Tuesday, 18 September 2012

The life of a trader. Discuss.

I read an interesting article earlier over on The Sultan's blog, where he wrote about different people's approaches to trading sports professionally. I think it is an intriguing topic and I'd just like to add my thoughts. The post can be found here incidentally: http://centrecourttrading.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/sacrificing-social-life.html

In short, Sultan was describing how he has had to make sacrifices in his life in order to work as a professional trader, and that without these sacrifices one cannot hope to be successful in their work. I largely agree with what he was saying and I find it strange that anyone would be deluded enough to think anything different from this. I have read posts or comments by some people who seem to fail to realise that if you decide to trade professionally, then this is actually a JOB, no longer a pastime. Undeniably, the make up of this particular job is vastly different from the 'typical' work environment, but the fundamental basics should still remain the same. Sultan refers to one guy who claimed he was going to trade on his phone whilst at a party. Erm, sorry, what? How many people do you know who go to a party and do work? And if these parties do exist, then these people really need new friends. Whilst trading may be a different type of job from something in an office, or a job at Tesco, or a binman, it doesn't mean that it deserves any less respect, and if you want to succeed at it that is how it needs to be. The higher up the professional scale you get the more sacrifices are needed, I doubt bank managers and top editors have much time for partying, for example. Another thing is that betting on a mobile is dangerous. I lose more bets than I win when I bet on my phone, mainly because the correct mindset is not there, while it is too easy to just stick something on and become distracted.

'Picard007' commented on the post saying: 'I must admit that I had this imagination of, if I invest 10 hours a day for 3 months I will be in profit soon. My hard work will pay off. It was a complete shock, that it did not and actually cost me a lot of money.' This slightly naive thinking (though who hasn't been the subject naivety over time?), is a belief which I feel contradicts my thoughts on trading professionally. If someone truly wants to go into trading, then they need to WANT to, and success will only happen over time, you cannot force it. It isn't a regular job, and it takes dedication to reach the level of The Sultan, for instance. It is easy to read his blog or other P+L blogs and think that it looks easy and fun, but the truth is that that is unrealistic. I spend a lot of time observing the markets and researching stats, whilst watching a lot of games and reading betting articles, but I am still far from the point needed to go professional and turn a consistent profit big enough to sustain any form of a lifestyle. There is a difference of course. I do it because I enjoy it with no real ambition to ever go full-time. But I think the fundamentals are the same, mainly because I aim to make money. Another point is that one cannot expect to learn all he needs to learn in 3 months, it simply isn't enough time to gain enough experience, just like anything else. One of the biggest things which has helped me improve over time is making mistakes, and I think that they are crucial to becoming successful in the long run. Everyone makes mistakes over time, and as long as you learn from them they can be as rewarding as any profit achieved. I look back over my mistakes over the past year or two and laugh, but I know that these were necessary to my education, and rarely have I made the same mistake again.

Another key point which was touched upon in Picard's comment was, profit aside, the benefits which trading brings to a person, most of all: discipline. I agree with Sultan and Picard who both agreed that discipline was a key aspect of their life which had been improved thanks to trading, and I feel the same way. My control of money is a lot stricter these days, both in and out of Betfair, and I value the odd pound or two a lot more also. My maths and statistical skills have improved, though both are still at a basic level, and I always find myself surprised at how often people talk of 'the odds' or bets, at which point I normally burst in with my superior knowledge (ahem) of the markets.

Each trader is different and I appreciate that. Personally, I trade part time to supplement my student income, and I choose trading over a part time job because I get pleasure from it, not necessarily because the profits are greater. It also suits me to trade whenever I feel like it, something which would not happen if I was to take the big step up to professionalism. I cannot see myself ever going professional as I don't think it is the life for me necessarily, but I am looking to go into the betting industry in some way and I think the knowledge I have accrued over time would give me an advantage in the marketing sector, for instance. (Incidentally, if anyone is reading and would like to give a newly graduated guy a job around June-time, that would be very handy ; ) ) Joking aside, whatever sector I enter I can see myself trading on the side in the future, just because I enjoy it.

