Wednesday, 31 December 2008

The Challenge

Here comes 2009! I'm very excited about it; I think it will bring some diversity for me in all areas of my life.

Okay so the challenge:

I know some other blogs have gone from a relatively small bank of about £1,000, but personally I prefer a larger bank to make the most of opportunities when they are thrown at me. So I will start with quite a large bank of £6,000. This done not mean I am constantly making trades of £6,000, it means that when (if) the opportunity arises where I can use all of it confidently then I will. I agree with Peter Webb on his blog that it's easier to make a higher percentage return on smaller banks, because smaller sized trades are much more easily absorbed in the markets and therefore you can always utilise the whole of your trading bank, plus it can get quite messy when using bigger stakes because of net stakes lying around. So most of the time I will only require a substantially less amount than £6,000, but again, it's there if I need it.

I will be using the software Bet Angel on Betfair (and hopefully Betdaq soon) to do all my trading with. It is very reliable, efficient and easy to use. Reliability is so important since when I'm risking large amounts of money I want to know the software I'm using will still be running smoothly when I exit any trade.

I will edit this post tomorrow because there's a few more things I want to add, I've got to go now, going to Oceanas in Kingston for New Years, I've never been to a club before on New Years; I like doing something different every year. Happy New Year everyone!

I couldn't help myself

I woke up this morning and didn't have much to do. I saw that two of the three main meetings had been cancelled and thought it was going to be a day for relaxing and watching TV until the evening. Seeing that I lost about £150 yesterday I thought I'll just trade on the Lingfield races every half an hour to make up yesterday's loss. I made it back up in practically the first race! Anyway, I had remembered Peter's post on his blog about how on the Monday he traded the whole day including the Irish meetings, with just an aim to squeeze a tenner or so out of them. I thought to myself, just because the Irish races seldom have enough liquidity it doesn't mean that money cannot be made from them. So I thought, why not, ten races with a profit of £10 makes a hundred so I gave them a go. It turned out the liquidity on them wasn't that bad at all. So from now on I am going to trade the Irish meetings (unless they are absolutely awful). So maybe not a bad end to the year after all!

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Poor end to a great year

I wasn't focused at all at the start of today, I was day-dreaming leaving myself in ridiculous positions while no decisions were processing in my head, screwing me over basically. After being over £350 down I pulled myself together for a while but again lost my focus at the end, making ridiculous decisions again and not cutting my losses. They are massive losses and probably the biggest losses I've incurred all year. What a mess. I don't want to trade tomorrow so this was my last trading day for the year. As the title says, a poor end to a great year; a year where I exceeded all my expectations given I placed my first few trades in August last year. I gave myself 9 months from September 2007 to make a living out of trading, I succeeded after only 2 months reaching a £100 a day after 3 months. In 2009 I have set myself this £150k target which I think is a good target. I feel (I know) I can improve in certain areas of my trading, but instead of focusing on those areas specifically while I trade I will let my instincts and natural learning ability help me improve; I hope!

In 2009 I hope to diversify my sports trading into football and tennis (successfully!). I'll do this on a separate account. I've already been trading on some football matches, but only occasionally.

Monday, 29 December 2008

Some average days

Well so far, this month has gone very well; my best month on record (in terms of average per trading day). Its helped by not having a losing day - they dramatically bring my average down. Sorry if you've sent me an email but I haven't replied yet, I've been quite busy (and lazy) over this Christmas period, but I will reply over the next couple of days. My New Year's resolution will be too never get lazy and lethargic like I have over the last few weeks. I am going to head over to the gym straight after writing this post whether I like it or not.

Anyway, today was less than impressive for trading I felt, the markets started off quite sluggish and they took longer than usual to fill up with liquidity. If you've been trading for a long time, you can always guage what a market 'feels' like. If you can't, and you've been trading for over a year, I would recommend finding something else your good at, or maybe trying a different strategy to profit from the markets. There are many ways to profit from the horse racing markets, it's just a matter of finding which trading style you are most comfortable with and that suits you.

Some people have been saying that I will "easily" make the £150k target, but I disagree. I think it will be a healthy challenge. Since writing this blog I haven't had a losing day, which significantly helps. Also, I plan on taking at least one holiday in 2009 - that will take out up to 3 weeks off. I decided that if I really do storm my way towards the target, then I'll change the target to £150k after Betfair Premium Charges. I'll post monthly graphs showing my progress.

Today

Saturday 27th December

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Boxing Day

Boxing Day is the busiest day of the year - this year there were 8 meetings (11 if you count the Irish meetings). It was very hectic, many of the races lacked liquidity as there was not enough time between races for a steady build up of money to be traded. There wasn't really any time for a breather, but it added to the fun of it being Boxing Day. I never trade the Irish races unless there is at least about £200,000 matched on the market, otherwise I just feel it's not worth it.

Anyway more about the day, I didn't trade in my normal trading environment because I went home to spend Christmas with the family. So I took my laptop and my backup laptop, and watched ATR and RUK using my Slingbox that I set up in my office. If you are not aware of what a Slingbox is, it basically allows you to stream live (with about an extra 3 second delay) images from your TV over the internet. You set it up in a way that allows you to change the channel from where ever you are. It's a great setup allowing me to work from anywhere. Although my advantage is reduced somewhat with delayed images, a makeshift trading environment; I had a desk about 50 cm high and was sitting on the floor!

I was disappointed with my effort in the Kauto Star race, I was looking forward to trading in it but I absolutely botched it up. Apart from that I feel I did okay considering the less than standard liquidity in a lot of the races. Hope everyone had a great Christmas.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Back to my best

Today was amazing. I started off very cool, calm and in control. Was wondering whether to trade today or not because there were not 3 full meetings and I felt a little like having a Christmas break. Although I traded well, I still knew where I could improve drastically; every time I make over a hundred in a race I take it easy in the time left before the race is about to start (if there is any) and this is not maximising my potential by constantly trading in the time available. I once again had to miss the last 2 races this afternoon, I never like missing races, especially when I'm on a roll. Actually saying that, I hate missing races even more if I'm trading badly because I'm so desperate to get on to the next race to make up any losses.

I thought today would lack some liquidity because of the festivity period and there were other traders I know taking time off, but I was wrong! I felt the markets were very liquid, frequently going over £1 million matched by the end of the race.

I will make a post some time between boxing day and new years eve to explain my challenge in more depth, until then, Merry Christmas and don't eat too many mince pies.


Monday, 22 December 2008

A good trading day

Today was a good day for trading. I felt like there were some good movements, even though I managed to lose money on the biggest movement of the day because I was busy making my lunch and kept missing big chunks of the movement because I was scoffing my mouth full and trying to cut my under-toasted toast, then when I got involved in the movement, it went straight against me!! Oh well, it can't always go your way. I didn't trade the whole day as I had a Christmas present to attend to from one of my good friends Emma. It was one of the most random plays ever on a story of Hansel & Gretel where you walk around with the actors on their journey. It was was probably more for children but I really enjoyed it; there was one kid who cried at this supposedly 'scary' part, poor kid - at least her parents were there!
Anyway back to trading, Monday's seem to have been quite good recently, I don't really have a favourite day anymore, every day seems to throw opportunties at you, it's just whether you can take them or not.

On a separate note: I was practising trading on football on Sunday on another account with another BetAngel open at the same time. Betfair had the cheek to send me an email today saying:

"Following our earlier emails and communication in the Betfair forum and on the Betfair Charges page we introduced the data request charging scheme on Monday 14th April.

You incurred a charge in relation to usage on the 21st December of £90.85. We have not debited your account today. We want you to avoid being charged in future."

I knew about transaction charges, but thought seeing I was paying a ridiculous amount in Premium Charges that any transaction charges I might rack up would be offset against them. I was wrong, I think Betfair are disgusting and seriously taking advantage of their monopoly. I mean giving me a warning. Come on. I guess you can tell I was not happy about the Premium Charge that was introduced. I would have accepted a further 5 % Premium Charge on top of commission already paid, but not 20%. How can Betfair supposedly 'need' to introduce the charge when they were already making a profit? And thanks for my christmas card Betfair, I am a very satisfied user of BetAngel, Peter Webb and the team at BetAngel were kind enough to send me a Christmas card, and I pay them 100 times less than I pay Betfair.

Anyway, thats my rant over, be sure to hear more of it until the day comes where we can all move over to Betdaq.

One final word on trading today. I stuffed up on quite a few races but managed to make a good return per race for the 13 races (14 if you count a one in-out trade on the same position over two seconds) traded. Over the christmas period where there is less racing it makes sense to analyse your efforts on profit per race as an average rather than analysing the average profit per day, to see how well your doing. I say this, but I still focus on my daily profit as an indicator as to how well I'm doing.

Sorry about the randomness in fonts. When I copied and pasted the email from Betfair it all messed up and I couldn't seem to find the default font.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Lethargic

I still don't feel totally in control of my trading. Although I pulled a good result in (although partially lucky) I wasn't focused throughout the whole day today. I started off in control but soon hit a lazy saturday feeling. I think its because I have been very lazy since having a cold and haven't been going to the gym; I feel quite lethargic. I suppose its good that I'm producing results while not feeling like I'm doing that well. The lucky part today was £300 I made in one of the races, I accidentally left it go in-play today but managed to get out at a very good price in-play. I tell you though, my heart nearly stopped!

I will take tomorrow off and hopefully get down to the gym, do lots of stretches and hopefully feel refreshed on Monday.

Today's total: £1,055.33 (Just traded 2 evening races to tip over the magical thousand)

I'll start posting some more P&L's in the new year when my challenge starts. Hopefully I'll have some more readers by then!

Friday, 19 December 2008

Not my best

I was really in the mood for a full three meetings today to get my teeth stuck into. Unfortunately there were only two. I started off well, but the gaps in between where I couldn't really trade were frustrating, and they weren't long enough to go off and do something because I wanted to keep my eye on the markets. Anyway the waiting around got me frustrated and I still was in 'big swing' mood from yesterday's massive movements causing me to expect price swings and losing more often than not. Then I lost it when the images being shown from Downpatrick were intermittent, and so was the audio - it was the most annoying thing ever; crackling up, flashing horses every second, chopped up sentences, the lot. I was trading on a Southwell or Ascot race and it really got to me and lost quite a bit - I guess I didn't turn the TV off because I thought the ATR presenter was going to quite from the live coverage. Phwooaaaar anyway a frustrating day and the conditions really didn't bring the best out of me. I very nearly got caught out at the 14:45 at Southwell, the races had been put back all day by 5 minutes but not this race, I was listening to music to calm the waiting in between races and obviously must have missed them not putting this race back. Anyway I just managed to glimpse on TV that they were in fact about to go off and closed most of my position, losing out on an extra £30 as I looked to get out as soon as the race went in-play at the best possible available price.

I wasn't happy with my result today so decided to stay in tonight and trade. First race I made an awful decision but made up for it in the one straight afterwards.

Today's total: £574.58


Thursday, 18 December 2008

Emotions

I really let my emotions get the better of me today. Personally I should have produced a result well over a £1,000. It all started near the start of trading where there were two absolutely huge movements - I took some screenshots. I half got on one and was on the wrong side/missed the other. In the 13:00 at Southwell I missed the move from 4 to 8 in a matter of about 2 minutes. Thats huge! Anyway I lost 60 or 70 on that and that really frustrated me, I mean really frustrated me. So I traded the rest of the day very angry, which never helps. I think I allowed myself to get angry because I hadn't got angry in a while and sometimes its good to let it all out. Thankfully it didn't cause me to lose race after race and I produced an okay result.

13:00 Southwell - Royal Keva

13:10 Ludlow - Paquet Cadeau
So anyway, a perfect trader would show no emotions while trading, they would accept what has happened and move on. Most of the time I am nearly like that but its so hard to do completely.

I still have so much to learn in terms of knowing more likely whether a very large movement is going to happen so I can steal the whole movement. I feel like the learning curve is exponential for me and to get slightly better requires a greater understanding / intuitive abilitity in the markets so I can really make the most of given opportunities. I have come so far in terms of what I've learnt, but there's still plenty for me to learn.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Day Off

Started off the day listening to Michael Baker live on WUBT (When You Bet Today) radio found at www.juicestorm.com. It was a great listen, from a great trader, as most of you already know as alot of you will have found your way here from his blog! (Cheers Mike).

I started trading today but felt a lack of liquidity and did not like the feel of the markets. It was very sunny this morning and made the flat warm and I felt a bit hot and agitated as you would on the underground on a hot summers day. Also felt like taking it a bit easier over Christmas, seeing that over the summer there is plenty of racing day throughout the day and I work hard then! So anyway I took the day off after a few races and finished the last of my Christmas shopping.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Quite an active day

Back to Tuesday again, thankfully there wasn't much pressure to make more than the usual Premium Charge amount that gets taken out of my account on a weekly basis seeing that last week was quiet and I was a bit ill. There were some big price movements today, not massive but big enough movements to make a tidy profit, I hope everyone was on them. I made a hash of quite a few of these movements and got frustrated in the process, especially around the start of the day. I found myself quite frustrated today in general when I couldn't make the most out of a given opportunity, but it was quite nice that the racing was very compact from start to finish, 10 minutes from race to race, 3hr 20min of constant trading - apart from when I had to go and make some lunch and it ruined my momentum and had a losing race; sometimes its best to make your lunch before the start of racing so you don't interupt your trading.

I am not an in-play punter but it must have been pretty hard with the fog at Folkestone. It must be the quickest person to recognise the horses as soon as they come out of the fog wins big!


I post my detailed P&L's but I might start just posting the daily profit amount, and only occassionally post a detailed P&L when I think theres something interesting to talk about. I don't know how interested anyone is at seeing daily detailed P&L's?

I did a poll on how often everyone reads this blog and it turns out its read mostly daily, so that will definitely keep me interested in updating it a lot - thanks to everyone for reading!

Monday, 15 December 2008

Heathcote!

Well today was the occasion where a horse called Heathcote ran! I knew about him, he had won his previous race which I forgot to put some money on. I didn't make any money on the race from trading, but decided to put a £25 bet on Heathcote seeing that thats my rare surname! He won! It was an exciting race, where Heathcote stole the lead on the last hurdle. His odds peaked at 60 in-play but I backed him pre-race at a measly 3.9. I'm not really a gambler so it was just a fun dabble.


Back to trading, I was very rusty today (well, at the start) because of the lack of trading I've had over the last week. Plenty on my mind as well, with Christmas coming up. I picked up my game though after the first hour and a half, I was fearing it would be a losing day but roared back. Try and keep your head high even if you are losing. I need to miss the last couple of races at Wolverhamtpon for a 5-a-side game again - hopefully I don't miss too much.

On a separate note. Anybody else think that Rebecca Adlingtons odds of ~1.67 were way too low for winning the BBC Sports Personality of the Year last night? I wasn't sure why they were so low because I mean she had only won 2 gold medals (I say only!), but Chris Hoy won 3, and stupidly I didn't have a small gamble. I should follow my 'hunches' more often because I think I would be in profit.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Keeping warm

Saturday was a bit disappointing, I was ready to start a full days trading, but then I saw the heavy rain outside - my first reaction was that'll be Cheltenham definitely off. Anyway as you were probably aware two meetings were cancelled. I know two meetings were still on, but I decided to just leave the day out. I'm feeling better now, still blocked up, but mentally prepared for hopefully a full week of trading not interupted by bad weather. I didn't trade today either, I was tempted, but usually Sundays throw up tougher more unpredictable and irrational trading conditions (at least thats how I find it!), or maybe because I'm usually out Saturday nights and probably because I'm less sharp because of it. I think its only natural to pin reasons on good or bad results, but!, this brings up an interesting discussion. 

I've been trading for over a year now, and I use to find myself loving Saturdays, they used to be my best day for a guaranteed boost in profits. All of a sudden one Saturday I had a bad result, and that doubted my confidence for the following Saturday, directly effecting my abilities. So for 2 months I did not like Saturdays, they were producing bad results for me and I was coming up with reasons such as 'oh, there are too many races on with not much liquidity'. Then on another Saturday, and the following Saturday, I produced good results, contradicting my reasons. Anyway the moral of the story is that pinning reasons on your bad results can sometimes be a bad idea, you might start associating a day of the week or certain conditions with bad results; by mentally telling yourself that, it will leave you feeling less confident and more likely to follow the negative trend you have set yourself.

So maybe I need to start trading Sundays with a different attitude!

Friday, 12 December 2008

Still trying to recover

Today hurt. I am still down with a horrible cold and I decided to trade the whole day today regardless of how I felt. Thanks to one race where I made a pleasing amount the profit today was okay. Feeling better I'm sure I would of got a better result as today's markets weren't bad at all. I dabbled yesterday for the first 5 or so races before deciding to not even bother, making £40 which was not worth it. My P&L shows no consistency today which is what I strive for, its much easier on your emotions to consistently make small amounts rather than go -10, -100, 400, -10 etc; as every trader will tell you!


Yesterday's short P&L.


One quick thing I want to question is this: who on earth put all this money down on this race? Maybe he wanted to back the horse and would back up to £50k. The horse didn't win in the end, so I was absolutely mind boggled. It wasn't influencing the market really either. It was just sitting there. Anyway, very confusing!


Not much to write about in this post, will write some longer posts when I feel better. Hope everyone is getting through the winter okay!

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Cure for the common cold welcome

It has been a similar day today, still got a cold; feeling worse, and to top it off a meeting was cancelled. I was very frustrated with my trading today, very poor trading. I know as soon as I'm feeling better the results will flow, but doesn't stop me from being frustrated. I will take tomorrow off because if I'm free from emotions I will recover much sooner!

Made ~£260 from about 10 races or so. I'm heading back to bed. Hopefully I'm better by Friday to thrash out a good result.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

What happens when your ill

By the end of yesterday I wasn't feeling great and I knew today I would be ill. Nothing bad, just a sore throat, headache and a temperature. Anyway I started trading fairly focused and did well in the first couple of races but then I found my concentration would slip very easily, then after not too long I was making slow decisions and making poor judgement. I decided to stop trading the rest of the day because I would have eventually just lost loads. You can see in the P&L that something was not quite right. It's very annoying, but I know it was the right decision.

Hope everyone had a good day if you traded.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Nearly a clean sheet

Well I started today off really well. Only managed one loss the whole day which was extremely good. Although I would have preferred the loss not being there to make it look more impressive, but then it would have also made it unrealistic to those who are learning to trade. I have losses everyday and it's normal to incur losses.

I read and hear other traders talking about keeping your discipline; you won't find me talking about discipline too much because I find it comes naturally to me, I know what needs to be done so I just do it. Obviously to know what needs to be done you usually need to have made a mistake to learn from. Learning from mistakes is key to success.

I have been doing really well since starting this blog, and kind of wish I started the challenge from when I started the blog. But that would be cheating! I look forward to a losing day to show everyone that no matter how good you are, losing days are inevitable. One thing I mustn't do now is approach every new day with the attitude that it's easy; expecting to make money, because that's when you trade badly and need a kick up the backside.

Just to let you know, I didn't trade Sunday, two meetings were cancelled, so following my rule I didn't trade.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

A mess

Today was a long, slow and frustrating day. I was slightly hungover from going out last night and it showed in my trading. I know I could have turned today into a better result so I was quite disappointed. A typical Saturday in my opinion; lot's of races, many with low liquidity and a few with very high. I find you have to concentrate harder on a Saturday, and picking and choosing the races you trade on is important. It's a good idea to flick through a couple of races in advance so you don't miss out on any races with potential. I've done it many times; started trading on one race until "theeeeey're offff", only to find that in 3-4 minutes the next race is due off and there were big swings whilst you were trading on the poorer race!

I traded the evening races today because my results were poor and wanted to increase my day's profit. I made a good return at Wolverhampton so I can sleep slightly better tonight knowing I thrashed out a result in the end.

