Friday, 30 December 2011

A Very Happy New Year!

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Just a quick note to let you all know that Kobe Iverson was born yesterday at 2.20pm, weighing exactly 8lb.  Mother and baby doing well ;-)

Thanks to all of you that have offered best wishes on Twitter and through the blog - they really have been appreciated.

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Monday, 26 December 2011

Get Tracking

I hope you're enjoying the holidays!  If your house is anything like mine then you'll still have enough biscuits and chocolate left to see you through to June.  I guess the diet will have to wait!

Anyway, just a quick post to let you know I've decided to make my Betfair monitoring tool available to anyone who wants it.  I received a few emails from readers following my last post asking how they could implement something similar, so rather than talk through each step I've knocked up a page where anyone interested can acquire it. It really has changed the way I trade in-play on cricket but it can be used for any Betfair market.  For example, if you're a horse racing trader would you be interested in reviewing how your p&l fluctuated in the 10 minutes before a race?  The time intervals set for recording your position can be modified to whatever you like and it's easy to setup although you do need a Betfair account, Microsoft Excel and be a Bet Angel Professional subscriber.

Still there?  Then either click the banner above or click here.

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Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

I'd like to wish all my blog readers and Twitter followers a very happy Christmas, and really hope Santa thinks you've all been good!

A couple of days off for me and it's all systems on standby for the ultimate Christmas gift - odds on he arrives tomorrow!

Until my next post, here's a few snapshots of my p&l progress from a few in-play big bash games so far (click on images to enlarge). Overall it's been a good start but I think I need to keep an eye on getting into negative positions to early in the first innings.
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Monday, 19 December 2011

Go With Flow

If people ask how I'm doing or how much money I've made, all I normally say is that I've not had a losing month for 5 and a half years. Of course there have been months where I've made next to nothing and others where I've made a bundle, but the number one aim I've had at the beginning of each one is 'don't lose!'.  In fact it's become like a mission statement to me.  The thought of a losing month (which can obviously happen) fills me with dread and I'm sure it's because of this that I've been able to continue my progression, albeit more slowly but perhaps steadily than some others.

Why am I bringing this up now?  Well to be honest I had a shocking weekend where I just wasn't mentally right.  I threw away quite a lot of money on a number of events and looking back I think I was trying to do too much.  Losing was my way of telling myself to take a break.

I've known this was a danger for sometime but despite this I tend to push myself until something like this happens, but I don't want you to think that I'm reckless in my approach.  The opposite is true - I would like to explain how I recognise this behaviour before it becomes a problem and how I go about changing it.

Let me explain.  Firstly, as I've mentioned in other blog posts. I create a diary each month and record the events I intend to trade. This is helpful as it defines a plan that I can revolve my life around. With so much sport on TV these days it's possible to be tapping away for 24 hours a day but is 'all' of that time really going to be productive?  Instead, my diary highlights what I would consider opportunities and and in turn backs up a very effective discipline cycle - if it's not in the diary I don't bet.

Now for the point of this post.  In addition to my diary I also produce a flow of how much I expect to earn from each sport based on the number of events during that month.  Sounds simple right?  That's because it is!  But....there is one important point - you need to have a good idea of how much each event is worth to you.  How do you do this?  Well, if you keep detailed records of your betting activity you already have the information - it's just a case of adding up your total profit and dividing it by the number of markets.  This gives you your average profit per market.  To illustrate my point, here's my 'flow' for December (if you click on the picture it should enlarge):



Guess where I went wrong on the weekend?  That's right - a few maximum losses on the darts, but by filling in my flow it's allowed me to realise that I've gone off track.  However, it's not all doom and gloom as I still have time to do something about it whilst at the same time cheer myself up by identifying that I've already surpassed my expectations on Rugby and the NFL.

There will be some who advise that setting targets is not a good idea and that a bet is a bet if it offers value.  I can totally see their point, but when I make a bet I'm not only thinking of that, I'm betting on what my emotions will be like afterwards and by doing this it helps me to remain in control.  Maybe something like this can help you too?

