Sunday, 8 August 2010

The Next Step

I have enjoyed my 2 weeks away from the stresses and anguish of trading. Yes, I know it shouldnt be that way, people say its really boring when you crack it, but thats been my experience, and probably highlights exactly where I'm going wrong.
So I'm not sure how to proceed from here, or even if I am going to continue in my quest. I seemed to have some sort of an edge, I was generally in (small) profit, and I think that it is my mindset, confidence and attitude that have kept my profits small and made me struggle. While I probably couldnt definitively define my edge so that, say, you could program a bot to use it, I wonder how many other traders could do so for their edge? But, as people have said, there is no point me carrying on and trading as I was before, whether it was that I didnt have an edge, or that my emotions and mindset eroded a lot of my profits. That leaves me with 2 areas to work on. Im not sure how much I am up for the grind of watching loads of markets, defining some edges, and testing them with small stakes for a good period of time. For the mental game, the blog was supposed to help with this, and it has to a certain extent, but you can see as time goes on that the posts come less and less, and are saying the same things over and over, so I am wondering if the time has come to suspend the blog for a while. I am also considering cutting all ties with other traders, since it does my mindset no good to be struggling all day, while other people are saying "oh, its easy", " Ive made £x so far", or giving out advice which is well meaning but useless to me as I am at the moment.
So over the next few weeks I will probably be watching some markets, testing some stuff out, seeing how I feel about getting back into the grind, and looking for ways to further my mental development.
Thank you to everyone who commented, even the Anons, and the seemingly negative comments, which I took as being made to try and help me, and point me in the right direction.
The blog is not definitely closed, if I make startling progress in the next few weeks, and have something new to say, then I may make further posts

Saturday, 24 July 2010

The End?

After 5 losing days in a row, all my confidence is gone, all my discipline is gone, i have no clue whats going on in the markets or in my head, and am just spewing money away. I dont know what happened as the first half of the month was decent, I was on for my best month ever. I did have a deal with someone that if I got over a certain amount, I would raise my stakes. Guess what was the highest I reached, before this 5 day losing streak? yup, the exact amount I needed to make before raising stakes. It could just be coincidence, or it could be evidence of self destructive behaviour. Whatever, my confidence is all shot to pieces, and theres no way I can trade properly like this.
I may drop back to min stakes for a while, but I dont know if I have the determination in me for more months of hard slog. Comments on this blog have advised me to give up, and it is something I am seriously considering. I will update the blog on the outcome

Tuesday, 20 July 2010


I wasnt able to trade this afternoon, so as soon I got back in, I sat in front of my PC and got ready to trade the evening markets. I guess I wasnt prepared and in the right mindset, because after the first two markets where I had small losses, for some reason I wasnt able to accept a 3rd losing position in a row. I placed a trade which went against me, and then looked to leverage my price by putting in another trade. This is something I hardly ever do, if at all, so I really dont know why I started doing it now. The price moved further away so I tried to leverage the price again. The market didnt recover as I thought it might so I ended up with a pretty big loss, about 27 ticks.
I dont know what I was thinking , I am usually okay at accepting losses. it didnt affect me too much, I knew it was a really stupid mistake, and kew the feelings and actions that had caused it. I traded some more of the evening races before I had to go out again, and made most of the loss back.
It made me laugh to look back and see that if I had just taken the smallish loss on the first losing position, I would have been in profit for the evening. I guess even with all the practice, all the knowledge of emotions and how they affect you, I am still going to make stupid mistakes like this now and again.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Im still here!

Thanks to everyone who left comments on my last post. A couple of people seem to think I am giving up, but I am still here. I havent updated the blog for a couple of weeks as I havent had much to say, and have been considering some of the questions that were raised in my last post. I am still trading as much as I can, am in profit most of the time, and am gradually erasing the errors that cost me so much( I hope).
On saturday the bomber was out and throwing his money into the market again. Last time I was trading when he was around, it cost me £78, so this time I was much more careful, only backed first, didnt leave any lays lying around, and tried to profit from him. It didnt work out so well, was break even most of the day, so I stopped early.
I am now trying to pay more attention to market conditions, and changing my strategy accordingly, instead of going in and hoping that the way I trade will work. Early in the week, for example, I find trading difficult and stressful, as there is not much money about, a lot of spoofing going on, and so have started looking for lower risk opportunities on these days, since, if I get it wrong, it is very difficult to get out again with just a small loss.
I am still considering the future, and how best to progress from where I am now. I do have doubts sometimes about whether I can really make it work, but for now am determined to keep trying and keep improving.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Under the Spotlight

I have been thinking about why i seem to find accepting losses difficult, and why my results are never as good as I think they should be. I have realised that I am quite critical of myself. For example, today someone stopped me and asked for directions. I didnt really do a good job of explaining, and after they had left I had lots of negative thoughts going through my head. "You're useless", " I bet he thought you were a right twat", "You cant even explain simple directions" etc etc. I think this happens with most of my activities of daily life. Every thought and action is under an intense scrutiny, and they hardly ever measure up to expectation. Failing, or not being good enough ( or not as good as someone else), is not an option for me. But failing, not being good enough, making mistakes, doing stupid things, are going to be a part of everyones every day life, so this leaves me in a cycle of striving and trying, failing, feeling awful, worrying about not succeeding, and then trying again. So each loss, each failure is a reinforcement of "Youre not good enough", and the feelings associated with that. Of course, its going to be hard to do actions that have a chance of "failing", and if a loss in trading is seen as failure then I am not going to be keen to put myself in situations where I end up feeling like crap.
I have a good idea where all these feelings came from, but how do I go about getting a better attitude, other than years of therapy? I was looking at some websites for sports psychology, and one of them had 5 statements that rang true with me (link)

