during the last few days I traded the following matches:

It is not the amount I lost that annoys me, it is more the way I lost this money. I did not trade well these matches. In the match Simon v Santoro I forced the trades. I missed an opportunity and tried to identify trading points, when there was not really an opportunity.
When trading Andreev v Ferrer I identified some good opportunities, but I had to scratch them all.

Stats so far:
Total loss since last update: –24.84
Total profit this month: +111.52

Cheers, Loocie


Interview With A Tennis Trader


today I will publish an interview I had with a tennis trader:

Hi PR, thanks for taking the time to have this interview. Tell us please a little about yourself.

I am early 30’s and live in the Asia region but was raised in the US and have started various businesses on my own. My current full-time "job" is my own company that is based in the Asia region and that is my first priority with some new businesses on the way. This fund I started is dedicated to trading on Betfair as I believe Betfair trading deserves a serious look, so I have committed the funds (and have some prelim investors) to do a test run where I test different approaches and also the depth of the liquidity on a daily basis. Academic background wise, I have degrees from U Chicago and an from MIT where I did extensive Excel and similar programs doing statistical analysis, financial modelling, and data mining.

What was your first experience with betting or trading? How did you become a trader?

I was with friends watching a soccer match and in an attempt to impress the girl I was with, I laid a ~$200 US bet on a team (which subsequently lost). It probably was a great hint that I should have stopped outright betting at that moment.

Did you had a mentor when starting trading on sport events?

I did not, but I have contemplated being a full-time trader for investment banks, so I have friends who run their own trading firms or have their own trading desks in investment banks. From there, I was able to get a bit more info on the trading life and the mechanisms behind a profitable trading operation.

How much time do you spend each day on Betfair?

Too much time. I think right now if there are events running, about 6-7 hours. My entrepreneurial life allows me to basically focus on Betfair full time. But I think an important aspect that is often overlooked is to have the stamina and attention span to give it your all for the full trading session when you are seated. You don’t want to just miss opportunities because you are unfocused. At the same time, too long into a trading session and you (well, me actually) will get sloppy.

Which sports do you trade on?

Primarily tennis, but running some tests on footy as well as one of the xcard games.

Do you use any trading software?

I use Bet Angel. I think it’s a good product, but I will probably switch after I am done with this current subscription because there are some limitations to it that annoys me and for tennis trading, the functions needed are simple so there’s no point paying for the excess features I don’t use. There are a lot of formulas and functions that are based off excel I use, so it would be best to find a way to integrate it into my future program of choice. I imagine I will probably hire a person to integrate the excel code into a Betfair API for our use.

Would you describe yourself as a sports trader or punter?

I started as a punter because I didn't realize that the idea of "trading" existed. Even though I sometimes saw the opportunities to move positions off in-play, the vig on the bets were so large that it was not worth it. I also happen to have friends that work in the bookmaking industry where they set odds and they had mentioned that many bookmakers sell their risk to others and adjust odds to hedge risks. I thought it would be a good idea to start a site where you traded risks amongst bookmakers thinking it was an unknown business, but then I took a closer look at Betfair and realized that’s what they ultimately did (I imagine some of the market makers in Betfair are probably themselves and other bookmakers). Making the transition to trading was easy as I use to bet 200-300K USD per week , so the swings of going up and down 10-30K US a week was very normal. Now, with per bet maximum risks at about 250 USD – 300USD (as I am still perfecting the trading model), the biggest down is relatively negligible in my mind.

What is the most costly lesson you made during trading sports?

Too many. I was up $20,000 US from outright betting after basically having a perfect day. Thinking I was invincible, I didn’t do any research the next day and basically brought that figure right back to 0. I think the name of the game is always discipline in money management. You need to always hold your money with a clenched-fist so that you don’t drip profits by being sloppy. Beyond that there have been more than a million occasions – it seems – where I held onto a bet too long while trading.

Do you remember your best trade you ever had?

Not really, because it’s a repetitive move. You buy low, sell high, and the idea is that you do it well enough so that it’s about the same result all the time and that it should keep happening. If there are memorable trades I don’t know if it’s good. Because it usually means something unexpected happened in the result where the trade came your way when it shouldn’t have, or you were trading an obscene amount for the risk (not as planned).

Are you reading other blogs about sports trading? Do you have a favourite blog?

I read most of the blogs linked through your website and the others. I really like Juicestorm and F1 Flutterfly (sp?) because they really take a more professional approach to it and have made it a science. I am of the opinion that Betfair will see a bigger influx of “professionals” who will treat Betfair –rightfully so – as a typical marketplace and start running models on the stats and trends and bring more quantitative science to this market.

Do you only trade in play or do you also make straight bets?

I trade in-play more, I think the swings are faster and there are more opportunities. This as oppose to staring at candlesticks and trying to pick up a few ticks pre-match. However, this is not to disapprove of those who do that. I think some have great capacity to do that, and they have clearly demonstrated it through their blog posts. For me, I don’t have the patience to grind out mini-ticks as that was one of the reasons why I didn’t even bother with working at a normal trading desk where stocks still moved too slow. I might sometimes take a trade pre-match thinking the odds will rocket down, but more often than not I am wrong.

