Friday, January 6, 2012

2011 Review

Well, where to start..! I was doing the #2011Highs on Twitter the other day and completely forgot some massive moments which were great at the time, my brain has officially turned into a 'traders' one and I now forget what has happened ten minutes ago! But its been a good year in terms of life in general and the P&L, its hard to know what to put in down to really because there have been a good few changes which only really took effect fully this year, after last year being such a struggle going through the ordeal of losing horse racing off the portfolio which went from being number one to nothing at all.

At the start of January the blog was sat on €30,261.72 and now sits on €58,259.99, which is an increase of €27,998.27, so €28k give or take - which is well over my "target" of €7.5k each year.

I dislike using the word target, because its not really a "target" you could use goal or aim or whatever, its just the figure that if I were not to make it, or even come close to it say under €7k, I would consider stopping, so I dont really know what word to use to describe it because I dislike targets in general because it leads to the idea that you HAVE to do something every day, which isnt my style I like to pick and choose moments, but anyway. The house bills more or less come to €6k-ish or thereabouts (average 3 bedroom semi) so its linked in to that figure a bit.

So anyway the changes, as I said it was the first full year without horse racing, which was different to say the least, you get so used to the daily routine. But giving up has improved my life tonnes with loads more free time and obviously not having to deal with the on course boys being miles ahead every day which is the reason for stopping in the first place, I'd only be sitting here struggling and frustrated at some point each afternoon, which naturally impacts on other sports too, and that was probably the best decision I've ever made on Betfair.

It was also the first full calendar year that I wasnt in college, so that helps being around whenever the games are on etc and not having to miss either lectures or a day of a Test match or anything else that might be on. I remember sitting there in 2010, I might not remember sporting events now but I remember this conversation as if it happened yesterday, I was sitting beside one of my close friends Tomas in Business Finance after getting up at 5AM to trade India v Australia and then headed in to the lecture at 1ish, it was horrible and I knew I really didnt want to be there, I remember we were talking about it and not listening, I wanted to focus on my trading and he wanted to travel Australia, and here we are a year later and I've done everything I've wanted and he has flights booked.

If things were to ever go tits up I do have degrees/certs to fall back on obviously being there four odd years, and theres also courses I want to do too in the future, but it was just at the time and not what I wanted to be doing with my life. Realistically in Ireland at 23 it'd be tough for me to find a job to be on €28k a year, without the added travel expenses and everything, there is the argument that it does leave a hole in the CV if you like but I dont see a problem doing what I do, if some people want to take a view its up them and none of my business, if someone sits there in a job interview and says 'you didnt really do that' its probably more the fact that they cant do it and havent got the first clue about trading, you know if people want to have that perception thats fine, you cant change the way people think, but I'm happy with what I do and if someone has a problem to put it bluntly its not my issue.

I was down in the IFSC at the start of 2010, I'm not sure if the exchange shop is still open or not, but it was only down there I started using Gruss, reason being I have a Mac and had to get all the relevant stuff to run it so I never had the option to experience the trial. 2011 has been the first full calendar year with Gruss, although I had it for most of 2010, I have to say its been more use on sports betting rather than horse racing because of the delay, I did go on one of those course thingys to learn fully what it can do, even if I dont use half the things, at least knowing of them and more education can only help really. Its hard to gauge how helpful Gruss was or whether it was just me improving the cricket trading because I'm a year more wiser on it and so on, but being as quick as you can with positions naturally helps - especially for redding out, and since I've started using Gruss I genuinely think I'm ten times better at not losing and getting rid of poor positions quicker/better.

Bit of a daft change, but its the first year I've had a desk, sort of an office space if you like, and a event planner. Might think that 'ah sure its viewing at TV it doesnt matter' but I've found that it helps a lot, just makes the mind a bit sharper and a bit more reactive to situations sitting at a proper desk, as opposed to slumping on the couch or something. Having my own space helps too because it just makes life more handy and not having to move anything each evening is nice, especially when you have two computers which I now have too. I cant speak highly enough for having an event planner or a calendar - it might sound daft but penciling in events/games and having a schedule is pretty awesome IMO, I'm never at Betfair for no reason, I touched on this a fair bit in a post on discipline a few weeks ago, I think its helpful to always have a reason to sit down at the desk more so than just sitting down to kill time and see what happens, because more than likely you'll open a position on whatever is on at the time of sitting down, and obviously the number of people who can do all sports is fairly small I imagine, so its good to specialise and be organised.

Going forward, I dont think I'll reach €28k next year, I think that England v India series was ridiculously easy (in Betfair terms) and that bloats figures, winning €2k+ on an ODI wont happen a lot..! Test matches will remain the flagship and I dont see that changing, I dont see much changing really unless Betfair changes, but even last year when I had to swap horse racing for cricket I still managed to make €10.7k which was ahead of the "target" and I dont see any reason for changing the "target" each year.

I suppose theres an argument of liquidity dropping a small bit on my two side sports, boxing and GAA, Prizefighter which brought in four figures a year has gone by the wayside with them changing the layout to have the draw live before the fights, a nightmare for getting money into markets. And I suppose the early GAA markets could suffer because of economic issues in Ireland, its hard to know with that one really as its only a summer sport - its still really the only market where I could find myself hung, drawn and quartered in a position with no way of getting out because of liquidity, but thats something that I know before it starts, so at least I can go into it with that in mind and its never too bad when youre expecting it.

Other than that I'll just get on with it and sure it is what it is, good things and bad things will always happen. In the more immediate future I'll be trying to get through to March without any harm as thats been the most awkward time of the year for a while now, I dont know why, I spend a lot of time thinking about it during the time, I have no records of early 2009 because my Grandad was in hospital at that time so I wasnt involved in anything (he survived thank god!), then started the blog in March after starting back with €100 to get back into things really, I didnt really plan on still being here three years on but here we are.. I always kept a daily diary of things I did that worked, didnt work, things I wanted to work on, change, whatever, so blogging comes naturally rather than a chore you know. But anyway, I can waffle for Ireland too completely went off the point there, in 2010 I went into late January with €20k-ish or so (I lost exact records after dropping the laptop) and fell back to €19.3k-ish before March got things going up again, 2011 I started on €30.25k and the last week in February was sat on €30,156.31 so two months of faffing about really, I remember saying at the time 'ah fuck this I'm going on a two month holiday next year' but things are a bit different now so I'll give it a go and sure if I'm still here going into March with less or around the same figure I might see about just holidaying next year, thats probably something I'll always say that never happens.

Other than that, perfect time to say thanks to anyone who reads and comments, I appreciate it, as I said I always kept a diary anyway so the only difference is its online and sure people can read it if they want and ignore it if they want its up to them and each to their own. Its three years now and I havent any adverts or started selling something so at least thats something! I actually wanted to say this but didnt know where to put it without sounding twat-ish but I have absolutely no interest whatsoever in adverts or selling tips or anything like that at all, its just a personal trading blog for craic and thats the way its going to stay. Hopefully something (even one thing!) I've said as helped someone along the way and sure at least I've havent punched you in the face so it could far worse..


  1. Nice one Stephen, always enjoy reading your blog. Well done on a great 2011 and let's hope for more of the same for 2012.


  2. great stuff stephen,best of luck for the new year..ian

  3. Thanks, lets hope we all have a good 2012!

  4. Very level headed, Stephen. Looks like an excellent template for profit. An older, wiser head nowadays, I see. Good luck.

  5. Cheers Rob, and welcome back by the way!