster on the cricket today in the Friends Provident game between Worcestershire and Nottinghamshire. It was my first domestic match of the season. And, like my first World Cup match, I lost. Just under £260. Scratching my head a bit really as I called the match right but just had a shocker in the market.

Missed the start of the match, and sections throughout the game, but at the change of innings I was something like £100 green each side. It was quite interesting as the liquidity was well down on the recent money fests we had for the world cup. That said there were some large players involved and their money was clear to see.

Anyway, the combination of lowish liquidity and large sums of money opposing my view on the game led me to trade as normally as possible but also take a more positional approach to the game. My mistake was the position I ended up taking was too large for my existing market situation. Silly mistake really. I was tempted by the large sums of money opposing me at what I considered to be, in all honesty, ludicrous prices. The position I took - a back of Nottinghamshire - was right. I guess I got my timing wrong though. Because as the market moved against me I eventually had to take a hit on a large part of it or risk entering my maximum loss territory.

Naturally, shortly after taking the loss the market started coming back my way and for the rest of the match I was simply in the position of reducing red rather than accumulating green. All rather frustrating really as I felt I'd read the game correctly but maybe taken the plunge too early. Or certainly for too large an amount. If I'd done it for half the money everything would have been fine. Something to think on for next time anyway. Greed, it appears, is not always good. :-(

Tomorrow sees Durham v Lancashire in the Friends Provident and the end of the snooker final. Not sure how much I'll be able to do. I have a very small 3 figure green each way on the snooker but without a mini miracle it looks all but over. Certainly possible for Selby to come back but from 12-4 down it'll take some playing. As for the cricket I won't be able to do it all but, weather permitting, might get a chance to catch a few overs here and there. Best of luck if you have a go at it.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Snooker and darts trading

Daily Result: £134.92

Had a pretty busy day today work wise but managed to have a look in on a couple of events and add to keep the wedding funds ticking over.

The day's profit came from the darts in the evening. Had a dabble in all four games at various points through the evening but to varying degrees and was using small stakes. Made a profit on each match, the smallest being just over £4 on Manley v Jenkins, the largest around £75 on Scholten v Lewis. I like the doing the darts, the markets are crazy, but I also like to keep the stakes small as when you get it wrong there's not always a good opportunity to repair the damage.

During the afternoon I'd also had a look in on the Maguire v Higgins Snooker World Championship semi final. A long way to go on that one but I have a small green either side and will no doubt try and build on it tomorrow. Didn't get a chance to look in on the Murphy v Selby game as I prefer to watch the darts.

Anyway, that's it for tonight. Except to post a reminder that if you want to search the blog just use the search tool at the bottom of each page, or the "Search The Betfair Trader" link at the top. Been using it myself over the last few days. Amazing how much stuff I'm finding that I can't even remember writing!

London, snooker and poetic justice

Daily Result for yesterday: £83.88

Mixed fortunes in London yesterday. Feeling a little delicate this morning which is always a sign of a good night out. But unfortunatey the wedding ring I'd had made didn't fit. Despite all the measuring and trying on of other rings a few weeks ago. Seems fingers expand in the heat and I could barely get the ring on so am having to have it resized. Still, Emma's fitted perfectly so that was good. :-)

Didn't actually trade at all yesterday. The £80 or so was just some green I'd managed to build up on a couple of matches the day before that finished yesterday. I see Shaun Murphy managed to pull off a mini miracle against Matthew Stevens. Would have been very nice to have got on the right side of!

Finally, back to the Cricket World Cup. Yes, yes, I know it's over. But I came across this one yesterday and it made me chuckle. After the tournament was roundly criticised for putting commercialism head and shoulders above the actual game itself it just seemed kind of fitting that in the last press conference of the World Cup ICC chief Executive Malcom Speed was hit on the head - by an advertising board!!

Poetic justice I'm sure you'll agree. :-)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Wedding rings and leaving drinks

Off to London for the day shortly to pick up the wedding rings and get my groom's outfit sorted before meeting up with friend's for a work's leaving drinks party tonight. All a bit exciting on the wedding front and should be a good day. Thought I'd do a quick entry before I go.

Firstly, I get a lot of emails asking me if I've ever written about a particular subject on the blog. So I've added a search function to the site. It's the Google box at the bottom of each page or the "Search The Betfair Trader" link at the top of each page. Just select search the blog rather than Google and away you go.

Secondly I decided to get back into the swing of things yesterday following another three days off after the Cricket World Cup final. Had a look in on a couple of snooker matches. Neither are finished yet so no profit / loss to report. Have left a £12 green each way in the Hamilton v Maguire game and a £71 green either way in the Higgins v O'Sullivan match. So I should have my first profit of May by the time I get home tonight. :-)

Going forward I expect I'll do some more snooker this week and perhaps some darts. Also looking forward to doing my first domestic cricket match of the new season on Sunday. Worcestershire v Nottinghamshire in the Friends Provident Trophy. Best of luck if you get involved in anything in the meantime.