Monday, 3 December 2007


In my last post I mention "Martingale" staking systems (dodgy, dodgy, dodgy!), well I found the definition for an anti-martingale staking system in wikipedia:

"One activity where money management based on an anti-martingale approach has a recognized value [1] is speculation and trading. Many financial markets have some cyclical component to them, and the approach of an individual speculator or trader may only be appropriate for one portion of that cycle. Using an anti-martingale risk management scheme will increase profits during time periods when a trading approach is working well, while automatically decreasing exposure during portions of the cycle where trading is unprofitable. This is believed to decrease the risk of ruin for trading"

Van. K. Tharp, the financial trading guru, talks about anti-martingale systems in his investing rules. Have a look here: Van K. Tharps rules


I hate scammers! This post is going to be a bit off topic (although I'll try and pull it back on-topic later on). Well, its on topic-ish, as I'm going to mention systems, ebooks and gambling. The gambling in question is related to on-line casinos. What am I on about? Well, I came across a forum post promising a wealth build system that wasn't the usual list. My thought, if something promises to be too good to be true is that it is too good to be true. I was intrigued though. I followed the link, expecting to see an advert for an ebook that made lots of big promises, showed little and demanded a big price. Instead I found the usual big promises but this time the ebook was offered for free in exchange for testimonials "when you start making big money too". Hmmm, that pulled me in somewhat. Suddenly there seemed no risk. Ok, I thought, what is this system that promised money without setting up a web site, a business, adwords or similar? I read the ebook and the first half was all about trying to get you to think you had found a gold mine and to think about how you're going to spend the money! The second half contained the system. I read it through. It started by saying that it involved on-line casinos. "What a waste of time", I thought and was ready to close the ebook, delete it and forget it, but then the next lines held my interest when they started talking about a loop hole in computer based gambling systems that can be exploited. I read on. It stated that a system had been found that would not work on real roulette but was ideal for on-line roulette due to the problem with computer generated random numbers. This almost had me. I know about computers and I know that a desktop computer can't create true random numbers. A computer has to use a formula that gives what look like random numbers, called pseudo random numbers. The system revolved around the fact that pseudo random numbers can be relied upon to be distributed evenly across the range of numbers. So, the idea came in two parts: 1) When to bet and on what and 2) A staking system. This made sense and I started to wonder if it could actually be legit, I mean, if this is being offered "pre-release" in order to get testimonials, that kind of made sense and it is always good to get something for free when it normally has a price tag attached (which the ebook claimed to have) and the system seemed plausible. Well, almost plausible. I did some more research. I wrote a roulette wheel sim and tested the system on it, it worked. With the random numbers my computer generated, the system worked. I was a step away from giving it a try. The system said to use a specific online casino and provided a link to it and set up instructions. I checked out the casino, to see if it was legit and it was. Whilst doing that I noticed that the casino said that it used a RNG (Random Number Generator). This was the problem. A RNG is a special piece of kit that can be used to generate real random numbers for use by computers, e.g. it doesn't rely on computer formulae to get numbers, it samples white noise levels or other random external events and feeds that back to the computer. So, the system would not work, so I wondered why the free ebook was there and then I thought about the link to set up an account at the casino (the ebook said that at least £50 should be deposited, in order for it to work!). The link was an affiliate link, the ebook author gets a percentage of any money that anyone they sign up loses! Very sneaky, especially when you look at the staking system. It was a slightly disguised martingale system!

So, how can I make this post relevant? (even if it hopefully will help save some people money signing up to this scam) Well, I think, before engaging money, other than a trivial amount, into any system or idea, you need to do the research yourself and not just trust the sales pitch, no matter how great the promises.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Don't Fall In Love!

No, I havn't gone soppy. Don't fall in love with your trades. Last night I let a loss run and it wasn't until afterwards when I was kicking myself for it that I worked out why. I had "fell in love" with the price. It took me ages to get the lay side filled. The price kept moving and I nearly had it and then when I finally had the lay matched, the price moved up a tick and I was looking for another tick when it turned back. It bounced up and down a few times and I sat staring. Finally, the price went down to the price I had managed to lay. If I was sticking to plan, I would have scratched out, but I let it run and down it went. Stupid really and I knew it, but when I thought back at how long it had taken to get the lay filled, I was kind of reluctant to end the trade for nothing and 'hoping' for a price rise. Classic newbie behaviour and something I thought I was well over and normally would be. So, that's that. Back to the mind set of getting out quickly if it looks like the vicious flaky bitch, that is the price, turns on me!

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Handling the ups and downs

I love the videos that Adam Todd, from Racing Traders, puts together! That said, I only just watched the October vid called, "Betfair Trading Using Advanced Coin Flipping and Guesswork Techniques". Essentially, Adam goes through a number of races and randomly guesses which way the price is going. He then either scratches out or takes a small loss if the price is heading in the wrong direction, but lets winning trades run, taking, for example, a 10 tick profit. The essential point of the video was that it is not so important how you determine the direction you think the market is going to move, but the important bit is limiting any losses and riding any profits. This is pretty much the same point given by financial trading gurus like George Soros. Its good to see this demonstrated and commentated on in Adam's usual amusing style.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

In Summary

If reading through all the betting and trading blogs that are popping up is becoming a bind, there is a blog in town that does a lot of the grunt work for you. It is called Betting Blogs and it is basically a summary of what the latest posts are around the betting/trading blogosphere.

My eBook is ready for release, yay!

Well, I've finally finished the last set of changes to my eBook about building your own betting/trading software/bot. I plan to keep adding more examples and expanding it further, but for now, I'll release what I have. So far, I have added 9 new different examples, showing how to do the following.
  1. Log on to your account using the Betfair free API
  2. Getting a list of events
  3. Getting a list of markets and runners
  4. Displaying market prices in a "ladder" style.
  5. Matched price and Bollinger band graphs
  6. Volume graphs

  7. Weight of money graphs
  8. Placing a bet
  9. Placing a below minimum stake bet, updating bets, cancelling bets.

At the top of this post, there is a screen shot.

