Saturday, 29 November 2014

Small Men Wearing Big Hats...

I think it was Andrew Marr who said that throughout history nothing ever good has followed the arrival of "small men wearing big hats". In days gone by Napoleon springs to mind. In this era we have Putin. Cold, impassive, ruthless....  most of the traits that you need to become a good trader!

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Golan To War R.I.P...

Great shame about Golan To War who fell today at Lingield and suffered a fatal injury. Jockey up and ok I believe. Sad for all involved with the horse - looked a very nice animal.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Hold Court...

Very quiet day for me on the trading front as I am still trying to sort out the blog and social media. I looked at some racing though.

Hold Court.

In the 13.20 at Ludlow I had the Evan Williams trained Hold Court pegged as the winner before the off - but gave up on him during the race as he got outpaced. He drifted out to 500.00 in running and came back to win - great effort!

Needless to say I wasn't on him - but I didn't lay him either!

Stamford Bridge...

Chelsea v West Brom, 1905, Division 2.

No trading this Saturday because I went to see Chelsea with my son. Brilliant first half, pretty poor second half but that was mainly due to the West Brom red card - the game just shut down - with the visitors doing a damage limitation exercise and Chelsea not needing to score.

I've been going to the Bridge since I was six years old - used to sit on my dad's shoulders in the South West corner of the ground. Different crowd today. We were surrounded by tourists mainly - a few of whom were just fiddling on their phones throughout the game. Bit of a shame really. Price of success and being a top club in a fashionable area I suppose!

It's a bit of a journey to London so my son and I killed time by associating an animal with our favourite Blues players.

So from the back:

Courtois = Giraffe

Ivanovic = Rhino

Cahill: Kangaroo

Terry: Horse

Azpilicueta: Squirrel

Matic: Manta Ray

Fabregas: Owl

Oscar: Iguana

Willian: Hedgehog

Hazard: Scorpion

Costa: Gorilla

Drogba: Lion

Next time we'll do power tools or vehicles!

Chelsea really are a machine at the moment and I for one love watching Matic destroy the opposition's game as much as I enjoy Hazard's skills. CFC are not quite the finished article and I think they will be better next season - we'll see.

I'll post again this week - maybe try to get some videos up.

Friday, 21 November 2014

How You Can Lose...

It is not my intention that this becomes too much of a 'P&L' blog. I am not sure how much point there is in putting up your profit and loss unless you are using it as a tool to help you with your own discipline. However sometimes it is worthwhile putting up a loss as a lesson to others!

On Wednesday I had a situation where my pre race opinions affected my in play decision making. Over the years you obviously pick up knowledge of horse racing - you just can't help it - but I try not to let it influence my in play decision making too much - depending on the type of race.

In the 13.50 at Hexham (4m Hcap Chase) I had formed a pre-race opinion about the J. Ewart trained Snuker and layed the horse in running at about 11.0. It wasn't a bad decision really as the horse went out to around 55.0 but I decided not to hedge out completely, deciding only to reduce my liability, even though he never looked completely beaten.

I had it in my head pre-race that he wasn't going to win and I probably looked 'too hard' to find fault with him in running.

It is not a mistake or a loss I make very often. My last loss of this nature was in the first week of November (£150.00).

Anyway I pushed on and managed to reduce the loss on the day to something respectable. It was a pity because I had virtually a 100% trade record out of the 18 markets I traded in properly. However, even without Snuker, the day was never going to be more than mediocre as real opportunities were sparse.

In hindsight it was a competitive, small field race, that I might have left alone.

Swarm Theory...

This is an old post from another blog that I have 'resurrected' to start off this one. I wrote it many years ago when the credit crunch hit and I have put it up again because already it has rung true. Since the 'bail out' it seems that every few months there there has been another embarrassing scandal driven by greed, fear and stupidity. So by all means follow...but don't follow blindly..

In National Geographic the other day there was an article on swarm theory and self organising systems. They referred to a school of fish and how they are able to make quick decisions by making use of collective intelligence or 'hive mind'. Basically they use three fairly simple rules:

a) avoid crowding nearby fish.
b) swim in roughly the same direction as other fish.
c) stay close to nearby fish.

This results in the typical behaviour of a school of fish, twisting and turning almost as one. In this way schools of fish - move to avoid a predator.

But I have also read that when schools of fish or animal groups become massive - they eventually 'swarm' across the predator - even if those close to the predator move away - the sheer weight of numbers just ploughs on so as to make the reaction of the few insignificant.

May sound familiar to a few Betfair traders out there...

'Swarm living' provides protection and a supply of potential mates, so swarm members rarely perform actions that could undermine the group. It is called 'comfort'. Move, live and feed together.

But be aware that swarm analysts also now suspect that swarms, herds or any large groups of animal are often led by mavericks but are these 'strong willed individuals' really mavericks or just desperate? Theorists now think that a whole flock of birds may change their course simply to follow a break-away bird that is nothing more than hungry and searching for food.

Applying these types of theory to markets is nothing new - many people recognise John Train as being one of the first people to compare natural swarm style phenomenon to financial markets - and that was way back in 1975.

In his book 'Dance of the Money Bees', Train described how bees forage for food and how the degree of their agitation in front of their hive is directly related to the size or status of their find. Train made the analogy to describe money managers when they are excited by a stock and how they swarm like the hive.

It is fascinating but it is also unfortunate - in fact I think it is truly terrifying. It is how we operate within the world. It is nature, our nature. I believe that it is because of this inherent behavior that we will continue to repeat in some way, shape or form the catastrophes of our existence - like those that we have just experienced in the financial markets.

It is simply a matter of time.