A day in the life………..

I don’t know how today’s going to go but I’ll add to this as it unfolds….

My day starts at 6:45 when Sue brings me a coffee in bed. She’s been up since 5ish to get ready for work. God knows what takes so long! I have offered to take her to work.  We leave 10 minutes later with the coffee only partially drunk and I drop her off at her job as a care worker for the elderly. I call in at Tesco’s on the way home for supplies. Cheese and Onion rolls and a Bakewell tart. Mmm breakfast! Ha ha not really but the Bakewell is unlikely to last much beyond the writing of the day’s blog post.

Having fed the 7 cats and emptied the dishwasher I go upstairs with a fresh coffee and sit down at my desk. Its about 7:45.

I open the chatroom. A quick check of an ip address shows me that Mike has changed his name to Colonel-Gadaffi. This could be a long day. I really shouldn’t go into chat before I have done the blog post, checked the forum, blog stats, geeks forum etc etc.  As its early theres only 8 people in there and one of those is TennisBot! I’ll wait until Mike stops talking and disappear. Hosting a chatroom is a little like being on stage. As soon as I go in there people are firing questions or PM’s. When the room gets busier as the games start we can have upto 40 people so there are plenty experienced traders to answer some  questions.  Christ the Colonel is still going on about something. I had better reply……..

I go through my emails. Not many as I checked them before bed last night. A couple of Guide sales so I send off their information. One about a live trading session. Hmm I need to get those organised.

Damn I didn’t shut the chat. He’s still going ( only joking Mike! ). Have to be careful I don’t type this stuff in the chat window! England start their Cricket World Cup campaign today but as its against Holland I don’t think I’ll bother with it. I fire up the Geeks Toy to check the prices. 1.03, I don’t think I’ll bother! (edit, I should have as Holland batted very well and I think were as high as 1.35 )

I set my 3 screens up for the days trading. Centre screen is for the main trade with scoreboard, live pics where available and the Toy. Left hand screen is for the betfair tennis page, tennis insight and the betfair main website. I also have the chat window on there. The right hand screen is for anything else. Surfing for info, the forum/blog and its used for a second ladder and scoreboard if there is another game going on at the same time.

Its now 8:20. No games until 10am so lets get the blog posts out of the way early. I sometimes find the blog posts a bit of a chore but when I look at the visitor stats it encourages me to post.

Picking the games to put on the blog can be difficult. I want to try to give people a chance of some decent profit so the odds are important. I also need a game that I think I can predict. Not easy! Davydenko up first at 10. Surely he beats Garcia-Lopez. I’ll trade that but as most of my readers are at work I’ll try to find suitable evening games. Anyone around during the day should come into the chatroom  where tips are available all day long.

Some juicy prices on the WTA games. I’m getting pretty good at trading the womens matches but can rarely predict them beforehand which is why I don’t often put them on the blog. I’ll leave the WTA prediction to Smurf on the forum.

Ooo Youzhny v Simon. Rematch!! Thats definately one of the blog games. We’re spoilt for choice tonight. Del potro at 1.30…….needs to be a bit higher. Starace v Cuevas on clay. Almagro v Hanescu. Probably M Gonzalez v Fognini at 11pm for the other match. 1.82 on Fognini’s a good place to start.

I’ll have a quick look  at the geeks toy forum before I start the research for the blog games. Plenty of posts but nothing jumping out at me that needs reading. Should I check the Racing Traders forum? Nah.

OK its 8:35. Blog time!

9:20. The blog’s done. Went for Starace in the second game. Decent price for the straight setter that I expect.

Time for another coffee before the games start. The Bakewell is nearly gone!

First game is Davy v G-L.  Davy used to be one of the best returners in the game so lets give him a chance to break first game. He break to 30! 15% green to start the day. I didn’t trust him to hold after his Simon match so take the green and run. Ofcourse he held easily and is ahead in the next game. Will move to another game….

Kohlschreiber has just broken Troicki. The market is bouncing all over and I try to get matched with a back at 1.72. Only partially matched but after he holds I now have a free bet on Kohlschreiber. They all add up ;-). I only have a scoreboard but the German looks to be running away with the first set. 5-1 now. Kohl takes the set 6-1 and Troicki’s stats are very poor. I back Kohl at 1.45 and get out when he has break point. Another 11%. A good opening 45 minutes!

We get a very good mix of experience in the chatroom. As its open to everyone we get the occasional idiot and I have had to ban 2 or 3 but overall it works pretty well ( thats the feedback I get anyway ). Obviously you get a few who come in asking for opinions on a particular game and when they get it they leave. Not really playing by the rules or rather not sticking to the spirit of the room but it all creates interest and it really doesn’t bother me as long as they’re respectful.  Most of the regular users know what I expect as far as “room etiquette” goes and most make an effort to contribute which is much better than the same old voices being heard all the time.

