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
Mar 31, 2010

Confident Trading

Today was a confident day trading. It didn't feel much different to my other trading days except that I made a decision to enter, if it didn't work cut the loss or scratched for 0. Then re-evaluated and went in again. This definitely seems to be the way to do it. At the moment, I would still say I hold onto a losing position too long and  slightly more annoyingly, cut my profits before they run.  A couple of positions today had a nice move, I only let them run to about half before expecting the trend to turn and getting out. This will come with experience I am sure. My objective at the moment is to cut losses and make a profit on the day.  As I get more familiar with how the market changes, which I feel I am slowly understanding, I will be able to start setting expectations as to how much to make in a day. The idea of the target for the day has been my downfall in the past, as accepting the loss might have made me miss the target and put me into a loss-chasing mind frame.  For now, I would much rather gain confidence in cutting the loss, and quicker as this then presents many more opportunities to get back into the market with more information.

Slightly concerned that I noticed there was a premium charge on my BetFair betting history.  I would have thought that with my P&L being negative overall I wouldn't qualify for this. I will read the rules again and give a clearer indication on whether I am now paying the ghastly PC!

Tonight there are a couple of Champions League games, which I may dabble with although with Arsenal playing you can never really predict the score or how many goals will be scored.  Last nights action with Manchester United, I had been reading how Bayern Munich were going to mark Rooney out of the game. I was laughing at this when he scored, then they had the last laugh when he comes off the pitch injured!

Mar 30, 2010


I came across this article the other day and always get slightly excited about these types of discoveries. Admittedly it hasn't been taken to the logical conclusion just yet but it does start to show different possibilities.

Scientists have created the first device to render an object invisible in three dimensions.
The "cloak", described in the journal Science, hid an object from detection using light of wavelengths close to those that are visible to humans.
Previous devices have been able to hide objects from light travelling in only one direction; viewed from any other angle, the object would remain visible.
This is a very early but significant step towards true invisibility cloaks.
Newcastle racing was cancelled today due to being waterlogged. The lack of racing and the smaller fields running today presents a few challenges to the trader. I had a few trades turn against me but I noticed them quickly and cut the losses.  The end of the day was still positive (just) but my trading was good.  For tomorrow, I could get even more involved in the markets with the confidence to know that I am cutting bad trades.

Mar 29, 2010


This weekend was very enjoyable. We went to Wembley to watch Carlisle play Southampton in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy. It was one of those weekends where, although we did a lot of travelling, everything was perfect. We met up with a lot of our friends we hadn't seen for a while. Had a good trip round London, and had a superb meal.  What more could we want!

Admittedly we were cheering for Carlisle - so the score could've been better!  Wembley looks great, and with the 73,000 spectators there yesterday the sound was brilliant. The acoustics are shocking, but the atmosphere exuberating.  Burger, chips and a soft drink all under £8!

Trading today was good and steady. A couple of races were profitable, a couple I had to cut at a loss and overall a small profit. Fingers crossed the rest of the week will be as successful, if not more.

Mar 26, 2010

Australian Grand Prix

McLaren managed to predict the weather conditions to record the fastest practice sessions. This normally worries me as the fastest in practice tends not to be the winner of the race - Hamilton must still have had his racing shoes on when leaving the track as he managed to get his road car impounded!

Trading today was okay, managed a good P&L but still let a couple of ugly positions run a little too long. I need to figure out a good way of managing multiple trades at once. For example, looking at my What is trading post I go through an example of a single trade. Often though I have many trades waiting to be picked up, and if these go wrong then I need to be more ready to cut the loss.  If too quick though, the trending pattern often returns to the position and any profits can be cut.

Mar 25, 2010

The Mysterious £14K

Quite a solid day trading today. Made sure I was cutting my bad trades early and holding on to profitable ones. I  found some of the markets quite difficult to read today and was expecting a lot more reversals. In fact what tended to happen were huge steamers or drifters. I was left wondering why I wasn't on one of these. By the time the whole ladder had been gone through I always feel that it is a little late to join the party.