Can you tell us something about your risk management?

I am still learning it. But basically there’s never a bet beyond 2% of my bank (which is currently around $20,000 USD), basically I always keep in mind the maximum exposure at any time and make sure it’s under 2% if it’s in correlated bets (2-0 set betting and set winner are correlated bets). But the problem is that different bets have different probabilities of winning and losing part-to-all of the amount. So there has to be further adjustment. For example: Laying 1.9 with $1000 US does not have the same risk as laying 1.03 with the same amount. In the first case, a 10 tick slide is acceptable, about 10%, in the second one you lose 1/3 in just one tick down.

What are the rules you follow to get into a trade? Is it weight of money, following a trend, trading within an odds range etc?

I look for value, but it’s usually based on odds that deviate largely from their original starting position. You need to have faith in that bookmakers know their odds well, so even though a match may start with the underdog wining the first set, probability says that the outcome is likely to gravitate back to normal (or at least try to – where you would still capture profit). Of course, it’s a bit more than that, but that would be a summation of the basic strategy (a common one). You can’t apply central limit theorem to an individual player as he is a player, and not a number, but when you consider the consistency of bookmakers to find the odds where the value is 50/50, then you can apply CLT to the probability of the performance running as planned (by the bookmakers).

How do you handle losses?

Poorly. But I think I am getting better at it. The idea is to keep the amount small enough where it doesn’t impact your ability to make decisions. This is critical in trading, as when you lose your “feel”, it affects your ability to function and decide as your normally would.

Do you have any contact to other traders via email, msn or something else?


It seems that you are trading with large amounts on Betfair, so I assume you are affected. What do you think about the new premium charges of Betfair? Have you thought about moving to other betting exchanges like Betdaq or WBX?

I think the premium charges are stupid. It is, as others have already said, Betfair bullying their customers since they have a virtual monopoly. I think it would be great if the big traders and market makers actually talked to each other and then made a concerted move to Betdaq or another exchange – I actually didn’t even know of WBX. The problem now is that to move to those exchanges is suicide because the liquidity is well short so it causes problems in trading with the gaps between bet and lay.

There is no intelligent way Betfair can justify the increase. They can argue you take money from the market, but that happens anytime someone bets (one person has to win, and one has to lose. In that sense, the suggestion that traders taking away money (and thereby discouraging punters from staying) is false because we traders help generate large purchasing in the markets. The only way Betfair really loses on this model was if Betfair itself was the market maker on both sides, and hence takes a loss once we arbitrage our position out. Anyway, long story short. If this was in a business where the customers were bankers and ivy league/Oxbridge types rather than “gamblers”, there business image would have been permanently tarnished and numerous complaints headed straight to the government for monopolistic practices.

In just one sentence: What do you think is the secret of successful trading on Betfair?

Solid strategy with discipline.

Thank you very much for taking the time and answering all the questions.

Cheers, Loocie


No Need To Rush


during the last few days I traded the following matches:

I traded on 7 markets with winning on two of them, losing in one market and 4 scratched trades.

The loss from Tipsarevic v Cilic match do not bother me. I followed all my rules and took the stop loss before the tie break of the 2nd set. I traded out at odds of 1.55 on Tipsarevic. Early in the tie break odds on Tipsarevic moved to 1.4 and I can imagine my feelings, if I would have been still in the trade.
There is no need to rush in a trade or forcing a profit, when there is no opportunity.
I kept a cool head and could produce a nice profit in the match Ljubicic v Ferrer. Overall the day ended in a profit.

During the last few days I met a trader from Hong Kong, who is also making money on tennis. It is always nice to share ideas and thoughts with other traders about trading in general and about trading on tennis too.
Soon I will publish an interview with him, so stay tuned!

Stats so far:
Total profit since last update: +16.14
Total profit this month: +137.52

Cheers, Loocie


The Good Run Continues


during the last few days I traded the following match:

Kanepi v Jankovickanepi_jankovicI entered the market late in the 2nd set. Kanepi was leading 4-0 in the 2nd set and then Jankovic fought back, but when Kanepi scored to 6-5*, I made it each way, because Jankovic could only force a tie break and I do not like to gamble during a tie break. However, Jankovic lost her service game and Kanepi won in straight sets.
Actually, that is the difference to my trading a year ago: I expected Jankovic to turn the match, but this did not happened, so a year ago I would have made a loss or at least no profit, but now I am in the situation to make a profit, even if the match does not develop totally in my desired direction.

Kanepi v Jankovic 6-2, 7-5

I also watched other matches too, but I could not identify any good opportunities, so I stayed away.

Stats so far:
Total profit since last update: +11.23
Total profit this month: +121.38

Cheers, Loocie


On The Right Path


what to say about trading tennis these days? It really works and I am on a very good run this month. I am very patient and disciplined, when trading these days.

During the last months mostly I wrote about what I did wrong and what I could improve, but these days there is no reason to write about mistakes because I did not make mistakes.

The most important thing now is to have a constant trading performance.

