Wednesday, 23 February 2011
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.