Thursday, June 28, 2007

The importance of greening up on Betfair

Daily Result: £2.50

Think it would be most useful if get straight to the point here. With 4/5 overs to go in today's Twenty20 between England and West Indies I had over £1k green on the Windies and could have levelled out for around £850 profit whatever the result. Instead I won £2.50. Want to avoid the same mistake? Well read on...

In a nutshell I failed to green out. Didn't think England had a chance of winning. So left my position as it was. Crazy stuff. Because on it's own £850 would have been my biggest Twenty20 win ever. And I'd have settled for £100 at the start of the game. So what the hell was I doing letting the position ride? Well, two things. I had overconfidence in my position. And I'm afraid to say that even after writing about greed the other day I suspect I got greedy again. I wanted to make £1k on the match. And that meant not greening out. So I didn't.

So essentially I ignored my own considered opinion on how to behave when trading for an on the spot decision. And the whole idea of consistent profits which I've based much of my blog trading on went for a walk too. I basically risked £850 profit (and I could easily have making an actual loss too) for the sake of £150 extra green. Probably to achieve another arbitrary landmark - the £1k profit on the match. Put simply I wasn't thinking straight. With hindsight I was probably losing control.

Sure, there is an argument that greening out at short prices is simply a waste of green. It's a big debate. And mathematically I guess the answer comes down to the price you take and how many times, and at what cost, things will go badly against you compared to how much you lose each time you green out. That debate is a bit of a side issue for me here though. My whole approach with the blog has been based on small consistent profits for reasons discussed before. Today I simply failed to follow that strategy. And it cost me £850.

Difficult to describe how that felt. Empty is pretty close. As is nauseous. I always say a profit is a profit. A green is a green. And it is. I've got more money in the pot now than I did at the start of the day. But at the end of the match I felt worse than any loss I've suffered since starting the blog. Not only because in terms of the size it's effectively the biggest. (Accepted it was not actually profit until settlement at the end of the match but let's be realistic here) But also because of the manner in which I threw the money away. To borrow a cricket phrase my trading decisions at the most crucial point of the match were village!

Which was doubly annoying as I'd traded the rest of the game like a dream. Both on the blog and the Betfair forum I'd said I'd hoped the Windies batted first, got off to a flyer and I could lay the short price England were. That all went to plan. By the change of innings I was over £400 green either side. And near the end of the match I was at the potential £850 green either side scenario already discussed.

At that point I could have levelled off and enjoyed the rest of what was a cracking match at 1.0x. Instead I decided on a stop and let the position, with a large liability on England, run. Big mistake. As I didn't actually set the stop. And when the market moved against me it flew. Sailed past my envisaged stop into the low 1.2x range. Where I ended up bailing at a poor price. But in the full knowledge that if the next ball went for a boundary it would be 1.3x. The market was panicing. If I'd levelled out I'd have been filling up at the juicy prices. Instead I was giving them to someone else. The irony is pretty clear. If I'd levelled out and then got back on again as the price rose I would have made more than the £1k I didn't level out to initially save!

I guess everyone's own approach to trading colours their opinion on going all green. Obviously you don't want to be consistently doing it when you're giving great value away. But you can often get away with it offering poor or fair value. I like consistency in results. So I like going all green. Or at least leaving no liabilites on one side unless there's a very low risk of things moving against me more than a few ticks. That was another mistake today. Because the Twenty20 markets can be so volatile. And today I got caught badly.

Whatever your own views on greening up today has reminded me why I like to do it. I've basically just thrown £850 away by not doing it. I don't like that feeling. I'd rather have the £850. So what if I could have made £1k? I could have anyway if I'd greened up and then got involved again as the price drifted. Instead I've got £2.50. The decision on whether / when to green up is one every trader has to take. If you don't want to feel as emotionally drained as I did today, as well as being out of pocket, just do it. Take the profit. Turn the screen green! If you're of a stronger disposition, and don't mind the odd setback like today in favour of not giving away a little green when there's a chance things could swing against you each time fair play to you. But it's not for me.

Anyway, end result? Well, immediately after the match I simply turned the computer off and got lost in some very loud relaxing music for a while. I thought things through and put the result behind me. I'm not being too hard on myself. Afterall, it's not as if I lost. I'm better off than I was this morning. But I'm not pleased with my trading. I didn't follow a basic plan. I even went as far as losing control. Though still had the sense to bail when I needed to.

