Thursday, 30 April 2009

Agitation = Bad!

I was trading the other day and felt agitated over something, but had no idea why I was agitated. It was definitely having an effect on my trading. I was trying to figure it out so I could do something about it - it ended up giving me a headache! It made me lose some large amounts in a couple of races from making purely bad decisions.
Recently the markets have felt consistently different each day. The build up of liquidity has felt quite different each day - possibly just the transition into the flat seasons which I can't really remember much of last year. It doesn't effect my trading; I always approach each race independently, using appropriate stakes given the liquidity of the race. Over the last week I've found myself getting more frustrated than usual if I take a loss, I think it's mostly because the week before I hardly had any losses, and having a few losses, I forgot how to take them on the chin!

Well it's nearly the end of April and it's been another record breaking month! I'll post the results up tomorrow. I'm definitely not expecting a record breaking month next month, as I'm not sure if there are any big meetings on like Cheltenham or Aintree. Plus the heat in the summer really plays with my emotions, and the noise from an air conditioning unit can be an annoyance! - I'll have to try and figure something else out this summer.

I just came back from a seminar by Richard Bandler, he's the co-founder of NLP (Neuro-linguistic Programming) - it was fantastic, he's also a pretty good comedian! I'm slowly becoming more aware of how powerful our brain is, and I'm intrigued how it works and why we do certain things and behave in certain ways, and what's the best way to overwrite bad behaviours! Anyway, good luck with your trading, there is plenty of it on at the moment.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Continued Progress

Today was a good day for trading. I managed to pick up a few big sums trading on a few big swings. One of the biggest I caught was this horse called Leahurst in Wolverhamtpon. His price moved (while I was watching it) from about 1.9 to 3.15, then back down to about 2.8 just before the race started. Yet another example where it is almost impossible to not profit from!! I managed to make just over £500 on the race, it was crazy that the horse's price drifted out all that way and he still won.


I might start practicing trading on more than one horse simultaneously, because if you can do that for opportunities such as this one, you could lay one horse and back the other one, making potentially a lot more money! I was thinking about trading ambidextrously, one hand with one mouse on one horse, and the other hand trading on the other horse simultaneously, using my eyes to flicker between the two. I'm not ambidextrous, but I'm going to give it a go - so I've started brushing my teeth with my left hand, and doing most normal tasks with it.

Here's kind of an average week's trading result, trading about 4 and a half days. My experimenting with other sports hasn't gone quite so well so far, but I'm learning! I'm 84% through the old challenge, and 50% through the new updated challenge (£250,000). I'll start updating the pie chart to go with the new challenge once I've completed the old one.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Evening Racing

The Armin van Buuren gig I went to was awesome, with some other well known DJ's their supporting the man himself. Evening racing is now in flow, so there are plenty more opportunities, especially for the inexperienced traders to give trading a go outside normal working hours. Today was my first time this year trading a full day with the evening racing. I traded 32 markets making £2,017.03. I felt a bit lerthargic today from having messed up my sleeping patters because of Friday night! I started the day with plenty of focus, but the warmth of the day and my room tired me slightly, not to mention a frustrating time with Betfair at one point where it slowed down completely on my land line and laptop, so no idea what happened there. It got me a bit disappointed because it ruined my momentum! So by the end of the afternoon racing I was about £800 up; a poor show given my more recent standards. My flatemate came back and I thought, why am I being a little bitch about things?! So I got my energy levels back up and focused finishing the day with increased concentration and motivation. That is the problem I think I am going to have with the evening racing - I don't want to think, "Oh, it's okay, I have the evening racing to fall back on if I haven't made a decent total from the afternoons racing" - I am going to probably set separate targets for each afternoon/evening so that this doesn't happen! For me, it's amazing how a target actually improves my ability to concentrate and trade with higher standards.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Routine

I was asked in one of the comments what my routine is, so here goes..

I have learnt to keep a very relaxed state of mind just before I start trading, it allows me to focus on the trading and being able to slot myself into what I call 'in-the-zone trading' quite easily. This is mostly done by just not being too busy or rushed in the mornings. I remember days where I was rushed, went shopping in the morning, or did some gardening for my Dad before I lived in London, and got back just in time before trading, sometimes missing a few races, and I would be rushed to sit down and make some money. It never worked out that way because I just wasn't settled enough; as I've now found out you need to be before trading. If I was wound up by anything, it would be preying on my mind and I wouldn't be able to focus properly. I think I'd be able to cope with things like that much better now after being aware of it, but it's still best to just cut out any sense of feeling rushed before I start trading.
So anyway, when I wake up, in all honesty I find it challenging to get up in a motivated state, because I haven't really got anything to put my efforts on straight away as trading doesn't start until the early afternoon - but whether this helps, who knows. I have started making a list of three things that I want to get done as soon as I wake up, so I get something to wake up and say hey, I must do these things I wrote down last night; I write them on a post-it note and stick it on my glass of water so when I wake up in the morning there's no way I'm missing it (for me anyway!).
Once I've come alive, I'll do some tidying up around the flat to make myself feel organised, then I generally get myself down to the gym and on the bike for half an hour and read at the same time, occasionally going into the steam room. The exercise every other day in the mornings is a great way of actually feeling good and mentally ready for the day.
I make sure I've made my lunch before racing starts - eating a ham, cheese, tomatoe and lettuce sandwich, with a glass of innocent smoothie and an apple; best time of the day! I usually sit down at my computer with about 20 minutes to go before the first race is due off. This gives me time to fire up my laptop with the mobile broadband and set it ready to select a horse race just in case the Internet decides to stop on my land line! I'll switch on the TV and usually listen to a bit of music.
During trading hours, I frequently walk around the flat and get some fresh air on the balcony - it helps quieten my mind, and calms me down if anything didn't go very well in a trade. It's also good for blood flow and sanity!
Ultimately, any kind of a routine is a good routine, as long as you feel comfortable doing what you do. The moment I'm not in my comfort zone in the build-up to trading hours, and I feel a sense of it carried through into trading, I find it harder to settle in my 'trading-zone'.

Moving away from my routine, trading today showed a prime example of when a horse of reported in TV to be acting funnily, and going down to post strangely (sorry, my terminology is awful, I don't know anything about the horses!). I can't remember which race it was, but his price I'm pretty sure drifted from about 2.3 to about 2.7! A massive move, again showing how TV images can be so worthwhile. I caught some nice moves today and came away with an awesome profit:


I must mention that, the profits I make are attainable, but I don't think should be taken as a realistic goal for most people to achieve. I've put up this poll on the right hand side as a, what salary would you be happy with?, because even £100-200 a day is a good effort, higher than the average salary. I'd say that £100-200 is a much more realistic target, so never go beating yourself up! I really believe that leading a life of sufficiency will give you a much happier life, than a life without sufficiency. The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist is a book I thoroughly recommend. I know it's crazy me saying this when I'm making plenty of money, but from reading quite a bit and finding out different perspectives, I'm really start to believe it and change my ways of thinking - I go shopping for material things far too much, without thinking about the bigger clearer picture!
Saying that, don't write it off. When I started off, I remember thinking to myself, ah, this Betfair has been around for a while already and I doubt I'll be able to achieve the results I had seen; I thought the market was 'saturated' if you like. If you stick at it and find yourself constantly improving, you never know. The markets can sometimes be quite competitive, and when your learning how to trade, I can imagine to some it would be like 'What the faaark?', so I guess just let the results I post up inspire you and see where the inspiration can take you, rather than comparing to how well your doing! I have grown up having a life of comparing myself to others, as do most - but comparing yourself to others always opens the door to negative thinking, such as I'm not good enough. Anyway, I could probably go on for ages given the amount of reading into philosophical stuff I've done.

