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Betfair charts are broken – Here is the solution!

If you are Betfair trading, then it’s important to have a look at the Betfair charts. While some sports don’t suit charting, they are especially useful if you are trading pre-off horse racing markets.

However, there is a problem with Betfair charts.

The big issue is that they cannot correctly plot an accurate price history. It’s been a problem right from the day the Betfair betting exchange came into being and even with updates and changes it seems the charts have become more broken!

This blog post is going to explore why this is the case and I’ll provide a solution to these broken charts.

Why can Betfair charts be unrepresentative?

To begin, we need to look at how the Betfair charts record their data.

Firstly it is important to note that a Betfair chart is actually generated over many hours. So what you’re actually seeing is deeply compressed information.

If something from the market open starts to get shorter and shorter over a very long period of time, a normal graph would show a nice gentle slope as money comes for that particular runner.

However, when you look at a Betfair chart, the moves are a lot more exaggerated. Hours of movement appears on the left quarter of the chart and the right half is just minutes.

Betfair’s failed attempt to fix the broken charts

A couple of years ago Betfair tried to fix this, however, another problem occurred which completely broke the charts! The charts sometimes decided they would display the wrong information and in some cases, the charts even decided to go backwards.

It seems the most common issue was that when a large bet appeared, these new charts showed prices that would erratically jump from one price to another resulting in the time scale along the bottom being completely wrong.

It’s no surprise that all these strange things have resulted in nobody being able to trust them. So be careful if you’re using the standard Betfair charts only because they are broken. Betfair indicated that they are going to fix it, but I’m not completely sure when that’s going to happen, if or how.

So my advice to you…

Use advanced charts because they’re just so much better!

You can delve into so much more detail, creating a customised chart for your style of trading which can give you a unique view of the market.

Bet Angel advanced charting: the smart way to use charts

One of the first things we ever did in Bet Angel was to introduce our own chanting and it is something we continue to upgrade and enhance. Advanced charting allows you to overcome all these issues and significantly improve your trading by display tons of customisable information right in front of you.

The advanced charts give you a true plot of all of the price activity and you can scroll forwards, backwards and zoom and pan. This makes it possible to be able to see everything that’s going on with the market in the correct time frames.

Even better than that, on version 1.55 or higher, you can create and plot your own data on a chart using automation to store calculated data. This gives you the ultimate control over other charting options! It seems like a no brainer to pick the detailed and advanced charts over the basic, broken Betfair charts when trading.

Charting is such an important tool when trading, especially pre-off horse racing. I would recommend that you become familiar with the workings of advanced charting and remember not to rely solely upon Betfair’s charts.

But also, use them to create your own, unique view of the market. Something that only you are familiar with. Doing this will help you get an edge in the market.

If you want to learn about advanced charting in more depth, check out this video.

The post Betfair charts are broken – Here is the solution! appeared first on Betfair trading blog | Expert advice from Professional Betfair trade.

Trading doesn’t need to be scary!

Friday the 13th, Halloween, black cats, ladders (excuse the pun ) can all bring on superstition, foreboding and dread. So can trading, but trading doesn’t need to be scary.

When you start playing with numbers, you learn a lot. Encapsulating things into a mathematical description allows you to estimate risk pretty well and frame your opportunity.

But even if you are not in maths that much, you can use the same principles to understand your true objective and use that to move from a losing strategy, through breakeven and into a fully profitable strategy.

You don’t need to be a genuis

First off, let’s get some things on the table.

I don’t possess some superhuman ability, nor did I spend years trying to become some sort of intellectual elite. I’m not particularly amazing at anything, just generally good at a combination of things. That’s turned out to be the perfect mix for my current role. I leant that this is more or less about all you need to do to get ahead of the crowd.

By helping others, I’ve also seen that if you are too logical you tend to miss many opportunities. Trading is all about taking risks, not trying to eliminate all traces of risk! But on the flip side, if you are too emotional it leads you to probably take too much risk, or react badly when you have a loss.

All those things are equally fatal to a trading career, especially where money and risk are concerned. But I also learnt through this what types of people struggle when trading and the mistakes that they can make. I also learnt you can see this with amazing regularity in the market.

As it turns out a moderate attitude to things is helpful when trading. In that, I got lucky.

How I started trading

I started trading by accident.

The very first thing I did on betting exchanges was arb between bookmakers and exchanges. Back then, that was relatively easy money as pricing was loose on the exchanges and sportsbooks and bookmakers hadn’t cottoned onto them.

