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:


  1. Hi Sultan, regarding your statement "I was just riled at the fact that you (and other bloggers) keep writing things which can be misleading for new tennis traders. "

    Is that not a positive for you in sense that it gives the seasoned trader a chance to form a strategy around these perceived wisdoms and profit from them ?

    Every winning trader is right, if he is making money with his methodology, he is right, you are making money with yours, you are also right.

    1. I'm not sure what you mean, mate! What perceived wisdoms are we talking about?

      I've never said he was right or wrong in his methodology, this isn't about strategy. It's about saying something about tennis trading in general, which isn't true.

  2. This is true, i saw how volatile a few tennis matches were and thought it was easy money - that i lost :-(

    No tennis for me.

  3. I love tennis.. !! This is just kind of very experienced traders out there.


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