February 2020 Trading Update
Here is my Betfair Exchange Trading update for Feb 2020.
OK so I started the month as a man with a plan. I’d mentally set up my own stop loss system to cut out the big losing days. Apart from my own mental stop loss, my 3 strategy changes for this month were to be.
Switch to “liability” rather than “staking” which I did from 3rd Feb onwards.
I pledged not to lay anything at the business end of a race.
No longer will I be laying anything with just a hint all is not well. I’m planning to wait a little longer till I can be more certain.
See my Jan Trading report here, if you’ve not read it as it will explain the reasons for these three changes.
Best Laid Plans
So that was the plan, but it still didn’t go well for most of the month.
Yes, I did change to liability and I stopped laying horses close to the end of races. I also didn’t put a lay bet in until the horse I was watching was showing real signs of distress.
I was still trading 100% manually which for the initial lay bet is fine but when it comes to trading out, it’s a bit hit and miss.
There were times when I could have had 10 to 20 ticks easily, but I didn’t take them. Then the horse rallied, and I was in the red zone quickly due to a faller or whatever.
All in all, with a few small changes, I was pretty much doing the same thing and getting the same results as every other month since I switched to In-Running trading in April 2019. Some decent days but too many horrendous days.
Monthly Exchange Trading Total
Here are the results for Feb, a disappointing Minus – £135.16
Something happened on the 24th of Feb which could possibly have changed my trading forever. If you read through the daily report below, you’ll get to it.
At the bottom of the article is my summary and thoughts on the month and my plans for March etc.
Day off from trading as I played poker in the Amateur Poker Association Tour (APAT) team event at Dusk till Dawn in Nottingham. It’s a really fun event to play and one of my favourite tournaments of the whole year.
40 teams of 8 players battling it out for team and individual honours.
I didn’t play anywhere near my best and had no luck at all, so I didn’t last long.
3 Meetings all on RTV so that is always good news for In-Running traders.
How’s my luck? Was heading for a small red day and was feeling pretty good about it as I hadn’t allowed myself to have a big loss and I was trading within manageable limits.
Then on the last race of the day, a bumper, I’d layed the 2nd Fav who was 4th at the time with the odds-on fav going well in the lead. The Favourite then somehow runs out and crashes through the barriers. I wouldn’t mind so much but it was a bloody flat race!
Number of Races 23
23 Traded, 6 losses, 17 wins. Biggest loss £41.72, biggest win £6.25
Daily Total: Minus – £55.96
Changed to “liability” and set it to £50 just to try it. I think I’ll probably raise it to £100 quite soon but not a bad idea to start at £50.
Only one afternoon meeting today and I’d probably would have taken the day off, but I wanted to have a go with the liability, so I traded five of the races. (On Betfair it says I did 6 trades because I did a “Place” bet trade. This has nothing to do with race reading and is a new strategy belonging to someone else I’ve been using recently when the opportunity arises. It seems a good one, but I lost at it today).
Using the liability stakes seemed fine. It’s obviously different as I’m laying the longer prices for less than I would have before but there will be times when I lay a shorter price where I’ll get much more on.
Just lately I’ve been concentrating on the first 3 ladders only so I’m more likely to be getting on at a lower price than I used to.
On the 5 races I didn’t make any mistakes that meant I lost money, but I did miss a huge opportunity to get an easy £10 profit. A horse at the start was being led around and didn’t look keen. I layed it but took a small green pre-race when it drifted.
When the race started it was 15- 20 lengths behind and the price shot out. If I’d not taken the pre-race green, I could have had an easy tenner. Oh well at least I didn’t make a mistake that cost me money.
Number of Races 5
6 Traded, 1 loss, 5 wins. Biggest loss £5.05, biggest win £5.12
Daily Total: Plus £12.33
Lovely quiet day. 10 Trades, 9 normal plus one “Place” trade, all green. Thank you very much.
Number of Races 9
10 Traded, 0 losses, 10 wins. Biggest loss N/A, biggest win £5.95
Daily Total: Plus £30.10
Not a great day no really obvious chances for me to make any big trades. Was just grinding out a day with small wins until the last race spoilt it. Still ended green but I was very disappointed to do that on the last race.
Number of Races 11
Traded 11, 2 losses, 9 wins. Biggest loss £12.53, biggest win £5.37
Daily Total: Plus £6.63
If I had rose coloured glasses on, I could describe today as a very good “bad day”. A day that went badly were I could have lost chunks, but I actually won £1.20
I made an horrendous mistake and could/should have traded out faster but the “liability” stake I was using meant it didn’t cost me as much as it would have done in the past. I was able to ignore the £37 loss and carry on trading carefully the rest of the day.
