Self sabotage 101

Self sabotage 101

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 Any additional winnings will be withdrawn, while I will top up the account if required after any losses.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!

Leaving tomorrow at 9am for Vietnam. I’ll enjoy this holiday with my beautiful girl, eat great food, drink great beer, see great things and meet some great people. When I’m back I will be head down bum up on turning things around. I’m getting closer to getting this all together everyday, either that or I’m massively in denial. I’m sure this post will help all the haters, haha, fuck. It’s not the end of the road, nor the end of the world.

-$1750.06 on the week, account balance +$8176.94

Cheers Luke

Betfair trading profit and loss graph, down swinging.

Such a disappointing mistake towards the end of the week. Have to learn to stop this or the dream will be over before I know it.
Things were going along slowly and nicely this week before I had an absolute blow out. It’s so disappointing that I wasn’t even doing what I wanted to do, I was mug punting. Disappointing.

 

Too much beer make Luke go something, something.

Too much beer make Luke go something, something.

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.

-$1174 on the week, account balance +$9,373.

Cheers Luke

Betfair profit and loss from trading
Far from the best little period I’ve had. A bunch of things have lead to this, putting some of it down to “learning money”, other things I need to get tidied up quickly and be better. Every little bit counts, it’s either +EV or -EV, no in between.

Betfair profit and loss chart tanking a little on me

Betfair Magic Millions at Gold Coast Turf Club
All the bits and pieces from Betfair for our weekend at the Gold Coast Turf Club for Magic Millions. Thanks to Josh, Bella and the team for inviting me and all the work that went in to organising that.
Betfair and Magic Millions horse sales on the Gold Coast
At the Magic Millions sales, the average lot price was $189,000, the biggest sale was $1.1 million the day we were there. The other end of the scale was more to our liking with the cheapest going for $15,000.
The pavilion had a buffet section for Magic Millions race day 2016
The buffet area of the pavilion. The food was pretty outstanding, mind you, wasn’t much eaten by Robbie and myself.
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The Champagne was flowing like water, a lot less nudity than I thought there would be with so many people getting drilled on the bubbly.
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We were seated in this area on the left.
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The girl’s old man is a 25 year Richmond member and would probably do bad things to this man. Had to grab a quick selfie with this legend. I’m reliably informed he’s kicked the most goals at “The G”. Probably the most behinds too.
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Little outdoor area for people to enjoy.
Fashion at Magic Millions day on the Gold Coast
“It’s fashion darling”.
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The viewing area of the mounting yard was first class.
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Pretty sure that cunt of a thing there cost me $600, I layed it, fail!
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Accidental selfie, but things starting to get a little wild from here onwards.
Sliders to finish off the day and help the drunks at Magic Millions on the Gold Coast.
Luckily the “shrewdies” at Gold Coast turf club had sliders to finish off the day and sober up the piss wrecks.

 

Mid range $, top level control.

Mid range $, top level control.

This week I didn’t break any world records financially. What excited me was the position sizes and control. Some of my best weeks of poker were not the massive money weeks, but actually the times when I played my absolute best poker, it’s rewarding to do that, you achieved what you set out to achieve. Not for one minute suggesting my positions were all perfect this week, but I am saying that I didn’t have any mental positions where 20% of my bankroll was at risk, “grinded it out”.

Not much to report really, will keep this pretty short, focusing most of my energy on cricket now, it’s the sport I am most knowledgeable on and that clearly helps with decisions. Mark Iverson (@markyiverson) tweeted to me after last week saying:

It was very thought provoking for me, I wasn’t really aware just how many matches are televised. With that said, many  have shitty starting times for me; 2am etc. Still, it makes you realise you don’t need to take much out of each game to run up a quality return per year. Throw in some other sports and you have a return.

One exciting thing that happened this week, I commenced working with an old friend of mine on building a cricket database. I’ve always described this friend as the smartest guy I know (book smarts that is, the street smarts have come along way, but still some way to go) and I haven’t met anyone that would take that title from him yet. He used to work for me and I’ll never forget in the interview asking him if he knew 3 different coding languages. He cracked up laughing and replied “I’ve been doing those since I was 12”. He was 17 when we hired him and he took our business to another level. It’s exciting to be working with him again and I’m looking forward to journey and what comes of it for us all.

