Friday, 31 August 2007

From £250 to £4505 in 12 Months


It can be done - making a significant return can be made through investing on Betfair.
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For years I'd read formbooks, devised systems and created formula to help me make a profit from gambling but they were all relative unsuccessful. Since becoming a Betfair customer in December 2001 my account had always been in profit but the winnings weren't reflecting the hard work I was putting in. This time last year I felt I had explored every avenue and the dream I'd had for many years was evaporating before my eyes. Despite this, life was chugging along at a normal pace (I had a good job, a house, a dog) but a holiday was called for so Nicola and I packed the suitcases and headed off to Turkey for a week to relax and unwind.
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Now basking in the sun all day is great but I find reading at the same time even better so I took with me the book 'Lay, Back and Think of Winning' written by Nigel Paul. If you've ever visited the Betfair forum you'll know that this book has it's critics but it gave me what I needed at just the right time. Previously, I'd made a few token efforts to 'crack' trading with losing £400 on an in-running horse racing trade the biggest low light but at that time I didn't understand what I doing. I had dabbled in something I knew little about and had paid the price. After reading this book I was ready for a serious attempt, I was now armed with a knowledge of money management and had a basic trading strategy to build on, and for those two things alone I was and still am very grateful.
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In August 2006 I set about trading (in-running on different sports) with very low stakes to test a few ideas and did quite a lot of research on the internet. One thing became apparent - trading software was available from a number of companies that linked to the Betfair data and the functionality offered by their software definitely gave users an edge. I scanned the Betfair website for a list of companies that offered this service and became very interested in what was provided by the people at Bet Angel. They offered a free program that you could download to give trading a go and as soon as I did I was hooked. The downside to this was that I realised very quickly that that the basic software wouldn't be good enough if I was serious about making money - I needed Bet Angel Pro. Good things don't come cheap and by the time September arrived I'd spent £200 on the Bet Angel subscription and had put aside a trading bank of £250. There was no going back - if I blew my bank then I wouldn't be topping it up, I'd accept that I'd reached the end of the road.
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The first few weeks of September were tough but I was learning all the time. An initial mistake I made was to get involved in too many different markets too quickly - looking back I cringe at how I thought I could trade well on completely different sports! This is possible after time but it was a totally unrealistic expectation considering I was a rookie! Luckily I realised this early on and decided to concentrate on researching 2/3 sports. 'Specialising' was definitely the key word.
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I drifted through the end of 2006 and had to endure a period of 4 weeks in November without my laptop as it blew up whilst trading a football match between Man Utd and FC Copenhagen. This was hugely frustrating but I got over it and it was whilst munching a few mince pies at Christmas that I decided to start a blog. I had been buoyed by my success at trading the PDC Darts World Championship and with my bank now sitting at over £800 I felt that the world was my oyster. Had I found the Holy Grail of gambling?
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No. The highs of December soon turned into an anti-climax as I had to pinch every penny I could muster during January. There was a serious lack of competitive sport for me to sink my teeth into and as I reflect on the posts I made at the time it's clear that things were tough - I was 'working' for 3/4 hours and making £18! My enthusiasm must have been contagious though as it was at this time I got Clive, a family friend, interested in what I was doing - so much so that within a few hours he'd set up a Betfair account and a blog!
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February consisted of more of the same and it wasn't until March that I really new I was onto something. During those 31 days I grew my trading bank by 56% and was able to declare a profit of £656.22 - this was getting serious and Rugby Union was becoming the main source of my success but the season was ending - would I be able to survive the Summer without it?
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I knew that learning to trade Cricket would be vital and after doing a lot of studying I was confident that my new found knowledge would pay off. It did, and my good form hadn't gone unnoticed as during April I was approached by Hardcore Sports Radio to appear on their late night sports phone in show (listen to the interview here). I don't think the North Americans understood exactly what I did as the host barraged me with a number of tipping questions and every "guess" I made ended up as a loser. It made me chuckle and so did the change in my accent - how embarrassing - my thick Welsh valley boy voice had become a New York taxi driver drawl! Needless to stay they haven't invited me back for a second appearance - perhaps I was "laying the juice" a little too much?
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The rain then began to fall at the beginning of June and didn't seem to stop until the end of July. Anybody doing this full time must have been affected as events were called off all over the place. Fortunately, I kept a low profile and was able to pick up wins here and there but the average monthly growth of my bank was now down to around 16% which was way below the 30% I was hoping for.
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But...now we're at the end of August. I've just had my biggest winning month and the future looks bright but has the last year only been rosey? Were there any low points? Of course, there were plenty, but with time I became better at accepting the losses when they came as I realised they're inevitable - the secret was to keep to small losses, small gains and big gains. Reducing the number of big losses from my trading p/l had a huge impact and led to me making consistent profits.
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So what's the future? Well, to be honest, at the moment it seems I haven't got enough hours in the day. My full time career is going very well which is great but in turn this takes up more of my available time for trading. I've also just learnt that I'm going to become a Dad and I'm aware that sneaking away to trade for a few hours may be frowned upon so I'm just going to have to take every step at a time.
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It's been a great journey and it's not over yet, but please be patient with me if my posts are shorter and less frequent. I won't have given up as I'll remember what someone once said to me....
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"If you're heading in the right direction....then keep on walking".
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If you've been with with me all the way then I thank you for dropping by - it's nice to know I've got others in my corner.
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All the best,
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Mark
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Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Bouncing Back

