About

Having started trading manually around 2008/2009 and having mixed results, I found more consistency with automated trading (2010). I gave up a couple of years ago to focus on my business but returned in 2015 to see if I can improve on my previous results and maybe develop new bots, eventually in visual basic.

The first goal on my return was to take my previous bot, which was a mix of cell formula and VBA, and write it fully in VBA. I wanted to do this to improve my programming skills and hopefully manage the bot better. Once the bot was running well in pure VBA I moved it onto a VPS for improved response times and consistent up-time.

My main bot, Oscar, runs 24/7 trading UK greyhounds and Australian horses. My other bots are works in progress and are running live, paper trading or paused for development.

I started this blog for myself to help keep track of progress and keep motivated. But also there’s not many automated trading blogs out there that are realistic or that aren’t trying to flog betting/tipping/data services, so I hope this provides something a little different.

Here are some important programming points that I’ve learnt –

  1. Always double check code. Always. Especially when cut and pasting.
  2. Test run all code – all of it.
  3. Don’t make multiple code changes in one go. Change one thing then test. Then change another.
  4. Always create a new version before making changes – it makes life so much easier when a pig’s ear has been made.
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13 thoughts on “About”

  1. Do you manage to get by with Gruss and VBA?

    How is it with getting data for all horse racing markets (win and place) and processing metrics in the one second range and firing out bets?

    It’s a very short step from VBA to a Visual Basic and a standalone bot written to your exact specification. Of course, I provide a book to aid that but it’s an individual choice. I used Gruss in the early days but found it too clunky for my liking.

    Betfair’s new JSON based API is great but then to access it from within the treacle of Gruss seems such a waste. The key to larger winnings on Betfair is scaling. More processes equals more opportunities. To scale up your processes you need to reduce them to the absolute minimum in terms of latency. Putting Excel between you and the exchange adds a lot of latency.

    BPT – http://www.betfairprotrader.co.uk/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi BPT.
      Totally agree. My latency through Gruss is around 110ms but I can ping api.betfair.com at around 34ms (not sure if they are same measure). I’d like to get my own program running just what I need it to, I can see that there’s all the other stuff going on in Gruss for manual traders which I dont need. And the link to excel is, as you point out, another step.
      Anyway, I’ve already got your book, it came early October, thanks (I’ll tweet a pic @nickatick). As with my existing bots, it’s a time thing and that’s something I’m short of at the moment.
      I’ll put progress on blog, cheers

      Like

  2. Hi,

    This is a very well laid out/thoughtful blog.

    I have no interest in automated betting .. except for the benefits it may accrue, in churning commission, and thereby reducing Premium Charge.

    Have u given any thought to this ? And are u willing to think about creating such a Bot (for money).

    Cheers

    Like

    1. Hi bossman,

      Thanks for the comments.

      I haven’t used all my PC allowance yet and usually have a commission rate around 25% so not looked in to working around it. I guess trading at around evens for a small loss would generate the best commission v minimum loss to reduce PC, would need to do some calcs to be sure.
      I would love to get paid for coding but I struggle to find time to do my own stuff it would take an age to get done, sorry.

      Like

  3. Thx for the reply.

    I think u might be surprised what PC payers would pay, and how many people might buy.

    I have no idea what a coder normally charges, but, having knowledge of Betfair, makes u more valuable.

    I don’t want to press u, and maybe the money is irrelent, but think it’s something u should consider.

    Maybe send me an email/if u want to discuss in more detail off-line.

    Thx

    Like

    1. You’ve certainly got me thinking about how to create high commission generating turnover with minimal loss. It would also need to be a dynamic solution to work different levels of PC. As I understand it, the charge is up to 18 percent? Dependant on previous weeks commission value? So would need to target a value that closes the gap as tightly as possible. I’ll drop you an email for more detail, thanks

      Like

  4. Hi. Just discovered your blog. As someone who currently runs automated trading exclusively (i.e. no live manual trading) and manages to make a “reasonable” return off it, I’m intrigued to follow your progress. Not many blogs out there dealing solely in automation. A couple of things I’ve found in the journey so far that may be of interest.
    Firstly the cost of moving to a VPS has been far outweighed by the reliability/stability. I moved over a year ago and have no regrets. No server downtime or dropouts from my end since then. Secondly, I too trade the Aussie markets overnight. I’ve found however, that there is a big difference between Metro/Prov tracks and all the rest. Not just in matched volume but the way the volume enters the market. My returns on the former are 3x my returns on the latter. It might be something you should think about if you haven’t already. Good luck, will follow with interest.

    Like

    1. Hi Mike,

      Thanks for the comment.

      The VPS is definitely something I want to do. Do you run third-party software, eg Gruss/Bet Angel, or do you have your own program?

      I’m currently using Gruss but this would require a Windows VPS with MSOffice installed.

      Also, could you tell me who you went with for VPS as I’ve looked and am unsure about what to go for, various prices/location/spec to choose from.

      Thanks

      Like

      1. I’m a Gruss user. Self programming is obviously the next goal but at the moment Gruss handles what I need so in no hurry on that front. Rather do it right than rush it. A few people on the forum over there suggested Tagadab and that’s what I went for. I’ve gone for a SSD VPS with 1GB RAM and 35 GB storage. Basically there lowest spec. Yes you will need to install a copy of MSOffice but if you have a licence on your own machine that’s usually good for 3 PC’s I think. At least that’s what I used.

        I’m currently using it close to its capacity with what I run but that can be up to 6 tabs & excel sheets refreshing at the max 0.2 secs leading up to the start of any particular race market. Costs me 22.19 a month which I think is good value for the stability and it frees up the home connection for development work. It’s also a month to month cost, no lock in subscription, so you can always dip your toe in and leave if it doesn’t suit.

        Good luck

        Like

      2. Thanks Mike, this is really useful stuff. I’ve had a look at Tagadab and I’m going to give it a go, might be Easter when I get to it though. I’m not sure about my MSOffice license but I can give it a go. I’ll roll this info into a post, thanks again

        Like

  5. Hello.
    I was recording markets data myself, but have just started this process and I see it takes long to get data you can test your strategies on. Fracsoft doesn’t seem to work yet (2 years after api-ng!). I wonder where it’s possible to get detailed markets history now for reasonable price. If you have recorded enough data then it can be a good source for me too, but have no idea how to contact you personally, so I write here.
    BTW, I’ve been monitoring your blog and I saw you had some problems recently, it’s brave to admit your mistakes and I advise you to don’t give up.

    Like

  6. Hi Tester

    Thanks for reading my blog.

    The data I collect is only relevant to the trades I place, I don’t record the whole market. I’m also trying to improve collection so that I can improve my bot.

    I’m not sure if you can get that sort of data anywhere. I seem to remember seeing an app that allowed testing on historical data but I’ve tried to find it again and can’t.

    Yes I’ve had the odd problem but it’s all learning. I want this blog to be a true reflection of my trading so I will post the bad results as well as the good.

    You can always direct message on Twitter if you want to contact me privately.

    Thanks again for commenting

    Like

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