March Summary

I'm not a great believer in setting hard and fast targets when I'm trading. Of course, I have a rough idea what I'd be happy with at the end of the month, but I do not set specific targets that must be achieved on pain of death. I have enough problems with my pessimistic nature without putting that sort of pressure on myself.

I'm the same in all other aspects of my life. I have a rough idea what I am aiming for, but it's never set in stone. In addition, many people (and in this context read 'traders' or 'gamblers') who do set targets tend to set them too high. There is no point in setting unrealistic targets if it means that they are always unachievable. It is pointless, not to mention demoralising.

Regular readers will have been acutely aware over the past week, that I had a very good chance of breaking through the £1K/month profit target (oops, there's that word again) for this month. This was never a specific target but if anyone wants an illustration of why I do not set them, one only needs to look at my trading the past 9 days.

In the first three weeks of this month, I'd averaged £252/week. I had nine days to achieve the same thing. I was, albeit subconsciously, very aware of the big number. I believe this is reflected in my trading. The next seven days saw me make £160 - £90 less than I'd been doing earlier in the month - culminating in a profit on Sunday of 1 whole penny. LOL!

I had £83 to make in two days. A tall order at the best of times, but, as I was at a client's all day on Monday, I was only ever going to be able to trade in the evening. Still, with a somewhat cheeky lay on a Racing Post nap I got myself within £18 for the start of play this morning.

£18! I should be able to achieve that in a morning session on the greyhounds. Indeed, I frequently do. Not today though. At no stage was I more than £5 ahead. Almost as soon as I was in profit, I'd lose it again. When the horses came along, I kicked off by losing £9.

I spent all day becoming increasingly frustrated by my failure to trade properly. I was all over the place. In the end, in order to break through into 4 figures, I tried another cheeky lay of a Racing Post nap. This time in the last race of the afternoon card. You won't be surprised to learn that this one failed and I lost £40.

No matter. I took the decision to risk £40 in order to get to £1K for the month. It didn't come off on this occasion and that's OK. However, this little tale serves to illustrate how dangerous it can be to set targets, no matter how informal they may be. It most definitely affects one's trading mentality.

So, what about the rest of the month?

Well, I've finished off with my second highest total of £945.78 and there's been some excellent highlights in there.

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

Greyhounds... £749.22
Horses... £201.56
Soccer... -£5.00

First off, the return on the greyhounds is the best I've ever had with only £30 of that earned from bet matching the Bet365 Sky Greyhound offers. Clearly, I'm absolutely delighted with that.

The performance on the horses is also very pleasing and finally showing signs of contributing to my earnings. Granted, some of that total has been through bet matching the Bet365 horse racing offers, but that only accounts for £57.94 and was helped by the offers being extended through the Cheltenham meeting.

I'd image that the bet matching on Bet365 will fall by the way side as I have always been unfortunate in not finding winners. As I've pointed out in numerous posts, this has really been hitting my premium charge allowance pretty hard. If I decide to continue with these, and to be honest I should do more as it is easy money, I'll need to do it over at Betdaq. I'll need to find some cash to fund my account first though.

So, roughly £140 has been due to trading the horse markets. That has got to be good news. I've still got a long way to go on that front, but at least the nags are bringing something in. More importantly, they are doing so without harming the profit from the greyhounds.

The £5 loss on the football was I small bet I placed on the 1st of the month. Apart from that, I haven't touched football all month.

So, more of the same for next month if you please. The problem with having a good month is that it sets expectations higher for the next. From a financial point of view, that's not my intent. If I must set a goal, it would be to continue the development of my horse trading. I'd like it's contribution to double in the coming month.

As ever, I'll keep you updated on how the month unfolds. Thanks for reading.

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Taking A Nap

I was pretty tired when I got home today having been with a client all day. It didn't help getting up at the crack of dawn to watch the Australian Grand Prix yesterday which caught up with me today. However, that's not what the title of this post is alluding to.

Monday nights, I find, are generally good to me as far as trading the greyhounds are concerned. That would certainly seem the case given tonight's profit of £65. However, £50 of that was a straight lay of the Racing Post Nap in the 7:27 at Romford.

Yes, I know, I am meant to be a trader, but that doesn't mean that all 'punts' are banned.

As you can imagine, I've watched hundreds, if not thousands of greyhound markets over the past 6-7 months and it is clear to me that the Racing Post Naps are pretty hopeless. But I've noticed that the shorter priced ones frequently get humped. In my view, when one of these dogs is shorter than 3.00, it no longer becomes value and is worth opposing.

However, I took other factors into account...

A quick glance at the card showed that there were numerous decent quality dogs in the race, with similar times. In addition, the nap, 'Kingsmill Beau', had been a short priced favourite in it's last three races and it had finished 3rd, 2nd and 4th.

The commentator on WH Radio, was hardly waxing lyrical about it's chances, plus, the earlier races at Romford had all seen winners from trap 5 or 6. There was a possible outside bias, but the nap was drawn in trap 1.

All this meant that it was hardly a blind bet, so I thought, 'what the hell'. I've had a good month and at lay odds of 2.46, it was hardly going to break the bank if it won.

It didn't come close, finishing stone cold last. Thank you very much.

I could have used much the same argument for the not only the other naps of the evening cards, but the corresponding 'next best' as well. A couple of them were equally short and also lost. However, having given my monthly total a lovely boost toward that magic £1K figure, I decided not to risk it.

As for my trading this evening, it wasn't great. I had a couple of races where I took a bigger loss than I would've liked, but I cannot complain. £65 for less than 3 hours 'work' is OK in my book.

Happy Anniversary

I've just realised that today is the Bet Your Life Sports Trading blog first anniversary. There's been quite a few posts in that time as well as enhancements and additions. Congratulations to anyone who has managed to wade through it all. I hope you're still awake.

Here's to the next year.

To Buy Or Not To Buy

As a trader, I make such decisions all the time, even if I do hesitate, pontificate and often get it wrong. It's amazing how this process mirrors real life decisions.

When I first started off on this journey, the intention was to make some extra pocket money. However, once I started to make reasonable amounts, my priorities changed. I keep my Betfair account reasonably healthy. In fact, if it wasn't for the matched betting of the Bet365 offers, there would be a lot less in there. My stake levels on the greyhounds are in the order of £30-£70. I do not need the £1500 or so that is in there.

I regularly take out money and it goes straight into my savings account never to come out again until I have enough to replace my aging Peugeot 406 - over 10 years old now, yet it hasn't done 90,000 miles. I confess, I'm in a bit of a quandary regarding its replacement.

I've never bought a brand new car before as the idea of losing £2K+ as soon as the dealer hands me the keys is not my idea of value. However, there's never been a better time to buy a brand new motor. My savings account has, more or less enough money in it to allow me to do this, but I keep changing my mind.

