November 2009 Summary

It is very disappointing following up a fairly decent month, with one of my worst. A picture is worth a thousand words as they say, and since I haven't done one in a while it's probably easier sticking up a graph...


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

Remember, Remember The Month Of November

Excuse my paraphrasing of the well known rhyme, but this month is certainly one I'd rather forget.

Today I stuck to football as my broadband issues continue to deteriorate have looked promising towards the tail end of the week. As I write this, I am currently crawling along at 0.4Mbps! There's now a question mark over my router, so I'll see if I can borrow another one from a client for testing purposes.

Anyway, I kicked off the day with the bet on the under 2.5 goals in the Barcelona v Real Madrid match, as mentioned late this morning. I spent most of the day at the front of the queue @ 2.54 and in the end, only £45 of my £100 bet was taken.

Because of yet another major slowdown trying to access Betfair, I came out early for a tiny profit of 69p. A disappointing result, but at least it was green.

My 'active' trading started off with the Merseyside derby where I backed the 1-2 scoreline and covered it with a back of the under 1.5 goals market. I came out at half time with just under £5, though I spent 50p of that laying off the current score line late in the game - to no effect.

Then a quick trip down to London, where I completely screwed up the other big derby of the day.

I felt it would be a fairly close affair and did a similar trade, i.e. covered the under 1.5 goals and backed 1-2. I also backed 2-1 with a view trading out both as the goals started to go in.

Unfortunately, I got my self in a muddle through incompetence, misfortune and carelessness. I was too slow laying off some of the under 1.5 goal liability as well as the CS bets after the opener when a quick second goal went in. Of course, all would have been much better had it been an equaliser. With Chelsea going 0-2 up, I lost any ability to use the under 1.5 goals market and the 2-1 correct score.

To make matters worse, as I tried to minimise my liability, I inadvertently laid the 2-2 scoreline instead of the 1-2 scoreline. Even more panic ensued, particularly as the 2-2 score dropped to 12-13 very soon after laying it at 16.5.

To cap it all, throughout all of this, the Betfair interface was crawling along and BinarySoft wouldn't log in, timing out each time I tried. I don't know if this was due to my broadband problems, my router, or some other issue, though some others mentioned a sluggish BF as well.

I lost £37 thanks to that fiasco to finish the month with less than £100. Easily my worst month since I started - and I'm talking performance wise here rather than bottom line figure.

I doubt that I'll be doing much trading tomorrow, but I'll leave the monthly summary until then.

Oh Woe Is Me

Thanks to my ongoing broadband issues, I took a small loss on the PSG pre-match trade.

Having laid PSG @1.87, I could have backed for a 3 tick profit @ 1.90. However I decided to hang on for some more. With an hour to go before kick off, there was no sign of the price rising. Indeed, the indications were the opposite. I decided to pull out of the trade at this point.

This is were things conspired against me.

For nearly an hour prior to this, I had found the Betfair site really slow. I'd mentioned this in the chat room but everyone else was fine. Just as I went in to trade out my position, my router went on a two minute spell of intermittently dropping its connection.

After it came back on line, BinarySoft wouldn't connect and the Betfair site was still slow. When I eventually got in, I was in a losing position and I traded out for a small, all red figure leaving me with £98.13 to take on to the next trade.

It was of no consolation that PSG drifted to 3.0ish in-play before taking the lead. Of course, in-play trading is not the purpose of the exercise here.

I'm looking to stick the £98.13 on the under 2.5 goals @ 2.54 in the Barcelona v Real Madrid match. Just waiting to be matched as I write this.

Limited Portfolio

One thing that my recent broadband issues has highlighted is my over reliance on the fast paced pre-race greyhound and horse markets. I've tried trading with a slower connection over the past two weeks and while I've had the odd good day, in general I've lost.

I'm currently on a 3 day losing streak and with speed issues still a cause for concern I wouldn't be surprised if that were to continue.

I need to become familiar with, and develop strategies for, slower paced markets where I can take a longer term view and the speed of the bet submissions is not as critical. Of course, I recognised this many moons ago. My broadband issues have only served to reinforce this idea.

