Monday, 30 April 2007

The Big Picture

Daily P/L: £59.20
Monthly P/L: £622.07

Ah well, it had to come - my first losing day in April decided to appear on the last day of the month. It was all my own fault as I dabbled in the horse racing markets and got stung several times. I acknowledged this risk before getting involved and will look at it as an 'investment in education'. At least I'm fully aware that I haven't got a clue when it comes to trading horse racing and soccer. Strangely enough, I feel I'd fair better if I punted on these markets instead but this isn't in my immediate strategy so I'll leave them well alone.

So another month ends and I've made a 34% growth during April. I'm happy with this but as I paid for my new LCD TV out of these funds my trading bank for May will only be gradually bigger as I'm also trying to limit my maximum liability on any one trade. When I started trading in September I was using up to 40% of my bank but I'm pleased to say I've now been able to reduce this exposure to 24%. This is still too high though and ideally I want to be able to get it down to just 10%. Hopefully by the end of the year I'll be near this mark.

So what have the first 4 months of 2007 provided? In all honesty, it's been great. I've traded on 46 days with 42 being profitable and with 4 ending in a loss. This statistic is the secret to me hitting the magic 30% growth per month. My thoughts are that any profit is better than no profit and even though it hasn't always been plain sailing I need to keep this in mind if I'm to keep things moving forward. Nobody said this was going to be easy but I love a challenge.

The next 3-4 months are a big test and the question now is can I make the Summer pay?

Sunday, 29 April 2007

All Systems Go!

Daily P/L: £46.46
Monthly P/L: £681.27

What a hectic few days it's been! After Thursday's dance with danger I decided to have a break on Friday with the plan to hit it hard over the weekend but as it turned out other things just kept on popping up.

It all started on Saturday morning. I'd received an email last week from a guy called Aaron who advised me that he produced a North American sports-talk radio show and that they'd like me to appear on it. The catch was that their show is aired between 11pm and 2am Eastern Time so if I was going to do it I'd have to get up early! Roll forward to yesterday morning and here I was, sat on my sofa at 6.30am with the dog on my lap waiting for a phone call from a guy I'd never met.....then.....the phone rang. Sure enough it was Aaron. He calmly introduced himself before saying "it's an uncensored show, feel free to say what you like - you're on in a minute". This was a first for me but I thought "what the heck!". In hindsight it went okay apart from every tip I suggested going down the drain (I don't think they'll be inviting me back on) and my gradual attempt at changing my normally very thick Welsh accent into a New York taxi driver drawl. Anyway, it was fun and if would like to hear my attempt at being Chris Moyles then take a listen by clicking here - my bit starts after about 2 minutes. I would like to say thank you to Aaron though - it's nice to get someone to take an interest even if they're on the other side of the world!

Straight after my showbiz appearance I had an appointment with the Golf course. The plan was to carry out a very leisurely 18 holes before zipping back home to trade on the Cricket World Cup Final. The golfing session took a bit longer than scheduled due to a hold up at the 19th hole (hee-hee!) so I didn't get back until 4.30pm and it turned out that in my absence I'd had a visit from the postman - the new computer had arrived! Of course, it was like Christmas day all over again as I spent the next 4 hours setting everything up (finding lost wires, waiting on hold to get the Internet connection sorted etc.). The good news was that by this morning everything was sorted. My trading haven was in place and I was ready to rock.

Somerset v Sussex
My first dabble with County cricket this season proved to be successful. I joined the action after Sussex had just posted a score of 287 from their 50 overs. Taunton is a small ground and the market had reacted accordingly - the Somerset price was hovering at 1.60. Even though I didn't think the result was a formality the favourites couldn't have started any better as soon their price had fallen to just 1.05 as they raced to a score of 97-0! As often happens with cricket, Somerset then stalled as Mushtaq came on to bowl and immediately took a wicket. The slide continued and within a few overs their price was back out to 1.40 - a few overs more and it was 1.50. Wicket after wicket fell and Somerset went on to lose by 38 runs! I took advantage of these fluctuations to post a profit of £46.46 and with only tomorrow to go it looks like it's been good month. Opportunities like this are why I feel trading is so much more lucrative than punting - GET ON THE TRADING BANDWAGON!