Since Last Post P/L: £119.88
Monthly P/L: £879.45
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We're now into the last few days of the month and things are going well. I'm away in Dublin with work tomorrow and Thursday so there's only a couple of trading opportunities left before my first 12 months come to a close so I'm aiming to finish on a high. It's been a rollercoaster journey with plenty of ups and downs but I've loved every minute. Once the final figures are in I'll do a full review to see if I can pinpoint where the highs and lows were.
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Worcestershire v Lancashire
Saturday was hot and sticky and so was I. After manoeuvring myself into a comfortable all green position I lost concentration and too be honest a little bit of interest. The Lancashire batting attack were doing their best to make a mess of things and even though I thought the Worcestershire price was too big I ended up entering the market at the wrong times. This all resulted in a heavy loss of £151.56 and left me scratching my head. After conducting a trading post mortem I noticed that whenever I trade for over three hours in any one session my performance declines. It appears that I end up losing a feel for the game and lose focus of what my aims are. After some thought I came up with the idea of introducing a new trading rule to combat my problem - I've named it the "3 hour rule" :-)
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England v India - 3rd ODI
This was a lovely match to trade. England posted a very respectable 281-8 off their 50 overs and even though India have a tasty batting line-up it was always going to be a big ask to chase the target down at a testing Edgbaston. As soon as Tendulkar lost his wicket you got the feeling it was not a matter of "if" but "when" and I rode the England price down in stages. A profit of £259.10 in this match made up for my poor effort the previous day and I let out a loud sigh of relief.
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Somerset v Leicestershire
By the time I turned on the TV Somerset were in a commanding position and trading at 1.18. I didn't have much confidence in Leicestershire turning things around so I took a couple of ticks where I could and gave up after 10 minutes. A small profit of £12.35 but it all counts!
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Friday, 24 August 2007

I'm Going To Be A Dad!

