Monday, 28 January 2013

Murray v Djokovic: A Trader's Dream!!

WOW!! What a match we had to end the Australian Open in Melbourne! If you were trading this match, there is simply no way you could have lost money! With so many  momentum shifts, market fluctuations, ladder flip-flops, oscillating prices, ups and downs, peaks and troughs, twists and turns, oohs and aahs, backhands and forehands, spins and slices, drop shots and volleys, bubbles and squeaks, lager and limes, apples and pears, Ant and Decs, you would have profited from this match no matter what you did! If you backed Murray at the start, his price shortened considerably, if you backed Djokovic, HE WON!!

It really was a trader's dream, and not just any old dream, a WET dream, one involving Diane Youdale (better known as Jet from 90's TV smash 'Gladiators') and that blonde one off of Girls Aloud, who looks a right go-er! To be frank, if you lost money on this game you'd have to be an utterly shambolic, pathetic, non-entity of a man. I'd go as far as to say, you are a dufus of the highest order and should give that 45% APR credit card you so obviously used to debit your Betfair account, back to your Mummy because you should not have access to or be in possession of such funds with your limited capacity for simple thought processes.

Here's a graph of Djokovic's price which proves my point 100% and there's nothing anyone can say to refute that because you can't argue with facts presented in picture form:

Proof I'm sure you'll agree, that tennis trading is a piece of piss. I made a shit-load on this match and do on  every game of this ilk and guess what? You can too!

On a completely separate note, I've recently released "Sultan Tennis: The Complete Moron's Guide to Trading Tennis on Betfair". This comes highly recommended by myself and as you can't really lose money on tennis (unless you've got serious psychological disorders or a life-wrecking gambling addiction, in which case, sort it out guv!) the cost of this £75 guide (reduced from £999.99 for a limited time period only, just 19 copies remaining!!) will pay for itself in no time!

So if you've spent the past 5 years jizzing the family's shopping budget on 3am Copa Libertadores soccer action (live from Ecuador), why not give tennis trading a whirl instead? Go on, stop being such a mug and let the kids eat this week for a change. In fact, you can treat them to a Kerry Katona King Prawn & Cocaine Iceland Party Platter or one of them tasty Doner Kebab Pizzas what they do. After all, it's a no-lose situation!

Gisela Dulko:

Saturday, 26 January 2013

The Sultan & Peter Webb Part 3

 A second comment from Peter Webb today, in response to my second blog post:

"After a significant number of years of trading and blogging I'm sort of resigned to the fact that people will take what they want out of my blog posts, positive and negative. In and out of context.

In the blog post, I did make it clear that you wouldn't lose if you took the entry point I indicated. I also dropped in nice graph to really show up the characteristics of the match. When I do posts like this I am not looking to mislead people, quite the contrary. I'm saying, "Wow look at this". I'll often post on mens five set matches because they can create such outstanding trading opportunities.

Over the course of the tournament I've collected tons of data which will allow me to research and refine what I do further. I'd like to post some of it up at some point. I'm pretty sure people will be looking for where the best trading situations occured, rather than how they could have lost money. So that's the context in which I am always likely to post.

It's fine if you want to disagree with me, I have no problem with that. But it won't change how I trade Tennis. I don't really have the desire to point score, excuse the pun. So I'm just happy to agree to disagree.

Even after 13 years on Betfair I still learn new things quite often. So I'm always deliberately critical with myself so that I can improve what I do going forward. I'm a firm believer that you should never take anything for granted in this game, even if you are settled in your trading.
 BTW, I was trying to be patronising in my previous comment. I just wanted to offer you the chance to have a first hand discussion. Can't really be fair than that."

My response:

 "Hi Peter,

I don't think you did make it clear that you wouldn't lose if you took the entry point you indicated. It doesn't say that anywhere in your original post, all it says is that if you were trading that match, you couldn't lose. This is the sort of thing that bloggers write who are trying to get people to think tennis trading is easy so they will buy their products.

I'm not arguing about your strategy, I was just riled at the fact that you (and other bloggers) keep writing things which can be misleading for new tennis traders.

I'm not the only one who felt the same way about your post, so it's not just me who 'took it out of context'. You did say exactly what you did (regarding trading the Wawrinka-Djokovic match in the second part of the original post) but before that, you were just talking generally. The quote is clear, I'm not sure how you can take it out of context:

"This match exhibited perfect trading characteristics again. It was another match, where if you were trading, you couldn’t lose. If you backed the outsider his price shortened considerably. If you backed the favourite he won!"

If you were talking about yourself, why do you keep using the word 'you'?

