Thursday, 21 February 2013

Time to Quit?

Talks have fallen through. The investment I was hoping for is no longer going to happen. I'm pretty fed up right now! I have been doing a lot of thinking over the past few days and am starting to think that I'm not sure I want to do this any more. I know I've come a long way and stopping now would be like giving up, which is something I rarely do but I just feel as though I'm not getting anywhere. I'm treading water when I could be freestyling into the distance. Yes, it's partly my own impatience that makes me feel this way but also, I'm not sure this is the path I want to take any more. I'd still like to be involved somehow as a trader but for the amounts I'm making and am likely to be able to make for the foreseeable future, is it worth it?

Maybe I need a change, perhaps the repetitive nature of my trading is grinding me down. Maybe it's because I'm not feeling stimulated any more by online debate or from learning new things. Writing this post, I realise I don't actually have much left to say. Or maybe I'm just pissed off because another investment opportunity has fallen through when it all seemed to be heading in the right direction.

I got into trading purely for the money. I wasn't that interested in tennis and had no interest at all in gambling. This was never about having a hobby, something fun to do in my spare time, a little extra pocket money. It was all or nothing for me - I want to make some serious cash or I'm really not that bothered. I always thought that was going to happen one day and I'm almost certain that it would if I could only compound my profits. But that isn't going to happen this year and I don't know if I can continue treading water for another year, when I could be doing something else. Without investment, I'm stuck and although I've been doing well, everything I earn goes straight back out.

I feel like I need a new challenge, something new to get the juices flowing. I'm just not sure what that is yet.

Kristina Mladenovic:

Saturday, 9 February 2013

The Trading Syndicate

Recently I mentioned that I had received an offer from an individual to trade with their money, in return for a share of my monthly tennis trading profits. Talks are still ongoing. I wrote in that same post, about offers I'd had last year and these were things I'd never blogged about. One of them was an offer from a betting syndicate, which I actually agreed to. This took place back in October. I traded for this syndicate for one month. Four other traders took part in what was a trial period, which was due to last 3 months. Unfortunately, at least 2 of  those traders blew their entire allocated bank (c£2000) and the other 2 reportedly made a loss. I was told I was the only one who made a decent profit. As it turned out, October was my 2nd highest ever monthly profit for tennis alone. So I was particularly disappointed to learn that the trial was to be ended 2 months early, a lack of funds for the operation being cited, no doubt due to the losses incurred by the other traders. I don't blame them to be honest! But I have since wondered what could have been achieved if I'd been kept on. I won't go into too much detail but the entire plan encompassed much more than just trading with a £2000 bank and splitting the profit. Funds were promised far in excess of this, along with a business structure resembling that of a small company. In short, it could've turned my trading into something many times greater than it is now.

I never wrote about it on the blog for two reasons. Firstly, I didn't want to upset the syndicate in any way and so felt it best I kept quiet out of common courtesy. Secondly, I was worried about the adverse affect it could have on my trading. By that I mean the added pressure of wanting to impress my readers and also the added pressure of  trading with someone else's money and wanting to impress the investors. I think it was a wise choice not to blog about it because it turned out that the initial pressure did indeed get to me! The first few days, I found myself wrought with nerves in a way that I hadn't experienced for many, many months. It caused me to get frustrated at things I normally would not allow to get to me and some of the old anger started to resurface, the sort that blighted me in the early years of my tennis trading. I was fortunate in many ways, that I got off to a good start. If bad variance had kicked in immediately, I may have found things turned out very differently.

As it was, I got a win quite quickly and this calmed me down somewhat, though mistakes were still creeping in, mostly because I was just so damn keen to impress! I was desperate to prove I was as good as my results had proven over the past year (which was the reason I was contacted in the first place) and so I maybe pushed things on the ladders that I would not have pushed if I'd just been trading with my own money. So although it sounds preposterous that 2 or 3 of the other 4 traders involved, blew their entire bank within the first month (one I believe did his dough within the first WEEK!) I can kind of empathise. I know what must have been going through his head because I was probably thinking the same things.

It was such a big opportunity that the pressure felt really intense and as I've said from the very beginning of this blog, it's the psychological aspect of trading that is the hardest to master. I had been trading relatively stress-free for 9 months, yet that was changed instantly as soon as the pressure was turned up a notch. It wasn't that I was worried about losing the money because the deal was that I was not liable for any losses. In theory, that should've made trading easier and more relaxed (and that was indeed the case once I'd got a few wins on the board) but it was the strain of knowing that if I failed to make enough profit to impress the syndicate, I would be dropped and lose out on a fantastic opportunity, that was the real pressure.