One day I entered an amount incorrectly, tried to correct it and the price moved at that exact moment. Suddenly I had a free bet! I was slightly confused at first, but woke up the next morning thinking ‘Why don’t I just arb on the exchange’? My Betfair trading career was born.

I started experimenting with using different stakes and spreads between prices and generally got pretty excited about what I had discovered.

How I started trading

The very first trading idea that I had was to just go into the market and see what happened.

So I would place two bets into the market by backing at the current lay price and laying at the current back price. Then I would wait for the orders to match, hopefully. This is where the ‘Make Market’ button comes from, my very first trading strategy on Betfair.

I was already working on Betfair, Football and Golf financials, but Horse Racing looked like a great candidate. There seemed to be a race every ten minutes or so, so this would allow me to experiment to my heart’s content.

And the rest, as they say, is history…

How I moved from random to profitability

Of course, if you do random trading strategies, randomly into a random market, you will end up with random results. That’s exactly what I achieved with my early forays into various markets.

But I achieved some important things.

First I learnt how the markets worked, how they behaved and what the underlying strike rate was. If you have a trading strategy that fills one tick away from your entry price then your strike rate will be significantly higher than a strategy that fills ten ticks away. I was interested in how often.

Framing a trade in this manner would allow me to know what I would need to turn profitable. To get a positive expectancy I would need to know my winning strike rate, how much I won and how much I lost. With that knowledge, I could start to refine my entry, exit and market selections. That’s ‘all’ I needed to get profitable.

Trading doesn’t need to be scary

One of the most important lessons I learnt during this period is that trading doesn’t need to be scary.

As I experimented with my early trading strategies, I reached an interesting and logical conclusion. As long as I kept my entry, exit and staking consistent and in proportion to my risk, my worst loss was break-even less any commission I had paid.

No matter how adventurous my strategy was, it more or less balanced out over a reasonable number of events. Slightly more if I was going for low strike rate trades.

I reached two simple conclusions.

For any strategy, if staked correctly and independent of a prior trade, the maximum loss was zero less commission. OK, the maximum profit was break-even, in essence, but the actual barrier to profitability was a really small barrier that you had to cross.

To get to profitability, all I needed to was refine my entry, exit, staking, market selection or strategy selection. Any of those, or some in combination, should do the trick. I just needed to be a little better than average to achieve profitability.

And with that, I set off to cross that barrier.

The post Trading doesn’t need to be scary! appeared first on Betfair trading blog | Expert advice from Professional Betfair trade.

How to win the Premier League

As the new season is upon us all football fans up and down the country will no doubt have fresh hopes about what the season will bring. Transfers have been done and hope raised. But what is it that makes a team successful? What is the most defining characteristic?

The defining characteristic

As is well known, a lot of club revenue gets spent on wages to attract top players. This is in the hope that buying talent buys performances.

Quite a few years ago I set about trying to predict promotions and relegations and used all sorts of complicated maths to try and work it out before stumbling on the thought that maybe wages were actually correlated to performance. If it was, then the bigger the wage bill the higher the league position and vice versa.

After a lot of data gathering, I found that the correlation between wages and final league position is very high.

Basically, this means that the league pretty much ended up with the lower spending teams near the bottom and the higher spending teams at the top. The big four, not only ended tend to up in the top four, but also had the top four wage bills.  What happened to the three teams with the lowest wage bill? Typically they were relegated. Going back on my data year after year, excluding exceptional, the team with the lowest wage bill often finished bottom. This pattern of correlation up and down the league repeats with amazing regularity from season to season.

A modern measure

Since I first started looking at wages as a proxy for final league position things have moved on a bit and now there are websites set up to monitor all the transfers between clubs. Furthermore, they attempt to make a scientific guess at the value of players and this makes for a nice summary of the relative strength of teams up and down the league.

Pre-season I’ll have a good browse of https://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/

It’s all relative

It’s all relative as well. Wage bills have sky-rocketed over the years so it’s just not good enough to spend money, you have to spend more money faster than your rivals. If you look at the average weekly wage for a top-tier footballer it’s risen 100 fold in 30 years, so unless you can increase your wage bill by that much over the same period then you will be in relative decline.

For lower league teams, wages have only increased just less than five-fold during the same period so there is a huge disparity between lower league football and the top tier.

If you measure the wages bills by ‘market share’ then that paints a better picture of where each club is. You can see that Chelsea outspent others by a wide margin for a few years but have fallen back. Disappointed Arsenal fans can gain solace from the fact that your team is gaining ground relative to others. Though they have recently been outfoxed by lower spending clubs.

Outperformance relative to spend

Overall under-performers tend to be clustered just outside the top four to mid-ranking spenders for some reason; I’ll need to do more research to understand why.

Teams in this area are likely to perform poorly relative to spend. Over-performers tend to lurk in the lower part of the league. It all averages out a fair bit in the middle and becomes a battle for points, consistency, and mid-table obscurity.

Every year you do tend to get one large over or under-performer though. But in general, it seems that money does buy success!

The advantage of this is that it allows you to, generally, forecast the longer-term success or failure of a club. Wages appear to be a good proxy for generally how well a club should perform. This also has important ramifications for how you should assess a manager’s performance and prospects. If we look at the relative performance we can even out the playing field and see who really is achieving above their means.

Using this information

So how best can you use all this information?

From a betting or trading perspective, it’s useful to know, as it will allow you to anticipate if a team is performing above or below expectations.

You can also tell if a team is likely to recover or lose points as the season progresses. I like playing in the promotion and relegation markets on this basis. You can pick up some real value from taking positions throughout the season and letting things pan out, as expected.

Before the start of each season and during the season you can watch the news flow coming from each club. If the club is struggling financially then it is certain that their prospects for doing well in the league will diminish. If a team has a bottomless pit of money then it will most likely improve prospects.

New managers can wipe the slate clean and kick-start the team back to their appropriate level, but there is little evidence they can get them to perform far above it. Popular managers that resign can have an opposing effect. Thanks to betting exchanges you can take advantage of temporarily success or failure by backing or laying a team and trading out when they regress to their rightful place in the league. But you may also be willing to take long-term positions and benefit from increasing certainty or uncertainty as the season progresses.

Summary

At a core level, the economics of football is pretty horrible. 

Costs, mainly wage-related, are so high that aspiring football clubs often have to sell their best players just to stay afloat. But selling your best players will probably lead to poorer results; it’s a catch 22 situation.

This can be frustrating for fans who have seen somebody come up through the ranks only to see them sold off to a rival. It seems that the big clubs regularly buy up the best players from smaller teams, thereby retaining a fierce strange-hold on talent. With few restrictions in place, there seems nothing other than money to stop them from doing this.

 With that in mind, try and have realistic expectations, but more importantly, enjoy the coming Premier league football season!

The post How to win the Premier League appeared first on Betfair trading blog | Expert advice from Professional Betfair trade.

Why I always remember exam results day

It’s the time of year when people recieved their exam results. Parenthood is one hell of a journey and moments like these are markers on your journey through life. You should enjoy them, good or bad. As you have no idea where they will lead.

Here is my story of bad exam results and where it led me!

My early passions

Prior to yours truly, none of my family showed much interest academically. So it was a surprise to my Dad when I told him that I wanted to get a computer. This was in the days when home computing was not a “thing”.

It was more surprising as Sport was the thing that I was good at and that I wanted to pursue. I showed a real competitive spirit and passion and therefore did well to any sport I turned my hand to. I wasn’t exceptional, but put in 110%. I didn’t really care much for the academic side of things.

That all change one day when a friend of mine who lived near my school, got a Commodore PET. This was something completely new, that I’d never seen before. I’ll never forget putting my name on a screen, making it loop and seeing a screen fill up with my name and various other things.

Trying to convince my dad that a home computer would be a good investment when he didn’t have two pennies to rub together was a little bit of a tough task. So I had to beg, borrow and steal and eventually was able to afford one of my own. I took to it, for some reason, like a duck to water. Though my Dad got concerned at how much time I was spending ‘playing’ computer games. I wasn’t, I was writing them!

My first attempt at sports modelling

One of the very first things that I did was cataloguing football matches. I’ve no idea why I did this, probably because of my interest in sport and in football at that particular moment in time. But I collected thousands of football matches in an attempt to understand them a bit better and I started to model football matches.

I’ll never forget the sense of power that I felt by having all of this data available and being able to interrogate it and I found it absolutely fascinating.  However, it was a slightly lonely existence. So I eventually found a friend who lived about four miles away who also shared the same interests.

We got together and our ability progressed dramatically as we learnt to write assembly language code and started really pushing the boundaries of what was possible on those primitive early computers. Suddenly this was the thing that I wanted to do!

My first hurdle

There were few facilities at the school I was attending though, they didn’t even have a proper teacher. I would have to send punched paper cards to the local Polytechnic and they would accept my very simple instructions. About a week later back in the post I would receive the output of that particular bit of code. I wasn’t allowed to submit any Z80 or 6502 code as there was nobody to mark it!

That was my I.T. education when I was at school. But regardless of that, I did actually get an O level at ‘computer studies’ as it was then called. That would allow me to progress upwards into the next stage, which would of course be an A level at college.

A much bigger hurdle

But, to my shock, when I went to college they declined to allow me to do an A level, because my Maths wasn’t considered good enough. This was a bit bizarre because I was writing assembly language code and doing all sorts of weird and wonderful and clever things, without having to achieve a higher level of maths. It was actually computing that taught and allowed me to improve my maths capability rather than the other way around. My desire to problem solve forced me back to basics to relearn all those things.

In hindsight, I should have paid more attention when I first had the chance. But my ability had now leapt forward, but because my path was unconventional, my passage was blocked.

I did go to college, but to be honest with you, my time at college wasn’t a fun one. This was simply because I couldn’t do the thing that I had a real passion for. I really did resent the fact that despite pushing the very boundaries of what was possible on these early computing devices, I wasn’t considered good enough! I almost went off the rails over this, almost.

 For my friend, who would code with me, this wasn’t a problem. He had much more support, was much brighter than me and it was very simple for him to be able to pursue that career path. He ended up going for a career in the city and did very well working in financial markets. We’ve remained good friends since those early days stuck in his bedroom tapping away till the early hours.

I offered him the chance to work on Bet Angel, but his golden handcuffs prevented him from doing so. Such is life!

A non academic life

I decided not to go to university, though my Dad often reminded me he wouldn’t fund it anyway. So it’s not as though it was really an option.

As soon as I left college I got a short term job, before landing a role with a software distributor. Here I fulfilled my desire and started a software house and a direct to consumer mail order division. When I settled into my role, in order to stick up two fingers to the establishment, I actually went back to do my A-level in computer science via an adult education course. I passed without hardly lifting a finger and without attending many classes.

So, despite the fact that I wasn’t “qualified” to be able to do my chosen role, it was only a matter of months after stepping out from an academic path that I actually managed to get into that particular role anyhow. It was an important life lesson.

Things went onwards and upwards from there. But to cut a long story short my career blossomed for a number of years. Curiously though, not as a coder, because I had acquired other skill sets by that time. I ended up more on the commercial side of the business, but my skill set could span a broad sweep of the industry and that’s probably why I did well.

I had many happy years progressing up the career ladder into more and more senior roles and across a range of different companies.

Going full circle

Eventually, I was at my highest earning job ever when I packed it all in. Now with three children and a wife, I decided to become a professional Betfair trader and complete the loop and fulfil my long-term desire to do something original that nobody had done before.

The first thing I did was revisit all my football stats from all those years before and start pricing up markets. The rest, as they say, is history.

It turns out that this would be the last major decision I would make, as everything is a choice now.

What I learnt about exam results

Given my life so far, I feel that if you don’t get dealt the cards you want, or don’t get academic results that you require, or your path is blocked. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t progress. Regardless of whether you have the qualifications or not, the path is often ambiguous.

Those bits of paper just show that you should be able to do something, not that you can. The reverse is also true. A lack of paper doesn’t mean you can’t do something.

The Intellgence trap

I actually think a ‘good’ education can often be counterproductive. It can give you a false sense of superiority, meaning you miss obvious things and dismiss many things that could have helped you achieve something. Specialising also doesn’t teach you to be creative or be able to think through problems. So if you have a logical discipline, it’s counterproductive to what is a very illogical world!

Ultimately, there are two types of intelligence. Intellectual and emotional intelligence.

To get on in life, you shouldn’t be at either end of that spectrum, you need to have a mixture of the two.

My message to you

My main message to you is to make sure that you don’t let anybody block your way and that you should you use your time to pursue your passion regardless of what obstacles are put in front of you. The sense of satisfaction you will when you win out far exceeds a bit of paper.

A bit of paper will help of course, but most of the really interesting people you will meet will have some of the most unconventional routes.

On the flip side, I’ve met plenty of very intelligent people who fall into the intelligence trap. So it’s not a definitive path to fulfilment. You also learn that everything else will sort itself out if you are good at something, are passionate and pursue it.

In life, it’s almost inevitable that you will get problems, people will selfishly try and halt you and unexpected things will happen. But I learnt, quite slowly initially, that if you have a positive mindset, pursue your passion and show a bit of belligerence, you will eventually reach the place you desire.

I had all these dreams of what I wanted to achieve in my life. I never dreamt of half the things I have actually managed to achieve and it all hinged around not looking at the negative in things.

So whatever you choose to do, get started on that road today!

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