Friday, 5 December 2008

A good result

Don't have too much to say today, other than it was a good days trading, even though I lapsed for an hour between 13:25 and 14:25. I had a good start and thought, 'Oh, I'm nearly on my average for the day, I can relax more' - totally the wrong attitude to have. After the hour had gone and I had nothing to show for it, I got angry at myself so that I would refocus. It worked and I finished the day off quite well. It brings me to realise again that there is always potential to improve; there are so many psychological traits that can be ironed out or improved to become a much more efficient trader. It's important to constantly evolve as a trader, just like in life.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Back to trading

I heard there would be course inspections in the morning, I always go by the rule of if only one meeting has been cancelled then I still trade but if two are cancelled then I might as well take the day off and enjoy a full day off. Thankfully only one was cancelled and I pulled in an okay day given there were two meetings; traded on a few of the evening races too whilst eating and watching the football on five. I fit in a cardio session at the gym after the day's racing too.. 8.5 miles on the cross trainer in an hour! Would have run it on the running machine but my legs are still aching from the 5-a-side I played Monday. Yeah I know!

So anyway, today felt quite laborious, I felt I couldn't get my teeth into any good solid trading. If every day was like today I would lead a very frustrated trading career. Looking back over my first full year of trading, I really enjoy the unpredictability of trading and the never-ending different scenarios; like a chess game where every game turns out differently. You have to enjoy what you do to be successful. Another thing is I hate missing races, I start thinking of the potential a race may have for trading and what opportunities I may have missed out on.

On a separate note, I bought this 'Henry Desk Vacuum' for a laugh, looks just like a Henry hoover except 10 times smaller! It's absolutely crap, the best it can vacuum is the tiniest bread crumbs you have ever seen. So a word of warning... don't buy it!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

A Day Off

I was a bit gutted when I heard yesterday that Ayr was cancelled. I have just sat down to trading and the Catterick meetings have been put back. This messes up the days trading, especially since there were only 2 meetings, because when the races don't go off at the original times (more importantly the times quoted on Betfair), the liquidity messes up dramatically. Punters and traders (traders divided into ones with TV pictures and ones without) all enter into the market at different times. Anyway it's all a big mess, leaving me with no choice but to take the day off and do some Christmas shopping!


Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Pressure Tuesday

I call Tuesday's pressurising because of the newish unfair Betfair premium charge. Betfair withdraw up to 20% of last weeks winnings on Wednesdays and the amount they withdraw usually falls between £400 and £800 for me, so if I don't make that much or more, my account falls below the rounded figure I always keep in it! It's not really pressurising, just an annoyance. There is no warning of how much it will be, they take it out as they please!

Anyway to today's trading. Thankfully I made a good sum today. I was sleepy and now that the day is over I feel like it was all a bit of a blur! I had made over the thousand mark with one race left to go, but didn't want to risk trading it in case I lost any amount, in which case would have brought the total to below a four figure sum! Silly really, just to make my records look good to myself! There was good money in the markets today I felt, enough to bring out a good day. There were no real big movements to talk about that I remember seeing, so just an average day I guess. Some people have been asking me what I do mostly, i.e. scalp or swing trade etc. Well to answer that I do everything, I think to be a good trader you need the ability to adapt to any market and use the best strategy for it.

Come to think of it, I know why I'm sleepy. It has been a dreary day and the four bulbs that were fully functioning when my flatmate and I moved in have been blowing one by one and now only one works, making my office very dark with a really bright monitor!! I need to get that fixed, otherwise I might get too sleepy and start clicking in the wrong places!

Monday, 1 December 2008

Power Cut

Well today, just as I started trading on the first race at Folkestone, there was a power cut! Midway through a trade. Everything just cut out, and sirens started going off outside in all directions! Thankfully I had another 10 minutes before the race was due off so I could exit my trade in good time. I have a backup laptop connected to mobile broadband so took me less than 20 seconds to close my position. Very important if you don't want to end up gambling!

Right, power came back nearly 2 hours later, so got on with trading. Finished £500 up which was okay I guess, I don't like putting a partially traded day in my records because they bring down my average per day! I will put this in because it's only a few hundred below average. Didn't trade the last few Wolverhampton races either, had 5-a-side football to go to!