Sunday, August 19, 2007

Married at last!!!

Wow. Yesterday was simply the most amazing day of my life.
Off on honeymoon shortly. Be back in 3 weeks.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Quick update

So sorry for the lack of updates recently. I just never realised there was quite so much to do in the lead up to the big day. It sounds ridiculous but I honestly haven't managed more than an email or two for proper work this week while sport - both trading and simply watching - has been next to impossible.

Didn't catch a moment live of the last test between England and India. Caught some highlights one night and India looked in total control. Saw it ended in a draw which I guess is all they needed.

Been a bit stressed this week with trying to get everything sorted in time. Just been snowed under with last minute problems (Grrrr) and trying to get everything we knew about done. Was also given a flash drive with some stag photos on it which had a fecking nasty trojan on it that took hours to sort out. My fault I guess for not scanning it before opening it. :-(

We also seemed to have planned our honeymoon right bang in the middle of the protest at Heathrow by the crusty types. :-P Really not sure if we're going to be able to make it to the airport or not when we need to so are having to come up with all kinds of plans. Some stress we don't need...

Just wanted to quickly say a big thankyou for all the kind messages that have been left over the last few days. Much appreciated. The big day is Saturday. Been using all my weather prediction skills from cricket trading to try and come up with a nice sunny day for it but so far it's proving near impossible. Near 100% cloud cover with light showers and the possibility of thunderstorms seems to be the general message. Bollocks bad luck. But we're keeping our fingers crossed.

Anyway, I'll do a quick entry tomorrow too. I'm sorry I can't remember your name but there was a guy from Betfair who got in contact when I first started the blog who was getting married the day before me. I make that tomorrow so best of luck mate and hope it all goes well.

Right, I'm knackered. Still got the place names and drinks vouchers to do before bed though. Luckily I've been given an impressive selection of single malts to keep me going :-). Back tomorrow with the last update before the wedding.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Maximum loss but happy days

Yesterday's Result: £799.88

Ouch! Not good. I've not had the time to double check yet but have a feeling that could be my biggest loss since starting the blog. As it's also probably the last opportunity I'm going to have a trade before I get back from honeymoon it's not really the best way to leave things either. But on the plus side I guess I'm still in profit for the month. So what happened? Well, in between some poor trading circumstances conspired against somewhat. To be perfectly honest though I just have more important things on my mind other than trading right now. So it's probably time to stop anyway.

The wedding is less than two weeks away and we're frantically trying to get everything ready. Still got to do the order of services, table plan, place cards, favours, free drinks things, cravat making and seemingly a million other things. Tonight we're off to pick Emma's wedding dress up and visit the venue to finalise details. All very exciting but getting stressful. Got to have a think about my speech and buy some presents at some point as well. On the plus side the honeymoon is all sorted and all I have to do now is pick the travellers cheques up tomorrow. :-)

Aside from all of that things have gone more than a bit, well, frankly mental, with my proper work / business. Totally snowed under but with some good things happening. Certainly looking forward to chilling on the honeymoon :-)

Missed Monday's Pro40 cricket as I went to watch my local football team's legends play a charity match. A little surprised they managed to muster 22 players to be honest ;-) but all in a good cause and there was even a queue at the burger bar for Alcohol Only! If only that happened every match. :-)

Last night's Pro 40 between Derbyshire and Leicestershire turned into a bit of a disaster. Not going to go into it all here but basically I had to leave the game for large periods during which I was left with little option but to tie in reds / reduce greens when otherwise I'd have probably held the positions. Finally, when I got to do it with no distractions I had just about the biggest market move possible against me in two balls. (I'd backed the fielding team at the death and the number 10 batsmen hit two sixes in two balls!) I figure the only thing worse than that is two sixes from two front foot no balls.

Anyway, it caused carnage in the markets, I couldn't dump all my position until after the second six and by then I'd doubled my red and was just over my max loss limit. I'd had the good sense to only get involved to the extent where the worst case scenario was the maximum loss. I didn't actually expect to make it but them's the breaks! The market moved slightly more than I anticipated, hence the extra few quid loss over the maximum loss. With hindsight I should have just left the match earlier when it became obvious I couldn't give it the attention it required. I don't normally like to get involved at the death of matches with big swings possible too so that was no doubt another error.