Tomorrow night I'm seeing Armin van Buuren live at Club Air in Birmingham, finishes at 6am! It's going to be a great night. In the meantime, good luck with your trading.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Confidence is key

Confidence is so important when your trading. It can mean the difference between a profitable day and a losing day, even if you have all the other skills required to be a good trader. I was trading the golf like I was trading a horse race on Sunday evening. Looking back I made so many mistakes, I'm so glad I lost a crap load! I was getting carried away - turning my well executed scalps and trades from £700 up in the end, to losing £1,850! My stakes just got bigger, with misfortune - it certainly taught me lessons as I say. Anyway, that's not part of the challenge obviously because that's golf!
Going back to the confidence, I sat down today slightly down from trading the golf, and it showed in my trading - no confidence whatsoever. I was down half way through the day. It got to that point where I put on one of my favourite episodes of A State of Trance by Armin van Buuren with a great song to bring my mood back up to par and from that point on I managed to finish up over a thousand, so my confidence is pretty much restored back to normal now.

Not such a bad Easter, since I am top of the league in all my leagues in the Budweiser Fantasy Football! I'm currently 11,655th out of 1,922,244 players in the whole game - not bad really! I consistently do well in fantasy football; I know most of the people actually forget to make changes to their teams throughout the season, but there still must be some skill that I could possibly transfer to having a slight edge in trading football and predicting outcomes!

I just watched one of the best games of football I have ever seen regarding the 4-4 draw between Chelsea and Liverpool - one I'll never forget. I can still hear the place buzzing with jeers around Fulham. I think I'm going to get my tent pitched up to get my Chelsea Barcelona ticket right now!

Friday, 10 April 2009

Diversification

One thing that I've had in the back of my mind is diversification of my trading. Having a good bank of money behind me from the profits I make in horse racing gives me the opportunity to trade other sports, without fear of breaking the bank, and with enough money that makes your trading matter (sometimes using small stakes can vary from the decisions you would make than if you were using larger stakes).

So anyway, I was trading Tiger Woods in the US Masters tonight, and was making some good trades - and it feels so much better making a good trade in sports such as golf compared to horse racing! I was trading on personal judgements and price movement patterns.

I've also done some pre-race trading on Formula 1 - there are no 5 second delays and some movements in odds can sometimes drift and steam just like a horse does.


The challenge has been coming on exceptionally well! I'm currently 71% through the 150k challenge; just over £106,000. I had no idea I would improve further moving into this year - so the challenge is now 250k, and if I reach that early then I'll make it 250k after premium charge reductions.

Good Friday today, so nice to have a day off from trading. I won't be able to trade the golf today because I'm off out. I would love to trade it; from now on I will be making a more conscious effort on trading high profile events.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Your seat

I thought I'd discuss a bit about what I sit on whilst trading. I used to sit on a normal office chair, but I never sit on these chairs properly. I will kneel on them with an arched back - no good for posture or future care for your back! So about 6 months into my trading I thought I'd invest in what's called a 'Kneeling' chair. I started off with this one:


It's a simple kneeling chair, where you literally are shaped like your kneeling, with your knees resting on the two pads you see. The only downside to this was that there is no support for your back, and I frequently found myself finding inventive ways of perching myself on this chair whilst I trade. About a year into my trading, once I'd made a bit more money, I decided to invest in the same chair but this time with a back. These specific ones are ridiculously expensive, but me being me bought one. They have a great selection of well designed chairs such as these at www.backinaction.co.uk. So anyway here is the one I use with a backrest:


The backrest has definitely encouraged sitting the way your supposed to on the chair, and also helped you sit the way your supposed to for much longer. The only thing is that I'm so used to sitting unorthodoxly, I find myself sitting in these weird and wonderful positions whilst I trade. Most of the time I let myself sit that way because if I start sitting in positions I don't feel comfortable in, I find it hard to get in-the-zone while I trade - and without me being in that zone, I am throwing a big percentage of my profits away. Anyway I suppose I am writing this with the intention of making a concerted effort to progressively change the way I sit for long periods of time!

