Sunday, 28 January 2007

End Of Month

Daily P/L: £20.66
Monthly P/L: £137.22

Well, that's it for January. My trading has finished for the month and even though I've increased my bank by over 16% I'm well off my target. This is mainly down to my soccer farce. By desperately looking for a sport to trade I reverted back to soccer and incurred a big loss. My thinking was that by not trading I was missing out. How wrong I was. It took me over a week to get back to the same position and made making my monthly target mission impossible.

Lesson learnt - if there's not an event to trade then I'll simply go for a pint or switch on a film instead.

When it came to today it was all about picking up what I could.

As promised, I had a look at the Qatar Masters. Some things became apparent very quickly; liquidity is nowhere near the same level as PGA Tour events, scoring updates via the internet are around 5 minutes behind and information available on the course/players isn't half as comprehensive as the American equivalent. Despite these issues I entered the market at various points and successfully made a small profit. This trial run has given me the view that the PGA Tour still needs to be my main focus so I'm going to have to seriously consider Setanta as an option.

My other trading success came from the rugby match between Saracens and London Irish. I'm much better at reading games now and with the Six Nations starting next week this is hopefully a good omen.

To help me plan my trading schedule for February I'm using the Betfair sporting calendar - give it a go by visiting here.


Saturday, 27 January 2007

PGA Tour Finds A New Home

Daily P/L: £12.03
Monthly P/L: £116.56

This is bad news. After looking at TV listings regarding upcoming golf tournaments I noticed that there was no mention of the PGA Tour on Sky Sports. Towards the end of last year I'd become very comfortable with trading on the sport and especially the PGA Tour. This is mainly due to all American sports having great resources of information available on the web which inevitably help any trader substantially. A quick scan over the sports pages of 'The Sun' ended up confirming my fears - PGA Tour coverage is now exclusively live on the Setanta Sports Channel.

This is detrimental for a number of reasons. Firstly, Setanta is a subscription channel that would put another £15 a month onto my overheads. As you can imagine, viewing the sport you want to trade is very important so my second concern is that liquidity in these markets will drop significantly as other Betfair users won't be prepared to shell-out for the coverage. Finally, if I'm unable to trade on what's potentially my most successful sport, then I'm going to have to work even harder to find a replacement.

So, what do I do?

I wasn't due to start my golf trading season until March so I've a little time to think things through. One option is to switch my attention to the European Tour which Sky Sports have picked up instead, but their tournaments don't supply as much free information.

To get a heads up, I may take a look at the Qatar Masters in the morning and see what happens.

Anyway, back to today. Thankfully, I stumbled across the One Day International between India and the West Indies. There was a moment when I thought I'd have to put my feet up for the weekend but fortunately a topsy turvey game gave me a chance to improve my profit & loss.

With India batting first they cruised into a very commanding position. After 36 overs they'd thumped 234 runs for 4 wickets and a score of well over 300 was on the cards. Their price was as low as 1.32 and the West Indies were struggling to peg them back but they then proceeded to throw the game away. Their middle order and tail end batsmen crumbled and they finished all out for 268. I'd already entered the market with a strong position on an Indian win as I felt any score in advance of 280 would be enough so with such a poor finish to the innings my confidence was starting to waver. However, as I anticipated a slow start from the West Indies I decided to watch the first 5 overs of their innings before making any further actions. Fortunately, Gayle lost his wicket to the first ball and the price on India came in rapidly from 2.00 to 1.50 so I bailed out for a small loss on my initial trade. I then re-entered the market at various points which eventually made up my small gain for the day.

It's obvious to me after today that I have to invest a lot of time in cricket to make 2007 a good year.

Friday, 26 January 2007

A Missed Opportunity

This hurts, perhaps, a little more than it should.

For the last few days I've been scratching my head searching the markets for opportunities to trade. I'd drawn a blank until last night when I reviewed the prices for the final test between South Africa and Pakistan.

The match is being played in Cape Town so I checked the weather forecast and plenty of sunshine was predicted. I also checked the stats for the ground and with an 80% history of results everything seemed to be pointing away from the draw. However, the price on the draw was very short at only 3.30. After reading some more pre-match reports and discovering that both teams were suffering from tiredness I was even more convinced that this game would end in a result.

But...I didn't trade!

I was stopped by the fact that some recent matches that had ended with a result had started with a big innings. The average first innings score was around 370 so by my reasoning, should this happen again, then the price of the draw would shorten a little further - perhaps to 2.80. My decision was to wait until this happened and then lump on with a 'lay'.

I've now just come home from work to open my position, but unfortunately it looks like this one got away - 15 wickets have already fallen and the price of the draw is now 40!

I'l learn from this lesson and won't think twice next time.

Sunday, 21 January 2007

What Next?

Daily P/L: £16.20
Monthly P/L: £104.53

The good news is I've had a good weekend and have nearly clawed back the losses I inflicted on myself last week. My monthly profit is nowhere near my original aim of £255, but I'll be glad to get out of January with anything over £100.

The difficulty I have now is - What do I trade next week?

The Heineken Cup has finished for a couple of months, the NFL season is nearly over I'm not going anywhere near Soccer or Horse Racing. I'm really looking forward to the Cricket, Tennis & Golf seasons but they don't really get going until March.

In February there's the Six Nations and the start of Premier League Darts but they're both a couple of weeks away so I'm really struggling when it comes to a sport to trade - I don't fancy staying up all night so maybe it's time for an early holiday?

Any suggestions are welcome!

Saturday, 20 January 2007

Slow & Steady

Daily P/L: £13.56
Monthly P/L: £88.33

Nothing spectacular today. I only got involved in 2 of the Heineken Cup games and neither offered as many opportunities as the game on Friday night.

In the first match, the market preferred Castres to Wasps as they traded at around 1.72 before kick off. My pre-match analysis led me to believe that Wasps would win by 4 points (they eventually won by 3) so I thought the price on Castres was a little short but one of my rules with rugby is never to trade before the game starts. This is sometimes very difficult as some prices can often appear well out of sync with the situation, but it only takes a dropped pass or a runaway try to lower the price even further and then you're already staring at a loss.

The alternative for me is to watch the game, focus on possession and territory and make a move when my pre-set conditions are met. Not every game is the same and the frequency of my criteria being matched varies depending on the type of game and the teams involved. However, when all signals give a green light the rewards can be very good.

Unfortunately, both the Castres v Wasps and Munster v Leicester games were quite scrappy affairs with both defences on top so my potential gains were limited. It seems that for me to win big with my current stategy, I need both teams to be potent at attacking and have a few holes in their defence.

After previewing tomorrow's games it seems that Llanelli v London Irish fits the bill and Northampton v Biarritz could follow suit. Llanelli, Northampton & Biarritz are all already through to the Quarter Finals so there's a big chance their defences won't turn up and all of them are capable of scoring a lot of points. If this happens there should be plenty of opportunites to take advantage of and hopefully I'll be on the right side of them.



Friday, 19 January 2007

What A Difference A Day Makes

Daily P/L: £44.36
Monthly P/L: £74.77

I now feel a huge sense of relief. My gain today came from trading on the Gloucester v Leinster Heineken Cup game and I'm just so happy to get back to making money from what I know following my latest fling with soccer.

I let myself down yesterday by looking for opportunities that didn't exist and for chasing my losses. I've been around the block long enough to know these are cardinal sins and have given myself a big slap on the wrists. I've already informed the Fiance that if she ever sees me with soccer on the box and the computer on my lap again to thump me in the ribs.

It's a good start to the weekend but there's alot more sport to come. I've further studied the way I trade rugby today and have come up with a few tweaks - the early signs look good but I'm not going to get carried away just yet. There are more games tomorrow so if things go well I'll be able to divulge more when I report back in my next post.

Thursday, 18 January 2007

Bad Balls

Daily P/L: £105.23
Monthly P/L: £30.41

Okay, I've taken a bashing today but it's not the end of the world.

