August 2009 Summary

Having reached £400 on Friday morning it was a little disappointing that I didn't have the opportunity to continue trading over the weekend. Still it was good to get away for a break.

I tried trading the greyhounds this evening but it was difficult with the lack of money around. In the past (last winter that is) I found Monday evenings to be very profitable. Not today though, particularly when my bet submissions suddenly started taking upwards of 5 seconds to reach the market, costing me nearly £14 in one race.

It transpired that my darling daughter, bless her, decided that that moment was an ideal time to send her pals some pictures via MSN. She is now scheduled to be burnt at the stake tomorrow at noon. LOL!

Joking aside, it is good to record another profitable month, especially when I lost a fair bit on the rounders, sorry, cricket. I also had some frustrating days trading the greyhounds, particularly the morning sessions which saw some erratic performances on my part.

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

Greyhounds... £389.07
Horses... £121.13
Soccer... £25.97
Cricket... -£123.02
Golf... -£19.25

As you can see, I tried to expand my portfolio this month with little success. Having said that, it is the cricket that has limited my profit this month. Two reasons for this. First, I went into a market that I know little about with too much money and secondly, I didn't have a clear exit strategy in mind.

I was following advice from more experienced cricket traders and I think even they were caught out by the speed of England's collapse in the 4th test.

The golf was a big disappointment having convinced myself that the price on Tiger Woods to win the US PGA was too low. Unfortunately, the market disagreed and his price kept coming in and my stop loss was met fairly early in the tournament. As we know, he lost in the last round and my assessment was proved to be correct. Frustrating therefore to come away with a loss.

Still, despite these losses, I shall continue to investigate both cricket and golf as the swings can be substantial. I just need to learn how to get on the right side of them.

Also, I've been dipping my toe back into the soccer pool now that the new season has started. I'm pleased with the small profit, though there is a long way to go. However, it's important to find some edge in these highly liquid markets as the dogs die a death when there's major football matches on. It makes sense to try and grab some of the action.

As regular readers will know, I hard a hard time on the horse win markets last month. After this experience, I decided to leave them alone for the time being. However, I found myself being drawn back to the horses and the place markets in particular. It's funny how I seem to have come a complete circle having started in those markets all those months ago with a measly tenner in my account.

With the place markets being very similar to the greyhound markets, I have found it very easy to switch between the two all afternoon. Of course, I cannot put huge bets in the place markets, but then, I am generally able to look for a greater number of ticks profit. Swings and roundabouts I guess.

So, a reasonable, if not spectacular £394 profit for the month and quite a few lessons learned and markets to investigate further. It will be interesting to see what September will bring.

As ever, many thanks to everyone who takes the time to read my ramblings and especially those that take the time to comment.

Perfect Day

Well, two hours anyway. I've been a bit erratic in the morning dog market of late, but this morning I traded the first 18 races and came away with £43 with no losers. That's what we all like to see.

That means, coupled with the £53 I won yesterday over greyhounds, horse place and soccer correct score markets, I've pushed through the £400 mark for the month. Something I never expected when I was throwing my money away on the cricket.

Unfortunately, due to family commitments, I've had to stop. Moreover, that's my trading more or less done for the month, though I might get a little in on Monday evening. I'll do the monthly summary then. However, there's one thing I'll flag up to you that you might want to keep an eye on...

In all the races this morning, up to the 12:42, someone, or I suspect some bot, had already had £280 matched at odds of 2.60 on traps 1, 2 and 3. I've no idea why, but I suspect a bot was matching itself as there is never that sort of money around so early in these markets.

When I opened the markets some 5 mins before the scheduled off, ALL these runners were trading at much higher odds. If I'd realised earlier in the morning that these sums were coming in I would have been laying like a whore in a brothel.

Anyway, something you might want to keep an eye on just in case the bot owner hasn't noticed - assuming it is a bot. If it is a trader, then please don't scare him off until I get a chance to grab some of the action.

Have a good weekend.

Cheat's Charter

Tonight we saw, yet again, a referee completely conned by a cheat. If ever there was I more glaring example of why we need televised monitoring to assist the officials in these crucial decisions then I have yet to see it.

ALL other major sports have the facility, allowing the referee to confirm important decisions. Yet the governing bodies of football stubbornly refuse to introduce it. Why?

Given the amount of money in the modern game, both in terms of players wages and rewards for successful clubs, it is hardly surprising that players cheat, either through their own lack of morals or even encouraged to do so by their clubs. It is utterly disgraceful and a shocking example to give impressionable children.

