Friday, 25 May 2012

Summer's here....

...and the football trading coupons are dire and showing little liquidity. Fortunately I am busy at work, and the 'proper' football season ended on a high note as the mighty Blues did indeed win the Champions League and now have arguably the two greatest club competition cups in the world alongside each other in the trophy cabinet.

Looking back on the recently finished season I am, to be honest, disappointed and pleased with my performance in about equal measure. 

Frustratingly, the tell tale scars from my battles with discipline are still visible, even if they are not the vivid red they were a couple of seasons ago. I still find myself entering trades for very little reason and with very little consideration of what I'm looking to achieve (other than to make it a 'winning' trade of course). I'm still guilty of letting losing trades run too long and of exiting winning trades too soon - but less so than before.

Positively I now have a useful database to enable me to track my trades and to glean some insight into which strategies work best for me, and how they can possibly be further tweaked. I am also pleased with some of my low liability lays and with my tentative ventures into the American sports markets - even if I still can't get my head around how they make a game last so long. Another area of tentative involvement that has seen decent results has been the longer term trade - the Premiership and the Champions League particularly, although I'm still kicking myself for not putting a tenner on Chelsea to win the CL at 2-0 and 10 men at the Camp Nou.

My staple trade, the Scatter Gun, has again paid handsomely this season and the latest tweak of entering suitable games at Half Time is also going in the right direction, although I still believe that is tweakable and I'll be returning to that as the new season gets underway.

So what of next season's trading? 

First and foremost I'm whiling away the long, warm summer evenings working on an Excel project to start pricing up match odds, correct score and overs / unders for myself, predominantly using the fantastic stats available at . The idea is to come up with a master sheet for each league, and a subsidiary which will enable me to select the two teams from drop downs and then populate most of the information I think I need to do this reasonably accurately. By the time the first ball is kicked it is my intention to have such sheets for the Prem, Championship and League One in the UK, Leagues 1 & 2 in France, Italy, Germany and Spain and the top flights for Greece, Portugal, Holland, Belgium, Scotland and Turkey. If anyone is aware of similarly detailed stats for Brazil, Chile and Argentina I'd be grateful for a pointer.

Secondly I intend to take a much more active role in the longer term trades and will be setting aside modest trading banks to trade these markets. The markets of interest are the top two in England and the Champions League.

Thirdly I will be detailing every trade on my database and will be ruthless in kicking a non performing trade into touch after a sensible trial period.

That's the plan. I doubt I'll be blogging too much over the summer, youngest gun is 18 shortly and eldest 21 so parties and boozing are upcoming. I'll trade the Euros I expect but work commitments will make that an interesting experience. 

In closing I trust everyone enjoyed 2011-12 and is recharging the batteries for a fresh assault on the exchanges in 2012-13. 

One person who will not be attacking them with quite as much gusto as he has historically mustered is Lamb - he's hanging up his pro trading boots and has promised a trading ebook as his legacy... best of luck with whatever you decide to do, Lamb, and I hope we'll still speak in the chatrooms from time to time.

Monday, 14 May 2012

The benefits of being a full time trader..

..have been discussed here and elsewhere before. But, had I been a full time trader, I wouldn't have been working yesterday afternoon. I would have been filling my boots in what must have been an extremely volatile set of markets around the games involving City, United and Bolton. Many a shirt must have been won and lost. I said to colleagues as I was hunting unsuccessfully for a wifi signal on my mobile to lay City at 1-0, I had a feeling that QPR had a role to play in both the game itself and the title. Little did I imagine how big a part they would play, and for how long they would hold centre stage.

Driving home listening to 5 Live's commentary was an exciting experience. With the score at 1-1 and City pressing heavily, Mrs Gun phoned, and the bluetooth in the car obviously muted the radio. She was dispatched as quickly and humanely as possible, but it still took fully five minutes further listening for the penny to drop that QPR had nicked a second whilst she was asking me to get some milk on the way home!

What a strange feeling it evoked in me. It really didn't bother me, or so I thought, who won the league because as far as I was concerned the wrong team would win whichever it was! I had no money at risk, having greened my United lay at 8.8 some time previously. But, as the game went on, I really started getting quite upset at the thought of Fergie's bloody face on the TV condescendingly telling us all how much United had deserved the crown! I thought it most unfair on City, despite the obvious shortcomings in their team and dressing room - the Tevez and Ballatelli sagas among others. In short I became a temporary Sky Blue, and punched the air in delight as they nicked it from United just as the fat lady's warbling was becoming audible.

