Dan from TennisRatings.co.uk very kindly took a little time out from his hectic Tennis Trading schedule to give us some insight into his trading, his products and into the man himself. We had previously done a review of the excellent services offered by Tennis Ratings and wanted more! You can read this review here: If you are struggling to find an edge trading the tennis markets then his products will certainly help you.
Here is part 1 of the interview:
Can you give us some background to Dan, the man from Tennis Ratings e.g. What jobs have you had and have they helped your tennis trading?
I’ve never actually had a ‘proper’ full-time job in my entire life! I graduated with a degree in Accounting & Finance when I was 21 – I’m now 34 and I’ve never needed a full-time job since then. I’ve gambled in a number of areas successfully since then, including fruit machines and online poker – the discipline that I learnt in those areas was probably the best thing I’ve taken from a related activity. Obviously my maths background (A level and related degree) have been useful but I don’t think they were absolutely necessary.
How did you get into tennis trading?
My original sports gambling background was in football, probably about 10 years ago or so. I only used high street bookmakers and it was pretty basic stuff, worked out that Scottish football had less home/away bias, managed to do well on Arsenal in the ‘invincibles’ season was also something I remember. Amazingly this worked pretty well. Of course I realised this was not the best strategy and used my maths background to start modeling football, with mixed success. After a while I figured out the 1/X/2 market was pretty efficient and decided to try another sport. I found the Tennis Insight website about 4-5 years ago and it all started from there. Originally I just did pre-match betting and did pretty well on that from the word go – but got restricted very quickly and decided that trading on Betfair was a better option for me.
How would you describe your trading style?
It’s very risk-averse. Some people would probably say too risk-averse, but it keeps me saner that way. An example would be one of my main strategies – opposing players serve with a low projected hold. Should the receiver get to 0-30 or 15-40 then I will begin to remove liability and ‘freeroll’ from there. Generally I’m in and out of trades pretty quickly – I don’t hold a huge amount of long-term positions unless I’m incredibly strong one way or another.
How do you cope with losses/losing streaks?
Sadly it’s part and parcel of the game. I’d say that my previous gambling experience helped me a lot – when I played online poker I used to 8 table 6max games and would get through 3000+ hands per day. That level of play made the long-run come quicker and reduced daily variance as much as possible. In the tennis markets it depends on a lot of things – things small such as non-tennis related things affect the way I deal with situations. Generally the way I am is that if I feel I can maintain a good level of trading in future games then I will stick with it, and if not then I’ll just turn the laptop off and go and feed the ducks down the road or something. One major benefit of a statistical style of tennis trading is that it’s much harder to deviate from a solid plan so this doesn’t happen very often. Finally I’ve got too much respect for money than to tilt. Plus if I did my wife would kill me…
How long did it take you to make a profit tennis trading?
When I made the move from pre-match betting to trading I didn’t stake a lot because I knew I had a lot of learning to do. But I already had a fair bit of experience of how the markets worked, and a decent knowledge of the players so it was pretty much immediately.
What helped you most when learning to be profitable?
I would say that my work ethic and discipline was the most important thing. Thankfully I already had those but without those I’d say it was pretty much impossible to be profitable in any gambling form.
Are there any betting/trading tools and resources that you use regularly?
Yes, there are a few that I use on a regular basis. Tennis Insight and TennisBetSite are invaluable for me. I also much prefer oddsportal to oddschecker as it has more available odds and past pricing data. The ATP website is also useful and much better than the WTA one.
What are the weaknesses in your trading if any?
You could definitely argue that my risk averseness can at times reduce my positive expectation on individual trades. However it keeps me saner and possibly increases my long term positive expectation. No-one’s perfect, I always say that every day is a learning day and there’s very few days that I don’t at least glean something useful that may help me in the future.
How do you make your trading fit into your everyday routine and lifestyle? Any tips?
That’s probably another weakness of mine, but I saw this question and left it out of the previous answer! To be honest I don’t trade as much as I should because of this reason. I’ve got a wife and a step-daughter so I appreciate that I can’t be at the laptop for all day, day in, day out.
I don’t think it’s a bad thing to have a good work/life balance though, and if it means that I have to miss out on late night/overnight matches, and trading some weekends, then there’s plenty of other matches that I can trade still where there’s going to be decent edges so it’s not a disaster.
Do you have any favourite tournaments and favourite players you like to trade on?
Favourite tournaments generally will be women’s matches on slow clay courts. I actually like trading 250s/International events more than Grand Slams – give me a ‘mug v mug’ match rather than a sub 1.10 shot playing any day of the week. As long as liquidity is good in these there can be some superb trading opportunities. Tournaments I don’t like – St.Petersburg for reasons many will probably be aware of, and I’ve traditionally not done well there. Munich and Rome also I generally don’t do fantastically in.
Favourite players are generally the weak servers. Annika Beck and Shahar Peer are a couple in this respect – also some players are very easy to read, e.g. Olga Govortsova who tends to play her best tennis when losing but can’t hold on to a lead. In the men’s Gilles Simon is a player that I’ve done very well from –I can’t remember losing on many of his matches.
Part two will be published tomorrow…