Is this a blatant ad? Yeah, I suppose so, but I'm really excited that I've got this far. It's been hard to find time to work on this and seems to have taken me bloody ages.

Saturday, 10 November 2007


Wife, girlfriend, partner-in-crime, other-half, spouse, husband, boyfriend, whatever you call them, they have a big impact on our lives. I was thinking about this the other day and wondered what your other halves thought about your trading activities? Are they supportive, encouraging, uninterested or downright anti-trading? For myself, my wife kind of treats it like it is my little hobby to be tolerated, like stamp collecting or something. It's okay, unless it looks like it will interfere with something "important"! A bit less than ideal from my point of view, but I just get on with it.

Sunday, 4 November 2007


I've had a few hits on the blog from people searching for information on the betfair API function "GetMarketPricesCompressed", so I have put a post about it in the forum at:

Hope that helps.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Trading using the training or trusting mindset?

Whenever I have been in the zone and on a winning run, if I think back, it always felt very natural and was about acting and reacting without analysing and thinking. On the contary, when I've been doing badly, the opposite seems to hold, I am always over analysing, thinking and hesitating and then finally acting just as the price changed.

Performance consultant, author and speaker, John Eliot, talks about high performers using a "trusting mindset" whereas everyone else uses a "training mindset". The trusting mindset is what I would call the unconscious mind and the training mind set is the conscious mind.

When a skill is initially being learnt, it is done very deliberately and every action is scrutinised and practiced. This is all a very conscious activity. If you think to when you learnt to drive. Changing gear was a bitch! It was a long and complicated operation requiring full concentration (at least it was for me). A very conscious activity (training midset).

After you have been driving a while, changing gear is easy and you can do it whilst talking to your mate in the passenger seat without thinking about it. This is an unconscious operation (trusting midset).

Any skill is trained consciously and then becomes almost a habit as it is transferred to the unconscious. The thing is, if you start to think too much about something when you are doing it, it ends up working through the conscious (training mindset) route which is slower and more deliberate. The same holds with trading. When you are trading 10 minutes before the off, you need to be ready to act quickly and confidently otherwise you miss the boat. This is an environment where the unconscious shines. If you have ever had a winning run, where you have been in the zone, you will know what it is like. It is all about trusting your unconscious to know what to do and not trying to second guess yourself.

Monday, 29 October 2007

My birthday

It was my birthday yesterday, so not much to report tradingwise. I went out for a late lunch with my wife, the kids, the in-laws and family. It was nice, other than my boy Harry (who is 2.5) being a grumpy little monster.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Betfair Bot and Software Forum

I've just set up a forum for people interested in building bots or trading software. So far not a lot is there, as I've just set it up, but feel free to register and make it your own. If it gets used I'll keep it up, if not then I'll close it down. It can be found at:

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Questions for Learning the Lessons

Learning your lessons is an important part of improving at anything and trading is no exception. One way to make sure that lessons are taken on, is by reviewing mistakes and successes and asking the right questions.

Below are a couple of questions that can get you some good answers and help motivate you to not repeat the same mistakes. Here's how it works:

1) During a quiet moment, get yourself a pen and paper and then relax and drift back in your mind to a time when you really messed up a trade.

2) Relive the moment, let yourself get annoyed about it, really feel the frustration and then ask yourself:

If only I had ............ I wouldn't have [insert what went wrong here]

3) For a full minute, write down whatever comes into your mind as answers to the "........" part.

4) Shake off any bad feelings and thoughts. Look down the list and highlight each of the answers that really resonate with you.

5) Of the highlighted answers, find one that is the key point and write it onto a post-it note, in the form: "If only I had [your answer] I wouldn't have [insert what went wrong here]" and stick it on the side of your monitor.

So, this is the first step. This is using what is called "away from" motivation, to help you notice and stop repeating a mistake. The other form of motivation is "towards". To tap into that, do the following:

1) Once again, in quiet moment, go find your pen and paper again and then relax and drift back in your mind to a time when you really did well on a trade. A time that you are really chuffed about.
2) Relive the moment, let yourself once more relive the elation and the buzz. Mentally, pat yourself on the back and feel proud. Whilst feeling those feelings, ask yourself:

Because I did ............ I succeeded in [insert what went right here]

3) For a minute, write down whatever comes into your mind as answers to the "........" part.
4) Look down the list and highlight each of the best answers.
5) Of the highlighted answers, find one that is the key point and write it onto a post-it note, in the form: "Because I did [best answer] I succeeded in [insert what worked here]" and stick it on the side of your monitor, next to the other one.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

New Blogs

There are a couple more new bloggers on the scene, giving their own view of trading. I've had a read through and will be going back again, so please have a look and give them some support.

JP's Betting Blog
The first one is called "JP's Betting Blog". JP has set himself the target of taking £6,000 and turning it into £25,000 by the end of next year. He is using a combination of tipping services and his own personal views when gambing, but he is also trading the favourites in the last few minutes before the off.

Don't give up your day job
The owner of this blog has given up his day job and is trying to make his money from trading. He also favours the horses and has had a bit of a run in from playing with football (a familiar situation).

A quick post

I've not posted for a few days again and I've not traded either. Life is currently pretty hectic! My day job is going to be crazy busy till Christmas, but I'm going to post whenever I get the chance. My plan is to get some trades in on the weekend. Get back to the horses again. Yay!