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Thursday, 15 December 2011

Big Bash

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No signs of the baby so I've yet another reason to get excited - the start of the KFC Big Bash!  Yep, the Australian Domestic T20 competition starts at 8am (GMT) tomorrow and with 31 games scheduled between now and the end of January it will definitely warm up the cold dark mornings.
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There is a small snag - it's not being televised in the UK - but if you have a Betfair account or a bookmakers account (e.g. Bet365) then you can watch all of the games via their live video service.  To be fair, I had no problems trading off these pictures last year with the delay at most 3-4 seconds behind, so I'm expecting the same again.  In addition, liquidity was also surprisingly good so don't let that put you off either if you're thinking of taking a look.
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The IPL is still a welcome addition to the cricket calendar but I've a lot more confidence in the Aussie equivalent, so here's to hoping that I can end the year on a high.  I've no strong feelings on any of the outright markets but will be sharing some of my thoughts on twitter on a match by match basis, so feel welcome to follow me by clicking the link above.
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Merry Christmas to you all!
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(I'm getting very festive)
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Thursday, 8 December 2011

Golden Arrows

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The lead up to Christmas always gets me looking forward to new challenges but before I can switch my attention to what lies ahead, there's the traditional delve into the PDC World Darts Championship.
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I've a soft spot for this competition as over the years it's remained a constant in my trading calendar and as a result I've witnessed many matches where the impossible seems to have happened. Great entertainment, and with the crowds joining in with the festivities it always puts me in a good mood.  
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With this outlook fresh my mind, I decided to scan my hard drive this week for recordings I made a couple of years ago that helped me analyse and improve my performance in the markets.  Luckily enough I came across the following video of a match between Co Stompe and Mark Dudbridge.  If I remember correctly this snippet is from the first set where I was expecting a 'swing trade' opportunity to present itself and sure enough it came along.  I've decided to share it as if you've ever fancied taking a look at the Darts doing this sort of thing is a good way to start.  It's a very quick in-play sport so you need an idea of what you're going to do before you get involved, but if you're patient and remain disciplined there can be lots of money to be made.
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Other news......Nic had an unplanned scan yesterday as part of her 38 week check-up.  We were in for a shock!  Not a bad one this time, but it appears that our little princess has turned into a little prince!  Crikey - wasn't expecting that, but fortunately we don't have to redecorate, just swap pinks for blues.
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Hopefully all goes well on the big day....anytime now.....
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Sunday, 20 November 2011

Geek's Toy For Betdaq!

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Interesting times ahead as the 'Geek' has announced he'll be releasing a Betdaq version of the 'Toy' very soon.  The liquidity on Betdaq has been increasing gradually over the summer since Betfair announced their new 'super' Premium Charge, so it'll be interesting to see if this software release will further help push users over to their rival exchange.  In my opinion this is great news.
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In addition, the 'Geek' is also running another fantastic fundraiser for BBC Children in Need.   There's some great prizes up for grabs so it's well worth checking out!
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For those of you unfamiliar with Geeks Toy, it's a completely free pice of software for betting or trading on Betfair and to be fair it's very good.  My favourite feature is that it allows you to see the amounts being matched on each side of the market, but the recently released 1.2 Beta now has Dutching, Bookmaking, stop loss, a multibet tool, support for Betfair video.  A new in play interface is also due to be released on Monday.
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Their forum is also very active so if you have any problems there's always someone willing to help out.  As the 'Geek' says.....
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Geeks Toy - Probably the best Betfair trading software in the world!
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Friday, 11 November 2011

Work In Progress

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I've been continuing to fiddle with my in-play p&l monitoring tool since my my last post and really feel it's helping me take a broader view in the markets I'm playing.
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Many of you'll have noticed an increase in the number of fast picture merchants on Betfair over the last few years which has meant the opportunity of nicking a tick here and there is fast disappearing.  This lack of bonus ticks can make a big impact over the long term so I've been very conscious that I need to adapt in some areas to make up the shortfall.  In addition, when using bigger sums it's harder to get in and out so being more selective and looking to hold positions for longer seems to be a logical move.
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First up was the 1st Test Match between South Africa and Australia in Cape Town which turned out to be an extraordinary affair with 23 wickets falling on the 2nd day - totally bonkers!  Here's my graph - click here.  Once again I played very cautiously on the first day before realising it was time to get a bit more aggressive when things were starting to happen.  I didn't push it though, and decided to call it a day at the end of the South African 1st innings.  Lucky I did as Australia were then bowled out for just 47!
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Yesterday's second event was some more NFL action with the Raiders visiting the Chargers.  As you can see from this graph, things didn't go to plan yet again as the visitors got an early lead and I needed to claw things back.  The positive?  Well, I finished with a profit and by not monitoring my risk throughout I may not have.  I'm sure the monitoring tool saved me but as the end of the game became more volatile the market became illiquid resulting in some inaccurate figures being recorded on the chart.
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Hope you're liking the screenshots as much as I am :-)
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Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Lights, Camera...Action!

