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.

Bet Angel - The most effective tool for Betfair
Feb 26, 2010

February Stats

P&L: £10.11
Average P&L: £0.72

I'm not trading tomorrow, I find the Saturdays a little chaotic even with Newcastle off again!  There will be some good racing with more Cheltenham hopefuls running at Kempton.  Punjabi is going to be making an appearance so let us hope he doesn't do a Denman and unseat the rider.

Looking back across my first month full time trading I can say that I have made really good progress. I'm not jumping around the room shouting Eureka just yet as I took my big loss last Friday.  I am quite encouraged though as I felt this week was reenforcing last weeks efforts and I felt that although I have to concentrate a lot to make sure I get involved with the markets I didn't feel like everything was running away from me.  I have this week managed to tally up my first full week of profit as well which I have been wanting to achieve from the beginning. 

The first two weeks of the month were sporadic to say the least. I was a novice and didn't know the best way to go about learning other than having a go with smaller stakes -as I still am.  What I did start to notice were trending patterns of other traders and how the money was being matched or skillfully placed to make it look like the weight of money was changing. After the first couple of weeks I started to calm down a bit and not let markets go in-play so often. I did have a couple this week that went in play but I had said take the starting price and more often than not this gave me a positive result anyway.

I was also trying to test various statistical analysis patterns I had noticed but with the same account. This was a bad idea in that it skewed my trading results and I stopped this after the second week. Looking at my graph I can see that it looks pretty bad - to me though this shows an improvement.  If I look at weeks 3 and 4 they are closely correlated but I did take a disproportionate hit. It is exactly these losses that I need to understand how frequently they come about before increasing my stakes.  Bring on March and the bigger festivals!

Feb 25, 2010

Meydan Racetrack

P&L: £6.37
Average P&L: £0.64

Another course off today; Ayr. Leaving the two racecards which limits the amount you can really get through the markets on a day.  The biggest thing for me is concentrating for the 4 hours whilst there are 20 minute breaks between them.  I had a good opening couple of trades and then disaster hit with a swing trade going against me. I cut my loss and took a -£5.11 on the race.  Staying calm and collected I tried really hard the next race and managed to make back a whopping £6.85. The effort really put me off though and was exhausted. I took a small breather and came back to end the day on £6.37.  This to me is my best trading day as it has compounded a good week so far but also the way I handled my losses and still ended the day positive.

Due to the lower number of races I nearly traded on one of the races at Meydan, Dubai. The liquidity is still very poor in these races but I don't think it will be long before these become part of the norm. The racetrack looks amazing as you can see with a pool on the top of the building!

Meydan - the new racecourse in town (well Dubai):
The biggest and most expensive track in history has taken 34 months and at least $1.25bn to build.
"It is just absolutely mind-boggling to see the size of it," Brown said. "Of course, there are always going to be a few teething problems but, as far as the racing goes, it's going to be tremendous."

Feb 24, 2010

Paxman swears

P&L: £9.86
Average P&L: £0.58

During an interview on Monday’s Newsnight, Jeremy Paxman read out a passage from journalist Andrew Rawnsley’s controversial new expose of New Labour, ‘The End of the Party’: “Brown went berserk with [US political advisor] Bob Shrum. ‘How could you do this to me, Bob?’ Brown screamed at a shaking Shrum. ‘How could you f**king do this to me?”‘
“During the post watershed interview, Jeremy read a direct quote from his book which contained an expletive. He apologised immediately to anyone that may have found it offensive.”
No more needs to be said. Hilarious!

Feb 23, 2010

Steady as she goes

P&L: £6.92
Average P&L: £0.58

Much more measured about my approach today and happy with the number of markets I entered. Still struggling to really make anything from swing trades.  These are markets where the price moves around a lot (in a trending pattern) - I am too slow for them, when they go they move with enough pace that you have to be in before the move really.  I am sure there are some really good tactics for benefitting from these type of markets but I haven't quite figured it out yet!  I am happy with the last two days trading, didn't let any market go in-play and where I was trading close to the off I had take Betfair's starting price ready.  Normally as soon as I click the button to take the SP it gets matched anyway!

Feb 22, 2010

More snow?!

