Sunday, 28 May 2017

Bitcoin Betting

A recently added blog to my blogroll is Bitedge which has some interesting content on the topic of Bitcoin, in particular it's relevance for gambling, which is apparently high, with over 50% of Bitcoin transactions being gambling related.

The author is James Canning, a former Betfair Australia and employee, whose bio reads:
I am a keen sports bettor returning 4% profit.
I have been living of bitcoin since 2013.
That 4% is a realistic claim in my opinion in my opinion, although from the later screenshot, we will see that James is still relatively new based on his profits to date and number of markets traded.

James had a recent post on Betfair's Premium Charges, and if you read the comments there are some suggested alternative books for those successful enough to be looking for ways to avoid these punitive charges.

A couple of highlights from the PC post, although not a surprise, were that:
The premium charge has been a public relations disaster for Betfair. It has made the customers that loved Betfair and were their best source of positive word of mouth become Betfair’s worst source of negative word of mouth.
Then after explaining the maths in detail, he asks:
Confused? You’re supposed to be, that’s part of the strategy. It keeps getting more complicated to make sure no one except the banking and finance industry types who implemented the charge can understand it.
One example of how sneaky and insidious the premium charge is is that if you win all your bets in a week and pay 5% commission Betfair will treat it as if you paid 2.5 % “total charges” and make you pay another 17.5% premium charge bringing you to 22.5% which Betfair will say is 20% according to the premium charge rules.
Betfair try to rationalize this by saying if you lost bets they would have applied 2.5% implied commission toward “total charges” even though you actually pay no commision on losing bets.
This does not stand up because the premium charge is by definition for winning customers so the implied commission and “total charges” malarkey is just a condition to generate more premium charge and to make it more complicated and confusing.
James then shares his Betfair Lifetime Profile from April / May 2013, which is curious given that we are now four years on from that date, although he does say that since 2013 he has been betting with Bitcoin so perhaps that's as recent an update as he has.
A net profit of £4.07 per market is great if his bets are automated or bet-and-forget, but if they required manual trading, I'm not sure the hourly rate makes it worth while.  

For comparison, my PC portal tells me I have been active in just under 24,000 markets lifetime, which at £4.07 each works out at less than £100,000 in total, which over 13 years comes to a rather modest £142.67 a week. A handy bonus, but don't give up your day job.

James suggests that PC payers move to Bitcoin betting. 

What you should do is re-evaluate other places to bet. I did and discovered bitcoin betting; boy did Betfair do me a favour there! If you are about to have to pay premium charge then the best bitcoin sportsbooks will more than replace Betfair.
The odds are good and the websites and customer experience’ are brilliant. You get to bet anonymously from anywhere in the world, you get free and instant deposits and withdrawals of any amount 24/7 and no premium charge!
It's not clear to me that "the odds are good" at all -
James has more suggestions though:
If you want a direct replacement for Betfair BetBTC (review) closely copies Betfair’s model. Fairlay (review) is another good bitcoin betting exchange with even better odds.
The premium charge is not going away until bitcoin operators get major traction in the market. Betfair have already taken the huge negative public relations hit and now they won’t want to lose the revenue for the effect it would have on the share price. So rather than try to fight it just move to bitcoin land, it’s better over here.
I had never heard of any of those sites until today, so this is not a recommendation - do your homework before if you are thinking of making a move. 

League Two 2016-17 Summary

League Two Away System

Back in February, I wrote:

League Two is again where the Aways are leading the way, and for the sixth straight season, it looks like they will end above the 30% level.

Using Pinnacle's Closing prices, this continues to be a money-spinner, but don't tell everybody.
 At the time of writing, the numbers were:
The League Two regular season is now over, and here are the final numbers for the past five seasons of this simple system. 
Past performance is no guarantee of future success of course, especially in a division that churns 25% of it's members each season, but one to watch next season. 

Once again, note the huge gulf between Pinnacle's Closing Prices and the Best Prices available, courtesy of Joseph Buchdahl's essential resource at Football Data.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Walter Mitty Types

The adjective 'authoritative' is a good one to be associated with, 'authoritarian' not so much. The former is defined as:
able to be trusted as being accurate or true; reliable
As I scrolled through my timeline on Twitter yesterday, the following appeared:
I thought the authoritative blog had somehow been missed from Spaam Berry's (possibly not his real name) tweet, before realising that the honour was actually being bestowed upon this humble offering.