I'm already taking a more active interest in trading football in-play. At the moment I'm just playing around with a variety of strategies as I familiarise myself with the way the markets behave as the match unfolds.

I'd like to be able to trade pre-ko. Easier said than done. When I've tried this in the past, based on my assessment of how a match is likely to end, the pre-match market always seems to disagree with me. However, I'm going to try this again and to this end, I've set aside a small £100 bank were I'll put it all on pre-match and trade out before kick off. The whole bank will be used each time, shrinking or growing as I progress.

With this in mind, I've laid PSG in their match against Auxerre tomorrow. I'm on @ 1.87 for a liability of £100.

I wonder how long it will last.

Spoke To Soon

No sooner had I reported that my broadband had settled down and the speed drops from the 1.4Mbps that I normally get to 0.67Mbps on Sunday night. It was like that all day yesterday until this morning when it dropped still further to 0.175Mbs

To say I am not happy is an understatement. Looks like trading will be limited again today.

Broadband Settling Down

At the risk of tempting fate, my broadband speed issue seems to have resolved itself. I'm at least getting the sort of speed I normally get, not that that's any great shakes.

This week has illustrated something I didn't appreciate, and, as an engineer, I find a bit dumb.

BT have a mechanism in place where they reduce the speed available on your ADSL connection in order to provide a stable link. If they detect drop outs on your line, they will reduce the speed.

Hang on a minute! That means that the ever decreasing speeds I saw during the week, may well have been cause by the test I had to do in order to identify what might be causing the slowdown I was experiencing! What prat ever thought that was a good idea?

Why can't the system simply behave like old fashioned analog modems? When one dials the other, the go through a handshake process whereby the negotiate the fasted speed available. They do that on every new connection.

So, by continually rebooting my router, change filters, trying new routers, the BT systems were assuming my line was unstable and reducing my speed.

Some of the responsibility of this must lie with my ISP because they assumed I had connection issues and were treating my initial support request as such. Yet at no point did I tell them that my broadband connection kept dropping. It was only ever a problem with reduced speed.

Although the speed seems to be back to normal, I cannot say the issue has been resolved as I am no further forward in identifying what caused the initial slowdown in the first place. I'll keep monitoring it this week.

Interestingly, I had my two best days during the slowdown. On Tuesday and Thursday, I put in £50+ performances. It is making me wonder if my trading style would suit a slower refresh rate on my software. Unfortunately, I am unable to adjust it in Binarysoft in order to test such a theory.

Although this week has been much better than the rest of the month, it has still been very poor. The most frustrating aspect has been the the soccer trading. I've tried various strategies, but always seem to have to employ my exit strategy just before the match turns in the way I wanted it to go. I'll keep bashing on with it though.

I'll finish this post with a sad goodbye...

'B-Selective', one of the stalwarts of the chat room, has decided to pack in trading/gambling after a prolonged poor run. He has decided to concentrate his efforts on Forex trading. I wish him all the best in his future endeavours.

How Much?!!!!???

That should really be "how little?".

As you know, I've been having broadband problems all this week. Because I had reason to do multiple reboots of my router recently, my ISP have asked me leave it on for 72 hours and see if it settles down.

When they said "settles down", I'm sure they didn't mean the ever decreasing rate in broadband speed.

For a general indicator, I use mybroadbandspeed.co.uk, but my ISP insists on me using the BT speed tester at speedtester.bt.com. The trouble with that one is it will only allow a test to be done once every three hours. However, I've found the mybroadbandspeed.co.uk figure ties in very well (within a few Mbps) with those given by the BT one.

The graph below is provided by mybroadbandspeed.co.uk and I've just used that to do another test and confirmed it with the BT one. Take a look at the graph. That last measurement is right. 128Kbps! Dial up speed! There is clearly something very wrong with this broadband connection.


With speeds like that, I don't think I'll be doing much trading tomorrow.

Not Before Time

Finally, a decent days trading...

