October 2009 Summary

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

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

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

Sharp Reminder

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

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

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

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

Just not my day today.

So Much For That Idea!

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

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

I obviously haven't adjusted to the new regime.

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

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

Back in the saddle tomorrow.

Why I Use Linux

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

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

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

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

Comedy Of Errors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lifetime Premium Charge

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

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

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

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

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

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

Writer's Block

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Downright Bloody Stupid

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Change Of Emphasis

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Dragon Flight

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

Stark Contrast

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cash Giveaway!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unusual For Me

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weebles Wobble

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poor Show

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

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

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

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

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

Electrifying Stuff

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

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

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

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

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

You can't have everything I suppose.