Bot Trader had an entertaining comment on yesterday's sorry tale writing: 
Gambling forums will always be littered with Walter Mitty** types like Rstrach, thankfully they only ever lose winnings they've built up and not their original bank so no real harm done.
I'm sure Rstrach must have been overwhelmed the great and the good from the Bet Angel forum all came out to offer advice of how they'd overcome similar situations. One can only hope Rstrach uses his remaining bank to attend a training course, or at the very least pick up a few ebooks, and return triumphantly to such a supportive forum.
In financial terms, on the face of it, it's true that no real harm was done. Rstrach started with £1,000, ended with a £1,000. As Bot Trader makes clear, no one ever loses their original bank.  

On the plus side, we hope he learned a valuable lesson, but the psychological toll of taking one mad day to lose profits built up over a year is hard to measure.

The more serious damage is that caused by the ill-considered decision to pack in a well paying job, even more crazy considered the young man in question has a mortgage. 
I am now in a position where my safety bank is running low for necessities and my mortgage. My relationship has been affected and my morale and self confidence an all time low.
Bot Trader suggests Rstrach spend his remaining money on attending a training course and a few ebooks, actions he suggests are guaranteed to ensure a triumphant return to betting and the forum where no one ever loses. 

He's a funny one that Botty.

If anyone does lose money, it is of course, all their fault. Trading is easy if you follow the advice that's out there for a very modest fee. Clearly, in a zero-sum game, there's so much money to be made that everyone wins, commission is not worth worrying about, and you only need to work for a few hours a day to live a dream lifestyle. Seems legit. 

** Walter Mitty is defined as "an ordinary, often ineffectual, person who indulges in fantastic daydreams of personal triumphs"

There's a Jaguar in the driveway
A great big swimming pool
A suitcase full of cash 
A big fat smile when he's facing the sun
The man got class
Walter Mitty come home

Flash and the Pan - Lady Killer

Friday, 26 May 2017

Obliteration v Decimation

Courtesy of a post on Megarain's blog, I was drawn to a thread on the Bet Angel forum which was kicked off on May 18th by user Rstrach:

First of all i will not go into details but i have been suffering from mental illness for the past year. I have had external factors influence my trading and when that happens you should really just walk away. I am 20 years old and have just wasted in total 8900 pounds of my trading bank which has decimated it to my original 1000. I am very embarrassed to say this but i have blown it all by acting like a gambling addict and haven't even opened B.A today.

I attended Perth today and tried to put on a mask on here and with whom i attended with that i was okay. I was not. I am clearly not cut out for the trading world and will be seeking full time employment again. I really can't put my finger on it but i feel physically sick and drained. I feel there is no point in going on, i have not only invested money but time into this world that has drawn me by my own keenness to learn and improve away from my social circles and family which may have triggered today's events. I am now in a position where my safety bank is running low for necessities and my mortgage. My relationship has been affected and my morale and self confidence an all time low.

I do not want pity i am simply posting one last time on here to show it's not all glamour in this world and you're either cut out for it or you're not. The tears roll down my cheeks as i type this goodbye. To the people who advised me thank you, to the friends i have made thank you and to Peter Webb thank you the most for providing my last 2 years with drive and passion wanting to better myself as a trader and person with you as my role model. (cheesy) I now have nothing and it is through not anyone's fault but my own and my own mind.
The world of betting / trading / gambling sadly appear to be a magnet for people suffering from mental illness, but credit to Rstrach for facing up to his issues and whatever the 'external factors' he mentions were. 

To build up a bank from £1,000 to close to £10,000 is a good effort, although his success may not have all been down to skill or even luck as we will see later.

Megarain's take on the incident was this, and he doesn't mince words:
So, there is a thread on Bet Angel, re a trader who has decided to call it quits. He's 20 yrs old .. grew a bank from 1k to 10k, then lost all of the winnings, in 1 day.
He's decided to quit .. and the thread has run to 5 pages.
I am now, tired/jaded and not in a good mood to be compassionate .. which, is a neg EV play anyway.
People don't like the truth. He should quit, and move on, but basically wants sympathy.
We all want sympathy. Everyone has a good story, about how hard they work. Details are just details, if u haven't got the self-motivation/life skills to be a pro-gambler, then the market will get you.
Whether or not Rstrach's retirement is permanent remains to be seen. The wounds of a bad loss were still fresh when he wrote that, and time has a strange way of changing ones perspective. 

From the limited details we have, it does appear that the wheels came off in a big way, with all discipline being lost.

