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.


ixnay said...

Hi Cassini

Great post!

A question: isn't this the same for live-football (soccer)? What's your opinion on the live markets for this sport?

Thanks :)

Tennis Trader said...

Thanks for adding my blog. It's me, Martin (real name). I agree with you, an edge you don't find at tennis trading. This is taken by courtsiders. Value is another topic... if you really know the markets/players it's completely possible to make profit. You have to find a good risk-/reward-ratio. This was also the main target of Sultan. I didn't agree with everything he did, but overall he showed that is possible to make good money.

Regards, Martin