Saturday, 6 February 2010

Red is my friend - Green is my enemy

The above title is possibly the strangest you shall see in a trader’s blog but it is the most accurate representation of my current feelings that does not involve swear words. Nights like tonight make me want to give up trading. Allow me to explain.

I earned £12 on the Hull v Saints match tonight. £12. From a match where I tipped a team who started at 4.5. Yet again, I employed the computer game mentality of avoiding losses but in doing so only proceeded to overlook the part of my brain that analysed the game.

I have already explained why I saw value in this game. The weather conditions only served to increase the value I saw and at one point, I did have a substantial red on St Helens. However, the market was very very illiquid on account of the fact that the game clashed with the 6 Nations. (And judging by that market, there were enough ill advised bets to justify such a switch for general rugby traders.)

So, in my panic and in the absence of my usual trading style working (submitting several bets based upon various events – it failed because there was no money in the market) I closed my position for a tiny green. Why? I have a substantial bank and have already mentioned the fact that any monies earned are purely “profit”.

It can only be my complete and utter desire to avoid failure in any walk of life. My quest for perfectionism which turns a fear of failure into an absence of action.

What I need to recognise is that in all this, green is my enemy. It is the friend that is the bad influence. Red? Red would be the true friend. The one that you probably don’t want to admit to liking. The one that isn’t cool but the one who will be there for you when you need him. Part of the reason I became attracted to trading was the fact that my risk averse nature needed overhauling. Rather than doing that, it appears to have cemented the risk averse nature. (I am a person who at 21, started a pension and invested in Gilts to avoid the Stock Market…)

And of course, the more errors I make like this the more I beat myself up and the more risk averse I become. A self perpetuating motion of avoiding failure which in fact only achieves avoidance of success.

I guess that’s enough psycho-babble for now though! Just one thought though. I have turned down Castleford at 12 last night and Hull at 4.5 tonight. I’ll allow you to count the potential loss of earnings. (And that does not include other successful positions that I have recommended in the past eight days.) Maybe my future lies not in trading but in offering advice. After all, those who can’t, teach!

I would love to hear from anyone who might be able to offer any advice which would help in rectifying the fact that I trade out too soon. Of course, the Castleford and Hull victories were extreme examples of my problem. (Usually, I can minimise the issue by making successful trades and apportioning the green in a manner that reflects the game but in these two games, the in play markets disallowed this.)

As for the game itself. Hull’s forward pack was as impressive as advertised and whilst Saints did suffer from the fact that three of their three quarter line either missed the game or went off injured early, they suffered from a complete lack of direction. Kyle Eastmond and Leon Pryce cannot play together. Like Sean Long in his early career, Eastmond needs a controlling influence which Leon Pryce is not. Of course, Saints already have someone like that in their match day seventeen, Jon Wilkin, but Mick Potter continues to ignore this despite the fact that when Wilkin was asked to control the game, Saints managed to beat Leeds at Leeds.

Looking ahead to tomorrow’s games, and I see no stand out value but I do know which side I would want to be on in all games.

In Wakefield v Catalans, I consider the away side underrated. I would have been all over them but for an injury to key man Thomas Bosc which makes me less keen on them given that everything is likely to go through Bosc now that Greg Bird has left. However, Catalans have other impressive players and their sheer physicality could cause problems for Wakefield, especially if the Wildcats go with only three props again which is likely given the absence of Richard Moore through suspension. I consider that the market over-estimates Wakefield’s win last week (although the match fitness gained last week could be key) and the home factor but I would advise against piling on given Bosc’s injury.

Salford v Hull KR is another match up between two teams where I am higher on the underdog than most and lower on the favourite than most. I would ideally prefer to watch the game and validate my thoughts but at anything around 5/1, Salford are good value to get involved in whilst the value obviously increases the more Salford drift.

Hull KR for mine could struggle this year given the lack of go forward. Joel Clinton will be a very important addition and his absence is therefore a big blow for the Robins. Meanwhile, Salford have the task of bedding in several new players which could hamper their start but they have some very talented individuals including Stefan Ratchford, who I feel outshone Richie Myler last year. The Reds’ backline is very young and inexperienced but could cause some problems, especially if Ashley Gibson can realise some of the potential he showed before suffering some unfortunate injuries.

Apologies to the Red Red Robin who has posted some good comments recently!

Finally, Warrington v Harlequins seems to contain the least value, but surely all readers have noticed the trend by now which compels minimal involvement? Warrington have the strongest squad in the competition by my estimation and whilst Tony Smith has strived to remove their inconsistency, you can never be 100% certain with Warrington. As for Harlequins, the loss of Louie McCarthy Scarsbrook only serves to further weaken a light pack but the Quins did show good away form last year and after this week, you never know.

As usual, any comments would be greatly appreciated. Am I being too hard on myself and after timing too much or am I spot on? I endured a similarly difficult start last year (See posts from February / March) but such feelings subsided as the season went on. Maybe I just need a pre season too?


  1. Jeez alot to read :) just scanned thru most so forgive me if I've missed anything that contradicts my reply.

    As far as I can see the problem is your mixing and matching trading with gambling. To trade effectively we need to know very little about the sport we're trading on. We just need to assess which direction the market is going and get out when we've got our fill of ticks and repeat ad infinitum.

    It's possible that as you are taking a view you want to be proved right and close early just to get that green and show you were right. Remember they'll be plenty of times later on where your view of the game doesn't pan out as expected and you'll be happy you took that small green before the turn.

  2. I wouldn't try to fight your natural instincts too hard, or you'll end up placing trades that you have no feel for. I think you just need to accept that this is your style. There is no ultimate right/wrong way of trading, and no set level of achievement.

    If your way of doing things results in the good days being heavily profitable, and your bad days moderately profitable, that looks like a combination that should give satisfaction rather than frustration.

  3. Thanks for the comments guys. Wanted to let some time pass to see if it affected my thinking!

    Anonymous - Yep, I write a lot! I think you are spot on about being proven right as I suggest in my latest blog post. I agree I will be wrong plenty, but the key is will I be right against the odds more than I am wrong? If so, I will profit. However, if when I am right, I cut the profit prematurely, that will probably be lead to losses overall.

    Rob. Again, you are spot on. My natural instinct is to trade and therefore maybe I should just accept this. You are right about profitable should give satisfaction... I guess I'm just too hard on myself! :-)

    Once again, thanks for the comments guys.