As Megarain says, people don't like the truth. Just four months ago (January 19th), Rstrach was writing:
I have seen my invested amount grow by 7 fold in just over a year. I have learnt a lot from Peter and the forum and i want to thank you for that. Do you have any tips on making and sustaining a living full time?
I am 19 and in an unstable but well paying job i have incredible passion for sports and trading the array of markets available on betfair.
Any help appreciated.
Uh oh. Another young person, presumably not without the ability to hold down a reasonable job given that he has a mortgage at such a young age, looking to give it all up to go full-time as a trader. The problem is that his success doesn't appear to have been from any unique talent for trading, but from getting inside information:
i get good consistent info from a friend that is a work rider so most of my biggest trades swing off this.
Sadly it appears that in April, our friend 'took the plunge' and quit his well paying job, writing on the 26th: 
love the positive vibes and im taking the plunge tomorrow just typed my notice and set up my configurations for B.A to my most profitable (i have been experimenting with different layouts of market screens etc.) and planned my days. Luckily for me with a big-ish festival taking away a lot of smaller races im making more dough. Epsom a delight today! You shall hear how it goes
Well, we saw how it went, and in less than a month. Once again, if you are capable of holding down  job, and not everyone with mental health issues is, then trading and betting on sports is not a full-time activity. However uniquely great you think you are, you are probably not, and if you happen to be the greatest, you won't be for long.

If you must trade sports, do it in your spare time as a hobby. If you are one of the few who are able to make some money from it, consider it a bonus on top of your base (regular job) income. To walk away from that base income after a profitable year or two is really short-sighted.

One final word on Rstrach's use of the word 'decimated' in reference to his trading bank. It's a word that is frequently misused.

Historically, the meaning of 'decimate' was one in ten, e.g. an army was decimated if it lost one-tenth of its soldiers, or if Rstrach's trading bank went from £10,000 to £9,000.

However, modern usage of decimated seems to be to indicate that one-tenth remains, a far more significant loss of course. 
Decimate literally means to reduce something by a tenth, but many people use it instead to mean "totally destroy." The word "obliterate" would be a better choice than "decimate."
I thought you'd all like to know that.  

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Seeing Double

This blog has occasionally highlighted the shortcomings of some bloggers and others when it comes to mathematics, but over in the US, the Trump administration has managed to make a $2 trillion error in their proposed budget:

Trump has promised to enact “the biggest tax cut in history.” Trump’s administration has insisted, however, that the largest tax cut in history will not reduce revenue, because it will unleash growth. That is itself a wildly fanciful assumption. But that assumption has already become a baseline of the administration’s budget math. Trump’s budget assumes the historically yuge tax cuts will not lose any revenue for this reason — the added growth it will supposedly generate will make up for all the lost revenue.

But then the budget assumes $2 trillion in higher revenue from growth in order to achieve balance after ten years. So the $2 trillion from higher growth is a double-count. It pays for the Trump cuts, and then it pays again for balancing the budget. Or, alternatively, Trump could be assuming that his tax cuts will not only pay for themselves but generate $2 trillion in higher revenue. But Trump has not claimed his tax cuts will recoup more than 100 percent of their lost revenue, so it’s simply an embarrassing mistake.

It seems difficult to imagine how this administration could figure out how to design and pass a tax cut that could pay for itself when Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush failed to come anywhere close to doing so. If there is a group of economic minds with the special genius to accomplish this historically unprecedented feat, it is probably not the fiscal minds who just made a $2 trillion basic arithmetic error.
I liked author Jonathan Chait's last paragraph and sentence there. It seems perfectly logical to me to base your opinion on someone's credibility on the evidence available. I'm glad to see others thinking in the same way.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Fear Index and Trading Staples

In between all the comments on the Cops and Bloggers post received while I was away, there were a few other comments on other topics and emails which are always appreciated.

Wayward Lad commented on my Weirdly Calm post on the VIX pointing out that:

Yes, Donald Trump is capable of making "volatile" decisions, but does that necessarily translate into a volatile market? So far, the US President appears to have been confined to making personality statements rather than economic statements (such as sacking the director of the FBI), therefore perhaps the market is being left to it's own devices and managing itself.
Fortunately for the world, there are checks and balances in place that prevent some of 45's most extreme policies from ever seeing the light of day - his ill-considered Muslim Travel Ban Executive Orders for example - and it does seem that the financial markets generally ignore the turmoil in Washington with each day seeming to bring with it a new revelation of incompetence at best, high crimes and misdemeanours at worst.

