Still In Training

Despite the lack of decent racing this week, I continued my experiments with BetTrader Evolution's new training mode. The performance I reported in my earlier post, while not quite so dramatic, continued to the point where, after one week, I had amassed over £600 in 'paper profit'.

Apart from today, which was somewhat haphazard and very much reminded me of the way I normally trade the pre-race horse markets, the exercise has been quite enlightening. Keeping in mind the caveats I mentioned in my earlier post regarding training modes in software, I have learned a few things that hopefully point to where I might have been going wrong. The test of course will be when I return to the real world and try and implement what I have learned.

Bored Between Races?

Some light entertainment to fill the gaps...



Thanks to Herman in the chat room for providing the link.

EVO Training Mode

Regular readers will know that I haven't mastered the art of pre-race horse trading. Indeed, I've essentially given it up, at least for now, and barely done any for the past 6-8 weeks. Instead, I've been concentrating on laying and developing other system strategies. One problem with that however, is the boredom factor as races in which I have no interest, pass me by. It can lead to a long and frustrating afternoon.

With three meetings on this afternoon, I decided to look at those races where no lays where involved and see if I can put the training mode of Evolution 3.0 into practice.

Now, I should come clean up front. My feeling towards the artificial nature of training modes is somewhat ambivalent. Only once before have I tried such a tool. Some of you may be familiar with the BetIE application. Not the greatest software that I've ever used, and I don't even know if it is still available, but it had a trading mode in which I developed a number of strategies, which, when implemented for real, fell apart.

Heart Felt Plea

I've posted before about the benefits of Binarysoft BDI's combined ladder. Today saw another opportunity to put it into practice in a two horse race at Exeter. Apart from 2-3 races, I haven't traded any pre-race horse markets for more than a month, but these two runner races are so easy to trade with Binarysoft that I couldn't resist wheeling out my old favourite once more.

November 2010 Summary

It has been an interesting month. One in which I abandoned all pretence of being able to trade the pre-race markets. I didn't touch them at all, other than over the past couple of days where boredom got the better of me and I slipped into old habits and paid for it.

My time was spent on the laying system, which, as regular readers will know, started off in a quite stunning fashion only to hit an equally stunning losing streak. Fortunately it has recovered a little and after today's races, finishes the month on a miserly +4.80 points.

Six Months In

Well, the lay system is now six months old and it is drawing to a close as far as posting its progress on the blog is concerned.

Despite being a somewhat roller coaster of a ride this month, since I started monitoring progress, and ultimately putting my hard earned cash down, it has amassed 358.97 points. I'm absolutely delighted with that performance I can tell you, and bodes well for the future.

There's still plenty of analysis to do, and getting the data gathering and selection process automated has helped enormously in freeing up significant chunks of my time to do it. I'd particularly like to establish how prone the system is to variations in race type, race course, race quality etc. If I can eliminate some of these areas where winners are more prone to arise it will help enormously.

Into The Red

It is not often I've had to post a negative number in the sidebar for the Lay System's running total, but it happened today as it continued its dramatic fall from grace. One of the culprits was, yet again, Wolverhampton. Fortunately, after recent days, I decided to leave the race track well alone so I didn't suffer financially, though I've still recorded the total as if I did.

I've just had a quick look over my records spanning back nearly six months when I started investigating this system. I've managed to lay a total of 11 winners at the Wolverhampton track. 7 of them have happened in the past 9 days! An incredible statistic that helps to illustrate what an exceptional period it has been.

I think I'll continue to avoid any financial involvement in meetings at that track until I see some indication that it is returning to something like normality.

Back To Square One

The shockingly bad run that the lay system started a week ago has continued throughout the week and, after tonight's meeting at Wolverhampton, sees the system near enough back at zero. To think it was sitting at 57 points only 8 days ago demonstrates how dramatic a reversal it has been. Having said that, getting to 57 points as quickly as it did was equally dramatic.

That Time Of Year

It's that sad time of year again folks when we think of the children. Sad because we shouldn't need to have events such as Children in Need. Sadly, there's still far too many youngsters and their support organisations that need a boost so it is important to do what we can.

To this end, I'd like to draw your attention to the excellent initiative being run by The Geek, developer of 'The Toy'...

EVO 3.0 Now Available

RacingTradersThe latest version of EVO from RacingTraders is now available for download. Not only that, the full version is completely free for the first seven days to allow users to try out the software and the major addition to its functionality - Training Mode.

Training Mode allows you to test new strategies, get a feel for the software and experiment with the built in tools without risking real money. While operating in Training Mode, EVO behaves in exactly the same way as it does in the real market and would prove a valuable tool for beginners and experienced users alike, but with some caveats.

There's nothing like using real money to focus the mind. Training Mode doesn't use real money. The figures displayed in the grid and ladder are real enough. They are taken directly from Betfair. The money that you put in is not. There's no guarantee that the money you put in while 'training' would be matched for real. Therefore, I'd advise the following...

Painful Weekend

The aforementioned mid-month draw down continued today with three out of five lays winning their race.

The past three days has seen the lay system plummet from around 57 points to under 10 in the worst and sharpest losing run it has endured in nearly six months. I've had 16 lays in the past three days and I've managed to find a winner in eight of them. Not the best sequence I've ever managed.

Over that six month period the system is well in profit so there's no need to panic. Past experience has shown that things tend to pick up in the second half of the month. Here's hoping the fightback starts tomorrow.

Mid-month Draw Down

As I mentioned in my last post, there seems to be a trend, from memory anyway, where the lay system hits a sticky patch in the middle of each month. I really must take some time out to check my records and see if this really is the case or just my memory playing tricks. It will be interesting to see if there is some sort of pattern to it.

After such a great start to November, reaching a high of 57 points, it seems the draw down has commenced. I managed to lay three winning horses today. Add this to the one I found in the last race yesterday, and I can safely say it has been an expensive twenty four hours. Still, losing days are to be expected, and I'm still well up for the month.

What A Week!

Apologies for the lack of updates recently. I've been doing other things this week that has taken up much of my time. Unfortunately, I don't see that improving any time soon and the blog is one thing that will suffer because of it.

I have found the time to keep up with the lay system and, with 42 points in the bag, I'm delighted that I did. 42 points in 7 days, while very welcome, is exceptional so my feet are being kept firmly on the ground as it could easily be reversed next week.

October 2010 Summary

For some reason, this month seems to have flown by, surprisingly so considering I've not been doing much pre-race trading, at least not this past fortnight.

I've been concentrating on the lay system as it seems to be the only thing that I am doing that is profitable. Despite a disappointing end to the month which saw 9 points walk out the door this weekend, finishing the month on 53.53 points is a cracking result. It continues to bode well for the future with a running total of 344.3 points since the start date on the 24th of May.

Brainstorming Session

A difficult concept when there's only one of me. There's few things I miss about working for a company, but taking the opportunity to just throw ideas about is one of them. I always found the process informative and challenging

I had the opportunity to do so tonight as my broadband when down around 6:30pm. Long term readers may remember the issues I had last year. With the wild winds and rain we've had today (Friday) I thought 'here we go again'. It transpires that BT had technical issues that were affecting many users throughout Scotland and the North of England.

Up And Running

At last, I have got the code in place to automatically analyse the current day's races and pick out the potential lay bet selections.

Since I started looking at this back in May, I've been manually trolling through the card using information from the PatternForm and Timeform sites in order to make my picks. This would typically take around 60 mins, but during the hectic summer months could easily be over 2 hrs simply due to the number of races and horses involved. Doing it manually would inevitably lead to mistakes as well so automating the process is long over due.

Flight Of The Phoenix

It seems that my announcement regarding the death of Binarysoft BDI last month was somewhat premature.

My Linux system updated Sun Java files this morning and, purely as a way of checking it, I launched BDI fully expecting to see an API error message again half way through the login process. Much to my surprise, it rose from the ashes and went straight in. I was able to open a greyhound market and promptly lose £3. No surprise there since my trading has been terrible for months, but a big surprise seeing BDI come to life.

It was like visiting a long lost friend.

Whether I continue to use it as a trading tool is something I'll have to consider. I doubt that the issue was caused by a Java problem. It's more likely to be API related and as such, is it likely to happen again. Bound too I would think given that it uses the old API which, I would presume, Betfair will ultimately disable completely.

Simply The Worst

Go on. Admit it. You saw that post title and you couldn't help but have a certain tune by Tina Turner pop into your head. Be warned, it will be with you all day now.

Today saw what was probably the worst single day in the life of the lay system. In the first six races I got involved in, I managed to find four winners. After the first two hours, the lays were down some 25 pts. Fortunately they rallied a little in the later races, but there was still a significant dent in the running total for the month, which has dropped by over 30% since yesterday.

Finally Up And Running

Finally got the Linux server completely revamped with a fresh installation of Ubuntu Server 10.04. I had a couple of permission issues with the Betfair PHP files I've been working with, but once that was resolved, everything worked fine.

The screen shot shows the MySQL section of Webmin displaying a view of the 203K plus records downloaded from the Betfair site in a matter of minutes. Webmin allows me to do vitually every type of administration I'd need to without having to open a terminal - though that can be fun too.

Giddy Up Horsey

I've been wanting to put a header image on the blog for absolutely ages, but couldn't find one I liked. I had intended showing lots of sports but seeing as I rarely do anything other than horse racing, this one fits the bill. Thanks to Free Horse Racing Photos for the photo. There's some nice ones there and are issued under the Creative Commons License and can be used on your website for free.