There were a few humorous moments (even trading can be fun!) when someone thought it was amusing to put £14K bets into the market.  The strange thing was that it had very little influence on them, despite the fact that it was several factors bigger than anything else available. I just found myself having a chuckle thinking that if that actually got taken up someone would be having a headache.

I've been working on some longer posts, which are nearly written and just need some images which I will be sharing in the next couple of weeks.

Mar 24, 2010

BetFair down...Hint #2

Another good day today trading-wise. However, the day's P&L was down today through no fault of my own. The BetFair API went down. I have been aware they've been having issues and wasn't surprised that it happened but I did think they may have resolved their issues since the last couple of months record is not good for them.

A new trick learned today, have another copy of Bet Angel open in non-API mode (mode 1), make sure auto-refresh is off so not to incur additional charges.  This means that when the API is down you will still be able to close out your position. Too bad for me today but thankfully it was a manageable amount. I will definitely be using this trick going forward!

Mar 23, 2010

From The Mist

Exeter saw the horses start, then disappear, then one would be announced the winner. This was today's amusement due to the heavy mist that was experienced at their race course.

Looking at a new strategy and there may be some promise with this.  BetFair graph reading, entry points are still the same but exit points and especially when to take the exit is my emphasis at the moment. I can get a high percentage of moves correctly in the past but the occasional wrong move would put me disproportionally out for the day (or month!)  Having previously decided what my maximum loss for a single race is I can make sure to cut any losses before they become big. The issue with this is a lot of profit can be cut in choppy, more volatile markets.  Today I made sure I was out of all markets before 10 seconds before the off and had a happy, no heart attack day of trading. Yesterday's trading went well although overall the P&L was -£1. Today was positive and is re-enforcing the new attitude. As I have indicated in previous posts, if I can get the consistency which must be from the discipline then this may have a chance of working. I'm a long way off at the moment, but understanding that is at least a rung on the ladder!

Happy trading! :)

Mar 22, 2010

Useful hint #1

I have now managed to track down what happened on Thursday last week and will be a useful hint for those traders just starting out and something to watch for. One thing in particular to do with trading is making sure that all trading has been finished before going in-play for horseracing. If you have been on Peter Webb's course then you may be aware of a little trick to help with this.  Ideally, if you have pictures you can see when the race is about to start and make sure all trades are exited in sufficient time. If like me, you're still trading without pictures then it is essential to make sure you are out of all trades at 10 seconds before the off on the timer. Actually, very rarely do the races start on time which brings in this ill-discipline of closing out at the correct time.  One tactic to squeeze out some extra seconds would be to select 'Take SP' which if the price hits the requested price then fine, but if it strays and goes in-play then the Betfair starting price of the race will be used instead.

Great I hear...well, it always, always pays to read the rules for whatever market you trade on.  The reason I say this is that if you use this particular tip to help out in tricky situations, then make sure you're using big enough stakes. If you are just short of a back at a certain price you will almost always get this filled at the current SP. However, if you're looking to lay and take SP you must have a liability of over £10. So if you're using small stakes to learn, then £4 at 3.20 odds would only have a liability of £8.80. This would cause the bet to lapse when it goes in-play rather than take the expected SP which could've been odds of 3.8.

This post is from an original article that was published in 'CTCN' by "Anonymous Trader".
I found this article whilst looking over other trading forums and it amused me so wanted to put it up here for feedback from other traders and observers. I quite like the steps and feel a lot of it is true. I would say that I have definitely got to step 14 but feel I am at or around step 24. I really am looking forward to reaching step 38 but at the moment it feels a distant dream!  The difference between success and failure in trading seems to be a really thin line.  Over confidence is as bad as no confidence and fear is terrible for situations that require clear thinking. It is interesting that according to the steps that you have to learn about yourself before you can be successful. Another post I saw is that there are actually only 3 rules to trading, discipline, discipline and lastly discipline.