My flirt with football wasn't particularly great and I never really got much of an edge. I will keep looking into it, but until I know what I'm doing with football, I'll not be throwing cash at it.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Example Graphing from Betfair data

As part of the rewrite of my eBook about building Betfair bots and using the free Betfair API, I have been creating some simple examples. One of those is a graphing example. I thought I'd post it up as a download in case anyone wants to play with it. It is somewhat raw and buggy but it was only written as an example to show how to use parts of the API. If you want to have a look, please go to: DOWNLOAD HERE and click on the "install" button. It is a windows application and when run will ask for username and password. These are your Betfair user ID and password and are used to connect to Betfair using the free API. Once you have logged on, you are shown the main window. On the left is a tree view you use to select a market and an event. Open the treeview until you find the event you want. When you have chosen through to the lowest level, a drop down list will appear at the top of the right hand pane. Use this to select a runner. As soon as a runner is picked, the simple ladder and graph will update price info every second. At the bottom of the window are some check boxes. These let you turn on or off the various graph lines. The available ones are back1-3 and lay1-3 which relate to the unmatched back and lay prices, next to that are back band and lay band. These are bollinger bands, currently set to use a 20 second moving average of matched prices. Finally there is a checkbox for matched price and moving average matched price. Next to the moving average is a box that you can enter the number of seconds the moving average is over. I hope that all made sense.

Just to repeat, this little application is not a finished, solid application, so don't be surprised if it does something funny every so often or crashes, etc.

If you want to make the graph fill more of the window, click the "hide ladder" check box. You can zoom in onto an area of the graph by holding the left button and dragging the mouse over it.

Have fun.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Giving money away?

I've been away for a week and havn't posted since then. during my time away I received a comment posted on the blog, which is similar to the ones that pop up every so often, along the lines of "give up, you guys are just giving money to the pros". The thing is, by the nature of bet exchanges, it is peer to peer betting. For each matched bet there is going to be a winner and a loser, it's as simple as that. Getting the skills needed to make a profit doesn't happen overnight (unless you're someone really exceptional). The only way to really learn is by doing. It's fine doing some paper trading, but the emotions are not there. You can be ice cold calm and sensible paper trading but when there is real money on the line then the emotions kick in and that's one of the factors that need to be controlled. So, if the only way to learn is by doing and as there are a number of skilled traders out there, it makes sense that there will be a period where you will take a hit. As you learn the lessons and get better and also new people join and others just throw money in without thought, you will rise up the ranks and with that your profit levels will rise too. For each of the people out there that say, "it can't be done", there are many people who are making profits. Look at fellow bloggers Mark Iverson or the Betfair Trader. They're taking profits and know what it is like to pay your dues.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Losing days

I'm going on about the book, "High Probability Trading" again, so if you don't like it, turn away now!

I keep finding bits in the book that really resonate with me. Today I found a bit about handling losing days. The book talks about how people have a plan for winning days, e.g. making £X a day but have no plan for losing days. The problem comes along when you hit a losing day and then end up chasing losses and over trading trying to hit your daily plan. Link suggests: "...when trying to figure out how much they will make at years end, they kind of forget to calculate any losing days. They assume they can consistently make the same amount every day and totally ignore the losing days. The reality is that they will probably have about the same number of losing days or more as winning days, and the losing days can tend to be worse than the good days".

He continues, "If you are going to have goals for winning days then you should also have goals for losing days and they should be less than you hope to make on a winning day. If $400 is your goal on the upside, you should have a goal of not losing more than, say, $300 on a bad day"

Blow out

In trading terms, blowing out is when you go bust and blow your bank out. Not a pleasant thought, but something that happens more often than you'd like to think and often spells the end to a trader. If you blow out, you don't want to play anymore and your confidence can drop to rock bottom. It takes a lot to pick yourself up, know it is just a set back and start again.

Marcel Link, the author of "High Probability Trading", the book I'm currently getting into, says this about blowing out: "I know people don't want to hear this, but most of the best traders have blown out more than once before becoming the best. I always thought, 'yeah, but not me'. Well, it happened to me more times that I care to remember."

That kind of made me sit up and take notice. When I had made losses, some bigger than I had expected, due to thinking I knew best, I had, in the back of my mind, the thought that if I blew it and lost my bank (as small as it is) then I was not cut out for trading. I've had comments on the blog, when I've mentioned taking a loss or making a mistake, telling me to quit and give up (although not usually expressed so politely!). Well, in the book "Market Wizards" (on my recommended reading list at the bottom right hand side), you find that blowing out is a common early trait among almost all the best traders. As Link says, "It comes with the territory and is part of the training process". He also says, "Blowing out can be a valuable learning experience for a committed trader. It is time to regroup and find out why you lost. The answer will almost always be overtrading or being undercapitalised, but traders need to learn it for themselves"

The bit that really struck me most was when he said, "A word of warning: Most of the time it comes after a good winning streak". This resonated with me, as the biggest losses I've had have always been after a winning run.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

High probability

I'm currently reading the book, "High Probability Trading". I first heard of it through the Trade on Sports blog recommended book list. Our book tastes seem very similar, so I thought I'd check it out and I'm glad I did. So far, I'm only about a quarter of the way through, but it has been really good so far. The first part was quite re-inspiring. It talks about, what the author calls, the cost of learning. He says, "From everything I've ever heard, read and seen, a trader needs about 3 to 5 years to get through the learning period. During this time in which he is learning and honing his skills, a trader will be paying his 'tuition of trading' the same way lawyers, chefs and doctors pay to learn their craft". Okay, so 3 to 5 years wasn't that reassuring, but I found that looking at early losses as tuition fees was.

Another piece of advice that I liked was to concentrate on PPC, which means "preserving previous capital". He says, "forget about making money, just try as hard as possible not to lose any" and "The key to being a winning trader is to not lose a lot when you lose. If you cut losses, the winning trades will take care of themselves".

Saturday, 22 September 2007


According to NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming), your behaviours in an activity are affected by the beliefs and values you have associated to it. As an example, say you want to become better at public speaking (behaviour) and you take some classes, but despite all the training, deep down you don't believe you are any good at public speaking, then when it comes around to standing up to speak, your body will respond to your beliefs and your voice will waver, etc. Then, when you get some feedback, you'll filter it through those beliefs, e.g. if there are two people both of whom are equally talented but one has the belief that they are a great public speaker and the other that they are not, then if they both get told that they are really good, one will believe it and use that comment to reinforce their belief further, whereas the other won't believe it and will probably find a way to use it to back up their belief that they are not.

