Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Vatopaidi And The Greek Crisis

A change of pace for the blog today, and a link to the best article I have seen explaining the debt crisis in Greece. Nothing to do with betting or sports, but there are other things going on in the world, and it may be a topic of interest to some of you.  

Michael Lewis once again takes a fairly complicated issue and breaks it down so that anyone can understand it, and makes it entertaining too. The full article is in Vanity Fair and fairly lengthy, but it is very readable. 

Here's a snippet:
I'd arrived in Athens just a few days earlier, exactly one week before the next planned riot, and a few days after German politicians suggested that the Greek government, to pay off its debts, should sell its islands and perhaps throw some ancient ruins into the bargain. Greece’s new socialist prime minister, George Papandreou, had felt compelled to deny that he was actually thinking of selling any islands. Moody’s, the ratings agency, had just lowered Greece’s credit rating to the level that turned all Greek government bonds into junk—and so no longer eligible to be owned by many of the investors who currently owned them. The resulting dumping of Greek bonds onto the market was, in the short term, no big deal, because the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank had between them agreed to lend Greece—a nation of about 11 million people, or two million fewer than Greater Los Angeles—up to $145 billion. In the short term Greece had been removed from the free financial markets and become a ward of other states.
That was the good news. The long-term picture was far bleaker. In addition to its roughly $400 billion (and growing) of outstanding government debt, the Greek number crunchers had just figured out that their government owed another $800 billion or more in pensions. Add it all up and you got about $1.2 trillion, or more than a quarter-million dollars for every working Greek.
Against $1.2 trillion in debts, a $145 billion bailout was clearly more of a gesture than a solution. And those were just the official numbers; the truth is surely worse. “Our people went in and couldn’t believe what they found,” a senior I.M.F. official told me, not long after he’d returned from the I.M.F.’s first Greek mission. “The way they were keeping track of their finances—they knew how much they had agreed to spend, but no one was keeping track of what he had actually spent. It wasn’t even what you would call an emerging economy. It was a Third World country.”
As it turned out, what the Greeks wanted to do, once the lights went out and they were alone in the dark with a pile of borrowed money, was turn their government into a piñata stuffed with fantastic sums and give as many citizens as possible a whack at it. In just the past decade the wage bill of the Greek public sector has doubled, in real terms—and that number doesn’t take into account the bribes collected by public officials. The average government job pays almost three times the average private-sector job. The national railroad has annual revenues of 100 million euros against an annual wage bill of 400 million, plus 300 million euros in other expenses. The average state railroad employee earns 65,000 euros a year. Twenty years ago a successful businessman turned minister of finance named Stefanos Manos pointed out that it would be cheaper to put all Greece’s rail passengers into taxicabs: it’s still true. “We have a railroad company which is bankrupt beyond comprehension,” Manos put it to me. “And yet there isn’t a single private company in Greece with that kind of average pay.” The Greek public-school system is the site of breathtaking inefficiency: one of the lowest-ranked systems in Europe, it nonetheless employs four times as many teachers per pupil as the highest-ranked, Finland’s. Greeks who send their children to public schools simply assume that they will need to hire private tutors to make sure they actually learn something. There are three government-owned defense companies: together they have billions of euros in debts, and mounting losses. The retirement age for Greek jobs classified as “arduous” is as early as 55 for men and 50 for women. As this is also the moment when the state begins to shovel out generous pensions, more than 600 Greek professions somehow managed to get themselves classified as arduous: hairdressers, radio announcers, waiters, musicians, and on and on and on. The Greek public health-care system spends far more on supplies than the European average—and it is not uncommon, several Greeks tell me, to see nurses and doctors leaving the job with their arms filled with paper towels and diapers and whatever else they can plunder from the supply closets.
“The Greek people never learned to pay their taxes .... because no one is ever punished. It’s like a gentleman not opening a door for a lady.”

Karma Has Your Address

This blog appears to be going from the FTL frying pan into the Tennis Trading fire, but comments make the next post so much easier to generate. Martin replied to my last post:
Yes, I still agree with my posts you quoted. It's almost impossible to make a living from trading. That's why I return to a normal job. If I make some side income, it's nice, if not it's not the end of the world.

I think you overrate the courtsiders as an opponent. If you trade smart, you don't play in 99% of the cases against them (an exception could be an injury). I don't enter during a point, I protect my money against the hoovering. They are involved in a different way (scalping for the "dumb money").
About Sultan, perhaps you have inside knowledge about him. In my opinion he has great knowledge of tennis markets and players. That's his edge against the average punter. He is something like the Mark Iverson of Tennis (at least I believe this fairy tale). He was just a bit naive about his Academy and some posts at his blog. I didn't feel bad energy when I was in contact with him. That was a different story with the guy, which scammed me.
About the scam... http://www.geekstoy.com/forum/showthread.php?4285-When-something-sounds-too-good
Well I was quite naive, but he played a "smart game" with me with live trading sessions over Facebook messengers and print screens of his profits. He just started again his scam:
https://twitter.com/traderferdi. This time under the nickname Ferdinand Delesse. Again the same way with a facebook page and fake profits: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ferdinand-Betfair-Delesse/847194832026769?fref=ts
I am with you, how in the hell you can enjoy stolen money. One day he will be punished for that. What comes around, goes around. Perhaps is not possible to catch him by authorities (in the internet you are anonymous and I have no clue about his true identity... beside police was not really helpful), but I am sure that his punishment will come one day in his life. I am not really religious, but I believe in justice.
As I have said many times, trading tennis in-play, whether your entry /exit points are after a point or a game or a set or mid-point, you are ALWAYS betting against others who are ahead of you. If you get matched, it's because it was a poor value price for you - or else it would have been taken already. It really seems delusional to think otherwise unless you consider yourself a better judge of value than the full-timers.

I have nothing more to say on The Sultan other than that if you have a few hours to spare, read through the blog from start to latest, and ask yourself if the tale makes sense. Frankly if you have that many hours to spare, you'd be better off reading this blog from start to finish, but I may be biased. Mark Iverson was for the most part a solid guy (although his Soccer In Play app was disappointing) and an excellent cricket trader. I worked with him on some NFL games a few seasons back, and he had a different approach to me, preferring his action gentle and early and then stepping back, whereas I preferred more foreplay with the action coming later with the bigger swings found later in games. He had some strange ideas about calendar months too, which

Martin's 'friend' Ferdi (Gustave Fernandez) does indeed seem to have started again on Twitter. I'm surprised the police were not more helpful. For 60 € or 600 € maybe they're not interested, but 60,000 € is a lot of money. I'd suggest looking for some Investigative Service Firms, and once you have a name and some proof, go to the Police. He's been around since at least 2009 I see, and they will be more interested if you have a name and if the attempted fraud is ongoing.

