Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Centaur Academy

If you read any of the internet forums then you'll find mixed views regarding any perceived benefits from attending Betting Exchange Trading courses. The main objection that always gets raised is that if someone knows how to make money then why do they want to share it with the rest of us? A valid point, and I can understand that as gamblers we all have a natural instinct to guard any edges we think we have, but it's also easy to forget how difficult a concept this trading malarkey can seem to traditional punters. For some, a helping hand in the early stages of their induction is most welcome and this is the target market for where the majority of these courses are aimed.

Where am I going with this? Well, yesterday I attended the training course run by Centaur Academy at their offices in central London. Why? Well I'm always keen to see if I can learn new things but having attended Peter Webb's Trading Masterclass a couple of years ago, I mainly wanted to get a refreshed view from the 'other side' on what people are now doing. Have things changed and have I kept up? Afterall, the grass can grow very long under your feet if you don't keep moving.

To help others who maybe thinking of attending one of these events, here's the lowdown on what went on.

Venue, Presenters & Format
Centaur's office is just across the road from the Moorgate tube station and is very accessible and easy to find. Inside is a modern layout with LCD screens showing sport on most walls and a number of workstations. There is also an open area that is used for providing presentations, and this is where the ten of us spent the morning with the two trainers, Steve Taylor and Tony Hargraves (Badger).

Steve and Tony were down to earth and for the first session concentrated very much on the methodology behind trading. The usual things were covered; set-up, strategy, risk management, discipline etc. and it was highlighted with examples as to why these are common pitfalls for inexperienced traders. All of these points were relevant and did offer a glimpse into the different mindset you need to succeed.

Following on from this there was an explanation as to how important using API software is to maximising your returns. Whilst Centaur promote their own software (Xpress Trader, which is the same as BetTrader Evolution) as part of their Traders Club, they did also explain that other software was available on the market. To be fair, there was no hard sell on their part and they gave all the others (Gruss, Geeks Toy, Bet Angel) equal mentions.

Lunch and drinks were then provided before the practical afternoon session began. There wasn't a huge amount of live sport on yesterday so we had to make do with some Women's tennis from Dubai and the odd horse race from meetings around the country. It was enough though as it gave everyone a chance to familiarise themselves with the idea of backing 'high' and laying 'low' and an opportunity to get used to the one click software.

The course started at 10am and drew to a close just after 4pm.

So are courses like this worth £200, £300, £400?
I find this a difficult question to answer as I'm not really the person they're aimed at. All I can say is that a number of the attendees seemed happy with what they were getting and probably went home more confident in getting involved in the markets. If I was to offer one bit of constructive criticism it would be that all trading courses of this nature should focus more on the practical side of the day. Whilst people are learning you can always reinforce the finer points.

At the end of the day it's a personal decision, but if you feel you need help in getting started then I wouldn't let others put you off, However, please accept before you go that attending a course won't make you a millionaire overnight!

An interesting observation...

Two years ago these types of courses would have revolved around pre-race horse racing, but not anymore! The majority of attendees had little interest in the nags and nearly all of them spoke about how keen they were to trade the soccer markets. Should racing be concerned? I think so.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Field Of Dreams

It's here. Some call it the 'Greatest Show on Earth' and with this seasons Superbowl being held at the highly impressive Cowboys Stadium in Arlington it would be hard to disagree. You don't see many sporting arenas in the world with a giant HD television hanging over the pitch!

From a trading perspective I'm delighted that Green Bay have got this far as it's allowed me to lay off my bet that I made at the start of the playoffs. They've already beaten the odds by winning away from home 3 times on the trot but this game is just too close to call for me to hold a pre-match position. If I was pushed into a corner I'd probably lean towards Pittsburgh's defence making the difference but this could be a 'swingy' match and there should be plenty of opportunities throughout the game to take advantage of.

So enjoy the occasion and make sure you have a big pot of coffee at hand - it's gonna be a late one.