That's probably it on the trading front now until I get back from honeymoon. Can't do tonight's, not going to get the opportunity to watch most the test match, let alone trade it, and next week is looking pretty full too. Hell, turns out I'm even getting married! Might sneak in an innings somewhere. Have to see. Otherwise it'll be all systems go for the Twenty20 World Cup after the honeymoon. Will still update the blog a few times in the meantime though.

So that's that. Did my bollocks today. But in all honesty am more stressed about wedding stuff and the proper work developments. Wish you all good luck in your punting over the next few weeks and if you have the time why not check some more new blogs I'm going to be linking to -
Roberts Racing and Tony Quinlan.

Right, gotta dash. Rambled right on there. Thought that was going to be a quick short entry!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Twenty20 finals day

Yesterday's Result: £408.06

It's one of my favourite days of the cricket season and yesterday's Twenty20 finals bash didn't disappoint. Blazing sun, cracking sixes, breath taking fielding, a hattrick, some last over thrillers and triumphant underdogs. Making the day even sweeter was somewhere in amongst it all I even scraped some profit together too. Though I did also manage to have the most expensive cup of tea I'm ever likely to have...

Semi-final 1: Lancashire v Gloucestershire £72.13

Oh Lanky Lanky. How could it all go so wrong? Superstars properly pummelled by an unfancied team. Guess some would say that's the answer right there. ;-)

To be fair Lancashire didn't get off to the best of starts. Their leading Twenty20 batsmen Mal Loye seized up with back spasms just before the match and was ruled out while just minutes before Dominic Cork was hunched over in agony after taking a ball in the, well, balls.

Flintoff replaced Loye as an opener but failed to fire. In fact only Brad Hodge among the batsmen really showed any proper form and as the wickets fell the market's love affair with Lancashire began to lose its shine. The average 1st innings score at Edgbaston in Twenty20 is 163. The average first innings score on Twenty20 finals day is 158. Lancashire scraped to 148. Still, they had a host of star bowlers to fall back on including Murali and Flintoff, as well as the likes of Anderson, Cork, Chapple and Keedy.

Asked at the change of innings what I thought on the Betfair cricket forum I said I was equalish small green, would put a free bet on Gloucestershire, the Lancashire price would disappear over the hill if Spearman got going but I was waiting to see what would happen early doors in the run chase before getting too involved. As it turns out Gloucestershire strolled it winning by 8 wickets with 19 balls to spare. Spearman effectively steered Gloucestershire home with 86 off 55 balls. And as Anderson was in the middle of going for 23 off his second over I was starting to lump on. So how did I make just £72.13 - just a few quid more than my equal green at the change of innings? What happened?

My future father in law. That's what happened! Emma was out and he turned up on the off chance we were in. Was riding his bike near by, with my future brother in law, and they popped in. No problems with that. Always got time for family, they're a good laugh and we all get on. So anyway, I obviously levelled out equal green from the positions I'd literally just opened and made the teas.

They were only here for 40 minutes or so. By the time I got back Gloucestershire were 1.01. Turns out it was one of those great markets where the price more or less went into freefall. My favourite type really. Just about one way traffic, very low risk and the perfect scenario to let winning positions run. I've worked out roughly what I'd have expected to make on the game. I won't go into figures suffice to say that was without doubt the most expensive cup of tea I'll ever have! And, to top it all, they left before Emma got back!

Semi-final 2: Sussex v Kent £658.31

Kent drive me crazy. Never a team to do things the easy way their games are often rollercoaster rides and this one was no exception. Last year's Pro40 shows the team doesn't know when to give up graciously and lose a match - but is more than happy to try and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. They're at it again this season too. The fact that both teams traded below 1.25 is enough in itself to indicate massive swings in fortunes in this match. The game also had its fair share of other flip flops too. Not one for the faint-hearted and I switched positions a few times on this one.