If the authorities are not prepared to use television pictures to assist the officials, the very least they should do is use those very pictures to punish the culprits, just as they are used rescind red cards for example.

In my view, the perpetrator of such blatant acts of cheating should be banned for a month, and both the player and their club fined heavily. With so much money involved, it is not until draconian measures are put in place to hit players and clubs in their respective pockets that we will see an end to this unacceptable behaviour.

I won't hold my breath. The intransigence of the governing bodies will continue to encourage this cheat's charter.

Anyway, congratulations to Arsenal in getting through to the Champions League group stages. They are a great side to watch and certainly the better side over the two legs.

And to cap it all, I lost all my profit today thanks to getting caught by a suspension in the dog markets before all my closing trade was taken. Where was the diving scumbag to help me there?

Indian Summer

With the trading struggles I had in July, and the slow start to this month, I had in my mind that August was going to be another dog. The last few days have turned that around though. My trading has been steady if not spectacular. That has made a difference.

Actually, looking back over the month, my pre-race trading has been OK. A little less than I'd like, but OK and certainly better than August 2008. It was my poor attempts at trading new markets in the Ashes and US Masters that has left me with the impression of August being a poor month. It wasn't until I was collating my results for posting on here that I realised my 'normal' trading had gone reasonably well.

I have said a few times in the past that I'd be happy with £400/month (granted, based on past performances, I'm not now) and at least I'm heading towards that for this month.

After the stormy performances in the end of June and especially July, it finally feels that my trading is beginning to see an Indian summer.

Any Unquoted Value

I started looking at the correct score markets towards the tail end of last season, which was bad timing on my part, so I have been keen to pick it up again. One thing I have been drawn to is the 'Any Unquoted' scoreline where the odds are shorter than 5.00.

While I don't doubt that many feel that these odds may represent value as far as the final result after 90 mins is concerned, I've been intrigued as whether these odds represent good short term lay opportunities, with a view to trading out after 10 mins or so.

Certainly, all the games I've looked at so far would seem to indicate that this is true. Take, the Arsenal v Portsmouth match yesterday. I laid the AU @ 2.5 for £50 and was out after ten minutes with a nice profit. The final score was 4-1 to The Gunners and the market was proved to be correct.

I did the same with the Ajax v Sparta game today, only I bottled it. The AU was trading around 2.78 mid morning, so I stuck a cheeky lay in at 2.50 for £50. This was matched 15 minutes or so before kick off. The odds continued to shorten until they reached 2.28 just before the match started. This represented a lot of ticks to recover within 10 minutes of play before I could even scratch, far less profit, which was enough to sow an element of doubt in my mind. As a result, I took the decision to trade out @ 2.34 for a guaranteed loss rather than run the risk of an early goal putting me further in trouble.

I was happy with that decision. I think as traders we should always exit a trade if we ever feel uneasy about our choices. The point being though, despite my exit, This match did exactly as I've seen before, i.e. the odds increased sharply. Indeed, in this particular match, there were no goals scored at all.

The next qualifying match I looked at was Barcelona v Ath Bilbao. Odds of 2.74 were available shortly before kick-off. On this occasion I chose not to get involved, but as I type, it's 0-0 at half time and the AU odds are 9.20.

Although the pre-match market may feel that there will be goals in these games, and frequently they are correct, how many games have we seen were the goals all come early on? With the odds so low in these matches, I can't help but feel they are not value backs, at least from a trading point of view. The downside due to an early goal is significantly reduced, with lots of time left in the match to recover our losses in other ways.

This is something I'll be looking at in more depth whenever I see a suitable match.

The Jury Is Out

Well, hopefully it will be. I've just received notification of 'Selection For Potential Jury Service', and quite frankly, I cannot be bothered. I know it is important for law abiding citizens to do their bit, but the whole process is such a waste of time, causes huge disruption to one's routine, is completely inefficient in terms of planning one's day(s) and the compensation provided is pitiful.

I wouldn't mind doing it if I could guarantee involvement in an interesting case, but I can't. Knowing my luck, I'd probably end up serving in the trial of some yob who should just be shot rather than tried. Certainly, the last thing I want is involvement in a prolonged, drawn out case.

I've managed to avoid it in the past. The first time, I was in the middle of my exams at university. It was some years later that I was notified again, but this time I cited the fact that I was self-employed and prolonged time out could ruin my business, not to mention prevent me from providing for my family. I got away with it on those occasions so I'm not sure if I can use those excuses again.

Do you think I'll manage to get out of it, if I turn up for the selection process wearing a tee-shirt with 'Hang the Bastard' writing on the front?

Anyway, on to the trading...