Over riding even all of that though is my reaction to it all. Too emotional. Not detached enough. I'm getting too involved with silly targets and the end results. I've recognised this recently but failed to act on it properly. That means it's time for a break. So despite wanting to just get back into things with tomorrow's Twenty20 and prove to myself I can behave (!) I'll be giving it a miss. Suspect I will Saturday too. Emma is away on business again on Sunday so I might have a look in on something then. In the meantime I'm going to get on with some painting tomorrow, go for a boozy barbecue at a friend's on Saturday and hopefully comeback next month refreshed with a clearer head and the basics that have served me well so far firmly at the front of my mind. Best of luck with your betting in the meantime.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Trading and wedding update

Daily Result: £239.70

Not really got much to say today except pleased with the result. Especially as I missed the first part of the Twenty20 match between Lancashire and Yorkshire, had to go out before the end and didn't manage to catch it all inbetween. So a good profit for tuning in for the middle part of the game. With all the price swings it looks like it would have been a cracker to do from start to finish.

Was busy painting and decorating at the start. Have had some furniture on order for a while and it's all arriving next Tuesday so need to finish off some DIY. Then in the evening we were off to the wedding venue to finalise a few details. Also had to pay for it so that took a dent out of the savings I've made from since starting the blog. Still, that's what it's all been about - saving for the wedding and honeymoon. Starting to pay for the major expenses just makes you realise how near it all is now. Butterflies in the stomach time soon.

We've also booked the honeymoon up this week. Flights and several hotels in Sri Lanka. We both love Sri Lanka so decided to skip the Maldives as there was just too much we still haven't seen in Lanka. All very exciting and we can't wait. Got some spectacular stuff lined up along with some chill time.

Anyway, back to the trading. I'll no doubt have a look in on the England v West Indies Twenty20 tomorrow. Hoping the West Indies bat first so I can maybe get stuck into this 1.5 about England. The most likely scenario for some decent price movement anyway. Might finally get a proper look in on Wimbledon too though still got heaps of painting to do yet.

Finally, a few more blogs that I'll be adding to the blog list when I get a spare 20 minutes. The excellent Cloning Arteta, bettrading £100 to £100,000 (hope the wedding went well!), and the fairly newish heads-n-tails which covers some interesting trading topics in amongst the daily results roundup.

If anyone else has linked to me, or has a blog that is updated regularly and wants to exchange links, just leave a comment or drop me an email via the contact me link at the bottom of the right hand column.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Greed isn't good

Daily Result: £132.46

Forget
Gordon Gecko. All that Wall Street stuff is so 1980's anyway. Greed isn't good! And today I reminded myself why. (Though if it wasn't for having to wear braces I guess I could live with the Porsche and enormous luxury loft conversion!)

Yes, I made a profit today. Another £132 added to the pot. A sum I'd have happily settled for at the start of the Twenty20 match between Warwickshire and Northamptonshire. But the fact is with only a few overs to go I was well over £300 in profit. Which became over £400 when I got greedy and waded in to a short price on Warks.

Short price lumping isn't something I'm against per se. In fact I do it quite often with the understanding that I'll bail from it if necessary. And it's one of the reasons I changed my money management rules for the cricket world cup recently. It can be a good way to add a few per cent to a green already made on an event. And if you pick the situations to lump on carefully can be a pretty low risk strategy.

That's where I went wrong today though. My £2k lump on Warwickshire at 1.02 (Yes, yes, I know) wasn't so much driven by my belief that if was a good price (given the state of the game it wasn't as we later saw) but because I had my eyes on total profit figures. Basically not only did I want to take my monthly profit over £4k, but also wanted to tip my total blog profit over the £28k mark. I like achieving landmarks and that extra £40 would have achieved both.

Well, I got my comeuppance. Because 1.02 was too short. And with a few big hitting overs towards the end of the Northants run chase the price was out to 1.15 which is where I dumped the trade, said goodbye to my "easy" extra £40 - and lost a further £260 of existing green to boot. Sure, when I placed the trade I knew I would still win on the match as I would simply bail if necessary while still in a profitable position. Which is exactly what I did.

That's not really the point though. Letting outside factors - Greed and an arbitrary landmark - take control led to a poor trading decision, my thinking 1.02 was a "sure thing" and lumping on when in fact it was a poor 1.02 to take given the state of the match. Trading decisions should be made on the relevant event-linked facts. Unlike today, nothing else should come into it. Of course, the decision whether to bail at 1.15, another poor price, is a separate issue. But I won't go into that here.

So, my reminder to myself today is Greed is not good. And thankfully, while lunch may well be for wimps, I'd like to think I enjoy mine too much to ever become too Gecko like. I've had a reminder, even warning, though. And it's been heeded.

More Twenty20 rain

Daily Result: £100.72

More torrential rain today not only put the dampers on Wimbledon but also saw today's televised Twenty20 match between Gloucestershire and Worcestershire reduced to another 10 over shoot out.

So the plan was the same as yesterday trading wise. No big liabilities, keep a levelish book and concentrate! Twenty20 can be volatile. Ten10 is just plain madness. A lottery. But great fun! Not the type of event where you want to find yourself on the wrong side of a big shift in prices though.

Worcestershire batted first and Hick got them off to a fantastic start smashing 32 from 15 balls. The old boy's still got it! I know he ain't got a cat in hell's chance and might not be the fastest around the field but if you were picking the Twenty20 world cup squad and packing it full of "specialists" you could do worse than cast an eye over Hick.

