Tuesday, October 30, 2007

1.01 beaten in cricket

Yesterday's Result: £19.10

Yikes. Looks like the final ODI between Pakistan and South Africa was some match on the trading front. Infact only the second time I can recall off the top of my head that a 1.01 in the cricket match odds markets has been overturned. (here's the other
1, 2) Just over £71k was matched at 1.01 - with nearly a quarter of a million being matched at 1.04 or below. Ok, maybe not the highest liquidity figures but enough to cause some headaches I'm sure!

Which makes it all a bit gutting that I wasn't more involved in the match. Truth is though that I still wasn't feeling 100% so didn't get up for the pre dawn start. In fact, didn't look in on the game at all until well into the Pakistan run chase. It then took a bit of time to catch up with the match and get a feel for the pitch and conditions etc. When I was up to speed I got on Pakistan. Didn't do much more than take a few ticks here and there a few times before having a small but lumpier bet on Pakistan to win. At that point I left the match and just had it and the match odds market on in the background.

The plan was to wait to collect on Pakistan, or green out if their price drifted to a set point. Well drift it did as they lost a few wickets so I greened out and left it. Was busy with some other work and was happy to make the £20 or so.

Think it's fair to say I got a big shock a little later when I realised what was happening. Pakistan had just one wicket left and needed 14 runs. Turns out they'd lost 6 wickets for 20 runs in around 6 overs! Tempted as I was to pile into South Africa at 1.5 I just left it. That's an incredibly volatile market situation and I'd basically missed the action. No point in chasing it. One edged four and the market would move with pace against me. Best to leave for me.

The game didn't last long after that. In fact Shoaib Akhtar was out first ball and South Africa wrapped up a remarkable 3-2 series win to go with their 1-0 test series win.

So well done to all those who got up early, saw the match through, recognised the short-priced Pakistan laying opportunity and made a nice profit on it. Ouch to the guy who had around $12k on Pakistan at 2.3x with a bookie and didn't lay off on Betfair because he had "nothing to lay off" money wise in Betfair. Hindsight's a wonderful thing but there's a lesson there.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sniff of a profit

Result since last update: £626.48

So I got it properly this time. No man cold third time round since the honeymoon. A full on, sore-throated, chest producing, crusty nosed running phlegm fest with the mother of headaches and a worrying temperature thrown in for good measure. Guess I should be grateful it all seems to be disappearing quicker than it arrived.

Had been feeling a little under the weather earlier in the week and by Wednesday afternoon I'd pretty much stopped trading / working and retired to under the duvet. Thursday was pretty miserable and decided not to bother getting up Friday for the 4th ODI between Pakistan and South Africa. Bored and thinking I was a bit better I got up late morning / early afternoon and had a crack. Quickly realised I wasn't really feeling up to it but had open positions that had moved in my favour. Decided to essentially leave them and just monitor the match and dump them for a smaller profit if needed. Can't really remember now. May have reduced some red during the game but the positions weren't that big, South Africa coasted the match and my positions by the end of it amounted to a profit of just over £300.

Took it easy the rest of Friday and Saturday and was feeling pretty much better by this morning. Caught up with a few domestic things, went shopping for a new bathroom and then caught some of today's NFL. Made around £145 on the big game in London between the Giants and Dolphins. The weather put more than a bit of a dampner on it but still a great spectacle to have a regular season game in the UK. Did the first 1/4 and a bit of the Saints v 49ers game in the evening before dinner too making around £175.

So there you go. Apologies for the lack of updates recently. Bit sick of colds at the moment but that was a bad one. Tend to escape them normally but 3 since the honeymoon is getting annoying. Hopefully see me clear through the rest of the winter anyway. Still not tip top but definitely on the mend. Not sure if I'll be up for the start of the final ODI between Pakistan and South Africa tomorrow but am planning to catch some of it and will update again tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Pakistan beat South Africa

Yesterday's Result: £353.66

Really not too much to say about this one. It was the 3rd ODI in the series but given the planned Betfair downtime during the match I didn't bother getting up early for it and just got on with some normal work. Consequently I didn't really have a chance to tune in until Pakistan were well into their successful run chase.

When I did the Pakistan price at 1.3x just seemed too big. South Africa had obvioulsy found batting on the track tough though so I watched a little, read about the game and then decided to back them. I got in and out a couple of times and the price did move against me once or twice on the fall of wickets but never by very much and certainly not enough to make me take a loss on any position.

While they didn't make quick work of chasing the 198 victory target the required run rate was always in hand and Pakistan eventually won by 6 wickets with nearly 2 overs to spare.