Today was the first day for a while that I've managed to spend most of it trading. Unfortunately, all it did was show that the erratic nature of my greyhound trading is still dominating. I'm not losing much, but I'm not winning much either. The now all to common process of building up some nice profit only to throw it away in one careless moment is ever present.

Indeed, come dinner time, I was only £2-£3 up, and that was thanks to some afternoon trading in the horse place markets.

I am, however, happy to say that things picked up in the evening. I carried on switching back and forth between greyhounds and horse place markets I finally managed to string a few profitable trades together.

Some may think that it is a dangerous thing switching between two types of market in such a manner, making adjustments to trading style as I go. In actual fact, these markets are remarkably similar in that there's less liquidity and with lots of gaps. Indeed, with the greater liquidity available in the SKY televised meeting from Bell Vue this evening, the greyhounds had more money than the horse place markets.

So with a decent run in both disciplines, I was able to notch up a £30 profit for the day. The first time I've done so for quite a while. Hopefully I'll be able to continue with that.

You'll be pleased to know I left the Ashes test well alone today. I learned my lesson last time. I'm am though starting to look at options for the football, now that the new season is well under way. I'll keep you posted if and when I get involved.

Thrills And Spills At Knockhill

This weekend saw my annual sojourn to Knockhill for the British Touring Car Championship. It was a great weekend with action galore, which many of you may have caught live on ITV4 yesterday. It rounded off a very poor week as far a trading was concerned and was a welcome change for that.

Sometimes I wonder why I bother doing this trading lark. It is so frustrating at times, none more so than today, having woken to the news that Tiger lost the US PGA Championship.

As regular readers will know, I had laid him at the start of the tournament @ 2.98 expecting him to drift at some stage, yet the market made him shorter and shorter, even though he wasn't leading. By the end of the first day, my stop loss kicked in and I was all red for around £18.

On the Friday night, tried scalping the market to nibble away at that red figure. All I did was make it worse, only be £2 though. Fortunately, I managed trade out just before he sunk a birdie putt that saw his odds drop nearly 30 ticks. I decided there and then that scalping the market without live pictures was too dangerous for my liking and I resigned myself to the loss of some £20.

On my return from Knockhill on Sunday night I had a look at the market again and he was trading at 1.26 and 1 shot in the lead. Yang was trading around 5.00. I momentarily thought about another lay, but to be honest, it was but a fleeting thought and certainly not a serious one. I was far too tired to think about scalping the market again and so I left it.

So, here I am, not long out of bed, typing this in the knowledge that my initial assumption proved to be right but I still wound up losing.

I think this is a typical example of why I find trading pre-race markets easier than any other sport. With pre-race trading, I do not have to have any knowledge about the runners, what form they are in or what they had for breakfast. I just watch the numbers jumping up and down and base my decisions on that.

With other sports, particularly those that have to be traded in-play, I have to form an opinion. That opinion is frequently at odds to what the market thinks as the event progresses but the trader in me does the proper thing and limits the losses. Then of course the market comes back to my original way of thinking, by which time I'm usually very reluctant to put more money into the market.

The fundamental issue here is that in all of these cases, I do not have live pictures to guide my take on the play as it unfolds. Which, in itself, is the reason I do not trade many in-play events.

Still, In the case of Tiger and the US PGA, I doubt that live pictures would have helped as I still would have traded out as his odds dropped.

Not much for me in the way of trading this coming week what with shopping for new school clothes and other extremely boring jobs like that. Have a good one if you're getting involved.

That Went To Plan - NOT

Tiger Woods obviously didn't read the script today. At least my script anyway. Even without pictures, it was obvious that he wasn't doing much wrong and the market was going to keep his price low.

As a result, I didn't like the way things were going, even before he had finished the first nine. His odds had fallen to 2.7 to back, but there was little money in between that and my lay entry point of 2.98. with this in mind, I decided to shed some of my liability and try and scratch £50 worth. This was taken 15 minutes or so later.

I placed a couple of bets higher up to close out the trade, but the odds shortened again. In the end, I felt it prudent to impose my stop loss and I bailed out at 2.12 for an all red £18. Granted, I could have scalped his position to limit the damage further - his odds at the time of writing are 1.89/1.90. However, I'm wary of putting more money into a market when I have no pictures, especially when I remembered this afternoon that I won't be around for much of the weekend.

I took a position at the start of play, which didn't pan out, so I'll take it on the chin. That's the nature of the game.

My greyhound trading continues to be erratic, though I did do better today making £26. I'd normally be looking to make at least that during the morning session alone, but I'll take it in any event.