I traded the following matches during the last few days:

Morita v Hantuchova +15.81
Razzano v Safina +0.74
Sugiyama v Bartoli +20.51
A Radwanska v U Radwanska +0.38

It is not only the profit, which makes me happy, it is more the way I traded these matches. I was always looking at the bigger picture and did not chase any profits in a single match. I hope the good run will last a long time. It is all up to me.

Stats so far:
Total profit since last update: +37.44
Total profit this month: +110.15

Cheers, Loocie


Lots Of Trades


it was a quite busy week with lots of trades in tennis and soccer and here is an overview of my trades:

Trading Soccer soccerI was really upset about the loss of Germany against Norway. I backed Germany pre match @1.5 and was quite confident about Germany to win this match. However, they lost and I lost money, but I would back them again at these odds, because I think it was value.

Total loss trading soccer: -23.25

Trading Tennis tennisI trade 16 markets with 8 successful trades and 5 losses. I made one bigger mistake in the match A Bondarenko v Schnyder where I took my intended stop loss too late.

Overall I am quite happy about the way I am trading tennis these days.

Total profit trading tennis: +35.42

Stats so far:
Total profit since last update: +12.17
Total profit this month: +72.71

Cheers, Loocie


Trading Tennis And Soccer


during the last few days I traded the following matches:

Bolelli v Troickibolelli_troickiI can not remember the trade in detail, but I missed a trading point at the beginning of the first set, but I was patient and identified another trading point and my patience paid off.

Bolelli v Troicki 3-6, 4-6

Chardy v Ferrer
chardy_ferrer_set_betting The set betting market offers many opportunities. Often you get crazy prices matched. I created this risk free opportunity during the 2nd set, when Chardy fought back and match stats were relative equal. I let it run and made a nice profit.
My maximum liability during the trade was –4.50.

Chardy v Ferrer 1-6, 7-6, 7-6

Aachen v Rostock
aachen_rostockI watched this match live and Rostock played really well so I layed Aachen @2.16. A few minutes later Rostock scored. I made it each way, but I think again it was too early. Even if Aachen would equalize I could made a small profit, because odds would not move lower than 2.16.

Aachen v Rostock 3-3

No mistakes during this week so I am very happy with the profit.

Stats so far:
Total profit since last update: +43.68
Total profit this month: +60.54

Cheers, Loocie


Australian Open 2009 Men’s Final


today we saw the men’s final of the Australian Open 2009 and I traded the match odds market and the set betting market:

Federer v Nadal

nadal_federer_match_oddsPre match odds: Federer: 1.65, Nadal: 2.56
I really like the set betting market, which provides good opportunities in best of 5 matches. I took an opportunity early in the first set which paid off.

In the match odds market I layed Nadal, when he was leading 2-0 in the 2nd set. The trade paid off and I could make it each way, when Federer won the 2nd set.

I am really disappointed about Federer’s loss against Nadal. Federer was not concentrated during the final set, so I think he threw the match away.
There was no need to lose the match.

Federer v Nadal 5-7, 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3, 2-6

Stats so far:
Total profit today: +16.86
Total profit this month: +16.86

Later this evening I will have a look at the Super Bowl XLIII. Maybe I can identify an opportunity to make some profit.

Cheers, Loocie

Analysis Of January 2009


January is over now, so it is time to do the analysis.
Here is an overview of the profit per sport:

  • Tennis: +€32.77
  • American Football: +€1.39
  • Winter Sports: -€5.77

I had two trades, where I made big mistakes:

Tennis - Wozniacki v Dokic:
I did not see the bigger pictures, when the trade went against me. I could not accept the loss and lost more than I could afford.

Winter Sports – Men’s 10 km Sprint: Winner - Fastest Time:
I traded with too high stakes in a market, I was not very comfortable with and I did not take a stop loss, when necessary.

I am a little disappointed about the small profit I made during January, but when you do beginner’s mistakes and lose the view for the bigger picture, then you do not deserve it to make more money.

Not a great start into the trading year, but still a profit. I need to concentrate on my exit strategy and on the bigger picture during a single trade.

My new stake sizes:

Overall stats:
Year 2008: +€156.48
January 2009: +€28.39

Cheers, Loocie

Tennis Set Betting


I am feeling better, but I am still recovering from my shingles. I did not traded any matches during the day session, but I had a look at the matches during the night session and here is an overview:

Nadal v Verdasconadal_verdascoPre match odds: Nadal: 1.17, Verdasco: 6.80 
I am not a friend of trading best of 5 matches, when one player is a heavy favourite. The match odds market does not provide many opportunities to put on a trade, so I decided to have a look at the set betting market, which is a market with good liquidity during grand slam tournaments. I had several trades and could lock in a nice profit. I will have a look at this market in the future grand slam tournaments.

Nadal v Verdasco 6-7, 6-4, 7-6, 6-7, 6-4

I also traded the men’s final, but I will update later, because this match took place during February and I will do the analysis of January first.

Stats so far:
Total profit last Friday: +5.08
Total profit January: +28.39

Cheers, Loocie