Hmm the next few games aren’t too exciting. Baggy too low to back at 1.17 but not sure Golubev can trouble him much. Looks like Lopez v Lu is the pick. Lu has been dire lately. Haha not often you see Stakhovsky at 1.02 before a match. Who’s he playing? The ballboy?

Lu gets broken first game. 15% . In and out. Stress free. Can I get through the day without a red? Haha I very much doubt it. Looks like a WTA match next!

Hmm Lopez goes 3-0 up. If I had stayed in Lu would have broken back for sure!

Checked my emails again. Still waiting for a reply from the restaurant that I took the wife to on Sunday ( for Valentines ). As it was a special menu etc they took £70 up front when I booked which was fair enough. When we turned up the restaurant was closed and we were seated in the bar’s meal room. TV on the wall and everything! Wasn’t impressed. When I got the bill it was £58. 12 quid less than I had already paid! It turned out their website was incorrect and said the Valentine menu was for Sunday the 12th and Monday the 14th. I’m good at complaining so will be getting a free meal out of it 😉 (if they ever get back to me)

Lu retires at 0-5. Twat! Bets void.

11:55. Time for the cheese and onion rolls I think. Next games at 12:30.

Baghdatis retired now! Was 0-4 down. Something in the water?

Peer v Kuznetsova next. Layed Kuz after a couple of games as the market seemed biased towards Peer. That worked as she broke serve. They then traded breaks but Peer held on to take the set. I greened out and added a little extra by backing Peer in the second. Peer pressured serve but didn’t break but I am out and greened. 27%ish there. Very jumpy market. Am glad to be out of that one!

13:40 – Granollers has taken the first set v Tursunov 6-1. Tempted to lay the Spaniard but Tursunov’s stats from the first set look terrible. That doesn’t always mean a great deal but I think I’ll leave that one.

14:05 – Martinez-Sanchez v Dushevina. Backed M-S at the start. Greened up when she had break point in the 3rd game. She didn’t break so I didn’t miss out there. Added a little green in the 5th game when the market over reacted to a point from M-S against serve. I layed her and got out after the hold. Around 15% from that game. Will have a look at Azarenka as its on Eurosport. Tired of the scoreboards!

Azarenka v Hantuchova: Hard to pick between those 2. Good one minute and bad the next. Decided to leave it with an 11% loss.

Next games at 4. Lets have a go with Nishikori. Dabul not troubling anyone lately. Backed prematch at 1.52. Someone put a lay in at 1.67 so I took it 😉

Nishikori was almost broken in the 5th game but held on. As often happens the underdog can be thinking about missing his chance and lose concentration on his own service game. Nishikori breaks for a 39% green.  See you can rely on the men a little more than the women!

Its now 4:35 and I am thinking of ending the session. Hmm the clay courters start at 5 as does Youzhny v Simon. Maybe a little more. I have arranged a short one to one with a member who has been struggling. Thats at 8 so I really should take a break.

As much as I want to continue I really need a break, especially with the one to one later. The Youzhny match looks good but you have to know when to stop.

Not a bad session. Didn’t manage to go through the day without a red but its rare I manage that.

Hope you find this of some interest. If not I have wasted a lot of my day!

Time for some food and TV. Oh yes and chat with the family 😉

   
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Full time trading – How to beat the mind games

I keep getting pestered to post about life as a full time trader.

So has it been a dream move or has it been a tough few months? To be honest a bit of both! Before turning full time in July I had listened to people telling me it wasn’t as easy as it seemed to be a full timer. I didn’t think I would have any problem making the transition as I had full confidence in my trading ability and the prospect of making more money doing something I enjoy seemed fantastic.

The first day was strange. I set my screens up as normal and went over the games for that day picking out ones that seemed to offer good opportunities. I wrote the blog post and opened up the first market. This was it. My first day of the dream job.

I forget which match I was following. My finger was on the mouse button. Ahh here we go. Here’s an entry point……but hang on…..what if I’m wrong? No, I’ll wait for a better one. A couple of minutes later and another good entry point came along. I was about to enter the opening trade when I again hesitated. I needed a slightly better price with less risk. The opportunity passed. That was pretty much the pattern for the day. I was almost scared to enter a trade. I was looking for zero risk entry points and we all know they don’t exist.

The first day ended with a small profit and a little less confidence than I started with. Something I aren’t used to. Thankfully this got better the next day and by the end of the week I was trading pretty much as normal.

The second week was great. I finished it with a profit of around £1200 and that was even more satisfying as it was a week with no ATP games. I don’t mind trading WTA matches but I prefer being able to rely on the players doing what I expect at least SOME of the time!

[EDIT: it is interesting to read this 7 years later. I now prefer to trade WTA matches as they tend to be more “predictably unpredictable”.]

It is often said that a great deal of trading is done in the mind. This is totally true and my state of mind was about to take a kicking. Having encouraged me to turn full time my wife now decided that she didn’t like me working from home! “Its not normal. You should go OUT to work”. WTF? We sorted that spat out but it meant I didn’t feel comfortable while trading at home.  I felt like I was treading on eggshells all the time. So much for the dream job! Over the next few weeks there were pretty much constant arguments and I was stressed out most all the time. My trading was starting to suffer.