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Aintree

I was really looking forward to Aintree, especially since I did so well in Cheltenham. The higher profile meetings give me a chance to use slightly bigger stakes than I would normally use - hence the potential profit!

Here is a screenshot of Thursday's P&L, Friday was a similarly great result. However Saturday, that's where the frustration came. As everyone who trade's knows, the responsiveness is poor on Saturday's. I was nervous about trading even more so because of it being Grand National day; I knew the Betfair servers would be getting a pounding, and of course they did! The responsiveness was extremely poor, sometimes taking up to 10 seconds for the user to be aware that a bet was either received or cancelled; I was very worried that Betfair might crash altogether. My intuition goes out the window when the data is not coming at me at a steady consistent rate - frustrating.


This screenshot was from a race on the 1st of April, I took it because it is a great example of a race where if you are a trader, it is practically impossible to not make profit from. Prices usually overshoot, and you can see that when the price peaked over 7, it came back in to around 6. If you used a £500 stake at odds of 3.6, and got out at a modest price of 6, and hedge at six, that's a hedged profit of £200 across the card. Double the stake, and that's a £400 profit! If your fairly intuitive it wouldn't be too hard to trade a big chunk of this trend. Let alone when its reached it's peak, come back to above 6, and then any scalping you can do when the price has reached its equilibrium.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

March

This month has been an awesome month, the stats are predominantly boosted by Cheltenham Festival, but even after Cheltenham I still manged to maintain a higher level of success than I was doing beforehand. In March I averaged £113.65 per race over 370 races. My 'full day' statistics I keep shows I worked 19 days. I paid about £8,000 in Premium Charge - thankfully we won't have to start paying per bet. I must be a fool because I read it and believed it - I forgot the date!

A great day out at Southwell

I was kindly invited by Bet Angel to go along to Southwell yesterday to support the sponsorship of the racing card. I was meeting up with Dave Raybould, as I'm sure many of you already know! He is the lead man in the personal tutoring and if anyone is keen on personal 1-1 tutoring on learning how to trade on betting exchanges then definitely check out the mentoring section here. So anyway, I was merely expecting to stand in the stands and watch the racing, having a little wander around. Dave ushered me into the private area at the top and enjoyed a great 3-course meal! We were taken into the parade ring where we got to inspect the horses running in the first race, or should I say Dave was doing the inspecting! I was like 'what's that? what's this?' because I haven't got a clue about the horses or any of the equipment on them! - terrible really! So anyway Dave spotted the favourite sweating underneath his saddle or cover over him, and looking slightly agitated - when we got back up the stand, we had a check up on the odds and the price of him had drifted from around 2's to 2.5! Thing's like this can clearly define a price movement, a much bigger impact than I had initially thought. We were desperate to lay him; we could have made a killing! So as some of you may know the favourite lost, not even coming in the front 3! What a trading opportunity.

Next thing I know I was invited to present the prizes to the owners of the winning horses - I was gutted the ATR crew weren't there as I would have loved to be on TV! It turned out the meeting was just a rearranged from Great Leighs. The day got even better when we were taken into the winning enclosure and invited to drink champagne with some of the owners and trainers! I brought my small Dell laptop for use on the train up there; Dave was already there with his laptop with mouse and charger - anyway we gave trading on a few races a go in between watching the racing and running downstairs to present the prizes. It started off as a competition of who can lose the most money! - We weren't in our comfortable trading environments of home and it's so much harder to get 'in-the-zone'.  I can safely say that I have never trading under the influence of alcohol; until yesterday that is. It was hilarious, I was on my 12 inch laptop screen, with no mouse, using the the touch pad - speed was definitely not on my side! However I managed to make £149 from a few races; the first traded race was a loss, just me accustoming to the environment. The real first race I laid £20 on the favourite that we saw sweat, and backed the second favourite by £20 - (Dave said he looked good!), but he didn't win so I broke even.

Overall a great day! It's a shame that Bet Angel aren't sponsoring the Grand National - I would have loved to have done the same at Aintree!