Thursday 28 April 2011

Siberia - the place to be!

I ramped up "Scooter - Ramp" on iTunes this afternoon to get me fired up for the session. It seemed to do the trick

Sometimes, it's nice to block out all that "horse talk" for even just a few minutes. Go on, give it a try and crank up those speakers :D

Tuesday 26 April 2011

Cow muck

Today was cow muck.

Ol' banana fingers here goes to type in a £2 stake but doesn't clear the 5 that's in the box already. £52 plonked on a nag just as it falls out of the leading pack. Result = £52 gone.

"What a slip up!"

Next up was an in-running lay of some Ruby Walsh nag for a nice 20 English groats. I was already planning what I was going to spend this fortune on when...what's that? The leading 3 horses have all tripped over each other? Result = Walsh wins, Mets hands back the groats plus more besides.

What else have we got? Oh yes, the £200 lay I put on a horse at Fairyhouse just as "Billy Big Stakes" comes crashing in with a back for 97k....what the hell? Not a couple of grand, 97 grand!! Result = -£25 red across the field.

It wasn't this hard yesterday

Monday 25 April 2011

The jury is in

I've decided that I like the "Windows running on a Mac" experience. The software was playing nicely today and I had no performance issues. After a bit of tweaking, I've even got the cursor movement to "feel" a bit more natural now too.

The racing was lovely with lots of opportunites both pre-race and in-running

It was business as usual - unlike the previous two days, I got off to a nice gentle start and the money flowed in nicely after that. Impatience can be the undoing of me, and many others I suspect.

It was nice to get out for a bike ride with the family this morning round our local park, a great way to clear my head and relax me going into the session. I've not been very good at preparing properly for my sessions. Usually I'm scoffing a last minute bite while franticly powering up my computers, logging into The Toy etc; none of this sits well with my OCD and I'm therefore going to try and be a bit more organised in future.

Sunday 24 April 2011

Mac rage

This was my first weekend trading on the Mac Mini - the jury is still out on that one. Windows 7 was running like a badly oiled machine midway through the session and I had to reload the virtualisation software and then Windows before I could continue. I wasn't sure why it got so sluggish as it ran fine yesterday.

The thing I haven't quite got to grips with is the mouse movement on the Mac. Natively, OS X does funny things to the mouse cursor, like slow it down over buttons for instance. Steve Jobs probably thinks that's a useful feature or something, but I couldn't live with it and had to download some "mouse-correcting" software just to get it behaving approximately like it does in Windows

SteerMouse stops all that Mac cursor craziness!

I noticed in the latest release of The Toy (the one with the training mode) that The Geek has introduced a couple of new keyboard shortcuts to the fold - Z to cancel all bets on the lay side of the selection and C to cancel all the back bets. I've been meaning to investigate the keyboard shortcuts for aaaaaages and quite possibly the most useful one for me is the market sort by hitting the spacebar. I was doing this via the menu system before but now whacking the spacebar save me loads of effort. It's just a case of factoring these keystrokes into my action now as I generally have my left hand over the numbers at the minute to quickly change the stake amounts. Sooner or later, these extra keystrokes will become second nature, much like when I used to play COD4 online where I'd be jump-strafing while simultaneously killing 3 enemies with headshots and 'nading 3 others...

Anon: keep dreaming...

I don't think I'll be paying too much premium charge next Wednesday, as this week has been very patchy and today was no exception

Hardware and software issues don't help, but more than that I've been behaving impatiently the last few days. My in-running staking plan has gone a bit barmy as I've sought bigger spoils, and I've suffered some heavier losses in the process. I'm careful to keep my daily losses to a minimum, so I'm not left with an uphill battle the next day.

I don't get "bent out of shape" over a £20 loss in the name of R&D, but obviously it's imperative not to let these R&D days get out of hand as it's a fine line between an R&D day and a sloppy-ass day!

Anon: "Bent out of shape"? "Sloppy-ass"? What's with all the Americanisms?!

There's a plethora of racing on tomorrow, and once again I'll be like a kid in a candy store, looking to squeeze ever drop out of the session. I'll try and be a bit more careful tomorrow and start as I mean to go on.

Wednesday 20 April 2011

Not so well

It must be one of the first occasions where it's taken me longer to think of a post title than to write the post!

Sometimes there is only so many ways to write "I did well" or "not so well". Today I did not so well after getting a bit of an in-running kicking

Another one of those claw back days I'm afraid but it could've been worse. I was only thinking earlier how nice it was that I haven't had a losing day in a while.

At -£125 down I was starting to think about shutting up shop and had set -£140 in my mind as a cut-off point. When I'm down a few quid I quite often find my mouse hand operating independently from my brain and further losses can occur if I'm not careful.

A nice £44 a bit later gave me a fighting chance, although that could've been £80+ if I'd greened up a bit quicker on one horse in-running. A bit later on I was £20 up on one horse pre-race just before it was withdrawn, and was about to green up in another for £50-£60 in-running when my horse's fortune changed mid-race. I ended up with 7 sheets - bah. Ah well, when it's not going your way what can you do?

I'm a bit perturbed about there not being any racing on Good Friday - I totally forgot about that since last year! I was looking forward to some good Bank Holiday action too. Looks as though I'll have to spend ALL arvo round my sister's drinking beer instead of just some of it ;)

With Good Friday this week and the Royal Wedding next, I'll have taken at least 6 days off this month's unheard of! What with getting off to a good start for the month, helped of course by the Aintree meet, it's quite nice to wind down a bit at the end of the month before the next one begins. I'm always at my most intense at the start of each month because I look to get a good boost to take the pressure off the rest of the month.

Friday 15 April 2011

On the up

"Just the one, Mrs Wembley"

I didn't feel like I was getting very far at the start of today's session, and quickly found myself -£35 down and counting. Still, I quickly turned things around and ended with a satisfying total for the afternoon / evening

As "Trader" over at Greed All Over points out, the evening racing feels "like continually being on call for the next 6 months or so". Certainly, with four meetings this evening it would've been an opportunity missed.

I'm trying to be careful not to trade every race every day at the moment, as scrapping for every bit of money is tiresome and not really necessary - I'm not that desperate for money!

I gave myself Monday and Tuesday off this week as I sorted out my "trading room" to accomodate my new Mac Mini

"oooooh, shiny"

The Geek's Toy is running in Windows 7 on a free trial of some virtualisation software I'm using called Parallels. I gave it a quick go yesterday but I think I need to tweak some of the settings as my mouse was acting a bit sluggishly and I can't be having that when I rely on accurate mouse clicks so much.

Obviously, it's important not to change a winning formula, so if I find that running the software in this way inhibits my performance then I'll just keep on the using my existing Windows box for trading and use the mac for my musical endeavours.

If you could see the amount of wires I'm using, you'd be horrifed!

Saturday 9 April 2011

Aintree Day 3

It's been a great day today. I awoke with a smile knowing it was "National" day. By 11 this morning I'd scrawled all over my Nan's Daily Mirror and narrowed the field to 13 based on some common winning trends of the last 10 years that I discussed in this post.

RIP Dooney's Gate :(

Ballabriggs was amongst the 13 but I didn't bother with him as his place odds were a bit on the short side.....DOH! I was only staking small amounts so I went for outsiders and ended up with these selections

And what did I get for my trouble? As cockney Gary from the Beeb would say: "naffink" !

Oh well, at least I went about it intelligently this year. Funnily enough, my wife, Nan, Mum, Dad and sister's Mother-in-law (!) all had a punt and we up came with nothing in the top 4 between us!!

Coke and Kalms were the order of the day as I got stuck into the trading side of things. Actually, I think Coke and Kalms cancel each other out do they?

Always read the label

I attacked the markets and found the trading conditions very well suited to my style - some of the in-running stuff was very nice indeed - and I was pleased with my total for the day

I was actually over 300 up but this total takes into account the -£24 lost in the place markets putting bets on for other people.

I found trading at Aintree was very good indeed, except for the National itself, which was a bit of a disaster. Basically, I was going to put some family bets on in the win markets using my spare BF account, but my funds didn't transfer over in time so I had to put them on using my main account.

Well not only did I find the pre-race conditions unfavourable, but in-running, these family bets were getting in the way of my hedging! I was hedging their bets accidentally as I traded the same horses and then had to quickly put the right back bets on again in case they came in. This happened on 3 horses and was a distraction I didn't need. Another lesson learned for next time! So I ended up breaking even on the race, which isn't the end of the world but I wanted to do better given the amounts of money sloshing around.

Oh well, there's always next year :)

Friday 8 April 2011

Aintree Day 2

Well I came up a bit short on yesterday's total

I didn't have any trouble at Aintree which is where a bulk of this came from. I was very poor at the other meetings and gave away loads. I didn't even realise I was doing it either until I looked at the PnL half way through.

The Aintree markets were right up my street, they had a nice loose feel to them and I got on the right side of some good moves. I expect the money will be a bit more "clogged up" tomorrow if last year is anything to go by.

It's very exciting that practically the whole nation gets behind the big race. My neighbour stopped me earlier asking for a tip. I told him I'm still "narrowing the field"...which I am. I'll take my fancies round my Nan's in the morning and pore over the Daily Mirror to make sure I haven't missed anything. Then I'll stick a couple of bets on aside from my usual trading to make it more interesting. As appointed Chief Bet Placer of the family, it's me they'll all come to with their 50p e/w stakes on some 200/1 shot they fancy cos it's got a nice name! It's little wonder the bookies rub their hands together on National Day.

Of course, we'll be treated to more fine presenting on the Beeb from John Parrot and his annoying "cock-en-ey geez-a" sidekick Gary. Was it last year or the year before that they used some rather foul language "off air" without realising their mics were still on?!

I treated myself to a new toy today

I bought a Mac Mini 2010 with an extra 4GB of RAM to prop up the rather pitiful 2GB it's supplied with. Typical Apple, selling you a machine that is only half upto the job and then offering you a load of expensive upgrades at the checkout. Anyway, I got this on eBay for a decent price after making a rather speculative Best Offer of £525 which was then accepted. I bought the RAM upgrade from Crucial for 35 notes.

Apple will probably be bringing out a 2011 refresh anytime, potentially with the i3 CPU they've just stuck in their new range of Mac Book Pros, but I couldn't be arsed to wait for that and anyway, it won't retail for less than 650 sheets (maybe a bit less on Amazon)...and I bet they won't upgrade the RAM!

I owned the original Mac Mini - they're whisper quiet and use little power. I plan to run Windows 7 on a virtual machine and use the Mac as my main trading box in the future. My current Windows 7 box, which was originally a gaming machine, has a 400W power supply and a GeForce graphics card so it's pretty juicy and a bit noisy. The Mini uses about 20-30W of power on average with an idling power usage of just 11W!

Well, we all deserve a little treat now and again :)

Thursday 7 April 2011

Aintree Day 1

I'd set my expectations high on day 1 of Aintree but only ended up with a fairly modest haul in the end

Being more of a scalper than a swing trader, I have a tendency to jump off a move after one or two ticks, rather than let the thing "pan out". The reason is, I'm always grateful for any green - I think I've got a hamster mentality

"Say what?"

My daughter's hamster will gladly hoover up any bit of food you give it and store it in it's pouch, because it's got a short-term view that this will be it's last meal. If it looked out of the cage it would see a chuffin' great bag of food sitting there! Similarly, I'm hoovering up all these little bits of green without really have a long term view of the market.

It's a bit of a bad habit I've fallen into really, this jumping from one horse to another hoovering up the available scraps - it doesn't really require much thought or analysis. Yesterday must have been a swing trader's Christmas and Birthday rolled into one, but I couldn't capitalise on it because my swing trading ability is pretty poor

I typically won't trade the fave for this reason, I can't read the damn swings very well. On the other hand, my scalping ability is pretty well honed and I have a good idea now what works and what doesn't.

I'm sure if I can advance my interpretation of the market movements, then things will move up another gear.

Saturday 2 April 2011

Visually impaired

There's an old saying: "Don't ever trust a boiler fitter with your satellite dish". Well, actually, it's a new saying as I've just made it up on the spot but I'm sure it will catch on! Yes, I had a new boiler fitted yesterday and I suspect (although I can't prove anything) that the boiler man broke my dish with his ladder as he repaired the gaping hole he'd made in the side of my house. So, until I get it sorted I'm trading without my usual ATR feed.

It's not a huge problem as I trade in-running almost exclusively to Timeform's commentary (it's quicker than ATR's commentary by at least a second) as my style of trading leaves little time to be staring at the runners for too long. I never did subscribe to the Racing UK channel after they messed me about with their stream - screw 'em! They can kiss my chuddies!!

It's been a good start to April

I traded all the meetings today right up until the 21:25 at Dundalk. It was a nice stress-free session and the money came nicely. It still only a fairly paltry 6 quid per race average but it's getting there.

March was a good month and I'm confident I can keep the momentum going throughout the spring and summer. I had a few days off in March and it has kept me motivated and fresh; I'll be doing the same this month, especially on the 29th April for the Royal Wedding (yes I'm a Royalist).

I'm excited about the Grand National next Saturday. Ever since I was about 8 or 9 I can remember having a flutter on this event. My Grandad always watched the racing on a Saturday but he'd only usually have a bet on Grand National day. Once we'd all pored over the paper for a few hours, we'd make our selections and he'd put them on at the bookies. He always had his own shortlist of 3 or 4 and would usually end up with something out of it. I never knew his selection process which, as a child, added to the whole "mystique".

Obviously things have changed a bit in the last couple of years, and I now find myself approaching the event with my trading head rather than a punting head. It takes all the fun out of it really but this is business. There was a pundit on the telly last year that reeled off a load of facts about past winners. Indeed, if you care to dig a bit deeper there are all sorts of filters to apply to this year's field. There is even a tool to strip out all the chaff from the field for you, although the website confusingly suggests that this is for the 2010 field, even though the runners appear to match up with Betfair's Antepost betting?

I expect I'll just trade the race this year unlike last year when I finished early to go round to my Nan's. It's times like that where I wish I could split myself in two so at least one of me could enjoy the event for what it is. I'll try and post up my "winning" selections by the end of the week for you all to laugh at!