Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Rock Bottom

For probably the first time in my whole year of trading, I woke up feeling negative. My stake is now the same as my entire bank - in fact, it's smaller than my usual stake. I had lost all faith in myself and had no idea what I was going to do from one match to the next. I didn't sleep well last night due to a muscle I strained in my back because I punched the walls so hard yesterday. All in all, I was not looking forward to today and fully expected it to be my last ever day of trading.

Believe it or not, I was actually a much worse trader 6 months ago! I thought back to some of the things I used to do and have improved upon and it is startling:

1. My concentration is VASTLY improved. I used to watch TV at the same time as I traded. I would get involved in conversations on the Betfair forum during matches. I would even up and leave mid-trade to make food. My mind would wander aimlessly during games so that I had no idea how the players were playing. All of that is now gone. I'm 100% focused behind every point and have no distractions.

2. I would chase on the football. I haven't bet on it for months now but whenever I lost on the tennis I would try to recoup it on the soccer. I figured that if I made it back on another sport, it mattered more because I would not normally have won that money. If I just won it back on tennis, it wasn't really recouped because I would have placed that trade anyway. Warped. And cost me a lot of cash.

3. I would place huge risky bets in fits of rage, to chase losses. I once emptied my credit card of over £1000 and stuck it all on Manchester United to score a goal. There was only about 20 mins left in the game! With 3 mins to go, they were losing to Everton and I had never been so frightened in my life. Fortunately, Everton gave away a lame penalty right at the end and Ronaldo stuck it home - I went ballistic! I also once lost £1000 on one match and so immediately put my last £100 on Barcelona to lose 0-1 at home to Osasuna (I backed the current score). An hour of nail biting later and I won back the whole grand! Stupid times!

4. I was terrible at trading ATP, just could not make money out of it. I barely even bothered watching men's games, I would nearly always lose. This year, my ATP trading has improved ten-fold and I am now almost as comfortable trading it as I am with WTA.

5. I did not treat trading professionally. I'd be constantly late and would miss the start of games. I wouldn't check to see how far behind my stream was. I would have 3 or 4 matches on the go at once. Sometimes I'd just dive into matches that were half way through, with no idea what was going on. I'd be getting ready for a night out at the same time as trying to trade. It was all a mess.

So despite all this improvement, how come I haven't got anywhere financially? I now realise that it is impatience and that is because I've become desperate. The closer that I get to losing all my money, the more desperate I've become, getting involved too quickly in trades, letting them run longer and getting more and more frustrated every time I miss an opportunity or don't make as much as I should have. This is why things have nose-dived lately. The only way I can get out of this is to forget about the financial situation and just take my time and follow the strategy. In the past, I've always managed to do this after a bad spell but I knew I had plenty of my bank left and so was more relaxed and more patient. Now, I can't quite get over the anxiety of losing everything.

Today was a carbon copy of yesterday; a perfect start, calm and sticking to the strategy. But after a few missed opportunities I started to get frustrated and put on a bad trade. Following that, I just lost it again on one game with a trade I would never normally do and didn't rectify the error.

They say you have to hit rock bottom before you are able to make the changes needed to turn things around. This applies to addicts of all kinds and to those who have been through bad patches in life. Well I'm there now. How ironic that the girl who has probably dealt me the final blow is the one in the background of this very blog - Dominika Cibulkova.


  1. It sounds as though you're having a rough time of things at the minute but I think you're being a bit hard on yourself. In my opinion you're still learning. It can take years to acquire the mindset to become a successful trader. What you are experiencing now is what many traders have. You are still making mistakes but you must learn from these mistakes and you will become better for it. Drop your expectations along with your liability. If you're losing too much you are obviously over exposing your bank. If you keep the losses manageable then the need to chase will dissipate because you will have confidence that you can make it back in the next match. Don't throw away a full 12 months worth of experience because you're having a rough patch, learn from it.

    In the words of Albert Einstein: Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    Rant over and good luck.

  2. Thanks for the words of encouragement Steve. I can actually handle losses, which is something I've improved upon massively but only when those losses were gained when I used my strategy properly. Whenever I lose from doing something different / stupid, I can't handle it and end up losing my rag. This is why I keep saying 'stick to the strategy'. It sounds so easy and it would solve all my problems but I can't control my impatience / emotions enough to do this. I know exactly what I need to do, I just can't do it in the heat of the moment.

  3. Hi,
    I have read your last few posts and it sounds like you know how to make a profit. It is lack of discipline that seems to result in you giving it back plus a bit more.
    I found it tough at times when i was relying on my trading profits to pay bills but overcame it. Have a look at my blog for the post about "beating the mind games". I won't post a link as this isn't about me. I know you have the address.
    Stick with it. Be happy with 10% or 15% per match. if you can be more consistent its surprising how they add up.
    Good luck

  4. Cheers Tradeshark. It is that added pressure of 'needing' to win money, relying on profits, that has gotten to me. This is the worst run I've ever been on, yet I'm more aware of what I should be doing than ever before - that's what is so frustrating! I normally grab those 10-15% greens and don't look back but I've tried for too much, too many times lately.

    I'm surprised I missed the post you mentioned as I regularly read your blog. What a great read! Believe it or not, I have actually had hypnosis for anxiety years ago and it changed my entire life! I actually have CDs and can do it myself, so I will be giving it a try today. I'll let you know how it goes, thanks again.

  5. keep going mate you are going in the right direction, it amazes me reading your blog how many similarities we share with regards chasing red on other sports. Why dont you set a certain amount each day like £70 rather than just going for as many games as poss?as it seems like your concentration is higher in the mornings and by midday you could stop for the day once you amount has been reached..just a suggestion.

  6. Cheers Stephen. I don't think my concentration is any better in the morning (I've started badly plenty of times during this blog!), the issue is just that as the day goes on, the build up of frustration (not getting matched, losing green, mistakes etc) eventually explodes and so I do something really stupid later on.

    I never set daily amounts because I believe it's best not to set any targets. Once you get into that mindset it can cause you to chase later in the day if you don't reach it. I don't even set weekly targets for that reason. But yes, I should definitely be trading less games. I used to ignore a lot more games because they weren't suitable. Now, I find I'm getting desperate and try to make money from every game I follow. I should be saying 'No bet' much more.


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