In previous months that £37 loss would have been £80+ and besides the financial downside it may well have affected my mindset and led to a three-figure loss on the day.
I was a bit disappointed to end the day winning just over £1 when there were 4 afternoon meetings and 3 of them were on RTV. Realistically I could have expected to win £50 today. I missed a few good opportunities but a definite plus was that there were a few races where I didn’t trade at all because no obvious trade was visible to me.
The races where the result is 0.00 or 0.07 could well have been races where I’d have lost big previously.
Such is life.
Number of Races 25
Traded 22, 3 losses, 19 wins. Biggest loss £37.49, biggest win £7.19
Daily Total: Plus £1.20
Very enjoyable day today. Had my biggest ever single race win since I started In-Running.
Using my £50 liability I spotted “Six Strings” which was on Ladder two I think, had missed the break a bit and was in rear. The jockey was urging him along early and it wasn’t having any effect.
It did try to move forward later in the race and although it improved down the home straight, I was never worried it might win. The leader was going so well and was never going to be caught.
I layed it for £21.74 @ 3.3 and was so confident it was struggling I layed it again for £18.87 @ 3.65
I traded out @ 36 for £3.91 to make £35.97 after commission. It’s very rare for me to lay something twice so it shows how confident I was.
Other than that big win the rest of the day was fairly typical.
Number of Races 16
Traded 16, 1 loss, 15 wins. Biggest loss £6.25, biggest win £35.97
Daily Total: Plus £65.08
Six Strings Image here.
Apart from having the stupid idea of doing a B2L on the first race of the day which cost me £6, I traded OK. I was maybe too cautious throughout the day but that isn’t the worst thing when doing L2B.
Number of Races 24
Traded 24, 3 losses, 21 wins. Biggest loss £5.96, biggest win £5.71
Daily Total: Plus £40.37
All racing cancelled due to storm Ciara, though as it happened, I was playing poker today in any event.
Again, storm Ciara had an effect as there was only Plumpton on this afternoon. Did the first race at Wolves also and quite pleased with my results from the small number of races I traded today.
Number of Races 7
Traded 8, 1 loss, 7 wins. Biggest loss £3.94, biggest win £7.76
Daily Total: Plus £24.58
Lost money today which is always annoying. Especially when I tweet prior to the start of trading exactly what I must not do today.
It could have been worse though without using “liability” instead of stakes. My big loss would have been bigger, and my biggest win would have been smaller. So, a £4 loss on the day isn’t the worst day I’ve ever had trading by a long way.
Number of Races 8
Traded 7, 1 loss, 6 wins. Biggest loss £31.57, biggest win £17.69
Daily Total: Minus – £4.31
Bloody Betfair video problems again. This time it was more major as the Betdaq video wasn’t working either. With only one AW flat meeting at Southwell (not on RTV) it meant the day was a washout really. Won £4 and called it a day.
Number of Races 3
Traded 4, 0 losses, 4 wins. Biggest loss N/A, biggest win £1.71
Daily Total: Plus £4.83
First really bad day since I switched to “liability” rather than stakes.
As I was losing, I decided to trade the first couple of evening AW races and that didn’t work out well. At least I had the sense to turn the PC off straight after the 6 o’clock race.
Number of Races 8
Traded 7, 2 losses, 5 wins. Biggest loss £37.23, biggest win £6.83
Daily Total: Minus – £48.41
This is starting to annoy me now. I expect to get done on the flat from time to time and it happened again today. Then it happens over sticks when I lay a horse that looks cooked, but it still wins. I’d placed a trade out back bet, in a slightly greedy position, and it got to about 3 or 4 ticks under it before suddenly getting a second wind while the favourite dropped anchor.
I chased the price back down to trade out, but it dropped so fast I missed it.
My entire month up in smoke in 2 days. I can’t even describe how angry with myself I am now.
Number of Races 13
Traded 13, 4 losses, 9 wins. Biggest loss £47.55, biggest win £14.90
Daily Total: Minus – £45.73
Made a mistake on my 7th race and after the way it has gone for me over the last two days, I had a bad feeling. Fortunately, it was the only blip I had and after that it all went well.
