Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Biggest win on Betfair

2nd Test Result: £3049.08

Wow. That's a big win for me. Certainly my biggest since I started the blog nearly 18 months ago anyway. And one that's left a rather large smile on my face. Sure, I know it's smallfry to some of the pros who make a living off Betfair. But these things are all relative and I'm chuffed to bits with it.

I made the profit on the 2nd test match between England and India. Enjoyable game to watch for the most part. Great to see Michael Vaughn back in form with a superb century and the match was also notable for Sachin Tendulkar becoming only the third batsmen to pass the 11,000 test runs mark. I kept meaning to do daily updates for the test to outline my thoughts and what was going on but am just really busy with a work project and trying to get everything ready in time for the wedding. I'll try and update more regularly over the next few weeks. Much of what I thought I was posting on the Betfair cricket forum anyway in the daily match threads. (My forum username on there is bftrader if you want to say hi)

So how did I make the profit? Well one way I sometimes look at a test match is to go by the rough and ready generalisation that the team that wins the most sessions wins the match. It's not always true but on this occasion is quite a useful way of looking at what I did. On the whole I won money session to session and day on day but did have a couple of shockers.

I didn't get involved in the match market at all before the 1st morning. And then I just went through one of those purple patches where everything I touched seemed to go right. I recently had a similar experience where everything I touched went wrong so it's nice to see Lady Luck balancing things out. Basically the start of the match was delayed. There was no real rain. In fact the sun was shining for the most part. The problem was a waterlogged outfield. So I was trading the weather which included a very small shower. To cut a long story short the market was yoyoing quite heavily and with the information I had I just kept catching it right. The result was that by the start of play I was £1.3k green any result. As well as somewhat stunned!

By the end of day 1 it was £1.6k green any result, £2.1k by the end of day 2, and £2.3k by the end of day 3 - though by then I was small green England and larger on India and the draw. Basically I took the view that England were too short after a poor start in the earlier stages of the match and layed accordingly as I mentioned on the Betfair forum. Couple that with some pretty short term positions on the draw and India and that's how the profit built.

Day 4 was a real up and down affair. Patience is always a big part of trading. Choosing the moments to get involved is key. Not doing anything for the sake of doing something. Well, in test matches you need a lot of patience! For the first three days I'd traded patiently and relatively well. I continued that into Day 4, getting to about £2.45k any result when I decided to weight my book pretty heavily towards India. Yes, they won, but I went too early. Ended up wiping the best part of £1k from each result when I hit a trade stop. Which was gutting as very shortly after the England wickets I'd hoped for arrived like proverbial buses. Don't like to dwell on what ifs but when I opened that India position I knew I needed wickets or it would cost me. The wickets came but started too late for my book. Unfortunately jumping the gun on India cost me a far larger win. But equally if I hadn't had got out at the stop and the wickets continued to remain in tact I would quickly have been looking at zero profit. So I have no real issue of getting out at the stop.

It's not as if I can be too hard on myself anyway given the final result. Well pleased with it. Anyway, as the wickets fell I obviously got back on India and by the end of Day 4 I was over £3k green on them with large liabilities on the draw and England. The price was 1.01-1.02 so I left a lay in at 1.01 to cover my liabilities and it got matched over night. Throwing money away maybe but for reasons I again explained on Betfair this morning.

So, that was that. A great test match to both watch and trade. I know I don't normally put screenshots up but as this has been my biggest win since I started the blog I thought I'd pop one up for posterity. Well, both that and I'm often asked to. (By the way, I'm sure it's a commission round up thing but notice that missing 2p from the screenshot to settlement?! Got me thinking about Richard Pryor in Superman 3!!)

Anyway, I've noticed in the past I'll often have a relatively big loss after a nice win so will be trying to avoid this next time I get involved. Will probably miss tomorrow's Pro40 game on Sky but am hoping to catch Thursday's before one of the highlights of the season - the Twenty20 finals day on Saturday. Proper cricket it might not be but it's bloody good fun to watch and trade. Not for the faint hearted but I'm hoping I can repeat last year's success!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Poor timing leads to loss

Daily Result: £270.81

Not the best of days really. Traded 6 events for varying amounts of time. Managed to win on 5 of them. But had a heavy loss on the other. In fact not much less than the maximum loss I allow myself on non-cricket trading.

The big loss (£472) came on the darts in the Priestly v Wade match from the World Matchplay. Not too much to say except I had a shocker. Everynow and then you get one of those events where everything you touch appears to go straight against you. Well, this was one of those. I've tried looking at it with hindsight to see if I should have done anything different but even with that benefit I don't spot any standout mistakes. Some small ones sure but nothing too heavy apart from the fact that I should probably have just quit the match for a smaller loss as it went on and my position kept getting worse. I won't list all the points I got involved in that cost me. Anyone who saw the match will know there were big swings in player standards, a seemingly impossibly high number of missed doubles and some shocking darts inbetween some truly exceptional scoring and finishing. I just caught the swings wrong. Time after time. :-(

That loss came on my first event of the day so I had a quick break and made reminded myself not to chase. Made £139 on the next match between King and Jenkins and £17 during a quick look into the Van Gerwen v Baxter game. By then I was concentrating on the cricket between Northamptonshire and Lancashire. The market saw the usual weight of money for Lancashire. Couldn't believe some of the prices I was seeing and eventually had to oppose it. Lancashire ultimately won though and their price never went above their SP until 5 balls from the end of the match. They just about scraped home in the last over though and I made less than £10 on the match. Still had a hefty green on Northants though and for a moment in that last over thought I might just land a nice result.

For a while the match looked like it was going to be an easy Lancashire victory so also had a messaround on some short odds darts in the evening games involving Taylor and Barneveld while the cricket was still on. Made £20 each on those to help eat into the earlier loss.

So, a losing day. The first for a while. But not as bad as it could have been. Pretty happy to only register the £270 loss after being over £470 down at one point. Won't be able to do tomorrow's cricket but will hopefully get a look in on some darts at some point in the afternoon.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I'm back

Daily Result: £373.94

Well that was all a bit messy. Four days of drunken excess in Spain for my stag and I feel like I've aged about 10 years. Which I guess is better than the 15 years or so it looks like I have. Think it's fair to say we went for it and comfortably surpassed expectations! It's all a bit hazy but I arrived home knackered, safe and in one piece. So well done the Best Man. Job's a good'un. :-)

Had the mother of all lie ins today but just about made it up in time for the Pro40 match between Warwickshire and Nottinghamshire. Given all the flooding while I was away I wasn't expecting to do any cricket but when I realised there was a real prospect of getting a full game in I decided to give it a go. Small stakes for the most part just to ease back into things so was more than happy with the £370 or so profit.

Not much to say about the game really except Warwickshire got off to a good start with the bat and then blew it. Had an awful end to their innings which resulted in a below par score of 191 that Nottinghamshire knocked off with ease. Swann's 80 off 53 negated the much discussed floodlight effect as by the time they started to kick in the required run rate was around 3. Notts eventually wrapped the match up to win by 6 wickets with 50 balls to spare.

Had a very quick peek into the darts after. Just a few legs of the Terry Jenkins v John Part match at the World Matchplay. Hope to fit in a few matches during the tournament and just wanted to check out what the picture delay was like. All seemed fine so hopefully I'll get a look in tomorrow.

Looks like I missed some carnage in the England v India test match from Lords. Must have been some big winners and losers on that little lot. Looking forward to getting stuck into the second test but fear it could become another 5 day weather watch. Still, at least the darts can keep us all busy if it rains. :-)

Thursday, July 19, 2007


So I'm off to Spain later for four days of stag type things. Think it's fair to say it's a wedding tradition I don't mind following. :-)

Looking forward to it loads. Sure there'll be some photographic evidence of something I'd rather not be reminded of at the end of it all but in between the drinking we'll be chilling by pools and getting some surfing in on some of Europe's finest waves.

