Sunday, 24 February 2008

Final Practice Day - Another Disaster

Firstly, apologies for the length of this post as I’ve a feeling it could be very long but I have a fair amount to write this morning.

As you can tell from the title, yesterday didn’t quite go to plan (again!). I’ll quickly get the loss amount out of the way as it’s a fairly large loss. In total I lost £47 yesterday! I gambled on 31 races (I don’t intend to do this every Sat by the way – just playing around at the moment!), 10 wins, 20 losses and 1 break-even. For my strategy to work, I need to win in around 60% of races although I'm aiming for 70%. Clearly, a 32% win rate is very poor and has to lead to a large loss. The summary:

Over the course of my training on Betfair, I’ve lost around £140. That’s an average of £28 per day of gambling, so it doesn’t make very good reading.

So, what happened yesterday? I think to be able to fully understand the context of this loss, I need to make clear what strategy I actually employed. Clearly, if someone lost this amount from trading, they would have a problem. However, I didn’t actually lose much from trading. I lost all of it from Dutching and from bad lays when I was trying to trade.

Being honest, I got off to such a bad start yesterday, I should have quickly accepted the fact that I was going to have a losing day and then look to minimise the loss as much as possible. Instead, I did try to chase losses slightly to some extent and things didn’t improve too much.

My strategy yesterday involved me Dutching on nearly all of the races with a little bit of trading thrown in. One point I feel I need to make is what I mean by trading. When I refer to trading, I effectively mean gambling on odds movements. Trading is probably a misleading term as I’m not trading in the sense that other’s do (such as Leon). I’m basically placing back and lays into the market and hoping for 1 or 2 point swings. e.g 7 to 5, not 7 to 6.6! Clearly, this increases the risk and returns greatly.

So, I’ll quickly give an overview of how yesterday went…… (I kept detailed notes for my own post-mortem)

(I did an analysis of the 6 races below before racing as I wanted to get off to a good start!)

1.50 New – I decided to dodge The Whisperer. It was being ridden by Rose D who I’m not a huge fan of. Also, it was its first run of the year and I noticed Dobbin had another ride in the race. I Dutched 3 in the race (Alli, Hock and Uno). Loss of £6.57.

2.00 Ling – Clearly a 3 horse race as the betting knew. I didn’t want to Dutch all 3 as too short a price. I decided to take the Hills horse with the best backed horse in the race (whatever it proved to be). Always Bold was well backed so I plumped for that one. Loss of £3.50.

2.05 Kemp – Disaster in the 3rd race of the day. Pigeon Island was easily the most exposed horse in the race. It had the form in the book but surely it would come up against an improver? I laid Pigeon for £2 at 7 (subsequently backed to about 4!). I Dutched 3 in the race and none were in the first 3 in the race! I did manage to reduce the loss by placing a small back on Pigeon in running. Loss of £8.16.

2.15 Chep – A huge gamble on a horse called Krackatara. Didn’t fancy it myself, so Dutched another 3 in the race. Loss of £3.09.

2.35 Ling – Dutched 3 but none in first 3. Loss of £1.80.

2.40 Kemp – How I lost on this race I’ve no idea! I didn’t like Hobbs Hill, so looked for alternatives. Thought Lead On and Pur De Sivola were best bets. I should have just laid Hobbs Hill but no, thought I’d Dutch the other two. Pur De Sivola had Hobbs cooked at the time but fell when Hobbs fell. Left Oslot in the lead and Lead On hampered when Pur fell. Loss of £2.

So, after the first 6 races or so, I had a loss of £25.

I then had lots of small wins and losses (mostly wins tho) before disaster struck again twice in 2 races (although the Newcastle race was well after the Lingfield race)

4.15 Ling – It was 15 minutes to race time. This race only concerned 1 horse, Dansant. Looked a class apart and would probably win. I was shocked when I checked it’s odds on Betfair. Was about 2.9. This was a competitive 12 runner race and I couldn’t believe how short it was. I put a lay in the market for £10 at 2.8. I was happy enough to gamble that it would drift out as it was too short.

Checked odds just before off. Trading at about 2.2! I’d also had a look at the race in depth and decided that Dubai’s Touch was overpriced at about 9. So, put £2 on this and took my medicine on Dansant and placed a win bet at £2.2 for £10. Had a £9 liability on this and £16 profit on Dubai’s Touch. Dansant beats Dubai’s Touch by a head (was value for more). So, a £9 loss.