Number of Races 20
Traded 20, 2 losses, 18 wins. Biggest loss £13.24, biggest win £9.64
Daily Total: Plus £51.37
Didn’t enjoy trading much today. Should have been 4 meetings but due to the weather we only had 2. The timings were terrible as it was for example 15.25 K then 15.30 N. Then nothing till 15.55 K.
I don’t like to have long gaps in-between as a rule but during the weekdays I can do work on my computer whilst waiting but I don’t have much to do on a Sunday workwise.
Both meetings were on RTV which is a positive and I enjoyed watching Tiger Roll run.
Made my usual one race F’up to ruin the whole day. Something has to change; I need to stop this happening.
Number of Races 14
Traded 14, 2 losses, 12 wins. Biggest loss £46.24, biggest win £7.30
Daily Total: Minus – £11.06
My trading today left a lot to be desired.
Sadly, I made one bad mistake which cost me £70.65. Then after clawing it all back with some great trades I then spoilt it all by trading a race I shouldn’t have, and it really cost me. (£82.90)
Number of Races 16
Traded 16, 2 losses, 14 wins. Biggest loss £82.90, biggest win £7.30
Daily Total: Minus – £96.40
This was more like it. Traded pretty well, entered just one trade that I had to bail on for a £12 loss but other than that a good day. (The horse won so I did the right thing getting out when I did)
Number of Races 10
Traded 10, 1 loss, 9 wins. Biggest loss £12.63, biggest win £13.78
Daily Total: Plus £31.82
Night Out Tonight
Off out tonight for a beer and a catch up with Paula. I met Paula and one or two other traders I still keep in touch with, on the Hunting for Profit trading course I did in November.
When we sit on our own trading all afternoon, just staring at a computer, it can be quite boring/lonely so it’s nice to get the chance for a meet up with other traders and talk tactics etc.
Bit of a mess about day today and was trying to trade whilst doing other stuff so not ideal. To make matters worse I thought it would be a good idea to lay something in a 5f sprint, so lost a full £100 liability.
Number of Races 17
Traded 17, 2 losses, 15 wins. Biggest loss £100.05, biggest win £20.93
Daily Total: Minus – £104.43
Made a terrible mistake when I did a L2B on Miss Zip got a decent trade in and out and then Layed it again. Straight after I did, it was back on the bridle and I should have bailed immediately but it was well back still, so I let it run a bit. You can guess the rest.
Also managed to click the button to lay the wrong horse in another race.
One day I might learn. I think tomorrow I will reduce my stakes back down again and re-group.
Number of Races 11
Traded 10, 3 losses, 7 wins. Biggest loss £68.59, biggest win £8.88
Daily Total: Minus – £81.88
Decided not to reduce stakes but reduce the number of races I trade instead. Each day I spot some great opportunities where I’m sure of the Lay trade, but too many races I’m trading when I’m not absolutely certain, so I have signed the pledge to cut those out.
The results may not look like it to you reading this, but to me I think today has been a breakthrough day for me. I think a penny or two may have finally dropped.
I only traded 6 races today. I watched a couple of other races but didn’t enter the market and merely put a scratch trade through to get the pictures up.
I don’t need to do that normally as I have RTV but I was recording a couple of races so I could watch them back when I’ve finished trading for the day.
I’ve finally realised it’s just Kamikaze stuff trying to trade every race and hope to be a long term winner. I know Badger does it successfully, but I will always make a mistake eventually.
I always think of the Spitfire pilots during WWII.
If you’re not a great pilot but you only go up in your plane just a handful of times and fly short low-risk flights, you might get away with it. But if you fly dozens and dozens of sorties in risky areas, then eventually you’re going to get shot down in flames.
I’m trying to really cut down the amount of trades I enter and only do the ones I’m sure of. It’s tough to do nothing when watching the races, but I must learn that discipline or long term I’ll have to stop trading altogether.
I’ve also decided to set my tick offset at a rigid amount and stick to it. Yes there will be races where I win less than I could have done but by getting out of the trades slightly quicker I will be reducing my exposure to risk.
I made one rather comical loss when a horse called Dark Heart was rudderless on the 1st bend and I clicked to lay it but was a bit slow. So, I had it at a bad price then after it regained its composure the price came back in again, so I was in the red zone.
I thought it was going to pull up but it didn’t.
Rather than risk it, I took a £1.90 loss even though ultimately it didn’t win. Gave me and a lot of other layers a fright though because when it got back in the race it was leading again at one point.
Number of Races 8
Traded 6, 1 loss, 5 wins. Biggest loss £1.90, biggest win £16.35
Daily Total: Plus £28.24
Sat 22nd Feb
Disappointed with myself. Tried so hard to be disciplined and ultra-cautious but still managed to lay a winner to lose 93% liability.
Number of Races 8
Traded 8, 2 losses, 6 wins. Biggest loss £93.05, biggest win £12.54
Daily Total: Minus – £80.05
Sunday 23rd Feb
Prior to racing I wrote this:
Hate doing it but I’ve decided to reduce my stakes back down again. Was using £100 liability yesterday but I’ve cut it back to £25 today. I need to be a more consistent winner or lose less while I’m learning, anything else is just crazy.
Pretty good day. Reasonably happy, but quite a few of my entries were a bit slow. I think that’s a result of yesterday’s bad results and being a bit gun-shy.
I would have got a few ticks easily out of Lantiern in the 4.30 pm if I’d entered (layed it) sooner but my hesitancy cost me. As it happened, I got 80% of my Back bet matched but the last 20% cost me a £4 loss.
Also lost a small amount on Quel Destin when it looked like it would slip over at the start before they’d gone 5 yards. I layed it but it quickly recovered so I took a small red to be safe.
Number of Races 16
Traded 14, 2 losses, 12 wins. Biggest loss £4.02, biggest win £5.58
Daily Total: Plus £10.55
Mon 24th Feb
So, the best part of the day today was I had a phone call from someone whose trading I respect. We were on the phone for an hour and ten minutes and he basically gave me a bollocking.
We’ve agreed that for the foreseeable future at the end of each day I must send him my results and I can’t have any reds. Even if I just trade one or two races and stop that’s fine but I MUST be in the green each race.
He asked me if he held a gun to my head and would shoot me if I made a red “could I watch every race and just find one or two easy trades that were totally safe”?
I know I could because each day there are at least one or two races which are easy trades. I/We agreed that’s what I must do for the foreseeable future.
So, from tomorrow there will be lots of races where I watch but don’t trade. I’d already said on 21st Feb (3 days ago) I was going to cut down but now I’m going to have to cut it to the bone.
4 trades a day maximum till I can go a week without a red. So I promised him/myself that I’d turn over a new leaf from tomorrow.
It means when I have a winning day, I won’t win very much but not winning very much has never been my biggest problem. Losing far too much on my losing trades is the number one issue I need to solve.
Being a consistent winner, regardless of the amount is what I need to concentrate on.
Number of Races 6
Traded 6, 1 loss, 4 wins. (Had a race where I scratched) Biggest loss £6.96, biggest win £1.81
Daily Total: Minus – 0.68p
My new “4 Trades Max” starts tomorrow.
OK so the 4 max challenge starts today. Less is sometimes more, hopefully!
Although I doubt he would actually shoot me if I had a red, I knew I was going to have to tell him how I’d got on so I was only going for nailed on certainties today.
As I was going to do so few races and only enter on easy trades, I put my liability back up to £100.
I feared I might get bored out of my mind watching lots of races without trading so I thought that with £100 liability it would mean I would take it seriously.
Today I only entered the market twice. Weirdly, and this must be a long shot, I layed both horses @ 4.80
Because I have my global settings on my Bet Angel software set at a fixed tick offset amount*, rather than trading out manually, it meant I made the exact same profit on both races.
*As I said on the 21st Feb I decided to opt for a fixed tick offset amount rather than trading out manually. Rather than sometimes being too greedy and sometimes not being greedy enough this takes the guess work out of it.
To be honest if I’d been a bit more confident on the second horse I layed (In Demand, Ling 15.30) I could have layed it slightly earlier (and got a better price) and layed it more than once.
It didn’t break well and was never a real threat and it came under pressure earlier than all its market rivals.
Overall, today I watched 6 races and traded just 2. Happy with the day as I didn’t get shot.
Number of Races 6
Traded 2, 0 losses, 2 wins. Biggest loss N/A, biggest win £8.57
Daily Total: Plus £17.14
Very careful day again. Watched twelve races but only traded three as I wanted to make certain. All my problems in the past have come with entering trades I shouldn’t so this extra cautious approach should work for me in the long run.
After just two days of doing this cautious approach I’ve noticed that my average profit per race has gone up quite a bit.
Today I was almost looking for reasons not to enter rather than reasons to enter. On my first trade today, I only won £2.36 because only 20% of my bet got matched. I was slightly hesitant entering and missed a decent trade.