Also got an obligatory visit to a casino planned. On these one-off trips I'm always tempted to brush up on my counting skills and, leaving subtlety at home, try to massacre the blackjack tables with ridiculous hikes in stakes on favourable counts before some friendly pit bosses have a word. Probably just stick to some basic strategy though and have a laugh. Last two holidays I've been on with my best man I've been lucky enough to cover the costs with a few hours of piss taking. Be nice to make it three from three. Probably do my bollocks at it now. :-(

So anyway. Will be a bit quiet for a few days now. On the blog front at least. In the meantime good luck with your betting and trading. I'll be back next week. :-)

Cricket trading at last!

Yesterday's result: £446.52

So I finally got to trade a full cricket match yesterday for the first time in ages. Good to finally bank some decent green again. Does make you wonder how the recent weather has impacted on full time cricket traders. All the rain has had an effect on my bottomline. Must have hit those who deal in bigger numbers far more. Still, every cloud and all that. At least I've had a chance to catch up with lots of work.

Made most of yesterday's profit on the Twenty20 quarter final between Sussex and Yorkshire. Wasn't able to fully concentrate on the start of the game though as I had to sort my Nottinghamshire position out in the outright market. Rain the previous day meant yet another match - the Notts one - had been abandoned without a ball being bowled. A quick rule change by the ECB meant it was played yesterday instead. Unfortunately I wasI so focussed on getting some work done before the 7pmish start of the televised game that I totally forgot about the earlier starts. Not the shrewdest move I'll ever make!

By the time I realised the games were on Notts had collapsed from a good start. Luckily some of my lay of them in the outright market had been taken. But not all. Which was annoying as I'd have dumped it all at a higher price without hesitation if I'd been concentrating. With Notts looking like losers I wanted out but there wasn't the liquidity in the outright market so I covered the loss on the match market.

Sussex v Yorskshire was pretty good viewing. Sussex's 193 was always going to be a stiff chase. The average 1st innings score at the ground is 149 and a successful chase would have made it the biggest at the ground. Add in the lights factor and Sussex were obvioulsy big jollies at the change of innings.

Rather than lump on further though I decided to wait a short while and see if Kent could get off to a good start before being contained by the Sussex spinners. The price did make it a tick or two higher with a 6 off the third ball but an early wicket saw the price plunge. And it got lower as they fell behind the rate. So I missed a few ticks worth of extra green but was happy with the trading decision. And with the end result. Pleased with the best part of £450. Wish I could be given more than £10 an over for every cricket match I watch!

Profit on the whole this month is going to be well down on the last few though but that's simply because there's been so much rain I just haven't traded as much. Going away for a long weekend tomorrow too so am not going to be involved at all in the 1st test between England and India from Lords. Good luck if you're able to get involved! :-)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Rain, wedding pics and Twenty20

So I haven't traded again since the last update. Sunday's cricket was again washed out without a ball being bowled. While I had other commitments on Monday meaning I was unable to do the game.

Not all doom and gloom though. One of the things I had to do Monday was meet our wedding photographer again. Wow he's good! And I'm glad we booked him last year as it seems he's so much in demand his prices have disappeared off the affordable radar. Luckily we're contracted up at last year's price list though. :-)

Pictures were important to us for the big day so are something we didn't skimp on. In a previous job I've spent enough hours hidden in coffee stinking cars and vans with snappers to have an idea about what is and isn't a good picture. And this guy's work was impressive. Refreshing too. Didn't want a big list of posed pics. Just a few important ones. On the whole he and his assistant will be doing more of a reportage style catching the day as it happens rather than getting everyone to line up for hours. We'll then have around 1500 pictures to choose from to put in an album which we're having done like a large printed book. All looks amazing and we're both excited. To top it all the photographer is a genuinely nice bloke too. :-)

Anyway, apologies if you prefer to read about the trading stuff rather than the wedding stuff. But there are some (yes, you know who you are!) who couldn't give a toss about the trading and just want to hear about the wedding plans. And as there's been nothing trading wise to write about I thought I'd do a quick catch up.

Tomorrow we're back to the Twenty20. The televised match is Nottinghamshire v Kent. Have been tempted to get out of my outright back of Nottinghamshire incase their quarter final with Kent is reduced to a 5 over shoot out. Weather looks ok so far though so I'll leave it and hopefully take another look when they reach finals day. Trouble is there's not the liquidity to get out at a decent price so I'm kind of stuck anyway.