The state of the economy has seen my clients falling like flies. Even my largest client, the one that gives me most of my work, has been shedding staff left right and center. I wouldn't be surprised if there was more to come, including me as a sub-contractor. At least I may be asked to reduce my hours.

That's the first thing that's stops me from buying a new car. If the worst happens, I may need that money to get me by. Having said that, if I lose all work and I have to sign on the dole, I won't get any benefit if I've got thousands sitting in a bank account. From that point of view, I should spend it.

Also, six months ago, I was earning 6.5% in interest on that account. Now, I'm getting 1%. Yet, the rate of inflation is just over 3%. I'm losing money in real terms. Again, it makes sense to put what I have to good use.

Another argument putting me off buying is my driving habits. I work from home. I'm lucky if I drive 6000 miles in a year. I'm in my car perhaps twice a week. The idea of forking out £12K+ for a brand new car just for all that money to sit on the drive all week seems an awful waste.

Then there's the other spanners in the works such has having to replace the tyres on my current car. That will need doing come the summer and since it will cost £300 or so, it's an expense I want to avoid if I'm selling it. Particularly as the car is probably worth not much more than £500 if that.

Wouldn't it be nice if the government offered a scrapping scheme like they do in some Euro countries. Indeed, I'm led to believe they Swiss government give £2.5K. I'd bite someone's arm off if they offered me that for my car.

The car industry is lobbying the UK government to provide such a scheme in order to boost their struggling industry. For that reason, I'm going to wait until the forth coming budget is announced. Hopefully, Alistair Darling will give me a big wad to take my car off my hands. Knowing this lot, I won't hold my breath.

In the meantime, I will continue to change my mind as often as my ex-wife, while saving all my winnings. The 60 odd quid I got today on the dogs will help.

Having The Courage Of One's Convictions

My trading this week has been disappointingly poor. As a result, I found it quite difficult to motivate myself. This morning was spent trading the greyhound market, as usual, but I found it hard going. I only made £11 in the two hours before lunch. I added a bit more late afternoon to finish with £20.

At the start of the week, I began to see some progress with my horse trading, but the losses I incurred on Wednesday and Thursday have somewhat dented my fledgling confidence. Consequently, I only traded one race today, scalping just over £1 in profit.

My problem lies in the fact that I am trying to identify significant swings - specifically, horses that are shortening in price. In actual fact, I'm quite successful at doing so. However, I am continually in conflict with a scalping mentality where I cannot help myself getting out when the general 'noise' on the trend temporarily takes the market against me. As a result, I am missing out on significant moves, many of which are over 10 ticks.

This failure to hold true to my convictions is costing me money, and I'm finding it quite frustrating.

One of the issues here is that these moves can take 3-5 mins, if not longer. Of course, I'm used to the frenetic last 60 secs of the greyhound markets where I'm in and out again within seconds. The mental strength needed to hold one's position just isn't there yet.

Also, there's an argument for NOT watching the market after placing my opening position. As the market jumps around the underlying trend, I am continually fooled into thinking that it's going to go against me big time. I'm beginning to wonder if I should walk away from the computer for a couple of minutes if for no other reason than to avoid the conflict between swing trader and scalper.

While trying to learn how to consistently identify runners that will shorten over the past few weeks, I'm been amazed how my picks consistently come in once the race is under way. Since I wasn't in the mood to trade this afternoon, I took the opportunity to monitor this. All bar one of my picks shortened by at least 50% in-running and the one that failed missed out by 1 tick.

This has been the case throughout the past few weeks. I haven't been recording the data as I go, but from memory, I think that more than 80% of my picks have halved in price in-running. Many of them have gone on to win. Granted, it is a pretty small sample in the grand scheme of things but clearly, there are trading opportunities there.

I'll continue to monitor for a few days, but I'm looking at setting up a separate bank, £200 say, where I will back 5% of it on selections I think will shorten, with a view to getting out with a 50%-100% profit in-running. This will likely start some time next week.

In the meantime, I'll see if Dorothy can find me some courage.

The Sign Of The Goat

I didn't post last night, as I was so damned annoyed with myself. I certainly lived up to my Zodiac sign of Capricorn - The sign of the goat.

Having won nearly £60 on the dogs, I got caught in the 8:51 at Sittingbourne and promptly lost £9.24. Fortunately, I got two thirds of that back over the next two races, at which point I decided to quit. I said my goodbyes to the guys in the chat room, closed down my browser, then had a change of mind and thought I'd do one more... and promptly lost £15!

I was trading the favourite, 'Dubai Divine' in the 9:14 at Newcastle and had a reasonable profit. I went in for some more and the market swept through me with a large amount taking the odds out from 3.00ish to 3.55 and showed now signs of moving. With only seconds left, I managed to get out for a £15 loss. Of course, the damn thing went on to win.

The horses didn't fare any better with a near £14 loss. I'm beginning to think that my success earlier in the week was nothing more than a flash in the pan. That's the 'Back to Basics' bank now down to £72 from the lofty heights of £111. A loss of 35% in two days.

A £26 profit on the day, but not what I would put down as my greatest performance. Baaaa!

A Bit Of A Mare

Yesterday's closing trading screw up spilled over into today's activities. Starting off with the dogs, I found myself over £9 down within the first hour, at which point I stopped. This was disappointing as there was plenty of money in the greyhound markets this morning, but I just didn't seem to be able to get on the right side of any of it.

After an early and prolonged lunch, I caught the last half hour and was fortunate enough to catch a spike in one race that recovered all my losses in one fell swoop.

Unfortunately, this was just a one off as, once the horse racing began, I lost £20 in the first race and £9 immediately after that. Nearly £30 down after only two races was not the start I was looking for, and I never recovered from it.

At one point, I was down £34, but thanks to the evening card, despite further losing trades, I managed to cut my losses down to £25 on the horses and, with the help of some of the evening dog races, cut my overall deficit to £14.

I made too many mistakes on the horses today, though, on at least 4 occasions, I suffered very badly from lack of conviction on my picks. As I've mentioned before, I primarily look for runners that are likely to come in. In those races in question, I correctly identified significant trends, but scratched or exited for a loss when the 'noise' momentarily took the trend against me.

I had lapsed into scalping mode and forgot that I was trying to swing trade. All of those races had moves of 10 ticks or more, long term. Hopeless!

Having said that, I take encourage from the fact that I actually identified them correctly. As I become more experienced and confident in those picks I'd expect the courage of my convictions will return.

It probably didn't help that I got into my head earlier in the week that there was a strong possibility of making £1K in a month for the first time. My losses over the past couple of days have put that in doubt now, so hopefully my trading will be back to normal tomorrow.

Last Race Syndrome

Apologies for the lack of updates recently. I was with a client on Monday and only managed two and a half hours on the dogs in the evening but was too tired to post about the £31 I won.

