Q & A with a full-time sports trader

Q & A With a Full time sports trader

I’m doing something different on here today. Something that might help traders starting out on their trading journey.

We have a Q & A with Steve Williamson. A full-time sports trader.

I met Steve through Twitter. These are the good things about social media, you meet people you never otherwise would through real life.

Steve reached out to me when my dad had passed away as he was in a similar situation with his mom. We got chatting, horses and trading and stayed in contact ever since. If you would like to follow Steve his twitter is @stevewill007

His presence on twitter is very helpful and what I like he has no ulterior motive. He’s not selling anything, he is just there to help anyone.

I would like to thank Steve for taking time out of his day to answer these questions.

Let’s get started:

Q1 – When did you start trading and how is different now to back then?

Difficult to remember exactly. I signed up with Betfair in 2002 I think, and initially used to back and lay, becoming used to the new way of doing things, and I thought it was interesting that I could offer to market, instead of taking the available price.

The first time I remember specifically trading as such was when I built an ante post market for the 2007 Gold Cup. I originally had backed Kauto Star just before he won the Betfair Chase at Haydock at 12, then immediately traded out around 3 or 4, can’t remember exactly.

Then there was a former Foxhunter winner called Kingscliff , who’s owner we used to see at the points, and we knew his intention was, barring injury, to run in the Gold Cup. Over the winter, I’d been backing and laying at all sorts of fancy prices, 300, 400, etc, and as the declaration stages came and went, he shortened dramatically, actually going off at 33/1 on the day. So when the race actually started, my worst result was £400 if Kauto won, many runners on £2k plus, and had the miracle happened, Kingscliff would win over £82k.

So at the time, I was fascinated with backing and laying, in actual fact, I used to take my laptop into William Hill in Truro, and most of my punting pals could see what I was doing, yet couldn’t really get their heads round it ( probably the same today). I was then trading from my form knowledge using back to lay techniques. So for example if there was a consistent fast starter drawn well at the right meetings, then I would back pre race and input the lay as a keep bet ( so maybe I’d have £100 at say 2.62, with the lay keyed in around 1.81, and a hedge around 1.21 ). So, that was how I started initially, and at the time , my knowledge of form, going, track bias, and course knowledge was invaluable. At this time I hadn’t moved to pre race.

Around 2008/9, I came across the Adam Heathcote blog on 0- 350,000 online, and so went through all his early posts, and realising that he was achieving great results based on pre market moves, without any racing knowledge. I believe Peter Webb had presented the trading opportunity to a maths group in Exeter, and he later described Adam as one of the most natural traders he had come across. This fired my imagination as to what could be achieved through pre race, so I think I subscribed to Bet Angel around the same time that I did the Masterclass course with Peter in 2013. This was invaluable, and whilst pre race is always simply about trading what you see, I did find that through my racing knowledge, I could anticipate which horses were likely to be backed ( through trainer, jockey knowledge, etc). The course was great, only one day though, and I would equate it to passing your driving test. That isn’t the end, simply the beginning of learning and development. I have never done any other course, as I believe firmly that only you can learn through making mistakes, and I made every mistake possible.

However, if you keep making the same mistakes, you have to take a long hard look in the mirror and decide whether you have the patience, discipline and mindset , which are vital.

I was working full time and then over the last few years, I spent less and less time on a “ normal “ job, and more and more time trading. In the past 5 years, been pretty much full time, every now again I feel the need for social interaction, as it is a very solitary business.

Back then and now

I guess the biggest change is maybe through people using other methods, using statistical based analysis aligned to trading on smartphones etc. From a personal perspective, sitting at a desktop and trading what I see, is the bread and butter method of making an income. When I first posted on Twitter, I simply posted a basic story, detailing ups and downs of what I’d done, and trying to help newer traders. In my opinion, you must learn, study, and get the experience yourself. I think nowadays maybe too many people are getting on board, subscribing to a course or courses, using an app, and thinking that’s it. In it’s basic state, a market can only go two ways, the rest is fine tuning, but the biggest challenge of all is getting to grips with your own mindset and application.

Q2 – What type of trading do you do?

I have nearly always used the pre race trading method, although I’m not going to say I’ve never tried in running. With pre race though, although you’re using larger stakes, as inevitably your returns are probably gonna be maybe between 1- 5% of turnover, unless you let your trade go in play inadvertently, then pre race is low risk, compared to in running.

I use Bet Angel software, because it’s what I’ve used for years now, and if you’re happy with something you use, why change it? I do think a lot of people think pre race is too much hard work, but it’s what I’m used to and don’t see that changing anytime soon. However, it is my intention to do a lot of travelling throughout the UK in the next 12 months, and I will have to utilise other methods whilst away from my desktop.

Paula – Here is a screenshot of a challenge Steve done the other day. He started with a £100 bank. Only pre-race trading. Results below ?

Pre race trading £100 challenge

Q3 – What has been your best and worst memories trading related?

That’s an interesting one , I normally only remember the bad ones, ha ha. Two spring to mind. I was pre race trading at, I think Fontwell, and had made a mistake when the favourite came in rapidly and I had misread the market. So, I let in go in play, intending on getting out when the price came back. Well, the horse led all the way, won, and I’d done over £900 in cold blood.

So, I had the clammy cold feeling of being an idiot. Now, I defy anyone to say they haven’t done it, but, and this is key, if you keep doing it, then just give up. You may have many go your way, but you will get caught out eventually and blow your bank. Fact.

I won’t even argue with anyone on this issue, it’s absolutely critical not to make this error repeatedly- it will destroy you. I remember one day the screen freezing, and being stuck in a trade, due to a BT repairman deciding to work on the line in a country lane near my place- that cost £213.

Best memory – don’t know really although I did manage a very good result of around £550 any runner, when the favourite moved all over the place with massive steams and drifts pre race. I think I posted that on my timeline around November 2018.

Paula – I dug it out going through your timeline.

Here it is: ?
full time trdaer

Q4 – What advice would you give to anybody starting out now on their trading journey?

Hmm, right, first and foremost- do not think it’s easy money, it isn’t. Decide upon what you want to achieve. We all have different goals, both financially and socially, work out what you need to do to get there.

How much do you want to earn, or how much are you prepared to put into achieving it? Accept that high risk = high rewards/ losses, and low risk = low rewards/ losses. Never let a low risk strategy create a big loss ( this is almost always caused by failure to accept the small loss, letting the trade go in play and become a high risk strategy). You have to accept that, as with anything, there is a price to pay.

Watch as many videos from respected traders, read as much as you can. If you use Twitter, work out who the genuine people are, as opposed to the ones who only want your money from selling a poor service.

There are some very astute, clever, and successful traders in the UK, quite a few run courses which will help you on your way but, understand that the course is only the beginning, and you will only improve through constant application and experience.

Repetition is important, and initially something may seem foggy and unclear, but as you get the experience, then the path becomes easier and clearer. But, never get complacent, as the market doesn’t care about you.

I only ever went on one course seven years ago, and since that day, I am still constantly learning. You can never know too much. I think after all is said and done, keep things simple, don’t over complicate your trading.

With the plethora of methods, apps, techniques available, think carefully about how you want to trade, and always remember that you have to concentrate on yourself only, don’t be concerned about what others do, as only you can affect your long term future.

Good luck, if you have the desire and effort, you’ll get there.

Q5 – You use twitter, it’s where we met. What’s your opinion of all the trading noise on there and how do you handle it?

I don’t consider myself a social media person, indeed I only use Facebook basically to keep in touch with a few family members. I have never been interested in telling people that I’m sat on a train eating a cheese sandwich.

When I joined Twitter , I only watched it occasionally in the past. Having read a lot of stuff about trading on there, I decided I had seen enough of some of the rubbish that was posted. Whilst there was some good comments, I am old enough and hopefully wise enough to read through comments and claims.

I basically decided to tell my trading story, factually, in a no nonsense straightforward manner. We all have opinions on subjects, and I know that my overall knowledge of people and racing would hopefully be able to help others.

I have never sold anything, nor do I wish to, but I did think that it would be nice to present my story so that newer traders could work out if I might be for them. I’ve been fortunate not to have” trolls” or many negative comments, if I did, then I simply wouldn’t post, as my trading posts aren’t for my own benefit.

I think it’s nice if you can help others. Trading aside, there are some very clever people who post humour on there which is sometimes very funny. I have found many online ” friends” on Twitter, and I very much enjoy banter and chatting with them about trading.

I really appreciate Steve taking the time to answer these questions. Hopefully they are of some help to people looking to start their trading journey. Even if you are already a trader this is a good read.

Thank you Steve. x

 Follow Steve on Twitter@stevewill007

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Q & A With a full-time sports trader

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