Long Story, Short

First up thanks to the chat room stalwart, Steve for the continued assistance on my botting exploits. I have a better idea where I'm going now though today's discussion during the hectic afternoon racing has flagged up a number of issues that, though not directly related to the programming task in hand, affects it none the less.

My little server that I have set aside to run all these tasks, as well as other facilities, is based on the Linux distro, SMEServer. This distribution is designed as a Microsoft Small Business Server alternative aimed at, yes you guessed it, small businesses.

Now I'm Lost!

The good news is the bot design is now under way. I started off today designing a routine that, with the click of a mouse, the day's data file, containing the results from the previous day, would be downloaded from the Betfair site, some of the data contained therein modified, then the file saved to my server before being fed into my database.

That worked I treat and I went on to modify it further so that it would do the same on any number of files en masse. That worked even better than I imagined downloading all 767 available win market files dating back to 2nd Sept 2008 in under 5 mins. 287 seconds to be precise.

I, Robot

It's been a week since my last post yet it only seems like yesterday. I've been a little bit out of action this week as far as blogging is concerned as I needed to get my accounts sorted and my tax return sent off. A tedious task at the best of times, though I'm my own worst enemy in that over the years I've tended to collate my accounts annually rather than keeping them up-to-date as I go.

That's it done now so I can get back to more important things.

Swings And Roundabouts

A new month and another assault on the exchanges. Some things though haven't changed. I'm still trading the pre-race markets with the same carelessness that has plagued me all week. A combination of bad entry points, bad decisions and extraordinarily slow reactions. I am getting old though, not too mention senile, so I do have an excuse for the third one.

I've also developed the rather nasty habit of throwing away big chunks of money in the last race of the meeting. Very annoying, though I suppose the solution is obvious - don't trade them!

Fortunately, other areas performed well and more than made up for the poor pre-race display.

September 2010 Summary

I'll get the bad news out of the way first shall I?

I've had a really poor past 4 days that have seen me wipe out over 25% of this months profit that I had built up. An element of gross carelessness has crept into my trading which I am really peeved about. I'll sort it out soon enough and get back on track.

The good news is I'm in profit for the month. Having had a loss for the previous two months I'm delighted to have turned that corner. More importantly, this week's performance aside, I have been particularly pleased with the horse trading. Hopefully that will continue as I move into October and the start of the traditionally difficult season. (I find it difficult all the time but that is another story).

RIP BinarySoft BDI


It seems that the Betfair API has finally killed BinarySoft BDI. This day was going to come sometime since the original developer of BDI decided to throw in the towel back in May 2008.

Tantalisingly Close

Many moons ago I started trading with £10 in my Betfair account in a last ditch effort to finally make this gambling lark pay. A frustrating career of football bets had finally taken its toll and I was completely disillusioned with the whole business. One more attempt and if the bank gets burned that was it. I vowed there and then to never feed a gambling account with any more of my hard earned cash.

Within a year, I had turned that £10 into close to £6000 through the horse place markets, the greyhounds and some bet matching making use of freebies from the bookmakers. The future looked bright and I launched into the second year with eager anticipation. If my first year progress was repeated, I saw no reason why I wouldn't hit close to 5 figures in my second year alone.

End Of Home Selection Trial For Sept

With no more picks available for Sept, it is time to draw the trial to a close for this month.

Full details of the trial can be found on the forum, but here's a quick summary...

As indicated by the initial trial during the summer, despite the selection process being originally intended to find home teams to win, it instead tended to find shorter priced teams that were, generally, not any value. Consequently, the value was in laying them.

Keep On Dobbing Those Trebles

One of the best days I've had in some time, thanks in no small part to the dobbing treble idea I introduced in my last post.

Once again, I earned myself a 'free' bet by having a decent trade and greening up accordingly, the profits from which I was then able to use as the stake for the next treble attempt.

First up was a £10 bet @6.20 on Rockweiller in the 3:55 at Haydock with the closing trade of £20 @3.10 comfortably matched in-running. That meant I had £19.50 after commission to take through to the next race.

Madcap Free Bet Treble

Here's a madcap idea I've been toying with in recent times, with some success I might add....

I try to give myself a free bet on a treble of evens shots by first getting myself into an all green position in a race. I try to aim for £10 green, which I then use as my 'free' stake money.

I then look through the day's card for horses that will halve in price in running, commonly referred to as DOBs (Double or Bust). Actually, I have a short list prepared before racing begins, though I don't finalise my pick until just before the off and I've seen the markets and heard what the pundits on William Hill Radio have to say. When I remember, I mention the picks concerned in the chat room.

Change Of Fortune?

At the risk of tempting fate, I've had a good weekend as far as horse trading is concerned with Saturday and Sunday accounting for nearly £130. Indeed, since last Wednesday my trading of the win markets has seen a very health £200+ profit coming my way, which is very welcome.

The question I need to try and answer is why?

I've certainly found the markets easier to read of late. This may be down, in no small part, to me feeling a lot more relaxed about my trading in recent days. What ever it may be, here's to it continuing.

Disappearing Blogs

Every couple of months or so, I wade through the links page to check that the links listed there are still up and running. Yesterday, I noticed a few that are no longer there.

'Rebel Duke', 'Micks Gamble', 'Betting Blog', 'The Betting Pro' and 'All Day And Night At The Dogs' have all fallen by the wayside in recent weeks.

It's always sad to see a much loved blog disappear, but it is the nature of the beast. It requires a lot of effort and dedication, not to mention enthusiasm, to maintain a blog with regular updates. So it is understandable why bloggers would decide the effort wasn't worth the rewards.

No Need To Worry

Well, that was a bit of a turn up for the books. My early morning concerns for another poor day laying proved wholly unfounded, though it didn't look that way when the first animal I got involved in went on to win.

After that initial setback, everything went swimmingly well ending up the day over 20 points up and the running total for the month breaking through the 50 points mark. Long may that continue.

Festival-itis

Sorry, I didn't realise that it's over a week since I last posted. Doesn't time fly when wading through one's accounts/tax return? I am easily distracted from that extremely tedious process so I'm surprised I haven't updated the blog.

I'm still not finished it, so don't expect loads of posts over the next week, but I thought I'd take this opportunity to flag up this curious aspect to the lay system where it seems to suffer whenever there is a major meeting/festival on.

Regular readers may have noticed that the P&L had risen to the mid 40s after the first few days of September. Over the past two days, with the big meeting on at Doncaster in particular, it has taken a bit of a hit and now sits at, a still very respectable, 29 pts. Having observed this phenomenon, if I can call it that, during previous big meetings, I'm a little apprehensive regarding today's races.

No Chicken Counting Here!

It's been a terrific start to the month for the lay system with over 35 points in the bag in just three days. However, as the first two weeks in August showed, it can so easily, and quickly for that matter, all go pair shaped and hit a prolonged losing run.

Nothing has hatched yet, so there'll be no counting on my part. I'll wait until the end of the month, but here's hoping the trend continues.

The latest instalment of the Home Selection Trial starts tomorrow. Head over there to see what's going on and if there's any hope for me.

August 2010 Summary

Well, it's that time again. Time for me to try and summarise another dismal month for me. My second losing month in a row and my third this year, indeed, my third since I started in Feb 2008.

August has been a frustrating month resulting in my biggest monthly loss since I started. Much of that loss was due to the lay system which started on a prolonged losing run as soon as I started putting my hard earned cash on it. Par for the course really. I stopped midway through the month only to see the system pick up in the last 10 days.

You just couldn't write the script for it.

A Dramatic Recovery

Unlike my trading, the lay system has seen a dramatic recovery over the past week returning the P&L back into positive figures and giving, as I type, the highest value since it started. Of course, this was bound to happen since I stopped putting money on it. :)

Over 50pts have been earned over the past seven days and is much more like the sort of performance I'd seen in May-July. The question is, why the deep and prolonged dip in it's fortunes over the past 3-4 weeks? Just a natural statistical blip that one might expect in any system, or something more interesting?

Oh Woe Is Me!

"Not again", I hear you say. Well, this may very well be the last time you hear me say it, as I have come to the point where I have to seriously consider my life as a trader. At least as a horse trader.

Twice today I was caught by someone with a hell of a lot more money than I have, suddenly bringing the price in from around 12.0 down to 7.0 in less than 5 secs.

The first of these happened early this afternoon when my lay sitting at 9.2 was swept aside as the market went from 12.0 to 6.8 in a handful of seconds. I managed to get out at 7.6 for an all red screen of £10.53.

Par For The Course

Isn't it just typical on the day after I decide to halt feeding the lay system with real money it turns around and gives me a completely win free day? Sod's Law, Murphy's Law? I can never remember.

I'll continue to monitor it's progress for the rest of the month as if I was putting cash on. However, until I figure out whether the poor performance over the past three weeks is a natural blip in the system and only to be expected, or something a bit more fundamental in the selection process I'll be keeping my wallet tightly padlocked and accept the 34pt loss I've incurred this month.

Now we all know what is going to happen don't we?

Time For A Holiday?

Another terrible day today with 5 out of 10 laid horses winning their race. This lay system, that showed so much promise in May-July, is turning into a major disappointment.