Anyway, with Hick's blistering start Worcestershire posted a very respectable 101 from their 10 overs. A tad better than Hampshire's 72 from 10 the other day!! To be honest I thought it would be enough. Price wise Worcestershire were in the low 1.6x range and I thought that was probably too big.

That said, with Spearman and Marshall opening for Gloucestershire there was always a chance of fireworks at the top of the innings so I levelled out. That left me with £100 green either side and I'll settle for that in a 10 over shootout. My thinking was let's just see how Glos get on for an over or two. If it's cost me a few ticks fair enough. But at the decision point I was happy to settle for £100 in such a short game and more interested in sticking to my no real liabilities, keep a level book gameplan. I did try to add to it in the second innings, building it up to £140 green each side before getting on the wrong side of a 2 ball 40 tick swing which left me back at £100 green the pair.

Caution paid off anyway as Goucestershire got off to a cracking start and maintained it to win by 9 wickets with 8 balls remaining. Most the match was played out in the rain so fair play to the captains and teams for going ahead with the game at all.

Which wasn't something that was able to happen at all the day's Twenty20 matches. Very heavy rain caused several to be cancelled. Which as luck would have it was good news! Because it means Nottinghamshire, who I've backed in the outright, ended up with a no result / tie against defending champions Leicestershire. Definitely settle for a point in that game as it gives Notts a point from what looked like their toughest match and leaves them with a table topping 7 out of 9 points from 3 games. Hurrah!

What else? Well, I didn't get round to doing any Wimbledon stuff though I was convinced by
this article at Kicking Bets about backing Roddick in the outright with a view to laying at a later date for a moderate profit. So after thinking it all through myself too I've had a £100 on the ARod. It was therefore most pleasing to see him cruise through the first round. More of the same please!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Doshi strangles Hampshire

Daily Result: £510.38

Whoa! That's better. Way more than I expected to make on the Twenty20 match between Surrey and Hampshire. But then I didn't expect Hampshire to mess the game up quite so convincingly. That's what they did though. And I'm not complaining!

Actually to be fair Surry deserve some credit. Nayan Doshi in particular. In a match reduced to 10 overs a side due to the dreaded inclement stuff he managed to take 3 wickets for 6 runs in his 2 overs. And two of those runs came from an erroneus 7th ball in an over. It's simple really. In a 10 over match you can't afford to average 3 runs an over like that. Doshi didn't mind though and showed why he has the best Twenty20 bowling record. And also became the first player to take 50 wickets in the competition in the process.

Surrey were left needing 73 to win from their 10 overs. That they'd make it was never really in doubt. Hampshire were simply woefully short of a par score and Surrey wrapped the match up winning by 6 wickets with 7 balls in hand.

As for my trading. Well, I was expecting a volatile close tense affair. When Hampshire started collapsing though, and Doshi started containing, the market was one way traffic and I just hitched a ride with it. Nothing clever. No great insight. No master trading strategy. Just assessed the game, liked the odds and got on. I took a little profit when I considered it appropriate but on the whole let it ride.

So, a good result. And one that I can hope can be repeated over the coming weeks. For the next 16 days alone there's a live televised cricket match on Sky! On top of that an Andrew Murrayless Wimbledon starts tomorrow. Am sure I'll be getting involved but perhaps not as much as I'd like. Have a pretty busy period of normal work coming up, heaps of wedding stuff to organise, some painting and decorating to take care of and I'd like to do as much of the Twenty20 action as possible. Still, sure I'll find some time in between that little lot to squeeze a game or two in. ;-)

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Twenty20 cricket trading

Daily Result: £53.98

Had another look in on the Twenty20 today trading the televised game between Nottinghamshire and Lancashire. Again took it easy on the stakes while I get used to the format once more and was pleased I did as it was a bit of a tricky one.

Lancashire batted first and after a rapid start courtesy of Loye and Jayasuriya lost their direction a bit. They recovered but their total of 163 was very much par and the 1.8ish about Notts to make the chase was a fair price. I mentioned on the Betfair forum that it was a tough one to call but with a strong Notts batting line up, and with Lancashire having nothing too special in the bowling department, I would pick Notts to win if I had to call it. And that's the position I duly took up.

Well, they did win. But it was a close one with big price fluctuations. I was in and out all over the place, sometimes locking in profits, sometime losses. Was pretty close in the end but eventually Notts chased down the 164 they needed to record only the 4th time it's been done at Trentbridge. It was hard work and really could have gone either way towards the end so was pleased with the £44 I made on the match. Especially as a big thunderstorm at home had knocked my Sky Sports pictures out for a while, and I had a computer crash at a crucial trading point near the end of the game. More importantly though the Notts win, which made it two from two for the Outlaws, leaves me in a nice profitable, if small, position in the outright market. With their next match against Leicestershire I'm considering levelling out of that one now and looking for another opportunity.

