Monday, 30 June 2008

Statistics are like bikinis......

.....What they reveal is suggestive, what they conceal is vital!

Review of June 2008

As usual, I always like to end each month with a review of how the month went for me. This month, I’m going to share some stats with you as I read an interesting piece on analysing results across at

I wrote on Matt’s blog that I didn’t think it was necessary to analyse my results in the way that Matt describes but I think that has more to do with the sums of money involved. If I was trading the sums that Matt trades, I’d probably want to analyse my results a bit closer!

As I mentioned when I started the blog, I was treating this as a 12 month Experiment and therefore, it was important that I capture some data to enable me to judge how successful I have been (or unsuccessful as may be the case!).

I keep a spreadsheet up to date every week with my daily P&L along with a detail of the number of races I’ve traded, no of wins, losses and break-even races. I also like to track how long I trade although this is a fairly crude measure in whole number of hours. I sometimes trade one race and I always put down 1 hour of trading, so I don’t actually trade for as many hours as I record but I do spend some time reading form, so I’m guessing it all cancels out!

Before I discuss some of the statistics, here is an update of my P&L graph.

I think the defining features of the graph for the last month are the gradient of the slope and the large loss I suffered in the middle of the month. Clearly, if I hadn’t suffered that loss, I would have been looking at breaking through the £1,000 barrier in the month which would have been a great personal achievement.

In addition, the graph appears to be getting steeper and if you look at each month as a separate month, you will see that I have improved each month quite significantly on the previous month.

If I strip out the US Masters win in April (£380) and the large loss in June (£286), my graph would look like this:

When I started the blog, I remember commenting on how I believed my earnings over the 12 months would be exponential in nature! It’s nice to be proved correct…..

OK, as promised above, I said I would share some statistics with you all. I was going to be keeping these statistics until the end of the 12 months before posting them but I’ll give an update now since I am a third of the way through The Experiment.

Here are the statistics I track on a monthly basis:

I don’t intend on talking through every single statistic but a few catch my eye. I always like to track the amount I am earning every hour on Betfair from trading the horse-racing as it’s a good indicator of whether I can possibly do this full-time at some point in the future.

At the moment, I’m earning about £30 an hour from horse-race trading which is quite good. I remember laughing (nearly crying!) in March when I worked out I was earning about £1 an hour from trading and it shows I’ve come a long way in a short space of time.

I think the most interesting statistic by far is the last statistic above. I have consistently won on about 50% of the races I have traded over the 4 months. However, I have managed to reduce the number of races I lose on significantly over the 4 months. This has been the secret to my success and I only have a losing trade once every 6 races now. That makes good reading and offers me plenty of encouragement for the future.

It’s going to be a slow start to the month of July as I am away to Alton Towers with work for a few days and I’m thinking that Saturday may be my first day of trading this month, so I’ll look forward to that!

I haven’t stated a monthly target on the blog before as I didn’t want the added pressure of trying to meet a target. Usually, any profit amount for the month would be my target!

For July, my first target is to break through the £3k profit barrier (I need another £180 profit).

Hopefully, assuming I make this £180 profit target, my next target would be to break the £1,000 profit barrier in the month.

Good luck to everyone for the month ahead and I hope we all have a great month of trading.


Mark Iverson said...

Some great figures there Graeme - well done mate!

Who'd have thougth you'd be earning £30+ an hour for watching horse racing 3 months ago!

May the good form continue.

All the best,


Anonymous said...

Well done mate, 10k by the end of the year must be on,


Graeme Dand said...

Hi Mark.

Thanks for the comment mate. I agree the figures are nice but I still have a fair way to go to get where I want to be.

When I think back to that first month and the fact I traded 133 races in my first month to earn a profit of £34, it makes me smile!

Obviously, I couldn't have learnt the trading game so quickly if I didn't put myself through that torture in the first place, so I can smile now!

I think the £30 an hour thing is quite interesting. I think the next step for me is to increase my workrate on Betfair. I think I have shown that I can earn a decent amount using the size of stakes I'm currently using.

Looking at last month, I didn't even trade that many evenings yet I still produced a very sizeable profit. If I can just get more opportunities to trade, I'll be slightly happier!

I really appreciate you dropping by and posting a comment.


Graeme Dand said...

Hi Nick.

lol @ making £10k!

At the moment, I don't even want to think about next month if I'm honest!

