Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Stick or twist?

Reno posed a question recently about how to handle the 'wrong' scores in a Scatter Gun trade:
HiInteresting concept and I've been trying this at small stakes for a few days. When the score-line of 1-1 is reached, hallelujah.. the money comes in. But what do you do when 2-0 or 0-2 is reached? Cashing out at this score leaves you -6p on average, but if it gets to 3-0 or 0-3, you loose all your stakes. So I was wondering whether you trade when 1-0 or 2-0 is reached (or 0-1 and 0-2) Thanks! Reno
The key to answering this, in my opinion, lies in the very first sentence Reno writes. Use small stakes. As simple as that, really! By small stakes I mean small relative to your bank, of course. I am always prepared to lose my entire stake if an SG trade goes completely wrong. That's not to say that I never take 'corrective action' - more that I'm quite prepared not to.

I don't see any point, personally, in trading out at 2-0 or 0-2. Many of those games, even if they don't end 1-2 or 2-1 will see one of those scores at some point. If a team scores a third, take it on the chin and move on.

The trade works best the later in the game that goals come. If there is an early goal, especially to the favourite, you might consider backing 3-0 or 0-3. That way, if they score the second goal you can probably scratch the trade by laying off 2-1/1-2 and 3-0 / 0-3.

Another 'nightmare' scenario is a flurry of early goals - I was trading  the four Brazillian games last night and the Joinville v Boa match was 1-1 after five minutes and 2-2 by half time! In that situation I scrambled out for a small red at 1-1! Not much else to be done really.

I don't think you can be too 'mechanical' with correct score trading. The SG is a pretty resilient trade, and my records show it to be nicely profitable over the long term. If you get out of too many trades too early you are, in my opinion, walking away from profitability and not giving the trade a chance to work.

The bigger question, and the most difficult to call, is what to do at 1-1? Assuming this score occurs in the second half you, as the trader, have to decide how to go forward. You could just hedge for a nice profit by greening up all three scores. You might green just the 1-1 to leave maybe  a small loss there and chunky wins on the other two. you might remove some or your total liability by laying 1-1 to some degree. The only thing I would say is that once you've chosen a particular course of action just do it, and don't look back over your shoulder and kick yourself if you make the wrong call!

Monday, 29 July 2013

In-Play stats and their place in a trader's arsenal

I wonder what peoples' views are on this subject? The reason for my post was a discussion in the Trading Football (disclosed affiliation before anyone asks :) ) chatroom tonight about the subject.

It was clear that for some people the absence of Shots on Target (SOT) is a valid reason for staying out (or maybe for getting out ) of a football trade. Now, I'm nothing if not democratic, and each to his own. But, I've some doubts, and therefore, some questions....

I have two main issues: a) definition and b) averages

What is a SOT? Who defines it? How accurate is the assessment in-play? Is there a universally accepted standard? If we say a SOT is a shot (or header???) that either results in a goal or is saved / blocked then I suppose that's OK as a standard. What about a shot that comes off the post or the bar? Or one that is millimetres out? Were they on target, or were they just 'shots'? What about deflections? See my point?

I can live with all of that, but what I don't get is how the averages work. Below is a table showing SOT and goals in the Premier League last season. From this we can see that Manchester United, the Champions, have the lowest SOT:Goal Ratio needing an average of just 3.48 SOT to score a goal. The 20th ranked team, perhaps similarly unsurprisingly, were QPR (relegated) who needed over 8 SOT per goal. We can also probably conclude that Reading are an efficient scoring machine, ranked second only to Utd and needing only 4.16 SOT to score. The fact that they also were relegated suggests they just need to up their shooting rate! Is Premier League soccer that simple, I wonder?

Be all that as it may, we can see that on average a Premier League side needs 5 SOT to score a goal. So in theory a game with 10 SOT should, on average, produce 2 goals.

