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Thursday, 5 December 2013

A light-bulb moment?

The alchemy that is pre race trading has long eluded me and I've made it my mission to conquer this tantalising but soul destroying temptress.
Not so long ago, I began the 1000 hour challenge, based on the idea that to reach a nirvana of skill, one must have 10,000 hours of practice. My thinking being that 1000 hours of pre race trading should see me become proficient. This challenge is still ongoing.
Last week I revisited a video trading course I purchased at the beginning of this year, a very good course I must state, from (I don't normally do plugs unless I feel the service/product is worthy). Amongst a great many, one of the virtues the course's author extols is that of not over thinking the pre race markets, that it isn't as scientific as people would have us believe. This fact will be obvious to those already successful but to those of us who stand outside the restaurant looking in at the happy diners, it's another tough concept to appreciate. However, purely by default, I approached yesterday's markets, not with gay abandon, but with a certain nonchalance, not to be confused with disrespect, which resulted in something totally unexpected. My plan was purely to generate just 1 tick of free green on certain horses, lo and behold, by the time I'd done so (and yes I should've realised this would be the result anyway), I had created a very nice green across the book. I continued in the same vein, and with the same mindset, to find the day finished with a very nice profit and from 22 races traded, only 4 reds.
There are still stupid errors in my game but they are becoming less frequent and whilst there are still many hours to go before reaching the 1000 total (expected end date April 2015), there are genuine signs of my finally defeating this giant of sports trading.

Stay green.

Friday, 30 August 2013

What are you paying for?

Recently, whilst in an on-line trading room, I received a private message asking if I was ever likely to post again. Time is a real issue for me but I was compelled to write this post by a situation I saw in the same on-line trading room.

Now, some of these rooms, a few, are very good. Some, though, are bloody awful and I feel for those new to trading who fall victim, but we all learn some how.
As a species, we are inherently lazy and, ultimately, the reason for trading is to make a profit, so it's very easy to simply follow instructions given to you in a room, particularly if that room is profitable. But, even though you make a profit, how can you get more value from your service/room?
When joining a service or room, you shouldn't view your investment as purchasing good quality trades, it should be viewed as purchasing someone else's knowledge and expertise. If they are very good they may explain the reason for the trade, if they are simply good at picking profitable trades but don't elaborate on how, review the markets and statistics involved to see what made that trade stand out. If the service/room is non-profitable you will very quickly learn what not to do.

Absolutely none of the people who are successful Sports Traders have become successful by following someone else. The way to becoming successful in anything is to seek knowledge and align yourself with others who are successful in that field. In the fist instance the wannabe trader should seek to learn instead of earn.

Friday, 26 April 2013

They've had long enough...

Following the Betfair outage on March 31st, I penned an email to the Director of Customer Operations at Betfair. I won't name him here but I found his details through an open source.
The email correspondence is below...

Hi ******

Forgive my using this medium but all previous attempts to have anything noteworthy from Betfair have failed. 
Be assured this mail is not the rantings of an unhappy customer talking through his pocket, merely a simple request for genuine information. 

I've been a Betfair user for many years. I've seen and been victim to numerous Saturday afternoon outages and have made numerous efforts to ask what and when is happening to eradicate these outages and reduce my risk as a user. Each time I call I get the stock response. "Betfair is doing it's utmost etc..." 
The overall feeling amongst users is one of being undervalued. We cannot understand how a business that drives such huge amounts of revenue, particularly since the introduction of the Premium Charge, can continue to have the same issues on such a regular basis. Where is the investment on behalf users and where is the feedback and reassurance for users? 

Much of Betfair's liquidity is made up of people trading the markets rather than "punters", were that not the case, there would be no need for PC. Any trader worth his salt will have an account with one of your competitors to safeguard his position but how long before that swings and Betfair becomes the secondary? 

