Sunday, 5 July 2015

Time Machine

Time for Tennis again, and Lee Von Dangerous (possibly not his real name) writes:
I can see you have strong opinions on tennis trading, and please correct me if I’m wrong, but the gist of it is that tennis trading from home is not/cannot be profitable?
I don’t trade tennis but would be keen to hear your thoughts on other well known tennis traders such as and Peter Webb?
The gist of my thoughts are that the average home-trader is at a huge disadvantage and very unlikely to find an edge that will generate a long-term profit. I suppose my opinions come across as strong,but I have never been a big trader of tennis, mostly because I find the sport rather boring to watch most of the time, and so I don't really care too much.

I just see all these newcomers, or old-comers like Tennis Trading, who seem to thing making a profit in their spare time is a piece of cake. I don't agree, and my reasons for arriving at the conclusion that for most of us, it's a waste of time and money, are all contained in recent posts and don't need to be repeated here.

Matt, of the now retired, is a pretty sharp guy, not only because he came down on my side on the Cassini v Iverson debate writing:
"the date is meaningless imo. If you need target, try retirement day, otherwise, date is just a random point. The sporting calendar has peaks and troughs..timeline of betting decisions should be linear. Picking a point on a very long line, pointless."
Exactly. However, while his path hasn't crossed mine in well over a year, I don't believe he's a part-time home trader, but actually a full-time professional gambler, and appears to still know what he is doing after his latest huge win:
I jest. I suspect that like myself, one of Matt's strategies is to lay low (1.0x), and even though the upside can be huge, it's still not pleasant to take a loss. Having taken a position, there's nothing wrong with eliminating the possibility of a loss but keeping a large green on the other side, but Serena managed to win, so the big pay day will have to wait. I just hope Matt invests his £1.36 wisely.

Peter Webb is familiar to most of us from his blog which is actually more of a tool written in 'business speak' for promoting his Bet Angel product than the revelations and ups and downs of a part-time home trader like most of the blogs out there. His latest post is a typical example, and starts:
Happy 4th of July to our American users. Hold on we don’t have any (yet)!
But the independence I am talking about takes a slightly different slant anyhow.
When we first designed Bet Angel it was a very simple one click interface. As time evolved we branched the product out to include more and more features, it was a reflection of our journey through the markets.
I must say that although I enjoy a good science book from time to time, this is the first time I have read anywhere that time itself "evolves" - an interesting idea anyway. If Peter is developing a time machine, he'll have a good shot at beating the court-sider based syndicates!

Anyway, I have no idea how much money Peter makes from tennis trading, or even if he considers tennis his primary trading market, but regardless, the two names discussed here are both involved in betting full-time, and not the casual home-trader I have in mind for my words of caution.

It would be interesting to know from either gentlemen however, how the tennis markets have changed from their perspectives over the past three or four years with the presence of court-siding syndicates.


Tennis Trader said...

Yes, Matt is definitely a full time trader. He is involved in stock exchanges and has a budget the most only can dream about. His main strategy are low lays against big favourites. Often there is a lot of value, because the average Johnny Punter backs them very low. I am a bit surprised that Matt didn't trade out earlier. Heather was trading at 1.45 (well perhaps it was still value, but not so much anymore when you consider the comeback qualities of Serena) and I can bet that Matt went in big to lay Serena at 1.01 to 1.05.

Back to tennis trading... every professional started small. For me there are three ingredients to trade successful (tennis). The most important is the mind. You have to close bad trades early and make the best of green ones. Most spare time traders do the opposite. It's natural that you don't like to lose as human. So - even when the loss is small - it's difficult to accept it. It doesn't wonder me that Matt closed the trade with a small profit and not with a small loss. This topic is discussed in the book "trading in the zone".

The second ingredient - also very important - is the knowledge of markets and players. There are good and bad lays of 1.01-1.05. To lay Djoko since the start is rarely good value. You really have to know the players, markets and patterns. In my opinion there is no chance for Johnny Punters, which just trade the Wimbledon final. Especially tennis trading needs a lot knowledge of the players. They often do the same things, because is a mental single sport and the psychology can't be changed that quick.