Brain Wiring

It's been a real struggle for me the past few days. I'd happily build the foundations of a decent profit only for a 2-3 race spell to come along and wipe it all out and put me back to square one. It's happened time and time again this week leading to very little increase in the size of the pot and no end of frustration.

One of the things that I've been acutely aware of this week is my failure to get on drifting runners. I keep missing them and they go out so quickly that I can't catch up. I've been aware for some time that I tend to spot shortening prices easier than drifting ones. I seem to have difficulty spotting the price as it falls down the ladder, yet have little bother as it moves up (remember the ladder is inverted in BinarySoft).

I had mused in the past that perhaps my brain is wired in such a way as to favour the visual recognition of the upward movement compared to the downward movement. This week's efforts have brought those thoughts to the fore again, hence this post.

It is recognised in the educational establishments that some people have difficulty understanding written concepts, but have no trouble if those same concepts are expressed in graphical format, and vice versa. Anyone who has ever sat an IQ test will know the type of thing I mean.

I do not know if this is true, or just conjecture on my part, but it will be interesting to see if using conventional trading software I suddenly find it easier spotting drifters where the market it moving up the ladder. The opposite to what I am used to.

P.S. Like most IQ tests, there isn't necessarily one answer. In this case, the best answer is the third one by rotating the small square. The forth is also possible if you invert the small square while rotating the larger L shape. Sorry if I gave the answer away too soon. :-)


Back before the British Open, I suggested laying Tiger pre-tournament. Despite my confidence, I missed the opportunity to place a bet for reasons I won't go into here. Needless to say, he missed the cut.

Now with the US PGA upon us, much of the argument I put forward then, applies now. I cannot believe that odds of 2.98 can be viewed by anyone as value, particularly given the size and quality of the field.

For me, it is an obvious lay as I'm certain it will drift at some stage during the tournament. This time, I haven't made the mistake of not getting on. I've already laid him for £100 @ 2.98 and I'll be looking to trade out around 6.00.

BetTrader Evolution

Exiting news has just come from Racing Traders - a new trading application, BetTrader Evolution, is due for imminent release. More importantly for me, it is wholly browser based and will therefore run on Linux. I've been longing for alternative trading applications for Linux and it's great to see that happening.

To wet your appetite, here's a little teaser.

Damage Limitation

With England's collapse putting me in an inescapable position this weekend was all about limiting the impact of the resulting £107 loss.

As is so often the case, the greyhounds came to my rescue, first yesterday with a £24 profit in the morning followed by a £46 profit from today's efforts. As a result, when the cricket result was taken from my account today, its effect doesn't seem so bad.

I am so grateful for having a fall back market that I can use to help support the bank while I experiment in other areas.

A Little Knowledge Is A Dangerous Thing

What on Earth me, a proud Scotsman, think I can possible trade cricket? What the hell do we Scots know about such an alien sport?

From a trading perspective, I've been keen to broaden my horizons and having looked at a few cricket markets earlier in the year it was to me that there are excellent opportunities for catching significant swings.

Since Ashes started, I've been getting more and more actively involved - and producing bigger losses as I've gone along. Today was no exception.

As I've been looking at the markets, one of the things I have picked up on is the tendency (or so I thought) of the team fielding first, to drift as the match wore on. Based on this limited observation, I decided to lay Australia this morning at 2.6 for £100 and place smaller back bets at ever increasing odds in order to scalp a few pounds.

That worked well for about 10 mins, then it all went to pot.

With Australia taking two quick wickets, I was quickly looking at an ever decreasing odds figure and £84 red on the men from down under. Rather than jump ship, I decided to hang on, never expecting the ensuing England collapse over the next hour.

In order to retrieve the situation, I laid the Aussies at 1.34 for a liability of £100 looking to scalp a couple of tick and bring my red figure down a bit. Unfortunately, the market carried on moving against me and I wound up panicking and traded out at 1.10.

I'm now £107 red on the Australians and wondering how the hell I'm going to get out of this pickle short of praying for a flood of biblical proportions.

Like the title says, a little knowledge is indeed a dangerous thing.

To make matters worse, I had a very poor day on the dogs. I was down £23 after the first six races. It took me after 10pm to reduce my loss to a pathetic £9.00. Never mind, I did win some money on the Middlesbrough v Sheffield Utd match. I scalped the draw pre-KO and won 26p! LOL!

Now, come on England! Get your fingers out of your backsides!

And that's the last time you'll ever hear this Scot shouting for an England side to win any sport, never mind cricket.

A Long Lost Friend

A poor start today that resulted in me taking an hour to really get going. Once I got myself back in profit, I never looked back and finished the day nearly £60 to the good.

