Sunday 25 October 2015

Perpetual Change

While catching up with the Big Pairs blog this morning, I noticed that he gave my win:loss ratio post a mention a few days ago:

The strike rate was 67.9%, with profitable trades averaging £54.04 and loss-making trades averaging £29.39. Having read Cassini's recent post on this ratio it's something I will be tracking into the future.
That's an impressive ratio. Mr Big also touches on the recently covered topic here of time and work / life balance, writing:
Aside from the reading I also spent some time assessing my trading progress to date. Two weeks away from the markets has helped me realise that I need to find a better balance in life and not spend every waking hour in front of the screens. When I eventually do leave my job and trade for a living I don't want to be spending 18 hours a day working.
Indeed, that would not be healthy for either the eyes, or ones relationships. Seventeen and a half hours a day is more than enough per day, in my opinion.
“When it's all said and done, the only thing that matter in life are so damn simple. Family, friends. being safe and well. I think before the war a lot of people got sucked in by the crap on TV. They thought having the right shoes or the right jeans or the right car really mattered. Boy were we ever dumb.”  John Marsden, The Night is For Hunting
There's little point in accumulating wealth if you don't have the good health and time to enjoy it.

James put on his glasses to provide more details on the state of his health, sharing that:
Okay, so I do like the odd calorie or ten but not to the level where it causes obesity. I can never drink alcohol consistently enough to be an alcoholic as I get sick of the stuff if I drink it on consecutive days. I haven't touched the Weston's for over a month. Also, I can't see the benefits of putting dead leaves in your mouth and setting fire to them.
One thing I am proud not to have an addiction to is chasing losses. Fibonacci and Martingale are not in my algos, just mocked in my blog. Mocking never seems to work though, many people flock to those two temples of insanity no matter how many times we warn them off it.
I did like all the Bohemian Rhapsody lyrics in your blog titles. I also noticed a partial one from Olivia Newton-John and even a title from a Yes album though they might not have been intentional.
Something calls me from a dark place... so time to rest my eyes.
The piece on mocking was particularly interesting. The attitude that somehow the laws of probability and mathematics won't apply to them seems extraordinarily pervasive. I'm not sure if I have mentioned this story before, but a former colleague was heading to Las Vegas and excitedly telling me about his roulette system. Never mind that Roulette in Las Vegas is an even worse idea than in England with its "00" slot, but his system was this - watch until one of the colours (not green) came up three times in a row, and then start betting on the other colour, doubling up after a loss. When I politely pointed out that the wheel has no memory, he said he understood that, which is why he would wait until the same colour had come up three times in a row before starting! The chances of 4, 5, 6 or even, heaven forbid, 7 times in a row were huge, or so he thought. And this is, by most measures at least, an intelligent, well educated man.

I think another reason mocking doesn't work is because people just don't like to be told they are wrong, even if logic makes it clear that they are. Their ideas become a part of them, often entrenched, and criticism, even if polite and fair, is seen as an attack on them, rather on their ideas.

I wish I had kept the details, but I read a story once about a respected scientist who had essentially devoted his working life to proving a theory. Towards the end of his career, he attended a lecture on his area of expertise, and evidence was presented proving that the scientist was wrong. At the end of the lecture, he walked onto the stage, shook the speakers hand and told the audience "I was wrong".

I am not sure many of us could do this so readily, but there should be no shame in admitting you were wrong about something when presented with evidence proving so. Politicians have a particularly hard time with this, with changing your views seen as a weakness, but if you take a position on something, hopefully based on facts, and the facts change, there should be no shame in changing your opinion.

One of my peeves is that of referencing meaningless data as if it has significance.
Previously the two clubs met in the 1930 Semi-Final with Arsenal advancing after a replay winning 1:0 at Villa Park after a 2:2 draw in the first match at Elland Road. Hull led 2:0 with 20 minutes to go in the first match, and I therefore perceive value in laying Arsenal in the half-time market. These matches are particularly relevant given that both were played on neutral grounds, as of course the FA Cup Final will be. Interestingly 1930 saw the first World Cup finals and with this year also being a World Cup year, I perceive there is value to be had in backing Uruguay to win the World Cup.
That was an extremely silly example to make the point, but you do still see such comments out there. Such details might be interesting as a tidbit on the BBC Sport match preview page, but they should have no place in a serious article about betting.

As for song titles and lyrics in my blog titles, yes I do this from time to time. Coming up with a title actually takes as long sometimes as the actual post. I do like my music, especially Queen who I saw live many times in my teens and twenties, and I do like my puns too, so that's a device I use also from time to time. Just using the date is the easy way out, but I can't say such titles make me think "ooh, that looks interesting. Let's see what that is about". At least titles along the lines of NFL Week 7 do tell you (presumably) what the post is about, and perhaps save you a click if the subject is of no interest, but I like to be a little more mysterious and pique curiosity. It seems to be working, with the daily hit count averaging over 600 this past week.

Back to Betfair Pro Trader and James again, and he has some kind words in his most recent post, about the two sports betting blogs he reads:
The sports betting blogs that I do read are not of the profit and loss type. Those blogs are Green All Over and Sports Trader. Neither of them have anything to sell, be it tips, courses or merchandise. I have had a few mentions from Cassini, the nom de plume of Green All Over and here I return the compliment. I can't say that I am all that interested in association football or baseball but I do like the analysis of a sport and the modelling of a trading strategy, which Cassini so eloquently does with his wig and pen. Also, Green All Over contains a lot of philosophy of sports trading that I enjoy reading, mixed in with off-topic and more general investment content.
While I am somewhat familiar with Green All Over, and I do agree with James that it is excellent, Sports Trader was a new blog to me, and has been added to my blog roll for a look when time permits. The bad news is that the recent jump in hits is probably all down to James catching up after some time away focusing on writing his book Programming for Betfair and the hits will likely drop into single digits very soon.

Perhaps it is the ongoing Rugby Union World Cup that made James feel he needed to prefix football with the word "association". I am fortunate enough to have a son who has two tickets for the final next Saturday, and barring a rift in the family during the next week, I am reasonably confident that one of them will have my name on it. I'm looking forward to it. I've not been to Twickenham since it was renovated, and I have never seen the Haka live either.

James ends his post with these words:
So there you have it. I read just two sports betting blogs that make me think rather than make me wonder why I am not making obscene amounts of money like the P&L blogs, which is probably just as well as I doubt that most of the P&L blogs are telling the whole truth.
There's always the good old Benford number tests if anyone cares enough to validate the numbers reported by someone else. Personally, I think you can get a good feel for whether someone is profitable or not, certainly from longevity, but also, as James says in reference to Sports Trader:
Again there is no mention of winnings or losses. I can only imagine that such attention to detail has been rewarded with some profit.
Sports Trader has been blogging since 2009, and while he doesn't post too often (just 37 mostly short posts in that time), the impression is that he knows what he is doing. n the other hand, I haven't got a clue, and have just been lucky for the last 10 years of perpetual change.
"A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people." - Will Rogers

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