It's been really interesting for me to compare where I was and see how I was feeling last year, to the same date this year. As I showed in my previous post, I was at another huge low with my trading in July 2011. You may remember that this was also the time when Betunfair introduced the 40-60% Premium Charge. A lot of the big players moved over to Betdaq during the initial furore, bleeding the market dry of a lot of money, particularly on the lay side. Whilst I can't blame this entirely for my struggles (I was burnt out and my focus was appalling, plus I didn't have a consistent, proven strategy anyway) it certainly didn't help. I found it much more difficult to get matched, as people fought over the thinning pot that was available, forcing prices down way below their true value.
Now of course, things have changed since then and the big players have pretty much all reverted back to Betunfair and getting matched would no longer be an issue. But what happened forced me to change my entire way of thinking and trading, fundamentally. At first, I panicked and started to worry that the markets changing spelt the end for my dreams of making it as a tennis trader. But rather than give up or carry on with a losing strategy, I started (reluctantly!) to look into other ways of doing things. Through August and September 2011, I got back to doing something I had neglected for a long time - hard work. I came up with various plans to help with my focus, patience and discipline, started reading a few more financial trading books to see if there was anything else I could pick up and most importantly, started trying to look at the markets in different ways. I wanted to see if there were better strategies out there that might suit my personality more and most importantly, be more viable than the one I'd manufactured myself and had been reluctant to move away from for so long.
It took till November for me to come up with all the answers I was looking for but I did eventually find the seeds that were to grow into the strategy I use today. A year on and I can honestly say that I am becoming a decent trader and it's all thanks to our favourite betting exchange - cheers, Betunfair! If it wasn't for your disgusting disregard for your customers and insatiable, rapacious greed, the traders who you unfairly taxed an extra 30% of winnings, would never have disappeared, forcing me to re-evaluate my entire way of trading. Instead, I would probably have continued with an ailing strategy and it may have been many months until I finally realised a change was needed - or I might have just given up or crashed n burned. At the time, I always believed that my strategy was fine, it was ME that was the problem. I felt that in the right hands, the system would be profitable but I needed to change as a person, in order to make it work. I'll never truly know if I was correct but my guess is, I wasn't.
My results were poor over a reasonably long period but I always put that down to my awful discipline. I think this is a dangerous crutch that traders often use. We convince ourselves that if we just improve with cutting our losses earlier and getting rid of those big reds, our P&L will improve drastically. That may well be true in many cases but I think it's easy to over-look those winning trades that perhaps, with proper discipline, would not have been winning trades at all. And when our strategy hits a good spell, we often don't recognise that it might just be variance working in our favour short-term. So instead of staying level-headed and waiting for a better, long-term picture of how things are working, we get over-confident, increase stakes and stop analysing and working hard. I believe that is exactly what happened to me last year.
However good or bad it may have turned out to be, one thing I'm sure of is that my old strategy was nowhere near as suitable for me as my current one. Looking back, I think it was over-complicated, far too risky, inflexible and lacking in basic fundamentals such as 'value'. But I was scared to even consider changing it because I couldn't face the fact I may have to throw 12 months graft down the drain. In the end, that is exactly what I did and I haven't looked back. This past week has been my best ever week of trading and I'm on course for another record-breaking month and that all-important 6 months of consistency. And it's all thanks (inadvertently) to Betunfair!