+$840 on the week, account balance +$4844

Cheers Luke

Profit and loss graph from Betfair Trading

Betfair trades in excel spreadsheet
Weekly trades, I supplied the excel spreadsheet this week as I have started to use the bookmakers when they have better prices. That leaves my Betfair book often out of whack. I’ve been able to use this to my advantage quite successfully in recent times by saving money on commission with exchanges. In the India v SA 3rd test I was able to back for a very big amount at $1.07 on India, while laying $1.06 on exchange. This took my green on India to a red and exchanged the winnings to the bookmaker instead. So in short I still picked up my green + 1% and I paid no commission on this one transaction, saved myself around $20, all adds up I guess.
Betfair cricket trading on India v South Africa
Betfair trade on India v South Africa, before a ball was even bowled, beautiful green. I quickly took this green and played with it for the rest of the test match. It’s quite enjoyable to use the won money to trade with, playing from in front is great.

I am not a robot, I’m human.

I am not a robot, I’m human.

Well, I’ll say this much about myself; I’m consistent. In this case, the consistency wasn’t a great thing. Much like every other market I’ve tried (horse racing & tennis) mostly spring to mind I jumped into basketball with no idea what I was doing and started mashing big stake buttons to get myself out of early trouble. I didn’t get out of trouble, quite the opposite actually, it’s fair to say my first few forays into the NBA were bad, like really bad.

In retrospect, I shouldn’t have been anywhere near the ladders on the day I gave up a big bunch of cash. Last week I was shaken quite severely with a private family matter. The matter involved a domestic violence issue, it’s not until you are involved in something like that, that you realise how thin the help on the ground is. The support for woman who have been abused in these situations is not enough, I can only imagine how bad it was 10 or 15 years ago.

I thought I was ok; I didn’t touch my computer the night of or the day after, I knew my head wasn’t right. But after that I thought I would be fine, I’d slept and I felt fine, I wasn’t. My thought processes were clearly irrational, I was trading sports I didn’t know, tennis matches I’ve got no data on, I was not being myself. In some ways, I was almost wanting to feel some success through trading to help me with some of the pain I had been through in the last 48 hours. My emotions got to me big time, this is an instance where I can openly admit that.

I was quickly down $900 to start the week. What a disaster, I was upset with what had happened and on top of that I had dumped $900, almost half of what I had made the week before. All the doubt comes rushing back so quickly; “can I do this”, “am I good enough”, “have I just been lucky”. These are not thoughts I’m unfamiliar with; when I started playing poker I also went through this. That makes it easier to deal with, but they still rattle you to an extent.

STOP, PUT DOWN THE MOUSE, STEP AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER! I did have the presence of mind to stop before too much damage was done, there’s a positive to take from that. I was also able to fight back later in the week to a manageable loss of something just under $600, again, another positive. Moving forward, I do need to be more mindful of how external pressures or personal matters can adversely effect my trading. I’m often told about “becoming a robot”, that’s just not me. For a long time I thought if I couldn’t do this I couldn’t be a successful poker player and in turn a successful trader, but I beg to differ. For me, when I say; “go and get fucked, shit pass” or “for fuck’s sake hit a winner”, I’m not so wildly filled with emotion that I’m throwing things around the room, I’m just releasing my thoughts, it’s mostly word vomit (those who know me, know I can spew some words). Emotion was what I felt when I found out about the abuse, the red I saw, the screaming of “FUCKKK I’m going to kill him”, that was emotion.

This was a tough week; physically, mentally, emotionally, financially. Time will only tell how the personal matter resolves itself, as for the trading, it’s onwards and upwards, international cricket season starts this week here in Australia and I’m really looking forward to that.

-$571 on the week, account balance +$7,001

Cheers Luke

Week 5 or 6 profit graph Betfair Trading

Weekly Profit and Loss Betfair Trading
Think this is week 5 or 6 now of my Betfair Trading experience. Making in roads, learning lots.
NBA betfair trading Utah v Pacers
Think this is week 5 or 6 now of my Betfair Trading experience. Making in roads, learning lots.

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I’m a “LAG” I should be a “TAG”.

I’m a “LAG”  I should be a “TAG”.

“LAG” – Loose Aggressive (poker player definition); maniac players can turn a boring session of poker into a wild roller coaster ride. They are in many cases super aggressive, betting and raising with little concern about what their cards are. They have one of the good attributes of successful poker players, and that is aggression. They’ll win a lot of blinds and antes, steal many pots with nothing, and when they do hit good hands they almost always get paid off in a big way, since nobody believes they ever have a hand. Sounds fun? It is an unprofitable way to play, unfortunately.

“TAG” – Tight Aggressive (poker player definition); a tight aggressive player plays very few hands, relative to how many he is dealt, but when he does play a hand he is very aggressive, betting, raising and check raising. A typical tight aggressive player will only play about 20% of hands that are dealt to him. Tight aggressive players are the sharks in the poker ocean. The vast majority of long term profitable poker players fall under this tight aggressive category. Why is the tight aggressive style a winning style? Poker rewards two things above all else, and that is patience and aggression.

It’s only Thursday and I may not trade again this week. Last night was an absolute disaster, but it goes back a little further than just last night. The last 10 days or so have been really tough; net cords, framed balls floating in, wickets the ball after I red out, breaks of serve at the wrong times, hedging green and costing me money, hedging red and costing me green, it seems like what ever I touch turns to shit. A lot of variance going against me, but there has to be a reason for it, right? The sample is small (10 days) so I’m sure a good portion of it is unavoidable variance, but something is different in the way I’m going about it, there’s a difference from three weeks ago.

The unavoidable shit is getting to me, but fuck, I should be used to events going against me. For almost five months I went through a break even stretch in poker, the shit that was happening in that period was absurd. It wasn’t all the cards; It was a combination of me playing like a drooler, combined with the cards going against me. It’s like this horrible roller coaster that you can’t get off; unlucky outcome, go on tilt, make bad choice, lose money, unlucky outcome, make bad choice, lose money, etc.

I’m the only one that can break the chain, the variance will always be there, in fact, in part it is how money is made in trading and poker alike. No matter how much of a control freak you are, you can never change that, the variance will always be there “doing it’s thing”, “fisting you”. What can be changed is the “go on tilt”, “make bad choice” part, I need to channel my inner “LAG”, I know I can do it because I’m a LAG on the felt.

It was only three weeks ago that I was being much more selective in my entries, so what changed? The biggest change I noticed was in my head, it started after my first decent profit week. The next week I started to become concerned with having another good week to back it up. As a result, I started taking unnecessary risks, second guessing the data I use and it cost me early. I fought back to book a nice win, but these weird seeds were planted in my mind. Being down early in the last two weeks took me away from my standard line of strategy, in short, I went on tilt.

I still wish to recognise that I’m doing a lot right. It isn’t all doom and gloom, I’m still in front, it won’t take me long to turn this around, I just have to get back to what was working. I’ve been able to identify the issues, now it’s important I resolve them.

P.s. obviously I traded again before the week was out. I managed to get myself into a really nice little position with a $225 free bet on one player. I have a general rule that I don’t hedge for less than half of what ever my initial liability was. In this case I needed around $115 (honestly I would have hedged at any 3 figure number) but I only hit $88 at my peak. This is two or three missed hedges now for sizeable amounts. If anyone that reads this has any suggestions on how they tackles this, I know there is not rule book but there must be some thinking around it, any advice is appreciated.

Cheers Luke

Gambling joke
Funny little gambling joke.

Quick update from me this week.

Quick update from me this week.

Just a quick update this week, was a tough week. I ended up with a small profit on the week, which is something to smile about. I started the week out giving up a sizeable loss in NFL market which sucks (just happened again this week also). Starting the week out with a deficit for the first time was a testing time for me.