Having said that, Marty today commented on my original VIX post about the "50 Cent" trader, pointing out that the VIX had its most volatile day in more than eight months last Wednesday, and the trader, rumoured to be from UK based Ruffer Investment Co would have a paper profit of roughly $27 million. 

The Bloomberg article is reproduced below, but if you want the pretty pictures click on the link. It fails to mention what the cause of the spike was on Wednesday, or indeed how much 50 Cent's strategy was now up or down in total, although admittedly somewhat irrelevant given that it is likely one-side of a hedge and we don't know the other side. 
He’s been patiently waiting for the VIX to explode, and now that it has, his calls will get rolled on.
The mysterious volatility buyer or buyers dubbed “50 Cent” because of their propensity for buying large blocks of VIX call options priced at roughly a half-dollar each, had their best day of 2017 on Wednesday. The CBOE Volatility Index, commonly known as the VIX or fear index, surged by nearly five points on Wednesday to 15.59, its biggest jump since Sept. 9.
Pravit Chintawongvanich, head derivatives strategist at Macro Risk Advisors, estimates that Fiddy’s profit and loss statement showed a gain of roughly $27 million for the session. The options serve as a hedge against a stock selloff.

The Financial Times has reported that the persistent buyer or buyers of relatively inexpensive VIX call options is U.K.-based investment firm Ruffer Investment Co.
However, it’s relatively unlikely that this investor or investors, whoever they may be, will book these gains.

“Depending on how 50 Cent has structured the hedge, may never actually monetize the position, simply continuing to roll the VIX calls and enjoying the mark-to-market gains during times of turbulence,” Chintawongvanich wrote in a note to clients Thursday. “However, if they do intend to monetize at some point, we think they require a much larger move in VIX futures than we have seen so far (we would think at least until June future trade 20+).”
Most of the position is in June VIX futures and isn’t in the money yet, the strategist noted.

That said, if 50 Cent was able monetize yesterday’s impressive performance, it’s pretty clear that someone’s going to be partying like it’s their birthday.
The article's use of the expression "biggest jump since Sept 9" needs some clarification. It's true that this was the biggest daily increase in that time frame, but to clarify, the VIX has been higher than 15.59 as recently as April 13th when it hit 15.96.

One comment I briefly mentioned yesterday was from Tony, who asked:
Do you trade at all? If not why not please?
I had this question via email from Thomas also, and to him my reply was:
I don't trade much these days due to either court-siders being present or more expert traders. It's hard to find value against those people, and rather than spend hours waiting for a possible value trade, it's better for me to bet and forget these days.
I should have mentioned that many markets have no liquidity too, but even so, that answer wasn't actually a very honest one, since I answered it assuming the question was "do you trade sports in-play?"

If there are any sports markets with liquidity, no court / pitch / field / table / green / track etc. siders scooping up the value before the rest of us, let me know. 

I do trade the financial markets, employing a strategy of specialising in a handful (literally) of stocks which have a high market capitalisation, pay good dividends, and are consumer staples companies. At my age, I don't need volatility, but I've noticed that buying on sharp dips (often oversold) is usually rewarded with a quick profit, and if I need to hold the shares for a while, that's fine. This is money I won't need for years so I can hold during which time the healthy dividend helps out.

I'm not day-trading - I understand that I have no edge over those who trade full-time for a living - but am typically holding a position for a few days, which reduces the importance of my entry point being at, or close to, the low.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Badgers, Blaggers, Books and Bond, James Bond

Geekgate Continued. 

In my last post, I took an opening look at some of the sixteen comments on my Cops and Bloggers post, and here are some more of those comments. 

So who was to blame for the Twitter eruption almost two weeks ago?

Paul Spry of Geeks Toy puts the blame fairly and squarely on the shoulders of Betfair Pro Trader James, suggesting that:
Why it started was because a rank hypocrite, & name calling child who seems to make a career out of slating others to sell product made the mistake of calling my integrity into question.
Stones & glass houses spring to mind. Ditto my opinions on dodgy characters.!
As for the rest, no alcohol involved, sales are just fine, & I apologise profoundly for not having a 100% command of the English language which seems to be the second most heinous crime round these parts.
The Blagger link refers to a disagreement dating back to September 2011, with the Blagger apparently Tony Hargraves, or Hargrief as Paul refers to him. Tony Hargraves was the subject of a post here in March, where I pointed out the illogicality of his claim to avoid Betfair's Premium Charge by placing his losing bets on that platform, and his winners elsewhere. If only it were that simple. 