Anyway I won't go on any more, you've explained yourself and I'll accept what you've said but surely you can see from the above quote, how it can be perceived as though you are making tennis trading seem simple?"

I'm still left feeling confused. If anyone can point out where Peter is talking specifically about his own trading in the first few sentences, then they are a better man than me! My original intention was not to have a go at Peter Webb. Others have questioned his trading style (see comments on previous post) but I haven't at all, that was never the issue. My intention was to question why someone would say that any tennis match was a match where you couldn't lose, and as I couldn't comment directly on his blog, I did so here. The whole "trader's dream" thing is something which has annoyed me for years - I guess this was just the straw that broke the camel's back! I never wanted it to seem as though I'm sniping at Peter but the answers given are quite ambiguous and I can't really make out what he is trying to say.

He ends by saying he was (wasn't?) deliberately being patronising in his original reply, in order to stimulate some debate over his tennis strategy. But I was never puzzled about his strategy. The only thing I'm puzzled about  is why he would say that you (as in 'us', the readers) couldn't lose, unless this was a deliberate attempt to make tennis seem an easy sport to make money from. I still wasn't 100% convinced by his answer and then I spotted a post he'd made a few days earlier which really cemented my initial opinion. In this post (talking about the Kvitova-Robson match) Peter says:

"The practical upshot is you had masses of chances to either profit or avoid a loss in this match regardless of whether you backed or laid either player at the start. The only way this couldn’t have happened is if one player dominated the match from start to finish. Even then you could have guessed that position correctly 50% of more of the time by backing the ‘right’ player, probably the favourite.
So in this particular match you should have struggled to lose money if you were trading. This was purely on the basis of the very large number of opportunities to profit or exit for no loss, a direct function of a competitive match playing out over a long time period.

However,  I bet you people did lose. That is most likely to do with psychological issues and a lack of understanding of trading risk, than the way the market played out"

What he has written here is identical to what he wrote about Wawrinka-Djokovic but with greater clarity. Again, he is saying you couldn't really lose money on this match, simply because it had a lot of ups and downs.  He does not talk about his own strategy and how you couldn't lose money if you did the same. He says "regardless of whether you backed or laid" which means he is saying whatever you did, you shouldn't have lost money. As for 'guessing' and backing the 'right' player '50% of the time', I'm not even going to go there!

To rub salt in the wounds, he finishes by saying that you could only lose because of 'psychological issues'. So basically, if you lost money on Robson-Kvitova (I didn't trade it myself) it is not because of bad variance, it is not because the match didn't play out the way you needed it to, it's not even because you chose the wrong option at the start of the match,  it's because you need to sort your head out. Really!? I'm sure a lot of very experienced traders out there will have something to say about that!

I'm now more convinced than ever that Peter Webb's posts were only made to make it seem as though tennis trading is easy and as I mentioned in my original post, this is nonsense. This whole episode might appear to be a bit petty on the surface but there are people out there who will be duped into thinking tennis trading is a doddle, based on what they see written by someone so respected and then go out and waste money on products and get a nasty surprise when they start trading. OK, it doesn't affect me personally but it's the principal of the matter that bothers me.

Peter Webb's defence was that I/we took his words out of context and yet here we have a second, almost identical post, which clear as day states that we really shouldn't be losing money on these types of matches no matter what we did - with the caveat that if we STILL managed to lose, it was our fault because we didn't stake correctly or lost our heads!! If he is just trying to show the number of opportunities that exist within matches like these, why can't he do that without insisting that you can't/shouldn't lose? Sorry Peter but I'm just not buying it........

Bojana Jovanovski:

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Peter Webb Responds!

My previous post which focused on a comment by Peter Webb on his blog, has struck a chord with many people. I've had lots of comments, both here and on Twitter, the latest of which came from the man himself. So I felt it would be of interest to my readers to take a closer look and allow me to respond in greater detail:

"Sorry guys, but you have got the wrong end of the stick. Just because you trade differently to me doesn’t mean either of us are right or wrong, but perhaps you should be asking yourself why I would say something like that? It may give you an insight into how I trade? Sultan, if you live near us you are welcome to pop in for a coffee and some enlightenment."

First of all Peter, thanks for your comments and taking the time to respond. I can't help but find this first paragraph just a little patronising though! I have been trading tennis for 3 years now and although I admit the first 18 months were spent mostly in the dark doing the wrong things, I'm pretty certain that I don't need any 'enlightenment' these days (though I appreciate the offer and may well take you up on that coffee if you can change it to a decaf tea!). That's not to say there is nothing left to learn and improve upon but I consider myself experienced enough to know the differing ways that a tennis market can be traded.  I thought your insight into how you trade was very clear, especially on this particular game. You backed Wawrinka, greened up and then put some of the green on Djokovic. I didn't trade this match but if I had done, that is almost exactly what I would have done too.

There was almost no way you could lose using that strategy on this match (but only because it fit YOUR strategy). At a guess, I would say that this is what you meant by your comments that I picked out. I did illustrate in my original post that it IS still possible to end up red by doing this. This is because it will depend on a) How much green you made when you backed Wawrinka/layed Djokovic b) How much of that green you used to back Djokovic and c) How long you stayed in the market when Djokovic's price went back out and over evens. Maybe that is all a bit pedantic but the whole point of my original post was that you claimed that it was impossible to lose no matter what ANY trader did (you were not talking about yourself specifically) and that simply isn't true.

"I would ask anybody who disagreed with my post to look a little deeper at how you trade. Tennis is a unique sport and you should approach it differently to other sports. Many sports offer the ability to profit, many, many times throughout the event, if you trade; sometimes regardless of your opening position."

Again, a tad patronising Peter! Perhaps some of those people who commented don't understand that you can churn over your profits in order to place risk free bets and trades (or at least lower risk ones), throughout the match but I thought I made it clear in my analysis that I understood this and it is something I do too. But just because you can keep churning over your profits, cutting bad positions and re-entering to nullify reds, it doesn't mean that you are going to make the 'correct' decisions every time. Your reds can get bigger, just as your greens can.

The main problem I had was with the one paragraph where you said:

"This match exhibited perfect trading characteristics again.  It was another match, where if you were trading, you couldn’t lose. If you backed the outsider his price shortened considerably.  If you backed the favourite he won!"  

I'm sure you will acknowledge that this is not true because, as I went to great lengths to prove in my original post, everyone has different entry and exit points, so even if their basic strategy was the same as yours, it doesn't mean they would end in profit. So to say it was 'perfect trading characteristics' and 'you couldn't lose' comes across as though you are trying to make profiting on tennis trading seem simple, no matter what you did. If traders did EXACTLY what you did, they couldn't lose! But most traders will not have done exactly the same. As you say, doesn't make either them or you, right or wrong. But it doesn't change the fact you did say "It was another match, where if you were trading, you couldn’t lose" and it is this line in particular that I think has annoyed a lot of people, especially when you tie it in with the fact that you do have products to sell which would benefit from you making tennis trading seem easy.

"At the end of the day I blog based on personal experience. I know people trying to flog crap post up anything, but each post I make is because I was active on a market and something interesting happened. Interesting enough to think it’s of value enough to talk about it. I did post a nice visualisation for everybody as well BTW."
I always read your blog and appreciate your posts because they are based on your own experience. But every single Grand Slam, I read posts claiming that matches were a "trader's dream" and that you "couldn't lose", not just from yourself I should add. I still stand by the fact that a match is only perfect if it fits your trading style and your comments seem pretty clearly to me to suggest that you should be profiting from matches such as Djokovic-Wawrinka no matter what your trading style.

You say "perhaps you should be asking yourself why I would say something like that?" Well I've been doing exactly that and I still don't really understand why you would say something like that! I've spoken to other, equally experienced traders about your post and they all agree that just because a match swings back and forth, providing lots of opportunities, it doesn't mean we can't end up with huge all-red screens after 4 hours! Maybe it is just your choice of words that is the problem and if that is the case, now is your chance to perhaps explain what you did really mean because it's not just me who is confused.

"I do take comments on the blog, but you are also welcome to visit the forum to chat which is where most of my interaction takes place."

I have often wanted to comment on your posts but have never been able to do so as they've always been closed off (maybe I need to be a member?). If I'd been able to, I would never have written a blog post in the first place! Over to you, Peter :)

Sloane Stephens:

Monday, 21 January 2013

Tennis Trading Fallacy

"This match exhibited perfect trading characteristics again.  It was another match, where if you were trading, you couldn’t lose. If you backed the outsider his price shortened considerably.  If you backed the favourite he won!"

I am really sick of reading this! Typically, it is the blogs which have tennis systems and other trading tools to sell, that trot this complete garbage out time and time again. This was taken from Peter Webb's latest blog post on the Wawrinka-Djokovic Australian Open match. Whenever there is a tennis match which swings back and forth, we never hear the end of it. All of a sudden, tennis becomes the best sport to trade, so good that you can't possibly lose no matter what you do! I'm sure most of you will already realise that this is  simply not true but I'm also sure that plenty will be taken in by this. So as a tennis trader of 3 years now, I'll make it very clear just why it's a fallacy.