P&L: £2.62
Average P&L: £0.37

The markets are quiet again as another Monday comes round.  I really can't believe I have been trading for 3 full weeks now. I have definitely learned a lot about how the markets move pre off and even in-play. Friday was an interesting day trading - I had everything under control and foolishly started to think that this was going to be my first full profit week. As soon as that thought hit my head I made about 10 really bad decisions which broke all my rules on the last race of the day and ended not just the day at a loss but the whole week.  With this out of my mind for the beginning of this week I started again and was being steady but not aggressive and this meant my turnover was small but as above I took a profit (although much smaller compared to many).  Today also saw another two courses cancelled due to weather.  Yesterday, everything was off; nada. Although I'm not currently trading on Sundays it does have to be factored into how viable trading is if the weather can cause whole days to be cancelled.

This weekend, one of my mates came up to look through the statistics we've been collecting and see if there are any strategies that can be used and testing a few ideas I've had. Also, whilst I've been trading I have often thought - how likely is it that x does y.  These were all things we were able to go through this weekend. In a couple of weeks I might have a bit more news about this and whether we will have additional working strategies on top of trading.  The other project I have been working on is some additional charting - I've read a lot of the blogs and forums about whether these charts will help or hinder and whether there is value in using them. The way I see it is that the more help you can get the better.  I have got a new (rather long) list of items that need to be completed but I can definitely see some use for the charts and they have helped me a lot in terms of swing trading which for me was my weakest area.

Look forward to your comments, commiseration and feedback on charts. Happy trading! :P

Feb 18, 2010

Good trading

P&L £13.55
Average P&L £0.68

A good couple of days trading. Much more disciplined and ready to cut out. I'm also starting to see a few patterns with the swing trades.  It feels like there are a couple of sneaky people inflating the amount of waiting money then pulling it as it begins to get taken.  I say it feels like this because you would need to be pretty quick to pull it off without being a lot down. This said, I am starting to read a few of these and manage to get taken up in profitable positions.  Yesterday was good but not as good as today as I stayed out of a few markets that I could have made more of.  My profit and loss for yesterday was positive £3.  If I can keep this up to the end of the week I will be very happy with my progress. The losses I took today were well managed, and I think I could have even made them back if I had really tried but I was content to take the small losses as and when they came.

Favourite named horse of the day: Shakalakaboomboom

P&L £9.60
Average P&L £1.20

Didn't get involved with too many markets today. Not through lack of trying, Folkestone was off due to more snow and then a calamity at Newcastle racecourse saw half the field go the wrong way.  Timmy Murphy was also rushed to hospital - hope he recovers quickly. 

An early loss meant I was trying to get back to level terms for a few markets but managed to end on a respectable £9.60.  Just need to keep these days being consistent so that I can up my stakes into March.  Bigger news is that Adam Heathcote has returned from his holidays, so I'm sure we will sense his presence in the markets again!

Feb 15, 2010

What is this trading?

I wanted to go over what it is I am actually doing with regards to trading.  I am getting quite a few emails and comments requesting a bit more about why this is any different from putting a bet on and what I actually do!  I will also cover the concept of greening up towards the end of the post.

To put this into some kind of context, you have to first think of a sports market - I am learning on horse racing due to the frequency of each race and the amount of volume that goes through these markets they make very good markets to trade.  The objective of trading is to get into a position (preferably pre-race) where no matter which selection or runner wins you always make money.  This can be achieved a number of ways but the most common is to make sure that before the off every runner has a positive amount against them.  The slightly unusual thing about traders is that we back and lay the same selection in a market.
The price or the current odds available for these selections are all represented in decimal odds.  2 is evens or an implied probability of 50%. In this first picture we can see that I have placed a lay bet into the market on the favourite Galoshes at odds of 3.9 for a stake of £2.  When you lay a price on an exchange you are offering up risk to the market.  By laying £2 at odds of 3.9, I am saying that I will pay 2.9 times my stake of £2 or £5.80 if this selection does actually go on to win but if it loses I will gain £2.

So far, a conventional lay bet has been placed - the slight difference here is that I have offered risk up to the market add have stated that I believe the favourite will lose rather than win.  This is the difference between a back bet and a lay bet.  To complete the trade however, I could tell that the price on the favourite was drifting (going out, getting larger) and now I place a back bet of £2 at the new price (odds) of 3.95.  So my bet in full is as follows:
Lay @ 3.9 = £5.80 liability or £2 gain 
Back @ 3.95 = £2 liability or £5.90 gain
If we study these figures we can see what we have managed to achieve here. If the back loses we win £2 on the lay but lose £2 on the back so we end up with no gain or loss overall. If we look at the other outcome though we can see that if the back wins then we gain £5.90 and lose £5.80 on the lay so are up a marvellous 10 pence.  In other words, if the favourite goes on to win then we make a small amount of money but if another selection were to win then we would be quits.