Okay, all well and good but what has this got to do with trading? Well, part of your success or failure is related to the beliefs you have. If you don't believe that you'll ever make a profit or successfully trade at a new level of stake then you will find a way to make that happen. This is where self sabotage appears. Where you do something stupid, knowing it's stupid, but do it all the same. NLP offers lots of processes for changing beliefs but sometimes, just realising that a false belief is present, can help bring it to the surface so you can start breaking it down and challenging it.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

How to trade on Betfair vid

I've mentioned it before, but after Adam from racing traders posted a comment on the blog yesterday, I thought I'd check it out again!
It basically shows a 5 hour trading session by Adam Todd, condensed down into 38 minutes. There are 8 chapters which show the best and worst trades he made that day, accompanied by his commentary which cracked me up several times. Have a look.

Monday, 17 September 2007

What is this blog about?

It's probably a bit late in coming, but I thought I write a post about what this blog is meant to be about and why it is called what it is.

I first heard about Betfair and the idea of bet exchange trading from my father. He was always interested in anything new and interesting around the area of value betting, etc. He told me the idea behind Betfair over the phone one day, after he had read through a booklet about bet exchanges. I listened and found it interesting but it didn't really appeal. A year or so later, my father sadly passed away and I discovered the booklet as I was helping sort through his books. I read it on the spot and wanted to know more. I had dabbled with horse racing years gone by and the idea of being about to lay appealed. I googled the internet, hungry for info. It was here that I discovered the story of Adam Todd from Racing Traders (you can read his story on their site). He had started with a bank of £200 and turned it into £100,000 in a few years. I was inspired! I also found the blog of the betfair trader who was trying to pay for his wedding through trading on the betting exchanges (and has done. Well done man). The story of going from £200 to £100,000 was where I got the blog title (not too original, but it was the original inspiration). I thought, if these guys can do, why not have a crack at it, so I am. Okay, I'm a long way off and I don't pretend to be anywhere near the standard of these guys, in fact I put my hands up and say I have a hell of a lot to learn, but I'm enjoying the journey and this is where I write about it.

The thing that I find really interesting about the whole trading thing, is the psychology behind it. Trading brings out the full range of character traits and flaws. Prices move on emotions such as greed and fear. We unwittingly employ unconscious responses to potential loss. This stuff fascinates me and is an area that I like to post about. I have a background in NLP and hypnosis, which I feel ties in pretty well with this stuff.

So, that's about it. I've got a long way to go and I'm up for the challenge and am enjoying the game.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Don't fall for the trap

As time rolls on and as more people get involved with Betfair and BetDAQ, etc, the markets become more sophisticated and also home to more sneaky people. The WOM (weight of money) method of trading (where you wait for a big chunk of money to enter the market and knowing it will move the market, you ride that train to cash-ville) has become less easy to use profitably, due to spoofers, these are people who know that people are using WOM and so try to fool them into commiting their money by putting a sizeable chunks of money into the market, but outside the current matching prices and then cancel out before they are matched, causing the market to move the opposite direction. This technique is not limited to the betting exchanges, you see it in financial markets too.

Another trick to watch out for is when markets have just reopened after suspension, you can find people putting in prices to catch out the unwary, e.g. if the prices are _ 1.5 1.6 then they may add in 17 (rather than 1.7) on the hope that someone will think they have value and select it, matching up a bet that is not what they think! I would have thought it's quite tricky to get caught out like this but I've seen these prices offered quite often, so some people must be falling for it.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007


I got a comment yesterday that got me thinking. I had talked about a football match I had traded on and how it had been a bit hectic and the commenter (sorry, you didn't leave a name) pointed out how I had no edge with my football trade. He was spot on and it was a reawakening. I had just been playing around, thinking I knew best, with nothing to base it on. I had been lucky and making a few profits there but if I carried on that way I was due a fall, so many thanks there.

So I have been thinking about the idea of an edge and how you need to have a plan or method or some rules to work to in order to avoid taking a big hit. On horse racing, I feel pretty happy, in that I have a few different methods I use, depending on the state of the market, i.e. the time till the off, the volatility, trending, etc. Sometimes I will just try and scalp ticks, using the price momentum as a guide, which can work quite well (although, as I mentioned in a previous post, I have been caught out a couple of times, usually when trying to take one trade too many. Hopefully, lesson learnt). On the football side of things, I need to do more research. I feel I'm going to have to also just try some ideas out, with small stakes, as paper trading really doesn't give you a good indication of when/if your back/lay will be matched, which is important.

Your edge then is what potential advantage you have over the other punters out there. That could be a knowledge of how the market moves in relation to certain events (e.g. WOM) or it could be based on an analysis of the fundamentals (form, determining price value) or the psychology of the "crowd" (e.g. over/under response to news of events) and also the discipline/rules you trade with (stop losses, when to get in, when to get out). Having no edge=drifting on the tides of chance.

Any comments, as always, are welcome (even if they are pointing out what I have done wrong!).

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Testing My Strategy

Whilst trading on the horses the other day, I managed to get caught out a couple of times by a change in price move. I was trading using the ladder interface in Bet Trader pro, but my laptop had been playing up and I couldn't see the graphs very well (and I don't find them very clear anyway), so I think I missed seeing the momentum change (or perhaps there was no signal of a change, although I was trading using the momentum of the prices matching). As I am revising my eBook about trading software and bots, I have decided to add in some graphing examples and started building them. My primary goal is to be able to see the equivalent of bollinger bands (price envelopes - kind of like in Bet Angel Pro) and also some kind of momentum indicators. I've been talking about graphing applications for a while but now is the first time I've got to really get on with it. I'll include any code in the eBook and will make the executable available, if anyone wants to play with it (it won't be a battle hardened application like Bet Trader Pro or Bet Angel Pro mind!) but might be useful to run alongside. I just want to know if I am missing any signals or whether my strategy is flawed. I'm hoping that there are signals that I'm not seeing yet otherwise it's back to the drawing board.