Daily P/L: £72.37
Monthly P/L: £759.56

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You may remember earlier this month I said I had other things going on that were taking up alot of my time, well here's the news. Fatherhood is on it's way for the first time and I'm chuffed to bits! Okay, so it wasn't in the plan as I'm due to get married next August, but some things are more important so the wedding bells will have to be put on hold until the little one gets a bit older. Nicola my Fiancee is only 12 weeks so I know it's early days but I can't help get excited - I'll have somebody else to explain the wonders of Betfair to apart from the dog!
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England v India - 2nd ODI
What a great day for cricket - baking blue skies and 16,000 supporters crammed into Bristol's County Ground set things up beautifully and the players didn't disappoint as the match turned into a run-fest! After I'd rushed home from work and booted up the PC India were extremely well placed at 243-3 with a full 9 overs left. Even though there had been murmurs about how good a batting pitch this was I was sure that any score over 300 wouldn't be chased down so the question was "would India score 57 off 54 balls?" My answer was a resounding "yes" even if the batting line-up was a little inexperienced. They didn't let me down and the 330 target they gave England to win was always going to be a huge ask but the market didn't reflect this. At the change of innings India were available to back at around 1.43 - a mammoth price especially as England would be batting under floodlights. BigBadBunyip declared on the Betfair forum that this was "the best bet of all time" and I was finding it hard to disagree. So what happened next? Well, Agarkar fell asleep for 5 overs and his bowling allowed England to get off to a flyer. They knocked up over 70 runs from the first 10 overs and were now trading at 1.79 favourites -what a flip-flop! The market was panicking and I was losing money as I hit stop loss after stop loss. Even though my view on the final outcome remained the same the market had gone bonkers and showed no faith in the Indian bowling attack. Enter stage left Chawla and Powar. These two spinners managed to turn things back around and as vital wickets began to fall the run rate started to move upward and England had it all to do. It was at this point I made my profit and in the end it was an amazing effort that England only lost by 9 runs. I was exhausted but content - another £72.37 could be added to the pot.
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Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Getting It Right


Since Last Post P/L: £255.93
Monthly P/L: £687.19
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Making £250 in just over an hour reminds me how good trading can be but before I get carried away I need to remind myself that making a profit isn't always as easy. Tonight I called my trades right and my strategy paid off but if I hadn't been patient over the last few weeks I'd have only been catching up on my losses. My discipline has worked in my favour and as being patient is something I've really had to work on I'm going to give myself a pat on the back and have a celebratory beer. For any of you reading this blog looking for a get rich quick scheme then please take note - trading just doesn't work that way. You have to go through plenty of days where you work for hours just to break even but when everything clicks and the markets move in your favour it's like striking oil.
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England v India
When I got home from work and switched on the TV I couldn't have hoped for a better scenario. England had exceeded expectations and knocked up a whopping 288 - their price was hovering at a very attractive 1.59 and I was tempted to get on then, but I decided to wait and see how the first few overs went. I was aware that the Indians would need to play very well to get anywhere near the target and I anticipated them struggling as soon as the light started to fade. After a couple of early Indian boundaries the England price had spiked to 1.94 - I was sure this was an over reaction but before I could react Ganguly got run out after a bit of sharp fielding from Monty Panesar. The 1.94 turned to 1.54 very quickly but my mind was made up - England weren't going to lose this! When the price trickled back out to 1.65 I jumped on with a back of £473 and within a couple of overs I was smiling as Gambhir got caught behind after some superb bowling from James Anderson. The trend continued and it wasn't long before the Indian score was 34-4 and the price on England had plummeted to 1.05. Cricket's a funny game and you never know what can happen so I decided to take the profit of £254.36 and relax for the rest of the evening - the job's a good 'un!
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As a side note, the Glamorgan v Yorkshire match yesterday wasn't half as exciting. The Dragons puffed smoke instead of fire and it never looked like a contest. I figured this out early on and walked away without getting involved. On Sunday I also had a very small dabble on the Wyndham Championship golf and made a tiny £1.57 profit.
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Sunday, 19 August 2007

