Monday, 19 December 2011

Monthly Targets for 2012

I've put some thought into how much I need to win on a monthly basis in order to reach the £200K target. I've had a look at number of meetings that are due to be held each month and obviously there are far more races scheduled in the months of May - August. My initial thoughts are that I need to gradually build my bank in the first 3 months of the year, aiming for monthly wins of £5K, £7K and £10K respectively. I'll also have to change my PIN number so that my missus doesn't get her hands on any of my hard earned.

There are approximtely 115 meetings in January (update: there were in fact 117 in January) and February (update: there were in fact only 95 in February) , rising to approximately 130 in March (update: there were in fact 133 in March). Obviously the weather will no doubt force the cancellation of a number of these meetings.

My starting bank is £2000 and I aim to increase my stakes and/or aggressiveness as my bank grows, although I'll only need £1100 in my account as a working bank during January.

As the volume of racing picks up (180+ meetings per month in the Summer) I'll be looking to get £14K in April (approx a monkey per day (update: there were in fact 123 meetings in April) and £18k in May (approx £600 per day). For June through to August I'll be looking to get £20k per month (approx £700 per day). For the remainder of the year I'll be looking to get £15k per month.

My initial attempts at Football trading are going OK, but it's still a bit too early to say how much I think that I could win, but I'm pretty confident that at some point I could take at least £500 out of game. We'll have to wait and see ....
I'll stick the obligatory graph up somewhere when I learn how to do it!

Let's get ready to rumble! ... Dave.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Working on my psychology

As mentioned in my previous post I've just started reading 'The Daily Trading Coach' and it's already highlighted some of the areas that I need to address. One suggestion is to compile a concise daily trading journal where you can make a note of what you've done well during the day and also those things that could have been done more effectively. If you then take a look at your journal when it's quiet in the evening and you're having a nice cuppa then it becomes easy to see your strengths and weaknesses. Here's my notes from the last few days trading:

Monday 12/12

  • my first thought when I logged on was 'bollox, just remembered that I lost yesterday'. This immediately put me in a miserable mood and the seeds of doubt with regards to my trading ability started to creep into my head. Now I know from experience that EVERY trader experiences this feeling. The strange thing was that I had actually only lost less than £100 ... yet this triggered these feelings of doom and gloom.
    Resolution: my first task will be to ensure that I am in a nice relaxed, focused and positive state of mind whenever I sit down at my desk to trade. I'll spend some time just relaxing, clearing my mind and maybe listening to some music before I actually focus on my goals and start pressing any buttons.
  • when you're trying to improve something in your life then I suppose it's always best to get advice from people you know who have 'been there, seen it, done it'. Well I just realised that every day I sit in a room full of experienced traders! So over the next few days I'll be probing the finely tuned minds of these boys in order to determine their strengths and weaknesses. One or 2 of them may tell me to 'fuck off' but from the feedback that I get I should be able determine 'what makes a great trader'.
    Task: construct a list of the strengths and weaknesses above. Use this list to determine where I need to focus my efforts in order to improve my own strengths and negate the weaknesses.
  • I had been trading on the greyhounds up until a few months ago. I was using a technique that was making me regular profits on certain tracks and breaking even on most of the others. I used this initially just to turn over more money in order to ease the burden of the dreaded BF poll tax. I've brought this back into action and I'm going to monitor this so see how it goes in December.
    Task: monitor greyhound trading during December and combine this with previous stats to find most profitable tracks. If any tracks provide regular losses then investigate ways of amending my trading technique accordingly to change losses in to profit, i.e if I'm doing something that produces regular losses then reversing my strategy should turn the losses into profit.
  • I've noticed that even when trading the greyhounds and the football I tend to get somewhat caught up in the emotions of it all. Now I'm only really trading for relatively small amounts so I need to stay a bit more relaxed and go with the flow.
    Resolution: focus on staying more relaxed during these events.
  • to make sure that I'm better prepared when the racing starts I need to get my ass out of bed a bit earlier! Over the past few months I've become a bit lazy in terms of how much preparation I'm doing before racing. To be honest it's virtually zero. Therefore I'll be getting into the office a lot earlier so that I can have a good study and prepare myself for the day ahead. Also the greyhounds start at 11:00 so I need to be in to take advantage of some early winnings!
    Resolution: get into the office by 10:30.
  • I'm going to make a big effort on analyzing each days AW cards. I'll be doing this the previous evening from home which will help in my preparation (see above).
    Resolution: have all AW cards analyzed the night before.
  • I'm still a novice to pre-race trading and one of the things that I still haven't worked out is the best time to enter and exit the market. I think that this is one of the key criteria for the pre-race game and hopefully Jack of 'The Sports Trading Journey' will be able to point me in the right direction.
    Task: subscribe to STJ.
  • I wouldn't walk on a tightrope without a safety net so I'm going to plant a few quid in various bookie accounts and Betdaq for when our beloved BF crashes at 15:00 on a Saturday leaving my goolies exposed to the wind.
    Task: put some of the hard earned in Hills and Co.
  • staying calm is probably the biggest factor in being able to trade both happily and successfully. I'll be implementing a few relaxation techniques over the next few days starting with some interesting 'music' from 'Hemi Sync'. I've tried these before and they're perfect for inducing different states of the mind, from calm and relaxed to hyper responsive and on the ball. I'll be plonking the headphones on before and even during trading (who needs commentary?) and I'll let you know if they help.
    Task: fire up the Ipod with the Hemi Sync 'tunes'.
  • one of my major in-running stumbling blocks is the reticence to enter a back bet as my first (and maybe only) trade. Ever since I started playing in-running I've always had a tendency to want to be a layer. I find this especially over the jumps, where I'm literally afraid to back a selection in case it falls! I have been working on this 'phobia' over the last few weeks and happily I'm finding that backing can be as profitable as laying.
    Task: break-down my P&L for December to determine my current ratio of successful backs against lays.
  • on a positive note I did make a good back bet in a jumps race and greened-up nicely using a lay of 1.1. I was well pleased with that and now I feel that I can make similar trades more often.