Friday, 27 April 2007

A Close Shave

Daily P/L: £4.01
Monthly P/L: £634.81

Tonight could have been a disaster but only a serious bit of luck helped me out. The short story is that I traded very badly by making a couple of wrong decisions, held onto my positions for too long and then proceeded to over trade and way exceed my maximum risk levels. I've got a sneaky suspicion that the excitement of trading from my new 'office' (albeit minus my new PC) got to me and I wanted some action - if this experience is anything to go by I hope the novelty wears off soon!

Jenkins v Lloyd
It had started well. Jenkins was a firm favourite at 2.10 before the first darts were thrown but as I knew that Lloyd had come into form in recent weeks I was waiting for signs that it would be his night. I didn't have long to wait as he marched into a lead that would eventually result in the first 8-0 whitewash of the Premier League. I supported Lloyd all the way and got paid off for £44.50.

Barneveld v Scholten
This was my lucky, lucky escape. I'd dug myself a hole the size a JCB would have been proud of by making a string of wrong decisions early in the match and continued to do the exact opposite of what the Betfair Trader did in this post. Fortunately, I don't indulge myself in this level of indiscipline often but it's true to say I had a shocker! It was so bad that even though Barneveld was 6-2 up my liability on Scholten was over £1200! This was scary - I had a semi-fat red of £119 on Barneveld but I wanted to take it there and then as Scholten started to come to life. I could see it all going horribly wrong - the Tripod making a sensational come back to win 8-6 and me signing for an expensive new computer on Monday with no bank roll to play with! I was doing all the classic trading panic stations manoeuvres - pacing the floorboards, biting nails, praying etc. and something must have worked as Barney woke up to seal the match - phew! So what did I do wrong? EVERYTHING! Never ever trade like this! I made a final loss of £119.69 on this one.

Lewis v Taylor
Maybe I should have called it a day but I knew that I wasn't on tilt - I'd just been stupid - so I decided to try and get the show back on the road in the last fixture of the evening. Taylor was trading at 1.20 before the players had reached the oche but as I wasn't sure which Lewis would turn up so I decided to wait. In the first leg it became clear that Taylor had an opportunity to break Lewis' throw so I lumped on him. He did indeed go on to win the leg and the result after that was never in doubt. I'd somehow managed to make £79.20 on this match and had miraculously crept myself into a small profit for the night.

I'm now off work for a week and I need the break!

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Steady Eddie

Daily P/L: £34.16
Monthly P/L: £630.80

The home office is taking shape - the desk and chair are in place!

Wasps v Northampton
This was supposed to be a one sided affair with Wasps strong 1.28 favourites before kick off but someone forgot to tell the 'Saints' and after 25 minutes Northampton led 13-0! As you can imagine, Wasps' price had drifted dramatically but they were still slight favourites at 1.92. I'd managed to get in and out of the market at the right times but there were no big gains and I had to make do with a decent profit of £34.16 on the match. I'd finished trading by half time but I assume quite a few people made a lot of money on Wasps fighting their way back to win 30-13.

Hitting It For Six

Daily P/L: £147.26
Monthly P/L: £596.64

Construction of the home office has begun. I ordered my new PC today and it should be here within the next 10-14 days. In the end I opted for a 'Dell' as I'd heard their customer support is very good and this is very important to me as if something goes wrong I'll need help to get it fixed! For my money I was able to get an Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 processor with 2GB RAM and 2 19" flat screen monitors. The plan is to have the two monitors on my desk and have a 19" LCD TV stuck to the wall in front of me. My Fiancee is very supportive of my trading but even she's drawn up a budget on how much I can spend - the agreement is that 'we'll' pay for the computer but I'll have to find the funds for the 'office furniture' out of my trading bank. With this in mind it's a good job I did well today!
West Indies v England
I opted just to watch the Heineken Cup semi final between Llanelli v Leicester so my only trading action of the day was on the last Super Eight match of the Cricket World Cup and what a game it was! This was a perfect match for trading as favouritism swung several times as the market tried to catch up with the events unfolding on the pitch. After posting a score of 300 the West Indies looked like they'd done enough and I made an initial mistake of backing them at 1.28 at the start of the England innings. Despite losing an early wicket England started well so I bailed out of the trade at 1.37 when the West Indies price started drifting quickly. I was still confident that England would struggle at some point and that's what happened when Flintoff got caught at long on. I'd backed the West Indies an over before when their price was at 1.80 and now their price was at 1.25! I decided to hang on a while longer and it wasn't long before Dalrymple was run out. With the West Indies now trading at 1.13 and Nixon next to bat I decided to play safe and go all green (see screenshot). The rest as they say is history! Nixon went on to play a stunning innings and England won the match - WOW! When it looked like a certain West Indies victory I did take out some insurance by backing the tied match for £5.00 at 30.00 but I missed a trick here. After placing this 'bet' I'd knocked off the laptop to go and make dinner - I was convinced it was 'game over' and by the time I'd realised it was 'game on' it was too late to lay off this 'bet' at lower odds and secure another profit. It's important not to be greedy though so I'll just have to learn from that one. My profit on the match ended at £147.26.

