Saturday, 28 February 2009

Round 3

If this isn’t a game of luck, it is a game of confidence but the two are so closely knitted together that when you get one, the other one follows.

Take tonight. After 65 minutes, I was a healthy £25 on Wigan v Harlequins, with a treble figure green on the draw and hoping for the best. Harlequins kicked a 40/20 and I re-arranged my green, hoping for a try. One followed, and then so did another. Within the space of a few minutes, I am looking at £80. £55 for watching the game that I love for 10 minutes. I then place some green on Wigan, knowing the benefits that one try would bring. (6.8 for a team trailing by 4 is too large). Amos Roberts intercepts a pass, and I trust the speedster to bring it home. He does, and I am at my largest win of the season, and my second largest win ever on Betfair.

It hardly matters that I screwed up on the draw. It hardly matters that I threw away some profit. What matters is that through some luck, some confidence and the appearance of money that had previously been vacant (horribly low liquidity as presumably people fell asleep watching the 6 Nations), it worked out all right in the end.

And that was key. Going into this week, it would be fair to say my confidence was approaching rock bottom. Now, it is not sky high, but it is high enough to enter a new month as a fresh start and to try new things with the profit built up from this month. (More on that, tomorrow.)

And all this from a weekend, where I genuinely could not call the SKY games. (I guessed Warrington and Wigan victories on paper, only.) On a weekend where my general trading seemed to be the worst of the year, and on a weekend where my only really successful thought (Saints would struggle at home to Hull KR) was one I ignored.

Anyway, for those of you who are sick of the fact that this blog has become little more than a monologue on Rugby League, I will hope to correct that from tomorrow, and I can tell you that I did manage to win £5 from Everton v West Brom.

Back to the Rugby League, and a quick overview from last night’s game. Thankfully, I caught onto Wakefield’s fast start, largely thanks to a good tip, and was able to build up a massive green on the draw which looked very appealing when Warrington started to come back. Sadly, it did not last, and surely it cannot be long until Warrington realise that whilst it is not all his fault, James Lowes is in over his head. Back to the game, and my utter amazement of the Half Time Odds (Warrington were 1.2 last week with a 6 point lead; Warrington were 1.25 with a 20 point lead this week???) enabled me to make a small profit. Not bad considering I had been without the internet all week!

Tomorrow sees the World Club Challenge, and I can honestly say that I have no pre-match opinion, other than to wait and watch before getting involved. I am not up to date on matters NRL, although I expect there to be several good trading opportunities, and it will be good to see Jamie Lyon back, playing in England. (Hopefully, he’ll be back for good soon, if rumours can be believed – although I would suggest they are, at best, doubtful.)

Anyway, that’s it for tonight. I’ll be back tomorrow with a comprehensive review of the month, and an ambitious plan for the next month.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

A sobering thought - at the risk of aftertiming.

If I would have used £100 stakes as I set out to at the start of the season...

St Helens v Warrington - Back Warrington at 4.5. Back St Helens at 4. Potential profit: £1,250.

Salford v Celtic - Lay Salford at 1.05. Back Salford at 1.4. Potential profit: £740.

Hull KR v Leeds - Back Hull KR at 5. Back Leeds at 2.38. Potential profit: £590.

Warrington v Catalans - Lay Warrington at 1.26. Potential profit: £384.*
* At 1.06, I may have laid Warrington again (Especially if I was so far up!). Potential profit: £1,666.

Potential loss: £500. (Half of my bank)
Potential total profit: £4,630.

There is no way in hell I would ever have let those bets run all the way down as in the above best case scenario, and then also no way that I would have seen the potential green and put £100 red on one side, and there is equally no way in hell, I will ever have such a good run again!

However, it is just worthwhile pointing out how much my cautiousness has hurt me over the past nine days!

When a loss is worse than a win

Ordinarily, a weekend winning £100 would be construed as a good weekend. It is not enough to retire on, but it is a nice amount when you consider that the profit has solely come through watching rugby league, something that I would have done for free.

However, winning £100 when backing a 4/1 shot before the match, and maintaining faith with them when they were available at 15/1 on Betfair, is quite frankly appalling.

