Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Winning positions regularly topping up your account? Please send your $37 to…….
I’m currently pursuing a new, automated, in-play strategy. It will lose money frequently and sometimes for a long run of races. But the whole idea is for it to profit in the long term.
Most strategies you see will not do this, especially if somebody is going to try and sell you something.
If you look at any ebook or system sellers, nearly all focus on high-probability trades, positions that win very frequently.
That’s great (for them) because it makes the person who just shelled out some cash feel excellent. They keep winning regularly, and in excited hubris, they often credit the author with some positive feedback, then booooooom; It all goes wrong. Eventually, reality dawns that it just doesn’t work, and it’s back to square one.
The betting and financial industry are awash with this sort of ‘advice’.
To understand your real objective when trading, let us assume we are betting on a coin toss. With a 50/50 chance, we won’t make any money in the long term, but we may go on some nice winning runs. If we want to make money, we have to up the strike rate or reduce losses, easier than it sounds, but possible.
Whatever strike rate, you look at the equation in basically the same way.
High-probability trading is actually effortless. You can pretty much custom-make a strike rate in any sport. It’s impossible to get 100%, but you can go up to 99.9%. If you ask me on a horse racing market, I can deliver a strategy that will deliver almost any number you want up to that limit.
But the problem is, it still won’t make money without modifying some elements. Better entry, better exit etc. etc.
Why won’t a high strike rate make money on its own?
Because if you make £1.00 profit 99 times but lose £100 on the 100th go, you will still be net negative overall. The maths is complicated, but you could get away with it and go on incredible winning runs, but eventually, your luck will run out.
But that’s why people like high-probability trading and push them; they look and feel nice.
Where value lurks
The major problem that you see when analysing data from many markets is that the high probability end of the market is where the most negligible value seems to exist.
It is saturated with people trying to wing it, hoping that somebody else takes the eventual hit. That pretty much destroys all chances of getting a profit. In fact, it often tips it the other way. So the moral of this story is….
It’s actually at the other end of the scale, the “low strike rate, occasional big win” where the value is more abundant.
Unfortunately, few people have the mindset or mettle to recommend or pursue a low-probability strategy. That probably also explains why value is hiding away in that little niche. It’s painful to recommend or execute.
You usually look like a fool, and a win can seem lucky or fluky. Worse than that, people will goad you with the losing runs as ‘proof’ that you don’t know what you are doing. It’s enough to put off all but the biggest die-hards in the game.
At the end of the day, if you recommend a strategy that loses frequently, you look like a fool, and people will complain; very few will see it through to the eventual payoff.
But if you pursue a high probability strategy, you look like a god because the payoff is frequent in the short term. But even if it is negative in the long term, you can always blame ‘bad luck’ for losing money
Regarding being profitable, luck just doesn’t enter the equation. Work hard to find a niche, it’s probably where most people are not looking and where you will look a fool if you ever publish your short-term results.