December 2009 Summary

Yet another shockingly bad month for me, not helped by on-going broadband issues. The only saving grace being that I managed to avoid December turning into my first ever losing month, just.

Listed below are the totals for each market/sport I got involved in throughout the month:

Greyhounds... £82.90
Horses... -£26.01
Soccer... -£3.11

I just do not seem to find any consistency these days. Indeed, it's been like that for months. Having said that, I didn't expect anything wonderful this month having taken the decision to start using Bettrader Evolution full time and put Binarysoft BDI out to seed.

The Original Grumpy Old Man

That's me! I hate this time of year, for a whole host of reasons I won't bore you with. It doesn't help that my trading this month is desperately trying to go in the red for the first time.

As mentioned in a previous post, I've taken the opportunity to start using BetTrader Evolution on full time basis. I'm finding it really hard to adjust from BinarySoft. I'm having very few profitable days, and when I do manage a decent result (like yesterday) I throw it away again the next day (like today). Very frustrating.

It's really like starting all over again, which I think is frustrating me even more. Still, I'll plug on regardless, after I take a break for a few days.

Tomorrow I'll be mucking about with the telephone wiring while I wait for the central heating boiler to be serviced.

Cooking Christmas lunch for my mum on Friday, then hopefully I'll manage to fall down a hill on some planks over the weekend. The snow in Scotland has been fabulous this week, but I've been unable to get to it.

So, it only remains for me to wish you and your loved ones a happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

A Nice Little Earner

I was taking a break this afternoon from yet another dismal trading session, enjoying a cuppa and watching a re-run of an episode of Star Trek for the umpteenth time, when I nearly fell off my chair.

The commercial break was on and up popped an ad for a loan company, QuickQuid. Nothing unusual in that I hear you say. However, what nearly caused me to spray a mouthful of tea all over the living room was their advertised APR. A whopping 2356%

Yes, you read that correctly. A typical APR of two thousand, three hundred and fifty six percent! Absolutely outrageous. I had to visit their website to confirm. I won't give them credence by posting the link, but you'll find it easy enough.

Why doesn't the powers that be stop these ads as they are clearly preying on those people who simply do not understand these things?

Carry On Dogging

I wonder how many misplaced Google hits that post title will attract. If you've found your way here looking for something else, shame on you! :-)

As you know, I listen to William Hill Radio when trading the greyhounds. Some of the commentators are quite entertaining with many moments filled with double entendre. I don't know if it is deliberate but it matches anything you would find in the Carry On films of old.

For example, one of Paul Castle's frequent mumblings go along the lines of "the two dog takes the one dog up the back section". You can't help but smile.

Yesterday, Darren Driver came out with this little gem: "This dog can do it from the front or the back".

Oooh! Matron!

I know, the words 'little', 'simple', 'minds' and 'things' spring to mind, though not necessarily in that order. Still, if it is enough to bring a smile to the face on a frustrating day of trading, all to the good I say.

Legal Or Not

I had the misfortune of doing Christmas shopping last night and took the opportunity to chat to the bloke manning the BT stand at the local shopping center.

Having more or less decide to change my ISP and/or telephone supplier, I was telling him my broadband woes. I was under the impression that touching anything behind the master socket was illegal (keep in mind I have an old 'star wired' arrangement). Not according to him.

Adjusting the telephone cabling is not rocket science but the legality issue was what was making me somewhat reticent in doing any work in that area. He did of course point out that if I break something, then it will cost me if an engineer has to be called out.

Looks like I've got a nice little project to keep me occupied over the holiday period while my daughter is away.

Given that BT is huge and split into different groups, who knows if this guy knows what he is talking about. I suspect not, but I've got his name and number if anyone complains.

Time To Retire BDI

With my trading being so poor the past few months, coupled with the hassles I've had with my broadband connection, I've decided to put my time to better use and look to retire BinarySoft BDI.

I've been part of the Bettrader Evolution beta testing team for a few months, but, to be perfectly honest, other than carrying out my duties in the aforementioned role, I've not used it for serious trading. This has been for a number of reasons, not least of which has been my trading performance over recent times. I stuck to what I was familiar with in order to concentrate on getting my trading back on track.

I cannot say that that was particularly successful, but perhaps that's another story.

Losing Interest Rapidly

While my broadband issues have had an effect on the amount of trading I have been doing, it has settled down (touch wood), albeit some 30%-40% slower than it used to be. I'm still investigating that, but I can't really use the slowdown as an excuse.

The bottom line is, my trading has been crap for months and I just don't seem to be able to take it forward. Indeed, if anything it is going backwards and it is taking with it any enthusiasm I've had for it. My mental and emotional state is being sorely test just now. I readily admit that I'm struggling to see how to arrest the decline, far less take things to a new level.

I shall continue to plug away though, to be honest, it feels more in hope that things will come good rather than me actually make them do so.

Dumb! Dumb! Dumb!

As I am sure you can appreciate, my go-slow broadband has severely curtailed my trading activities recently, hence the lack of updates.

I have tried trading each day but I have had to make do without WH Radio, live streaming of football matches and visits to chat rooms to have any hope of making trades. It has been haphazard to say the least. Needless to say, I've been losing more times than winning.

I'm currently at the stage were I've managed to borrow a couple of old routers from a client, in order to confirm whether my router is up the spout. The one I'm currently testing is a ZyXEL Prestige 650R-31. It is syncing at a reasonable rate, typically 2.5Mbps.

Unfortunately, this router doesn't seem to handle low noise margins very well. When it syncs, the noise margin is in the high teens, but as the day wears on, this decays until the router loses sync, disconnects and resyncs. The noise margin drops as evening turns to night, so I get about 16 hours out of the router and it resyncs a couple of times during the night. Each time though it resyncs to around 2.5Mbps.

A synchronisation rate of 2.5Mbps, SHOULD see me achieve a download rate of around 2Mbps. I'm getting 0.8Mbps! Why? It's all down to this ludicrous system that BT have in place whereby they adjust your 'profile' if their systems decide that your line is unstable. The theory behind this is to allow them to guarantee some level of service.

In effect, they are throttling my connection and I am NOT happy.

If they detect that the line is being disconnected on a regular basis, they drop your profile. So the question arises regarding the current router I am testing; if it loses sync 2-3 times during the night, even though I'm not using it during that time, will BT keep my profile low, despite the router always syncing around 2.5Mbps?

What if I don't want to keep my router on overnight? Would switching it off when I go to bed mean that I am inadvertently limiting my bandwidth? How frequent would the switch offs need to be in order to trigger the BT profile reduction?

My ISP tells me I should keep the router switched on all the time. I do, but I have to ask the question, why the hell should I? It's a question that you should be asking too.

Not only that, my ISP advises that when I make a change to test something, that BT says I should allow 72 hours for their system to adjust. What complete pillock ever thought that was a good idea? If your reading this please comment. I'd love to hear the reasoning behind it.

For anyone that has ever had a broadband connection issue, you'll be familiar with the usual spiel ISPs normally give you: swap your filters, change your router, connect your router to the master socket, blah, blah, bloody blah! Based on the 72 hour rule, it could take you weeks, if not months to resolve the issue!

Dumb! Dumb! Dumb!

Broadband Issues Continue

Well, I've heard from my ISP that both BT and their broadband suppliers (my ISP, Freeola, are a reseller for Entanet) have done repeated tests and found nothing untoward with my line or their equipment. Surprise, surprise!

In the meantime, they have me doing numerous tests involving router settings, swapping routers etc. What annoys me about these tests is the length of time I have to wait to see any sort of effect. Because of the way BT equipment automatically handles disconnections any change I make can either appear to have no effect, or indeed, make things worse.

Essentially, disconnections have the effect of reducing your BT profile where BT force a slower sync rate in order to improve stability. Only when the connection has been stable for at least 72 hours will it be increased, even then, only incrementally. What a pain in the arse!

In the meantime, I've got to accept a much reduced service, yet pay the same amount of money for it!

I've always been annoyed by the way the 'up to 8Mb' broadband is priced in this country. I think it is outrageous that two people, on the same plan with the same ISP pay the same monthly fee, yet one gets a better service simply because they live a few hundred yards nearer the exchange. I cannot think of any other example where that would be allowed.

Imagine driving three miles to your local electrical store where you meet up with a friend who lives right next door to said store. You both have exactly the same amount of cash and enter the store with the intention of buying the same model of television, yet you are fobbed off with a lower spec TV because you live three miles away. It just wouldn't happen.

I currently spend £25/month for the privilege of getting 0.4Mbps when I used to get 1.4Mps for the same price. Now, it looks like I am going to be spending much of December having to put up with it as I twiddle my thumbs for 72 hour spells.

The one good thing that has come of this is that it has really focussed my mind on all the things I can do to squeeze as much bandwidth out of my line as I possibly can. It is just so annoying that I have to wait for such long periods to see if each changed worked.

One of the things I have done is upgrade the firmware for my Netgear DG834PN router. This is obtained not from Netgear but DGTeam. This has added numerous adjustable settings to the administrative controls for the router, so I've got lots of extra bits to adjust. Unfortunately, many of them will require a reboot and the associated BT enforced slowdown that that entails.

