Firedave trading Betfair with Bet Angel

Documenting my experiences with Bet Angel using BetFair. This will be used to record my progress as I take trading on full time.

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Aug 13, 2009

Day 14 & 15

The last couple of days haven't been great and have been fairly demoralizing. I have tried to take the positives from it and I feel I have learnt about the size of markets. During the day traders are putting large sums of money and if a £1000 is put in as a scalp by another trader it doesn't matter to them if the whole thing isn't taken as long as some of it from both sides is taken, and the excess is dumped as the market moves. This puts pressure on the small time traders. During the evening the markets tend to be a little more fluid and I believe are a better learning ground for small stakes. It is possible to fill gaps as well. As I near the end of this intensive learning experience about bet angel I feel good in that I can spend the next year trading evening races whilst working a daytime job. As the stakes increase it begins to be more needy to use the bigger markets diring the day so that the bets can be matched.

Yesterday was so bad I traded about 10 races and made a profit in one so I needed to stop. Today I had a pretty awesome strike rate but my losses were too big so what I need to learn is when to cut losses. That is my main aim over the next couple of months in order to start making money through trading.

Aug 11, 2009

Day 13

The races seemed to be more scalpable today than yesterday which helped to grind out some wins but there were still a fair few swinging markets. I feel as though I am improving in analysing how races will move in swinging markets but perhaps not backing myself on the big swinging markets. There is a tendency for races that have 1 or 2 clear favourites to have lots of swings represented by the long term graph. The market will oscillate if it has already oscillated and will tend to carry on coming in if that is what it has done already. These long term graphs give the flavour of the markets future and I often felt silly for not trusting my initial instincts because instead of minimizing losses I would be maximizing gains in the closing of trades.

So important advice to myself from the last two weeks is discipline, wait, and have confidence in my own predictions.

Aug 10, 2009

Day 12

What do I need to do to make money? Last week I had Goodwood which supported me when I was starting up but I was doing something accidentally that helped me. I was waiting. When I didn't feel comfortable about the stability of the market I did nothing. In that time I simply observed. When the markets all stable I get my money in numerous times, but when it moves about eratically with no real pattern it is important to wait until you understand what is happening.

Tomorrow's big weapon will be waiting, and it should improve my strike rate massively.

Well today I had a big loss but it was very important to try some new techniques on the swing markets. I found that I wasn't really getting the most from previous techniques since I was practically scalping the swings. Som e of my strategies worked pretty well and I made small gains on the swings but I would rather try to pick up the large swings. If I am to start making £300 a day then this is important to master. Anyways it didn't go great and some weird scenarios happened for instance when the two clear favourites came in; this made me scratch my head.

Adam Heathcote highlights all of the key entry and exit points in his blog and I consider the weight of monies and have at the races on to cover most of the points he covers. Having talked with my brother we have talked about using larger amounts of money to control the market better but although some strategies would improve I think I am still at a learning stage and would like to understand the markets better with less risk.

Will have the weekend off and be back fresh on Monday.

Today's p&l: -£9.15

I'm just putting my comments down so that someone else can try and answer these OR hopefully I will be able to provide better feedback when I am reading the markets better.

I just saw the 5:10 today which had the favourite at 5s and second at 6s,7s. There were a fair number of runners but could have had slightly more liquidity in the market. To me this looked like a good scalping market. What actually happened was that it drifted out to 7 and 8s. Just before the off, the commentator makes the comment that the 3rd favourite is ridiculously light on handicap which explains the movement.

How do we get a heads up in this scenario?

Are there less scalping markets?

Today I didn't trade well and had two big losses but because I closed it before going in play I didn't suffer such an enormous loss that I couldn't recover. I ended the day almost exactly even, it was a shame I couldn't turn a profit.

I think I'm generally on the right track because I think I now have the right discipline to now improve my trading ability. My biggest floor is in the way I approach swing markets. These are the ones that I'm losing big on. Scalp markets are fine and you can't really go wrong but I'm not cutting the losses. Wstching Peter Webb's videos there needs to be a judgement as to whether there is going to be a bounce and whether cutting losses is required or not. This is a "feel" thing that I haven't quite mastered although I now have a few pointers that I can now consider to judge the bounceability based on weight of money matched and unmatched.