I made the other £10 today on the Clement v Karlovic tennis final. Just traded a game of karlovic's serve while waiting for the Twenty20 to start and levelled out for equal green at the end of it.

Anyway, tomorrow's televised Twenty20 sees Surrey take on Hampshire. Will check out the team / toss news first but with Surrey at 1.64 I'll be looking for an excuse to get stuck in and oppose them. Warne and Clark will obviously be big misses for Hampshire mind. Guess I'll just have to see if it's the right thing to do on the day. Should be a good one anyway. Good luck if you get involved.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Twenty20 cricket is back

Daily Result: £186.97

Yay! You can argue it isn't "proper" cricket till you're blue in the face but Twenty20, the crack cocaine [© Innocent Bystander ;-)] of the cricket trading world, is back. And with a bang too. So hold on to your mouse, hang on to your nerves and enjoy the ride!

Twenty20 is exciting stuff. Big shots. Bigger volatility. And Bumble on top form. It ain't for the faint-hearted! The format has sparked renewed interest in cricket with its breath taking "stroke" play, turbo charged scoring rates and thrilling finishes. Oh, and did I mention it's fecking great to trade?!

So what's a sick cricket trader to do on the first day of the Twenty20 season? Dutifully tune in for the first televised match of course! It featured defending champions Leicestershire against prodigal son Gough's Yorkshire. Great stuff it was too despite being reduced to 16 overs a side because of the inclement stuff.

Leicestershire won the toss, raised a few eyebrows by batting first, and promptly scored a huge 154. To put it in perspective that was at a rate of 9.62 an over. The previous highest run rate set on the ground was 9 - with a score of 180 from 20 overs.

Yorkshire had a good crack at the total from the off but keeping up with the required run rate came at the expense of wickets. Eventually the rate began to spiral into the realms of very unlikely and Leicestershire hit 1.01. A monster over near the end of the innings saw it back out to 1.1 and if a catch on the boundary the next over had gone for a six panic would really have set into the market. It didn't though and the Gough wicket essentially ended any slim chance of a Yorkshire victory.

Trading wise I took it pretty easy. First game of the season and all that. Just wanted to get back into the swing of it so more than happy with the £186 profit. Would have been more but I dumped some green during the monster over I mentioned. Don't panic! Don't panic!. The main aim today was to keep liabilities small, get a feel for the Twenty20 markets again and try to make a profit. So job done and I'm looking forward to getting involved in some more matches. And there's plenty more to come! A televised game a day for a while now. Won't be able to do them all but will enjoy my fixes when I can!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Scraping a win

Daily Result: £26.83

Didn't really trade well today. Never really got in the zone and was throwing any green I made away nearly as quickly as I was collecting in. Bit of lucky escape in the end to finish the day with a profit. Could easily have been a loss. So pleased with the win. Nothing wrong with small wins in my book. Especially if they're consistent. Afterall, they're better than losses! And if you can average a £25 win a day that's still £750 a month profit. Not bad for a hobby!

The only event I traded was the Hampshire v Warwickshire Friends Provident Trophy semi final. Considering my first bet was a £1k back of Hampshire in the 1.7x range, and they won, it begs the question what went wrong?!

Timing really is the answer. Don't think I read this game too well and ended up red Hampshire and green Warwickshire during the Warwickshire run chase. By that stage I didn't like my position. I wanted out, fancied Hampshire at odds against but didn't get out of the position. It was an interesting juncture. If I was new to the game I'd have backed Hampshire. But because of my exisiting position I simply held it not prepared to take the red at that stage. Not particularly pleased with that decision and will put some thought into it when I get some time.

I convinced myself that with Sangakkara at the crease Warwickshire could still make the chase and land my green. Of course, he was dismissed and the market moved rapidly against me. In fact it's fair to say I was astonished by the size of the movement. Enormous. So much so that I simply couldn't lay Warwickshire. Kept submitting new prices and people were falling over themselves to offer bigger prices to back. In the end it got so ridiculous I stopped trying. Figured a few more runs and the price would become more sensible. Of course, there was another very quick wicket and the Hampshire price plummeted. I managed to get on enough to leave a small green Hampshire and a large red Warwickshire. Wasn't much else I could do after that except hope for a quick Hampshire victory and a small win for me. So I set a stoploss point where I'd reduce my Warwickshire red if it looked like they make the chase and just had the game on in the background as I got on with other stuff. Luckily Hampshire won comfortably enough that their price didn't drift too much to reach my stop and I picked up £25 or so.

