Saturday, 27 October 2007

In A Spin


Since Last Post P/L: £13.11
Monthly P/L: £671.69
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It's been a tough week, I'm absolutely shattered and the hard work isn't over yet. The next 7 days are going to be challenging too. It all starts in the early hours of tomorrow morning as I'm off to the Netherlands with work and I don't get back until late Tuesday night. After that I'm on a 2 day training course and in between I'm scheduled to meet up with Nicola for the next baby scan. There is some good news though as if I can get through it then a holiday in Gran Canaria is just around the corner. When we first found out that Nic was expecting we took the decision to take one last 'couples' holiday before things changed and I'm glad to say it's nearly here. We're only going for a short break but I can't wait to lie next to the pool, get some sun and read a book :-)
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This all means that my trading activity for October has come to an end. My last bit of action was on Sunday as I took a punt of £13.11 (a strange amount to stake but one I made to tidy up the books) on Philadelphia beating Chicago in the NFL and needless to say they let me down. It's been a relatively quiet month which was to be expected after the joys of September but I can still declare a 13% growth to my trading bank and it now stands at over £6,000. If I can keep to a similar level of performance between now and Christmas I'll be delighted with my efforts for 2007 and will look forward to 2008 with a smile.
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Sorry this post is brief but I've got packing to do!
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Sunday, 21 October 2007

Hole In One?


Since Last Post P/L: £315.99
Monthly P/L: £684.80
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You may remember from this post back in August that I'm due to become a Dad for the first time in March. Well, this week was the time for Nicola to have her 20 week scan so we trudged off to the hospital on Wednesday to check that all was still in order. Now, I'm not a big fan of hospitals at the best of times as when I was younger I seemed to spend most of my life there for one reason or another and now whenever I return they always tend to leave me feeling a little queasy. This day was no exception.
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I used to think that this stage of a pregnancy was the exciting bit - the time when you could start looking forward to the big change on the horizon and to start buying clothes etc. but my vision took a bit of a knock as soon as we entered the dimly lit room. As soon as the lady explained that the scan would take up to 20 minutes as they had a checklist to go through my stomach started to churn - had I taken a wrong turn and parked my car outside Kwikfit?
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Sure enough, a couple of seconds later and we were off...legs...CHECK...arms...CHECK. The organs and limbs started coming thick and fast and it wasn't long before I felt close to shouting, "HOUSE!" but I resisted the temptation and bit my tongue.
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It was at this point I started to have sympathy for all those players that only ever get a line.
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The lady began to stutter when looking at the baby's heart. She went back and forth many times and after 10 minutes (it seemed much longer) she announced that there was a shadow on the screen that she wasn't very happy about and that one of the Doctor's should come and have a look. Our faces dropped. Excitement was swiftly replaced by fear and when the Doctor came even she couldn't ease our concerns. The diagnosis wasn't great - it appeared that the baby's heart had a possible 'VSD' which stands for 'Ventricular Septal Defect' and is a posh term for a 'hole in the heart'.
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This does sound dramatic but on the bright side apparently the size of the hole is the crucial factor in what happens next. As you would expect the larger the hole the bigger the issue but unfortunately due to the size of the baby and the way he was lying (yes, it's a boy) they were unable to tell how big it is. As you can imagine, this all leaves us in a bit of a 'no mans land' until we go back for another scan in a couple of weeks but after a bit of research on the internet I'm taking inspiration from Danny Swanson's story. If he can defy the odds and play Professional football then there's still a chance my son can end up captaining the Welsh rugby team!
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You can see it's been a testing few days so please forgive me for the title of this post - I had to try and put a smile on my face!
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In a bid to take my mind off things I've also got involved in a bit of trading and these are my results since my last post:
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Tennis
Murray v Nadal = £19.56
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Rugby Union
France v Argentina = £207.41
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Cricket
India v Australia = £128.14
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A shame about the Tennis but even though I only dipped my toes into the water I can see this as a sport you can make a lot of money from if you know what you're doing. At Christmas, I'll be conducting an end of year review and as part of that I'll be evaluating if I should invest more time in this sport and if so, which of my current portfolio should drop down the list to accommodate it e.g Darts?
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As a side note, I'd like to say well done to the English rugby team - you didn't win the World Cup but it was a fantastic effort to reach the final and you can be very proud of what you've achieved.
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Have a good week everyone and thanks for dropping by.
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Monday, 15 October 2007

Against All Odds


Since Last Post P/L: £200.35
Monthly P/L: £368.81


Who would have believed it? England are in the final of the Rugby World Cup and my jaw is on the floor. This is a team who has struggled to rise above mediocrity over the last 4 years but somehow they've battled to earn a seat at the highest table in the game. This is too much pain for a disillusioned Welsh fan to bare.....not only are we rubbish but our big brothers are going all the way (again!). So can they do it? Can they pull off a miracle and down the South Africans to become back to back World Champions (a feat that no other team has achieved yet)? The form book would say no but I'm not writing them off. They've already proved more than once that they've the game to grind out a victory and they've summoned up the team spirit to believe in themselves. In my opinion you'd be a brave man to take the skinny 1.41 available on the Springboks as the scene seems set - it's the 78th minute, the score is 15-15, Johnny sits back in the pocket, he receives the ball from a maul in the middle of the pitch, takes a deep breath and sinks a sweetly stroked drop goal between the uprights. Game over and the rest is history - ouch! :-)

Unfortunately I'll be missing the final as it's Nicola's birthday on Saturday so I've promised to take her out for a celebratory meal. If Wales had made it this far I would have needed to find an excuse, but for some strange reason I always felt quite comfortable that the call for a last minute bout of flu wouldn't be needed so I'll add it to Sky+ and watch it when I get back.