My previous results show that I'm absolutely terrible at trading soccer but I'd got to a crossroads whereby I had to find out whether I could make it pay.

The answer from today's profit & loss is an overwhelming "NO!"

Hibernian and Aberdeen are not my favourite teams right now but I only have myself to blame.

Even though this is a real kick in the teeth and it's a larger loss than I would have liked, I feel a huge sense of relief that I will never look at soccer market again. Up until now I've always felt like I was missing out - that everyman and his dog was making a fortune from over/unders but I wasn't. Well, I don't care anymore as I'll just stick to the sports I know and make the small gains that make up my monthly profits.

The good news is, I'm still in profit for the month - I knew this was the case before I got myself in this mess so I'll just take this as an expensive lession.

The weekend has plenty of rugby action and the NFL playoffs are still taking place so there's enough to be positive about. Writing this blog is also helping me put on a brave face!

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

My Trading Style

After reading a recent post by The Betfair Trader I decided to purchase the book Market Wizards. I'm always looking for an edge and I find reading about other experiences helps me stay focussed and motivated. I'm only a few pages in but it's already got me thinking about my trading style.

I'd currently describe my style as a cross between a position-taker and a scalper. I'll try to explain...

I research any event I plan to trade but during the event I will normally be in and out of the market within 20 seconds. My goals are very short term and I'm always looking at what will happen in the immediate future. I seem to like this way of trading as I always know where I am, but I'm starting to feel that I'm not maximising my potential.

The reason for this is that my research normally gives me a good feel of what is likely to happen so when I spot an opportunity that I believe to be under or over priced it seems a waste to get out of the trade so quickly.

I'll give you an example - After researching the NFL game between San Diego v New England on Sunday I'd drawn the conclusion that it would be another close affair and even though San Diego deserved favouritism, their opening price of 1.56 was probably a little too short. However, this price was not enough for me to trade so I watched intently waiting for the price to shorten further. San Diego ended up scoring a touchdown early in the second quarter and their price fell rapidly to trade around 1.29 (the score was only 7-3 and there was still over half of the game to play!). Now this I would class as an over-reaction so I laid away and placed a reverse order a few ticks above.

Sure enough, I got matched pretty quickly and made a small profit but this is where I think I'm going wrong.

As I'd identified the match would potentially be very close why didn't I hold onto my position until it reached what I considered a realistic price for that stage of the game? If you'd ask me at that moment what a realistic price was then I'd have probably said around 1.52, so why was I in such a rush to make a small profit when everything was telling me I was in a strong position?

My conclusion is that I have a subconcious need to be green. I fear losing so much that I want to lock in a profit as soon as possible. By doing this I'm aware that my winning trades are falling short.

Can this be overcome or should I continue to trade the way I am? I need guidance - please leave a comment and help me out.

As a side note - San Diego lost 21-24!


Sunday, 14 January 2007

A Better Day

Daily P/L: £29.51
Monthly P/L: £135.64

What a difference a good nights sleep makes. I've felt much fresher today and I'm sure it's made a difference.

The good news is that I traded the Bourgoin v Munster game well. Even though Munster were very strong favourites at 1.08 before kick off I suspected that Bourgoin would take this game a little more seriously than others they'd played in the Heineken Cup. For one, they'd arranged for the game to be played in Geneva so they could use their 30,000 capacity stadium - even though this is a one hour drive from Bourgoin. Secondly - they were playing the European Champions and with the French being fanatical about their rugby they always love to claim a big scalp. With this evidence at hand it seemed there was more than a good chance of them at least putting up a fight even though Munster would surely go onto win.

It turned out to be a suprisingly close affair with Munster in the end getting the result they needed but by this time I'd already settled for a nice gain and had turned the computer off by half time.

I wish my luck had extended to NFL. This weekend I've really struggled to trade these tight playoff games. In the regular season my pre-match research had given me a distinct edge but with the teams now being so closely matched I've made some bad decisions. Despite this, my NFL balance sheet for the last two days still shows a profit but it's a very small one.