Today's p&l: -£0.02

Today's motto was discipline and stopping anything go in-play I make profit. Trading is simple and talent is only a small part of what is required to be good at it. The most important thing is

discipline, discipline and discipline.

From all of my results that I've analysed I would have made a small profit over the week I've raded if I didn't let it go in play and just took the small losses when they come.For sure it sucks when you trade a race badly but its not +ev and horribly messes up a week's worth of trading when one race doesn't go your way.

As that meerkat on tv says, trading is "SHIMPLES". Maintain the discipline and you can build that bankroll.

Today's p&l: £3.90

There weren't too many raes on the card today but I traded it fairly well except for the race that went in play. Same old story but I got most of it back. It leads me to an important point about exiting. Before entering there must be a decisive plan for when it goes wrong. It is not the end of the world to have a 3 tick loss so that is the plan; re-read Adam Heathcotes blog on entry and exit points and then constantly make firm decisions about when I should exit the market when it doesn't go my way.

Today's p&l: -£2.56

Second big loss today. I up the stakes and I go from being pretty consistent to trying to close out in play. I got a little unlucky on the race today but that is exactly why you don't trade in play. The favourite had a 7 length headstart on the rest of the field at the start of the race. I closed at a very uncompetitive price. It wasn't my greatest hour.

After that race I reduced the stakes back to the £2 stakes and found that I was getting multiple turns in each race. It felt like the way I envisage trading to be. When it didn't go my way I closed out immediately and just got the turns in once there was consistency or readability back in the market. I didn't lose in a single race after the big loss but I had a strategy and I didn't freak out when the stakes got too high.

The rule I'll be playing with tomorrow is to close out when Peter Webb tells me over the recorded message so that there is no chance of it going in play and doesn't have me hope to close out without too much of a loss. Hell I can do this and a small loss I can get back but a big loss has me thinking how do I win this back. Today I was using 40p tick marks but I've decided to limit the stakes I use at the lower limits. Greening up around the 0.01 tick marks only halves at evens and stops me worrying about such large risk and can just concentrate on maximising the turns.

Today's p&l: about -£40 (can't bring myself to see the precise figure yet)

Today was a short trading day since I had a horrific race that didn't go right at all. I expected a horse to drift in play since it was a 2 mile + race and I figured I could sneak in a close there. Well it kept on coming in and I got out with a big loss of £20; not great for 60p tick sizes. Possibly poor decisions going in to play brought about a hangover from the day before. After the race I stopped and chilled out. Tomorrow, I will have my grinding mentality back and will make the right decision at the right time; hopefully.

Today's p&l: -£21.45

I increased the tick size up to 50p for my first Saturday. I took a few zeroes but only one loss which was overshadowed by some decent gains. It was interesting how the Thirsk races were getting more money ploughed into the market than some of the Galway races that were being shown on the tv. I feel I am beginning to be correct more often about the direction of the market although this "feel" has to be improved so that I am more confident to build the number of turns I get in the market. More practise required so that I can build the amount of money I am trading with.

Today p&l £5.56

Some good trading today, trading with 10p and 20p tick sizes. No great shakes but different to the £2 standard stakes since the tick size approach meant that there were some occasional £10 stakes. It is a mental hurdle to get over the fact you are trading with more money but my experience with poker helped me overcome that fairly quickly. In trading stake size is calculated from the tick size and is what I need to train my brain to think in to become a good trader so today has been a good start to that thought process.

Bangor was not a good racecourse for me and I may need to do some analysis as to why this was. In one race the risk meter looked good so I was happily making tick marks. The market drifted about 20 ticks on the horse I was trading on and ended up losing a £1 on one race. It was the craziest drift I've seen so far; I looked back at the risk meter which was displaying 100. Yay!

Today's p&l: £1.55

Today's trading had a lot of eeked out profits on a lot of races, marred by some big losses. I found that I wasn't cutting the losses quick enough, especially round price breaks. I've learnt that a great place to do trading is around these values since

one tick made - two ticks lost = 0

This gives me great value and is where other traders will put defences up either to push the price up or down, but when it goes against I'm not taking my losses quickly enough which then becomes more of a gamble. Gambling is not trading and this is what needs to be taken out of my game to reduce the amount I lose and ultimately make more.