So that was that really. Not the most interesting of games to trade. Or at least the part of it I saw. But that doesn't matter. The bottom line isn't about how interesting a game is and I like being involved in matches that pan out pretty straightforward like this one did.

Monday, October 22, 2007

American football trading

Yesterday's Result: £134.09

Spent the afternoon out and about doing some shopping before having a look in on the first of the day's 3 NFL offerings. Caught most of the game between Tampa Bay and Detroit but it feels like I'm coming down with yet another cold so knocked it on the head, enjoyed a huge roast dinner and curled up infront of a blazing fire.

Not got much to say about the game really. Like the cricket the day before my first few positions all went against me and it became a case of working things back round to a winning result inbetween one of those really annoying itchy coughs.

Should be pretty quiet on the trading front this week. Word of warning for anyone planning on doing the 3rd ODI between Pakistan and South Africa tomorrow - Betfair has 4 hours of planned downtime during it so be careful.

Away from trading I've started listening in on some of the radio shows over at
Man of Mystery. Some good stuff on them even if my recent big loss had to have a mention. The old shows are all kept in an archive so you don't have to catch them live. Well worth having a listen through some of them. October 20th's includes an interview with John, aka The Gambler. Finally best wishes to Mark Iverson and his as they go through an anxious few weeks.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Road to recovery continues

Yesterday's Result: £356.42

So another green day booked and I'm feeling back on track after my recent big loss on Betfair. Today wasn't as easy as the nice green figure sat at the start of the blog entry might suggest though. It was hard work. I made several mistakes and had to cut my losses frequently before events finally turned my way.

I got involved in two events during the afternoon - the 2nd ODI between Pakistan and South Africa and the end of tour Twenty20 between India and Australia. Had a tiring week so didn't bother getting up early doors for the ODI and instead caught a fair part of the South African run chase. Built up a nice green but blew most of it with one heavy trade near the end which went against me. No real worries. It happens and I had the sense to cut the loss on in time. Unfortunately the Twenty20 had started, liquidity had disappeared I was offering good prices to get out. Ended up making £35 or so. Had been around £300 before the losing trade. Annoying to lose on the trade but it was thought out and more times than not it will result in a profit.

Also caught just about half of the Twenty20 international which turned out to be the successful Indian run chase. This was testing. On me that is. The first two positions I opened went against me. I cut for equalish red. The next two I opened went against me. Again I cut. The numbers weren't big but I was starting to wonder if I'd get anything right on the match. Fortunately things eventually turned round I managed to get on the right side of a few price movements. Ended up making around £320 on the match. Very happy with that.

The evening was all about the rugby world cup final. We joined some friends in the pub but England couldn't quite pull off another mircale. Still an amazing result to reach the final all things considered though.

Looking forward there's a bit of a lull in the amount of cricket to be traded until early November. Betfair's planned downtime on Tuesday morning slap bang during one of the few games between now and November doesn't help either. Lots of other sports to trade but I tend to use smaller stakes on them. Not sure when I'll be firing up the trading software next but it may be for this evening's NFL games. See how the day goes and how I feel.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mission accomplished

Daily Result: £79.83

Job's a good'un. A green's a green. And I'm back to winning ways after my biggest blog loss. My sole aim in trading the ODI between Pakistan and South Africa today was to make a profit. The size didn't matter. The green did. Firstly it gets me back to winning ways. Secondly it prevented me from having my 2nd run of three consecutive losing days since I started the blog in May 2006.

I was out for drinks and curry with friends last night after yesterday's loss and it turned into a late one so I didn't bother getting up for the 6am start. In fact I only caught the last few overs of the first innings and mainly concentrated on part of the ultimately unsuccessful Pakistani run chase.

After a few early wickets, and with a rising required run rate, the result was always likely to go South Africa's way. But there were still a fair few peaks and troughs. The price even hit 1.01 before blowing back to 1.2. I didn't get too involved though. And was careful when I did. Didn't get everything right. But enought to make a profit. Like I say, the aim was a green. The amount didn't matter. And I'm pleased with the result.

Busy day tomorrow so no trading likely. Probably have a look in on Saturday's cricket though. Best of luck if you get involved in the meantime.

Biggest trading loss

Yesterday's Result: £2910.43

Ouch. That wasn't in the script. And it hurt. Sure it may not be my biggest single market loss on Betfair ever. But it's certainly the biggest since I started the blog. And is also way over my max loss limit per event.

I've tried to justify this loss to myself. Truth is though I can't. Sure there are reasons for it but I can't consider them excuses. So the bottom line is I fucked up. All a bit obscene really - losing more in a day more than some friends make in a month. Sure, those same friends, intrigued by what I do, point out that the loss isn't even half this month's profit. Well yes. That's true. But it isn't really the point. I shouldn't be losing this much on a single event. Plain and simple.

So what went wrong? How did the loss get that big - nearly double the max loss size I've been operating to recently? Well I guess the short answer is lots! But there were a few key areas I'm going to mention. Out of interest I made the loss on the 7th India v Australia ODI Match Odds market.

Firstly I just got large areas of the match wrong and ended up with an all red book very early that simply seemed to increase each time I got involved further. No worries with that. It happens. And I'm perfectly happy to trade away as long as I stay within my limits. Which is what I did. Crunch time came just before the Russia v England football match. At the time I was a four figure green Australia, a much larger 4 figure red India and the price was mid 1.6x. Crucial. Because 1.72 was my cut off point. At that stage I was going to cut for an equal red book and leave the game.

A couple of quick wickets fell though. On the fall of the 6th the Aussie price plunged into sub 1.1 territory and I suddenly found myself being able to go all green! Talk about a totally undeserved miracle escape. Unbelievable stuff. Unfortunately so was my behaviour. I didn't green out. I thought the game was Australia's, kept my position, let a friend in for the football and fixed some drinks.

On returning the price had drifted a little but nothing too bad. However, I still didn't get out. And remained in as the price continued to drift having decided what I was willing to lose. (Yes, I know.) Basically I needed a wicket. It didn't come and I ended up cutting for an all round red book above my max loss limit. I knew where I wanted to bail but simply couldn't get everthing matched. The market was getting increasingly volatile and I ended up chasing the price trying to bail. Ugly stuff. And expensive. As is often the case in these circumstances the wicket I so badly needed came the next over. But by then I was equal red and it was too late.

From there I just watched the game and decided to try and save a little when a winner had emerged. Wrong again. I should have just left it. I ended up adding around £350 to the red right at the end. Looking at my book, and the price, I decided on an escape bid. India needed around 12 runs, had two wickets in hand and were around 1.2x. I layed. India scored runs. And, lol, I backed it back. More red. :-(

The other thing I should mention is running concurrently to all this were some value bets along the lines I mentioned in the previous blog entry. These lost. And that additional money is what took the final red figure to what it is. Though even those bets got messy. I ended up cutting them too. Things got confusing. I was mixing up outright value bets and trades. It really wasn't a pretty site. Thankfully the one glass half full moment in the whole sorry episode is I managed to the temptation raised by a friend to use my account balance to "buy" my way out of the situation and back Australia in the 1.4x range shortly after the 7th wicket fell.

So there you have it. A max loss that went over the limit with volatility and me chasing prices to bail. An unsuccessful escape bid at the end and a few losing bets that I considered value. Tot that lot up and it comes to a loss of just over £2.9k. A horror story all of my own making!

Where now then? Well, I traded a little on today's Pakistan v South Africa ODI today and made a small profit. I've decided to keep those figures separate from this post though simply because of the scale of the loss. But it does show it's trading as usual as it were. And I will be posting on that later.

Aside from that I have decided to stop this outright value betting experiment for the time being though. I over staked on it and it got confusing having it sat on my trading book as well. I'm still convinced it will be a beneficial addition to my activities long term but for the time being I'm going to switch to paper trialling it for a while with some variable spreadsheet betting stakes to see exactly what the variance can be like. I'm sure some clever mathematics along the lines of standard deviations could also help me out. One successful fellow punter I speak to on MSN recently had a 27 value bet losing run - and not all of them at long odds. I don't like the idea of that. It's a very long term approach. I've always been more comfortable with the more consistent approach trading enables. And, of course, it doesn't require you to always be right about the value aspect of it all.

Right, public flagellation over. Loss booked. Attention fixed firmly on the future. I've withdrawn some money from my Betfair account and put a new money management system - more of which later - in place. This has been a set back. A bad one. But not catastrophic. Here's hoping the future is a green one. :-)

Monday, October 15, 2007

NFL trading loss

Yesterday's Result: £257.38

So after celebrating England’s rugby win over France into the early hours of Sunday morning I decided to give the 6th ODI between India and Australia a miss. No way I was waking up before dawn for the start of it and when I did eventually get up I decided to give the rest of the game a miss and go and spend some of the recent winnings with Emma. :-)

Should have really left it at that as when I did finally get down to some trading – looking in on parts of a couple of NFL games – I lost. Not much to say about it really. Can’t win them all. Losses are always just round the corner and I guess I was due one. I suppose on the plus side it’s always satisfying when a loss does arrive for it to be smaller than the wins it sits between. In the end the red was actually made up of a moderate loss on one match and a smallish win on the other.


Of course, it’s never great to take a loss but I’m realistic enough to realise they’ll happen and am not too displeased with my actions that led to it. I’ve been discussing with other punters recently the pros and cons of trading as I do verses simply backing value propositions in running and leaving them. On this occasion the loss was partly attributable to following the second strategy as I thought the match circumstances provided a good opportunity to do so. Despite the loss it’s an area I'm interested in exploring further as I can see the latter, although requiring a larger bankroll, could be a more profitable, if less consistent approach. I guess it’s a big subject to look into – but one that should at least be interesting.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Patience pays off as Sri Lanka win

Daily Result: £1422

So the good run continues. Times are prosperous at BF Towers and with Lady Luck's blessing seemingly temporarily bestowed upon me there's even the temptation to buy a lottery ticket! No seriously today was another good profitable one. And more importantly I was especially pleased with my trading in the 5th ODI between Sri Lanka and England. This back to basics drive is paying dividends. It appears it was well worth taking the time to step back from everything, examine what I was doing and redouble my efforts to try and get everything right.

Of course I didn't get every trade correct today. In fact a few went against me. And I also lost on a cheeky lay of the completed match market in anticipation of rain that never turned up. But at the key points I did mostly get things right. Cut losses when appropriate. Let wins run. And, most importantly of all, just sat on my hands with an equal green book when appropriate. Patience played a big part in the size of my win today. And this is a topic I will be addressing in the next week or two. There's a few other subjects I've said I will cover, including the importance of cutting losses, and I will be doing blogs on these now the trading schedule is becoming less hectic. If I can work out how to do it I plan to dump them all in the same section so they're easy to find.

Today's early trading was all about opposing Sri Lanka. With Jayasuriya and Perera getting the Lankans off to a blistering start I ended up cutting for around a £100 all red book. But as the wickets started to fall the money kept coming for Sri Lanka in waves. I waited and assessed the situation. But even with Collingwood seemingly unable to bowl, a weaker English batting line up, the question of lights and the Lankans having the choice of 4 spinners I still could not justify the price. So I layed it. Opposed the market and went with my own intuition. As I discussed at the time Sri Lanka might well win but surely their price will blow in the mean time?

Well blow it did and by the time the Sri Lankans had posted their 211 England were 1.58. Interesting to note that because in the last ODI between the two sides, on the same pitch, Sri Lanka also scored 211. But at the change of innings they were in the 1.8x range. That's some difference!

Anyway, at the change of innings with a bit of tinkering I'd have been around £500 all green. I left it red Lanka and green England though until the resumption, reducing my red a little and then levelling out when Mustard was caught behind early. It then became a waiting game with me mostly sat on my hands. I was around £430 green the pair and not wanting to get involved as the match could go either way. The prices bobbled around in a range for a while and I just left them. No need to gamble. Much better to wait for the range to be broken, a likely winner to emerge and then get on for the ride. Really is no need to catch the whole movement. Get 80% of it and you'll do very well for yourself.

There were a few ups and downs in the market but eventually, as the wickets began to fall, it got to the stage where I couldn't easily see past a Lankan win and started to build a position on them. As more wickets fell I increased the position. Ultimately England scored a total of just 104 in reply handing Sri Lanka a crushing 107 victory. It could have been worse though. At one point I thought England were going to beat their own ODI low score record of 86, as well as the 88 which is their lowest ODI score in Sri Lanka. In the end the 102 stopped just saved them from their 6th ever sub 100 ODI score.

So another successful day on the trading front. Not sure if I'll do tomorrow's India v Australia game. Very early start for that one. Maybe see how I feel later though it's not likely to be good - heading out soon to the pub with friends to watch the France v England game. Looking forward to it! No bets for me but good luck if you get involved. :-)

Friday, October 12, 2007

ODI and test match trading results

Result since last update: £1911.25

Another great couple of days on the trading front. Think it's fair to say I'm on a bit of a roll and this back to basics approach I mentioned last time is paying dividends. Traded two events since the last update. The 5th ODI between India and Australia and the the conclusion of the 2nd test between Pakistan and South Africa.