Since I started putting money on this on the 20th July, I now find myself over 15pts down. More worryingly, this month has seen a drop of 34.20pts after only two weeks. Although I promised myself I'd give it until the end of August, I have to seriously question the wisdom of that decision. That's a lot of points to lose in such a short space of time and my problem is, there's is no sign of a let up.

Easy Come, Easy Go

This laying lark is proving to be a bit of a roller coaster this month as yesterdays gains are wiped out and I'm back to square one. Go to Jail, do not pass Go and do not collect £200. You've got to laugh.

The same thing happened today as did yesterday. I tried building some green on the runners I intended to lay. Not once did I managed to build some insurance on those picks that went on to win. Indeed, I made things worse. I'm going going off Baldrick's cunning plan.

A Cunning Plan

Baldrick: I have a plan!
Blackadder: Really! A cunning and subtle one?
Baldrick: Yes
Blackadder: As cunning as a fox who's just been appointed Professor of Cunning at Oxford University?

Since I started putting real cash into the lay system, I have avoided trading those races to keep things simple, make monitoring easy and it provided a nice 'break' between those races I was trading. Today however, I decided to implement Baldrick's cunning plan and trade those races. Specifically, trade the horse(s) that I was intending to lay in order to build up some green on it and act as slight insurance to cushion the blow in the event of a winner.

Black Wednesday

With obvious reference to the tumultuous events nearly 18 years ago, I suffered my own devaluation in the lay system today. Having suffered a late turnaround yesterday evening, the run of winning lays continued today. Out of 9 lays I had today, I managed to find 5 winners and completely blow the recovery I was experiencing clean out of the water.

So, after nearly 3 weeks of putting real money into the system, I'm slightly down. 1.78 points to be precise. However, my 100pt bank I set aside for this little exercise is more or less intact and I move on to the next day, but it is difficult to hide my disappointment with how this is progressing, or not as the case may be.

Today wasn't helped by some very shoddy trading on my part. resulting in one of the biggest daily losses I've had for some time.

Never mind, onwards and upwards...

A Game Of Two Halves

A phrase normally associated with football rather than horse racing, but it perfectly describes my day in the markets today.

The afternoon card was excellent and I had accumulated a decent total come dinner time thanks to some successful lays interspersed with solid, consistent trading. That was the first half...

Lay System Update

The lay system has picked up a bit over the past few days I'm pleased to say and I'm hopeful that that will continue. Having started putting real money on the picks two and a half weeks ago, things have nearly recovered after the bad run I had midway through.

It is in the nature of the system that bad runs will happen, and I am prepared for that, but I'm obviously happy that things have recovered.. With a bit of luck, things will kick on now and start showing the kind of monthly returns I saw in May, June and July, on paper at least.

Invitation

With the new football season upon us, I thought I'd take this opportunity to invite you to join the forum where there are some interesting threads taking place in the horse section, with some others kicking off (pun intended) in the football forum.

If you haven't been there in the past, please pop by and say hello. It doesn't take long to register. If you've visited in the past, please do so again and join in the discussions - or create your own. It's a great place to explore new strategies, exchange views on trading and monitor progress of systems and plans.

Green Shoots Of Recovery?

I've been doing a lot of work in the garden recently and couldn't resist the title, though I've probably just given myself the KOD.

After the very poor performance of the lay system in recent times, I'm glad to see the signs of something of a recovery. A profit of 8 points was had yesterday and a similar return was on the cards to day... until the last race that is.

Lack Of Faith

Today I came away with a loss because I committed the cardinal sin when following a system.... I didn't follow the system!

I've had such a bad run this past week or so with the lay system that, following another couple of winners today, one right after the other, I allowed myself to be filled with doubt and didn't follow up on the other picks that the system had flagged up. As a result, instead of a near 3 point profit, I took a loss of just over 5 points. Very annoying and very silly.

So after a very promising start since putting my hard earned cash on the line, I now find myself a fraction in the red after having some 21 winners in the past eight days or so.

I've got the rest of the month to see if it picks up and starts to reflect what I was seeing the previous two and a half months.

Not The Best Of Starts

August has not started in the way that I had hoped. At least not as far as the laying is concerned. Three losing days out of three with today being the worst. I'm now down over 14 points in three days.

Actually, I cannot believe the number of winners I've been laying recently. Since the start of the Goodwood meeting a week ago, I've managed to lay nineteen winning horses. As Victor Meldrew would say, "I don't believe it". I'd be better off just selecting them with a pin!

July 2010 Summary

Only my second losing month since I started this lark back in Feb 2008. Only £45 mind you so hardly a major disaster.

It was a frustratingly poor pre-race horse trading that did it for me, where I struggled all month to get going. There may be a number of reasons for that, but it all boils down to a decreasing level of confidence as the frustration set in.

Psychologically, I may have struggled after my staking levels hit £50 at the end of last month. Why that would be the case compared to using £45 for the few weeks before that, I have no idea. Even though I wasn't getting anywhere, I recognised that the mental barrier that this level may have created could be an issue, so rather than decrease my stakes I decided to weather the storm. Unfortunately, that didn't work.

Badwood

I can safely say I am not enjoying this Goodwood festival. I had lays in another two races today and once again I found the winners. That's every race I've been involved in during this meeting has seen me find the winner. Very annoying.

Fortunately today, I recovered the losses with lays in other races and finished the day 0.51 points in profit. Any profit is good profit as they say, but I'm beginning to wonder if I should stay away from the Goodwood races tomorrow.

Slow Recovery

At the risk of tempting fate, I'm pleased to say that the lay system is slowly recovering from the big hit it took on Tuesday having recovered nearly half of the losses. Hopefully the trend will continue over the next few days.

I'm still staying away from the trading but taking the opportunity to think about what to do next. I'm likely to start another 'trial' which I'll discuss later once I've got all the details sorted. It will be aimed at getting me back into longer term trading of the horses and away from scalping which I have fallen back into this month and something that has been shown time and time again I'm not good at.

Other than that, there's not much to report. I'll save it all for my monthly summary this weekend.

Not So Glorious Goodwood

Yesterday I mentioned that I felt I had dodged a small bullet with my lays. Today, I was hit full in the face with the shot from a blunderbuss!

When I embarked on this lay system trial using real money, I fully expected to have the odd bad day. Today it arrived big time losing 20 pts over eight races.

The tone for the day was set in the afternoon at Goodwood with me finding the winner in the three races I had lays in at the West Sussex course. I had one successful lay at Beverley to leave me some 14 pts down as I moved into the evening cards.

Marching On

I'm pleased to say that the lay system I've been working on is progressing nicely. Unfortunately I was away for the weekend and missed out on 16 points worth of profit - which I haven't included in the running total in the side bar.

Today was a little less rewarding with only 1.9 points added to the pile, and even then, that was down to the last race where, after the previous seven in which I had lays, I was, believe it or not, all square. Still any profit is always welcome.

The Experiment Continues

Back on the laying trail once more today and another profitable day. 7.4 points to be precise, though the total for the day was slightly less than that due to trading those races where no lay picks were involved.

I wish I knew what was wrong with my trading. It really has gone to pot this month.

Anyway, much of my monthly deficit has been recovered through the lay system so here's hoping that continues. Progress will have to wait a few days though as I have other commitments over the weekend.

Good luck to you all for the weekend and in the meantime I've started posting the lay system running total at the end of each update for anyone that is interested.

Lay system running total since 20 July: 21.1 pts (Note: I've now stuck this over in the side bar)

Time To Get Serious

Having spent the past two months paper trialling a horse lay system which has accumulated over 200 paper points in the process, I thought it was about time that I started taking it seriously. With a return like that, I'd be foolish to ignore it.

With my trading hitting a brick wall and bouncing backwards this month, I've changed tack and cut the trading both in terms of amount of races I get involved in as well as stake sizes used. Instead, I'm concentrating on those races where the lay system has identified picks and restricted any trading to those races where there are none.

What A Shocker!

July looks like being a losing month. Only my second since I started some thirty months ago. It's been a bit of a roller coaster to be honest, and I'm on a steep downward slope at the moment having had had my 6th losing day on the trot yesterday.

I shouldn't really have traded yesterday as I was in the process of setting up a new computer after my main box decided to blow a gasket, or at least the power supply did. Don't you just love the smell of fried electronics?

The Daily Tipster

Some of you may have noticed a comment posted by Andy from The Daily Tipster, introducing his service/website and requesting a link exchange, which I was happy to do.

I haven't had the time to review his service, but, as it appears to be free (Andy if that's not the case, please let me know) so I thought I'd flag it up in a dedicated post just in case any of you didn't read his initial comment.

You've Got to Laugh

Have you ever had one of those days when nothing goes to plan? Happens to me all the time. Never more so than in the world of gambling.

My trading has been very poor of late so yesterday I took the opportunity to invest in a a couple of strategies that I'd been paper trialling. The first was a back/lay plan were I'd look for 3 ticks and take them in play if necessary. The second was a Dutching plan that has consistently shown around 40% ROI on paper since I started it.

Stop Start Month

July is proving to be a bit of a frustrating month, and not just the trading. I've been on a long term project of completely re-landscaping the back garden. Starting from a blank canvass, many an hour has been spent, digging and shovelling gravel, but at least I'm more or less ready to start planting.

The trouble is, I keep getting rained off or doing myself an injury (sitting in front of a computer for the past twenty years has done nothing for my fitness) which has meant the process is taking longer than I would have liked. Coupled with the fact that I probably bit of more than I can chew! :)

Disappointing Start To The Month

I took the first few days off from trading, that was the idea anyway, and spent the weekend at Knockhill racing circuit in Fife for the British Superbikes.