Thanks in no small part to the £41 I earned on the greyhounds, I pocketed over £58 today. It is three weeks since I had a £58+ return and comes something of a relief. Here's hoping it wasn't a flash in the pan.

I had intended on trading the Stevenage v Port Vale match this evening, but I couldn't really find any angle other than a Stevenage win due to Port Vale missing some first choice defenders. However, by the time I looked at the market, that news had already brought the home side's price down quite significantly, so I didn't think there was any value left.

This, coupled with the fact that there was a Sky televised greyhound meeting on persuaded me to leave it alone. A good decision as it turns out with Port Vale scoring the only goal midway through the first half.

Managing a decent profit today was all the more pleasing as I hadn't intended to do a lot of trading today.

Over recent days, my broadband has been sluggish to say the least, and getting worse. It ain't great at the best of times, barely getting past 1.4Mbs on a good day.

As long as I was just trading, I was generally OK, suffering only a little delay. However, my daughter was getting it in the neck whenever she went online as the delays in BinarySoft were horrendous. I just assumed she was downloading crap again, or visiting YouTube - something she knows to avoid when I'm trading.

Yesterday however, while she was still at school, it was particularly slow and a quick speed test showed it was under 0.3Mbs! I was getting faster upload speeds!

Rather than immediately report it to my ISP, I set aside this morning to do the tests and gather the information I just knew they'd ask me - like they always do. You know the thing - treat the customer like a complete pillock and get them to check the filters, change the router, connect to the main telephone socket and not an extension, check the internal wiring, make sure there aren't any birds sitting on the telephone line causing the cable to stretch under the weight thereby increasing the distance to the exchange and finally, confirm that the wind was blowing in the right direction.

Before starting off, I rebooted my router for the umpteenth time and did a speed test in order to set a baseline before moving things around. Blow me, was it not up to speed again! Indeed, it was the fastest I have ever seen it. Over 1.7Mbs. So I just left it as it freed me up to do some trading today.

I checked it periodically throughout the day and at times it went over 2.0Mbs! Oh the joys.

Unfortunately, I've just done another test as I write this and the sodding thing is down to 0.67Mbs. Clearly, there is something afoot that I need to get to the bottom of.

What The Hell Is It With Mondays?

Mondays are very quickly turning into the worst day of the week for me. So much so in fact that I'm beginning to think I shouldn't trade on those days at all.

After getting back from a client's in time for the 1:50, I promptly found myself down £20 by 2:30 having done six races and lost four, scratching two. I just stopped then as I could feel myself falling into that mental state that is not conducive to good trading.

I came back and tried the dogs after the horses were finished, but didn't do much better. I only lasted seven races before quiting again.

I've posted losses for five of the last six Mondays totaling £100, with the sixth one being scratched. I don't know what it is about the first day of the week, but recently I can't trade it for peanuts. Damned annoying.

Taking A Step Back

This has been, and continues to be, such a shocking month for me that I've recently stepped back from all the extracurricular activities in order to concentrate on the basics and get my trading back on track - or at least try to. Every since the clocks changed, I've had great difficulty reading any market I enter.

That's why there has been limited blog posts, at least regarding my performance anyway.

I've reduced my stake in not only the horse markets, but the greyhounds and football as well, in an attempt to slow the slide as I try to get some consistency back into my activities. It has taken two weeks just to get myself into a rather precarious profit for the month.

I've also cut back on the amount of trading I'm doing. This especially effects my involvement in the dog markets. This obviously has consequences regarding the potential return. However, the return for the amount of time spent means it is just not worth it. Moreover, it helps to reduce the trading overload I've been feeling in recent times.

Now, I only do the first hour or so before the horse racing begins and up to 6:00pm once the horses finish. This also frees up the evening for some football trading, which leads me nicely on to...

Ebooks. I've managed to get a hold of a number of ebooks which, in themselves are probably out of date and useless as far as their strategies are concerned. However, I've been spending some time studying their content in the hope that they trigger a spark that takes me off in another direction. I could certainly do with a bit of inspiration at the moment.

