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.


Mark said...

Hi Mark
Thanks for a very insightful post.
I am only a trader of limited experience (and limited success!!) but I would like to make a few observations any feed back by you on them would be most appreciated.

I think that if you are serious about becoming successful in any endeavour you must become a student of that particular discipline. By that I mean that you must immerse yourself in the learning process using every route available whether it is reading books, watching videos, reading blogs, joining forums or taking classes.

Every avenue has it pros and cons, the less interactive approaches such as books and watching videos normally give just one side of an argument whereas they can be revisited again and again.

Joining forums allows the exchange of ideas and you can also revisit what has been written as often as you need to.

Taking classes allows for a face to face way of learning that allows for a free exchange of ideas and if the organisers have done their job properly there will be some literature to refer back to. My opinion is that one of the greatest advantages of this type of learning is that you actually meet like minded individuals who are on the course and probably have the same hopes,dreams and doubts as you do.

I also think that trading can be a very lonely pastime and this can be mitigated slightly by joining forums etc, but actually meeting your peers on these courses lets you know that you are not alone.

I am not saying that there is one definitive best way to learn but I do believe that if you are serious about becoming profitable you should use all of the above methods to some degree.

I think that what I am trying to say is that on the face of it you may come away from a course and think that you have not learned a lot for your money regarding the technical aspects of trading, but the hidden benefits from all of the interaction with others could be worth a lot more than the price of the course.

Sorry for allowing myself to ramble on, but I did want to get all my thoughts across.

Great blog by the way.

I am going to add your blog to my blog list and wondered if you would add mine to yours. The address is :
Mark(yes same name it is confusing)

Mark Iverson said...

Hi Mark,

Great name! Seriously though, thanks for leaving such a detailed comment.

I can't argue with anything you say and over the years have continued to undertake all aspects of the learning process that you mention.

After attending the course yesterday it reminded me that for a lot of people this in ideal way to get onto the right path and I can totally relate to what you mention about the benefits of face to face interaction.

Thanks again, and I've also added a link to your blog.

All the best,


Paul @ Bet Clever Win More said...

Hi Mark,

Great blog and continued success. Would be delighted if you would share my link. Mine is You will see I have yours already listed.



Mark said...

Hi Mark

After further consideration about your post I have written a post on my blog expanding on what I wrote in my comment.

here is the link:

I hope you approve.


Mark Iverson said...

Hi Paul,

Thanks for the nice comment.

I've added your blog to my list.

Good luck!


Mark Iverson said...

Hi Mark,

That's a great post and thanks for the mention :-)

As I said yesterday, I agree with everything you say.

All the best,