Take time to communicate with the most important people and keep us informed, not with what happened but with what is happening, how that will help us and the reasons why. 
Betfair is deemed the necessary evil and instances like last Saturday serve only to increase that view and strengthen the feeling and standing of your competition. 

What I find most staggering in the below response is the complete failure to understand what I am asking for and the equally unbelievable question of whether or not I have contacted the "Helpdesk". Why would I contact him directly, if I found the answer I wanted or needed from the "Helpdesk"?

Hi Jon 

I'm sorry you felt you had to email me via this channel....can you leave it with me and let me check out some details and get back to you. 

Can i presume you have already contacted the Betfair Helpdesk..? 


I received that response on the same day I sent my mail, April 2nd. Bearing in mind that I was corresponding with the Director of Customer Operations, have I heard back? No.
Frankly, this complete failure to address an issue or even have the necessary level of respect for a customer is purely indicative of Betfair and, if this is how the Director of Customer Operations deals with customer inquiries, it's really no surprise that the whole thing is a shoddy example of how to treat your most important asset.

This afternoon I shall be penning another email to a certain person within Ladbrokes PLC. Within that mail I shall make plain that they can charge the same percentage as Betfair if they wish, just make sure that BETDAQ protects and values me as a customer and I'll be happy.

UPDATE TO POST 10/05/2013 - Out of the blue, this morning I received an email from the unnamed person mentioned in the above text. That person has requested that he and I have a telephone conversation to discuss at length the issues I raised. I look forward to that call and updating this post again.

Monday, 25 March 2013


Been a while since the last post. Mrs. Lambretta had another op, again nothing serious but means me doing both Mum and Dad shifts. Plus the corporate stuff keeps me busy. And it's corporate where this post begins...

Some years ago I attended a course about how we deliver, receive and retain information. Each one of us, without exception, will receive and retain information in one or a combination of three ways - Visual - Which is lots of pictures telling the story. Auditory - Which is predominantly through listening but would also be the written word or maybe spreadsheets. Kinaesthetic - This would be delivering the information or receiving it in such a way that it appeals to the senses, all about how it makes the receiver feel.

How does this relate to me and my trading you're thinking? Well, those of you who are regular readers will know that I have, since my trading career began almost ten years ago, never been able to master the weird alchemy that is pre race trading. I have attended live courses, on-line courses, had on-line and offline mentors, even paid for a so called "master Betfair trainer" to come to Lambretta Towers to deliver a full intense day's training. The latter was genuinely a waste of time and money and, though this particular "master" can often be found on RacingUK, for now, he shall remain nameless.
After much reviewing, it must be said that most of the others were much of a muchness but, given that I have not improved by much, can it be said they were no good? I know of people who have attended or subscribed to each of the above mentioned courses who have become successful pre race traders. So, why wasn't it happening for me?

A couple of weeks ago I came across another service - It's worth mentioning at this point that I don't just find a service and just sign up willy nilly, I do take time to research them and find out if they have made a difference to someone - There was nothing particularly special about this one, same sort of bumph and spiel but, for some reason, I found myself really buying into this one. After going through the site and learning more about it, my confidence grew further and I took the plunge and purchased their six week video training course. Safe to say I devoured it in a couple of days and was ready to begin again from the starting point of the novice... Day one... BOOM! Safe solid profit with real structure to the day though silly mistakes remained which kept the "profit per trade" down. Day two... BOOM! Increased profit, still with real structure and increased understanding of the markets and what to expect. Still some mistakes but increased "profit per trade". Day 3... DOUBLE BOOM! It was that Neo moment. The markets were as clear to me as  reading a children's story book. Massive swings were predicted and ridden. Scaling up and down the ladders with real proficiency. "Profit per trade" went up by 725%!
For certain reasons, I am removing myself from the markets for a few days to take stock, it is, after all, very easy to get carried away. But what has made the difference? Why now have I had that "light bulb moment"? Given that the course content was very similar to all the previous ones, what could've changed? The answer is simple - It's not the content but how I received it. I am by nature a Visual/Auditory person and the course content matched this perfectly. It's easy to condemn these trading course providers and yes, there are some who are complete charlatans, but before we swing the axe, it's worth understanding how you receive information and how the course is delivered.
However, whilst this course is written and delivered in such a way that is perfect for me. It's fairly safe to say the author understands VAK and has written this course in such a way that, regardless of how you receive and retain info, this course should work for you too. I'm not one for plugging trading services and I shan't do it here yet but, if the same level of success continues, and in truth it's only me that can stop that now, you can epxect to hear and read a great deal more about this particular service provider on this blog going forward.

