Betfair Trading,  In-Running

Tough Decisions. My December Update

Well this is tough, but I’ve made a decision on how I’m going to trade for the foreseeable future.

For the benefit of people who read all my trading updates I don’t want to go into too much detail on my past trading history but in brief:

Re-Cap: I work from home so I’m able to trade about 600+ races a month as I can fit work around my trading. I started trading Jan 2019 trying to scalp pre-race. I lost lots of money. I switched to In-Running from April 26th after buying Tony Hargreaves (TH) In-Running guide*.

I immediately liked In-Running (IR) trading much better, but I still lost. The only positive being that I lost progressively lost less and less each month as I improved up till October when I only lost £56.

The phrase “I only lost £56” reminds me of the days when I was married. The wife would come home from shopping and say something like, “I saved £60 because they were reduced from £100 to £40”. No, you haven’t saved anything, you’ve spent £40!

Anyway, I attended the Hunting for Profit (HFP) training course at the start of Nov and switched to that method of trading through November, where I lost £160.

End of Re-Cap.

December 2019

At the start of Dec, I continued with the HFP method until close of business on the 7th of Dec. At that point I was over £250 in the red.

Now it’s important for me to state here that I had £680.77 in my Betfair account when I started trading in January and throughout 2019 I deposited a further £4,458.72 into Betfair and withdrew zero.

When I was £250 down on the 7th I had just £150 left in my account. I really didn’t feel like reloading again.

I’m divorced and my children are grown up and long since left home so what I do with the money I earn is my business but at circa £5k down with my trading journey I knew I’d got to draw the line somewhere. To wealthy people £5k may not seem much, but as much as I love trading there comes a financial pain barrier where it ceases to be fun.

I hate quitting on anything without giving it a fair go, and I 100% know for certain that I haven’t given the HFP method anywhere near enough time. Like any strategy it takes an absolute minimum of 6 months and more likely a year to master but I was starting to question whether I wanted to go through the pain of another year of failure and bank balance abuse, before I started being profitable on a regular basis with HFP.

In fairness to Matt at HFP he makes it very clear before you even sign up that you will not master the method in less than 6 months even if you trade 7 days a week and for weekend traders it could take many years.

I knew that when I started and went into it with my eyes open. Most sellers of trading methods give an unrealistic expectation about fast results and I’d advise anyone not to buy anything that guarantees immediate results.

Now just about the time I attended the HFP training day (review here) I’d gotten to the point where I’d almost turned the corner with my old TH method. I’d been doing it since April and made lots of mistakes and slowly but surely, I was improving. I was pretty confident that if I took it really carefully and concentrated on the main aspect of TH’s method and ignored all the side strategies he uses; I could make a small profit each day.

So, as I didn’t want to re-load more money into Betfair and reducing to micro stakes with the HFP method would just mean I’d lose slower I opted to revert back to the TH method.

When I decided this on the 7th – 8th Dec I originally planned to do the TH method till I’d got my Betfair account back up to £500 and then switch back to the HFP method. However when I started winning each day I started to enjoy that fact and I began to wonder whether I should just carry on with it.

I’m 8 months down the road with the TH method and like anything it was tough at the beginning and the more I thought about it I just didn’t want to go through another year of pain trying to learn a new method.

If you read my daily updates below and you can see my results for every day I traded in December. It is important to know that I write these each day at the end of trading so the past/present tense may not make too much sense and I may have different opionins now as to what I wrote then.

Underneath the Trading results I’ve done a paragraph on HFP v TH method comparison and my thoughts for next month and beyond.

Dec 2019 Trading results day by day

1st Dec

Day off from trading as I’d made day 2 of a decent sized poker tournament. As often happens I got all my chips in when I was an 82% favourite but I still lost to bust just outside the money. (They don’t call me “Run Like a Drain” for nothing).

Dec 2nd

Excited to start the new month with renewed enthusiasm. It’s always nice to re-set the clock after a month where you have spent most of it in the red. I always think this will be my month! Even though I started trading in Jan 2019 and haven’t managed to make a profit yet.