Let's say you layed Djokovic at the start of the match. I don't know what the SP was as I was actually going to bed when this match started and missed out on all the fun. It will have been sub-1.05. So that's a very low risk lay of Djokovic which would have won you some money greening up at any point up to just over evens. Of course, I'm 100% certain that some people will have stayed in looking for the big win on Wawrinka and ended up losing the lot but I won't split hairs on that.

If you'd backed Djokovic at SP, first and foremost, you are a mug! But putting that to one side, at what point do you decide (as a TRADER, not as a gambler) to exit your bet? If you don't already know this, then you are not a trader with a plan and a trader without a plan is normally a loser. So let's say that you know your stop-loss point. Where is it? If you backed at SP, you would be in a lot of trouble once Djokovic hit 1.5 in set 1. You are then staring down the barrel of a rather hefty all-red screen if you didn't exit before then. Djokovic actually traded over evens later on. Surely no one at that point would have not hit their stop-loss point? If you hadn't exited your trade by then, you were really just gambling. And this is the point I'm trying to make. All traders have to have an exit point, otherwise, they are not trading.

I'm certain that lots of people who backed Djokovic (either at SP or more wisely, above 1.2) would have been in a serious quandary once he hit 2.0. I'm certain many will have redded up nice and early and taken a small hit. I'm certain others will have let it ride a bit longer than usual, just because it is the world number 1 and taken a slightly larger hit than usual. I'm certain that some will have gradually reduced the liability as the price increased. I'm also certain that many will have panicked, not exited, bitten their nails to stubs and gone through emotional torment to bag themselves a green. So to say 'you couldn't lose' is obviously a load of horse manure and many who will have won, will know deep down that they got off the hook on this one. Just as many will know that they made a loss but did the right thing in redding up on Novak. Others will learn never to back at sub 1.10 ever again, whilst some will think this is a license to do it even more!

My point is that everyone has a different strategy, different stop-loss points and different risk aversion. So there are of course, always going to be winners AND losers on every tennis match. It's impossible to guess which way it will swing and when it will happen in every tennis match. I'm sure plenty of people layed Djokovic between 1.5 and 2, when it would have seemed obvious that the market was in love with him, despite being a set and a break down. The price will have looked great value and I can't argue with that- it looked a good move. How do you think most of them reacted when the price tumbled back down to sub-1.10? It would have been different for everyone - some would have taken a small green after a few ticks, others will have gone for more and had to scratch when it reversed, others will have held on longer and taken a red.

Let's say you greened up after an early lay of Djokovic. Some will have re-invested that green by backing Djokovic, as Peter Webb did. But Djokovic then went back out to over evens - so what do they do then? It's possible they may have scratched and won nothing or they may have dipped back into the red and ended up redding-out despite the fact they'd initially made a profit. There are many scenarios which illustrate my point but I'm sure you get what I'm saying now.

A tennis match only shows 'perfect trading characteristics' when it fits YOUR strategy. Otherwise, it's only a perfect match for someone else. Of course, a match that swings back and forth and has a wide odds range (which this one didn't, ironically, as Novak barely shifted above evens) is usually a better match for most traders to get involved in, as it offers more opportunities but that still doesn't make it impossible to lose. But authors such as Peter Webb (and this is in  no way a personal attack on him as other blogs are guilty of this too) make it seem as though all these tennis matches are ripe for the picking and that you'd have to be  a complete cretin not to make money from them. But I guess that is entirely the point when you have something you are trying to sell................

Julia Goerges:

Monday, 14 January 2013

Australian Open 2013

So you are probably expecting a review of the Australian Open. A summary of who to watch and my picks for outright winner, perhaps a couple of outright market value bets to trade. Well tough, cos that ain't gonna happen! To be frank, we all know who is going to win on the men's side as there are really only 3 or 4 who stand a chance. On the women's side, there is only one player who will win if she's on form and everyone will be tipping her. The outright markets don't interest me. I'll be sticking with what I normally do in-play. It's tried and tested and only my own supreme idiocy can mess things up so I don't come out of my favourite tournament on the calendar with a profit. So what the hell is this post about, you ask? Well, nothing to do with the Australian Open, in truth. But like the hours I'm now trading, it could turn my life upside down.

I've had a very interesting offer put on the table for me. I've been given the opportunity to trade with a bigger bank. Basically, I've been approached through this blog by someone who is willing to risk their own money in order to take a share in my profits. I won't go into exact specifics of the deal but it is still being discussed before we come to an agreement on all aspects. Suffice to say, I'm a tad sceptical but at the same time, very excited. If this goes to plan, I will be able to make significantly larger profit than I have so far been able to accrue, due to my relatively small trading bank, even accounting for the shared profits. This was something I was not going to reveal on the blog but as the interested party shows no problem with it, I don't see why  I should keep it a secret.