To be fair I didn't really trade the ODI at all. I mentioned I was a bit of a sleep enthusiast at the the end of my last blog entry and that the 4.30am start was looking a little daunting. Well, turns out it was! The alarm simply interrupted my sleep and I got up in time for the start of day 4 of the second test instead.

Bit of a mistake. India were batting. Well, in the broadest sense of the word. By the time I tuned in there were 76 for 5, Australia were 1.12, some of the crowd were already leaving and what was left price wise was little more than a lump on job. With Tendulkar still at the crease in his 400th ODI I decided to wait in hope that there would be a bit of a salvage job and I could get on the Aussies at a better price. Unfortunately as I was catching up with the 2nd test wickets continued to fall and eventually my book consisted of a nothing more than a series of short-priced lumps on the Aussies.

India did salvage the situation slightly with their record 10th wicket partnership against Australia of 41. But even that left them on a derisory 148 - with Gilchrist taking a world record equalling 6 catches behind the stumps. To put the score in context the previous lowest ODI score from a team batting first at the ground was 244! Despite some radical thinking from Dhoni - he opened the bowling attack with Harbhajan - the result was never really in doubt and the Aussies cruised to a 9 wicket victory with more than 24 overs to spare. Different class really. And enabled me to a win around £570.

Picked up a bigger win on the test match. A little more than £1.3k. Pleased with that, especially as the match ended in a draw and my initial positions had all been lays of the draw. I mentioned at the end of day 3 that I had reduced my liabilities on the draw and by the end of Day 4 it was my biggest green in a small to moderate all green book. Was a bit surprised how well the pitch held up and got on the draw a little late on the final day but was still satisfied with the result.

The match was notable for Jacques Kallis scoring another century making it 3 in 4 innings in the two match series. In fact he became only the 2nd player ever to make 3 centuries in 2 consecutive tests. In doing so he helped South Africa to their first series win against a major sub continent side, in the sub continent, in seven years.

More notable though was the retirement of former captain and Pakistani cricketing legend Inzamam-Ul-Haq. Inzi needed just 6 runs in his final test innings to beat Javed Miandad's record for the most number of Test runs scored by a Pakistani player. He got just 3. Out trying to reach the landmark in style skipping down the pitch in an effort to despatch a ball from South African spinner Paul Harris to the boundary. Boucher made a simple stumping and a cleary disappoinited Inzi trudged off the field stopping briefly to acknowledge the crowd's adulation. There were tears from the Pakistan team after the match as Inzi gave his farewell speech, had a stand at the ground named after him reflected on his career. Following Glenn McGrath and Brian Lara a few months back it seems to be the year of the big name retirements.

Anyway, it's been a totally hectic 30 days or so since my return from honeymoon on the cricket trading front. There's far fewer games now until November. During this time I'm planning to make some changes to the blog and there should be a lot more articles discussing specific trading issues. More about that next week.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

England win ODI series in Sri Lanka

Daily Result: £1836.91

So I said in my last entry that after a few matches of not being happy with my trading I was going to go back to basics. Well that's exactly what I did today. Result? A massive improvement in both my trading and profit. As well as a new determination to up my concentration levels during games and be more focussed on key decision points. I feel I've been in drift mode a little recently. Not exactly expecting the good results to come in. But rather trying too hard to make them arrive without the necessary hard work. Primarily by pushing my positions too hard too early to arrive at a seemingly good, but unbalanced, position before really thinking a situation through and doing it because the circumstances warranted it.

Today I changed all that. Sure, one improved result is hardly proof of anything. But importantly I feel better about it. In today's 4th ODI between Sri Lanka and England I thought through properly each larger position I took. I had reasons I could happily justify each one for. A belief I was correct. Or at least had a value proposition on my hands. I levelled out positions, winners or losers, several times. Let them run when there was good reason to and got the lumpier trades out at the right times. I don't know. I just felt more in control again. More focussed. And more confident. And all as a result of just deciding to think over what I consider the basics, remind myself why I consider them so important and making a conscious effort to stick the them. Think I'll do it again! :-)

The match itself turned into a pretty one sided affair with England winning by five wickets to claim their first ODI series win against a major sub continent cricketing nation, in the sub continent, for over 20 years. Awesome stuff from England really. And credit where it's due. The one day game is improving. So let's at least enjoy that even if the test form seems to be going the other way.

In today's game Sri lanka won the toss, elected to bat - and that was the high point really as it went downhill from there. By the time they were 20/3 in the 11th over it was always going to be hard for them to get the win. Incredibly they managed to turn it around and posted a total of 211. Something the market decided made them 1.8x favourites. Lots of factors to take into account but the price was too short for many, including me, and with a good start to the England reply it never went lower.