So not my best day trading wise. Though I do always feel good with a win of any size when I've basically screwed an event up and could have lost fairly heavily. Just didn't quite get things right today in several areas. Well done to those that did and hope I'm in better form for the start of the Twenty20 season on Friday. Bring it on! :-)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

England win the 4th test

Result since last update: £1,531.41

Well, well, well. England won the 4th and final test against the West Indies. And with more than £7 million bet on the draw (£14.5 million matched) there's going to be some sore heads around. Especially as around £2 million of it was at 1.2 or below - with the lowest price being matched at 1.06.

Which kind of makes me wonder how the "Thanks for your money mugs", "It's free money on the draw" Betfair forum contributors feel now. Hard to tell as they've gone strangely quiet. Still, I'm sure I'm worrying needlessly. No doubt everyone managed to "trade out" for an all green position! In the mean time, back in the real world, the rest of us have had another good reminder that there is no such thing as free money on Betfair.

As for the match itself it's harder to tell if it was inspired England play or a woeful Windies' performance that gave us a result. A bit of both I think. We did get to see yet more brilliance from Chanderpaul. The Windies would have been slaughtered without him. The mind boggles at what he must have been thinking as, not out for over 1000 minutes, he watched batsmen after batsmen give their wickets away at the other end. But it was also fitting that after several hours of bowling at him man of the series Panesar finally got him out with the last ball faced by the Windies in the series.

The betting, especially during the build up to the match and the first few days, was all about the weather. Or, the inclement weather, as it seems de rigeur to say. Basically it pissed down. Which saw a massive shortening in the draw price. And prompted all the free money comments on Betfair. As I said before the match I'd taken a bit of a break and largely missed the prematch movements. And as I've not been able to do the whole test match I basically kept my book pretty level. £400 all green one day, £600 another etc.

Broke ranks on the last day, which I could concentrate fully on. Unfortunately I was foolish enough to back the draw the ball before Gayle was out for the first wicket of the day and instantly wiped a few hundred profit out. But aside from that things went well. I didn't get too involved until I felt the England win was inevitable. Which in turn meant I missed out on a truly massive win. That said I can hardly be disappointed. £1.5k profit is big for me and I'm well pleased. Certainly would have taken it at the start when the draw was 1.3x and I had nothing in the book.

Anyway, the win means England wrapped the series up 3-0 and the next test action is against India next month. But that doesn't mean there's not much cricket to bet on. Oh no! The Twenty20 season is about to kick off and a quick glance through the Sky schedules shows there's live cricket on TV virtually everyday for the next two months! Heaven :-)

With all the wedding and honeymoon planning that needs doing, not to mention stag nights to be gone on, there's no way I can trade all that cricket. But I'm looking forward to getting stuck into it when I can and hopefully, fingers crossed, there's some good profit to be made.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Booking a loss and choking?

Result since last update: £688.9

Well, it had to come. Looking back through the blog I haven't had to record a losing trading entry since May 11th. And I guess as that was well over a month ago I'm pretty happy. Can't win all the time and all that. Besides which the loss isn't quite as bad as it seems at first glance. Because I'd already mentioned last week that there was a £337 red to come through. Just so happens that yesterday was settlement day. :-(

The £337 loss came on the 1st eviction in Big Brother. I've explained how this came about previously. A bit unlucky but as a veteran Big Brother trader I know all too well these things can happen. The main thing is I took a contrarian view to the market, got it right, was in a good position to go all green with the market coming round to my way of thinking but unfortunately was not up at silly o'clock when the Emily stuff kicked off. Them's the breaks. Annoying but not much I can do and the whole incident is behind me. My outright market winner book continues to be very balanced all green. And I've got a fiver all green on male / female winner. :-P

The other loss came from the Artois Championships. Made some money on the Ginepri v Gonzalez game but dropped £440 on the Bogdanovic v Roddick match. Quite interesting really. Looking back through last year's tennis results I've had a bit of a mare on a few Roddick games.

But the real point of interest is my trading behavious during the game. I can't make my mind up whether I simply choked or decided enough is enough I'm leaving it. I won't go into the ins and outs of the game. Had a nightmare with overrules, net chords, Hawkeye appeals and even a shot off the net post going against me! But the bottom line was I got on Roddick and he lost the first set.

Bogdanovic was playing really well. Much better than I've ever seen before. And was also finding the line with an alarming regularity. Thing is though after he broke Roddick he never really looked like doing it again. In fact, Roddick was going for games in a row without dropping service points. Rather than simply trading his serve though I just sat there for the most part. I was concerned it was only a 3 set match so one more mistake on my part and I could be facing a maximum loss if I got on the wrong side of Roddick again. The no action strategy, while keeping a small green on Bogdanovich, nearly paid of with the Englishman narrowly losing a tie break in the second set that would have seen him win the match.

But Roddick eventually came through. And after he'd levelled the match 1-1 his odds were so short I just felt it wasn't worth getting on him even though I believed he would win. Instead I hung on for another tie break that didn't come. With hindsight I don't think it was a case of bottling it so much. But rather one of I've got a loss. One more mistake and I make a maximum loss. Just accept that red. The guy is a set behind and could lose. It didn't work out like that though and I booked another red. A 5 set match and I'm sure my approach would have been different.

