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.


Talkbet said...

Hi mate, always a good read this blog. Just commenting on your post where you say you went back in a couple of times in the last race trying to recover your loss. Are you sure you were wrong to do this ? Just because the first trade went wrong, it doesnt then mean you should leave the market alone, maybe you just felt at the time that you were confidnet of a winning trade. Hindsight is a wonderful thing (especially when trading!) but it could be that it was just coincendence you hit 3 losing trades on the last race, nothing to do with goign back in to recover your initial loss. Just my thoughts!

Alistair said...

Hi Talkbet,

Thanks for the comment.

You're absolutely right. I wasn't necessarily wrong to go back in, but what I shouldn't have done is go back in without re-assessing the market properly. Sorry, I didn't make that clear in my post.

Not to worry though. £23 losing trade is hardly a disaster in the grand scheme of things. Especially since I still came away with a profit, which is of course, the important thing.

PhilipH said...

Hi Alistair,

Another great post, thanks for taking the time out to give it. I think investing the whole of your bank takes some real nerve, but I can see the logic of it.

For one thing, it certainly makes you protect your stake every time. If you are only investing, say, 5% of your bank it might not be quite so imperative. Letting the bet run, hoping to trade out in running, is pure gambling - so the discipline of stake protection of 100% of your bank is a pre-requisite of trading.

I will try this approach. What I am interested in is HOW you assess the market? The only "assessments" I make is (a) has the horse any real chance of winning, and (b) is tick size small enough to make a trade viable.

Now I realise that (a) above should not enter into the argument, but it is the "punter" in me that refuses to go away! By invest my total bank will FORCE me to ignore the chance of the nag winning.

What can you say about this comment? (Without being too rude!)

Kind regards, Phil

Alistair said...

Hi Phil,

Let me just clear things up, just in case I've given the wrong impression.

I am NOT investing my whole bank. Three weeks or so ago, I set aside £25 from my overall bank to use as my stake as I learned the horse markets. This is an insignificant amount compared to my Betfair account, or indeed the money I've earned since starting.

I re-invest this amount on the horses so that my profit as I learn increases and makes it worthwhile.

I know some people talk about using their whole bank when trading. I personally don't for reasons of bank preservation. A whole host of things, many of which are outside our control, can happen that will lose your stake or a substantial part of it. Using one's whole bank to trade is asking for trouble.

With regard to your 'assessment', if you'll forgive me, I think you're looking at it the wrong way.

In my opinion, whether a horse, dog, football team or tiddly-wink player has a chance of winning is only of relevance if you intend to trade in-play.

If you are intending to trade pre-race, then your thoughts on whether your pick will win doesn't matter. What matters are the thoughts of all the other punters/traders. Do THEY think it will win?

If you can suss out what the market is thinking, you'll do just fine. Me? I'm still trying to find that holy grail.

PhilipH said...

Thanks Alistair. Actually, I'd guessed you had set aside a specific sum for nag trading and having seen some of your P/L screen shots I knew you traded in larger amounts, say up to £50 or so. However, my thanks for giving your succinct explanation in reply to my comment.
Regards Phil