Cash or Crash?

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    RobbieChicago (from Swindon, not Chicago) is a man of many talents. Known for his excellent risottos and tasty Shepherd's Pies, he is also great with children and spectacular in bed (assuming he's being marked on his sleeping ability). Clearly unable to operate in his shadow, his employers of nine years made him redundant from his position in a large and respected company based in the City. Stung by this unexpected rejection, and vowing to "show those bastards", RobbieChicago has turned his attention to trading sports risk on the Betfair markets, and penning the most entertaining and informative blog within the field. At time of writing the blog is going considerably better than the trading, but an almost impossibly arrogant assumption of greatness means that our hero is certain he will succeed.

    RobbieChicago loves Frank Zappa, Columbo and throwing frisbees. He dislikes baked beans.

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Frozen out

Posted by robbiechicago on January 4, 2010

Happy New year everyone!  Shame there’s only one meeting today.  I think I’m going to take the day off as I would imagine having such little action the markets will be a bit weird.  So I’m going out to play.  If only there were some snow…

Thanks to those of you who commented on my previous post.  But the consensus view that I should be using small stakes only serves to highlight the utter frustration I sometimes feel.  I did exactly that not long ago, dropping back to £2 stakes, starting from scratch, going back to basics.  That went pretty well, I reeled things in nicely and, after a few weeks, began to up my stakes again.  I’ve been there and done that.  Do I really want to go back?  I’m not sure, but I guess if I have to then I have to.

The other point about finding an edge is very important.  I think this baffles me a bit, to be honest.  I know how certain races are likely to behave, but that’s about it, to be honest.  What I can’t seem to do is predict which way a swing is likely to go, or filter out the real swings from the red herrings.  I am sure the successful traders don’t hang around and wait to see if a move will develop into a full swing.  If they did, they’d miss most of the move.  So how do people know?  Maybe they don’t.  Maybe they jump on any move and get out immediately if it doesn’t instantly progress.  Again, this gets to the nub of one of my problems, in that I get hammered in volatile markets.  If it starts to move I’ll leap in.  I’ll maybe pick up a couple of ticks, and then they’re gone straight away and the market moves the other way.  So I get out and try again, time after time, with the same result.  This leads to several small losses which, of course, added together, make a bigger loss.  Not only do I not know how to profit in such an environment, I also don’t know how to identify this market until it’s too late.  I’ve seen, and been burned by, false swings by the time the volatility becomes apparent.

So, do you play the waiting game, watch the market and see what it’s doing before entering, but risk missing out on what maybe the only decent swing?  Or do you take any opportunity you see in order to maximise your chances of catching a move, but risk hitting a string of false swings?

This all needs some thought.  Any successful traders out there have space for a spectator?  I’d love to see how it should be done.


5 Responses to “Frozen out”

  1. neil said

    In the volatile races you describe, I used to be exactly the same as you, think a move was starting, jump on, lose a couple of ticks, think its now going the other way, jump on again, lose another couple of ticks and so on. I identify these markets by price, usually the favorite is between 2.0 and 3.0, it can be made more volatile by there being 2 horses priced near each other, usually in the 2’s, sometimes two horses in the 3.0s can be almost as volatile. I used to just leave these races alone as they totally baffled me.

    When you dropped down to £2 stakes last time, were you in profit over that time? nearly break even? If you were making a decent profit with min stakes, then it suggests that you are being mentally and emotionally affected by the bigger stakes, not that you dont know how to trade. I had to drop to £2 stakes 2 or 3 times, and have been slowly building up my stakes, 2->4->6->8->10->20, taking a month at each level, because I know I am mentally weak at dealing with the bigger potential losses, and need to build up my confidence at each level before I move up. Its slower than some people can achieve( and some people would maybe think it was pointless) but it has worked for me.

    I wouldnt class myself as a successful trader, but I seem to be a profitable one at the moment, so if you wanted to TeamViewer a session with me then I would be happy to.

  2. JS said

    Hey Chicago sorry to hear about your misfortune at the end of the year. From what I gather and I’m certainly not claiming to be an expert on the matter! Profitability should almost be a biproduct of your trading. I’m not sure what you have tried yet but there are many approaches you could try and see what works for you, I know I’ve tried many things, some good some seemingly pointless to find a method that works for me. For example, have you tried grading your performance? This is a method I’ve recently introduced which has been successful. Using factors such as percentage of ticks gained/lost from the move can help determine a scale as a starting point, but also include important factors like reaction time, use of multiple indicators, awareness, emotions etc. You could make a list of all the things you would like to improve to use as criteria and grade yourself on these. Due to schooling that’s what we are taught as tools to improve our skills, you can use this psychological cycle to your advantage (makes a refreshing change to finally use our preprogrammed conditioning to help our trading!). Even if I end up trading half the markets I used to, if I grade them all properly I feel I am learning faster and focussing better. It is time consuming and being selective can help when time is an issue. Hope this helps mate, I’m sure you’ll turn it around in 2010.

  3. Mets said

    You were right, the markets were weird!

  4. robbiechicago said

    Glad I got something right, Metters!

  5. bligblugblog said

    Hello Robbie, it’s your old mate Jim.

    This has nothing to do with trading which I don’t really understand. As a Three Blog kind of guy, I wanted to draw your attention to my brand new second blog. The other one’s private which some might say defeats the purpose of a blog but that just depends – this technology is so versatile! At the end of the day, the world is becoming increasingly divided between those who blog and those who don’t blog and no one wants to be left out in the cold. Check out

    I’m aspiring to cream off some of that special blend of stamina and elegance that marks out the Robbie Chicago blogging brand.

    PS – Where is your third blog? I’m assuming you’re counting TPS as your first?

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