I had my book firmly in England's favour at the change of innings and that proved a good stepping stone to build the eventual profit on. Of course I made some mistakes but on the whole things went my way and the brief rain interruption provided a good opportunity for some weather trading to add to the green. At one stage I was tempted to lump a little more on England to take the win after commission to over £2k but resisted for the simple reason it would have made my book too unbalanced. The England price was too short. Instead I kept the red and green in a comfortable proportion to each other and felt good I'd made the right decision. I remember making the mistake of chasing arbitrary targets like that shortly before the wedding and when the market moved against me it cost a lot more than it should have.

Spent the earlier part of the morning doing the 3rd day of the 2nd test between Pakistan and South Africa. Going ok. Had a great start with the fall of the remaining Pakistani wickets which blew the draw price out but just two South African wickets and a pretty moribund run rate has seen it contract again. I've got out of some of my draw lays and now have a small 4 figure green the results and a moderate 3 figure red the draw with the draw price around 3.5. So I could get out for a healthy all green position but will leave it for now. See what happens first thing in the morning before making a final decision on what to do. Either way I'll keep the Pakistan green though realistically they can be discounted without something very special. So it's down to the draw and South Africa. Or, to be more precise, if we carry on like today, at what stage Smith decides to declare. I'm not expecting an aggressive declaration for obvious reasons that I've mentioned on the Betfair cricket forum. Of course, I'd also prefer that a declaration wasn't an issue because the Saffers are all bowled out! Should make an interesting phase of the match for the markets as the issue gets resolved tomorrow anyway.

Right, that's it for now. Happy but knackered. These early starts are not good for sleep enthusiasts like myself. And tomorrow's 4.30am one between India and Australia looks positively frightening!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Cricket and NFL results

Result since last update: £162.19

Been involved in three events since the last update. Had small wins on the 3rd ODI between Sri Lanka and England and Sunday's Detroit at Washington NFL and a moderate loss in the 4th ODI between India and Australia.

Not quite getting the cricket right at the moment. Was well ahead in the England match at the change of innings before slowly donating most my green back to the market. And that was despite waiting out much of it because I just couldn't call it with any confidence. Never really got into such a good position in the India game. Good win and keeps the series alive but the difference between the teams for me today was the record amount of extras Australia gave away. Going to take it a bit easier in the next ODI I do and get back to trying to concentrating on getting the basics right before trying to push home for a bigger win.

Am doing the 2nd test between Pakistan and South Africa too. Inzi's swansong. Gone with a lay the draw strategy again for now so will see what happens over the next couple of days. Will also get a look at the televised darts this week if I get the time although am pretty busy on the work front at the moment.

Just a short entry for today. Back properly tomorrow.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Cricket trading roundup

Result since last update: £407.74

Hmm. A green is always better than a red. And I'm pleased to bank the profit. But this figure hides the real story of the last few days. Sure, I've won money, but I also had a substantial loss in the high hundreds and managed to toss away around 60% (£2kish) of my green in another market. I've not been trading well. And the root reason is I've probably been trying to do too much at the same time - both in terms of amounts of concurrent markets, both sports and financials, as well as getting on with my normal work at the same time.

The loss was in the Sri Lanka v England ODI. Particularly galling as my opening trade was a sizeable lay of Sri Lanka and they lost. :-( Basically I just wasn't concentrating enough on the game, instead focussing on the first test between Pakistan and South Africa, and ended up letting the market quickly run away from me before I'd really realised. Doh! Managed to sort it out a bit, and nearly even escaped with a small profit, but as the match reached the latter stages I decided not to risk any more liability and accept the loss. Wrong decision financially on the day but probably the right one in the long term.

My profit came from the test match. Made a small four figure sum. As mentioned I'd started by laying the draw and had subsequently also backed the results. Went into the 5th day today with healthy looking greens on the results but started getting the draw back onside shortly before lunch. Part of the problem was the market wasn't that liquid. I needed to cover several thousand red on the draw but was unable to back it for amounts I needed. So I ended up having to lay South Africa and give away good value. Bit of dumb position to get into but I just had them down as winners. Unfortunately as the market started shifting I could see the profit I'd built up over 4 days disappearing with the very real possibility of a large all round red looming.