It's Oh So Quiet

Since Last Post P/L: £8.79
Monthly P/L: £431.26
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Not a huge amount to report. The weather put paid to the Pro 40 cricket during the week so the only trading exercises I've put myself through over the last 7 days have been investigating the possibility of creating a 'soccer-bot' and a small dabble on the France v England game tonight.
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If you've been reading my blog for a while then you'll know that my previous attempts at trading soccer have failed miserably but I still can't help thinking I'm missing a trick. This is the thing with traders - always up for a challenge of beating the system and always looking for holes to exploit. Unfortunately, despite the fantastic excel platform provided by Bet Angel that helps you design your own 'bot' it still feels that my search for the Holy Grail continues. I attempted to create a 'scalper' program and whilst it worked the risk-reward ratio just wasn't in my favour - I didn't get caught out this time but I could feel it was just around the corner. Best to leave alone and re-assess so it's back to the drawing board for the time-being.
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One last thing before I go - I've put a poll on the right hand side of the blog which I'd really like your feedback on. As it stands, I only make a post after I've done some trading and if I feel I have something to report. As I only trade part-time this means that it could be 5-6 days between posts. Now I don't have a problem with this but I'd like to know if you'd prefer more frequent, shorter posts instead? Other blogs sometimes only write a few lines and in the past I've deliberately tried not to do this as I don't want to come across as lazy but on the other hand you may like to hear some of my ramblings. I'll leave the decision up to you - the vote ends soon!
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Saturday, 11 August 2007

World Cup Warm Up

Daily P/L: £118.49
Monthly P/L: £422.47
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Rugby is back on the sporting calendar and it feels good. At the beginning of the summer I was concerned that with a lack of rugby I may struggle to make profits. Well, thanks mainly to the cricket, I seem to have survived and I've now got a big grin on my face as I prepare for the new season. The World Cup kicks off in a months time and today's games were just the tonic for my preparation.
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Scotland v Ireland
What happened here? Scottish rugby is in dire straits. There's a lack of money and a lack of interest north of the border so it appears typically ironic that they should start to look like a half decent side. Okay, this was just a "friendly" but beating Ireland will have given them plenty of confidence and their forwards a great boost before they meet the South Africans in the coming weeks. They won't beat South Africa but they can hope for a close game providing they put up a similar effort to today. From a trading perspective I was very wary of this game as I couldn't figure out how hard they were trying so I settled for a small profit of £8.84 quite early on.
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England v France
I thought I could make a bit of profit on this one as I anticipated the market over-reacting to the drubbing England gave Wales last week. England played well and looked impressive in that one but they were up against a very weak Welsh pack. The same can't be said for the French so my strategy for today's game was to pick good opportunities for getting on the visitors. The key time came just before Pelous scored the first French try and I secured a £109.65 profit. England fans can take comfort from their teams performance - it wasn't their strongest line-up and they played well. As for France? One player makes them tick - David Skrela. If he gets injured then they'll struggle to get out of their pool.
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Friday, 10 August 2007

Shark Bite

Since Last Post P/L: £160.32
Monthly P/L: £303.98
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Sometimes we just have to look in mirror and say "I got in wrong". I've been doing this a few times over the last few days and when I've analysed my losing trades one thing continues to stand out - when I made the right decision I let the trade run too far and then put the stop loss too short so I ended with little profit. This meant that when the inevitable losing trades hit I was affected much more than usual and this made it very difficult to end each session in profit. I'm aware that I've grown this mindset from trying to let my winning trades run but this strategy doesn't seem to be paying off.
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Nevermind eh? At least I know my faults!
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Sussex v Gloucestershire
My view throughout this match was way off. Gloucestershire had posted a very large 266 off their 40 overs and with the floodlights due to make a difference I couldn't see them getting caught - especially at Hove. To try and get a head start Sussex threw Luke Wright into open the batting and it proved to be a masterstroke. The youngster started smashing the ball around the park for fun and his 125 off 77 balls proved to be the difference. I could have got out for a smaller loss but I didn't. The result? A nasty big red of 182.13.
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Derbyshire v Leicestershire
What a funny old game this was. By the time I'd got home the Derbyshire innings was already over as they'd crumbled to 175 all out. This is not normally a good sign for trading as one sided matches usually offer little opportunity to ride the volatility of the market but I thought I'd wait and see what happened when the Foxes started their chase. Two things became apparent quite quickly - the sun was getting in the eyes of the batsmen and the pitch wasn't an easy one to bat on. Both of these thoughts were backed up early on when Ackerman lost his wicket for just 6 runs - was it game on? Just as I was getting a little excited the umpires decided to halt proceedings - the sun was too low in the sky and this ended up delaying the game for an hour and a half. When the players returned I watched for the chance to oppose Leicestershire and I got in at the right time. They were making things difficult for themselves and at this point I'd made up for my loss the day before. I should have stopped there but I got a little greedy and ended up making some wrong decisions. I finished with a profit of £85.79 but this should have been bigger. Leicestershire ended up winning by 1 wicket with 1 ball remaining and the market was all over the place in the last over.
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Yorkshire v Middlesex
Yorkshire tried their hardest to lose this game and if I was Darren Gough I'd have been tearing my hair out. They started well as their bowlers found their line and length and restricted Middlesex to just 183 on a pitch that seemed pretty straight forward. The run rate was never likely to be a problem so all they needed to do was keep their wickets in tact. The chase started well and they'd made it to 131-3 with little to worry about - then the trouble started. Within a handful of overs the score had changed dramatically as wicket after wicket fell. They were now 165-8! The market was swinging in both directions and I couldn't call it right. I decided not to gamble on finishing with a bigger loss and watched the conclusion of the match just for fun. The home side stumbled over the line and I stumbled into bed after another defeat of £63.98.
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Saturday, 4 August 2007