I'll leave you with a little anecdote from this afternoon's trading which adequately describes my lack of confidence and courage of my convictions...

When I switched to the 2:30 at Cork I immediately noticed that there was more than £100 waiting to be backed @ 1000.0 on 'Agility Jo'. I flagged it up in the chat room, but I left it and traded the favourite, where I greened up for a decent enough profit.

The money on the rank outsider was still there, but I still didn't take it. Before the off, it shortened to 630.0 and in-running it shot down, trading for small amounts as low as 20.0 before the horse was eventually pulled up.

Given that there were only 5 runners over a 3m hurdle race, surely it would have been worth putting at least some of my profit on it and taking it in running?

While I may be a profitable trader, I'm not going to make decent money unless I learn to take some more risks. Another lesson learned. Whether I actually act on it next time is another matter.

Google Show Me A Yellow Card

Anyone who runs a website or blog will know only too well how much time and effort it takes to keep it up to date. While I have always endeavoured to provide content that readers will find interesting, I have never made any secret of the fact that I view all my websites as a potential source of revenue.

I generally employ two mechanisms to achieve that. 1) Affiliate links where you, the reader, have to visit the advertiser's site and make a purchase before I get paid and 2), so called Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising where I get a few pence every time a PPC advert is clicked by a reader.

PPC adverts are usually generated automatically and based on the content of the page on which they are hosted. For this reason, advertisers like them because it ensures that their ads are shown to people who are likely to be interested in their products.

Website owners like them because they are easy to set up, don't require that much maintenance and provide an easy revenue stream which increases the more popular the site is.

Probably the best known of the PPC schemes is Google's Adsense which I have had hosted on the Bet Your Life sports trading websites for some time. However, Google are very strict regarding the hosting of Adsense ads on gambling websites. I've just received a caution from Google for doing just that on the Bet Your Life blog.

Here's the email in full:

Hello,

While reviewing your account, we noticed that you are currently displaying Google ads in a manner that is not compliant with our policies. For instance, we found violations of AdSense policies on pages such as http://betyourlife.blogspot.com/2009/01/premium-charge.html. Please note that this URL is an example and that the same violations may exist on other pages of your website.

As stated in our program policies, AdSense publishers are not permitted to place Google ads on sites with content related to gambling or casinos. This policy includes driving traffic to online gambling sites through links or advertisements.

As a result, we have disabled ad serving to the site.

Your AdSense account remains active. However, we strongly suggest that you take the time to review our program policies (https://www.google.com/adsense/policies) to ensure that all of your remaining pages are in compliance.

Please note that we may disable your account if further violations are found in the future.

Sincerely,

The Google AdSense Team


I have still to see what the violation is on the cited page. Herein lies the first problem with Google and their anti-gambling stance.

As the 'caution' above indicates, their policy document details how the Adsense program can be used but it leaves the interpretation of those policies to the user. Google are well known for their poor communication and refusal to discuss these matters. Question their decision and all they do is point you in the direction of the policy statement. Ask for clarification and they direct you to their policy statement. So, if the user's understanding of these policies in anyway differs from Google's, they risk being sanctioned by Google, with no explanation of the violation incurred.

I'm familiar with their policies. I've read them many times. My understanding of these was that no Adsense ads can be placed on any page that allowed a user to gamble.

For this reason, I have always been very careful to avoid any links to bookmaker and casino sites on any pages where Adsense ads were hosted. It seems that this is not enough and website owners are not even allowed to talk about gambling on the same page as Adsense ads are hosted. So much for free speech.

The zealot like attitude of Google and the intractability of their position means it is a waste of my time contesting it, even though I disagree with their assessment. As a result, I've removed Adsense ads from the site. It's not as if they earned a lot of money - around £10/month - so it won't create any hardship on my part. I'll just look for another source of advertising.

Google's position is a puzzling one, and I've never really understood their anti-gambling stance. I can only assume that it is based on a moral position rather than a business or legal one. Which leads me on to my second point...

