Sunday, 23 November 2014

The End of the Road

And so the tennis season finally comes to a close with a new world record crowd for an official tennis match (27,432)  in Lille for an exciting Davis Cup Final. This in some respects made up for the previous week in London. My sincerest apologies to anyone who bought an ATP World Tour Finals ticket off the back of my recommendation! What the hell was all that about?! A disaster of a tournament with a host of completely one-sided matches, meant semi finals day was the only one truly worth buying a ticket for. And if you got a ticket for the final, well, I feel sorry for you! The men were roundly criticised but not even close to what we'd have seen if the WTA Finals (which were fantastic entertainment) had been that bad. I can guarantee you Twitter would have been in meltdown from all the negative comments and sexism. But as Alex MacPherson tweeted:

 "If nothing else, this tournament will be useful to wave in the faces of anyone who starts whinging about equal pay."

 I'll be back in January ready to begin my final 6 months of sports trading. It's been an incredible year for me - the year when I feel as though I finally reached the level that I was trying to attain. When I began learning to trade, I always wanted it to become my sole source of income but I never wanted riches; just an amount equal to what I was earning in my "normal" job. But that goal changed when I started to have greater belief in what I could achieve. Seeing the amounts that certain other well-known traders were making, made me think that I was being too modest aiming for a standard wage. As I improved, I could see the potential was there for me to scale up to far bigger amounts than I'd previously imagined and over the last 18 months, I have been hitting those amounts - and in 2015, I aim to go even higher.

Whether I hit the super premium charge or not doesn't particularly bother me. The sadistic part of me would love nothing more than to stop trading a penny before the charge kicks in, so Betfair don't get their grubby mitts on any more than 20%. In fact, as I write this it is suddenly dawning on me - that would be the perfect way to bow out from trading! So my aim for 2015 is this: to stop trading just before the super premium charge is about to be taken. OK, it's kind of cutting off my nose to spite my face but the fact is, it's probably going to be a close call as to whether I hit the charge before I go away travelling anyway. But I actually exceeded my projections for 2014, so who knows. There is a possibility I might finish trading as soon as May or April.

 Jovana Jaksic

That's the thing about trading. You can plan all you like but you never know what the markets have in store for you and you never know just what life has in store for you. If you'd told me last January that I would be getting married at the end of the year, I would have laughed in your face - I didn't even have a girlfriend back then! But in December, that is exactly what will be happening. So whilst I will be aiming to go full steam ahead with my trading till July, I have a lot more on my plate in 2015 than I did in 2014; 6 months of backpacking to organise, a move to a new house with my new wife and most importantly (and scarily!) a new career to plan for! So I will have very little time to spare and maybe that will mean I can't trade as much as in previous years, but that's just how I like it. When I go back a couple of years and think about how my life was utterly consumed by trading and trading alone and how that almost sent me insane, this kind of all-consuming life is far superior; busy for the right reasons. It's what I have worked so hard for and what I'll continue to work hard to maintain in 2015.

Some traders have asked me why I would want to give up the life I have as a trader and the income stream it generates. The answer is simple - there are more important things in life than money and those things motivate me far more than the green stuff. I guess that's much easier to say when you have it already. However, when the main focus of your day is trying your hardest to stay focused, then surely something is not right. I need to make that change for my own personal fulfillment.  I can also see now that even trading part-time would be a struggle. When I finish for the day in whatever new career I've chosen, why would I want to then spend my precious free time staring at a screen, trying to stay focused, when I could be enjoying time with my wife and getting on with the life I'd worked so hard to build? Which is exactly what I'm going to do for the next few weeks.

Enjoy the Christmas period, don't forget to check in on the International Premier Tennis League which starts in a few days and I'll leave you with my favourite moment from the 2014 tennis season; Victoria Azarenka making a complete tit of herself as she sings Happy Birthday to "best friend" Gael Monfils. The best thing about it is not the hilariously bad singing but the desperation which seeps from her every pore as she literally begs the crowd to join in. A cringeworthy and transparent attempt to try and gain some of the popularity she lacks compared to other top players. Enjoy!

Monday, 10 November 2014

New Tennis Trading Videos

Yesterday was my second Sultan Skype Session and I took the liberty of once again recording the end of the most successful trade of the day. Not as big as last week's profit but still an excellent ROI for anyone who followed my actions in the market and a good day's profit overall.

In the interest of balance, I've also included a quick clip below of the Nishikori-Murray match, which ended a loss, albeit a very small one. The interesting thing about this trade was that a couple of the traders in the session actually made a good profit from it. That's because they decided to bail out earlier (some might say "bottled it"!!) for a win, whereas I decided to hang in there and go for a much bigger green. It didn't come off this time but if it had, you'd have been looking at a profit to match the one from my previous Sultan Skype Session. In the end, the extra risk I took meant I had to settle for a relatively small red as I tried to scratch the trade but overall, my "lucky" streak on these Skype Sessions continues, as they have produced some of my best days trading in recent weeks.

Unfortunately, that is likely to be the last session I do this year and possibly till February, though I may decide to do a session or two during the Australian Open if I feel I can sufficiently stay wide awake to be focused for a full session! Usually I'm fine by the time this slam starts as I've gotten used to the time difference for 2 weeks prior. However, I like to go to bed as early as possible and sometimes finish early if I've got good profit, something I can't do if I'm holding a full session. So I'm as yet unsure about doing any sessions during the Australian swing.

As the tennis draws into its final 2 weeks, my thoughts start to turn towards a welcome break, holidays, reflections of 2014 and plans for 2015. As it is almost certain to be my final year of tennis trading (final 6 months of tennis trading in fact) I have decided to make sure I continue blogging as much as I can. There will be updates on how I'm doing personally in my quest to hit the super premium charge. I also hope to have updates on my weekly Sultan Skype Sessions.

Federation Cup Final

ATP World Tour Finals

The great news about this season, is that it is the first one where there will actually be some tennis to trade in early December. So buying a guide in the off-season is no longer a pointless exercise, as you will be able to practice on the inaugural International Premier Tennis League up till December 13th before the new season begins on January 1st. There's still the rest of the ATP Finals this week, next weekend's Davis Cup Final (which promises some cracking best of 5 set matches involving Federer and Wawrinka against the French talent of Tsonga, Monfils, Simon or Gasquet) plus a full week of Challenger Tour events including the annual Challenger Tour Finals. I've kept my eye on the Challenger events lately and the liquidity for these lower tier tournaments has been excellent since the WTA and ATP main tours wound down. They are definitely worth a look now, something which I've not been able to say in the past, so effectively, we are getting an extra couple of weeks with a full programme of tennis to trade. So still plenty for us traders to get our teeth into.

Enjoy the ATP World Tour Finals this week and make sure you get down to watch it live if you can. Next year is almost certain to be the last year it's held in London and it might be the best chance you ever get to see the event if you live in the UK.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Nishikori Night-time Knockout Nets Nice Nuggets (Video)

10 minutes - I thought that was pretty quick for coming up with that title! I'm probably more impressed with that than I am with what it actually refers to! Friday was my first official Sultan Skype Session and what a way to get things started. A marathon session of almost 11 hours, starting with a great win on the Berdych-Anderson match and ending with the result of the day, an enormous profit on the final match as Kei Nishikori came through against David Ferrer in Paris after a 2 and three quarter hour thriller. Every trader managed to tough it out for the full session and I'm sure they are all very glad they did because not only was the Nishikori win the highlight, it was one of my biggest ever wins. I managed to do a quick screen-recording of the end of the session, which you can see below. There were also a couple of losses during the day but these were engulfed by the moolah from the final match, which ended at close to midnight. All-in-all, a very satisfactory first session, which covered most bases and one I thoroughly enjoyed - a big thank you to all who participated.

After that, I'll be taking a well earned rest for a week, as the tennis world takes a break till next weekend before rounding off a fine season with the ATP World Tour Finals from London. I've yet to decide on when my next Skype Session will be. Keep an eye on the blog for details if interested but be warned: the first session sold out within 2 days of me advertising it. So you may need to be quick off the mark, especially as this could be my last session of the year.  I'm currently toying with Sunday 9th November, as this will enable me to cover the first two ATP Finals matches and also day 2 of the Federation Cup Final between Germany and the Czech Republic. The only problem is, that's a Sunday and it's highly likely to displease the (soon-to-be) wife! I'll let you know how that conversation goes but I'm hoping the promise that this will be the final week of tennis trading for 2014 and following it will be several weeks of fun-in-the-sun holidaying action (paid for by me, most likely) will allow me to get away with visiting the (soon-to-be) in-laws and spend one final Sunday on the ladders. It won't be the final Sunday on the ladders of course, because the final of the ATP World Tour Finals is the following Sunday. Plus the Davis Cup Final the Sunday after. But she doesn't need to know that..............

Commentary by Robbie Koenig!

Seeing as it's a relatively short post (for me) today, I thought I'd add in a couple of interesting things I picked up on Twitter. Firstly, it seems as though traders of women's tennis are going to be in for a treat in a couple of years time. The WTA is putting together an in-house television deal that would ensure all WTA-level singles matches could be broadcast by 2017. The WTA's current distribution partner, Perform, produced about 700 in 2014, or roughly a third of all matches. That means we are likely to be able to watch over 2000 WTA matches in 2 years time! On paper, that sounds like it can only be a good thing for traders. Having access to a live stream is always an advantage, though it won't make any difference to me as I'll be long finished as a trader by then. It's welcome news for anyone looking to get into tennis trading though. The only issue might be that liquidity becomes a little sparser as the money is spread over a wider selection of in-play matches, though this would only be an issue in earlier rounds and only if Betfair put all the televised matches in-play.

Finally, a quick congratulations to @hotdog6969, better known as Jimmy Soixante Neuf, for this week acheiving what all of us tennis nerds dream of; a shout-out from legendary commentator Robbie Koenig live on air! Not just for being the first to answer the quick-quiz question correctly but also for having one of the best Twitter handles and completing the tri-fector (as Koenig himself would say) by being singled out as one of the world's biggest tennis geeks. As the man himself said (actually I think it was co-commentator Nick Lester but still) "No one watches more tennis than Jimmy Soixante Neuf". And they are right. Jimmy was the first person to give me the link to access the old TennisMatchStat website (, which is infinitely better than the "new and improved" version - a slow, cluttered and inferior tennis stat site. For that, I salute him, as I was very upset for about an hour!

For those who don't watch tennis, getting this sort of recognition from Robbie Koenig is the equivalent of, I don't know, Gary Lineker reading out your Tweet on Match of the Day whilst Alan Hansen compliments you on your footballing knowledge. Only better, because Koenig is far more entertaining than Lineker and far more likeable than Hansen. I recently had the following message re-tweeted by Robbie during a live match and that was enough to make my day!

 "Lost all interest in this Simon match now, utterly consumed by Dan

For those who don't know, Dan Bilzerian is an American poker player who Mr.Koenig mentioned when comparing his beard to that of Feliciano Lopez. He then went on to provide viewers with his website address and let's just say, my eyes were opened wide.............very wide! On the one hand, this man's life is one big cocaine and strippers phase and part of me envies that. But on the other hand, Bilzerian comes across (particularly in interviews) like a complete frat-boy tosser, sticking photos of his money, disturbing obsession with guns and his name written on women's butt cheeks, up on Instagram. The comments from other blokes on his photos, most of whom idolise him, are hilarious. My biggest question is, where on earth do these girls come from? Are they paid to just hang around? Do they have jobs? What must their parents think? Decide for yourself!