Monday, 9 January 2012

Excelling in Excel

Learning to integrate automation into my trading has been on the ‘to-do’ list for a while now and during the winter I’ve really started to get the ball rolling with excel.  I feel it’s something that I must learn now if I want to progress further and I’m hoping my efforts will open up new avenues to explore and profit from in 2012.
I’ve gone off in two directions with this. The first is learning how manipulate and study the Betfair historical data so I can look for trends and back-test trading theories and ideas. The second path is targeted towards assisting my manual trading and maybe one day being confident enough to leave a ‘hands free’ Bot making trades without human intervention. 

I am only in the early stages of both projects but can already see the huge potential of using Excel alongside my trading. Playing around with the historical data has shown me that in general, as I expected, the market at Betfair SP is very efficient. But, looking deeper at more refined criteria and taking the in-play market into consideration I have already found some very interesting angles to follow.

Excel VBA was like Chinese to me 2 months ago. It is still like Chinese but now I know 5 sentences and 50 words. That’s how I would describe my progress so far and although it may sound slow you’d be surprised how far you can go with those language skills. (I have not tried that by the way although Dim and Sum might come in handy)

As a trader who has spent many hours watching racing markets I have developed a kind of ‘sixth sense’ that doesn’t translate easily into a set of programmable rules. Getting excel to think and perform exactly as I do isn’t realistic but I can get it to assist me in areas where my hands and eyes are at full stretch. It can also execute repetitive tasks that when performed manually could be hampered by boredom/tiredness or might lead to missed opportunities.

I wish now I had pushed myself into learning excel a long time ago as it really does add a new dimension to my trading but I guess that’s just one of those things. The Instinct I have developed from watching the markets over the years is still the key to my success and it will be essential for the development of any automated strategy’s in the future.

The Festive period was quite for me as always. I rarely trade over Xmas and New Year and although there are some high class race days I prefer to take an extended break and spend quality time with friends and family. I’m learning how important it is to maintain a good balance is between work/play and knowing when to take a break from the screen. This was a difficult decision to make in winter 2010 as I was feeling pressured by bad results. A big difference in 2011 has been a more regimented approach and I want to work even more on that in 2012. This includes planning the weeks ahead instead of looking at race cards daily and saying ... 

“Oh this looks rubbish” or  “I might trade today”. 

It has also become second nature to go to the gym or go swimming before a trading session. If I sit at the screens without this preparation it just doesn’t feel right and I’m more likely to lose concentration or miss a big opportunity. My main goals for this year are to maintain and improve these new changes to my lifestyle and to be even more aware of my performance levels throughout the year. I can’t set a financial goal as this just doesn’t work well for me; I want to take each day as it comes and although I naturally have expectations I’d prefer to be absorbed in the markets rather than thinking about how much should be making. I also hope the work I have done in excel can flourish this year and open up a few more profitable roads to explore. 

I wish you all the best of luck in 2012 and I do plan to be a little more sociable on this blog ;)



  1. Cheers, sam would be good to hear from you more.

  2. Welcome back. Thought your blog had died a death. Feel free to add me to your blogroll.
    I think you're on mine.

  3. Thanks Guys,

    The end of last year just flew by and I'm actually getting married this summer so Ive had a lot of other stuff going on besides trading.

    Ive added you to my blog list

  4. It is impressive the things that you can do with excel. It works great for me and some online bookmaker that they want to automate tradings