Monday, 10 September 2007

USA v Brazil scares

I was attempting to trade on the USA V Brazil match yesterday. I was on the edge of my seat. I wasn't watching the match, but I had my eyes glued to the computer screen. I didn't play this event in the best possible way. I was rather undisciplined and a bit random, but I was so sure it would be a Brazil walk over that I didn't consider the full risks. Anyway, I'm sure some of you will tick me off, but I'll say what I did and leave it at that.

Firstly I compared the pre-match odds in Betfair to a couple of bookies and saw that the price for backing Brazil was higher in Betfair and was rising till near the kick off. I took a back there. I expected the odds to drop within the first few minutes and I then intended to lay it off. I also thought the game would be a sure win, so I entered a lay on the draw too.

Well, all started okay, the odds for Brazil started dropping but I let it carry on dropping, planning on getting out when Brazil score. It didn't work that way, the USA went 1 - 0 up. The Brazil odds shot up and the draw odds dropped down. Oops! I managed to hedge myself with a back on the USA and then Brazil scored and then scored again, which changed the odds and I was able to lock in a trade on the draw part. Because I had took a loss earlier with the USA goal, I had cut my profit potential right down and I was okay, as long as it wasn't a draw. Then just near the end, the USA equalised. This was my worst case scenario and would result with me coming out with a loss. The instant before I got out of the loss, Brazil got another one in and everything was okay. So, I got less than a fivers profit but the way things jumped around really showed me how much I have got to learn with football.

I managed to have a go on the horses prior to the football, but I got caught out with a big turn around which wiped out the profit I had built with several trades. Really annoying.

Sunday, 9 September 2007


Do many of you back and lay between exchanges (e.g. between Betfair and BetDAQ) or between an exchange and a bookie, to get better gaps between back and lay prices?

I was watching the prices of some football matches and horse races on Betfair and comparing the odds to a couple of bookie sites and also BetDAQ. There were a number of differences between them, which means ways to make a profit. I might be being hopelessly naive, but I think there are still opportunities here. As time goes on, they will get less and less as people set up bots to automatically look for these and perform the trades.

Just wondered if many people are looking in this area.

Saturday, 8 September 2007

What to do about black swans?

In the book, "The Black Swan", by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the Black swan is the name given to an event that is expected to not happen or to be judged as less likely to happen than it really is. The reason it is called a black swan is after the idea that people only believed white swans existed as no one had seen a black swan yet, but it only takes one black swan to break that belief. So, in the stock market, no one thought the chances of a crash were worth considering as it was treated as a black swan. When a black swan event happens in a market, prices move quickly, e.g. a stock market crash or some totally unexpected event knocking a favourite out of a competition.

In the football under 2.5 goals markets, I have started thinking about goals as a kind of black swan event. The price drifts downwards over time, but in the event of a goal it jumps right up and then continues drifting down again. Taleb says that there are two approaches to black swans: 1) Treat black swans as if they will never happen and risk losing your stake (e.g. backing, then waiting and laying again, in under 2.5. goals without watching the game in-play) 2) Assume a black swan is likely to happen (determining that you believe a game will have a goal and then laying the under 2.5 goals market and sitting and waiting for it to happen and the price to jump up so you can back). Okay, so its not a perfect use of the analogy but the idea of the black swan can be a handy one to have in the back of your mind when you are considering risk. Is the event that could lose your stake or make your bank empty, as unlikely/impossible as you really think and can you mitigate against it, or, is the event that everyone else thinks will never happen actually more likely than they think and so there is a value opportunity.


Thursday, 6 September 2007

Night Horses

Hooray! Some late horse racing tonight, so I actually got to trade on horses. There were two races that I saw on the coupon running after 8pm. I was mainly scalping on them both. The first one, I started about 15 minutes to the off, as money was flowing in. I basically waited till there were two opposing chunks of money on the back and lay sides and estimated the rate at which they were being matched and still being topped up, then I added my money to the side that looked to be matched first but not by a long time. I made several trades before the price direction changed and I had to scratch trade. I partially greened up at the end. I guess greed was still getting the better of me, but at least I hedged. I did this on both races. A good job really, as I won one and lost one, but came out in profit.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Money down the toilet (but only £2)

I got back from work late today, as I had a lot on, which meant that I missed all the horse racing and the majority of the football. On football, I like to be there from the beginning, but no chance here, I only had the closing minutes, so I didn't bother. I wish I had had a go now, as I got a bit annoyed that there was nothing for me to trade on and had a root through the Grey hounds (nothing) and the US Horse Racing market, where I put a back on for a couple of quid. I used low stakes, just in case the market closed on me before the clock had ticked down, like it did before. Yep, before my lay was matched (illiquid market) and still with 3 minutes left on the clock, the market suspended. Another couple of quid down the toilet. A bit silly, but I just wanted to put a trade on, I didn't really care if I didn't close it. Perhaps I'm working too hard!

eBook Complaint

I recently received a complaint that my eBook, "How to build your own Betfair bot or trading software" didn't contain enough information. When I wrote the eBook, I put in it information that I found really useful, getting started. I don't want anyone to be less than over the moon, so I am withdrawing the eBook and enhancing and updating it. Anyone who has already bought it will automatically receive the updated version.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

An ass at Football

I thought that I had football sussed out and was going to make some consistent profits. What an arrogant tosser. Nope. I still have a lot to learn. I was trading on the Motherwell v Hearts match in the under 2.5 goals market and after looking at past stats and a bit of research, I thought there would be a couple of goals. I know too little about football to get confident here, but I was. I was too over confident to think and decide on a price to get out of the trade at. So after a few scalp trades which gave me a few ticks profit, I put on a lay, expecting a goal and the price to jump up. The price began slowly dropping and I watched as it approached my lay price. I thought, should I just get out here and re-lay at the lower price? But, no, I didn't, I just thought "any minute now, a goal will be scored and the price will jump up". It didn't. It kept dropping. I don't know why I was so convinced another goal would come in. I think I'll stop trying to predict results, or at least make sure I have an exit plan first.

