Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tsonga Comeback

What an amazing match yesterday, an incredible comeback from Tsonga which very few people would have predicted - he was playing against possibly the best player ever and Federer has never lost in a Grand Slam after being 2 sets up.

The beauty of trading on Betfair is that you can trade in play so as the match unfolds the odds change so as you can imagine the odds on Federer had shortened from around 1.15 before the match to 1.01 when he was 2 sets to love in the lead. This meant that if you backed Federer with a stake £100 at 1.01 that if he went onto win you would win £1. No sense in that I hear you say, well you'd be amazed at the number of people that will be backing at this price as they see it almost as free money as surely there was no way Federer would lose from 2 - 0 up!

The other great thing about Betfair is you can act as the bookmaker so in effect betting against things happening so if you Layed Federer at this stage with the same stake of £100, you would only actually be risking £1 of your money if Federer went onto win but you would win £100 if Tsonga won.

However, the beauty of trading is that you are not actually betting on the outcome of the event as such, just the movement of the odds. Now in this scenario, the odds could only go one tick lower if Federer won so you would lose £1 if that happened but what would happen if Tsonga made a fight of it and won the third set, well this happened yesterday and you would then have been able to back Federer at 1.06 and green up for a guaranteed profit of £4.80, big deal I hear you say, yes but remember, the maximum you could win by backing at 1.01 was £1 so this is 4.8 times more and this is guaranteed regardless of who goes onto win.

Consider then what happened when Tsonga won the 4th set to tie the score at 2 - 2, by now Federer's price was trading at 1.5 so you could have greened up for a guaranteed profit of £32.70 regardless of who went onto win.

So you can see that most traders that Layed Federer @ 1.01 probably didn't actually think that he would lose and most wouldn't have made 100 times their stake but every one of them would have made a profit and this %profit would have been much larger than any of the backers @1.01 would have made had Federer won.

The key to successful tennis trading is putting yourself in situations where the upside is much larger than your downside and not being too greedy with profits. Yesterday's situation certainly met that criteria.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Trading Tennis Matches with Hot Favourites

When we look at the Men's Quarter Finals today, all 4 matches have the favourite priced at under 1.2 and in the case of Murray as low as 1.11. What is interesting is that the starting odds on 'The Big Four' don't seem to rise at all as the tournament progresses, if they have risen it would only be by a couple of ticks. The player whose price has risen in this round is Nadal but that is mainly due to a slight doubt over his fitness after his ankle problem in the last round.

So are the Big 4 just as likely to win in the Quarter Finals as they are in Round 1? Well I guess you could argue thats what makes them the Top 4 players in the world; they raise their games as tournaments come into the business end but the flip side of that is the players they are playing against must be in great form to get to the quarters so surely they will provide stiffer opposition than their opponents in the early rounds. Its a difficult one though because you will often hear commentators say that if a player like Federer is going to be beaten its more likely to be in the early rounds when potentially he's not quite as focussed.

Another observation is that media frenzy seems to impact prices, the player out of the Big 4 whose price is shortest is Murray. Surely logic says that he shouldn't be priced shorter than Djokovic who has only lost one match this year and is playing a player ranked 158 in the world or indeed shorter than Federer, a serial winner of Wimbledon!

So this is an opportunity for the canny tennis trader and the question people should really be asking themselves is whether Lopez will mount a decent challenge today because if he does then Murray's price will drift giving traders an opportunity to guarantee profits regardless of who wins. We are not suggesting that Murray won't win as we think he will but what are the chances of Lopez taking the first set to a tie break or having a break point in the first set to go a break ahead or indeed winning the first or second set? Is one of these scenarios more likely than a straight sets victory for Murray with no period in the match when Lopez gets on top or even threatens to get on top. We would suggest that given Murray's propensity for drama, this match will have a few twists or turns.

As tennis traders, we are always out before a match finishes and often we are finished trading a match after the first few games. So, whilst its good to have an idea of who will eventually win the match, its also important to think which direction the odds are likely to move during the early part of the match and the downside if it doesn't go as predicted, as this is the period that traders make their money in.

Click here to see how one of our Members following our daily trading advice managed a 17% return in the first 3 games of Kvitova match yesterday, this profit was locked in regardless of the match outcome. 

