Thursday, 29 March 2012

Overview


Okay, it may not be that exciting but since I committed to posting updates on my progress when I was struggling, here's what I've been up to for the last couple of days...

Sunbathing...errr...apart from that?  Hmmm, okay...let's start with the 1st T20 between the Windies and Australia on Tuesday which ended with a positive result. The home team just didn't look comfortable setting a target and the standout statistic for me was the knock from youngster Nkrumah Bonner - just 24 runs from 33 balls.  He could well turn out to be a decent player in this format but on this occasion he looked a little out of his depth and chewed up too many deliveries. With the St Lucia pitch playing well recently the innings total of 150 was always likely to be a few short against a quality batting lineup, and a set of inexperienced bowlers wasn't going to help.  The key then was to get a good price on an Australian win and the opportunity presented itself when David Warner lost his wicket in the 1st over of the reply.  The market over-reacted and the Aussies went on to win comfortably.

Wednesday saw a chunky wedge taken by Betfair's Premium Charge (15% of my previous break even target) but I was able to claw a bit of this back on the 1st Test between England and Sri Lanka in Galle.  I only dipped my toes in the water over the 4 days but a win is a win especially when approaching the end of the month.

Finally, tonight was a slow and steady one with 4 out of 4 wins on the Darts.  Nothing spectacular, just small grounded out results but the monthly picture is looking much rosier now than it did a couple of weeks ago:


With the end of the month only 2 days away it's important that I don't make any big mistakes so the plan is to tread carefully in the 2 T20 Internationals tomorrow.  Some interesting match-ups there (SA v India and WI v Aus) which have ignited my interest so I may have to sit on my hands at some point especially as I don't want to go into the IPL on the back of some losses.

Talking of which....

After doing my diary for April today I realised there are 41 scheduled games during the month!  It really is a mammoth of a competition with it running for the best part of 8 weeks.  For all you tennis traders, could you imagine how you'd feel if Wimbledon lasted that long?  A huge test of stamina with every 4 and 6 looking the same after about the 4th day!  To reassure myself that it is possible to just rack up a string of steady IPL wins, I dug out my results from the 2011 edition to analyse how my results had fluctuated.  Here's a progressive graph showing my cumulative p&l throughout the tournament - let's hope I can repeat the feat this year!:


.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Fully Charged

.
Buoyed by breaking even I had a new lease of life over the weekend as I started to realise that there were still enough events left this month for me to make some money.  After taking a second to remind myself that this was the time I needed to be careful I got stuck into a couple of Aviva Premiership rugby matches.

First up was Harlequins v Bath at a sun drenched Stoop.  Great conditions for the fans as they downed their beers but maybe not that great for the players, as after an energetic start you could see it was going to be a long day.  The game itself didn't really do the occasion justice but after opposing the home team (who were strong pre-match favourites) during the first half I was able to book a better than expected win as Bath made a game of it. 

Northampton v Wasps followed but that turned out to be a bit one sided as Wasps just weren't up to the task. On a personal level it's sad to see a once dominant side going to the dogs.  Financial troubles at the club this season have really taken their toll as well as an astounding number of player injuries - 2 things which are making life very difficult for Dai Young.  Anyway, I threw in towel after 30 mins and accepted a very small gain.

With an enjoyable Saturday out of the way, the plan for Sunday was to concentrate on the 5th and final ODI between the Windies and Australia but after accidently turning on the Malaysian Grand Prix I became engrossed.  I don't know the finite details, but after watching for 10 minutes one thing was clear - these teams have become alot more competitive of the last couple of years!  Long time readers will know that I've traded the sport before, but after returning very average results I decided to concentrate my efforts elsewhere, but on hearing the team order given to Sergio Perez that he needed to "be careful" and that they "need this position" I couldn't help but lay him when he was threatening for the lead towards the end.  It was a position I took with limited downside and sure enough is price flew out from 1.60 to 11's within seconds a few corners later as he spun the backend of the car.  He would have to settle for 2nd place and I would settle for a pleasing result.  Maybe I should check my lottery ticket?  I did - I'd won £10!

By now I was bouncing and with the sun still shining not even the realisation that the ODI would start an hour later due to the clocks going forward could dampen my mood.  Why can't things be like this all of the time?