4.05 New - Not a huge fan of Striking Article as too short a price for what it had done. Sweet on Kalahari King and a few others. Dutched 4 in the race trying to get a £5 profit but somehow, no idea how, managed to miss Riguez Dancer. Was 3rd favourite and all I can think is that I missed it somehow…..

Riguez pips Kalhari King by Neck. Riguez was only 8/1 so it should have been one of my Dutching selections. Loss of £6.07.

At this point, I then decided to stop Dutching and just start backing horses that were value on Betfair (overpriced compared to starting price). I was looking to generate some riskfree bets for £2 stakes. I chose 2 horses in each race and after I’d backed each horse, I’d put a lay in the market. Again, my luck was out and I had 6 £2 losses in 7 races!

I’ve used this strategy a number of times on Betfair and it’s usually fairly easy to generate riskfree bets. In 3 of the races, the horse I’d backed walloped the first the 1st or 2nd fence and was never going to shorten or it started very slowly at Lingfield. The closest I got was in the 4.45 at Lingfield. I had £40 profit on Mr Lambros which was just beaten. At that stage, the £40 would have put me in profit for the day!

Lastly, the day ended with another loss. The biggest of the day! In the 5.05 Newcastle. This was purely down to some research I’d done a few years ago on Bumpers. Basically, horses who win their first bumper are always terrible bets to follow it up next time. Obviously, lots of horses do win their first 2 bumpers but over the course of the season, it will generate a loss to level stakes. I think the main reason is that the horses are always very short to follow up.

I was brought up with the saying “If you’ve missed the wedding, don’t attend the funeral”. This meant that if the horse won its last race at a decent price; don’t back it to follow up at a much lower price. This saying has definitely left its mark on me as I’m always put off horses which have won their last race. Obviously, sometimes I’m wrong but I’m sure it’s a profitable strategy over a sustained period of time.

So, we had a horse in this race which had won its last race, Touch of Irish. It was against a Howard Johnson horse bought after running in an Irish Bumper for a huge amount of money. I put £10 on the second fav and it was well backed just before the off. I didn’t watch the race but the favourite won quite easily. As an aside, I’m sure that there may be something wrong with the Howard Johnson stable at the moment as I’ve noticed a few of their short priced horses have been getting beat too easily for my liking.

Overall, another disaster of a day on Betfair for me. I’m thinking of changing the sub-title of my blog to “the story of a gambler who blew £15k on Betfair in 12 months!”

One thing that struck me today is that I seem to have developed a great knack of having a large risk exposure when I lose and only a small risk exposure when I win! Clearly, if this continues, I’ll go bankrupt quite quickly!

I’m starting to think that Saturday’s may not be my lucky day. I’m hoping that once The Experiment starts, I’ll do better during the week. Time will tell.

Lastly, I’d like to say thanks for all the comments and support. In particular, thanks to Andrew for the advice lately. I’ve been having some email correspondence with Andrew to try to develop my betting strategy and so far, it’s helped get my thinking a bit straighter although today was a large loss, so I’ve got a fair bit to learn.

I’m going to have a week off from The Experiment blog this week as I’ve got to get my continuous assessment coursework finished for my professional qualification by the end of this week. Once I get this out of the way, I’ll be able to concentrate my efforts on trying to make The Experiment work although at the moment, I’m struggling to see where I go from here………….. back to full-time work in a month?


leonthefixer said...

Mate - I can't say I am surprised to see you posting another loss but I am sorry to see it. Yesterday was a crazy day for me, I am just about to start writting it up on my blog. It could have been my best day to date but an error that has occured to me once before cost me big, I should have won a decent amount on it but more on that on my blog later.

All losses should be treated as paying for your education so make sure you learn from them but remember you need to win the money back at some point so don't just for get about them! The most importnat thing is to learn why and how you lost from them.

You say that when you were trading you were looking for one or two point changes in prices, that is basically all I am looking for as well. Discipline is the key to winning in this game and you are going to have to work on it very hard as you don't seem to have too much of it at present.

You changed your stratergy halfway through the day? Not sure why, from what I read it seemed like you had lost a decent amount and now thought I need to win it back so changed your approach for no other reason than to start chasing it, which as you know is the road to ruin. Walking away is often teh better approach and one which I employed yesterday afetr my large loss!

I wish you all the best but I think you have a long long way to go before you should even consider using your first £1k bank. In my opinion you should start with just £100 and build your bank up. That is what I did and at elast then you don't have to pay a loan back!

All the best and I look forward to next Saturday where I hope you have a better day!