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Move over Tom Cruise!  I've been thinking a lot recently as to how I can improve my in-play betting and have come to the conclusion that it would be great if I could review my performance quickly and easily after an event has finished.  Reviewing what went well and not so well in the heat of the battle has never my strong point of mine due to me not having the time or inclination to trawl through my Betfair account and work out what trades were winners, but now I think I found a solution.
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I could try and explain by writing it here but it would probably long winded and confusing.  Instead, dim the lights, get comfy and reach for the popcorn - it's time for my first video blog!
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I'm no Brad Pitt and I don't have the screen presence of Richard Burton (in fact I look genuinely ill after being up all night), but you might find it interesting.  Leave me a comment if you do but please, no autograph requests....
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CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO
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Sunday, 6 November 2011

Remember Remember...

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November always signifies the quietest time of the year for me and if I wasn't expecting a new arrival in December it would normally be time to get away for a while.  Discipline is called for and experimenting on unfamiliar sports is scaled down.  Playing it a little safer is my normal play when events are sparse.
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NFL though is one sport that tends to pick up during the month as it contains the national holiday, 'Thanksgiving'.  Along with another excuse to get out the turkey, it also allows the Americans to schedule more gridiron action which is one of the reasons I've really concentrated on the game this year.
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Naturally, I build my own views from statistics available on sites like NFL.com and ESPN NFL, but it's always good practice to compare my expectations against others and recently I've stumbled across a website and mobile app that allows me to do this for free.
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Alot of you maybe familiar with this firm already but 'Accuscore' are a self-proclaimed leading sports forecasting company, so who better to match up against?
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They do offer a fee based service but there's no need to go that far as on both platforms they provide sufficient analysis on the weeks matches without a cost.  For example, here's a snippet from their Jets @ Bills preview for this weekend (click for video):
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"The Buffalo Bills are a solid favorite with a 62% chance to beat the New York Jets. Fred Jackson is projected for 90 rushing yards and a 51% chance of having at least 1 rushing TD. In the 38% of simulations where New York Jets wins, Mark Sanchez averages 1.31 TD passes vs 0.75 interceptions, while in losses he has a ratio of 0.87 TDs to 1.47 interceptions."   
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Now I like that type of thing as the write-up is highly specific and over time I'll be able to judge how accurate they are.  In addition, the mobile app is really easy to use and is quite a funky companion although it only features the same information as whats available on their website.  If you prefer other North American sports like Baseball or the NBA then they've got them covered too (at least they do when they're not on lockout).
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Don't get me wrong, this tool is unlikely to make you rich overnight but what it does illustrate, to me at least, is that it's useful to have a quality benchmark to measure yourself against.
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Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Scarlet Fever

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Wales is going crazy at the moment after the rugby team reached the semi-final of the Rugby World Cup for the first time since the inaugural tournament in 1987.
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To give you an idea, here's a YouTube clip doing the rounds at the moment.  Apparently it's been adopted as the 'unofficial team' anthem and I admit there's a few lyrics in there that made me chuckle.  Take the cup home?  I certainly hope so.....
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Thursday, 6 October 2011

Job's Gone

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I've woken to the sad news this morning that Steve Job's has lost his long battle with health problems.  Not many of us will leave this life and be able able to say, "I changed the world" but from my viewpoint this man could and did.  Iphones, Ipods and Ipads are now a common sight but without his vision who know's if and when the rest of mankind would have caught up with his thoughts?  Admittedly he didn't do it all by himself, and of course Apple aren't a perfect company, but it saddens me more than usual to know that we've lost a huge influence on what will be created tomorrow.
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I came across the following video of Steve making an address to Stanford University a couple of years ago, and there are a number of 'golden nuggets'' there which have helped me with my general outlook on life. If you haven't already, I recommend you watch it too.
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Thursday, 29 September 2011

Taking Insurance

I've mentioned previously on this blog that I sometimes take outright positions to cover outcomes I don't necessarily want to happen.  The way I look at it is that I'm paying for the service of not having to endure a result that would be uncomfortable to bear.
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So to all my English friends, I'm sorry to tell you I've backed England to win the Rugby World Cup!  Even though I don't think it'll happen, with the 'Northern Hemisphere' side of the draw looking like an open contest I can't take any chances...once was enough, but twice?!?
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To be on the safe side, I've also lumped on Samoa at a big price just in case they miraculously beat Wales out of the pool ;-)
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Wednesday, 14 September 2011

One Small Step...

