Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Still Alive!

I'm still alive and occasionally trading in the markets. During my 3 years of trading full time I always had it in the back of my head that I wouldn't be trading on Betfair for the rest of my (hopefully) long life! So I have always kept an open eye for any other opportunities that might come my way. That opportunity came, which was to start a business. I won't reveal too much about the business yet, but when it's launched and running smoothly I will post a little bit up here about it for those who bump into the blog as an early trader starting out and wonders what the hell I'm doing now. It's not Betfair related in any way, I've decided to dive in the deep end into a whole new industry and marketplace! My distinct lack of posting meant that I had clearly drowned from all the water I'd been consuming to stay hydrated!! I always had the intention to post, but in summary I think it was just a natural progression for me because I had my mind set on another goal. The business idea came about in October last year, and looking back on my results it started to subtly affect them. When I set no goal in the new year, I really had nothing to aim for. I also dropped my daily target because I just didn't know what to set it at. I reached my peak and I didn't want to lower it. It was something I had to accept as Betfair horse racing markets reached their limit for the number of users and liquidity they were going to provide.

I still trade to pay for my rent and food, but that's about it. I don't want to eat into my time for growth of my new venture with the business partner I've got. One thing that's new and interesting I'm really enjoying now is what's called Toastmasters. I'm sure some of you will have heard of it; it's a non-profit organisation for improving public speaking, communication and leadership skills. I was a shy boy when I was younger so I never really got stuck in to many conversations with an opinion. It's right outside my comfort zone and the experience I'm gaining from it is invaluable. I've just completed my ice breaker speech which didn't go as well as my expectations said it would!, but it was the first prepared speech I'd given in 3 or 4 years. The thing I most look forward to from being a member is the ability to communicate exactly my opinion or what I'm thinking to whoever I strike a conversation with. I've always had rational opinions in my head but could never voice them so everyone understood me. If anyone's interested I'd recommend taking a look at their website www.toastmasters.org. They have clubs all over the world; 14,000 was the most recent figure I heard, in over 108 countries. It's well-structured and perfect for anybody at any standard, with support from all the members - it's such a great idea, I wish I had joined when I had just started out at University.

So going back to trading. I'll trade whatever day happens to be the least busiest for me. I'm calmer and have much less expectation that I used to have, which thankfully brings a lot less stress! But perhaps without that stress I took to get to where I did, I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing now. I still experience eagerness whenever I look at a race and the numbers; a feeling of excitement when you were a kid and there was a fairground just around the corner!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Stay Hydrated

One of the most important factors when trading is to stay hydrated. It makes sense and it's the same for anything else you do. I've always noticed that when I'm not hydrated, it's that little bit easier to get irritated or your decisions will start to worsen; ever so slightly your competitive edge is lost. So keep a pint of water next to you at all times. I always make sure I have water beside me, and the times I don't (when I forget) it soon starts to show in my results and slowed decision making. What's worse is that if you're trading and you don't already have the water beside you and you trade a bad race, the first thing that comes to mind is to make it back up on the next race instead of going to the kitchen to fill your glass, the number of times I do this; it's probably been my biggest sin. So choose the latter and get the water straight-away once you notice; it pays of in the long-run. I decided to write this post because I made that mistake today and paid for it.

Also, about one in 50 days I have 'slow hand'. It's like my hand has decided to have a chillout day and I just can't get my reflexes in it to work properly; it feels laboured and is very frustrating! All in all the combination of the mistake and the 'slow hand', today is not going smoothly - but at least I'm not into negative territory.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Dreaming Betfair?

Well, Cheltenham has been and gone this year, and I had a great festival. I didn’t beat last years total or my best day, although I came close to beating my best day. The markets were strong, but not as strong as last year. I think this came down to a number of important factors – the favourites’ prices in quite a few of the races were quite high (above about 8.0); this means the big punters don’t need to put huge stakes down for decent returns, and it’s the same with bookmakers offsetting their liability; on-course punters will spread their money over the field, reducing the need for the on-course bookmakers to even need to consider it. I’m not an expert in how this field operates, but it seems to make sense. The markets (in general) also feel like there is much less ‘real money’, i.e non-traders’ money, making it more a fight than a well-interpreted market move judgement. This shouldn’t necessarily be taken as a bad thing, because money can still be made; it just means changing your approach to deal with the change in conditions. Aintree is on its way, which should be similarly as good as Cheltenham. I have a new best race total to beat – two of the races I traded on gave me perfect conditions and I made great decisions as well. I think I lost on just one race throughout the festival, I just couldn’t get to grips with it, sometimes you can be out of sync with the movement in a market, and that’s exactly what happened.

On to my choice of the post title, I forgot to mention about many Betfair dreams I used to have. When I started out, a few months in I started dreaming I was trading and I remember imagining myself mid-way through a trade left needing to back thinking “back, back, back!!!” I remember waking up a few times where I actually tried to click with my right hand but obviously wasn’t sat next to my computer. Thankfully I don’t have as many dreams like that as I used to. If you’re having the Betfair dreams I’m sure you’re deadly keen to learn. Other dreams that aren’t so bad, involve me placing a huge order, forgetting to trade out, and the horse winning/losing to bag me a huge profit! I would never intentionally let a half-completed trade go in-play because the moment you do that, and you don’t know anything about horse racing, you might as well be sat at a roulette wheel in Las Vegas hoping for evens to come up.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Life or Death?

After my time away, coming back to trading made me see how tense I am when I trade. I realised that the way I trade is similar to being in a life or death situation. When I trade I don't want to fail, to the point where if I did it would result in death. Obviously I wouldn't die! But my brain seems to react in that way. A lot of this boils down to my innate competitiveness that is present in nearly all successful traders - probably mostly short term traders. The best way I can explain the way I present myself while trading, just imagine that you were playing this game where you had to beat half the people at pressing a button the fastest before they did otherwise you would die. You would most likely hit survival mode and your body would present itself so that you had the highest (higher than normally) chance of pressing the button the fastest you possibly could. This attitude I think is partly why I managed to do so well. My awareness of that led me to seeing that I wasn't giving my body and mind any peace, so I have tried to minimise the effects.Through through doing so I've found an edge has been lost. When I go back to my 'old' ways, I focus better without worrying about the effects it has on me and it shows in my daily profits. I'm not really pointing to anything here, just merely another interesting observation of many that you reveal through a trading career - or any career for that fact!

March is around now, and racing quality will pick up. After speaking to a few beginners, word seems to spread from the high-end traders when they get excited for March and spring and summer racing to begin because liquidity increases, price volatility reduces, and generally the randomness decreases making trading easier. But for the beginners, ultimately it makes no difference because if you haven't got experience in the markets you won't intuitively feel this change. Using small stakes between £2 and £50 doesn't really make a difference in winter compared to spring and summer markets. So a word of advice would be to not give yourself false hope that if you're not trading well in the winter, don't think that because the professionals prefer the higher quality racing, that your trading will improve because it's 'going to be easier'. Perhaps you will get better results, but that may just be because your trading style suits the less volatile markets. As you gain experience, you'll learn your approach must change from season to season. And as you improve further, you must change your approach from race to race. Every race is different. Every race!

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Back to Betfair

After 5 weeks traveling I'm finally back home, I've heard nothing but bad things about the markets and Betfair while I was away - if there's any opportunity to get away and make a run for it, it's definitely Winter time. My plan is to slowly ease myself back into trading, taking small steps because this is the longest time I've been away without trading and I will inevitably be rusty, so limiting the risk will be my first step. My excitement about trading is still there, as expected!

Thursday, 28 January 2010

2010

So far.. no trading this year! I spontaneously decided to travel for a bit while the weather was absolutely freezing and meetings were being abandoned left right centre. I look forward to getting back and trading again soon.