That’s a better mistake to make though than entering before I’m sure and getting myself in a mess.
Number of Races 12
Traded 3, 0 losses, 3 wins. Biggest loss N/A, biggest win £7.77
Daily Total: Plus £13.07
Another ultra-cautious day with just 4 races traded.
It looks like I did 5 but the first race at Musselburgh I just put a scratch trade through (£2 liability) to get the Betfair Video up. I have RTV on my TV but I saw a tweet yesterday about them doing some work on the RTV video feed and I wanted to see if it was any different. (it wasn’t)
Anyway 4 trades for just under £5 average so pleased with that.
Number of Races 7
Traded 4, 0 losses, 4 wins. Biggest loss N/A, biggest win £6.60
Daily Total: Plus £19.18
It looked like it wasn’t going to be a great day, but it turned out fine in the end. Only one meeting on RTV and the rest via Betfair Video.
To replace the old Flash video Betfair have had a few goes at changing it. They had another go today and I had some issues with it. I could either have it full screen or the standard small size.
With the old flash player, I could re-size it to my preferred size which is somewhere in between so I could also see some other info on my monitor. The video itself was pretty good though, once I’d got used to it.
OK so today’s trading was a perfect example of watching and waiting. I watched 14 races and only traded 3.
I’m trying to win a bit more per race to offset the fact I don’t do so many races. As I use “liability” currently the best way to win more is not to lay horses with bigger prices. I try not to lay anything over 7.0 or 8.0 anymore.
As some races are trading at 6.0 the field before the off, it means it’s very unlikely I’ll get a decent trade out of it. So there are some races I don’t even watch anymore.
The plus side to that is I get the chance to make a sandwich during the afternoons racing.
Number of Races 14
Traded 3, 0 losses, 3 wins. Biggest loss N/A, biggest win £10.49
Daily Total: Plus £20.92
OK so the pressure was on me today not to make a mess of my recent good run with my new ultra-cautious method.
The day was a bit weird as Saturdays often are. I always think its going to be great with lots of quality racing but, like today, it so often disappoints.
Had one very good trade on Cheddleton in the 14.45 at Kelso. But other than that, it wasn’t a great day.
Layed in 2 races and quickly placed a back bet for the net stake on both because the horses seemed to find something under pressure. As it happened, I was ultimately right to lay both because neither horse won.
My new safety-first method though meant that if either horse had won, I would only have lost a small percentage of my liability. In the past I’ve delayed acting when a trade starts to look less safe but my whole mindset now is bank protection.
Number of Races 9
Traded 4, 0 losses, 2 wins. Biggest loss N/A, biggest win £13.49
Daily Total: Plus £16.34
Summary and plans for March
Up until the 25th Feb I was, with a few minor tweaks, doing pretty much what I’ve always done. Since then I’ve drastically changed my trading plan of attack.
It is very early days, but I feel positive about my trading going forward. I’m sure I’ll have a setback or two along the way, but this new rigid approach has a lot of advantages.
My old method of trying to trade every race was just not working for me. I would get it right more often than not, but when it went wrong it was a total disaster.
Now I’m only entering the markets when the situation looks 100% right and doing a maximum of four trades a day. It’s ultra-cautious and I’m only placing a trade in about 40% of the races I’m watching.
Some races I’m not even watching at all because the prices are too high.
The important thing is I’ve not had a red since I started it.
My average race “profit” since I switched to it on 25th of Feb is £5.41 per race.
Prior to that my In-Running race profit lifetime, was in the minus. Even when I had a good day it was only £2 – £3 a race average.
I’ve been concentrating on the shorter priced horses and because I don’t want to waste one of my four a day with a small win, I’m not trying to lay anything over 6.0
If I can maintain this discipline from now on, and I have high hopes I can, then things are looking good for me at last.
I thought I’d get bored watching and waiting but surprisingly I don’t.
My In-Running race reading skills have always been reasonably good, what has let me down is my discipline plain and simple.
In poker terms my new trading style is very “nitty” (tight). Which means waiting for really good hands and folding everything else.
Poker players who are known as “fish” don’t like to fold even rubbish cards. They want to be involved in every hand. That’s why they lose in the long run.
The winning poker players (sharks) let the fish swim about playing every hand/trading every race. Whilst watching and waiting in the deep waters to gobble them up.
I’ve played poker for over 40 years and have a reputation as being one of the nittiest players around. The fact I’ve never thought of trading like a nit before is amazing now I think of it.
It should come naturally to me!