Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Good End To A Bad Month

Daily P/L: £77.45
Monthly P/L: £272.12

Yippee - I didn't blow it! I survived my last trading day of May and boy does it feel good. I feel quite relieved that I've managed to post a respectable result for the last 4 weeks considering the hole I dug myself when trading the Snooker World Championships. Okay, so my trading bank has only grown 13% this month but I can accept that things won't always go to plan. The important yard stick to remember is that since last September my average growth per month is 31% so I need to keep the positive juices flowing and convince myself that June will be 'business as usual'.
To liven the blog up a bit I've dropped in the 'Good Sports' chart at the top of the page. It shows the sports that have yielded my profits (I'll save the 'bad sports' for another day). As you can see, I'm currently making 83% of my gains from Rugby Union, Darts & Cricket which just goes to show that you don't need to be a jack of all trades to win on the exchanges, although I do feel that if I was able to add Tennis & Soccer into the mix, things would start to look very rosy :-)
Here's a review of tonight's action:
Barneveld v Jenkins
The first semi-final was the highlight of my night. With Barneveld trading at 1.18 before the players took to the stage I was convinced he was too short. As you may remember, I've been a big fan of Jenkins for sometime and even though he's not a World Champion yet he's not far off. I kept this in mind for the first few legs and it didn't take long for the market to catch on. Jenkins won and I netted £50.35.
Taylor v Priestley
Priestley was never going to win this one but even I was surprised at Taylor's opening price of 1.07! I dabbled here and there for the odd tick but because of the poor volatility whenever Taylor plays (in relative terms compared to tight matches) I always seem to lose interest. Nevermind, I was bored but £19.07 better off.
Jenkins v Taylor
The final didn't turn out to be much of a contest but the time will come for the 'Bull' from Hereford. Taylor beat Jenkins up and deserved the win but my bed had already summoned me and I settled for a small £8.03 profit.

Monday, 28 May 2007

Pole Position

Daily P/L: £50.31
Monthly P/L: £194.67

As they say, patience is a virtue. Picking my moments seems to be working but I'll be glad to see the back of May. It's been tough and with the finals of the Premier League Darts tomorrow there's plenty of scope for things to go pear-shaped. I plan to be more cautious than normal as finishing the month in profit makes such a big difference to me. I don't want to ruin all the good work I've done over the past couple of weeks with a few moments of madness.

Today was all about picking up what I could and I'm fairly happy with the results.

Monaco Grand Prix
A lot of the hype this week has been about Lewis Hamilton. The rookie has had a fantastic start to his Formula 1 career and after securing 2nd place on the grid he had a great chance to win his first Grand Prix. Unfortunately, he didn't quite do it but he gave it a fantastic effort and this guy has a big future a head of him if he can keep himself level-headed. I'm still not 100% comfortable in trading this sport but I'm learning things with each race. You have to remember that if you enter a trade and one of the drivers retires (crashes or has technical failure etc.) you could lose a lot of money so this has to be taken into account when determining stake sizes. My profit on the race was £27.02.

Crowne Plaza Invitational
Rain had affected the tournament over the weekend which meant that the players had to finish off their 3rd round before playing the final round today. It was anybody's game going into the final 18 holes as there was a number of players within a couple of shots of the lead but there seemed to be value in opposing Jim Furyk. Jim's a very good player but I don't think he's been quite as clinical this season compared to his normal standards. He was trading in the 3.00 to 5.00 range for most of the round which I felt was a little on the low side. He ended up making a late rally over the closing holes and could have won it in a playoff but fortunately I'd turned off the computer by then. I'm starting to get a better feel for golf again and even though I felt I could have performed better I was still able to make a gain of £23.29 here.

Monday, 21 May 2007

Another Score Draw

Since Last Post P/L: £12.85
Monthly P/L: £144.36

I apologise if it's a little slow around here at the moment but I suppose this isn't the entertainment business! The simple fact is I'm here to try and make money and if things are not happening I can't afford to push it otherwise I'm sure to get myself in a mess. I just need to let things roll, wait for the right opportunities and then when they come along have the conviction to make the most of them.

