Friday, 29 January 2010

Shaking off the Rust

A slow start whilst different combinations were considered on an unusual setting before stepping into another gear and racing home with ease. That is a sentence that equally describes mine and Leeds’ performance tonight.

If I’m honest, I expected this to be a 1.01 train. I never would have thought Leeds would have traded over 1.4 although I am obviously glad they did. As this is the only SKY game of the weekend, I will now attempt to break down how I approach trading a game. I have a particularly unique style which I probably would not recommend duplicating, but hopefully there will be food for thought here for you to develop your own strategies.

The first point is that trading the game does not begin at 7.30 PM or 8.00 PM of the game, but it’s probably something that I initially think about on Monday when I consider expected prices and load the markets into my mobile so I can keep an eye on them although there is hardly ever any activity before Thursday. If you are to trade successfully, you need to have an idea of how you think the game will go and I will often spend some time making notes on expected events and things to watch and react to.

My own views on the game tend to be hugely atypical so I have very limited success in predicting the expected prices but once they are out, usually on Thursday, I begin to compare these to my expectations and try to analyse the reason for the difference. This is nearly always due to the fact that I drastically underrate form and home advantage, but when I am particularly far out, I always try to work out “what I am missing”. Quite often, the answer is nothing but again, it never hurts to be completely sure.

I will usually look to begin to trade the market from Thursday onwards but only if I have particularly strong views. Now, I want to keep some edge, so I’m not going to say what exactly I look for, and I can get it wrong more than occasionally, but I will then look to regularly check on the market from then onwards.

Sometimes however, I don’t have the ability to take advantage of some great opportunities. For instance, yesterday evening just before midnight, £5,000 appeared to lay Leeds at 1.08 which I considered nothing short of a gift. Unfortunately, I was already on to my maximum overnight stake before then (You never know, Leeds may catch swine flu overnight!) and at lower odds but the fact is that whilst there tends to be small amounts traded prior to the day before the match, that does not mean there is no opportunity to profit. Leeds would reach 1.04 prior to kick off so the 1.08 backer could have been green for a very significant sum before the game even started!

One thing that does interest me in all this is my reaction to early success or failure. You would think that the presence of green would enable you to be bolder whereas I find that I am bolder when I am red. My thought on this is that I don’t want to lose what I have “earned” but this would be something I’d love to hear from other people on.

Anyway, despite missing out on the £5,000 windfall and despite forgetting to charge my phone overnight, which left me searching for a mobile phone charger at lunch time and unable to monitor my position in the morning, I managed to have my greatest ever pre match trading performance effectively being green to the tune of around £75 before the game even started. Obviously, low odds have their draw backs for trading, but the fact that so much money gets compressed into such a small odds variation does make it much easier to trade larger sums than usual with less risk, especially if you approach the market early on.

So, that is a brief run down of my particularly unique (and obsessive?!) pre match trading style.

Now, onto the game.

I had spent some time before hand setting up my new trading platform, but it is fair to say that I was definitely preoccupied throughout the first half with learning how to operate the new platform at full speed. I, in particular, loathe change and that was very obvious to begin with! So, I probably didn’t follow the game as much as I would usually but rather reacted to the market and the key events as opposed to reading the game. It was also the case that I was rather “rusty” and was trying to familiarise myself with the operation of the markets and the reading of the game! Even traders need a pre-season.

I plan on watching the game on replay before commenting too much but it seemed that the Rhinos were below par and that the conditions helped to level things for a Crusaders side who lacked nothing in effort.

As for the first half performance, I never saw it coming. I love to lay clear favourites, but I considered the starting price very favourable to Leeds and was never really able to adjust to that but I feel that was down to my advance reading of the teams as opposed to inflexibility.

However, thanks to some small trades, I did manage to increase my profit from £75 to £100 at the Half. £100 is what I usually refer to as the target amount in Super League games and to get that in what I thought would be a 1.01 walkover was pleasing although my draw trading was particularly poor.

I was too keen to level up my stakes and not take the market on like I should. I did not buy heavily enough and I sold too expensively and, aside from dealing with it being the first game of the season, would be the key lesson to take from the half.

At Half Time, I considered the Crusaders too large and the draw too short. With hindsight, I feel that I underestimated the conditions. Whilst I am a draw backer, one thing I had noticed last year was that the draw can bottom out around a certain price and time and I was content to remove my green on the draw. However, not only did the conditions make this a poor choice. (I would green up before Leeds ran away with it due to the time) but there was insufficient liquidity to trade the draw as I usually would which could sometimes make up the removed green.

Whilst I had not seen the closeness of the game, I had commented upon the 2009 season opener between the same two teams which saw a 20 minute score of 22-0 and the next 60 minutes be 6-6. This fact, combined with my thoughts on the game, meant that I would always be keen to back Leeds on the Handicaps and jumped on Leeds + 10.5 at 2.06 or so and Leeds + 24.5 at 1.08 and 1.04 (Lay prices obviously.)

