Monday 30 November 2009

Near hits

I felt good today, mentally strong. Surprising really because I had another dodgy night's sleep and almost didn't trade at all.

I had a few 'near hits' where I nearly got on a good move but missed it. Sometimes this is down to hesitation and other times it's down to my risk aversion. I'm starting to realise that this risk aversion is the reason I continue to plateau, and I think it's time to start pushing through it. One approach I took was to only trade using £15 stakes today, which involved me 'robbing Peter to pay Paul' and increasing my bank size!

Despite the potential penalties involved with bigger tick sizes, the benefit is that you don't have to work so hard to get £1-2 a race. I came out of today's session quite upbeat and without the usual clenched jaw, so that's good.

The P+L Subtotal (red line) is on an upward trajectory at last. Last Tuesday was very friendly to me so I'm going to attack it again tomorrow.

£4 using £15 stakes.

Sunday 29 November 2009

I need a rest

What do you mean trading accelerates the ageing process? I think I look pretty good for my age!

I have traded every day for about 4 weeks solid now and this afternoon was a slog. I couldn't even be arsed and stopped early (when I'd broken even) to write this. When you think about it, we were put on the earth to hunt, make shelters and fires, and procreate. So watching numbers rise and fall and clicking at the right (or wrong) time isn't natural and can't be good for us, can it?

The trouble is, I feel compelled to do this everyday because, as the pros have said, if you look at the numbers for long enough, one day something just clicks. I don't expect a single 'Eureka' moment but instead, a series of smaller 'Eurekas'. I think I've had a couple already which is why I'm not losing heavily anymore.

So to relax, I'm going to have a little fun trade on Arsenal-Chelsea, and here is my prediction:

This sort of trade is fairly typical of those chaps The Nugget Crew - a score prediction with some insurance on the Unders. My reasoning here is we have two in form teams with plenty of goals in them, Chelsea top of the league but Arsenal with the home advantage (but no Van Persie). 1-1 at half time would suit; either side going two nil up early on would not!

We'll see!


Well, a case of too little too late.

Rather than reducing my liabilities on other scorelines 30 minutes in or at least after the first goal, I just sat on the 0-1 hoping for the equaliser.

A bit of scrambling in the second half got my liability down on the 0-2, 0-3 and 1-2 but the crazy thing was, right before the third goal, I was just waiting for my bet on the AUQ of 3 pence @ 140 to be matched which would have left me no liability on the 0-4; needless to say, the AUQ dropped down to 10 and my liability on the 0-4 was over £5!!

Never take anything for granted in the footy!

£0.26 using £7.50 to £20 stakes.

Saturday 28 November 2009

Billy no party to go to

Thought I'd give the Wolverhampton evening races a go. On a Saturday evening. With half an hour between each race. When I could be partying with this lot.


And I lost 69p - bah!

No qualms, no Kalms

Steady stuff today. I've noticed that Saturdays seem 'truer' than most other days; none of this 'bobbing around' business which tied me in knots last Wed-Fri.

One thing that is holding me back a bit is my bank size (about £70). For some reason, I'm more comfortable laying than backing but the liability involved is restricting my stake amounts. But, since I haven't got any more of my own money to stick in my bank, it's tough luck!

I did have a couple of cheeky goes on the Irish racing from Fairyhouse too and made a couple more quid. I've normally avoided the Irish races due to low liquidity but I'm starting to think that I'm better suited to these conditions.

£6.69 using £5 to £15 stakes.

Friday 27 November 2009

Tear up the rule book

I've found Wednesday, Thursday and today all to be very similar and my usual trading style hasn't cut it - three losing days since my record breaking Tuesday.

The 4th race in was particularly nasty; I went into deficit and then went into more deficit when attempting to clear the original deficit. I have considered having some sort of stop loss per race but it seems a bit defeatist to not try and scratch the loss with 2 minutes left on the clock.

What I intend to do from now on is trade the first couple of races using £2 stakes to get a feel for the markets. I recently commented on another blog that some days the markets seem to do the opposite to what you expect. In the last two races I actually went against my usual judgement and profited.

"Go figure!" (said in a strong Californian accent)

The last few Saturdays have been friendly to me so I'm expecting to profit from tomorrow's session.

-£4.20 using £5 to £20 stakes.

Thursday 26 November 2009

If it wasn't for Betfair going down...

...I probably would have done even worse!

There was a lot of money being matched today and this seems to play havoc with my style of trading - the price movements don't seem as obvious to me, with spoofing seemingly more prevalent.

It highlights that there is still a long way to go in order to crack this thing.

Hasta maƱana!

-£2.89 using £5 to £20 stakes.

