Sunday 29 April 2012

Epidemic of addiction

Stumbled across this in the Mail Online today. It's the usual thing: we're all a nation of gambling addicts and everything is set to become 10x worse with the popularity of in-play betting blah blah.

I was more interested in the pictures. The featured trader's 4-screen setup would look rather nice in my office...

Friday 27 April 2012

Reining in the losses

Up until this point in my trading career, I've tended to take the "win-more-than-I-lose-and-I'll-be-happy" approach.

So if I ended a day with £200, after making £350 of positive trades and £150 of negative ones, I'd write the losses off using that old adage: you've got to speculate to accumulate.
    But last week I started to write down my pre-race and in-running trades and was horrified at the state of affairs! Some days, my pre-race game was being bolstered by my in-running game; other days, it could be the other way round.

    What I did notice was that these two disciplines rarely "fired" together: if I made a bit of money pre-race I'd often gamble it away in-running hoping to make more, and if I made a loss pre-race then the in-running trades were merely damage limitation.

    Writing down all my trades is starting to pay off now though. It's putting things into perspective and making me more mindful of my trades. As a result, I'm starting to choose my battles more carefully. Today was very nice and stress-free for me

    and I only made about 20 quid's worth of duff trades overall. With the weather knocking out a couple of cards and totally screwing up Punchestown's schedule, it was pleasing to make nearly a ton on so few markets. That's almost unheard of for me, as usually I need about 20-30 races to get into some sort of rhythm. This week, been just as happy to bide my time and strike when things felt right, rather than trading everything that moves and coming unstuck.

    The other nice thing about writing trades down is you can set yourself little win-streak challenges. I managed about a 10-race win streak yesterday and it really focussed my efforts on not giving away my profits. I know Sam over at the excellent Adapt and Survive blog (wish you'd post more dude!) wrote about this a while back (I think he was putting together 70-80 race win-streaks!!) and it really is a great way of improving the ol' strike rate.

    Tuesday 17 April 2012

    The "glamour" of track-side betting

    Matt Chapman from ATR with his take on track-side betting for those who didn't see it today

    Might have to turn the speakers up a bit as the volume on my telly was quite low.

    Sunday 8 April 2012

    Liquid trading

    It was a lovely session of trading yesterday afternoon and I quickly forgot about the nightmare that was last Wednesday

    Was meant to be going out at 4pm and didn't expect to do much in the 2 hours that I had, but as it turned out, we didn't need to leave until 5pm. I was already in blazing form by 4pm and that extra bit of time allowed me to bang out a few more good trades. If I'd have had time to finish all the cards, I feel sure I could've broken through that elusive £500 barrier.

    The odds compiling stuff I'm working on is coming along nicely, with another 5 hours of coding completed on Friday evening. Ultimately, the vision is to create a set of custom race cards not unlike the Racing Post's ones but with more of the data I want to see on there

    Adapting my program to spit out data as an html page (rather than to Excel) was fairly straightforward, but the real headache is styling the page to suit. I want the layout to be clear so I can quickly glance at it and digest it easily; my CSS skills are a bit rusty though and making divs act like table cells can be a bit tricky. At the end of the day, the hard work will be worth the effort as I'm already benefiting from having a greater insight into the runner, rider and trainer stats for each race.

    Wednesday 4 April 2012

    Crappy old day

    WARNING: This post contains lots of moaning and whining!! (but hopefully you'll get something out of it)

    A right crappy old day. Days like this make me wonder what the point of it all is

    What a joke!!

    I was chasing losses from the second race in and, although I'd started to make a dent in the loss by 5pm, things quickly slipped from my grasp again during the evening cards.

    I've said it many times before and I'll say it again: I FLIPPIN' HATE ENDING THE DAY DOWN!!

    It means that tomorrow is effectively a nothing day while I set about clawing it back. With no racing on Good Friday and an early finish on Saturday because of a trip, it probably going to be Sunday before I'm back to where I was at 2pm today.....GRRRRRRR!!! When it's going well this trading lark is great, but days like this really test your resolve if you're wired up anything like me.

    Those who are perhaps considering trading as a career should certainly consider whether you can tolerate these kinds of days. Of course, it may be that your consistency is far greater than mine and losses of this magnitude are unheard of.....WELL GOOD FOR YOU!!! ;-)

    I must have been desperate to trade the evening AW cards at this time of year. The old Wolves-Dundalk combo only equates to two things as far as I'm concerned: long wait times between races coupled with thin markets.

    I tend to switch off if the action isn't coming thick and fast, meaning I'm usually caught off guard when I do get involved. Being an in-and-out-fast sort of trader, I don't often have the patience to sit there looking out for the gambles going on while the clock ticks down from 10 minutes. There were a few gambles going on tonight too, with one Dundalk runner backed in from 12s to 4s in about 3 minutes flat! At the end of a long, frustrating session they're not as easy to spot as desperation has already kicked in and all I want are quick repairs to my battered PnL. In this world of quick fixes, quick wins and instant-this-and-that, I suppose I've become as impatient as everybody else. I want results and I want them NOW! Shame really.

    Outside of my day-to-day trading, I've been developing a spreadsheet so ultimately I can do my own odds compiling

    Setting prices on horses obviously involves some seriously clever statistical modelling, whereas at the moment I'm just bunging some numbers in a spreadsheet and highlighting some data I think is pertinent. You have to start somewhere with these things though, and a very good book I picked up for a few quid on Amazon called The Definitive Guide To Betting On Horses from the Racing Post Expert Series is providing my with some great ideas of what to look for

    Do you know the difference between a Classified Stakes race and a Median Auction Maiden?

    Ultimately, I want the C# program I've written (which for now just pulls data into the spreadsheet), along with the rather cool Conditional Formatting that you can do in Excel 2007, to refine all the data I've got at my disposal and spit out a web page that uploads itself to the internet each day so I've got a custom, at-a-glance overview of my picks for the day. There's still a lot of refinement to do!

    There are lots of stats programs you can buy off-the-shelf, but they're quite expensive to subscribe to each month and for the sake of learning a bit of scripting, I think it's far more rewarding doing a custom job so you end up with what you want.