In my thoughts today, I have been thinking, "who places bets on betfair?". My answer is degenerate gamblers, bettors for value, other traders and bookies laying off risk from their own books. At different times relative to the race these players will be putting money in. The first two are highly prominent 10 minutes before the race before the tidal wave from traders and then bookies starting at about 5 minutes before the race. This should be an important observation into creating srategies based on time before race since the techniques used by all but traders will be rudimentry and easily beatable.

Although I made more today than yesterday I am less pleased with my decision making. Back to solid decisions in every race tomorrow.

Today's p&l £1.20

One of the most overlooked areas of trading is gauging progress. For instance, what notes do you take? How do you record when you do something great, or something stupid? How can you take this forward so that you learn from all the time spent in front of races? Is it possible to reduce the number of races you have to sit through by keeping better notes and making sure that every market is helping your progression.

These are just some thoughts you might want to address. If you attend the training provided by Peter or one of the mentors they will help with what sort of things you should record. After the markets are complete your profit and loss is recorded by betfair. Analysing this data can help you calculate your strike rate and from this the maximum number of markets you can experience a loss in a row. Do not underestimate this, it is directly related to my confidence post. If you know that 6 markets in a row will result in a loss you can stay confident that things will turn round. To get this analysis Nigel has written a fantastic spreadsheet - more details of how to use it are at the forum and this is also where you can download it. Forum post You will need to have a login for the forum or sign up for one. This is highly advisable as there are really good tidbits on there for the beginner and pro a like.

Today I was looking to be more aggressive in scalping and ease off on the swinging markets by being less greedy which was landing me in trouble yesterday.

The day started off with several markets that I had identified as scalpable so I came in blazing but there wasn't quite the stability I was hoping on them and would have mini swings which meant I lost money. The first four races I traded I lost money on for one or two reasons; I was unlucky that I wasn't getting both sides of the scalps filled or my judgement was off. I had just come in from a run and raced round the house to get ready for the days racing and it may have shown in the trading. I shall set my day up a little better so that I can chill out for at least half an hour before settling down to trade.

The interesting race of the day was the 4 o'clok at Goodwood. I was trading on the top 3 and built up a nice amount from some aggressive scalping. When the horses were heading into the stalls the second favourite Highland Glen began to play up and I immediately lay it. The more it played up the happier I was getting. I was deciding how greedy to be so my plan was once it gets into the stalls I back. That horse did not start and not only did I not get the vast amount from the horse playing up, I didn't get the traded money before the horse played up either, which sucked.

All of the other races I traded well and the swing races I traded well by thinking further about the best time to attempt a trade which generally worked. Tomorrow I will try to do more of the same and get a little bit better at all the things I have learnt so far.

Today's p&l £0.98 (All stakes used were £2)

I’m a big fan of Adam Heathcote, he has taken Peter Webb’s techniques with the betfair market and run with them. Of late Adam has mentioned a lot about being in the right frame of mind and particularly being confident. Is this what it boils down to, confidence? To me when I first read his post I thought it couldn’t be, you need to understand how the money is moving in and out of the market, you need to know when it moves, by how much and is this really happening! After time though, you pick these subtleties up and you then have to act upon them. It really is up to you to execute the techniques. The state of mind you’re in will then directly impact how much you take from/give to the markets. If you think you see something, ACT. You can always close out, even at a loss – the point is that you will have given it a shot and will add to your ever increasing pool of knowledge. What you will start to notice is that you’re right a lot more often than you originally thought. So remember, be confident and assertive. If you feel you’re not in the right frame of mind, take a break and come back refreshed and ready to be, (yes you got it), confident!

My brother has come up to stay with me and learn about the wonders of Bet Angel. Since it is the start of Goodwood there should be some good races for him to learn how to scalp and there will always be races to swing. As part of learning he will be writing the bulk of each blog everyday for the next week; here is day 1.

I have watched a few races before today but I am still very green since I know little about the trading techniques required to be successful so I started the day by reading as much as I could about Bet Angel. Then I wrote out a list of all the day's races including grade, no of runners and the two favourites odds so that I could make a judgement on style.

