Taking advice pt.2

Previous blog I spoke about when to start with a tipster, today I’ll talk about when to stop. 

It happens, a service takes a down-turn and people leave. The issue I think is punters confidence in whether a service is genuine and being offered for the right reasons.

If you stop with a service it’s usually through poor choice, it is too easy blame the provider and that’s a cop out. If you do your research which I mentioned last time and stake sensibly then you can calculate how long the lean times will happen.

To throw that on its head, I am sometimes of an opinion to quit a service when the going is good. Taking a previous example, months Jan-May have yielded 100 units, the monthly long term average being 10 units per month. 

There has to be a reason to stop when the going is good. I would certainly consider this if this tipster was a National Hunt specialist, or at least reduce stakes. 

We can stop completely by end of June and do nothing until beginning of December and still achieve our monthly average. This is a target that can be set at the start and it avoids the punters mindset that of over-staking a good thing. 

After all, a good run will not continue for ever, for me bank preservation is key and this tactic, although unconventional can help achieve that. You will watch winners come by, but longer term you will be making a move against the masses.


Taking advice pt.1

I got asked a question this week regarding tipster services, ‘when do you start following, and when do you stop?’ It’s likely I will cover the second question next blog post.

I’ve touched on this in the past but I try and set my foundations based on the financial world of stocks and shares and try to use similar principals and attitude, and both questions above can be answered keeping this in mind.

A discretionary broker will make all the decisions for you if you hold a shares account with them, other brokers may just advise and let the client make the final decision.

As a starting point I recommend a discretionary approach to following a tipster – you pay for the advice and you follow it. As a starting point you must ask a truthful question: 

‘Do I trust the advice’

This may be a hunch you have, reputation or best of all, solid, reliable data of past performance. If I gave you £100k to invest with a broker I’d like to think you’d research them with a similar vigour – many do not.

Failure to research will mean you lose confident during less successful spells, you need to commit a bank and 6-12 months of consistent following. Next, create a spreadsheet and log every bet they advise. 

When to join? Let’s use a racing tipster as an example. Results not great during the winter, then look to get in over the summer. 

A good trick is to calculate the average P/l per month, then calculate where they are at the point you wish to join (current p/l) To avoid joining at the end of a purple patch you can wait until the service settles down.

Say we are in May and yearly p/l reads 100 units, the average over last 4 years is 10u/month. If there is no fluctuation meaning June and July will run hotter, you can assume the monthly average will drop back down. By end of July, we should be at 70 units.

So if June and July drop by 30 units or more (in total), then the system has returned some stability and we are not entering during a downward curve. This is great if you have dipped out of a service and are looking to get back in.

The key to all this is getting know your information source a little better and tweaking what you do, to their strengths. Tipster X’s most appealing facet may be their strike rate. It may average 40%, what’s more valuable is when these hit. 

The longest period without a win over 5 years may be 20 selections. The average time between winning tips may be 6 selections. The data tells me the hot period will be that window between 6 and 20 selections without a win.

Of course there may be a reason for this lean spell, a family bereavement, loss of interest in the game, change of focus etc but that’s where write ups and blogs play their part. 
You have paid for the advice, done your research so why not use it to creatively stake for you. Create a sheet, log the SP then applying different stakings to past results – these often highlight strength of you chosen tipster.

I often come across those who pay for but don’t follow the advice. That’s fine, but to me, akin to going into a restaurant and cooking the food yourself as you think you can do a better job. Maybe you can, if so then why are you paying for the advice in the first place?

To finish, remember betting is a largely male dominated activity. Ego is king and proving to others that you win often fuels that. It can’t play a part in your long term profits and you don’t need to make all the decisions yourself. Imagine a broker fishing for all the news themselves without the internet, there would be no time to trade!

Good luck in the markets, next time I’ll be addressing the harder topic of when to stop.


A shorter blog before the bank holiday period, a bit frustrating on a blogging level as several subject raised in previous weeks I felt I’ve failed to bring to a close. My last topic was creating a trading calculator in excel, which has proved great in creating something taking advantage of the wild prices close to the finish in horse racing. Work to be done, in fact I’ve enlisted the help of a friend who teaches maths to speed up the progress.

A quick market mention of the 15:40 at Punchestown, Shin a Vee the winner, price came in 3/1 – 2/1 SP, i spotted support in running 2.3 and 2.7. Support is a word banded about quite a bit in trading circles, how to define it?

Well you have to relate it to time, essentially the time it takes for a price to break through that support level. We can take an estimated guess at the factors creating this:

  1. Price of other runners – their position in the race and in running observation of running style.
  2. Over-reaction in price of selection. Can assume another horse will challenge if time left in race
  3. Horse getting gambled in!

I’ll draw a correlation in this race between race distance (time elapsed in race) and the support price. At 90 seconds into a 6 furlong race you’ll see much more volatility than this 2m4, so at this point in time we could be in a safer trading zone.

Second factor to consider is price of closest rivals, should they be close to the price of horse we are about to lay, then that will help for the market to move in the direction we want to.

Jumping back to the 90 seconds, I’ll refer to a price historically so if it has not gone above 10 ticks in the last 20 seconds and the second and third favourites are within a defined price then a lay can be considered as a trade. 

Things move fast in-running, often too fast for the human eye which is why automation works so well with horse racing. However judging at which point market volatility is low is trickier, but matched with running styles it’s possible to create a bank of suitable automation to pull up and apply to certain race lengths.

Probably worth mentioning that Shin a Vee was backed by Ruby Walsh’s wife on course, so hopefully enough fuel in this weeks post for someone to create a ‘Ruby rule’ for the future!

Enjoy the bank holiday!


A prequel.

As is the fashion these days, i applied a bit of reverse engineering and decided to blog what i perhaps should have done before my previous post on betting turnover.

For what i do, turn-over is vital, what do i mean? A back bet 2.0 for £100, greening at 1.8 will bring 10% approx each side. I can re-enter that trade at 2.0, choosing to keep my liability the same, or play it safe and just re-invest profits.

It’s quite a complex series of bets, if you decide to maximise the return.

I calculated the idea scenario would be to back for chosen stake, lay at target price, put profit on outsider.

Then repeat trade, choosing to use just profit, or profit plus initial stake.

Sounds good, we will never lose more than the initial liability. I decided to create some sort of calculation thing in excel this week which I’ve posted. I’ve been pretty tired this week but my aim with projects like this when under the weather is to concentrate less on the accuracy but put as much of the design in place as possible. At least i can see what i attempted, re-calculate some of the math – most of the groundwork is there.

Thankfully i have a equine friend who also teaches maths who i hope will benefit from it, and with any luck, correct my tired math calculations. 🙂

Best of luck in the markets, with whatever you do 🙂



Herman takes the Shell

A great win for Jim Herman in the golf. As happens with warm up events to big tournaments (next one is the masters), some major players treat it as a tune up. 

Others out of form will use it to try and turn the tide, not too dissimilar to a student cramming last minute for an exam!

The value obviously lay with Herman, matched over 500/1, from the start. The marquee names traded too short, often their names alone cause this to happen.

I was on a couple who traded below 10.0, my strategy is to free roll on these as a free bet. I applied a simple lay rule which takes on tennis players who start at 2.0 and this took on the favourites as they emerged.

The danger here is one from the pack who  trains to win, so traits you need are players out of form, difficult conditions, tricky pin positions and an event which proceeds a major competition.  

World Cup t20

What a fantastic tournament it’s been, not only the fantastic performances but nice to see the smaller nations compete on an even keel.

Aussie women traded around 1.09 and lost, I see a few usual suspects laid this price, in fact it seems a common strategy to back an initial wrong call and ‘double down’. 

To me that’s a clear sign of having no exit strategy on the initial trade, if the plan was always to split stake between prices as they decrease then fair enough. 

I’ll continue this thought process. If you aren’t certain enough to stake full on the opening lay, then you can’t be certain the price will rise before it drops. 

To me that makes no sense and it’s a sign of separately digging out of a hole, one which I have entered on more than one occasion!

In retrospect 1.09 will get talked about, I am not as optimistic about these prices as some. You need a significant amount of time left in the game for it to turn around, and there has  have been a significant error of judgement by the masses. 

In this instance, Australia were dominant in the h2h, for me the pitch played much better that estimated and some power hitting by the WI raised the price. 

You can apply some technical analysis in this situation, make a note of the volume before the price hits, look at the amounts getting matched. More importantly I’d look for some good resistance for a significant time. The market will often hold expecting another wicket

I often like to wait until I see this resistance even if it means laying a tick or so higher, you aren’t trying to catch the falling dagger.

To automate I am a big fan of historical price analysis, if you can do it then volume matched is great too particularly in thin’ish markets.

 Don’t be greedy, I always think of ROI on a trade which is great way of building profit, holding on to reach a target amount above your exit often ends in pain. 

Seeng your profit rise +£30, +£60, +£75 etc is the way to go, slowly building profit rather than holding onto to your initial red figure. Build your inning like those West Indian batsman and reap the rewards.

Trade analysis

Time is scarce lately but I’m hoping to cover an important part of what I do. Sometimes I question why i post this stuff, i don’t have anything to sell but aim is to collaborate with other who do. Putting myself out there, heres what happened the other day.

To begin, I have loads of situations, bots, attempts some involving money, some which dont – that fail. Not massively, but it is a little chuck of my time that has disappeared into the ether. Reasearch, that untimately drives me on to find something different, keepos me going on this trail.

I started doing automation to trade a strategy overnight at the aussie open, so its apt that i found a strategy that performed at its optimum this week. The financial figure I made isn’t important, what drives me is the quest for efficiency and risk limitation.

Heres the game:

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 21.53.45.png

Pretty inocuous looking, its a shame the 6/1 spike kind of spoilt things in terms of seeing where the graph went.

The fact it went to a 3rd set, and there were no major movement over 3.0 was ideal for the bot i ran:


I ran a previous post comparing laying 1.61 the field in running during a horse race compared to automating an equivalent a few weeks back. I plan to revisit that, but thing move fast and I am here now.

I feel this bot has performed at it absolute optimum here, which excites me as it gives me sand in which to draw a line; it cannot perform better. I now have fixed odds data to compare it to. What price would i get for 3rd set going to a tie-break? Combination with overs markets, or 3 sets perhaps?

Another angle is analysing the graph, something i am a big fan of, to asses the bots performance as a % in this match alone. I think it did ok considering most stakes were about £30, there may have been a couple of manuals thrown in there as i did trade it live for a period.

A massive variable in its success will be how often this occurs, after all what’s the point in creating something for a one in a blue moon scenario?

Garcia played today, and lost 8-6 breaker in the 3rd, i wasn’t on….;-)


Weight of Dosh

Being a software man, I’ve always been drawn to user interfaces, after all staring at an excel sheet is pretty dull. A fun project I got involved with last year was an un-released app with an easy to use interface. You assigned a market to the the app, waited until the correct conditions were met and a bet was placed and then traded out for a profit or loss.

Suitable for this time of year, the theme was a hen who over looked the market, when you pressed the hen she laid an egg and the egg rolled up hill if a successful trade and downhill as the market went against the poor bird.

It sounds a bit far fetched, but behind the cartoon was a legitimate bot. The conditions had to enable it to perform adequately in a range of markets, so clothe condition I chose was weight of money.

If weight of money exceeded 80% over a period of time, the selection was laid, and the hen laid her egg. Likewise if WOM <20% then back bet placed.

One requirement was a high strike rate so I used a small offset and when a trade was successful, I chose to delay the graphic so the egg hadn’t reached the top of the hill. Another requirement was to appeal to the fun bettor, and not the addict, so this I guessed might prevent from a user sitting on the app all day.

Looking at the cricket T20 markets today, I remember the poor hen and her slippery eggs. NZ were batting, it was a sticky wicket and it looked like Ross Taylor was about to go. WOM was above 80% and would have proved successful. The risk reward would have been 5/10 tick loss for the boy day and maybe 20/30 for the wicket.

WOM is a fun condition I often pair with others to stabilise a rule, here it can be used standing alone. A lot of the time it react to those watching the action live in the stadium or those with fast pictures.

Happy Easter!!

Tennis Botting 3

Well, we are veering away from Tennis, but to keep the series linked I am carrying on looking at the lay the field automation.

To recap, having laid 1.61 and re-backed at 2.0 with our profit (£24 back bet), we are into the second cycle. To complete this we, green back at 1.61 for £5.82. Our two lays and single back have returned 50% of our stake. At no point has our liability exceeded £10 (the original stake).

Of course, I am presuming a) there is another horse in hot contention. A strong favourite with no competition in the race may not cause the odds to return to 2.0. This can in fact be an opportunity.

A horse trading around 1.6 suggests, in the right environment there may be a second favourite trading around even money. We can start the cycle backing at 2.0, laying 1.61 and then greening at 2.0. The 2 horses flip flop between the two prices and I can maximise my position, effectively doubling my return to £11.64.

The best thing about this method is the speed it happens can be lightening fast. The range can be expanded to suit certain circumstances, the cycles can be extended. In fact, this is something I actively pursue as it is compounding earned profit.

I’l compare this to the original lay the field strategy, laying multiple horses once:

Lay x3 horses at 1.61. The worst case scenario is a) 1 horse hits and goes on to win. We lose £6.10 for every £10 invested. If two hit (b), and one goes on to win, thats £3.90 profit.If three hit and one goes on to win, £13.90. If three hit (c)and none win, the maximum return £30.

For this strategy to surpass what i’ve already discussed will need 3 horses to hit 1.6. It is a simplfied and traditional method, in my opinion not too dis-similar to the outdated lay the draw strategy. We now make a value judgement on the strategies, so return to the real world with two scenarios which return similar amounts.

To tie up this section of the blog, I may look to the simple built in software in bet angel to construct something akin to high frequency trading albeit in the horse racing markets.


Tennis Botting 2

Thought id expand on the last blog to see where the 20 tick concept could be extended to. I’ve just seen a post from a popular social media punter hailing a lay the field success.

Horse racing is an absolute killer when it comes to automation; prices move so quickly in running that most computers have an edge over human input; speed.

I don’t know whether it will work, but am typing live and hopefully explain my thought process to bot creation. Firstly, i’ll always set out my aims – here it is to reduce liability.

So, lets look at the math behind the straight lay of 3 horses and the liability/profit.

Lay x3 horses at 1.61. The worst case scenario is a) 1 horse hits and goes on to win. We lose £6.10 for every £10 invested. If two hit (b), and one goes on to win, thats £3.90 profit.If three hit and one goes on to win, £13.90. If three hit (c)and none win, the maximum return £30.

Lets check out how scenario B could unfold. The favourite hits 1.61 in running, at which point we could potentially time-map the price of the second favourite. This gives us our range in which to trade. I’ll call it 2.0, for arguments sake lets say a 40 tick range.

We know 20 ticks brings £2, so 40 will bring £4. If matched we can re-back at 2.0 for £14. That is our trading cycle for the horse. Each repetition increases ability to compound profits. How often do you see the price move and not be quick enough to act?

That’s something simple you can automate, next blog I’ll assess the pro’s of this vs a straight lay and give the number of cycles required to beat that method.