Hello, Simon here with my long-awaited(!) review of Trade 4 Income on Betfair.
(And if this subject means nothing to you, please start with Lucy’s introduction to the subject).
For the purposes of reviewing Sports Trader and Racing Trader, I would like to propose the following two questions as key objectives central to the LBAGR membership that should be addressed:
1. Will these manuals enable a trading novice (i.e. someone familiar with arbing but unfamiliar with trading) to begin trading within a few days?
2. Will these manuals help a trading novice – as part of a cohesive plan with effort, testing and application to become a successful profit making trader in time?
To introduce myself, I have a day trading background spanning two years overall albeit part time mainly US equities in one guise or another.
As a result, I have some real world exposure to markets and their mechanics and consider myself to have a reasonable grasp of basic technical analysis with support, resistance and volume being my primary trading indicators.
With 129 pages between them and hours of live trading videos, Sports Trader and Racing Trader contain a wealth of information covering a broad range of sports and how professional traders go about their business.
1) SPORTS TRADER
Sports Trader covers more of the general aspects surrounding trading and gives an overview of Tony’s sports strategies, focussing, unsurprisingly, more on the non horse racing side of things.
Of the strategies presented in Sports Trader, Tony’s football and unbeatable favourites strategies impress me most as the ones potentially worthwhile investigating in more detail. They appeal to me as being good “feet wetting” introductions to trading for novices.
However, perhaps the most significant point to bring out from Sports Trader is the key importance of research and analysis.
In Tony’s own words “analysis is the key to being a successful sports trader. With no research or analysis, you may as well be betting on a toss of a coin.”
Trading strategies do not fall into the “one size fits all” category that would enable them to be implemented at any given time on any given sport. On the contrary, they are carefully researched and designed methods that will enable you to profit from certain particular situations.
In Tony’s own words, “How can anyone know what is likely to happen if they did no research on the match?”
In answer to this question, Tony introduces his Sports Trading alert service called “The Sports Trader”:
“A lot of people reading this will have full time jobs and not be able to commit the time required to do the proper analysis. This is OK as I can do it for you.
It [the Sports Trader] costs around £1 a day and it involves having detailed analysis of the matches for that day sent directly to your inbox. It includes the trades I will be doing on the match and gives you the amounts to bet, what the exits and stop losses are and basically all you need to do is execute the trade.”
“Membership also includes email access to me to help you with any issues you may be having. I start each January 1st with a hypothetical bank of £1000…and as of April 3rd, that bank stands at over £1700 or 70% profit and that is a great return on any investment.”
I think a trial of this service could be really worthwhile and an interesting exercise, potentially profitable for both Tony and LBAGR.
2) RACING TRADER
Racing Trader is a more focussed and technical presentation with the majority of attention being devoted to trading race meetings in the last 20 minutes or so before the off (as opposed to in-play trading).
It covers scalping, swing trading, dutching, hedging, backing and laying at the right price, stop losses, and how to get out of difficult positions.
With a more specific focus on trading setups, most of my attention in this review has been given over to Racing Trader, and the technical aspects of pre-race scalp and swing trade management.
Here again, key to success is race selection and the skill of how to read the market while trading. Everything is underpinned by this.
While the language is often of necessity technical, generally speaking the text in the books is written in a simple plain style and well laid out with clear headings. The text is punctuated with links to videos of examples of Tony trading, demonstrating his points.
The ebooks (and videos) use a bespoke viewing client that comes as part of the installation. They cannot be viewed using any other software.
While the ebook viewing client presents the material effectively, I found usability of the viewing client to be basic. The following limitations, although minor, I feel, do take the edge off the user friendliness of the viewing client:
1. No zoom facility.
Now I probably could do with reading glasses, but I found that some of the figures on the screenshots (e.g. betfair trading screens) to be a little bit too close to the verge of readability for my likening. A zoom facility would make these details more readable.
2. Limited Navigation.
Navigation of the ebooks is limited to the clickable contents page, the vertical scroll bar and the “Home” button. As a result, when you click on a link to a video, the ebook does not remember where you came from and you have to scroll back down to get to where you were prior to watching the video.
3. No search or copy.
There is no text highlighting facility which means I was unable to copy any of the material, which would have been handy for this review, or automatically search for occurrences of a particular key word rather than having to search through the ebook myself.