Now I'm sure there's a few of you getting a bit sick of all this positivity - time for me to come back to earth? Sorry to disappoint  - here's my p&l graph for the cricket (click to enlarge):

.
Pride can come before a fall (as I've experienced many times) but I couldn't hold myself back from being a bit more aggressive in this match and luckily it paid off.  If anything, I guess the negative was that I wasn't able to kick on after such a strong start but it turned out to be one of those 'what could've been' games instead.

With a few T20's still to go before the end of March I'm now up to 148% of my previous break even target.


.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Back To The Future

.
Hurrah! I made it back into profit for the month but it wasn't an easy ride. After trading yesterday's ODI the final result was a 15% gain towards my target (I am now 5% over it) but as my p&l graph for the match testifies, I had to turn things around after a sticky start (click to enlarge):










My thoughts prior to the match were that I wanted to be with the bowling team. There was a chance of rain and previous ground statistics pointed towards only a marginally better playing surface than in St Vincent, so I was more than happy to side with Australia when they won the toss and opted to bowl.

In turned out to be an incorrect assumption and as you can see, things didn't go quit to plan as the Windies launched an impressive opening salvo by bashing 56/0 off the first 10 overs.  It's at this point I started to realise that conditions were not what I was expecting.

Over the remainder of the innings I continued to nibble at the Australian price at different intervals but to no avail. The Windies were by now on for a good score and it was time to switch - the Aussies were in trouble.  Fortunately for me I did so just in time. Pollard and Sammy exploded with some mighty power hitting in the last 10 overs and a score of 294 was posted.  In my opinion it was too much for an Australian batting lineup containing a few inexperienced players at this level. The question now was all about getting a good price for a Windies win. To make sure I didn't miss out on an early batting collapse I took a half stake position  at odds of 1.66.

It was the right move as the Windies took David Warner's wicket in the 2nd over, but I should have taken this opportunity to reduce my position and improve my average. In the belief that things would only get worse for the batting side I didn't and it came back to haunt me as they rallied and I was once again into negative territory. Doh! In my bid to get over the line I'd been greedy again and gone against what I know I should have done.

Undettered I once again waited for another entry point - still believing the Windies had enough.  The Aussies were hitting boundaries, the market was jumping and they'd become favourites. Surely an overreaction chasing such a high score despite the conditions?  Yes, it was, and it was my entry at this point that sealed my win.  Multiple wickets fell in the coming overs and by the time the visitors were 112/5 I'd decided to call it a day.

This is why I love betting on cricket.  I can be wrong so many times, but as long as I manage my risk it's often relatively straightforward to get into a positive position at some point throughout a match.  I hear alot about people wanting winning strategies but the truth is a lot more simple - stay clear from greed and concentrate on making the right decisions.

My mission has now changed - I need to hold onto this profit until the end of the month!  With 5 cricket matches, a night of darts and a couple of games of rugby to go, there's plenty of time to blow it.

 

Friday, 23 March 2012

Relax - Don't Do It


After not participating in the markets on Wednesday, it was back to normal yesterday with the the Asia Cup Final between Pakistan and Bangladesh plus a night of Premier League Darts.

I've a list of things which make me feel uncomfortable in cricket markets and the words Pakistan, Bangladesh and the scheduling of a tournament just before the IPL kicks off are all on there.  It's nothing personal - Pakistan have some cracking players and likewise Bangladesh seem to have come on leaps and bounds but despite this I can't help feeling a lack of trust when they're involved.  Was yesterday any different?  No, but I adjusted and kept my stakes relatively small. I also went against the crowd quite a bit and opposed low odds at different times which appears to be the way forward in these types of matches.  I wasn't laying for the sake of it, but instead tried to choose my moments for when the market was jumping on the 'winner' and pushing the price too far. My belief was that there would be many more ups and downs along the way and so it proved as Pakistan held on to win by a slender 2 run margin, and I bagged another 12% towards my break even target.

A few hours break was squeezed in during the afternoon before it was time to tune into the darts being screened live from Dublin. The first thing to hit me was the crowd - 9,000 crazy fans getting ready to cheer on a bunch of dart players!  Astonishing and something special.  It also helped motivate the players and there were some great performances on display but unfortunately mine wasn't one of them.  Despite winning on 3 out of 4 matches, the one loser cancelled out most of the wins to leave me with just a further 1% gain.