A Fitting Finale

Since Last Post P/L: £464.30
Monthly P/L: £464.30
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August signals the end of my first year of trading as opposed to punting and at the end of it I'll be able to judge how successful this transition has been so I'm delighted to get off to good start. Cricket has now become my most profitable sport and with the Twenty 20 World Cup in September there's plenty to start getting excited about.
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I'm also aware that the updates to my blog haven't been as frequent recently - please stick with me as there are other things going on in my life at the moment which are taking up alot of my time - I will reveal all in due course :-)
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Hampshire v Nottinghamshire
The Rose Bowl looks a cracking place to play cricket but it's not renowned for huge scores so when David Hussey (81) helped the Outlaws post a respectable 214 I thought there maybe a bit of value in opposing the hosts especially as they'd have to chase under the lights. The exact opposite turned out to be true - Hampshire were never in trouble and they cruised home under the guidance of John Crawley (97 n/o) to leave me with a hole of £70.43 in my account.
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Essex v Worcestershire
After a poor end to July and a morale sapping loss the day before, this was probably not the best time to introduce my boss to the "wonders of trading on Betfair". After taking on my new role in February I've always been honest with him about what I do in my spare time and he's always expressed in an interest in making some extra money (especially as I've explained to him the rewards can be high). As his wife had gone away for a few days and we get on very well I offered him the chance to come around and see for himself how things worked. He plays cricket regularly and with hindsight I think his influence must have helped back up my own thoughts. I was alot more decisive with my trades and by the end of the first innings we decided to take the £104.81 and go to the pub for a celebratory pint. The mixed grill tasted twice as good as normal and it we had a good night.
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Lancashire v Gloucestershire
Twenty 20 finals day is the equivalent of Christmas Day for traders. Three matches in one day with high quality players and plenty of liquidity in the markets - what more can you ask for? Lancashire were very strong 1.56 favourites at the start of the game but it's clear this isn't their favoured format and in the end I felt they were very fortunate to reach a total of 148. Their star players failed to fire and the Gladiators made the chase look easy with Spearman cracking a fantastic 86 off 55 balls. I made a profit of £197.34 on the match and thoughts did start coming into my head - would it be a day for the underdogs?
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Sussex v Kent
As I was keen to watch the England v Wales rugby match at 4pm (what a waste of time this was - Jenkins must go!) I was only going to trade the first innings but this proved to be enough. The Sharks have a great batting line-up but they ended up losing some key men early (Wright & Prior) and never really recovered. The target of 141 for Kent was always likely if they could hold onto their wickets and that's what they did. I made a profit of £142.40 on this one.
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Gloucestershire v Kent
The final. A great climax to a great day ended with Kent pipping Gloucestershire to the post. It all came down to the last few balls even though it looked like the Spitfires were in control for most of their innings. Some great catches from Marshall to dismiss Key and Denly could have swung the game but it was not to be and we now have to wait another year for the fun to start again. This match brought me a profit of £90.18.
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