Talk about two steps forward, one step back!

Of course, I'm not ruling out having to change my router altogether. I've already seen a ZyXEL modem sync to 3.3Mbps - the highest I've ever seen since buying this house 5 years ago although I didn't see a corresponding increase in speed as my BT profile was still restricted. Unfortunately, before my profile could be increased, the SNR margin slowly fell until the thing lost sync, disconnected and re-sync'd at 1.1Mbps.

Neither am I ruling out having my internal star-wired layout replaced with a modern one. Indeed, if I ever get the spare room turned into an office/trading room (seems I've been talking about that for forever) then I definitely will.

In the meantime, I need to carry on trying to eliminate all possible causes of the drop in speed, which, thanks to the stupid way BT's system works, is likely to take as long as me sorting the spare room out.

As You Were

My miserable run continues it seems as I start December pretty much where I left off in November.

I had a reasonable opening day yesterday, but today, I couldn't trade for peanuts and subsequently lost all but £6 of yesterday's profit. It's seems I can barely manage to string two winning days together these days.

I seemed to be operating in slow motion today, with sloth-like reactions costing me dear. I only did four horse races and I lost everyone of them.

The late afternoon greyhounds weren't much better, despite the large amounts of money floating around. I just kept getting caught, or more accurately, saw that I was about to be caught and my slow reactions ensured that I did. I just couldn't get to grips with how quickly the markets were moving.

The only good thing was, after yet another screw up and an all red position of £8.54 in the 4:57 at Belle Vue, there was a late withdrawal and Betfair voided the race. As that felt like a win, I stopped.

Changing the subject, on the broadband front, I thought I was getting somewhere. I swapped routers and, after a bit of on-line research, I disconnected the bell wires from all sockets. This second router resync'd to over 3.3Mbps! I've never seen that even when I've got a good connection.

Moreover, it remained steady. Each subsequent test I did revealed the same figure. Unfortunately, I saw no improvement in speed, mainly because my iprofile set by BT remained at 500Kbps. Worse, the SNR margin, while starting off at a healthy 10.5db was less with each test until it had fallen so low that the router lost synchronisation. As a result, when it resync'd, the connection rate had dropped to 1.1Mbps.

I also took the opportunity on Tuesday to trace my cabling from the point of entry to my house. I didn't expect to find quite the mess I did though.

As I've been trying to tell my ISP, my telephone installation uses the old style 'star' wiring. The BT cable enters the house via the attic where it is meant to terminate in a small junction box. This one however has its two wires spliced onto the end of the scabbiest, strangest two-core cable I've ever seen. This does a few loops around the attic floor and then enters the junction box.

Not only that, the two sockets emanate from this junction box, as you'd expect. However, on inspection of the connections inside the sockets, all six terminals were connected - only connections 2 and 5 are required for modern telephones. Not only that, they were wired without adhering to the conventional colour coding.

In addition, the socket in my bedroom, which I assumed was an extension, turns out to be the master socket, with the one in the hall being a slave.

Why the wiring is arranged in this way is anyone's guess, though I suspect it to be a previous owner's DIY mess. The dangers of buying secondhand.

Unfortunately, while sorting this, , is a piece of cake, it is also illegal for me to touch it. So I might as well get it rewired by BT so as to provide an up to date, modern style socket. Though I believe BT will charge me in the order of £150 for the privilege. Bloody rip off. At least then I'll be able to tell any ISP when they inevitably try to blame internal wiring that they can think again.

This saga will run and run I feel.

November 2009 Summary

It is very disappointing following up a fairly decent month, with one of my worst. A picture is worth a thousand words as they say, and since I haven't done one in a while it's probably easier sticking up a graph...


Listed below are the totals for each market/sport I got involved in throughout the month:

Remember, Remember The Month Of November

Excuse my paraphrasing of the well known rhyme, but this month is certainly one I'd rather forget.

Today I stuck to football as my broadband issues continue to deteriorate have looked promising towards the tail end of the week. As I write this, I am currently crawling along at 0.4Mbps! There's now a question mark over my router, so I'll see if I can borrow another one from a client for testing purposes.

Anyway, I kicked off the day with the bet on the under 2.5 goals in the Barcelona v Real Madrid match, as mentioned late this morning. I spent most of the day at the front of the queue @ 2.54 and in the end, only £45 of my £100 bet was taken.

Because of yet another major slowdown trying to access Betfair, I came out early for a tiny profit of 69p. A disappointing result, but at least it was green.

My 'active' trading started off with the Merseyside derby where I backed the 1-2 scoreline and covered it with a back of the under 1.5 goals market. I came out at half time with just under £5, though I spent 50p of that laying off the current score line late in the game - to no effect.

Then a quick trip down to London, where I completely screwed up the other big derby of the day.

I felt it would be a fairly close affair and did a similar trade, i.e. covered the under 1.5 goals and backed 1-2. I also backed 2-1 with a view trading out both as the goals started to go in.

Unfortunately, I got my self in a muddle through incompetence, misfortune and carelessness. I was too slow laying off some of the under 1.5 goal liability as well as the CS bets after the opener when a quick second goal went in. Of course, all would have been much better had it been an equaliser. With Chelsea going 0-2 up, I lost any ability to use the under 1.5 goals market and the 2-1 correct score.

To make matters worse, as I tried to minimise my liability, I inadvertently laid the 2-2 scoreline instead of the 1-2 scoreline. Even more panic ensued, particularly as the 2-2 score dropped to 12-13 very soon after laying it at 16.5.

To cap it all, throughout all of this, the Betfair interface was crawling along and BinarySoft wouldn't log in, timing out each time I tried. I don't know if this was due to my broadband problems, my router, or some other issue, though some others mentioned a sluggish BF as well.

I lost £37 thanks to that fiasco to finish the month with less than £100. Easily my worst month since I started - and I'm talking performance wise here rather than bottom line figure.

I doubt that I'll be doing much trading tomorrow, but I'll leave the monthly summary until then.

Oh Woe Is Me

Thanks to my ongoing broadband issues, I took a small loss on the PSG pre-match trade.

Having laid PSG @1.87, I could have backed for a 3 tick profit @ 1.90. However I decided to hang on for some more. With an hour to go before kick off, there was no sign of the price rising. Indeed, the indications were the opposite. I decided to pull out of the trade at this point.

This is were things conspired against me.

For nearly an hour prior to this, I had found the Betfair site really slow. I'd mentioned this in the chat room but everyone else was fine. Just as I went in to trade out my position, my router went on a two minute spell of intermittently dropping its connection.

After it came back on line, BinarySoft wouldn't connect and the Betfair site was still slow. When I eventually got in, I was in a losing position and I traded out for a small, all red figure leaving me with £98.13 to take on to the next trade.

It was of no consolation that PSG drifted to 3.0ish in-play before taking the lead. Of course, in-play trading is not the purpose of the exercise here.

I'm looking to stick the £98.13 on the under 2.5 goals @ 2.54 in the Barcelona v Real Madrid match. Just waiting to be matched as I write this.

Limited Portfolio

One thing that my recent broadband issues has highlighted is my over reliance on the fast paced pre-race greyhound and horse markets. I've tried trading with a slower connection over the past two weeks and while I've had the odd good day, in general I've lost.

I'm currently on a 3 day losing streak and with speed issues still a cause for concern I wouldn't be surprised if that were to continue.

I need to become familiar with, and develop strategies for, slower paced markets where I can take a longer term view and the speed of the bet submissions is not as critical. Of course, I recognised this many moons ago. My broadband issues have only served to reinforce this idea.

I'm already taking a more active interest in trading football in-play. At the moment I'm just playing around with a variety of strategies as I familiarise myself with the way the markets behave as the match unfolds.

I'd like to be able to trade pre-ko. Easier said than done. When I've tried this in the past, based on my assessment of how a match is likely to end, the pre-match market always seems to disagree with me. However, I'm going to try this again and to this end, I've set aside a small £100 bank were I'll put it all on pre-match and trade out before kick off. The whole bank will be used each time, shrinking or growing as I progress.

With this in mind, I've laid PSG in their match against Auxerre tomorrow. I'm on @ 1.87 for a liability of £100.

I wonder how long it will last.

Spoke To Soon

No sooner had I reported that my broadband had settled down and the speed drops from the 1.4Mbps that I normally get to 0.67Mbps on Sunday night. It was like that all day yesterday until this morning when it dropped still further to 0.175Mbs

To say I am not happy is an understatement. Looks like trading will be limited again today.

Broadband Settling Down

At the risk of tempting fate, my broadband speed issue seems to have resolved itself. I'm at least getting the sort of speed I normally get, not that that's any great shakes.

This week has illustrated something I didn't appreciate, and, as an engineer, I find a bit dumb.

BT have a mechanism in place where they reduce the speed available on your ADSL connection in order to provide a stable link. If they detect drop outs on your line, they will reduce the speed.

