Sunday, 19 July 2009

The harder you work, the luckier you get.

I can be bloody hard on myself at times but the truth is that is how you improve.

Just over a month ago, my confidence had seemed to peak before I made some ridiculous decisions. I lost a comparatively lot of money by throwing money around without thinking and then refused to bail out of a £500 loss. A loss which six months ago would have left me devastated but made me feel like it could be a major turning point.

I don't want to get back to the over-confidence that I displayed at that time, but right now, I feel quite good, and that the £500 loss was the breakthrough I anticipated.

This weekend I primarily traded four games when to be honest, I've been feeling bloody poor.

The first game was Barrow v Whitehaven where I lost £99.99. Feeling ill clouded my judgement and I was also slightly reckless, turning down a £50 profit expecting Barrow to surge ahead in the second half only for Whitehaven to ease home in the end.

The second game I almost didn't trade as I was feeling quite ill. However, despite dealing with a very sticky API service and in a game where the fast picture guys were out in force, I had managed to secure £100 on both St Helens and Wakefield. Ironically, if I had shown the same persistence with Wakefield as I did with Barrow, I would have been in a much better position, but I stuck with my gut which despite feeling like crap is proving to be fairly accurate.

Anyway, with five minutes to go and Saints behind by 2 the draw market went scizophrenic. You could back the draw at 30+ when Wakefield had the ball, and lay the draw at 11-15 when Saints had the ball. Indeed, someone eventually pushed the draw out to 720, although only for £1 or so. After doing this a few times, I had £900 on the draw, when with time running out, Saints were awarded a penalty.

On one level, sheer luck decided this. On another level, having worked so hard on the draw this year, it was not luck but my hard work which helped me to take advantage of this. Anyway, as the kick was being lined up, having been stung to the tune of £500 by a missed kick a few weeks ago, and given that Saints had not made a kick all night, I traded out. Whilst the draw was as low as 1.2 at one point, I accepted 1.8 - 2.2 and collected my £500 hoping, as a Saints fan, for the kick to go over. It didn't and the hooter subsequently sounded immediately.

The draw is a puzzling beast. It is something that I have made a lot of money from. However, at the same time, so have persistent layers with only one draw in 140+ Super League games this season. I'm sure there are better ways to make money than laying a 2 point game with 5 minutes to go at odds of 30+, but it is showing a profit for both the layers, and the backers like me. The losers? Those who don't have the foresight to back the draw at nice odds but rather rush in at 2.0.

Anyway, another excellent return.

Onto Sunday, and I opted to discuss the game's events in the Paltalk trading room through Bettrader. Hopefully people who were there managed to learn one or two tricks and for those of you who weren't, I'll describe the afternoon below.

I traded the non televised game of Bradford v Wigan, and this is where my big breakthroughs have come recently. At first, I thought the lack of money made these games untradeable, but the fact is, that money does get matched, and at stupid odds.

Wigan, who started at 2.0, led 6 - 0 and someone pushed them down to 1.08. They were that desperate to get a bet on that they ignored any concept of value, and whilst I didn't get matched there, I did get a £200 lay at 1.25 matched at Half Time.

Now, what I did next was controversial in so far as given a large red on Wigan, I opted to offer equally silly value back, offering to back Wigan in the 1.4s. However, in an illiquid market, a profit is a profit and given that you never know if anyone will be around, it is probably safer to do this.

Anyway, Wigan scored again, and my red increased as Wigan were backed as low as 1.15. However, Bradford then came back to lead 14 - 12 with less than ten to go. Whilst I had laid Bradford for a total of £600, I had converted this into only £150, displaying more of a loss avoidance technique than a value based one which my long term profitability now allows me to employ.

However, it wasn't over yet, and further lays of Bradford at 1.19, which was equally ridiculous, allowed me to end up with over £250 when Wigan scored two late tries to win. If only Bradford had scored at the end though, I had £700 on the draw!

A very interesting afternoon although one which to be honest, if you don't have a love of RL and a willingness to listen to the games out of interest, probably isn't worth it. Indeed, I definitely get too carried away with red on my screen and in general and staying calm is something that I definitely need to improve.

One comment that was made to me before was that given my success in this market by what is essentially a "being the highest of the low" pricers was why do I publish my methods? The truth is that I want to get more people involved in RL trading, and I want to get more money in the markets. I would back myself in a liquid market way more than in an illiquid one and if people arrive pushing the prices up, then obviously we have a more complete market which will allow for greater trading.

The final match of the weekend was Sunday's main event; the televised clash between Catalans and Harlequins.

Quins gave a good showing considering their injury crisis, and due to ridiculous liquidity (Everyone watching cricket and golf I suspect), their price stayed sensible making it hard for me to get fully involved other than backing the draw, which at 8-0, was a great price of 50.

The main issue of the match however, was my actions when Quins were 20 - 4 down and the refereeing.

As I say, the harder you work the luckier you get. (Obviously someone said this before me, but anyway...) I had laid Catalans at 1.03 and backed Quins in the 40s at this point which was little better than fair value when Quins gave away a penalty and looked out of the match only for Catalans to knock on, and Quins to race away narrowing the lead to 20 - 14 and giving me close to £2,000 risk free on the London outfit.

However, the sport of Rugby League is one where a random incident can have a great impact. Could anyone see the looming knock on? Of course not. However, having traded all bar a few SL games this year, I knew well enough that one random play would produce a good profit and that is the key reason why it is so profitable to lay low in Super League. Regardless of the flow of the game, one knock on, one interception, one refereeing decision, one moment of skill, can turn a game on its head in a way that no one can accurately predict, save for the fact that you can predict the unpredictability. If that makes sense.

The second point is the amount of people who consider RL to be possibly "bent" in terms of the refereeing decisions on the Betfair forum. To this, I say nonesense. Yes, you get some "eh" decisions and yes you get some decisions which are wrong, but to suggest that there is a plan to keep games close is ridiculous in my view.

Like players, referees can make mistakes and I would also say that you could penalise every play the ball. Be it moving off the mark, lying on, hands in, offside... there is always something not quite right. Referees don't give decisions to make games close. Games are made close by refereeing decisions. The key is to acknowledge this and profit off the back of it.

In the end, I didn't win anything as Quins never got the next try that I was hoping for and would have produced a very large win but after this weekend, I can't be disappointed, can I?

Now, if only I could apply this dedication and work ethic to my life in general...! But, as my mates would say, how many times have we heard that...!

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