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Itchy Trigger Finger

Daily P/L: £83.66
Monthly P/L: £449.38

After a week of no trading there was always going to be the danger of getting too involved on my return. Fortunately, I ended the night on the right side of the p&l although the temptation of pressing the self destruct button raised it's head a few times. With these thoughts running through my mind, I decided to call it today after the first 2 Premier League darts matches.

Jenkins v Lewis
Despite not being on top form over the last few weeks, Terry Jenkins showed a determination to not be denied tonight. Lewis has improved of late and made a match of it but after the break Jenkins stepped up a few gears and showed why he's so highly rated. The market offered some good opportunities and I made £31.46 on this one.

Manley v Scholten
Despite getting a good result in the end, I really struggled to get a handle on this match. Scholten was trading at around 1.94 before the first darts were thrown and my initial feeling was that this price was a bit on the short side. It proved to be the case as Manley sprinted out of the blocks but unfortunately for him he ran out of puff and the Tripod took a strong grip. At the half way stage I was staring at a small loss but I managed to get on Scholten just before the game became a formality and secured a profit of £52.20.

So things continue to go well and it's dawned on me that I'm now trading at a different level to where I was back in January. My maximum trading stake sizes are now up to around £500 so I need to make sure I'm professional in every aspect of my approach. To help me with this I've decided it's time to set myself up a home office - the days of me lounging on the sofa with the laptop lying next to me are numbered! I've written my wish list and I'm going to go about setting everything up over the next few weeks - I'll keep you posted.

Monday, 16 April 2007

The King

I'm back from my trip to London and it's been a nice relaxing weekend. The weather was glorious and even though I drank a little too much at the wedding it couldn't spoil a very good day. By Sunday I was getting some sport withdrawal symptoms so I arranged to meet a mate in Cardiff to catch the EDF Cup Final between the Ospreys and Leicester. Whilst I was waiting for him I couldn't help notice the guy sitting with a couple of friends a few feet away from me - it was Barry John! If you're not familiar with the name then let me explain - Barry was a member of the famous Welsh rugby side that dominated the Northern Hemisphere during the late 1960's and 1970's. He's widely regarded as one of the finest fly halves to have ever played the game and in his playing days his nickname was 'The King'. This made it even more surreal as here he was, enjoying a pint, in an anonymous bar on a Sunday afternoon. Occasionally, someone would notice who he was and wave a gesture but in general he was left to go over old war stories with his mates.
From time to time things like this happen. Wales isn't a big place which means over the last few years I've bumped into Gerald Davies doing the Christmas shopping, Gareth Edwards enjoying a meal and Jonathan Davies having a drink - to me they're living legends and I'm always in awe whenever I see them.
I may take a look at the South Africa v England cricket match tomorrow but if not then I'll just save myself for the tried and tested darts on Thursday.

Friday, 13 April 2007

This Is Getting Serious!

Daily P/L: £190.91
Monthly P/L: £365.72

What a difference some sunshine can make! We've had some glorious weather over the last week and I feel so much more relaxed - I'm sure this mindset rubs off on my trading.

Tonight it was back to the darts and everything was rolling along at a normal pace until the last match of the night!

