Friday, 26 June 2015

Cutting losses and running profits

Wimbledon is straight in front of the door. Today was quite obvious that the players focus on this main event. In four half finals we saw two withdrawals. Baghdatas retired after a 2:1 lead against Istomin, Wozniacki (0:3) also played just three games against Bencic. Beside Makarova not even started her double match.

The played half finals (Dolgopolov vs. Querrey and Radwanska vs. Stephens) brought some roller coaster charts. The women's match didn't take my attention. Aga won the first set and was the most time in control of the match. I didn't like to bet against her (despite some value was on Stephens), because she is the more consistent player of them. Dolgoplov can beat on his day almost every player on the tour. On the other hand he also can lose against everybody, when he is not in the mood. I don't trust him that much (despite he brought me a good profit against Andujar this week), so I layed him when he was a set and break up (6:4, 1:0) against Querrey. The trade was matched at 1.08. The big US guy fought back and won the match an hour later with 4:6, 6:3, 7:5.

I could manage a big profit (over 1000%!), when I would have the balls to stay with Querrey. What did I do? I made "just" 100%... Here starts the topic about profit taking again. A rule says to let the winners run. Unfortunately you don't know in advance, which trades are the winners. To be honest, I think is a lot easier to cut the losses than let run the profits. I found an interesting article about this topic:

Trailing stop losses is an interesting instsrument of the stock exchanges. I think it works slightly different at sport markets, because they are more volatile and have an end. There are very big moves when a break is in sight. Nevertheless I like this idea. Often a player which made a break and confirmed it, gained the momentum. So it would be pity to hedge too early. It takes time until a 1.08 lay brings the big money. Normally it needs a second break (turn a deficit with a break in a lead with a break).

Probably I was a bit too cautious with Querrey today, because I lost this week some free bets. I recognized that you need also with greening an idea before the match. During the trade it's very difficult to control the emotions. Most people tend to go for the save profit. In the long term is probably not the best option, because you don't consider the value concept.

As a learning I defined four scenarios (before the match starts):

  • No more greening (a bit of risk I reduce already at breakpoints... It's a kind of tick scalping)
  • Take out 1/2 of the stake
  • Back the leader (all the profit on the player I layed before)
  • Split the profit

The first point is a personal preference. I know that a lot of traders are waiting until the break is confirmed. Often the server rises his level, when he is 0:30 down or has breakballs against him. So I prefer to hedge some green when a break is in sight. Especially three missed breakpoints in a row kill you. I prefer to take a part of the profit than playing like in the casino. In my opinion the risk-/reward-ratio is fine with my approch, because I can work with green books and compound the profits. If a 0:40 turns in a red book, you often lose this trade. When I feel confident that this lay can go the whole distance, I will not hedge anymore. If it turns against you, you can close the trade later with a break even result.

Take out 1/2 of the stake brings you in an all green position which gives you a small profit, when the initial layed player wins the match. Back the leader means that you are going with the strong favourite, which is still ahead with one set. Split the profit is the best way, when you have no idea in which way the trade will go. With this scneario you can make a decent profit (like me today), but you will never make a fortune...


  1. Cutting losses and running profit sounds good but working only on markets with low
    Maybe I'm not right here but your strategy is not overcomplicated?

    1. Thanks for your feedback, it's always appreciated! Yes, you are right about the volatility. If a match goes to a tiebreak is just gambling to stay in the trade. Sometimes is not the worst to do that, when you have a green book, a good feeling and a value position. Often market trust the big favourite too much and too long...

      No the strategies are quite simple. Half a year ago they were too complicated, but now these are just things, which make me more comfortable. I am more the system than intuitive trader. The strategies just help to keep me focused and strenghten the discpline.

  2. Just remember, if you are on about letting trades 'run to the end', you are really basically saying, I am going to lay here as a bet, rather than a trade. As that is what you are doing essentially.

    What you should do instead is, take the entry as you normally would and then follow the momentum (If you are confident you can spot this) and exit if the momentum ends quickly. If you want to let a trade run to the end, you should just exit and leave the green all on that player or the majority of it.

    Make sure you decide in advance what you intend to do, I think you lost money in the past from not doing that and I can see just from the beginning of the post, you are saying 'I could of had 1000%!'. Yes you could of but you would of basically been betting and had to go through all the risk of the swings of a match.

    It's the greed side taking over again. Be happy with the way you traded and making a very good green, keep taking those profits and don't go looking for 'the big one'.

    On a side-note I had Dolgopolov to win as one of my bet's, rather frustating to see him lost as 1.08 on favourite today!

    1. Yes, I don't like to switch to gambling. When I would trade without any mistakes, the profit could be 150% (instead of 100%). This is not that bad. On the other hand I was quite sure that they will go to a third set. So the right moment for hedging would be the end of second set. I would say if I had the balls to hold it until this moment I would be around 300-400%.

      Perhaps is a kind of greed yes. Obviously you are more greedy when you trade with small amounts (at least I am :-)). If you make 100% or even 200% with big stakes (let's say 500 Euro liability) it feels different.

      About Dolgopolov... I don't like to back him as favourite. He is not consistent enough. He is a good one to back as a (big) underdog. Like I wrote in the blog, he has the potential to beat everybody on his day. On the other hand, matches like yesterday are quite normal for him. But sorry for you, it's always frustrating to lose bets in a way like this. Was not possible for you to trade out? I mean 1.08 was a really bad value... that was the reason to lay him at this score.