As time went on I was finding it harder to make the “easy” profits that had become second nature. Now before people jump down my throat for saying that profitable trading is easy let me clarify the remark. I am a totally self taught trader. When I was learning the markets there was no one passing out good advice. At least not to do with tennis trading.  I worked out ways to profit from tennis matches. They worked and even though I felt I was missing so many opportunities,  if I stuck to what worked for me I was consistently profitable.

Find what works for you and stick with it.

When your head is filled with emotional problems you don’t make good trading decisions but I had to earn a living. I was making profits throughout the morning and then losing a lot of it in 1 match with stupid trades. So I started to doubt my trading ability which just made the situation worse! I knew enough about the markets to make a profit. I was making easily more than I was when working for others but it was all very stressful and a lot less enjoyable. The situation at home suddenly took a turn for the worse and as I briefly mentioned on the blog at the time my wife and I separated. Apart from losing my family I now had nowhere to live or to work from. I ended up asking my father in law if I could stay with him. It was clear he didn’t want me there as we have had words in the past. I don’t think it will surprise anyone to hear my head wasn’t quite as relaxed and focused as it needs to be to trade successfully. Amazingly I was still able to make a wage.

The situation lasted the longest 3 weeks of my life. I worked out that part of the problem was that I had allowed the trading to take up too much of my time and attention. She felt neglected. To cut a long story short we sorted out our problems. We now make time for each other and make sure we go out regularly for meals etc.

[EDIT – I am looking back on this post in December 2018. My wife eventually came to terms with me not having a normal job. It has been a couple of years now since she objected to me being at home all the time. perhaps it had something to do with her being able to drop to 2 days a week at work. ]

However the heartache and stress had cooked my brain. Now that I could concentrate on my trading I realised that I wasn’t trading as I used to.  More worrying than that was that I just couldn’t remember how I used to trade. I literally could not remember the thoughts that I used to have when deciding on an entry point. Just try to imagine how frustrating that is. I had the skills required to make great profits. I had just forgotten them!

The more I tried to remember the deeper they got buried in the back of my mind. I don’t mean the strategies. Although I did go back and watch my videos!! Seriously! What I had lost was the thought process involved with trading. My mind had filled with other people’s ideas from the chatroom. Whilst their ideas worked for them they weren’t for me.

So I had everything I needed. Experience, trading skills, discipline. I just couldn’t access them! Aaaagh!!!  Sure I could continue grinding out profits but not on the scale that I was capable of. That wasn’t how the dream was meant to go and I wasn’t about to accept it. I have lost count of the number of traders who have said they tried full time trading but they just couldn’t get their heads round it. I didn’t want to let the dream go. But how the hell do I get my old trading self back?

If you want something badly enough you find a way. Years ago I had a passing interest in hypnotism. I was about 17 and used to play a lot of pool and snooker. I had a pool table at home and could pot anything on that table. However when I moved to the bigger snooker tables I wasn’t as successful. The cues were different, the pockets were less forgiving and the balls were larger. I managed to convince my brain that I was playing on the pool table at home.  For about 15 minutes it worked! Pots were easier and I was getting down on a shot and just playing rather than thinking about the size of the table and about how much harder it was on a 12ft table. After those few minutes my brain worked out that I was tricking it and the pots started missing but the experience told me that I was receptive to suggestion and therefore to being hypnotised.

I started to look around on the net but self hypnosis cd’s don’t come cheap. You are looking at £200 from some sites. Then I found a  guy who sold custom made mp3’s. You type in the messages that you want to be given during the hypnosis and he produces the mp3 and emails it to you. Mine took less than 2 hours to arrive. Even better was that it cost just £10. If it didn’t work it was worth a tenner to find out. After listening to the mp3 a couple of times I started to remember things about how I used to trade. I had lots of , “Oh yeahhh!” moments as the fog in my brain cleared away. My trading returned to how it was before I turned full time. After 2 or 3 weeks and before the start of the new season I ordered a second mp3. I gave myself fairly standard trading messages. I have found that my trading has actually improved. I aren’t missing so many opportunities and certainly aren’t worried about placing trades as they are based on sound entry rules.

The feeling of getting my old trading self back is fantastic. I am enjoying my trading again and look forward to every session.

So does this make me a nut? The honest answer is that I don’t care! It worked. I wasn’t certain if it was coincidence at first. Maybe I would have remembered things anyway. However having used the second mp3 and seeing and feeling my trading improve I am totally convinced.

So if you want to take the piss, feel free. Even better, have a good laugh about it on the bus or the train on your way to work in the morning.

Hypnosis won’t make you a better trader if you don’t already have the skills. However if it is the mental side of trading that is giving you problems I can strongly recommend giving it a try. Possibly the best ten quid I ever spent!

The site I used was http://www.hypnosoft.com/

   
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