The final step in trading which again makes it different to placing a bet down the bookmakers is the ability to "green up", "greening" or "greening up".  This phrase comes from the software I use called Bet Angel, and was  first coined by the designer of the software for making the whole event green.  The concept behind this is that after you have made money on the one selection as we have above, we then want to make it so that every selection in the market is green. This in turn would mean that whoever wins the race would essentially add to my profit for the day and I am not reliant on just the favourite winning.  The process of "greening up" is essentially hedging any profit (or loss) at the current price to spread it over all the selections in the market. This does mean that the amount you make will be a fraction of what was made on the one selection but means  that from a profit perspective it doesn't matter who winds from this point onwards.  This ability to win money on an event regardless of who wins is obviously somewhat of a plus point - especially with the little downside risk that this presents.  You can see in the image above I have greened up my 10 pence profit to between 1 - 3 pence on all selections.  

Once greening up has been performed, I can then move onto the next race on the card and do the same thing again.  All of this happening pre-race when the prices are more stable than in play.  The trick to trading is to be able to read how the market reacts to the current price and volume rather than necessarily who will win the race.

Today's trading was good - I will try and provide a graph of weekly profit and loss in the near future and when I have more than 2 points to plot!  I made above my target of £15 and recorded a very happy £20.09.  I still felt I could've been in more markets than I was and predicted a couple of swings that I stayed out of today. I am still trying to get a feel of how to get into the swing (excuse the pun) as I do often notice them before they start but getting money taken up is difficult.

Feb 13, 2010

Love Run

Today was a chance to put some of the morning runs in to action.  The run was at Gosforth racecourse (no meetings there today!) and was in aid of Action Duchenne if you would like to make a donation.  Action Duchenne raises money and awareness for Duchenne, a muscle deteriorating disease, currently with no cure.  The heart being a muscle, the run was chosen to coincide with Valentines day - hence love run.  The run was a 10k around the golf course and due to the morning rain it was very muddy! I was looking for any time below an hour and I would be happy.  Matthew on the left was looking to beat his time of 53mins that he achieved last time round a 10k.  I managed a respectable 54 mins and Matthew takes home the honours with a 52 min run.

Whilst I was running at Newcastle racecourse the action was happening at Newbury with Denman the hot (1.16) favourite - AP McCoy riding. The other P Nicholls horse was Tricky Trickster ridden by Ruby Walsh.  I had greened up a whopping 85 pence before the race and watched the pictures on television. Denman looked great the first lap but caught a fence on the second and McCoy managed somehow to stay on, only to jump far too early on the next fence and get totally dismounted. The horse looked fine but this must surely dent the Denmania that has been going around. Incidentally, Tricky Trickster just nodded the lead for a photo finish. Exciting stuff, bring on the Cheltenham festival.

Feb 11, 2010

Chilly Thursday

Taunton cancelled due to frost late on today - a few doubts as to whether Huntingdon would race and came through on the 3rd inspection.  With just the two cards, and having to cope with a manic every 5 minutes earlier in the week, today seemed rather slow. I found it really difficult to maintain concentration throughout the day and need to come up with a way to refocus when I spot myself losing focus.  Despite this I had a good day and managed to get involved with a few races I could understand the price movements in.

Feb 10, 2010

Happy Carlisle

Receiving text messages last night I heard that Carlisle had made it through to the final of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy and will now face Southampton for the final after beating Leeds in penalties.  A couple of very happy friends indeed! :) The slight twist of today's trading was that Carlisle was the only cancelled racecard due to failing its inspection this morning.

I haven't given much background to what it is I am actually doing at the moment unless you already understand quite a bit of trading - I did make a post way back when I first set up the blog as to what trading is all about - Introduction which you can read to find out more on this.  I will be posting more with some pictures to give a better understanding and how the management of risk is far greater trading, opposed to leaving bets open and "gambling" in the true form of the word.

My run this morning was particularly good as I managed to get a couple of minutes closer to the old times I used to manage! This did have the rather annoying downside of making me feel particularly poor for the rest of the day.  Despite this I had another positive day where I was trying out a few different strategies in the market. Although what I tried today won't work in the long run, it did give me some fairly profitable trades today.

Some fascinating races today. One thing I was trying harder to do today was when spotting an entry, taking it. Then make the most of it.  I was also being very careful to cut losses as soon as the entry didn't look to be as good as it initially did.  The first 9 races, I could see this paying off until I left an open order in and it catching me out as it went in play.  I refocused and made half of it back again over the remaining races until I did the same thing again and after spotting it was in play still didn't close it out - I need to make up something really unpleasant to do to stop me doing this.  I managed to turn it around in the last few races and end the day positive £14.76.  I can't call this a win though as the mistakes were just too high.

