Cash or Crash?

The trading blog read only by very nice people!

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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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Archive for March, 2010

She just doesn’t get it!

Posted by robbiechicago on March 12, 2010

I took the day off yesterday and ended up spending much of the afternoon in the park with my sister-in-law Tam, pushing her son on the swings.  Our chat came round to my interest in going back to university, but the conversation came to the same stumbling block as my plans:  Finance.  I found out yesterday that, even if you didn’t take a penny first time around, there is no way you can get funding from the student finance people if you want to do a second degree.  Damn.

I really want to pursue this path, but I just don’t know how I can pay for it.  I just don’t have enough money to last at least 3 years with no income.  It’s very frustrating and we both racked our brains for ideas.

Now, as many of you will know, I am going to the world cup in the summer.  I will be going to all England’s group games, and then to each of their knockout games following them or whoever beats them up to and including the final.  Tam, bless her, said that I could sell my World Cup tickets.  “Er, no” I said.  “Fair enough” says Tam.  At which point I mentioned that I had wondered if England did get to the final how much I would be able to sell my ticket for.  I think I’d pretty easily get over £10,000.  She said that at that point it would become a no-brainer:  You sell it.  I goggled at her.  “Are you serious, woman?”  I stammered.  “Of course you sell it!” she said, bemused.

She just doesn’t get it.

I firmly believe in having no regrets in life.  You make decisions, some of them are good, some are bad.  However, if I had in my grubby paws a ticket to see England playing in a World Cup final and I flogged it, I know with 100% certainty that it would be something that I would regret for the rest of my life.

Having said that, presumably there has to be a limit.  I mean, if someone offered me a million quid I guess I’d take it.  I wonder at what point the money would become too much to refuse.  I don’t want to think about it.



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Oh poo.

Posted by robbiechicago on March 10, 2010

I’ll blame today on the fact that I was, after this post and subsequent discussion from JS, playing with Quantsports, the advanced charting tool for Betfair.  I’m kidding myself, of course.  I was poor today.  Might as well have been trading the kind of racing illustrated below…

I suppose if I’m going to take some solace out of the day it’ll be that to be honest my trading wasn’t all that bad.  What as bad was my attitude.  I started badly but clawed back a few wins only for it to go pear-shaped again.  This time though I lost my head and lumped money at the markets.  Stupid stupid stupid.  The first time I did it I eventually settled for a whopping £1.73 loss.  Then, when it happened again in the next race I decided to leave £6 outstanding on the back side and hope that the nag in question won and bailed me out.  An complete gamble which, probably for my own good, didn’t pay off.  I packed up for the day at this point and went to have a cup of tea and play Guitar Hero.  Rock and roll.

I made a small amount back betting on the Man United game (god, Milan are rubbish, aren’t they!) but all in all a day to forget.

As for Quantsports, it’s all a bit complicated and I didn’t see much benefit in the short time I was playing.  First of all I need to figure out what each chart type actually means, then find a way that it can give me some kind of advantage.  It’ll cost £8 for me to play with it for a month which I think is pretty reasonable.  JS, I might be coming back to you for some assistance in the next few days, mate!

Here’s Wednesday’s pooeyness:

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Mistakes Creeping Back

Posted by robbiechicago on March 9, 2010

Yesterday was a nice simple easing back into the murky depths of trading, today was a little trickier and some bad habits came back to haunt me.

Most of the time I think I traded pretty well and was fairly disciplined, but as before, it was when things turned against me that my response wasn’t great.  I am trying to drum strike rate, strike rate, strike rate into my mind as I think this could be the key to success.  However, a good strike rate will be ruined if the losses are large.  I had wins of 7p, 11p and 9p in the first three races of the day, and this was followed by a 15p loss.  In this case the loss was bigger than the individual wins, but small enough to be swallowed up by the positive strike rate.  However, the next race saw a £1.36 loss.  This kind of thing can decimate your bank and needs to be stamped out.

I’m almost embarrassed to write about how the loss occurred.  The mistakes made were the same as those I made time and time again last year.  You’d think I’d learn!  I used £2 stakes again today, but in this losing race, when the market moved against me I attempted to cover the loss by putting more money in and hoping the tide would turn in my favour.  It didn’t, of course, and instead of scratching out for a moderate loss I had to swallow a huge one.  I really need to be better at reacting more quickly when things move against me.  But the problem is, very often I do find myself a few ticks out of profit, wait and the market does move back and I’m back in business.  It’s difficult to know what to do in these situations, as many of my wins will come about to being patient and waiting for moves.  I guess I have to avoid falling into the trap of lumping more money in as this is where the damage is multiplied.

Anyway, as I say, most of the day’s trading was fine and I clawed myself back from this losing position to end the day 54p up.  Much of this came when I got on the back of a superb swing and made 52p from a £2 stake.  Lovely stuff, would like more of those!!

Right, here are the day’s numbers.  Hope you all had an enjoyable one.

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It’s just like riding a bike!

Posted by robbiechicago on March 8, 2010

Trading seems to be just like riding a bike:  You never forget how to do it.


Actually, the good news is that I didn’t select this picture to illustrate a wobbly and knee-grazing return to trading, I chose it solely because all good blogs should have a picture of a child falling off a bike.  Now there’s a challenge for the rest of you!

I expect you’ll all be wondering a) where I’ve been, b) why stopped trading, c) why I’m back and d) what my plans are.  Well…

a) I’ve been right here, not doing much at all, I’m afraid to say.
b) I stopped because I was sort of offered a job which I was very keen to pursue, and once that seed had been sown I felt no enthusiasm for trading which had become rather stressful.  Inevitably, after the initial approach, the potential job seemed to fizzle away and I was left wondering if it was going to happen or not.  After a few weeks I began to forget about it, assuming that it wasn’t going to happen.  I decided that I’d go back to work anyway.
c) I’m back because the potential job is now definitely off the table.  And without going into it, I was messed around royaly by the company involved.  Grr.  Of course, that doesn’t entirely explain why I’ve not found myself something else work-wise, as planned.  Well, this leads me on to…
d) … the fact is, my plans have changed again, or at least I am mulling over new plans, plans that involve going back to university.  I am seriously tempted to embark on a career of study and, perhaps, lecturing, in the fascinating and never-ending field of Theology (a fact which has stunned my friends and family given that I am a committed atheist!).  Right now I cannot afford to go to uni, and I have been racking my poor brains trying to figure out how to fund several years of study until I can get to the stage when it becomes a profession.  Hence my return to trading.  Perhaps if I pick up where I left off I’ll be able to finally find that consistency that might lead to a small but reliable income.  Sheesh, I must be stupid…

So, today was my first days trading since, ohh, 2009!  Blimey, I didn’t realise it had been that long.  Obviously I dipped my toe gently into the choppy waters so as not to dampen my spirits too soon, and all in all it was rather nice to be back.  In fact, I ended up notching up a perfect strike rate!  I have seen that others have found success with a tightly disciplined, conservative approach where building up small but regular gains is the key to long term success.  I need to keep this in mind and STICK TO IT in order to actually make this work.  I enjoyed today and was pleased with how it went, but remember all too clearly that there are days when things go as expected and days when they don’t, so I’ll not be relaxing just yet.

I’m glad to be back amongst friends!  Now I just have to remember how my spreadsheet works..!

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Posted by robbiechicago on March 6, 2010

Shall I get back into trading?

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