Without wishing to immerse myself in a disagreement from six years ago, the gist of it appears to be summed up here in Paul's opening post of that above-referenced thread:
In the 3 years I have known Tony, all we have seen is "after the fact" cherry picked videos & screen shots of him winning, followed by a desperation to flog courses, eBooks & tipping services. Not once has anyone seen any genuine proof that he makes the kind of money he claims to on Betfair, even though he advertises himself as a "Professional Sports Trader" on Twitter today and has also claimed publicly in a Bloomberg news article last year that he makes "400 USD an hour" trading sports.
Those expressed concerns appear to me to be very similar to those which many people have about Caan Berry today.

James later commented:
Reading the vendor [Geeks Toy] statement above makes no mention of the fact that I referenced articles published on this blog (Green All Over).
And yet, the vendor in question is cordial to the author of this blog (Green All Over) and makes no complaint about said articles on this blog (Green All Over).
This I find most curious.
Have other comments from said vendor been blocked or are we to take it that the vendor is merely going after a soft target i.e. the parents of someone brave enough to publish in his real name?
If anyone has a problem with anything I have written on this blog, they should comment here, or email me, and correct any mistakes or offer what the Trump administration call "alternative facts". 

I am told that I am not perfect, though supporting evidence is, in my opinion, lacking, (my only fault is perhaps that I am too modest**), so the possibility of an error exists, but I am always happy to correct any that are pointed out. 

I am happy to confirm that no comments from Geeks Toy have ever been bocked. The only comments that are not published are those that are spamming some great betting site or product, or which are rude, offensive or from known trolls.

Moving on, and there were a couple of comments from Tony, later deleted by him, I think because they showed up in a confusing sequence. One offered agreement to the statement that "Sports trading gets harder every year, never easier" - hard to argue with that - while the other asked if I was still trading, and if not, why not. Perhaps a post for another day, although my thoughts on the topic have already been published. 

Back to the main thrust of the comments and Geeks Toy bounced back with:
Has nothing to to with being a soft target James, it has to do with the the fact you are a complete hypocrite. Whether you lived with mummy & daddy at the age of 52 is irrelevant. The electoral roll said you did, and seeing as you've been extrapolating & jumping all over Caan and Peter with incorrect assumptions and degradation, based upon what you yourself described as "Excellent investigative journalism" I felt it was high time you got a little dose of your own medicine.
What no one was expecting was the toys coming out of the pram quite so dramatically, and the admission of the fact that you yourself were the very thing you were accusing the chuckle brothers of being. You couldn't make it up!

Everyone is entitled to their opinions, however if you live in a glass house and keep throwing stones, it should be no surprise if somebody throws a dirty great rock back at you. { 2 other sellers in this industry made this mistake a few years ago, and the rocks I threw back at them still get referenced to this day, as I'm sure this one will for some time to come.}
Marketing is everywhere, but yet I don't see you going after Colonel Sanders managing to convince generations that unhealthy, greasy shite is finger licking good. :D. But yet constantly you are digging out Caan and Peter for some reason, and after your latest outburst, it's very clear why. Notice you haven't rebranded your site Betfair failed trader, and are still selling the books though. See you conveniently forgot to mention in all your snideness that you were actually making more money from the books than you were from trading for a considerable time now. { BTW Peter & Caan are rank amateur marketers compared the the genius of Paul Reblo and Adam Todd. }
Marketing is even here, where for some reason Cassini refers to you as a best selling author. Best selling at what exactly? Can't see JK Rowling being to worried about being knocked off the top spot by somebody who now admits their time would have been better spent working in McDs.
The fact that even after our private communications you still felt the need to publicly question why pick on poor James shows a distinct lack of intelligence and character on your part. { Ditto when I pointed out one of the many incorrect claims made on your blog that still remains. }
I have no beef with Cassini, although I do agree wholeheartedly with what Aaron said above. {
But between you you do remind me of Statler & Waldorf. :D } However I and quite a few others { as you have seen } do have a beef with the 2 distinct commercial agendas that constantly keep fuelling, this rather targeted witch hunt.
Yours is transparent as hell, so doesn't need any further explanation, and if Cassini isn't wise to the other one yet, he's more than welcome to join me for a beer or a coffee any time he and I are in the same part of the world.
PS Apologies in advance if there are any spelling or grammar errors, as I'm just a lad from a council estate that opted out of formal education at an early age, writing this on a mobile device.
I haven't too much to say on this, other than my reference to "best selling" are usually in quotes, as the description is, I hoped obviously, a little tongue in cheek**. 

As for the offer of a beer or coffee in Corby, I'm afraid I have no plans to visit that area any time soon. I spent a weekend in Kettering around 1980, and I still haven't fully recovered from the experience, although I do still look for the Poppies' results, sadly in the much lower reaches of the football pyramid than was formerly the case.   

James' response was:
Who cares which UK address I use for certain matters? I'm not going to buy a house in the UK just to use it as a letter drop. A house I would spend little time in as I am out of the country most of the time. Some might find it admirable that I still associate with my parents. I am sorry if that is not the same in your case. Not everyone is lucky in that regard.
I have a way to go to my 52nd birthday. Are you sure you have the right address? You appear to be backtracking on Twitter by saying, "some random address".
A hypocrite in what regard? We have two separate marketing models.

Me: Book 1, save money writing your own software instead of subscribing to software like yours. Book 2, a review of various trading methods, warning people away from the well worn tracks. On my website I do not make any boasts about success or lifestyle. I even said in one article that I am not a PC payer. My website exists to tell people that sports trading is extremely hard to make a profit from. That the vast majority will lose money. My website is an attempt to help people to lose the minimum amount of money possible. If I put people off trading then I regard it as a success, just as much as if they had made a profit. "Betfair Pro Trader?", a common search term. Far better that people find my website before many others.
You: Software you have to subscribe to. A lost subscription is a loss to your income stream so you (your colleague and the likes of Webb and The Badger) have to churn out articles daily to keep people interested in trading and subscribing.
I have sold only about 2000 books, you will be glad to hear. Not much of a threat to your subscriptions. At least I hope so, though if you go after small fry like me then maybe you are just a small player in the trading software market.
I have always thought that selling subscriptions for software that in over 90% of cases will lose the subscriber even more money is like being a used car dealer who flogs cars where over 90% of the vehicles have no engines.
My website has guided a lot of people into making decisions that will save them money. Something that you can never say because you don't care whether people win or lose so long as they do it through you.
Now, do run along because I have said all I will ever say about sports trading. Wasting your valuable keyboard time on me is just that, a waste of your time.
Two people with different perspectives. As mentioned before, I have no problem with someone selling software, and both Bet Angel and Geeks Toy appear to do the job just fine. The problem comes in selling the line that it is possible to make £100,000 a year from it. OK, so it may be "possible" but it is highly unlikely. 

Jamie, not James, joined in to contribute this comment:
I am confused to why Geek Boy is such and angry cat, or indeed any software vendor should be. Provide your software and let the traders get on with it. There will always be someone who doesn't like the software. Let them subscribe elsewhere and get on with it. I have flitted between different vendors over the years. They are much of a muchness. Some have a few features that may suit a certain traders style but that's it.
As regards to the 'expert' traders selling their 'knowledge' I want to start by saying I don't really have a problem with any of them. Anyone like myself who knows his way around trading can see that for the money being charged you ain't going to learn anything new if you have been trading for a while and are still around to tell the tale. I am still around after about 8 years. Why ? Well not because I've made loads of money its because I've managed to stay in the game by managing the risk side of things. The edges I have had have come and gone and the search goes on for more. But it was managing he downside is why I am still in the game. That is never covered by the experts selling their ebooks or training courses. Trading is a very difficult & sometimes dangerous game and they put it across that anyone can do it and learn it all in one days training. I think that what was James and Cassini have been trying to say (that has been my take on it). But unfortunately things have gotten out of hand on what could have been a very constructive and informative debate between both sides of the argument which is a shame.
Again I have no problem with the peeps who are selling their courses. But I can see where the suspicions about them lie.
I've no personal problem with Mr Berry but when I see most of his posts retweeting Geeks Toy or starring in Betfair promotional videos or even posting photos of himself at the races as a guest of Betdaq, then you must expect people to start asking questions.
Same with Mr Webb, again no problem with him whatsoever but again heavily involved with BetAngel. Posting videos of himself at Betfair HQ has a peculiar whiff about it. Same with the Badger involved with racing traders, he has given over time, several different reasons to how he avoids the Betfair PC none of which make any sense.
So Mr Geek when someone like me sees these things, without any other outside influence or opinion, my alarm bells ring and I am strongly inclined to give them a swerve. I guess it will with others also. James & Cassini are merely bringing this to the public attention and is more of a help than a hindrance to the newbies who don't know any better. Letting them know it not as easy as some would make you believe.
Well that is my side of the debate from an outsider Mr Geek. But I strongly feel that it is not in your interests to agree. But I posted it all the same.
Look forward to any comments, disagreements, name calling or even threats (especially them) about the comments above.
Y'all take care now.
Rather surprisingly, I agree with every word Jamie wrote, the downside of which is that I have nothing to add other than it's good to see there are others out there who see things in the same way.