I had to remove that from my psyche and really focus on making good decisions. Early on in the week I didn’t do that, I let what had happened in the NFL affect my decisions. I kept looking for the “big play” that was going to “get me out of the hole”. I actually gave up 3 $50+ profits that became losses, hoping that they would give me a big win. That hurt me, turning green to red is the worst.

Bunch of bad variance; I certainly had a good chunk of that this week too. It ebbs and flows and it’s important to not lose your head or your cool. It was only 3 or 4 weeks ago that I would have lost my shit and upped the stakes, so I’m proud that I haven’t fallen into that trap this week just gone.

+$110 on the week, account balance $5,762.

Cheers Luke

profit loss chart

betfair profit loss
Picked up around 2% profit from my initial $5,000 starting balance.

Back to back profitable weeks, interesting head space.

Woohoo! Best feeling! I’ve just had my first consistent, back-to-back weeks, of what I would say is ‘considerable profit’ over a ‘decent sample’. I’ve had longer runs of profit in the past, but never with a decent amount of plays like the last two weeks. I’ve also never felt as in control as I have in the last two weeks, feeling good, feeling great!

I have that feeling now that the week is over. During the week though my mind ranged between; this is easy, I’m all over this, to, I really don’t want to fuck this up, booking back to back sizeable profit’s mean’s a lot to me. I’m starting to understand why many talk about the psychology of trading being equally, if not, more important than the other required skills.

“This is easy now, I know it all”. Most people have heard of the term “tilt” when talking about poker. For those that haven’t, it mean’s; playing the game with a suboptimal strategy due to emotional factors. This mostly happens when people are losing money or become impatient. However, people also go on “winners tilt”, which is; when people use a suboptimal strategy due to the emotion created from winning. The card’s are falling their way, they’re bluffing players out of pots, everything they do seems to be working. You’ll often hear people at the table that are having a session like this; say something like; “I’m hitting my flushes today, that’s why I had to call” or “I’m running hot today, I have to call”.

This thinking is totally flawed. The cards have no memory, they don’t know your name let alone whether you’re “running hot”. The chance of hitting a flush draw on the turn or river never changes. It’s the same 13 suited cards in a 52 card deck, every time. So letting your emotions tell you to call because; “I’m running hot”, makes no sense. You’ll begin to take unnecessary risks, which leads to -EV positions. On Tuesday, my first session back on the ladders, this was my mind set. I thought I was God’s gift to trading. DANGER WILL ROBINSON!

Luckily, having experienced this in poker before, I was able to identify the shift in my mindset and reign it in. Then I went to the other end of the spectrum, extreme opposite. I started realising I really wanted to back up last weeks profit with another good week. This made me start to feel a little timid and nervous while I was watching the market, looking for an entry. I started second guessing myself, missing spots I’d usually take and missing winning trades. Again, I identified my mindset in an objective manner and chin checked it, neck up you Parrot!

I came to the conclusion that; although too much of the latter (procrastination, timid, etc.) was obviously harmful to my trading success, I’d rather err on the side of caution and miss some winning plays than be an overconfident fish in the market with “winner’s tilt”.

+$591 on the week, account balance $5,652.

Cheers Luke

Week 2 trading graph for Betfair trading

Week 2 - Tennis trading Betfair
Week 2 of my trading graph. Was great to get back to back decent profits.
Week 2 - NFL trading on Betfair
Week 2 of my trading graph. Was great to get back to back decent profits.
Mattek-Sands Muguruza Betfair Trading
Week 2 of my trading graph. Was great to get back to back decent profits.
Betfair tennis trading
Week 2 of my trading graph. Was great to get back to back decent profits.
Wang v Wozniacki Betfair tennis trading
Week 2 of my trading graph. Was great to get back to back decent profits.
Indianapolis v Houston NFL Betfair trading
Week 2 of my trading graph. Was great to get back to back decent profits.
Bacsinszky v Errani Betfair Tennis Trading
Week 2 of my trading graph. Was great to get back to back decent profits.