Yewwwwww, turning it around. I knew some things were coming together at the end of my last money update. Still humble, still know there is much more to learn, but things coming together for me which gives you added motivation to press on. Pleasing! Both the footy seasons are back and that means its time to make some money. This period is by far my best financially at the moment so it will be head down bum up with the AFL starting this weekend.
Horse racing mistakes are becoming less and less frequent. It’s down to around one or two bad trades now per day which eat up the fat part of my profit. Once I can eliminate that I will be rolling. About a week ago I started an excel spreadsheet which is manually tracking every trade I make. Not just per market, per individual entry and exit during the race. Its been INCREDIBLE! I will be doing this for all markets I trade from now on, it really allows you to see whats working, but maybe more importantly, whats not working. Its not crazy in depth, but it allows me to extract some very handy shit.
I haven’t had a drink for 31 days, not since returning from Vietnam. Hard to tell if its the placebo effect or not, but I feel a lot better. Better sleep, better head space, better motivation and better focus while trading. I’m not doing it for any particular time frame, just as long as I want to. I probably haven’t done it before this for fear of the social aspect of “having a beer”. I think a lot of people feel that way as they have “shit chat” when they aren’t drinking. For me though, I’m able to interact comfortably and still have fun while being sober. That said I went to a 21st when I was about 7 days in and I wanted to commit a mass murder, was still getting used to it I guess. Some people just annoy the fuck out of you sober or not, think its magnified when you’re sober though. Will keep you updated on the sobriety if anything changes or milestones are achieved.
I missed some great games and the biggest racing day last weekend, so the weekly total could have been a lot better. Instead of trading I went camping at North Stradbroke Island with a few friends. Had a great time, great crew, plenty of laughs and surprisingly, very little boozing. Usually I would say that there would be heaps of grog on a trip like that, but this time around we just did a lot of other shit; rod fishing, spear fishing, cooking, swimming, surfing and playing fetch with everyones favourite dog “Hank”. It was really easy to do on short notice for a few nights, be revisiting the option next summer. I usually bunker down over the football season but considering AFL starts this upcoming week I thought I would go and enjoy the outdoors before working my ass off for the next 6 months.
I think it’s time for a FAQ type post. I’m often telling people what I do, I can tell that for the most part, its hard to grasp verbally. Maybe written with some pretty pictures will help people to get their heads around it. Hopefully I can dispel some some of the common beliefs that just aren’t right along the way too.
Q. What is sports trading?
A. Sports trading is trading the fluctuations in prices before and during the event. Trading the movements of the odds allows you to build whats called “a book” or ledger. Much like a bookmaker builds a book in any of the events they take bets on, sports traders can build their book by backing or laying a particular runner in an event.
Q. What is lay betting?
A. When I “lay a bet”, I’m essentially playing bookmaker. This means someone has a bet with me on a particular runner in an event and if that runner wins, I need to pay out the person the worth of the bet. If the runner loses I keep the amount bet by the person, just like a bookmaker would.
Q. Whats the difference between what you do and a bookmaker?
A. There are subtle differences, but ultimately there are a lot of similarities to what we do. The biggest difference is obviously the volume, solo sports traders like myself have much smaller bankrolls than your big corporate bookies. As such, the size of the bets taken and placed are much smaller. I’m able to dictate from the get go, how much risk I have on any given trade. Like bookmakers though I can adjust that risk before and during the match.
Q. So you’re just gambling for a living?
A. Well, in short, yes. What makes the proposition different from a few mates having a bet on the footy each weekend though is the ability for me to hedge my position during the event. I often have a number of chances to limit my risk while the match is on, or, guarantee profits no matter the outcome of the event. Check out the screen grab from Betfair on a trade done in the 2011 French Open.
Q. Trading the stock market would be less risky, right?
A. This is a massive myth. I’d say they carry equal risk, if you buy shares you are making a bet that the value of those shares will rise in value. No one knows, unless you’re insider trading, that would be like fixing in the sports trading world, but that topic is for another day. I’d go as far to say that any investment is a gamble, some bigger than others, but you think the people who had a total of $140 billion invested in their saving accounts during the great depression saw that investment as a “gamble”? Of course not, it was “as safe as houses”. Speaking of houses, do you think the people that bought “sub-prime” homes in the US before the property bubble bust in the mid 2000’s thought they were gambling? No, it was a sure thing, its property. There are no “sure things” when investing at any level.
