Saturday, 12 December 2015

Empty Guerdon

While I am not averse to the use of double-entendres in my blog post titles, any connection made between the subject of my 22 November post “Under-Taker” and my father’s current state of health, was quite unintentional.

Such a link would have been in extraordinarily poor taste, even for me, and James read more into that title than I had intended, but no harm done other than that I feel far less special as my blog is now merely a one-of-three for him, demoted from a one-of-two. I feel like Mrs. 7th Day Adventist whose husband has just announced that a new “sister-wife” has joined the family. I’ll get over it.

James’ comment was:
I am sorry to hear about your Pop and hope for improvement in his situation.
Also, I am sorry for flirting elsewhere but the double meaning of the title of your previous post meant that I didn't want to pry into your circumstances.
I think my "exclusive" reading list of three blogs has pretty much covered the spectrum of sports trading; theoretician, manual trader, algo-trader.
The good wishes are appreciated, but it’s probably no longer accurate to describe myself as a trader – manual or other. I learned long ago that I have no edge in financial trading, and while I clearly did have an edge in trading certain sports and events in-play for several years, opportunities today are few and far between. 

The trading landscape has changed. Some were efficient from the start, while others took longer to mature, but the competition has its act together pretty much everywhere these days, and while it is certainly possible to make money on any single event, the forces against which you are competing are likely too strong in the long term, especially if you are also fighting against the Premium Charge. The result is that most people spend an awful lot of time losing their money, at best, slowly, and for most of us, time is money. Bottom line is, it’s no longer worth it.

For financial investments, once reality set in that I have no edge, I have followed the simple advice to invest at least 10% of income in a diverse collection of low fee mutual funds and investment trusts and leave it alone. Although it was an appealing thought that somehow I could know more about the true value of a stock, commodity, currency or whatever than the thousands of professionals trading those markets every day, it was somewhat naïve. In my defence, it should be pointed out that the proliferation of books about how to beat the markets, how to trade like a professional etc. didn’t help, but as Fred Schwed Jr wrote:
“Probably no reader has ever been so rude as to enquire of a professional writer on financial matters why the writer, who clearly knows so much about money, is not rich. Nevertheless, many a reader probably thinks quietly about this.”
For sports trading, there is no parallel to investing long term, but punting (betting on an outcome pre-game, and letting it run) does at least share the benefit of saving that precious commodity of time. Waking up to an increased balance on your account and it’s easy to feel that you “have achieved life’s loveliest guerdon – making some money without doing any work”, which is another line from Fred Schwed Jr’s excellent 1940 book “Where Are The Customers’ Yachts?”. Of course, the real work of identifying an edge has already been put in, while placing the bet itself is the easy part.
Many of you reading this are undoubtedly familiar with Steve M (above) of Daily25. Initially famous for his large, at least by most people’s standards, stakes and unwavering commitment to following his strategies through both good times and bad, Aussie Steve has recently started to produce a weekly video update and is now achieving notoriety for the hairiness of his chest. If you’re into that sort of thing, I’d recommend checking out one of the earlier episodes as a number of complaints have resulted in Steve dressing rather more conservatively in his latest production. The concern for Steve appears to be that his ratings will plunge in sync with his neckline. Anyway, the weekly video is very watchable, with Steve coming across as a very straight forward and pleasant young man, although looks can of course be deceiving, (especially when it comes to Australians).

There are a couple of reasons why I mention Steve, and one is that this week he recommends a book called “Trading Bases” by Joe Peta and with the same book resident on my bookshelf, I can concur that it is a good read. The writer is a former Wall Street trader who made the move to betting on baseball.

The second reason is that Steve mentions a ‘fund’ based approach to betting. This is something that I have moved towards myself this year, with a number of systems across different sports being applied. I don’t believe Steve trades anything in-play – Australia has rules in place that make this very difficult – so his approach is by necessity similar to the one I am moving towards. Steve’s source for selections is from a number of tipsters, interestingly even when he doesn’t agree with their selections as he reveals in this week’s vlog. My selections come from my own research, with some of the systems shared here free of charge. While all the systems I use have a positive expectancy in the long term, the short-term can often be tricky, but by having several selection streams running in parallel, the profit line should be smoother.

Back to Wall Street, and I see that Betfair Tennis Trader Sammy has seen the writing on the wall for tennis trading. As I have written on many occasions, this link being one example, the chances of being profitable over the long-term trading court-sider infested sports are slim at best. Sammy's next project makes me wonder if the lesson has been learned though, as he writes:
You might wonder what my next adventure is? I've decided to try to learn a new game. And that's the stock exchange game. I've been grinding the Stockholm exchange roughly the last 2 months. My goal is to be break even for the first 6 months and anything better is just a bonus. It's a totally different beast the stock exchange compared to the sports exchange. But it's a lot of fun and I'm learning a lot of new things. We will see how it goes. =)
Good luck with that, but it's not a totally different beast in my opinion. As with tennis, Sammy will soon find out that there are plenty of people more knowledgeable, or at least with more current information, than him about the value of stocks traded on the Stockholm Exchange.

I'm not even sure why I am mentioning Wall Street and stocks this morning. Last week, in particular yesterday, wasn't a pleasant experience with Wall Street's worst week since August. As bad as the numbers were, it was arguably preferable to looking at Steve's chest though...

1 comment:

James said...

It is interesting that many people who enter into sports trading do so to cut their teeth before entering financial trading. Some openly make it seem that financial trading is a man's game and their playing at being a sports trader is just child's play afore the main event. Can it all be ego?

You would think the daily reported financial scandals would make them wary of this "Man's World" that is financial trading but no, their one-man operation is the equal of any corporate/mafia concern.

You would also think their meagre bankrolls would be better suited to the capacity of sports trading where they are up against similarly sized bankrolls but they prefer to be kicked around in the multi-trillion "Man's Game". One chip against many deep stacks.

By my definition you are a "manual fundamental trader".