Overall, the first game covered in the NFL trading room received positive feedback.  This is encouraging and although typing when trading can be distracting, I do enjoy speaking with others when a game is on.  It makes you realise that there are other people who do this too!
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More good news is that I've managed to coax Cassini into covering another game next Sunday.  So, if you'd like to take part then click on the link at the top of this page to register.  The match in question will be the 6pm kickoff on Sunday (Buccaneers @ Vikings) which promises to be a close one so hopefully we'll do well.
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As I couldn't do this alone I'd also like to thank Cassini again for giving up his time, and it's good to see he was able to post a fantastic result on Monday night with this result.  The Raiders were leading by 13 points at half time but the Broncos surged back to unluckily fall short by just 3.  This got me thinking.  What was the biggest upset to happen in NFL history?  Now I don't have records going back to the 70's or 80's but remarkably I do recall the Broncos v Raiders match last season.  The Broncos went off 7 points favourites and ending up losing 14-59!
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With possibilities to profit on events like this each week it's now no wonder that my love for this sport is deepening - watch out Billy Walters!
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Monday, 29 August 2011

Showtime

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The new NFL season is due to start on the 8th September and I'm very excited.  Long time followers of my blog will know I've always been a fan of this American sport although I have to admit to it only being my 4th most profitable behind cricket, rugby union and darts.
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This year I hope that'll change as I'm really keen to establish a regular a income from a sport other than cricket during the winter months and NFL fits the bill perfectly as there's not much cricket played on Sunday and Monday nights!  To help in this quest I've put a lot of time into studying the sport and I'm hoping this will pay off.  So watch this space, or.....
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You could join my NFL Trading Room.  This was an idea I had at the beginning of last year whereby I would blog my thoughts 'live' during a match to give readers an idea of what I was doing. It was good fun but the main problem I had was that typing and trading at the same time just didn't mix, and I was worried I was missing opportunities that I'd otherwise be able to capitalise on.
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So why am I thinking of doing this again?
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Well there's two main reasons.  Firstly, Cassini from the well respected and popular blog 'Green All Over' has agreed to help me co-host.  By sharing the hosting responsibilities it'll hopefully take a little pressure off me to fill the gaps whilst also providing a different outlook on what's happening on the field.  Cassini is a big follower of American sports and has a proven record so I see his input being invaluable to myself and others.
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Secondly, I want to find out if there's a demand for this type of thing and whether or not I have an ability to host it. With Betfair increasing their Premium Charges there's a big incentive for me to slow down the rate I win at, and it maybe the case that in the future I can do that by offsetting future wins by charging for services similar to this.  That may or may not ever happen, but there you have it - I'm being honest.
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So if this sounds of interest and you'd like to come and take part, all you need to do is click on the link at the top of this page.  The first match to be covered is likely to be the Steelers @ Ravens on Sunday 11th September but this will be confirmed in the members area nearer the time.
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Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Distracted

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August has been a testing month so far which is especially frustrating after having a blinding start.  I'm wondering if it's at this point I stood on a mirror or perhaps insulted a gypsy by mistake, as every step I've made since has left me banging my head against a wall.
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Firstly it was my cooker.  One lonely night I was all set for a ready meal 'a la carte' and the bloody thing wouldn't heat up.  It turns out the heating element had gone.  Three days later it was fixed and back up and running - ah well, I thought.
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The next day I got a call off Nic who shouts down the phone, "the car's broken down on the motorway!"  Bugger.  She managed to get it to the nearest garage but what was initially diagnosed as a 30 minute job turned into a bill for a £1000 and a week driving a courtesy car. I hate Mechanics.  With the risk of something else going wrong it was decided we needed a new car.  More money down the drain.
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Surely nothing else?
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Wrong! Within the next few days the Dishwasher packed in and my computer blew up!  Unbelievable.  Now I like to think of myself as a pretty good planner and someone who takes into account all eventualities, but this was turning out to be me v the World at Defcon 1 and Dell telephone support were not the people I wanted to be speaking too.  Maybe I went a little far in screaming down the phone but they had me on the phone for 6 hours trying to fix what turned out to be a faulty graphics card.  Something which they couldn't resolve but still wanted to charge me £69 for because I'd taken up the Technicians time.  If only I'd been in Bangalore.....grrrrr.
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If you add to all this a 20 week baby scan (which fortunately went okay - we're having a little girl), the hassle of Betfair Premium Charges and doing preparation for the upcoming NFL season, you could say it's been a busy time.
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What was it that John Lennon once said?
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" Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans"
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Too right John.  Rant over.  Feeling a little better.