The final comment I'll include - the others got a bit silly - is this one from Geeks Toy:
James sells an educational product, so do the people he has been extremely critical of. Yet for some reason James thinks he & his product is in some way superior. They are not.
James is very quick to highlight what he considers the dubious market practices of others when he isn't whiter than white himself. James was quite happy to reference, extrapolate and publish incorrect assumptions as fact based on the perceived business & personal information of others, but yet doesn't like it one bit when he is on the receiving end of the same.
James made the mistake of throwing one of those incorrect assumptions in my direction, hence my involvement. The debate itself I will stay out of as being a seller of a sports trading related product, like James I am somewhat biased.
I'm not sure it's fair to compare James' educational product with that of Caan's.

James is from a scientific background, a graduate of artificial intelligence and his books are about methods, as he admits "an edge shared is an edge halved.". His books are published on Amazon, with money back guarantees, and promise nothing in the way of fortune making

Contrast with Caan's "educational products" which are produced by someone with no education, no relevant background or experience, are not guaranteed, and comprise pdfs and trading videos.

I don't think anyone remotely neutral in this debate would argue that comparing those two is hardly an apples to apples comparison.

** Speaking of too modest, and tongues in cheeks, I came across this quote from Sir Roger Moore who wrote in his autobiography:
"This is, after all, a book about me: a suave, modest, sophisticated, talented, modest, debonair, modest and charming individual - of whom there is much to write."
Someone else who doesn't take himself too seriously. RIP Sir Roger Moore, and I leave you with this great anecdote:

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Fury, Fame, Frauds and Witch Hunts

I'm back, refreshed and recharged and although the hoped for 103,000 hits on my last post didn’t quite materialise, falling about 102,000 hits short, the post did generate a few comments and the target of 1,000 hits a day number for this month is still looking good. With so many comments, I'll probably address them over a few posts rather than just one, to keep topics fairly discrete.

First up was Aaron who wrote:
Hi Robert, a little one sided. It seems James doesn't like hyperbolic statements however the twitter storm erupted by his refusal to answer any comments as to why his book was removed by Betfair. Also — I don't see any "proof" on his site (or yours) on trading successfulness (and I note you shouldn't need to you have been round long enough). But why then is it demanded of Caan or whoever else is the subject of the current fury.
I think its also classic that between you, you think that PeeWee is some kind of fraud. Anyway, enjoy reading your blog (most of the time) I just feel recently your blog has gone a little biased and one sided and in support of James.
My nom-de-plume is actually Cassini, and on the subject of James’ book being removed by Betfair, I’ll jump ahead to his response on that topic which was this:
I only became aware that Programming for Betfair is no longer advertised by Betfair at one of the two locations when it was pointed out to me by someone on Twitter.
I have not asked Betfair why they stopped advertising the book at this location as I am not interested as to the reason why. I stopped being an API beta tester and being in regular contact with Betfair of my own volition over a year ago when Betfair decided to punish users of the API with a one-off £200 registration fee for live data. Still, it's cheaper than perennial subscription but off-putting for newcomers.
I am surprised I sold so many books. It rather took me by surprise and shows there is a large group of people looking at alternative trading methods.
I guess the "fame" has been hard to shoulder but my pending retirement will be as welcome to me as it will be to others. No doubt it will be seen by some as a victory for manual traders.
They would be foolish to think so. Sports trading gets harder every year, never easier.
As for the “I don’t see any “proof” on his site (or yours) on trading successfulness (and I note you shouldn’t need to you have been round long enough). But why then is it demanded of Caan or whoever else is the subject of the current fury” - I would say that there’s no “proof” on this blog for several reasons, the main one being that I have nothing to sell, so it’s unnecessary. 

At my age, I don’t feel the need to brag about wins or bleat about losses. This isn’t my life, it’s just a hobby. If someone wants to believe that I have spent nine years blogging on a topic that hasn’t been profitable, that’s fine with me. 