The website does remind me of certain e-books trying to sell betting systems, but the 5 statements are definitely things I need to work on. How much is good enough? Would I be satisfied with £50 a day? £100 a day? Would I finally feel a sense of worth if I was earning more than AH? I should focus on the positive things, that I have been in profit for 9 of the last 10 months( and the 1 losing month was a very small amount), which is more than a lot of traders achieve. I can obviously trade, maybe I should just relax a bit and enjoy the ride.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

June Summary

June was a month of mixed results for me. My PnL is more of a straight line up than it has been the last couple of months, and I have only had 5 losing days( 6 if u count the £0.05 loss), so I feel I have made progress in being a bit more consistent. I am still making too many mistakes though. A couple of inplay errors, some slack thinking and slack reactions, and getting caught out by the mad bomber on a few occasions, has meant that my profit isnt as high as it should be. A number of times I have put in a trade in a weak market, the market has moved away, so I put in another trade, it also doesnt get taken, and I leave them in, then the market comes back, and I sit there hoping that it will stop at my trades. Sometimes it does, but if it doesnt then it generally goes through both trades and moves a number of ticks leaving me with a loss that hurts both my emotions and my PnL, since it is a double sized loss. I need to be more careful to remove trades that have not been taken.
I guess I should be happy that I am in profit, seemingly only 5% of traders are. Its tough to keep a level head when you see or hear about others that are making good money and it can make me try and force things sometimes. If I can stay calm and concentrated, do the simple things right, and stay out of trouble, I should see my PnL grow.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Long Boring Day

Today started off badly, getting caught out by the mad bomber, and losing 8 ticks in the first race. Things didnt get any better as the day progressed. I wasnt able to trade as normal, for fear of getting caught out again, I had to try and stay out of the bombers way, and take advantage of him if possible. I really struggled, lost my rythym and confidence, and by 5pm was down 20 ticks. I took a break before the evening races and went for a walk. It was a beautiful sunny day and I had missed it all by being stuck indoors lol. Over the evening races I managed to make the 20 ticks back, and ended up break even. Today showed that I am still quite fragile when it comes to losses, and that a couple of bad results can still affect my trading, making me more impatient, less confident, and not able to think straight. I go on tilt very easily, and everything becomes over dramatic: "Oh no, I cant trade, Im useless" etc etc. Hopefully the way I recovered will give me a bit of a confidence boost.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

A decent day

With encouragement from some people in The Geeks Toy chat room, I decided to up my stakes today by 1/3rd, to £1 a tick Book profit. Book profit really seems to suit me ( or maybe its just that I am finally getting a little less loss averse) in that I dont consider my stake or the consequences of a losing trade as much. I now think in ticks and if I am making 2 or 3 ticks most races, then I am happy to take a tick or 2 loss when needed. I found todays trading ok, although the markets were fairly volatile, which doesnt seem to suit my style. I was up 20 ticks after 14 markets, but started to lose my concentration, made a couple of mistakes, and struggled with the rather empty evening markets. I ended up 17.5 ticks in profit so I was happy with my first day at increased stakes.It is a long day trading from 11am (on the dogs), right through to 8 or 9 in the evening, I'm not sure if its worth trying to trade that long, as mistakes will inevitably creep in.

Monday, 14 June 2010


Over the last 2 days I have managed to make back nearly all the money I lost on saturday. I am really pleased with how it is going, and feel like I am still learning a lot and making progress. I am now also looking for opportunities to back first, to try and avoid the big punter if possible. It also helps with learning to read the market, and if there are twice as many opportunities then hopefully it will mean twice as much profit. I changed my staking last week, I am now using Book Profit staking, which means that I make a set amount, greened up, for every tick. I find this is better than just staking £35 on every trade, as if you lose 3 ticks at 6.6, and then make 4 ticks at 2.2, you are still looking at a loss. I have it set to £0.75 a tick and it seems to be working well. I am continuing to grow in confidence, although I am still a little tentative at times. I need to have more belief in my self, and confidence that I can deal with any situation as it comes up to the best of my abilities.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

No Imagination

A bad day today, not simply because I was trading badly, but because I showed no imagination, no adjustment to market conditions when it was called for.
Over the last week or so, someone has been punting huge amounts, 20 to 30 thousand pounds often, on a single runner, and moving the odds by 10 or more ticks. I knew this was happening, but just carried on trading in my normal manner, which usually entails laying first, although its not set in stone, I am just used to looking for opportunities for a drift.
I have managed to avoid him over the last couple of days, but it was inevitable that I would get caught eventually, and so it happened today, for a £15 loss. The loss threw me, and I lost my discipline and control in trying to find ways to exploit the punter. I tried laying another runner when the large amount came in, but instead of going out this runner also came in, for another £7 loss.
I need to use my brain more in thinking about the situation, rather than just carrying on happily as if the market is the same. Maybe these events will help me to identify opportunities other than my lay-first technique.

Monday, 31 May 2010

May Summary

May has been another tough month for me. The first few weeks I was all over the place. I wasnt thinking properly about my trading, was too busy seeing what other people were achieving and trying to emulate them, and was probably trading almost at random at times. Heres the PnL graph for this month.