Never, ever give up.

Stay green.


Wednesday, 30 January 2013

The first of a great many

Yesterday saw the first hours of practice in the 1000 Hours of Practice experiment. (See last post)

I managed to bully and cajole Robbo from TSTA into being my pre race trading mentor. One of the first things he advised was to not trade either Maidens or Bumpers. Sadly, there were only two cards yesterday and one of them was a Bumpers for Jumpers card at Lingfield. Given that the experiment is about learning from the very practice itself, it seemed counter intuitive to not trade the Bumpers.
Within the book that sparked this whole idea - Bounce - in addition to the idea of 10,000 hours creating a master, it is stated that those hours of practice are almost useless if the practice itself is not "purposeful". That being having a very difficult or currently unreachable objective, each session, to ensure continuous improvement. As yesterday was the first session, the objective was to try and trade to scratch. At this stage the overall result is not that important, however, I finished the day having added 3% to the bank.

As there were only two cards, a great deal of time was spent watching the markets mature, but I definitely made the mistake of entering some too early. My next practice opportunity will be on Saturday and with so much racing, it will be interesting to see how my trading differs when I open a market with perhaps only 5 minutes to go.
The really interesting thing was, at the end of the session, it genuinely felt like I had begun something really structured, worthwhile and positive.

4 hours done, 996 to go.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Practice does make perfect.

Those who read this blog regularly are aware that I am a massive advocate of regular reading, and a large advocate of the Sports Trading Academy. So, when Robbo, TSTA´s head honcho and trader, suggested a book to me, it was purchased immediately.
The book in question is titled Bounce and it examines the truth behind the idea that some people are born with "natural talent". Rather, it quashes the myth.
When Robbo described the book and it's contents, the first example I thought of that would disprove the book's point was Mozart. A child prodigy who penned his first music whilst little more than an infant. Ironically, Mozart was one of the first examples addressed in the book and took the wind out of my point with little effort.
The book is good and, though I'm about to relay much of it' s essence, I'd still advise reading it.
After extensive, expert research and endeavour, the author boils it down to this; in order to achieve The level of "master", to have a sixth sense understanding of something, the kind that would deliver the type of success you associate with Tiger Woods, you would need a minimum of 10,000 hours practice. Much of which would ideally take place from a young age.
That's great if you have the spare time to allocate. However, one can be fairly sure, if you were able to allocate a fair portion of this time, you could reasonably expect to become proficient enough to be labelled "decent".
I've pondered on these aspects over the last few days and made a decision. Trading horses pre- race is a dark art to me. I have improved of late but am still lacking the necessary skill level to suggest I could make a living out of that trading alone, far from it. Since returning to the corporate world I have a great deal less time available, however, from this week, all of my trading time will be dedicated to trading horses pre- race. And each individual hour will go toward reaching an overall target of 1000 hours, just a tenth of the suggested time it takes to create a  "master". Would I be happy with just 10% of Tiger Woods' success? What do you think?
I've calculated being able to trade/practice for around 8 hours per week, outside of my football trading, which should see me complete the project around mid 2015. Of course, should the practice improve my trading quickly, this practice time will in fact be trading time that, by proxy, sees me become a better pre race trader. Almost a self fulfilling prophecy.

As the enormously talented Roy Castle said "Dedication' s what you need."

Wish me luck.