I think I'll probably be unable to keep up my current profit levels once the evening racing stops as 99% of my trading opportunities vanish!

I've decided against buying a season ticket for next season though, so I'll be able to trade Saturday afternoons.

I'm hoping to get the OK from Denise to trade every Saturday and Sunday afternoon once the evening racing stops, so that will give me 2 opportunities a week to trade.

I haven't given a yearly target much thought if I'm being honest but to make £10k in my first 12 months of trading on Betfair would be a dream mate.

I did have a £10k target when I started out but I was trading full-time then! I'll give it some thought and post something up. Let's see how I do in the next few weeks first!

Cheers for the comment.


Anonymous said...

Hi Graeme,

Yeah looks like you might struggle to keep things going once the evening racing finishes, didn't think about that when I mentioned the 10k!

I'm a bit like governments when it comes to targets - I normally set them about where I'd expect to be. Take this year, I've almost made my yearly target in 6 months, so my new target is twice the original, but if I made my original target at the end of the year I'd be gutted even though I'd have been happy with that at the start of year. I just try to keep to my stategy and I make what I make - but it doesn't stop me setting targets! must be some type of psychological reason - life is what you do whilst your making plans.etc. I think where people often fck up doing this is they force their stakes to make a target and wipe out their profits.

I was surprised to see you hadn't read Matt's website at, yours and his are the only two blogs I properly read and left comments. On the analysing results, I've always been a bit anal about keeping records, always been essential for me as I'm very systematic about my betting and it effectively tells me whether to use them and how much to stake, I wonder how much people like you who bet intuitively can gleam as it's hard to catergorise what made you back something. Also if you get a chance read some of the books he mentions on the blog, "Fooled by Randomness" and "The Black Swan" are works of genius on peoples inabilty to understand chance and "Remininces of a Stock Operator" is a classic on trading,

Anyway I've gone on a bit, good luck...Nick

Matt said...

Hey Graeme!

Great post, and thanks for the kind words and link! This is I think why we blog, to spark off discussion among each other, expand on the ideas we come up with and see if we can generally spur each other on.

Great figures and great to see such a smooth looking chart! You mention a large loss in the middle of the month, I say ' what large loss ?!' - If you saw my chart, you wouldn't believe the spikes and dips..

I loved the hourly figure, and perhaps this is something I'm going to have to look into, would be interesting to know anyway.

You chart looks similar to mine when I began 6.5 years ago, it'll go exponential for a while, then level off as you hit your ideal rate / staking for your strategy. I've had several distinct phases to my career where new ideas have been discovered, some of the more recent strategies have allowed me to up stakes significantly and still keep my confidence in what I'm doing when I'm losing. I'm currently reducing stakes for the most part, and reserving the heavy weaponry for when the right opportunity comes along... more like poker.

Great article. I believe Mr. Iverson might be next to do some analysis :)


Graeme Dand said...

Hi Nick.

I think I'm much like you whereby I see targets as something that helps me get to where I'm going more than anything else.

I know there are many people out there who would say that we shouldn't set targets as it will affect our trading etc. but that's all shit! As long as you have your head screwed on, then setting targets make sense.

Without targets, how do you judge how well you are doing and how far you have come?

I'm not sure how but I managed to be on blogspot for 3 months and never come across Matt's blog!

I've now caught up with all his posts and I really enjoy his style of writing. If Matt ever fails as a gambler, he could make it as a writer!

I've been struggling to categorise my trading style until now but I quite like your quote that I "bet intuitively". That just about sums up my style!

I did read a few books on trading about 9 months ago when I was just learning about trading but I'm guessing I'd appreciate them a bit more now. I'll try to catch a read of the books you mention in the near future.



Matt said...

I believe I did once make a post about not setting targets! hehe

I make have to go back, read it and filter the potential bullshit..

I think I reasoned the post from the psychological view that you should never have a need to reach a target, only limit your downside, but not your profits.

I know a few people who have set themselves a target per day, when they haven't reached the target they've changed their approach to get to it!

Clearly this is a case of not having their heads screwed on, but it does open the door to this sort of thinking. I prefer to keep everything relaxed, I have my micro goals and my macro goals, and these are more to do with performance than figures...

Though having done my stats, I'm finding they are very motivational, they are affecting my performance, so I guess it goes back and forth.

I do know that I can trade excellently and lose all day, this is still a great days work for me. I can win and trade like an idiot, and that will mean a good talking to!


Graeme Dand said...