As expected the trading for October is moving along at a slow pace but the good news is that I'm still in profit. My results since my last post have been:

Cricket
Sri Lanka v England (5th ODI) = £264.86
India v Australia (6th ODI) = £48.98

Rugby Union
Bath v Harlequins = £0.79
England v France = £124.70
South Africa v Argentina = £0.42

NFL
Tennessee @ Tampa Bay = £10.84
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What's worrying about these results is the fact that I've made a significant loss on the Rugby Union. The England game was a bit of a nightmare as I found that I was a bit slow off the mark on a number of occasions. I'm hoping that this was down to others having quicker TV pictures through terrestrial television (I was watching through Sky) as it did seem that orders were going into the market quicker than the events were happening on the screen. I should have realised this sooner but I didn't. Nevermind though, it's not all doom and gloom as Cricket continues to deliver the goods.

That's about it for now. I've got a busy schedule for the next few days so good luck to you all for the week ahead!
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Monday, 8 October 2007

How Do You Like Your Stake?


Since Last Post P/L: £168.46
Monthly P/L: £168.46
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As the weekend offered slim pickings and after VJ had left an interesting question to my last post I've decided to finish off an old article I started back in March!
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One thing I deem very important to manage is risk. This is an area that a lot of beginners to trading get wrong and subsequently find it very difficult to make profits. I'm confident that any trader who has been successful will say that risk management and in particular money management is crucial so I've always tried to make sure my stake sizes correspond to the size of my trading bank and the odds at which I'm trading.
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If you're over-staking in relation to the size of your trading bank you're inviting a whole lot of trouble. If something goes wrong, sooner or later, one or two trades will wipe you out and that will be it - game over. You also feel a lot more pressure on how much you could lose which affects your perception of the market at any given time - these are all bad things which any professional can't have in their minds. You need to have a clear head, safe in the knowledge that you are not risking your livelihood and even if the worst happens you'll be able to come back tomorrow and start again. To use a poker term, "the trick is to stay at the table".
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So, what is the correct stake size? This all depends on a number of things but some include; the size of your bank, the volatility of the market and the price of your selection. When I made the jump from punting to trading, initially I would use/risk up to 40% of my bank in any one trade (as my bank was £250 the most I would trade would be £100) . This was a worse case scenario as obviously I didn't intend to lose that much. The complete breakdown looked like this in relation to the odds available:
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1.01 - 1.50 = £100 (40%)
1.50 - 2.00 = £67 (27%)
2.00 - 3.00 = £33 (13%)
3.00 - 4.00 = £20 (8%)
4.00 - 5.00 = £14 (6%)
5.00 - 6.00 = £11 (4%)
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If you adopt this approach then it won't guarantee success but it will set you on the right path. Once you have these blocks in place the challenge facing you will then change to remaining disciplined at all times! What's the point of having a staking plan if you don't stick to it?!?! As my bank has grown I've gradually tried to reduce my maximum exposure and my stake sizes now look like this:
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Trading bank = £5343
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1.01 - 1.50 = £1015 (19%)
1.50 - 2.00 = £677 (13%)
2.00 - 3.00 = £338 (6%)
3.00 - 4.00 = £203 (4%)
4.00 - 5.00 = £145 (3%)
5.00 - 6.00 = £113 (2%)
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As you can see, when the odds move so do my stake sizes. I believe this to be one of the fundamental reasons some new traders don't last - they don't manage their risk. For the record, I recalculate stake sizes at the beginning of each month and my aim is to get my maximum exposure down to 10%. I'm currently edging down by 1% a month so I should reach my goal in another 9 months!
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Okay, now back to the boring stuff - my results from the weekend.
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Rugby Union:
Leicester v Gloucester = £42.98
New Zealand v France = £33.51
Argentina v Scotland = £9.88
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NFL:
Detroit @ Washington = £20.43
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Cricket:
Sri Lanka v England = £102.52
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Without the Cricket on Sunday I wouldn't have had much to write home about and the rest of October looks pretty dire. The change in seasons always seems to bring uncertainty into my mind so I just need to bat it out and hope a big juicy opportunity comes along.
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From a personal point of view life is hectic with every minute of the day being eaten up. If I'm not doing out the nursery then I'm flying all over the place with work but I guess nobody said life was easy :-)
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