Sunday, 31 May 2009

Have I got trading talent?

When I first started the blog, I commented that I hoped the profits that I knew I could make on Rugby League will allow me to develop new ideas in other markets to produce a greater profit, and whilst I have achieved greater wins on Rugby League, this last week provided me with my greatest profit from what I consider pure trading.

The amount? Some £274 and spare change before commission. The event? Britain’s Got Talent, which left me wondering whether my talent for accumulating money on Britain’s Got Talent could provide me with a possible entry for next year’s competition. (I’d love to know the running order before hand!)

I’ve mentioned before my fondness of ITV talent shows (this excludes the abominable Big Brother and the equally awful Strictly Come Dancing) and whilst I had not managed to greatly profit from the recent series of the X Factor and Dancing on Ice, I can’t forget that my first ever online bet and introduction to trading was a lay of Rhydian in the 2007 X Factor!

Despite not having watched the auditions in great depth, I settled down to watch the first semi final on Sunday with a reasonable knowledge of the likely contenders, although I have to admit to have not watched most of the semi finalists and it was to my utter astonishment that Susan Boyle drifted as far as 1.4 in the public vote win and eventually won £11.89 from the Public Vote winner and a massive 45p from the To Qualify market. For a woman who had at this point captured the hearts of Britain and America, that price seemed as absurd as her celebratory dance after her performance.

Feeling emboldened by this result, I cast a brief glance on the overall winner market and noticed that Susan Boyle had come in from 2.7 to 2 and I just felt that she would drift out again. The other more appealing note to me was that whilst the amount of money in the market was reasonable, there was nice convenient gaps between prices and it just seemed like a trader’s paradise, and it was to begin with as I pocketed between £6 to £10 on early trades until suddenly the price came right down.

At this point I faced three decisions. I could lay off for a small red, hope that the price would rise again or lay further thereby requiring a smaller increase to find myself green. However, amongst all this I noticed the percentage book on the backside was as high as 108%, and therefore I took the decision that maybe I could attempt to just lay everyone!

743 selections later, a total matched amount of over £8,000 (over £107,000 if you include the amount laid as a liability as opposed to just counting the possible win) and I was £260 richer, but it wasn’t that straightforward.

Of course, what helped most on Sunday and Monday was the fact that you could lay Natalie Okri at around 250 when she.. had… already… been… eliminated… Now I know that Simon Cowell’s shows are more stage managed than anything but this just seemed ridiculous, and whilst I would back her back (at odds between 900 and 1,000) this provided me with a nice amount (£8) which would provide further insurance for laying the field.

Another important note here is this is something that you could not do with a small bank, but thankfully having seen my bank increase lately, this was the perfect example of why keeping a large bank is a good idea. I would also make a similar profit through laying Any Other Act in a similar fashion.

Onto Monday’s Semi Final and this seemed like another “two from three”, or rather one from two as whilst Diversity seemed sure things, the last place seemed to be between Shaun Smith and Jamie Pugh, and the fact that they had placed a teenage boy singer on at the same event as Jamie immediately caught my attention. The fact is, Shaun could have stood there and sang Baa Baa Black Sheep and still made the top three because the teenage girls would think “he is fit”. As it was, Jamie unfortunately completely bombed, so much that Gareth Oliver was able to beat him into the top 3.

Now this is where it got very interesting. In the Winner market, you could lay Gareth Oliver at 80. This completely took my breath away. I mean, I had backed Gareth Oliver (only for pennies) at 950 and 800 before he performed. My one mistake here had been to lay Gareth before his performance at 460 and 510. He was someone who I had not seen before and part of the problem of laying the field is that you can end up with ridiculous green on no hopers. (I would end up with £2,300 on those who I did not manage to lay off on.)

So, this compromised my ability to lay off on Oliver at 80, although I still managed to lay off £52 at odds approaching 80. This did leave me with a huge liability, but I was confident that A.) He wouldn’t get through and B.) If he did get through, his odds wouldn’t drop too much further. I did however insure myself in the case he won the public vote, which would have seen a huge drop in odds, losing £4 from the £6.91 that I had gained from the To Qualify market. (Maybe I should have spent more on this market, but I was too often consumed by the Winner market.)

This was counter balanced by laying Shaun Smith and then backing him back as low as 11 afterwards, when you consider that he would then drift to over 100 before the final! And by not laying Jamie Pugh for a considerable amount after missing the initial drift and believing that any qualification would see a huge drop in price. Still, after just two days I knew that I could green up for around £100, although I still felt that further money was waiting to be earned with the market still operating between 105 to 108%!

