Thursday, 28 October 2010

Charts - Is The Geek now Toying with Bet Angel?

When I add to my blog I normally just type away without any hesitation about what to say and how to say it but tonight I have been staring at a blank text box, trying to think of the best way to making a balanced view between two excellent pieces of trading software. Of course there are many other trading applications around but we all have our favourites don't we.

The Geeks Toy (GT) and Bet Angel (BA) have both recently taken their trading product to new levels with the emphasis on charting. They have both evolved very differently and originally got my attention for very different reasons.

My comments are purely from a personal perspective so I have added a bit of my history. to understand where I am coming from.  I apologise in advance for the length of it.

I have always been looking at ways of making extra income. Like many people I started out trading shares the old paper way and then the whole process was made easier by trading online. However, there were always added costs making the margins tighter plus the need to sometimes take a long term view whereas I am an impatient person. I wanted a way of somehow making quick and easy money online and it wasn't long before I was arbing.

I was very organised and opened up at least 30 bookmaking accounts and although it was hard work, the thrill of creating a situation where I couldn't lose was fantastic. As the months rolled by there were more and more people jumping on the bandwagon and with the onset of services that emailed you with an arb opportunity, the whole situation got much harder. The bookmakers soon got wise as to what was going on and started restricting accounts where it was obvious that customers were arbing rather than just betting and I soon got fed up with hassle. By that time it was near impossible to find unique opportunities. There are many people that still succesfully arb out there but they must be very determined people with patience of a saint!

One of the accounts I was using for arbing was Betfair who were one of my very few unrestricted accounts. I had heard in the arbing circles about how money could be made backing and laying on their markets. There were a handful of services to aid this new way of making money and I tested many of them but Bet Angel stood high above the crowd. They had a top notch website which conveyed total professionalism, the product was sturdy and they had a clear roadmap and had the right attitude towards customer service. Whenever I would have a query, Peter would respond very quickly. The competitors couldn't even come close to the all round service that BA provided.

We all know that with any service maintaining your advantage is hard. Competitors wise up to what the consumer wants and offer similar services, sometimes at cheaper prices. Racing Traders were the new kid on the block but as the months and years rolled by BA just got better and better and in my opinion was always a step ahead in innovation and presentation. They weren't cheap but you got what you paid for.Their charting was worth the subscription on it's own. If you want to be consistent on horse trading then you need decent charts to help you predict when trends start and end.

They started doing trading courses and I attended one nearly four years ago having already been a customer for about a year. It cost about £400 and I thought long and heard about whether to go. I have to say that the decision to attend was the most important trading choice I ever made. It was an excellent and professionally organised day. The things I learnt on that one day are still vivid in my mind today.

I continued using BA and have never been unhappy with anything about them but for me fate took a turn. We moved house a two and a half of years ago from a town which had a broadband speed of 2mb to a village with 0.5mb. At first BA performed okay but as more and more functions were added and more villagers subscribed to broadband, it just got slower and slower. The first sacrifice I made was to change from API to Non API mode. There were a few things that I lost but the speed improved. However with BA's functionality continually improving I was suffering. The village increased the broadband speed to 1.5mb about 18 months ago which helped in the evenings but my main trading was at weekends and the response times were so bad that I just couldn't risk being caught with my pants down with large liabilities. Reading the forums there were many with Saturday/Sunday syndrome. 3pm on Saturday was the worst with the footie gamblers piling into their bets.

Last November, a member of one of the forums someone mentioned trying recently released free software called the Geeks Toy. They said it had no bells and whistles but it does the job and is fast throughout the weekend. 

With GT being free I had nothing to lose by trying it out. It was ridiculously fast and I vividly remember my first time using it. The great thing about GT was that almost all of it was customisable and I soon got it to look as close to BA as I could.  I did the stupid thing of using the same stakes as I had been doing on BA without getting used to the different way it performs. Having been used to BA for over four years I was still in BA mode and I lost about £200 clicking things by mistake.

So at this point GT had provided me with a quick product but I was trading blind as there was no charting to assist me so overall I was no better off. In addition to this I simply loved BA's unique Guardian facility where you can easily manage and monitor other markets at the same time. I decided to have both applications up at the same time making sure that the calls did not exceed the Betfair limit.  At first I had Guardian and charts running at the same time GT but it got too complicated so I just left the BA charts up. The other problem I used to encounter was I had to reset the charts for every race.

By the time I  started this blog, GT had evolved with a few 'luxury' features including fill and kill and tick offset. Their features were still well behind the competition but it started to feel like a more professional application. For me, the decision to switch from BA to GT was a necessity rather than the product being offered for free but for the vast majority the contributing factor of GTs huge success is that it costs nothing while providing an excellent and reliable product.

Up to last week GT had a massive achilles heel. No charting. This has now been addressed with the launch of 1.1 Beta. Cran has done a great comprehensive review which I cannot better so please take a look and judge for yourself.  The Drifter has also put up a video on You Tube  showing his simple setup but you can make it as complex as you like. It is not just the fact the GT has charting, it's totally customisable and the layout can be saved so you don't have to keep resetting it for every race. BA released a new update which amongst other things includes the saving of charts, however releasing it just after GT had just released theirs had put BA slightly on the back foot.

For me the charting has lifted GT into a very serious player in the sports trading software market and remember there is just one person maintaining it. The one feature which would allow me to trade from one vendor has arrived. I have had 1.1 for a little while and have spent time configuring it but the evening meeting at Wolverhampton was the first time I have really put it to the test and I am a very happy camper. The ladder seemed to be running faster than it has ever been.

With or without Stop Loss (which I have been informed is not too far away) I now cannot imagine how I would cope without GT.

Both BA and GT are super products and have their own postives but the GT's massive plus is that it's free, other positives are that it is fast for me on weekends and fully customisable and simple to use. BA's plus is the unique Guardian, excel botting, a Tennis and Football module.  If you want to know more just click on Geeks banner above the blog list and BA's banner at the end of the blog list. For some reason BA's banner makes my page mess up if I put it above the blog list.

As the old saying goes, you pays your money, you takes your choice. I will continue to subscribe to Bet Angel so I can play around with it's excel capabilities but my trading choice is firmly with Geeks Toy whether it stays free or not. What's your choice?

The evening racing went well and GT 1.1 helped me reach almost £80


Cran said...

Great post Andy, is good to read a comparison of the products from a current user of both.


Anonymous said...

Good review.Have to say being a BA stalwart i have tried most of the other applicaions out there to see what im missing.Just my opinion but i think geekstoy is the most complicated un user friendly bit of kit out there.I have downloaded it several times,tried to use it,got so frustrated and uninstalled it again.No offense to the geek but i hate it.

The Geek said...

No offence taken.

I'm well aware that one mans meat is another mans poison, and some prefer the more basic single screen Layout that the other applications offer.

It's a matter of personal taste in many cases, and there are plenty of products to choose from.

Thomas Smith said...

im a big fan of Fairbot and find it incredibly easy and user friendly plus its feature rich and very does everything...and i agree with the other reader , Geeks Toy is Pants ( imo )..good write up tho m8.