Scholten v Lloyd
Colin Lloyd is a player who knows he's really underperformed during this tournament. He has a lot of ability and when he concentrates he can beat most players. This match was a good example of him hitting a bit of confidence and then going on to close out the game. Scholten blows hot and cold and I never feel comfortable relying on him too much. I ended with a profit of £45.07 on this match.

Taylor v Manley
The guy's a freak - if Taylor was born at the turn of the 20th Century his nickname would be 'The Elephant Man'. He totally outclassed Manley and shot him down with a convincing 8-1 victory - Barneveld wouldn't get near him on this form. The market supported Taylor all the way so I only made a small profit of £12.98 on this one.
Barneveld v Jenkins
It's nice to save the best until last. I went into this match with the thought of not blowing any of my accumulated profit but thanks to some divine inspiration I ended up with my biggest all green position to date. Again, I've included a screen shot to celebrate! The p/l shown is my profit after commission is deducted. The key point for me in this match was when Barneveld was trading at 1.64 I laid him for £317 and he missed 3 darts at a double - his price immediately flew out to 2.14 which allowed me to back him for an instant guaranteed profit. If only all matches were this good! I had some other trades as well which meant I finished with a gain of £132.86 on this one.

I'm off to London for a wedding over the weekend so there'll be no trading for a few days. The break might do me good but it'll probably mean I'll have to wait until next Thursday before getting involved again. I've already made a nice profit for the month so there's no need for me to go rushing into anything.

Monday, 9 April 2007

A Mixed Bag

Since Last Post P/L: £85.15
Monthly P/L: £174.81

I traded poorly over the weekend as I was trying to 'push it'. Luckily, I managed to stay on the right side of my profit & loss but it does concern me that a lack of discipline crept into my approach. I know why this is - I was forced into trading sports I'm still learning to trade but my expectation levels were the same as if I was trading all rugby and darts matches. As my results weren't hitting my expectations I felt the need to force things and 'over-trade' which we all know is the wrong way to go. I now need to spend more time analysing cricket and golf to come up with an edge that will see me through the summer.

Bristol v Worcester
After the treat of European rugby over recent months it appears the good times are over as the liquidity in this game was very low. This meant less opportunities and therefore a smaller profit. I was out of the game by half time with an all round green figure of £20.62.

Enzo Macaranelli v Bobby Gunn
Saturday night promised a boxing extravaganza and even though it didn't live up to expectations I thought I'd spotted an opportunity in this fight. Macaranelli is an excellent boxer but to me his trading price of 1.09 before the fight was too short. As the fight was going in-play my strategy was to get out after 5-6 rounds when I'd try and back him for around 1.20. It didn't turn out this way as Bobby 'The Machine' Gunn turned out to be more of a 'Tumble Dryer' and fell to the canvas soon after the fight started. My low liability meant I only made a small loss of £9.90.

Australia v England
I convinced myself that England had a chance in this one and that proved costly. After posting a score of 247 the general opinion on the Betfair forum was that England hadn't scored enough and even though I agreed I didn't think it was as bad as many thought. I'd previously jotted down that a par score would be around 265 so if England could take a couple of early wickets it'd be 'match on'. They didn't and they also struggled to peg the Australian score back (mainly due to an expensive Mahmood) and once Ponting got settled an English victory was never on the cards. My delay in realising this meant a loss of £30.84.

US Masters
The course at Augusta is a beast. It's very long and very difficult and this meant it was impossible to identify a winner until the final holes. The key point for me was Zach Johnson's shot to the par 3 16th. As soon as it landed 10 feet away from the pin I lumped on him at 1.80 and this proved to be a wise move. The 16th hole has ended many dreams in the past and as soon as he made birdie I guessed he'd done enough to take the green jacket. Tiger Woods made me sweat a little but it wasn't to be his day and even though Johnson made a bogey on the 17th he'd done enough to take victory. I ended up with a flattering profit of £105.27 on the tournament.

I'm doing the garden tomorrow and it's back to the day job on Tuesday so my next trading action will be the darts on Thursday - where am I going to make profits after that finishes?!?


Thursday, 5 April 2007

Dazed & Confused

Daily P/L: £30.86
Monthly P/L: £89.66

I got back from a very tiring 2 day trip to Amsterdam last night and I haven't recovered yet. It's proving very difficult for me to balance work and trading during the week and because of this my involvement in the darts tonight was limited to just two matches. Over the last six months I've become very aware of when I'm too tired to trade and tonight was a prime example. When I feel like this, from experience I know I need to be very cautious.