Whilst others struggled and ended up chasing losses and exposing their banks with poor money management, I kept my head and gradually built my profits to over 50% of the bank - only for the experiment to be cut short. So it is not the first time I've had an offer to trade on behalf of an investor and now I have a better understanding of the pitfalls, I'm not too worried about doing it again. I'll go on record as saying the party who invested in me last October were very transparent, smart and trustworthy guys who I wouldn't hesitate working with again. So I had overall, a great first experience of this kind of partnership. Plus, trading without the pressure of losing my own money really gave me a new lease of life. It enabled me to perhaps do a few things which previously, I had held back on for fear of losing what I already had. This extra aggressiveness in my approach was no doubt a decisive factor in me achieving one of my highest ever monthly profits and is something I've tried to continue now that I'm back risking my own money. I can't help wondering 'What if?' about that trial but I definitely got a lot out of it, even if it meant giving away some of my hard earned wonga!

Iveta Benesova:

Tuesday, 5 February 2013


This time last year, those with long memories might remember my little 'crusade' to get traders to shift over to Betdaq. I guess it was never really going to work but I did feel that more tennis traders would have made an effort to give Betdaq a try during a day when there was planned maintenance on Betfair. But my real anger was turned  onto Betdaq because when it came down to it, they did NOTHING at all to entice people over. A year on and that still rankles with me and is the reason why I haven't even mentioned Betdaq on this blog since. However, things are changing; both for me and for Betdaq. You'll all know about the Ladbrokes takeover. As per usual with these things, it has been greeted with a hint of hope but mostly downright miserable cynicism. With my Betfair P&L getting closer by the week to a premium charge situation, I now have no choice but to view this takeover with supreme hope!

The big question I have is, why would Ladbrokes takeover Betdaq unless they wanted to make money out of it? Sounds simplistic but surely the core of anything business related is to just make a profit, so why do some people think they won't make an effort to maximise this? Certain sources claim Betdaq don't even make a profit. Surely Ladbrokes, with their huge revenue as a catalyst, will want to change that? And the only way that is possible is to spend large sums on advertising and a 'robust' (I really hate using this 'management-speak' term but I feel it actually makes sense here) marketing plan. I say 'robust' because in my view, Betdaq need to be stronger in their message. Let me explain.

All they have to do to get the long term winners over, is say they won't be introducing a charge. A lot of trader's cynicism is based on the insistence that Ladbrokes will introduce one anyway at some point. This is something I think they need to address straight away. I'm sure they would be reluctant to commit to such a promise but a short-term compromise of some sort could be reached. Anyway, I think most of us would agree that this would bring over anyone who currently pays the premium charge or like me, is considering the impact of it in future.

However, it's the smaller fish that they really need to acquire. Remember what happened following introduction of the Super PC back in summer 2011? The big fish moved over in large quantities to Betdaq and for a few weeks, it seemed as though (certainly for horse racing and tennis) the revolution was finally happening. But it didn't last because the smaller players didn't also move in the required numbers and so most of the big money had no choice but to return to Betfair for easier pickings.

So thinking back to when I was new to Betfair/ a casual user/ non-profitable, what would I have wanted?  I would require an incentive to move over to Betdaq. Better commission simply isn't something that would've bothered me. I probably wouldn't have moved my bank over to Betdaq unless I saw good liquidity on markets I wanted to trade. For me, that would be tennis in-play. So in other words, unless other tennis traders moved over first, I would've been reluctant to move. I'm sure that's the same for any trader not yet paying the PC. Bit of a catch 22! So how do they get around this problem?

I've always felt that Betdaq have never done enough to ram home the fact that Betfair is a shoddy company. That is where their weakness lies - the way they treat their customers. The customer service is shocking. When the site goes down they don't void matches. They place a charge upon winners then write to us telling us it's fine cos we will 'never be a winner'. The new site is a convoluted mess that is far worse than the old one. The PC is completely unintelligible for the average person and totally against the whole ethos of the exchange model.  The list is endless yet Betdaq never seems to go for the jugular! Why so nice? I notice recently that this has changed (adverts now seem to mention Betfair's higher commission and charges much more) but it's still not enough in my book. It's not robust enough!

They should let people know in simple terms that we are getting ripped off by Betfair because they no longer adhere to the exchange model, which shouldn't ever make being a winner a problem. I would give it to them both barrels! You could argue that everyone already knows how bad Betfair are, yet still use them. It's a general apathy. Everyone wants to move over but no one wants to go first. But it's like anything to do with advertising; the more you drum it into someone's mind, the more they become brain-washed! I want to see betting folk bombarded with how crap Betfair is, day in, day out on TV, radio, magazine, newspaper, internet, football match hoardings, bus stops, massive boards over-looking bridges. It will become ingrained into our subconscious, the same way that the slogan "Betfair: where winners are welcome" *cough* became indelibly marked and the way that annoying Italian bloke with the big moustache automatically sets off  my gag reflex every time his stupid, wailing voice shatters my peace and quiet (honestly, 5 years of 'Go Compare!' finally over and now Ladbrokes bring along another one!).

