Little and often

03/08/2014 | By | Reply More

This is a phrase I’ll often quote when advising people on how to trade. I posted up a full list of results from yesterday and it got a fair amount of commentary because it illustrated exactly that point. More information further down this post.

It’s really nice to bang in some massive results now and again, but generally, that’s not what trading is about. Well. not 80% of the time on racing.

Most of the time I’m in a market I’m just looking for an opportunity. Something I recognise as having a decent chance of a pay off with as little downside as possible. Sometimes you just can’t see them and sometimes they are all over the place. But generally, my main focus is not on making money, just not losing it.

By that I mean I’m actively trying to reduce my chance of a loss by either not participating in a market I can’t ‘read’ or by reducing my stakes when I’m less certain.  These are entry criteria. I know I will get a profitable trade, whether I am looking for it or not, so I’m just trying to reduce the risk on it going wrong.

At the end of the day, the worst you can do over long periods of time is winning 50% of the time. If you practice you can bump up your winning trade percentage by getting better and better at spotting opportunities. Once you are in a profitable trade you then need to squeeze out of it what you can. This helps you tip the balance in your favour when the inevitable losses arrive. Avoiding a loss is often a case of realising you have been a prat and exiting quickly when your wonderful theory behind a trade has broken down. A lot of people can’t do this, as it requires humility, self-criticism and a cool head. Sometimes things just don’t work out and you may not even know why.

But there is also some focus required on the upside. Often the biggest mistake I make is hanging on too long. A wonderful trade ends up collapsing to a modicum of itself by post time. But generally you are not aiming for that massive total, you are aiming much smaller than that.

I’ll trade somewhere up to 15,000 races in a year and that means I don’t need much per race to get a stupendous result on the year. I just need to pick up something from most races and that will do. If you have that mindset then you will end up with a more balanced approach to things. £10 a race, on average, would end up netting you £150k a year. If you are happy with much less than that, then your average target per event can be pro-rated to a much more manageable amount. That should reduce the pressure to make a profitable trade.

So, there you go, little and often soon adds up.

02-08-2014 - P&L Day

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Category: Horse Racing, Trading strategies

About the Author ()

I left a good job in the consumer technology industry to go a trade on Betfair for a living way back in June 2000. I've been here ever since pushing very boundaries of what's possible on betting exchanges and loved every minute of it.

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