    Tuesday 13/12
  • I've found that in the past the task of compiling notes for the AW races has been very time consuming. Therefore I'll be using a type of 'code' to highlight the running styles of each horse and I'll be storing these on Gruss notes.
    Task: compile code, which will be along the lines of the codes found on the Timeform in play cards.
  • staying focused for long periods of time can be quite hard and I often find myself getting distracted, usually by Rachel Riley on Countdown. This usually happens when I'm having a good day and perhaps I'm relaxing a bit too much.
    Resolution: now that I've set my goal of £200K I need to make sure that I'm on the ball in order to maximize my profits. If I do want to watch the telly then I should really switch of my screen.
  • I has a few positives to report today. I backed and traded well at the start of the day and some basic form study paid dividends at Southwell. I also think that I judged a race well but didn't enter a trade as I correctly identified a tussle between 2 horses as being too close to call. This also made me think on how I could have profited from this scenario and I'll be setting up some new custom buttons to cater for this when it happens again.

    Wednesday 14/12
  • at the start of the day I was feeling quite nervous. Sitting here now I don't know why. Perhaps it was that I was late into the office so I gave myself not time to prepare.
    Resolution: from tomorrow I'll be in the office at 10:30 and that will give me ample time to get prepared.
  • I had a good early chance at Lingfield and failed to make it pay as I was too slow to react. I can see now that this was probably due to me not be prepared in advance.
    Resolution: as above.
  • as from tomorrow I'll be increasing my stakes. I am currently using £105 per click and I'll double this to £210 for both my back and lay bets. I'll also change my custom columns to give a liability of £210 per click.
    Task: change buttons accordingly. Then sit down, relax, and visualise the extra winnings that will be coming my way.

    Thursday 15/12
  • I got in early today and felt much better prepared.
  • I've changed most of my 'lay' custom columns so that my liability is £210 per click. I've also raised my back and lay buttons to £210 per click in order to increase my winnings.
  • I traded well early and felt confident and in control even though my wins were relatively small. However, as the day progressed I began to feel more and more tired, probably due to the fact that I have a cold. I was sensible and skipped a few races while I relaxed a bit and tried to get myself more focused.

    Friday 16/12

  • I felt a bit pissed-off early doors as my greyhound strategy cost me over £300 in the last 24 hours.   However, this has happened a few times in my last few months on the greyhounds but I've always shown a profit on the greyhounds at the end of each month. The purpose of betting the greyhounds was to turn over more cash so as to offset the premium charge. After careful consideration I think that I'm going to shelve the greyhound strategy in favour of being more aggressive on my horse racing trading. This will also mean that I'll be better prepared before each horse race instead of scrambling about between races placing greyhound bets.
  • during the day I reminded myself to stay relaxed, chilled and positive and reminded myself that it's all about controlling the mood swings. I think that I lost on the day but felt that I traded well and just had one of those days where a few things went against me.

    Saturday 17/12

  • for a while now I've felt that Saturdays promise so much yet often produce not a lot of profit. It's strange because I had a few beers with some of the STJ pre-race traders and they find Saturdays be be one of their best days. Maybe at some point I'll analyze my previous years P&L to see if this is true and maybe find out what days of the week and maybe what tracks are my most profitable.
  • during trading I noticed that I needed a tweak to my custom buttons as once or twice I had nice positions but didn't have the relevant custom button to give myself a bit of a safety net.
  • I had a good lay bet in 1 race and didn't green-up as I felt that the horse was beat. The horse rallied from nowhere and I did my money! However I took the loss very well and it didn't effect my subsequent trading.
  • one thing that often gets me is inadvertently listening to the twat pre-race analysis on the TV, especially Turf TV. They often put ideas in your head just before the race starts and I then find it hard to watch the race unfold in an unbiased manner. I do tend to keep the headphones off until the last moment, but I must try harder!
  • at the end of the day it felt like another disappointing Saturday. I might consider switching to pre-race trading .... I'll have to give this some thought.

    Sunday 18/12

  • I realised that I need to set some monthly targets and calculate these based upon my initial bank amount and the number of race meetings per month.
  • as mentioned above I had a chance to have a few beers with some of the STJ pre-race trader guys and they're a good bunch. We'll stay in touch and it will be interesting to see how we all do in 2012.
  • on the way home I found myself re-tracing my old route home from when I worked in the City. In the last couple of years doing that job I really hated it and couldn't wait to find another way of making a living. My journey home reminded of how fucked-off I used to be and that's made me even more determined to work hard and succeed in 2012.
  • I realised that I'm best suited to a patient and aggressive strategy so I make sure that I put myself in this mindset before I start trading each day.

    Monday 19/12

  • traded well today and felt aggressive yet in control. Did get a bit jittery during 1 or 2 wagers but all-in-all feel like that I'm already making progress.
  • I spent some time trying to determine how much I need to win on a monthly basis and I'll publish this in a separate post.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

The Start

OK, for a start, this is not like any other Betfair or Betdaq challenge that pops up every now and then ... for me this is a MUST DO. I've been trading on Betfair for the past few years and I've recently realised that I'm stuck in a rut and my trading is becoming less and less productive. So I've decided to shake things up a bit and set a few goals ... all leading to the main goal of winning £200K in the next year.

Now, literally as I type this I'm thinking to myself  'there's no way I can come anywhere close to winning that amount' and I did actually change the target to what seemed a more achievable figure of £120K. Well that would have been a pretty negative start! I need at least £200K as I am going to retire from full-time trading and move from the oasis of Newham to somewhere nice on the coast (with or without the missus) and all before I reach the age of 51 (early 2013). Now in today's economic climate no fucker will lend me that sort of cash based on my current Betfair P&L so I'm going to have to earn it all myself.

I do need to get myself prepared both mentally and physically so for ease of reference I'll be starting the ball rolling on January 1st 2012. Just sitting here I've already calculated that I'll need to earn an average of £600 per day and my immediate thought is 'I can't do that'. So obviously one of my main goals to deal with over the next week or 2 is to change my mindset as to what is readily achievable. Horse racing opportunities during January to March are pretty limited due to the actual numbers of UK races that are run as opposed to the height of the summer so I will be making the extra on football and maybe USA racing and the greyhounds. Fortunately I've seen guys able to make this and a lot more, so I know for a fact that it is a realistic target.