Knockhill is renowned for having its own micro-climate. It's not unusual to have torrential rain there when all around is basked in glorious sunshine. Equally the opposite is true. I've been there when in bright warm sunshine while the surrounding countryside is darkened by thunder storms.

Lady Justice

If there is one thing I hate to see, it is injustice. In all walks of life I cannot abide the unfairness that life throws at us and I get really angry when I see someone suffer unjustly.

I've been riled a lot recently with the World Cup on. Bad decisions, bad laws of the game, bad sportsmanship and bad leadership.

The events of tonight have illustrated yet again what is wrong with the game of football. Ghana have been denied a first semi-final appearance for an African nation by a blatant act of foul play by Luis Suarez of Uruguay. In the full knowledge that he'd be sent off, Suarez's deliberate hand ball on the goal line prevented a certain goal by Ghana. A goal in the last minute of extra time that would have seen them go through to a semi-final match against Holland.

OK, Ghana were awarded a penalty as a result, but there was always a chance of them missing it. Which of course they did. This was the exact gamble Suarez took and his act of foul play (I'd go so far as call it cheating) saw the match decided on penalties in favour of the South Americans.

June 2010 Summary

Another month gone. They seem to be flying past at the moment, though they can zoom by all they like as long as I keep making money! :)

This month has been profitable, though I spoiled it a bit this past three days by throwing away some 10% of what I'd built up. I traded the horse markets like an absolute beginner this week. Not to worry. Progress is still being made and having built my stake up to £50 over the past few weeks, I'll keep it there for a while as I consolidate what I've learned.

Stop Press: FIFA Forced Into Change

After the furore caused by the poor decisions in today's games and the repeated calls for technology to be used, FIFA bow to pressure and change their ways, but refuse to go the full distance and meet everyone's demands, settling for a paintbrush instead!

Sepp Blatter is reputed to have said that FIFA was not insensitive to the wishes of players, coaching staff and fans alike but reiterated that football was a game of two halves - the haves and the have nots - and therefore it was impossible to implement technology at all levels and therefore the paintbrush was the best they could do, given the costs involved.

Dumb, Dumber And Just Plain Stupid Part 2

Do I really need to repeat myself?

You are an utter disgrace Mr Blatter and the sooner you resign from FIFA the better the industry will be.

Dumb, Dumber And Just Plain Stupid

I've just been watching Sky Sports News and revelling in the predicament that England find themselves in, when the presenters went through the various permutations. I didn't appreciate that a body such as FIFA, in the most prestigious sporting event anywhere in the world, could, under certain circumstances decide who continues in the competition by drawing lots. At least not without taking other things into account.

Bread And Butter

It's always nice to get back to the run of the mill everyday stuff after a big race meeting like Ascot. Those high profile meetings and the significantly higher liquidity levels always seem to cause me difficulties. Even the lesser meetings held over the same period seem to get a boost and I am almost always slow to adjust my trading to suit.

So to return a profit of over £50 from today's races is very welcome, especially since I was using a stake of £45. A pleasant, relaxing and of course, profitable day. I even got a mention on WH Radio, but that's a story for another day.

Hard At Work

I've been neglecting the blog of late due to the work I'm doing each evening as I investigate a new strategy. It is taking 1-2 hours each night to review the race cards for the following day, but the work is certainly showing that the strategy has great promise.

It's all on paper at the moment, though I have been putting small stakes in recently, and only for part of the strategy, and that is currently showing a 7 point profit. If the rest of the strategy holds for real as it is currently doing on paper then the results will be significantly better than that overall. Very early days of course and the test will be when I implement it for real for all elements of the plan.

Totally Underwhelmed

Call me a miserable old sod if you like, but this World Cup is boring me to tears. The garbage served up so far has completely put me off and I find myself sitting trading the horse markets instead.

I remember the last World Cup when I spent the whole month parked in front of the TV. I watched every game that year, except when the last group games were on and I had to choose between concurrently played matches. I wish I had been trading then.

Luck Of The Draw

Well, here we are again. The start of another World Cup Finals. I doubt that I'll be able to watch every game bar two like I managed four years ago. Still, it provides another opportunity for some father/son rivalry as Stuart and I divvy up the teams between us.

With money riding on each 'head to head' and that from any draw result thrown into the kitty to be picked up by the 'owner' of the tournament winners, there's a lot at stake.

Patience Is A Virtue

It can also be rather expensive at times!

One of the greatest stumbling blocks I have had to overcome while learning the horse win markets has been the need for patience. Being used to trading in the last 30-60 seconds of the greyhound markets, patience was not a quality that could be used to describe my trading style.

I've had to learn patience both in terms of waiting to enter the market as well as waiting to get out of the market.

Shoddy Saturday

My horse trading continues to progress in the right direction despite having a rather shoddy day today. I still made a profit, but I took some heavy losses along the way thanks to carelessness on my part.

As I've mentioned before, while I am getting to grips with these markets, I concentrate on spotting and backing runners that look as if they are about to shorten. I only ever lay an odds on favourite. In addition, I use the same stake irrespective of odds. Generally speaking, I tend to operate in the 4.00 - 15.00 odds range.

World Cup Woes

No, I'm not talking about England's latest crisis though it's no doubt not the last we'll here about Rio's training session injury. I feel for him anyway. Such a crap way to miss out on playing in a World Cup.

I was referring to my own private deliberations about the tournament and what to do from a trading point of view.

I'm going to take the opportunity to try out some basic correct score trading strategies in order to get some practice in for the 2010/11 domestic season. I need to expand my portfolio to give me something to trade the cold winter nights when there's no horse racing on. Football seems the obvious choice and it's something I've been putting off for far too long.

May 2010 Summary

Another month has come and gone and it's that time again for yet another summary of what's been happening in my world of sports trading.

To cut a long story short, it's been a good month. My staking in the horse markets has been slowly and steadily increasing as the profits have been coming in on a regular and consistent basis. As a measure of that consistency, I had only 5 losing days in the 28 that I traded the horses, and those days only cost me £44. So I'm very happy with the way the month has gone and how the horse win markets are progressing.

Back To School

I guess the lesson I supposedly learned yesterday didn't sink in. I need to go back and relearn that lesson in an attempt to avoid the mistakes I made today.

I traded like a complete beginner today. I managed one really good trade early on then immediately embarked on a seven race losing streak that quickly saw me well into the red. While I had the odd profitable race after that, they were for very small amounts and the big losses kept coming. I attempted twenty six races today and lost 14 of them!

I found the markets particularly unpredictable today, as the loss I incurred indicates. The winning run that I was on was bound to come to an end sometime and I'll get today's loss back again soon enough.

A Lesson In Complacency

I've been fortunate to be on a pretty decent run of late. Indeed, it has been twelve days since I had a losing day. It is very easy therefore to become complacent when on such a run, so today's performance came as a sharp reminder to watch my discipline and remain focussed.

Right from the off this afternoon, I felt that today was going to be difficult simply because I was giving away, or at least reducing, far too many green positions. Although I was building up profit, it was a lot slower than it should've been if I'd not been so careless.

Coming Along Nicely

I'm afraid I've been neglecting the blog recently. A combination of not having much to say and just too tired to say it. I'm still suffering from the after effects of that bug I had last week. I spent an hour doing a spot of gardening this morning and I was absolutely knackered. I had to have a snooze before the horse racing started! :)

It's amazing how quickly a blog loses hits when the posts aren't being made. It's getting more and more difficult to think of things to write about. As you know, I've recently 'started again' in order to get up to speed with the horse win markets, but I don't simply want to post daily updates as I did when I first started the blog. That was designed to help me maintain my discipline, something I've had under control for a while now.

Not All That It Is Cracked Up To Be

Fortunately, I'm now on the mend from my illness last week. It's been a while since I've had a bug like that. It completely knocked me for six. Although it caused an enforced absence from the trading, the break was welcome.

I've never made any claims that trading the sports markets was anything other than a hobby for me. This past week has served to reinforce that belief. Being unable to trade when my livelihood depended on it would be an unwelcome worry. Being self-employed, I already have that stress. I don't get 'sick leave' from my clients. I cannot pull a 'sicky' when I cannot be bothered to go into work. If I don't go, I don't get paid.

Man Flu

I don't know how many times I've told myself not to trade when ill, but I still do it, and lose. Yesterday was no exception. I'd been feeling increasingly groggy over the weekend and having forced myself to visit a client yesterday, I really should've spent the afternoon in bed. It's so boring doing so though, so I traded and paid the price. Nothing significant as I'm still on relatively low stakes and no harm was done.

I'll be taking today off though as I'm not feeling any better.

A Nice Little Win To End The Day

I thought I'd try scalping the 20/20 World Cup match between Afghanistan and South Africa this evening. An interesting exercise given that, as a Scot, I know nothing about cricket. That in itself is an interesting point about trading. One doesn't necessarily need to know anything about a particular market in order to trade it.

Horse racing is a case in point, with me anyway. I don't know one end of a horse from another. Having said that, I know a heck of a lot more than I did a few years ago.

Very Tense At The Bottom Of SPL

With two games to play, and the bottom two clubs, Kilmarnock and Falkirk, tied on 29 points, the end of the season at the bottom of the Scottish Premier League is extremely tense. Third bottom, St Mirren are safe even though they are only 4 points clear of the other two. Why? Because Falkirk and Kilmarnock play each other on the very last day and both have significantly worse goal difference.

