Sunday, 28 June 2009

What a weekend.

Like most of my blog posts, what follows is probably more of an emotional rant than a structured analysis of the weekend’s events! But, if you can hang on in there, there may be one or two half decent pieces of information and if you have any comments, please feel free to leave them!

I can’t really remember what my initial aim was when I first started my Betfair adventure. I remember being interested in trading, and the possibility of making profits from taking a statistical approach to football markets. I read a lot of blogs, and a natural love of numbers definitely peaked my interest.

However, I struggled with the concept of risk. I made a lot of crazy trades, but looking back on it, it was all part of the learning process. It’s a learning process that never ends, and I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but I definitely feel like I have now graduated the first stage.

My initial attempts to take my trading more seriously failed at the start of the year, when I started the blog with £1,000 from my 2008 earnings. They failed at the start of the RL season but I resolved to take things more seriously from 6th April, and I have.

Forget the earnings, and I do treat any income as “earnings”, this is very much a second job for me, it is the hard work and acquired knowledge that I am most proud of. Maybe I have researched things more than I needed to, maybe I still make bad decisions (I definitely do!), maybe I still get too emotional (Definitely!), maybe it will end tomorrow and maybe I do spend too much time on Betfair or contemplating games, but this has been some journey, and one which I could never have expected to embark upon.

So, what happened to make this weekend different from any other? Not much really to be honest, but just how one straw can ultimately break a camel’s back, this weekend has been that straw.

I made a conscious decision to attempt to trade all games this weekend, and that decision is one that has paid off handsomely.

After losing £1.40 on England’s footballers winning a penalty shoot out, I set myself up for Friday night’s games in Super League, and whilst there is usually little money in non televised markets, the quick starts of Leeds and Huddersfield produced laying opportunities at 1.04. Obviously, Huddersfield went on to win fairly comfortably, but Bradford v Leeds was some game, as Bradford came back, sending Leeds out to 2, and looking like they would snatch a possible draw just before the referee ruled out an opportunity in the closing stages.

Although I was not quick enough to back Leeds at 1.92 and level my green, I had managed to earn just under £50, although the extra £200 green sat on Bradford did seem to be wasted in the end!

On to Saturday, and I somehow managed to disconnect myself from Betfair just at the start of the Castleford game! This meant that not only did I miss the plunge on Castleford down to 1.2, but that my draw bets were taken at a fraction of what the price eventually rose to. I was so put off by this that I failed to take full advantage when I eventually re-connected, although I didn’t do too badly, as I eventually earned over £130.

Sunday afternoon saw two games where I fancied the underdog heavily, and even used a free bet on Hull FC which I did not green up on prior to kick off, and whilst Warrington’s four quick tries did not help me, I still managed to earn over £15 before I turned my attention to Harlequins v Wakefield.

If you don’t ask, you don’t get, and I was very pleased to accommodate a Wakefield backer at 1.1 when they lead 14-12. Harlequins then took a very narrow lead at 14 – 18, and I was willing to offer the very generous price of 1.8 before someone took a fairer price of 1.25, only for Wakefield to come back and score just before the hooter went. With the touchline conversion left, I was once again willing to offer the draw at a better than value price, only for Danny Brough to kick the goal, and leave the 1.1 backer with a very fortuitous win, whilst by that time, although I had slightly more green on the draw, I was more than happy to walk away with over £50 in earnings for less than a half hour’s work.

Onto the main event, and whilst I missed the plunge in Hull KR and the rise in the draw pre match, I was in a decent position when the match started, and caught a quick ride on the Hull KR express, which allowed me to keep backing the draw at the ridiculous 50+. Now, let me say here, I am a massive favourite layer. I’m not exactly Elliot Short, but generally speaking, I’ll take anything under 1.3 to my maximum liability in the first twenty minutes.

However, I refused to back Wigan other than for a very small amount. They looked disinterested, and unmotivated as I suggested they might. The only saving grace was the enforced introduction of Sam Tomkins, who might be capable of pulling Wigan out of a hole. Why back the draw then? Two reasons. A.) I had earned over £350 by this point and was not bothered about a small loss for a big gain. B.) I am a hopeless romantic who backs the draw to death.