So why do I have to blog my exploits? Well one of the main reasons is to help me change what I do on a day-to-day basis. The fear of failure and making myself look a right twat will me make more focused and will force me to implement the changes that I need to make. When I make these changes and they become habits then the trading will become more fun as I'll be a lot more successful. Additionally I've enjoyed reading material by the likes of Koo (fantastic thread on the BF forum which gives a lot of tips, if you read it carefully, on how to make it pay) and Adam Heathcote and to be honest it's going to be a nice ego boost to show people what can be achieved with a bit of hard work. If I can help others along the way then that will be a great bonus and no doubt I will also pick up quite a bit of useful information and feedback that I can use to help me reach the £200K.

So what am I going to be doing over the next few days. Well I have already identified a few key areas that I need to address:

  • the psychology of trading : probably the most important facet of successful trading. Trading can sometimes be the biggest mind-fuck of all time. When things are going well then it's like 'finding money in the street' or 'free money' as 1 or 2 have been heard to shout in the exchange. The world is a great place and you just can't wait to get started the next day as profits are guaranteed. However, just one day of bad results can seem to indicate the end of the world, or even worse the end of in-running!
    I have read somewhere that the main difference between good and great traders is the ability to implement proven winning strategies in a calm and efficient manner independant of the fact that you might have just have done your bollox backing a Nora Looby ridden maiden in the 14:30 at Lingfield. In a nutshell this means being able control your emotions when things don't go to plan, and in particular avoiding the dreaded 'tilt' factor which more often than not causes you to turn a bad day into a horror show. Just think about this: if you have a winning strike rate of 90% then that's pretty good. But out of 100 races you're going to lose, on average, 1 in 10 of those races. You're not always going to win on 9 then lose on 1. You might have a losing streak of say 5 or 6 races. This is the sort of time when you need to trust in your judgement and continue to implement your winning strategy despite the fact that it seems that the world and Tony McCoy are plotting against you!
    I'm currently reading Brett Steenbaragers book 'The Daily Trading Coach' which delves into the psychology of trading and looks at ways in which you can become your own trading coach. I'll let you know if this is a worthwhile buy after I've ploughed through a few chapters and implemented some of the ideas.
  • form study : I currently trade almost entirely in-running. However, at present I don't study any form at all (which may be a surprise to many readers). Up until last week I still thought Jonjo O Neil was a jockey! I have heard good feedback with regards to the Timeform in-play cards (especially for the jumps) so I will be getting a monthly subscription. This will enable me to go into each NH race with a pre-determined plan of action. Unlike a lot of race fans I do like the all-weather and I'll be working hard on studying the running styles of the current crop of regular all-weather horses based upon the speed at which races are run. I'm pretty confident that most of my profit in the January to March period will come from this all-weather study.
  • pre-race trading : I have been experimenting with the pre-race markets over the last few weeks, with varying levels of success, and I'd like to exploit this opportunity to help me towards the £200K. I have spoken briefy in the past to Jack Birkhead of 'The Sports Trading Journey' and I'll be signing up to his 6 month plan. I know that he is very analytical and focused so I'll be taking the opportunity to pick-up on what he has to offer.
  • football trading : I do like football but like Steve McClaren I haven't got a clue about form, teams, formations, etc. However I have been working on a trading method that may allow me to make profits on football trading. This is still work-in-progress so watch this space.
  • Betdaq : I need to get some funds into my Betdaq account. Giving 20% of my winnings each week to Betfair really gets on my tits.

Some words that I have deliberately avoided using :

  • 'hopefully' - if I'm always 'hoping' that something happens then I think that I'll have a long wait before I get to £200K. Therefore I won't be using the word 'hopefully' in this blog (let me know if you spot one!) ... apart from that one just there of course.
  • 'challenge' - this is not a challenge it's a 'MUST DO'. I'm not prepared to fail and the word 'challenge' leaves you open to saying 'well I was really up for the challenge and I gave it my best shot but I failed' ... that's not for me.
Well that's all for now - Dave.