Turning to cricket I have around a £400 all green position. Missed the early draw action as discussed previously. Missed a lay of 1.13 this morning as well as I didn't get up when the alarm went off! Looks like we'll be getting some play today though. Hoping for some quick wickets to leave a better trading opportunity for the rest of the match.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Accepting when a trade goes wrong

Daily Result: £1,308.55

Hmm. Maybe I should take a few days off and come back fresh more often! Great result today. Well pleased with it and adds a nice chunk towards the monthly profit and honeymoon funds.

Made the money on the Friends Provident Trophy cricket match between Hampshire and Surrey. The game was a great example of how as a trader it's fine to suddenly change your mind, admit you were you wrong and, being as fickle as they come, change allegiances. It also helps to answer a question I get asked a lot - the why don't you give more tips one.

Today was the perfect example why. Because my opening plays were a £1k lay of Hampshire in the 1.7x range and a £250 back of Surrey in the 2.2x range. When a wicket came within 2 balls of the Surrey innings I managed to get out of around half of that at nearly the price I got in at (Someone was too slow cancelling) and very shortly after, when another wicket went with the ball moving all over the place, I was piling into Hampshire after taking into account the match conditions.

By the time Surrey were 32/6 my earlier fancying of them was a distant memory. By reassessing, taking note of the conditions, accepting I'd got things wrong and taking a loss to start with I'd set up a nice win instead of facing what would very have quickly become a maximum loss. It might well open you up to accusations of aftertiming (hence the no tips thing) but the flexibility afforded by trading and not getting married to your positions can save you a lot of needless losses.

A trader I respect once gave me a great piece of advice. To paraphrase it was never be afraid to accept you got a trading call wrong. And don't compound that mistake by refusing to do anything about it. In other words don't be too bloody minded to just let it go hoping everything will sort itself out. Act decisively. Recognise the mistake. And take a loss if you have too.

Today was the perfect example. I'd convinced myself to open my original positions despite the Rosebowl pitch and Hampshire bowling line up of Clarke, Warne, Mascerenhas, Tremlett and others. I thought Benning and Brown would get Surrey off to a quick start giving me a nice green book to start with. And thinking further ahead I also thought with the in form Ramprakash glueing the innings together Surrey would dip well below odds on as their innings progressed. Boy did I get that spectacularly wrong! Clarke showed his class taking 6 for 27 while Mascerenhas delivered a beauty to smash Ramprakash's off stump first ball.

In the end the only real suprise was the that from 32/6 the match lasted so long. That was largely due to a fantastic 122 7th wicket partnership between Clarke and Schofield. Surrey's final score of 181 was never likely to be enough though and, despite a light flurry of wickets in Hampshire's innings, the Hawks still wrapped the match up with 3 wickets in hand with 10 balls left.

Looking forward the news isn't so good on Friday's 4th and final test match between England and West Indies. When taking a break I decided not to really look at the market or get involved until nearer the time as I knew weather would be a big factor and I didn't want to get tied down monitoring it too much. The result is I've missed out on an enormous plunge on the draw (it's 1.43-1.44 now!!). I'm going to have a good look at the weather tomorrow and see if I can convince myself to lay that. And if I can't I'll be building an ark because if that price is right we're all in danger of drowning!

Monday, June 11, 2007

3rd test washout

Result since last update: £14.94

No, not the match itself - for once the weather was glorious! But rather my trading on it. Screwed up a bit on Friday, the second day, and with Emma due back from China / Hong Kong the following day, and lots of wedding stuff to sort, I decided to have a bit of a break and mostly leave it. So I gave the rugby, tennis and darts a miss over the weekend too.

I made £15 on the match. Which considering my opening position was a £1.3k lay of the draw suggests something went wrong somewhere! Guess it did. Not really going to go into it all here. Suffice to say for a while I was laying England and backing the West Indies. Never really got out of those properly. For a while I did have a huge West Indies green but in the end had to settle for a few hundred green England and West Indies. I popped out to the shops near the close of play on Friday. I came back to find 5/6 West Indies wickets had fallen in that time and the England price had collapsed so far it was barely worth getting involved any further.

At that point I decided there was little point in putting in much more time in the outright market unless it looked like a miracle was going to happen so effectively left the match. Sure I looked in from time to time as I was red the draw. As the Windies started to look like they might manage the impossible and make a world record 4th innings chase I decided what the hell. In poker parlance it was a bit loose but I decided to put most my England green on the West Indies and go for broke. Not my normal approach by any means. But it would have been several grand profit if they made it. And, let's be honest, for a while it looked like they just could manage it! I'd actually decided to shift some green back onto England when they hit the 1.6x range. Alas, they didn't get much higher than 1.5 so I never got the chance. End result. £15 profit. Bit disappointing but a profit is a profit.