One last thing before I go.

Just before Christmas I introduced a family friend (Clive) to the wonders of Betfair. He's very keen and although I've tried to get the message across that things can go wrong very quickly I'm not sure he's taken this on board (probably due to him winning quite a bit in the last week!).

So I need a favour from you readers with a few years experience of this game - please can you visit his blog (yes, he's set one up already!) and post a comment with any tips/pitfalls for him to look out for - the last thing I want is for him to end up in a clinic!

Visit his blog by clicking here.

Saturday, 13 January 2007

My Biggest Win Of 2007

Daily P/L: £0.84
Monthly P/L: £102.28

I know, £0.84 is pretty pathetic, but I'm relieved that I managed to post any type of green today as I was staring at a red screen for most of the time.

The day started with a trip to Bristol to pick a car for the Fiancee. It took a while to find the place we were looking for, and this 'time pressure' might have had something to do with my lack of patience later in the day. I ended getting back home half way through the Ulster v Llanelli game so my first involvement of the day was Wasps v Perpignan.

French rugby teams are unpredictable in every way (attitude, style of play etc.) but I was sure that Perpignan would put up a fight as a defeat would mean they'd find it very difficult to go on and qualify for the next stage. This didn't turn out to be the case and Wasps never really looked like they'd lose the game so I traded here and there and had to settle for a small green.

The big attraction for me today though was the NFL Playoffs - I've been looking forward to these all week and it seems my over-eagerness landed me in trouble. My pre-match analysis led me to believe that the Baltimore v Indianapolis game would be "a close one, with the match likely to be seperated by one score - Ravens have the edge due to home advantage but if Indianapolis are able to stop the rush then they should win". In hindsight, I got it spot on. Indianapolis won 15-6 and considering Baltimore started the game at a price of 1.56 I feel I missed an opportunity here. Instead, I got into the market too early and at the wrong times and had to bail myself out pretty quickly. Even though my strategy was the correct one the way I went about it messed things up and I spent the next two hours grinding my way back. If I'd traded the first quarter the way I traded the rest of the game I'd have been very happy. On a positive note, my analysis of the NFL Playoffs in an earlier post seems to be holding up.

It's clear to me now that I over-traded. This hasn't been a problem over recent months so I'm looking for answers - is writing a blog putting me under pressure and making me trade in a different way? This is possible, but I should be more disciplined than this. Nobody wants to make a fool of themselves and I definitely don't want things to go pear shaped within a few weeks of attracting readers but maybe I just have to have a little more confidence, wait for the opportunity and hit it hard.

Day's like these make me remember one of the sayings that keep me on track - "if I can keep to small losses, small gains and big gains I'll become a successful trader."

With these thoughts firmly at the front of my mind the plan for today is to target the Heineken Cup and again the NFL Playoffs.

Thursday, 11 January 2007

Sweet & Sour

Daily P/L: £15.80
Monthly P/L: £101.44

I'm a little angry with myself right now. I decided to take a look at the darts when I got home from work and just caught the start of the Adams v Hankey match. I started well and got myself into an all green £20 position within the first 4 sets. It's at this point I should have stopped, taken the cash and congratulated myself on a job well done but I didn't. I ended up getting lazy and reversing my position into a fat juicy red one.

It happens to us all but I'm especially unhappy as I wasn't planning to trade today. I have my eyes firmly on the weekend as I haven't got much planned and there's a wealth of great trading opportunities to be had. The Heineken Cup resumes, the NFL playoffs get interesting and it's the final stages of the Darts - what more could I ask for?

So, my day should have ended there....but....

As I was turning off the computer something inside told me I couldn't leave things as they were. I'd let myself down and needed to redeem myself. When I'm in this frame of mind I go on auto-pilot and put trust in the hours I've spent studying each sport I trade.

The King v Eccles match was just about to start so I took a look at the prices. King was trading at around 1.39 and Eccles had the throw in the first set. Now Eccles is no mug, and he hadn't lost a set in the tournament so surely there'd be a good chance he'd at least get off to a good start?