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sport Markets Are Like A River

Sports markets are like a river. Think of the image that a river conjures up... It's babbling, full of life, volatile. In some areas, it appears to move really fast, and even may have cascading waterfalls. Sometimes a river may seem quiet, but may have a strong undercurrent that can drag you in if you aren't careful. Sports markets remind me of a river, barrelling forward at enormous speed. Just like a river, sport markets babble along, full of life with lots of twist and turns. Just like there are many streams of water in a river, there are lots of trades going on at the same time in the sports markets, in parallel and entwined. At times, it moves at a million miles a second. Some other times, it's seemingly dormant, only to wake up minutes later. They say that you can't enter the same river twice, because it won't be the same river. Sports markets are the same. The fast-moving sports markets don't slow down for anyone, and if you can't keep up, you'll miss it.

Therefore let's quickly deconstruct our sports market river:

Ignore the noise: One would say that sports markets are very noisy, and one would be right in saying that. The true key to results in your sports market trading efforts will be based on your ability to filter out the noise and focus in on the signals. Unfortunately, as sports markets hit the mainstream, the signal to noise ratio will only deteriorate. Don't get me wrong this is not a bad thing because there will be more liquidity in the market, however if you are trying to become a successful trader, you can't simply trade every signal. You need to pick and choose the most meaningful signals to focus on.

Watch for signals: The only way to make sense of the sports market noise, is to "swim in the sports market river" and catch on to meaningful signals, as you would to a life raft.

Here are some types of things you should watch for:
  • Recent trades when deciding if you want to trade in the sports markets, always examine the current market state - what is the ratio of traders who are Backing vs. Laying? Is it behaving as it should? What strategy/strategies am I going to deploy?
  • Market Influence is very tough to measure, however there are various methods we can use such as Betfair charts and looking at the long term trend of a particular sports market. Or use more advanced charting found in good betting exchange software like ISI Trader to look for Support & Resistant levels, real-time action, signals and trends. Using fundamental and technical analysis will help you separate the wheat from the chaff.
  • Follower / followee sometimes trends at their trading ranges are dead giveaways for herd mentality behaviours. Many traders follow the trend at the wrong time, creating a mass following which then leads to a collapse and reversal in the sports market. A significantly higher number of market movements you follow vs. those which follow you can be a possible red flag.
Respond quickly & execute: Depending on the situation, various speeds of response are acceptable - however, the two speeds that exist in sports markets are "real-time" and "fast". Typically, if you don't process the data coming from the sports markets quick enough the opportunity will have gone. If you're scalping, that's especially true, as it feeds on real-time interaction. Once you have identified trades you want to execute, make sure you have a plan. Know your entry and exit points and stick to them.

For more information on Sports Trading visit

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Game of Two Halves

No we are not talking about Football, but Horse Racing Pre-Race the last 10 minutes. It's clear by watching the movement & behaviours of multiple horse racing markets over the last 8 years. The market in the last 10 mins seems to have two very distinct phases each with its own characteristics.

So what does this mean for the sports trader? In essence this means the sports trader has to approach the two halves in totally different ways and consider alternative strategies as well as trading styles because of the differing market dynamics. In other words it is like trading two different Horses races and as such the mindset of the sports trader should view the two phases as two totally different markets.

For instance during the 6 - 10 mins prior to the race starting, the market may be moving in a steady uniformed upwards direction with the sports trader adopting strategies to suit. These could include strategies such as scalping the market, dipping in and out for small tick gains i.e. opening the trades with Lay orders and closing quickly 1 tick later. Alternatively the sports trader could be taking longer positions, swing trading the up trend with pre-determined exit points several ticks from his/her original entry points.

Then all of a sudden at some stage the market decides to change. More often than not this change occurs around the final 5 minute mark, when the market suddenly decides that it wants to behave differently and the sports traders mindest has to change to cope with the new and often different behaviours exhibited by the market. Or PAY THE PRICE!!!!

Is this something that has happened to you?

So why does this happen the simple answer is because you have two different sets of traders or gamblers participating in the market at various stages. In the first part the 6 -10 mins before the start of the race you have the specualtive traders and gamblers looking for what they perceive to be value etc... Or, and this is the KEY traders or gamblers who are not still involved in the previous race. We do not mean traders or gamblers who have traded or gambled in the previous race but ones who are still trading maybe inplay or gamblers who are waiting to see who wins the race before deciding on their next move/bet. Remember some gamblers will be running systems where they need to know what happened in the previous race before they can make a decision on what to do in the next race.