Wednesday 25 November 2009

Bear with a sore head

A messy day today. I started late and was tired from a late night / early rise. My brain wasn't in gear and the markets were too swingy for me to deal with.

Fortunate to take such a negligable loss to be honest.

Tuesday 24 November 2009

The three Ds

Discipline, Dedication and Determination. Without it, Mariusz Pudzianowski wouldn't be the world's strongest man.

Guys like this inpsire me to do well. His single-mindedness is what got him where he is today.

So what's all this got to do with trading the horses?

Well, I had a good day - the bank and the mind both prospered. After 7 weeks hard slog, the ups and (mostly) downs, I finally broke the £5 barrier. This has given me a boost, because it wasn't down to luck, it was down to the three Ds.

I started brightly and then did my old trick of losing a few on the trot. I forged ahead though, because I REALLY don't want to make 20p a day at this for the rest of my days!

I think in Strong Man terms, the last 7 weeks were the Truck Pull. I've finally got the truck moving!

Now, onto the Keg Toss!

£6.37 using £5 to £20 stakes.

Monday 23 November 2009

All in the mind

After losing 7 quid last Monday, I couldn't help approaching today with caution. It started to cross my mind that Monday might be my bogey day and after a couple of losing opening trades I thought "here we go".

This is the sort of thinking I need to banish from my thought process if I'm going to improve. The mind is a powerful thing; if I'm bench pressing I don't entertain the idea that the barbell is heavy, otherwise I'd never get it off my chest! If I apply a bit more of this positivity to my trading then the only way is up.

The other thing I need to be careful of is greed. On the race that I lost -£1.12, I was 75p up at one point. This would have put me well on the way to breaking the £5 barrier. Instead, I started getting excited that I was on a bit of a winning streak, emotions took over, I got sloppy, then lost the 75p and more.

Anyway, rather than start the week off on a bad footing, I ended my session a few races early so I didn't post a deficit.

Until tomorrow...

£0.19 using £5 to £20 stakes.

Sunday 22 November 2009

Is it too late to take up golf?

Lee Westwood made £1.6 million this weekend. I made £8.38.

Still, I am very pleased with this weekend's trading endeavours after the inconsistency of last week.

Modest stakes and scalping were the order of the day once again, after witnessing some scary price fluctuations.

£3.48 using £7.50 to £20 stakes (mostly £7.50 though!).

Saturday 21 November 2009

When Saturday comes

Saturdays are starting to be a good day for me. I was very pleased with my trading today, especially my scalping. Typically, I would wait for a big move or scratch if it doesn't happen, whereas today I took lots of little steps which added up quite nicely.

I've seen it mentioned in forums many times that a good trader should know when to swing and when to scalp, so I took heed.

I should also mention that I refrained from using bigger stakes today because...I JUST DID, ALRIGHT?!

£4.90 using £5 to £7.50 stakes.

Friday 20 November 2009

Nurse! Forceps!!

"Clamp there to stop further haemorrhaging of the main bank artery!"

"Thanks, nurse"

I think the downward trajectory of the P+L graph is telling me to reduce my stakes again. The thing is, I'm impatient and don't enjoy sitting here making 8 pence a race using £2 stakes - I just can't justify the time I'm putting in for that sort of income.

So I'll plough ahead for a while and keep topping up the bank as necessary.

"Nurse! Is it time for my bed bath yet?"

-£2.09 using £7.50 to £20 stakes.

Thursday 19 November 2009

Live ammo

Trading using bigger stakes - or 'live ammo' as I call it - is certainly proving a challenge to keep under control.

I had a great 3rd race, I was up to £3 at one point across three different horses before settling on £2.37. I thought "Fab!" and then slowly starting eating away at it until I was in more familiar territory - deficit!

The last race saved a few blushes.

Someone commented on another blog that you should attribute losses to "training costs" which I thought was quite a positive way of looking at things.

Slightly different P+L today, this one is from Excel 2007 using the nifty Conditional Formatting > Color Scales. I'm not sure what conclusion to draw from this at the moment (other than I lost too many times) but it's pretty nonetheless!

-£3.96 using £7.50 to £20 stakes.

PS Why stop at colours - you can format the data in all sorts of ways! :D

Wednesday 18 November 2009

I missed the bus

I can look back on three occasions where I put an order in and it was either part-taken (£1 of £10!!!) or not at all, moments before the move I was expecting came. I wouldn't call it bad luck as I believe you make your own luck - just unfortunate really.

I quite enjoyed today and can't help feeling that I'm on the fringe of something better. In the meantime, I'll post up another supremely average P+L.

-£0.98 using between £7.50 and £20 stakes.

Tuesday 17 November 2009

To raise, or not to raise

I decided to use variable stakes today, from £7.50 to £20.