Let's assume that Google's position is a legal one based on the banning of Internet gambling the US. If that were true, their argument doesn't really hold water. There is no reason whatsoever preventing Google from serving up ads based on a user's location. They already have the technology to geographically target search results and ads, so what is to prevent them from doing so for users living in an area where gambling is a perfectly legal activity?

But what about the business angle?

Advertisers pay Google to serve up adverts to a targeted audience. Google do that in a number of ways including the ads at the right hand side of search results as well as Adsense.

Go to any trading/gambling website that currently host Adsense served ads (try, TradeSharkTennis, All Day And Night At The Dogs, Drifters And Steamers, Flutterfly and Mark Iverson to name just a few) and you'll see Google Adsense served ads for trading/gambling products.

Clearly, based on my experience, all these sites are in violation of Google's policy. However, that's not the point I wish to make.

Why, if Google are so anti-gambling, are they serving up adverts for gambling related products? It seems a rather hypocritical position to take.

Google seem to be saying that they are quite happy to take advertiser's money, but at the same time telling gambling related website owners that they cannot host such adverts. I wonder if the advertisers are aware that Google's own policies restrict and indeed, aim to prevent, those ads being hosted and seen by the very target audience the advertisers are trying to reach.

A few years back, and a previous incarnation of the Bet Your Life website, I fell foul of the very same policies. Hardly surprising as the site was covered in affiliate links to bookmaker sites. I raised the above points with Google upon receipt of the very same cautionary email. I wanted to know how they squared that particular conflicting circle outlined above. You won't be surprised to hear that they simply pointed me to their policy document.

It seems a rather bizarre stance to take from a business perspective. If I was an advertiser, I'd be taking my custom elsewhere, just as I will be doing as a publisher.

Lest We Forget



My trading exploits are of no consequence compared to the sacrifice that our armed forces have made and continue to make.

Wild Thing

As I sat here this morning, with my arthritic knees giving me grieve, I had cause to reminisce about my youth. In those days, I was very rarely ill, and with it, very fit. Boy, am I making up for it now!

I was pretty sporty when I was young, and blessed with what could be described as natural talent. Every sport I tried, I was pretty good at. Not world class you understand, but certainly proficient, particularly if it involved a ball of some description or running round an athletics track.

I did the usual stuff. Played football, rugby and badminton for the school; took up tennis and squash when I went to university. I took to all of them like a duck to water. Then, in my late twenties, I started playing golf, which just goes to prove the old adage that as a man get older, his balls get smaller. But I digress...

Golf was the one sport that I was utterly useless at. Indeed, my workplace at that time had a golf section in which I became known as 'Wild Thing' due to my rather unorthodox swing - which, I hasten to add was primarily due to a dicky shoulder, injured at work. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. I thought 'Slasher' was more accurate, but I didn't get a vote. Sorry, I'm wandering off again...

Many times, to great hoots of laughter, my fellow colleagues and playing partners, would sing the chorus of the famous Troggs number, just as I was teeing off.


Don't get me wrong, I loved playing golf, but why continue doing something that I was hopeless at?

I'd spend hours on end, hacking my way through the undergrowth as I wound my way round the course, zig-zagging my way up each fairway. Then, completely out of the blue, I'd hit that one shot that pitched perfectly on the green, or cleared the lip of the bunker and rolled in the hole. It didn't matter that I had taken ten strokes to get there. It was the one shot in the whole of the miserable round that would make me come back and do it all again.

It suddenly dawned on me this afternoon as I struggled through another poor display in the horse markets, that trading is very much like golf. All it takes is one really good trade amongst the dross, and I'll be back the next day to do it all over again.

Beware The Siren's Call

It has been shown time and time again, that I cannot trade the win markets consistently well enough to make it pay long term, which is why I try to stick to the place markets. However, with the place markets being so thin as they are since the change to the winter racing schedules, I find it increasingly difficult to resist the call of the main markets, like a sailor lured on the the rocks by the call of some beautiful young mystical creature.

