Friday 25 February 2011

Trading constipation

Well today was a struggle...

A good 3 hours work there - not! It felt like there was a blockage which was stopping me making some money, a bit of trading constipation as I call it. I used to get a lot of days like this when I started out, usually a case of giving away as much as I make. These days, it's rare to make such a pitiful return but I just put it down to a lack of opportunities and move on. One man's opportunity is usually another's misfortune and it couldn't be more true than on Betfair.

I've managed to claw back Sunday's losing day and some more besides. It was a bit hard going on Monday and Tuesday knowing that I was just catching up with Saturday's end-of-day total, but by Wednesday I was through the worst of it and on my merry way again.

I opened another Betfair account at the start of the week so I can keep my pre-race and in-running banks seperate. I cleared it with Betfair first and they confirmed that they're ok about it as long as you're not trying to evade the Premium Charge or profit from their referral schemes in a sly fox sort of fashion. I'm just waiting for a bank transfer to complete and I'll be off and (in-)running.

I'm getting a bit burnt out again and may give myself Monday off with it being the last day of a rather short month. I've worked particulary hard this month and last, and have managed to stash a good lump of dosh away in my Aussie wallet to (hopefully) see me through the Spring and Summer festival season. Roll on March! Let's see, what have we got coming buffday*... Cheltz** ...and of course - Spring! Lighter evenings and some milder weather - hurrah!

for my foreign readers that's *birthday and **Cheltenham

Sunday 20 February 2011

A glass is completely empty

Honestly, the last 3 hours has been a complete mess. First race in and I'm done for -£200 at Kempton...


...then Betfair went down again (for probably the third time in as many weeks) which hindered any sort of comback...


...leaving me down overall for the weekend...

...and just below my 10k milestone I thought I was well and truly beyond...

"Do-do-do...come on and do the Conga..."

By the way, the in-play loss was my own undoing and not an API issue. Shiz happens and people get done for much worse, so I'll just move on do a West Brom ie try and tighten things up at the back!

Ideally what I need is a way of limiting my in-play liability to say £100. I've got onto The Geek and others to see if there is any way around it via The Toy. I hate the idea that my pre-race trading bank of 1k is at risk every time I trade in-play but swapping out a load to my Aussie wallet before every race is unrealistic.

If it's a limitation of the software then I might have to look at using something else in-running. Another alternative is to have another copy of The Toy open using a different account, but then I'm sure Betfair will be on my back about Premium Charge evasion!

If any readers have any better ideas then I'd appreciate your thoughts.

Realistically, I should make the money back, and more, by the end of the week but having to undo mistakes is a real pain in the backside.

Friday 18 February 2011

A full pot

I was ON THE CRAB again today...

and with 3 smashing days on the trot, it's been my best week so far...

It's meant that I've just broken the 10k barrier in earnings from Betfair.

Now although I wouldn't have discussed my earnings from my last job with strangers on the internet, I feel in this context it is important to highlight this particular milestone. I've come a long way from humble beginnings in late 2009, and it was touch-and-go whether the dream would actually become a reality, but I've just followed in the path of many others who've decided to walk away from industry and make it on their own.

I never comment much on the psychology of trading. There is obviously a lot of phsychology involved. When I first traded using the old Racing Traders software, Bet Trader Pro 4 or something, the feeling I got when I put my first £2 stake on the ladder was a mixture of ecstasy and sheer terror! I thought "I'm doing it, I'm putting my own money into the market and I have no idea what is going to happen next!". Then you overcome the terror, increase your stakes and move on. I still get scared at £10 a tick. One day I won't be, I'm sure. I think we're all naive in everything we do, no matter how "experienced" we might think we are. How many times have you looked back and thought "I'd do that differently if I had the chance"?