Last word from me now. If you are going to trade then the most crucial thing is the 'Big P' - not profit, but passion. If you have enough passion then the other P will come.

Monday, 17 September 2012

10,000 Not Out

Today I passed the 10,000 hit mark on my blog and would like to take a minute to thank everyone who has read, promoted or mentioned my blog over the last year and a bit. I would probably still write the blog even if only 10 people had read it, so to have a fair amount of hits is a huge bonus to me. I see the blog as a good way of ordering my thoughts, as well as keeping a good record of my fads and profits over time, and I will endeavour to keep blogging throughout this year. Thank you all

The league is finally beginning to take shape now and I always find it strange that after as little as four games the league generally tends to have ordered the top end of the table fairly accurately, in relation to how they will finish in May. After a slow start, Arsenal have settled down and have powered themselves into the top 4, causing punters to slash their price both in the top 4 market and the winners market. Having been matched at a high of 28, Arsenal are now as low as 12 on Betfair to win the title for the first time since 2004. As far as I am concerned, anyone backing Arsenal at that price (or any price at all for that matter) is absolutely mental. They beat the worst team in the league 6-1 and recorded a good victory at Anfield, albeit a poor Liverpool team, but I would not even consider them for the title, particularly not at this early stage. They face Man City and Chelsea in the next couple of weeks and I think we could see a knock back to reality for the Arsenal contingent. Their top 4 price is now at 1.54 but, having layed them at 1.899 (an annoyingly high price as they traded down to 1.75 the day after I was matched), I'm not yet concerned for my money. As I said before, they will play City at the weekend, with Spurs (3 points behind Arsenal) playing QPR at home. If both favourites win those games Spurs and Arsenal will be level on points once again and the top 4 merry-go-round will be truly underway once again. 

Relegation is an interesting market at the moment as we have two contenders odds on (Southampton and Reading), along with Norwich teetering on the edge at 2.1. The price ups are intriguing because if we look at the fixtures these three teams have had, it would appear to suggest that Norwich are the worse off out of the three. Reading have one point from three games, with one in hand, having drawn to Stoke and lost to Spurs and Chelsea, the last two being games they weren't likely to gain points from. Southampton are pointless and look to be struggling greatly, but when looking at their games, there is no real shame in being thrashed at the Emirates and losing 3-2 to United and City, leading in both games. Losing at home to Wigan was a disappointing result, but this is the only fixture to date which they have really stood a chance of gaining any points. Norwich on the other hand have had two home games to mediocre opposition, West Ham and QPR, and drew both of these. These are games which they would have been winning last year, and in my opinion they definitely look set to struggle this year. No goals so far (though I know it has only been four games) from Holt or Morison, two players who were relied upon last season, and although they managed to nab a good point away to the ailing Spurs, the 5-0 loss at Fulham highlighted the look of things to come. The problem they now face is that they now face Newcastle, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal in succession, whereas Reading won't come up against a top 5 team until December, and Southampton's only big test is Spurs over the next couple of months. I expect Norwich to trade odds on for relegation before long, meaning the 2.1 is still pretty big. I backed them for relegation at 2.547 for £50, and might consider topping up on them soon. With my Reading bet, I jumped a bit too early and traded out at 2.3 after backing them at 2.6. After Spurs' poor start I was concerned that Reading were going to take at least a point yesterday, so I took a small profit after Reading's poor start had already driven the price down. It turned out to be the wrong decision but at least I took a small profit. The more I try out these different trades the more I will learn, and hopefully I will learn a lot on timing of trades over the season. 

In the top 10 market, my back of Fulham has had little movement so far, despite what I see as a very encouraging start from the Cottagers. Two good home wins see them sit in 8th place at the moment, yet there seems to be a large amount of resistance on their price. They remain at odds of 2.38 with the market preferring to side with Sunderland (2.06) at the moment. I haven't yet seen anything to blow me away from three-draws-Sunderland, who finished 13th last season, and Fulham's squad looks superior in my eyes. I may consider taking the best price I can get on a Fulham lay as the market might take a while to side with my opinion. We shall see.

Thank you again for your continued support, I hope you enjoy reading my blog as much as I enjoy writing it. 

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Trading is easy...

...when the favourite goes behind. It is probably one of the oldest and most simple techniques in trading, but it has been working out for me, and I'm sure quite a few others too, in the opening weeks. I mentioned before the start of the season that I expected goals and shaky defences to be a theme of the coming season and it hasn't disappointed yet. The Champions have recorded wins of 3-2 and 3-1, along with a 2-2 draw and a 3-2 in the Community Shield, while their neighbours have followed suit with two 3-2 wins in a row. As I said before, the mid table teams have strengthened well and the big teams are going to struggle to win every match, particularly away from home. For now trading the overs looks the way to go.

My trading has been slow but steady in the opening weeks. I haven't had a wealth of time and the size of my bank (£50) has restricted me to small stakes. I also like to assess the new season and get a feel for each team before I go charging in anyway, so it has been working just fine for me. So far I have taken a small but positive £19.61 profit. Bank building is one of the things I am best at, in my humble opinion, so taking small but steady profits is something I quite like to do. I am going back to university next weekend, and that is normally where my proper trading takes hold, so I look forward to that. This weekend my opportunities will be limited as I am off to Old Trafford on Saturday.

For now though just sit back and relax, and thank the Lord that the international bore-fest is over.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

The calm after the storm

From a betting point of view, the transfer window shutting two weeks after the season has kicked off is not desirable for any ante post bets. Teams can change drastically and yesterday was no exception to this, with over £100m being spent on deadline day. Key changes were made to the likes of Fulham, Tottenham, QPR and Manchester City among others, and this has thrown a whole new set of spanners in the works.

In terms of my positions for the new season, not too much has changed. I was very pleased to see that Arsenal didn't do any late deals and I think they are going to struggle a great deal, particularly in the coming weeks. I was a great admirer of Song and I think that not replacing him will come back to bite them, particularly with their injury situations. Cazorla is a superb addition, but a completely different type of player. Their lack of transfer activity has seen them drift out to evens for a top 4 finish, after being 1.7 last week.

In the week, I added Spurs to my list of bets, taking a large position on them to finish in the top 6 at odds of 1.74. I had hoped for bigger signings than they managed yesterday, but with an easy next few weeks, they should do well enough for me to trade out for a profit. In the long run, I can't see Spurs blowing anyone away, their squad is poor and definitely not an improvement on last season. They have only two strikers available up top, and both of those are hit and miss. Competition for fourth spot is going to be tough, but only because each team is now equally poor. Liverpool failed to bring in any big names and after letting Carroll go, and suffering another Lucas injury, I fear they too will fail to flatter.

It looks to me as if Everton have been the biggest winners over the last few weeks, recording 2 emphatic victories as well as signing a wealth of players, something which their failure to do in recent years has been their downfall. I will admit to not knowing a great deal about their new acquisitions, but David Moyes is shrewd and if they are as much of a success as most of his other signings, Everton could look dangerous for fourth place. Currently at odds of 6 if you fancy that.

My only real concern is the dealings at Fulham and what that will do for my top 10 bet. They smashed Norwich on the opening day, and made a real fight for it at Old Trafford, but the losses of Dempsey and particularly Dembele will hit them hard. They secured a real coup in getting Berbatov, and I really think he will do well with them, but it is in the middle of the park where they will be overrun. Murphy left earlier in the summer, meaning that they have now lost their 3 most crucial midfielders from last season. Richardson and Dejagah have also been brought in, but they are both wingers and I feel Martin Jol would have been much better focusing on the heart of their team. I still think that they have a good squad, but I will be keeping a close eye in the next few weeks.

Good luck this weekend.