To me, stake sizes are my biggest conundrum.

Trading with low stakes is fine when you're just beginning, but after you've been doing it for a little while, are you really learning anything?

One day, using £2 stakes, I won 12 races and lost 3, making a grand total of £1.32. Did I feel like I was a good trader? Maybe at the time, but now I realise it's just because I was more relaxed because the losses only amounted to pennies, not pounds!

When the ticks are worth 50 pence each, I start to react differently, behave differently - trade differently.

I am going to try the variable stake approach for a while in order to test myself. It's good to push yourself, I think you mature quicker. I'd say I'm at the adolescent stage of trading right now. I'm hoping to 'come of age' soon!

-£0.64 using £7.50 to £20 stake sizes.

Monday 16 November 2009

Pass me the Kalms...

Thanks. Let's see...

"Relieves periods of worry, irritability, stresses and strains"

That should do the trick. Can I take the whole bottle?

Well, last Monday I got smacked around like a little kid in a playground and today was no different. EVERYTHING I got on went the other way and when I did get on a move it got snuffed out within a few ticks and bolted the other way, leaving me only enough time to, at best, scratch the trade.

Today's debacle has effectively wiped out the last 6 day's hard graft but nevermind. Tomorrow is another day and I can take comfort in knowing that, when the conditions are favourable, I can trade well and make a profit.

-£7.07 loss using £7.50 stakes.

Sunday 15 November 2009

Spikier than a hedgehog with a mohawk

That's how I would describe Sunday trading. Last Sunday I got annihilated but despite what I said then about avoiding weekends, I have a compulsion to hit this thing head on. No retreat, no surrender!

I cranked up the stake amounts to £7.50 and although I didn't 'keep my powder dry' as well as yesterday, I got out with a little green.

What I have noticed is that I do tend to tense up quite a lot - tight jaw and knotted stomach - which I need to address. Watching the numbers for such an intense period also seems to be affecting my sleep. One of the traders I follow suggested doing some yoga before each session to prepare the body and mind; my warm up routine for today was to stuff a Ginsters pasty and two rounds of bread down my neck as fast as I could, 10 minutes before the 1:35 at Market Rasen!

Mmmm, Ginsters...

£1.13 using £7.50 stakes.

Saturday 14 November 2009

You've got to be in it to win it

I said last Sunday that I wasn't going to trade on the weekend because it seemed much harder to predict the markets. Well that went out the window! My dogged dermination to succeed and accelerate my learning led me to open The Toy once more and thrash things out.

I do like The Toy. It's free trading software written by a chap called The Geek and I'm very comfortable with it...and I think I've used all the main ones now! It's all down to personal preference I suppose but here's the link in case anyone hasn't come across it:

I was pleased with my performance today - the best to date! I worked hard to keep the losses to a minimum by scratching trades or taking a one tick loss. A few of the spikes left me high and dry but what can you do about those except take the loss or hang on for a recovery?

With the races coming along more frequently, I was trading much more in the last 5 minutes before the start of the races and was finding that I was spotting the movements more easily; I was 'in the zone' I suppose.

I'm going to raise the stakes a bit on Monday to £6 or £7.

£3.49 using £5 stakes.

Friday 13 November 2009

Found a job yet?

I've lost count of how many times I've been asked this since being laid off. It's fascinating how the 9-5 mentality has brainwashed so many people.

I say: "I'm not looking right now. I'm doing the horses in the afternoons and I'm hoping that one day it will make me enough to live off."

The reponses is usually: "Mug's game!"

It may be naive of me to think I can do this for a living but I strongly believe that you must do things that inspire and excite you, and not waste your life wishing time away. After 11 years at a desk and lots of clock / calendar watching, it is definitely time for a change.

No miracles today though:

-£0.27 using £5 stakes.

Thursday 12 November 2009

My head is spinning!

I'm quite pleased I came out of today's markets unscathed - the numbers seemed to be bouncing around all over the place.

I was in deficit for a while but I managed to claw my way back for a bit of green. It's only pennies I know, but it is an indicator that I have the resolve to dig in when the going gets tough. This should serve me well when my apprenticeship is complete!

£0.72 using £5 stakes.

Wednesday 11 November 2009

Those pesky maiden races!

You know the ones, where there's one horse with a price of 1.3 and the rest are greater than 10. I haven't got a handle on how to trade these yet. The price on the favourite seems to swing about wildly while everyone lumps on; there often seems to be many thousands either side of the last traded price, piling up and then falling away just as quickly.

I reckon that once I'm at the level of staking £50+, I should be mentally ready to tackle these markets a bit more but, at the moment, my £5 stakes have no business here!

Steady day:

£2.65 using £5 stakes.

Tuesday 10 November 2009

Slowly but surely wins the race

Well, lowering my stakes to £5 has stemmed the flow of money out of my bank...for today at least. A little bit of green and the graph is looking healthier already! Eventually, I'd like to see the blue and yellow lines rise together and the red one surge into the positive half of the axis.

When I do raise the stakes, I'll probably creep it up a £1 at a time to ease my self into it.

£0.61 using £5 stakes.

Monday 9 November 2009

Don't panic, Mr Mainwaring!

I think I know where it's going wrong: my stake amounts. I've put some figures into a nifty Google spreadsheet and published the graph on the right of the blog. When the stakes are high, the losses increase.

£5 seems to be my threshold at the moment, staking anything more than this seems to 'upset the applecart'. At least if I can try and plug the financial haemorrhage by using lower stake amounts, the confidence should follow. Seeing a little bit of green each day does wonders for the confidence; seeing red every day just compounds the self doubt. It's all very psychological!

-£5.38 using £10 stakes.

Friday 6 November 2009

The fine line between gambling and trading

I traded the football at the start of the '09 season, both English and Spanish, and had a few good wins which bolstered my bank and my confidence; then followed several losses which promptly deflated my bank and confidence. It was at that point that I suspected there may be a bit more gambling involved in footy than my conscience could take.

However, I do still take a keen interest and follow a few football traders' blogs, including the "The Nugget Crew" (there's a link to their site in my Blog List). The chaps who run the site, Bingo and Adster, know a thing or two about trading the footy.

Most days they have a 'Trade of the Day' - today's one being Derby vs Coventry in the Championship. I've followed their recommendations quite closely, but have always been tentative about jumping on the bandwagon for the same reason that when I jump on a horse whose price is rapidly moving, it inexplicably goes the other way. The words "IT'S A CONSPIRACY!" then reverberate around my head.

Anyway, tonight I thought "sod that" and jumped on the wagon. The trade involved backing the 2-1 and the under 1.5 as insurance, the stake split being 67%/33%. The intention was that if Derby score first, the 2-1 should come in enough to cover the red on the <1.5 and we're out for a profit. Better still, hang on for a second goal from either side and green up a bit more. The <1.5 insurance would give us a near-enough scratch trade if 0-0 at half time.

I stuck a fiver on this recommendation, with the required split of £3.33 on the 2-1 and the remainder on the <1.5. The only 'spanner in the works' would be an early goal from Cov...

5 minutes into the game "MARKET SUSPENDED"!!!

Cov get an early goal, leaving the <1.5 in tatters and the 2-1 out a little bit. Knowing a second goal from Cov would sink both bets I redded up at about -£1.60 across both markets.

Just out of interest, I checked the 2-1 market a little later and, bouyed by a Derby equaliser, it would have come in enough to have earnt me about 3 quid of green after deducting the <1.5 loss.

A little later still, I checked again and...


The game ended 2-1 in the end which would have made me £30-ish, but would 85 mins of praying and pacing up an down been worth it? Nah, it's too much like gambling.

Down and up...then down again

Sometimes, building up a large bank from nothing can be a real hindrance: I might see a nice lay opportunity but I can't cover the liability so I miss an opportunity. In saying that, having a small bank is keeping me disciplined since I have to 'reign in' my stakes somewhat.

Today, I found myself at -£3.70 without doing too much wrong. The doubt started creeping in at this point but I decided to up my stakes to £18 (my bank) and fight back. At 3:50pm I had scratched my deficit. At 4:10pm I was down -£4.43.

I probably should have walked away from the desk at 3:50 feeling good about my fight back. That way, I could have returned to it next time and fooled myself into thinking that the worst was behind me. But trading at this level is a bit like learning golf - you're only as good as you're last shot. So I carried on with the hope of some green combined with a dogged determination to succeed at this...and got stung.

I'm not going to over-analyse my trading too much anymore; I used to do that on a whiteboard, filling it in after every trading session. It was interesting to see my development and quite cathartic at the same time. Then I decided I need to trade more aggressively if I am going to get anywhere with this, and this blog is now my public whiteboard.

In case you're interested, here's the whiteboard:

The blue writing is information about the trading session; the red writing is things I did wrong; the green is things I did right.

So, onto today's P+L sheet:

-£4.43 using £10-18 stakes.

Thursday 5 November 2009

It's official - I'm redundant!

Having just completed my 30 day consultation period, my redundancy is now official.

And so begins my 12 week garden leave.

Now my intention is to crack this Betfair trading lark before the severance runs out.

I will be mainly concentrating on the horse racing, with a bit of footy thrown in for good measure. And maybe some X Factor (ahem).

This was my effort on the pre-race horse markets for today:

-£1.52 using £10 stakes.

Onward and upward.