Day went well there was boringly only one afternoon meeting so I was extra cautious as one mistake could easily spoil the day. Traded fine and only had one small loss.

Number of Races 7

7 Traded, 1 loss, 6 wins. Biggest loss £1.10, biggest win £4.06

Daily Total: Plus £11.84

Dec 3rd

Weird day. I was a bit up and down but what pleased me was on another day I might have lost my cool, but I didn’t today which has to be a positive. Losing £20 early in the day did put me under a bit of pressure but I didn’t let it affect me. I entered a few trades where I shouldn’t have got involved and the £20 loss was the worst example of that. Even though it was a red day overall I lost less than I won yesterday, so I stay in the green for the month so far.

Number of Races 19

18 Traded, 5 losses, 13 wins. Biggest loss £19.70, biggest win £3.71

Daily Total: Minus – £6.42

Dec 4th

Very bad day for me. Markets didn’t show too much that was obvious and often when I entered the market my position instantly went red on me. Ludlow was cancelled and that didn’t help matters as only one jumps and an AW flat meeting to trade. This HFP strategy is much better over jumps, the flat races can be a bit rapid and the ladders go a bit crazy making it tough to trade. That said my two biggest wins today were on a flat race.

The only real positive I can take from the day was that I stayed calm and did not revert to my old B2L method.

Number of Races 13

10 Traded, 6 losses, 4 wins. Biggest loss £15.00, biggest win £9.14

Daily Total: Minus – £24.32

Dec 5th, 6th and 7th

I was so hacked off after 5th and 6th that I didn’t write my daily review I just switched the PC off and left the office. For these 3 days my total losses were £230.46 and I’m beginning to question whether I should just admit defeat with trading and just stop doing it.

I was confident at the beginning of the month that I couldn’t lose more than I did last month but it seems that I can easily do so. I’m not entirely sure how it has all gone so wrong, but I feel like a football team in the relegation zone. I may start off each day OK but when I go a goal down my lack of belief means certain defeat.

Number of Races over the 3 days, 79

76 Traded, Biggest loss £77.99, biggest win £5.97

Dec 8th (Sunday)

I planned to have a day doing my old method for a change. A change is as good as a rest and it can’t be any worse was my thinking. I thought I’d just have a go with very small stakes and take it steady.

Number of Races 27

27 Traded, 6 losses, 21 wins, Biggest loss £9.32, biggest win £6.77

Daily Total: Plus £5.49

Dec 9th (Mon)

Decided to go back to my old strategy full on today as I’d either got to top up my bank, again, or win a bit today. I decided I’d try and win some and with just one jumps and one flat meeting I figured L2B would offer me the best opportunity.

Day was very straightforward thankfully. No losses which is always nice when it happens.

Number of Races 11

10 Traded, 0 losses, 10 wins, Biggest loss N/A, biggest win £3.58

Daily Total: Plus £21.59

Dec 10th

Annoying day using old method. Suffered a couple of larger losses and worked hard to get the minus figure back down to manageable levels.

Number of Races 21

19 Traded, 4 losses, 15 wins, Biggest loss £27.22, biggest win £6.86

Daily Total: Minus – £8.09

Dec 11th

Good days trading with just a couple of minor losses.

Number of Races 18

18 Traded, 2 losses, 16 wins, Biggest loss £0.35, biggest win £6.33

Daily Total: Plus £40.42

Dec 12th

What I describe as a good bad day. By that I mean that it felt like a bad day as I didn’t do any really good trades all day. Somehow though I still made money.

Number of Races 14

14 Traded, 4 losses, 10 wins, Biggest loss £2.14, biggest win £3.87

Daily Total: Plus £11.27

Dec 13th

What a day. Had one massive brain fart that cost me £52.59 otherwise it was a good day!

Number of Races 21

20 Traded, 5 losses, 15 wins, Biggest loss £52.59, biggest win £8.72

Daily Total: Minus – £4.37

Dec 14th

Nearly! I’ve never yet had a day where I’ve made £50 profit and in truth, I’ve only ever won over £40 a couple of times. I really thought I was going to do it today. After an £11.05 loss on the 5th race of the day I had a great run until I lost £9.31 on the 15.20 pm.

Still this is my 2nd best days trading ever.

Number of Races 30

29 Traded, 5 losses, 24 wins, Biggest loss £11.05, biggest win £6.49

Daily Total: Plus £43.10

Dec 15th 

Had Sunday dinner with family so only traded 5 races. One very good trade for £6.95 otherwise steady stuff.

Number of Races 5

5 Traded, 1 loss, 4 wins, Biggest loss £1.25, biggest win £6.95

Daily Total: Plus £10.58

Dec 16th

My last day of trading until after Xmas. It went well and over the last 7 days I’ve boosted my bankroll by just over £140 which was much needed. It leaves me just £100.93 in the red for December.

Number of Races 12

12 Traded, 0 losses, 12 wins, Biggest loss N/A, biggest win £4.85

Daily Total: Plus £28.44

26th December Boxing Day

Had a great 10 days in Spain spent at my Dad’s house. It was just the 2 of us to start with but my daughter joined us when she broke up from work.

Had a nice long break from trading and arrived back in the UK and dived straight back into it the minute I got home!

Good solid day. I decided to carry on with my old method as I figured it would be easier after a lay off and I felt a little tired from travelling back from Spain. As it happened during one of the races today, I spotted a golden HFP opportunity and took a bit of profit out of it.

I’m very close to breaking even this month so I’d like to achieve that and then start again in Feb.

Number of Races 9

9 Traded, 1 loss, 8 wins, Biggest loss £1.74, biggest win £5.35

Daily Total: Plus £17.61

27th Dec

First losing day for a while. What pleased me (although I don’t like losing of course) was I had an absolute nightmare of a race losing £80 on a really bad mistake, but I remained totally cool about it and carried on trading normally.

In the past I’d have ended up £200 down on the day because I’d have lost my mind.

Number of Races 24

24 Traded, 5 losses, 19 wins, Biggest loss £80.57, biggest win £8.33

Daily Total: Minus -£23.39

28th Dec (Saturday)

A record-breaking day for me with my best day so far since I started trading in Jan 2019. I must say having Racing TV has made a big difference since I got it. Great pictures on my TV and on a busy day like this the races just flow one after the other and I don’t need to get into a flap getting scratch trades through and all that hassle.

I had a fairly high proportion of losses today but that was because I was being ultra-cautious and taking small/medium reds rather than letting them run and possibly taking a big red.

Number of Races 34

34 Traded, 8 losses, 26 wins, Biggest loss £7.46, biggest win £12.10

Daily Total: Plus £55.45

29th Dec

Missed the first few races as I had to pick one of my daughters up from the airport but a decent day with just one annoying balls-up which cost me a £20 loss. The mess I made of that trade and the mini-panic I got into trying to sort it out was something I used to do 4 or 5 times a day.

I only realised while writing todays update that I haven’t done this “mini-panic” thing for quite a few months. It’s still annoying to do it but it happens a lot less often these days and it doesn’t bother me so much as it used to. That’s a big improvement.

I traded over 20 races today, so the £20 loss only equates to £1 per race so it doesn’t seem so much when I think of it that way.

Number of Races 23

23 Traded, 2 losses, 21 wins, Biggest loss £20.25, biggest win £6.33

Daily Total: Plus £29.53

30th Dec (Monday)

Only 3 meetings, two over jumps and both on Racing TV so that was where I concentrated. The AW flat at Lingfield was only available via Betfair video so I only did a couple of races there.

As my confidence with my old method of trading has started to rise it has meant that today I raised my stakes just a little. Averaged £2.33 per race profit which is very good for me.

