Saturday, March 21, 2009

Dyson blows Duckworth Lewis calculation

Off on an short trip to Spain in the morning but thought I'd say a few words about the Duckworth Lewis debacle in the first ODI between the West Indies and England before I leave for warmer climes.

I guess if you lost money on the match because of the farcical end then you're probably counting yourself more than a little unlucky though I'll have something to say about that later. First up though let's talk about the incident itself.

My immediate reaction is you just have to giggle. You can read about the
Dyson Duckworth Lewis Mistake there but essentially the West Indies' coach pulled his team off the pitch when they were offered bad light thinking they had won via the Duckworth Lewis method. Only to find out he had been reading the wrong line of a spread sheet - and they had, in fact, lost by one run. By which time it was too dark to go back out. Doh!

It brings back memories of Alan Ball desperately telling his Manchester City players to keep the ball shielded by a corner flag in the dying stages of an end of season game when the reality of the situation was they needed to score to prevent demotion. A howler. No more. No less.

That Dyson had made a mistake was immediately obvious by both the bemused but smiling England faces as they walked off the pitch looking at their own Duckworth Lewis sheet, as well as the excited tones of the Sky commentators who, realising they were on to a big story, revelled in the numbers being fed through by their "stats guys".

Fair play to Dyson who, after pointing suspiciously at his spreadsheet several times and storming off to see the match officials, finally realised he'd just made the mother of all balls ups. At which point he held his hands in the air and apologised to all and sundry insisting the mistake was entirely his responsibility. A refreshing attitude for sure. If not one likely to go down well in the West Indies' dressing room where tensions are already running high.

Anyway, it's not the first time Duckworth Lewis has caused
considerable embarrassment and probably won't be the last. But for the sake of the game it would be nice to think we can avoid these little errors going forward...

Speaking of mistakes a quick word on trading that match. I didn't get involved too deeply and by the time the farce unfurled I was sitting with a small four figure all green and just enjoying the cricket.

My point is really this though. I had levelled out. And was quite surprised to see so many people, particularly traders, posting on the Betfair forum claiming the mistake had cost them x amount of money. For several minutes, with both the light and rain closing in, the closeness of the Duckworth Lewis score and the impact wickets would have, staying involved in that market was madness. By that stage there was no real skill in whether people won or lost on trades being matched. It was a pure gamble. Hardly the environs of a trader looking for consistent profit.

I can maybe understand someone in an effectively all red position chasing a win. I don't agree with the strategy but I guess it's none of my business. What really suprised me though was people who had enough green on one side or another to secure a profit gambling 8 hours of trading away on what was essentially a punt. Of course, some came out of the situation all smiles while others, typically more vocal, bemoaned their bad luck.

I don't think it was bad luck. The odds were all over the place with flip flopping favourites. That's because it was a gamble. Both teams could win. If you had the chance to take a profit but chose the greed route instead on a 50/50 shot (literally at some points) and ended up losing then that's just probability coming home to roost. The method of losing the 50/50 shot is not important. The basic mathematical set up is.

The same can be said for those who had could have had all red books but decided to keep a small green on one side and large red on another. Suffering a sizeable loss here is just a consequence of preferring a gamble to cutting losses. Don't get me wrong. I'm not revelling in the losses of others. But when people start posting their positions on public forums and moaning about bad luck I'll often look at what they're saying and think about it.

In this instance I think it's fair comment that much of the damage was self inflicted and there's probably a lesson in there for all us traders. We will win sometimes and we all lose sometimes. Of course we do. Sometimes though it's too easy to blame unusual circumstances for losses when perhaps the truth is our own decision making at critical times was the real reason and an unusual event is just a convenient excuse.

I don't know, I guess cutting losses or guaranteeing a win in a highly volatile flip flopping market rather than trying to guess who wins and gambling a match worth of trading away in a couple of minutes is just more my personal style. Bemoaning bad luck in these circumstances is a little baffling though.

Anyway, I've probably banged on about that for long enough. No offence intended to anyone who lost. Just my views on it. One last thing before I turn the computer off - Mark Iverson.

I'm sure anyone who is / was a regular reader of his blog has seen that he has decided to finish it and has made a
goodbye post. A big shame as the blog was one of the best out there - thoughtful, insightful and well written. If you've not visited his blog for a while though and you've enjoyed his thoughts as much as I have over the years now's your chance to say so and wish him luck with the future.

Friday, March 13, 2009

New Zealand v India 5th ODI

Just a quick one as I'm off out soon for drinks and dinner before an early night to get some kip in before the 5th and final ODI between New Zealand and India later.

If you're interested in the match at all there is a
betting preview on CricketEdge. It's pretty long but well worth a read. Food for thought anyway. I agree with much of it. There's a betting preview posted on most televised matches on that site if you like it and want some ideas for future matches.

There's also a tip for
Dhoni to top bat. If you're looking for a cast iron winner I'd avoid it but I can't really argue that the price is probably a bit of value if you're taking the long term view.

Anyway, hope you find the articles useful. Any comments or feedback would be welcome. Just to make it clear, although I did not write those two articles, I have written some for that site it so have a vested interested of sorts.

It also means any feedback will get passed on to the guys writing the previews so if there's anything else you'd like to see in them going forward just leave a comment below.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Baby, CricketEdge and Premium Charge

I realise no posts since last June makes me a poor excuse for a blogger so apologies for that. I've explained why I've been away on the various forums when people ask but basically so much has been happening I just haven't had the time. Like I said - a poor excuse!

So what has been going on? Well first up the big news is we're having a baby! We're both chuffed to bits and looking forward to the big day sometime in late June / early July. All a bit overwhelming really and it means i've finally had to sort all the DIY around the house out. I can safely say I hope I never have to rip floorboards up again. Exciting times though and we're busy choosing all kinds of baby stuff and getting the nursery ready. Can't wait. :-)

What else? Well in my last blog entry I said I was going to write a whole load of cricket trading articles. I have. Though after I wrote that entry I was contacted by some other cricket traders and asked if I would consider joining them in setting up a new cricket news and betting website. I agreed. The site is called
CricketEdge and it's recently gone live.

Helping out with that site has taken up quite a bit of time and effort. There's a fair amount of content on it now with a whole lot more waiting in the wings, including the series of trading articles I've written, so hopefully they'll be up soon. In the mean time there's some pretty useful, if basic, articles on cricket betting among loads of other stuff that you may find interesting.

The idea is to build a community of cricket fans and punters / traders and a forum will be added soon to enable the discussion. Involved as I am I'm biased I know but the guys behind it are a good laugh, know their cricket betting and I hope the site succeeds. Hell, we may even make some money out of it!

Talking of money that brings me to trading. Yes, I am still very involved in the cricket markets. More so than ever in fact. Of course, the big news since my last post has been the introduction of the Premium Charge over at Betfair. There, I managed to say it without swearing.

In that last post I mentioned I was moving much of my betting activity away from Betfair in as much as it enabled me to capitalise on the knowledge I built up on each match by using markets available at bookmakers as well as spread firms. Basically allowing me to maximise my profit from the knowledge and views I had on a game.

This has helped me offset the impact of the premium charge a little but I've still had to alter my approach pretty drastically to cut down on the amount of charge I'm paying. On the whole this has involved me racking up substantial losses on Betfair when needed while holding an opposite position elsewhere. Extra effort for me, a pain in the butt but also what Betfair wants as it means more money stays in the Betfair pool for longer.

I must admit it's a strange feeling to sometimes set out in a market to deliberatley lose money in it, or trade it as normal and then transfer the green elsewhere, but I suppose it's better than not being able to use the exchange at all. Still sucks though, as our American cousins might say.

So that's that. I'm still around, still trading and am looking forward to having a junior BFT to dote on soon.

I will be updating my blog every now and then going forward for anyone who is still remotely interested in my ramblings. I guess after such a miserable effort to do so after last time I won't say anything more than just as and when I have something interesting to say - and the time to say it in. In the meantime good luck with your betting! :-)