Tonight's matches are absolutely crucial for both sides.

April 2010 Summary

It has been an interesting and rewarding month for me, not just because I returned to profit after suffering my first ever losing month back in March, though obviously that helped.

I hadn't been enjoying trading that much for quite sometime as regular readers may have gathered from my regular postings. This culminated in last months loss, but in turn, that loss served as a catalyst for change. Change that was long overdue and very much needed.

Some People Shouldn't Be Allowed Near A Football Pitch

I've just come across this on Youtube.

If ever there was a case for banning a player for life, then this must be it. As for the referee...

Self-fulfilling Prophecy

If you were to go to see a lawyer, or a tax consultant, or some other guru in a particular field of expertise, you would do so for a reason would you not?

Having been advised by an expert, what would your reaction be? Would you take their advice and act upon it or would you ignore them or worse, tell them that they were talking rubbish? Would you, despite all the evidence they present before you, say that what you are being advised wouldn't work, couldn't work, doesn't work?

That Magic System

It seems to me that there are far to many people entering this field, trading or gambling, who want, if not expect, it to be a short cut to untold wealth. They seem to want experienced traders/punters to tell them what to do and constantly hold their hand without doing any of the really hard graft required to become successful.

I'm sorry to say boys and girls, that such a magic system does not exist. Indeed, any successful trader or gambler wouldn't, in their right mind, divulge the details of such a system if they had one in their possession. That doesn't stop many people trying of course.

Forum And Blog Changes

The forum is starting to fill up nicely with some interesting posts and I'd like to take this opportunity to thank those who have been taking the time to contribute. Very much appreciated.

With the increase use, it is clear that some areas are more popular than others so this morning I've spent a little time reorganising it so that the popular sub-forums are towards the top of the list to save you having to scroll the page so much. I've also increased the number of recent topics listed for those forums so that you can see at a glance what has been changed.

My First Linux Crash

For the first time in nearly three years, my Linux box crashed. Actually, that headline is misleading as my problems yesterday where hardware related rather than Linux related and left me with a system that wouldn't boot into it's operating system.

I bought the base unit on eBay nearly three years ago, and it has always had issues with overheating. As a result, I've run it with the side panel off all that time.

Having recently cleared my desk in preparation for a dual monitor set up, yesterday morning I turned my attention to underneath the desk. I tidied up all the cabling, dusted off the cobwebs from inside the computer (it's amazing the crap that collects in there especially if you have your computer sitting on the floor) and installed a new case fan. With a new fan in place I chose to put the side panel back on.

A Long Week

It certainly has been a long week this week, and in stark contrast to the one that went before. Not that it hasn't been without it's highlights. Still, I'm glad it's over.

I've had one solitary winning day on the horses this week which has seen me drastically reduce my stakes in order to limit the damage being done. I'm still comfortably in profit but I could certainly do without runs like that. My confidence and mental strength has been sorely tested but I'm happy to say I've managed to keep the toys in the pram - for the most part anyway. :)

I haven't done one for a while, but those of you who visit the forum may have noticed I landed a little football trixie today which saw a return of a few pennies over 5/1. That helped to make up for much of the losses on the horses.

Back in the saddle tomorrow, but in the meantime, I'm off to catch up on the F1 qualifying that I recorded earlier.

Is Betfair Any Good At Tipping Horses?

I'm sure you are aware of the many promotional offers that Betfair have been running for some time now. They have a selection of horse racing ones during the week, and today's was one of the easiest:

Tuesday 13th April - £10 CASH BACK if our favourite loses!

We've chosen a favourite for today's racing but if we get it wrong, we'll give you £10 cash back! To take part in this promotion, opt–in here and enter the bonus code "MIDWEEK MANIA 15".

Stop Press - Wheels Fall Off Trolley!

After an excellent day on Saturday, the 'New Old Plan' has hit a bit of a wobble with £45 lost over the past few days.

Yesterday's loss was almost wholly due entering the first race I looked at far too soon, with too much money. Not surprisingly, it went against me and everything I did to retrieve the loss only made it worse.

McCoy Wins The National

Congratulations to Tony McCoy for finally winning the World's greatest horse race... and for winning me £47.50!

Like many families up and down the country, it has always been a tradition to have a family flutter on the big race and this year was no exception. I offered my daughter and son a fiver each to be split over two horses. My son didn't get back to me in time, but my daughter went for 'Hello Bud' and 'Beat The Boys' while I went for 'Snowy Morning' and 'Don't Push It'.

Oh Danny Boy...

... the pipes, the pipes are calling.

Does anyone remember this?

Danny, my number one fan, once promised not to bother me again after I told him I'd do what I want on my own blog. Despite this promise he has since sent numerous abusive and foul-mouthed comments. It doesn't seem to have registered in his immature brain that such comments will not be published.

First Target Achieved

Having started from scratch in the horse markets at the beginning of the month, I'm pleased to say that I've turned my initial stake of £10 into £57 over the past six trading days. Now that the stake has past £50, I ring fence the initial £10 so that the stake drops back to £47 for my next trading day.

This ring fencing is something I did when I first implemented this compounding technique way back when I started. It's simply there to protect my initial investment should I have a major lapse and lose my stake.

BinarySoft Does It Again

Apologies for the lack of posts over the past few days. I've been trying to sort out these missing comments and, as you may have seen, had to revert everything back to what it was, thanks to Google Blogger. I'm a bit hacked off with it. Anyway...

Little did I expect I'd be talking about the Binarysoft ladder in a two horse race so soon after discussing it last week.

Website Changes

UPDATE 5 APR: DUE TO AN ON-GOING ISSUE ON GOOGLE BLOGGER, AND UNBEKNOWN TO ME AT THE TIME OF THE CHANGE, WHICH CAUSES ALL EXISTING COMMENTS TO DISAPPEAR WHEN SWITCHING TO A CUSTOM DOMAIN, I'VE HAD TO RESET EVERYTHING TO THE WAY IT WAS. GOOGLE CURRENTLY DO NOT HAVE A FIX FOR THIS PROBLEM. CONSEQUENTLY THE BLOG URL WILL REMAIN AS BETYOURLIFE.BLOGSPOT.COM.

APOLOGIES FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE CAUSED.

A New Old Plan

As I mentioned yesterday, over recent days I have had cause to revisit some of the older posts on the Bet Your Life blog. I've found this most helpful and found myself rethinking my approach to trading, why I'm trading and what I want to get out of it.

That will be an ongoing process but one thing I have decided to do is return to basics, particularly when it comes to trading the horse race win markets. Over recent months, I've made no secret of the fact that I've struggled to make any significant headway in these markets. So much so, that I feel a different approach is required.

March 2010 Summary

It's always nice to reach some sort of milestone or break a new trading record. This month however, is not so welcome. This is the first losing month since I started trading just over two years ago. It was bound to happen sometime I suppose, so it's good to get it out of the way.

The loss has set me back a couple of months, and much of it was due to my own stupidity. In the first few days, I decided to let a dog race trade go without trading out, with almost inevitable consequences. I quickly followed that by not laying off one leg of a Betfair Mania multiple when I should have. Again, the result was inevitable.

The BDI Ladder

I have argued for a long time that the ladder in BinarySoft is the best out there. It is clean, fast and, as far as I am aware, unique.

BinarySoft BDI, as its name suggests, was initially designed for two runner markets such as tennis, under/overs and so on. Its benefit lies in the fact that in such markets, BOTH outcomes are displayed in the ladder at the same time. The software performs a type of cross-matching in that if you place a back bet on one outcome and there's an available price on the other that would give a match, or a better return, it will LAY that other outcome rather than place the back bet.

Looking For Soccer Tips?

If betting on soccer is your bag, you could do worse than signing up with SoccerLotto, who have just had yet another excellent weekend.

"Blackburn’s win on Sunday and that of Rennes pushed our profit for Saturday and Sunday up to 1,361 points with over 1,000 of those coming from the second acca, so I hope you were on. No less than 18 of the 22 picks in our long shortlist brought home the bacon. All recommended singles won and 10/10 picks in the two accumulators brought two full houses there. I usually enjoy the final weeks of the season and this phase has got off to a great start, so stay with us."

Use It Or Lose It

It has been just over a month since I set up the forum. Four weeks on and it seems that, in the main, I am talking to myself.

I appreciate that there is already a host of trading and gambling related forums out there. In that context, the inclusion of a forum on Bet Your Life was always something of an experiment. I was encouraged to set one up as I have been asked in the past if I would do so. It seems that this initial interest has dissipated. It certainly doesn't seem to be there now. That's fair enough. It's what I expected to be honest.

More Trading Software Coming To Linux

I mentioned a few months ago that I had had feedback from other software developers that they intended to release version of their trading software specifically for the Linux platform. I'm very please to see that Mark Welburn, developer of BetPodPro, is true to his word and announced its release in a few weeks.

This is obviously good news for me and other Linux users. It is also of interest due to the way he has gone about it.

Blogger Resources

Just a quick note for all you traders with Blogger based blogs out there...

Tired with the same, boring old themes provided by Blogger? Spruce up your blog by downloading the freely available blogger themes from Blogger Templates. They all come with full instructions on how to install into your blog.

