Cash or Crash?

The trading blog read only by very nice people!

Archive for October, 2009

Blessing in disguise?

Posted by robbiechicago on October 31, 2009

Some day, in the not too distant future, when I’m sunning myself next to my pool in the garden of my mansion, whilst being fed cheeseburgers by Heather Graham…

heather

Mmm, Heather...

… I will think back on yesterday and be glad that it happened.

So, yesterday.  I needed £1.14 to make October a profitable month.  And this happened:

bets

If you add all that up, it comes to about minus seventy.  Yes, -£70.  I know.

I could write about yesterday until the cows come home.  I could wax lyrical about my stupidity, my complete lack of discipline, my idiotic assumptions, my misreading of the markets and, yes, my horrible luck.  But I won’t, because it’s done, and it is a hard lesson well learned.  This is a long term game, and the ramifications from yesterday will have long lasting influence on my trading.  I am still, almost 24 hours later, almost physically gutted, but I KNOW that this will prove to be a positive thing.

On the whole, the week has been excellent, and the fact that I came so close to making only my second full month a profitable one is very encouraging.

In the words of Alfred Pennyworth, “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might better learn to pick ourselves up.”

The week:

table

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And October finished…

Posted by robbiechicago on October 30, 2009

…very very very very very very very very negative.

I had £1.14 to make.  I lost….

a lot.

To say that I have blown it would be the most spectacular understatement.

Monthly review tomorrow, once I’ve calmed down.

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Swinging fortunes

Posted by robbiechicago on October 30, 2009

Is it just me, or were the markets particularly swingy yesterday?  I had a similarly up and down day, or perhaps that should be down and up.

Things started fairly smoothly but in race five, things went completely pair-shaped and I lost just shy of £18.  Ouch.  Given my target if finishing October in the black and the tight margins I had to work within to achieve this, the loss was something of a blow, to put it mildly.

As is so often the case, the setback provoked a reaction, and, as seems to happen more often than no these days I am pleased to say, the reaction was positive and fruitful.

The £18 loss came about when I was exposed in the market with too much money (yet again) and found myself facing an almighty swing in the wrong direction.  I got out at about £10 down, and tried to claw something back from the race, only to find myself on the wrong side of another big movement.  Oh well.

I had noticed that big swings seemed to be happening a lot, so decided after the loss to tackle them head on with aggression.  Usually when I enter a market I look to take a small profit and get out.  Yesterday I decided that, given the situation I found myself in, I should try to milk the markets for everything I could get out of them.  This approach paid serious dividends.  From being over £14 down after six races I ended the day more than £15 up!  It was an astonishing recovery and has left me with one trading day left in the month (I’ll not trade on Saturday) to make just £1.14 to be in profit in October.

I’m not going to say too much more lest I tempt the gods of trading into dumping on me.  I hope to be able to report back with good news later today.

Here are the details from today’s swingy action:

bets

table

Hope your day was as successful as mine!

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Same result, different day

Posted by robbiechicago on October 28, 2009

Yesterday I made £6.72 trading on six races.  I made 83 bets and turned over £1,303.98 which is a return on turnover of 0.52%.

Today I made £6.19 trading on eleven races.  I made 227 bets and turned over £6,716.27 which is a return on turnover of 0.09%.

Two almost identical results, two very different days.  My trading today was shocking, possibly as bad as it has ever been.  I fluked a £9 profit on one race when I allowed my outstanding bets to go in play.  I can’t believe I risked losing so much for such a relatively low profit and am furious with myself.  Going in play is gambling, and I am not a gambler.  I am pleased to say that I later wiped that profit out with a £15 loss on one race – pleased because I felt like I didn’t deserve it.

I’m happy with £6 profit, very happy in fact, but even more unhappy with my performance today which was reckless and prone to hunches rather than sound application of the market conditions.

Tomorrow needs to be 100 times better.  I’m very close to making October profitable, but only luck today prevented that task from becoming impossible.

Hope you had a good, profitable day.

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Smart Charts!

Posted by robbiechicago on October 27, 2009

Relatively short and quiet day today.  I’ve had my sister and nephew to stay (hi Barbs!) and once they’d gone and I’d had some leftover Chinese takeaway for lunch the racing was already well under way.  I only traded six races and did it just to get my eye back in before trading full time again from tomorrow.  My focus at the moment is trying to make October a profitable month, and today’s short session provided something of a bonus inroad into the £30-odd I had to erase.

