Denman, you beauty!

What a performance by Denman today! Seeing Paul Nicholls choked with emotion after the race brings home how much this horse means to people. Being a trader it is easy to let most horses pass you by, but the rollercoaster-ride of results with Denman make it a special horse to follow and I was really rooting for him to win.

Harry Findlay had said on ATR and The Morning Line that its fate should be clear after the first few fences and after brushing through one of the early ones the odds did drift a little and I made a small profit on a trade. After 6 or more fences I thought I was missing something because it still wasn't clear to me whether things were 100%. In the end I just had a little tickle as he jumped the last - I couldn't see him losing then, top weight or not - as I couldn't bear to miss having a bet on such an historic win! I was pleased to hear that Harry Findlay was also surprised by how Denman raced, only getting his rhythm in the latter stages of the race.

Roll on the Cheltenham Gold Cup! I see Kauto Star is still favourite so it should be an absolute thriller. I hope they both arrive in peak form so there are no excuses, but a fabulous contest.

Download spreadsheet & graphs for your Betfair results

As I've mentioned before, it was Matt over at that originally got me into looking at my P&L results by average profit per race, average loss per race and strike rate (click here to read that post). This is a good indicator of whether I'm closing my winning trades too soon or getting better and also whether I'm taking too many risks (ever increasing average loss!).

I'm making the spreadsheet that I use available for anyone to download. It's pretty simple so maybe this will only be of use to those who currently don't review their results much. Anyhow, even if only a few find this useful then it's worth it!

Update: April'11.  The much improved Results Summary v2 spreadsheet is now available for download! Including results summarised by sports, Betdaq support and much more.  Check out the post about it here

(note: the screenshots show randomised data, not my real P&L!)

Here's how to get it up and running:

1. Download the past 3 months P&L data from Betfair. You need to save it to the same folder as the "Results Summary" spreadsheet to for the automated import to work. The Betfair spreadsheet needs to have its default name of BettingPandL (and the default extension of .xls).

2. Open the Results Summary spreadsheet. You will need to enable macros. Excel warns you of this when you open a spreadsheet to protect you from spreadsheets that have come from an unknown source. You can open the spreadsheet with macros disabled and look at the code to see that it's nothing naughty and then re-open it and enable macros. Also, your computer probably has a virus scanner and will scan the file when you download it. I understand that some may be a little weary so if anyone out there with some Excel knowledge could post a comment to say it's ok then thanks!

3. Click the blue import arrow. That's it!

If you want to undo the import you've just done then click the red undo button. You need to make sure that the data file you are importing doesn't have P&L data for the dates you've imported previously, so you can just overwrite the Betfair P&L file each day when you download the new results (or rename the old ones if you want to keep them).

Click on the "graphs" tab at the bottom to get the bigger P&L graph and the Average P&L per race and also strike rate. Beyond the obvious appeal of a P&L graph pointing in an upwards direction, I find the Average P&L per event graph really useful.

If the trendline of the average profit per race is pointing upwards, then you're getting better over time (unless you've just increased your stakes)!

If the average loss per race is getting smaller then you really are getting it nailed! If this is increasing but more slowly than average profit per race then you are taking probably taking more risks than before but it is paying off with larger profits (for instance, maybe you are now doing more swing trading than scalping).

If the average loss per race is getting larger faster than average profit per race then you probably need to look at reducing the risk of your trades -UNLESS - you happen to have a high or increasing strike rate - that is the 3rd graph. For instance, if you have 1 or 2 fairly big losses in a day but have traded 20 other markets successfully then you're probably still in good shape.

Everyones style is different so you know what applies to you, hopefully you'll find these graphs revealing and helpful to keep in mind for your trading. I make a note on the "notes" sheet of my averages for each month and then set targets for the coming month - not so much overall monetary targets - but for average P&L per race and strike rate. This is easier to see if my trading is improving. Hopefully some with find this useful, let me know. Cheers, MG.

If you are going through hell, keep going

There are so many great quotes from Winston Churchill I'm going to abuse a few for my own purposes!

Following on from my last post about the personal considerations of going full-time trading Betfair, I think the quote in the blog title is very apt. It has taken me years to become successful on Betfair and I'd like to think I'm not that thick!

In my case, I think winning was only possible once I developed a winning attitude. Maybe that is why some people can become successful way way quicker than I did - they already had a winning attitude.

If you are trying your luck at trading Betfair for a living because you've just been sacked then it's likely your self-esteem is not at its highest. This wasn't my scenario - I've been self-employed for a long time - but then again I probably became self-employed because I couldn't stand my manager so I wasn't filled with positivity!

I got so used to reviewing my losses most days and being really angry about them that on winning days I would feel like I cheated or got lucky (especially if I got out of a losing trade in-running).

I'm very happy to say I've just had my best week ever (apart from those freaky gambling wins I've had in the past, I'm talking about trading here). I still sometimes catch myself at the end of a good winning day feeling a bit "empty". It's odd, I think it relates to all the mass of emotion I used to feel after losing days that now things are going well it almost feels like I'm missing something! Maybe in some ways losing made me feel "alive", as perverse as that is. I'm really aware of this now and I consciously do some fun stuff or something constructive (going to the gym, anyone?!) after winning days to make sure I enjoy these winning days.

Sometimes winning can seem a bit flat because after all, the money is just spent on living expenses, like a salary would be. I'm sure I got into gambling all those years ago when I was 16 because I wanted disposable income, and lots of it, to lavish on truly hedonistic adventures. Paying the mortgage and buying the groceries just doesn't cut it!

This "normalcy" of income from trading is also something I'm trying to get past by winning a lot more! I can't help but compare trading profits with job salaries I've had in the past and it is a real kick to make a weeks wages in a day. I've noticed that many of the (few) very successful traders leave trading after a couple of years or so, so making hay whilst the sun shines is a good idea. Personally I don't think I'll quit that easily - it's been too long and hard a road to get here!

Here's another Churchill quote, "Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential". I believe that applies to trading successfully. If you want it, there's no reason why you can't get it, but it may take an awful lot more effort than you expect.

Now I've got a trading mindset worth building on I've also been trading some other sports I know a little about - snooker and F1 - and it's been going really well. I'm also looking at spread betting on financial markets. I've never had the capital to invest properly in shares but the margins on financial spread-betting are 5-10% or even less in some cases so it makes it much more accessible with a small bank.

Given my sometimes horrendous losses back in the day when I just gambled on horses, I've consciously avoided spread-betting as I feared it could result in some truly catastrophic losses. I'm still not going to use it for horses, but for financial markets I think I can put my trading skills - and more importantly, mind-set - developed on Betfair to good use. Time-wise it works well with the UK markets being available to trade in the mornings before racing, or what I prefer is to research US stocks and get my orders put in in the morning before their markets open in the afternoon. I'm not day-trading but looking for trades anywhere from 1 week to about 3 months, so I don't need to be panicking about the markets whilst I'm trading the racing.

Anyhow, it's time to make the most of my well-earned day-off now, glad to see it's absolutely bucketing down outside. Still, at least I'm not a jockey!