Anyway, on the plus side I made several hundred on side markets away from Betfair but these don't count towards the blog profit and loss. And I guess I'm feeling a little fresher now after effectively having a few days break too. Got a busy week but will be doing a couple of televised cricket games and hopefully catching some tennis from Queens as well as getting round to answering all the emails I haven't yet. Sorry for the delay on those!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Big bovver

Yikes. Didn't take long to kick off did it? Not going to go into the why, wherefores and wtfs. Suffice to say Emily has been booted, dreams in tatters and no doubt wishing she'd never lied her way onto the show. Not quite as smart as she thought she was.

All of which has got the tabloids frothing at the mouth, feeding fenzy in full flow. With enough gravitas to give the broadsheets an excuse to give their tuppence worth without appearing to stoop so low as to admit the show might actually interest their readers. You don't need a cyrstal ball. This one's going to run.

Which all got some debate going over on the Betfair Forums. Of course, in true gambling style the main thrust was for a long time not the real issues - but what was going to happen to the first eviction market. Those silly enough to lay 1000 shots wanting it voided. Those shrewd enough to back them arguing all bets should stand.

Betfair's rules on the matter are very clear. And the market stands. Spot on. Which is a bit of a bugger as it leaves me over £300 red any result. I wasn't around when it all kicked off prefering to have a social life this year! Especially annoying looking at the prices I would have been in a position to go all green before it kicked off. And, of course, could have made a healthy profit if I'd realised what was going on. Can't complain though. Fair dues to those who cashed in. There is a reason why the two up for nomination could be backed at around 98%. This is it. Reminds be of the infamous "2nd" eviction market in Big Brother 5. That series I put the time in and cashed in with prices in the high hundreds during Fight Night. You win some, you lose some. No complaints with the decision for all bets to stand. But a good reminder why I'm simply not going to get too involved this year market wise.

What else? Well, the third test between England and West Indies has started. And yet again the toss went against me. :-( Seemed to be a big of debate about whether England should have batted or fielded first. Still not convinced the decision to bat was correct but I'm sitting pretty though with an all green book. My initial draw lay at 3.35 is still in the book. I've had a lay of England and a back of the Windies too. Just got to be a little careful on day 2 but hopefully can end the day with a profit. Had a good betting day away from Betfair yesterday too picking up several hundred on some side markets so it's smiles all round at the moment. Apart from Big Brother! :-(

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Netting a tennis profit

Yesterday's Result: £331.97

Got involved in three matches from the French Open yesterday. Actually enjoyed spending a bit of proper time doing the tennis again despite running into difficulties early on due to some atrocious timing. Managed a profit on each match though and am pleased with the daily result.

The three games were Henin v S. Williams, Federer v Robredo and Davydenko v Canas. The Henin one was a bit of a nightmare. I won't bore you with the details but I was lucky to get away with a £12 win really. Everything just seemed to go against me, from net chords to over rules to ridiculous unforced errors. Worst of all though was my timing. When I finally switched from Williams to Henin, Henin immediately dropped her first service game - to love! And that wasn't an isolated example either!!

What Lady Luck takes away she can give back though and I traded the Federer match like a dream. My timing was back and I enjoyed the match picking up just over £260. Thankfully the good timing continued to the Davydenko game. I only traded 3 points towards the end and picked up another £57. All of which added up to another nice contribution to the wedding funds.

Anyway, it's a quick entry but I'm busy today. Won't be able to trade the tennis as I want to get some work out the way before the test match tomorrow. My original draw lay at 3.35 is looking good. I just hope the toss goes my way this time. I want the West Indies to bat first and collapse, with the exception of Ramdin. Not too much to ask is it?! :-)

Monday, June 04, 2007

cricket and tennis trading

Result since last update: £316.83

Not been too involved again trading wise since the last update. Weather just seems to be too good and I've had a couple of busy days on the work front. Still, have had the opportunity to look in on one cricket and one tennis match which helped save a little more towards the honeymoon.

The cricket was great. Wish all the matches could be like that! I missed the start of the match between Surrey and Essex and didn't get involved until Essex were 122/2. My first trade was a £500 back of Essex which triggered a mini batting collapse. I dumped the trade for a loss as the innings stalled and ended up effectively leaving the game with around £20 green either side before the end of the innings.

I didn't return to the match until Surrey needed 57 from 51 balls with 4 wickets in hand. With the ball being smashed around the park I just followed the Surrey price in for a while. Laying when they got short on the hope of wickets. The result was when 30 were needed from 24 I was £100 green both sides, and £220 each side when it was 20 from 19. Basically left it there apart form nicking a few ticks when a wicket fell at something like 12 runs needed from 13.

Anyway, Surrey failed to make the chase and a 1.02 shot was overturned. (They'd traded that low before I got involved again!) End result was I picked up £227.85, although gave £16.83 away on some tie insurance. It all got very volatile towards the end and was pretty exciting to watch. Looks like it was a great match to trade though. Wish I'd stuck with it.