Last year, by the end of the season, I had settled into a nice routine of winning around £50 per match via trading the market and re-ordering my green as I saw fit, and so winning £47 on the Leeds v Hull KR match was nice, if frustrating in some respects due to the errors I made, although given that this was just the 4th traded match of the season, the errors were largely excusable.

Going into the match, I harboured concerns about what Leeds outfit would turn up. Would they be too concerned about the impending World Club Challenge, and how would they miss the controlling influences of Rob Burrow and Danny Buderus.

Trading at 3.85 pre match, Hull KR were very close to the price that would have made me consider whether to back them (I had their value price at 4) but I was glad I didn’t when Leeds scored the first try, although seeing Hull KR at 5, I decided to transfer my green onto Hull KR, a decision which paid dividends as KR led 10-4 at the break.

However, I had by this point managed to eliminate a large proportion of my green on the draw, when I accidentally used the wrong stake at one point, and in my haste to cut major losses, I traded out at an immediate loss.

Again, I spotted value at Half Time, backing Leeds at 2.38 (They had not been great, but they were clearly up for the game and I had them rated as a 2/1 shot), and whilst I did not ride them home to victory, I did enough throughout the second half to achieve a nice profit, even if I was frustrated that I had not dived on the value (I merely put one toe in the water), as I had said I would at the start of the season.

Still, it is early in the season, and this was my first time watching Hull KR, so caution was probably advisable, and I had no complaints with my win.

Saturday night was oh so different, and could turn to be a major turning point.

Before I look at the prices for any match, I attempt to predict what the market may be, and what prices would constitute value in my opinion.

I had expected Warrington to be somewhere in the 1.4 – 1.6 range, maybe a bit lower, and I had their value price as 1.8.

Imagine my absolute shock then, when I saw that Warrington had traded as low as 1.2 on Betfair and were as short as 1/6 with some bookmakers. Now, I know that Warrington had seemingly performed well against Saints for 50 minutes, and that Catalans were surprisingly well beaten by Huddersfield last weekend and had a long journey to make for the match, but this price seemed wrong.

My initial shock was brought back somewhat when I looked into the matter more; Catalans had endured a horrible Pre Season, Kevin Walters is a very unproven coach, and a lot of people whom I talked with about the game, and whose opinions I deeply respect, saw this match as a walk in the park for Warrington.

However, I could not get away from what I had seen with my own eyes when watching the game against Saints back (I thought they looked dreadful in attack and sieve like in defence for the last half hour, against a Saints side who looked rather insipid. This belief was reinforced by the fact that last year, Warrington were undeniable flip flop kings, with seemingly every game resulting in Warrington turning the form book upside down, and I saw no reason for this to change, with the Wolves having stuck with James Lowes as coach, a decision which in my view was at the least, very questionable.

That said, I am not an instinctive gambler. I am a trader. I use my knowledge of the market to get my green, and then adjust the green slightly in the way I see fit. I especially do not like calling games before the opening 10 minutes, teams’ range of performance levels is such that calling games before they start is largely a lottery.

However, with over £150 profit from the past eight days Rugby League, I thought that my belief was strong enough to risk at least some of this, especially as my confidence levels were reasonably high, having called the past three matches with some degree of success. This is what I had said I would do before the season and there would never be a crazier price than this.

However, I chickened out. Not totally as I took some red in play on Warrington, but I had left corresponding backs in which were minimally above the starting price, the effect being that I was already green on Warrington before Catalans scored the first try.

However, as Warrington raced into a 18-6 lead and were as low as 1.06, you may have thought that I was pleased with my lack of courage, after all I had seemingly tipped a game wrong. Only I wasn’t. I know Warrington well enough, and saw enough with my own eyes, to know that this match was far from over, and as I converted my green on Warrington into green on Catalans, the French outfit scored a try which reinforced my belief only for the Video Referee to intervene and me to chicken out once more, at a minuscule profit.

The second half was more of the same, as I mixed my belief of a Catalans revival with my inability to take risks, regularly taking £2 to £5 profits, ending up with an end profit of just under £60.

One thing that is worth noting though, is whilst I tipped Catalans at the start, they did fall behind. What would I have done then? Cut my losses, or hope for a comeback? It is not as if they were an easy 1.01 train to ride.

So at the end of the week, I am £100 better off, but with serious questions having been raised about my ability to succeed.