In the non-televised game I'm considering a rare punt. Like the 1.72 available about Gloucestershire to make it a hattrick of Twenty20 wins over Worcestershire this season. Looking at it I'm actually better off taking this price away from Betfair at the moment. Both
Ladbrokes and Stan James go 8/11 without commission. Again, will look at the weather but if I think it will be a full match I'll probably have a nibble with one of those. That's not a tip by the way! All things considered I was just surprised by the price.

Anyway, hopefully be back tomorrow with a Twenty20 result or two to chat about.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Pro40 cricket trading

Daily Result: £163.97

Well the good news is the rain relented and we finally got some live domestic cricket on tv. The bad news was it was a pretty dull game and not the best for trading. Still, managed to turn a profit and did ok on the spreads too so a pretty good result despite the match.

The game I got involved with was the Leicestershire v Kent Pro40 match. Fancied Kent from the off with such a strong batting line up. 10 of their team had first class hundreds. The 11th batsman merely a first class 90! Was hoping they'd bat first, set a nice total and enable me to ride the price down to 1.01.

Unfortunately Leicester won the toss and rightly chose to bat. They got off to a good start but as Kent started to take the pace of the ball batting got harder and the final total of 176 was below par but certainly defendable.

The real issue at that stage was how the Kent batsmen got on against the slower Leicestershire bowlers who have a deserved reputation for relative tightness. It never came down to it though. No doubt fearful of the spinners Kent came out to get off to a quick start and they did. Got ahead of the rate and stayed there. Even sending the No. 11 Cook in at no. 3 to have a smash. The plan worked as by the time the spinners came on the required run rate was so low it was simply a case of taking singles as and when. In the end Kent cantered to a 6 wicket win with more than 6 overs left to spare.

Trading wise it was all a little quiet. I made a mistake in the first innings which left me green Leicestershire and red Kent. I decided to just leave things until I had a better idea of the result. Unfortunately that eventually meant getting on Kent which led for a smaller win but my stakes were relatively small - first game back and all that - and I'm happy with the £160 or so. Was actually more interested in the spreads today and picked up a similar amount on them.

Will no doubt have a look in on the Lancashire v Essex Pro40 tomorrow though will be unable to do much of the match so will again keep the stakes small and just try and keep a pretty level green book as I go.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Another washout

Daily Result: £6.08

Can anyone remember a summer where the cricket has been so interrupted by the rain? It seems to be perpetual as soon someone is silly enough to pack their kit bag. We've seen some matches played out in appalling conditions but today's Worcestershire v Hampshire game never even got started. Rained off without the covers even being removed. And that was at a reserve ground after the original venue had been flooded!

Which was all particularly galling as I haven't traded any cricket for around a week - only to find it's still bloody raining when I return and fire up the software!! To be fair the outlook wasn't looking good all day. Which made the Sky Sports commentators assurances that we'd have play "soon" all the more comical. Especially as it was pissing down behind them. And rather dark. Still, guess they've got a job to do and being bullish about "getting some live cricket in" keeps the advertisers happy.

Of course, the trading action was all on the completed match market. Decided not to get involved as I didn't fancy a few hours staring at weather radars. Got on with some work instead and just had it on in the background. And that's how I came by today's profit. News came after a couple of hours that that no play would be possible for a few more hours. Read through the lines and that realistically meant no play at all but we're not going to say it because we'll lose the few sad desperate viewers we have. So I loaded up the market and was surprised to see a chunk of money available about No Completed Match at 1.22. I submitted £50 for the hell of it expecting to miss it but got around half of it matched. So someone unsurprisingly beat me to it. The only real surprise was I got any of it at all. But I did so I made a few quid. Hey, it all counts! The odds finally went to 1.01 a short while later when it was announced the match was being abandoned.

So, not the most auspicious starts to my trading after the recent break. All this rain is starting to cost me money! Still, I'll try again tomorrow. Leicestershire v Kent in the Pro40. Let's hope we get some play this time.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The blog after the wedding

First of all apologies for the lack of updates recently. I mentioned in my last post it would be a quiet period on the trading front and it has been. In fact I've traded precisely zero events since my last entry. Just not been anything suitable for me to get involved with. Couple that with my celebrating my birthday this week, being silly busy on some proper work projects and trying to get everything ready for the wedding and I've not had a lot of spare time to blog.