4. No offline use.
The ebooks cannot be viewed without an internet connection even though they are installed to your machine. I assume, this is for reasons to do with license protection.
Before the two questions proposed as the objective of this review can be addressed, consideration must be given to the following two points:
1. The nature of trading, especially when compared with arbing.
2. The nature of the ebooks themselves.
1. THE NATURE OF TRADING
Arbing and trading are completely different disciplines requiring an altogether different mindset. Allow me to illustrate.
Recently, I had the pleasure of showing my Canadian relatives the Lodore Falls near Keswick. A popular Lake District destination since Victorian times, the Lodore Falls located in the beautiful Borrowdale valley is a short stroll of half an hour from the Lodore Falls Hotel.
The signposted trail is clear, and the well worn path passes through a collar of lovely woodland before climbing very slightly to reach the falls. A park bench on a clear hillock is provided for your ease where your reward is a wonderful view of the thundering 30m falls and accompanying fells, the falls being at their most impressive after heavy rain.
This is arbing.
The path is well established and clearly distinguishable.
An already highlighted ordinance survey map plots out the proposed route for all to see and strategically placed signposts confirm the route along the way.
It is prescriptive. Before you set out, you know exactly where you are going, what you have to do to get there (and back), how long it will take, and the kind of rewards you should expect to get out of the experience.
It is quick, easy and achievable. The risks are minimal. It requires little exertion and minor discomfort. Commensurate with this modest effort, the rewards, while not huge, are nevertheless sufficiently satisfying enough to make the exercise worthwhile.
This is not trading. Trading is something altogether different.
Hardly a couple of miles along the winding shore of Derwentwater, lies Shepherd’s Crag, a technically challenging 200 foot climb widely regarded as the best climb in the Lake District.
In stark contrast to the lowly Lodore Falls trail, any ascent of Shepherd’s Crag is fraught with danger.
The enticing rewards of the dramatic panoramic view of the whole of Derwentwater, hemmed in by the imposing peaks of High Spy and Maiden Moor with Keswick and Skiddaw in the background can only be enjoyed by those who are willing to risk life and limb to get there.
Being hit by falling rocks and debris, slipping on a rock, or if a rock you are pulling yourself up by or standing on comes undone, any of these could result in a fall that could leave you with bruising, broken bones and even death, if not properly harnessed in.
This is trading.
The route is NOT established or clearly distinguishable. It is uncertain.
You see, unlike the Lodore stroll, in climbing on a sheer rock face you cannot always see the way up and there is no guarantee that there will be sufficient holds or ledges within your reach going all the way to the top in the route you have chosen.
In that situation, you will be forced to retrace your steps and attempt another route and if successive routes fail you, you will be left with no other choice but to accept defeat and give up. Maintaining regular anchorage points along the climb, the only thing you can really control is how far you will drop if you fall.
It is not prescriptive. The situation is always changing and constantly under review.
It is not quick, easy or necessarily achievable. The skills required for the climb must be developed with practice over time and the climb requires much effort.
Before you begin the ascent, you have no way of knowing which way the rock face will take you, how far up you will get, how long it will take, or the reward, if any, you will get should you make any progress. It may even be, due to conditions, you decide against taking the climb altogether.
In short, you know not, what you will get out of it. All you can know is what you have to do to minimise the risks.
So, just like walking and climbing, arbing and trading are two completely different disciplines:
• With arbing, you are in charge of the situation. – With trading, the market is in charge of the situation.
• With arbing you can see the end from the beginning. – With trading you cannot see the next move the market is going to make, whether it be – up, down or sideways..
• With arbing you have control over how much profit you are willing to accept. – With trading, the ONLY thing you have control over is how much loss you are willing to accept.
Let me repeat that – With trading, the ONLY thing you have control over is how much loss you are willing to accept.
This goes against our natural inclination, especially when we see traders make profits look easy. The urge is to jump in and have a piece is strong and in the heat of the moment it often can feel like – “What’s to lose?”, and of course we should seek to harness that desire.
However, in Tony’s own words, when asked about trading tips worth sharing, he stated, “People think you need to win to succeed. You don’t actually. The one secret I can give you is my golden rule that I talk about in the course. Rule 1. Winning is less important than not losing. If you can minimise losses, then winning takes care of itself.”
It’s a bit like a non league football team playing week in week out with the big boys in the English Premier League.