I felt no pressure on me at all when I sat down to trade this afternoon, I suppose mostly because I knew it was a short day and I had not put any expectations on myself.  Also, I actually felt like I was sitting down to do something that I enjoy for an hour or so – it really didn’t feel like I was going to work.  I suppose this could have gone either way in terms of my performance.  I could have suffered badly due to the lack of discipline, but in fact I felt a little liberated and just had fun.

The six races led to four wins and two losses.  Not a great strike rate, but the wins were relatively large while I was conscious of keeping the two losses low:  Both times I decided I was going to get nowt out of the race, so packed it in a moved on to the next one.  In the end I posted a profit of £6.72 which is excellent for such a short session, and has taken a good bite out of October’s ever dwindling loss.  Just £22.71 to get rid of and make a profitable month!

Below are my results for the day, and the usual totals and averages:

betstable

Now, as you know I have a fairly comprehensive spreadsheet in which I record all my trading information.  Of course, one of the best ways to digest all those numbers is to visually present them in the form of charts.  So far I have made charts for my strike rate (which shows the daily SR, average SR and my target SR), total Profit/Loss, and my daily average win/loss amounts (including trend lines).  Here they are:

srchartplchartAvWLchart

Nice, aren’t they!  But aside from their aesthetic charm, they each show signs of movement in the right direction.  The SR chart is the most obvious with a noticeable increase from day one.  The P/L chart is also showing a flattening out and, hopefully a move upwards, although there was one very exaggerated false alarm before a mammoth drop which hopefully won’t repeat.  The trend line for my daily average loss is definitely swinging upwards as I battle to keep the losses under control, while the daily average win trend is fairly flat.  This latter point is not a problem since I’m looking to take a certain profit out of each race and once I reach that level I get out.  I could keep plugging away at winning positions, but that’s not my strategy right now.

I’ve been trading for 41 days now.  It’ll be interesting to compare these charts with how they look in another 41 days time.

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Victory from the jaws of defeat!

Posted by robbiechicago on October 25, 2009

The above could be said for the week as a whole, and also for the day that tipped this week into the black.  It wasn’t looking as if I would follow up last week’s first ever profitable week with another, and things look especially bleak mid-way through what turned out to be my last race, but a sudden change in approach and in fortune turned things around.

Before I go into that, it’s been a few days since my last post.  When I left you I was mulling over doing some evening trading in order to take that day’s P/L back into positive figures.  I decided not to, and settled with the £2-odd loss on the day but a morale boosting comeback after a dire start.  I didn’t post on Friday as I legged it off into town to see the brillant Tim Minchin at the Hammersmith Apollo, who was impossibly doing this on Friday night with Jonathan Ross at exactly the same time:

Then yesterday I traveled from London to Norwich and back, first class, for £29.  Nice!  Pity about the football in the middle.  My boys were dreadful, no matter what Danny Wilson might say to the contrary.  Still, that’s football ground 68 notched up…

I might have a little bit of a trading play today, just for a bit of weekend experience while the football’s on.  It’ll be small stakes though, I’m not going to jeopardise my profitable week.

So, Friday.  I went into the day £10.90 down on the week and was determined to wipe that out.  Things were going very nicely with only one loss (£4.31) in the 11 races races I’d traded, but then it came to race 12.  I’d actually entered this race about 25 minutes before the off and, inevitably, not much was happening.  This probably didn’t help, as my mind drifted onto other things as I kept an eye on the market.  Clearly I wasn’t as focused as I should have been when I decided to whack some money in, and I made mistakes.  As is so often the case I waited for my losing position to improve, but, as usual, it didn’t, and when the market activity changed from sluggish to frenetic I found myself looking at a greened up loss of about £11 at one point.  Familiar territory.  I thought I had just erased all the day’s hard work.  I suppose it was this rather fatalistic view that made me stubbornly try to get out of it.  Had this happened in race one I would have probably got out and tried to make the money back across the day.  But instead I used the last 5 minutes before the off to scalp my way bit by bit back up and out of the loss.  When I’ve tried this before it’s generally led to a bigger loss, but this time I think I was at the same time more aggressive but also smarter.  I’ll be interested to try this again to see if I have developed a reasonable feel for it, but whether I have or not, Friday worked perfectly and not only did I slowly crawl out of the loss, I managed to nudge ahead and took a £1.22 profit from the race.  Obviously I was delighted with grabbing victory from the jaws of defeat (and I’ll admit to having a brief run through my flat, fists pumping like I’d just scored in the cup final), and my joy was multiplied exponentially when I realised that the win was enough to take my weekly total back into the black.