With my PnL looking like a line drawing of the Alps, I was making stupid mistakes, and was starting to doubt whether making it in trading was possible for me. The big loss on 22/05 was due to a huge spike moving the market 10 ticks or more, but I had something like 6 trades in waiting to be taken, which is just careless. Even without this spike, I was having way too many large losses, sometimes £4 or £5 using £20 stakes, and it was killing my trading. That was my lowest point of the month and I decided to do something about it.The total on 23/05 is mostly due to an arb on a betfair offer, but as you can see, I managed to turn things round for the rest of the month. I realised that I wasnt trading methodically, with an edge, and was putting in trades hoping it was the right place. I was trading every race, with no real idea why I was opening trades( of course, I had some sort of criteria for putting in a trade but it was all a bit up in the air and random). I that I would look at each market, determine a point where a trade seemed more likely to succeed, and then just sit and wait. If the market didnt reach that point( I might adjust my likely trade depending on what had happened in the market) then I would do nothing. If it did reach my point, then I would trade. The first thing that surprised me was the amount of times the market was reaching my trading point, even from seemingly far away. I was also suprised that the points I had selected did seem to be more successful than not. From then on, following this method, I havent really looked back. The big losses are gone, just 3 losses over £1 in the last week, none over £2 ( the loss on 26/05 was due to an in-play mistake and doesnt count :p ). I am much more relaxed when trading, making it easier to watch and take in all the market information. taking up better positions means I am not chasing the market around, and am less likely to be caught in play, as any losses I have are small, and i'm not going to be frantically opening and closing positions close to the off. It really does feel totally different. I am hoping this is the big step forward, the eureka moment that I have been needing to really get to grips with trading. Some people have been saying the markets have been good for trading over the last week, so maybe this has something to do with it, but I know I have struggled during supposed good weeks before.
heres my average win and loss graph, and strike rate graph for the month

You can see my average loss has come right down, my average win has slightly, although this is partly due to reducing my stakes half way through the month.

I am going away for a few days at the start of next month, I am actually dissapointed about that, as I am keen to continue and see if I can make more progress. Maybe its a good thing that I can take a break, clear my head, and come back recharged and ready.

Thursday, 27 May 2010


Just a quick note to say that I am still coming along nicely and getting more confident about my trading. I very rarely have a loss over £1 now, about 5 in the last 2 weeks i think, and its so much less stressful! Being so much more relaxed makes it easier to watch the markets and take in the information.
I made just under £6 today with £20 stakes. As I get more confident in my reads of the market, and in my identification of good opportunities, I am hoping this figure will rise a bit.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Steady the sinking ship

This month has been the worst month I've had for a while, and seeing as I said that about last month too, my confidence has slowly been draining away and doubts and thoughts about whether I can really make this work have been creeping in as the month goes on. After a good month in february it seems like my trading has been getting steadily worse. Over the last 2 weeks though, after a bit of thought, and advice from some people who read the blog, I have managed to steady things a bit, and am not spewing money away( although there have been 2 days where big spikes caught me out for a big loss). My average loss has gone down dramatically, I have managed to eradicate the £3, £4, £5 or more losses that I was encountering too frequently, my strike rate feels like it has increased too. My average win has also gone down slightly, and I am not making what I would call good totals every day, but I feel like there has been a genuine improvement and I have a good base to go from and improve my profits.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Have to laugh

Was finding it quite quiet today, not really getting anywhere but staying out of trouble and had a tiny profit for the day, when WHAM, a huge spike took 6 orders that I had in the market, and moved the market 10 ticks in the wrong direction. Nothing much I could do, my own fault for having so many orders in I suppose, I waited a few seconds to see if it would recover a little, it didnt, so I closed out for a £18.75 loss on that race. It is so discouraging when that happens, funny how you dont see it on Jack Birkheads videos where he has lots of orders scattered around the market. I was starting to feel a little more confident about how my trading was going, since I have definitely seen an improvement over the last week. Now I have basically no chance of even getting into profit for this month.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

slow and steady

Back to a straightforward day today, only had 2 losing races out of 15, only losing 50p, and overall making over £6, which is not bad for £20 stakes. It does seem like I am taking up better positions, and that being more patient( or less greedy?) has helped me cut out a lot of the stupid losses I was getting. Having to wait longer before opening a position runs the risk of becoming more tied to that trade, and not accepting that I can still get it wrong, and I think thats what happened yesterday to some extent. Also the longer I trade, the more mistakes I am likely to make. Yesterday towards the end I was getting a bit careless, and my big losses happened because I had more than 1 trade entered, and when the market went against me, either a spike or a move,the other trades got taken and I was left with a bigger than normal loss, which led me to chase.
As someone pointed out recently, there have been 4000+ races this year. If I had made £0.40 a race on average( as I did today), then I would already have made £1600, which is a lot more than I have actually made. I need to lower my expectations, not think about what other people are making, and focus on being consistent and disciplined.

Monday, 17 May 2010

1 step forward, 10 steps back

It was all going so well, after a 3 day break I had continued from where I left off, and had what felt like a decent total, no big losses. Then in 1 race a big spike caught me out and left me with a £6 loss, no warning, no way of recovering, seemed a bit tough, but I battled back over the next few races, and got back into miniscule profit again. I guess I had been trading too long at this point, as, in my last race I got caught out by a late move, was looking at a £3.50 loss, wasnt able to deal emotionally with the loss well enough, started chasing on another horse, which then also proceeded to go against me, then got caught out by the inplay signal, managed to close out in play for a total loss on that race of £10. Ten seconds of indiscipline and inability to accept losses, wiping out a whole days work. Why couldnt I accept the £3.50 loss? I suppose I felt dissapointment and anger and frustration that I had messed up again, and wanted to wipe out the loss( and the bad feelings) immediately. It felt like the day would have been wasted and I didnt want that.
Even with all the time spent, and improvements made, I am still making basic, stupid errors that should have been cut out months ago.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

day 2 of the "new start"

I am pretty happy with how things went today. Was similar to yesterday, no huge losses, no panics, no staring at the screen in disbelief and feeling like shit. I was patient, picked odds where I felt I was likely to make a successful trade, and waited till the market reached those odds. I only had 2 losing races, both under £1, and overall made £7, my best return( comparing for stake size) for a long long time. I still need to work on taking the opportunities, as a few times I waited "to make sure" and missed out. Fear of a loss, any loss at the moment, is playing a big part in my trading.
I now need to keep a level head, and put in more practice till I become more confident that I am on the right track. I wont be able to trade for the next 3 days, but maybe a break will be good to clear my head.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

a bit of improvement

Taking advice from comments on this blog, I have been thinking more about why and where I open trades. Sometimes it does seem like I am just thinking "Ok, I have to do something in this market, lets do X", which is probably not a good strategy. Today I was a bit more selective about what trades I did, and if I didnt feel that there was anything available, I didnt just trade for the sake of it. I have still had losing races, but managed to keep them all to below £1, no huge losses today, which is a great improvement. Not a huge amount of profit either, but any is good at the moment.