1. We accumulate information - buying books, going to seminars and researching.

2. We begin to trade with our 'new' knowledge.

3. We consistently 'donate' and then realize we may need more knowledge or information.

4. We accumulate more information.

5. We switch the commodities we are currently following.

6. We go back into the market and trade with our 'updated' knowledge.

7. We get 'beat up' again and begin to lose some of our confidence.

 Fear starts setting in.

8. We start to listen to 'outside news' and to other traders.

9. We go back into the market and continue to 'donate'.

10. We switch commodities again.

11. We search for more information.

12. We go back into the market and start to see a little progress.

13. We get 'over-confident' and the market humbles us.

14. We start to understand that trading successfully is going to take more time and more knowledge than we anticipated.

Most people will give up at this point, as they realize work is involved.

15. We get serious and start concentrating on learning a 'real' methodology.

16. We trade our methodology with some success, but realize that something is missing.

17. We begin to understand the need for having rules to apply our methodology.

18. We take a sabbatical from trading to develop and research our trading rules.

19. We start trading again, this time with rules and find some success, but over all we still hesitate when it comes time to execute.

 20. We add, subtract and modify rules as we see a need to be more proficient with our rules.

21. We feel we are very close to crossing that threshold of successful trading.

22. We start to take responsibility for our trading results as we understand that our success is in us, not the methodology.

23. We continue to trade and become more proficient with our methodology and our rules.

24. As we trade we still have a tendency to violate our rules and our results are still erratic.

25. We know we are close.

26. We go back and research our rules.

27. We build the confidence in our rules and go back into the market and trade.

28. Our trading results are getting better, but we are still hesitating in executing our rules.

29. We now see the importance of following our rules as we see the results of our trades when we don't follow the rules.

30. We begin to see that our lack of success is within us (a lack of discipline in following the rules because of some kind of fear), and we begin to work on knowing ourselves better.

31. We continue to trade and the market teaches us more and more about ourselves.

32. We master our methodology and our trading rules.

33. We begin to consistently make money.

34. We get a little over-confident and the market humbles us.

35. We continue to learn our lessons.

36. We stop thinking and allow our rules to trade for us (trading becomes boring, but successful) and our trading account continues to grow as we increase our contract size.

37. We are making more money than we ever dreamed possible.

38. We go on with our lives and accomplish many of the goals we had always dreamed of.

Mar 19, 2010

Kauto Star vs Denman

With all the Denmania hype and Kauto Star's incredible record, who was going to be this years Cheltenham Gold Cup hero?

Imperial Commander
Okay, I am being slightly harsh and the race was great fun to watch. Kauto Star wasn't jumping well at all and took an ugly fall. Denman looked like he might have got it but ran out of steam at the end.  The amusing thing from a trader's point of view is that of the £10.8 million traded on the race, £7.4 million was matched on Kauto Star alone. This is ludicrously out of proportion.

I've been given a few tips on how to manage my account - this is to hopefully prevent the large losses that I encountered and instead of thinking about how much to make from each race my focus will be more on how little to lose on each race.  Having said this, today I've hit another interesting area of Betfair and their starting price calculations. To make sure I wasn't going in-play I accepted to take the SP on the lay side for £16. I know I did this as it is very clearly in my Bet Angel logs. When trying to find these lay bets though in Betfair they appear under the lapsed bets. The only thing I can think that has happened here is that there wasn't enough back bets to cover my £16. I find this highly unlikely and will continue investigating. In the meantime I'll not be using the take SP button though!

It has been really good fun watching Cheltenham races and seeing how friendly the jockies are to each other even though they're racing against each other. A really nice touch was when AP McCoy handed over his armband to Ruby Walsh when Ruby had just landed another win.

From a trading point of view, I have been doing well but getting frustrated with the smaller stakes. Another day of no in-running trades so I think it is worthwhile forcing and emphasising this habit. I can't see that the trading is really any different from more volatile meets with small stakes, as the way the money is moving around it is a lot easier to get out of difficult positions if only a small amount of money needs to get matched. The experience is fun still and confidence is slowly being rebuilt!