Monday, 15 August 2011

Football Match Database


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After spending a lot of time researching and gathering football statistics over the last few months, I've come to realise that I won't be able to commit to sending out weekly rating emails over the coming year.
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As most of my time is focussed around cricket it only leaves so many hours in the day, and with a new baby on the way it's only going to become harder to manage!
However, it's not all bad news as I've decided to offer the data I hold to subscribers of last seasons ratings email and to readers of my blog.

In total, I now have access to over 30,000 football results covering seasons 2000/2001 to 2010/2011, with match statistics for each game at the click of mouse.  The majority of the major European leagues are included:

English Premier League
English Championship
English Leagues 1 & 2
Scottish Premier League
Spanish La Liga
German Bundesliga
French Ligue 1
Dutch Eredivisie

In addition I've also included my revamped performance ratings which splits a team performance into attack and defence (maximum of 13 points for each).  By doing this it helps me build an instant picture of a teams strengths and weaknesses. 
If you are proficient in excel and are happy at filtering and using pivot tables,then you can answer multitudes of questions in seconds - full data includes:

Home & Away teams with match dates
Full time scores (by team)
Half time scores (by team)
Attack, Defence & average performance ratings (by team)
Number of shots (by team)
Number of shots on goal (by team)
Number of fouls (by team)
Number of corners (by team)
Number of yellow cards (by team)
Number of red cards (by team)
Pre-match Bookmaker odds (home, draw & away)
Total match goals
Full time and half time results

I really believe that having this information makes a difference, so if you want access and a copy for yourself then follow the link below:

There's a small one off fee but after that the data is yours to keep and manipulate however you wish.  The data is supplied as a spreadsheet in .xls format and is best accessed using Microsoft Excel 2007 or later.

To give you an idea of what to expect I'm happy to email anyone interested a sample file of 500 matches for free - just email me at members@markiverson.com.  Enjoy!

Note - For those of you who do decide to purchase, please allow up to 24 hours for delivery and check your spam folders for my email.
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I'm making this available as I feel some of you could benefit from using the data to analyse and benchmark past games, but if you're not interested or already have something similar then that's fine.




Saturday, 30 July 2011

Barrier To Entry

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The last month has been a challenge, as wherever possible I've tried to direct my business to Betdaq as opposed to Betfair.  Liquidity for Test Matches has been good but as my income from this form of cricket is small when compared to one day games, for me at least, it's the T20 and One Day International markets that will need to improve.
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Don't get me wrong - things are much better now than they were, and there does seem to be a concerted effort from disgruntled 'Premium Charge' payers to move, so it just needs certain parts of the jigsaw to come together, and one of these is the availability of a quality API product.
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For those of you unaware, both Betfair and Betdaq have an API which allows third party vendors to create software to interact with the data from their exchanges.  However, until now vendors have mainly focused on providing users with a better product for Betfair due to the popularity of the exchange.  This is totally understandable as it wouldn't have made sense to invest equally in a product that didn't have an equal demand, but it appears that things maybe starting to change.
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On the Geeks Toy forum there's currently a clamour for the Geek to develop an alternative, and the good people at Bet Angel have recently upgraded their Betdaq software to include a number of significant enhancements.  These are huge steps showing an intent and willingness for change.
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So what's next?  Well, it's now up to us.  If the vendors are prepared to go out on a limb then we need to be prepared to follow.  If not, the status quo will remain and the long term forecast will remain bleak.
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For what it's worth, I can't underestimate how much of a difference using these types of programs have made to my betting over the last 6 years.  I can honestly say I wouldn't have been as profitable without them as they allow me to see the true form of the market and empower me to enter and exit positions instantly, so I'd strongly recommend you visit the following links if you haven't done so already:
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Geeks Toy
Bet Angel
Gruss Software
Centaur (they include access to their software if you sign-up to their Traders Club)
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I'm currently reading the book, 'The Newtonian Casino' and as it says at the end of the first chapter - "why would anyone play roulette, without a computer in their shoe?"
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The same principle applies here.
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Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Make Or Take?

