My Betting Challenge

I’ve had a bit of a break with the blogging as setting up and designing my new websites and have taken up a lot of my spare time. During this time I have still been betting and trading but it’s been a bit haphazard and much like the new look for this blog I aim to take a more professional and structured approach the introduction of this new challenge. I will detail this challenge at the end of this blog after telling you a bit about my journey with betting and trading so far.
I’ve said before that I find trading tennis quite easy to make money from but it is hard to find the time to do that much of it and to make it worth my time. I traded over 30 matches on the Australian Open back in January mainly to make sure I got a bonus from Betfair and I managed to profit in around 25 of those matches. The small stakes that I used and have always used for my trading are such that if I have spent all those hours doing overtime in my actual job I would have made much more money. Of course, the money is not the only reason I bet trade but it’s a big part of it and staying up till early hours to trade tennis isn’t enjoyable enough to justify the tiredness!
So I can see why the Sultan from CentreCourtTrading blog has been frustrated about not being able to upscale his trading and I believe that it can be easier to make more with access to greater funds but there are certainly no guarantees and using bigger stakes brings a new set of potential problems and limitations. Building up from a small bank can be done but it takes a lot of time and patience and is especially hard if you are withdrawing profits too.
I actually have access to much more money than I bet with but I have been somewhat unwilling to use more of my own money so far. I think this is because I worry that I might start to get it wrong or I might react badly to the first couple of higher stakes trades and act impulsively and mainly that I’d feel a bit guilty using large risking large amounts of money to gamble with that could be used for something else.
Another problem that I’ve had is that I have always continued to bet too and my betting has been pretty bad long term. Because my aim has been to start from a small amount and grow organically, I’ve often become inpatient by losses, taken bets that I didn’t really believe in and overestimated my ‘edge’ using ‘Kelly’. I love betting though and I believe I can find value but not in enough bets to make it worthwhile. If I chose a handful of bets a month I think I’d do ok. I even had a very good year with my premier league selections and some success finding draws too but wins at level stakes from these wasn’t enough for me and I had to find more.
There are people out there who can find value in bets daily and I have seen the results to back this up but unfortunately I am not capable of this. Betting provides me with the excitement that trading doesn’t and it’s also not labour intensive. There is only one decision to make when placing a bet but with trading there is a multitude of potential decisions and this can be very stressful.
Over the past 5 years, I have learned as much as I’ll ever need to know about betting/trading and should have been able to turn that small bank into a pretty large one. If I stuck to trading alone I’m sure I would have achieved this but the stubbornness in me has made me want to make a success of both betting and trading and I still want to do this. Too often I’ve tried to use a Kelly type staking system with the betting and this has ultimately been my downfall. I’ve often grown the bank up nicely only to lose a large chunk of it by the classic Kelly faux pas in overestimating a short priced favourite. I think it’s about time I put all I have learned into practice.
Incidentally I also have a bot that I coded using a friend’s rating system of football matches that is currently being tested using small stakes. This does use a Kelly type formula for staking (spread very thinly across markets) but the computer is much better than me at calculating and assessing value! Now that this is all built it requires no work whatsoever and we leave it to pull in the results and place dozens of bets each weekend. It’s made a very nice profit for the first 2 months and there is a chance this could be our holy grail. It’s all very exciting to be honest but obviously I’m not building my hopes up too much as I appreciate how difficult these things are to achieve. But even armed with this I still have that burning desire to make a profit manually too and hence the new challenge…!
So my new challenge is to see how far I can get with a starting bank of £200. This is not a lot of money and lower than the amounts I’ve used in the past but this is a trial and I’m going to be making a lot of bets and spreading my money very thinly. It is also an amount pretty much everyone could have access to. Staking will be level stakes at 1% and trading entry points wil be to win 10% if a lay bet or using 10% for back bets. I will only recalculate the percentages each time I manage to grow the bank by 25%.
I will be splitting the bank 3 ways. £100 in Betfair, £50 in Betdaq and £50 in Pinnacle Sports. I have more in Betfair as I will use it the most particularly for trading. Over the last few years Pinnacle have had better prices in many tennis and football matches and I want to take advantage of this. They also price up tennis qualifiers too and it’s a god alternative for quieter markets where there just isn’t enough liquidity on Betfair. Liquidity is also an issue at Betdaq but some of the tennis matches are liquid enough to trade on now and I would be silly not to do some on there when commission is only 3%. I also think that they will have plenty of offers on now that they have been taken over by Ladbrokes. I am an advocate of getting the best price when betting but managing this challenge over 15 bookmaker’s accounts would be a logistical nightmare. The key with the 3 that I have chosen is that betting with them is scalable. They also won’t limit me or ban me if I start making a profit and using these 3 I think I will be able to get the best odds 90% of the time.
I’ve mentioned that my own bet selections have been average at best and for that reason I shall mainly be using tipsters with proven records for bets, much in the same way that the portfolio investor has done. Hopefully I’ll be able to finally turn that small bank into a big one and if not at least shows such a profit that it’ll prove that it’s worth trying with more of my own funds. Screen shots will be provided and I will keep you updated at least once a week.