Monday, 23 February 2009

Update

The challenge is going pretty well so far, although recently, especially Saturday, the API was absolutely awful. I gave up in the end because I found myself getting far to stressed out about it! The API felt back to normal today and I got a great result under my belt for a Monday. To update you on previous days since my last post on Wednesday, I traded Thursday making £1082.44 - I can't remember the day at all, it's well in the past now. Friday I wasn't feeling very well at all, my housemate and I both came down with something; I gave trading a go for parts of the day, making an unspectacular £200. Saturday, as I explained I gave it a go, but got fed up and finished about £120 up. Those two days I really don't count as full day's to go down as being recorded because I didn't trade the whole day on both occasions - I always feel guilty if I haven't traded on a day that I planned to work on - even if I'm slightly ill. The profit I made though will still account to my yearly P&L.

For the last year I've noticed that while I trade, I don't breathe normally. It sounds strange, but I effectively hold my breath and breathe very shallow while I'm trading - when I exit a trade and lean back on my chair, I'm aware that I'm not breathing (much) and try and resume normal breathing. I know my body does this to ensure I focus more. It's a bad habit I've developed since an early teenager that I'm going to overcome by practising breathing techniques throughout the morning which will help with my breathing while I trade. I'm interested to find out if anyone else is aware that their breathing pattern changes whilst trading, or maybe just certain trades that require intense concentration? There are plenty of comments and emails I need to sift through, apologies! - I will get through them all.

I had a full health check up this morning with BUPA, I've never had one before - it included a cardio-respiratory exercise test which was great fun! I got wired up like Morpheus once was in The Matrix and got on a bike to do some exercise. Everything was just fine with me, as I expected/hoped considering I still am only 23. The only thing they recommended me to do was to increase the intensity of my cardio work - my body is far too used to moderate exercise which it copes with very well. I've obviously been taking the easy route when it comes to exercise.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Experimenting

The last two days I have been experimenting with the refresh rate on Bet Angel - I have been using 400ms since I started in August 2007, then a few months ago I accidentally left it on 500ms and when I realised, I thought, hmmm, I seem to have been doing okay on that refresh rate so I left it at that. Now since yesterday, I've been using a refresh rate of 200ms. Theoretically it would be better since you would then be viewing the data in more of a real-time state and you can make decisions based on the latest information given in front of you. It took a couple of races to get used to, right now I am not seeing any benefits from it - I'm not sure whether I expect to really, mostly because the higher refresh rate is effectively making my brain process more information and it definitely tires my brain out. I will stick with the 200ms refresh for another for another few weeks to see how that goes; it's good to be experimental with your trading setup. I used to trade with one Bet Angel open, then I started trading with two open at the same time to view more information, and now I have just one open (well I'm restricted to just one because otherwise I would incur Betfair data request charges!), but with the 3 ladders page, instead of just the one enhanced ladder interface. Try every layout/setup possible and eventually you'll be able to see what works best for you. I think I may find that 200ms is too fast, and going back to 4/500ms is much less stressful!

My target now is officially £1,000 a day. It sounds a hell of a lot, and back when I was started out I never dreamed of such a feat. Even 3 months ago I thought, it's too much to ask for. Today I found myself just over £100 up nearly half way through the day thinking, oh great, I've stuffed today up, having averaged only £12 or so a race. But I kept the £1000 target in my head and amazingly I broke it on the last race! Anyway, I'm sure I've discussed it before, but setting daily targets is not to everyone's taste, mostly considering the varying quality of racing and the number of cards going on in a day, but I really find it helps me get that little bit better.

Today:

Yesterday:

Monday, 16 February 2009

ISP

It's important to be on a good ISP, at the moment my connection frequently drops once every few days. I have rung up but they say there's no log of it cutting out, including my modem log - which must be lying since I see the Internet lights disappear on the modem! I haven't sorted it out yet because I have my backup laptop with mobile broadband, so I just jump on there as soon as I sniff anything wrong with my connection - a poor excuse really, I will get it sorted. The quality of connection with the API has been quite up and down over the last week, today was good though; it can be very frustrating and stressful when you click to place orders in the market and there is a delay. This is what happens on the Bet Angel graph:

Bet Angel spots the difference with the total matched between the last price matched and the current price matched and says there was £19,500 traded in one go - obviously there wasn't, it was just my Internet connection dropping out for a minute!

Prior to today, the previous 3 trading days I kept hitting a ceiling of profit of £700-900, which isn't bad at all, but I made all that profit in the first half of racing cards. Looking back it was definitely a psychological battle which just influenced my trading! I traded a few Irish Navan races today which is why the screenshot shows 23 races traded, I used to try and ignore them; now I try and trade them.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Video

I've been playing around with the Camtasia software, it's pretty good. I've got a video basically showing me logging in to my Betfair account to show my past month's results, this will definitely throw out the skepticism over the authenticity of my results! I tried putting the clip up on YouTube so I could show the video on the blog, but the quality comes out really poorly.

Anyway, check out the video here.

As you can see I have increased my balance to £10,000 because I am preparing for the big meetings such as Cheltenham where higher stakes can be used!

Last few days of trading have produced good results, but yesterday was the most stressful day I've had in a while. I did phenomenally well in the first 7 or 8 races, but the rest of the day was ridiculous - I in fact lost money over 13 or so races. What I decided the reasoning behind this was due to a build up of lack of acceptance. I remember one race where I lost money, then a massive price movement happened in the same race which I totally missed out on, that frustrated me. So because I never accepted it and moved on, I let the frustration build up inside - preventing me from turning the day into an awesome one. The quicker you can accept what has happened, the more focused you will stay.

Last 2 days:

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Authenticity

It is becoming clear that in the horse race trading community there is a sense of questionable authenticity over the P&L's taken as screenshots on blogs. I am aware that screenshots can be replicated using photoshop or using an HTML generator. It does make me laugh when I see people question the results on here, but I guess that's only because I know I'm making the results. I really would like this blog to be seen as authentic and stop the conspiracies flying around - so I would like your (realistic) feedback on how best to prove my results. I have already tried Adam Todd's method of emailing Betfair and asking for someone to verify my results, but this apparently is not allowed! I have thought about doing a video of me logging into my Betfair account whilst using some screen video capture software - if anybody knows of a good one? I hope I can eliminate 100% of the uncertainty, but probably eventually more like 90%.

I generally like to stay away from controversy, but this Betfair result generator is quite sad! I can see the funny side of it, but not if it lessens the genuineness of this blog.

Anyway, back to my challenge, I've kept up the recent progression I've made, although I have had a temperature since yesterday and I find trading more stressful when I'm aching a bit. I find that trading really does use a lot of emotional energy up, especially if you're trying to keep your emotions under control, because that itself consumes energy! A goal I have is to trade without emotions, and be unaware of it, so I'm not using energy up being aware. If that makes any sense.

Today


Yesterday

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Heathcote won again!

Heathcote the horse ran the other day in a race of 3 runners. Thankfully, the favourite stacked it at one of the early hurdles and basically gave the victory to Heathcote. I put a £30 bet on him to win and I had only made £9 from trading the race. The amount I gambled just shows how much I don't like gambling with anything over £50. Anyway, the fact that I knew I was going to put a bet on him really impacted my trading on the race - amazing that if you have any preference over a horse that it can affect your ability to trade; at least in my case.

I traded this Saturday, because on the Monday there was absolutely no racing so I felt like I should work. It was my first Saturday in about a month, the liquidity was good to start off with but seemed to deteiorate as the day went on - possibly because I know quite a few people were experiencing connection issues with the API, myself included; it made it one hell of a stressful day for me but managed to just tip over the £1k mark by a couple of pounds. The thousand marker seems to be my daily target now.


Thursday, 5 February 2009

Let the good times roll

I frequently read around other blogs to get a sense of how other people are finding the markets, but also because it's nice to see other people go through similar emotions. I was reading John's blog, and read that some guy said I was on 'trading steroids'. I promise you I'm not on trading steroids, I've just been really in the zone lately with my trading! John's blog is a good read. Another great blog is Leonthefixer's; his blog is a really good read, he puts a great effort into it by making it very detailed about his life as a trader. Everyone knows Peter Webb's blog, the link has now changed, his blog is also a great read; he comments on pretty much everything! Scott Ferguson has a good blog, with a range of sport related posts its a breath of fresh air - so check that out too.


I hope the graph I posted yesterday answers those questions from readers who were wondering how long it took me to make a certain amount.

..I nearly forgot this other blog, there is a post that is quite interesting; John Wakefield is attempting to produce a Neural Network (NN) that can successfully trade profitably on it's own. By the looks of it he has managed to do it on a small scale - very impressive. I did a project on predicting horse racing in my final year of Computer Science, the intension was to produce a number of methods to predict the racing, including a NN, but there was so much work involved it never materialised.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Progress

I thought I had hit a plateau, but it now appears I haven't! I have managed to gradually get better as time goes by: this graph shows the amount I averaged per day for every month since September 2007 (from a bank of a few hundred - near enough when I started, when I decided to keep my own record) until the end of last month. I seemed to have managed to keep pushing myself even until now. I will carry on pushing myself to see what is achieveable.

Month


I traded the last couple sets of the Nadal vs. Federer final and managed to make £100 from having done little trading - I am now very keen to get involved in trading tennis, so when the next tournament comes along that doesn't interupt with any planned horse race trading you can guarantee I'll be in the market! I am quite optimistic about trading tennis, I found it easier than I thought, as all it took was opening up a trade at the point that serves as minimal risk (no pun intended!) to a greater gain.

I was watching the Everton vs. Liverpool FA Cup match tonight, in the final few minutes of the second half of extra time, all of a sudden the adverts kicked in; we were all like - what the ...? 30 seconds later the numpty at ITV who must have accidentally pushed the avert button put it back on the football, only to find out that the only goal from the game had been scored! I'm sure the guy must have got the boot!


Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Southwell

Today was my best day ever (based on average return per race) given so little racing! But I wouldn't be able to achieve this return per race in the space of 3 meetings because I practically started trading with 25 minutes to go before each race today, and usually you only get given about 10 minutes. It's what I used to do at the Kempton and Wolverhampton evening meetings in my first 8 or so months of trading; I was very dedicated and spent almost every possible chance trading, even if it meant me not going out. Now of course, knowing I have put the time and effort in the early days of trading, I can afford to take time off for my social life. It was just the price I had to pay to get this far. Thankfully, unlike some careers, it did not mean years of a diminished social life, such as starting up your own business.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

January

January's trading finished on Friday for me; I haven't traded a full day on Saturday for a few weeks now because I feel like the weekend off leaves me feeling refreshed for the next week. January has turned out to be my best month in terms of daily average and monthly profits, with the racing fixture list this month taking a big hit from the poor weather conditions I don't quite know how I managed to produce these kind of results. I traded 24 full days and 2 partial days, where a full day means I traded through all the racing in any given afternoon. I averaged £55.02 a race and approximately £854 per full trading day, averaging around 15-16 races in a full day. On the downside there was about £4,000 damage in premium charges. All in all a great first month of the challenge!