Hang on a minute! That means that the ever decreasing speeds I saw during the week, may well have been cause by the test I had to do in order to identify what might be causing the slowdown I was experiencing! What prat ever thought that was a good idea?

Why can't the system simply behave like old fashioned analog modems? When one dials the other, the go through a handshake process whereby the negotiate the fasted speed available. They do that on every new connection.

So, by continually rebooting my router, change filters, trying new routers, the BT systems were assuming my line was unstable and reducing my speed.

Some of the responsibility of this must lie with my ISP because they assumed I had connection issues and were treating my initial support request as such. Yet at no point did I tell them that my broadband connection kept dropping. It was only ever a problem with reduced speed.

Although the speed seems to be back to normal, I cannot say the issue has been resolved as I am no further forward in identifying what caused the initial slowdown in the first place. I'll keep monitoring it this week.

Interestingly, I had my two best days during the slowdown. On Tuesday and Thursday, I put in £50+ performances. It is making me wonder if my trading style would suit a slower refresh rate on my software. Unfortunately, I am unable to adjust it in Binarysoft in order to test such a theory.

Although this week has been much better than the rest of the month, it has still been very poor. The most frustrating aspect has been the the soccer trading. I've tried various strategies, but always seem to have to employ my exit strategy just before the match turns in the way I wanted it to go. I'll keep bashing on with it though.

I'll finish this post with a sad goodbye...

'B-Selective', one of the stalwarts of the chat room, has decided to pack in trading/gambling after a prolonged poor run. He has decided to concentrate his efforts on Forex trading. I wish him all the best in his future endeavours.

How Much?!!!!???

That should really be "how little?".

As you know, I've been having broadband problems all this week. Because I had reason to do multiple reboots of my router recently, my ISP have asked me leave it on for 72 hours and see if it settles down.

When they said "settles down", I'm sure they didn't mean the ever decreasing rate in broadband speed.

For a general indicator, I use mybroadbandspeed.co.uk, but my ISP insists on me using the BT speed tester at speedtester.bt.com. The trouble with that one is it will only allow a test to be done once every three hours. However, I've found the mybroadbandspeed.co.uk figure ties in very well (within a few Mbps) with those given by the BT one.

The graph below is provided by mybroadbandspeed.co.uk and I've just used that to do another test and confirmed it with the BT one. Take a look at the graph. That last measurement is right. 128Kbps! Dial up speed! There is clearly something very wrong with this broadband connection.


With speeds like that, I don't think I'll be doing much trading tomorrow.

Not Before Time

Finally, a decent days trading...

Thanks in no small part to the £41 I earned on the greyhounds, I pocketed over £58 today. It is three weeks since I had a £58+ return and comes something of a relief. Here's hoping it wasn't a flash in the pan.

I had intended on trading the Stevenage v Port Vale match this evening, but I couldn't really find any angle other than a Stevenage win due to Port Vale missing some first choice defenders. However, by the time I looked at the market, that news had already brought the home side's price down quite significantly, so I didn't think there was any value left.

This, coupled with the fact that there was a Sky televised greyhound meeting on persuaded me to leave it alone. A good decision as it turns out with Port Vale scoring the only goal midway through the first half.

Managing a decent profit today was all the more pleasing as I hadn't intended to do a lot of trading today.

Over recent days, my broadband has been sluggish to say the least, and getting worse. It ain't great at the best of times, barely getting past 1.4Mbs on a good day.

As long as I was just trading, I was generally OK, suffering only a little delay. However, my daughter was getting it in the neck whenever she went online as the delays in BinarySoft were horrendous. I just assumed she was downloading crap again, or visiting YouTube - something she knows to avoid when I'm trading.

Yesterday however, while she was still at school, it was particularly slow and a quick speed test showed it was under 0.3Mbs! I was getting faster upload speeds!

Rather than immediately report it to my ISP, I set aside this morning to do the tests and gather the information I just knew they'd ask me - like they always do. You know the thing - treat the customer like a complete pillock and get them to check the filters, change the router, connect to the main telephone socket and not an extension, check the internal wiring, make sure there aren't any birds sitting on the telephone line causing the cable to stretch under the weight thereby increasing the distance to the exchange and finally, confirm that the wind was blowing in the right direction.

Before starting off, I rebooted my router for the umpteenth time and did a speed test in order to set a baseline before moving things around. Blow me, was it not up to speed again! Indeed, it was the fastest I have ever seen it. Over 1.7Mbs. So I just left it as it freed me up to do some trading today.

I checked it periodically throughout the day and at times it went over 2.0Mbs! Oh the joys.

Unfortunately, I've just done another test as I write this and the sodding thing is down to 0.67Mbs. Clearly, there is something afoot that I need to get to the bottom of.

What The Hell Is It With Mondays?

Mondays are very quickly turning into the worst day of the week for me. So much so in fact that I'm beginning to think I shouldn't trade on those days at all.

After getting back from a client's in time for the 1:50, I promptly found myself down £20 by 2:30 having done six races and lost four, scratching two. I just stopped then as I could feel myself falling into that mental state that is not conducive to good trading.

I came back and tried the dogs after the horses were finished, but didn't do much better. I only lasted seven races before quiting again.

I've posted losses for five of the last six Mondays totaling £100, with the sixth one being scratched. I don't know what it is about the first day of the week, but recently I can't trade it for peanuts. Damned annoying.

Taking A Step Back

This has been, and continues to be, such a shocking month for me that I've recently stepped back from all the extracurricular activities in order to concentrate on the basics and get my trading back on track - or at least try to. Every since the clocks changed, I've had great difficulty reading any market I enter.

That's why there has been limited blog posts, at least regarding my performance anyway.

I've reduced my stake in not only the horse markets, but the greyhounds and football as well, in an attempt to slow the slide as I try to get some consistency back into my activities. It has taken two weeks just to get myself into a rather precarious profit for the month.

I've also cut back on the amount of trading I'm doing. This especially effects my involvement in the dog markets. This obviously has consequences regarding the potential return. However, the return for the amount of time spent means it is just not worth it. Moreover, it helps to reduce the trading overload I've been feeling in recent times.

Now, I only do the first hour or so before the horse racing begins and up to 6:00pm once the horses finish. This also frees up the evening for some football trading, which leads me nicely on to...

Ebooks. I've managed to get a hold of a number of ebooks which, in themselves are probably out of date and useless as far as their strategies are concerned. However, I've been spending some time studying their content in the hope that they trigger a spark that takes me off in another direction. I could certainly do with a bit of inspiration at the moment.

I'll leave you with a little anecdote from this afternoon's trading which adequately describes my lack of confidence and courage of my convictions...

When I switched to the 2:30 at Cork I immediately noticed that there was more than £100 waiting to be backed @ 1000.0 on 'Agility Jo'. I flagged it up in the chat room, but I left it and traded the favourite, where I greened up for a decent enough profit.

The money on the rank outsider was still there, but I still didn't take it. Before the off, it shortened to 630.0 and in-running it shot down, trading for small amounts as low as 20.0 before the horse was eventually pulled up.

Given that there were only 5 runners over a 3m hurdle race, surely it would have been worth putting at least some of my profit on it and taking it in running?

While I may be a profitable trader, I'm not going to make decent money unless I learn to take some more risks. Another lesson learned. Whether I actually act on it next time is another matter.

Google Show Me A Yellow Card

Anyone who runs a website or blog will know only too well how much time and effort it takes to keep it up to date. While I have always endeavoured to provide content that readers will find interesting, I have never made any secret of the fact that I view all my websites as a potential source of revenue.

I generally employ two mechanisms to achieve that. 1) Affiliate links where you, the reader, have to visit the advertiser's site and make a purchase before I get paid and 2), so called Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising where I get a few pence every time a PPC advert is clicked by a reader.

PPC adverts are usually generated automatically and based on the content of the page on which they are hosted. For this reason, advertisers like them because it ensures that their ads are shown to people who are likely to be interested in their products.

Website owners like them because they are easy to set up, don't require that much maintenance and provide an easy revenue stream which increases the more popular the site is.

Probably the best known of the PPC schemes is Google's Adsense which I have had hosted on the Bet Your Life sports trading websites for some time. However, Google are very strict regarding the hosting of Adsense ads on gambling websites. I've just received a caution from Google for doing just that on the Bet Your Life blog.

Here's the email in full:

Hello,

While reviewing your account, we noticed that you are currently displaying Google ads in a manner that is not compliant with our policies. For instance, we found violations of AdSense policies on pages such as http://betyourlife.blogspot.com/2009/01/premium-charge.html. Please note that this URL is an example and that the same violations may exist on other pages of your website.

As stated in our program policies, AdSense publishers are not permitted to place Google ads on sites with content related to gambling or casinos. This policy includes driving traffic to online gambling sites through links or advertisements.

As a result, we have disabled ad serving to the site.

Your AdSense account remains active. However, we strongly suggest that you take the time to review our program policies (https://www.google.com/adsense/policies) to ensure that all of your remaining pages are in compliance.

Please note that we may disable your account if further violations are found in the future.