I'm struggling to keep up with your comments mate. I had posted a reply to Nick and mentioned you and then it appeared after a comment from you! Scary…

I agree 100% with the reason why we blog. I've managed to make a virtual friend (Andrew!) who I chat to on MSN and have banter with through emails all the time. I think trading is quite a lonely game at times and it's helped me having someone to bounce ideas off all the time.

I think there are a good few decent blogs around at the moment and I do like to have a daily read to catch up with how everyone is doing. I always like to get involved in a few discussions about topics I may not know much about on other blogs as I’m always keen to learn about trading styles and new types of markets to trade.

lol @ your comment re. targets! I did read that post (and comments somewhere else you made about targets!) and I agreed with it in principle if I'm honest. I think it depends on your state of mind though. My trading is very spurious in nature and not too systematic. Therefore, I like to think that little targets keep me on track at times when I’m swaying off a true line!

I always make sure that my targets are well within sight though and I never look too far in to the future.

When I’m trading, my only target is always to be riskfree at the off when I’m trading a race. Since I’m not that great a trader, I’m always liable to get myself in trouble trading a horse I fancy in a horse race. As my trading has improved, my profits have improved but I still make more money than my trading ability would allow me to at the moment due to the fact I know a little about the horses.

I think the trading strategy I am adopting for the horse-racing is probably quite revolutionary for these markets but I would bet that it is very similar to the strategy that you employ for the tennis games you trade. I would even bet it is the same strategy that other traders adopt on most sports but all I’m doing is applying it to a horse-racing market.

I take a stance about which horse I think will win, I assume that everyone in the world will take the same stance and then I back the horse as if it is the most obvious winner of all time. When the horse drifts, I assume that others haven’t cottoned on to the fact that it is the likely winner and then I just back again and again. If it shortens significantly as I expected, I will lay off for a riskfree bet on it and then leave lays to lay off in running when it runs well.

If at the off the horse hasn’t shortened, I’ll reduce my exposure on it and then leave low lays in running to give me a profit if it runs well.

I summary, I only lose when my horse drifts and then runs badly in the race. But you know what…..

I deserve to lose when I trade a horse I fancy to win and it drifts and then runs badly!

I’ve probably just described my trading style in a comment instead of a post but it’s my blog! lol

Cheers for the comment again mate!


P.S. Oh yeah, I don’t trade any of the first 3 in the betting in races. That’s where the skill factor comes into it! I need to find horses that are likely winners at reasonable prices…….lol

Alistair said...

Hi Graeme, another excellent post mate.

All this talk of 'targets' is interesting. I fall firmly into the camp of setting them. But there's one very important point...

They MUST be realistic targets. If one sets unattainable targets then one is destined to fail.

Keep up the good work.


When I started out at the tail end of February with my £10 bank, I could've set the target of achieving £5K in a year. I didn't, as I had no idea at that stage if it was realistic or even if I'd survive the week!

Setting realistic goals is important in virtually every aspect of our lives. It's what we use to measure success or failure. Trading shouldn't be any different.

It is up to the individual to decide what those goals should be.

I guess the majority of traders will set some financial figure as a target, but it could equally be to learn to trade 3 different sports and so on.

At the end of the day, setting targets is all about a mindset - a bit like maintaining one's discipline. One should employ whatever techniques enables that mindset to flourish.

Alistair said...

Oops, I don't know how my last comment got jumbled up, but I'm sure you understood it. LOL!


Graeme Dand said...

Hi Ali.

This is really strange but I just wrote a comment on your blog 2 minutes ago!

Thanks for the comment. I think the term ‘realistic goals’ is the key. It’s no good having a goal every month you can’t beat as you are likely to try to chase that goal and that’s not a great place to be at.

Like you, when I started out, I had absolutely no idea where I was heading or how well I’d do and after 4 months, I’m doing better than I ever thought I would do if I’m being honest.

I remember righting a post a few months ago saying that if I was applying for a job as a trader, I would walk into it. I had knowledge of betting, odds, percentages, form, sports, graphs, analytical tools, excel, level headedness and basically every tool a trader would need. I was missing 2 key ingredients…..

I had no experience and poor discipline.

I’ve now got 4 months experience behind me and I’m more disciplined now than I have ever been with gambling. Every penny I trade now matters to me and it’s even changed me as a person for the better I guess.

Where will I be in 6 months time, 12 months time or 5 years time? Time will tell…..