Grand Slam pretenders

Every year, as the first of the Masters series approaches, it’s the same marketing chat. Indian Wells is the 5th Grand Slam we hear. But for whatever reason – more on this later -  the TV cameras aren’t turned on until the Saturday, once a whole week has passed. That’s 3 qualifying rounds for some, Round 1 and Round 2.

The big names of course get byes into Round 2 so no big deal for viewers only interested in watching the stars, but what about the rest of us? Is it really fair to expect people to maintain the interest that the sport at this level deserves with scoreboards and Twitter updates alone?

The coverage finally starts and, we get the fix we have bee looking for. Fantastic tennis played in front of huge crowds. Perfect.

Then a week later the Miami Masters begins. The world’s greatest players from both the men and women’s games all gather in Florida to battle it out for ‘the 5th Grand Slam’. And once again it seems that the camera crews are stuck in transit from California, only to show up on Saturday, after a lot of the drama we tune in for has been and gone.

I simply can’t get my head round why this happens. I don’t believe for a second that the demand isn’t there, when broadcasters will stump up the cash for a measly ATP250 event or a WTA International tournament. The Tennis Channel surely should be jumping at this opportunity to fill a huge hole in the market, shouldn’t they?

Whatever the reason is, and the cynic and realist in me suspects it is money related, and until this is sorted out, either tournament calling itself the 5th Grand Slam can f**k right off, I don’t care how much prize money is on offer.

I’m off to watch repeats of the Aus Open final until they switch the cameras on. Bastards.

Setting targets

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Mark Iverson on his excellent blog recently posted that he had got as bit careless and thus his March was in a nasty red place.

He went on to outline his plan for recovering these losses and keeping his long running streak of green months going.

I read the article and thought that he sounded sensible and stable, as you’d expect from a full time trader who has such a great record. Others saw things slightly differently. One comment in particular which made me think is pasted below:

“Not the most ‘professional’ thing to do, looking at your pnl in short periods, just as bad as setting a daily limit to be fair.”

Now i understand that being profitable over 1, 3 or 5 months does not necessarily guarantee long term success, but i do think that keeping a close eye on pnl on a daily basis can help maintain focus and discipline.

I am not condoning setting a daily limit as which you stop trading, because obviously some days there will be more opportunities than others, but take my situation for instance; I have set my self a target bank that i think i can realistically reach come the end of the year. From this, I have then seen what % of my bank i need to achieve each day in order to keep in line with this target. I may be opening myself up to mockery here, but i find that it helps me to bank those smaller greens and plod along nicely.

Small, achievable goals, whether they are monthly, weekly or daily can help less experienced traders, and i think it just varies from person to person. As long as when the inevitable happens and you under perform one day, you don’t panic.

At the end of February I found myself in a very familiar position, with a big red month having started 2012 well. The amount lost could not be sensibly retrieved in a month or two, but as long as it is eventually clawed back i’m not bothered. Setting up a ‘projected’ bank in excel has helped me to realistically place when i can expect to be back level, which has helped to calm me down and focus on each trade individually, irrespective of my current bank.

On a tennis related note, I watched the battle of the Marias last night and was disgusted by Kirilenko. She played excellently, especially for the 1st set and a half, but the tennis authorities inability to control the stars of the game reared its ugly head again. Once Sharapova had regained momentum in the 2nd set after a marathon game where she saved 6 BPs, Kiri called for a trainer for no apparent reason. Got some strapping applied and broke up the pace of the game. Cheating.

She then was penalized for tapping her racket on the ground 3 times mid point and launched a volley of abuse at the umpire, who by all accounts was spot on with her judgement. She went on to win the game and directed her screams of victory straight at the official. Disgraceful.

Then after having lost the 2nd set, she took about 5 minutes before deciding she needed a comfort break (seemingly to change dress and redo her hair), before emerging for the 3rd set very very late.

This whole match was riddled with players taking up to 50% longer than the time they are allowed between each point, and by the end i felt like id barely seen any tennis. The 2nd set alone lasted 94 minutes, without even a TB! I didn’t enjoy it as much as i should have considering the level of tennis being played, which was exceptionally high from both ladies.

The powers that be need to step in, and stop letting the players do what they want. It gets worse every year, and all it would take is for a couple of time penalties to actually be imposed- during a big match – to straighten these brats out.

That’s all! Enjoy the weekend.

Back to basics

Well another weekend is over and another massive disappointment on the golf course! The tweaks and changes i made, and the positive mental approach were dashed by the 5th hole, and by then end I was behaving like a man possessed.

It is hands down the most frustrating past time I have ever come across, or am likely to. In September I was comfortably playing to 25-35 over, and while this is not something to necessarily to be hugely proud of, I felt like i was moving in the right direction. For the last 2 months I haven’t been able to even hit the thing, much less with any accuracy. So I have swallowed my pride, and will be taking lessons once a week, more for my sanity than anything else. I’ll keep you posted.