Anyway, the quiet period has led to me getting a few emails over the last week asking if that's it for the blog. I've mentioned previously that I've saved enough for both the wedding and honeymoon and it seems some of you were nice enough to worry I might be stopping! Well, the answer is no. I won't be stopping the blog. I will be continuing it after the wedding.

Obviously I'll be changing the focus somewhat. And I intend to cover more general betting exchange and trading topics as I find these posts tend to get more comments. Which I figure means they are more interesting to people stopping by for a read. :-) There's a heap of topics I'm hoping to get through but will also keep the daily profit / loss format going with discussion on each event. Afterall, writing about the profits and losses helps keep my trading focussed and disciplined. And that's one of the reasons I started the blog in the first place.

So there you go. I will be carrying on after the wedding. And, time permitting, I will be trading in the run up to the wedding. In fact I'm hoping to trade the first televised Pro40 match of the season this afternoon between Worcestershire and Hampshire. Following that there's televised cricket each day until I head off to Spain on my stag next Friday which means I'll hopefully be trading and updating the blog daily again.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Tennis and darts trading

Daily Result: £176.32

Had an enjoyable day away from trading yesterday. Big family get together for my gran's 80th birthday in the afternoon and drinks and a curry in the evening with some family and friends. Had a quick look in today at the men's final from Wimbledon, and caught some of the end of the Desert Classic from Las Vegas this evening.

Wimbledon was a total washout for me this year. With all the rain and delayed / interrupted matches I barely got involved. Made a small profit on the tournament but looking back through my results I'm surprised at how few markets I had a go at. Been very busy yes, and preferring the cricket, but still surprised at how few of the matches I did. Caught some of the end of today's match but on the whole just watched it rather than trading it. Time is getting scarecer and scarcer as we approach the wedding but hopefully I'll be able to step up the tennis trading.

As for the darts I had a look in on each of today's three matches. Dipped into both the semi finals and did maybe the first 6 or 7 legs of the final itself. Made a profit on each match so pretty pleased. In fact, the weather has been so awful recently that looking back over my last week's results darts has been my most profitable sport. Ahead of cricket and then tennis. Not often that happens!

Anyway, Sky's televised cricket for the next few days is the county championship match between Lancashire and Yorkshire. First day was rained off today and I'd be surprised if they get underway on time tomorrow. The draw is obvioulsy very short. Liquidity will be poor too so I might just give that one a miss and get on with some other work.

Looking ahead it should be a quiet period on the trading front. The Pro40 cricket season starts on Friday and there's no tennis or darts on for a while. I'll be away in Spain for my stag for the first test between England and India too. So results wise the blog should be quiet for a while. Still, that should give me time to update some links and discuss a few issues I've been meaning to for a while. As well as get on with some proper work and get everything prepared for the wedding!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Darts trading

Yesterday's Result: £45.40

Just a quick catch up today as off out for a surprise 80th birthday for my gran very shortly. Big family get together been planned for months. Some have even come from Australia so here's hoping it's a good day.

Emma got home from China yesterday and we got some shopping and house stuff done. Trying to get all the big jobs around the house out the way before the wedding. All getting very close now but the house is starting to look good. After a 13 hour flight she was tired so we decided to stay in for the evening. Yet more rain meant the televised Twenty20 match was cancelled. Caught a bit of the darts though. I know this rain is persistent but with the darts being played indoors in the middle of a desert. I'd like to see the rain mess with that!

Made £145.40 on the darts looking into a few games. Had the misfortune to catch the utter crock of shite Manley and Osborne served up. Not seen darts that poor on television for a while. Awful stuff.

Turns out I lost £100 on my outright Wimbledon bet too as Roddick lost his quarter final. Second time I've had an outright market bet for £100 recently and never really had the chance to trade out for a profit. I got that one wrong. Even if he'd won yesterday he would have had to face Federer next. That's where I thought I'd get out for a profit. But it seems the market had looked at their head to head record, didn't give Roddick a chance and, despite his winning several matches, Roddick's odds just seemed to lengthen each time he won - no matter how convincgly. Annoyed about that as I spent some time considering the bet and clearly just got it wrong.

Anyway, got to go. Good luck if you get involved in today's 3rd ODI between England and West Indies - or any event for that matter!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Farcical but fun

Daily result: £126.79

Got involved in the Twenty20 between Surrey and Sussex today as well as taking a low stake interest on some of the evening's darts from the Las Vegas Desert Classic.

The cricket was a little beyond a joke. Absolutely no doubt in my mind that if the Sky cameras had not been there we would not have had a game. Though I'm sure the consideration of Surrey having to refund 18,000 tickets helped make the decision to play a five over shoot out in pouring rain.

Ok, so I made a profit on the game. Just under £20. But it was clearly too dark to play. And although watching Twenty20 in pouring rain has become a regular occurence this year the umpires were quite clear before the match that they would not start in the rain. Funny then how just before the cut off point to get a 5 over match in the conditions had improved enough to play. Despite the fact it was clearly raining as the first ball was bowled. Call me a cynic but three words. Sky. Ticket refunds.

Thing is it's just a matter of time before someone gets injured in those conditions. Mud covered players sliding around, fielders not moving for a ball because they simply don't see it, the wet ball slipping from the bowlers hands resulting in beamers. Some might say it's just not cricket!

Some of the quotes from the players were "the light was diabolical", "there's a safety issue", "it was awful to play in" and "we don't want the players to get injured". And that was from the winning captain. Surrey captain Mark Butcher, whose side lost, was clearly unhappy at having to play before even a ball was bowled.

Anyway, whatever the rights and wrongs we got an exciting 5 over slogfest. I made around £95 on the match winner market, but lost £75 on the completed match market. Great fun to trade from a selfish perspective. And some good banter on the Betfair cricket forum. But keep playing in those conditions and a player will get hurt. Not a question of if. Just when. Put it this way. If Freddie Flintoff was just back from injury, the England players had been released to the counties and it was Lancashire playing last night would Peter Moores be happy for him to play in those conditions? Exactly.

Spent a couple of hours in the evening doing some darts. Looked in on 4 matches doing each one to varying degrees. Won on 3 and lost on 1. The matches were very quick - the first to 6 legs. Not done the darts for a while so kept the stakes small and just got used to the speed of the markets again. Happy with the results. The loss was smaller than the three wins and I picked up a little less than £110. Hope to get another look in over the next few days.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Into profit for the month

Daily Result: £799.84

Ah, that's better. Good day's result and puts me back into the green for the month after yesterday's loss. Always nice to get back into winning ways after a heavyish drop.

Made the profit on three events although I actually only traded the 2nd ODI between West Indies and England today. Picked up around £665 on that. Another £115 or so came from the existing green I had from the Roddick v Mathieu match from yesterday. And another £20 or so came from the Kiefer v Djokovic match that I'd left all green a few days ago. Had forgotten about that. And it shows just quite how much rain has interrupted this year's Wimbledon. Think I dipped into that on Sunday or Monday.

Was pleased with the ODI result. Back to winning ways on the cricket. The rain interruptions were a little annoying and cost me a little but on the whole I was happy with how I traded the match. I missed the start of the match but by the time I'd joined the West Indies were off to a good start and although the England price had drifted I was still surprised to see it so short. Seems to be a large weight of money pushing the England price down in these ODI and Twenty20 games and I opposed it today after weighing up the match situation.

I kept the stakes quite small to start with and just enjoyed the Chanderpaul innings. Class. Might have started slow but held the innings together, was on a strike rate of 87.7 by the time he made his century and over 95 by the time he was out for 116. His third wicket partnership of 175 with Samuels was an Edgbaston record and really set the game up for the Windies' victory. After some fantastic acceleration at the end of the innings England were left needing 279 to win. Just one run shy of Australia's record chase at the ground. Never really likely to be made but a goodish start, coupled with weather worries, saw some nice early market movement.

Anyway, the furniture I've been banging on about arrived. And now some of it is going back. Don't expect to pay what I've paid for an oak table that's been damaged and repaired before I get it. Shop was fine about it. Another 5 weeks for delivery though. :-( Sending one of the chairs back too. Everything else was fine though and it looks great.

Looking into tomorrow I've a busy day lined up. House to clean before Emma gets back from China early Friday (and after all the DIY that's a lot to do!), shopping to be done, the small matter of some proper work and, at some stage, I'm hoping to get a look in at the tennis, cricket and darts.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Trading stop losses

Daily Result: £375.67

Whoops! Not the best of results. And puts me into the red for July. But I'm not too bothered about it. Didn't really trade that well and I was due a loss. Think that's my second cricket loss in something like two months. Never nice to lose but keeping an eye on the bigger picture I'm more than happy if I can keep that kind of performance up.

I've had a few emails recently asking about stop losses. I'm not going to go through all the basics again here but my trading today covers some interesting issues around stops so I thought it might be worth quickly discussing some of them. Especially as I made mistakes as well as getting it right sometimes.

I made the loss on the Twenty20 game between Sussex and Essex. Started off ok with a small green either side but by the change of innings I was green Sussex and red Essex. I considered going all red in that spot but liked Sussex's prospects after they'd set a target of 164 to win. Essex can be good at chasing (they've chased 175 5 times and their top chase is 189) but due to delay following floodlight failure the entire Essex innings was going to be under the lights. It's an oft quoted fact that not a single team batting under the lights on Sky in last year's Pro40 cricket won the match. Conditions are just so tough. So I was confident of my position.

The market bobbled for a while at the start of the chase but eventually was moving comfortably my way and I was confident enough to go in on Sussex again at around 1.4. This wasn't a mistake in itself. What was though was that I overstaked. Especially in comparison to the existing state of my book. That's a separate issue however. What's of more importance here is soon after the market started moving against me.

Now the market going against me doesn't worry me. For most trades I'll have an exit point in mind if things go wrong and that was the case here. However, as with the other day, the volatility of the market caught me out again. The 2nd wicket partnership for Essex between Flower and Bopara started firing. The result was the price on Sussex shot out 30 ticks very quickly. I was left chasing the market trying to dump my back but couldn't get matched. Eventually the price settled momentarily. But at that point, at 1.7x, and with a required run rate of over 9, I thought it poor value to get out. I still fancied Sussex.

Before going on here's the first couple of points I want to make. In volatile markets it can be next to impossible to get out at a stop point. So be aware as you're approaching it. I've been caught out a couple of times recently. So secondly, if you're using some trading software it's well worth considering leaving the stop programmed so that it kicks in when you hit the point. You can always change your mind. But it will stop you getting in the pickle I did today. My ideal scenario would have been to get out at my stop and reasses. But I failed to place a stop. Because of this I missed out in the stampede when the market started to "correct" itself. I was left in a position of having to give away what I thought was great value to other backers to get out of my original back.

So what to do? Well, I made a quick decision. I was still well withing my max loss limit (£750 on a cricket match) and I still fancied Sussex. My previous back (the 1.4ish one) had effectively wiped my Sussex green and left it a red if I was to get out at this point. I fell back to an overall match position. Not something I'm that keen on doing. But in the circumstances fair enough. Certainly shows the value of leaving a stop in the system if possible as that would have avoided this situation.

My decision was I would keep the position rather than dump the back at what I considered the poor price. However, I had a new stop of 2.0. And I decided I'd offer this price if the market hit the mid 1.9x range to ensure I got matched. Not ideal. But it would keep me within my max loss and I'd just leave the match then until hopefully an obvious winner emerged and I could reduce my red. Really not the sort of position I like to be in. But I'd dug myself a hole and this was my on the spot plan to get out. If the market went my way I intended to hold exisiting positions but not add to them. Increasing their sizes could have got very messy and seen me sail through my max loss.

Unfortunately my new stop hit. So I bailed. Actually missed the 2.0 and ended up having to back Essex at odds on. Volatility is great when you're winning but can be a killer when you're losing! So at this stage I'm sizeable red either side and in wait and see if a clear winner emerges mode. I'm not getting involved again until that point. And when I do I'm simply hoping to reduce my red.