It's funny, but I can feel my mindset changing now that I'm up to 90%. I'm looking to get over the line and starting to lose sight of the goal. I'd have bitten your hand off to be in this position just a few days ago. This is the dangerous time then when complacency can set in and a greedy moment can see me endure a big loss.

Time to concentrate even harder.

Friday sees me tackle the 4th ODI between the West Indies and Australia.

Here's my break even graph :


.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Split Personality


Yesterday saw the third ODI between West Indies and Australia and that was the focus of my day.  As it was also the third match to be played in St Vincent it was no surprise that the teams were tested once again with tricky conditions but I much prefer watching a game like that than others where it can become a run fest with nothing in it for the bowlers.

Whilst having 3 matches at the same venue can often be helpful for identifying trends, it doesn't take long for the market to catch on and this can make it more difficult to spot opportunities.  My P&L graph for this match sort of tells the story (click to enlarge):


You can see that during the first innings I didn't hold a strong position at anytime and my plays were generally small.  I  often find this as the downside to trading an ODI as over 8 hours things can get a little slow and then.....BANG....in the second innings after a brief lapse of concentration (as highlighted) I find myself staring at a loss when things get a little more volatile.

Fortunately I was able to pull this position back but in the end it didn't matter as the match ended in a tie!  Now a lot of cricket traders tend not to cover themselves in the 'tied match' market but I always do and after looking at that graph you should start to understand why.  Yes, I often take bad value (aren't all types of insurance?) but after experiencing all those ups and downs I want to make sure I get paid.

So it's an additional 10% from the cricket towards my break even target but a Premium Charge being taken today will reduce that by 2%.  The total is therefore now 77% - I'm within touching distance!


.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Marching On

.
Saturday was a good day as Wales clinched the Grand Slam and the Six Nations Championship but it was back to pressing matters yesterday as I shook off the hangover to continue my trading recovery.

Luckily the 2nd ODI between the West Indies and Australia wasn't due to start until 1.30pm and with an added delay due to rain, I was feeling a lot better by the time the teams took to the field.

This was a potential banana skin as the match ended up being shortened to a 40 over per side game with a threat of further showers.  Add to this a market with little confidence in a shaky Windies batting lineup and a tricky pitch and things were always going to be volatile.  All the more pleasing then that I came out the end of it with a decent win, but it was the way I controlled my gain that gave me more satisfaction.  In an additional attempt to drag my way back to profit, I've decided to go back to monitoring my in-play profit/loss position and yesterdays graph showed that it's helping as my progress was very steady (click to enlarge):


Always pleasing to see a graph like that as it identifies no major swings to my position.  If you're a Bet Angel customer you can pick up a copy of my monitoring tool here.

So the overall result was an additional 13% profit towards my break even target.  In total that's now 69% of the way and there's still a decent amount of cricket scheduled in the diary before the end of the month.


.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Calypso Collapso


Today went well and I was able to recoup another 41% of my losses to push me back nearer to my break even target.  In total that's now 56% in 2 days and it's more than I could have hoped for when I wrote my 'under pressure' post.  I can imagine you thinking that I've either been chasing or taking too many risks to get this amount back so quickly but in all honesty I've been doing the opposite.

Instead of jumping at every possible tick I've been really thinking through my plays carefully by constructing in my head the whole event before it's happened.  Impossible eh?  Of course, but it's not impossible to construct what's 'likely' to happen and that in many cases is a great starting point.  This is something I've practised for a while but with a nasty monthly loss staring me in the face it's forced me to pay a bit more attention to detail.

As for the match itself it was a breath of fresh air - the Aussies struggled to post 204 on a difficult pitch and in reply the West Indies imploded and were only able to muster 140.  The market switched favouritism several times and there was none of this bat 1st and win business.  With another 4 ODI's left in this series things could be looking up!

Off to Cardiff tomorrow to support the men in red in their bid for a 3rd Grand Slam in 8 seasons.  It promises to be messy so day 3 of my recovery will be on Sunday.  Here's the graph:
.