So, I bit the bullet, dumped a couple of grand of South African green and swore a lot. :-) Not quite as much as after lunch though when the Pakistan wickets I'd been expecting started to tumble. Meaning the Saffer's price plunged and I'd lost most that lovely green forever. :-( Hindsight is, of course, a wonderful thing. At the time I felt it right to do what I did, despite the fact I was giving away what I considered value. Discussed it briefly on the Betfair cricket forum. All a question of approach. As a purely value better I'd have been taking the price I was offering. As a trader who prefers a consistency in results I was doing the opposite, while also being guilty of protecting what profit I had left. This is an area of my sports betting / trading that is increasingly interesting me and I think today has been the spur to take a good look at the issue over the next few weeks.

Anyway, away from the cricket trading I've noticed that after forgetting to book 4 weeks of holidays for my wedding and honeymoon my Betfair points are now above the level they were at before I went away. Still paid a whole lot more commission than I needed to but good to be back at the better reduction rates. Won't make that mistake again.

Going to have a day off the trading tomorrow, will endure the undoubted misery of watching England's rugby quater final against Australia and will be no doubt be firing the trading software up again on Sunday. If I get the time I'm hoping to do a blog entry on cutting losses and letting wins run tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Aussies beat India convincingly

Daily Result: £516.71

Only really caught the middle stages of this game. Decided not to get up early for it as I thought heavy rain and a wet outfield would severely delay the start and I need all the beauty sleep i can get!

However, it turns out the groundsmen worked a few miracles and there wasn't much of a delay. So by the time I tuned in Australia were struggling with 3 wickets down and I'd missed all the early price action. In true vintage style though Australia then turned things round and for much of the latter stages of the game it was simply a question of waiting for India to be bowled out. By then there was no chance of an India win, the market was glued to 1.01 and I had long turned over.

Guess the two most interesting periods from a trading point of view were the 94 run partnership between Hayden and Symonds and the early promising signs in the Indian run chase. I eventually got on the right side of both swings but blew most of the green I made at the start of the Indian innings by pushing my luck with a lay of Australia near the top of the swing.

The other points of interest were onfield discipline. Clarke's dismissal, which was happening as I tuned in, was another of those wait on the boundary rope incase the 3rd umpire overrules the decision affairs. Was an interesting debate on Sky on whether this constitutes dissent. We were also treated to the site of an umpire man handling Harbhajan Singh off the square after the spinner decided to have words with the Aussie team following his dismissal. While Sreesanth comfortably outnelled Nel. The bowler's antics haven't exactly covered him in glory recently and today's excessive appealing for a run out when the rest of the world realised the ball was dead, as well as screaming and gesticulating in Symond's face when he got him out was frankly embarrassing. Check the scoreboard mate. And perhaps the rules. I'm all for showing passion and aggression on a cricket field but when your own captain has to lead you away from flash points you create the penny should drop that people are laughing at you.

Anyway, Australia wrapped up a comfortable 84 run win to take the 1-0 lead in the series they were looking likely to take in the first match before rain caused the game to be abandoned.

Away from the ODI the first test between Pakistan and South Africa is going well from a trading perspective. As mentioned previously I had a small lay of the draw as my first position and I layed it again today at various prices from sub 1.7 to start with up to 2.6ish from memory. As hoped for the pitch is deteriorating and it's difficult to see how there won't be a result. If I level out I'll be around £580 green any result but for the time being will leave it red the draw and a smallish 4 figure green the two results. Plenty of time to play around with that if anything unexpected happens over the next few days. Will be looking in on it tomorrow and hopefully can add some more green to the book.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Sri Lanka crush woeful England

Daily result: £305.2

Ok. So England's ODI record in Sri Lanka isn't exactly great. Admittedly it's a small sample size but they've only ever won one - and lost by ten wickets after being bowled out for 88 last time they played at Dambulla, the venue of today's match.

Couple that with Lanka being big jolly's for the game and maybe there weren't great hopes for an England win today. Sure, there were glimmers of light in the series win over India - but that just makes the manner of today's defeat all the more galling. England were routed. Bowled out in 35 overs handing Sri Lanka a massive 119 run victory. And that was a Sri Lanka without Murali! Not that he'd have been able to fit in his 10 overs if he'd come on after the third power play as is his preference.

Lanka won the toss and batted. Big toss to win to be fair. Conditions weren't great for batting and weren't going to get easier under lights. They put together a measured innings though making steady progress to their total of 269.. As I mentioned on the Betfair cricket forum that total was challenging. Again it's a small sample size but just 13 runs short of the highest ever 1st innings score, and 33 more than the highest ever run chase. Chuck in a pretty decent ODI bowling attack, lights and slowish wicket and it wasn't an easy ask.

