Trading software

Monday, May 30, 2011


Only got home from work around six so by the time I helped my daughter do her homework (she's in an all-Irish school and my wife's not Irish so I usually help her with the homework) and have dinner, it was near seven o clock so I only got to trade for an hour or so - there was only one Irish meeting on anyway so it wasn't too hectic.

Sometimes I'm wary when there's only one meeting on - am I mostly pitting my wits against other traders? If there's not many causal punters out there, sometimes that can be the case. The volumes were a bit more than usual for a small Irish meeting so I'm guessing that there were a fair few traders providing liquidity. That can be hard sometimes as were are all trying to get one up on each other and there's not much general 'punter' money floating around for the taking.

Still, I'm happy with a profit of just over a score on the three races that I did actually trade. Once again, I was using my new strategy and it's still going well thankfully. Actually, from here on in, I think I'll call it 'momentum' trading, just for simplicity. It goes with the flow, so that's as good a name as any.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

New strategy working well

I decided to set aside €500 today and test my new strategy again for the day. I done 23 markets and I'm very pleased with the profit of €73.95.  That's an excellent return on the €500 I was using to test and I'm getting more confident that it works. I still need to do some more testing but if it continues to do well, I can start using bigger sums than the €500 test bank.

It's funny because up until now, I was always a scalper and took a tick or two here and there when I could - but this is more of a swing trade strategy and I'm enjoying the new experience.

A few people emailed me asking how it works. As I said to them, it's under test - so I'm NOT SUGGESTING IT WILL BE PROFITABLE in the future - I could be just lucky.  But with those health warnings in place, I can briefly describe what I've been upto.

The idea is that when a horse starts steaming or drifting, people often underestimate how low or high the price can go. So you wait until there is some momentum behind a move, and then simply go with it. It aint rocket science, it's just simply the old 'trend is your friend' principle.

How do you decide when to jump on? Well, at the moment, I'm using a price move of 5 percent as a guide. I may change this in the future but that's what I've been testing.

So then, if a horse is priced 6.0 for example, I simply wait until the price either comes in, or drifts, by five percent.  If the price moves down to 5.7, that's a five percent move. Likewise, if the horse drifts out to 6.3, that's a five percent move.

So let's say it hits 5.7, I then back it and hope the trend continues. At the moment, I'm using a stop loss of the original price - in this case, the stop would be 6.0.

In case you all think I'm amazing at maths and can quickly work out the percentages of a number of horses in an instant, I'm afraid you'll be disappointed!  I've set up a spreadsheet to help me out. This is where having two screens on my computer (pictured below) can really help. Firstly, I get Betting Assistant to display the live prices in the spreadsheet. At any given time, I copy and paste a list of the 'last prices matched' into a column which works out what a 5 percent price move on each horse would equate to.

This spreadsheet is on my screen on the right, and my Betting Assistant trading window is open on my left screen. I have the spreadsheet to change colour when the price has moved on a horse by 5 percent. It goes blue to alert me to back, or pink to alert me to lay.

At the moment, I'm only trading the top two in the betting - I may try more later on.

Anyway, that's about it really - I only had one race go really bad today costing me over fifty quid but the good news is that I could have redded up in that case for €11. Instead, I didn't and let it stand but the horse won. So the results should actually be a good deal better than the 74 quid or so earned.

I've finished up for the day as I want to enjoy the evening - The Munster/Leinster match is on - then the Barca/United match - and then I'm out with the missus for a meal. What's more, she got a voucher for the meal from some friends so I won't have to spend a penny.   :-)

Don't think I'll get to trade tomorrow as I've a shit load of stuff to do in the garden - including cutting hedges. Sigh!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Traded the evening races and while I should be happy to have made over €28, it was hard earned and the markets seemed tough tonight.

It wasn't a waste of time but it's minimum wage money when you work it out by the hour so I aint overjoyed either. All that said, it's better than losing and when I combine it with the silver commodity trades mentioned earlier, I managed to pull in a couple of ton which isn't a bad days work I suppose.

I should be a bit happier but I guess I still have last week's big loss on my mind somewhat and I'm sure I'll feel better when that has been recovered.

Gotta be careful not to get into 'chase your losses' mode though.

Tonight's Betfair P&L:

That was quick

Well, silver took a nice jump since yesterday - around $2 in total :-)

It was partly due to the likes of Goldman Sachs and others giving upbeat reports about commodities and I hit my get out point quick enough this afternoon. That was a nice easy trade it must be said!

I sold it in three stages netting a total profit of €171.71 but I've held on to a small portion of it just so I'm not kicking myself if it keeps going higher. The amount I'm holding is currently in profit of €57.75 - but I've set a stop loss at $36 so I'm certain to make something no-matter what happens. It's not always this easy of course but as the A-Team used to say, "I love it when a plan comes together".

