Welcome to Betfair Banter!

Well I think a welcome message and a summary of my Betfair and betting experiences so far is a good way to start off the blog, so here goes!

I have always been mad on sports and interested in gambling from an early age. I often heard people call it a ‘mug’s game’ but the young and arrogant me believed he could outwit the bookmakers and pick winners at will. After only a few bets I realised how wrong I was after losing £100 (quite a lot of money for me then) on Liverpool to beat Crystal Palace in the League Cup. They lost 2-0 at home and as a result I didn’t really gamble again for a few years. That was until I discovered Betfair and the magic of betting against other people and laying bets. Of course my eyes lit up and all sorts of strategies were thought up and attempted but to very little avail.

Then of course I discovered trading in-play, mainly on tennis. I successfully read some matches well and made a few green books and of course in my head I thought I’d found the Holy Grail! That was until the amount in your account takes an inevitable turn for the worse, causing all sorts of chasing type reactions and it was back to square 1. I like many other deluded traders had seen how easy it was to make money using Betfair but was ignoring how easy it was to lose in the same way and blamed the losing on bad decisions and a lack of discipline.

In-play trading still remains my most profitable method of betting to date but I was betting with relatively low amounts and the time I was putting in to watch random matches was just not worthwhile really. Perhaps if I’d recorded my trading during those times to prove that I had an edge, it would have given me the confidence to up my stakes and make it more worthwhile. It was also quite stressful and there were times where I would overstake and make rash decisions in the spare of the moment so it was time for a rethink.

I decided that I loved the thrill of betting and making money but with working full-time and having other commitments I needed a way to limit my time in front of the computer and so I should stop trading in-play for a while and so it was on to Bots. I had only dabbled with Gruss before to aid my tennis trading but I read a few things about making bots using this software and realised how easy it was. I had read a few things about people ‘coining it in’ on the horses using laying bots and so I thought I’d give it a go. I’m a software engineer by trade so it was pretty easy for me to build a bot using Gruss. I figured that horses in the lead when too low in-running and I had a good concept of value and over rounds by now and after a bit of data capturing, I decided it might be possible to take advantage of laying these short prices.

It started off incredibly well and using stakes of just £2 making multiple bets per race I was soon a few hundred pounds up by the end of a couple of days. Then it all started going wrong and a couple of races would cost me big each day and I’d be down by a similar amount. I’d then try and improve the bot and when that failed reverted to the first concept each time but the same pattern followed. I’d do well the first couple of days and then it would all change.

Perhaps this was just variance and these lays were realistic prices after all or perhaps some clever gits out there know how to exploit the markets and bots like mine much better than I could do but either way my methods were not proving intelligent enough to compete and I decided to give up with bots. Perhaps I didn’t give it long enough and should have played around a bit more with my bots but the races are always on when I’m at work and it became difficult to see what was happening and also a bit risky to leave running! I then decided perhaps the time spent on betting needed to be even less.

My pre-match betting had never been that great. I had a tendency to only have strong opinions on short prices, where the most info would be known and hence where there would be little value. I also varied my stakes a fair bit and my lack of records made it difficult to see whether my picks had been value or not. I’d done yet more reading though and began to hear about people who bet regularly using level stakes and made consistent returns of upwards of 5 and 10%. This may not sound particularly exciting but many wealthy businesses work with margins this small and with a high turnover and by reinvesting the profits I began to see that it could still be possible to make large sums from betting this way.

This seemed perfect to me because I could make a bet, leave it and get on with my daily duties. With the introduction of smart phones too, I could get bets on at any given time or day. The only problem I thought was would my picks be good enough. Could I find value? I know of people who have tried to come up with mathematical models to compile their own odds to create an edge fail so I was a bit sceptical. Then I started to come across tipster sites, some of which were free and who showed very impressive results.

I now use a lot of tipster sites and together with my own tips this is starting to become my most profitable method of betting to date. Not only that but it’s also the least stressful approach and although some might find it a boring, I’m very much enjoying it!

So, this is pretty much where I’m at today! Pre-match betting using level stakes, to a reasonable percentage of my bank. I hope you enjoy my blog.