The simple fact is, that whilst I have never been a gambling man, and have always naturally tended to be risk averse, I thought that this would be something I could overcome. Sadly, it looks like I can’t. Over the past nine days, I have successfully identified value in all four matches, only to be too cautious to act upon it.

Why? I have no idea. The money that I trade with is profit from last year. The stake size isn’t a problem, I trade out of £2 bets!

So, why?

The only logical answer is that I am scared of losing. Not of money, necessarily, but losing. Now, that would appear to make no sense given that I regularly point out value to others, but it would seem that when it is all on the line, I draw back into my shell.

Is this something that can be fixed? I have mentioned before that this approach can also be found central to my life where quite often, I will always take the safest option, be it with anything. I am not a natural risk taker, but at the moment, I seem to be avoiding risks that are the equivalent of crossing the road. Yes, there is some risk there, but it is largely minuscule, and even if the risk goes against me, it is not going to make a material difference.

Do I just not trust myself enough? Is that the problem, and can this be fixed.

I will stop there, but the fact is there are serious questions that I need to answer, and if I can’t then I won’t succeed here or possibly anywhere, but to end with a positive, at least it is all in my hands.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

That’s a lovely tree… but where’s the forest???

With the first weekend of SKY Super League games out of the way, it is time to reflect on missed opportunities, poor decisions and mystifying happenings. Plus, my trading performance. Which, to be honest, was dreadful.

I maintain that there is no better sport to watch, or trade on than Super League. There just isn’t. It combines end to end action with breathtaking ball skills and violent collisions. Sure, you get the odd bad game, but even bad games have their moments, much like yesterday’s game between Salford and Celtic Crusaders.

Going into the game, I could not call it and did not disagree with the Betfair odds of around 1.5 for Salford. The City Reds have a slightly better squad on paper, a coach who has shown he can succeed at this level and home advantage, which whilst usually overrated, is a factor against sides like Harlequins, Catalans and Celtic, for obvious reasons. However, I wanted to wait to watch the opening action before getting heavily involved. I maintain that whilst it is comparatively easy to rank squad’s ability, the variation in performance levels on any day is such that you can never be totally sure of how a game will begin.

That didn’t stop me however, from getting involved in the Pre-Match market, although I yet again made a mistake which is all too common. Around 6.00 PM, I had £10 green on both teams and -£150 on the draw or so. The draw was heavily available at 26, and I could have had a nice green on the draw. However, the draw had been trading as high as 36, and this was the price that I believed was accurate, although with slightly reduced liquidity (Saturday games see less money than Friday’s), there was no-one around willing to lay the draw at even a generous 30.

So, I attempted to create green on the draw via laying the two teams, which I had achieved with some success during the day, and laid Salford at 1.53, hoping to lay Celtic around the 3.1 mark, when the prices suddenly changed to around 1.5 and 3.5. With kick off approaching in around an hour, and knowing that the market can get much more volatile with team news coming through and the much larger players getting involved, I bailed out to around £1 green on either team and £30 or so on the draw, only to see Salford and Celtic go back to the original odds within around 10 minutes or so!

There is no doubt that part of the skill involved in trading is knowing when to cut losses and when to wait for the market to come back to you. My largest problem is definitely in panicking too much. Even when the market dipped, I was confident that it would come back, but I just seem to have a problem in waiting things out and panic at the prospect of things going against me, despite the fact that avoiding a Betfair crash, there was practically no chance of me even entering the game with a red book.

And this problem was equally prevalent in the second half of the game. Now, at this point, I had a double digit green, just, on all sides, and I was considering re-allocating a small portion of the green to Celtic. Now, to be honest, I could not see a way back for the Welsh outfit, but this is Rugby League, where price swings are very common, and so I allocated £2 of my green on Salford to the other results at 1.05.

With just a 14 point lead, the game was far from over even though Celtic looked like they would struggle to score three tries against no defence, but surely one piece of luck would send the City Reds out to 1.2. As it was, the Crusaders got the luck they needed and more when Jace Van Dijk, their Captain, went off injured. Now, I respect everything Van Dijk has done for the Crusaders, and the fact that he carved up defences in the lower leagues, but with the greatest respect possible, Van Dijk is not good enough for this level. Now, he can still be a part of the team, but so long as the Crusaders try to route everything through him, they will struggle.