I've a few hours to spare this evening so I'm going to see if I can get a chance to trade some racing - although I'm going to play it cautious tonight and only bet when I'm absolutely confident. No fecking around like the last day. 

Today's silver trades:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Silver: As good as gold?

Bought some silver today at $35.77 per ounce and it has proved useful so far with my trade now in profit to the tune of €164.
Fair enough - it’s not a hell of a lot of money but I’m glad to be showing a profit on silver as I want to diversify a little and not rely so much on gold and oil. 

I’ve played around with pennies with silver before and generally made it pay so hopefully it will be a commodity that has been as good to me as gold has! The initial stake was only a couple of quid so with some leverage, it was good to get it up. 

I’m slightly bullish on silver at the moment but not overly opinionated. I think it will go forward a little more but I’m happy to sell most of it if it hits around $37.50 and keep a small amount in stock case it rockets. It did hit a whopping $48 per ounce last month so who knows where it will go. After it hit those highs, it quickly collapsed and apparently, one investor sold at least 1000 tonnes during that fall.  Serious stuff that and makes my couple of hundred euro look paltry – but hey, you gotta start somewhere and I’m still in learning mode on this metal. 

If you ask me, people are getting a little worried about European debt again - hence the rise in gold and silver. As I say, I’m not certain it will continue, who knows what big story will be next to change everything again – but if I can ride the wave for even a dollar or two price move and bag a couple of ton for myself, I’ll be happy enough. 

The missus won’t be too happy about this - but since I’ve been trading precious metals, I’ve become very, very reluctant to buy gold and silver (jewellery) in the shops as I know the real value behind the product! 

The mark-ups are shocking considering the impurity of most of the stuff on sale. Yes, I know it has to be refined, shaped, shipped and the shopkeeper needs a cut – but still and all, the prices seem pretty damn high in comparison to an ounce of the pure product. 

As for those gangsters that have set up shops around town buying gold for shocking prices off people that don’t know any better… .Well, all I’ll say is that it is daylight robbery off ordinary people that probably found themselves in a hole financially. 

These ‘We Buy Gold’ shops seem to be everywhere so they must be doing business. I suppose there’s no real problem if a person wants to sell some jewellery they no longer need but I’ve heard stories of people selling engagement rings etc out of desperation during this recession. I find that a little sad. 

I’ve also heard that they are after the stones in the rings too – and don’t always price them in when you sell. So be careful if you want to do business with them.

Then again, if there’s a market for what they do, I guess they are entitled to be there and trade their services, even if people are losing out in real terms. There might be a winner and a loser in these deals, but both parites agree as adults to the deal so there's nothing illegal about it. 

Even though I don’t like these shops, I’m not one to pass judgement really as for every successful trade I make, someone has to lose money so am I any different? And do you think I give a rats arse about the loser(s) at the end my winning trades? Not really. 

Why should I? Nobody gives a shit when I lose, to be perfectly honest (and that includes you readers!). 

That’s the murky world of capitalism for ya...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Reasonable profit, but my discipline slipped.

 Had a fairly good day today with a profit of over €80. Don't think I'll bother with any more evening stuff as I want to spend a bit of time with my daughter before she goes off to bed. 

I must admit that I was a bold boy on one race and let it go in-running rather than redding up for a loss. I was pissed off with myself for doing this as I had a big liability and even though I know it's wrong, there are times when you just become paralyzed and won't get out of your position. Sometimes it becomes ridiculous the positions we hold on to just hoping the price will come back.

As the potential loss was getting near 80 quid, I shook myself out of it and clicked the button to get out. Lucky for me, by the time the bet was fired in, the price had moved back in my direction and I only lost €27.28 on that race. What the fook was I thinking though?   Sometimes I surprise myself at such recklessness.

Other than that, it was a reasonably OK day today and I used a mixture of strategies to trade. It wasn't the easiest somehow and I got the sense that there were a few feckers with very big banks manipulating the markets somewhat. Sometimes this works in your favour, other times it doesn't - but it's a bit annoying to see 'fake' big orders getting pushed in then pulled out, especially on the quieter Irish races.

While the monetary profit today was good, I'm not entirely satisfied with myself today - I was a bit too nonchalant and wasn't as strict as I should have been. In truth, I probably over-traded a good bit today just looking for some action as I won't get a chance to trade over the weekend much.

I got away with it today but deep down, I know I should respect my bank a bit more.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hope I'm onto something

I've been trying out my new strategy again and it's working quite well - I think I could be onto something. As mentioned before, it basically tries to recognise horses that are being backed or layed and then goes with the flow. So when the price moves in either direction by a certain percent, it them becomes a back or lay. It doesn't always work but it's alerted me to some big swings which usually make up for the small losses (I have a fairly tight stop loss).