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Greedy boy gets nothing

Well, I got a few horse racing trades in but the trades that have hacked me off, mainly due to not learning the lesson of not being too greedy is one of the football matches I traded on. I traded on Almeria v Valencia. I checked out the stats and saw that they had no score when they last met and expected the under 2.5 goals to drop in price, so I backed it early, then layed it after 10 or so minutes. I then attempted to scalp some ticks, laying first, in case a goal was scored. Whilst doing that, a goal was scored. The market suspended and when it re-opened the prices had shot up and I was able to close the trade out for a nice profit. This is where I then got greedy. I thought the game would continue and end up at 1 - 0 or 1 - 1 maximum, so I left my "free bet" as it were, and moved on. The game ended 2 - 1, so I got nothing. I could have greened up and come out nicely. Nope. I was greedy. Hopefully, I have finally learnt that one. It's a funny old game.

Friday, 31 August 2007

Free video about trading on horse racing

If you are interested in trading on horse racing and want a good introduction to:

  • The mechanics of trading

  • Weight of money trading

  • Trend following

Or more advanced topics, such as:

  • Contrary trading

  • Trading against the money

Adam from the Racing Traders web site has put together a free video. See it at: How to trade on Betfair

Tonights results

Well, there the last races of the day were later today, so I got to trade on a couple. I would have got onto more but my wife has become addicted to Facebook and I couldn't get her off the computer! I didn't do bad, but I didn't do great either. The first race, I ended up taking a small loss and the second a small profit, so I pretty much stayed where I started. On the second one I had built up a few quid from repeated trades, just taking a tick here and there, but the price was pretty high and so the green up amount was low. I thought, as it was the favourite, it might lower in-play. Nah, it went out the running pretty quick and I struggled to get anything. A lesson against being greedy. Lots of people have said, not to go in-play, even if it is to green up and that is a good example why. Still, if I hadn't been greedy I would have got a better price in-play, if I had got out sooner. Though hind sight is a wonderful thing with 20/20 vision!

There was no in-play football on in time for me to get in at the start, which is part of my plan. So, not a lot happening again. I need to make up for it this weekend.

Football is different

My last few posts seemed to have mainly been links to useful web sites. Well, not wanting to disappoint(!), here is another one. I found it useful for finding out quickly when football matches are kicking off and what the scores are. It updates itself every few minutes and although not something to rely on, I found it helpful. Go to

I did a few trades on the match between Blackburn and MyPa. I started off pretty well, but ended just a couple of quid up, was lucky not to lose anything, as I didn't think it through beforehand. I was in the under/over 2.5 goal markets. I learnt a fair bit with this game. I've been trying to treat football markets similarly to how I have been treating horse racing, because that's been all I've known, but they are worlds apart. The horse racing markets all get lively around 10 minutes before the off until a couple of minutes before, when they go a bit crazy. The football markets are not that lively before the off and then you are in the world of in-play betting. In-play on the horses seemed to jump all over the place and was not a very safe place to be. The football in-play teases you with obvious trends to scalp but there is always the risk of a goal happening and making the price jump like crazy. You can go in technically, i.e. just using the numbers, scalping a chunk of ticks at a time, as the price follows a steadily developing trend, but the market gives and it takes away. You could be lucky and get a nice group of trades done and be able to green up, then again, a goal could be scored and you have an open trade and be looking at a loss. I've come to the conclusion that to play football in-play, you need to look at the fundamentals first, i.e. to get an idea of how the game may pan out and have a plan of what you will do from the start.

Thursday, 30 August 2007


If you want to test some theories about how the prices move due to volume changes or whatever your pet theories are, then you need some historical data to work with. Some places charge for access to their data but Betfair make it available for free, although you need to have at least 100 Betfair points, but that shouldn't be a problem to you guys. If you want to get hold of some, then go to:

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Feels like being back at square one

I feel like a beginner again! I'm trying to trade on football, as I am usually not around in time to catch the horse racing at the moment. I keep making school boy level errors and it is costing me money. Last night, I set up some lays prior to kick off and then found that there was no in-play betting on that match! What a fool! Lesson painfully learnt. Can't believe I'm publicly admitting my stupidity!

On a more positive note, here is a website/forum that has a lot of useful betting/trading threads/comments/info,

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Devilishly Useful

Just found a site that you may find useful, it's called Bet Devil and provides you with stats, odds and a whole wealth of potentially useful data. Standard membership is free and so far it looks pretty good.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Efficient Markets

There is a theory, in the finance, known as "efficient market theory". The idea is that all the knowledge about market prices is already factored into the price, as the variety of people with money in the market between them would have fed in every piece of information. If an event happens then people will all react to the new information, so will under react and some will overreact but on average the market will be right. The efficient market theory states that it is not possible to consistently outperform the market by using any information that the market already knows, except through luck. So, if this is true, the only way to beat the market consistently is through luck alone, which will eventually run out. I'm mentioning this because I recently had a conversation with a friend who is involved in the financial markets and we were talking about the parallels between the bet exchange markets and the financial market and he mentioned efficient market theory. Anyone have any thoughts?