The tennis match I traded was Djokovic v Verdasco. Again I picked it as the one to trade as it gave me an opportunity to try out the new trading strategy I'd come up with. Made £105 on the match though most trading took part in the first set which provided the best opportunity to trial the idea again. All seemed to be good again so I'll be on the look out for future matches. Djokovic won the match in straight sets though after the relatively quickfire first two sets of 42 and 44 minutes the third got bogged down a little taking 72 before the tie break. I stuck with the entire match though trading normally in the third set. Pleased with the profit.

What else? Well, it's the third test between England and West Indies on Thursday. I've layed the draw at 3.35. Just thought it was too short given my interpretation of the weather sites. Was trying to lay at 3.25 for a while but decided not to make the same mistake I made last time and miss the price for the sake of a few extra ticks. 3.35 was still a good price to lay at the time I felt.

As for Big Brother, well, I'm tiny all green on all runners! Missed some nice price movements but have hardly seen the show at all. Said at the start I wouldn't be involved that much this year for obvious reasons. Not going to waste time specifically doing it. Will just get involved for small amounts when something obvious presents itself. So no nice big prices in the hundreds for me at silly o'clock in the morning this year round when the house melts down. That said I did catch some late night live stuff the other day and immediately got on Charley as 1st evictee as a result. Think she's likely to be nominated. And if she is her price will plummet further. Of course, there's no guarantee she will be though so might just green my book out before Ziggy does the deed. The price is very skinny now and I'm not trying for big results on it this year. Any green at all will just be a welcome bonus.

Right, that's it. Might have a look in on the French Open again tomorrow. Best of luck with your own betting.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

New tennis trading idea

Yesterday's result: £43.14

For a while now I've been sat there watching the tennis markets, looking at player stats and scratching my head trying to work out some new approaches to my tennis trading. Nothing particularly wrong with what I already do but I guess us striped blazers should always be looking for ways to improve. Fine tune and discover better spots to get involved in the market and all that.

As part of this process I've been spending some time simply asking myself what an ideal trading situation might be. At what moments in a tennis match I'd like to get involved if all conditions, but especially stats, price, and game scenario, were in my favour. So in between all the daydreaming on it I managed to come up with some realistic scenarios and today a match cropped up that I knew would give me the opportunity to put one of them into action.

Monfils v Nalbandian was the match. I knew I wouldn't be able to do the whole game but made sure I got the chance to catch a set and a half or so and see what happened. I suppose the good news is I made a profit! More importantly, I made a profit from the trades I was particularly interested in - the ones based on the new idea. Early days of course, and far too soon to judge whether it will work long term, but it's an idea I will continue testing.

To be honest I'm hoping I might be on the right tracks as it was noticeable that I'm definitely not the only one to have hit upon the idea. There was clearly money hitting the market with mine at the price I wanted at the specific moments I'd identified to get involved. I'm sure the proper shrewdies out there have identified lots of potential profitable trading opportunities, including the one I was trying today, and are sat there patiently waiting to pounce.

Anyway, I guess the point I'm trying to make is it pays to study and not rest on your laurels. Actively seeking out new opportunities has to be a good thing right? I can't see any real negatives to improving trading strategy! It just seems that recently, in tennis at least, I've been guilty of concentrating too much on what I'm doing, happy with it, and not enough on thinking through how I could possibly improve what I do.

The spark for all this was looking through my annual results and realising the size of the gulf that has grown between my cricket and tennis trading results in the last year. Cricket trading now accounts for a far larger proportion of profits than it used to. Sure, I use bigger stakes on cricket now. But that decision was made because I felt comfortable with the increase given long term results.

That got me thinking that I should just raise my tennis stakes. But I found I couldn't do this for the simple reason that I just don't have the same confidence in my tennis trading that I do in my cricket trading. Examining the reasons for this I realised that in terms of complexity, for want of a better word, my cricket trading is more advanced than my tennis trading. Put simply, I think I'm better at trading cricket than tennis.

The trouble is my cricket trading may well treat me nicely. But there's a hell of a lot more televised tennis matches than there are cricket matches! Feel equally proficient in both and in theory I should be able to turn a much nicer profit. So inevitably this is how I got to thinking about how to improve my tennis trading. Which led to my coming up with the idea I tried today.

I don't know. There's a long way to go but I feel today I started down the path. I'm not going to lapse on the cricket side of stuff but I plan to actively put more effort towards improving my tennis results. Perhaps then I'll have the confidence to increase the stakes and reap the potential rewards.

All good in theory anyway. But today the reality is it's just too sunny so I've been outside rather than stuck in doing the French Open. I also saw Emma off on another business trip to China today and wasn't particulary in the mood for a trading session. Still, it should give me more time to have a look in over the next week or so. Best of luck if you're invovled today.

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