The weekend’s trading thankfully was a much less stressful affair. Rory waited a while before lighting it up. After the 2nd round he was trading at 100 which i thought was far too high. I think he was only 9 shots off the lead which is a lot, but he is more than capable of shooting a 10 under on any given day which would see him going into R4 in a challenging position. He was on course to do just that in R3 before letting some shots slip at the end but i had laid a lot of my liability off at 12s so was in a great position. He then remained there or there abouts in R4 and a superb eagle had him in 2nd place and trading as low as 4.3. A quick look at his graph showed he had traded at 1000, albeit for £2. Squeaky bum time for one lucky layer.

No such luck for Bubba who threw it away. A +2 final round gifted it to Rose, with Watson unable to hole a final putt to force the play off. Gotta love a man with a pink driver though.

A mention for the football just to express my disgust at the Bolton v QPR match. A vital goal not given which can only be put down to incompetence of the linesman. Inexcusable to miss such a detail, especially from a set piece. Yes, the QPR goal was offside but taking the lead is a far different prospect to equalizing. At times like this i find myself asking what the point is. It’s bad enough that genuine errors of judgement happen all the time, but something that is as black and white as the ball crossing the line should never be a talking point.

Haven’t had a chance yet to get stuck into the tennis, the timing doesn’t really agree with my social and home life. I hope to catch some this week but tired trading isn’t a good idea.

Good week nonetheless and here’s to more steady progress.

Steady eddy

I am happy to report that my progress is back on track. I won’t lie, its pretty bog standard, boring stuff, but that’s a sign of good trading. It isn’t boring to me as i’m always looking for new angles, and thinking about strategies, just may send some readers to sleep.

I’m constantly looking to the future though, and that’s pretty exciting. At this steady rate ill have a size-able bank come the end of the summer, and then the money will start to be significant. At the moment it seems like small fry but we all have to start somewhere, and depositing a large amount just to say you have a large bank is pointless. Much more satisfying and impressive to build up.

The WGC Cadillac has begun and Rory had a pretty tough time in R1, ill put that down to the windy conditions. He’s out to 28 now and i’ve nibbled at that price. Backed Kyle Stanley at 90 and he’s at -3 after R1. Also on Tiger and Donald, so should be able to green as the weekend goes on.

Also very excited with the first Masters of 2012, and annoying that TV coverage only starts on Saturday, but only a day to go now. Plenty going on then in the upcoming week so should be able to add to the bank.

On a personal note, the weather in London this weekend is set to be 15 odd degrees, which means golf in short sleeves on Sunday! Off to the range now to practice my iron shots, which i haven’t been able to hit since September.

Good luck all

Proof

just a very quick post to note that sometimes faith in what you are doing and being open to the learning process can lead to success.

i was very happy to read centre court trading’s latest post about his first ever 4 figure month. he has his ups and downs and posts honestly about them, and its proof that keeping the faith and discipline pays dividends.

 

Clearing the smoke

It has been a while since my last post, and with good reason too.

My trading has been very erratic, all month really, and even though I am experienced enough to be able to spot these troughs in concentration and discipline, reversing the flow completely is a whole different story.

Anyway, because each day has almost invariably ended in disappointment and another red entry into the records, I haven’t felt like writing about either it or the goings on in the tennis and wider sporting world.

But avoiding the issue and sticking your head in the sand has never helped anyone achieve anything, and at times like this I re-read blog entries (both mine and others I have earmarked in the past). I take some time off trading and betting altogether and refocus on my goals. If I need to write them out in ink again just to get them to hit home I do. The moment I know I have reversed the mental weakness that has contributed to recent losses is not a particularly subtle one – I simply cast an eye over my records and trades, and at once I can see the mistake(s) I have been making. Whether it be over staking, entering at wrong times, trading while tired or not in the right frame of mind. It’s almost like a reverse Eureka! moment, and for me anyway, the minute i recognize these faults without cursing luck or other make believe factors, is the moment i can confidently start trading again. Doing so without this cathartic process can lead to disaster.

 

Behavioural oddities

It’s odd isn’t it? Something that is so well documented and almost expected, can be so shocking when it does happen and upon further analysis.

Take for example people’s trading patterns. After a break from trading and a fresh start, we start again with very clear staking sizes, and we stick to them. We make 5% here, 6% here and are trudging along very nicely, just as it should be. Then we take a loss, which is to be expected, so we do not panic. Then slowly and sometimes subtly (sometimes not) we start to over step our staking, refusing to accept losses when they do appear, even though we know nothing is more inevitable.

I have read many a blog post describing this odd behaviour, with the author often baffled by his irrational actions.

There is an enormously similar phenomenon in tennis, especially WTA. I am currently watching Radwanska v Lepchenko and another example, of one player dominating, only to crumble at that all important moment. The underdog served for the 1st set, threw in a shocker of a game, when her serve had been firing on all cylinders, and she must be asking herself what the hell has happened.

The most crucial thing when this behaviour creeps in to trading, is to step back and realize that even a large loss due to careless gambling can be negated by a few successful trades.

There will be many people who have achieved short term success in trading. The difference between those people and those who make it work long term is taking losses on the chin and sticking to what’s been working for you, ie your edge.