Apologies to all for the lack of blogging and trading activity over the past few weeks, but I am still waiting for my laptop to be returned to me in a usable condition. At present I am using my very old laptop, which can take up to 20 minutes to load a browser (no exaggeration), so surprisingly it is not the best laptop for trading on. The past couple of weeks have been slow but gradual. The £50 bank which I left myself to use over Christmas is now standing at £82.64, which means it has increased by around 65% in about 4 weeks. This has been with very conservative trading and also very limited, as I have only really been using my phone to trade on the odd occasion. If I had been using my normal bank of £450 I would have returned profits just under £300 with these figures; impressive, though not entirely true perhaps, as I'm sure I would act slightly differently with larger sums. The majority of this profit has been produced by using a new dutching method which I am experimenting with, where I trade a number of scorelines throughout the game in order to produce a decent green at the end. I will fiddle with it a bit further and give a bit more info if it is any good. I have been doing a bit of punting over the past few weeks as well, but no profits to really write home about as yet! I lost £10 on a Goals Galore coupon last week, but won £25 on a double over on Bet365.
There is still one betting day of this year still to go of course, but I can't see things drastically changing so from the 9th October 2011 (since my new leaf was overturned) my total profit is £495.02 (or £41.30 per week), a figure which I am extremely pleased with. My original target was £50 per week, something which I reached every week but one with my full bank, and had I not been slightly hampered this last month I'm sure my average would have been well above £50.
So I was thinking how I could review this year in concise and simple terms for you all, when I stumbled across this old but effective article called 'The 5 Stages to Betfair Trading' (http://www.geekstoy.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1589). I found it interesting to read as so many of the things it listed were things I saw in myself, particularly over this year. At the beginning of this year I had no real plans when it came to trading. I was mainly doing hopeful accumulators with no targets, no knowledge of how much I was spending and dabbling only occasionally on Betfair. I was following the tips from a paid service by a 'Professional Gambler' who you will have heard of but I won't name for embarrassment's sake, as he lost me a lot of money in January and February before I decided to stop following him (incidentally I still receive his tips and he is still doing poorly - something which brings a little joy to me). I was definitely on stage one at the turn of 2011. As the year progressed however, I moved on to stage 2: I really wanted to become a 'proper' trader, but I knew that I didn't yet know how, so I began to read and read about it. Towards the end of the English football season I began lumping drastically huge amounts of money on what I thought were 'dead certs' - (odds of around 1.2) and got lucky in that I wasn't burnt too bad, and made quite a lot of money from it (around £700 I think). I told myself it was trading because I was doing it on Betfair, but deep down I knew that I wasn't trading really, and that I was letting my trades run for maximum profit. Luckily for me, the season ended which meant my betting did, and I withdrew all of my profits.
As the summer went on I began to think about my betting activity before the season ended, and I think my actions scared myself a little as I was gambling away such gigantic sums of money, which I really couldn't afford to lose (though I had told myself I could). This led me to be more intent upon finding trading methods and systems and I stumbled across an opportunity in the U21 European Championships early in the summer. The system I came up with was all my own thinking, and I thought I had struck gold; I would soon find, however, that my inexperience would cost me dearly. Spain, England and the Czech Republic were the three favourites for the tournament, and, being only 2 groups, they were all in the same group. So looking at the odds I worked out that by dutching them all to win the tournament (as well as Uruguay, the other team in the group, at very long odds), I would be able to green up when one of the favourites went out and the odds of the other two shortened greatly. Simple? Not so much. What I hadn't accounted for was both England and the Czech Republic to play awfully in the group stage (with the Czechs sneaking through), whilst Switzerland in the other group breezed through their group becoming second favourites in the process. I still reckon that had England and Spain both breezed through the group then my idea would have been profitable, but given the chance I would definitely not do it again. I lost about £500 from that.
As I continued on with stage 2 I was desperate to find a 'winning system' when I bumped into arbitrage betting and I thought that I had finally found the thing which would I could master. I read a lot about it and then dived into a couple of arbitrage services which would produce arbs for me regularly to make a good profit. I ignored the advice about paper trading for a few months to get the hang of it, as I was sure I knew enough already to bother with all of that! I started using all of my bank for this because I knew that it was risk-free, so what could possibly go wrong?! I also decided that it was a waste of my time fussing around with 2 or 3% arbs, and that I would just wait for the big ones before pouncing (I was clever like that...). To be honest I am extremely glad that I was burnt when I was, because otherwise I would have wasted a lot more time, and invested a lot more money into something which I was not ready to do. My immaturity was highlighted immensely throughout this entirely process, and lucky I realised my errors soon after and took stock of myself. I ended up losing about £400 backing outcomes of a baseball game (something I had never done before, and have not done since). I did not and do not know the rules of baseball or how the betting works for it, and I am also not very familiar with the American betting format, so I really am not quite sure why I thought I could do it.
The collapse of the foolproof arbitrage adventure took me up to around July, and about the time that this blog started. The early stages of this blog saw me betting small amounts on the odd thing, slowly developing the idea of trading rather than gambling in my head, but I still didn't have any real target or limit and every now and then I would be known to blow a large portion of my bank on a stupid whim. It was at this point that I decided to purchase the ASP system. I'm not quite sure why I picked this one, particularly as it is such a pricey package compared to other, but it just happened to be the one I found and fell in love with. The sentence 'Every time you come upon a new tipster, software or trading guru you'll be ecstatic that this is the one that will make all the difference' from the article could not be more true when it came to the ASP, you only have to read my blog posts on it in August to see this. But on the other hand, I think it really helped me progress as a trader, even if it didn't turn out to be the most successful system for me. It taught me to handle liability, as well as learning the art of small profit gains which would build up over time. It also helped me to learn more about the Betfair market - how it all works and what I had been missing before.
October, I would say, was my stage 3 'eureka' moment. As I started a P+L on this blog, I also set myself a number of rules, targets and loss limits, as well as outlining a specific betting bank. I began to take charge of my betting and I found that it evolved quite naturally into trading, with a much more disciplined approach being the key. Before I was wanting to make hundreds in one go, but now I realised that that was highly unrealistic in the long run, and that a slowly slowly approach would be much more profitable. Over the past couple of months I have had excellent moments, as well as very poor moments, but I am proud that I have been able to exercise a large amount of control over everything; my emotions, my winnings/losses and my bank. I am still trialling systems and trying to find the thing which is right for me, so in a way I guess I still have elements of stage 2, but I have a larger understanding and maturity than I did before. When I look back to this time last year, or even this time 2 years ago (I have only been old enough to gamble for 2 years), I find my ignorance and immaturity laughable. At the same time however, I recognise that what has happened is a natural progression to where I am now, and that no one can automatically become a profitable trader overnight; it takes time and hard work. I'm not really sure how quickly I have progressed in terms of other traders, to me it seems like I have come an awful long way in a very short space of time, especially this year, but maybe this has happened with everyone?
I still have a long way to go before I reach stages 4 and 5 I feel, but if I continue with the same amount of ambition and discipline I should be able to progress to a good level over the next few years (hopefully). This year has certainly been a rollercoaster with many ups and downs and I am under no illusion that I am at a loss for the entire calender year. If the last three months are anything to go by though, the future looks pretty bright.
I would like to thank everyone who has helped me throughout the year, particularly the people who gave me support and advice through the low points. I would also like to thank you all for reading this blog, I never imagined (though I did hope) that I would be getting this many viewers per week, so I am very pleased that so many of you keep coming back to read my ramblings!
I wish you all a very happy new year, let's hope that 2012 is the most profitable yet.