Q. How do you know what will happen in an event?
A. I don’t, no one knows, but based on my knowledge of how prices move in the market and what might be “more likely” to happen I can take positions before or during a match. Let me give you an example, lets say you look at the form of a race and see that out of the 8 runners, one of the runners has lead in every one of its previous races, meanwhile, non of the other runners have ever lead. You could make a fair estimation that this runner will lead again and place a back bet on the runner, expecting it to shorten in price the further it goes along in front. At a certain time in the race you can place a lay bet on that horse either removing liability or creating a hedge across all of the runners (like the Nadal example earlier).
Q. Do you use any specific tools to trade with?
A. I use a program called Geeks Toy which is designed for sports trading. There is a number of these about, some good, some not. A bunch of guys I know just use the Betfair interface though and they are very successful traders. So you don’t need expensive kit to start off trading, just a smartphone/ computer, internet and maybe a calculator.
Q. Don’t you wish you had security of knowing what you make every week?
A. I’d be lying if I said there isn’t a part of me that would love that. But at the same time, I don’t see employment or your own business as anything that is 100% fail proof either. In fact, starting a business is a huge gamble in itself. I had coffee with a friend of mine recently that has gone balls out to start his own business, hes liquidated everything and I mean everything, houses, cars, the lot. On top of that hes in debt, this guy will likely make it happen because thats the kind of guy he is, but still, there are risks attached to what hes done, risks that will have serious financial ramifications if for what ever reason it doesn’t go his way. As for employee status, I hate working for someone else, first and foremost, secondly, just because you have a job that doesn’t mean you will have employment with that business forever. You wouldn’t have to travel far to find someone with a horrible story of being made redundant and depending on their age when made redundant, it can be very tough to get back into the work force.
Q. How much can you make sports trading realistically?
I’ve been putting this off because, I thought it was going to take a lot of digging around as I haven’t updated my balance before Vietnam. That and the fact that I knew the financial slide had continued for me overall. Like most things that you procrastinate about, it wasn’t nearly as bad once I got stuck into it. Your head has this amazing way to make a mountain out of a mole hill at times, the sooner you rip and get it done the better.
Anyway, enough bullshit, on to the dollars. As I hinted the new plot on the graph shows a continued decline in profits. This doesn’t bode well for my dreams of sailing on a yacht in the Caribbean, next time Australia play the Windies over there. Although it can’t be seen, things have started to turn around in the last week and a bit. The lowest point my balance got to was about $1,000 less than what you see, a few things have really started to click for me in the racing markets. Yesterday I had my best day there with $350 netted, I won’t be declaring it a winner until I can put a month of consistency together, I have a lot to learn still, I’m doing that, but I’m “quietly confident” that its coming together for me.
Cricket is ramping up with the WT20 competition starting in India a couple of nights ago. I thought I was going to stay up all through the night for the competition, but fuck it, I really don’t enjoy the format enough to put myself through the pain. I will trade the earlier games that start at 7.30pm as they are ideal, but the 12.00am start can do one. Obviously, key matches I will stay up for, but at the moment in the pool stages I couldn’t give a shit.
I just want to make mention of the people that have helped me on this journey. In the past I’ve been focusing a lot of energy on people that are negative towards what I’m doing, trying to change their perception, I couldn’t give a flying fuck any more. The people I want to focus on are the people that have helped and encouraged me. I could do the standard “you know who you are” thing, but instead, going to list a bunch of people and how they’ve helped:
Becca – Hasn’t been easy for her I know, but she always backs me, I love you for that.
Peter Clark – Supported me in a number of ways throughout the years and on this venture hes been no different.
Greg Millar – Backed me 110% when I started playing poker full-time, without his support wouldn’t be doing this now.
Tristan, Robbie & Dave – Great lads, great support, great sounding board when things are tough.
The parents, they never know exactly what I’m doing but they’re never worried, usually more intrigued than anything.
@muller234 – Top bloke, always supported me, there from the start, has similar goals and dreams, great for a laugh. Pretty smart for a Geordie too.
@back2layhorses – Again, there from the start, chasing his dream too, always checks in to see how things are going, top bloke. Who would have thought England had so many champion blokes living there?