Monday, 10 May 2010


A couple of months ago I thought I was starting to really get to grips with horse trading. I was regularly making a profit, and even my bad days werent so bad. Recently though, I just cant seem to do it. I dont know if its just frustration creeping in, but the number of races where I have a big loss seems to have risen dramatically. Today I had a medium sized loss, battled back to break even, and then got hit by a huge loss. This pattern is happening all too often and I dont know why.
I have already dropped back in stakes, to £20, I think I need to spend more time recording and reviewing my trading.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

April summary

Not much to say except a very poor month for me. In play mistakes, and a bad week due I think to raising my stakes, and all my profits were wiped. I still have a long way to go :(

Thursday, 29 April 2010

A welcome result

Managed my first winning day for 7 days today. I used £35 stakes, which are what I had been used to, and didn't have any major disasters, although there were a couple of hairy moments where the market temporarily went against me big time, I was ready to close out if it went any further but I have noticed that if I am just a little more patient, I can scratch a loss or at least limit it. Of course, waiting too long to cut out could result in an even bigger loss, so I need to keep my wits about me, keep an eye on the other horses odds, and close out for a loss when needed.

I am fairly sure that raising my stakes was the main reason for the bad run. It just shows how weak my mental state still is, even though it has improved enormously. So its back to a gradual increase of stakes as I get to feel confident, rather than the jump to £150 liability stakes I was using before. The crazy backer guy hasn't been throwing his weight around as much in the last couple of days, and this helped too.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Pull myself together

After my last melodramatic post, things havent really improved. I have now had 5 losing days in a row trading the horses, my worst run for some months. My confidence has been severely dented, and I have now dropped back to smaller stakes to try and regain some of the skills and confidence I had. I have started videoing my trading again, and reviewing it to see if I can figure out where I am going wrong. It may not be a coincidence that it was a week ago that I raised my stakes to £150 liability, and that the bigger potential losses are making me more hesitant and indecisive. I have been feeling the same during trading recently as I did when I first started( when I was using large stakes), confused, angry, upset, baffled, like I am being pushed around by the markets, like every trade goes wrong, so its no wonder my results are similar. I need to remember all the progress and success I have made over the last few months, and pull myself together.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Really F*cked off

I dont know how much more of this I can take. Day after day of making a few pounds here and there, every day having huge losses that kill my profit and no idea of how to stop them. Some of it is due to the F*cking moron that keeps lumping thousands of pounds on the first 3 runners, maybe my edge has been totally wiped out by this f*cker, I certainly have made next to nothing over the last few weeks. I am making no progress, and every day I have to face the disappointment of wiping out my days profits in 1 or 2 races. Doesnt seem to matter if I back or lay first though, so maybe its not down to him at all.

Dont know where to go from here, Dont know how to turn things around. I am probably just wasting my time.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

a bit scary

Just a note that I have changed my stakes slightly, I used to use level staking across all odds of £35, but now have changed to Liability staking of £150, so my stakes will vary depending on the odds. It is a bit scarey sometimes to be using stakes 3 times what I am used to, although a tick isnt a huge amount of money. I haven't made much with the new stakes, but I havent lost any yet either. When I was trading on a favorite at odds of 1.15 it meant that my stake was £1000, yikes. I did manage to make a small amount on that race, but I think I will be very careful until I am more confident on those sort of races.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Lesson learned?

Sundays trading didn't go any better than on Saturday. There wasn't much money about, which means that if you do get it wrong, it can go against you in a big way. This is what happened to me. I kept putting in trades in bad positions, with not much money coming in to the market. Another In-Play mistake cost me £10, and I decided to stop trading after 5 races.
The last 2 days did help reinforce things in my mind though. Not to go in play( kind of obvious, you would have thought, but it seems I need to be reminded every so often as I slip back into bad habits of trading too close to the off), to be very wary of trading in low liquidity markets, and to pick and choose which races I trade. On monday I tried to put these thoughts into practice, with some success. I was more patient, waiting for good entry points, I closed out by the official off time, I didnt trade some races that looked very low in liquidity, and everything felt a lot easier.
So have I learned these lessons? Probably not completely. Its a constant battle against greed, boredom, desire, fear, but one that I am winning, and will win.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Embarrassed face

Havent posted for a while, nothing of note, either good or bad, to report. I dont seem to be getting any better, or worse, at the moment, I can make money, but am missing some piece of the jigsaw.

Made a mess of things today though. Got caught out in play with a late back bet, the odds flew out, I closed out, then my original close out bet got taken, the odds flew in again. So I managed to lose more than my original stake. Lol :(

This hasn't happened for a few months now, so I think its just a blip. A good reminder of how much I need to concentrate.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

March Summary

A fairly tough month for me, as can be seen by my PnL. I made less this month, using almost twice the stakes, than I did last month. I have started trading the greyhounds in the morning and this helped boost my PnL a bit( not included in the summary), but I am still a bit disappointed with the result, although really happy to be in profit at all given how difficult it was and how badly I traded.