You may have noticed the addition of a forum to the Bet Your Life Sports Trading blog (which I encourage you to visit and join in the discussion) as well as other small changes. There's been others behind the scenes as well which should enhance the blogs presence on search engines etc.

Most of these tips were gleaned from the excellent BloggerStop site. It contains a wealth of information about running, maintaining and optimising a Blogger based blog. Well worth a visit if you are at all serious about your blogging.

Attention Span Deficit

I don't know if that is a recognised medical condition, but it should be as I seem to have it. Looking back over this month's horse race trading, there seems to be a bit of a trend where most of my losses, or at least the bigger ones, happen in the last few races.

Today was no exception, where I halved my overall profit in the last two races. Perhaps the need to concentrate so intently all afternoon starts taking its toll come 5pm-ish. Certainly something I need to be aware of.

Where Has All The Time Gone?

Out the Windows, that's where!

The flavour of Linux I use, Ubuntu, like most desktop distributions of the open source operating system, not only comes with the OS itself, but pretty much all the software the average user is likely to need. On my current hardware it takes approximately one hour to install the OS and all the software, together with all recent updates. It automatically detects all the drivers it requires for graphics, network card, printer etc.

One To Watch

With both Hearts and Hibernian floating around mid-table in the SPL at 6th and 5th respectively it looks on paper that this Saturday's Edinburgh derby at Tyncastle will be a close affair. Certainly the odds would indicate that.

However, Hearts have had, and continue to have, great injury problems and it's just been reported that they are likely to miss at least seven first team players for this match.

Sounds like a pre-match lay is in order.

What A Relief

It's been a pretty miserable week or so, with a prolonged losing streak in the horse win markets. At least as the days have passed, the size of the daily reds were getting smaller, until today when I actually managed to scrape into the black. It was touch and go though.

The magnitude of my carelessness that I've been suffering is amply demonstrated by a graph of my race by race P&L, together with running total. To throw all my profit away and put myself in the red by losing the last three races of the afternoon card is pretty typical of the mistakes I am making.

The Struggle Continues

Having taken a few days off to recharge the batteries and collect my thoughts, I had hoped that the break would see me getting back to winning ways. Unfortunately not.

The horse win markets continues to cause me much trouble with far too many losers. All the more annoying after starting the day reasonably well.

50% Isn't Good Enough

Some time ago I posted details of how to install and run Fairbot in a Linux environment. I'd never actually used it in anger. Due to the poor run I've been on of late I had intended to reduce my stake today, so today I took the opportunity to use Fairbot at the same time.

I cannot say I was any more successful using Fairbot than any other application. I used £50 stakes yet still managed to lose £26.

As for the software, I found it OK. There's some things I did not like about it, but much of that would be lack of familiarity with the application and the differences between it and my normal application, Binarysoft BDI. However, despite its rather out-of-date look and feel it does what it says on the tin. The fact that it can run on Linux, albeit under Wine, makes it a strong candidate for future use.

Confidence Out The Window

After another shocker, I've stopped early before I throw any more good money after the bad.

I've lost over £30 on the nags today thanks to some of the worst trading I have ever done. Time and time again I was entering the market at the tail end of a move. As a result, it was reversing on me within seconds and not coming back. I was frequently forced to take 5+ tick losses as I waited for the market to come back but didn't.

I've no idea what has happened to my trading. Last week, as I documented in earlier posts, I was becoming increasingly comfortable trading the horse win markets. Now, I feel I'm plunging head long into an ever deepening crisis of confidence.

It might not be so bad if I could depend on the, usually, reliable greyhound markets. However, I've been all over the place with them as well in recent times. This is only exasperating the problem where I now find myself nearly £100 down for the month.

My head is swimming at the moment while it searches for some sort of understanding of the horse markets, but continues to drown in the seemingly random nature of it all. As I said in the chat room today, I'm beginning to think I might as well roll dice to decide what horse, and type of trade I should do. It seems to me that it can't be any more useless than I am at the moment.

False Dawn At The Races

Oh what a day! It all started off so well in the old horse racing markets. Kicking off with a £4 winner, which was quickly followed by a very pleasing £20 win, it was all looking fine and dandy. Then I went on a seven race streak that saw me win only one of them.

That run saw me lose £65 from which I never recovered. I picked up a little over the next few races, but when I got caught again in the 4.20 at Newcastle, losing another £17 in the process, I decided to call it a day.

Horse Race Trading Progressing Nicely

At the risk of tempting fate, I'm please to report another good day at the office, at least as far as horse racing is concerned.

I participated in nineteen races today with only four losers. This is the sort of hit rate I need to achieve on a consistent basis to start making decent money. I am delighted with the way things are progressing, though I am well aware that it is early days. I'm just feeling much more comfortable playing these markets than I have ever done in the past.

Based on staking levels of around £100, I netted £43 today, which I think is a pretty good return. Of course, I still made mistakes. I got caught a couple of times and on three separate occasions I came out of the market way too early while there was a big move on. That doesn't worry me as I'll get better at that as my experience and confidence grows.

A Word About The Forum

I've never been totally convinced about running a forum here at Bet Your Life Sports Trading. Too many such animals have sprung up over the past year or so that participation gets spread rather thinly and the same old faces keep turning up. I always thought the fact that I have nothing to 'offer' wouldn't help. I've no software, service or ebooks that may need supporting. This blog is nothing more than my self-indulgent ramblings put here primarily for my own benefit.

The only area I felt one would be a useful addition was primarily for those chat room members that wished to discuss things on a more permanent basis. It is only recently that I discovered that Blogger had introduced a mechanism that would allow the addition of a forum in the first place. My curiosity was triggered so I had to install one just to see how.

Senility Setting In?

I'm getting ever more senile as old age settles in. What else could explain the obvious senior moment I had today?

I took part in one of the Betfair multiples offers today. This one was to stake £30 on a racing multiple and if only one pick loses, get £15 back. This offer was discussed at length in the chat room. Indeed, I even did a voice broadcast to explain my thoughts.

Why then, when it came to the crunch and I placed my multiple, did I chose to ignore my own advice and not lay my pick in the first race?

Having A Nightmare On The Dogs This Morning

I've had to abandon the greyhounds this morning as I'm all over the place. With Hove delayed by 12-15 mins, the schedules are all screwed up and it's upsetting my natural rhythm in these things.

I've only done 7 races and I've lost heavily in three of them - all at Oxford, where there is loads of money but some wild, sudden jumps. So after only an hour, I'm nearly £20 down. That's a lot given the size of my stakes.

What with this morning's performance and last evening's lapse. It has been an expensive 24 hours.

Silly Mistake

Having been at a client's this morning I spent the afternoon clearing out the attic for new loft insulation being installed on Tuesday. Actually, my son spent the time in the attic, as I'm to old, fat, unfit and stiff to be crawling around tight spaces. What else do we have children for, if not to work for us in our old age?

At the risk of sounding like my old man, when I was young, such chores would have been done for nothing. I had to give my son £20. Children are such mercenaries these days.

Anyway, I hadn't managed any trading apart from the last three afternoon horse races so late on this evening I thought I'd trade some dogs, and immediately regretted that decision as I got caught by the suspension having laid the favourite in the 9:07 at Sittingbourne. Needless to say, the beast romped home and I was plunged into the red for the month.

Not the first time I've made such a silly mistake, and will no doubt not be the last. It has been quite a while since I last did it mind you. I simply wasn't paying attention, which is what I get for trading when I was tired.

Never mind, there's plenty more days left in march to get that back.

Incompatible Browser

As far as I am aware, the Internet is meant to be an open system. People should be able to access information on the Internet irrespective of their chosen hardware, operating system and browser.

Tonight, I had reason to visit betmate.co.uk and was immediately presented with this piece of nonsense:


It didn't give me any other option to progress other than going to the Microsoft site to download Internet Explorer!

Any company who deliberately excludes potential customers by forcing them to use a particular piece of software is short sighted in my view. From a personal point of view, any website that tries such a trick with me is immediately blacklisted.

As for insisting a Linux user uses Internet Explorer! Talk about a red rag to a bull!

Betmate will not be getting any business from me any time soon.

A Difficult Day

Much more experienced and better traders than me keep saying that this time of year is difficult. Never more so than today, for me anyway.

I had a pretty average morning in the greyhound market, but looked forward to the horse racing after lunch. After only a few races and two horrendous losses (for my stakes anyway), both at Wolverhampton, I found myself down over £30 on the nags. I simply wasn't getting to grips with the markets at all. I couldn't make any sense of them.

They were jumping all over the place, turning whenever I entered the market (nothing unusual in that I suppose) and just generally hard to read. Not that I didn't have some good trades. I did, but not until I had walked away from my computer, had a cuppa, and watched some TV. Half an hour afternoon TV is enough to bore anyone to tears, so I forced myself back into the hot seat and an attempt at damage limitation.

Tale Of Two Markets

I'm pleased to say that March has kicked off on a winning note. Not only that, I've made a profit on the horses! There's the dreaded kiss of death right there. LOL!

It's funny how I never seem to be able to do well in all the disciplines I try in a day. Yesterday, the dogs were good to me and the horses only scraped into profit. Today it was a mirror image of that.

In fact, the dogs were particularly disappointing. Having made £16 in just over an hour, I then went on a 3 race losing streak that wiped all of it out and some more. I just seemed to completely lose focus. Even stopping for an early lunch didn't sort my concentration out. I didn't get the dogs back into profit until the last few races of the afternoon session, once I'd finished with the horses.