If the non league team sets out to win their games by employing an attacking strategy they will be soundly defeated and quickly relegated. But if the non league team concentrates on not losing, if they in football parlance “park the bus”, then there is always the chance they could nick a win.
Remember when trading you will often times be pitting your wits against experienced professionals who have been trading for years. Whenever you take a loss, someone made a profit because of you. Whenever you make a profit, someone made a loss because of you.
I believe failure to grasp this is a major reason why many people (and I include myself) lose money trading.
Trading is a skill that must be learnt and there is no short cut to acquiring that skill. It takes time.
Until someone is able to justify with a plan why they entered the market at a certain point, complete with top and bottom exit points – stop loss and profit target, it is just guesswork and a recipe for ruination.
In Tony’s own words – “This is not an easy job. There are no secrets, no shortcuts. It is like any other job. You do an apprenticeship, work your way up, learning as you go and then in a few years, you go full time and give it a go.”
To summarise then, because of the nature of trading and the time it takes to acquire the skills needed to be successful, I believe that these ebooks will NOT enable a novice to begin trading within a few days.
However, as part of a cohesive plan the ebooks WILL help a novice to become a successful profit making trader in time.
This brings me to my second point…
2. THE NATURE OF THE EBOOKS
The claims of the books
The ebooks do not claim to be able to help a novice to begin trading within a few days.
They DO however claim to be able to help a novice, as part of a cohesive plan with effort and application, to become a successful profit making trader in time.
In Tony’s own words: “If I gave you the world’s best instruction manuals on neurosurgery, auto mechanics and building houses, do you think you could simply read them and then go and do brain surgery, fix a car or build a house? Of course not, so don’t think reading this will [manual] make you a trader in three days.”
The presentation of the books
The books generally do not present visual outlines or summaries of the principles being taught in the trades demonstrated.
While Tony provides a helpful running commentary of his trades and there is some valuable annotation of Tony’s trading videos, at no point is there any visual summary of the principles being demonstrated or outline of the trading plan.
When learning, I find it helpful to have key points highlighted, and I would have liked to have seen a succinct introductory outline of the trading plan and a summary highlighting the principles demonstrated.
The emphasis of the books
…Is more on what can be achieved as demonstrated by Tony than on how a novice can go about achieving the same.
Trading principles are taught more by implication as demonstrated in Tony’s live trading sessions than by such principles being spelled out and applied for a novice in a way that would enable them to readily grasp how to go about achieving the same.
The onus is on the reader to bridge the gap between what Tony can do and how he does it, and how a novice can apply the principles being demonstrated in his or her own experience.
In Tony’s own words – “This manual was simply designed to show you HOW I and other traders make money, and that it can be done.”
The level of the books
The books are not aimed at novices with a plan of action, whereby following a simple set number of prescribed steps, a novice could begin trading and know what they are doing in a short space of time.
The books also do not single out any recommended strategies as introductory trading set ups for novices.
A beginner’s cheat sheet prescribing the basic elementary steps a novice should take to help them know where to start would have been helpful.
The books present Tony’s other services as next steps along the road to becoming a successful trader, i.e. The Sports Trader alert service and the one day trading course that Tony conducts as outlined at the end of Racing Trader.
To summarise then, due to the nature of the books, I believe the books will NOT enable a novice to begin trading within a few days, but, as part of a cohesive plan WILL help a novice to become a successful profit making trader in time.
I hope by now, the answers to the two question proposed at the outset as the objective of this review are obvious. To be clear, I found the answers to the questions to be as follows:
1. Will these manuals enable a trading novice (familiar with arbing, not familiar with trading) to begin trading within a few days? NO
2. Will these manuals help a trading novice as part of a cohesive plan with effort and application to become a successful profit making trader in time? YES
So how did all this translate in my own experience?
For the reasons outlined above, in my studies in the short time I had, I did not feel sufficiently well equipped or knowledgeable enough to be able to translate any of the strategies outlined into trades.
Of course, I could have experimented with small trades or pretend money in practice mode but really, as stated earlier, until someone is able to justify with a plan why they entered the market at a certain point, complete with top and bottom exit points – stop loss and profit target, it is just guesswork. Pointless.
Simultaneously watching the trading indicators of up three of four runners in fast moving markets often trading all three of them at a time in the 10 or 20 minutes before the off, Tony has to move and talk fast and it can often feel like it is hard to know where to look to keep up – sometimes I felt like I needed four pairs of eyes.
