Thursday, 1 January 2009

What’s it all about?

This blog will primarily be an online diary of my happenings on Betfair. It is my first ever attempt at a blog and I am sure that won’t interest everyone but for anyone who is interested, feel free to read on and I would appreciate any comments that you leave.

History and a Review of 2008.

By way of background, I had never used a betting website, or taken any interest in gambling, until late 2007. If anything, my views towards betting were negative, and I was the ultimate risk averse person.

What changed was when a friend placed £10 on Croatia to beat England in that 3 – 2 game. He won £75 that night and for the first time ever I became marginally interested in betting. I can’t explain why. I just was.

At the time, I was watching the X Factor (Don’t judge me yet!) and had been following Oddschecker to try to keep up with who the favourite was just out of interest. Now usually, I will always have a favourite in each Series, and this one was no different. I was convinced Rhydian was by far the most talented. However, in every X Factor / Pop Idol I had ever watched, my favourite had never won and I was convinced that this year would be no different. As talented as Rhydian was, I just thought that his early portrayal would cost him. I was equally convinced the winner would be Leon. Not only did he have the Scottish vote (See MacDonald Brothers, 2006) but he had the teen female vote, and these are the largest voters on X Factor. (See Ray, 2006 and Shayne, 2005.)

Therefore, when I saw a free £25 bet on Betfair, I was drawn in and spread this between Leon and Same Difference. (It was the week before the Semi Finals and was convinced Niki had no chance. (See Rowetta 2004, Maria and Brenda 2005.)

It won, and I was drawn in further.

My next foray was just as successful. I had been regularly viewing Betfair since but had so far not bet since. I still did not want to part with any money although my interest was increasing. Despite being heavy underdogs, I was convinced San Diego would beat Indianapolis and so placed a very small bet. Watching the game, Philip Rivers threw an early interception when already down 7 – 0 and at this point I placed another small bet.

Again, I was right and the more I looked into something called trading and read some excellent blogs which intrigued me further, the more drawn in I was as I began to formulate various plans which I thought would work and be successful.

None of these actually worked (the worst being a lay of £100 on Chelsea v Barnsley – I was sure they could not lose following Manchester United earlier losing to Portsmouth and seemingly giving them the FA Cup) and at June I had almost lost the money that I had won, and at this time was more or less ready to give up.

Then came the German Formula 1 Grand Prix. I was watching the race when the Safety Car came out. Now, I had already had Betfair Mobile up as I had previously placed a lay on Lewis Hamilton. I knew that Nelson Piquet had previously pitted and was astonished to see him at 1000. He would at least be close to the front when all the cars went into the pits while the Safety Car was out. Therefore, I placed £2 on him expecting nothing but hoping everything. I traded out way too early (This has been a common problem!) but still managed to secure my largest win on Betfair, and the interest was back.

Next, my housemate who is a big football fan, wanted SKY, and whilst I have little interest in football, I was more than happy to get it so I could watch Cricket, Rugby League and the upcoming American Football season.

Since then, and for all of 2008, I carried on trading, mainly with small stakes. Somehow, despite withdrawing all my initial stakes, my bank balance now sits at £1,000 which is largely due to “The draw” – this being the Salford v Celtic National League 1 Grand Final at a time when a mysterious layer had been laying close to £10,000 at 100. Despite winning a lot less than I should have and hedging my bets at a ridiculous 4 before the equalising kick (Which in usual situations was at least 80% likely, but I, and a lot of others, were not willing to walk away with nothing!) I still managed my largest ever win.

Although in reality my bank account should be even more, but for closing out traders too soon (A real problem) and not having the courage of my convictions to back my intuition several times, the worst being Lee Smith for the Grand Final Man of the Match despite proclaiming it to everyone who would listen before the game. (Whilst I am a Saints fan, the hurt of losing was nothing compared to my lack of balls!)

2009 – The Plan.

If you are still here, well done, and I would love to receive any feedback!

Now that I have a very significant bank account, in my view anyway, I plan to “Go for Gold” in 2009. Trading is something I genuinely enjoy, which is key – the interest drives me more than the money, and something that I have obsessively researched over the past few months! (Past performance is no guarantee of future success, but if you are shooting blind, you are more likely to fail.) I like watching sports and I like the feeling of “Getting it right” and of following the Markets and trying to keep up and occasionally beat them.

This blog will be used to describe any successes, failures and experiences that I encounter in 2009. I hope to regularly update it and to also post on other thoughts I have, such as the methods and psychology of trading, why I am doing this, and also sports generally.

The sports that I am likely to trade on the most are Rugby League, American Football (For the next month!), Cricket, Soccer, Formula 1 and the occasional ITV talent show. The first three are my passions, where I try to use my knowledge, the fourth is a sport which I have little natural interest in, but whose mass availability combined with trading strategies provide interest, and the latter two are also what I enjoy and lend themselves to trading strategies. Golf also interests me but at the moment I have no clue about that. I also have no interest in either Horse Racing or Tennis, which appear to be the sports which are most blogged about in relation to betting – although I hope traders of these sports will still find the blog an enjoyable read. I have learned a lot from such blogs and followed some with great interest, despite having no interest in the sport.

I will usually explain the method I am using when discussing the actual trade as this will often change depending on the way the event is going and the resources I have available in relation to the event – I am acutely aware that there will be people who receive information before me and try to vary my plans accordingly – It would be useless taking a short term position on a non televised Cricket match for instance.

I currently do not have pre-defined stake sizes – I tend to vary these depending upon the price and how I feel, but I will be slightly more brave / reckless than before. This upcoming weekend I plan to trade both the 3rd Round of the FA Cup and the NFL Wildcard Playoffs (Go Cardinals!) and will probably look to use £25 and £50 respectively, but that’s far from sure.

I don’t therefore have any solid rules, but I am open to helpful suggestions – I am still a novice!

The Equipment.

The one thing that I believe is key is to have the right equipment. You never know when something may stop working. Taking things excessively (as I do!) I plan to trade on my brand new Samsung NC10 Netbook with my phone connected to Betfair Mobile as further back-up! (Won’t help if Betfair crashes though, which is the ultimate disaster) I will also have access to Cable TV / Radio as required unless I am out and about and placing a trade which does not require constant monitoring. And I’ll also largely be using the excellent BetTrader Pro, with the main Betfair site as back-up.

About Me.

Just a few words for now about me for those of you who don’t know me. I am 24 years old and currently living in Leeds, which is actually a pretty decent place. I hate my job and the Company that I work for and have been promising to return to University ever since I graduated! We’ll see on that!

Next Update.

Assuming I avoid the pub, probably tomorrow after the Wigan v Tottenham FA Cup game.


  1. Hi Craig,

    Thanks for your comments on my blog, and I would like to return the compliment and link to you also!

    I wish you the best of luck with both your blog and your trading, although I suspect from reading your post that you know what you stuff betting wise, and should do very well!!!

  2. Hi Craig.

    Thanks for your comment.

    I look forward to following your blog mate and good luck for 2009!