One of the interesting things today saw a 1000-1 in running actually go on to win the race.

The horse was Open Day and you can see that £11 was matched in play - this means that some poor soul will be £5.5k down!  The rider was obviously A.P. McCoy but he really wasn't even in the shot with 2 to go.

Feb 8, 2010

Super Super Bowl 2010

Anyone manage to stay awake to 4am last night (this morning?) I watched the first half but needed to sleep too much. At the time of leaving the Indianapolis Colts were leading 10 - 6 New Orleans Saints.  I was pretty sure the Colts had the game all wrapped up, they were playing fantastically well and the offense on both sides was great to watch; one of which was nearly the full length of the field.  So you can imagine my surprise when clocking in this morning and seeing that the Saints had won 31 - 17!

Trading today was good - felt under control and I patiently chose which races I wanted to get involved with and which ones I didn't understand. I made good notes to how the prices moved even if I wasn't getting involved and  was surprised how stable the prices are.  I think there is a bit of fear into the unknown and expect the prices to suddenly shoot out; this didn't happen - nearly always when the price did make significant moves today the market corrected and could be traded back for the same value a little while later.

If anything I was too conservative today, this showed in my turnover of a quite reduced £1,164.  But being selective did mean I had a 100% strike rate and a fairly respective 0.71% return on turnover.

Profit of £8.27 for today.

Feb 6, 2010

Eagles take flight

A perk of trading is the extra time available to go and watch events.  The basketball last night between Newcastle Eagles and London Capital was our evening entertainment.  With London Capital being bottom of the league this in itself would present some good trading opportunities. Being at the match, it was one to enjoy rather than trade!  Only watching basketball on television previously meant I was pretty excited to view it live.  It really was fast paced and the scoring manic.  It felt a little like the trading today with the many markets due to the extra race cards.  The races were going off every 5 minutes, which meant you really had to pick which ones to actively trade so that you have enough information about the market but in long enough to make a trade.  Eked out another positive profit today - hopefully on the right track.

Final score: Newcastle Eagles 112 - 66 London Capital

Is the morning ritual of connecting to Timeform radio - I'm not too sure they mean to play this as live audio "Connecting, Searching, Framed..." but it does announce to me that there are 7 minutes to the first race of the card!

Today I was going to make my decisions based primarily off the Weight of Money (WoM). The graphing you get with Betfair will show you the price that has been already matched at, the idea of WoM is that it shows you what is waiting to be matched.  If there is equal money on both the back and lay side then the WoM would be at 50% suggesting that the price has temporarily stabilised. For this indicator to be of benefit you have to be watching it when there is a decent amount of money being matched as well as sufficient volume already gone through the market to make it less jumpy.

Just going back through today's races the ones I had marked down as being potential scalpers ended up being pretty firm swing trades.  Today was definitely for the swing trader but the ones that I had marked as scalping did often return to their previous price.  The swing trader would've been able to make a fair bit out of today whereas I took the small, quick scalps where I saw an opportunity.

Todays performance was ok - I ended up positive overall.  The first couple of races on the card were promising although I did take a small loss on these I could see that a couple of big moves happened and for once I wasn't on the wrong side of them but I was just watching!  The rest of the day felt good overall as well, I saw plenty of opportunities but was not use to this indicator as to when it was worth acting on it. Towards the end of the day I was understanding the movements much better and would like to do another day just with this to try a few more little subtleties out.

Looking at my statistics for the day, my turnover had fallen to £2,366 and a pretty poor strike rate of 53%.  I think with a bit more confidence on this indicator I would enter a bit more often and be ready to cut the loss early as there do seem to be a lot of frequent false moves.  Overall a positive day in terms of profit and experience (I know my heart rate didn't take off as it has in the past!)

I will try and introduce a few topics about the background of trading in between my daily logs.  I will do this either weekly or bi-weekly to give a little further understanding into what I am doing, how I am doing it and whether there are any better ways to approach things.

On a slightly different topic, I do try and go for a run first thing before trading, and I wasn't quite feeling up to par - throughout the day I did feel shortness of breath and I now have quite a bad headache.  This is mainly for me to remember what I was feeling on each day as I realise this is a little boring to read!

On a leaving note - What is a bumper?  
 I've heard the term previously many times but was always far too busy to look it up.  This is basically a National Hunt flat race that novice jockeys would learn their trade on.  The name apparently coming from how they bump up and down in the saddle rather than looking smooth and staying solid. Even the bumpers you will seasoned pros in now though but the name is still around!

Feb 4, 2010

First Thursday

With the news of Portsmouth getting a new owner again this season I was feeling ready for a positive day.  Just on a side note Ferrari are looking pretty keen this year in training (I wanted to include a picture here of their car but couldn't afford it - or the car!) Look at Getty images for some rather good looking cars being tested.

The day was pretty good, taking little but often from a lot of the markets and handled the swing trades a little better - nothing to write home about and can/should be doing so.  Any tips on this would be greatly appreciated!
I left a position open on the Southwell 1630 which cost me £20 which rather spoilt the day. Followed with another loss then ended on a profit.  Much lower strike rate 68.75%, 10% of which could easily have been avoided, resetting my thoughts after the first mistake would have saved the day.  Strategy wise, much better - played to my strengths and didn't take any chances that weren't well covered.

I couldn't believe my ears, Newcastle off for frost! Then seconds later Leicester followed suit too.  Down to cards on the day.  It did however leave some great opportunities at Lingfield all weather and Exeter too towards the end of the card.  Exeter from all accounts was a slog, with the ground ripping up after the first race and some tactical in play running meant some surprising results.

Today showed some steady scalping (more scalp opportunities than swing trading) which suits me a lot better and I finished the day with a 100% strike rate.  There was a race today that should've been a swing trade the 1340 at Lingfield - had a favourite priced at 1.8 called Arrys Orse who belongs to Harry Redknapp; fortunately enough for him it went on to win quite comfortable.  I had already decided not to trade this chap and was quite glad since there weren't any real trends emerging before the off.

Righted a lot of the wrongs from yesterday's trading. With the prices being a lot higher than yesterdays it meant that although I was getting a lot matched (more than yesterday) my turnover through the markets was nearly a grand less.  Today it worked out that I am using an average stake of £22 and yesterday £39 - so the difference in markets does show.

More of the same for tomorrow please!  Thanks to all those who have either left comments or sent me an email -  I do try and respond when not cramming for the next lot of trades!

Feb 2, 2010

Day 2

Racing at both Southwell all weather and Taunton today.  An extra 6 markets from yesterday.  The problem with the additional markets meant I was feeling a bit rushed - didn't need to be as there was plenty of time and it takes a while before the volume from the previous market comes into the next before trading can really start.

The first couple of markets were OK. Southwell 1400 I got completely wrong and should've closed out for a small loss but left in play.  This threw me entirely and I had to take a break to regain composure.  When coming back to it I had only missed the one market and had a good steady block of markets all the way to the last two. For reasons not known to me I took a punt at, the first didn't come in then the second did except I traded this one out!

Strike rate today was 61.54 - I accredit this to there being mainly swing markets today. This really is my weakness and I need to figure out how to play these a lot better. The scalping markets of today were all pretty good and I did well in.

Tomorrow is another day with a lot of markets on the card (even at Newcastle!) so will need to pick the best ones to get involved with.

Note to self: Don't punt. Don't let the market go in play. No excuse.

Feb 1, 2010

Start Trading

National E.T. day today!  Well it sure might explain the weird goings on from Betfair (Their API is really not very stable) Fortunately I am using Bet Angel which allows me to connect via the website as well as the API when it is there.

Today was a pretty quiet day, Kempton being abandoned due to bad weather - also the only meet on today (Wolverhampton with its all weather track) showed poor liquidity at the start of the day due to the connection outages and it generally being a Monday.  Having said that, it was a pretty good day for me, eased in not expecting too much and taking the time to analyse the racecard. The 1550 with Riviera Chic and 1720 were the best picks of an otherwise scalpable day.  My target for the first month is between £5 - £15 a day for consistency (I do realise this isn't a lot of money for those reading from work, but it is the target so that it can be scaled up when the consistency is there.)

P/LAverage P/LReturn of Turnover (%)Strike Rate

Analysing todays results showed some good prospects - with the 1550 the best of the picks. The mistake to work on for tomorrow was greening up twice. This wasn't as silly as it sounds, but when you think you're all done you green up and move onto the next race.  I had accidentally backed a runner when flicking through the Guardian to view the days races, at this point I cleaned this up and greened up. When I then came to actually trade the race I did the same again.  This however didn't green the entire field up but only the second amount of trading which left a small loss on one runner (who then went on to win)  Nothing too much to worry about here and it will go down to experience that I won't let that happen again. :)