Ladbrokes can even save a bit on advertising, as they can just re-use the annoying, Italian bloke, only instead of shouting "KAMMY NOOOOOOOOOOO, FOOTBALL IS OOOOOOOOOOONNN!!!" he can shout 'BETFAIR NOOOOOOOOOOOO, PREMIUM CHARGE IS WROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG" or some such. I would actually incorporate the word 'mug' into this advert as much as possible, for if there is one thing that people new to betting hate to be called or associated with, it's a mug. It's tantamount to being labelled a paedophile outside of the Betfair forums - there's nothing more insulting. Have the Italian bloke screaming "PREMIUM CHARGE NOOOOOOOOOOOOO, YOU MUUUUUUUUUGGSS WHY YOU PAY THIIIIIIIISSSS??? BETDAQ IS OOOOOOOOOOOONNNN!!!'" Or some such. If he shouted this, I'd happily refrain from muting.

Why not start an exchange war, a proper, dirty battle? I guess it all comes down to money. I know people are going to tell me that Ladbrokes won't want to spend the amounts required to catch up with Betfair, and that two exchanges cannot survive successfully together, and that the "ship has sailed" and exchanges have hit their peak already, and that a thriving competitor to Betfair will only split liquidity between the two, making it harder to trade certain markets. I even had a Ladbrokes employee tell me not to expect much! But I think if you had a whole week or weekend where you offered 0% commission for betting in-play, people would come over, even if just out of curiosity as to what things will be like now Ladbrokes has taken over. Once there, we'd probably stay if liquidity was decent but we'd need to know that the original exchange model is not going to be messed with and taxes slapped on winners in future. It's the big wild-card that Betdaq has over Betfair - it's still a 100% bonafide exchange, adhering (ironically) to the original Betfair model. If Ladbrokes can find a way to exploit that situation, then why on earth can't things change?

I urge you all to be more positive and let them know exactly what they need to do. Unlike Betfair, they actually want our input, so let's give them no excuse not to earn our custom. Email them:

Julia Goerges:

Saturday, 2 February 2013

I Am 2!!

As 'Webbgate' rumbles on over on Green All Over, and copies of 'Sultan Tennis: The Complete Moron's Guide to Trading Tennis on Betfair', now down to the last 5 limited time period only downloads, it's time to get back to writing about more important matters i.e. me!! Newer readers of Centre Court Trading possibly won't know how it all started off. It's now 2 years and just over 200,000 page hits (just 50,000 to go before the Blogger Premium Charge kicks in) since I launched the blog (here is my first ever post), so to 'celebrate' this landmark, I thought I would look back on how things have gone for me and the changes that have occurred. So I present to you the Centre Court Trading Timeline:

February - March 2011
The Dark Ages

The start of the blog heralded a period of terrible trading which still remains my worst ever time as a trader. I almost lost the plot mentally, along with my bank but escaped with many new lessons learnt.

April - May 2011
False Dawn 

Introduction of proper bank management techniques signalled an upturn in fortune, which I mistakenly believed was me becoming a consistent winner.

June - July 2011
Big Problems

Long-term loss of focus & introduction of the Super Premium Charge severely affected my trading, to the point where I had to make radical changes.

August - October 2011
Major Strategy Change

 The most important period of learning in my entire trading life. I stepped it up several gears with my work-load and fundamentally changed my entire trading ethos into what it is today. A switch was flicked!

November - December 2011
Trading Interviews

Series of interesting interviews I did with leading figures of the online trading world.

January - March 2012
The Turning Point

The new strategy and plans were finally bearing fruit as I started to become profitable.

April 2012
Psychology Sessions

A series of 'sessions' I wrote about how to deal with psychological issues in trading.

May 2012 - January 2013
Consistent Profitability
Nuff said.
Unfortunately, January 2013 has been my worst month since January 2012. Once I'd got the first week out of the way, I actually had an excellent month. I have already written about how poorly I began the new season. I ended up approximately +£500. (No screenshot this month as to be honest, I can't be bothered! But also, I don't feel it is of real interest any more, unless those profits show a significant change from what I posted last year). Considering I was -£600 at one stage, that's a pretty outstanding Australian Open I had, to turn the ship around.

Going back to 2 years ago, the most interesting thing to note is that I was trading with larger stakes and much larger liabilities than I am now (twice as big!). I am of the belief that the biggest reason why most traders fail is because they increase their stakes too soon. I was certainly a victim of that but was so badly burnt during 'The Dark Ages' of 2 years ago, that I reduced my liabilities and have never increased them back to those levels. But now I feel is the time to do so. I am ready to move to the next level and that will hopefully be with the bit of extra funding that I've lacked in order to do so. Watch this space...............

Maria Kirilenko: