No trading for me today, as I was at a client's. This was fortunate as Betfair had yet another system breakdown because, knowing my luck of late, I probably would've been caught by it.

It is generally recommended that traders have some form of backup plan as insurance against disasters. Unfortunately, the most frequent of these seems to be Betfair and their alarming failure to provide a level of service that reflects the amount of money that is passing through their doors everyday.

Unfortunately, us traders (and gamblers for that matter) are essentially stuck with the Betfair monopoly until Betdaq and WBX can start making inroads into Betfair's market dominance. Sad to say, that is unlikely to happen as the minor exchanges, if I can call them that, generally don't have the liquidity that is required by the majority of traders... and it's not until those traders and punters go to those exchanges in big numbers that the liquidity will increase. The proverbial Catch 22.

In addition, the vast majority of traders will use some form of trading software. Irrespective of what flavour they use, they are exclusively Betfair related. Until the minor exchanges have trading software designed to access their systems, then the status quo will be maintained.

So, how can we protect ourselves?

1. Betfair crashes - Not a lot you can do here other than have the phone handy to call Betfair. Alternatively, have an account with one of the other exchanges with access to enough funds to cover one's Betfair liability.

2. Connection crashes - If your broadband goes down, have an additional connection, presumably dial-up, so that you can reconnect to Betfair. Alternatively, pick up the phone again.

3. Computer crashes - Have a spare PC switched on and ready to fire in a bet to close your position. Or, yes you've guessed it; pick up the phone.

4. Power cut - Make sure all your equipment is powered through a UPS so that you will have a few minutes of battery power giving you time to close your position before switching equipment off.

Me? I have none of the above in place. At the moment, the level of trading I do, I cannot justify the expense of much of the recommendations above. When I'm staking between £20 and £70, yes of course it will hurt to lose it, but I cannot justify the expense of additional equipment given the size of my bank at the moment.

Since I started this back in February with £10 starting bank for each sport, I reinvest my winnings/losses with each subsequent trade. In other words, my whole bank was used to trade. However, the intention was to always ring-fence some of that money as the bank grew.

Every time my bank reached a multiple of £50, I'd ring-fence the bank divided by 5. In this way, if disaster struck, I'd still have something left in my bank to carry on the fight.

That initial plan has varied somewhat as I've had sticky patches or losing runs - like I've just suffered on Tuesday. When this happens, I do a bit of ring-fencing in order to protect my bank. This also has the effect of reducing my stakes. When I start winning again, I don't reset my stake or 'working bank', if you like, to what it was before. Instead, I use that as a new starting point and reinvest my winnings from that just as I did before.

So, until I can afford all these perfectly sensible insurance measures, I will carry on as I'm doing, and if disaster strikes I'll just have to trust to the gambling gods. After the past couple of years I've had, I reckon they owe me one.


knocker said...

I've been caught out just once like this. In a power cut. My memory fades but essentially I think that when I was disconnected I'd either just scratched, faced a big reversal or won a serious amount of money. It was probably a 50-25-25 split.

When the power came back on it was the scratch that was the actual result. Phew!

Since then I have a UPS, I have a spare PC sat next to me with another in another room. I have Betfair on my Moby sat next to me as well.

The good news is, I'm risking almost insignificant amounts these days and yet making more money. So such unexpected events wouldn't adversely affect me anywhere near as much. I'm also thinking of adopting my life ethos and taking my business elsewhere than Betfair. IMHO they are becoming a little too big for their boots.

I just wish that the other exchanges had APIs!
Anyway -

Alistair said...

Hi knocker

You and me both are anti-Micro$oft, so what modification are we going to use for Betfair? B£tfair perhaps?

I honestly cannot see the Betfair dominance being broken anytime soon, if ever. Even if the other exchanges had an API, would the likes of Bet Angel develop their software for it? Not without a large user base ready to use (buy) it.

The option of course would be for these companies to develop their own API software that they can sell, or indeed, give away. I see that Betfair have done just that recently, albeit with a rather basic interface that has no ladder.

You and I are a bit scuppered anyway as or options are limited due to our OS preferences. It's even less likely that the other exchanges would develop something that we could use.

If only I had the programming skills....


Anthony said...

I've managed to get by for over a year with just Betfair's number on my mobile and enough funds in Betdaq and I haven't had to fall back on Betdaq yet. This is possibly just luck but for most situations Betfair's number is enough.

leonthefixer said...

When you say UPS what do you mean by it (I know it is an uninterupted power supply) but can you buy a little box or something you plug into your main computer?

As you know I have a laptop sat next to me which will use the built in battery if the power goes belly up, but can I get something for my desktop?

Hope you are having a good day - I was then had shocker of a race lost discipline cost me £19, was a little rocky and then just won £20 so feeling much happier now.

Good luck with the rest of the day, damn Great Leighs this evening so I am treading very carefully there!

Alistair said...

Hi Leon,

The type of UPS I'm referring to is an external box from which your main peripherals would be powered. In the event of a power cut, it will typically give you around 5 mins to clear your position and close your equipment down cleanly.

As far as I know, there isn't anything that would allow you to run your desktop off battery, like a laptop.

Good luck with this evening.


Anthony said...

If I might offer you some advice: don't get too hung up about checking your balance and profit percentage every day. This is hard as you obviously want to improve and increase your earnings but it can work against you. I try not to set targets anymore as it just served to disappoint me when I failed to meet them. For some people targets work but that's the beauty of trading-it's all fairly random but if you can make a profit over a period of a month or even a week then there is no problem. On Thursday I made £165 and yesterday I made £11! I don't think anything suddenly happened to me overnight so I will just plod on and wait for the next decent day. KEEP YOUR CHIN UP because that's the 2nd most important part of trading, after discipline IMHO.

Alistair said...

Thanks for the comments Anthony.

I generally don't have a hang up with maintaining a daily profit, though I don't set a target.

I'm much more concerned when I hit a stick patch, as I have done this week. It can be difficult sometimes trying to establish what, if anything, has changed to cause that turnaround. Indeed, it's very easy to over analyze it when in actual fact, it may simply be part of the natural cycle of things.

Of course, the mid to long term view is the important one to take, and certainly, I'm please with current progress on that score.