Sincerely,

The Google AdSense Team


I have still to see what the violation is on the cited page. Herein lies the first problem with Google and their anti-gambling stance.

As the 'caution' above indicates, their policy document details how the Adsense program can be used but it leaves the interpretation of those policies to the user. Google are well known for their poor communication and refusal to discuss these matters. Question their decision and all they do is point you in the direction of the policy statement. Ask for clarification and they direct you to their policy statement. So, if the user's understanding of these policies in anyway differs from Google's, they risk being sanctioned by Google, with no explanation of the violation incurred.

I'm familiar with their policies. I've read them many times. My understanding of these was that no Adsense ads can be placed on any page that allowed a user to gamble.

For this reason, I have always been very careful to avoid any links to bookmaker and casino sites on any pages where Adsense ads were hosted. It seems that this is not enough and website owners are not even allowed to talk about gambling on the same page as Adsense ads are hosted. So much for free speech.

The zealot like attitude of Google and the intractability of their position means it is a waste of my time contesting it, even though I disagree with their assessment. As a result, I've removed Adsense ads from the site. It's not as if they earned a lot of money - around £10/month - so it won't create any hardship on my part. I'll just look for another source of advertising.

Google's position is a puzzling one, and I've never really understood their anti-gambling stance. I can only assume that it is based on a moral position rather than a business or legal one. Which leads me on to my second point...

Let's assume that Google's position is a legal one based on the banning of Internet gambling the US. If that were true, their argument doesn't really hold water. There is no reason whatsoever preventing Google from serving up ads based on a user's location. They already have the technology to geographically target search results and ads, so what is to prevent them from doing so for users living in an area where gambling is a perfectly legal activity?

But what about the business angle?

Advertisers pay Google to serve up adverts to a targeted audience. Google do that in a number of ways including the ads at the right hand side of search results as well as Adsense.

Go to any trading/gambling website that currently host Adsense served ads (try, TradeSharkTennis, All Day And Night At The Dogs, Drifters And Steamers, Flutterfly and Mark Iverson to name just a few) and you'll see Google Adsense served ads for trading/gambling products.

Clearly, based on my experience, all these sites are in violation of Google's policy. However, that's not the point I wish to make.

Why, if Google are so anti-gambling, are they serving up adverts for gambling related products? It seems a rather hypocritical position to take.

Google seem to be saying that they are quite happy to take advertiser's money, but at the same time telling gambling related website owners that they cannot host such adverts. I wonder if the advertisers are aware that Google's own policies restrict and indeed, aim to prevent, those ads being hosted and seen by the very target audience the advertisers are trying to reach.

A few years back, and a previous incarnation of the Bet Your Life website, I fell foul of the very same policies. Hardly surprising as the site was covered in affiliate links to bookmaker sites. I raised the above points with Google upon receipt of the very same cautionary email. I wanted to know how they squared that particular conflicting circle outlined above. You won't be surprised to hear that they simply pointed me to their policy document.

It seems a rather bizarre stance to take from a business perspective. If I was an advertiser, I'd be taking my custom elsewhere, just as I will be doing as a publisher.

Lest We Forget



My trading exploits are of no consequence compared to the sacrifice that our armed forces have made and continue to make.

Wild Thing

As I sat here this morning, with my arthritic knees giving me grieve, I had cause to reminisce about my youth. In those days, I was very rarely ill, and with it, very fit. Boy, am I making up for it now!

I was pretty sporty when I was young, and blessed with what could be described as natural talent. Every sport I tried, I was pretty good at. Not world class you understand, but certainly proficient, particularly if it involved a ball of some description or running round an athletics track.

I did the usual stuff. Played football, rugby and badminton for the school; took up tennis and squash when I went to university. I took to all of them like a duck to water. Then, in my late twenties, I started playing golf, which just goes to prove the old adage that as a man get older, his balls get smaller. But I digress...

Golf was the one sport that I was utterly useless at. Indeed, my workplace at that time had a golf section in which I became known as 'Wild Thing' due to my rather unorthodox swing - which, I hasten to add was primarily due to a dicky shoulder, injured at work. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. I thought 'Slasher' was more accurate, but I didn't get a vote. Sorry, I'm wandering off again...

Many times, to great hoots of laughter, my fellow colleagues and playing partners, would sing the chorus of the famous Troggs number, just as I was teeing off.


Don't get me wrong, I loved playing golf, but why continue doing something that I was hopeless at?

I'd spend hours on end, hacking my way through the undergrowth as I wound my way round the course, zig-zagging my way up each fairway. Then, completely out of the blue, I'd hit that one shot that pitched perfectly on the green, or cleared the lip of the bunker and rolled in the hole. It didn't matter that I had taken ten strokes to get there. It was the one shot in the whole of the miserable round that would make me come back and do it all again.

It suddenly dawned on me this afternoon as I struggled through another poor display in the horse markets, that trading is very much like golf. All it takes is one really good trade amongst the dross, and I'll be back the next day to do it all over again.

Beware The Siren's Call

It has been shown time and time again, that I cannot trade the win markets consistently well enough to make it pay long term, which is why I try to stick to the place markets. However, with the place markets being so thin as they are since the change to the winter racing schedules, I find it increasingly difficult to resist the call of the main markets, like a sailor lured on the the rocks by the call of some beautiful young mystical creature.

Today, was a case in point as I found myself down nearly £27 after only five races with two particularly nasty losses accounting for the bulk of it. I stopped after that.

On a really good day, I can break £50, so some time ago I decided to introduce a daily stop loss of £25. If I hit this, I stop trading for the day. Given that I rarely hit £50 in a day, even a stop loss of this size still hurts, but I feel it necessary to help prevent me from going completely on tilt.

My decision to change my working hours so I can trade Monday afternoons is looking evermore like an expensive mistake. Not only do I have increased traveling expenses, but I have yet to win on a Monday afternoon since making the change. To such an extent, that I'm seriously thinking of not trading on a Monday at all.

I'll still keep the revised work arrangements, for no other reason than it forces me out of the house, but I don't think there's any point in throwing money away.

Another Poor Week

Fortunately, it doesn't happen very often, but I've had a losing week this week. Only £15 so hardly a bank breaker. Unfortunately, it still means that I'm struggling to get myself into the black for this month.

Actually, I've had a relatively lazy week. I cut back on my trading significantly, simply because I was feeling I needed a break, and with me not getting anywhere, no was as good a time as any.

I'm feeling a bit more refreshed now, so hopefully I'll be able to get my act in gear and move into profit in the days ahead.

Lay The Draw

Since I started looking at trading football more frequently, I've primarily been using that old favourite, Lay The Draw. Sometimes, I use 0-0 cover for insurance, sometimes, I don't bother. In all cases, I've been getting out if the odds for the draw have dropped to a point where my losses would be half of the original liability.

This evening's game between Derby and Coventry was a perfect example.

With only 4 mins on the clock, Coventry's goal put me in a spot of bother. I'd covered the 0-0 as insurance, so that bet was lost, and the draw odds barely moved. I could have scratched the draw there and then and taken the 0-0 loss on the chin. However, I decided to old on a bit.

With Derby equalising early in the second half, the draw odds shot in and it wasn't long before they reached my stop loss point. Of course, as is the way of these things, Derby scored the winner as soon as I had traded out.

I have to say I have had no luck with this strategy whatsoever. Indeed, I have yet to have a profitable trade using Lay The Draw. To such an extent that I think it is time to lay this to bed. At least, laying before kick off. Laying at half time, or a little into the second half when the odds are much less may be a better option.

For the moment, I'm going to leave it and look at something else as that strategy simply isn't working for me.

The shocking run I've been on since the start of the winter horse racing continues without any sign of letting up. It is not just the horse trading that is suffering. Just looking at this month, I'm £10 down on the horses and £28 down on the football. Only the dogs are showing a tiny profit, though they've tried their best to be in the red as well.

The spell I had in mid-October is increasingly looking like a flash in the pan. I can only take solace from the fact that more experience and competent traders also appear to have it tough at this time of the year. It doesn't make it any less frustrating mind you.

Not A Good Start

Well, November has started where October left off - with my trading all over the place. Ever since the clocks changed and the winter racing schedule came into being, I've struggled. The place markets have, in the main, been dead, so I've been playing in the win markets and all the old frustrations have come flooding back.

You know the ones... sit 2-3 ticks behind the market and you NEVER get matched as the market moves off in the direction you predicted, leaving you behind... jump ahead of the market in order to ensure being matched, and an immediate reversal puts you 5+ ticks down within seconds with no sign of it coming back.

Obviously I haven't adjusted yet to the change in conditions. More worryingly, it is affecting other markets, most noticeably, the greyhounds. I haven't fully adjusted to the change in those markets either, with all the money now in those races following the horse racing. This caused me to lose £12 in the first dog race I tried late yesterday afternoon.

Even my luck on the football isn't there.

I felt there would be goals in the Chelsea game last night, so I drip fed small back bets into the over 2.5 goals market as the odds increased, with the intention of bailing out when the odds were such that I could red up for half my total stake. This happened at odds of 7.80. No sooner had I got out and the goals started flying in. It finished 2-2.

So, November is currently running at a loss, but plenty of time to turn that around.

October 2009 Summary

Well, the end of another month and I'm pleased to say a much better one than the 3 months before it. Even then it had it's ups and down, with this week spoiling what would/could have been an excellent month and turning it into a good one.

I've only made £9.22 this week thanks in the main to my horse trading skill, what little I have anyway, completely deserting me. The week was saved by some football trading today, specifically, backing over 3.5 goals in the Arsenal v Spurs match not long before The Gunners scored two quick-fire goals.

With that good fortune, the month closed with the same luck as it opened. If you recall, I nearly got hung out to dry by a power cut which left me with a significant amount of money in a dog race. Fortunately that turned out rosey, but I could have started the month some £200 down.

Sharp Reminder

I had another foray into the horse win markets, and suffered another loss. This time £36 with some of the worst trading I can remember doing. I finished after the 3:20 and my forth loser in a row.

This means that, rather disappointingly given how well the month was going, I've lost £60 on the horses in the past two days and been reminded of just how cut throat the horse win markets can be. Indeed, today saw me doing all the stupid things I did the last time I tried playing in these markets which only serves to confirm that I'm just not ready for life in the fast lane.

So it's a return to the place markets for me, until such times as I feel the need/urge to try again.

Late Update: This evening, I ventured into the treacherous world that is football trading and that old favourite, lay the draw. Lo and behold, I picked the only 0-0 game in the Carling cup tonight. Typical! Another £20 added to today's losses.

Just not my day today.

So Much For That Idea!

By changing the arrangement I have with a client, I've managed to free up Monday afternoons at the expense of two morning visits and a doubling of my traveling costs. The gives me some more time trading the horses which have shown excellent promise throughout this month.

The only requirement of these Monday afternoons is to at least cover the increase in travel expenses - something I've miserably failed to do since I made the change. Today was the worst, trading in only 10 races and losing £23, with most of that happening in the last three.

I obviously haven't adjusted to the new regime.

The weekend showed promise in that I've been venturing into the horse win markets, for no other reason than I've felt the place markets to be particularly thin. I picked up £34 yesterday which I was pleased with.

I continued there today, at least initially, though I switched to the place markets and still lost. Fortunately, I had to finish early as my daughter had riding lessons, so it was an easy decision just to stop and write today's losses off as part of the ongoing learning process.

Back in the saddle tomorrow.

Why I Use Linux

I've been asked a number of times recently why I use Linux. As there really isn't any quick answer to this, I thought I'd dedicate a post to the subject.

I have, in the past, been accused of being a tight-fisted Scotsman who would rather use a free (and presumably, by implication, inferior) product than pay for Microsoft Windows. Not only that, I've been accused of being excessively anti-Microsoft and their products while praising the virtues of Linux.

I'll treat that first misguided, misinformed, inaccurate and offensive accusation with the contempt it deserves. As for the second, "guilty as charged m'Lud".

First up, let me make one thing clear. I do not hate Micrsoft products per se. Indeed, Excel and Access are two extremely good applications which I have used extensively over the years. That doesn't mean they don't have their faults.

Comedy Of Errors

Over the past few Saturdays, I've found the horse place markets pretty thin. I'm not sure why that would be the case, but after poor results the last few weekends, I decided to try my hand at the win markets once again.

This wasn't so unusual as I've been dabbling with the evening win markets of late, with some success. However, on this occasion, I dropped my stakes a bit and jumped straight in. I have to say, despite three 'mishaps', I was quite pleased with the results.

My first bit of misfortune would have had me giggling to myself if I wasn't busy trying to reduce the £12 all red position I found myself in. I'd been watching the ladder, assessing the market when I suffered from an involuntary 'twitch' in my index figure that saw me put a lay into the market as the price was shortening. That will teach me not to leave the mouse hovering over the ladder when I'm not ready to enter the market. :-)

Anyway, I managed to cut the loss in half before moving on to the next race.

With my profit slowly building, I was caught by the suspension in the 3:50 at Stratford. I just wasn't paying attention to the clock. As soon as the market re-opened in-running I immediately closed out for what I could get resulting in a £25 loss on that runner and a £21 loss for the race.

If I'd waiting, I could have scratched, but no better than that. If I'd done so, I would have simply been gambling as I have no pictures or commentary, and to be honest, I very rarely watch a horse race so I'd have been unable to assess if the horse was improving during the race or not. Better to take the hit and move on. It was a lot less than the loss would have been if I'd let it run.

This put me over £6 in the red for the afternoon, which I slowly recovered until I got it up to £25 when I made my third careless mistake of the afternoon. This time in the 5:15 at Doncaster.

With so many meetings throughout the afternoon, the races were coming thick and fast, virtually every 5 mins, making it real easy to move on to each subsequent race. However, after the 5:00, there was a fifteen minute gap but I was so much into a groove that I went in way too early and found myself down immediately and every time I went in to recover it, I made it worse, losing £15 in the process.

I came back in the evening to do a few of the Kempton races and managed to pick it up again finishing with £24. This, coupled with the £5 I won on the dogs this morning gave me a reasonable amount for my efforts. But for careless on my part, it could have been significantly more. Still, I was happy with my foray into the win markets today.

The only disappointing thing about today was that I missed the start of the Bayern Munich match. I had intended to lay the AU as I felt it was very short at odds of 4.00. Unfortunately, I was too busy trading the horses, I missed the KO and consequently what would have been a profitable trade passed me by.... again!

One of these days, I'll start getting properly involved in the footy rather than just thinking about it.

Lifetime Premium Charge

Well, the premium charge is now calculated based on the lifetime of your Betfair account. For me, it means I slip back into the premium charge net.

Since doing all the bet365 offers earlier this year, my total charges based on the original 60 week rule, was consistently hovering around 25%, which meant that I escaped the dreaded charge and my 'allowance' remained where it was having been whittled down to around £280. Having checked my premium charge statement this week, I've noticed two things...

Firstly, my total charges are now sitting below the 20% marked which means the premium charge kicks in. I'm not sure why this is the case I'm not sure as my Betfair account has never been inprofit until around 12 months ago. It wasn't until I started trading that I started winning. Until then, my account was some £2.5K (if memory serves me correctly) in the red. When the lifetime rule was announced, I was expecting my total charge figure to go up, not down.

Secondly, my 'allowance' has now gone up to £802.72. I have no idea why it has gone up from under £300 to this, somewhat arbitrary figure. I'm sure there must be an explanation, so if any of my readers care to enlighten me, I'd be grateful.

The point now is that I need to start looking at ways of reducing this chance of the premium charge taking money from my account. This is especially true that things seem to have picked up again as the P&L for this month shows.

From what I've seen, the only way that this can be achieved is by arbing. Not without it's risks of course, but it looks like I'll have to spend some time resurrecting all the old bookie accounts that I have let wither on the vine over the years.

Writer's Block

Apologies for the lack of updates recently. Surprisingly, I've struggled to find anything to say and the time in which to say it! I've only managed to continue to update the running total for the month which I'm sure you'll have noticed is steadily growing.

I had a bit of a quiet time last week, as detailed in my last post. Fortunately, things have picked up this week, culminating in a very tidy £82 profit today.

My new client visit regime started this week and it wasn't until I got home this lunchtime that I realised my mistake. When organising the changes, I completely forgot that Thursday mornings normally sees a greyhound BAGS meeting at Sunderland.

I've found in the past that this is a good meeting to get involved in as they really like their red hot favourites in the North East. As a result, they shorten very quickly and strongly, so even if you miss the start, there's usually still plenty of opportunity to pick up a decent number of ticks. Like today, I got back in time for the second last race of the morning and picked up £9 for my trouble.

Look out for this meeting in the future and you'll see what I mean.

While on the subject of the greyhounds, make a point of listening to William Hill Radio. I've mentioned this many times, but the reason I point it out again is that Darren Driver is back doing the commentary. He was seconded to the horse racing channel during the summer, but pay attention to this guy as his dog knowledge is excellent. On many occasions I've seen the price shoot in on a greyhound he's tipped. He's also pretty damned good at picking out long priced winners. Always worth sticking £2 on.

It is ironic that I seem to have built up a bit of a reputation for greyhound trading - understandably - and yet I am spending less and less time with the dogs. As I outlined in an earlier post, I'm making much more money on the horses now, consistent money at that, that the time spent on the dogs is increasingly less worth it. In any event, thanks to those nice people at Juicestorm for the plug.

That's it for now. Hopefully, I'll get the typing fingers up to speed again in the next few days. For now, be lucky.

Downright Bloody Stupid

"Tense, nervous headache? You need Anaddin". What I certainly don't need is to try trading with a splitting headache!

I don't know how many times I tell myself not to trade if I have a headache, but I never seem to listen. I think part of the problem is that I wouldn't down tools at work if I had a headache. I'd simply take some painkillers and get on with it.