Anyway, the Crusaders scored and they drifted out to the mid 1.1. range, which was a frankly ridiculous price. There was 10 points in the game, and the Crusaders had scored two unanswered tries and were getting on top. Yet, I traded out.

In the cold light of day, allow me to go and punch myself in the face. Repeatedly.

After everything I have said, I traded out at 1.14. For £3.60, from a £2 stake, even though I strongly disagreed with the price, even though Celtic were getting on top and even if Salford had scored next, I could have got out for no loss, and even if I had lost, it would have been £2, and less than 15% of my green at this time.

I’ve had a few comments in the past about being too harsh on myself, but when I do utterly stupid things like that, how can anyone defend that. If I can’t trust my eyes and thoughts, and can’t even stomach the thought of possibly missing out on £2 or £3, what is the point.

Anyway, Celtic did score next to get it to 20 – 16 and the market did move out to 1.45 for Salford, which whilst still a crazy price, 4 points in it and the side on the back foot was at 1.45. That just reflected the fact that the Rugby League Markets are slow to respond to comebacks. I would have priced Salford at around 1.6. They should still have been clear favourites, but when one moment of sheer luck can change the leader, no way should a team be at a lower price than they were at kick off.

As it was, Salford did run out victors 28 – 16, but not until more crazy prices appeared. My favourite being Salford available to lay at 1.01 with seven minutes to go when Celtic had a set of six inside Salford’s ten metre zone. A converted try would have put them within 6, and whilst Salford would still have been a 1.1 shot or so then, I could not resist taking advantage, and if Tony Duggan had not made a horror show of a clean break on 77 minutes, the market would have drifted out to at least 1.05, which is a 400% profit.

As it was, I ended up with a profit of just under £25 which is obviously great considering that I am earning money to watch something I would happily pay to watch, but is a massive disappointment when I consider not only what it could have been, but what it should have been. I seem to be able to set out rules and ideas which work, but I appear to be very poor at implementing them, during a game.

Maybe it was just that I was too cautious of throwing away green which would not be recoverable if Salford turned onto the 1.01 track, Maybe it is just pre-season rust, maybe it is not having enough of a feel on the competition yet, but I am worried that it is merely reflective of the reason that I set up the blog, which is that I am not only too cautious, but am ridiculously too cautious. In fact, after nights like last night, I look back and wonder how the hell I even managed to get double figure green on all teams in the first half!

Anyway, on the plus side, with nearly £100 earned this weekend, it will allow me to be slightly more adventurous on other markets (knowing that I will still be heavily green for the month even with a major disaster is a massive positive), unless I lose my nerve there!!!

Saturday, 14 February 2009

The Greatest Game

Sorry for the lack of updates, but had a few things going on this week, and also managed what I consider to be my worst day ever on Betfair last Sunday, not results wise, but in terms of trading, which I will explain in the next blog update.

This update will primarily touch on Rugby League, which now that the season has begun, will become the central focus on the blog because, well, this is what I have done best at and hopefully will continue to do so!

Last year, through largely trading SKY games, I was able to do quite well on Rugby League. My basic strategy is to wait and see how the game starts, as you can usually tell so much early on (Individual match performance can vary so much compared to team ability), and Back the draw and lay the favourites, although that is a massive simplification!

Last Friday was a slight disappointment, when I entered the game with a massive three figure green on both Celtic and the draw, with only a slight red on Leeds. I could have traded out for a £10 equal profit before the game, but with Leeds at 1.06, I figured that they would probably rise if Celtic came out well, which I thought they would do, given it was their Super League debut and how new franchises had a history of coming out and starting competitively.

Sadly, that wasn’t the case and within 10 minutes, you could not back Leeds at all, and only a small back of Celtic on the Handicap market prevented me from starting off the season with a loss!

Anyway, with only two games played last week, and with little fanfare, it was obvious that the real start of Super League XIV was this week, and it would start with St Helens v Warrington, on SKY Sports 2.