Clermont v Bath
For once a rugby match didn't go my way. Prior to kick off Clermont were trading at 1.72 and even though I was convinced they'd win the match they ended up making hard work of it. The first half was scrappy and as my strategy is based on predicting big market swings, when nothing happened I ended up getting caught a few times. At half time I thought about trading up to 60 minutes but in the end my trading rules prevailed and I decided to bail with a loss of £21.42.

Federer v Nadal
My first tennis action of 2007 started with a small loss of £8.76. I was tempted by the match up of two great athletes and wanted to see if I could spot some value. The consensus before the match was that Nadal would walk it and at a price of 1.36 the market agreed. He won the first set and looked assured of his 81st consecutive clay court victory but Roger dug in and played some wonderful stuff to win 2-1 in sets. I played with low stakes to test some strategies but none really worked so unfortunately it's back to the drawing board.

Leicester v Wasps
This was the highlight of my weekend. Having been very impressed by Leicester this year, I'd marked them before kick off as being between a 1.50 and 1.66 shot. When I saw their price was 1.40 I was very tempted to get involved but in the end decided to hang on to see how things developed. It was immediately obvious that the Wasps defence were in good form and you could see they were up for the game. The market started to take note and the price started to drift. The main point for me was managing to lay Leicester @ 1.74 just before the Ibanez try which helped secure me a profit of £43.03 on the match.

It'll be another quiet week for me as I plan my assault on the final weekend of the month - how will May turn out?

Friday, 18 May 2007

Being Patient

Since Last Post P/L: £3.42
Monthly P/L: £131.51

I've been sitting on my hands since the weekend as I don't want a repeat of getting involved in events I should be leaving well alone. Instead, I've decided to wait until Saturday and just stick with the rugby. It's very important for me to finish the month in profit and if I pick my moments I think I can finish with a healthy result.

Last Sunday I did have a little dabble but as the end result was a bit of washout I've been a little slack in updating the blog. This is what happened:

Spanish Grand Prix
Formula 1 intrigues me. It's not the best spectator sport as only a few drivers normally win but from a trading perspective it appears to have plenty of opportunities. I'll give an example - Massa was in pole position before the race and was trading at around 2.60. A lot had been mentioned about how important it would be to lead at the first bend as there'd be a great chance of opening up a gap quite quickly. Sure enough, Massa managed to hold onto first place (after a brief touch of cars with Alonso) and within a few minutes his price was trading at 1.60 - a full one point swing with less than a few laps completed! Obviously, there's plenty of traders out there who make serious money from this so I'm going to give it more attention as the season progresses. My profit on the race was £32.87.

The Players @ Sawgrass
I'm still struggling to find the golf form which gave me a lot of confidence last year. I'm not keen on backing players during the 4th round of any tournament and even though Phil Mickelson maneuvered himself into a very strong position within the first couple of holes I was always looking for things to move against him. My belief was that the tough course would make things difficult for him at some point but this didn't happen and in the end he sealed a comfortable victory. There's not many close to Tiger's standard but Phil is one of the contenders. I decided to take a loss of £29.45 so that I could still show a green figure for the day.

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Kenny Rogers - The Gambler

A great song with some wise advice for us all!

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Tigers On Top

Daily P/L: £91.09
Monthly P/L: £128.09

I love trading rugby! Today was the Guinness Premiership Final between Leicester and Gloucester and with it being the climax to the English rugby calendar it promised to be a good match.