The Long Road

.
Day 1 of my recovery was a long but productive one which consisted of the One Day International between Pakistan and Sri Lanka and an evening of Premier League darts.  All in all it was 11 hours of being extremely cautious and picking up the 'quick wins' when they were on offer but the positive result was that I recouped over 15% of my target.  A good start but still a long way to go before I get back to level for the month.
.
Here's my graph (click to enlarge):

.
The plan today is to tackle the 1st One Day International between the West Indies and Australia.  I've come to love watching cricket but the ODI format is my least favourite as I spend the majority of the time inactive.  That's always frustrating as it's easy to get involved when there's no need to - a big test of discipline.

As for tomorrow that could well be a write-off as Wales take on France in an attempt to clinch their 3rd Grand Slam in 8 years and as you can imagine, the temptation to join a 12th of the country's population on the streets of Cardiff may prove too much! 

Lastly, I had some interesting comments to my previous post.  Here's some snippets:

"it sounds like you are about to start chasing your losses and are attempting to justify that." 
"Not the most 'professional' thing to do, looking at your pnl in short periods, just as bad as setting a daily limit to be fair."
"Setting positive targets for individual markets now :) No doubt if you miss a target you can always up the stakes for the next one."
"who cares about following a winning previous strategy , just dive in with some speculative lays/backs and cross your fingers." 
.
Sounds like I didn't get my points across very well when I described my action plan.  The over-riding message was meant to be, "I need to manage my risk better."

.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Under Pressure


Yikes!  I've mentioned recently that I haven't had a losing month for 5 and a half years but after a few things going against me recently, I'm in danger of losing this record.  It's a bit of a long story but the shortened version is that I've dabbled with the stock markets along the way for small amounts and always included any profits or losses in my monthly figures.  Until recently the amounts involved have been insignificant (less than 1% of my bank) but unluckily for me a few of my shares have taken a big hit this month.  Add to this a couple of decent size losses on the cricket and a couple of premium charges to boot and I'm now staring at the biggest monthly deficit I've ever faced.  To get back to level for the month will be a big task.

I've been in a similar position once before - December 2009.  Back then I suffered a maximum cricket loss and started to struggle trading the PDC World Darts Championships.  With it also being a quiet month I was extremely fortunate to scrape back into profit to the grand sum of £6.38.  A lucky escape, but this time the gap is wider and the pressure is on - yes, I have money put by to pay the bills but I can't underestimate how much maintaining that winning record means to me.  Without it l'll feel like Superman in the presence of Kryptonite.

Okay, so what can I do to put things right and ensure panic doesn't set in?

These are the normal steps I take when I'm up against it, so I need to remember to follow them:

1. Accept the loss - The first step is for me to accept the position I'm in.  The quicker I do this the easier it'll be for me to look forward.  Clinging on to losses will only make things worse as scared money rarely wins.

2. Break the deficit into bits - By knowing how many events I've left to trade before the end of March I can estimate what I need to make from each to get back what I've lost.  Of course, if an opportunity presents itself that's too good to miss then I'm not going to pull out because I've hit my 'target, but by instilling a pre-event expectation it'll help me with my lack of patience and control.  Discipline will be more vital than ever,

3. Bank some quick wins - Confidence is such a huge factor so getting a few wins under my belt can help a lot.  It doesn't matter if they're not that big, they just need to get me back on track.  I don't want to be entering the last week of the month too far out of reach of breaking even.

4. Positive thinking - It's a powerful tool.  The truth is I have a good history of making this game pay so I need to stick to what I know and banish any signs of negativity.

4. Blog my results - A bit of a curve-ball this but I've noticed my thinking becoming a little hazy over the last few days.  To help give myself some focus I'll blog my recovery progress between now and the end of March.  I won't be giving exact figures but I will publish a nice graph!  Here's my target graph at the moment: 
.
.
So there you have it, and if that doesn't get you onto my wavelength then there's only one thing left for it... 
.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Richard Preen

.
For those of you who have read and enjoyed the 'Odds-N-Sods' blog on my blogroll, you'll be saddened to hear that it's author Richard Preen has died whilst undergoing a lung transplant to transform his life.

I'd never met him but from exchanged comments on Twitter he seemed a very decent guy.  Always horrible to hear news like this and once gain it's a reminder that we're not here for long.  Richard was only 33.

