Had a very (very) long and complex question asked by one of my readers that perhaps many of you would be interested in. Instead of it being buried in the comments on another page i decided to give it it’s own page, so more of you may benefit from the answers. Here goes….

Q. There were 20 races yesterday (18th Feb). Would you trade all of them?If No what would be the decider? Would it be the total money in the market being under £100k. Would it be there are 2or 3 horses at similar prices.? Would you study each race first or just load up the ladders and trade?

A I need to split this up a bit. Firstly when looking at a race and it’s shape should lead you to decide how you will “attack” it. If it’s a 20 runner handicap where the fav is trading at 6. I would not trade it using the “swing techniques” that many of my videos show. I have difference strategies for these type of races. Sometimes i make my own book, sometimes I scalp. This depends on the flow of money and how stable the market is. If you load up the ladders in your trading software you will see where the money has been traded. Don’t pay too much attention to the smaller volumes. It is quite easy to spot the “range” in which a runner has been trading. If this range is very narrow it MAY be a scalping opportunity. Although the closer to the start of a race the more volatile this can become.

The decision where to try and “swing trade” the market comes down to prices and the shape of the market.  If there are 3 horses trading between 2 and 4 and it can quite often throw up some opportuinty. But it is impossible to generalise. Trading Racing does not have a “one size fits all” stratergy. You need to have a toolbox full of techniques. Although many of the videos I put up are similar, if you watch very closely there are lots of very subtle difference. That’s important to understand. I know there is a growing trend for automation. Lots of people are on forums bragging about how they turn it on and go to the beach and at the end of the day collect their money. Really? Fair play to them. For the rest of us mortals it’s the hard yards I’m afraid. If you can understand the ever changing markets you have half a chance.

In respect to the amount of volume in the market, if we are talking about last 10 minutes as opposed to earlier in the day (completely different kettle of fish, as I use the amount of volume traded on each runner as an important indicator in early markets). In pre race markets it’s about flow and fill rates (if you are using bigger stakes). If we are taking UK and Irish racing pre race volumes is always OK.

Q: Would you trade from 15/10 or 5 minutes pre off?

A: I (like most of us I guess) go to the next race as soon as the previous race is finished or is in Play. If you go to a future race and watch the market, there is a huge increase in activity as soon as the previous race has finished. Peter Webb has some brilliant stats regarding this activity and he can predict the volume in advance in the timeframe (well he used to have 🙂 )

Q: When you see the money on the righthand side of the ladder in Yellow going on the horses. is that the back value, Lay value or both combined?

A: In my videos on the Bet Angel ladder platform. My settings show in yellow (The amount MATCHED at the price. This is both. The way it works is if you back a horse at 3 for £100, someone has to take the opposing bet, so in effect they have placed a Lay bet of £100 @3. Betfair report this as £200 matched, but the reality is it’s the same £100 matched 2 ways. Don’t get too hung up on this. Take it as the amount of matched activity at that price point.

The Green shading is the amount of matched volume over the last 60 seconds. This gives a more accurate picture of direction and flow of money. If you have multiple Ladders on your screen as I do. It’s easy to get a comprehensive snapshot of exactly where the money is flowing.

Q: If a book is Back 101.3 and Lay 98.7 then it’s a perfect book. I see from your vids that if it’s lets say B101.3 and L 98.2 then a horse can move up or down a tick without affecting the other runners. OK, Here is my question. If the B is 101.3 & L 99.4 then it’s the over perfect book. What does this now do if a horse moves 1 tick then will another 100% move a tick?

A: I’m not exactly sure if I am getting this right, but here goes. In one of my videos I talk about the “slack” in the book (I made a Spreadsheet to illustrate this, many of you have asked for it and hopefully everyone who has had received it). What I was attempting to show is how all the prices in the market are connected. This is especially true with Betfairs’ cross matching  algorithm in place. The book cannot go over broke i.e Over 100% on Lay side or under 100% (Under broke) on Back side. If either are close to 100% then any movement in any odds mean something somewhere has to move. Which price moves is not set in stone, it can be any price. Remember the prices change many times a second. Don’t take this so literally. Here’s an example:

The favourite is 2.0, that means it ‘s price is holding 50% of the book (100/2.0 = 50%) At this price point every tick it moves out is reducing it’s market share by 0.5% (100 / 2.02 = 49.5%) and every tick it moves in is increasing it by 0.25%. (100/1.99 = 50.25%) Each price will alter the book share by a different amount.

By looking at the gap between the back book and Lay book gives an indication of how much “give” there is. If the Lay book is at 99.8% the fav trading at 2 cannot move in without forcing another price(s) to change. But if it was at 99% the the price could move 4 ticks without having any effect on other prices. You can use this as a quick indicator to see if a price move has any substance behind it or it’s just market ebb and flow.

Example: The Back book is 101%. The fav is 2.0 and 2nd fav 4.1. The fav has moved out 4 ticks, but the 2nd fav (or any other horse(S) hasn’t moved. Is this the start of a drift? If the book had been tighter and the 2nd fav moved in , then possibly, depending on the way the other indicators are behaving (momentum/volume). But in this case it may just be ebb and flow. maybe a chance to grab a few ticks as the price returns back to where it was.