I think every bloody Betfairian has read "Trading in the Zone" by Mark Douglas. I read a few chapters and got a bit bored. It didn't change my life, I already knew my attitude to taking risks and I don't need a book to tell me otherwise. Why do you think it's taken me this long to reach 10k? ** It's from knowing my limits, focussing on the big picture and being realistic about my ability. Some kids at school always knew how to work out those difficult equations in an instant; then there were the kids who didn't have a clue and were more interested at flicking elastic bands at your head; lastly, there were the bunch in between who also liked flicking elastic bands but knew that it was important to get the equations finished first. I always got there in the end ;)

** In fairness, most of the 10k has come in the last few months so I know I'm "growing" at a good rate now.

As I said at the start of the year, I need to try and explore other markets and find winning strategies in those too. I always have a look at the footy on a Saturday while I'm sitting here "doing the racing", even if I don't get involved. There's always cricket I suppose, but it involves having some sort of enthusiasm for it, which I don't. Same with rugby. I'm undecided about tennis. Perhaps golf would be an interesting avenue to explore, since I'm a reformed player anyway! I've made a bit on it in the past, but I think it was more luck than judgement. The thing is, it's hard to just get into a sport - it either captured your imagination in the first place, or it didn't.

There's the Eurovision to look forward to in May; I made a bit of dough on that last year and am keen to get involved again as I like watching it anyway. I've got Britain's Got Talent in my sights too. And the X-Factor of course, which will be later on in the year.

Now, where's that elastic band....

Thursday 17 February 2011

Deadliest Catch

I watched a series of Deadliest Catch recently about Alaskan king crab fishermen. Blimey, those blokes have got guts! There are 1000s of boats out fishing in-season, looking for clusters of these crab, and the crew would often say they were "on the crab" if there were 30+ of the things surfacing in each of their pots.

At $30 a piece, a 30+ pot would understandably be regarded as a lucrative haul.

I've been "on the crab" (a worthy addition to my Glossary me thinks) every day except one this year, when I let frustration cloud my judgement and lost about 40 quid. I mean every day too, as I've not missed a day since 28th Dec (apart from 31st Jan when BF went down). The last couple of days has been particularly fruitful, where I even managed to profit from footy (which I'm sure I'm down on overall, given that I still treat it as a bit of a sideline and have tossed loads of dosh away on silly bets).

Whenever I trade for long periods without a break, I find I start getting the "twitches". It's a bit like the nervous system is saying "hey, give yourself a day off". But missing a day at the moment, when things are going swimmingly, is akin to not pulling up one of those crab pots. I could sit down and make £30 or £130 that day; I just never really know what's going to "come up in the pot".

"That's enough of the crab analogies now, Mets!"


Actually, I did finish my session early yesterday to go for a swim. When we got to the pool, they wanted us to pay £40 - £20 for me and £20 for the wife - instead of the usual £7, because her membership had lapsed. 40 quid for a swim? WHAT IS THE WORLD COMING TO??!!

It's interesting to see that Mark Iverson has also been on one of Centaur's courses. His review was a bit more diplomatic than mine but then again I vowed that I wouldn't care as much about what people think of me when I started working for myself, as there is very little to lose by speaking your mind when you don't have to fear upsetting a boss. If people (eg politicians) were a bit more straight-talking in this country then perhaps it wouldn't be going to the dogs. After all, the Italians don't seem to have trouble expressing themselves...

Friday 11 February 2011

Go Com-paaaaaaare!

Having spent most of this month moaning about one thing or another, I thought I'd post something a bit "lighter"!

I've been shopping around for car insurance in the last few days and I've been trying to decide what I should put as my career. These comparison sites give you a fairly generic list to choose from and as most of us know, choosing carefully (I still recommend being truthful!) can help bring down the premium by a few pounds.

Interestingly, the Go Compare site provided me with a number of options. Let's see...

Househusband? Yep.

Gambler? Of sorts.

Trader? What are the choices?

Ah, Toy Trader! That's surely it!!

Thursday 10 February 2011

Racing Poo-K

What a day. I'm spitting feathers here. It took me 4 phone calls and 4 emails to get to the bottom of why the Racing UK online player has an 8+ second delay on the feed now...

Yes, you heard it here first folks - adaptive bitrate streaming.