Karma may be a pleasing idea, but like god, it doesn't exist and thus needs a little help (although Claire Lavogez might be wondering about karma right now). I'd rather rely on myself and the law if I were down 60,000 € to a scam but if you gave over control of your account, unfortunately you may not have the law on your side.
Speaking of the law, and a few months ago I mentioned Billy Walters on this blog. What I didn't mention, but which is now common knowledge, is that his friend Phil Mickelson also likes a small flutter from time to time. Only $2.75 million though - I think he can afford it.

I'll be in Mrs Cassini's homeland for the 4th July weekend later this week, so while there will be no trading for a while, I will be hoping for an England v USA World Cup Final on Sunday. It's probably politically incorrect to mention that the semi-finals are a rematch of the Second World War with the USA playing Germany and England against Japan, so I won't mention it other than to say that the two Axis powers are both favoured to advance. The French did at least put up a little more of a fight this time around, as some of you older readers might "imaginot".

Even my old Dad stayed up for the England v Canada quarter-final (which was actually an exciting game, although I suspect he slept through most of it) and my old Mum was wondering "how they would get on against the men". I think I disappointed her somewhat (not for the first time) when I told her they were at about the level of 16 year old boys. "Oh - a bit like your sense of humour", she replied.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Wedges And Peanuts

I hadn't realised before Martin mentioned it in a comment on my last post that that Tennis Trading is the trader formerly known as Brulati

Here's what Martin had to say on yesterday's post:
Very nice comment, Cassini!

About scaling up, I am with you. I know that there is a limit, because of liquidity issues. If you can make 200 Euros a day, that would be enough ;-). With this amount you would be on the way to a full time trader. To be honest, I liked your last part of the post. A year ago (when I was blogging under the name Brulati) I had this target. Right now I feel a lot more comfortable to see it as a side income and a hobby. My income with a normal job is higher, risk free and you have paid holidays/weekends, pension funds and insurance. I am with you, if you have the possibility for a "real job" is better to go this way. Beside trading is quite a lonely occupation.
About Sultan... I don't know, what is the secret for his success. I don't think that he has a connection to court-siders. How you know, I was a student of his academy. The strategy guide is no rocket science, but is written quite well. Of course he doesn't sell his edge for 500 pounds. Like I mentioned in my blog, the strategy only makes 10% of the success. His document doesn't give you a real edge. In my opinion the only edge he has is his knowledge of tennis. After 3-4 years he knows the patterns of the players and markets. When I was at the academy, the teaching was quite bad. He always mentioned that I didn't pick value. Perhaps he was right, but is not enough to coach like this. It needs a lot of experience and tennis knowledge to pick the right matches and moments. You can discuss if is fair to sell an "almost useless product" for 500 pounds. In the end only practice brings success, but he always told this. So I really don't blame him.

That's why I mentioned that's like a game for me. When you play Tetris every day, you will become better and better. Sultan always told that he doesn't sell a holy grail or a golden lay machine. In summary I can say that hard work is the only real edge on the tennis ladders. Beside courtsiding of course...
Hard work is laudable, but as many an athlete / cyclist has discovered, (I was briefly a clean pro-cyclist myself) if others are doping, they have no chance, and it's the same with trading against court-siders. It reminds me of the famous scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark where the swordsman has all the skills, but loses out to the gun of Indiana Jones. However well you know the players, you are not going to win long-term if someone knows who wins the 'next' point. 

Less than three months ago, my blog had this to say, worth repeating since it echoes my thoughts from yesterday which is good because it shows consistency, but not so good as it suggests I'm running out of things to say:
The other day I mentioned longevity and blogging, and we have another casualty in Brulati (Bruce Lay Trading) who has decided to call it quits after 127 posts and an attempt at trading professionally. I've strongly advised in the past against anyone quitting a job to trade full-time, and Brulati's comments only reinforce that opinion:
I was lucky or let's better say hard working to get again a great job. For me it's clear that not even the best sportstrader can earn that much money in the long term. Beside I will have less stress, pension fund, more holidays and a social life. Now I know why Sultan was irritated when I told him that I quited a great job to be a sportstrader... Honestly it was one of the most stupid decisions I made. At least I could correct this mistake. The life as trader is everything, but not easy (99% are not successful!) and not well paid neither (when you consider the stress, the missed holidays and so on). The lesson I made was hard, but helpful.
Great news that Brulati has got back onto the career ladder. It's not something to be thrown away lightly, although I can understand why people would have been tempted in the pre-Premium Charge days.
The introduction of the PC has clearly made a difference, and I know from my own experience that the markets are a lot more efficient these days than they were ten years ago. Brulati also wrote:
In the end only platforms like Betfair or betting companies make profit. There is no added value in trading sports markets. If two people make a bet, one will win and the other one will lose.
Over long term both will lose, because Betfair (and the other companies) takes the margin. In the beginning "only" 6.5%, later when you are lucky and a bit successful more and more.
Perhaps there are small exceptions (for example Sultan?!) which can be successful for a short time period. Latest with a premium charge of 60% also these people have no realistic chance to make a decent income. I think this is the main reason why Sultan will quit...
The Sultan is not an exception, and is nowhere near the Premium Charge, but more importantly why is Martin / Brulati even getting involved in tennis betting again? In his final 2014 post on his old blog he writes:
Trading was not successful. Mistakes, impatience and bad money money management led to a five digit loss over the year.
Have those issues really been addressed? This five digit (a lot of many for many) trading loss was on the heels of this:
First of all I was scammed. I lost almost 60'000 Euros... It's still very difficult to understand how people (with a normal life) can do this. I learned that you can't trust (almost) nobody in sports trading. It's a lonely business, and everybody is looking for the own advantage.
Crikey; 60,000 € is quite a wedge and makes The Sultan's £500 look like peanuts. I don't know what other readers think, but my advice to Martin is to focus on the career and recognise that you don't have, nor ever will have, an edge betting on tennis.

Honestly, and I'm not sure how to put this nicely, I don't think Martin should be involved with betting at all. I wish him the best of course, but I fear the worst. To be scammed out of thousands, and Martin needs to accept some responsibility for that, is (literally) a crime and I hope the authorities were contacted.

I feel terrible if my Cassini Service fails to make a profit, and that's a season long effort that takes a lot of work and for most subscribers costs less than £100 a season (or less than 10p a selection). I know Graeme (The Football Analyst) feels the same way too (about his selections - not mine!) Losing seasons can and will always happen, (markets are harder to beat than ever these days), but fortunately most people understand this. Scamming is a deliberate action with the intent to defraud.

