Tuesday 31 August 2010

August round up

August has been a pleasing month, if tiring at times. I've traded the horses every day to condition myself for full-timedness.

As I've said previously, I'm looking for about £30 a day at the minute on average. I achieved £38 a day on average this month although, as you can see, the daily amounts aren't uniform.

One quite fundamental thing for me has been ending the day in profit, even if it's just a couple of quid. It confirms that I'm managing my bank and keeping things on an even keel. Bearing in mind I trade off a bank of £1000, being able to withdraw my wages each day and protect those earnings has given me a boost.

As you can see from the graph, ever since last October I've had some very negative days that have swung the graph line to extremes; this month has seen a very positive trend in the graph (circled in red).

Damage limitation
On the days where I start off badly and get into deficit, I employ a little technique where I write the negative balance on my white board in red, and then endeavour to claw back from there. It seems to work wonders and I did the same today after getting into trouble early on.

Sunday 29 August 2010

Cycling on thin ice

Went in-play a few times today, was feeling a bit dozy like one of the late-summer wasps that are easy to whack with a newspaper!

I used to thrash at the hedge button and shut my eyes but I don't panic as much these days, and try and get out at a reasonable price.

I never intend on going in-play but it's one of the hazards of trading right to the off. Things aren't helped by:

- the laggy Racing UK player which I generally have to refresh a minute or so before the off to ensure near-to-live pictures (because if I don't the thing will gradually slip behind by 10+ seconds)
- the Racing UK / ATR commentators who have a chin-wag from time-to-time and don't alert me of the off as I concentrate on the ladders
- me forgetting to switch between RUK / ATR for the next race
- me being dozy like the aforementioned late-summer wasp

Today was a slow-burner; I've come to realise that this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes it's important to start cautiously and see what mood the markets are in for a while. It was 4 o'clock before the floods gates opened and the profit came.

A cheeky 50p @ 14 on the Sunderland win against City in the dying minutes brought another 7 quid when they scored. I had a live stream on for a bit and City looked useless. If I'd held on a bit longer I could have had a staggering price of 90!! Pity the fool that laid them then :/

Friday 27 August 2010

Ponderings and pontifications

This week has seen a good proft returned from the horses, God love 'em.

It's not masses I know, especially compared to what some squeeze out of the exchanges, but it's far in excess of the £100-a-week minimum target I set myself at the start of the summer. I've managed to make some profit the last 15 days in a row now which has done wonders for my spirits; in fact, I've only had 3 losing days this month so far. Now I'm starting to get some consistency, I'm contemplating going full time and really making a go of it, using horse racing as a prop while I explore other territories (tennis mostly).

The only doubt I've really got is how things will go over the Autumn / Winter with less horse racing to fall back on. I've been doing the horses pretty much every day since last October but I don't know if the markets were good or not because I was only making pennies back then. All I cared about was not losing loads while I was learning.

I've always found the lifestyle of a trader enchanting ever since reading blogs by the likes of Adam Heathcote, Jack Birkhead and Peter Webb. This recent post by Peter was just pure awesomeness and exactly the lifestyle that I dream of. What a cool little mobile setup.

I'm a bit rooted to my office at the moment with trading, reading blogs, scanning Betfair for trading opportunities, studying form, looking for live feeds, talking in chat rooms...it all takes time. In fact, if I'm not careful, I'm in danger of becoming consumed by it! Once the kids are back at school I hope to get into a better routine whereby trading compliments my life rather than consumes it. I think the run up to Christmas will be a true test of whether I can cut it in the long run.

I'm certainly not delusional as I know how hard it has been just to reach this far without losing my mind or money! The gravy train could end tomorrow for us all, who knows what's around the corner? So we might aswell enjoy it and aspire to be the best we can, while we can!

Sunday 22 August 2010

Pleasing weekend

This weekend started with a few quid won on the Roddick-Djokovic game on Friday evening. I hung out at the TradeShark's chat room and enjoyed a bit of banter with the lads in there. I can't say I've got any real strategies on the tennis as such, and am really just putting money into the market with a certain degree of expectation as I watch the match.

Saturday's racing was MENTAL and I struggled to keep up with the off times because of some clashes. Got off to a rubbish start because of greed and lost -£17 so was playing catch up for a bit. Came good in the end though with lots of concentration although £38 is a fairly modest sum for me on a Saturday these days.

Got back from a family party to trade a bit of last night's Fish-Roddick semi; it was 4-5 to Roddick before rain struck and he came out to break serve and nail the set - Fish was woeful. I watched Roddick's odds steam in further as he looked like taking the next set and the match. I laid Roddick for £100 at 1.03 and set a back bet at 1.5 in case Fish decided to fight back, then went to bed. So it was a nice surprise to wake up this morning and find that Fish did the impossible. Roddick was trading at 1.01 before I switched off too, so there must have been some unhappy punters out there.

Should have had another £12 on the Chelsea-Wigan game when I backed >2.5 goals for £20 but bottled the trade before the goal flood began. Statistically, the outcome was nailed on but I haven't got a lot of confidence in trading the footy at the moment, tennis seems more straightforward. I think it's because you get that price-time decay thing on the overs where the price drifts out sharply when no goals are going in and I'm always thinking "if only I'd hung out for a better price..." or "if a hedge now my red will only be this much..." - it's at conflict with my trading personality if you like.

Had a good session on the horses this arvo; I was really relaxed, not really expecting much of a Sunday - they are usually pretty poor for me - and was pleased to make £50. My trading was calculated too, happy to take a few quid here and there. I really think patience is the key to it all: the days where I jump in feet first and don't wait for the right trades to come about are typically the ones with the up-and-down PnL.

Sunday 15 August 2010

Keeping a cool head

I took another step in the right direction today after getting cruelly SMASHED IN twice. Someone was lumping on again and my lay bet was demolished with a kamikazi 33k back bet taking me for -£25, which was followed by a withdrawal and a price re-adjustment which kindly re-adjusted my loss to -£30...bah! This was followed some time later by a similar scenario except I clawed it back to about -£9.

I was very calm about it though and tried not to let it affect my state of mind when trading the races that followed, which is a sign that my trading is evolving in a good way. Another snippet from the excellent Trading in the Zone by Mark Douglas states:

"...but the bottom line is that successful traders have virtually eliminated the effects of fear and recklessness from their trading. These two fundamental characteristics allow them to achieve consistent results."

I can certainly appreciate how debilitating fear is and it's something that I'm endeavouring to cut out of my game. Reckless trading seems to come out of fear too, or indeed laziness or plain stupidity.

He then goes onto make the point:

"Interestingly, most traders are closer to the way they need to think when they first begin trading than at any other time in their
careers. Many people begin trading with a very unrealistic concept of the inherent dangers involved."

Food for thought!

Saturday 14 August 2010

The curse of HomeHub

Forget what those twits on the advert say about BT and their HomeHub, I can't get on with it and don't have a lot of faith in it when it comes to trading.

Admittedly, I've got a long network cable stretched across the conservatory from the router which goes into one of those ethernet plug-in jobs, which sends the signal across the electricity cabling to another plug-in jobby in my office, then onto my PC via a 5-port hub - but who doesn't, eh?

Anyway, I keep getting these silly dropouts from time-to-time and once I restart the HomeHub it works ok again for a while. I didn't get this problem with Talk Talk and wish I'd never swapped over.

So when it dropped out again today I lost £14 which, following lots of shouting and throwing things, sent me off-course for a while. After clasping my dog-eared copy of Trading in the Zone by Mark Douglas and saying a few words of prayer, I managed to regain enough composure to pull off a £37 trade which put me firmly back on top!

I hate getting off to a bad start on Saturday especially as I know what I'm capable of. Still, all is well that ends well but the HomeHub's days may be numbered!

Friday 13 August 2010

Monkey business

This week has been a slog. Probably did just over a ton. Then again, I made over that today and lost -£77 of it in bad / unlucky trades.

I find that I go into the sessions with a clear head and sensible action plan. A few hours in and fatigue sets in or something because I have a tendency to throw chunks of money away. If I work through tea time and well into the evening I'm always mentally exhausted at the end.

I like to think by ploughing on I'm being single-minded in my quest for financial independance; others may call it stubborness, short-sightedness or just plain stupidity!

On the recommendation of others, I've started to read Trading in the Zone by Mark Douglas. A few pages in and he posed an interesting thought about monkeys and their response to being rewarded for hard work.

I haven't got the exact text in front of me but it is something along the lines of:

1) If you give a monkey a reward for doing some work, they'll continue to repeat the activity that reaps the reward.
2) If you stop the rewards, the monkey will eventually stop trying because it knows a reward isn't coming.
3) The final scenario is where you sporadically reward the monkey. In this instance, the monkey will keep doing the work in case a reward is imminent.

Mr Douglas then goes onto explain that scenario 3) is like the trader that can't stop trading even when a signal isn't present; in their quest for the reward they trade through thick and thin in the hope that something will come of it. He then states that this types of trader is addicted to the potential of a reward, unlike monkey 1) who is assured that one is coming.

That really hit home with me because I do have a tendency to get involved in everything that moves which, in my mind, perpetuates the tiredness and leaves me vulnerable to losses due to the speculative natures of some trades.

Whilst I can certainly see where he is coming from, the problem I have is that my strategies aren't exactly set in stone and only by being in the money can I decide what the next move is. Don't get me wrong, this approach has served me pretty well until know, but I'd much prefer to be monkey 1) that enters a trade which reasonable assuredness that a reward will materialise at the end of it.

That would ensure that I have lots of more time to swing from trees and eat termites off a stick.

"When you've closed your position can you come round here and pick the mites off my back?"

Saturday 7 August 2010

Best week so far

This trading week (Sat-Fri) has been splendid, boosted greatly by last Saturday's large haul.

I'd like to make a minimum of £30 each day which would amount to a respectable return each month if I traded 7 days a week (which I invariably do at the moment). I've far exceeded £30 on four days this week which is pleasing and definitely a habit I want to get into.

I must admit that yesterday and today have been very hard going with only a small profit yielded but I'm learning to sit tight on what I perceive to be 'hard' days and preserve the bank. If I can profit on the 'good' days and play safe on the 'hard' days then I should be ok.

Thursday 5 August 2010

A Dyno Rod day

Perhaps a new term for my Trading Glossary! Something was bunged up in the pipeline, stopping my profit from flowing freely.

After four hours of ups and downs, where I only reached a max of £20, I shut the PC down and went and did something else.

Not sure whether today was any different to yesterday, where I made a healthy return, or if it is just in the mind. Some days I seem to have the Midas touch but today was more like the Minus touch.

The good thing is, I was able to pull myself away before any real damage was done. Last Friday, on the other hand, it took me until I was -£60 down to quit.