Similarly, although I spent much of yesterday trading, I was playing badminton in the evening and by the time I got back, I couldn't be bothered, partly because I was tired and partly because I was still annoyed with myself for throwing away a substantial part of my profit yesterday.

I think it always worthwhile looking back over one's trading performance to identify any issues, good or bad, that may need addressing (or avoiding). In the past, I've talked about Saturdays not being particularly good for me, trading wise. So now, for the most part, I concentrate on matched betting on those days.

Another area that I regularly seem to have a problem with is the last few dog races, particularly in the afternoon session. There has been quite a few times when I've built up a tidy profit during the day, only to throw a fair sized chunk of it away in the last 2-3 races of the session.

I'm not really sure why this happens. I may be getting tired after staring at the screen all day or perhaps the markets may change subtly as punters try to recover earlier losses. I haven't identified one particular reason, but it is annoying when it happens.

Having spent much of my trading life the past few months in the dog markets, I presumed it was a quirk of those markets. However, perhaps not as a very similar thing happened to me on the horses yesterday.

As you know, I'm slowly getting back into horse trading having set up a small bank of £25. Using my whole bank as a stake, I re-invest each win (or loss) for the next stake. After 13 trading days, my stake levels are over £100.

Yesterday, I started off pretty well. Although I had a hiccup midway through, I'd built up a profit of nearly £42 when the last race came along. I got caught three times on three different horses resulting in a total loss of almost £23.

A couple of things I should point out...

Firstly, I can hold my hands up. I completely lost focus in that race. I entered the market without assessing it in the way that I have been using since I started this. Every time I do that I get bitten, so it was no surprise. However, my annoyance in the loss stemmed from the fact that I repeatedly went back in to try and recover it, only to make it worse. Not the first time I've done that, and not doubt it won't be the last.

Secondly, the way I'm re-investing my winnings means my stake size grows very quickly. Consequently, if I get something wrong, I can expect a correspondingly larger loss. Some might say that I should stick to a certain stake size while learning. To be honest, I like doing it this way as the bank increases much quicker and progress feels much greater. It's the way I did things in the place markets way back in the beginning. Having said that, once the stake reaches £200, I'll probably leave it there for a while.

Despite that loss in the last race, the 'Back to Basics' bank now stands at £111.20 and I'm delighted with the progress I'm making in the horses. At last, they seem to be contributing something to the overall total which, for a long time, has been left almost exclusively to the dogs.

Mother Focus

My, it's a long time since I heard that progressive rock classic!

I lost focus today when trading the horses and it cost me a nice return. I continued with my experiments in the horse win markets but had a 3 race spell at the end of the two hour session where I just forgot what I was trying to do and lapsed into scalping mode and got caught each time.

It all kicked off when my daughter distracted me with her homework. "Cannon to the right of them, cannon to the left of them". I lost £2.42, a rather nasty £10.15 (having been £6 in profit on that race) followed by another poor £5.76. It's all your fault so there'll be no pocket money for you this week young lady. LOL!

I had had an earlier loss of £5.18 as well so at that point I felt it wise to stop while I still had some profit left.

I made silly mistakes, not least of which was going into a longer priced runner with too much money. I had no problem getting matched, but great difficulty getting out again for anything other than a loss. Lesson learned there.

I've only been trying to implement this particular selection method/trading plan for a few days so the fact that I'm managing to achieve a profit while learning the ropes can only be a good thing. Today's £6.43 brings the 'Back to Basics' bank to £92.36.

To complete the rather tenuous link in the title, having stopped just after 4pm, I played the dutiful son and went off to visit my mother. So no more trading for me today.

While today was slightly disappointing it's been a good week all in all, having added £273 to the pot. At the risk of tempting fate, another one like that and I'll break the £1000 mark in a month for the first time.

Fingers crossed.

Early Days But Promising Progress

Ahhh, Saturdays. I never know whether to trade them or not as they are so variable. My greyhound trading this morning was a case in point. Just over an hour to barely earn £2.

Saturday afternoons are generally set aside for match betting the Bet365 Ch4 4/1+ horse racing offers. As I've mentioned in previous posts, I'm beginning to question the wisdom of doing these as my premium charge is taking a hit way out of proportion to the profit I'm making. If only I could find some winners, but I seem to be particularly poor at doing so.

Laying them off on another exchange is the obvious answer. I had a quick look on Betdaq and the odds are comparable with Betfair so this should be feasible.

However, as mentioned in my last post, I'm coming to the conclusion that trading these offers might be a better option. With this in mind I took the decision to investigate this further using the longer term techniques I've been developing thanks to my experience with the Bet365 offers.

Using my 'Back to Basics' bank, which, at the start of play today stood at £57.97, I set about not only the Bet365 offer races, but any other race I could fit in. My results are plain to see below.

The only black mark in there was borne out of frustration. My selection process didn't flag up anything of much interest and, having just scratched the previous two races, I tried to force a trade. How on earth I was expecting my 50 odd quid to force a trade I don't know, but there you go. Within a short space of time, I was £13 down, though I managed to reduce the deficit to £7.47 thanks to another runner.

Despite this, I'm delighted to have increased my little bank by another 48% in one sitting.

By trying to take a longer term view, paying closer attention to what the market has done in the past, how the Betfair price relates to the price at bookies and so on, is providing me with a more relaxed trading style. I am finding that I'm not panicking when the market moves 1-2 ticks against me (unlike when I'm scalping). Instead, I'm waiting, happy that my assessment of things will bring it back again.

Long may it continue.

Horses v Dogs

Now there's something that doesn't happen everyday. I won more on the nags than the dogs!

My dog trading got nowhere in the morning session so I stopped for an early, extended lunch break. Upon my return I concentrated on the horses.

I've mentioned many times before that I am more of a swing trader than a scalper. To be honest, I find scalping for 1-2 tick profits both boring and frustrating. It doesn't help that I inevitably get it wrong. I find disseminating the trend from the 'noise' on the horse win markets particularly difficult, which continually results in me getting out for a loss. Certainly this is what has happened to me in the past.

Recently, I've started to look at ways to identify longer term trends. Ones where I can comfortably take 5-10 tick profits. I'm still not there yet, but there are promising signs.

Over recent weeks and months, when I've been bet matching the Bet365 4/1+ offers, I've been somewhat taken aback by how my pick always shortens after I've placed my lay bet. I can recall only one runner that hasn't shortened by more than 3 ticks.

This got me wondering if I shouldn't simply trade those runners instead of bet matching them. Moreover, could the selection criteria I use when doing these offers be applied to any race during the day?

That's what I did, this afternoon. As the screen shot below shows. I had some success doing just that this afternoon.

The two losses you see there happened in races that the technique I was trying didn't flag up any suitable candidates. Rather than move on, I lost discipline and tried to scalp the market, with the usual results.

The big win was the result of bet matching the 4:00 at Kelso, so £50 of that was lost over at Bet365. Only £2.55 was the profit from that process. The rest was through trading the same market.

So, through trying to identify longer term opportunities I added £13.82 to my 'back to basics' bank. This now stands at £57.97 having started at £25 some ten trading days ago. I'm obviously very happy with a 132% increase in that time, but I'm even more happy that the longer term trading worked. Still a long way to go though.

Another PC hit

I really need to consider switching to Betdaq/Betmate to do my matched betting of the Bet365 CH4 horse racing and greyhound offers. I seem to be almost incapable of finding winners. As a result, my Betfair account is getting a major boost which of course has a knock on effect with the premium charge. This in turn, is way out of proportion with the profit I'm actually making on these offers.

Last week's charge is a case in point.

I'll need to find some money first to fund my accounts on the other exchanges first though.

While on the subject of the Bet365 offers...

I'm coming round to the idea of not doing these at all, but trading them instead. Over the weeks and months since I first started doing them, I've been startled by the number of times that my pick has shortened on Betfair, usually after I've placed my lay! I can recall only one that has failed to shorten by at least 3 ticks prior to the off.

Indeed, I've recently taken to monitoring their performance in-play. All of them have shortened significantly in-running. Granted, I need to monitor a hell of a lot more than 2-3 weeks worth of racing, but it is certainly giving me food for thought.

I've primarily been concentrating on those races that are covered by the Bet365 offer. However, I've started to expand to other races, using the same selection criteria that I'd use on those offer races. I have to say, the results are extremely interesting. Very much early days though but worth further investigation.

So much to do, so little time.

Will I Never Learn?

I cannot say I'm proud of myself after yesterday's exploits. £83 profit, yet I can hardly say that I deserved it.

I have a problem that I always succumb to. The chat room regulars will know what it is as I moan about it often enough. The fact that I keep doing it is, quite frankly, unforgivable, since I know what it is yet but don't seem to learn.

I find it very easy to lose focus. The simplest of distractions is enough to send my concentration AWOL. Taking a break to make a cup of tea is enough to trigger it. I almost always lose the next race I enter upon my return, yet I find myself virtually incapable of leaving that market alone in order to give myself time to regain my focus.

Yesterday was no different. My trading was going well and after only 11 races, I was up by £24. I went for a cuppa, entered the very next race on my return and lost £13. I continually misread the market, repeatedly going in to recover the situation, only to make matters worse.

Over the past year, my discipline has come on leaps and bounds, but in these circumstances, I just don't seem to be able to obtain the discipline to leave that next race alone and just watch it. I need to learn to do so, or stop making cups of tea!

Worse was to come though as, a few races later, I got caught big time. I laid 'Jumping Queen' in the 1:51 at Hall Green and got it completely wrong. The market swept through me and I was looking at another £12 all red with no hope of it coming back. I was so disgusted with myself, coupled with the previous loss, that I gambled.

I lapsed into betting mode. Something I haven't done for a long time. I let the lay stand, encouraged by the fact that Darren Driver, a William Hill Radio commentator I've come to respect, strongly suggested opposing it.

I listened to the commentary as it came home in second place and I was £33 better off. But it wasn't a proud moment and I switched my computer off and walked away. My trading head clearly wasn't in the right place.

I returned later in the day to do the matched betting on the Bet365 feature races. I also did a little horse trading, bumping my 'Back to Basics' bank up by another £5. With my head in a better place, I also carried on with the dog races before stopping at 8pm to play badminton.

So, all in all, a very profitable day, but not one to be overly happy with from a discipline point of view.

Televised Greyhound Update

Just a quicky to let you know how the matched betting went on the greyhounds tonight.

I know I've went on about this before, but the Bet365 offers on both the greyhounds and the horses is money for old rope, candy from a baby, like.... well you get the drift. This evening was no different.

All pretty straight forward stuff and a very stress free way to pocket £30. The only awkward moment came in the race after I had a winner. The odds were rather poor, but I had to do it otherwise I would have lost my free bet.

In the end, I was forced to go for high odds, but got myself in a muddle as the lay odds kept changing, as well as having little money on them. I thought I'd overlaid by a huge amount, so had my fingers cross for a loser, but on checking the spreadsheet, and my Bet365.Betfair accounts, I hadn't. All I'd done was enter the wrong back odds in the sheet; 15.0 instead of 17.00 :-). Once I'd spotted that all was right with the world.

The odds in the last two races didn't look very inviting, so I stopped after the sixth race, happy with the evening's efforts.

Before the racing, I had another mini Q&A session where some new visitors appeared looking for advice. Read the transcript.

Change Of Plans

It's unusual to find myself trading all day on a Monday as I'm normally visiting a client. However, I found myself playing nursemaid to my daughter so I had to quickly change those plans to tomorrow. So with her sleeping most of the day, I was free to sit in front of my computer all day.

One thing that struck me today was how erratic I seemed to be. It's been so long since I traded a full Monday that I don't know if there was something in the markets or if it was just me. I suspect the latter. I've not really paid much attention to it, but it may be worth monitoring over the coming days and weeks as I noticed a number of things:

1. The morning card saw all my best trades, as well as my worst. I've moaned to myself on many occasions about the frustration of putting in a great trade only to lose it again on the next. This morning was much like that, though I still had a reasonable profit.

2. The afternoon session was particularly poor, both in terms of the size of the profitable trades and the number of losing ones of similar magnitude. As a result, only a few pounds were added to the running total for the day. Indeed, I found this session so slow that I switched to the horses and traded the last three races of the day instead. More on that later.

3. The evening session was much more consistent, and profitable, with my profit for the day more than doubling in the three hours I spent on it. I've often found this with Monday evening dog cards. I think it may be that there's only three cards on a Monday evening with the races evenly spaced 5 minutes apart.

It would be interesting to see if afternoon sessions are consistently poor for example. One might intuitively expect them to be given that the horse racing is on and the markets are quieter.

I traded 65 greyhound markets today, losing 14 of them at a cost of £25.83. Despite this disappointing figure, I picked up an overall profit of £48 on the mutts today.

As mentioned earlier, I did the last three horse races of today's card with my 'back to basics' bank. You may be surprised to learn that I won all three to the tune of £6.74! So my little horse trading bank has grown by a fraction over 50% from £25 to £37.71 in seven trading days where I've done no more than 4 races on each of those days.

Given that I'm not doing a huge amount of horse trading, I'm happy with that. As I said on my Back to Basics post, I did not want to learn to trade the horses at the expense of the one thing that was making me money, i.e. the greyhounds. That's what I did last November and it had a detrimental effect on my trading as a whole. I shall continue to take the slow and steady route, while still making money with our canine friends.

I am trying to do something different with the horses when I do trade them, but I'll leave that for another post.

Bet365 Televised Greyhounds

The next televised greyhound meeting covered by the Bet365 2/1+ offer is this Tuesday evening, 17th March from Sheffield. So, get your Rolling Free-Bet Matching spreadsheet at the ready for some easy cash.

Once again, I'll make myself available in the chat room from 6pm if anyone still has questions from the original Q&A session held two weeks ago.

See you there.

Another One Bites The Dust

I was saddened to see that Mark Iverson has decided to end his trading blog - not his trading I hasten to add. Bloggers come and go of course, and it's a significant investment in time to keep posting while avoiding the risk of repeating oneself. So I understand Mark's decision and wish him all the best for his future trading.

It is at times like these that I question my reasons for blogging my trading exploits. I started this blog almost one year ago with the sole intention of using it to help me maintain my discipline and to that end, it has been an invaluable tool. What other people get out of it, if anything, was never a consideration for me.

It can become quite boring simply putting one's daily results up, not just for me, but the readers as well. Trying to think of something valuable or insightful to say day after day can be extraordinarily difficult. That's why I have tried to add additional features to the blog, such as the chat room, in order to stimulate debate, interest and comment. Through this, I've met a number of other traders with whom I converse regularly.

However, if this blog has done anything for those reading it, I hope it has demonstrated that it is possible to make decent money from a small bank. It takes discipline, patience and commitment but it can be done as I can testify.

So, I'll continue to post my results as close to daily as possible in the hope that those that come across my ramblings can find some benefit from it - even if it is just for a giggle. After all, even ritual humiliation can inspire one to greater things ;-)

So, with that in mind, on to today's trading...

I tend to take things easy on Saturdays with a spot of dog trading in the morning followed by bet matching the Bet365 CH4 horse races in the afternoon.

I abandoned the dogs this morning after 90mins or so of profit followed by loss. I was getting caught far too many times and as a result, after a losing trade of £5.50, I gave up with barely £1 to show for my efforts.

The horse matched betting didn't get off to a particularly good start as the odds on Bet365 were shocking. It amazes me why, in general, any punter would go to a bookies when the odds on BF are so much higher.

As you can see, I only did 4 races today and failed to find any winners. but picked up £10 for my efforts.

Interestingly, the last of those saw me get a great spread when the odds on Betfair dropped to 6.00 to lay 'Noticeable'. Bet365 were slow to react and I managed to get the 6.50 they had on offer at the time. Immediately afterwards, they slashed the price to 5.50!

With my net win liability only sitting at -£1.32, I should have laid off a bit more, especially in running when the odds went below 4.00 for a while. Foolishly I didn't and the benefit of getting a 6.50/6.00 spread was wasted.

I returned to the dogs for a little while as the afternoon card at Newcastle was drawing to a close. I'm glad I did as I picked up £16 in three races including my best ever dog trade of £11.

That profit for the horse racing looks impressive, but that was the winning part of the bet matching. £200 was lost on Bet365 as part of the process.

The extra £3 or so was thanks to trading where I increased my 'back to basics' bank by 12%. It now stands just shy of £31.

Learning When To Stop

Well, Cheltenham is well and truly over and, I have to say I'm disappointed. Not with the racing, which was great, but with the bet-matching I did on those races offered by Bet365.

With 5 races on each of the 4 days, I was looking forward to making some easy money, though looking back over the meeting, I didn't make as much as I had hoped.

There were a number of problems with Cheltenham this week:

1. The odds were, in general, too high and/or the spread was too great. It was hard work finding decent spreads at sensible odds. That's the reason I only did 14 races. Even then, I took a big risk in a couple of races and laid off in-running in order to obtain a decent spread.

2. With such large high quality fields, it was always going to be difficult finding winners, which is where the best returns come from using this technique.

3. I made two mistakes which cost me roughly £20 profit. The worst of these was over laying 'Wichita Lineman' in the 2:40 on Tuesday after mistakenly thinking that the SP was 6.5 and not the 6.00 that I had backed at. In retrospect, I could have backed it for a small amount when its odds shot out early in the race, but who'd have thought it would mount such a dramatic fightback to win on the line? Not me, but then, what do I know?

With only £37 to show for my efforts at the big meeting, I'm glad that the greyhounds have kept the fire burning brightly.

Over the four days of the Cheltenham Festival the dogs have earned me £117 with the results just getting better and better as the week has gone on. I must confess, this came as a pleasant surprise as I had thought that the dog markets would die a death with the big race meeting on. If anything, they were better than I've seen them for some time.

I've also, off and on, been trading the evening horse races, without much success it has to be said. Since I decided I was going to go back to basics, I've traded 19 races and increased my little trading bank by only £2.46 and at no time have I enjoyed any of it. I just do not get it and show no signs of doing so.

Despite my successes this week, indeed, this month, I'm getting more and more frustrated with the number of days I wind up disappointed or annoyed simply because I spend all day achieving a reasonable profit, which I then start to erode later in the day.

Today was a perfect example. In the latter races of the afternoon greyhound card, I desperately tried to break through the £60 mark, but stopped for dinner a few pence short of it. I was more than happy with this, and, combined with the £26 I'd made through the matched betting today, I was delighted with the total.

Afterwards, I returned to get that extra few pence and spent the next 90 mins alternating between wins and losses. Still, although I lost £4.50 trying in vain to trade the horse win market of the 7:20 at Wolverhampton, my dog profit edged to almost £70 when I got caught in successive races losing nearly £12 in the process. At which point I stopped.

And here's my point. That loss has really put a major dampener on today's achievements, even though at the start of the day I would have settled for the £80 I eventually achieved. I find it frustrating that I am continually doing such things and consequently always finishing the day on a downer rather than being extremely pleased with the results I've achieved.

I've never been one for setting hard and fast targets. I do not believe that I should stop when I've reached a particular predetermined point. If things are going well and I'm a roll, then I do not see the point of stopping. However, I really need to learn to recognise when I should stop.

I've always been a person who tends to dismiss my successes as unimportant and take them for granted, yet I let my failures bug the hell out of me. This is a perfect example of that.

No PC This Week

Having posted the risk of increased premium charges through matched betting last week in my post, The Problem With Matched Betting, this week has seen the opposite effect. Successful winners in the matched betting have resulted in my commission generated being over 20% of my gross profit, so no PC applies - even though I had a profitable week.

As Cassini rightly pointed out in a comment to last week's post, these things are likely to balance out over time. This week's screen shot goes some way to illustrating that.

Can't String Two Good Days Together

Since my last update on Saturday where I managed a decent profit, I seem to be struggling to put together a run of similar returns. Inconsistency seems to be the order of the day.

The greyhound racing on Sunday had me pulling my hair out - what's left of it. One of those days where, for every good trade, an equally bad one would follow. After 90 mins of trading blows, I stopped with not much more than £2 to show for my efforts.

Yet yesterday, after spending all day with a client I spent two and a half hours in the evening dog markets and made £30.

Today, was riddled with mistakes. I had every intention of spending the afternoon match betting the Bet365 CH4 offers at Cheltenham. Before hand, I spent some time in the dog markets from about 12:00, and was doing OK when I stopped for an early lunch so that I was ready for the big races to come.

There were a few dog races before the first horse race and the first I tried after lunch saw me lose virtually all of my gains.

I did the same after the horse racing was finished. Went back to the greyhound markets, then, having started to build a reasonable profit, I lost in all in the 5:47 where I kept misreading the market.

This was after a stupid mistake I made in the matched betting at Cheltenham. I'll do a full report on my matched betting of the Cheltenham Festival once it is over, but today, I wound up with a £4 loss after 4 races thanks to my own stupidity.

I had losers in the first two races so had a profit of £5.00. I then went with 'Wichita Linesman' in the 2:40, backing at 6.00 on Bet365 and laying at 6.20 on Betfair. I also stuck a £5 lay at odds of 2.00 to be taken in running. This would leave me with a net win liability of £42 and a running total of £37 in the event of a win.

As the race started, the latest betting scrolled across the screen and I mistakenly took this as the SP. It was saying odds for Wichita was 6.50 and, if it won, Bet365 would pay out at these odds. This would mean that my net win liability would be £17. with this in mind, I increased my lay @ 2.00 to £15. As you will know, Wichita dramatically swept through the field to win on the line.

However, the SP was 6.00, not the 6.50 I had mistakenly thought it was. This meant that my net win liability was £52 with my running total at £47. Even with a free bet on the next race, I was struggling to recover that loss.

In the next race, I went for 'Osana' at 11.0 to back, 12.0 to lay. This would win my £43 leaving me £4 down. Annoyingly, the lay odds dropped to 8.4 after I placed my lay bet. So thanks to that stupid mistake, I lost a fair bid in potential winnings.

It just wasn't my day. Thankfully, I didn't make the mistake of forgetting my Mum's 75th Birthday this morning so it wasn't all bad.

Cat And Mouse With Bet365

Saturday afternoons are set aside for some free-bet matching on the Bet365 Ch4 horse racing offers. As you can see from yesterday's results, it can be quite lucrative. Consequently, I was looking forward to more of the same today with races from Sandown and Wolverhampton making up the six on offer.

It turned out to be a somewhat disappointing day as I was continually beaten to the draw as Bet365 reduced odds just as I submitted my bet.

The tone was set in the morning when, upon first opening the Bet365 and Betfair websites, I noticed that 'Keki Buku' in the 2:05 at Sandown, was on offer at 9.00 on Bet365 and 8.4 to lay on Betfair. In the 30 secs it took me to log onto my Bet365 account, they slashed their price to 5.00!

As I've explained before, it is important to get as small a spread in odds as possible. This way, the liability in the event of a win is minimised. I aim for a liability of around 75% of my stake, but if I can reduce this by getting lower lay odds, so much the better as this gives some money to play with for additional in-running lays for example.

Unfortunately, I struggled to find any lay odds less than the back odds I eventually took. It wasn't helped by playing cat and mouse with Bet365 as they cut their odds on virtually every horse I went for. None more so than the second last race, the 3:30 at Wolverhampton, where I went for 5 different horses only to be told each time I submitted my betslip that the odds had been cut. I was literally seconds away from a good deal each time.

In the event, it didn't matter as I failed to find any winners today as the screen shot below shows.

When I'm doing these matched bets, I always ask myself, 'how much profit would be acceptable per race if I was scalping the market?' To me, 5% return on stake would be fine so I configure my lays to give just that knowing that if I happened to find a winner, I'd be temporarily in the red, but with a free bet in hand.

With no winners today, I got a return of £15 total over the 6 races. A reasonable return for the relatively small effort I put in, but I cannot help be disappointed having missed so many negative odds spreads.

I also did a spot of greyhound trading in the morning, picking up £21 for my efforts adding to the success of the day. And it's not often I've said that about a Saturday's trading.

The Midas Touch?

Not quite, but it was still the best day I have had to date. Virtually everything I touched went well and I finished the day with my highest ever daily total of £101.64. Marvellous!

As usual, I kicked off proceedings with the greyhounds. I spent the first two hours or so concentrating solely on the mutts, then dipped in and out as I did other things throughout the afternoon and evening.

This more relaxed regime seemed to work well as I made a total of £41.22 spread over 47 races. I only lost £3.30 in total over 7 of those markets, so a very successful day with our canine friends.

Come lunchtime, I started to look at the Bet365 feature races with a view to a spot of matched betting. The first, the 3:55 at Sandown, didn't have particularly good spreads, though there were a couple of horses that looked promising so I decided to wait.

The second race, the 8:20 at Wolverhampton was interesting as there was a very good opportunity in that, even in the early afternoon. 'Internationaldebut' was available at 6.50 on Bet365 and only 6.40 to lay on Betfair, so I snapped that up.

Those of you who are familiar with the Bet365 horse and dog racing free bet offers may think this strange. Bet365 give a free bet if the pick in the preceding race wins. So how can I take a position on the second race without knowing the outcome of the first?

When placing one's initial bet, the lay stake is known - and easy to work out using the Rolling Free-Bet Matching spreadsheet - and is dependent on the back stake. Consequently, it is the same for every non-free bet. If the runner wins, the lay bet on the subsequent free bet varies depending on the lay odds achieved on the free bet.

In my case, my lay on the 8:20 was £55.26 with a liability of £298.42. However, after later getting involved in the 3:55 and my pick, 'Don't Tell The Wife', going on to win, my spreadsheet told me, based on the odds I had achieved earlier in the day, that my lay should now be £50.93 with a liability of £275. In effect I now had an unwanted overlay which is easily erased by backing the runner on Betfair so that the overall liability returns to what it should be, i.e. -£275 in this case.

As you can see, there's no need to do your match betting in the same order as the races occur. By looking early at the prices on offer, you can quite often get very small spreads, or, even better, lay odds less than the back odds.

The first race was completely different to the second in that I had to wait until a few minutes before the off before a suitable odds spread presented itself. I managed to get on 'Don't Tell The Wife' at odds of 5.50/5.50.

As you can see from the screen shot above, my back odds are not 5.50, but 6.0. This is because after taking the 5.50 available at Bet365, the prices drifted and, with the horse going on to win, Bet365 paid out at SP which was higher than the odds I'd taken. That's why the spreadsheet reflects the higher odds. This is great when it happens as it automatically reduces the Net Win Liability.

With my running total sitting at a loss of less than £3 I was happy putting in an additional lay of £10 @ 1.75 hoping it would be matched in-running. If 'Internationaldebut' won, my running liability would still be less than £10, but I'd have another free bet in hand. As it turned out, it was matched in-running, but the horse then faded badly and wasn't even in the frame. So that cheeky little in-running lay gave another little boost to what was already a good return.

So two races done using matched betting and a profit of over £55. Not bad for what amounted to less than 30 mins work.

Finally, I also carried on with my horse trading using my Back To Basics strategy.

I entered 7 races today, mainly in the evening meeting at Wolverhampton. I scratched 3 of them and made a total of £4.91 from the others. Again, that doesn't seem much, but that represents an increase to my stake of 18.6% taking my stake up to £31.30 on the start of the 3rd day of this process.

So, although everything I touched didn't quite turn to gold it turned out to be a very successful day none the less.

Tomorrow being Saturday, I will be concentrating on matched betting the Bet365 Channel 4 races. Hopefully, I'll pick up a few more pounds to add to the pot. One thing for sure though, it's a lot less stressful than trading.

Senior Moment Sloppiness

I'm getting old. I admit it. Despite the fact that I have a degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, a post graduate diploma in Information Technology and I'm a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, my brain simply doesn't work as quickly as it once did. My reactions in response to visual stimuli appear in slow motion sometimes. Evidence of this can be seen everyday in my trading. None more so than today.

I stumbled through trade after trade today in the greyhound markets. I lost count of the number of times I spotted a swing about to happen, yet I could have read the whole of Lord of the Rings trilogy by the time my right hand responded to the signals from my brain to do something about it.

I got involved in 39 dog races today, losing £20 over 12 races, yet I still came away with a profit of £34! That was through luck rather than trading.

Way back in the dim and distant past when I traded the place markets, I made no secret of the fact that I'd like to be able to judge form so that I could take some of my pre-race profit in-play as a bet. It never really came to anything as I simply didn't have the time to learn about horse racing form. I still don't.

As I've been trading the dogs, I've often felt a similar desire, but again, I know nothing of greyhound form. However, the guys on William Hill Radio do. One in particular, Darren Driver, really knows his stuff and I have come to value his calls, primarily for trading purposes. The number of his picks that romp home is admirable.

Today was no exception as he was on a fine run picking quite a few winners, all at decent odds. So, having made a profitable trade in the 1:44 at Sheffield I decided to stick the £2 profit on his pick. After all, my trading hadn't been going that well, so what harm was there in a free bet?

None at all as 'Russanda Eva' stormed home at odds of 12.5! That made my day a bit better.

My dog trading took a back set for a while in the afternoon as I was match betting the horses over at Bet365. This is where I had another senior moment.

With my first pick winning in the 2:30 at Wincanton I had a free bet in the next, the 8:50 at Wolverhampton. Although it was someway off, the odds spread on 'Tourist' was good so I backed at 7.00 and decided to place a number of small lays at various odds as I expected them to come in a little.

As I placed numerous £10 lays at ever decreasing odds from 7.2, I couldn't understand why they were all being taken at 7.2. Then my brain woke up and I realised I'd been backing the stupid animal instead! Doh!

No problem though. It was simply a case of laying those bets off again at 7.2, only my brain had switched off without telling me and I overlaid! Again, it took me a little while to click why the numbers looked funny. So another small back set me right.

After all that, I wound up with £6.93 profit for matched betting over the two races. A disappointing figure, not because of all my mental aberrations, but my premature placement of the closing lays.

It is important to keep the odds spread as small as possible, which I did. 8.0/8.0 for the first race, followed by 7.0/7.2 for the second. However, one of the reasons I chose those runners was that I felt their prices would shorten on Betfair. And they did.

'Saphire Night' shrank to 5.9 before the off in the first race and 'Tourist' traded at 5.3 at one point. If I had managed to lay at both those prices then my profit for the exercise wouldn't have been £6.93, but £145.49! That's a big price to pay for a lack of patience and courage of conviction.

Whilst it is easy to say these things after the fact, I felt it worth while posting to demonstrate how important it is to optimise the odds taken as these are the biggest factors in maximising the profit from the Bet365 offers. Lesson learned though and I'll be willing to wait a little longer next time.

This evening also saw the start of my new horse trading regime as described in 'Back To Basics'.

I only trade 4 races in the evening meeting at Wolverhampton, including two races with only 3 runners which I found very difficult to read. Despite this, I made £1.39. Not a lot, but that represents an increase to my stake for next time of 5.6%. If I can do that everyday I'll be a happy bunny.

Back in the saddle tomorrow for more fun and mind numbingly stupid actions on the part of yours truly. Or should I just start drawing my pension now?

The Problem With Matched Betting

Or more accurately, the problem with matched betting on Betfair, is that winning bets on the Betfair side can really screw your premium charge.

The matched betting I did on the Bet365 horse offers on Saturday is a case in point. Every one of them failed to win resulting in my Betfair account being boosted by a fraction under £325. Of course, I lost £300 on Bet365.

The effect on my premium charge is plain to see.

Over recent weeks when I've been posting my premium charge, the highest it has been is £25. Now, because of the artificially high 'profit' on Betfair for last week, my premium charge is £75!

So clearly, unless a winner, or a number of winners, can be found the free-bet matching can actually cost significantly more in premium charges than the actual 'real' profit it achieves.

Worth keeping in mind and certainly reason to lay these bets off on Betdaq or elsewhere. However, that old problem of liquidity may well rear its ugly head.

Rolling Free-Bet Matching - Version 3.50

There's a new update available to the Rolling Free-Bet Matching spreadsheet. I had hoped to get this out before last night's Q&A session, but unfortunately didn't get around to it until today.

The functionality is exactly the same in terms of the number crunching but I changed the layout and added some more facilities including:

1. The ability to record event date, event title and the runner concerned. I've provided this so that users who wish to keep a complete record of their free-bet matching progress can do so by copying each bet data and pasting it into a separate spreadsheet.

2. The IR Lay Stake, IR Lay Odds and IR Lay Liability columns have been renamed to emphasise that these options aren't just for use in-running.

3. The Net Liability column has been renamed to Net Win Liability to emphasis that these figures are those that will be realised in the event of the runner winning it's race.

4. The Settings table has been repositioned so that it is visible while working in the main betting table.

5. The bookmaker and exchange account running totals will now change to a white font on a red background when their values fall below a certain amount thereby providing a visual warning that they may need to be topped up. In the case of the bookmaker account, it changes when it falls to the same value of the back stake or below. The exchange total changes when it falls below 1/3rd of the exchange account value.

The new spreadsheet is available for download now and replaces all previous versions.

A Successful Day

I knew today was going to be a busy one as I intended to do some matched betting during the Sky televised greyhound meeting this evening. Prior to that, I had arranged a Q&A session to be held in the chat room to discuss the use of the Rolling Free-Bet Matching spreadsheet I've developed over recent months. In addition, I had to find some time to actually do some trading.

After clearing the decks I sat down in time for the morning session of the greyhounds. This went reasonably well, clocking up £20 before breaking for lunch.

The afternoon session wasn't so great as I kicked it off with a £5 loss which annoyed me. I eventually clawed it back and by the time I stopped for an early dinner, I'd managed to get £25 for the day. Not great, but certainly not bad either.

Just before 6:00 I went into the chat room to find a fair few there already. The intention was to hold a Q&A session, though it turned more into a lecture on my part :-)

There were 15 people in the room at one point so from that point of view the session was a success. More importantly though I was able to describe how to make full use of the spreadsheet to assist in the execution of the Bet365 offers that it is aimed at.

Hopefully everyone got out of it what they needed and the transcript, or most of it (a long story) is available here.

A few stayed behind afterwards as I, and others, used the spreadsheet during the Sky dogs meeting and relayed our figures to those present in the room.

My results are shown above and, as you can see, I only took part in 5 of the 8 races on the card. This was primarily due to the odds spread being too great on many of the races. This happens a lot with the televised dogs as there are often short priced favs which are too low to meet the 3.00 back requirements for Bet365.

Achieving nearly £14 for very little effort is pleasing enough but I have to say I am a little disappointed with the results as I failed to get the best odds available. This was specifically true in the second race where, with a free bet, I laid too early @ 5.10. If I'd waiting until much nearer the off I could have had 3.80.

If I'd been more patient, and confident that the odds would drop, my profit from the matched betting would have been some £20 greater. Not to worry. Any profit is good profit as they say.

I also bet matched one of the Bet365 horse races this afternoon, which netted £2.50 to add to the pot. This, combined with my various forays into the dog markets saw my monthly profit increase by £41.

Just let me end this post by thanking all those who attended the Q&A session in the chat room. First time I've used it for something like that and may very well do so again. Now that you know the chat room is there, feel free to pop in anytime and join in the discussions.

Until next time...

Free-Bet Matching Q&A Session

Just a quick reminder that I'll be holding a Q&A session on the Rolling Free-Bet Matching spreadsheet and its use in the Bet365 CH4 horse racing and Sky televised greyhounds.

If you already make use of these offers from Bet365, you can use my freely available spreadsheet to help you with the calculations. If you don't avail yourself of these offers you really should. It's a straight forward way to make some regular cash and my spreadsheet will help you do it.

So, whether you're a Bet365 bet matching expert, or a complete novice, be in the chat room for 6:00pm on Tuesday evening and hopefully you'll pick up some tips on using the spreadsheet that you may not have been aware of.

Assuming all goes well, and I remember to take a copy of it, I'll be posting the transcript from Q&A session, on the website later in the evening.

See you there.

Back To Basics

I've only done 2-3 dog races this evening after being with a client all day, but I'm not particularly in the mood so I stopped early. By taking the evening off I've had the opportunity to think about what I'm going to do with my horse trading.

As you know, last November I made a concerted effort in the win markets and failed miserably. I made a small amount, but I lost a lot on the dogs in that I wasn't trading them as much since my focus was elsewhere.

Over the past few weeks, I've been venturing back into the win markets again, but only when the greyhound markets are quiet. This time I do not think it sensible to sacrifice the dog trading, and subsequent profit, while trying to learn the horses.

Recently, I've been going into the horse markets with too much money, and trying to trade them like I do the dogs. I'm more of a swing trader than a 1-2 tick scalper, but the difficulty I'm having (have always had) with the horse win markets is the amount of 'noise'. I am continually finding myself being fooled into thinking the trend is reversing only to find, after I've traded out for a loss, that the market carries on in the direction I expected.

In addition, I have always used graphs to help me with my trading, yet in the horse markets I continually find myself watching the numbers in the ladder rather than trying to assess the trend using the graphs at my disposal.

Now it may well be that my trading style, temperament and market assessment skills just aren't suited to pre-race horse markets. However, I'm not prepared to give up just yet. So I've decided to return to basics and do what I did a year ago that got me started on this journey in the first place.

To recap, I took £10 and started trading the place markets on 23rd Feb. Every subsequent race, my stake changed by my P&L from the previous race. In this way by meager bank grew as I was learning. As I went along, I 'withdrew' money from the operating bank, but, as I was trading the place markets at the time, I found that the exponential bank growth slowed simply because I was finding it more and more difficult to get bets matched once my staking reached £100 or so. As a result, it wasn't until the beginning of June that my earnings had reached £500.

However, this method of bank growth, combined with learning, served me well. Consequently, I've decided to return to the same method. There will be a few differences this time though.

Firstly, I'm going to start with £25, rather than £10. I will monitor the growth of my 'imaginary' bank, but I will not take anything out of it.

Secondly, I'll only be doing this during evening racing as I'll be concentrating on the greyhounds. Once I become more proficient in these markets I will gradually spend more time there. Ultimately, I envisage only doing the dogs in the morning before horse racing starts around 2:00pm.

Thirdly, the last time I did this it was in the place markets. This time I'm going to concentrate on the win markets.

By starting again as it were, I hope to better understand how these markets behave and finally, once and for all, establish if trading the horse markets is for me.

A Few Inches Do Matter

The start of a new month, and for all intents and purposes, a new trading year since I first started on 23rd Feb 2008.

Mad as a March hare is a topical phrase that could easily be applied to my trading today. I started off very well on the greyhounds and built up a pleasant £26 by the time the Carling cup final approached and all the money drained out of the markets. I only traded 26 races with just one loss of £2.71 so a profitable 3 hours.

With the liquidity disappearing fast I thought I'd go where some money would be and have another go at the horse markets, and almost immediately regretted my decision.

I managed to scrape a few pennies from the 2:50 at Lingfield, but when I then lost nearly £9 in the 3:00 at Musselburgh, I switched the computer off in disgust and consoled myself with a cuppa and no small amount of chocolate.

I returned again in time for the 4:20, where I lost another £2 at which point I left the nags alone. Stupid bloody sport anyway :-)

Over the past month or so, I have been struck by the number of football matches that I have been monitoring that have seen a very late goal. Of course, I have never had any money on them at the time. So, with 5 mins left in the Carling cup final and the score at 0-0, I place a lay bet on the 0-0 scoreline @ 1.08 for a liability of £5 in the hope of one of Man Utd famous last minute goals.

Only 60 seconds after my bet was matched, Ronaldo picks the ball up on the corner of the penalty box, cuts inside and lets loose with a left footed pile-driver... which thumps off the post and away. Bummer! Two or three inches to the left and I would have been £62.50 richer.

So my profit for the day has whittled down from £26 to £11.

I've been looking at the Lyon match this evening and at odds of 1.80, I believe they are value to beat Rennes at home. However, having already thrown away over half of today's profit, I'll leave it and keep my powder dry for another day.

Back in the saddle tomorrow evening.