February 2010 Summary

A slightly different style of summary now that I am no longer publicly declaring my winnings.

It has been a month of experimentation for me, and not one that has been entirely successful.

First on the list of things to try was a manual look at dutching the greyhound markets. The intention was, if successful, it would be an ideal thing to automate so that I could set it running in the morning while I got on with other things. I cannot say that it was entirely successful. Indeed, it was a bit of a disaster.

Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad

Yet another let down on the horses today though at least my losses were due to my mistakes and not the software doing funnies. I actually put in some good trades today, but I had too many stupid mistakes, not least of which was entering the market way too early with far too much money. This obviously resulted in a difficulty in trading out for anything other than a loss. I really need to up the concentration levels.

With it being the weekend, I took £10 of my morning greyhound winnings and did my usual fun trixie bet over at Betdaq. This time I went for wins for Birmingham, Werder Bremen and a cheeky little pick of Stoke to beat Arsenal.

New Forum

At the risk of being accused of copying everyone else, I've configured a small forum for readers to share their trading experiences.

I've not formulated any specific plans for having a forum, but a few hours ago I discovered how to host one with in a blogger.com based blog, so I've been up into the wee small hours simply because I could :-)

I've yet to optimise the colour scheme, but I need some sleep. It's operational now via the link in the menu. Pop in and say hello.

Evolution Or Stagnation?

With my broadband issues finally resolved (you've no idea how much wood I am touching as I type that) I recently went back to Bettrader Evolution for trading the horse racing markets. As it turns out, I did so to my cost today.

I was trading 'Kempes' in the 3:20 and placed a back bet for £100 @ 5.9. 30 secs later it was taken and I immediately fed 5 x £20 lay bets at ever decreasing odds. No sooner had I done this and another £100 back bet appeared in the market @ 6.0 of it's own volition!

Shameful

The decision of Wayne Bridge to withdraw from possible England squad selection speaks volumes for his character and the position he has been placed in by his 'friend' and fellow countryman.

It also speaks equal volumes for the total lack of character of John Terry. His shameful behaviour has effectively forced Bridge into retiring from the International arena and forego the chance of a lifetime - to play in a World Cup finals.

If Terry had any honour or a shred of moral fibre in his body, he'd be the one to withdraw from the squad. That, unfortunately, isn't the case and this utter lowlife of a man will, in all likelihood, go to South Africa without feeling so much as an ounce of guilt over the effects his actions have had on his one time good friend.

I congratulate Wayne Bridge on his decision, regretful though it is. Sometimes principles have to take priority. It is such a pity that there are so few people like him in the footballing world.

Happy 2nd Anniversary

It's just turned midnight and moved into my 2nd Anniversary in this trading lark.

On the 23rd Feb, 2008, I started a serious attempt at sports trading after having had a very poor spell punting on football. Indeed, it really was the last throw of the dice. I vowed to never again throw money at gambling and was on the verge of giving it all up. So off I went, with £10 in my hand - well, my Betfair account - and launched myself into the horse racing place markets with a promise to myself to never again feed a gambling account. If this experiment crashed and burned that would be it and it would have cost me no more than £10.

Taking It Easy

I've been rather quiet on the trading front the past few days due to work commitments and a skiing trip today. The snow up north is still excellent if anyone is interested. Unfortunately, my arithitic knees take nearly a week to recover. It's worth it though.

I've managed a handful of dog races in the evenings, but nothing of any significance.

Much More Like It Or Just Coincidence?

Today saw me achieve the best return from trading the greyhounds I have managed for some time. Stopping for lunch after trading for a couple of hours this morning I was nearly £40 richer. I added to that a little after the horse racing was finished. I wonder how much of that was due to the sudden improvement in broadband speed.

Having switched to BT Broadband at the end of January after my much documented trials and tribulations with my previous ISP, I was delighted to see last night that, after a two week settling in period, my speed had jumped from 0.6Mbps to 2.6Mbps. This is 1.0Mbps higher than I used to get with my old supplier prior to hitting problems.

Not That It Matters

I'm not one for arguments. Indeed, I avoid them like the plague unless I'm certain I'm right. The smallest doubt is enough for me to hold my tongue - at least until I've checked my facts. One thing I do do is correct people if they are wrong.

What's got my attention today is this little snippet I read online:

"I also started a live trading chat room for Racingtraders members in Paltalk and have close to 100 regular members enjoying the live environment that a forum does not provide. We will be expanding that in 2010. Racingtraders were the first to do this as well and now several other groups are endeavouring to copy our lead and start their own."

It's Been A While...

...since I posted a Betfair daily P&L in three figures.


All is not as it seems though as £50 of that was a matched bet which was lost over at EuroSportBet. It's also been a while since I did any matched betting so getting a guaranteed £30+ for little effort is always welcome. I really must get my bookmaker accounts sorted so that I can do more of them.

Cry Foul!

I'm not a happy bunny this evening.

On Sunday, I took part in the Betfair promo whereby, if I backed a fourfold and it failed, I'd have half my stake returned up to a maximum value of £25. I do not have the link to the original terms and conditions for the offer, but I interpreted it as the maximum refund was £25. Not according to Betfair.

Based on my understanding of the T&C, I placed a £50 fourfold which ultimately failed. Betfair credited my account with £12.50 and not the full £25 as I expected.

The Inevitable Betfair Crash

A major upgrade and downtime was announced for this morning so I trust you all tread with care as the odds for the system falling over after it had been brought on line again must have been shorter than 1.01. Sure enough, around 12:10 down it went.

I managed to get an hour of trading on the dogs and added a few pounds to the pot before it fell over. No idea when it will come back, but, as ever, extreme caution advised.

The 'Rabbit' Is On The Move

Some comical goings on at Nottingham this evening when a real live rabbit managed to find its way into the stadium. The 6:44 race had to be delayed while numerous ground staff and officials tried to catch it or chase it out of the arena.

One can't help but think it would have been quicker if they'd just turned the dogs loose. Then again, that may not have been quite so entertaining. Probably just as well as the animal rights lobby would no doubt be up in arms complaining about the natural instinct of the dogs to chase down a cute and defenceless, small cuddly bunny.

How To Profit With Pre-Match Soccer Trading

On paper, it should be the simplest thing in the world. Assess a match, team news, form etc, etc, and place a bet accordingly with a view to trading out for a pain free profit before kick off. The price will move in your favour as everyone else comes to the same conclusion as you. Don't they?

Not in my case they don't. I've tried pre-match trading many times, in a variety of different markets, but I never seem to assess the mood of the market correctly. I may very well get the outcome of the match correct, but the pre-match moves? Very rarely, if ever. Indeed, I'm beginning to think that I should, once I've formed an opinion, oppose it. Certainly, going on past results, I'd be in profit.

Thank Goodness For The Dogs

It's been a mixed bag this weekend with two decent returns on the greyhounds, but the football cutting that profit significantly.

I'm still trying to make various angles on the football work, but with limited success. This weekend's problems started on Friday night when I attempted to trade the correct score market in the Newcastle v Cardiff game.

Friday Mania - Word Of Warning

If you were encouraged to try Betfair's Midweek Mania after reading my last post, you'll be interested to hear there's another one on today. However, today's offer is NOT the same as that described yesterday.

In today's offer, if any of your picks is the ONLY loser in your multiple, then Betfair will refund £10. Find two or more losers and you do NOT get the refund.

Not quite the same as yesterday's so be careful if you get involved as you'll need to change tact a little.

Midweek Mania

It's been a good day thanks in no small part to Betfair's Midweek Mania promotion.

It case you haven't seen it, they ask you to place a multiple bet (at least 3 selections) where one of those selections must be the horse that they specify. If that horse loses, they refund your stake. So as long as you make sure that this horse is in the first race of your multiple, you have a free bet. It's a no brainer.

Running Fairbot In Linux

As ever, I've been exploring other applications with a view to giving me options that would allow me to trade using my preferred operating system, Linux.

For those unfamiliar with Linux, applications designed for Windows will not run natively on Linux, not surprisingly. There are a number of ways around this - potentially. One of these is an on-going Linux project called Wine ("Wine Is Not an Emulator") which attempts to provide a Windows compatible API set that will run under the open source operating system.

Beyond A Joke

Just as I'm settling down for the morning greyhound session, Binarysoft loses connection as the API falls over yet again. Fortunately, I wasn't involved in the market so no harm done.

This situation really is getting beyond the pale. I'd rather Betfair took the thing offline completely, sorted the issues and didn't bring it back up until it was working properly. These continual interruptions to the service are costing people money, and that can never be acceptable.

I'd happily trade elsewhere, but the greyhound markets over at Betdaq are utterly dead. So I'm stuck with BF. Very annoying.

I knew I should have gone skiing today.

Knowing When To Stop

I don't use stop losses, at least not in jumpy markets like the greyhounds. All too frequently, the stop loss would fire when it was inappropriate for it to do so. I do however use a daily stop loss. Once I'm running at a certain loss for the day I'll stop. Accept the fact that I'm trading badly and not in the zone and quit. Better to take the loss on the chin than continue to muddle on only to risk further losses.

Sloppy, But Profitable

A bit of a messy start to the new month for me as can be seen from the P&L per race chart below.


I didn't get an opportunity to trade until mid afternoon as I spent the morning with a client. This, coupled with a dental appoint meant that my trading opportunities were limited. Annoyingly so as there were stacks of money in the afternoon dog race markets.