After all the thrills of Twenty20 it seems many are having trouble reverting back to the 50 over game. Sri lanka's score was a good one in difficult conditions but with an initial required run rate of just 5.4 it seems many fell into the trap of believing it would be a cake walk. It was. But for Sri Lanka. Especially when Maharoof got going with figures of 10 overs, 2 maidens and four wickets for just 31 runs. Impressive stuff.

Of course, hindsight is a wonderful thing and my trading today would have benefitted from it. I screwed up along the way so am more than happy to settle with the £300 or so profit. My initial position was a sizeable lay of Lanka. Good start and I could have had 15-20 ticks profit. But I hung on. Just thought a wicket was coming. But somehow Tharanga and Jayasuriya survived, upped the run rate and within two overs my paper profit had gone. I watched the price drop and layed again. Smaller this time. Not really an averaging down move. More I just felt the price was far too low. Anyway, it all got a little messy and I ended up switching to Lanka at a low price before the end of their innings in the belief they had more than enough.

Which made the strong start to the England innings a bit of a raised blood pressure moment. I ended up dumping my Lanka green, going all red and then watching as they slowly put the squeeze on. I got back on them a little before Kevin Pietersen was out, and more after. Ended up riding them down to 1.01 as England collapsed and greened out a substantial England red and left the match. I was hoping for some rearguard England action to push the Lankan price out. It did start but I think the price peaked at around 1.05 and I just left it.

So, I didn't quite trade the game as badly as England played it but we were in the same ballpark. Bit lucky to get away with a profit, at least of the size I did, but also pleased I didn't panic when the going got tough.

As for the Pakistan v South Africat test. Well ARY Digital finally started showing it after lunch. I've layed the draw. In an all red position at the moment if I level out but holding for the time being. Hoping the pitch deteriorates fast. Will have to keep a closer eye on it tomorrow though will be concentrating on the 2nd ODI between India and Australia to start with. It's a shocker of a get up time so here's hoping for some better weather than last time out.

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Hmm. Betfair is showing yesterday's £861.45 on the Denver at Indianapolis match as today's profit now. Yesterday I thought it showed it as yesterday's but now realise it's a GMT / BST issue with the game finishing after 11pm last night hence the confusion. I'll leave the profit in last month's figures now. Just means this month's will be down the same amount.

NFL trading

Yesterday's Result: £1,100.13

Whoa! That was a bit unexpected. Decided to look in on some NFL yesterday evening for the first time this season. Caught a bit of two games, Oakland at Miami and Denver at Indianapolis. Pleased I made the effort. Reckon I might have another look in sometime soon. :-)

I like trading NFL. Has basic similarities to tennis and I also find a fair few cricket traders find a second home with the sport too. And given it's essentially a winter sport over here it can fit in quite nicely with a cricket trading schedule. Fills in the gaps as it were.

Although he played it down Oakland at Miami was set up for Daunte Culpepper and he took the bait. Just months after being escorted off the Dolphin's training ground the new Raiders' quarterback accounted for all five Oakland touchdowns with two passes and three rushes. After a hard run in for his first he made a point of showing his knee was ok. Must be more than a few round Miami way wondering if the decision to release him was a wise one!

Lightening at the start of the match delayed it which meant we were able to see live as Sky switched to the Green Bay at Minnesota match just in time to show Brett Favre beating Dan Marino's NFL record for career touch down passes. He added another before the end of the match and has now made 422 in his 17 year career.

I made around £240 on the game before picking the rest of the day's profit up on the Denver at Indianapolis match. The Colts started a short-priced jolly, went behind, drifted - but never as far as evens - and then just took control with some impressive drives. I just rode their price in on the whole picking up around £860.

So a nice daily result, especially as I hadn't planned to to do the games at first. Not quite as unexpected as turning the tv on and seeing my old flat mate Neil Reynolds in the Sky Sports studio though doing the pundit bit. We shared a place at journalism college many moons ago. Funny, while I always wanted to be the guy that "made his excuses and left" for the the News of the World he was always mad into his NFL. Lost contact a long time ago but nice to see he's doing good for himself. :-)

Anyway, I got up early this morning for the Pakistan v South Africa test on ARY Digital but for reasons known only to the channel it's not showing the match at the moment - despite listing it in its schedule and assuring new customers signing up yesterday that it would be showing the cricket. Poor stuff. This subscriber ain't pleased! Still, I guess at least the first Sri Lanka v England ODI starts soon on Sky Sports. Sure Bumble will be able to cheer me up! :-)

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