I've said previously that maths isn't my strong point. Statistics are even more of a Dark Art to me. But, and this is the crux of what I don't get, how do those who rely on in-play stats allow for previous and forthcoming games and goals? If that sounds double dutch I'll try to explain what I mean.

August 17th 2013 marks the start of the new season for the Premier League. Team A need 5 SOT per goal and they are playing Team B who need 6.5 SOT per goal. Let's assume the game results in a 0-0 bore draw, Team A having had 5 SOT and Team B 7.

When those two teams kick off in their second match, do we count SOT from the first shrill of the man in black's whistle, or from the 5 and 7 figures above? By the same token, should we have taken into account the SOT since the respective last goals scored by both teams last season in our in-play stats for the 17/8/13 game?

Even a mathematical dunce like me can accept there's a causal relationship between SOT and goals. In a golfing situation, if my putt doesn't reach the hole, it ain't going down! But until someone can explain to me (in a way that I can understand) how these stats can be usefully employed in-play I'm going to carry on not worrying about them!

P.S. The SOT / Goal data comes courtesy of . Their statistical information is drawn from a number of sources - a site well worth a visit if, like me, you're stats mad ;)

Sunday, 28 July 2013

One 'Gotcha' that didn't get me!

Not through any particular skill of mine, before you start wondering!

I put a dutched trade together on the Canadian Open, and one of those I backed was Hunter Mahan. I did so on the back of his impressive play in The Open, and by the close of play on the second day he had a good lead. In fact, his lead was so good that he was available to lay at 2.6, which enabled me to take a useful £32 green screen into the final two rounds.

I got in from work on Saturday night, intending to trade the tournament in play, and Hunter was in my sights as a potential lay to back trade. I scanned the market and couldn't see him anywhere near the top. Eventually I spied him right down at the bottom trading at 1000!

Had he swallowed a putter? Been assaulted by a grizzly bear? Had the Mounties 'Got their man'? No - his wife had gone into labour and he'd hauled himself off the golf course to be present at her bedside!

I've got to feel sorry for any more diligent golf traders than I. Those people put the hours in looking at form, greens in regulation, driving accuracy and analyse a player's strengths and weaknesses relative to the type and layout of the course being played.

I just hope they also knew his wife was pregnant and was  about to drop!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

The Scatter Gun at its best

I started trading Latin American football primarily because it fits in with my work commitments. I continue trading it now because it is also so consistently profitable for me. Look at the wonders of a last minute 2-2 in the cup tie between Union La Colera and Universidad de Catolica..

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Win sum, lose some

I was drawn to a comment that Ian Erskine made in relation to a recent debate over at Cassini's place relating to the trading mindset. Describing the first of his round of trading training workshops he said the following:
The overwhelming response in the room is exactly as Cassini states - negative. Even with the winner the general view was one of hoping to win. I don't hope I win, I expect to win and over time know I will win.
 The winner referred to is the one person among the 18 present who was significantly ahead overall in his trading. That in itself tells a story, but what I found interesting was the main thrust of the man's own thinking: '....I don't hope I win, I expect to win and over time know that I will win.' (My emphasis).

I don't know about you, but I think that a man who's netted the equivalent of a reasonable lottery windfall in seven years of trading is probably worth listening to.

Back in the mists of time I started writing this blog to try to help with my discipline. I knew what to do, but somehow couldn't resist straying from the path of righteousness. I'm no saint today, but am an awful lot better, partly through experience and partly from taking on board what others have said as well. Slowly but surely I've learnt when to take a loss and when to let a winner run. Of course, I don't always get it right, and occasionally still drop an almighty great clanger. But by and large I've got better, my bank is steadily growing and I do now expect to win overall. And I do...overall.

What interested me when I read Ian's piece was that most of the time when the 'trader's mindset' is discussed it focuses on the mechanics of trading. The message he puts across is much much more to do with thinking of success rather than trying to limit failure. A key difference.