Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Squaring The Circle

As I have noted in a few posts, I have had difficulty over the past two months finding a trading style to suit my modest bank. To recap for any new visitors to this blog, I spent 8 months as a full-time gambler/trader between June of last year and March, when against expectation I found work on two fronts, allowing me to gain a self-employed status ( building ) and part-time status (betting).

This is probably an opposite situation to many sports betting traders who are currently practising their craft on Betfair, with a dream of turning their skills into a full-time career.

I had become used to a circa £2000 Betfair bank, which became a £383 bank in early March. So here are a few thoughts after 2 months of ‘small-time’ betting.

The Negatives

i. I have found that a number of the strategies I used with a larger bank simply don’t work at lower levels. For example, I had a successful autumn betting on ‘Under 4.5 goals’ in the European football leagues. The majority of these bets would be somewhere around £210 at 1.13, with the aim of greening up at an appropriate point. I found that my successes came from being patient, often waiting until the latter 15 minutes of the game before greening up, rather than clearing out after every early goal. But I have found it difficult to remain patient for 70-odd minutes for a potential £5 gain, and tend to green up (or red up) at the earliest opportunity so I can re-invest my modest bank.

ii. Tennis trading can be very profitable due the market’s general over-reaction to events during games. A simple early hold of serve for a clear favourite can show enough of a swing to make a worthwhile gain if your stakes are high enough. This is a time consuming way of making pennies with smaller stakes. Most of my tennis bets are now made pre-match, looking to trade out at a suitable point.

iii. Both the above are examples of opportunities lost. There is a tendency to replace these with higher risk bets. I regularly get sucked into small bets with no exit route ( say ‘to win’ on a soccer match with the team 1 goal ahead ) on the basis that the potential loss is modest. But I would have never placed the bet at 10 times the stake.

iv. If I’m to use the small stake betting as a practice ground for ‘proper’ betting, then each bet should stand up to scrutiny, whether it is staked at £30 or £300. I’m just not achieving this consistently.

v. I have become too cautious at times, simply because one bad loss drops my bank to a level which restricts my opportunities further.

The Positives

i. There is obviously a pressure to win when mortgage payment is reliant upon Betfair income, leading to overbetting. I have managed to reduce my quantity of bets per session. I’m sure a mantra of ‘wait for the opportunities to come to you’ will aid my future profitability.

ii. I’ve commented at various times on the subject of targets. I’m happy to say I currently have no target, apart from eventually increasing my bank to £2k. The main obstacle to that aim is a tendency to nick the odd £50 from my B/F account to pay for my weakness for Sausage & Egg McMuffins and Fruit Gums ( not considered in my detailed and tightly controlled monthly expenditure budget ).

iii. I managed to come out of April, a month where I made slightly less than zero, being able to analyse my month’s fortunes calmly and learn lessons, rather than being a wound-up ball of frustration. Definitely progress.

Squaring the circle? Developing a part-time betting technique which will transfer successfully to full-time trading if I’m ever put back in the situation I found myself in last summer. I’ll keep plodding away with this thought in mind.

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