As a result of these different groups you have two very distinct phases (please note there are also other mini phases as well) the 6-10 minute phase and the 0-5 minute phase. In the last phase the 0 - 5 mins as the traders & gamblers finish on the last race and enter the next market, they often change the dynamics of that market, which in turn changes the behaviour. For example markets that where nicely drifting, are now reversing and steaming. Markets that were once stable and predictable become erratic and unstable. There is often a period when the market is simply moving sideways as the battle between the two groups of participants plays out.

In addition there are also other factors that effect the final 5 mins before the off. These are traders with large trading accounts who want to force the market in one direction or the other so they can make a profit before the market closes. Bookies Laying off their liabilities or sports traders exiting positions either manually or via triggered stoplosses and last but not least the last minute gamblers placing their bets before its to late.

Therefore it is wise for the sports trader to view the final 10 minutes of pre-race Horse market as a game of two halves. This means being prepared to change you strategy as the market evolves. Maybe having one strategy in the first phase exiting at the 6 minute mark and waiting for the market to settle before deciding how to trade the next phase.

Overtime as you progress on your sports trading journey, you will notice more and more of these re-occurring patterns and as you do you will be able to evolve your strategies and trading plans to suit. Noticing patterns that happen time and time again will enable you to find your niche or edge and ultimately improve your profitability.

For more information on Sports Trading visit

Friday, June 24, 2011

Top Ten Tips for Trading Tennis

Keeping to this weeks theme Trading Tennis. Tennis is one of the most popular sports to trade because no matter the outcome of the match, if you hold your nerve and keep your discipline you can almost always make a profit. This doesn't mean that you will but if you follow these top tips you will increase your chances.

1. Do your research - you wouldn't buy shares in a company without doing research on that company so don't trade a tennis match without doing your research. If you are using the Back the Server strategy, its important to look at the Service Stats for each player, a strong server will win around 80% of their service games and you can also see what percentage of points each player wins on both their first and second serve. These stats are available at and then you can also look at each player's profile on this site to check all their stats.

Write these stats down and use them to draw up your strategy, if you know for example that a player wins 80% of their first service points and 58% of their second service points then the Back the Server SHOULD work well. This same player may also have fairly weak return stats so you may come to the conclusion that you can adopt the Back the Server strategy on both players.

If a players odds look too high or too low before a game, ask yourself why, if you have good knowledge of the market then there will be a reason why the price is not as you expect. For example, Nadal was playing Tsonga earlier this year and his odds before the match were 1.36 which we thought were very high, it turned out the reason they were high were because he had a fever! You all have access to the Internet, there is no excuse for not doing your homework. Check out sites like the one below:

2. Write down your strategy - We find that if you physically write down what you are going to do it helps because it is visible and keeps you focused during the match. An important part of this strategy is your Exit strategy, know what this is before you ENTER a trade and do not deviate from it.

3. When starting out, only trade on a couple of specific points eg. only back the server at 0 - 0 before a service game starts or Lay the Server at 15 - 40. This can be boring as you may not enter many trades but it is good for discipline and you will learn a lot just by watching how the odds move on each point when you're not actually in a trade. Remember its quality of trades not quantity!

4. Give yourself the best chance of success - use the technology available - use a Trading Tool such as ISI Trader so you can instantly see whats going on in the market. If you can watch the game live on TV then all the better, a live scoreboard is OK but it doesn't give you things like a players facial expressions, or you can't see if a player is struggling physically for example. If you intend to trade tennis then its worth getting the satellite channels, most of the tour events are on ESPN.

For live scoreboards, the best ones are:

Pro Tennis Live, this can be found on the ATP or WTA website under Scores and Stats Tabs or

sometimes there is a lag on these scoreboards but they are usually good enough and when you get used to trading tennis you will know the outcome of a point by looking at the market anyway.

5. Liquidity in the market is Key - do not trade on matches that do not have at least £60k matched on them before the match starts. This is very important as remember you can only Exit a trade if someone is willing to match your trade. If things go against you in a match that has low liquidity you can find yourself unable to exit the trade or having to take a ridiculous price to exit. Remember its better not to trade than to trade the wrong market.