How someone can steal tens of thousands of Euros and sleep at night, I have no idea. Do we have any details about this scam? It might be nice to share some details so that others are saved from potentially suffering the same fate.

This IS a lonely business with a lot of negativity out there. If someone promises something that looks too good to be true, it is.

Finally, to address the doubts about the Sultan and court-siding:
One of them was an offer from a betting syndicate, which I actually agreed to. This took place back in October. I traded for this syndicate for one month. Four other traders took part in what was a trial period, which was due to last 3 months. Unfortunately, at least 2 of those traders blew their entire allocated bank (c£2000) and the other 2 reportedly made a loss. I was told I was the only one who made a decent profit. As it turned out, October was my 2nd highest ever monthly profit for tennis alone. So I was particularly disappointed to learn that the trial was to be ended 2 months early, a lack of funds for the operation being cited, no doubt due to the losses incurred by the other traders. I don't blame them to be honest!
Or from May 2013:
My trading hasn't kicked on the way I hoped that it would in the first quarter of 2013. It's partly down to what happened at the end of last season, with my involvement with the trading syndicate. It really turned my head and got me dreaming of new horizons and possibilities. Unfortunately, it also has affected my trading; my focus was knocked and frustration with my whole trading situation kicked in. This in turn, has meant that I have not wanted to blog much and even considered retiring.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Keeping Score, Scaling and Fairy Tales

Tennis Trading's very polite Martin had this to say about my previous post:

Thanks for your interest! Yes, the two pounds per day are not really a good salary. I have to say, that i trade in my spare time and you can't consider it work. For me is like a game of chess or poker, to compete with other guys and watch (over long term), which one is the "smartest". The result only includes the last three weeks, so it would be a bit better, but it doesn't make the cow fat :-)
Beside I am still at an early stage. I could scale the stakes without any problems by factor 10. Well, 20 pounds per day still would not be that great (50 would look better and with just taking 30 days and factor 10 we would be there). On the other hand, I made mistakes, which were costly. To improve, I need more experience and growing trust.
I don't know if a fairy tale like the one of Sultan is possible, but I hope so. He struggled over a year and suddenly it worked for him. I will continue the blog as long as it make sense. If I see that I am not born for trading, I will stop. If I am one day really good, it's not fun any more to speak about neither. Readers will not believe, ask for inside tips or are just jealous. In this stage of a blog, it doesn't make that much sense any more. You see, there are different reasons to stop blogging. At the moment it helps me to summarize my thoughts and days.
I wish you all the best.
I can totally identify with Martin's view of trading as more of a challenge than of 'making the cow fat". I wrote almost six and a half years ago (good heavens, where does the time go?) that:
I was thinking in the shower this morning, (yes, once a week, whether I need one or not), Betfair really is the ultimate video game. I've never been one for games, (friends at work spend hours playing Call of Duty - why? What's the point?), but in many ways the exchanges are one big online game. It's me versus an unknown opponent. My opinion versus yours, except in this game the points are real money.
To Martin's comment that he could scale without any problems, I would say that scalability is not that easy on Betfair. From £2 to £20 pounds probably not an issue in liquid sports, and possibly true of £20 to £200 also, but £200 to £2,000 and beyond, I don't think Martin will find it that easy.

A word on Martin's "On the other hand, I made mistakes, which were costly". For a start, not all mistakes are costly or even result in losses - some prove to be quite fortuitous. It's human nature when you have a win to put it down to your skill and talent, (or if you are American, to the one true god) but when it results in a loss, we say it was a mistake, (and if you are me, immediately look to put the blame on someone else).

Eliminating all mistakes, even if such a thing were possible, isn't the same as eliminating all losses and paradoxically many times, the correct decision results in a loss. You can't look back on the short-term and say with any accuracy what was a mistake, and what was the right call; it's only after a large sample size that you know if your decisions are 'correct' or not. If your balance has increased, you possibly have an edge.

As for the Sultan's story (rather aptly described by Martin in his comment as a 'Fairy Tale'), it's been well covered on this blog previously. A search for 'The Sultan' will lead to several posts about him, including this one from January or there is another one from Hejik from January 2014 which is possibly even better than mine. 

G commented:
Cassini- perhaps you could enlighten Martin to the real story behind the Sultan's fairytale and how things suddenly 'worked' for him....
The Sultan's Centre Court Trading blog is still out there, although not updated in close to four months. Anyone can read for themselves his fairy tale rise from being unemployed with his limited funds 'drying up' in February 2011 to being "comfortable for years to come - barring a disaster" in 2014. Barring a lottery win or a large inheritance, life doesn't usually work that way. The Sultan certainly had some big wins in that time, but as he himself revealed, things "suddenly worked" for him while he was working for a syndicate with access to court-sider data. With that kind of an edge, it's easier to win than lose. What was interesting was why The Sultan wasn't retained for long - we never heard the details about that.

From what I have heard about the Trading Academy, save your money and read "Trading In The Zone" by Mark Douglas. Typical comments on the Academy include:
I would like everyone to know that the price of the trading academy for one year is £500 which is very expensive for an ebook and a few emails a month. 
I hope that people don't commit the same error as I did and become a member because I regret wasting £500 which could have be used for other purposes.
Does it make sense for someone to sell their edge for £500 before they are 'comfortable' in life? Once an edge is shared, it is no longer an edge, or at least it's a much diluted one. £500 is a lot of money for many people and if the product doesn't live up to expectations, there should be some kind of a money back guarantee.

For me, it's a red flag when someone who hasn't achieved any success themselves offers to sell you something. The obvious question to ask is why is the seller not using his own advice to achieve success? The claim to be "comfortable for many years to come" is clearly untrue, but the Sultan knows that sales are not going to be helped if the truth about his situation is known. "I have no money to speak of, live in a flat, am unemployed and really need your £500" is probably not a recommended sales strategy. Most people are smart enough to recognise that more successful people (e.g. Ian Erskine) are the ones with knowledge worth paying for. It's also no coincidence that the likes of Ian tend to be the more positive of people.

I see Big Pairs has written his latest blog post, and starts by mentioning time as I did yesterday:
Time, or rather lack of time, is rapidly becoming the biggest barrier to progress in my quest to become a full time sports and forex trader. Last week was busy, so busy that I didn't trade at all on three days. Next week I will only be able to look at the markets on Wednesday evening, Friday and Saturday. The week after that I will be in the US with work and will only manage to trade on the Saturday, if family duty permits. The good news is that I'm nicely ahead of my plan and therefore a couple of slow weeks isn't really a problem. Considering the lack of time last week wasn't too bad, with an overall profit of just over £300 to show for my efforts. However, as you'll see from the chart progress has slowed up significantly of late and that's going to be a challenge at some point. I could spend a few more minutes moaning about the unfulfilling job thieving my time and all that, but you've heard it before so I will move straight onto the results.
I really would encourage Big Pairs to stick with the day job and trade part-time. As other full-time sports traders have found to their cost, the rules of the game can change overnight. That £250,000 lifetime finishing line could easily become £50,000. Premium Charge is a killer. In-play trading will be reviewed again at some point, and could be banned. A full-time job may seem unfulfilling now but careers progress. Look at the hidden benefits (paid holiday, National Insurance contributions, pension contributions) and see the big picture. There are plenty of "full-time traders" who are actually unemployable and don't have a choice. If you do have a choice, make the right one! Even if you have an edge for now, it is extremely unlikely to last for long.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Kershaw And In-Play Opportunity Cost

For those on C-LAY-Ton Kershaw watch - he's starting again this evening, with the Dodgers losing the last two of his starts, and coming from behind in the start prior to those.

The Dodgers were ~1.37 v Texas Rangers on 17th June and lost 3:5, and last time Kershaw started, they were ~1.58 @ Chicago Cubs and lost 2:4. Not that the score matters - in US Sports, it is all about Ws and Ls, as they have a rather odd aversion to Draws or Ties.

The opposing pitcher Tom Koehler is having a decent season with a career best ERA of 3.76 (compare Kershaw's 3.33) and has a 6-4 record (Kershaw 5-5) this season. Kershaw, or more importantly, the Los Angeles Dodgers may well win, but 1.37 / 1.38 is a value Lay for me. One slight concern is that Koehler missed his last start with back spasms, but he's playing, so I'll assume he is ready to go.


Robbo the trader commented on my last post on Betfair's implicit approval of court-siding with:

The problem for Betfair is that every increase in the delay puts off the average punter who believe they're not at any real disadvantage. For Betfair to survive it's all about keeping the mug money on board not trying to level the playing field, so I doubt we'll have any extensions to the bet delays if Betfair can help it.
The simple fact is if the markets were managed correctly with people at source they'd be no need for long delays as markets would be suspended when goals etc. occurred. Other options could simply be remove all delays and roll back markets to the local time-stamp minus say 5 seconds, then cancel bets after that time when a material event occurs, that would also put paid to the random suspends that continually occur just because the suspend operator has woken up. But given the costs and Betfair's aversion to maintaining the exchange that won't happen. For now Betfair's contribution to fairness is the fact they take 40-60% off the 'advantaged' players.
The steady flow of mug money in the popular sports of horse-racing, football and tennis does surprise me, but also says a lot about the unrealistic optimism of human nature. New in-trading focused blogs spring up, but not many last the distance. I'm actually not aware of any long-running legitimate in-play blogs now that Mark Iverson has departed the scene. The latest that have come to my attention are Tennis Trading and Big Pairs, and how long they last will be interesting to see. The big downside to in-play trading is the amount of time it takes.

Not to pick on Tennis Trading, but the blog started on 29th April, and a net profit of 152.76 € works out to about 2.54 € (£1.80) a day - and trading tennis matches takes a lot of time. The graphic on the left should include the number of hours invested (for most of us, our time is worth something - opportunity cost), and the average per hour included. For some, trading is a hobby and more about entertainment than the money, and that's fine, but unless you are unemployable, there are probably more lucrative ways to invest your time. While finding pre-game edges is also time consuming, you can choose when to do it and you're not tied to watching a game at a fixed time waiting for a value opportunity that most likely isn't actually value at all - which is why the 'insiders' have left it for you.  

Kershaw Update: The Dodgers lost 2:3. Happy days and hope a few of you were on too. 

By The Balls

While it has long been known that despite having inside information on winning techniques and reducing charges, former senior Betfair employees have been allowed to operate heavy hitting accounts after leaving the company, I hadn't previously seen this from the pie and bovril forum:

I was also told that "90% of the people who are affected by the new charge are in-running horse racing people", which basically means those using raw SIS feeds so that they are about five seconds ahead of your average punter trying to bet in-running via TV. He also mentioned:
  • court-siders at tennis, which are basically people in the press box with a fast internet connection able to beat the five second time delay on Betfair when betting in running
  • a guy who had been travelling from match to match in Spain, and winning "millions of Euros" by beating the time delay on Betfair. The delay is now eight seconds, but it used to be five. Sky Sports' TV pictures on Spanish football are typically 12-15 seconds behind live. It doesn't take a genius to work out what is possible if you're actually in the ground, on the phone to someone who is sitting by a computer logged into Betfair.
Apparently only a handful of people who don't use one of the above methods to basically beat the time delay to gain an unfair advantage are affected. I never do this and it's still affected me, and I have my fair share of very large losses, so I find it hard to believe that only a handful are affected. Having spoken to my account manager again tonight, he told me that Betfair's business hasn't suffered at all since these charges were introduced this week. They would've expected the liquidity to suffer on in-running horse racing in particular but he said it was exactly the same. The phrase he used was "we've got them by the balls as they know they can't go anywhere else to do what they do so they've decided to stay and pay the charge".
I think we know a lot more about how court-siding works now than we did then (2011) but 'a (one) guy' in Spain? One wonders why a publicly traded company would allow one account to essentially steal "millions of Euros" from other members of the exchange before increasing the delay.

As James Bond or Ian Fleming said, "Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, thrice is enemy action".

Actually, I'm not sure he used the word thrice, but it's a good word, so I'll use it.

More seriously, shouldn't Betfair have acted sooner to prevent this? Corporate decision making can be slow, but clearly the market suspension mechanism to protect customers wasn't working, and the fix appears to have taken far too long time to implement. This account would have been red-flagged early on as a clock-beater, so why the practice was allowed to continue is concerning.

I mentioned in this post from 18 months ago that the Gambling Commission were less than wholly enthusiastic in endorsing in-play betting, and one can see why. If the above "by the balls" quote is accurate, then Betfair are admitting that they would rather see a few big winners, (many former employees), and take 40% to 60% off them, than address the issue in other ways. Why not simply increase the delay to at least reduce the advantage, or while not banning winners may sound great, I'm not sure too many Betfair members would complain at an exception being made on accounts that are consistently winning (at the expense of at least some of them) by beating an inadequate delay, about which Betfair themselves say:
The purpose of a bet delay is to allow a level of protection for customers when betting In-Play from a variety of data and TV feeds. Firstly, it gives customer’s time to cancel their bets In-Play as events unfold should they wish to, rather than the bet being taken immediately. Secondly, (more importantly for Football) it allows our Market Operations team to suspend markets when goals, red cards, and penalties are awarded to protect customers from having their bets taken by customers with quicker feeds prior to a market suspension. We do issue a warning regarding TV delays in our market rules so customers are aware that the TV feed they are viewing could be delayed and in many cases are by 5-10 seconds.
It used to be that in-play betting offered an edge to the sharper-minded but, in most markets at least, those days are gone. The markets have evolved, while the market operators have not.