Unfortunately, I was far to sloppy to take advantage of it and insisted on throwing money away as soon as I'd won it. Always nice to get under way with a profit though. I just need to be a little more careful tomorrow.

January 2010 Summary

It's that time again when I have to run through how well, or not, I've done in the month. The end of January already. It seems to have flown past.

Much of my trading this month has been dominated by my on going broadband issues. As I mentioned back in December, I'd decided to trade full time using Bettrader Evolution. I found this a frustrating experience as Evo was simply not happy with my reduced broadband speed. I'm not familiar with the underlying code, but it seemed to suck up what limited bandwidth my poor connection had to offer causing delays and freezes. In the end, I returned to Binarysoft BDI which is not suffering these issues.

More Luck Required

I've started to satisfy the inner gambler in me by having another trixie today. This time I'm looking at Hull, Everton and Dundee Utd all to win. £10 total stake to win 60 odd quid. One loser and I'll get a tiny profit.

Funny enough, this is something that I had always intended to do when I first started trading, but never did, except very occasionally.

If you've taken the time to read my early postings (well done if you have), you'll be aware that I come from a soccer betting background and, after wiping my bank out gave up with the whole idea of making money from sports betting. When I turned to trading, one of the intentions was to fund my sports betting by trading. In essence, never again was I going to put money in a bookmaker's account. Trading was a way to finance that.

I don't know why I never got around to doing it on a regular basis, but there you are. I think I can afford £10 from my winnings to do this.

I did have the intention of trading out as these times take the lead, assuming they take the lead. However, for some reason I thought the Dundee Utd game was going in-play. No idea where I got that impression from so I'll just let it run. There's in-built insurance anyway in that any double alone covers the bet.

Trading wise, I'm not doing any of the horse or dog markets this afternoon as the Betfair API is really sluggish. More so than normal for a Saturday. I'll look to some footy instead today, though at this point, I haven't decided what.

UPDATE 17:00 - Let down by two teams who just couldn't hold on to a lead.

What A Difference A Few Bits Make

As usual, I struggled to make any headway today. Granted, I missed much of this morning's session due to other commitments and it certainly doesn't help building up some profit only to go on a seven race losing run that wipes virtually all of it out again. So much for the dogs this afternoon.

I quit around 4pm as I received a msg from BT that my broadband was now active. I didn't want to be caught by any funnies as the transition took place. Instead, I spent a little while setting up the new BT Home Hub router and left it running.

I came back for a look at greyhounds just before 9pm. Already, my speed had nearly doubled compared to the 0.5Mbps I've been getting for weeks though there's still some way to go before I match the neighbours. I'm not expecting great leaps and bounds immediately as, if as I suspect, my issues lie with the line, then those issues will remain. At least I'll get some movement on that front now. That's the theory.

Anyway, I spent less than an hour on the dogs and made £20. That's the best result I've had for a long time. Did the slight increase in speed help? Possibly. I'll just have to wait and see if that sort of result gets repeated in the coming days.

Crap Service

No, nothing to do with tennis, but the terrible service that British companies provide their customers. It must be wonderful to be so successful that you can ignore requests and inquiries regarding your services.

In the past week or so, I have sent emails to Betfair, Betdaq, Bet365, BetPodPro and a few non-trading related companies. Not one has had the courtesy to reply or even send an acknowledgement.

If I treated my clients like that, they would quite rightly tell me were to get off.

Gripe over.

Tomorrow at midnight, my broadband transfers to BT Broadband. Hopefully a resolution to my broadband go-slow is in sight and I can start afresh with my trading. It may or may not be coincidental that my Internet connection issues which began at the beginning of November has seen three months of terrible returns where I've only just managed to return a profit.

Indeed, I've struggled to get anywhere near three figures. Something I've only just managed this evening, though I better hold my tongue as there is still three days left of January.

Wish Me Luck

My trading is so appalling just now, that I've resorted to having a speculative punt. Taken from the tips available at SoccerLotto, I've stuck a tenner on Preston, Brighton and Northampton all to win covering the treble and three doubles. Fingers crossed.

I've done this over at Betdaq where I stuck some cash today in order to play around on the horse markets while Betfair was out of action again this afternoon.

Apart from a rather annoying glitch that I'd not seen before in the Betdaq Trader software, it was a useful test. I was only working to £2 stakes but I found the markets relatively easy to read. There was plenty of money around, at least for my purposes, with lots of gaps in the market to exploit. Given the size of the stakes I was using, I was quite happy coming away with 65p profit after commission over six races and not a loser in site.

I certainly saw enough to give it another go, though the issue with their software I was experiencing will not lead me to go there often unless I can get it resolved.

The Great Void Debate

With Betfair crashing all over the place this afternoon, the cries of outrage were inevitable, particularly from those who where stung thanks to a large liability that they couldn't get out of.

So, in the event of Betfair's systems crashing, should Betfair void all bets on open markets affected by the crash?

This is a difficult one where it is impossible to satisfy everyone. As a trader, I'd want the bets cancelled if it meant I was caught in a position I couldn't get out of. Conversely, as a punter, I'd be livid if I'd stuck £10 on a 1000.0 shot that was first past the finishing line and my bet was subsequently made void. I'd expect you would be too and I fully understand that.

Still, I tend to fall on the side of the 'void' camp. Better for everyone not to lose money than a lucky few gaining at the expense of others when the blame does not lie at their door.

The blame obviously must lie with Betfair in that they need to improve their redundancy and backup systems. They are custodians of their customers' money. They should be taking better care of it. That's not to say I do not appreciate the complexity of the computer systems required to process the amount of transactions that you and I are placing on their systems.

Part of the problem also lies in the inconsistent way Betfair treat 'issues' across various markets. For example, in the greyhounds, if there is a late withdrawal, the market is suspended and ALL bets are voided. Unlike the horses, there is no reduction factor, so if you have backed the eventual winner, tough!

This example is loosely analogous to what we saw today. Granted, a dog withdrawal is hardly the fault of Betfair and it affects significantly fewer Betfairians than a system wide crash. However, my point is that a complete voiding of a market can be, and is, done when circumstances dictate. All of us who get involved in the greyhound market know that such things can happen. It's written in the rules of the market.

So why can it not be applied across all markets when a major system crash occurs?

The fact of the matter is Betfair are highly unlikely to change how they do things just now. Consequently, it is incumbent upon each of us who use Betfair to protect ourselves by funding other exchanges and bookmakers so that we have the opportunity to bale out in an emergency.

What do you think?

Damn This Broadband

To paraphrase The Planet of The Apes, "Damn this broadband. Damn it all to hell!"

I've tried trading the horses this afternoon without getting anywhere. I was then hit by a reversal in the 2:40 at Ascot. 'Twist Magic' decided to shoot out and the bet submission delays meant I couldn't catch up with it until it had gone 9 ticks the wrong way costing £11 in the process.

I left it there and went for a break. Foolishly I cam back in time for the last at Ascot and much the same thing happened. Instead of ending up with a profit of £3 or so, I lost over £17. My horse trading is ropey enough without that happening.

I haven't bothered with any football today, though I had intended to do some this evening. Having lost £28+ already today, I don't think I'll bother.

The BT broadband I've just signed up with had better sort this nonsense out or I simply won't be able to afford to trade any more.

So Much For That Plan

After promising to utilise the Tennis Hedging Strategy in the Australian Open, I've had to abandon the idea for the simple reason that I cannot keep awake.

I looked at entering the men's competition at the start of the third round but I was nodding off by 1pm. Unfortunately, I do not have the luxury, or the flexibility for that matter, of being able to do a night shift. I'll just have to put the idea on hold yet again until such times as the tennis tournaments are held at more sociable hours.

Apologies to anyone who may have been looking forward to the results.

The Organ Grinder And The Monkey

This morning (or should I say yesterday morning given that it's now the early hours of Saturday morning) I took the plunge and signed up with BT and their phone and broadband package.

I'm not saving much over the monthly cost I currently pay for my telecomms with TalkTalk and Entanet but, given the results of all my broadband experiences recently, the fact that those neighbours with the best performance are all with BT combined with my local exchange not being unbundled, it seems to me that I'd be better off dealing with the organ grinder rather than the monkey.

BT's initial check of the line suggests a maximum of 3.5Mbps. Not likely, but if I get above 2.0 I'll be over the moon. I'm not expecting miracles when it goes live. If the fault I've been suffering from lies with the line, as I suspect, then I'll probably get much the same as I'm getting now. At least I'll be able to deal with someone who is in a position to troubleshoot it properly rather than just fobbing me off with complete crap.

It's all happening fairly quickly. No sooner had I returned home from the local shopping centre and I got confirmation that it will go live next Friday.

Perhaps the speed of change has even shocked my existing broadband provider as my router lost its WAN IP setting mid trade this afternoon seconds before the off. Fortunately, my closing trade was submitted successfully before the disconnection, but it was a nervous 20 mins before I found out if my £100 stake had been lost or not.

That disconnection slowed me down even further. It's now at 0.3Mbps! Hopefully BT's profiling mechanism won't be an issue when I move to BT. I'm not a great one for conspiracy theories, but it does make me wonder if BT are deliberately throttling the connections of customers who get their services from elsewhere.

With any luck, the end of this sorry saga is in sight and I can get back to concentrating on trading the way I want to trade without being hampered with poor broadband performance. Fingers crossed.