6. Remember to switch ladders - Tennis is a two competitor sport so as one players price increases his opponents will decrease. Always trade on the favourite's ladder at the start but if he is losing and his odds go above 1.9 then look at his opponents ladder as you will find that the majority of traders will always be trading on the players ladder with the lowest odds at that time. Remember to hedge out on one ladder before you move to the other players ladder. Don't worry if you have a red figure on the favourite you can still make this up on the other ladder.

7. Never be afraid to leave a match with a loss - some matches just don't go the way you expect them to - that's sport. Maybe a very strong server just has a nightmare day on serve or maybe the underdog plays the best tennis of his/her life. If you are following a strategy with discipline but the points just keep going against you then sometimes you just have to accept that its not your day. Move onto another match. Its actually incredibly satisfying to leave a match in control with a small loss and then if you continue to trade with the same discipline, you invariably make the losses back and finish the day in profit. Remember minimising your losses is the Key to Successful Trading.

8. Only trade the first set of a match - even for experienced traders I would recommend this for several reasons. If you only trade the first set then you can trade several matches in a 3 hour trading session with fairly low stress levels and still make good profits. Consider this scenario: would you rather trade one match until the end and make £100 or trade 5 matches for the first few games of the match and make £20 per match - same total of £100?

The latter is much lower stress and the more games you trade the more opportunities you have open to you. If you trade 5 matches you may Back the Server on 2 of those matches and have made your profit in the first 6 games if both players hold serve, you may trade 2 matches that are extremely one sided so you Back the player on top and leave the trade open with a Stop Loss that will get you out at your minimal profit level. You can then leave that match and just keep one eye on the scoreboard in case of a dramatic change but even then your Stop Loss would get you out for a profit.

If you trade a match all the way through then not only are you missing out on other opportunities but you are exposing yourself to unnecessary risk as the odds fluctuate much more wildly the closer you are to the end of the match, these odds will fluctuate massively if its a deciding set especially as remember one players odds has to end up at 1 and the other 1000 so imagine a scenario in a deciding set where the score is 4 - 4 and Player A has a break point to go 5 - 4 up, his odds may be trading as low as 1.2 but if Player B saves that break point and goes onto win the game so the score is 4 - 5, Player A's odds may be as high as 2.8, do you really want to expose yourself to that risk? This is too much like gambling.

9. Discipline, discipline, can never say this too many times. If you trade with discipline and follow our strategies you will make profit but 9 times out of 10, when we analyse why traders are losing its because they are not trading with discipline. To help with this use Stop Losses as a matter of course and only trade with small stakes until you feel you can control your discipline. Work on percentages, if you are trading with £10 and you are consistently making £2.50 profit (25%) on each match you trade that is excellent, if you are trading with £1,000 and use the same discipline you will make £250 per match!

10. If you feel your blood pressure rising and you start thinking about doing stupid things like increasing your stake to claw back losses take a deep breath, hedge out and go and take the dog for a walk. This will give you perspective back and when you come back you will trade much better with renewed discipline.

Oh and nearly forgot, get a lock on the door in the room in which you trade! Maybe this is a bit extreme but distractions can be very dangerous so only trade when on your own and when unlikely to be interrupted.

For more Sports Trading Insight, visit

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Trading Break Points

Anyone that trades tennis knows that a break of serve is where the big swings in price occur especially in Mens Tennis as often a set is decided by one break of serve. There are clearly differing views on how to trade break points (which is great otherwise there would be no-one to bet against) so I thought I would give you my perspective on how to trade break points particularly in Mens Grass Court Tennis.

There is a bit of a misperception that getting a break of serve gives you a massive movement in your favour assuming you are betting on the receivers side. The size of the movement actually depends on when you get involved, if you have Layed the Server (or Backed the Receiver) at the start of the game and the receiver goes onto break serve you will get a big movement. However, there is the temptation for some traders to jump on the receivers side when it is too late, the score will be 0 - 30, 15 - 40 or even 0 - 40 and traders jump on the receiver. The problem with this situation is that a large chunk of the movement has already happened and if the server goes onto save the break points or come back to 30 - 30 the movement against you will be roughly the same as the movement you would have got in your favour.