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After reading countless forums over the last few weeks I stumbled across details of Betdaq's new commission structure.  I say new, but it would seem that this structure has been in place since the beginning of the year except I didn't know about it! The good news is that the post was from Betdaq's team themselves and it makes total sense.  Here's an extract:
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The reason for this post is to inform you that we have been studying the impact on our product and on our business of the activities of API users. We have noticed over the past year the increasing influence of such users who take offers made by other users while rarely making offers for other users to take. This has the impact of reducing the available liquidity for normal retail users.
 
Following this review, we decided to change the way in which we charge commission to customers using the Betdaq API.

From March 1st 2011 we introduced a new commission structure that operates for API users as follows:

Betdaq will operate a scalable commission structure whereby the greater the proportions of offers you make that are taken by others, the lower your rate will be. Commission will continue to be charged on your market winnings from any single market. 

The standard commission rate is 5 per cent, but you will be able to bring that down to as low as 1 per cent depending on your activity Take/Make % over a rolling 7 weeks period.
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What makes this so appealing?  Well, Betdaq are obviously trying to attract market makers who will in turn attract liquidity to their markets.  By putting up orders rather than taking them it's then possible to reduce the amount you pay in commission to just 1%. Imagine that, winning £100 and getting to keep £99! Here's the full commission table: 
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A different approach to normal maybe needed, but it's hard to see any initial drawbacks.  The full post can be found by clicking here.
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Thursday, 30 June 2011

No Alternative?


A promising start on Betdaq and I'm not a big 'fish' by any means. Liquidity was decent and if it gets even better after the 18th July then I'll be very happy.  Why not give it a try?  With no 20% deduction from the Betfair Premium Charge next week, over time it will make a big difference.



In A Nutshell


The fall-out continues, as most betting forums are swamped with users commenting on Betfairs latest increase in charges.  One post stood out more to me than the rest though and I hope 'andyfuller' doesn't mind me reproducing his post on the Bet Angel forum.  In my opinion it just about sums things up:
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"You don't have to be making a fortune to be caught by this charge.  Say you have made £100,000 so far and make £50,000 a year net, you have 3 years left then you best find something else to do.

So if you make £50,000 which is decent money but far from being a big hitter and not exactly crazy money in the grand scheme of things you would have to think. Do I carry this on for 3 more years and then stop or do I go and get a job now that pays say £30,000.

The job has no risk to your own money, social benefits, regular income etc and a future.

Or do you carry on making your £50,000 and be yet more unemployable in three years.

Or what about the guy starting out who wanted to trade for a living, £250,000 is hardly a lifetimes income so why even bother starting unless you want to do it as a hobby or as a supplement to your regular income.

Giving £100,000 a year would have been acceptable, but not £250,000 a lifetime, that is only £25,000 a year for how long Betfair have been around which is very little given the risks people have taken.

Take a big hitter who can make £1,000,000 a year on Betfair, they now get to keep £400,000 which is very nice still but is it worth their efforts?

Now take the more realistic/achievable guy who make £100,000 a year, they now get to keep £40,000. Is that worth it, no not at all, there are much easier ways of making £40,000 a year.

So how many people do we have on here who was up until today looking to make trading their future who now thinks the charge doesn't affect them.

I know I wouldn't have put in all the effort I have with a carrot of £250,000 and then 40% of what I make each year there after dangling in front of me."

The big question now is will the ecology of the exchange change?  As someone on the Betfair forum commented, "It's like living on the Savannah and seeing them burning down the forest.   You think it doesn't affect you - till you see the elephants charging your way."
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If anybody wants to hear a Betfair perspective on where the company is heading then I'd recommend listening to the webcast of David Yu (their current CEO) announcing their Full Year Results.  You can do so by clicking here.  
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Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Bet Unfair

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So, Betfair have decided to tinker with their Premium Charges yet again, except this time they've really gone for the jugular.  Instead of 20%, they now want 40-60% of your winnings depending on how much commission you generate for them.  The good news? There isn't any.  Your account will need to have a lifetime net profit of £250k (although it's likely this condition will get ditched in the near future) but Betfair are basically saying that if you keep winning you'll pay eventually.
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For those who believe the spin that this only effects 0.1% of Betfair users, you are mistaken.  It effects everyone.  This is the issue.  Betfair have only looked at what it will cost them in losing these 500 or so accounts.  They've not taken the time to fully understand the impact these charges have on those below the 250k 'magic' number.  People aspiring to this level plan their lives around Betfair's charges and as in any line of business will do what they can to minimise the impact.
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The result?  Everyone who's read about these new charges is either contemplating life without Betfair or thinking of a way not to pay.  Eitherway, it's a lose-lose situation for for a company who had huge customer loyalty and market awareness only a few years ago.

