Thursday, 27 December 2012

Tennis Is Back!!!

After a well-earned rest, I'm now champing at the bit for the start of what I hope will be the season which cements my progress as a long-term, consistently profitable tennis trader. I won't do another list of New Year's Resolutions, as my goals for 2013 are very simple: build the bank up to 5 figures and remain consistently profitable. There isn't anything I feel desperately needs working on to make that happen and as I have been saying for a while now, if I am thorough, professional and my head is in the right place, I will make money - it's now just a matter of how much.

The tennis season starts officially on the 29th December, when the annual Hopman Cup mixed-gender team event, takes place in Perth, Australia. However, the first Betfair tennis markets will be open on the 27th, for the Mubadala Exhibition in Abu Dhabi, as Andy Murray starts the ball rolling. I'm sure many traders will not want to trade this as it is nothing more than a warm up but I like to play it. Firstly, it is a nice warm up for me too. After such a long break from trading, throwing yourself straight back into serious action can bring up issues such as rustiness. Best to get acclimatised for a couple of matches, get a feel for the markets and the routine again. Secondly, these tournaments can throw up excellent trading opportunities. Last year, the big 3 attended. Federer simply wasn't up for it and it showed starkly in his performance, making him an easy lay. On the other hand, Djokovic looked sharp and took it very seriously, which prompted me to back him immediately to win the Australian Open - which he did. No Fed this year and Nadal has had to pull out with a stomach illness, so we should get a nice Murray-Djokovic final already, to look forward to.

The WTA and ATP tour main draw matches get underway on December 30th and there is no easing slowly into things, with a glut of events during week 1; Brisbane, Chennai and Doha for the men and Brisbane and Auckland for the women. I tend to wait until week 2 before switching my schedule and turning my life upside down for 3 weeks to trade in Oz time. With Chennai, Doha and Hopman Cup all on at more reasonable hours GMT, it means I can postpone the midnight starts and 9am finishes for a little longer! January is not the most enjoyable time to be a tennis trader but it's something I've gotten used to, liquidity is still always good and the climax of the Australian Open, is my favourite Grand Slam. What you do always get in January, is a high standard of tennis. Players are usually in peak condition, are raring to go after the break and so you'll find matches are of a better quality across the board.

I too, am raring to go. I badly needed the break but the last 2 weeks have left me itching to get back on the ladders. I had a good December thanks to James Arthur winning The X Factor (as predicted here!) and QPR were doing me proud until today, when they lost at home to West Brom (though suffered from a truly awful refereeing decision for the 2nd goal). They are now 6 points from safety but I still feel they will put a run together at some point which will save them. Reading will go down and whilst Wigan and Southampton remain just a couple of wins away, there is plenty of time for Harry to work his magic - though he badly needs new players in the transfer window. Can't say it's been much fun pretending to be a Rangers fan though! This is certainly not the way to enjoy your Saturday afternoons and this long-term market trading thing definitely isn't for me. Roll-on the tennis, I cannot wait!!

Sania Mirza:

Thursday, 6 December 2012

New Year's Resolutions: Did I Stick to Them?

So as another year draws to a conclusion, thoughts turn towards resolutions for 2013. But what about 2012? Most people tend to forget or fail at sticking to their New Year's resolutions but I recorded mine in this post. Did I stick to them?

1. Continue to trade only when I feel there is value

I can't lie, I've not always taken good value, quite often taken borderline value and sometimes taken poor prices. However, these instances are few and far between. As the months have gone by, I've become better and better at only entering the market when the value has screamed out at me. I've learnt that whenever I get an instant gut feeling on a price, I should take it, as I'm usually right and on the flip side, I've learnt that if I am deliberating over whether to enter or not, that's a signal that I shouldn't bother. I'd say that 90% of my trades have followed this rule, which means there is still room for improvement next year!

2. Trade without any monetary goals or time-limits

This was not a problem at all until the last few weeks of the tennis season. I stopped setting any monetary goals years ago but sometimes, it's hard to ignore what is in the back of your mind. Sometimes, you have a figure that you'd like to achieve, maybe a personal best or an amount you need to pay for something. No matter how much you tell yourself it doesn't matter, you still become obsessed with hitting that figure. As the season came to a close, I started to trade with a figure in mind that I wanted to hit and it completely messed with my head. That was in October, which despite a few days of dreadful trading where I risked too much, I still managed to attain my highest ever monthly profit - but would've been far higher if I hadn't been so greedy!

3. Continue not to look at my P&L until the end of each week

This is never an issue - it's fully ingrained in me not to look and so I never do. I will normally check on the Sunday but I have left it for over a week on plenty of occasions. One of the best moves I ever made, as previously, my eyes would flick constantly to my balance at the top of the screen and it would affect everything I did with my trades.

4. Move as much as possible over to Betdaq once the Geek's Toy purple is released

Errrmmm.......! To be honest, after the fuss I kicked up in January over Betdaq not attempting to lure tennis traders over during a Betfair outage, I haven't even thought about the purple place. I feel let down by them still. However, with the premium charge looming, I may be tempted to check things out for next year.....

5. Take time off from trading more often, when required

Whilst I haven't had any sort of holiday or long break from trading (deciding instead to take 5 or 6 weeks off during the off-season and not trade any other sport) I have definitely been much better at taking small breaks. That just means not trading when tired or when my head hasn't been right. I could improve on this though, there have still been occasions where I've lacked focus but still forced my way through a session. Overall though, I can't remember any incidents where I've seriously messed up due to over-trading and considering how prevalent that was last year, it's a giant step forward.

6. Continue to work on keeping those frustration levels low

Massive, massive improvements in this area - but still a long way to go. Gone are the days of punching walls, kicking furniture, straining muscles and smacking my own head! The red mist doesn't descend anymore and cause me to do irrational things. But I still get frustrated at little errors. October in particular, was a month where I did start to lose the plot and return to some bad old habits but I quickly realised and nipped it in the bud. Something to always keep an eye on but hasn't been a real issue.

7. Eradicate my impatience

Yikes! Not even close! I think I'll always be impatient. The key is to temper those feelings. I'd be doing even better if I could just stay patient, it undoubtedly costs me money every month. Usually it's due to forcing a trade with not enough value (which ties in with number 1) because I'm desperate for a win or because it's just been quiet. Usually, it goes wrong! I did however, accept that 2012 was not going to be the year when I hit the kind of profits that would enable me to go pro again. I think once I accepted that, it enabled me to trade with less pressure and just enjoy my profits and consistency. Hopefully next year, I can hit those profits and this will no longer be an issue.

Ana Ivanovic: