Monday, 6 November 2017

The Mug v Shrewd Trader Checklist: Which One Are You?

There's nothing more damning or shameful in the betting world than to be labelled a mug. I've seen arguments on forums between traders where this one, 3 letter word, is thrown around liberally as the ultimate derogatory term. It seems to bring the very worst out in people! You could put a gambler down by slagging off their Mum or questioning their sexual orientation but it means NOTHING compared to the assertion that you just might be gullible when it comes to placing money on sporting outcomes. That you've been suckered in somehow; perhaps by the lure of a big name playing a "no-hoper" or that FREE money lying around the tennis markets. It suggests that we are stupid when it comes to money, lacking capability when it comes to sporting knowledge - a double whammy for most men in this testosterone fuelled world!

We all want to believe we are not the stereotypical mug trader, right? It's not as simple as just looking at your P&L. We all know of the trader who does all the wrong things, yet still flukes himself some profit - in the short term. No, what makes a true shrewdie, is one who does the right things, day in, day out, trade after trade, rain or shine, hangover or no hangover. It's all about the process......though of course, if there's still no profit after the correct processes, then you're still a mug!

 Well now is your chance to put the argument to bed once and for all. The following list of 20 things that your typical shrewd trader will almost certainly do and 20 things your mug punter will usually do, will give you some idea as to where you are on the sliding scale of Shrewd to Mug. For every Shrewd thing that you can honestly agree with that you do (and 1 time doesn't count!) you gain 5 points. But for every Mug thing you do, you lose 5 points. The max score is 100, lowest is -100. Let's see just how good a trader you really are.........

A shrewd choice of Eugenie Bouchard photo, I think you'll agree



  1. Takes detailed notes on EVERY trade
  2. Warms up before every session (i.e. no firing up the ladder and going straight into the market, cold)
  3. Does research before every match
  4. Cools down after every session (i.e. analyses notes and/or prepares for next session)
  5. Does statistical analysis of P&L results (every day, week or month)
  6. Does self development or psychological work to strengthen mindset
  7. Never, ever chases losses
  8. Looks for value on EVERY trade
  9. Is constantly reading, learning and looking to improve
  10. Knows his strategy inside out and never strays from it
  11. Always re-invests some profit into the trading bank
  12. Is not concerned with following the market/money or picking the winner of the match
  13. Has a solid staking plan that he knows by heart
  14. Knows their strike rate and how often they need to win (at least roughly) to be profitable
  15. Has been consistently profitable for at least one year
  16. Never gets distracted by anything whilst trading (family, friends, internet, phone, TV) 
  17. Uses the bank primarily as a safeguard against a bad run of losses, not as funding for trades
  18. Does not allow losses to affect them personally / put them in a bad mood
  19. Has a back up plan in case internet and/or betting exchange goes down
  20. Learns or has learned, from other successful traders, rather than just trial and error


  1. Never takes notes or only writes down numbers, with no explanations
  2. Goes in cold to every trade, never or rarely with any prep work
  3. Zero research or just a quick look at H2H or one simple stat
  4. Never does specific work away from the ladders, on mindset, psychology or self development
  5. Never reads trading-related books or stopped a while back
  6. Chases losses, even if just on the odd occasion
  7. Cannot quickly and confidently say what his bank management strategy is
  8. Messes around online or on his phone at same time as trading
  9. Does not feel secure with strategy and often experiments with new ones (especially during a bad run)
  10. Does not understand the concept of value or understands it but never looks for it
  11. Places trades based purely on the action in the match, rather than the price
  12. Takes out all profit and never leaves it in trading bank to re-invest
  13. Mostly looks to follow the market/money and get on the winner
  14. Randomly chooses stakes sizes with little or no thought behind the decision
  15. Never analyses P&L results to find trends and see what is working or not
  16. Does not know their strike rate
  17. Regularly risks large portions of their bank on one trade (over 50%)
  18. Lets a losing trade dictate how they feel emotionally e.g. makes them angry, sad, frustrated
  19. Blames other people or the market for losses 
  20. Tries to trade several matches at once, despite never being consistently profitable with just one match



100 = You are the very definition of SHREWD. If you are not a very profitable trader, then I'm afraid you need to be more honest with your answers......

50 = You're probably a half-decent trader......but you can still improve with a few tweaks here and there. Or you have been quite successful but only short term. If you don't up your game though, it won't last.

0 = Borderline mugage. You haven't worked out how to trade effectively yet. You're not a total lost cause though. Unless you've been doing this for years. Then you really should consider giving up.....

-50 = You're a MUG. Sorry but you need to be told the truth. Accept this fact and you might just be able to learn, change and become shrewd in time.

-100 = How are you even able to afford the internet access required to read this blog post?! Try crochet or something with less risk involved, because trading isn't for you. Careful with that needle though......

OK, that was all just a bit of fun! However, there may be some truth in your results.......if you haven't quite made it as a bonafide shrewdie yet, maybe I can help? Check out my Sultan Tennis Trading Guide for more details.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

The Pursuit of Happyness

My recent posts have had the strong theme of self improvement and in particular, taking control of your own life; realising that we can achieve great things if we make a bigger effort. We live in an age where it's never been easier to make money, become successful and do whatever we want with our lives. Most of you reading this will be living in a democratic (roughly), developed nation with freedom for its citizens and access to the internet and so there is no excuse for not being able to attain what you desire. If you read that and thought "You can't say that, you don't know me, you don't know my circumstances, you don't know how hard that is for me" then I urge you to watch the film "The Pursuit of Happyness" starring Will Smith.

I'm not a film buff and very rarely will I sit through an entire two hour movie, as the vast majority that come out of Hollywood are, in my opinion, terrible. But occasionally, once every year or two, I see something that resonates with me on a deep level and none more so than "The Pursuit of Happyness". Yeah I know, it's 10 years old and you've probably already seen it - as I said, hardly ever watch them! But for those of you thinking that what I have said about having "no excuse" is bullshit, I suggest you re-visit this film and re-evaluate your life.

The film is based on the real life story of American Chris Gardner, who decided to give up his job as a struggling salesman to train to become a stock-broker at one of America's biggest stock-brokerage firms, Dean Witter (which eventually merged into Morgan Stanley). I won't spoil the story for you but basically, he trained for no pay in the hope he'd be taken on, whilst at the same time having to look after his toddler son by himself. They ended up homeless yet he still went to work for no pay every day. You can guess what eventually happened - it's Hollywood, it's a happy ending! But more than was shown in the film, he became a multi-millionaire, building his own brokerage empire and is now a world re-knowned speaker and philanthropist. What Chris had to go through with his son and the effort he put in to get what he wanted are a lesson in what can be achieved when you want something badly enough and take action.

I was recommended this film by a guy I barely know who, having heard about my trading experiences, thought I would enjoy it. Little did I realise what an effect it would have on me. I don't mind admitting that I was blubbing my eyes out! I occasionally get a little wet around the eyes during emotional dramas but this was NEXT  LEVEL water-works! Once the tears started, I couldn't shut them off, no matter how hard I tried! Luckily, I was watching alone, it was quite an embarrassing sight. Something about this movie really got to me, really struck a chord. I think the fact Chris was a stock-broker (so a similar line of work to trading) and that we both were struggling financially but just took a chance, knowing we might fail - well, you can see the similarities.  Knowing that we had to take a risk and that we could be in more trouble but believing that we would succeed. Working over and above what the average person would do and then to be rewarded in excess of what we ever expected. Of course, I'm not trying to say I'm anywhere near to the level of distress Chris was in, having a child to take care of and being out on the street, but it still resonated with me. It bought up a lot of memories of my own struggle to pay bills and the sincere threat that I might not be able to pay the rent and those emotions needed to come out, I think.

What this man showed, and what he talks about in his speeches around the world, is that no matter what your current circumstances, there is always a way out. If you take responsibility and stop blaming others or feeling sorry for yourself or complaining that you don't have enough time or enough money or resources to get the life you want, then you can achieve anything.  "The Pursuit of Happyness" shows what it means to be a REAL man. And besides the grim reality of homelessness and how sad it is that even in the richest nation on Earth, so many people have no roof over their head, the film has a message of hope at its core. I wish I'd seen it years ago when I was almost down and out. What I take from it now is that I can achieve even more with my life, which is why this year, I'm really stepping it up with my non-trading projects to create multiple income streams. Long term readers will know that trading has never been a passion of mine but I'm now venturing into areas which genuinely make me smile when I get up in the morning. None of them would have been possible if it weren't for me taking that chance on tennis trading though - just as Chris Gardner took a chance with stock-brokering.

If there's one thing I want to leave this blog with, it's the knowledge that if you want something badly enough, if you take a risk and go for it, if you have faith that it will work out and if you push yourself to the limit of your capabilities, you have the power within you to achieve an incredible life. The universe has a strange way of providing you with what you want when you really apply yourself. More and more people are waking up to this now (just have a search around YouTube if you don't believe me), particularly the younger generation. If someone had told me 6 years ago when I started this blog that I would have the life I have now, I would have spat my Ben and Jerrys right back in their face! But I kept going, mostly through fear and trial and error! It doesn't have to be that way though. Fear motivates you like nothing else but it's much better to start from a good place and don't do it alone; get help any way you can (books, videos, guides, mentors), be patient, create good habits, work on yourself and NEVER GIVE UP. Then true happiness won't be too far away.