@tradermatt106 – There isn’t too many more people that have put time into me in terms of trading cricket. If you’re not following this guy, you should be.
@Relaxer_ – Seriously sharp operator and has put in a bunch of time to me. Listening to my rants and calming me down, thanks for the help legend.
@aussieruled – Not trading on the level of Matt & Relaxer, but certainly the first guy to show me around the markets, also been a great voice of reason over the time.
@DownIsTheNewUp_ – Legend guy, pretty much keeps to himself, but been very influential for me, always very succinct.
@Trooa – Don’t let the class clown act fool you, this guy is sharp. Another real supporter and been a huge help in my journey, cheers JT.
@leantothewind – This guy is a champion too, making his way, similar dreams to mine and he is having a crack. Hoping to be able to nail this caper together.
@Lost_MyProphets – After an honest post of mine, this guy reached out to me and has poured in a bunch of time to help me, super guy, very appreciative.
@CaanBerryTrader – Not as accessible as some others, his content is very good and has been a source to turn to when things haven’t been right.
@Tennisratings – I don’t do a lot of tennis these days, but this guy is a out and out champion, always makes time for you and very supportive, thanks Dan.
@day25 – Steve is a good egg, always makes time for you and has been a supporter of my blog. His blog has always been a place to go bury my head when times are tough.
Bunch of boys from Twitter; Tom, RKM79, Jesse, Lenny, Dan Armo, Charchandrick Bets, Tommy, GreenForm, Oruas, AngryRay, John Millward, Lix, Fenners, Onlyfoolsgamble, Sim, Paul, few others I may have missed. Supporters and good for a laugh.
All readers from Facebook; All the comments of support when I post, does mean a lot and thanks a ton. Special mention to the crew in “Derolicked politics”.
All these people have helped back me and I really appreciate that. It doesn’t go unnoticed and its very humbling to have great support. I must not lose sight of the support, for every hater there is 50 supporters in my life 🙂
I had another blow out. So disappointing, going away on holiday tomorrow and didn’t really need this. Up until then it was a low-key but profitable week; picking up about $600 of profit. I had picked up where I left off on my horse racing edge, working on getting my sample size bigger and things were going along nicely. Yesterday I attempted to trade some Australian races, but the liquidity was so terrible that the markets were far too volatile. I got stuck with one lay, the race jumped before I could hedge, you know what happens, the thing comes from 2nd last to win. Things went downhill from there.
I attempted to mug bet my way out of the hole, but the hole got deeper and deeper. In the end I busted a bank, giving back the money I had won during the week and more. It’s disappointing, these are mistakes I’ve made before and it certainly makes you second guess your ability to progress in this industry. Maybe I’m destined to fail like everyone seemingly expects me to.
I hate to admit that I could be so foolish as to do this, it’s embarrassing really, I was a complete whale punter yesterday, sad shit. It’s so embarrassing that I didn’t want to write this blog post about it. But when I set out to do this, it was going to be “warts and all”, no hiding the truth from people, besides, in the future these are the posts that may help someone on their journey and that’s half the reason I’m doing it.
There were positives to come out of it all. Yesterday was the first proper realisation that this is going to send me back to “the real world” if I don’t plug this leak. With my other blow outs I either blamed the market, the player, team or that fucking horse that came from 2nd last, (jokes, not it’s fault at all, this is on me). I would rationalise it by saying “I could afford to take a bit of an extra risk there”. But this is it, I’m making a stand on this sort of shit. No more, this loss will be a “watershed moment” for me and I will be making some changes to help stop this from happening again.
As I fuck shit up, rules are added to the list. I’ve added a safety net for these sorts of mishaps, I won’t be having any more than $500 in my Betfair account at any one time. Any additional winnings will be withdrawn, while I will top up the account if required after any losses. When I played poker full-time I had a session limit I was prepared to lose. Although in theory I shouldn’t digress from my most effective strategies when winning or losing, the fact is that when I lose a “significant amount”, my head get’s a little fucked up and I’m not thinking with complete clarity. The next rule is pretty simple; don’t, fucking, do that, again!
It can be easy to forget how good I have it sometimes; for the last couple of years I’ve player poker and bet on sport for a living. So many people would kill to do that full-time and sometimes I forget that. The enjoyment can go out of it, tied up in the day to day, play to play stresses, I need to learn to enjoy it more and remember that losses are all a part of it. It doesn’t define me.
That can be easier said than done at times, especially when you have people in your life that are negative towards your career choice. I don’t hold any anger towards those people, I appreciate the concern, but I wish they would trust me a little more. I don’t think I give off the impression of being stupid (majority of the time), so you would think there would be a level of belief in my decision making processes.
“You’re not paying tax so you’re not contributing to society”. Not sure that’s right, paid tons of tax in my life through my businesses, I’m not doing anything illegal, in Australia we aren’t required to pay tax on this revenue. In fact the money is taxed but instead of the punter paying tax on this side the bookmakers pay tax on the money, so the idea that winnings are “untaxed” is actually wrong.
“You’re not a hard worker”. This one annoys me, it’s totally uninformed. People don’t see the countless hours of reading, testing, studying, learning, blog writing that I do to gain better skills. I don’t dig holes for a living so that means I don’t work hard?
“You’re a gambler”.Yes, I am. I always have been. People are so quick to split certain types of risks or gambles from others. Starting a business is a gamble, no guarantee it works out, but no one says “Boo” when it fails like most businesses ultimately do. Probably the funniest example of this double standard is the difference between a day trader that trades the stock market and a day trader that trades sport. So many people see the stock market trader as a “professional”, “a real career”, “a safer option” in the world of trading. What an absolute load of shit; it doesn’t matter what you trade, unless you have insider info, you are GAMBLING. That is by definition; risking money on an outcome that is unknown. You buy a stock with the hope it goes up, it doesn’t always happen so guess what? You just gambled.
“You’re a gambling addict”. Truth is, there was a time in my life where my gambling was out of control. I was living so far beyond my means; it wasn’t good. That time was 10 years ago, I was 18 years old and living cheque to cheque, times have changed and I’m a little older and a lot wiser.
“You’re an idiot”. Usually a comment like this wouldn’t upset me as I’ve been called way worse in my life 🙂 In this case though, the person who made the comment, although uninformed, makes my personal life tougher. It creates friction for me and a bunch of people close to me; that obviously doesn’t help with my overall head space.
I try not to let these things get to me, but they do. When it all comes as regularly as it does you start doubting yourself and your decisions. Not only your career path decisions, but your decisions when trading. I find that I take unneeded risks or over stake in an attempt to have a “big score” and try to stick it up the doubters. I guess it’s ego driven, but I feel like I have to prove myself. Safe to say it never works out well for me aiming for those “big scores”.
The last month has been very challenging, I haven’t made much money at all and I’ve had some personal issues that have surely played a part in that tough run. BBL was as close to Armageddon as it could be. It frustrates me that I can’t seem to make any real headway in that format as yet (that said I know I have big leaks). The added pressure from the constant losses (sometimes 4 figures) in T20 will probably see me take a back seat on it for a while. It’s not that I’ve given up completely, it’s just that I need to read over all my notes and make some adjustments to my strategies. I’m going to focus on what is clearly my best format which is Test and then some more work on ODI, my mistakes are not punished as hard in those formats and it will help me build up some confidence again. “Money lost, nothing lost, confidence lost, everything lost.”
I’m heading off to Vietnam on holiday on the 3rd of Feb. I need this break just to clear my head, read some notes, recalibrate everything and come back fresh and hungry to make some money. I always found my hunger in my businesses went through the roof after a holiday and expect to see a similar result on the trading front. The holiday will be great, but regardless of that I need to be much more grateful for what I have. I have a great life, its not exactly the way other people would live theirs, but that doesn’t make either of our lives wrong, it just makes us different.
Fair to say this hasn’t been my best period. I can’t point to one specific reason for it either, seems like a lot of annoying little things that have added up. I haven’t lost my shit with the staking which is good (on the professional front anyway) and that’s probably the main reason that I’m not further behind. Shit got a little twisted at the Turf Club for Magic Millions day, but that was fun money, hardly anything professional about that punting at all, but I did drop $2,300 drunk laying every favourite I could. When 9 out of 10 of those favourites won, I took the gas. I didn’t include that in my ledger as it has nothing to do with what I’m doing in a professional light, it was for my entertainment (mind you wasn’t much entertaining about dropping $2,300).