Tuesday was a far more frustrating day, not helped by trying to trade the RL at the same time.

Again, the likely third placed act (MD Showgroup) came in massively throughout the show, and again I had laid off at much higher odds than they would come into, whilst I also would strongly lay Stavros Flatley whilst only laying Shaheen to a small amount. Obviously then when Stavros Flatley won the public vote (as should have been expected given that they were on last, a fact that I seemed to ignore as I concentrated on trading), they came in massively, and I didn’t help myself again by laying them further as high as 19 after the show, thinking they would drift, whilst obviously I could not really capitalise on the Shaheen drift.

Unfortunately, Stavros Flatley didn’t and I would use a not inconsiderable amount of my green backing them .

However, I then had two days to trade my position further, whilst knowing that the third placed act would likely come in massively, and the winner would also do the same. So, I was pretty pleased to have over £1,500 on Thursday evening on both 2 Grand and Julian Smith.

But then the twist came, for the first time in BGT history, the favourite would not be performing last. At this point, I started to lay off Julian Smith, thinking that maybe he would not be as good as what I thought, whilst I increased my green on the last act, Fabia Cerra, to £4,000 on the winner market. Worse still was to follow when after Callum Francis’ excellent performance, I started to lay off on 2 Grand. I’m sure you know what happened next as both Julian and 2 Grand came in after excellent performances, (even further after Simon Cowell’s comments who seemed to be in control of Betfair as he is ITV!), whilst Fabia Cerra never did anything to approach laying off territory.

This was by far the most annoying night of the competition for me. I had called it perfectly before hand, but found a way to mess it up and worse still arrived afterwards when I backed 2 Grand back as low as 40 despite their eventual drift to 200+!

Knowing that I would miss Friday’s Semi Final due to attending Yorkshire v Lancashire 20/20, I decided to equalise my position for all the finalists, despite believing that Susan Boyle was ridiculously overpriced at 2.3. Still, despite all the countless errors, I was able to green up for around £200, whilst maintaining a large amount on the four main contenders in the last Semi Final.

Unfortunately, due to being delayed on the train on Friday morning, I ended up having to work late and missed the cricket, instead getting through the door just as the running order for the last Semi Final was announced.

My trading during the last Semi Final was not as impressive as I would have hoped for. Good Evans were not as good as I expected, and soon drifted out to 1,000 before I could lay off! Then came Hollie Steel, and no sooner did she drift than she steamed back in what appeared to be a stage managed farce. The fact is that if a 20 year old had forgotten the lines, they would not have been given a second chance, yet she was and it sure appeared that the public had been manipulated. Further evidence of this lay in the fact that Greg Pritchard, who had shown himself to be a talented singer, gave a joke performance in a joke costume with a joke background that belied his impressive voice. Amongst all this, I had managed to miss the great prices available, although I did manage to lay Hollie to Qualify at a ridiculous 1.1 before backing back at 1.3, which coupled with a similar earlier back and lay of Aidan Davis, allowed me to cover all options on the winner market in the event that Hollie’s sob story would win out.

And although I had missed the juiciest of prices, knowing that I would be out on Saturday, I was able to close my book with £270 plus green on all finalists and my only activity on Saturday was to back Shaun Smith at 110 for a very small amount before laying him back at 80 to spread my profit almost equally.

If the above post seems frenetic and slightly confusing then it accurately reflects my trading over the past week. The general theory was excellent. Its application was mediocre. With greater patience and thinking the situation through more thoroughly, then my profit would have been far more impressive and referring to the all important net scoreboard, it does feel like I left at least £200 in the market.

Still, I think the biggest point in all this is rather than just accepting a small loss on Sunday, I turned things on their head and stayed relatively calm. Despite the number of mistakes I made, I profited in a way that I would have never imagined even a few months ago and it was on the whole another boost to my ever increasing trading confidence. Bring on the X Factor, I say!


  1. Hi TRM
    First proper read of you blog and was well impressed by the above trade. I live in France & therefore it is not a market I can follow.
    From your musings it appears pretty much the same as other trading activities, namely, keep focused, watch all the angles, cover as many pockets as you can.....ah, snooker, now that's a sport to trade!

  2. Great post mate,imanaged to green about 9pound across the board on bgt,i seem to have a knack for these markets i picked the winner of the last 2 x factors,i suppose having a 10 year old daughter helps lol,wish i had got on the diversity train think they were about 13 r 14 then shot in to about 3.4 3.5.

  3. Please watching
    The Bravest Girl in the World
    The Best Fantastic Voice: Hollie Steel
    Combine 3 video and lyrics in display: I could have danced all night, Edelweiss and Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again
    Thank You