St Helens and Warrington have produced some classic matches down the years, and some great betting opportunities, with St Helens producing some great comebacks down the year, winning 31 – 30 from 28 – 30 down with only a few minutes left, scoring three tries in the last eight minutes to win with the last touch of the game, and who can forget last year, when Warrington came from 10 – 0 down with Saints at 1.05, to lead 16-10 inside the last ten minutes, only to lose 17 – 16 despite Saints trading at double figures! This coupled with Warrington’s 2008 reputation as Flip Flop kings and Saints’ notorious slow starts, made it look like an easy game to trade and therefore, the early idea in my head was to ride Warrington down to them becoming favourites, before switching trains and riding Saints home to victory.

That said, there were some questions in my mind about how much more consistent Warrington would be under James Lowes, the possibility of St Helens being a 1.01 train, as they have been in the past, and more importantly, the price on Betfair. Put simply, I had Saints as 1.3, whereas Betfair had them as 1.4. Maybe this was a reaction to the likely flow of the match, but equally maybe I was missing something, and the price on Warrington just did not look appealing enough to back from the start.

However, some good Pre Match trading allowed me to enter the game with £150 green on the Draw. If there is one rule in Rugby League trading in my mind, it is that the Draw is your friend, and who can forget the 100/1 draw between Salford and Celtic and the mysterious draw layer from last year.

That said, despite Warrington rising to 4.8 as Ade Gardner had a first half effort disallowed, I largely missed the first half ride on Warrington. I am always very cautious of backing any team prior to the first try but the fact that it took 30 minutes for the first try, meant that I largely missed the downswing and the fact that Warrington’s try came in relatively bizarre circumstances (Surely Louis Anderson illegally impeded at the Play The Ball) meant that before I knew it Warrington were trading at 2.0, although again, thanks to trading the draw and some other momentum swings, I had £300 green on the Draw, which seemed too large, with bets still being matched at over 20.

The second half was where things began to improve for me, as despite taking minimal risks, by opposing Warrington at 1.3 and using the extensive green on the draw, I was able to ride St Helens to victory, and pick up over £70 after commission.

Looking back on the game now, the one thing that sticks out to me was that like St Helens, I was very rusty. I made several errors, missed out on swings and was generally too conservative and spent too much time watching the market as opposed to the game. (Watching it back this morning, I spotted several “clues” which I did not pick up on during the game.)

The fact is, despite these errors and being too cautious, I still managed to achieve £70 profit so maybe I am being too harsh on myself, or maybe I am getting over-confident in my ability. After all, Saints v Warrington is an easy game to predict, but equally I failed in the Leeds v Celtic game, and for the first time ever, I have no opinion on tonight’s game, with two new Super League teams and with very limited data available, preventing me from reading the game. However, I would tend to agree with the current prices on Betfair, although anything could happen in Rugby League, which is why I’m delighted to see it back.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Super League XIV

Well after the shortest Pre Season ever, which still felt like an eternity to fans, Super League returns to our Screens tonight in the form of Leeds Rhinos, the Pre Season Favourites, against Celtic Crusaders, the Pre Season Favourites to finish bottom.

Maybe not the best match to open up the season, but after a few months of inactivity, any game will seem a classic. As for the result, with Leeds missing Brent Webb, Rob Burrow, Danny Buderus and Greg Eastwood, is there any chance of an update against the new boys?

Sadly, you wouldn’t think so, given that eight of Celtic’s squad only arrived in the country last week, but you never know! Especially with the weather conditions being the way they are, and the unpredictability of Super League. That said, I would expect Leeds to win comfortably, but if Celtic could put in a good first half that would be appreciated, as Leeds’ pre match price of 1.06 simply has to be laid.

As for the season, it is always difficult to predict before a ball is kicked in anger, but here is where I might expect the teams to line up come the end of the year.