I guess the biggest thing that’s hurting me is still the short form of cricket. Sadly even a pitch siding bit of fun at the Gabba last week resulted in a loss on the spreadsheet. Betfair went down for around 45 seconds while I had an open position. I called to close out; but it was too late, Ben “Cuntting” added another point on the list as to why I hate him when he was clean bowled while I was on the blower. FML. That cost me $600, I was able to claw that back to $180 down on the match, but still, even when I’m ahead of everyone in time; things weren’t going my way.
I am working on the shorter form everyday, I watch the market every day, I learn things every day, its really about putting those into practice. I do have a good group of people that are helping me which I’m thankful for. If trading is something you are trying your hand at on your own, in my opinion you’re doing it wrong. A network is super important, bounce different ideas off each other, different entry points, it makes a big difference.
I felt like I made a small break through last night in the Big Bash. After a debrief with one guy who is helping me; we settled on a few key points I really needed to focus on. I’d say these are things I’ve chatted through before, but this time I wasn’t going to rely on my head to remember them all. I created myself a “cheat sheet”, now when I’m trading T20 matches this sits open on my desktop. Last night was the first time I used it and it was the first green book I’ve had this BBL on the ladders, so that’s pleasing. Too small a sample to say I’ve cracked the Da Vinci code, but it’s a start.
Despite the less than favourable time on the punt, I had a fun week last week. Thanks to the team at Betfair VIP Services, myself and a +1 were invited to come along to Magic Millions Day at the Gold Coast Turf Club. I took a mate who dabbles in trading and loves a punt on the nags. Thursday we attended the horse sales themselves, then into Broadbeach for a private function. Saturday it was the big race day in the “Jewel VIP Marquee”. What an event this was, everything was really done superbly. The location at the track was unbelievable and the Gold Coast turned on the weather for it.
I’m leaving for Vietnam at the start of February, so I have 20 days left to turn it around, get back up over the $10k mark and start to surge ahead again. Been a bit stuck of late but at least I feel like I’m making some headway on the trading front, even if the results of late haven’t been there. I read an interesting quote the other day and quite enjoyed it. Don’t know who it’s by and don’t care really; “if you’re sick of starting over again, then stop giving up.” Happy trading and good luck.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all. Hard to believe another year is done and dusted. Sadly it means I’m another step closer to thirty, “you old as shit”. Its late for me to update the week just gone, I had always intended to drop my trading updates back to monthly once I had a decent amount of initial ramblings on the site. What better time to drop it back than the festive season, where; I’ve been full of piss, food and bad manners.
So, wrapping up last week, I got stuck for a small 4 figure sum. In typical fashion I went into “hero mode” with confidence at an all-time high, only to be knocked off my perch very quickly in one foul swoop. Really, I shouldn’t have stepped up the stakes in BBL. Because; I’m fucking shit. Its not my most successful format (yet), I am working hard on improving that. I wasn’t that disappointed with my decision, I think at worst it was a break even play, the real mistake was in the amount of exposure. Slow learner this kid.
I followed standard protocol in the Aussie Test, backing any overs bets I could really. Those side bets allowed me to scrape back about $300 and limit the damage on the week. On one hand; it shits me that I haven’t been able to take full advantage of this BBL season. On the other hand I’m quickly reminded that this trading journey is younger than a girl touched by Rolf Harris. Truth is; this is the first BBL where I’ve watched the markets while the game is on. I can’t be expected to know everything, I need to just grind away, stay in the game, protect my bankroll and in a years time I will be far better equipped to stack some chips.
This week has been a lot better results wise, mostly because I didn’t shit $1,500 down the drain in one trade/ bet. What I’ve always been amazed with in poker and now trading alike is; just how quickly the green adds up. This week so far has been made up mostly of totals bets with a little bit of work on the ladders too. I also finally landed my first top bat bet with the Bet365 promo; my man Michael Klinger, wish he got a chance earlier this summer for Australia, rather than Stan Darsh (Shaun Marsh), but the selectors know best.
Dan Christian and I had some banter on the ‘Twitisphere’ yesterday. If you didn’t see it then click on the link below and have a read. My original tweet was aimed at Feldman after one of the worst bowling efforts in cricket since @leantothewind’s effort for the mighty “Fitzroy C.C” one Saturday. Dan however stepped in for Feldman and each of us fired shots across the bow.