Quiet day

If anyone still wants to have a read of the special report I wrote a few weeks ago, then grab it now, as I am in the midst of a big rewrite and will be withdrawing it soon. Click here to download it.
If Betfair software is more your thing, then have a look at my eBook, "How to build your own Betfair bot or trading software".
I only had one trade today, as I was out with Sam (the missus) and my little boy Harry, trying to find some fancy dress outfits for Sam's little sisters birthday party next week. No joy. Harry found a viking hat that he liked, so much so that he refused to take it off and needed some serious distraction and decoy work done! Hopefully I'll get some in tomorrow.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Having a plan

Did you ever play table tennis, or ping pong as we called it, when you were little? Can you remember the feeling of pure satisfaction when the ball would float up to just the right spot and you smashed it back, bouncing it off your unprepared opponents head? It felt pretty good.

Now, the ping pong table is about 9ft long and good players can get that ball moving at around 100 miles per hour. To hit that little ball, taking spin, bounce and a whole load of other variables into account seems like an impossible task. How to do you calculate the trajectory, taking air resistance into account, adjusting for spin, assuming a return velocity of 80 miles per hour plus or minus 20? The answer is you don't. You don't have time to calculate, to cogitate and plan at the time, you just act and react.

Now, what makes a good player and what makes a bad player? Well, the good player has learnt to play the game, either by playing lots of different people, taking the lessons when they lost and any coaching that they could get. The first time they played, the ball probably bounced off their heads a few times or they just missed the table completely. With some determination, a willingness to make mistakes and learn from them and lots of practice they managed to learn to play the game. If you asked any of them to describe their best ever game, chances are it would be a time when they just "got into the zone", they didn't think about it, they just played. Can you remember a time, when you were "in the zone"? May be during a sporting event or at work or something, where you just acted without thinking about it and everything just flowed?

When you're "in the zone" your conscious mind steps out the way and your non-conscious mind does what it does best, react. When we are trading a fast moving market, e.g. a horse race getting close to the off, if we want to get in quickly on a trend we don't have time to think every move through, we have to act. This means trusting our experience, that is, trusting our non-conscious mind, or gut feel. This can be hard and by second guessing ourselves and overly thinking, we can stay out of the zone and miss the majority of a price move or not get out in time. So, how do we get into the zone? Well, first you need to have done the ground work and took the knocks, learning how to trade and follow the market. Next you need to be able to let go and trust what you've learnt. The final and most important step is that you have to go in with a plan. You don't have time to plan during the session, as things can happen too fast, all your planning needs to be done up-front first, so you can just act. You need to know your rules. When do you get into a trade, when do you get out, what do you do if the market moves against you and when. The more specific the better, the faster you can act and the less you have to think and pull yourself out of the zone.


In the land of stock and share trading, someone who uses a company's results, sales figures, P/e ratio, etc is said to use the fundamentals to make their decision, whereas someone who just uses the price and volume charts for short term trades is said to be a technical trader. I think the same split can be seen in Bet exchange trading, e.g. someone who scalps the horse racing, 10 minutes before the off, without care or concern who is racing, who trained who etc but just the prices and volumes, as they move, shift and do their merry dance is a technical trader. Whereas, someone taking a longer duration position, may study the race form and decide that horse X is a steamer and so put on an early back, then come back later and close the trade with a (hopefully) short priced lay.

What would interest me is finding out how many people trade technically and how many use the fundamentals or both and on what markets. My gut feel, after speaking with a few people, is that horse racing before the off has a number of technical traders but the other markets predominantly require some fundamentals, e.g. starting off with an idea of who will win/score first goal/lead the field and then possibly scalp the prices in-play or just hold back and close the trade at a certain point. I'd be interested to hear what you guys do.

"How to easily build your own Betfair bot or trading software"

Yay! I've completed it! After a lot of researching, trial and error and banging my head against an uncompliant computer screen, I've done it. I've worked out how to create a Betfair bot or bit of trading software, for free. I've recorded all of this, so you don't have to go through the hair ripping frustration and annoyance I've been through. I've got it all down in an eBook. It's called, "How to easily build your own Betfair bot or trading software"
By the end, if you follow along, you will have:
  • Your own easily modifyable spreadsheet that loads prices from Betfair.

  • An extendible, .NET based (just like the pros) trading application

You can take these starting points and turn them into whatever it is you want.

In the eBook, I explain:
  • What a bot is and what you'll need to get one working

  • How to get odds and volumes from betfair easily

  • Building on top of Excel, or in .NET

  • Writing a .NET trading application

I explain some of the trickier parts of using the free API (not forgetting, what an API is and why we'd want to use it), including (for the more technical) how to use (with example code) GetMarketPricesCompressed

So, if you're technically mind, you'll be happy, but what if all that stuff is gobbledy-gook to you? Well, I also explain how to find someone else to do the work for you, at bargain basement prices. There are a lot of great programmers out there, with rock bottom prices, if you know where to look. I tell you just that, in my eBook.

Click here to find out more

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

First touch at football

After getting home, giving the little one his bath and dropping the missus off for her company night out, I had missed the last UK horse race. No way I was touching the US market, so I decided to take Stan's advice (Stan is a regular contributor, via insightful comments, to the blog) and give the football markets a look. I'm not a big watcher of football and I play like a 4 year old, so I don't know much about the game, teams or market. Then again, I don't know much about jockeys, horses or racing but that doesn't stop me trading the horse racing markets, as I am only interested in the movement of prices not the fundamentals (i.e. form, etc). So, feeling a little trepidation, especially because the football was in-play, I checked it out, using small stakes and the same kind of approach I use for the horses.

I came out with a small profit but I think these markets can turn on a hap'enny, if something happens, e.g. a goal is scored. So, I can see it as a risky market but also one that is fairly liquid and seemed to be trending quite clearly. I'm not sure what I'm going to do, moving forward. I don't dare to use bigger stakes on this market as I don't understand the risk levels yet. It may be an option though. I wasn't able to see the game I was working with, which I guess is pretty important, so as to use events happening as guides of what to do.

As a newbie to the football market, I am open to any advice.

I tell you what, I'm going to annoy the missus when I tell her that the weekends are now being totally put aside for horse race trading!

Monday, 20 August 2007

US Markets - ARGH!

Argh! Really annoying! I just lost a chunk of cash. I was attempting to do a couple of trades on the US markets, as I got home too late to do any UK ones (that's annoying too). I had a few minutes left, according to the posted start time and I had just entered a back which had been matched when the market suspended. Unlike the UK markets, you don't usually get to go in-play, so that was that. I had inadvertently backed a horse, which then went on to lose. So, several lessons learnt there!

The US markets are just so illiquid, that the only chance you get to use them is much closer to the off, which opens up the danger of getting caught with an open trade. I'm not sure what I'm going to be able to do, as the earliest I can trade is around 8pm during the week right now. I guess I'm going to have to look around for some other markets to trade. Any recommendations?

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Build your own trading bot

Some good trades today on the old horses. I decided to quit whilst I was nicely ahead, rather than do what I normally do and keep on going until I whittle away my gains!

I am also putting the finishing touches on a eBook/Report called, "How to easily build your own Betfair bot or trading software". I'll put it up for download as soon as I'm finished. It is not just for programmers, as it has examples for use with Excel and also advice on how to find a programmer to build your bot for you (cheaply).

Friday, 17 August 2007

Using the information

When using trading software, you get a lot of potential information coming at you pretty quickly. One reason I think charts are good, is that they let you see some of that info in a picture form, that you can take in quickly. When I started to trade on horse racing, I never used to take into account anything other than the price and volume of the horse I was working with (usually the favourite). Recently I have become more interested in the relative prices between the favourite and the 2nd and 3rd favourites (if there are any) and the rest of the field. Is this something that most of you guys do? I must admit, I'm not doing any deep analysis, just yet, but I think that there may be some indicators to take account of. May be not indicators of short term price change but may be of longer term (I'm still talking last 10 minutes before the off, so by longer term I mean a few minutes rather than a few seconds) changes, e.g. price direction reversal. Just a few thoughts. Be interested to hear if any of you guys use this sort of information much.

Something else that has been on my mind is a comment that Stan left on the blog recently. He spoke about how trading/scalping on the exchanges is getting tougher and that the markets have been behaving strangely. Anyone else got any thoughts around this?

Thursday, 16 August 2007


No trading yesterday as I was meeting up with my film maker buddy, Rob. We discussed some more ideas for the DVD we are putting together. The idea is really coming together and we're both pretty excited. I need to finish off the first cut script for the intro piece and then we can storyboard it and shoot it. Basically, it will cover the trading problems discussed in the special report, delving into much more depth and then going through the techniques used to resolve them. Really excited about this project (as I keep on saying).

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Racing, risk and the in-play

I want to talk a little bit about risk. I'm going to go off track a bit first, but remind me and I'll get back to the point again.
So, I trade the horse racing market and during the week, sometimes the earliest I can get in front of my computer can be 8pm, which means I may only get the tail end of the racing. First a question to you knowledgable traders and punters out there, when winters comes and the racing stops earlier, what is a good market to trade? The USA racing is pretty illiquid which is really annoying, although sometimes you can get a good race, but the sums of money floating around are usually very small till around 2 minutes out. Also, the US race market may suspend earlier or later than expected. So any advice on a good alternative evening market would be much appreciated.

Last night I opened up Bet Trader Pro, which as good as Bet Angel Pro is, I seem to be using more. I found a race and had a look around, as I normally do. I saw a price that I thought would rise for a couple of minutes (it was about 12 minutes before the off) and put on a lay. I watched the price go up a tick and relaxed a bit, knowing I could release my "get-out-of-trade-now" trigger finger which was hovering over the mouse. I'm watching the prices then and nothing seemed to be happening. I looked at the countdown clock (something I really like, even though it is not always an accurate indicator, if it isn't there then I have to keep checking my watch, which is annoying) and it wasn't moving.

"What?!!", I said out loud, getting a this-guy-is-crazy look from my cat, Pete. I tried to click on my web browser but it had frozen too. My machine had died. Oh crap! I had to turn off the power (it wouldn't restart or shut down normally) and then power up again. I don't know why but when you're watching it, I'm sure windows takes longer to start up. My machine finally rebooted and then took an age to launch the firewall app and connect to the internet and finally launch the trading software. I got back into the market and I was not in a great position. The price had dropped 6 or 7 ticks and my trade was open. I could leave it open and hope it would come back but I have preached on about not doing that, so I got out, took the hit and started to try to build it back. Luckily, the price was perfect for scalping, staying between two prices with a constant influx of money at both ends, back and lay. I just kept joining the queue and gaining ticks back.

Now, here's where I took a bit of a chance. The time had nearly ran out and I was still down, but not by too much. The race suspended and went in-play. Recently, I have sometimes been waiting till in-play to green up. If I think the price has been raised artificially high by trading happening in the last 2 minutes, I may hold off greening up and watch in-play to see how the prices are moving. If they are moving down steadilly then I will let them ride for a minute, if they are fluctuating then I'll try to get out quicker but hopefully at a better price. I decided not to leave it without greening up after I left what looked like a definite winner that then got beaten in the last seconds, leaving me with nothing for my efforts. Okay, it means I will get potentially less but it means I consistantly get something. I prefer to see my bank steadily rising, day by day.

Well, that was quite long winded to get to my final point, which is about risk. I know in-play is risky and in order to get out with a small profit yesterday, I didn't just wait to green-up in-play, I also did some scalping, taking advantage of the gap between back and lay. To keep my risk low, I used a lot smaller stakes and got in and out as quickly as I could. i ended up in the green but in-play also cost me about 20% of my bank recently when I made a careless mistake a few days ago. So, is the risk worth the reward? Do many of you guys trade horse in-play? Do you use the same stakes? How do you manage risk or do you just fly by the seat of your pants?