You could say it worked out, as by half time, with the game in the balance, I was not only four figures green on the draw, but three figures green on the teams. There was a heck of liquidity in the game, and for an experienced market trader like myself. (I have probably studied and reviewed every in play Sky RL game since August 2008) there were lots of opportunities.

The second half continued in the same vain, but with one exception. The ridiculous price that the draw had been backed at in the first half created lots of draw layers who were willing to give up big value for some payout, something which I have previously stated that I will try to avoid.

In the second half, I was on auto pilot, and pulled off several good trades to provide me with my second best result on the RL markets ever of over £300.

It’s important to note at this stage that I had misread the game, but the experience and skills that I have gained, pulled me home. The price (on the favourites, Hull KR) roughly went from 1.6 to 1.12, to 2.3 to 1.7 to 10+, to 6 to 8 to 4 and then out to 1,000, and that just provided so many opportunities.

Obviously, a pure favourite layer could have risked just £42 to win the amount I did, and that is somewhat galling, but it is important to note that I was in control and let’s be honest, an hourly rate of £165 after commission sure isn’t bad.

So, total earnings this weekend of £580. Obviously when you consider all the swings that the weekend saw,

Oldham at 1.25 get turned over on Thursday.Leeds reach 1.04 before drifting to 2 on Friday.Cas at 1.12 get turned over yesterday.Wakefield matched at 1.1 and Quins at 1.25 today.Hull KR at 1.12 get turned over.

there will obviously be a lot of people who have profited more than me, and you could definitely say that this weekend was a freak weekend, and one which I should have done better in, but I feel confident, without being arrogant, that my ability in this area is able to generate a long term profit.

I mean, I had been top of the Rugby Forum SL Tipping Competition, and got 6 out of 7 games wrong this week! (I backed the two favourites in the SKY games on the handicap as I felt they were 50/50 calls, and knew that any failure here would be compensated by profits in the game!)

So, that makes this weekend even sweeter in some respects, and when you consider that three of the four underdogs I tipped traded much lower than their starting price, it isn’t that bad!

It has taken a long time to reach this point, and I have no doubt that I will experience several more downs in the upcoming weeks, but I do feel like this weekend could be a massive breakthrough, and it is one that I would not have been able to experience without obsessively reading the Racing Traders Forum, various blogs around the internet on trading and even the Betfair Forum itself! As I said at Racing Traders this evening, there will always be idiots around who will post nonsense, but if you can filter these out, you will always find some tremendous advice from some very generous people, who have more skill in their little finger than I have in my whole body!

Next week will be my last week before the start of the Ashes, and with tickets for all days at Cardiff, Headingley, two days at Edgbaston and with a Sunday ticket for the Oval, it is fair to say that my trading will likely take somewhat of a back seat, and even this week I have lots of things to sort out for my week in Wales, which will see me staying in Bridgend! Heck, I might even buy some things which, for those of you who know me, will be a big surprise!

However, I will hope to post several informative blog posts about how I approach RL trading this week. I’m far from being an authority on this but I hope that I can set out some tips that I have learned which may be of help for some people and create some discussion that will even help me further.

The past twelve months have been hard work. But it has been great fun and is starting to become extremely rewarding, even though I know I have a very long way to go.

But the most important thing of all is for a guy who is naturally a pessimist, has wasted a million last chances, and deeply struggles with confidence, the best lesson of this is that it has shown me exactly what I am capable of and can do.

And if I can do it, then you definitely can too.


  1. Hi Craig,

    Thanks for an excellent and informative post. As you can tell from my questions to you on the Racing Traders forum, I'm new to Rugby League and it's trading possibilities. Your assistance there, and more importantly, this post has certainly sparked my interest. Yet another sport to learn about!

    I've taken the liberty of adding your blog to my links page at and would be please if you'd be willing to exchange links.

    Thanks again for the post. I'll see you over at Racing Traders no doubt.


    Bet Your Life Sports Trading

  2. Thanks for the good read, and for the posts on Racing Traders forum yesterday.

  3. Hi guys.

    Thanks for the comments and hope to see you around here again shortly!

    Pleased to exchange links Alistair, and if the technology is working, I believe yours should now be up there!