This was not just a game reaction but rather the result of a thought process I have had for a long time which is to lay handicap favourites late on. I always believe that players will give 100% in a close game. However, to the great majority of players, winning by 10 or by 12 is immaterial and you will not always see the same desire.

Obviously this worked well in this game!

I used £10 on both markets but must say that I was disappointed to have traded out too soon. This is a common issue and one that I really need to stop doing. Yes, trade out but only because it is value and not to guarantee a profit. I guess this links into my previous post on the concept of “Winning” as against the concept of “Earning”. However, I did manage to claw back some earnings on the +24.5 handicap with Ali Lauititi’s controversial try.

Was it a try? Probably not. But, I was convinced it would be given. The benefit of the doubt goes to the attacking side and generally speaking, tries are only disallowed through clear evidence to the contrary. Whether you like or dislike that rule, it is the rule and hopefully it will be applied consistently. But, where would be without a video referee controversy!

My only other point on the game would be to reference a lay of Leeds in the 1.0s when 12-6 up. Whilst I considered the superiority of Leeds rendered a 1.0 first half lay to be of questionable value, (Although I usually believe that random theory makes such lays profitable), I had no problem laying with such a small lead late on when time remaining can close the superiority of one team. Like trading the draw, I hope this is another example of flexible thinking which can help this year as opposed to having strict rules.

So there we have a rather unique look into my bizarre approach to trading a match. I probably make it harder than it should be, but this is something that I take great enjoyment and satisfaction from.

In the end, before commission, I made around £120 from the main odds market, £7 from the +10.5 Handicap and around £70 from the +24.5 Handicap.

It also leads onto the question of why I blog for which I can provide two reasons. The first is to provide self analysis. I regularly read over my posts from directly after an event to try to learn new lessons and to try to understand the decisions I make. The second is to promote Rugby League trading and to show what can be achieved through hard work.

I have always watched Rugby League and started trading it seriously in 2008. It is fair to say that in both liquidity and popularity terms, it is often sparse. This is something that I enjoy and I hope to spread the word so to speak.

I also believe that it is something that can be learned and can provide great rewards. I may or may not have a good understanding of Rugby League, but the trading concepts I have developed have all been self taught from scratch and again show what anyone is capable of. I am not going to say “This is how you do it” but what I will say is that I believe that most people who put their minds to this can succeed and I believe that their success will only help to raise even more new ideas which will also help me in the long run.

That is also why I post my profit and loss figures. I do this not to “show off”. Frankly, there are people earning more in a minute than I earn in a week. I do it because I am not only proud of my achievements, but to show what can be achieved with hard work. I am not making millions, but I am making an amount that I consider to be obscene, and I started just from reading blogs and then discussing thoughts on forums. If I can do this, then anyone can.

To that end, I “copied” an idea from Mark Iverson’s blog and was posting my thoughts real time on The Geek’s Forum for anyone who was around. Now, in the cold light of day, they will read like inane ramblings and probably aren’t the most clear and helpful. (In my defence, I am trying to trade the market first!) However, this is something I am keen to do, until I get told to stop! so why not stop by and have a look? Again, I’m grateful for any comments received as I know all too well how helpful a second opinion can be at a time when I am constantly switching my attention between the game and the market.

So, that is how I trade in a nutshell. Confused? Probably. Think I’m a “bit weird” (I couldn’t think of a better expression)? Probably! Think I would do better if I just sat down and bet on what I thought? Probably! Going to look to trade Rugby League and discuss this further? Well, only you can decide that.


  1. Thanks Craig. I'm amazed how you can sit and write this up at 23.46 after working, which it is, through a game.

  2. That's easy mate - this is a hobby and a passion and I often find myself more awake after a game. ;-)

    Frankly, getting through work the previous day after getting to sleep at 2 and being up at 5.30 is the bigger achievement!!!

  3. Good blog Craig, enjoyed your insight into how you traded on the game last night having joined in with the "in play" discussion on the Geeks Forum.

    Look forward to the next installment!


  4. Great Blog Caig, I'm more a union man myself am considering having a look at trading the rugby, just done football before now with very litle success. What kind stakes are you using if you don't mind me asking?

  5. Thanks Smudger.

    Hi Griff. Football has always struck me as a sport you may need good knowledge to trade so I stay away apart from trying to market trade the CS market due to the number of possibilities!

    As for stake size on RL, it depends. Anything more than £10 on the draw will probably hold it up due to a lack of liquidity in play.

    I also prefer more short term trades so if on the favourite at odds of say 1.1 - 2.0, I would probably use £100 although it really does depend on the situation. (E.G. - Am I trying to get a small result from believing that a team won't score, am I expecting a penalty and the odds to tumble at the start of the new set of six..) but £25 - £100 is definitely reasonable.

  6. In my own view, everything really depends on a certain situation and existing factors to consider before making a decision.. Analyzing the situation, planning the decision and make considerations..