Leicester v Gloucester
Leicester have been awesome this season but even though they've got a very balanced squad I believe the secret to their success has been mainly down to one person - Alesana Tuilagi. The Samoan is a brute. He's huge and when in full flow does a great impression of Jonah Lomu - there are many players that have felt the full force of 'Alex' over the past 6 months and I don't think any of them enjoyed it! Anyway, since Leicester gave a very good Scarlets side a going over in the Heineken Cup Semi-Final I've acknowledged that there aren't many teams around that can beat them so with this in mind I noted that their pre-match price of 1.70 was rather high. I think this had been inflated due to Gloucester's demolition of Saracens last week but without their skipper, Marco Bortolami, Gloucester were going to have a much tougher proposition today. The game went according to plan with a tense opening 10 minutes followed by the Tigers shifting up several gears to run out convincing winners. Fortunately for me the first half provided enough opportunities to take strong positions and I was able to settle for a nice profit by half time.
May is starting to look a little rosier but I need to be cautious - there's a long way to go.

Monday, 7 May 2007

As Good As It Gets

Daily P/L: £340.01
Monthly P/L: £37.00

A truly unbelievable week has delivered both my worst and best ever results. I now sit in a position where I'm showing a profit for the month and I'd like to add that even though I got a little lucky today I wasn't reckless like I've been for most of the last 7 days. On reflection I think the combination of a week off work and the new office got to me and I went off the rails. Fortunately, I now have a chance to redeem myself but you have to take the lows with the highs in this game.
Durham v Lancashire
There was a feast of English cricket talent on show and they lived up to expectations to deliver a cracking match with plenty of excellent trading opportunities. Lancashire were firm favourites before the first ball and were trading at around 1.60. I'd noted that a par score would be 233 so even though Durham lost a couple of early wickets they were able to keep the scoreboard ticking over to finish on 220 after their 50 overs. The commentators were full of doom and gloom regarding their chances but I disagreed - on my reckoning Lancashire would be worthy favourites but surely at a price of around 1.61? Nope - the Lancashire price at the turn of the innings was 1.30! I was holding an all green position of around £75 at this point and even though I made a few small raids to nick a tick here and there I held off lumping on Durham until a better opportunity came.....and boy did it ever!
Lancashire started their innings well and it was soon apparent that Hodge and Loye were the key dangermen. The Lancs. price went as low as 1.07 before things started to turn. The run rate was beginning to slow down and I could sense that if Hodge lost his wicket we could see a big flip-flop situation. Then it happened - OUT! I scrambled with the mouse and in my excitement gave it 2 clicks. With the one click trading software I use this can often be a very dangerous situation (especially as each click was worth £522 in this case) but for once it went in my favour. As I entered my position £3000 appeared at 1.15 to back Lancashire and as I was trying to lay them within a millisecond I'd snaffled over a grand of what was on offer. Within a few seconds the price was out to 1.32 and rising! It was like Christmas all over again! I could have taken a nice profit immediately but I knew that this was a perfect opportunity to take a big win. At this point my position stood with a liability of £150 on Lancashire and a profit of over £1,000 on Durham but as I wanted to make sure that I cleared my monthly losses I decided not to risk it and gradually traded out for an all green position of £340. I've included the screenshot not to celebrate but just to prove that it did happen as I'm sure there'll be a few people with doubts when they read this. Even though Durham did go onto win I'm glad I made sure that I wouldn't be a loser today.
With no darts until the end of May a quiet week lies ahead but I'm in no rush - someone crack open the champagne!
Finally, thanks to those who've passed on supportive messages over the last few days - it really helped.

Sunday, 6 May 2007


Daily P/L: £59.51
Monthly P/L: £303.01

Let me get the good news out of the way first. I had a fantastic birthday on Friday with plenty of food and drink and plenty of laughs when playing golf on Saturday. The weather was superb too which really helped although I did get a little burnt. It was great to get away and I felt a lot better in myself this morning.

Now for the not so good news.

Worcestershire v Nottinghamshire
I'd marked up a par score on this pitch at 243 before played started and when Worcester made a respectable 234 off their 50 overs I made Notts slight favourites but the market had a different view with Worcestershire trading at 1.83. This was mainly due to how much the ball was turning for the spinners with the market expecting Notts to have a tough time keeping up with the run rate as the pitch and ball got slower. The game was in the balance for most of the innings but the crunch time came for me mid-way through. The Worcestershire spinners were just about to come on so I backed them at 1.81 expecting the Nottinghamshire run rate to fall and if there was a wicket then bingo! A minute later Batty had a free hit awarded against him which was smashed for six. The pendulum swung quickly as the next ball went for four and the Worcestershire price was out to 2.50. I cut my losses and bailed out of the trade expecting more chances to come my way but Hussey and Wagh had other ideas as they both played superbly to lead Notts to a very comfortable victory.

So another loss but I'm not going to let it get me down as I traded pretty well. In the end it was one wrong decision that made the difference and I can live with that. I just have to keep my head down and keep learning.

Friday, 4 May 2007

Making Hard Work Of It

Daily P/L: £9.88
Monthly P/L: £243.50

I had to grind it out tonight and at no point was I in control of my trading. I was playing catch-up for the majority of the evening and the return for all my effort may seem tiny but it feels like a fortune. Quite simply, I was looking for opportunities that didn't exist and over-traded alot. This is just a waste of time as any good decision I made was almost immediately cancelled out by a bad one. I'm not myself at the moment and I know it so what do I do? I have to forget the recent bad days and I also need to forget about the sums involved. As my confidence is currently rock bottom I haven't got the conviction needed to let my winning trades run and cut my losing trades short - in fact I'm doing the exact opposite. I know what I'm experiencing is normal but it's the first time since I started trading that I've felt as bad as this so if you've got anything to say that might help a little please let me know by dropping me a comment.

Anyway, I celebrate my 30th birthday tomorrow and my Fiancee has arranged for a night at the Vale of Glamorgan Hotel (it's where all the football and rugby teams stay when they're playing in Cardiff), a meal with friends and a round of golf on Saturday so I'll be having a couple of days off to take it easy and reflect. There's cricket and rugby on Sunday so maybe things will be back to normal by then, buy I'm under no illusions, May will be a testing month.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

As Bad As It Gets

Daily P/L: £316.09
Monthly P/L: £253.38

What can I say? Not much really apart from a huge amount of indiscipline, impatience and stupidity led to my biggest loss to date. The snooker markets I was confident would reap dividends decided to get their own back by starting my day with a £138 loss in the first Higgins v O'Sullivan frame and from there the downward spiral started as (I hate to admit this bit) I tried to chase my losses. Horse Racing, Badminton, Tiddlywinks - if you'd given me the chance I would have got involved in all of them today - it really was that bad.

I haven't been happy with my trading for the last week as an amount of frustration has crept in and a loss like this has been coming for a while but I have to put things into perspective. I need to concentrate back on the processes involved and not the end result. I've been guilty about getting too far ahead of myself and I've paid the price. This happens to us all so my immediate goal is to focus on just getting back to even for the month. With the Premier League Darts on tomorrow I can revert to a sport that I'm comfortable with and if I take my time there should be opportunities to take advantage of. Consolidation is now key and it's at times like these you have to earn your money - there's no such thing as a free lunch.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Making A Break

Daily P/L: £62.71
Monthly P/L: £62.71

The future's bright, the future's snooker! Well, maybe not but from what I can see it looks like a game I should be able to make money out of. One thing is for sure - it's very volatile especially if you get involved in the frame markets which is what I did today. After reading Gareth's post I tried to make sure I limited my risk by reducing my maximum liability to 9% of my bank and due to the dramatic price fluctuations this was more than enough to make decent figures. At one stage my green figure was quite a bit higher than the one I'm posting but I got caught in one frame and that was enough to make me pack it in for the afternoon.

I also did something very wise today. I often here of disaster stories from other traders that normally go along the lines of "Betfair suddenly crashed, I couldn't get out of my trade and I lost £400!" As I don't want to be in this position I decided to split my trading bank by transfering enough cash to my Betdaq account to cover my largest trade. Even though I've got the Betfair telephone number pinned to my desk sometimes this isn't enough and this will give me another escape route should it be needed.

It'll be more snooker for me tomorrow but I've already got one eye on the Taylor v Barneveld showdown on Thursday.