1. Leeds Rhinos. Good coaches prosper in their Second year, and the Rhinos certainly have a good one.
2. St Helens. Might take some time for the Saints to gel, and our squad doesn’t look as strong as recent seasons.
3. Bradford Bulls. Possibly the best forward pack in the league and an extremely under-rated coach.
4. Wigan Warriors. A return to the days of the Big 4? The Pie Eaters have made some impressive signings. Much depends on Tim Smith, however.
5. Warrington Wolves. I have backed Warrington in previous seasons, but I think they could struggle this year. Watch them shine!
6. Hull KR. They won’t win the Super League, but they are a very impressively set-up outfit.
7. Hull FC. Too good to struggle again.
8. Harlequins. Impressive youngsters will develop further and a very well coached side.
9. Catalans Dragons. Not so much them going backwards as maybe not keeping up.
10. Wakefield Trinity Wildcats. I wanted to place them higher, but there is too much quality ahead of them.
11. Huddersfield Giants. 5 – 11 really are interchangeable. I think the Giants’ squad is extremely capable of doing very well this season.
12. Salford City Reds. Will impress on their return, but ultimately don’t possess the individual brilliance of the above teams.
13. Castleford Tigers. Capable of beating anyone on their day, but like Salford, I don’t see the individual brilliance.
14. Celtic Crusaders. Sadly, I think they may struggle in their first season in Super League, although they should be able to lay succesful foundations for the future.

Looking at the league, I agree with people who are saying this will be the most even competition ever. Anyone can beat anyone and that is only good for the game. Teams ranked 5 to 11 above could easily be interchanged. However, I do almost see three mini leagues – The Top 4, 5 to 11 and 12 to 14 although I expect one of 5 to 11 to make the Top 4, and one of them to make the Bottom 3, but I don’t know who, and I don’t think anyone will until the season begins.

Which it will, in 2 hours.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Review of January 2009

Monthly Result: £-10.00

It says a lot about the month that despite losing 1% of my bank overall, I feel pretty good about the end result. Looking back to the start of the month, I had envisaged that merely by clicking my fingers, that I would be able to transform my trading methods of the past year. I now realise that was absurd.

I had gotten to where I was primarily by trading on Rugby League and backing events with very small stakes or looking to take an immediate tick and green up. Therefore, telling my brain to use larger stakes and to ride the rollercoaster some more proved to be very challenging, but it is a challenge which I am much more prepared to deal with now, than I was at the start of last month.

I primarily traded two sports this month – Football and American Football, and will look at these separately.

American Football

Monthly Result: -£19.85

Up until the start of the month, I had very rarely traded games that were broadcast on SKY. I can remember having a little go a couple of times, but the large amount of my trades were in games which weren’t broadcast in the UK.

Now, I don’t have the relevant statistics for the regular season, but my basic plan was to trade on games in which I strongly disagreed with the price, with stakes between £2 and £10, and trade out in the first quarter if possible, with the green being split in line with the way I thought the match would end.

I would also keep an eye on most markets, during the game, and look to get involved where I strongly disagreed with the price. For example, I would regularly lay a team if they scored on the first possession. The drop in their odds can often be quite ridiculous, in the NFC Conference Championship Game, the Cards went to favourites based upon the opening drive for example.

Consequently, not only was I betting on a much more liquid market when I bet on the Playoffs, but I was largely attempting short swing trades, which were harder than I thought and something I had little experience in dealing with. Therefore, I often got stuck in positions I did not like or became wary of entering the market.

The only games that I attempted long term trades on were the only games I made more than £2 profit on!

In the Indianapolis v San Diego Wildcard game, I went to bed leaving my green on San Diego, whilst in the Baltimore v Pittsburgh game, I backed Baltimore pretty early on for value reasons for a small stake, and whilst they crashed early, which led to me increasing my Baltimore back, they did come back just enough to allow me to green out.

The most interesting game was the Arizona v Philadelphia game. Being a Cardinals fan, I was too involved in the game to really attempt to trade it, but I decided to back the Eagles as soon as they went over 2. I had set myself a maximum loss at £25, and kept adding to my Philadelphia green as Arizona reached prices of 1.07 before they came back, and at this time I had three figures green on Philadelphia and £20 or so red on Arizona.

The Cards then traded over 3, but I was largely convinced that the Cards would find a way to blow it, that I allowed my heart to rule my head and did not trade out. Therefore, a £80 win, which I would have taken if anyone but Arizona had been playing, became a £24.06 loss, and this really caused me to mess up on the football, see below.

Looking back on the game now though, I feel that this provided a huge lesson; it made me realise that once I can learn to stomach the rollercoaster, that longer term betting would be more effective than being forced into quick trades, just because the game is on SKY. It is much harder to bet on whether a receiver will drop a pass on 3rd and 9, or whether a Quarterback will be sacked on 3rd and 4, than it is to look at the direction of the game. (I was able to largely avoid this in non televised games, by poor liquidity, small stakes and a belief that my view would eventually be right. I failed on SKY due to wanting to get involved afresh on the new series.)