Manley v Barneveld
What's up with Barney? He's not himself and after the first leg it was plain to see that his initial trading price of 1.28 was way too short. The market reacted quickly and his price drifted rapidly. In the end he was lucky to secure a draw but I think he'll bounce back over the next few weeks - he just needs a bit of a rest as he looks exhausted. I secured a profit of £18.70 on this match.

Lloyd v Lewis
It seems that all the players in the Premier League are Jekyll and Hyde characters and Adrian Lewis is no exception. When he has confidence and gets going he's very difficult to beat but over the last few weeks he's appeared disinterested and quite rightly he's ended up on the losing end because of this. So what happened tonight? He decides to show up and beat an in-form Colin Lloyd! I can't figure him out and he's one of those players that can either make you a lot of money or cost you a fortune. I ended up with a small profit of £12.16 on this one.

Fortunately, I now have the Easter break to recharge my batteries although my fiancee's already roped me into doing the garden on Monday!

Happy Easter to you all!


Monday, 2 April 2007

Only Fools Rush In

Daily P/L: £58.80
Monthly P/L: £58.80

Fortunately the first day of April didn't make me into a fool and I turned a profit. A bit of rugby and a bit of cricket was on the menu and all went well although a significant rise in stake sizes (due to my increased trading bank) always leaves me feeling a little uneasy for the first couple of days of the month.

Leicester v Stade Francais
This was always going to be a heavyweight clash and it didn't disappoint. An early try from Leicester set the wheels in motion and prices fluctuated nicely for the rest of the game. I ended up securing a green screen of £34.65.

Sri Lanka v West Indies
I like the Sri Lankans. They're full of quality and once I saw they'd knocked up 140 runs from 28 overs I was confident they'd hit a score of 300. I'd estimated a par score of 240 so when they finally reached 303 from their 50 overs I was very bullish that the West Indies wouldn't get anywhere near. They lost a couple of early wickets and as soon as Lara got run out it was 'game over'. A nice gain of £24.15 saw me record a very respectable total for the day.

I'm off to Amsterdam with work until late Wednesday but I'll be back and raring to go for the darts on Thursday.


Sunday, 1 April 2007

Somebody Pinch Me!

Daily P/L: £137.19
Monthly P/L: £656.22

What a fantastic day to finish my month. March is now over and my trading bank has grown by 56% during this time. It now stands at just over £1830 and this means I've surpassed what I aimed for when I did my re-forecast back in December. I'm trying not to get too carried away but it's difficult!

I traded in 2 rugby matches and the second game signified a landmark for me - my biggest all green position since I switched from punting to trading.

Bath v Bristol
This was the appetiser before the main event and once again I nearly blew a nice green position from being too greedy. After 30 minutes of the game I was sitting pretty with an all green position of £25 but the market at this point was uncertain about a favourite - I jumped on once side of the fence, got it wrong, struggled to get out and ended up with an all red screen. This meant I had to go to plan B and carry on trading up until the 60 minute mark. Fortunately, I got on the Bath rollercoaster just before they started to run away with game and was able to turn my position around. I therefore ended with a profit of £19.25 on this one.

Wasps v Leinster
This was poetry in motion - everything went according to the script. I was able to lay Wasps just before Leinster scored their try and again just before Dallaglio got sin binned to secure a great position. It was so good I feel the need to show you a screenshot! The figures show my profit minus commission.

If you're reading this and still haven't realised all the benefits of trading, then please note that I was able to get myself into this position from spending just 40 minutes in front of the TV. The best bit? I couldn't lose. Whatever the outcome I was guaranteed to win and I love that feeling. I always green up my positions straight away and I'd recommend this process to anyone thinking of becoming a trader - winning is a frame of mind and becomes a habit if you do it often enough. If you don't choose to secure a profit no matter what the result then negative thoughts can appear and this is when trouble can start. Wasps went onto win easily, but I'd already secured a £117.94 profit on the match.

More rugby tomorrow, and as it's the start of April my trading stake sizes increase in line with the size of my trading bank. I really hope I can continue this good form.