There are so many different pieces to this puzzle. It isn’t a case of saying, if A B and C are in line the price will do X. If you could rationalise it to that degree then it would be a licence to print money. It isn’t that easy. As I am sure all of you have found. There are many pieces to this puzzle. The more pieces you have, the better chance you have of solving it. I get it wrong often too. But manage to win more than I lose. That’s why disciple and money management are just as important as knowing which way a price will move.

Q: The B&L % keeps flickering and changing and you need to be very fast to add up and try to read the tightness of the book. Can Bet Angel add it up auto for us?

A: No, Anyway it doesn’t need to. All you need to do is if you see a move on the horse you are trading, have a quick glance to see what the Book % is. If it’s moving out check the back side. If in, the Lay side.   Once you know how much of the book a tick changes. (make yourself a chart or spreadsheet and check before you start to trade the race). So at 2.0 the price can move 4 ticks to take 1% of the book extra. A quick look at the back side % will give an indicator wether this is ebb and flow or a possible opportunity. Things do happen quickly. That’s why it’s hard! 🙂

Q: If a book is over round. then does it stay over or does it change to under and over perfect as we trade?

A: I think you are getting confused between what I call “Slack”  – The difference between the 2 books. and Over round / Under round. ie the 100% book. The cross matching algorithm stops the book going over/under round on each side. The gap between the books was something I used to highlight on my morning trades as an indicator as too how slack the book was. If there is a “slack” book. It basically means that prices can change without effecting other prices. It helps to highlight genuine price moves as opposed to ebb and flow.

I hope this has answered the questions asked comprehensivly. I have a feeling it may lead to more questions than answers 🙂



8 thoughts on “Q/A

  1. Thank you ever so much for your answers and for putting lots of time in to them. I’m going to read them over and over. And yes possible there might be a question or 2 as result. Thanks.

  2. Joking aside, you could pay a fortune for a poxy e-book and not get anywhere near the wisdom contained in that relatively short article above.
    Great to have you back Steve, and glad it is on your terms.

  3. Thank so much, but so much for this article and for everthing that you have been sharing with us.
    If one day you pass for Portugal say something because its my obligation to pay you a lunch.
    Thank you once again. Regards.

  4. Hello again.
    Using your spreadsheet I notice one thing: I thought that the shorter the price the more it influences the book, but that is not real. For example, a gap between 1.99 and 2 will give a GAP in % of the book of 0.25, but if we have 2 and 2.02 the GAP is 0.5. A bigger price and a bigger influence in the book. Am I doing this right or I made a mistake somewhere?

    Regarding one of your answers, you said that “If it’s moving out check the back side. If in, the Lay side. Once you know how much of the book a tick changes. So at 2.0 the price can move 4 ticks to take 1% of the book extra. A quick look at the back side % will give an indicator wether this is ebb and flow or a possible opportunity.” So, If the price is becoming shorter I should look for the lay side, and if I want to try to “grab” a swing I must expect that the lay side to be closer to 100 or is the opposite? This part is killing my head…

    Thank you for your help. Best regards

    • It’s to do with ticks not odds. eg. 2 to 1.98 is the same as 2 to 2.02. But there are 2 ticks in the 1st example and only 1 in the 2nd. In respect to the shorter price having more of an influence on the whole book. If a horse was trading at 4 and it moved to 5, this would take an original 25% to 20%. (A 5 % difference) That is 10 ticks and unlikely to happen, whereas a 10 tick move on a short price is less common. A whole price point though from 2 to 3 would move 50% to 33% or 27% difference. All this is “white noise”. Please don’t take this literally. The idea of the spreadsheet and associated dialogue about the book % and movements was designed to get you guys thinking about how a market behaves. It isn’t all that important. But what it does is stimulate how you think about price moves and the “balance” of a market. The balance is the important thing. Does that make any sense?

      The 2nd part of your question is a good one! When i wrote this it did my head in too! It’s sometimes difficult to explain in words what I see and how I react. That’s why i like doing the videos. I can explain myself better (I hope 🙂 ) So here goes……
      If the BACK side of the book is tighter there is less room for the price to move in WITHOUT any other price moving. If the LAY side is tighter there is room for a DRUIFT without any other price moving. Now this is where it gets more complex. Often prices are moving. My point of this statement was to draw attention to how the overall book percentage can be used to see (potentially) if a move in price may be ebb and flow in the market, or a “real” move in position.
      These are just more tiny pieces in a massive jigsaw. I hope this makes it a little clearer Floyd. If not let me know and I’ll try to work out a way of getting the point across in a different way.

      • First of all thank you for the time spent answering to my doubts.

        After read your answer 3 or 4 times (I needed… and very slowly…) the first part makes perfect sense. I thought that were odds and not ticks…
        The second part… was understood but put this in practice will take time. I was able to trade the first races of the day (scalps and swings), but when I tried to look to the ‘all picture’ (including the book%)… Man, my finger stayed still in the mouse. My eyes were running by the monitor trying to catch all the information and when the finger was starting the move… the opportunity was passed.
        But I understand and I appreciate what you are trying to show us.
        Best regards.

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