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Surely it's time people started walking to Betdaq?  Full details of the new charges can be found here.


Thursday, 23 June 2011

Number 2


After what seems like an eternity, I'm chuffed to bits to be able to start telling people that I'm going to be a Dad for the 2nd time!  Nic is 13 weeks pregnant and the big day is predicted to be the 23rd December.  Okay, Christmas may have to be put on hold for a couple of weeks but what a fantastic way to finish the year!?!  After the drama we had with Caden's health, we all have our fingers crossed that this time things will turn out just fine.  Happy days :-)
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Saturday, 11 June 2011

Catch The Pigeon

The thrilling T20 contest between Lancashire and Yorkshire last night reminded me of a freak occurrence that happened when these sides met back in 2009.
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On a beautiful barmy summer evening Jacques Rudolph fielded a ball in the outfield and returned a throw to the stumps only for it to connect with a fleeing pigeon.
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There was only one winner, and it still baffles me as to why the Sky producers thought it was okay to show a slow motion replay of the birds demise.  The video is not for the squeamish.





Wednesday, 8 June 2011

A Few Questions

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It's always nice when someone takes an interest in what you do, so it was a pleasant surprise this week when Ben from 'Sports Trading Life' dropped me an email asking if I could answer a few questions to be put on his site.
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Sitting down and thinking about the answers was fun, so if you're interested in what I said you can read the full article by clicking here.



Sunday, 22 May 2011

The 5 Stages


I came across an old document today that I once read on the Betfair forum many moons ago. It's called 'The 5 Stages' and is a must read for anyone new to using Betfair. I haven't read it for while but it never ceases to make me smile - it's just so spot on.  The software references area bit out of date but it is about 6 years old now.

Here it is, enjoy...


Step 1 - Unconscious Incompetence

This is the first step you take when starting to look into trading on Betfair. You know its a good way of making money because you've heard so many things about it and heard of so many people who make money. Unfortunately, just like when you first desire to drive a car you think it will be easy - after all, how hard can it be?

Unfortunately, just as when you first take your place in front of a steering wheel you find very quickly that you haven't got the first clue about what you're trying to do. You take lots of trades and lots of risks. When you enter a trade it turns against you so you reverse and it turns again .. and again, and again.

You may have initial success, and that's even worse - it tells your brain that this really is simple and you start to risk more money.

You try to turn around your losses by doubling up every time you trade. Sometimes you'll get away with it but more often than not you will come away scathed and bruised. You are totally oblivious to your incompetence at trading.

This step can last for a week or two but learning the Betfair market is usually swift and it won’t be long before you move onto the next stage.


Step 2 - Conscious Incompetence

Step two is where you realise that there is more work involved in trading and that you might actually have to work a few things out. You consciously realise that you are an incompetent trader - you don't have the skills or the insight to turn a regular profit.

You now set about buying systems and e-books galore, read websites and begin your search for the holy grail. During this time you will be a system nomad - you will flick from method to method day by day and week by week never sticking with one long enough to actually see if it does work. Every time you come upon a new tipster, software or trading guru you'll be ecstatic that this is the one that will make all the difference.

You'll test out automated systems on Bet Angel, you'll play with Gruss using Excel triggered betting, dabble on Bet IE and maybe more Excel trading with Market Feeder. You might even look at support & resistance to try and figure out a likely range where you'll be able to make a "safe" trade. You'll consider BF Explorer and Adam's BetTrader and may even analyse the market with BetMarket Scanner and a hundred other things all in the vein hope that your 'magic system' starts today. You'll be a top and bottom picker, trying to find the exact point of reversal with your indicators and software and you'll find yourself chasing losing trades and even adding to them because you are so sure you are right.

You'll go into the Betfair General Betting Forum and see other traders saying they make a profit and you want to know why it's not you - you'll ask a million questions, some of which are so dumb that looking back you feel a bit silly. You'll then reach the point where you think all the ones who are calling profits are liars - they can't be making that amount because you've studied, noted form and you don't make that, you know as much as they do and they must be lying. Here's the reality, most real successful traders aren't in forums such as this.

You will be like a teenager - the traders that say they make money will freely give you advice but you're stubborn and think that you know best - you take no notice and over trade your account even though everyone says you are mad to - but you know better. You'll consider following the tips that others make but even then it won't work so you try paying for trading courses from someone else - they don't work for you either.

You might even approach a 'guru' or someone on a forum like this who promises to make you into a trader (usually for a fee of course). Whether the guru is good or not you won't win because there is no replacement for screen time and you still think you know best.

This step can last ages and ages - in fact and in reality talking with other traders as well as personal experience confirms that it can easily last well over a year. If your bank doesn't blow up in the meantime. This is also the step when you are most likely to give up through sheer frustration.

Around 60% of new traders die out in the first 3 months - they give up and this is good - think about it - if trading was easy we would all be millionaires. Another 20% keep going for a year and then in desperation take risks guaranteed to blow their account which of course it does.

What may surprise you is that of the remaining 20% all of them will last around 3 years - and they will think they are safe in the water - but even at 3 years only a further 5-10% will continue and go on to actually make money consistently.

I've had many people argue with me about these timescales - funny enough none of them have been trading for more than 3 years. Sure, I guess there will be exceptions to the rule - but I haven't met any yet.

Eventually you do begin to come out of this phase. You've probably committed more time and money than you ever thought you would, lost 2 or 3 loaded accounts and all but given up maybe 3 or 4 times but now its in your blood

One day - in a split second moment you will enter stage 3. That is the Eureka Moment.



Step 3 - The Eureka Moment

Towards the end of stage two you begin to realise that it's not the system that is making the difference. You realise that it’s actually possible to make money with a simple moving average and nothing else IF you can get your head and money management right. You start to read books on the psychology of trading and identify with the characters portrayed in those books and finally comes the eureka moment.

The eureka moment causes a new connection to be made in your brain. You suddenly realise that neither you, nor anyone else can accurately predict what the market will do in the next ten seconds, never mind the next 20 minutes. You start to work just one system that you mould to your own way of trading, you're starting to get happy and you define your risk threshold.

You start to take every trade that your 'edge' shows has a good probability of winning with. When the trade turns bad you don't get angry or even because you know in your head that as you couldn't possibly predict it it isn't your fault - as soon as you realise that the trade is bad you close it . The next trade will have higher odds of success because you know your system works.

You have realised in an instant that the trading game is about one thing - consistency of your 'edge' and your discipline to take all the trades no matter what as you know the probabilities stack in your favour.

You learn about proper money management and leverage - risk of account etc - and this time it actually soaks in and you think back to those who advised the same thing a year ago with a smile. You weren't ready then, but you are now. The eureka moment came the moment that you truly accepted that you cannot predict the market.



Step 4 - Conscious Competence

You are making trades whenever your system tells you to. You take losses just as easily as you take wins.  You now let your winners run to their conclusion fully accepting the risk and knowing that your system makes more money than it loses and when you're on a loser you close it swiftly with little pain to your account.

You are now at a point where you break even most of the time - day in day out, you will have weeks where you make 100 ticks and weeks where you lose 100 ticks - generally you are breaking even and not losing money. You are now conscious of the fact that you are making calls that are generally good and you are getting respect from other traders. You still have to work at it and think about your trades but as this continues you begin to make more money than you lose consistently.

This lasts about 6 months.



Step 5 - Unconscious Competence

Now we’re cooking - just like driving a car, every day you get in your seat and trade - you do everything now on an unconscious level. You are running on autopilot. You start to pick the really big trades and getting 100 ticks in a day is becoming quite normal to you. This is trading utopia - you have mastered your emotions and you are now a trader with a rapidly growing account.

You're a star on the Betfair forum and people listen to what you say. You recognise yourself in their questions from about two years ago. You pass on your advice but you know most of it is futile because they're teenagers - some of them will get to where you are - some will do it fast and others will be slower - literally dozens and dozens will never get past stage two, but a few will.

Trading is no longer exciting - in fact it's probably boring you to bits - like everything in life when you get good at it or do it for your job - it gets boring - you're doing your job and that's that.

However, you can now say with your head held high "I'm a Betfair Trader".