So it’s two positive weeks in a row.  I’m really pleased, as you can imagine.  As for October, I’m £29.43 down, so, given that I definitely won’t be trading tomorrow and may also miss Tuesday, this might be a big ask.  Can I make this my first profitable month?  You can bet your life I’ll be giving it my all!

Here’s a roundup of the week in numbers:

table

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Hmm… Should I carry on?

Posted by robbiechicago on October 22, 2009

It’s OK, I don’t mean in general, I mean today.  Here’s the deal:

Yesterday I had a bit of a nightmare.  Thinking back to it, I can’t remember the exact circumstances that led to it, but I ended up losing £23.50 on one race.  Even before my recent run of good performance, this was a pretty hefty loss.  Needless to say it was a serious loss of discipline that saw me get myself into something of a pickle, to put it mildly.  It was made all the more disappointing by the fact that until this happened I’d been doing quite well, and also was considering making it a short trading day as I was due to go out and meet a friend in the evening.  So I decided to get to £10 profit for the day ASAP and then go out as early as I could.  I expect this led to a more reckless attitude than is healthy, but, as I say, it was going quite well and I felt pretty focused before it all went belly-up.  Never mind, a bad day was due, it’s all about responding well.

This afternoon I set about getting back into the groove, but I found myself back in the mire very quickly.  After a win in race 1, I lost £6.o0, £6.30 and £4.42 on the next three races.  At this point I shut up shop and took an hour’s break.

All credit to my resilience and determination, I got back to work after the break and set about making things right.  I estimated (badly) that ten wins in a row would wipe out the earlier losses, and really focused on knocking off each small win after small win.  I don’t think I’ve been as single-minded in my trading as I was this afternoon, and, ten races later I punched the air with joy as I notched up win number 10.  I am seriously chuffed that I achieved what I set out for, as it’s proof that focus and determination is a huge factor in trading.  However, as I say, my initial estimation was a bit short and I find myself, having stopped trading for the day, £2.85 in the red.  This is annoying me.  The question is, should I get back into it in the evening racing to push my total for the day into the black?  Half of me is screaming YES! DO IT!, the other half is thinking that I should quit while I’m ahead and be glad that I all but cleared up after my early poor performance.  The main consideration is that I’ve not traded in the evenings yet, and I expect the markets behave rather differently from the daytime markets.  It would be terrible if I undid all this afternoon’s good work.

What would you do in this situation?  Use the momentum or take the safer option?  At the moment I’d say I’m 60/40 in favour of going for it.  Will I?  We shall see…

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Another good bad day

Posted by robbiechicago on October 20, 2009

When we novices read the musings of the pro’s, there’s one thing that both annoys us and excites us.  It’s when someone says something like “had a nightmare today, couldn’t seem to trade at all, was all over the place, only made £200”.  I think we can all appreciate where they’re coming from, but for newbies trying to get any kind of profit at all, these comments can be infuriating.  At the same time, we all know that they’ve absolutely earned the right to be disappointed with profits we’d all love to see.  They’ve put in the hours, risked their money, learned how the markets work, how to cope with the stress of it all, and fought hard to make a success of themselves.  I say to them:  Well done, and thank you for inspiring us to try and try and try.

Today, I think I might have had a glimpse into their world, and it’s a nice place.  Today, I had a nightmare, couldn’t seem to trade at all, was all over the place, only made £2.

I had a shocker, but I made a profit.  I had serious discipline issues today and ended up losing £11 on one race early doors.  I am supposed to be taking any loss-making position of £3 or more, but in this particular race, having scratched for a loss of about 4 quid I decided that I could make it back.  I leapt back in, probably put too much money into the market and got stung.  Yet another example of taking a small loss being by far the best option.  I only had two other losses on the day:  One for £3 right at the close which was just a straight-forward loss of no significance, the other a £5 fluff due to me being all cocky, predicting a big swing would occur, whacked some money in on it, also went on another horse at the same time, and both prices went the wrong way.  Silly silly silly.