You can see that my average losses were getting bigger and bigger as the month went on. This was due to a number of things. I had changed the way I traded slightly, and wasnt able to deal with the extra risk this method brought. I was entering at the wrong time, and getting constantly caught out. And The cumulative effect of the losses affected my mental state so that I was less able to cut out quickly when needed.

My strike rate doesn't seem to change at all, its the same every month. Im not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I don't seem to be learning anything new about the markets at the moment which will help me pick better entry and exit points. But what I do now seems to work ok most of the time.

So I will be looking for much better results this month. I'm still waiting for a eureka moment that will help take me to the next level though, as if I continue to trade in the same vein as before, then I can only expect the same results.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Cant take the losses.

Yup, Im back to that old topic. Im just not quick enough to cut out recently. I have had a tough month, and struggled a lot with my trading, I am entering at the wrong time constantly, and paying for it, so its getting harder and harder to keep taking the losses, but I need to, because if I don't, I just end up with bigger losses. I am not going in play with my losses, just letting them go a bit too far before I cut out. My discipline has definitely gone down this month. Its fine when things are going well, but when things go badly old habits start to creep back in. I still don't completely have the traders mind set, I'm not sure if I believe I can be a winning trader yet.
So I need to have these thoughts in my mind
I know I can make the loss back easily.
I will not let this loss affect me.
its ok to be wrong, I shouldn' t beat myself up about it. Just accept it and move on

Although some might disagree, the evidence is pointing to the fact that I am ( or will be) a winning trader, my last 6 months have been in profit or break even, and I still have a lot of improvement to make, so the signs are good. But I need to get my head together more. Its weird, I am more disciplined trading the greyhounds than I am the horses, probably because I use smaller stakes, the swings are faster and potentially bigger, and you have to be out just before the off. If I could bring that discipline to the horse racing my trading would improve greatly.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

The flat season, hooray!

Supposedly, the flat season is much easier to trade than the jumps, more races, more money. I didnt find it so today, having the worst day I think I have had for 4 months. Ok , so its only the first day of the flat season so no need to get worried yet. The markets were also all over the place and I kept getting caught out time and time again until I had just had enough and stopped trading.
Maybe I also went in expecting too much and not trading as I have learned over the last year.
I will see what happens as the season progresses, and if it is actually any different to trade.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

My trading setup with The Toy

I have run out of things to say about my trading on the blog at the moment, its going along pretty much the same, I am performing fairly well, but am looking for improvements which aren't happening yet. So I thought I would say a little about my setup and the software I use. I used to use one application, which was not bad, but I wasn't totally happy with it. I was interested to see how hard it could be to write my own app( I know quite a bit of Java and C), so started messing around. I got as far as being able to log in and retrieve my account balance, and then the next day a blog post directed me to an application called A Geeks Toy. Almost immediately I could see that it would take me weeks or months to write something as good as this, it looked good, and felt good to use, and fast! Best of all, it was free! So, no more coding for me. It is fairly customizable, you can dock and undock various windows, move graphs around, change the size of ladders,etc. I am very impressed by its speed. Using my old application, when the betfair API was being sticky, you would really notice it, but with The Toy, it manages to function almost as if there are no problems.I have 1 PC running the Toy, on a 32'' monitor, and my laptop as backup, with the Toy loaded, but disconnected from the API to avoid data charges, and mobile broadband ( costs me £5 a month) just incase my PC crashes, or my main broadband connection goes down.
Here are a few screenshots of some of the different set ups that are possible

Monday, 15 March 2010

Best Day Ever(Almost)

I have changed the way I trade in the last few days. I was getting tired of entering trades only to see them go against me, and having to cut out because the markets have such big moves that you just dont know if, or where, they will stop. So I have changed my entry points a bit. After a few difficult days I was starting to see good results, and was becoming more confident. Todays trading felt awesome, I was making more money per race, and wasnt putting myself in difficult positions. with 1 race left to go, I had made over £30 using £35 stakes, and was already composing this post in my mind. So, onto the last race, where I seemed to forget everything I had learned, and basically went to pieces, discipline-wise. One draw back to my new style of trading is that if I'm not totally on the ball, and things go against me, I can be looking at a bigger red than what I am used to, very quickly. I put in a trade at a stupid entry point, where the market promptly went against me big time.Did I stay calm, focused, look at the other runners, take in all available information? No. Did I cut out quickly and without emotion, at any of the exit points available to me? No. I just sat there, and hoped, until the red became too big for me to bear, where I cut out for a £15 loss.
Tiredness was probably a factor, as well as greed and fear of "messing up" my best ever PnL. Even though I have made progress, I still need to change my mindset a lot, with regard to losses. Maybe I should go and see a sports psychologist or something because there seems to be a mental block that I cant get over.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Dont take it personally

Does it ever seem like the markets have it in for you? That they are just waiting for you to enter your trade and then go against it? I have felt like this at times over the last couple of weeks, as I keep getting caught out by unexpected fast moves. Obviously I know on an intellectual level that the market is impersonal and uncaring, just doing its own thing with no regard for what most of us are doing. But on an emotional level it is hard not to feel sometimes that the markets are targeting you specifically and just waiting to pounce on your ill-timed trade. This is not a good mindset for your trading as you will feel anger towards the markets, which will lower your concentration and block out the information you need to take in, as well as perhaps making you start not to care about your results, or end up putting in unthinking trades in an attempt to get back your losses. This is something I am going to have be wary of.