The main problem was trying to keep an eye on all the prices and trying to work out how much they have moved by so I automated it in a spreadsheet today.

Basically, the spreadsheet links in with Betfair through Betting Assistant and the live prices are displayed in the spreadsheet. I've set the spreadsheet up to alert me to back or lay by turning blue or pink once the market has changed. I'm getting better with excel and this is proving very handy!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Productive weekend

I wasn't trading over the weekend - I went away to Oslo with herself for the weekend. Had a great time although it's damn expensive over there!  It worked out at €11 for a pint - thank God for the duty free on the way over. It's a lovely city though - very clean and I found the people there very nice.

Being away, I got plenty of time to think about trading and do some reading. I was thinking more about Friday's big loss: I don't actually feel that there's anything wrong with my strategies, having reflected on it, I still reckon it was 'just one of those days'.

Still though, I figured that it wouldn't hurt to have a few new strategies (I'm mainly using the same 3 or 4 strategies to place my trades) in the armoury. So I came up with a 'momentum' based strategy which roughly mimics a strategy given by Richard Farleigh in Taming The Lion.

I've adapted it for the sports markets but it work on the 'trend is your friend' principle. Without going into too much detail, once the market moves a certain % amount, it's time to buy or sell (or in my case, back or lay). It's fairly simple and aims to go with the flow - I've set it up with stops etc and the good news is that it worked well today and a profit of €44 was shown using this strategy. I only lost in one out of 14 markets and caught some lovely swings along the way. The stakes were not too big so this gives me some encouragement, although it's very early days so I ain't counting any chickens.

Still though, it's good to get time to reflect after a big loss and rethink some strategies and come up with new ideas. I think the break did me good.

I've two pictures below - one is today's p&l and the other is me in Oslo standing beside the famous 'The Scream' painting:

Friday, May 13, 2011

Oh dear...

What an absolutely horrible day. I hadn't traded on Betfair in a while so I felt a little rusty but I'd thought I'd give a few markets a go regardless.

I started off by letting a race go in-running by accident and lost €275.  I think I should have just stopped there as my mind wasn't on it but I managed to earn a couple of bob before I had to go out for a few hours.

I came home and turned on the computer to trade some evening stuff - bad idea. I just don't know what went wrong - I was all over the place and every trade I placed seemed to go wrong. I should have really quit as I wasn't thinking straight as a loss of 96, then 144, then 88 went in.

I changed tack and tried to trade a few short ones in the place market but that just went arseways aswell! There wasn't enough money to get out of some trades when the races were close to the off and that left me screwed!

All in all, a horrible day and I'm quitting for the evening before more damage is done. Can't quite put my finger on what went wrong but I just wasn't with it today. You have to take the bad with the good I suppose but today was particularly bad.  Such is life.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Self praise

My wife always tells me that 'self praise is no praise' but I'm pretty pleased with myself with my latest two gold trades.

I've often beat myself up on these pages when things go bad so sometimes it's important to pat oneself on the back for a job well done.

Don't get me wrong, I only made just under €60 in total, not a big amount - but I stuck to my plans and stops and it worked out.

I was tracking the price of gold today and moving my stop upwards as the price moved up. Generally, I was keeping the stop about $7 behind the market. When it hit $1522, I put the stop at $1514.90 and left it be as I had stuff to do.

The price came down and my order was matched -  I briefly kicked myself as I had considered selling at $1522 - but you can never expect to catch the top of the market to be honest and as the price dropped down again to the $1500 mark, I realised that it was a very good trade after all.

When I first started trading, I'd be obsessed with catching the top or bottom of the market but this is folly of the highest order. Once you realise that there is money to be made in-between, you stop getting so worked up about it. You can't really expect to bet at the 'right' prices (the top and bottom) all the time - indeed, I remember reading a good quote from a trader who said he had made his fortune betting at the 'wrong' prices.

I'm no longer obsessed with catching the top and bottom and it's refreshing when you release yourself from it.

As I say, it's not a huge amount of money but it was one of those trades where I had a get out price, I had an opinion, I had a plan and I had a bit of bottle when the price went bad - so I'm quite pleased with it. 

Speaking of fortunes, I'm going to need a small one this weekend as I'm off to Oslo with herself. We'll be leaving on Saturday morning - it's meant to be a great city but apparently, it's the most expensive city in the world!  It's about ten euro for a pint so I'll definitely be stocking up in the duty free on the way over!