Well, what do you know? The next ball is a wicket! The prices flip back. And it turns out I got out at a stop point that was just about the worst price I could have. Didn't feel good at that point. But I know I'd done the right thing. I don't like losing. Don't like max losses. And without getting out then could have sailed through my max loss point very quickly. It was the right decision to bail no matter what happened after. That was a match stop point to prevent a big loss. For me it's a no brainer. Just get out and accept the loss.

As was bourne out by how the match unfolded. For a while both teams hovvered around 1.8 to 2.2 mark. Constantly fluctuating with a new favourite seemingly every over! Great for a trader with existing green who fancies a bit of a gamble. But leave alone territory for me with my large all red position. I'm not adding to it by gambling what way the market will swing on the next ball or two.

Anyway, Essex emerged the clear favourites. And by the time they needed 38 off the last 4 overs I was pleased I'd bailed at that match stop loss point. Didn't seem such a bad idea after all by this point. Getting out at the stop had saved me money.

The trouble was I at that point I didn't like the Essex price. It was too short. And I wasn't prepared to back it to reduce red at that price. So I left it. Which turned out to be just as well because they didn't make the chase, we had a big swing in prices and I ended up backing Sussex again a couple of overs later when it became pretty clear the game was theirs.

Wow. That's a long post. I guess the three key stop loss points I'll be taking away from it are be aware when approaching a stop loss point in volatile markets, leave a stop in the system where possible in volatile markets and just bail at a chosen stop point if it's to prevent a maximum loss. Today my timing on the latter looked like it couldn't have been worse. Sure it didn't feel good. But it would have felt a hell of a lot better than if I was still in with Essex big favourites and needing 38 off 4 overs. I allow myself a degree of flexibility on individual trade stops. But when it comes to big losses and max losses there is much less. If I'm approaching a max loss I'm out. That's a key rule in my trading. Ignore it and things can get very nasty. Much better to just take the loss at that point and live to fight another day.

Anyway, so that's a £375 red to leave me red for the month. Not quite as bad as it looks as I managed to pick up £100 green either side in the Roddick v Matthieu match from Wimbledon so will have that added to the account when the rain relents and the match finishes. Looking to do the 2nd ODI between England and the West Indies tomorrow too. Hope I manage to trade a little better than in today's Twenty20!

Monday, July 02, 2007

When it rains it pours

Result since last update: £25.72

So I took a few days away from trading as planned and have then had some more time off courtesy of this incessant rain. Guess that's the price you pay when your two preferred trading sports are cricket and tennis. Which are both more traditionally played under the blazing sun. And not, for example, in a
swimming pool like at Worcestershire County Cricket Club.

Today's rain meant the televised Sky Twenty20 match was cancelled. As I'd set the time aside to do it I switched over for the tennis from Wimbledon instead but that fell foul of the inclement stuff too within a few games. I got involved in the Kiefer v Djokovic match. Have around £20 green each player when they finally resume but doubt I'll be catching any more of the game.

Saw Emma off on another business trip on Sunday so missed the start of the first ODI between England and the West Indies. Missed much of the second innings too. That's where the profit since the last update comes from though. It was higher but I got caught somewhat by the West Indies' batting collapse. All very sudden. If not totally unexpected. Anyway, it left England at a short price so rather then fish around for a tick or two here and there I essentially just left the match in a small all green position and got on with some more painting.

Talking of which it's now finished and I'm ready to take delivery of the new furniture tomorrow. Be nice to eat off a table again and have friends round for dinner. Just the kitchen and bathroom to go now. :-(

Anyway, am planning to do tomorrow's televised Twenty20 match between Sussex and Essex. It's a late starter so hopefully I'll get a a look in on the tennis too. Have hardly touched Wimbledon so far this year. Not as I'd expected. As ever though it's all down to the weather gods. Someone is hopeful that the summer will arrive soon though. In true British stiff upper lip, no surrender style, Worcestershire have rather optimistically
announced they'll be playing their home match against Kent this weekend. Talk of trialling a floating ball has yet to be confirmed. But volunteers with marigolds are wanted to help clear stinking sludge off the pavillion, seats, stands and boundary fences. Should be an interesting wicket!