The Betfair Loser said...

Strikes me you have hit upon a successful method...for losing!!!

Time to stop experimenting and settle on a winning method...quickly!

As Leon suggested, I would strongly recommend you scale down your simply cannot expect to turn a profit after only a few days dabbling on betfair, it takes months at least before you can have the necessary experience to make money regularly.
Books and advice can only take you so far, you need real, hands on trading experience.

Remember, you are trading against professionals with years of just jump in after a couple of days messing about and hope to make a living at this game strikes me as being more than a little foolhardy, to put it politely!

If you don't approach this with a more sensible bankroll strategy, I fear for you and your £15k.

I sincerely hope you can prove me wrong though!!

Anonymous said...

You may remember I left a message a few days ago. I like many others have found 'tick trading' of the type Leon employs extremely frustrating to the extent I gave it up very quickly as I have to try and enjoy my life! I have found dutching as you describe very enjoyable but loss making!

You are suffering at the moment from swinging between styles/methods. Also you are trying I think too much to base decisions on your own views as to how the runners will perform. We can all give up work now if we know that. Nobody does! I certainly wouldn't recommend this but try a season with Isiris if you want to know how poor the best is!

I am trying to profit by looking at the whole field using predominantly the 'Bookmaking' feature of Bet Angel. I am dispensing with any notion I may have as to who should win and looking at each race as a mathematical situation.(pretentious!)If you haven't already, have a look at the 'bookmaking' feature. I think this is extremely powerful. Take great care with those drifting prices though and make sure you have the race covered. Don't assume you know who will or won't win!

Over recent weeks I have made money on almost all races but am still a novice and suffering a couple of stupid mistakes this weekend know I need a little more practice before dropping you the mail I said I would.

I hope to be in touch in the not too distant future.


Graeme Dand said...

Hi Dave.

Thanks for this. As you are probably aware, I'm still searching a bit for a style of trading/gambling that suits me. I found out quite quickly that trading for 1 or 2 ticks does not suit my style at all, so I quickly gave up on any ideas of doing this.

I'm trying to trade for smallish stakes on horses that look wrongly priced on Betfair but so far, either due to my poor judgement or bad luck, most horses I trade swing violently in price the opposite way!

I currently work in a very mathematical role and I am interested in understanding how the bookmaking function works in Bet Angel but it's difficult to find any decent reading material on the net.

This may be asking a lot but I'd be keen to hear from you with any advice or tips on how I can make this work a bit better for me.

If I had a CV for this, it would say that I have a decent knowledge of form, odds and gambling and have a very mathematical and analytical mind with no experience of Betfair.

I know I have the skill set to make a go at this, I just need to find out how.....

Cassini said...

Hi Graeme, I have left a couple of comments previously urging you to exercise extreme caution. It is clear that you do not yet have a system that is anywhere near ready to 'go live' and once again I would urge you to start off with £100 of your own money and build up from there. Leon also makes this suggestion. Think about it. Does it really make sense to play with someone else's money while you are still consistently losing?

When I first started with my £98.50, I was excited to win a couple of quid. It was entertainment for me, and any winnings were just an added bonus. If you are going into this needing to win, then I fear you are headed for a fall. Scale back your goals, work on finding a system that works for you, and build up from your own small starting bank. You do not need to be borrowing £15k!

Graeme Dand said...

Hi Cassini.

Thanks again for your comments. As I've said previously, I do intend to start on a small scale (£1,000 bank) and try to work my way up.

As I've also said previously, I always expected to lose at the start as I've no knowledge of Betfair and no system. However, I'm slowly learning I hope.

The £15k is basically how much I think I can lose before I need to stop. Clearly, I'm not daft enough to lose £15k I hope. If I do lose heavily at this in the beginning, I will know that I'm not cut out for this and I will stop.

I know people are trying to look out for me but I'm not crazy or foolhardy (although it may seem like I am!). I'm going into this with my eyes wide open and with the support of my partner. I will stop as soon as I think I can't make it work for me.

Another point is that I have a fairly decent job and very good career prospects, so I'm not going to be doing anything that is detrimental to my career. My work has made it clear that I can do this for a period of time with their backing which was also important to me.

Starting with £100 and working my way up doesn't appeal to me. I need to do it with money that means something to me. That's why I've chosen to borrow the £15k.

Looking back, maybe I should have tested out a strategy before I started this blog and made sure I could make a go of it. However, it's too late to go back now and I just need to get on with it.....

Wish me luck!