However, despite finding the videos difficult to follow at first, with effort and perseverance, background reading, and repeated pausing and replaying of the videos, I found that bit by bit I was able to grow in my understanding of what Tony is doing in his scalp and swing trading examples.
In this growth in understanding the main points I have arrived at are identifying good race set ups to trade and reading and interpreting market indicators.
Towards the later part of my study I emailed Tony’s team outlining my progress with some related questions. They replied very quickly referring me to Tony’s course on Nov 8th!
I must say I had hoped for a little more in terms of customer support but they assured that my questions fell outside of the scope of email and all would be answered in the course.
Tony’s team invited me to share this in the review and bring to your attention that, at their time of emailing, there are a few spaces left on the course (see below)
Lodore Falls trail or Shepherds Crag climb?
Since you’ve read this far through this review, I’m assuming that you’re still interested in trading…
If not and after weighing it all up, you feel perfectly happy sticking with the secure more modest rewards to be had on the lovely Lodore Falls trail (arbing) and who could blame you, then the rest of this conclusion is not for you.
But, if despite understanding the increased risks, you still feel drawn by the altogether greater challenge and reward of the mighty Shepherds Crag (trading) then read on…
**** Newsflash ****
Internationally renowned Master chef, known for creating the most delicious cakes would like to help you to create the same!!
If this advert captured your interest and you too wanted to be able to create the same delicious cakes, how would you like to be taught?
Would you prefer to be taught by watching the master chef demonstrate how he makes the cakes? Or would you rather the master chef guide you through how to make the cakes yourself?
To watch or to be guided?
You see, in a sense Tony is really something of a master chef. Every profit he makes, such as those he shared with us for this trial (in his Betfair screenshot) are examples of his tantalisingly delicious cup cakes.
And the truth is, Sports Trader and Racing Trader are really a demonstration of the delicious cakes Tony can bake and how he goes about doing so, rather than a step by step guide, per se, enabling you to do the same. For that kind of guidance, you need to enroll on the course Tony is offering (see below).
To be sure, the ebooks do provide examples of what can be achieved and how Tony and professional traders go about implementing their trading strategies, as well as what should and should not be done in various situations.
However, the Trade 4 Income ebooks are not designed to enable novices to trade the market in a short space of time.
They do not provide succinctly summarised step by step outlines of what should and should not be done and they will not enable you to create, for yourself, the delicious cup cakes that Tony can bake.
So should you purchase the ebooks?
The majority of people who trade Betfair make a loss. If you believe that you will be able to trade after a week of studying a trading ebook, then I believe you will also lose money. The ebooks are not idiots guides to trading.
If that is what you are looking for in a book (if such a thing even exists) then you will be disappointed.
However, these ebooks are designed to help you as part of a cohesive plan with effort, testing and application over time to become a successful consistently profit making trader.
So, if you understand that becoming a successful trader is evolutionary not revolutionary and have the patience and determination to replicate the ebooks in the long run, then these ebooks can be a valuable investment in your trading development.
What kind of timescale expectations realistically should I have?
A common theme running through the ebooks is the importance of being able to read the market. This is a skill that must be mastered and that takes time.
To give you some idea of how long it should take to be able to do this for scalp trading for example, Tony states it “takes a good 2 to 3 months to be able to read the market”.
And in answer to the question “How hard is it to learn Evolution?” (the software used to execute Tony’s manuals), he stated – “6 weeks, 2 or 3 times a week, 18 – 20 days altogether”.
Remember if you are interested, Tony’s workshop will take place in London on 8 Nov’13 where Tony’s team assure me Tony will explain “the same exact methods and strategies which he uses to make money daily along with the race selection process.”
In that case, with both ebooks and training, you would be equipped with master chef cake demonstration, recipe and guidance.
Naturally, I am unable to validate the truth or otherwise of this statement about Tony’s workshop.
My thanks to Tony and his team for allowing us to conduct this trial, to Lucy for inviting me to lead it, and you the LBAGR community for your interest in this trial.
I trust you have enjoyed reading this review and it has helped you along the way in your trading development.
Let me close, using the closing words of Tony in Racing Trader:
“That is all from me at this point, I will not say good luck but good learning, as this is the one thing that you must continue to do.”