The third ingredient is a strategy you trust. You can't copy&paste from the internet. You have to find your own way. If you start with tennis trading it's good to get some ideas of other traders, but you will recognize that some things will not fit your behaviour. If you don't feel comfortable you will fail.

It sounds easy, but because there are three important (and not that easy) ingredients, most hobby traders fail. Most of them think that it's enough to have a good strategy which they downloaded from internet. In the end is hard work (knowlege of players, markets and pattern) and a strong mentality (most of us are weak and lose the nerves when things go against us).

I am with you (Cassini) for most home part time traders, it's not possible to succeed. Right now I do the effort of a full timer, that's the reason why I think I can be successful.

Unknown said...

Hi Cassini!

I am long-time lurker of your blog and a big fan of your writing and your opinions,
which I consider to be always witty.

These latest posts about whether it is possible or not to be a profitable casual trader, have been very interesting and made me want to contribute to the discussion!

So, as a brief presentation on myself I exclusively live trade football markets from my sofa since 2007
and I view myself as a part-time trader although this classification is somewhat ambiguous.
I certainly have traded thousands of hours by now (specially in the first years!) and i´ve been stepping down slowly as I´m getting older and the time is harder to find.

Beginning by the end, my answer to the question in debate is: not impossible, but almost!

So in football markets (as in all sports...i guess), there´s two parts of the equation: the market and the game.
In my opinion, if you don´t have a technological edge (court-siding), you have to be very good in your understanding of one of the parts and world-class in the other,
to be a successful casual trader! Even if you accomplish this, you also have to at least evidence appropriate psychological skills as trading can be the ultimate mindfuck!

In terms of the market, there is a lot of content that you can read to understand the basics, but from a certain point nobody will explain you the why´s or when´s.
The only way to learn is to spend loads of time trading, which can be very frustrating as you will be most likely losing money.
It took me 3 years to be able to break even, and I started losing a good amount of money. The easier option is to quit before you have a fair understanding of how the forces in the markets work.

In terms of the game, if you don´t like the sport or you didn´t watch it as a fan, the chance of succeeding is very slim. Then, there is no manual on how you should watch a game of football in terms of
trading. Again, nobody will tell you how to do it and you have to spend a lot of time watching football outside the games you trade to stand a chance.

Then, you have to harmonize your knowledge of football with your knowledge of the market and try to figure the hardest part: what is a EV+ decision?

Two examples:
1- One time, I layed a team that was losing 1-0 in the second half because the odd dropped a lot and I thought was too low. I was unaware that the odd dropped because the team had already made the three subs and
a player that was being assisted didn´t recovered. 1 minute later, i was already in a good
red position and I notice that my team is playing with 10 men; i immediately edge my
the 8 seconds start to count but my team draws the game before. Final result: a four digit win.

2- I was backing a team that by my interpretation of the game was great value, there is a corner kick against this team, and also an aggression that results in a red card for a player of the team i´m backing,
market suspended and a goal from the corner kick. Final result: a four digit loss.

These examples are too drastic, but my point is that without a lot of experience and emotional intelligence there is a grey area between EV+ and EV-,
that is very hard to master as you can win money from mistakes and the other way round.

As a final analogy, i would say sport trading is a war where people fight with different weapons: automatic rifles, pistols, knives, sticks or even water-guns.
If you have a knife you have to be way more careful than those guys with the rifles!

Best regards

Ps: I don´t know a lot about tennis trading (that is being discussed here) but i think the effect of court-siding makes life harder for tennis traders than for football traders
the tennis markets are way faster and more volatile and have infinitely more crucial events that football (goals and red cards vs loads of break-points).

Unknown said...

*In example one: i layed a team that was winning 1-0

My mistake!

Unknown said...

Sorry, this example is very badly written so lets try again:

Example 1

- 1- One time, I layed a team (team A) that was winning 1-0 in the second half because the odd dropped a lot and I thought it was too low. I was unaware that the odd dropped because team B had already made the three subs and a player that was being assisted didn´t recovered. 1 minute later, i was already in a substantial red position and I notice that my team (team B) is playing with 10 men; i immediately edge my
position, the 8 seconds start to count but team B draws the game before. Final result: a four digit win.