Today, was a case in point as I found myself down nearly £27 after only five races with two particularly nasty losses accounting for the bulk of it. I stopped after that.

On a really good day, I can break £50, so some time ago I decided to introduce a daily stop loss of £25. If I hit this, I stop trading for the day. Given that I rarely hit £50 in a day, even a stop loss of this size still hurts, but I feel it necessary to help prevent me from going completely on tilt.

My decision to change my working hours so I can trade Monday afternoons is looking evermore like an expensive mistake. Not only do I have increased traveling expenses, but I have yet to win on a Monday afternoon since making the change. To such an extent, that I'm seriously thinking of not trading on a Monday at all.

I'll still keep the revised work arrangements, for no other reason than it forces me out of the house, but I don't think there's any point in throwing money away.

Another Poor Week

Fortunately, it doesn't happen very often, but I've had a losing week this week. Only £15 so hardly a bank breaker. Unfortunately, it still means that I'm struggling to get myself into the black for this month.

Actually, I've had a relatively lazy week. I cut back on my trading significantly, simply because I was feeling I needed a break, and with me not getting anywhere, no was as good a time as any.

I'm feeling a bit more refreshed now, so hopefully I'll be able to get my act in gear and move into profit in the days ahead.

Lay The Draw

Since I started looking at trading football more frequently, I've primarily been using that old favourite, Lay The Draw. Sometimes, I use 0-0 cover for insurance, sometimes, I don't bother. In all cases, I've been getting out if the odds for the draw have dropped to a point where my losses would be half of the original liability.

This evening's game between Derby and Coventry was a perfect example.

With only 4 mins on the clock, Coventry's goal put me in a spot of bother. I'd covered the 0-0 as insurance, so that bet was lost, and the draw odds barely moved. I could have scratched the draw there and then and taken the 0-0 loss on the chin. However, I decided to old on a bit.

With Derby equalising early in the second half, the draw odds shot in and it wasn't long before they reached my stop loss point. Of course, as is the way of these things, Derby scored the winner as soon as I had traded out.

I have to say I have had no luck with this strategy whatsoever. Indeed, I have yet to have a profitable trade using Lay The Draw. To such an extent that I think it is time to lay this to bed. At least, laying before kick off. Laying at half time, or a little into the second half when the odds are much less may be a better option.

For the moment, I'm going to leave it and look at something else as that strategy simply isn't working for me.

The shocking run I've been on since the start of the winter horse racing continues without any sign of letting up. It is not just the horse trading that is suffering. Just looking at this month, I'm £10 down on the horses and £28 down on the football. Only the dogs are showing a tiny profit, though they've tried their best to be in the red as well.

The spell I had in mid-October is increasingly looking like a flash in the pan. I can only take solace from the fact that more experience and competent traders also appear to have it tough at this time of the year. It doesn't make it any less frustrating mind you.

Not A Good Start

Well, November has started where October left off - with my trading all over the place. Ever since the clocks changed and the winter racing schedule came into being, I've struggled. The place markets have, in the main, been dead, so I've been playing in the win markets and all the old frustrations have come flooding back.

You know the ones... sit 2-3 ticks behind the market and you NEVER get matched as the market moves off in the direction you predicted, leaving you behind... jump ahead of the market in order to ensure being matched, and an immediate reversal puts you 5+ ticks down within seconds with no sign of it coming back.

Obviously I haven't adjusted yet to the change in conditions. More worryingly, it is affecting other markets, most noticeably, the greyhounds. I haven't fully adjusted to the change in those markets either, with all the money now in those races following the horse racing. This caused me to lose £12 in the first dog race I tried late yesterday afternoon.

Even my luck on the football isn't there.

I felt there would be goals in the Chelsea game last night, so I drip fed small back bets into the over 2.5 goals market as the odds increased, with the intention of bailing out when the odds were such that I could red up for half my total stake. This happened at odds of 7.80. No sooner had I got out and the goals started flying in. It finished 2-2.

So, November is currently running at a loss, but plenty of time to turn that around.