Sussex batted first and got off to a blistering start. 61 from the first 6 overs, though after 5 overs the run rate was 11.8! I always say that as a yardstick 60 from 6 or better is a superb start for the batting team and the plunge in the Sussex price reflected it. After starting out bullish on Kent I'd switched and was moderate green Sussex and larger red Kent.

It all changed when Kent started to take the pace off the ball, it became harder to get away, and under the pressure two quick wickets fell. First Wright was caught and then Goodwin was run out attempting a crazy second run. At that stage I dumped two-thirds of my Kent red at around 1.68ish. The rest of the innings was all about some superb Kent fielding, particularly the run out of Adams for the 5th wicket. Sussex went from 60/0 to 102/6 and given the collapse must have been happy to scrape to 140. By then I'd long switched to Kent again. They don't make it easy for us!

Kent's reply got off to a flyer. There were 6 4s before a single, wide, bye or no ball was registered. Denly again did his England credentials no harm and Key gave a batting masterclass hitting 68 off 54 balls to steer Kent home not out. In true Kent style though they left it close even after that cracking start. So close that with 30 needed from around 25 balls I layed them at 1.13 after the third wicket fell. As I said at the time on the Betfair forum I've seen Kent too many times not to! Us traders are nothing but fickle. :-) Especially when Kent are involved!

I wasn't let down. Two overs later I layed Sussex at 1.55. And from memory they went even lower. Kent were up to their usual tricks. But ended up winning the match after needing 9 off the last over. Naved's two front foot no balls for free hits not helping Sussex's cause.

So that was that. One to raise the blood pressure in true Kent style. And a cracking game of Twnety20 to boot. Superb stuff.

The final: Gloucestershire v Kent 323.16

Had a shocker on this one. Got into a right mess trying to push a position too far and ended up with one of the worst looking books I've had in a long time. At one stage my red on Sussex was around 39 times the size of my green on Kent! Now that's a proper fuck up in anyone's book!! Sure, at that stage Kent were sub 1.2 and it was near the end of the match. And even a Kent wicket at that stage would have left me well within the maximum loss I allow myself on any event. Still, it's not the type of situation I want to experience too often - especially with Kent seemingly doing their best to lose the match yet again. Eventually, as Kent decided to hand the advantage back to Sussex, I had to level out at around £500 red the pair and by the end of the match was pretty happy to only drop £323.

It was all going so well to start with too. Another quick start from Gloucestershire, the batting team, though this time with Marshall rather than Spearman doing the damage. Again though Kent managed to restrict the batting team after the initial fielding restrictions and then a hatrick from McLaren really put the squeeze on. Old Dickie Bird would have been hopping like a good un. The score was 111!

Fantastic to see a hatrick any time, let alone the finals day of Twenty20. But unfortunately it was also the cause of my loss. As the 3 wickets fell obviously the Kent price did too. I made a classic mistake and got involved too deeply in comparison to my existing book thinking that was effectively the match. I always had in mind I could get out but a poor spell from Malinga shortly after blew the price out quickly and I ended up sitting on a pretty awful position until the change of innings.

I was concerned at that stage. I fancied Kent to make the 147 they needed to win. However, an early wicket would have taken me past my maximum allowable loss per event. So after considering it all I dumped just about all my Kent green. Too much of a risk to keep the position open. Would have broken bankroll rules. And would have left me down on the day. Was time to just bite the bullet. For the most part for the rest of the match I just sat waiting for a few key moments to get involved while hoping Kent won.

Despite Key going earlyish this time round good knocks from Denly again, Walker and Stevens eventually saw Kent Home. But the last few overs were total carnage in the market. Kent went to 1.13 before blowing it big time. Was all happening so fast but I'm pretty sure Gloucestershire also traded at 1.13 before the end of the game with huge swings in the market.