Mar 17, 2010


The festival is in full swing and it is totally awe inspiring seeing how much money is traded on these races. Before it was a good race if £700k is matched by the end of the race. The first race of the festival had £8 million! It is still good to see that the races vary even with the higher levels of liquidity.  Some stuck to their trending patterns and took a while to get matched but you knew the price wasn't going to shoot off.  Others the price fluctuated much quicker but again you knew that the true punting money was making sure the price didn't go too far.  Both of these extremes were much easier to read and I managed to get money through the markets but with reduced stakes whilst I get used to the feel.

I got to the bottom of my difficulties I was having, and in essence I was right with my previous post. The underlying issue, which is obvious when thinking about it, was to have greened up at the current price it would've exceeded my total bank as liability. Therefore, if the runner did manage to get over the line first I wouldn't have had sufficient funds in my account for Betfair to have settled.  To regain some composure and think things through I have reduced my stakes again.  This will give me a solid base to try out differing tactics and really work on closing bad positions and changing between speculative and aggressive styles. Today I used just £2 stakes, right back to basics. I managed to get these through the market more than ever before and had a positive day.  Nothing like the losses I have incurred, but a 2% increase with those stakes.

I was asked the other day whether an increase in stakes would result in bigger P&L. This is a multi answer question, but based on my particular progress to date, is that the bank must be sufficiently large to allow for the bigger stakes.  The positive here, is that I am readdressing the basics to help with an increase in stakes.

Mar 15, 2010

Painful day

This post is difficult to write, whenever I hit a bad day I don't particularly enjoy telling everyone about it.  Especially as the day was shaping quite nicely in time for Cheltenham festival starting tomorrow.  I was taking the day cautiously as previous Mondays haven't been that kind to me and had £10 after the first 5 races. The next two were negative and I made a mistake that I thought I had drilled out of me of keeping a bet over into in-play. This resulted in a £60 negative bank. I made this up over the next 6 races and was actually going to record a £15 day which in hindsight I should've taken. Ever wanting more practice though, I took the next race on and had everything fine until the software wouldn't green up. I crawled through the logs to find out that to have placed the hedge (greening) it would have exceeded my liability that I had set to stop myself getting into expensive positions. This actually backfired - as it part hedged leaving me a negative £360, my biggest single loss!

If this wasn't bad enough, there was only one race left which I traded - and very well, but again when trying to close, couldn't and took another loss. Back to back, worst ever losses - leaving me a pretty depleted bank with one of the biggest festivals of the year tomorrow. Total loss on the day was £703.27, but I can't bring myself to think I traded badly.  I am very concerned about the greening and will be looking to see how I can make sure that particular error on my behalf could've been avoided.  An expensive day, and one that really is making me wonder about the longevity of trading for me.

Best named horse today was: Googoobarabajagal

Mar 12, 2010

Christine Bleakley

I was always rather impressed Christine Bleakley had decided to do the Channel crossing on water skis for Sport Relief, and today came with better weather than yesterday.  Rather amazingly she only fell off 8 times and completed the distance within 100 minutes! A big well done to you!

On the trading front, I took things a lot more cautiously today and had tallied up a steady £16 half way through the day. I got a bit lucky on the last race but I felt it was what I was expecting and it happened in front of my eyes. The day finished on a £60.91 profit which again is higher than I would've really expected. I was on course for a high £30 finish until the last race which is more in the region I was expecting. I will keep being this cautious for Monday's racing and then see what Cheltenham has in store on Tuesday.

Mar 11, 2010


I had a feeling yesterday was a lucky run and after the first couple of races today I was being proved right. I cannot understand how to read these markets they seem to be really erratic. Throughout the day there was overall more drifters than steamers, and when they went they disappeared. I was on the back foot from the off and took me the whole day to make even. I don't like this one bit, as I take far more risks than I should and it doesn't feel as comfortable as some of the earlier weeks felt. Overall I would say this feels like I'm just starting again and my results look similar to that of week 1 and week 2.  I was positive on the day overall but as it was so random and again more luck than any kind of skill I am not going to put the figure up as it would be misleading; it was less than yesterday though!