Logically, it wouldn’t seem to make too much sense, but if someone wants to believe it’s all made up, then I’m fine with it. I have no sales that would be hurt, and my feelings can take it at my advanced age. There’s also the question of what “proof” would be acceptable since screenshots can be faked easily enough.

I can’t speak for James, although I would say that he makes no claims of enormous wealth from his trading, preaching instead the message that profitable trading is very difficult. His books aren’t promoted with the message “buy this book, and make £100,000 a year”. 

The first book "Programming for Betfair" appeared to be very technical with a niche target audience, the second (the one that I have) - "Betfair Trading Techniques" - is more of a trading manual with ideas rather than any get rich quick strategies, which couldn’t possibly work anyway. 

It’s also worth mentioning that the outlet for James’ books is the reputable Amazon site, and if you are dissatisfied with your purchase, you can get a refund with no problem.

So why is “proof” demanded of Caan and others?

It’s not, at least not by me. No one is demanding proof. All this blog has ever suggested is that anyone considering buying manuals or video packs should, in the absence of any proof, carefully consider a few things before spending their money.

If you’re reading his blog for entertainment, who cares if he’s making the £2,000 a week he claims or not?

The problem comes when someone uses this claim as the basis for selling a product, especially one sold in the absence of a money back guarantee. Some buyers are more discerning than others of course, but trouble-free refunds are something I look for when buying anything online. 

With no guarantee available, one might look at other areas as part of the due diligence process - independent reviews of the product, for example. The problem here is determining whether or not a review is genuine. Then there’s the “gut feel” of the sales pitch, in this case the blog.

Caan Berry or others may well be making £100,000 a year as claimed trading horses from their living rooms. They may all be steeped in the horse racing industry, live in Newmarket and descended from a long line of trainers, jockeys, breeders, owners perhaps, or maybe they are quantitative analysts with degrees in Advanced Quantiness. Who knows, but if such traders exist, would they be selling their secrets for a few quid?

In this specific case though, the products are from an ex-Army, ex-BT cable installer, ex-salesman of solar panels, who left education at the age of 16.

Not the most impressive of qualifications for someone selling the dream of a £100,000 a year income perhaps, so the claims should assume even more importance. 

Are they realistic, or do they seem a little improbable? 

Are the claims backed up by any evidence at all?

Is the narrative consistent and specific? 

If evidence comes to light that a full-time professional trader was actually selling solar panels for several months, is it a little odd that this change in full-time trading status wouldn’t be mentioned in the blog at all? 

We are probably all guilty to some extent of putting ourselves into someone else’s shoes and asking what we would do with a few hundred thousand pounds, but many people would invest in a home. No mortgage required with that amount of winnings in the bank. Heck, buy more properties and rent them out. Being a landlord can be a pain, but property has always been a solid investment – as ‘safe as houses’ you might say. Caan may well have his reasons for not living in his own home but he has often mentioned the benefits in his blog.
A comment from G, possibly not his real name:
To me it is clearly obvious, if you're selling/pushing a product with claims of making a 6 figure sum per year, then you should be able to back it up with solid proof.
No witch hunt etc- a reasonable ask imo
I've seen that term 'witch hunt' somewhere else this week!
Enough about Caan. Ultimately it's for each of us to make up our minds on the veracity of his claims, especially of you are thinking of giving him money. 

My opinion is that the evidence available doesn't support the claim, but then I am by nature skeptical. 

To Aaaron's final point - "I think its also classic that between you, you think that PeeWee is some kind of fraud" - I've certainly never used language suggesting that to be the case. 

PeeWee's software has many users, which is convincing evidence that it is a decent product, although I am not qualified to comment on how good it is relative to others in the market. 

The main problem I have with PeeWee is that his blog posts are misleadingly one-sided, with verifiably false statements, not to mention poorly written, and the courses he runs are not going to give you anything of value, since doing so would hurt PeeWee's long-term trading profits in exchange for a short-term £400.

Of course I understand that the blog is a vendor-blog with the sole purpose of attracting business, and telling the truth isn't going to do that, but lost in the message is the distinct possibility that the vendor's gain comes at a potentially large cost to the customer, many of whom can ill afford either the £400 or the likely additional losses chasing an improbable dream. 

As James says in a later comment on my last post:
I have always thought that selling subscriptions for software that in over 90% of cases will lose the subscriber even more money is like being a used car dealer who flogs cars where over 90% of the vehicles have no engines.
That's probably enough for now. Still a few more comments to address, which I will get to in time once I get back into my normal routine.