Here's a link to the tributes paid to him in the Gloucestershire Echo.

.

Monday, 12 March 2012

IP-Hell?

.
It's nearly that time of year again when everything in the cricket world goes a bit bonkers and concentrates on the Indian T20 Premier League.  If you trade cricket you'll already know that it dominates so much of the calendar with 76 matches spread over just 54 days. Basically, if you have a life just put it on hold for 2 months!

Whilst this tournament is often seen as a cash cow there are negatives.  Allegations of corruption are rife and there seems to be a constant stream of in-fighting between the administrators which all leads to a bit of uneasiness leading up to the competition. With all this in the background it's therefore no surprise to me that my performance usually dips over these 7-8 weeks.  Here's the evidence after digging through my past IPL records - firstly here's how my win % has fluctuated (click to enlarge):


When you consider that my win % for the year in 2011 was 84.13% it's easy to see that I consistently win less often on IPL matches.  So the question is, why?  Maybe I'm imagining things but IPL matches don't tend to follow the usual patterns.  In most cases I'm able to predict the likely flow of a T20 match but when it comes to the IPL the unexpected often seems to happen - and not just that - money in the market often appears at the right time and guesses correctly on what will. After watching so many matches I can't help but think that this is more than just a coincidence, so the issue I have this year is how do I make this pay? To improve my IPL performance, it seems I need to be able to identify when the unlikely will happen and when it won't!  Why can't things be simple?!?

The next graph illustrates how my average win (dark purple) and average loss (light purple) have changed over the years (click to enlarge):

 
Crikey - things got out of hand in 2010!  I remember it well - I lost what most would consider a healthy monthly wage in one day and spent the rest of the tournament clawing it back.  Nothing worse than spending a month grinding out wins only to get back to even, but it was good lesson to learn.  I'd jumped into the markets with overconfidence, overstaked and paid the price so whatever I do this season I need to learn to be more patient.  With so many matches things can become a blur, so it's important I maintain my focus on it being a marathon and not a sprint.  Unfortunatley this is easier said than done as I remember saying the same thing to myself last year.

The last graph shows the overall value of each match to me (click to enlarge):


The huge thing that stands out here is that I'm on a downward IPL spiral, with each match losing it's value to me over the years.  It's clear I have to change my approach - these games are just different to others throughout the year and I need to find a way that can buck the trend.

I have all the information I think I need so I'll keep you posted on how I get on.

IPL 2012 starts on the 4th April and runs until the 27th May. Live coverage in the UK is exclusively covered on ITV 4.

.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Time Warp

.
Has it really been a month since my last blog post?  Jeez, where is this year going!  I guess being a Dad again has caught me off guard but February was a strange one overall - an explosive start, followed by a dip and then a strong finish - but I'm scratching my head as I can't remember much of it!

Hopefully my memory will come back but in the meantime I need to post something interesting (at least to me).

Okay, here goes...

At the turn of the year I mentioned that my strategy for 2012 would be to become more aggressive in my established markets, especially cricket as this is where the majority of my profits come from. So how about a little update? Well, the good news is that's been a good start. Here's a quick snapshot showing a comparison of my main sports for Jan-Feb in 2011 and 2012 (click to enlarge):

.
That's quite a big increase on the cricket side of things eh?  So have I traded more matches? Again, the good news is no. I've traded 38 matches which is actually 2 less than the same period last year.  Am I doing anything differently?  From analysing my results it would seem that my win % has gone through the roof - out of the 38 matches I've only lost on 2.  This is very pleasing, and as my average wins have increased the amount each match is now worth to me is running 68.25% higher than last year. Of course, things can change and I have to guard against complacency, but I couldn't have asked for any more  with sleepless nights and a few other things bouncing around in the background.

If you haven't traded cricket before, one day games are a great place to start and after a few emails recently from other traders it's got me thinking about the possibility of holding a 'One Day Cricket' workshop later in the year.  If this sounds appealing, then please express an interest by dropping me an email at members@markiverson.com.  Obviously, I'll only push on with that idea if I get a good response but the aim would be to run through the processes I follow when trading a one day match.  This would hopefully give you a much better chance of making money the next time you trade a game.

Happy St. David's Day by the way!
.
.