Now if you look at service stats for men, most men (especially the top men) save more break points than they lose. If we look at the men playing in the Singles at Wimbledon this week, only 25% of them have saved 50% or less break points, this obviously means that 75% of them save more than 50% of break points. Not only this but 35% of them save over 70% of break points and the best servers will save an average of 80% of break points.

So according to the stats we are better off backing the server on a break point especially if its one of the top servers (Federer, Lopez, Djokovic) but the movement will be larger for a break point regardless of the outcome of the point and if the break point is in the deciding set, the movement will be massive so these are only for the brave or use small stakes!  

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Rain Interruptions and the Tennis Trading Opportunities they bring

Already at Wimbledon this year, we have seen a few matches that have had to be stopped due to rain or poor light and with the forecast for the next few days, there promises to be a few more. 

So what do these match suspensions mean for traders? Well, its back to that old term - momentum - whichever player has the momentum loses it and the player that is struggling gets an opportunity to regroup, analyse why they are losing and come up with a plan to put it right.

Often when a match restarts, it is a completely different match to the one that was taking place before the stoppage. So the things to look out for when stoppages occur are:

1. What are the prices of the players compared to what they were before the match started? Does this price represent value? 

Example: Djokovic played Del Potro at the French Open and they came off court with the score at 1 set all, Djokovic’s price was 1.15 at the start of the match but 1.25 when the match restarted. This represents value on Djokovic as he is still just as likely to win as he was at the start of the match.

2. Who will go into the break feeling better? This is key because we all know that any situation can be viewed completely differently by different people. If a player was 2 - 0 up and was pegged back to 2 sets all and then they need to go off overnight or for a prolonged rain break, which player is going to be feeling better about the situation?

Example: Andy Murray was 2 sets down against Troicki in the French Open before fighting back to 2 sets all and then they had to leave court and the match restarted the next day. Murray left the court punching the air, whereas Troicki left looking dejected - he probably felt like he had just lost the match. However, the score is 2 - 2 and he still has a great chance of winning, if he had just fought back from 2 - 0 down he would be feeling jubilant but the situation is actually the same - its 2 - 2 and they still had to play a deciding set.

3. If the underdog is leading then a stoppage is the last thing he/she wants as they will lose all their momentum. When it restarts, it will be like a new match so look at the head to head record of the players and if the favourite has a good record against the dog and there is still a long way to go then back the favourite (or Lay the Dog) as this represents a value trade.

4. If the favourite is in the lead and you have been backing him and you are in a situation where you can green up for profit - do so. The match could be completely different when it restarts and apart from anything else, you don’t want your stake tied up when it could be working for you in other matches.

5. Because of point 3 above, the dog’s price will probably drift during the break - this is an opportunity to gain a few ticks before the match restarts.

Finally, lets hope we don’t have to think about these situations too much over the next 2 weeks at Wimbledon, however I have a feeling we will!

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Advantage of Serving

After the first, rain interrupted day, of Wimbledon I have looked at some stats because as a tennis trader all of your trading decisions should be based on statistics. I have studied all 19 of the completed men's matches from yesterday and in particular the service stats as we all know that the server has a massive advantage.

Our findings definitely prove what we already knew, only 19.2% of service games yesterday resulted in breaks of serve so in over 80% of service games the server holds. The match between Fish and Granollers resulted in only one break of serve in 34 service games and in 6 of the 19 matches, the winner's serve was not broken.

It is worth noting that the players whose serve was not broken were Milos Raonic, Mardy Fish, Tomas Berdych, Igor Kunitsyn, Stan Wawrinka and Feliciano Lopez. This augurs well for these players as if their serve is working well then they will prove to be very difficult to beat so as a trader, it would be worth Backing these players on serve in their next matches.

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Wimbledon First Round Shocks

There are always a couple of shocks in the first round and if you can pick them then big profits on offer. Also, often some of the favourites go a set or 2 down before mounting a courageous comeback and winning through - remember Federer was 2 sets down in the first round last year.

Here's our pick of the matches that we think could provide an upset:

Schiavone v Dokic - Schiavone is seeded 6 and Dokic is now ranked only 59 in the world but she has made the last 32 at Wimbledon before and made the final in a Dutch grass court tournament last week. Schiavone has never been at home on grass and was knocked out in the first round last year, she struggles with the big hitters and Dokic is certainly one of them so it will come down to whether Dokic can stop the unforced errors, if she can then she could win this one.