Also, I suffer from headaches a lot, but I'm not going to put my life on hold every time I get one. It is simply something I have to put up with until such times as I discover what's causing them. Certainly the NHS haven't a clue and I've had every test they can throw at me. At least they've confirmed it is not something more sinister.

My trading has been sloppy the past three days, not least because I've been suffering a prolonged bout of the aforementioned affliction.

Things started to slip on Wednesday when, having had a good morning on the greyhounds, followed by a reasonable one on the horse place markets, I had a three race spell just before dinner time which halved my profit for the day to £28.

Much the same story on Thursday. An excellent start to the day thanks to the dogs, but as lunch got ever closer, so did the intensity of the headache. It took just three horse races to wipe it all out at which point I switched off the pc and went to bed.

I still hadn't shaken of the headache this morning, but like a fool I tried to trade the dogs and found myself down £17 after only three races. Again, I stopped then. I came back in the afternoon to try the horse place markets, but I was still feeling pretty dopey and didn't make any impact on the loss I had made in the morning.

I had decided to write today off and not bother with any evening trading, but there was sod all on the television, I couldn't resist. Happily, I was a bit more clear-headed this evening and I managed to turn the loss around and get myself in profit, thanks to the evening horse win markets of all things!

Over recent weeks, I've tried the evening place markets, particularly at Wolverhampton, and failed miserably even though I've been doing well in the place markets in the afternoon. Changing to the win markets worked a treat this evening winning £21 in only five races with no losers. So it seems sensible to do that again.

I've only made £37 over the past three days, which is obviously disappointing but given my insistence in trading with a thumping headache, perhaps it could have been a lot worse. There's never a need to trade every event that comes along at the best of times. It's downright bloody stupid when there's some imaginary demon bashing one's head with a hammer.

But then, sometimes that just sums me up.... Downright bloody stupid.

Change Of Emphasis

After the disappointment of a wasted weekend, I got back on track today as far as the horses are concerned with another £40 day.

The consistency that has developed in the horse place markets is seeing a change of emphasis in my trading. I am finding myself much more comfortable in the place markets than I do in the greyhounds. Indeed, the dogs have been pretty erratic all summer and I can trace a change back to when the summer horse racing started.

Now that the winter months are rapidly approaching, perhaps the greyhounds will settle down and indeed, pick up again. That said, I'd still have to go some to regularly make £40/day on the mutts. At least the way I trade them anyway.

As the results in the horse markets have been picking up, and more importantly, becoming a lot more consistent, I'm going to be concentrating more and more on those, at the expense of the greyhounds. With this in mind, I've arranged with my client I normal spend all Monday with, to go in two mornings per week, thus freeing up an additional afternoon for trading on the horses.

This of course means that I'll miss another morning on the dogs, but since I've found them something of a roller-coaster in recent weeks/months, that's not a problem. In any case, as the nights draw in and the horse racing starts earlier and earlier, the best time for the dogs will switch from the morning to the 4pm-6pm slot. As a result, the impact of losing a morning may well be minimised.

I won't be abandoning the greyhounds completely, but given my recent results, it makes sense to focus the bulk of my attention elsewhere.

Non-Event

This weekend has turned into a bit of a waste of time. After the good week I had, I was looking forward to the Saturday racing, with more liquidity and bigger stakes. As it turned out, I've seen the greyhound markets with more money than many of the races on Saturday afternoon.

My main problem though was not taking profit when I had the opportunity to do so. Hanging on for an extras tick only to be caught by a sudden reversal that saw me losing a few ticks. In the end, my losses canceled out my winnings leaving me with 38 pence profit!

Unfortunately, today was much the same. I had three very poor trades that wiped out what profit I had built up. I eventually stopped at 5:00 with a loss for the day of 35 pence!

3 pence profit for the weekend! I'm such a high roller! LOL!

Dragon Flight

My art site could do with an unashamedly self-serving plug...
Dragon Fantasy Art
Normal service will be resumed later this weekend.

Stark Contrast

This month is, so far (and I'm touching lots of wood as I type this), proving to be in stark contrast to the three months that went before it. Nine days into the month, and with today's profit of £64, I've passed the £400 mark.


I found the horse place markets a little quieter this afternoon and only managed £40 but the greyhounds were a bit better than they have been of late. To be honest, I'm not fussed where the profit comes from as long as it comes.

There's two things happening here that have helped my trading...

Firstly, with consistent profits brings a much more relaxed and focused trading style. This in turn improves the profit and keeps it consistent.

Secondly, with that profit the urge to keep trading every race throughout the day is removed. When I was having a bad time over the summer months the pressure to keep trading was great, and detrimental. For me anyway, it was very much a case of trading overload, which in turn only made matters worse.

Having sorted out the second point in particular, it has been easier to get the consistent profits of the first point. Still a long way to go, but things are looking ever brighter.

Cash Giveaway!

I thought I'd try and attract the attention of other traders and punters out there and let them know that I do have money in the markets sometimes and it would be good, if occasionally, someone actually took it!

I've had a quiet Tuesday/Wednesday, partly because I wasn't feeling great, but mainly due to the aforementioned problem. In the thinner greyhound and horse place markets I tend to offer prices rather than jumping ahead of the market. It's been frustrating recently as the market has had an annoying habit of coming right up to my money sitting near the front of the queue, if not at the front, then retreat without taking any of it.

I try not to chase a price if I can help it. While I appreciate that it is possible to still grab some profit, I've been bitten too many times chasing a price to the point that the value has gone and the market reverses, leaving me staring an all red screen in the face. So with all these bets coming within one tick of being matched, it meant that profit hasn't been as good as I would have liked. Still, profit I have had and that is what matters.

Today was better and back on track with what I have been achieving of late.

I spent the morning with a client, so I missed all but the last 2 greyhound races. It was really the horse racing I was interested in this afternoon and wound up with a £55 profit and no losses excluding a -£0.02 'scratched' trade. I added a little more from two races in the evening, but I stopped at 7pm delighted with today's efforts.

I managed to scrape a small profit in a few of the early evening dog races to take my total for the day over £60 and keep the month ticking along very nicely thank you. If I can keep this level of consistency throughout the rest of the month, I'll be a very happy chappy.

Unusual For Me

Monday's are usually spent with a client, so it is unusual for me to be around on a Monday afternoon. However, I left my client's premises early as I was feeling poorly and was therefore able to partake in a little Monday afternoon horse trading.

I've heard it said that Monday's are very poor for liquidity in the horse markets. Certainly, as far as the place markets are concerned, I didn't have that problem today. Indeed, the markets were a darn sight better than they were yesterday were I didn't get going at all and finished early with a small loss before going out to enjoy the autumn sunshine.

As far as today was concerned, I had no such difficulty and managed to rake in a profit of just over £40, including a rather pleasing £21 in the 3:50 at Warwick. One of the best I've had on the nags.


Of course, being self-employed, this went a little way to replacing the money I've lost due to missing this afternoon at work. Mind you, I'll probably go in one morning later this week to 'make it up'.

After dinnner, I spent a little while in the greyhound markets topping up the total to just shy of £51 at which point I called it a day.

Needless to say, I'm very pleased with the way things are going at the moment. Hitting £40-£50 per day will do me very nicely. I feel I'm becoming much more comfortable with the horse place markets and as long as this consistency continues, I will be increasing my stakes gradually with a view to ultimately bumping that daily figure to nearer the £75 mark and beyond.

Weebles Wobble

After the excellent return on Thursday, Friday turned out to be a bit of a damp squib. Just one of those days where I couldn't get going. I found the markets pretty static and only came away with a few pounds - barely enough for a fish supper (fish and chips for all you south of the border and beyond).

It was good, therefore, to get back on track and add another £40 to the pot. I did have a bit of a wobble between 3:30 and 4:30 where I lost 4 out of 6 races, but a cup of magic tea (chat room joke - ok you need to be there) later and things were back up to where they should be.

I found trading to be sticky at times, though this was probably the usual Saturday afternoon busy period as the football traders came on stream. I didn't get involved in any football, though I did look at the over 3.5 market in the Bayern Munich match. Fortunately, I left it alone as the game ended 0-0.

I've been catching up on my blog reading and I see Peter Webb is doing a '£10 challenge' where he started off with a £10 stake and will re-invest the daily profit for the stake the following day.

That's a very interesting exercise and I'm sure I've seen it done somewhere else. Oh wait! That's how I started. Save yourself the time and effort Peter and just redirect all your readers over here. LOL!

Seriously, I'll look forward to seeing how quickly his mini bank increases as clearly Peter has a great deal more experience than I had just starting out 18 months or so ago.

Time now to watch the recoding of the F1 qualifying. Back again tomorrow.

Poor Show

With the public release of two new trading applications this week, competition in the exchange software market was given a boost. It seems quite extraordinary then that two days later, both applications have been denied access to the Betfair API.

Betfair fully certified both BetTrader Evolution and The Toy for full access to the BF Vendor API. Those applications could not have been released to the public otherwise. It now transpires that the innovative, as we are led to believe, way these applications access the API functions resulted in the Betfair API being unable to handle the volume and type of requests it was receiving.

I'm not privvy to the technical issues involved in how these applications call the API functions, but it seems to me that Betfair should have been. They approved these applications and therefore should have anticipated the potential load on their API servers.

I'm sure the developers, not to mention their users, of both these applications are rightly pissed about this situation. I do not blame them.

While I appreciate that Betfair have to protect the performance for other users, this represents another in a long line of poor shows from Betfair.

Electrifying Stuff

It's funny to think that today, I won more in one day than I did in the whole of July. With an excellent £135 for today's efforts, it ranks as my second best day and only because it was outdone by a day of matched betting.


I wish I could claim that such a satisfying total was down to my magnificent trading skills, but alas no. The truth is, with 20 secs to go before the scheduled off in the 12:04 at Sunderland, I was caught with a number of bets in the market, by a power cut just as I was closing my positions.

Not a lot I could do about it. Indeed, I was pretty relaxed about it to be honest, which is something of a change in itself. I took the opportunity to wash the car and on my return I was happy to see my account had increased by the princely sum of £77.


That stroke of luck aside, I was really pleased with my trading today, completing £58 worth of trades over the greyhounds and horse place markets.

With such a result, I didn't feel the need to look at any of the football matches, so I've had a relaxing evening in front of the television, only spoiled by Celtic's inability to beat Rapid Vienna.

You can't have everything I suppose.

September 2009 Summary

Another £40+ result today, which, when combined with a similar result yesterday, has added a little bit of respectability to what has been a very difficult month for me.

Listed below are the totals for each market/sport I got involved in throughout the month:

Greyhounds... £79.98
Horses... £286.03
Soccer... £5.83
Tennis... £0.01 :-)
Cricket... -£16.86

The most disappointing aspect of those figures is the very poor return from the greyhounds. When on form, I'd be looking at that being some 5 times greater. Most of the damage was done in the first half of the month where I couldn't get to grips with these markets at all. Of course, it doesn't help inadvertently leaving a lay in the market then forgetting about it, only for it to be matched and the dog going on to win.

I am however, very please with the horse place markets in which I'm starting to find some consistency. Long may that continue.

I had high hopes for getting involved in the football markets this month, but the mindset issues I had earlier in the month saw me reluctant to get involved. As that aspect of my trading improved I found myself not getting involved in the matches that I had targeted as I couldn't find a stable feed that would allow me to trade the match while watching it.

Live video streaming is ropey at the best of times as my broadband connection barely scrapes past 1.4Mbps. Matters aren't helped if my daughter is around as she'll be grabbing as much as she can as she tweets, blogs and chats with her mates.

The sooner I get the spare bedroom converted to a dedicated trading room the better as I'll be able to get tv pictures as well as have a second telephone/broadband line installed. I don't know when that will happen though as there's a lot of work to do to get that room the way I want it.

As you can see, I had a rather unsuccessful attempt at tennis and cricket resulting in a scratched trade and a £16 loss respectively. No big deal.

So, an overall profit of £355 which, given where I was only two weeks ago, I'm delighted with. Now that my problems are behind me, I'm looking to push on in October and get back to where I had got used to being.

One of things I've been trying to do all summer is build my Betfair account up to £2000. This is to allow me get involved in more markets simultaneously as well as increase stakes. Unfortunately my performances of late meant that this has taken longer than expected. Now that I'm there, I can start taken money out once again. The first for some time.

So, starting from today, at the end of each calendar month I will take out whatever whole number of hundreds my account is over £2K by. This means I can 'pay' myself £100 today. Woohoo! I think it important to do this. It is after all the whole reason for trading in the first place.

Mind Games

I've made no secret of the fact that mentally, I've been struggling for a while. Full of frustrations and doubt which I firmly believe have affected my trading. As we all know, having the correct mindset is so vital in this game. All the more remarkable then that during this troubled time, I have still managed to make a profit.

I'm please to say, I feel that I am in a much better place now and much of that, I think, can be attributed to the fact that I haven't been doing as much trading as normal. I've had numerous distractions and chores that needed my attention over the past couple of weeks or so which meant I couldn't trade even if I wanted to.

Possibly a case of reaching past saturation point as far as trading is concerned was making my mental state take a negative path.

It simply serves as yet another lesson in the importance of getting one's life balance right. Something I've struggled with for a long time.

Now that the major tasks like tax returns are out of the way, I was able to settle down to a full days trading today - with one very important difference. I took regular breaks when I felt tired or I had lost focus, even if it meant missing a race or two. As a result, I only did 18 greyhound races and 17 horses races yet I had the best day I've had for a while.

So £43 added to the pot. Not a huge amount, but certainly a heck of a lot better than of late. Here's hoping for a bit of consistency now.

Nothing To Do With Trading

A Taxing Week

No, not my trading, which has gone reasonably well considering I haven't really done that much this week. I was referring to the onerous task of doing my business accounts and filling in my tax return.

I'm my own worst enemy though. When I first set myself up as a self-employed IT Consultant (read Jack of all trades, master of none) I religiously did my accounts every day. It slowly changed to the end of the week, becoming the end of the month and then every quarter when my VAT return was due.

After cutting my business back to look after my kids, I de-registered for VAT at which point my accounts slipped to an annual chore that I find all to easy to put off. There's always something more interesting to do. It's all done now with only the form to be sent off and I can sit back and relax for another year.

This time always brings up the question of gambling profits from a Tax point of view. Yes, I know that they are exempt from Income Tax, but even then, there's a question mark.

Over the years, I've raise this issue with three different accountants/tax consultants. I've had three different answers...

1. You don't need to declare gambling profits on your tax return, but make sure you keep a record of those profits.
2. You should declare gambling profits on your tax return, though they are not liable for Income Tax, and keep accurate records as proof.
3. As number 2 but with the following caveate. If it can be shown that you are a professional gambler, then the Inland Revenue will take the position that that is your employment and tax that income.

I don't earn enough to be particularly worried about it, though getting three different answers from 'experts' in their field doesn't lend itself to making me sure of my position. If so called professionals accountants don't know, how can the Inland Revenue expect the average Joe to be fully appraised?

The third of those responses is also rather intriguing. At what point does one go from being a successful amateur to a fully fledged professional? Is it based on earnings or the number of hours spent in that pursuit? Does the regularity of those earning have a baring on one's professional status?

Me? I spend a lot of hours trading, but I wouldn't class it as my profession.

What of the person who spends all year researching just the one bet and wins £50K? Is his 'professional' status any different from the person who 'earns' the same amount of money by researching one successful bet a day? I've no idea and as I've never had the intention of making this my career, I guess I'll never be in a position to find out.

If any professional traders are reading this, I'd be interested to hear an explanation of the tax situation from someone it affects.

A New Toy

Not much happened in the way of trading today, or yesterday now, as I type this. Too many distractions thanks to my eldest child arriving mid-afternoon bringing with him a tenfold increase in noise levels.

This, coupled with very slow bet submission during the horse racing made it an easy decision to quit without actually have done much.

Fortunately, the microphone headset that I had ordered from eBay earlier in the week arrived this morning so I had fun signing up for Skype and pestering various people as I tried it out.

One of the reasons I purchased this new toy was to enable me to use the voice chatting/broadcasting facilities available within the chat room. Something I've never tried, but tests today went well.

All I need to do now is figure out what to use it for.

The Early Bird Catches The Worm

Regular readers might remember that I used to get involved in the over 1.5 goals football markets by using what I call a drip-feed bet.

In essence, I'd decide how much stake I was prepared to use and I'd submit that amount in bite-sized chunks as the game progressed up to when the first goal was scored. The idea being that I'd get ever increasing odds as I did so, making it more profitable when trading out.

Over the past 5 days or so, I've been looking at doing the same in the over 2.5 goals market. Unfortunately for me, every single game I was interested in saw a very early goal being scored before I'd even submitted my initial bet. So I never got anything out of the games.

Perhaps there is something in that old saying after all.

As far as my pre-race trading is concerned, both the greyhounds and the horse place markets continue to be frustrating in that I am losing more or less as much as I'm winning. It has very much been a case of spending long hours treading water. I'm not losing much, but not winning much either. Just too many careless mistakes happening at the moment. I'll keep plugging away though and hope things come good sooner rather than later.

Betfair nearly did me this evening when the suspended a dog race some 30 secs before the scheduled off time in the 8:40 greyhound race at Belle Vue. That was bad enough, but Belle Vue were running a bit late and the hare wasn't let loose until some 3 mins later. So clearly someone at BF towers had a twitchy finger.

Their premature suspension left me with a partially matched lay still in the market and a liability of £80+ so a few skipped heart beats as I listened to the commentary. Fortunately, for once, the dog got beat and I won £27 which was great as it put me in profit for the day.

About time I had a bit of luck.

Football Trials

As I mentioned earlier, I'm trying to get more involved in football trading and one of the best resources, if you haven't come across it already, is the blog run by Ads and Bingo aka, The Nugget Crew.