Tomorrow I am going to play safe and cautiously enter the markets I feel have some structure. This will result in a smaller P&L but at the moment it is capital preservation that is key.

Mar 10, 2010


P&L: £73.54
Average P&L: £5.66

Today still felt a little erratic and I was much more cautious. Overall I would say the markets were more stable than yesterday but there were some I just couldn't read. I am hoping that I will learn over time how to read the majority of markets but at the moment some just stump me.  I am really happy with my £73 today, but I do feel I was lucky a couple of times and the day could've turned out completely differently. At the moment with my slightly raised stakes I would be expecting £30 + or - £20.  So today's result is far above what I would expect. The reason I felt it was lucky was because I was in the middle of a trade and the whole market turned round and left me stranded. I've been in this position many times before and as a trader it is something you get used to (I'm sure at this point I'm meant to say something along the lines that as you get better you learn how not to get into these positions!) however, I still feel like you can end up in these positions no matter how good you are. What I did next was close my position and then start again. At this point I was a long way from making a profit, in reality I was going to take a -£20 after greening. After taking this new point of view I actually ended up with a £20 profit after greening. The reason I felt this was lucky is because in effect, I turned round a loss into a profit. The market could've shot off again and left me in real problems.

At the moment, I am trying to figure out how much is market reading, how much is weight of money indicators, and how much is luck. I often get better results when I leave money on the edge of price ranges in a speculative fashion, but this too has gone against me in the past. Tomorrow will bring some answers as I expect the P&L to return to where I am expecting. However, I'm slightly concerned my raising of stakes may have been premature.

Mar 9, 2010

Tough Tuesday

P&L: £27.40
Average P&L: £1.71

I'm not going to continue with the alliteration in titles! However, today was particularly tough. I found this last Tuesday as well and am hoping it isn't going to be a continuing pattern.  I have stuck with my slightly larger stakes of £2 a tick. When the markets were behaving themselves this felt completely natural to be trading with this size of bank. For the majority of the day the prices went absolutely awol. I have been trying to think what could have caused such massive drifts but they were happening well before horses were on course and even when markets had fairly good liquidity the volatility was extremely high.  This behaviour caught me out on the first race again like yesterday but I managed the position much better being slightly more aware that this could happen and closed out with a -£5.30 loss. The rest of the races I was focussed and ready for any strangeness the markets might have and finished the rest without a loss. This does take my profit and loss for the week into positive which I am very happy with.  Will have to keep the momentum up for the rest of the week.

For the traders out there, if anyone else thought this was particularly volatile today then let me know your thoughts. I always like to try and work out why something is happening in the markets - this gives me a much better idea on how to play them.  I am for the time being going to put it down to just one of those days but will be keeping an eye out for future movements. 

Mar 8, 2010

Dave Gorman

Last night we had the pleasure of attending Dave Gorman's stand up routine at the Theatre Royal in Newcastle. My girlfriend and I have been fans of Dave's for a while.  I first was introduced to him by another Dave in his Astrological experiment. If you get the chance to watch his BBC 2 series it is a definite laugh.  He then wrote a couple of books you may have come across, his first "Are you Dave Gorman?" and then the Googlewhack adventure.  His sense of humour and his friend Danny Wallace are two people I have been itching to see and when they came to Nookassia we jumped at the chance.

He's asked us not to talk too much about the performance so as not to spoil it for others but the basic premise is stand up comedy. I hope this doesn't spoil it for anyone. :) Another interesting thing is that his cardigan was definitely purple - and that looks blue, so either I drank too much or he was standing under a red light?!

From a trading perspective - today I had decided to use slightly larger stakes and my first couple of races saw a few issues with this. I made a couple of losses totalling £117.  I felt a little phased at first but got down to trading like normal but with the larger stakes and it started to feel natural again. I managed to claw back most but not all of the loss leaving me with a negative day of -£26.92.  This is going to sound a little silly, but even though it was a negative day I feel like I learned a lot and am raring for tomorrow to have a chance to take profit.

Mar 5, 2010

Fabulous Friday?

P&L: £23.68
Average P&L: £1.48

Certainly was for me - a very happy P&L for the day and my highest average P&L. All I need to do is keep this level of intensity up for future races. There were a couple of reminders today where I was getting very close to races going in play with one actually going but greening up straight away. When this happens it still manages to give me a mild heart attack which is enough of a reminder for me to keep an eye on the clock for the rest of the day. A few of the races today really benefited from being proactive and having orders lined up ready to be taken when the price looked to be swinging back in again. 

I thought this race really showed how these markets differ from the stock market and have to keep a book. This means that the price of each runner in total can't go to far beyond 100%. In this picture you can see the green and blue doing opposites and the orange and red reflecting their prices.

Don't forget to keep posting your comments, and vote.

Mar 4, 2010

Super Thursday

Yesterday P&L: £10.72
Today P&L: £15.69
Yesterday Average P&L: £0.56
Today Average P&L: £0.92

Today has been nicknamed Super Thursday (not really sure why) but for me it certainly was.  The last two days I have felt much more on the ball and taking ticks when I can. I was happy with yesterdays progress after a hard Tuesday, but then today I really pushed on to make over my target.  An interesting milestone was hit today - with my comparatively small bank of £1000 I have managed to turn this through the market several times and today I have a turnover of over £75,000.  This really does make the saying "Turnover for vanity, profit for sanity" true as my profit overall is still negative!

Please continue to vote for my design on the A new look for a new month posting. Thank you all for your kind comments so far - it really does mean a lot to me. I've been adding the social bookmarking links to the posts so you can tag the posts you enjoy reading. I have been working on a new post which will be discussing ticks in some depth.  I have a few more topics planned that I will discuss, but if you have any particular requests to do with trading then I will take a look at doing these as well.

P&L: £5.04
Average P&L: £0.39

A much harder day today for some reason. The markets were more difficult to read - I am very happy with this P&L though as I found myself in some sticky situations that I took on and managed to save all but one which was a 62 pence lost.  If I hadn't changed direction and saved some of the markets today it would've been a small loss. Slight amend here - due to Prince Charlemagne messing up the start of the last race I didn't make the final 20 pence of the day!

The more astute of you may have noticed that the blog has undergone a rather dramatic face lift. I was getting a bit bored of the blue and green default template and wanted something to better reflect the blog's content.  This was quite a fun exercise and quite a lot of little issues crop up that I hadn't even thought about.  One of the nearly awesome things Blogger allows you to do is host your pictures through Picasa. This is how the images in the blog postings are hosted so that the average user doesn't require additional hosting and an FTP client to just add a picture to their website.  This can be taken quite a bit further as I have done with the blog to also host the top image and smaller images to make the blog look better than just some cobbled together CSS.  The slight downside with this is that Picasa has a limit of 800 pixels for their images to be hot linked to. This meant that I had to be a bit creative with the 1000 pixel banner at the top of the blog! I'm unaware of the bandwidth limits - but I am fairly sure I won't be near them just yet.  However, if you notice the images not showing up please let me know.

Comments, improvements, and any issues are more than welcome.

Do you like the new look and feel of Firedave trading Betfair blog?

Mar 1, 2010

Harry Challenor

P&L: £10.78
Average P&L: £0.67

I was in two minds as to whether to increase stakes this week and decided against it. My reasoning being that I would like to back last weeks performance up with another solid week.  The first race I struggled to read and stayed out of it, from then on things looked good - I could see the trends and dip in and out with a small profit. A good strike rate and a pleasing performance.  My aim this week is to keep hitting the £10 mark and if possible push it towards the £15.  This will really help when it comes to slowly increasing the stakes.

Harry Challenor came in to win on the back of Portrait Royale today when all the favourites fell (nearly taking him too)  I don't think he is a relative but there aren't that many Challeners!