Monday 31 January 2011

January roundup

No trading today with the Betfair API on it's knees. I wonder whether maintenance means clearing logs and archiving data, or whether it means bug fixing and enhancements? Whatever they are doing, I hope they don't screw anything up!

It was same this time last year and I remember someone on the forum saying it's the same every year as Betfair ready themselves for the busy summer season. These were my notes from Jan 30th and 31st 2010...

Nevermind, it's a good excuse for a day off and boy do I need one - it's my first break from trading since 27th December!

Profit-wise, it's been my best month so far and has given me a boost as I end my first official month as a full-time trader.

I did trade with a bank of upto £1800 mid-way through the month and although it gave me more capability in the markets, I still didn't really go above £5 tick sizes. I've withdrawn most of that now and am using a bank of around 1k again; I'm more comfortable using a 1k bank as it reduces my liability in case of a catastrophe. I don't think I could mentally recover from losing more than a grand at this stage in my trading career!

It's handy having a bigger bank on festival days because the markets are more stable so I'll perhaps look to boost the coffers again in time for Cheltenham and hive some of it off to my Aussie wallet when I'm not using it.

There's plenty more I can improve on and I'm looking forward to tackling the summer season with a more experienced head on my shoulders.

Sunday 30 January 2011


I couldn't get any action on the racing today. Action is quite a difficult thing to define. If I'm going great guns down at the bowling alley and getting lots of strikes, then I would typically say that there is plenty of good pin action. Likewise, if I can move from race-to-race whilst profiting with a seemingly effortless flow, then I would define that as a good action. Today was a slog!

I made my minimum daily target of just over £30 which is the main thing. If about two thirds of the way through the session I haven't already blasted through this target, then I'll tend to play safe so I don't jeopardise my chances of reaching it.

Poor Andy Murray - I really hoped he'd win the Oz open today. Even though I'm an Englishman, I'm not into all that "he's Scottish so I don't care if he loses" bullshit mentality. He's from the British Isles, he's worked damn hard to get where he is and he deserves his success. I think is problem is that he gives his opponents too much respect...

"Yeah, he's really strong and on a good day he can beat anyone...blah blah blah"

Ok, I'm paraphrasing there but that's the kind of thing he comes out with. He needs to talk like a champion - you wouldn't hear Fed bigging up the other guy in this "I'm already beaten" monotone blather!

I dipped into the betting, and put a lay on Djokovic towards the end of the second set as his price was around 1.10 at that point. I was hoping that Murray make come back to take the third set, and when he broke Djokovic in the first game I became more hopeful. But when Murray crumbled in the second game I decided that he was done and dusted and scratched the trade.

Paul over at Tradeshark's Tennis Trading was spot on with his pre-match assessment as usual but the risk-vs-reward of backing Djok from the start doesn't suit my more cautious approach, so I waited until the game unfolded a bit. I prefer to lay at low odds as far as tennis is concerned.

Wednesday 26 January 2011


Oh, how the adverts on At The Races get on my nerves.

"Have you been injured in an accident that wasn't your fault?"


I suppose it's handy to know the number in case I do need to sue the backside off somebody!!

Well, another month is about to draw to a close and I'm well on my way to a record month. Sadly, the Premium Charge is creeping up on me and I've nearly exhausted my allowance...

After reading lots of posts about the PC and possible ways to avoid it, I'm still not really any the wiser. On one hand, I don't relish paying this "tax" in the coming months but on the other, at least it means I'm successful at what I'm doing.

"And what are you doing these days, Mets?"

Well, for a start, I'm focussing on in-play trading more these days. I find the pre-race trading quite stressful and my performance can be quite up and down, depending on the volatility of the markets, so any other money-making angles must be explored. I also commented a while back that I was getting fed up of being manipulated pre-race.

"If you can't beat them, join them!"

Not with a 1k bank I can't, and I'm not really interested in letting my bank grow because my view is, if it's in my account, it's at risk of a betfair outage or an in-play slip up. Therefore, I like to limit my liability to something that won't cause me to jump off a cliff if something goes wrong!

Recently, I explored a strategy using a bot that I'd developed in MarketFeeder Pro, but it didn't come to fruition and the software trial expired, so I haven't moved any further forward with it. That's not to say I won't explore it again at a later date, but there's quite an overhead involved in developing and testing a bot whilst simultaneously trying not to affect the living I'm making from manual trading.

My ultimate goal is to develop a profitable lay system so I can ease off the trading altogether and thus reduce my stress-levels. My adrenal gland has been working overtime for the last 15 months or so now and I'm sure it must be close to burn out. That's not to say that I don't get a buzz from trading, but my heart rate reaches silly levels at times and that can't be good long term.

In the meantime, today was a good day to make some WON-GA and I'm pleased that I've only had one losing day this month so far....

Saturday 15 January 2011


The Devil may make work for idle hands, but not for me - I was flat out from 12-4 with trading and trying to get this damn bot to do something useful.

The program did a fair amount of "binging" and "bonging" as rules were met and bets were placed, but I had no clue what was going on until I discovered the Action Log nestled at the bottom of the screen...

This contains a fair bit of information which, now I know it exists, I will observe more closely in future sessions. I should read the manual really, but I'm far too impatient!

There was plenty of money around as you would expect on King George day, and it was refreshing to see the stands full at Kempton following some quite dire Winter meetings with hardly a soul in attendance at times. I had a nice day profit-wise but I'm eager to get this bot working to take some of the pressure off.

Friday 14 January 2011

Bad ch'i

A rather bitty day today, with only a tenner earnt. Matters weren't helped by me trashing my desk area while trying to shoehorn my new Korg X50 synth into an already crowded workspace. Stuff was everywhere and I hate trading whilst surrounded by chaos, my mind is all over the place.

I was testing the bot too which was distracting as I tried to figure out, for the first 6 races at least, why it was doing bugger all. It turns out I'd managed to disable the first of two triggers by selecting 'never' in the execute dropdown...see what I mean - chaos!

Once I'd got it going it didn't really do much and I spent the rest of the afternoon fiddling with it. I decided in the end that I'd approached it in the wrong way and have thought of a far more straighfoward method of execution - 'more than one way to skin a cat' as they say. As a former programmer, I'm used to solving the same problem in a number of different ways. Usually, the second or third attempts end up being far simpler that the first - I believe we called it refactoring.

So I'll have a tinker in the morning and let it lose loose on tomorrow's markets and see where it gets me - another step closer to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!

Thursday 13 January 2011

Automated trading

Since I wrote this post about my 2011 pledges, I've been investigating how I could profit from botting.

Rather than re-invent the wheel and code something from scratch, I sat down last night and looked at what software is out there already that could help me. The two main programs I've found are Gruss and MarketFeeder.

My basic understanding of Gruss is that it's a trading tool similar to The Toy but with the additional option of triggering bets from rules set up in spreadsheets.

MarketFeeder can automate spreadsheets too, but it also allows you to set triggers up via the UI, which seemed more straightfoward to me.

Fast forward to tonight then and I've set about implementing a new strategy of mine in MarketFeeder. I've opted for the 14 day trial, so it's not costing me anything yet, and I'm using Test Mode... I can see if my strat is a goer before putting any real dosh down. I'm aware of the cost implications of making too many calls per second to Betfair's API, and am therefore using the program with a relative's Betfair account that they're not using.

The number of permutations of rules you can set on your triggers is staggering, and quite easy to pick up with help from the great tutorials on their site. The trigger took me about 2 hours to write and I'm going to use it in anger tomorrow, alongside my regular trading on my main account. If it works out as planned, then it will be a few hours well spent.

Thursday 6 January 2011

Newsflash from Corrie...

...Cheapstow has passed the inspection - let's go racing!

"Er, Eddie? How do I get to Cheapstow again?"

Sunday 2 January 2011

The kiss of death

I must apologise to fans of Pete Nordsted's Draw Master service. If you've seen his newsletter, you will know that he picks three Premier League matches every week that he thinks will end in a draw.

I've been following his picks since the start of the season and it had been doing very well...that is, until I started putting some real money on his selections. Yes, sadly, since Boxing Day (when I saw fit to jump on the bandwagon and earn some extra cash) the wheels have come off and he's now 0 for 6.

Ok, I'm not tossing away huge bucks, but 45 quid is 45 quid. The question is, do I carry on backing his selections and hope things come good again, or jump off now and undoubtedly watch Mr Nordsted land all three this weekend??!! ;)