Interestingly I noticed that the delay on bet placement for the Women's World Cup is (I think) as high as 12 seconds - not sure if that is on all games or just some, but tweaking the delay on other markets shouldn't be too difficult. The next look by the Gambling Commission at in-play betting will be interesting. There's a lot of evidence that at best, Betfair are turning a blind eye to some dubious practices.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Unintended Bias And Women

On the Cortisol post, Tony M commented:

I have read quite a bit about this - and convinced myself that the effect is due to (unintended) referee bias. It's to do with our human deep rooted need to conform to the opinion of the crowd. I can pass on the name and author of the book, if you would like to know more?
I have mentioned this before:
as studies have shown that referees, albeit subconsciously, favour home teams, and when a crowd is pumped up, it is reasonable to assume that this influence would only be enhanced
but if there is a book on this, I'm sure some readers would be interested in the details. Unfortunately, since the effect is well known, it's of limited value from a betting perspective, but it is an interesting topic.

As this excellent article details, not all statistics are created equal. Some are interesting curiosities, others useful data.

Regarding the surprising news that I was running another FTL next season, Brian had this to say:
Ah silly me... I think I must have found my way to last season FTL to continue post Cassini! Haha.

I have considered offering to run the FTL but in it's entirety I think it would be too much for me to take on. Didn't someone submit 30 odd selections one weekend?!
I might be happy for some to send me their picks if there is a reasonable amount and their record is good. Failing that people are welcome to join my tipster table competition where they enter their own selections.
Oh that it were a mere 30 picks that September weekend, which will live long in the memory. It was actually 81 selections, which at least resulted in a profit (although 'only' 1.38 points). The entry pocketed a cool £270.51 on the season though, which was quite impressive.

Anyway, Betting Tools has a Tipster Table for anyone wishing to pit their skills against others.

Not sure how many readers are following the Women's World Cup, but as a sporting event it's not been bad. Only 14 of the 45 games so far (including a 10:0 and a 10:1) have been decided by more than one goal, so while the quality is poor relative to the men, relative to each other, it is fairly even, which is what makes a sporting event interesting.

Signora Cassini would be very proud of the fact that her country has never finished worse than third in the previous six tournaments, except that she's not into 'soccer'. They play China later tonight (a re-run of the 1999 final and 1995 bronze medal game) and are currently ~1.53 for a win in 90 minutes and place in the semi-final versus Germany which just beat France on penalties.

England are in the other half of the draw, with a slightly less impressive record in this competition and up against the hosts Canada tomorrow night.  

Till Debt Do Us Part

An article from the Yahoo!Finance pages has the shocking headline:
43% of people in relationships have no idea what their partner earns
Why the number isn’t the expected 50%, I have no idea. 

Assuming that all women tell their men what they earn (and the Bible is quite clear on this - 1 Corinthians 11:9 “for indeed man’s paycheck was not created for the woman's sake, but woman’s paycheck is for the man's sake”), it would appear that some 14% of men tell their wives / partners what they earn, or possibly 14% haven’t done a good job of safeguarding their salaries from prying eyes. 

In my experience, this can only lead to trouble.

The article also rather casually mentions that one of the things couples share are ‘chores’ – whatever they are. The first definition I found when I looked the word up, was:
the everyday work around a house or farm
I can’t for the life of me fathom why this routine, and frankly not very exciting, stuff would ever be shared. 

Call me old fashioned, but this is political correctness gone mad. 
As for ‘investable assets’, they are no one’s business but the man’s. Opening the door to including women in financial decision making, especially in the more speculative area of sporting investment decisions, is a recipe for disaster.

I’ve written before that my own wife takes absolutely no interest in my investing whatsoever and it’s far better that way. No one should feel that they are answerable to anyone but themselves when making a betting decision. The last thing you want after a loss is to have to explain it to someone, as Peter Nordsted famously admitted to on one occasion, or have someone reminding you about it, and as for wins – well they are best kept to yourself lest they trigger requests for designer handbags or other luxury accoutrements.

Maybe it’s because I am a ‘boomer’ while my wife is not, but there’s also the.....  oh never mind, it’ll have to wait - she needs a hand with folding laundry. Meanwhile, here’s the article:
Couples are used to sharing most things — family holidays, chores, the occasional dessert — but many still have a hard time sharing the contents of their bank accounts.
According to a new Fidelity survey, 43% of couples said they had no idea how much their partner earns. When asked to hazard a guess, 10% were off by more than $25,000. Their better half’s paycheck wasn’t all they were in the dark about.
More than one-third of couples surveyed couldn’t agree on the balances of their investable assets. Nearly half (48%) said they have no idea how much they will need to save for retirement in order to sustain their current lifestyle and another 47% disagreed on the amount.
Boomer couples (for the purposes of Fidelity’s survey, those born between 1946 and 1964) were the most likely generation to find themselves at odds with their partner about their household finances. Sixty percent of boomers couldn’t say how much their Social Security benefit might be (F.Y.I. you can download your free Social Security statement anytime you want).
The fact that so many couples aren’t on the same page financially isn’t entirely a symptom of miscommunication or necessarily a signal that there’s an imbalance in household finance management. One of the lasting impacts of the recession has been a changing employment landscape, which has left many families with irregular incomes. More employers are leaning on contract or freelance work and by the year 2020, independent contractors are expected to make up 40% of the U.S. workforce.
“As more and more people go into freelance work, it makes it harder for people to predict their own income, much less their partner’s,” says John Sweeney, Executive VP of Retirement and Investing Strategies for Fidelity. “But when your compensation becomes more variable, it’s even more important to have budgets established and make sure you’re in line with how much you’re spending.”
Till debt do us part

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Cortisol

Home Advantage has been much discussed previously in this blog, and the Guardian's Sean Ingle has an article on the role it may play, and possible reasons why (stress levels are lower and less variable across a home team), in this Autumn's Rugby World Cup, less than three months away.

I've written before how the advantage of playing at home in football is diminishing (the last five seasons have seen four of the best years for Away sides in the nine leagues I keep an eye on), and Serie A's 40% Home Win Percentage last season set a new record in the top leagues. Home goals in the top leagues averaged 1.61 around the turn of the century, a number now down to 1.32 over the past three seasons. More on this in a future post.

Turning to baseball, where Home advantage is negligible:

Every team gets an edge playing in front of the home crowd, but exactly what is the home field advantage worth for each MLB team? If you simply look at the league average over the years, you’ll find home field is worth about 0.15 runs – which is practically nothing.
and our new best friend C-Lay-ton Kershaw was pitching again last night for the L-Ay Dodgers, who as expected, started at a rather short 1.58. They duly lost 2:4, and Kershaw's record dropped to 5-5. I hope a few of you have been paying attention and also made a little.

Some of you may also be interested to know that a 16 year old short-stop is now eligible to be signed by an MLB team next month having been added to MLB's International Registration List. While that fact alone isn't interesting, what does make it unique is that the French 16 year old is female and:
while virtually anyone can "technically be added to the list, only those who have the potential to actually be signed are customarily registered."
For anyone wondering about her batting, apparently she has already had a hit off a pitcher's 91 mph effort.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Farewell Torquay, Hello Fat Ladies

Betfair Pro Trader James, and author of “Programming for Betfair: A Guide to Creating Sports Trading Applications with API-NG”commented on my Fingers in Pies post:

Thanks for the write-up and for pointing out the statement "the money I have is all the money I will ever have".
It should have read something along the lines of "all the money I have earned working for others is all the money I will ever earn through that route" or something along those lines.
As usual, I get the urge to blog, dump a load of stream of consciousness down and go back to it later for a tidy up. Only you got their first!
I agree with all your statements in this post. I too have an inheritance but the fingers in pies keeps me going until then. The trappings of wealth are of no interest to me so I don't need much to sustain me. In addition to investing I am also a short-haired hippy who grows his own vegetables!
Talking of reading other blogs, yours is one of the very few that I do read. I see no point in reading blogs that contain little else other than "I made X today, and Y yesterday and if I continue making Z then I will be the world's first quadrillionaire." (Date of last post, ages ago.)
Inheritances are a welcome bonus in life, but no one should rely on them, (old people do silly things like live forever in nursing homes or leaving their money to a cat charity) and another problem is that they tend to come rather late in life! Inheriting £1million when you're in your sixties or retired is less life-changing than when you are younger, although inherit it too young, and it's arguably detrimental. With life expectancy increasing, there are many who advocate inheritances skipping a generation - just don't suggest that to my parents. Incidentally, my Dad moves from Torquay in Devon to two fat ladies today - not too shabby.

One of the new blogs I mentioned last week, Tennis Trading, may well fall into the category James describes. Although Martin does go into some detail about his strategies, it's mostly a Profit and Loss blog which are easy enough to maintain when the profits are coming, not so easy when it's the reverse, of which there have been a couple recently.
In his latest post, Martin writes:
There is a theory which says that there are three components to be a successful trader: strategy (10%), money management (30%) and psychology (60%). Well, 60% is probably a bit too high, but the control of the emotions is definitely the most important part. You need to handle bad days and start refocused after a night.
In a fair trading environment, 60% psychology might be a reasonable number, but the tennis markets are not fair because you are always competing with those who know more than you do. I wish Martin all the best, and hope he is still blogging in a year's time, but I have my doubts. Such an information disadvantage .

Another blog I am watching with interest is Big Pairs and his "weekly diary of an apprentice trader in sports and forex markets". It's all going extremely well for now, with big profits in the shark-infested waters of Horse Racing and Football, and yet to start on Forex. His latest post mentioned the topic of how time appears to speed up with age. Here's a BBC article on the topic

Surprising News

It was something of a surprise to learn from Brian (of Betting Tools) that I am coordinating another FTL next season:

Great news that you’ll be carrying on the FTL next season.
I will? I’m not sure where this "news" came from, but there has been little enthusiasm so far for another edition next season. There has been some interest, but to make it worthwhile, we really need some kind of sponsorship, and I suspect obtaining that again will be a challenge. I think we over-achieved in the fund-raising area last season, and while circumstances might yet change, it looks unlikely that the FTL will be back next season.

Brian continues with:
I’m thinking about making some tipsters tips hidden in my tipster table and wondered whether you might like to have your xx draws monitored here?

It would be a good advert for them without revealing the selections themselves and you’d just need to send them me and I’d do the rest.
Reading between the lines, perhaps Brian is volunteering to coordinate the FTL next season?

Rob Noble-Eddy writes:
I tend to agree with your comments about only getting involved where you think you have an edge, but surely the barrier to becoming an expert trading some sports markets is much lower than for financial markets. And if you're taking a sensible approach then it doesn't have to cost a lot to test a strategy and determine, in a statistical sense, if it's positive expectation value.

I don't disagree with your sentiment, but I'd rather encourage people to have a well considered attempt rather than not bothering at all.
The keys here are ‘sensible approach’ and ‘well considered’. The issue I am trying to highlight is that in-play betting is rather seductive giving the impression that there is easy money to be had. There usually isn’t.

While someone, not sure who, once said that paper trading isn’t worth the paper it’s written on (primarily because no real money is risked, and thus no emotions are involved), trading live with small sums is, in my opinion, a much better idea. It’s only when you move from theory (paper) to practice that you discover any number of previously unconsidered problems (timing, pricing and sizing challenges for example). From personal experience, trading Corn Futures worked brilliantly using charts and paper – not so brilliantly when live.

This financial market based article espouses the merits of paper trading, and the comments on making good decisions and patience are particularly relevant.

I would add that it is important to recognise when an idea is flawed or perhaps loses its edge, but as Rob says, dreaming and optimism are good traits – just keep them real. A small bet on a game certainly adds a lot of interest, as MLB have recognised
On this topic, if fantasy sports betting is your thing, check out this app developed by a couple of "sons of a friend". They have the major US Sports added - (American) Football, Baseball and Basketball (pro and college) and I think Golf is on its way.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Balk-Off Win

Continuing on from yesterday's Clayton Kershaw themed post, fellow baseball fan Fizzer555 stopped by to say:

Although I agree completely that spotting a pitcher down from his peak before the market builds it in is a good strategy ( I had VerLayDer lay bets making money for a season but the market has long caught up with that) I still think that Kershaw is a superman amongst pitchers and isn't on the downgrade just yet. In fact, if the market does start reacting to his ERA too much he may end up being a value bet.
Latest sabermetric analysis on Kershaw is (courtesy of BaseballHQ) is: -
6/8/2015 - Don't worry about Kershaw ... every year from 2011-14, Clayton Kershaw (LHP, LA) has been in a class of his own. Kershaw was a consensus top-five pick in 2015 fantasy drafts, and while rare for a pitcher, his elite consistency warranted such a move. But Kershaw's 3.36 ERA has been mere mortal thus far in 2015. Any reason to panic?
Year IP  ERA  xERA Ctl Dom Cmd GB/LD/FB H%/S%  hr/f FpK SwK Vel BPV
==== === ==== ==== === ==== === ======== ===== ==== === === ==== ===
2011 233 2.28 2.95 2.1  9.6 4.6 43/18/39 28/79  7% 64% 11% 93.4 137
2012 227 2.53 3.23 2.5  9.1 3.6 47/19/34 27/78  8% 65% 11% 93.2 121
2013 236 1.83 2.93 2.0  8.8 4.5 46/23/31 26/82  6% 65% 12% 92.6 130
2014 198 1.77 2.27 1.4 10.8 7.7 52/19/29 29/81  7% 69% 15% 93.0 187
2015 80  3.36 2.34 2.1 11.3 5.3 52/25/23 32/71 16% 65% 15% 93.5 176
Deep breath. He'll be fine:
His Dom is at a career-high level, and it's supported by excellent SwK and a slight uptick in fastball velocity.
He's given back some of 2014's Ctl gains, but we're nitpicking. Kershaw is frequently getting ahead in counts and exhibiting pinpoint control.
2015's hr/f sure looks like an outlier. Combine that with unfortunate swings in H% and S%, and we quickly see why his ERA is more than a run higher than xERA.
Kershaw's "shaky" production through 12 starts means he's unlikely to provide a full return on preseason investments, but there's nothing wrong under the hood. Kershaw's missing plenty of bats, has an elite Cmd / GB% combo, and his BPV is still other-worldly for a starter. He's still the best pitcher in the game.
Fizzer's VerLayDer name was a rather clever play on Justin Verlander - the Detroit Tigers' fading (since 2012) pitcher.

My comment that I had a new C-LAY-ton Kershaw system was meant to be tongue in cheek - it just happened that two value opportunities came up in quick succession with him as a starting pitcher - but I'm glad it generated a good comment. As Fizzer says, he (Kershaw) will likely be just fine. This season is a small sample so far, but he will need some strong numbers to get back to the level of the past two seasons. Fizzer's comment that Kershaw will become a Back if the markets reacts too much is also right on the money, but the market doesn't show any signs of that yet.

Last night's Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher was Zach Greinke, and again the Dodgers were very short:
Despite a poor month to date (8-9, and on a three game losing run with the worst Hits to Run ratio in the National League), the prices, as you all know by know, are based on the Starting Pitchers, and the Dodgers have only lost only twice with Kershaw and Greinke pitching back-to-back so the market went for 1.41.

Too short in my humble opinion. Greinke following Kershaw is interesting, but not significant, and I was a layer pre-game at that price.
The Dodgers did win in unconventional style, 1:0 with a walk-off balk, (very rare), but the Dodgers price had drifted by then with Greinke being pulled after 7 innings, and it was easy enough to green up.


Thursday, 18 June 2015

Kershaw Ka-Ching!

Pre-Game!
My new baseball system is Lay Clayton Kershaw. Having made a tidy profit from his game last Friday night, he was back in action again last night, with four figures traded at a crazy SP as low as 1.36.

I wrote last week that "Kershaw's numbers are actually down this season on previous years" so anywhere close to 1.36 was value in my opinion. In the entire 2014 season, he lost a total of 3 games, while winning 21. So far this season, he has already lost 3, winning just 5. His 2015 ERA is 3.21 (highest since his 2008 rookie season), a sharp decline on his two season ERA for 2013-14 which was 1.8.

The Texas Rangers scored one run in the top of the second innings, two in the third and one more in the fourth to trade at 1.1, implied probability of 91%, which is too high according to my Baseball Bible which has a figure of 84%.

The Los Angeles Dodgers rallied but came up short losing 3:5, and Kershaw threw a tantrum in the dugout.

That last link from 2010 contained an interesting quote from my son's "Essentials of Investments" text book:
An interesting question is whether a technical rule that seems to work will continue to work in the future once it becomes widely recognised. A clever analyst may occasionally uncover a profitable trading rule, but the real test of efficient markets is whether the rule itself becomes reflected in stock prices once its value is discovered. Once a useful technical rule (or price pattern) is discovered, it ought to be invalidated when the mass of traders attempts to exploit it. In this sense, price patterns ought to be self-destructing. Thus the market dynamic is one of a continual search for profitable trading rules, followed by destruction by overuse of those rules found to be successful, followed by more search for yet-undiscovered rules.
Although written for financial markets, that last sentence about sums it up for sports markets too. Edges don't last for ever and it's a continual battle to come of with new ideas. If your market of choice is the seriously popular in-play football, I'm afraid your chances of long-term profitability are rather slim as I wrote yesterday, to which Ixnay commented:
Ouch, that's disappointing :)
Thanks for your opinion! 
It may be disappointing, but it should be no more surprising than thinking you can compete with professionals in any endeavour. While most true professions have a high barrier of entry, (a degree or professional qualification / natural talent / years of practice) any idiot can trade football with no experience or brain required.

While most people are realistic enough to know that they don't know as much about a profession as a professional in most disciplines, some people do seem to think they know as much (actually more) when it comes to trading.
No one commented yet to offer a reason why they feel they might know more than the market (i.e. other traders), which perhaps is a sign that no one really feels this way, but I suspect many read the post, nodded in agreement, then moved on, silently telling themselves that they are somehow different.

There are a few such characters around the blog world with bizarre theories on how they have somehow found a value entry point that everyone else has missed, but such theories are based on flawed logic. Apparently the question of "why isn't everyone doing this?" hasn't occurred to them, or rather it probably has, but they choose to ignore it.

Long term profits are not possible when you have no edge, and I have it on good authority that one sad individual doesn't even actually put any money on his ramblings, a sure sign that deep down he knows he has no edge (or perhaps no money left!)

Writing about theoretical wins is one way to spend your time I suppose, or you could always look out for Kershaw's next outing. The Dodgers play the San Francisco Giants on the nationally televised Sunday night game. Not sure who will be pitching in blue, but the Giants have a fading pitcher on the mound who is actually having an improved season this year - Tim Lincecum. If Kershaw plays, it will be a repeat of this costly game from July 2010.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Pork Belly Futures Past

Ixnay had this to say about yesterday’s post:
Great post!
A question: isn't this the same for live-football (soccer)? What's your opinion on the live markets for this sport?
My opinion on this topic has been expressed several times before, including here, and the short version is that most people are wasting their time (and with all the football that is in-play, that is a lot of wasted time). Admittedly, some people seem to have a lot of time to waste, but for anyone with a day job and other interests, there are more constructive, sociable or profitable ways to spend your time.

While the court-sider factor is (usually) missing from football matches, the sagacity of trading in-play again boils down to the simple question “What do I know about this match or market that everyone else is missing?”

Once a game goes in play, the price movements are typically pre-determined based on goal expectancies, and current game-state. Deviations, usually minor, will occur as the game unfolds, but there are businesses whose bottom line depends on being right, and as with tennis trading, it seems to me to be delusional to think that you know better than these professionals.

It’s certainly a more level playing field (pun intended) than the more mature financial markets, and like the casino, it may be fun for a while, but it’s not going to make you any money in the long run, and losing gets old very quickly.

If you dabble in currency trading, or Pork Belly Futures* or Stock Options, you’ll soon find out that you are out-gunned by the full-time professionals. One big disadvantage is that getting access to data in the first place isn't easy (or cheap), the other is that even if you had the same data as the professional traders, you wouldn't know how to make use of it.  Professionals have the resources to gain access to information faster than you do, they have the tools to analyse that data faster than you and they thus have a more accurate idea of the true price than you. 

To believe otherwise is surely irrational, but many of us are just that, convinced that the laws of probability don't apply to us, or that the god our parents told us is real is indeed the one true god despite the absence of any supporting evidence whatsoever.

When trading, every winner needs a loser (or losers).

To beat any in-play market long-term, (i.e. to be a winner), you need to be able to accurately calculate the ‘true’ probability of an outcome before others in the market.

If others in the market are accurately pricing outcomes ahead of you, then you are the loser (over the long-term).

As exchanges have matured, opportunities for the humble home-trader have evaporated. Edges have been eroded and for most of us amateurs, in-play opportunities are now few and far between.

On the subject of scalping which was discussed yesterday, I should have linked to this old post - except that I only came across it just now. 

* I also only just found out that Pork Belly Futures are no longer traded, and haven't been for nearly four years. How disappointing!  

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Scalpable Error

A couple of months ago, I had a request from Flash (probably not his real name) to add his new blog "Winners Win on Sports" to my blogroll. Since so many new blogs fall by the wayside rather quickly, I suggested that we see where we are in two months, and still full of enthusiasm, Flash emailed me that:

My blog's still going, I haven't given up!
A man of my word, the blog is duly now included on my blog roll, but a word of caution is that while some of the content is well researched, Flash's use of swear words is liberal which suggests his target audience is the less mature of readers.

Another new entry into the blog world is Martin's (probably his real name) Tennis Trading. He asks:
What do you think about tennis trading? I read older posts of you, where you traded NBA. I think tennis have even the better swings.
I'll assume the reference to 'better swings' wasn't a pun, but tennis trading is a non-starter for me because there is no edge that I can gain over those trading the markets with the assistance of court-siders and thus more information than I have. There are those who argue that it is possible to trade during the neutral periods between games, but to profit from this strategy long-term, you need to be better at calculating odds than the professionals. Any time you get matched once a game is in-play, it is because someone who knows the markets and sport better than you wants you to be matched. Think about that.

The NBA is headed the same way. With contacts in the USA, it was a simple task to work out that court-siders are now present at all the games. While the expertise behind the scenes doesn't yet seem to be at the same level it is for tennis, it soon will be, and trading at such a disadvantage makes no sense. Whether liquidity has declined or not this season, I don't know, but it would be interesting to know. As I have written before:
As with the financial markets, once it becomes clear that they are trading at a disadvantage, and it should be clear from the price movements just how much of a disadvantage they are at, any rational person would step away, and liquidity will decline. The market may not be ‘rigged’ but it is not a fair one.

Unfortunately, the inherent nature of betting means that most bettors do not act rationally. That markets with court-siders active in them are as liquid as they are is testament to that. Again, some new blood will always be coming in, but ultimately the liquidity will fall perhaps leaving a situation where court-siders are competing with themselves.
Martin's latest post talks about scalping tennis markets, writing:
When you scalp the markets, you have to be quick.
But we all know that "being quick" is relative, and that in tennis trading, there are always those who will be quicker.
After Dimitrov lost the first set I entered the market (strategy: back the favourite offplay for 2-3 Ticks), but I couldn't enter as quick as I wanted.
Of course you couldn't - the court-sider financing syndicates have already taken the value. They are paying for their edge, and it's somewhat delusional to think that several seconds after the fact, there would be any value left that someone in their Finchley Flat or Lowestoft Loft could identify, but which the big boys have somehow overlooked.

Confidence in your ability is essential, but it needs to be grounded in reality. Scalping is not going to get you anywhere, well at least not anywhere you want to go.

You're entering markets at a price that isn't value (for you) and exiting at a price that isn't value (for you). Not surprising then, that such a lazy strategy is not one that will bring long-term success.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Low Risk Play

As I have written before, one of my baseball strategies is to take advantage of a price which is slow to respond to the withdrawal of a starting pitcher.

Clayton Kershaw is rather a good starting pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers, with an excellent record versus last night's opponents the San Diego Padres, and consequently the Dodgers started at ~1.51. (Kershaw's numbers are actually down this season on previous years, but he's still pretty good!).

I've also written before (somewhere) that 1.51 or thereabouts in baseball is less like to offer value in baseball than it might in most sports, with several studies showing that reverse favourite-longshot bias exists in MLB, and has done for many years:

In contrast to the consistently observed favourite–longshot bias found in racetrack betting markets, it has been shown that gamblers in the market for Major League Baseball games reveal the opposite behaviour.
The strength of the reverse favourite–longshot bias is virtually identical to the original paper. The result suggests that, contrary to most reported inefficiencies in gambling markets, this bias appears to be permanent.
Anyway, while I'm usually waiting until the sixth innings or so before the starting pitcher is pulled shortly after throwing a little over 100 pitches, in last night's game ace Kershaw was whacked on the hip by a sharply struck liner (estimated 107mph) in the first innings, and the possibility of an early departure triggered a lay. In the event, Kershaw stayed in the game, took a 2:0 lead and traded as low as 1.07 before the Padres came back in the 7th to take a 3:2 lead. Time to green up:
Although the Dodgers ended up winning the game 4:3, these kinds of opportunities are why I find trading the less popular, less understood, albeit less liquid, sports so much easier to find an edge in than the more popular sports, and yes, I did make a tad more than the above screenshot, which was taken after greening up rather than levelling up.

Had Kershaw indeed been unable to continue, that 1.51 goes out, or should go out, of the window, but even if he stayed in (which he did for several innings), the bet isn't a bad one anyway. Kershaw walked 6 batters suggesting that he wasn't 100%, and it was unfortunate that the San Diego Padres couldn't take advantage of those walks. The worst that could happen is what the market had already priced in - low risk, high reward.