I only managed to trade the 2 evening meetings yesterday, but I did ok, making about a tenner. I usually find the evening meetings easier to trade, less spoofers, slightly less volatile. The only problem is the crazy guy who every now and then sticks in huge back bets near to the off, but I managed to stay clear of him last night.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

March so far

I havent posted much recently, as I haven't been able to trade much so far this month, had to go away for a few days, and the days I have traded I have really found it quite difficult. It feels so random and swingy, and it seems that every trade goes against me. I know this isnt the case, so it must be partly a mental thing, and maybe that is affecting my trading. I have definitely lost something from my trading , and I'm not sure what it is.After last months consistency, I was looking for the same again, but I dont think thats going to happen this month. To try and keep things positive though, I am still in profit for the month. I have also started looking at trading the greyhounds in the mornings and have had some success there so far.
Will just have to keep grinding away, and hope some sort of penny drops as to where I am going wrong

Sunday, 28 February 2010

February Summary

Ive got to be pleased with this months results, only 1 losing day, and I feel like I have made big strides forward in consistency and discipline. I am still hitting some big losses sometimes, from entering the market at the wrong time, but even my bad days are still ending up in profit, I am taking the losses well, and I am not going in play. I have started tidying up my positions when it hits 1 minute to the off, and am aiming to not open any new positions after that, as I have been caught out too many times by the unpredictable movements, and there is also the added danger of being caught in play.

Heres my PnL for the month

And the average win and loss per day

I raised my stakes to £35 for the last few days of the month, and that will account for some of the reasons why my average loss was increasing, but I am still hitting too many large losses for my liking. I know that stopping trading earlier will help lower this.

My strike rate

I did find the second half of the month a bit more of a struggle, with more losing races.

I know that there are still areas I can improve on( concentration, patience, dedication, controlling my greed and sometimes boredom) but this month has been a real encouragement.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Think Happy Thoughts

I was reading my old blog posts, and was surprised at how negative I sound sometimes.Well, maybe not surprised, as I am negative a lot of the time, but I didn't think it had come across in the blog. I was trying to describe the problems and feelings that trading brings, maybe I need to find something else to blog about. If I am not going to do negative posts about trading, and I don't want the blog to just become a daily PnL report, what am I going to write about? I dont know yet.

Things have been going great this month though, I have upped my stakes to £35 in the last 2 days, will do a monthly report soon.

Thursday, 18 February 2010


Last two days have felt like a bit of a struggle compared to earlier in the month. It feels like there is a bit less money in the markets, and they are a bit more unpredictable. I have found myself hitting a few more losing races, and my anger has been building. Its stupid to get angry, I know, but its been happening quite a lot as I perceive the market turning on me. I try to take a minute after each losing race to feel calm and accept the loss, and this does help, but when something like today happens, I end up just exploding. Things were going along ok, then I hit a £3.25 loss when trying to lay a horse close to the off time, as it looked to be drifting, but it came back in, as they often do. a couple of races later, I saw a horse drifting a bit close to the off time, so I thought " this time, I am not going to get caught out laying it when its obviously going to just come back in, so I will back it!!"
of course, it went through the price so I thought, " well, it will still come in, so I will back it again!!!".
Price continues out, and there's a few seconds before off time, so I did a final back waiting for it to come back in, it never did, and I took a £7.57 loss just before the race started. At least I didn't go in play I suppose. I was absolutely raging. Stupid to be so angry over something I have no control over, and the things I did have control over, ie entry and exit points, were done to the best of my abilities. I think I was extra angry because this is my first losing day this month, and everything had been going really well up to now. I need to make sure that I deal with this, accept it, and keep trading the way I have been.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

A good week.

Trading has carried on in the same manner as I left off in my last post, and I am really happy with the way things are going at the moment. If someone was to ask me what has changed in the last couple of weeks, I wouldn't be able to tell them, but something obviously has, and I have hit a new level of consistency. I think all the things I have been learning over the last few months are finally becoming part of my subconscious, the thought processes needed to trade successfully are being ingrained.
Mark Douglas was right when he said no-one can tell you how to trade. Stock phrases like "cut your losses" and " let your profits run" are kind of obvious, but to actually understand what they mean in a real trading context, you need to experience the situations for yourself, experience the feelings that a losing trade gives you, and get over the emotional response. I think maybe that has been the leap forward I have made, a lessening in the fear, along with more trust in myself to do the required action in each situation. You would think that fear would be a good response to have, it would stop you from over-exposing yourself to the market, but it actually stops you from taking opportunities that present themselves. If you take more opportunities as they come, and deal with each one appropriately, without hesitation or emotion, whether its cutting out, closing, or letting it run, then you should be well on the way to learning how to trade.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Steady progress.

February is going along nicely at the moment, I am making £5-£10 a day, and I feel that something has clicked into place recently. I am getting a feeling for the markets and can sometimes get a sense of "the zone", where I am tuned in to what the market is doing, and not really thinking about profit or loss. I feel I am reading the markets better, and am able to recover a red position more frequently. I am getting out of the market at the official off time almost all the time( yes i know, it should be all the time). i am less fearful of opening a position, less worried about it being a loss, and less affected by losses when they happen. I guess this could all be due to the markets suiting my style at the moment, and the random sequence of wins and losses being mostly wins over this period. Or it could mean that I have made some progress, and come to a deeper understanding of trading.

One thing that is concerning me is my daily profit. I know from reading other blogs that other people who are fairly new to trading are making 100% or more of their stake per day, where I am making 25-50%( yes, I'm talking about u J.S :P). I can still reduce the number of errors I make, and let my profits run a bit more, but even my best days only approach about 75% of stake. I guess it doesn't really worry me, just being competitive I want to be as good as its possible to be.

Sunday, 31 January 2010

January summary.