The scalps mostly consisted of the Goodwood races and the 1635 went well. The stability of the market meant that I could go in and out at regular intervals, and get my orders filled. However the 1745 Goodwood seemed to be volatile. This was not shown on tv and was mixed in with evening races that were shown on "at the races" which may have been a reason for this despite its decent grade.

The races at Beverley were much harder. One of the races I had expected to try and read swings but on closer inspection, the two favourites were almost identical and should definately have been scalped. This was my biggest loss of the day, and is approximately the amount I am down for the day.

My aims for tomorrow are to be more aggressive with my scalpable races to try and get a few more turns in and try to be a little more savvy with the swing races by reducing the amount I expect to win and either do nothing or use a different technique.

Day 1 p&l: -£0.75

Mar 31, 2009

Start afresh

As you can see I started to run before perfecting the art of "walk". In a bid to continue with a) trading and b) the blog, I have put £200 into my account. This has taken the usual fee of moving money into my Betfair account! The aim is to pay this back when I am at the £1000 mark. Hopefully that will be before I need to pay off my credit card - only kidding :)

With the new bank I was trading only a portion of my bank and with a couple of evenings trading - £198 and £215 profit respectively. Overall made £115 (including my disastrous run previously) and this is looking more reliable. My bank is still relatively small compared to that of other blogs I have been reading who use £6k banks. I looked at bookmaking and dutching more on these races. With bookmaking you are only placing lays into the market (expecting the runner to lose) As such you need to get *all* of the runners matched to make sure you don't get stung. When all are matched the book needs to be over 100 percent so that the profit is on all of the runners. One thing I have found doing this is that you won't be able to green up. This might seem a strange thing to want to do but you won't always get matched at the price you want. A bit of give and take on the pricing and you will want to balance out your earnings. The reason I believe is because so far you have only placed lay bets. In BA terms, it doesn't know about any profit you've made. Greening up in this instance is a manual process using the manual bet screen. Dutching requires some idea of form even for the maiden races (although this is a lot harder) This may not be a terribly good way to continue and I should be practicing scalping and swing trading. Being burnt so hard previously prevents me from doing as much of this. I know this is bad but it is difficult to motivate. I am being given good advice from the training academy and my mentor. This at the moment does seem to point to me doing everything incorrectly (I don't like being told I am wrong!) The advice has continued past the day of training and if at all interested I would strongly suggest that you do go on a course to give you the pointers required.

The Betting Exchange Academy

Like the past couple of evenings I was trading on a market using most of bank to trade positions but didn't close out when it moved against me and take a small hit. I *hoped* (being the key word here) that the market would move back - with all signs to the opposite...I continued to let this go to in play where irrationally I thought the price may drift. In play the runner got a good start and the price shortened, as expected but I should have closed out here but didn't! Recorded record losses. There were so many mistakes made here that I don't really know what to write down to learn from. Initially I should have closed out the position. I was using my full bank to trade with so taking the full hit would wipe it out. Finally, not taking the smaller (but still sizeable) hit when everything was going against the held position.

Capital is king! You cannot trade without any capital.

Mar 30, 2009

Bet Angel Competition

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You can also download a 20 day trial which will make you want to enter the competition more!

Tried again on evening races - a slightly larger than previous total of £56. This is with a tick size between £3-£5 using most of bank to trade. With these evening races there is half an hour between them which gives plenty of time to analyse and work out entry and exit points. I would recommend that you start on these races if you get the opportunity. Again, not very big amounts each race but over 2 hours work it adds up to a neat sum.

It has been a while since I have properly used Bet Angel and I know about its potential that I have paid for so I thought I would make the time to start to reuse Bet Angel. Using evening races to practice outside of work hours. I took an evening out to give this a go and with small trades ended up with £46 on the profit and loss sheet. Shaping up to more like a daily wage if this sort of number of hours to return can be continued. The reason this felt so good was because this was never gambling in its purest sense. This was using greening up over all runners from defined scalping and bookmaking positions. There was no occasion when this felt out of control and that may partly be down to the markets I was trading today but maybe this strategy of slowly but surely might pay off...