Number of Races 16

15 Traded, 2 losses, 13 wins, Biggest loss £8.26, biggest win £7.21

Daily Total: Plus £37.43

Dec 31st Tuesday

What a great way to finish the year with my most profitable day ever. I feel I’ve gotten so much better at my old In-Running method this month.

Four meetings today two on RTV and two via Betfair video. I can’t tell you how much more I like the RTV pictures. I wonder how I ever managed without it previously.

Number of Races 19

19 Traded, 1 loss, 18 wins, Biggest loss £2.88, biggest win £8.00

Daily Total: Plus £61.09

Summary of the month

So after initially thinking on the 7th Dec that I’d switch back to my old method temporally was wresting with the decision of should I continue with my old TH method or switch back to the HFP method?

When I first switched back to TH way on the 8th Dec, as I said earlier it was only supposed to be for a short period of time. However, I’ve done well comparatively speaking, so I’ve been wrestling with that decision for a while. 

At the time of writing this (4th Jan) I’m over £250 up for the last 7 days. If you multiply that by 4 it must be possible that I could make a bag of sand for the month. To win £1,000 in a month after the kicking I’ve taken mentally and financially for the last twelve months would be nice.

I feel I’ve taken the easy option by not carrying on the hard work required to master the HFP method and that disappoints me, but each day I start trading now I fully expect to show a profit.

The fact is that all the hard work I put into the TH method since April has started to come to fruition, I just wish it had done it about 3 months ago as it would have saved me all this malarkey.

HFP v TH Trading Methods. Which is best?

Well I genuinely don’t know and it’s impossible for me to give a fair answer to that because I have about 8 months experience (4,800 races) with the TH method and only just over a month with HFP method.

I’m currently making money with the TH method and losing with HFP, but would I be making money with the HFP method if I gave it 8 months of my time, who knows?

Another thing to consider is that ability wise if I’m currently a 6/10 at the TH method I’m a 2/10 with HFP.

That’s why it is impossible for me to answer which is best.

The interesting question to know the answer to is, what if I was really good at both methods which one would make the most money using level stakes/bank rolls?

I can’t answer that now, but I’m curious enough to find out so I will almost certainly give HFP another try at some point in the future.

Are you a losing trader right now?

If you’re a losing trader, then I guarantee you that there is no trading e-book or training course in the world that if you buy/attend will mean you immediately become profitable. Trading/Training/learning doesn’t work like that.

I was a professional management and staff trainer for the insurance and banking industry for well over 20 years so I can tell you that I never taught anyone a new skill on a training course in that 20 years.

What I did was show and explain to them the best techniques. Technique only becomes a skill if you choose to practise it over and over repeatedly once you’ve left the training course.

We’ve all heard the great Gary Player quote when he chipped into the hole from a greenside bunker (players didn’t do it very often in his day). As he walked out of the sand trap a woman on the rail said “jammy bugger” or words to that effect. Player heard it and replied “yeah…its funny but the harder I practise the luckier I get”

“The harder I practise the luckier I get”

Any trading method you opt for takes a great deal of screen time and money to master. I know I haven’t given HFP enough time to even work out if it’s the best strategy for me, yet alone master it.

My decision to put it on hold is based entirely on financial considerations and my mental well-being. When you’ve had the crap kicked out of you by the ladders for 12 months it starts to take its toll on you. These last few weeks where I’ve been having green days one after the other just feels nice.

I’d like to have persevered with the HFP method I really would, but I’ve decided I don’t want to throw another 12 months’ worth of time/money at it. So, I feel I’ve taken the financially sensible option and I’ve opted to stick with the TH method for the foreseeable future.  Will I ever have another crack at it (HFP) in the future?

I may well do, because I still believe in it as a strategy. Like anything though you need to work exceptionally hard at it for a sustained period. There is no substitute for screen time.

In-Running

If you are losing money Pre-Race trading and are wondering about having a go at In-Running, then the *Tony Hargreaves In-Running Guide I mentioned earlier can be found here.

If you are interested in the Hunting for Profit Method then Matt’s website is here.

Let me say a few things though

Firstly, the TH link is an affiliate link, so if you do buy it through the link, I may get a commission, but the price you pay will be the same. (All my advertising and affiliate links on this site generate a very small income which I put towards the website hosting costs for this blog)

Secondly and most importantly buying it or attending the HFP course will not turn you into a profitable IR trader overnight. It took me over 5,000 races to get to where I am now.

NB: If you are a Tony hater don’t bother contacting me to tell me what you think of him as I really don’t care. When I wrote a review about my visit to the Bet Angel Offices (read it here) I got loads of abusive emails etc about Peter Webb, but I just delete them so save yourself the time.

2020 Dreams and Goals

So, I finally made a profit trading in my 12th month after 11 straight losses. YAY!!!

I’ve posted up some screenshots on Twitter lately, and people have asked me how I did it? Sometimes it makes me smile, as how could I possibly tell them in a tweet how to instantly become profitable!

Well I can’t, but I can tell you how I finally made a profit. I worked my bollocks off for the previous 12 months, that’s how I did it. I can’t tell you how many race replays I’ve watched but I’m guessing not too many people have watched more.

When I first looked at the Betfair Exchange (Jan 2019) and pre-race trading, I started thinking along the lines of how many races there are each day and what an achievable average profit per race would be.

I started to think that 20 races per day @ £5 profit average would equate to £100 per day and if I traded 24 days a month that equals £2,400 per month which is £28,800 per annum tax free. To earn that as a net salary after tax and NI you’d need to be earning £37,000 pa.

There is £500,000 traded on the average race I only want to take a fiver of it on a regular basis, that’s not asking for much is it?

I don’t know too many people earning £100 working from home for 3 or 4 hours per afternoon. That was my dream and for many months I figured it was just a dream and nothing more.

Now though as I move into my second year of trading it has started to become less of a dream and more of a goal.

I feel that if I can scale up my IR trading when my bank is a bit higher then getting to a £50 per day average (20 races x £2.50 average profit) is certainly something that I should be doing within the not too distant future.

If you, like me, have struggled throughout 2019 with your trading then I wish you all the best for 2020.

With the new year comes new hope and expectations. GL everyone, stay green.

6 Comments

  • Gary

    Mate, this is a seriously good insight to your trading over the last 12 months and very interesting indeed. Totally honest by the looks of it and if you keep focused looks like you are moving the right direction.
    I’ve been at it for a lot longer than you and have many moments I could share, twists and turns and profit/losses. Overall I’m in profit, but I work full time and trading time is limited, however lately it’s like you, moving in the right direction, so thanks for this today it helps with the motivation to keep at it. Stay focused and disciplined and you’ll do well, it took me nearly four years to work that out!!

  • Paula

    A good and enjoyable read Dave. I am also like you, I couldn’t make HFP work after 12 months of trying but thats not saying it doesn’t work as people are making money from it. We are all different and different methods suit different people. I am making a profit now since I joined another trader. I wish you all the best in your trading journey. Do what’s best for you, it’s your life no one else’s.

    Paula

    • runlikeadrain

      Thanks Paula,

      Yes its fair to say some are making absolute chunks using HFP and when you watch the videos it’s easy to see why. The problem is real experts make what they do look ridiculously easy, when for a novice its really tough.

      I’m glad you are doing well.

  • Mark Conway

    Great stuff Dave! Glad to see your finally starting to crack it! Just before you started to crack up!!! ;). Have you never considered trading football? I’m doing that since moving from Matched Betting. I decided to go with what I know, I know absolutely nothing about horses but love analysing football stats so this is perfect for me. I watched one Caan Berry video on YouTube and the racing ladder and thought, f**k that! The football market goes at much more my relaxed pace!
    Good luck this year Dave!

    • runlikeadrain

      To do what I do you really don’t need to know anything about horses but it is always best to stick to what you know and love. I’ve done just a few football trades but not for ages I just stick 100% to racing.

      If I ever fully master the racing then I might have a more serious look at football. I know some people make big money from it.

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