I watched with anticipation and as soon as I had the re-assurances I was looking for I started laying King and backing Eccles for a few ticks above. As you probably now know, Eccles jumped out of the gates and I made up my losses in double quick time.

It doesn't always happen this way, and my actions could have got me in trouble but I feel much better if I can end the day with a green, no matter how small it is.

Sunday, 7 January 2007

Glorified Pub Players

Daily P/L: £52.84
Monthly P/L: £85.64

It's been a strange but good day today.

True to my word, I drunk way too much at the wedding last night and fortunately wasn't able to turn on the TV to watch the Dallas @ Seattle game when I got home - I was in no fit state to pick up the remote control let alone turn on the laptop. With this in mind you can understand why I wasn't feeling totally ready for trading when I woke up this morning.

By the time the BDO Darts coverage was due to start I'd had a shower and had started to feel human again so I settled into the armchair and got down to business. Well at least that's what I thought. I've long been a fan of the annual Lakeside tournament (I even went for 2 days last year) but I have to admit that the event has lost much of it's charm. After watching practically every dart thrown in the PDC Darts last week and after being mesmerised by a Taylor v Barneveld showdown the prospect of Fitton v Nixon left alot to be desired. The fact they threw very few quality darts also made life even harder when it came to trading. I ended up escaping from the afternoon session with a very small green number in front of me so unfortunately my hopes for the rest of the tournament aren't very high.

So....thank goodness for American Football.

Doing your homework on NFL really helps. If you understand the strengths of the teams involved you can understand what's happening and this helps you see the game develop in front of you. Both of today's match-ups I was able to trade well but the most pleasing thing was that I didn't get into any sticky situations - I was very calm and made a number of very good decisions.

The result is a weekend that gets my month up to where it should be and a feeling of optimism for the week ahead.

Saturday, 6 January 2007

Any Profit Is Better Than A Loss

Daily P/L: £14.49
Monthly P/L: £32.80

My life is a little hectic at the moment. Just before Christmas I gained quite a big promotion with the company I work for and although my official start date for the new position isn't until 5th February it's already having an effect on my spare time.

For the last 2 and a half years I've been fortunate (depends which way you look at it!) to work with my Fiancee - I say fortunate as we've been able to get by with having just the one car and get to see each other without any hassle. This is now going to change as I'll be working in a seperate office in Cardiff Bay so today we've had to go car hunting. Ended up finding something that will do the job and I pick the new motor up on Monday. Things aren't that simple though as now my Fiance also wants a new car as the one we had is "not good enough". This means that I'll have to go car hunting again over the next week and it's clear that my life/trading balance is sloping the wrong way!

These events ended up cutting down my involvement in the BDO Darts but I got involved briefly. The liquidity in the match odds markets wasn't anywhere near the levels of the PDC event last week so I played cautiously and lowered my trading stakes just in case I got into a position I couldn't get out of.

In the end I managed a £14.49 profit which moves me closer to my monthly target but I know I'll have to step it up a bit over the next 7 days.

I'm off to a wedding reception tonight but if I'm sober enough then on my return I hope to take a look at the Dallas @ Seattle NFL game that kicks off at 1am......mmm....drink and a late night.....maybe not a good idea....we shall see.

Thursday, 4 January 2007

A Dream or Reality?

I believe an essential ingredient to becoming a successful trader is to be highly organised and always have objectives.

Since I started trading my aim has been to increase the size of my 'trading bank' by 40% each month. If I'm successful I'll continue to trade up to a bank of £10,000 before making any withdrawals for personal use. This is a big objective and I'm fully aware of how hard this challlenge will be but so far so good and the aims I started with on the 1st September are shown below:

Starting bank on 1st September = £250

By 1st October = £350
By 1st November = £490
By 1st December = £686
By 1st January = £960

I suffered from computer failure in November and was unable to trade for 3 weeks. Due to this I decided to re-forecast my aims at the beginning of December for the following 4 months:

Starting bank on 1st December = £455

By 1st January = £637
By 1st February = £892
By 1st March = £1249
By 1st April = £1748

I ended up over-achieving in December due to having extra time to trade and on the 1st January my trading bank stood at £830 (an increase of 232% over the last 4 months and £193 ahead of my forecast).