Riske v Zvonareva - Zvonareva is seeded 2 but comes up against the American Riske in the first round who is ranked outside the top 100. On paper, this should be an easy win for Zvonareva but Riske is a decent grass courter with a big serve and she comes into Wimbledon in decent form, she made the quarters at Birmingham and actually gave Hantuchova a decent match despite the straight sets loss. Zvonareva is not aggresive enough on grass and could struggle if Riske is on her game.

Also, look out for any hot favourites that drop the first set and back them when they do as invariably they will come back and level the match.

Good Luck  

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Wimbledon Trading Review

Back Murray to Win!!!

Yes its that time of the year again when the whole nation goes tennis mad, the debri is cleared from the public tennis courts and every man and his dog wants to play. Murray (or his predecessor, Henman) normally gets us all excited and makes it as far as the semis and then gets trounced by a superior opponent and then its all over for another 12 months.

There is no doubt that Wimbledon holds a special place in the British public's hearts and it is still the tournament that most pros would love to win more than any other so what can we expect over the next 2 weeks? Well there is probably only 2 certainties: there will be frequent rain delays and the men's semis will contain at least two of Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray.

I actually think that Wimbledon is Murray's best chance of winning a major as his 1st serve is probably a better weapon than Nadal and Djokovic's and his second serve is vastly improved but this is the stroke that will determine his success or failure. There are loads of players that have an amazing first serve and win the vast majority of points on their first serve - Karlovic, Anderson, Isner - to name a few but the best players differentiate themselves on the percentage of second serve points that they win. Nadal, Federer and Djokovic are incredible in this respect so Murray will need to match them to win the title.

Murray has amazing hands and feel and this is key on grass as matches tend to be less about battles from the baseline and more about drop shots, volleying, lobs and sliced approach shots - Murray has all the shots in the book so if he can use them at the right time he can beat anyone. His match last week against Roddick was almost embarrassingly easy and although Roddick is past his best, he is still a force to be reckoned with on grass.

Putting Murray aside, the next 2 weeks is a tennis traders paradise so our tips for trading Wimbledon successfully are:

1. Look at service stats on players - both first and second serve stats - these are key as grass is the quickest surface so serve is a massive advantage. If a player always holds serve then they will win the vast majority of matches. Incorporate this in your trading strategy, if you know a player holds serve on grass 90% of the time, then back him/her on serve and green up when they hold

2. Look for a player's record on grass as it suits some players games better than others - some excellent hard courters and clay courters struggle to adapt - Ivan Ljubicic is an excellent example, a former no 1 in the World and consistently in the Top 20 yet he has never made it beyond the last 32 at Wimbledon.

3. Look for a players form in the major Championships - certain players perform better on the big stage and others perform worse. Caroline Wozniacki is a perfect example, she is the no 1 ranked female player in the World and picks up ATP titles for fun yet she's never won a Grand Slam event.

4. Make sure you select the right matches - trade matches that ideally you can watch on TV as these will have the best liquidity and you can actually see how the match is going. Also, select matches where you can clearly predict who the winner will be but where the odds on the favourite are not so low that there is no value.

5. Never be afraid to change your mind, if you predict that player A is going to win a match but he is struggling in the first few games, do not have any loyalty to that player, trade the match as you see it.

6. Momentum is key - all these players are brilliant and the difference between the no 1 in the world and no 50 is tiny but momentum in Sport is massive as the player with momentum will be playing with confidence. Make sure you are always on the player with the momentum.

Finally, have fun and don't over trade.

Good Luck  

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

How Much Trading is over Trading?

I hear people talk about over-trading and I never really know what they mean.

How much trading is overtrading and how do you know when you are trading too much? When you first start trading it is quite addictive and you want to trade every spare minute you have but then in the early days surely its good to trade as often as you can as you have so much to learn?

Well I suppose the definition of over-trading really is when you trade more than you had planned to. We have all been in the situation where we say we'll trade for a couple of hours but end up still trading 6 hours later. This normally happens because of 1 of 2 reasons:
  • we are having a really good trading session and get the feeling of invincibility that this brings so we assume that the more we trade, the more money we will make 
  • at the end of the 2 hours we had planned to trade, we are down and we feel the need to continue to trade to make back these losses
Now what normally happens in either of the scenarios above is that we start to trade in a different way to what we would normally trade, we start taking trades that are riskier than normal and we may well start using larger stakes. In short, we lose our discipline and the strategy that we had planned at the start of the session goes out of the window.

More often than not, overtrading leaves us with bigger losses or losing the gains we had made earlier in the day.

So how do we know we are over-trading and how do we stop it? Well that's the million dollar question and not an easy one to answer but here's my thoughts for what they are worth.

1. Have a strategy at the start of each trading session
2. Have a defined amount of time, or races, or matches that you are going to trade

If you then start trading for longer or in different markets you are over-trading because you hadn't planned to trade these markets. So what should you do if this starts happening?

Well, personally I take the dog for a walk or go for a run (if I'm particularly wound up) but do whatever you want but ensure you get away from your PC and do something to take your mind off trading. This will help you put everything in perspective again and make you realise that the next race isn't that important.

Also, another way to look at you trading is to think of it as a marathon not a daily sprint, it doesn't really matter how you do each individual day as long as you are making profits over the month or the year.

For more information on Sports Trading visit

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Why trading when not fully focused is dangerous

I would like to share with you a very annoying trading 'accident' I had a while ago so that hopefully you can all make sure that you never do the same.

I had traded a bit during one afternoon but whilst making dinner, I made the fatal mistake of logging into ISI Trader to see what markets were available to trade and noticed that Dodig was playing Sela and it looked like a good market to trade so I started to trade with half an eye on my dinner.

I'm sure you can guess what happened next. Well I traded a few points and had actually built up a nice little profit when my wife came in and started giving me grief about trading while cooking dinner - even she knows that is stupid! Anyway, I made sure that I was hedged out for a profit and then closed down ISI Trader to enjoy dinner.

I then checked the markets a little later in the evening and got a horrible shock when I discovered that I had actually left a trade in the market, I had left a Lay bet unmatched on Dodig and of course, he had gone onto win the match. As this unmatched trade was for £132 I had gone from being £24 in profit to £108 down so I was absolutely fuming.

So the morale to this story is never trade when you are not fully focused on it, as you are much more likely to make mistakes and these mistakes can cost you dear.

It would be great to hear any other stories of trading mistakes to make me feel slightly better!

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Is it good to set yourself monetary targets when trading?

There seems to be 2 very distinct schools of thought on the subject of whether setting yourself monetary targets is beneficial to your trading success.

Having come from a sales and sporting background it has always been drummed into me that you need to set yourself challenging yet achievable targets so that you have something to aim for but also something to measure yourself against so when I started trading I used to give myself a daily goal of what profit I needed to make that day.

So what are the pros and cons of doing this?

Well the pros are:

1. It gives you a focus - at the start of each day I would plan my days trading with my profit figure in mind. For example, I would say I'm going to do these 10 horse races and my average profit per race should be £3 plus I'm going to trade these 3 tennis matches and my average profit per match should be £20 so this would make a profit figure of £90 - £10 above my target figure.

2. It gives you something to measure yourself against - if I wasn't hitting my daily target I would obsessively analyse why I didn't and what I would do better the next day.

3. You quickly realise which markets you are successful in and those you are not.

4. It makes you have a professional approach towards your trading.

and the cons:

1. A day's trading never ends up being the way you had planned and focussing too much on how much profit you will make per event/race is not a good thing.

2. You end up focussing on the money too much rather than implementing your strategies - this is detrimental to your trading.

3. You have to accept that you are only partly responsible for your success/failure in trading - the market delivers opportunities and is completely unpredictable and you have to learn to accept this.

4. You can end up overtrading if you haven't hit your daily target or missing opportunities if you hit your target early in the day.

So whats the conclusion? Well, there is no right or wrong and everyone has a different approach but the key is that if you are going to set yourself targets, make sure they are achievable but also make sure that they are set over a decent time period. What I mean by this is set yourself a monthly target rather than a daily target as you will have good and bad days but as long as over the long term you are having more good days than bad, this is what matters. Also, if you have daily targets and you don't hit them then this can put you in a negative mood which is not a good thing for a trader - you need to try and wipe all emotion from your trading activities.

Also, focus on the strategy and the trading plan you have set out for yourself as if you do this the money will take care of itself!

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