Lesson Learned: In the new season, trade with a view to long term results. It appears to be what I am better at. I won’t get every 1.07 that I lay, but I don’t need to.

Markets Traded: 9

Wins: 3
Losses: 4

Average Result: -£2.20

Average minus largest win: -£1.65

Average minus largest loss: £0.53


Monthly Result: -£2.77

I started the month by articulating my 0 – 0 strategy and aside from varying the stake sizes due to decreased confidence and poor performance, not much has changed. Obviously my strategy can be problematic once a goal is scored and I have been looking into other scores as possible escape methods, but with Lite Betfair still being down, I haven’t been able to chart as much data as I would like so that remains a work in progress.

I had previously delved into the To Score market and Clean Sheet markets which I may look into again, but again more research is needed, as is with my backing of 0 – 0 scorelines which by the end of the month, seemed to have a direct correlation with the eventual result!

One thing that I quickly learned with my 0 – 0 strategy, is that I am much better when the tick sizes are above 10, and therefore trade in .5 increments. When that went down to .2, .1 or .05, I really struggled with the increased volatility. It’s very easy to look at the higher tick sizes and jump in and out where liquidity is low, but on the lower markets, they tend to track play more accurately, and whilst I do watch the games, my current strategy can fail when a large amount of money is placed on the market, or when an obvious goal scoring opportunity is missed and the market dives by 2 or 3 ticks. Looking forward, I am sure that there is a method to take advantage of this, and I have put this on my to track list as well!

Perhaps the most interesting part of the month, was when I found myself seemingly able to alter the course of a match. Not backing 0 – 0 meant it was 0 -0. Backing it, meant it wasn’t, and this strategy caused me to lose £16 when the last midweek Premiership Fixtures all ended up having goals scored, although my decision to then back all 0 – 0s on the Saturday seemed to end the curse – with 3 games ending up 0 – 0, although my trading out policy meant that I only won £14.15. Leaving them all would have resulted in a win of over £50.

It also showed that I simply cannot chase losses. Even in a position where I found myself down, I did not increase the stake size. Sure, I made some questionable decisions, but this was not due to the loss, just due to the situation, and any “curse” that may have been hanging over me was then expelled once I laid 0 – 0 HT in Man Utd v Everton moments before a penalty was awarded. Not that any such curse existed in the first place, just several random events all conspiring in one direction which created severe feelings of exasperation!!!

I know that I have a lot to learn on football trading, but I do feel that I learned some important lessons in the past month.

Markets Traded: 40

Wins: 14
Losses: 17

Average Result: -£0.07

Average minus largest win
: -£0.34

Average minus largest loss: £0.24

Lesson Learned: I need to chart more data and reduce my liability in the 0 – 0 problem areas.

Additionally, in the interests of completeness, I did win £15.03 on the 3rd Elimination in Dancing on Ice and also lost £2.41 on Horse Racing, which was very interesting. Previously, I had refused to entertain the idea of trading on Horse Racing due to what I now believe to be illogical ideas. The fact is that trading before the start of a horse race, whilst seemingly completely random!, is something that could potentially become profitable, although a lot more work is needed on this front.

General Thoughts

It has definitely been the most difficult month I have had trading since June 2008, but looking back that was only due to the unrealistic expectations I set myself. Certainly, I feel more prepared to approach February as I had hoped to approach January, which is important because the new Rugby League season starts this month. Rugby League was by far my biggest earner last year and it is along with the NFL, the sport I follow most (Cricket is a close 3rd and I hope to start trying to trade on that, although I am not sure how successful that will be!). Without giving too much away, in 2008 I largely backed the draw and the underdog. It won’t always work, but certainly in 2008 a lot of the prices did not reflect the actual game, just the scoreboard.

I have also been amazed at how time consuming the blog has been – although to be honest, that is largely due to the amount of time I waste, as well as getting caught up in Arizona’s run to the Superbowl! Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep the blog updated more in February, and hopefully I’ll be able to update it more with positive results!