Not only do they offer a 'trade of the day' well in advance of the match itself, but the frequently hold chat sessions in the RacingTraders room on the Paltalk network. It's a pity they use this chat network since, as a Linux user, I have to access it via a website which is wholly based on Flash. As a result, it is unstable and frequently bombs me out, crashes Firefox taking other sites with it. Sorry, I digress...

Their advice is excellent, though I haven't made any money yet. That's more to do with me exiting the markets way too early coupled with lack of experience on how the football markets behave. The difference between the slow, reasoned approach of the correct score markets for example and the quick fire, in-out nature of the pre-race dog markets will take a while getting used to. Just listening to these guys describe their trading and assessment of how a match is progressing is a huge help.

They are ultimately planning to go to a subscription based model, so nip over to their site quickly to get a flavour of what they do.

While I'm on the subject of other helpful sites, if you're into tennis then TradeShark does a similar thing on his blog, i.e. gives recommended matches and strategies to trade.

I personally haven't had the time to get involved in the tennis, but I'd recommend you pay his site a visit.

All Part Of The Game

Since my last post, I've been keeping my head down and concentrating on my trading, which is the reason I've not been blogging or in the chat room.

Everything has been going swimmingly, though I did make a silly mistake this evening by putting a lay in a dog market, then allowing myself to be distracted as I worked out what I was going to do in the Barcelona match tonight. As a result, I completely forgot about it and only realised after the event when checking my P&L. Needless to say, the dog won and I lost £85.

All part of the game and I'm confident I'll get it back soon enough.

That mishap aside, I've been trading quite well. Slow and steady rather than anything spectacular both in the greyhounds and the horses. I've even been dipping my toes back into the murky waters that are the soccer markets. I'll be looking at those more and more as the weeks go by.

Now, onto more serious matters...

Various people have offered advice over recent weeks regarding my trading. In particular, Steve has pointed out some potentially destructive traits I have that may be, albeit subconsciously, limiting my trading.

This tendency to have a negative outlook is not limited to my trading results and is a personality trait I fight against every day. However, regarding my trading, I take on board what Steve has been saying regarding the blog. His comments have had me thinking about how and what I use this blog for.

Originally, I set it up to help me maintain my discipline. There is something cathartic about detailing one's ups and downs in a public place for all to see. I'd recommend anyone who is starting out on their trading journey to do the same. It DOES help.

Now though, it may well be that the blog has outgrown its usefulness in that regard. As a result, I'm going to change tact with my blogging. Out goes a daily spewing of my trials and tribulations and in comes.... well I haven't decided. At the moment, I may just do a weekly summary as far as my performance is concerned interspersed with any posting that takes my fancy.

If there's anything you, as a reader, would like to see or talk about, then feel free to post a comment.

The Losses Continue

Still trading like an absolute beginner with another loss today, albeit small at £11 spread over the greyhounds and horse place markets.

I'm not really sure what's going on at the moment. It certainly seems that everything I touch goes south. That in itself is probably making things worse by effecting my entry and exit points. I know I'm certainly coming out too early for a 1-2 tick loss only for the market to return to where I was. The confidence simply isn't there at the moment.

Just a case of having to weather the storm just now and hopefully I start to pull things together once again, ideally sooner rather than later.

Cop Out Of The Highest Order

I'm just catching up with some sports news and I see that Uefa overturns Eduardo diving ban. Well there's a surprise!

I did say in an earlier post that the authorities are unlikely to do much. Once again they have bottled it and taken the easy way out rather than take the draconian measures necessary to stamp this sort of behaviour out once and for all.

Shame on them.

Why Do I Do It?

As posted yesterday, I had a good evening on the dogs, netting £47 profit. Today was the reverse.

An hour into the greyhound card this morning and I was £25 down after only eight races. I stopped for an early lunch, hoping that things would improve upon my return. They only got worse and by the time the morning card was finished, I was just over £30 in the red.

The horse place markets looked like being much better when I had a near £8 profit in the first race. Unfortunately it was nothing more than a flash in the pan and I lost four out of the next five races and found myself over £10 down on the nags and £41 down on the day.

It seemed that nothing I touched was going right today so I decided to quit. No point in risking further loss.

Instead, I set about assembling my daughter's new bedroom furniture that arrived at lunchtime. It's taken me some five hours to screw all that together. That's her bedroom finished and I can now set about the spare room with a view to converting it into an office and dedicated trading room. The work never stops.

Back again tomorrow for another laugh.

Monday Night Delights

During last winter, i.e. before the evening horse meetings started, I noted that Monday evening greyhound meetings seemed to be particularly profitable. Once the summer racing schedules started, this was no longer true.

Having spent all day with a client, I was thinking of trading the MK Dons v Norwich match on my return. However, when the greyhound markets showed signs of their 'winter' Monday evening behaviour, I just stuck with them. It got a bit more difficult once the football started, but I cannot complain with a profit of over £47 for this evening's efforts.

There were persistent and pretty predictable moves on tonight, with a fair amount of money. Indeed, in the 7:32 at Nottingham someone stuck some £4500 at odds of 3.90 on 'Clover Luck'. Very unusual to see that type of money coming in on a BAGS race.

Anyway, I jumped in front of it with £36 and now wish I'd used more as 5 seconds later I hedged out at odds of 3.00. If only trading was always that easy.


After spending much of last week building up a nice profit each day only to throw it away towards the close of play, this evening's result comes as a welcome change. Whether that continues this week, I'll have to wait and see but it's certainly good to have Monday evenings back again.

Mental Barriers

My on-going inability to move up a gear is something of a mystery to me. One would think, having started with £10 and built that up to nearly £8K (albeit taking 18 months to do so), that I'd be able to push on. Unfortunately, I don't seem to be able to do so.

Something is holding me back and I do not know what, or even how to identify it.

While I am delighted to have seen my initial investment increase by some 80,000%, it has been a tough road involving long hours parked in front of my computer. Make no mistake, that £8K has made a big difference. I wouldn't have been able to replace my car without it. However, I find it worrying that I am unable to increase my average daily takings given the hours I put in.

I am far to erratic at the moment and my confidence levels are such that I dare not look to increase my returns simply by 'scaling up'. Having made the money I have made, I now maintain a fund of £2K in my Betfair account, but I use only a fraction of that on each trade. I can afford to increase my stakes which should see an immediate increase in profits, yet I cannot seem to get past that mental barrier that would allow me to use larger sums.

Granted, the place and the greyhound markets don't lend themselves to huge sums, but I should be able to increase my stake in the former at least. I'm never going to be a trader that uses the ridiculous sums that the Webbs and Heathcotes of this world seem to use, but I'd like to get over this mental block I'm having that prevents me using anything higher than what I'm using just now.

Much of this lack of confidence stems from the way I trade. I sit and watch numbers bounce up and down. There's no form study and little market analysis. After 18 months, I'm not sure I could give you an accurate description of what I do and how I do it. "Badly and inconsistently" some would say and with some accuracy. It certainly isn't scientific, or the least bit structured.

Despite the fact that I have scientific training; have two engineering qualifications from university; I'm a self-taught Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer and designed communication antennas for eight years before becoming a self-employed IT consultant for the last 15 or so, I don't analyse what I've done or what I'm doing. I don't record my trades or take notes.

My scientific brain switched off a long time ago for reasons I won't go into and trying to teach myself new tricks becomes more and more difficult as the days, weeks and years pass by.

I need to do something that will enable me to step up a gear, but I'm at a loss as to what. One thing is for certain. Sitting for eight or more hours a day in front of a computer in order to earn £14.68 (my daily average since I started) is not sustainable. Either I increase that tenfold, or there's little point carrying on.

What A Crap Day!

I've documented here quite a few times recently that my greyhound trading is erratic to say the least just now. None more so than today.

By lunchtime, I was down £25 and moved to the horse markets where I started to recover as I switched between the two disciplines. However, given my start to the day, it was all about damage limitation - and I failed miserably.

Far too many careless mistakes, wrong entry points, slow reactions and panic induced early exits meant it was hard work this afternoon and a losing battle.

A particularly disturbing trend in recent weeks is the development of a tendency to lose big come 4.30pm. I seem to have a spell when I lose race after race. I haven't identified what the cause might be. It might simply be fatigue setting in having been trading since 11am. It may be that my daughter has returned home from school, and that is a causing a distraction. Who knows?

Having said that, I cannot use her as an excuse today as she was home and away again by 1:45pm, leaving me an afternoon free for trading. Yet, come the 4.35pm I lost over £10, despite assessing the market correctly (don't ask) at which point I switched off having increased my losses to £30.

As I write this, I've just finished a short stint in the evening with further stupid losses adding to the total which stands at £40!

I'd had a nice trade in the 7:40 at Wolverhampton and was checking my P&L when I noticed my greyhound losses had jumped from £27 to £42. I'd laid 'Egmont Torres' in the 7:26 and promptly forgotten about it. Of course, the damn thing won costing me £15 in the process. Do these things ever work in one's favour?

So, crap trading coupled with sheer carelessness has cost me dear and one of the poorest days I've had for a while. A crap end to a crap week.