Well, that's it. As my trading anniversary is tomorrow, today marked my year end. Unfortunately I failed to see it out with a bang. Barely even a whimper, having had a poor day on the dogs making only £2.43, losing nearly £7 on the soccer as I experimented in the over/under markets and rounded it all off with a loss of over £7 on the horses (including a near £9 loss in the last at Lingfield).
But this post isn't really about today's exploits. Rather it is a summary of what has turned out to be a quite extraordinary year and my attempts to make sports investing pay.
Those of you who have been reading this blog from the start will know that I had virtually given up any hope of achieving a second income from gambling. This really was the last chance saloon. If I couldn't do it this time, that was it. But I made one commitment. I was not going to throw vast amounts of cash at it. I was not going to feed my betting accounts again. If I lost it, that was it.
So, off I went on the 23rd Feb 2008 and started trading the horse place markets with £10. One year later, that £10 has turned into £4411.05. A 44110% increase!
I won't pretent it has been plain sailing all the way. Far from it. I've had plenty of screw ups along the way, prolonged periods of self doubt and no end of frustration at times. However, as the weeks and months have passed, and I've become more experienced, disciplined and thick skinned (for want of a better term) these crises of confidence have lessened in both their frequency and intensity.
A year ago, if anyone had said I'd make nearly £4.5K, I would have snapped their hand off. Now, as I sit typing this, and reflect back over the year I cannot help but feel disappointed. This isn't some form of ingratitude on my part. Far from it. It's more a realisation that I could have performed better in some areas than I have done.
For example, the biggest disappointment has been my failure to not only get to grips with the horse markets, but to persevere and establish why they went wrong for me in the first place. After all, it was the place markets that really set the ball rolling for me. Starting off with that tenner last February, I built that up to around £1500 come mid summer at which point I started to lose the knack. I've never established why.
To counterbalance that however, has been my discovery of the greyhound markets. These have been a revelation for me. Since I started looking at them back in September they have accounted for £2.7K of my profit. As a result, they're virtually the only market I get involved in. This is one area that needs to change as I'm limited to what I can achieve there simply because of liquidity.
I've played around in other markets, specifically soccer, with a bit of tennis, rugby and FTSE thrown in. Nothing much has come of these though and I'd certainly like the first two of those to start contributing. That in itself is a problem. Finding the time to learn these things.
Scalping the pre-race markets is an attractive and, to put it quite bluntly, easy option when it comes to trading. I don't mean it is easy to do - far from it otherwise everyone would be at it. No, I mean it doesn't require any form of preparation, form study or research. One only reacts to the way the numbers jump up and down on the screen. It's for this reason that I must make a concerted effort to make the pre-race horse markets pay in the coming year.
Soccer and tennis, or any other sport where the main trading takes place in-play, requires, in my view, an understanding of the game and the participants in order to formulate one's best entry and exit points - not to mention an understanding of how the market behaves in-play. At this point, I do not have that knowledge and so any attempts I make to get involved in those sports is nothing more than guessing.
So what now as I move into my second year?
For the foreseeable future, the greyhounds are going to have to take precedence. They're earning me more than £400/month and clearly that is not something I want to sacrifice. However, I need to structure my dog trading better in order to free up time to look at other markets.
I've already established that, for whatever reason, Saturdays are not good days for me. My trading performance is always poorer on those day. I've already decided that Saturday afternoons will be set aside for free-bet matching, but I also need to look at freeing up other times as well. Evening racing is probably a prime candidate.
I started trading the dogs in September, after evening horse racing was virtually finished. Once that kicks in again, I'd imagine that evening dogs will be even worse than they are now - not that I haven't made a fair bit of profit in the evenings. However, clearly this is another time in the day that I could exploit to better use.
Essentially, come this time next year, I want to be able to turn around and tell you I'm making regular and decent profits in the horse markets and on soccer. I'm not going to set myself a financial goal though a doubling of profit would be very welcome.
To be honest, I'm not sure how my trading will pan out this year as I really need to be looking to get back into employment. I'm quickly running out of clients as the economic climate continues to free fall. This, coupled with the fact that I'm really fed up being self-employed, means that I should/need to look for work as an employee.
I've been self-employed since 1993 and I'm quickly approaching my 50s, so finding work will be significantly more difficult anyway, irrespective of the current state of the economy. In the meantime though, I will continue to plan my trading goals based on my current situation.
Aside from my trading, I have plans and ideas in the pipeline for this blog and it's related website.
The introduction of the chat room has proved to be very beneficial. There's a hardcore of visitors with frequent transient guests popping in as and when. Those who are there regularly already share tips and hints as we explore other markets together so everyone is welcome to join in.
One thing I'm investigating at the moment, is the setting up of semi-formal sessions where a well known trader will pop in and give guidance during a particular event he/she is trading. By their very nature, this excludes pre-race events simply because they happen too quickly. However, sports such as soccer, cricket and tennis may well be ideal for this.
I've already spoken to some traders who are OK with the idea in principle, though the details have still to be discussed. Hopefully, it will come off in the not too distant future. In the meantime, if you are a trader with expertise in a particular field and would be willing to spend some time in the chat room then please leave a comment with your contact details (which I won't publish) and I'll get back to you.
I have a few minor enhancements to make to the Rolling Free-Bet Matching spreadsheet which reminds me... One of the things that I could do is have a chat room session discussing how to use it. Alternatively, I can create an article on how to use it. However, even though it has been downloaded numerous times, I have no idea if people are using it. There's no point in me spending my time on it if there's no interest. Please let me know if a chat room session would be useful.
I've still got in the pipeline plans for a whole series of articles on gambling/trading. I just do not know when I'll get the time to do them.
One major project I do have is to convert the spare room into a dedicated trading room/study. At the moment, my study/office takes up half my bedroom which I've always hated since I moved into this house over 4 years ago. It's like being a student again.
A fair bit of work involved though as I need to install network cabling, phones, tv cable, server, desktop, television etc, and still leave space for a spare bed. Before all that, it needs to be stripped of my daughter's junk and redecorated as I'm not sure I could face an 8-10 hour/day in a bright pink room.
So, that's my loose plans for the coming year. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank every one for their support and comments over the part 12 months. I hope I have provided something in return, even if it is to demonstrate that it is possible to build up a bank from very small amounts.
As the headline says, 'From small beginnings, great things grow'.