Let's hope next season's Premiership contest is as compelling as this one was, and that a team in darker blue are lifting the trophy high in 12 months time. To put it next to the Champions League trophy in the cabinet.

Surely I'm allowed to dream, at my age!

In case you were wondering, I forget the f'g milk after all that as well!

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

I don't remember liking marshmallows as a child...

..but on reading the research by eminent American academics over at Cassini's I reckon I must have had a secret passion for them! I'll let you read it for yourself, but suffice to say that I would have been one of those kids who took the immediate marshmallow and resisted the promise of a second at a later time. There are definite parallels in my trading today, so maybe these academics were onto something.

The comments were made in relation to a debate about how one can use a betting bank. Cassini's view is to let it grow, to treat it almost as some kind of self-contained fund, and that to withdraw from it is somehow counter-productive. To put it another way, keep re-investing your profits and let it grow slowly and steadily, increasing your stakes in relation to the growing size of your bank. There is a lot of sense in this...a larger bank is more able to survive the occasional bad run, and also allows the luxury of being able to invest in longer term markets, such as the season long markets in the various football leagues discussed in the first part of the same post. It also is extremely sensible in light of the oft-quoted statement that you shouldn't bet with money that you can't afford to lose. If you build a substantial bank and then blow it (after you have learnt to trade) you really should consider swallowing razor blades as a hobby instead.

Those of you who have wondered why there is always money available to lay 0-0 at 1000 when the score is 3-0 should know that it's there for two reasons. Firstly to catch hamfisted mis-bets such as the one poor old Eddie made a week or two ago, and secondly for people with small banks to back 0-0 to free up the money they're invested in a lay of 0-0 for use on other markets after a goal has been scored.

Having said that I can't help feeling that most people, myself included, do treat the betting bank as a sort of interest bearing current account. Whilst agreeing that a bank should ideally keep growing I personally see no harm in setting a goal - be it a 'luxury' purchase or treat - as a reward or incentive to oneself.

Returning briefly to the academic research, Mrs Gun does occasionally mutter something to do with 'delaying gratification'. I really must ask her if she liked marshmallows when she was a child one day.

Monday, 7 May 2012

I'd given up on this one...

I have had a week away on a training course which has meant no trading or posting for the past seven days or so. During that time I was reminded of things long forgotten in my professional life, met some great people and ate and drank far too much! I love a full English breakfast, and the only time I have one these days is when on residential training courses or before a day's golf!

Back to the business in hand. Firstly, congratulations to Chelsea on a fine win over Liverpool to lift the FA Cup once more. If they can show the same spirit and resilience in Munich as they did at Wembley I've got a feeling their season might not yet be over...

Secondly I returned home to an email from The Geek telling me that his 'Toy' is no longer going to be available free of charge, accompanied, purely coincidentally I'm sure, by mails from both Bet Angel and Bettrader Evolution offering savings and promotions on their respective products. Whilst it obviously hurts a bit to learn that something that has been free is now going to cost, I can't say that I'm surprised. It is a fantastic bit of kit with lots of nice features, and, once I'd found out how to turn the silly noises off, one I'd grown very fond of using. The Toy was launched during the so called 'forum wars' period a couple of years ago and has undergone several revisions since. The only thing that BA offers over it, in my opinion, is the ability to integrate with Excel and to track multiple markets. I don't think Evo offers any real advantages so it will be interesting to see if the many current GT users stick or twist once they have to start paying. I offer my thanks to The Geek for developing and supporting this software over the years and hope that by charging for it he is able to extend its functionality still further as time goes by.

So what had I given up on? A while ago, with this post, I declared that Man U were a lay for the Premiership title, being too short in the low 1.4's. I duly did lay them for a reasonable sum of money. Results then conspired against me and Utd's price continued to shorten. Looking at the remaining fixtures I honestly saw no reason to get in any deeper, and, in truth, reduced my liability a little as the title race looked to be over. Then enter the Moyes Boys stage left and the whole thing was turned completely on its head! At that stage the key match was obviously the Manchester derby on Monday night, which I watched with my training course colleagues in a busy hotel bar. The only decision to be made now is whether to lock in the profit with Manure trading at 8.6 or to look maybe at letting it run and cover the liability (if I feel the need) with a correct score trade on the draw and QPR winning scores on Saturday afternoon...