This week's closed trades:

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Trailing stop

I've decided to put a trailing stop on that gold trade - well, it's not an automaitc trailing stop, I'm more or less doing it manually as I'm checking the market quite often. At the moment, the trade is worth nearly €50 with the gold trading at $1515 so I've set the stop at $1509 which will ensure a reasonable return.

I know it's not a huge amount but pennies make pounds and pounds make scores, and it all adds up. I don't have a strong opinion on how gold will go over the next few days so I'm glad to just sit it out with the stop in place. Hopefully it goes up though!

I've recently moved some cash from my Betfair accounts to some non-sports trading accounts but I'm still a little nervous about this and will take it slowly. 

Open trade on marketspreads:

Monday, May 9, 2011

Not so bad timing

It's funny the difference a couple of days can make on the markets. The other day, I wondered if I'd got in at a bad time on gold as it lost a big amount on Thursday.

However, it recovered today and is back up around $1512 .

I said to the wife last night that I had a feeling that the markets would open positive on gold and I was happy about it - there was a fair bit going on over the weekend to push the prices up.

As mentioned, I had two open trades - I sold out on the first one, the $1503 bet. I saw the price hit $1508 or thereabouts and got out for a profit of 12 quid.

The second one, the one I bought for $1491 remains open and is currently in profit of 40 quid or so

I've set a stop loss around $1499 just to be sure I can't lose now. The higher it goes, the better now.

Fair enough, it's not an earth shattering amount of money but I'm still very pleased as on Thursday, those two trades were nearly €140 in the red - so it's a nice swing to see some profit on that now.

My open trade:

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Bad timing?

Well, I got involved with gold again when it dropped to €1503. I figured it might bounce off the $1500 mark but boy was I wrong! It collapsed through and I thought it would bottom out around $1490 so I bought some more. 
Wrong again!
As I type this, it currently trades around $1470  - however, I’m not too concerned just yet.
While commodities in general had their biggest drop since 2009, I’m still happy enough with gold and the overall direction it is going and I’m not going to panic for the time being. Besides, I only bought a small amount – just 50c and 30c so at the moment, I’m around €135 in the red.
I’ll probably set a stop loss soon but I’m happy to hold out on this and I reckon we’ll be back up above $1500 once the panic selling stops and some other news story gives reason for people to buy.
Could be wrong though – watch this space!
Today’s trades, which are currently in the red:

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Good weekend

Haven’t posted for a while as I was away in Carlow at a cousin’s wedding this weekend so I wasn’t online much.
Well, what can one say about Frankel in the 2,000 Guineas on Saturday eh? Fantastic stuff! It normally bugs me when people call a horse a ‘cert’ in racing but I’ve been banging on about this one for quite some time and it was one of those occasions where he was still massive value, even though he was odds-on. I had a nice few ton on him (done it the old way with cash in the bookies) which paid for my hotel for the weekend. I had a brilliant time at the wedding, and to top it off, Dublin’s hurlers win the league – what more could a man ask for!
Didn’t get much sports trading done obviously but elsewhere, I went short on gold twice last week – once when it hit $1534 and again when it hit $1547. I’m actually still keen on gold long term but I just thought it was extending a little too wildly and predicted that people would take some profit. Then, all this craic with Osama Bin Laden kicks off and I was unsure how the markets would react (if they were even going to react to that event at all). Today, gold dropped a fair few points back down (I don’t think it was related though) and I got a little nervous and sold out. I could have got out for a profit at one stage but waited a bit too long and the price started recovering. Overall, I lost about a pony (€25) on the trade but I was glad to get out without too much damage as it’s all a little uncertain at the moment, and to be honest, I haven’t been keeping on top of the news wires etc with Easter holidays and bank holidays and what not.
I’ve been waiting to get back in on gold for some time and being honest with myself, I’ve missed some cracking opportunities trying to wait for the ‘right’ moment. In some ways, there never really is a ‘right’ price. There’s just prices!
But that said, my records show that gold has been (by far) my best commodity for trading so it’s something I want to keep on top of and it’s something I enjoy holding.
Not sure what price I’d like to get in at again, I’m going to wait for a boring non-news week sometime and sit down and give it more thought and study and see where I’m going with it.
On the racing front, we’ve Punchestown this week and it’s normally something I spend a few days at. This year however, I’m a bit tied up with work and don’t want to take any more time off. I’ve pretty much taken all of August off so I can go to Canada with the family then spend a week in Gran Canaria with some mates too – so I’ll have to clock in some hours in the 9-5 as it will be an expensive couple of weeks! Hopefully, I’ll get to watch some of Punchestown on the box – it feels weird not being there and there’s some cracking races on the cards. I don't really have any real strong opinions on it as I haven't really spend much time studying the cards - I'll just watch as much of it as I can and make some notes at the end - don't think I'll do much betting though.