Soon after this email arrived, the phone rang and I got into a heated debate with Sean's boss (still waiting to get his name and job title), a sarcastic Scottish fellow who came on the line very bolshily and spouted how I was in breach of terms for using the stream to bet in-running.

I had a look at the terms after and couldn't see what he was talking about.

I said "I'm getting an 8-10 second delay this end" to which he replied "I'm only getting 7 at my end" !!

He went on to say that RUK disapprove of in-running punters and that business decisions wouldn't be decided by the likes of me.

Is that really RUK's stance, or just his? It was curious stuff, I wish I'd recorded the conversation as it would've made interesting listening. I heard Nick Luck talking about a horse trading shorter in-running just a bit earlier, so "exchange talk" doesn't appear to be prohibited??

I'm apparently "1 in a 1000" who is disgruntled with the change and "the rest were crying out for an improved stream" - who are all these hordes of people I wonder?

I'm not one to go looking for conflict but I wasn't prepared to be fobbed off on this occasion. As Mike "Porky" Parry (ex-Talksport) would often proclaim..."I am the seeker of truth and justice".

It pretty much set the tone for the first half of my trading session. My head was all over the place and I was still smarting from my telephone conversation. It was 3:20 before I got my mind back on the job...

Anyway, I've cancelled my RUK subscription for now and in the meantime will probably just rely on Timeform radio for the races that aren't on ATR - their audio seems to come from RUK anyway and the delay is negligable.

Perform Group

It seems I'm not the only one with a gripe about the Racing UK stream as Kie over at My Trading KO goes onto say...

"Had exactly the same problem. I've cancelled my subscription with them now, its just utterly pointless! Cut your losses i reckon, it will save you £10 a month and possibly a lot more by basically gambling with their stream."

It looks like the Racing UK player is now in the hands of Perform Group. They've seemingly taken over the broadcast of the web feed using their shiny but allegedly super-slow e-player (I have to be careful what I say without being libelous).

I've logged a complaint to their customer services who are supposedly going to get back to me. Where have I heard that one before? I've got the list of Execs firmly in my sights if they think they can just fob me off! I want answers!!

Wednesday 9 February 2011

Racing UK woes

I wrote another email of complaint to Racing UK today...

Hello, I've got a complaint about the web player (I didn't know what to select in the dropdown so I chose the closest thing). Since the website and player was changed, the player is now useless to me as an in-running punter. Whilst I could deal with the previous 2-3 second delay, there is now an 8-10 second delay. It's barely acceptable during the 1-3 milers, but for the 5f, 6f and 7f races it's a waste of time me switching the player on. Can it be put back to how it was before please? I know it's nothing to do with my internet connection as everything else is running fine. Also, the stream used to come through in a second or so but even that takes 4-5 seconds to start up. My telephone number is ***** ****** - happy to discuss. If it can't be put back then I'll have to cancel my subscription and make do with ATR and Betfair radio something. I wish it hadn't been fiddled with as I was totally happy with £10/month for the old player/feed. Please can someone get back to me as my last email (which I sent at the weekend) was totally ignored!

I think that says it all really. 8-10 seconds - what the hell is going on?! I'm going to ring them tomorrow anyway, as I doubt I'll get a satisfactory email reply. Someone at Racing UK has made the decision to tamper with the player and I need to know who!

Yes I could subscribe to the live channel itself I suppose but that's another tenner a month and I'd have to chop and change channels instead of what I do currently, which is have ATR on the TV and Racing UK streaming, so I can just mute one or t'other. Also, I'm not sure what the delay is like on their TV feed - anyone know? 2-3 seconds is fine for me in-running, any more than that and the betting becomes a lottery!

It would be interesting to hear if anyone else is experiencing these difficulties. Why couldn't they just leave things alone grrrr!

Monday 7 February 2011

A desperate plea

No, not from me but from John O'Dywer at his Betfair Profit and Loss blog. His latest post (which has since been removed from the website) highlights how dire things can get when you risk your entire bank on a "nailed on" outcome...

Basically, I've messed up big style. I have won consistently on Betfair in the past, making around 27k in total from February to September last year and was even lucky enough to go to Flushing Meadows in New York and Wimbledon for the tennis, but in the last month it has gone very wrong because I have taken far too many risks. And because of this I have lost my bank and now have no funds left to work with. :-(

I am writing this to ask if anyone out there would be so kind as to lend me some funds to start again so I can build it up slowly into the numbers I made last year. I am very confident, and if you could do this, I will not only pay you back, but I will give you a massive slice of any profit I make in future on Betfair - which I expect to do.

I know this is asking a lot as you do not know me, but I will totally make it worth your while in future if anyone could do this.

My email address is



Frightening! It makes me want to shut up shop and quit while I'm ahead.

But as much as I feel for John in this horrific situation, isn't lending money to a trader/gambler a bit like relying on a dog to keep an eye on your dinner when the doorbell rings?

Saturday 5 February 2011

Technical difficulties

I had another profitable day today...

so why am I sooooo flippin' mad??!!

Well, let's start with the Betfair outages. We all know that they've got us over a barrel so it's not like many of us can revolt or anything. Why they're messing around with things on the busiest day of the week is anybody's guess. Haven't they got any failover? They were hopping mad on the Betfair forum. I had to reduce my stakes significantly to reduce my liabilities and it hurt my profit potential immensely :(

I also had to contend with the Racing UK stream dropping out all afternoon. Refresh page, back it comes, drop out, refresh page, back it comes, drop out etc etc. I've emailed a complaint. I might only pay a tenner a month but I haven't had to use the thing much in the last few months because they hardly show any bloody racing on it - ATR have been showing most of it! Days go by where I don't have to fire up that bloody player because they're not broadcasting anything and so when I need it, it needs to work!

Then there was the interference on my Sky sender, probably caused by next door's microwave...or solar winds...or something....

Let's not forget the £100 lay of Arsenal I had (cheers Pete for the tip) which I got off for a tenner win at 3-4, only for the equaliser to go in seconds later. That's £83 not a tenner won...£83 lost.

Yours ungratefully,


Friday 4 February 2011

If it ain't broke...

Ok, a while back I was bemoaning BT broadband because I was getting random dropouts at critical times during my trading sessions. Well I take it all back, it's actually been pretty rock solid now for 6 months.

The trouble is, we currently get our broadband through my wife's business line at the moment but we've decided to cancel the line to save costs. Here's hoping that BT will do a straight swap of the broadband package over to our landline account to avoid disruption. It would be preferable to have an overlap instead of them decomissioning the broadband and me having to wait for reconnection. I don't want to miss any trading days at the moment while things are going well...

Whilst I'm on the subject, I'm finding it hard to give myself a day off at the moment. I always thought once I went full time that I'd be taking days off at my leisure but I'm not inclined to at the moment for a few reasons:

1) I don't want to interrupt a good run of form
2) Like a squirrel, I must gather as many "nuts" as possible to see me through leaner times or to cover family holidays
3) The weather is crap anyway so it's not like I can go far without being frozen, blown about or soaked through (today it was blown about!)

When the lighter evenings come again, I'll have to get into a decent routine whereby I'm not trading from 2-9 and missing out on the very thing I've strived to aquire - more recreational time!

squirrels gathering nuts in a flurry, will cause snow to gather in a hurry

Thursday 3 February 2011

Are you gonna go my way?

I couldn't get a sniff of profit at Towcester today, I must have lost 40 quid pre-race all in all. It was almost as if, as soon as I looked at the market, it went the other way. The graph below shows an example of one horse I was about to lay....and then it plummeted! The price just fell through the floor...along with my jaw!! I wasn't so lucky on other occasions.

I found the other tracks a bit more forgiving though and ended up in profit overall...

Betfair sent me a nice reminder about the Premium Charge which I'm sure is familiar to any veteran traders that read this blog...

It was a nice treat as I was expecting to be debited -£67 this week and I'd kept £1067 in my bank to allow for it.

Where it says...

"if your betting continues to be as successful as it has been, you may be required to pay Premium Charges"

...I'm hoping it means they'll turn a blind eye for a few more weeks! :D