With 4 overs to go I wasn't liking Kent's progress and levelled out red for around £500 each side. From there on it was crazy. Yoyoing odds. Opportunities to win or lose small fortunes. Panic. I got in some lays of Kent on dot balls, though always keeping within the max loss limit, and in the penultimate over, with Gloucestershire massive odds on, I was looking at a nice green on them, but an unacceptable red on Kent. I decided to level out again, accept the loss and enjoy the last over. Pleased I did as Greenidge got tonked and a no ball finally handed the win to Kent with 3 balls to spare. Thrilling stuff. Which, with 78p on the cup winner market left me with the £408.06 for the day.

So, Kent won only their third domestic title in 29 years - and to top the day off the Kent Spitfire also won the Mascot Race. Ironically beating Lanky the Giraffe by a neck! Cricket also ran out a winner. It was a brilliant day's entertainment. Exciting to watch and leaving me salivating at the prospect of the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup when I get back from honeymoon.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Start the Kab - Ali proves a point

Yesterday's Result: £1,007.11

Here's the earlier blog entry on the Davydenko match fixing allegations.

When you're on a roll I guess you're on a roll. And at the moment I'm considering entry to
this! No, seriously, I was lucky enough to have another great result in yesterday's Pro40 match between Essex and Worcestershire. Obviously well pleased again and hoping I can carry the good form into tomorrow's Twenty 20 finals.

As could perhaps be expected this summer even Essex's County Ground, statistically the driest ground in county cricket, couldn't escape the rain completely. Luckily the match wasn't delayed too long though and the game was only shortened to 38 overs aside.

Worcestershire batted first and got off to a flyer. A couple of early wickets then slowed them down but a Jaques century provided a solid backbone to the innings, led to some useful partnerships and resulted in a not too shabby 225 by the innings break. The total included a quickfire 19 of 17 balls from Kabir Ali at the end that included a truly enormous six. You could be forgiven for thinking he was showing the Twenty20 World Cup selectors what he thought of their decision to leave him out of the 30 man squad.

I'd said on the Betfair cricket forum towards the end of the Worcestershire innings that I wasn't convinced by the 1.8 about Essex. And during the innings break I said if I had a free bet it would go on Worcestershire. I decided to keep my powder dry though until the start of the innings. I was sat on around £350 green each side and just wanted to see what the ball movement etc was like. It's no secret what the key to the game was. Essex needed a quick start to prevent being totally strangled out of the game by the spinners. Worcestershire needed quick wickets to pile the pressure on and raise the required run rate.

Well a couple of balls into Kabir Ali's first over and the movement was massive. After his quick but impressive knock he'd obvioulsy decided to show the selectors what he could do with the ball too. And that turned out to be a hell of a lot. Put simply he ripped through the Essex top order taking four wickets in an impressive opening spell. I got some on before the first wicket fell, some more after and never really looked back. It was always going to be a struggle for Essex after such a poor start and with the required run rate already spiralling above 6 an over. It wasn't too long before the Worcestershire price was sub 1.1, and eventually 1.01.

An impressive 7th wicket partnership for Essex bounced the Worcestershire price a little - peaking at 1.08 / 1.09 but if the match wasn't effectively over before that was broken it was after. In the end Worcestershire ran out comfortable winners by 62 runs. Shame Bumble wasn't on commentary to give us the "Start the Kab" line. Not surprisingly Ali picked up the Man of the Match award. And answered the selectors in the best possible way.

I actually made £1000.64 on the match. The other £6.47 came from the Hampshire v Nottinghamshire match the day before. Didn't think I was going to be able to do any of it. A last minute change of plans meant I could catch a few overs in the middle of the match. I screwed up ending up with an all red position at the end of the first innings but was able to quickly turn it around at the start of the second. Basically the minute I could go all green I did - and then headed out for drinks and dinner. Shame as the second innings looked like one way traffic in the market and it could have turned into quite a profitable one. Still, all work and no play....

Anyway, looking forward to tomorrow a lot. Twenty20 finals day is one of the highlights of the domestic cricket season and I hope it's a cracker. Best of luck if you brave the markets!

Finally, one more blog I didn't mention yesterday. Freddy has started one over at
Life and Sports Punting. He keeps a daily record of profit and loss with commentary on what he got up to. Had a losing start but is turning it around nicely. And it seems having to write about losses is already helping with discipline!

Davydenko, Betfair and match fix allegations

Right, let's get it clear from the start. I ain't saying Davydenko fixed the result of his tennis match with Vassallo and deliberately lost. And I'm not publishing any comments that specifically say he did. What I will do is discuss the facts and people can draw their own conclusions, fair or foul.

Of course, the tennis forum on Betfair is always full of accusations of match fixing. Normally from sore losers who've done their proverbials. Every now and then though some of the allegations appear to have more merit than others and recently there's been a spate. Blogger One Percent has outlined a few examples
here and especially here.

So why all the accusations about yesterday's match between Davydenko, the world number 4, and Vassallo, the world number who he? (He's 87th). Well let's look at a few facts. Bookmakers suspended betting when it was clear people were taking Vassallo at any price. Betfair itself has suspended settlement of the market pending "investigation and consultation with relevant regulatory authorities" and will be discussing the case in an "emergency meeting" this morning. The story has also hit the mainstream media. For example, you can read about it and hear Betfair's Mark Davies discuss the case on the BBC
here. The ATP itself has yet to officially comment on the story but is presumably going to look in to the whole matter telling The Guardian it would be "innapropriate" to say anything until the facts are investigated.

So what caused all this gnashing of teeth? Simple really. Davydenko retired from the match allowing Vassallo to progress through to the next round. Nothing so unusual with that you'd think. Until you look at the betting patterns during the game. For starters £3.4 million had been matched before the game and during the first set - 10 times the usual amount for a game of this size. The odds were more than a little bizarre too. Of course, you could argue that people knew Davydenko was injured and likely to break down. But when you look at the prices you can't help but see why there are suspicions.

Davydenko's price started off ar around 1.2 on Betfair. He won the first set convincingly 6/2 - with no sign of injury - but his price had steadily drifted to 5.3! When a single break down in the second set he'd traded in the 9s!! He retired in the third with a pain in his left foot. Look at that in the cold light of day and the investigation is not entirely surprising. We can but wait for the results.

Of course, the unfolding match and result caused a meltdown on the Betfair tennis forum. Lots of burnt fingers and lots of big winners. Given the betting patterns you have to say Betfair is correct to suspend settlement, pending investigation, in accordance with its 2003 Memorandum of Understanding with the ATP.

That didn't stop the boys on the tennis forum reaching their own conclusions though. As well as the numerous threads on the subject there was a concerted effort to edit Davydenko's Wikipedia entry. The changes were being switched back almost as they were being made but a look through the
history page for Davydenko shows you the kind of things being said. Among the early edits were this one (see the end of the 2007 section) and this one. (see Equipment and Trivia). They're still going on this morning, albeit more subtle.

So there you have it. In the red corner we have those accusing Davydenko of being involved in match fixing. In the blue those who say that's bollocks and he was unfortunate to suffer an injury and was correct in his decision to retire from the match rather than risk aggravating it. An investigation is ongoing and no doubt I'll have more to say about it when the outcome is announced.

UPDATE: 11.45am. Betfair, following consultation with the ATP, has decided to VOID all bets placed on this match. I had no financial interest in this match but the right, if unprecedented, decision for me.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Betting blog links

I've added a whole load of new betting blog links to the right hand side column. Been meaning to do it for ages and then lost the list of those I was supposed to add so apologies if I've missed anyone out. Please just let me know and I'll add the link.

If anyone else has a betting blog and wants to exchange links that would be great. Again, just leave a comment or send an email. I'll add all the new ones into the
betting blog directory and update that too shortly when I get a bit more time.

Of the new ones there's a good selection of stuff. Some are tipping sites, some have some good discussion on trading topics and some are just personal betting records. I'll let you explore without saying too much about any of them though I think I may have a bit fan in Dip over at
Find Free Lay! (Good luck with the blog mate.)

Anyway, the new blogs I've added are listed below. Enjoy!

Cloning Arteta

Trade On Sports

One Percent

2 Barters

Man of Mystery

Talk Bet


Spudy's Blog

Richard Wildman

Heads N Tails

Football Trader

Find Free Lay