But I can see I am making definite progress. A bad day, and I ended in the green.  Four profitable days out of the last five.  It’s all good at the moment.  I really do need to keep hammering home the rules, though.  The second I relax I start doing stupid things.  I want tomorrow to be a very dull, quiet day with lots of small wins.  That way I will know I’m back on track as far as my trading discipline goes.

Anyhoo, here are Tuesday’s numbers:

bets

table

Hope you had a good day today, or at least a bad day with a small profit!

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Picking up form

Posted by robbiechicago on October 19, 2009

Things are ticking along nicely for me at the moment.  Today was another good day:  18 races traded, 15 wins, 3 losses, £13 profit made.  By no means was today a perfect day.  In fact, there were one or two races where I turned in a profit but I was actually unhappy with the way I traded.  I guess everyone is the same in this regard – only a fool would discount luck from the complicated equation that is trading, and sometimes Lady Luck will smile on you even if you don’t entirely deserve it.  It’s important to see through the blinding light of green days and focus on what you might of done better, and vice-versa, taking positives from bad days if you can.

I actually found today fairly tough going at times and had to work for my profits.  I would love to think that days like today could represent the difficult times to come, because if I can wring out a profit from a hard day, everything will be hunky-dory.  Of course, the very idea that losing days are a thing of the past is ridiculous.  Tomorrow is a Tuesday, a day that has historically shat upon me (and, I am sure, the world in general.  One day I’m going to do a study on the evil effects of Tuesday) so I will need to be very careful not to wipe out all of today’s good work and good fortune.

I decided to put ATR on while I traded and found it rather distracting.  I get the feeling that most traders do keep a keen eye on things at the track while they work, but to be honest I didn’t really gain much advantage from having it on.  Given my rules of taking a quid from my races, I can find myself moving a bit ahead of the action.  I like this, as it gives me time to recharge myself with tea at regular intervals, but the folks on the telly are obviously only really dealing with each race in the 2 or 3 minutes leading up to it.  That said, I do think it would be beneficial to get a better appreciation of the sport in general, of the nature of certain races and certain courses.  I might try to watch more often in the coming days and weeks and see if I get anything out of it.  If not, it’ll be back to music!

Anway, here are today’s figures:

bets

table

Hope you had a green Monday!

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Stat Attack!

Posted by robbiechicago on October 18, 2009

No trading over the weekend, but, in addition to enjoying a whole host of superb sport on TV, I spent some time updating, enhancing, and generally tidying up my results spreadsheet.  I’ll not bore you with the intricacies of formulas like =IF(SUMIF(E42:E118, E27,F42:F118)>0,MAX(IF(E42:E118 = E27, S42:S118)),””), just suffice to say that the whole thing now works properly, and, importantly, I now have the full picture of my weekly and monthly performance, where before there were several errors and a lot of blank cells.

Take a look – it’s getting a bit wide now, sorry about that!

table

I’m pleased that I am now up to date, as I can now take a look at my performance over the last 3 calendar months and 10 weeks.  I didn’t realise it until today, but the week just ended is my first positive week!  Yay!  So it’s taken me 10 weeks to get on the board, as it were.  Not sure if this is good or bad.  Did you get a positive week earlier or later than this?  Of course, it means nothing if next week is back in the red.  Hopefully I can keep it up, and, who knows, I might even make October a winning month.  I am currently £30 down, so it’s easily within my grasp if I perform well.  As you can see, September was pretty awful in terms of profit and loss, but in terms of strike rate it was actually up on my total average.  This highlights just how costly some of my losses were.  It goes to show how important decent record keeping is – I can only analyse my past performance with this level of data.

In addition to the week and month numbers, I’ve also added a couple of new columns.  I am now recording my return on turnover, something which is currently not going to show me much, but I think in the future when I am more consistent it could be an interesting stat.  I’ve also now got a cumulative P/L column.  Again, not very good at the moment as it’s entirely red, but as things progress I will be able to chart my gains and losses.

I’ll update the blank version of the spreadsheet over the coming days and let you know when it’s available for anyone who wants it.

Finally, congratulations to Jenson Button.  Clearly one of sport’s nice guys, so I’m chuffed to bits for him after he became F1 world champion.

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