Bad Habits

Just over a week ago, I was delighted to post my best ever daily return from the horse markets. £87 if you recall. I've barely managed £45 for the whole of this week. Much of this has been due to some extremely annoying habits that I seem to be having difficulty breaking.

1. The first, and arguably the most damaging of these, is my propensity to build up profit in a race then reduce it, or worse, throw it all away, by going in for some more.

I've never been in the habit of setting myself targets and certainly not for individual trades/races. Instead, I've always preferred to take what I can get. Perhaps I need to reappraise that and would be interested to hear from more experienced traders regarding their thoughts.

2. Essentially the same as 1, but this time it relates to losses. The number of times I open with a losing trade and find my self going in again and again with a view to retrieving the situation only to make it worse beggars belief.

Having said that, there are many times when I have turned it around and either reduced it, or got myself into profit. Perhaps I need to introduce a 'stop loss' for the number of times I go in to repair the damage.

Again, feedback from those more experienced than me would be welcome.

3. My trading application of choice, BinarySoft BDI, does not have a drag and drop facility in the ladder. In other words, if I fail to get matched, I cannot simply move my stake up/down to the front of the market. Instead, I have to cancel the order and resubmit at the new odds.

Whether dragging and dropping is more efficient than the two clicks required by BDI is a mute point and isn't the issue for me. Rather it is my insistence on submitting first before canceling the original order that causes the problem. No sooner have I place the second trade and the market reverses taking that and my original stake with it. As a result, I end up with twice the amount of money in the market than I intended - and twice the loss.

I know I do it. I keep telling myself not to do it but in the heat of battle I forget - until it is too late.

4. The last two or three races of the session are frequently losers for me. I found this to be the case in the greyhound markets and now it's rearing its ugly head in the horse markets. This past four days has seen me wipe all my profits for the day on two occasions and today I cut it by half.

Very frustrating, but it seems to me that I really need to think about not trading these, or at least reduce my stakes a bit.

5. I have a habit of chopping and changing between horses looking for an opportunity. I'll get myself involved in a horse - often to simply end up as described above to recover a loss. In the meantime, while I'm mucking about on that runner, I miss a major move on something else.

I've got other annoying habits, but these ones are the biggest culprits. Granted I'm making money, but I'm not doing so as fast as I could/should be doing as these habits outlined above are hampering my progress. Until I resolve these issues, that progress will continue to be slow.


Paul said...

Does BDI not have a one click stop loss system like BA? Very handy, Alistair. Perhaps vital. Also nothing wrong for looking for opportunities through the entire field. After all, if one runner goes up, another goes down. Maybe reduce your stakes for the last few races. There's no real reason they should be jinxed so destress them by playing with minor dough until the siyuation clears itself up. Great blog as always, Alistair

Alistair said...

Hi Paul,

BDI does have a stop loss facility, but to be honest, I've no idea how to use it. LOL! I've never used it due to historically trading in thin markets where such a stop loss can, more often than not, be unnecessarily matched.

The various automatic enhancements in BDI, such as stop losses, kill and fills etc, are something that I tend not to use because it displays a dialog box every time one tries to enter these things.

Global settings to enable one click operation where all these things were entered as part of the bet submission was something I had discussed with the developer, Chris Gibbs, way back in the spring of 2008. Unfortunately, Chris chose to abandon BDI before programming these enhancements.

Having said that, my losses tend not to be due to one large swing. Although I occasionally get caught by such adjustments, I find that they tend to come back. My bigger losses are usually made up of lots of 1-2 ticks which all add up for that race. In this situation, I'm not sure entering a stop loss would be of any help.

I'd still like to find out how to enter a stop loss, so if anyone out there has used BDI and can remember the key strokes required, please feel free to leave a comment. A copy of the original help pages would be even better as these are no longer available on-line.