My target at the end of December was to have my first £100 month in January. I didn't quite manage it, in fact I made the amazing sum of £0.25! I wont go in to all the stupid mistakes I made this month as I have posted about them already, but I hope January will drill it in to me to close out as soon as possible if I go in-play, even for a seemingly painful amount. If I had closed out for an £8 loss on the day I lost £40, then I would have been up £32 for the month, which seems like a really good amount just now. This is the major hurdle I have to get over at the moment, to remember that trading is a long term thing, and that it is possible to get back a loss fairly easily. This knowledge has helped me a bit I think, as I am being a bit more aggressive(well, a bit less fearful anyway) about putting in a trade when I perceive an opportunity: I am less scared of getting a loss.

So heres the PnL:
I am pleased with the way I recovered at the end of the month.
Heres the average PnL per event, not much I can tell from this.

And the daily strike rate: I felt that my trading was improving, despite the number of off days, and this is reflected in my improving strike rate. I am finding better entry points, and making better decisions about where my exit points should be. I am also starting to eliminate the "greedy" entry points where I try and jump on a swing right at the end of its life, and then have to cut out when it bounces back. Sometimes I am able to wait out the bounce as I am fairly confident it will return or at least lessen my loss.

So I think I learned a lot this month, we shall see if I can put it into practice in the next month.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Back in the game

I moved house on monday, and BT werent supposed to be turning on my broadband till next monday, although the phoneline was getting turned on on friday, I thought I would check to see if I had internet access and WOOHOO, it was on early, thanks BT. apparently i have a 19Mb download speed according to my router, although when I did an online speed test it was only 7.5 Mb.

So I traded a couple of races yesterday evening, and the full day today, and glad to say I am basically break even for the month. My trading seems much better since I lost the large amount in-play, I feel more relaxed and less pressured to trade too close to the off to try and get rid of reds. We will see how relaxed I feel when I have a bad day and nothing seems to be going right though.

I will do a january summary in the next couple of days.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Kick up the rear

I don't know if my stupid mistake the other day has given me a much needed kick up the ass, but since then, the last 2 days trading have gone amazingly well, and Ive made about half the deficit back. No dramas, no in-plays ( except one where a big spike took a trade well out of the money right before the off, I closed out immediately), no feeling of struggling, whats going on?

I had one fairly big loss today, and have a new strategy to cope. I close my eyes and imagine myself putting my arms round the loss, accepting it, absorbing it, until it kind of dissolves away. I think welcoming thoughts to it and try and note any bitterness or dissapointment that I feel and just let them sit there until they go away.
It probably seems a bit new age and mystical, but I need to find a way to accept the losses, make them part of my trading, and deal with the feelings they bring. It seems to be working so far.

I am moving house tomorrow and I don't think I will have internet access for a couple of weeks, unless I get really lucky, so it looks like I will be taking a break from trading, as anonymous suggested in the comments to my previous post. I might try and find a wireless cafe or something where I can try and trade on my laptop, or I may just take the break.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Getting myself all tangled up

Have been going along steadily the last few days, almost break even for the month after the disaster of a few days ago. Its been hard going though and I think this is affecting me. Today I lost the first 4 races, and was down £5, quite a lot for my stakes, but I wasn't unduly worried, I knew I could( and would) get it back. This is in fact what happened over the next 4 races and I was a few pence in profit for the day. The next race I traded I got caught out by the mystery punter who seemed to be whacking great chunks of money on the favorite, I redded out at over £5 for the race, and was prepared to accept that. The favorite was still getting hit so I traded in the expectation that it was going to continue, which it did, and I got my PnL down to about a loss of £1 . Instead of accepting that this was a good result, I put some final trades in too close to the off, got the dreaded in-play signal, and the favorite must have crawled out of the stalls because its odds moved out and never recovered, over a 1m race. I didnt close out, through inability to accept a big loss, and so the race ended and I had a huge loss instead, £40. I thought I was past this stage, or at least coming to grips with it, but going through a tough couple of weeks has shown just how fragile my discipline is.
The loss itself hasnt affected me that much, its the dissapointment of failing to do what was needed in the situation that is really discouraging. If I don't sort it out( as I have said before) I will never be able to make this work. Its my own fault, but I dont know how to remedy the problem. Embrace the losses I guess. Its funny how my mind works, I was prepared to ( unhappily) accept a £5 loss, then couldnt accept a £1 loss, then couldnt accept the £8 loss in running, so was forced to accept the £40 loss. Maybe thats part of my subconscious thinking, let it go out of my control and then I cant blame myself for the results( blame is probably the wrong word, accept responsibility is better). Well I am blaming myself, the £40 loss was my fault. I accept that I didnt do what was required, I will do what is required next time.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Wtf am I doing?

I was looking forward to trading today as it seemed to be a full card. Unfortunately someone came round to visit me, so I wasn't going to trade. but half way through the afternoon I thought "F**k it, I'm going to trade, I know its risky but I think I can handle it and I know what to look out for and avoid if there is someone else distracting me". The things to avoid being going in play and paying attention to what bets had been matched and what bets hadn't. So of course, with someone talking to me and distracting me, I traded, had a small loss, put some trades in too close to the off, went in play, thought I had closed out for a big loss, decided I'd had enough of that, and only traded one race. then I found out later I had left an unclosed back bet in( think it was one of my efforts to close out in running that I hadnt cancelled) so ended up with an even bigger loss after just one race! Feel free to laugh at me or mock me, because seriously, if I'm going to do such stupid things then maybe I should just stick to minimum stakes and have trading as a past time and hobby, similar to playing a computer game or whatever. Have I learned nothing over the year I have been trading "properly" or over the 2 years that I have been trading in full? As Someone mentioned in a comment a while back, "Don't like to say it but you've acheived absolutely zilch since starting this blog" I didnt really agree with him then, but maybe hes right. My trading and discipline have improved a bit, but when it comes down to it, I give in to impulses that I know are wrong and likely to lead to difficulty.

Friday, 15 January 2010


After the doom and gloom of my last post, I wasn't feeling too confident about todays trading, I had a few decent races, one race with a fairly big loss, but it all seemed to be going along ok, although I wasn't feeling that positive, and don't think I traded very well. Then the last race I traded, everything seemed to go right, I felt like I read the market well, had good entry and exit points, and ended up with £4.35 green! Wow, probably my best race ever. And when I looked at my PnL for the day, I got a big surprise, £14.45 , my best day ever. I knew I was on for an ok day but with the big loss I didnt expect that at all. Just shows what a strange game this trading is, and how the "random sequence of wins and losses" effect can manifest itself over time. I guess I need to be a little less negative when things are going badly. I do need to minimise or cut out the losing days if possible though, and learn to stay in control and disciplined.

I have changed my trading slightly in the last few days. I used to only start trading with 5 minutes to go till the off. I am now looking to trade from 10 minutes to go. Twice as much time should mean twice as much opportunites and twice as much practice. I will see how it goes.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

In a slump

I feel like I have been really struggling lately, every race is a stressful affair, holding my breath waiting for the market to go against me. The fact that I have had 2 really bad days doesn't help. I know Ive been here before, at the start of december I had 2 bad days and still recovered well. At times like these I start to despair that I will ever make this worthwhile. Im not even aiming high, I'm not looking for hundreds a day, £20-£30 a day would be amazing for me( at least for now), but that seems so far away at the moment. I know people say "its a bad time of year" but the good traders are still making money, and lots of it. I am stuck in my development and dont seem to be getting any better. The fact that my journey to this point has probably taken 6 times as long as anyone else sometimes makes me wonder if I am cut out for this. Don't get me wrong, I have no intention of giving up but some sort of sign of progress or feeling that my goals are within my grasp would help spur me on.
I am around break even for January so far, I guess that is something positive anyway.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

A small profit

Back to winning ways today, with a £1.34 profit with £10 stakes. Its not a fortune but I am happy to break the losing streak. The markets almost seem to me more like summer markets, and I have had trouble adjusting. Hopefully I can get back in the groove as the racing gets back to normal

Monday, 11 January 2010

random sequence of wins and losses ( I hope)

After the shock of my last days trading, I cut my stakes back to £10 to try and gain a bit of confidence. I was more in control, and didn't go in play once, which is good. I still struggled though, and couldn't seem to find good entry points. I had a 38% strike rate in races. Since any set of results will contain a random sequence of wins and losses, I am sure that this is just a temporary blip, combined with lack of practice over the last few weeks, and maybe the markets acting a little strangely. I lost £1.51 today, but am still in the black for this month, so hopefully things will improve as racing gets back to normal.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Wtf just happened?

I was glad to get an opportunity to trade today, with 2 meetings making it through the weather. I wish I hadn't bothered now. Seemed like every single trade I put in went wrong, and I was finding it hard to keep my composure. It finally all went to pieces when I traded too close to the off,the race went in play, tried to close out twice, then both close outs got taken and of course the price went the wrong way making it even worse. I ended up with an £8 loss in that race.The days total was a £15.34 loss. This is my first losing day for over a month(although I haven't managed to trade a lot recently) and I am finding it hard to take. I guess it gives good warning that I still have a lot of work to do mentally. When its all going along smoothly you can get tricked into thinking that you have it cracked and your emotions are under control, and its not until things really start to go wrong that you find out where you are at. I still don't understand how I can have got it so horribly wrong after months of getting it right.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Running out of ideas

I am guessing that this blog isnt that interesting, I wasnt expecting it to be when I started, the main reason to write it was to help me improve my trading, which it has done fairly well. I am still making some errors though, and one thing I need to highlight , Stop trading too close to the off!! or to put it more positively - "I will close all my trades at the official off time"

There are only so many posts I can do saying " I had some bad races, but ended up in profit for the day" which seems to be the general trend of my trading at the moment. I enjoy writing the blog, and it definitely helps so I need some fresh ideas and perspective on my trading to write about! What these are I have no idea, so any suggestions welcome :)

I am getting together my emergency back up, as I intend over the next few months to keep raising my stakes, and need cover for when there is a power-cut, or my PC dies. Orange have a cheap mobile broadband at the moment, £5 a month for 500Mb, which should be enough if I load The Toy on my laptop and turn off the API until needed. I think I will also check out how easy it is to place a bet over the phone.

Friday, 1 January 2010

December summary

PnL : £70.92

Yet again, my best ever month, due to the fact that I doubled my stakes at the start of the month. I also think my trading has improved, as I only traded just over half the possible days this month, but still did better than double last months profit. There were a few days where the average loss was quite big, but that was due to having a small number of losing races, where 1 or 2 losses would be large. I am looking to bring my average loss down if possible over the next month. I am very encouraged by these results, I have consolidated on what I have learned over the last few months, and am making slow upward progress.

My strike rate seemed to be a lot better this month, mostly in the 70's, with the average increasing as the month went on.

My average win increased slightly throughout the month,I think this shows I am still progressing. My average loss seemed to decrease over the month, although looking at the graph and the PnL above I dont see how this is necessarily possible.

So, my aim for January is to have my first ever £100+ month and to work on reducing the average loss. I need to keep tight control on trading too close to the off ( which did result in 1 or 2 losses over the month), by closing all trades at the official off time. I will make sure I am keeping my concentration levels up by taking small breaks and drinking lots of water. I am also thinking about raising the stakes again, but the last 2 months I have done that at the start of the month, I have struggled for the first few days, so I might wait till the middle of the month.