I'm very happy with this progress so in a bid to not over-reach myself, my target profits for the next 3 months will remain as:

During January = £255 (£892 - £637)
During February = £357 (£1249 - £892)
During March = £499 (£1748 - £1249)

If I can stick to these figures my trading bank will stand at £1941 on the 1st April and I'll be well on my way to making 2007 a year to remember.

I wanted to share my thoughts on this with you as I have a habit of getting ahead of myself...if you think I'm looking too far ahead then please shout at me in the comments section!

My next trading activity will be on Saturday & Sunday.

Tuesday, 2 January 2007

American Dreams

This weekend sees the start of the NFL playoffs. For those of you not familiar with American Football it's the business end of the season where the best teams meet each other on a knock-out basis.

I've always liked the NFL but have lost touch over the last few years and have only just got back into it. To me it has the potential to be an excellent trading sport; it lasts over 3 hours, it's a turn based game and most importantly you have enough time to spot opportunities and act on them. The only downside, that bigger traders will be quick to point out, is the lack of liquidity when compared to more popular sports like soccer & cricket. However, if you act little and often, the volatility of the market can ensure decent profits.

At this stage there are 12 teams left in the competition. From their performances in the regular season I rank the teams in the following order to win the Superbowl (current Betfair odds in brackets):

1. New Orleans (10.5)
2. Philadelphia (18)
3. Baltimore (6.2)
4. Indianapolis (12)
5. San Diego (3.6)
6. New England (11)
7. Dallas (36)
8. Chicago (6.4)
9. Kansas City (60)
10. Seattle (36)
11. NY Jets (65)
12. NY Giants (75)

From the table it looks like there's some value on offer but it should be noted that New Orleans, Baltimore, San Diego and Chicago are already through to the next round. However, I'm very confident that the eventual winner will come from the top 7 in the list.

This weekend the match-ups are:

Kansas City @ Indianapolis
Dallas @ Seattle
NY Jets @ New England
NY Giants @ Philadelphia

Without going into to much detail I see victories for Indianapolis, Dallas, New England & Philadelphia.

With Dallas currently trading at 2.38 to win their match, they probably offer the best value and even if they don't win I think their price will trade a lot lower in-play. The key is their passing game as they have the potential to 'throw' rings around their opponents - if they click they could win easier than expected.

Now for the bad bit - I'm at a wedding Saturday night!

The game kicks off at 1am and the chances of me being sober at this time are pretty slim so I'll probably have to sit this one out (discipline, discipline, discipline).

If you do get involved only trade the first half - after this things can get a bit scary!

Monday, 1 January 2007

Unbelievable

Daily P/L: £18.31
Monthly P/L: £18.31

I've just finished watching (and trading) the PDC Darts final and I don't think I've ever seen a match like it. Barneveld was fantastic and deserves his victory but it just goes to show that you really have to be top drawer to get anywhere near Taylor let alone beat him.

I was a little apprehensive before the match as I knew both players were capable of throwing out-of-the-ordinary darts and if I wasn't careful I'd come unstuck so for the first few sets I was very cautious. Taylor looked like he was going to stroll it and was trading at 1.09 going into the 4th set but I had a feeling Barney would come back and make a game of it.

I ended up making my gain at the beginning of the Dutchmans assault before quickly deciding to call it a day - it was becoming obvious that anything could happen as my Bet Angel software started flashing more than the Christmas Tree.

So 2007 is off to a decent start. My target for this month is to make a modest profit of £255 so just under £237 to go. With the BDO Darts starting next week I hope my good run with the oche will continue but I'll be sticking to trading on the less reliable players. The NFL has reached the playoff stage so that will also be my focus for the next week. I'll post more about that over the next few days.