Rather than write my usual spiel, I'll simply summarise today's performance with the now familiar P&L graph.

It is interesting that having taken the decision at the start of the month to give the horses a rest and dedicate more of my time to the markets I'm most familiar with, i.e. the greyhounds, I've earned more in less than a week this month, than I did throughout July. Speaks volumes I guess.

It's been like visiting a long lost friend.

No doubt, I'll still find myself gravitating towards the nags once again sometime in the future, but for now, I'll be sticking to what I know. If for no other reason, it will help me get back on track and rebuild my confidence that had waned somewhat over the past month or so.

One final thing before I sign off for the night. The profit this week has seen me go through the £7K mark. Not bad considering I started off with £10 way back in the last week of Feb 2008.

Worth A Tenner

As a Celtic fan, I don't normally get involved in their matches. However, having made a few bob on the dogs today, the temptation to have a punt was too great. I backed Dynamo Moscow @ 2.25!

I haven't been overly encouraged by the summer transfer activities of my favoured club and given their appalling away record in Europe coupled with the fact that they were 1-0 down after the first leg against a side who are well into their own domestic campaign the 2.25 for the Russians seemed like value.

As you probably know by now, I lost £10 with Celtic scoring in the dying minutes of both halves thereby going through 2-1 on aggregate. Whilst the result is a prime example of why I rarely have a bet on the football these days, in this case, it was worth the £10 just to see the Bhoys get that 6 year old European monkey off their backs.

In any case, all was not lost in the Hamilton household as my son backed Celtic for a fiver so he was even happier. Indeed, I had a good day on the dogs, picking up over £41 for my troubles, so the day can hardly be described as a washout.

Well done Celtic. I wonder how often I'll say that during this European campaign.

£1 Per Race

It doesn't sound much, but that's what I'm looking to achieve when trading the dogs. Given the number of races available each day, hitting that target would provide a very nice return. Sadly, I do not manage it very often but it is something to aspire to.

I did however, manage to average £1/race this evening which quickly put me back on track after struggling on the greyhounds yesterday and of course, taking the hit on the 3rd Ashes test.

Tonight saw another series of Sky televised greyhound races. I used to look forward to these as I was able to avail myself of the bet365 2/1+ offers. Unfortunately, I can no longer do so since they banned me from receiving any free bets or bonuses. Now, I just have to trade them.

There's a heck of a lot more money on these races, so it perhaps comes as no surprise that I don't fair very well in these. They simply do not behave in the same way as the dog markets normally do. That's something I need to work on. Don't look for big jumps and stick significantly more cash into the market. As long as it doesn't remind me of the horse markets, I should be OK.

I'll give it a bash the next televised meeting which is being held at Wimbledon next Tuesday evening.

Strange Start To The Month

Having got July out of the way, I was looking forward to the August and getting back on track. Yesterday though proved to be a bit of a non-event.

For some reason, my software wasn't working. The logon process seemed to be working in that my account details would appear yet just at the last, it would return an error saying there was an API problem and it wouldn't let me in.

It did this once before nearly a year ago but eventually started working again a couple of days later. This time, it was up and running late Saturday evening, after all the dog racing was finished.

With BinarySoft unavailable to me, I spent some time playing around with the Betdaq Trader software as it is Java based and runs natively on my chosen platform. If BinarySoft ever fails completely, using Betdaq Trader would be an alternative trading option allowing me to avoid the need to move back to Windows. Whether it is a viable option in terms of liquidity remains to be seen. Certainly, my favourite greyhound markets would be out but that's a bridge I will cross when I come to it.

I finally got trading today, though it was a bit disjointed thanks to delays at Perry Barr which meant that their races were going off almost the same time as those at Hove. Why can't these places coordinate themselves? Greyhound races are frequently held up as SIS goes off to cover a horse race. Why can't the dog meets organise themselves a little better and talk to each other?

Anyway, despite these problems, I managed a profit of £26 today, with most of that happening in the morning session prior to the horse racing starting. Once the nags got underway, the greyhound markets quickly dried up.

I also had a little bet on the soccer. I stuck £10 on there being under 2.5 goals in the IFK Mariehamn v HJK Helsinki match. It ended 0-0 so a welcome £7.54 profit there.

At the start of the 3rd test I decided to lay the draw having seen the forecast for the weekend. Unfortunately, the rain was more persistent on Thursday than anticipated and the price kept coming in. As a result, I am all red to the tune of nearly £16 which will disappear from my account tomorrow evening.

Always good to start a new month with a profit though. Here's hoping I can keep it going a bit better than I did last month.