It's actually something I've thought about for a while, finding an investor who would be willing to bankroll me in return for a share of the spoils. With a year of solid profit behind me, recorded on this blog, I did hope that I might seem an attractive prospect to someone. Of course, with the online world a murky river full of sharks, you can't be too careful with whoever approaches you but rest assured, I have my head pretty screwed on and won't be venturing forth without diligent scrutiny. But I have been bemoaning for a while now, my lack of opportunity to grow my bank. Certain circumstances still prevent me from compounding and without that, I'm treading water when I could be applying the exact same techniques but earning several times more with a relatively small cash injection. If I'd had a similar investment in 2012, any investor would have seen an average 50% return on their money every month - can't ask for much more than that! Of course, that would've been split with myself but still a very handsome return for doing very little.

Anyway, it's pretty much all that is occupying my mind right now, so the Australian Open has taken a back seat somewhat. So no write up for me this year. What this opportunity has made me do, is start to think more about other ways to make money, increase the bank etc. I've been approached about various projects since writing this blog, most notably last year, which is little surprise as that was when I started to make money! Most of them I've declined, a couple of them I got involved with but I felt I didn't have the time to give my all to them. I was still moulding my trading, still aiming to reach consistent profitability and I wanted to devote all my energy to getting that right. Now that I feel I'm 'there', I am now more open to ideas and anything which might push my trading to the next level. 2013 could be an even bigger year than I expected. The Sultan is now open for some serious business!

Elena Vesnina, Tsvetana Pironkova and some fit bird:

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Happy New Fecking Year

2013 has been a total disaster. Since the tennis season started, I have only recorded TWO wins. I daren't even look at all the reds but it's easily my longest draw-down EVER. I didn't suffer anything like this in the whole of 2012. So what has been the reason for it? Well, aside from 1 particularly bad trade, I haven't really done much wrong. It really has just been a case of extreme bad variance. In fact, the worst loss (which totals just under 50% of my entire losses) was in the very first game of the season! I completely messed up in the opening Andy Murray match (where he was dumped out of the Mubadala Exhibition) because I didn't follow my strategy which has been so successful for 12 months. It was pure rustiness on my behalf. I wasn't reading the market well and simply wasn't in tune with the ladders after a 6 week break. The Abu Dhabi Exhibition was supposed to be a gentle sway back into trading, to lift off the cobwebs but I stupidly went in full steam ahead without allowing for the loss of that natural feel for the processes.

To be fair to myself though, I reacted well to this. I haven't panicked and haven't done anything massively stupid or reckless since. My other losses have all been standard size reds and although there are one or two regrettable trades where I lost patience, not one of them cost me much. But they do pile up and it is now going to take a pretty fantastic Australia Open  to make January a decent month.

There is some good news though. I have barely traded any of my bread and butter WTA, as it's mostly been on in the small hours. That will change as of today, as I work the graveyard shift for Oz time - midnight to morning. So that should improve matters. Plus, I know what the potential is for a nasty draw-down with my strategy. It's good to know this because with my success last year, I wasn't quite sure just how bad it could get and what I needed to prepare for. Now I know! It's painful but it's bearable. And if the tennis has been a disaster, the football has at least cheered me up. I predicted that QPR would get a draw against Chelsea (in the comments section of my previous post) but even I was shocked to see a 0-1 away win for the bottom placed Premier League side against the form side in English football.

I just had a gut feeling this would be an upset; London derby, midweek following the congested festive period, at night under the lights - it just had that feel about it. They were so dire against Liverpool 1st half, I just couldn't see them performing that badly for the next game and they matched them in the 2nd half. Plus, I never go against a team that I know will just get everyone behind the ball and defend for 90 mins. Can just as easily end 0-0 as it would 6-0. The win puts QPR back on the coat-tails of Wigan, Southampton and Villa and I still believe they will stay up, so my lay of them in the relegation market remains in place - for now.

NB: Just one important piece of info I feel I need to correct. Gundulf over on 'A Football Trader's Path' has labelled me as a QPR fan. This heinous piece of blasphemy has to be corrected! I have never been nor will ever be, a Rangers fan. Though I have been to Loftus Road and it's a great little club. I merely 'support' them because I have a bet on them. I am actually a Nottingham Forest fan - not that that's anything to be proud of at the moment..............

Camila Giorgi: