Betfair Trading – Strategies, Systems and Tips
For those that are newly interested in Betfair trading it can often be quite overwhelming.
Even though they know about the financial gains possible…
Flashing colours, lots of numbers and fast-moving markets. If it’s your first exposure to trading at all it can be very confusing, but it doesn’t have to be.
Betfair trading can be quite simple when you think about what we are trying to do, placing a bet to win against a bet to lose on the same selection. All be it at a different price.
This is how it would look on the Betfair website, but that’s rather slow to use so I’ll refer to the software interface in other screenshots. See the matched bets on the right hand side of the screen
Elsewhere I have seen it compared to buying and selling shares, the concept is simple – sell your bet on at a more valuable price to you.
It could be a case of Backing (betting to win) at a higher price and Laying (betting to lose) at a lower price or doing exactly the same in the alternate direction. If it’s not quite clear just yet don’t worry. By the end of the page, after a few examples it should be.
How does Betfair Trading work?
Looking at the screenshot above, I am using the Geeks Toy Betfair trading software. The interface is broken down into several different areas, the Market Navigator on the far left, above the Market overview graph.
The market overview graph is all the horses prices in this race plotted against each-other, in decimal form, as it is on the Betfair website. The four columns covering the right side of the screen are the four most popular horses in the race, in terms of price, left to right.
Below each column is the horses price history since the racing market opened. And above is the respective selections name, jockey, trainer and price volume chart over the last ten seconds. Each column is broken down further, left in the pink column is all available Lay bets waiting to be matched.
The centre is the price at they are at. And the right, in the blue column is all available Back bets waiting to be matched. To the right of the blue column, on each selection, is the potential profit and loss column, this changes when you have an open position in the market. Now the screenshot is a bit clearer, it’s a bit easier to understand how placing a trade works. On the third favourite in this race, (Edge of Love) you will see the profit and loss column is active. We can see this because of the red and green figures (potential profit or loss).
Another way of noticing this is that we have a Back bet that is partially matched (on the 7.0 price). Both at the bottom of the selections column and in the Market Navigator you will see £76.80, this is the bet that has been matched. Also £173.20 remains in the market at 7.0 unmatched, this is because the initial bet placed was to the value of £250 but did not get fully matched.
You can see from this that if we are placing a Back bet first when trading Betfair then we want the price to contract and shorten, as it is in the example. If we expected the price to drift, or increase in value we should place a Lay bet first. You will want to note at this stage, if you refer to the example, despite having a bet of £76.80 matched in the market we do not stand to lose £76.20 if we are wrong.
We only stand to lose the value displayed in the profit and loss column for each increment or ‘tick’ the price moves in the opposite direction we anticipate. As the time to the start of the race reduces activity increases. This provides more opportunity as there is more volume passing through the market.
Depending on the Betfair trading strategy you are employing you may wish to place lots of bets and effectively soak up the activity, or wait for the price to move and take a longer term approach. I do both of these on a regular basis. Looking at the image at the top of the page we opened our trade at 7.0 where, I expected the price would contract as the time ticked down to the start. By doing this I needed to get my Lay bet matched or ‘filled’ at a shorter price. You can see above, one minute after opening the trade I am attempting to remove a portion of my initial bet. This means the figures in the profit and loss column will change, and I will have ‘locked in’ some profit should the price suddenly change direction, against my profitable position.
By leaving a small amount of the trade still open it allows me to take a little extra profit if the movement continues, without risking the money I have already made. This is known as scaling-out, something I do regularly in my Betfair trading, particularly when longer term swing trades. You can see in the screenshot below the profit and loss column’s figures have changed as the £40 Lay bet was matched at 5.6, an additional £36.80 Lay bet has been placed also.
This is because it is the remaining value of the opening trade (£76.80 – £40 = £36.80). Makes sense right? Don’t worry if the numbers are confusing, the software does it for us. As long as you understand the concept it’s fine. This means we have now created a ‘free bet’ on Edge of Love due to correctly predicting which way the price will move and, placing the same sized back and lay bets (see below) The green figure at the top of our traded selections shows how much potential profit we have on Edge of Love should the horse win the race (£114.88). The second figure shown (£21.27) is the hedged value (the profit we can take on every selection in the race). This figure, the software calculates for us depending on the price at which bets are available in the market (in this case 5.4) if the price should change to 5.5 you can see, from the profit and loss column, that the value would change to £20.89. In summary;
- Back Bet of £76.80 @ 7.0 leaves a potential win of 460.80 but a potential loss of £76.20.
- Lay Bet of £40 @ 5.6 leaves a potential win of £40 but a potential loss of £184
- Lay Bet of £36.80 @ 5.4 leaves a potential win of £36.80 but a potential loss of £161.92.
- Lay bets total a win of £76.80 but a potential loss of £345.92.
- Back bets total a loss of 76.80 but a potential win of £460.80
With the difference being a loss of £0 and a win of £114.88.
- The additional Lay Bet of £21.27 @ 5.4 would therefore means a profit of £21.27 on each and every horse in the race, no matter which horse wins –
A far better way of betting in my experience! I’ve broken down the numbers for those that want to understand exactly how it works. In reality, with the software, it doesn’t matter if you don’t quite get how the numbers work as it does it all for you. Betfair trading and understanding the markets can be hard enough without having to work out all the numbers individually.
Why Betfair Trading?
So you’ve probably realised by now why Betfair trading is a superior way of betting and appeals to many. It’s far easier, in any sport, to predict what will happen for a small chunk of time than for an extended period. It’s also possible to find ways, as I have over the last few years to predict where the price will move, or sometimes not move based on a crowd of punters.
By doing this it allows us to put ourselves in a winning position on a regular basis. Or more importantly just not put ourselves in a losing one. By ensuring you do this on a regular basis it doesn’t take all that long for the benefits to outweigh the risk. If you refer to the example earlier on in the page you may also remember only around 30% of my bet was matched, had it all have been matched the potential win would have been far greater. With thousands of races each year even a small profit on a regular basis can turn into a huge reward.
As far as I am concerned, Betfair trading is the only way to bet in the modern world. The best bit, you don’t even have to risk a lot while you learn. Once you find a trading strategy that works, you can increase the stakes (if the edge permits it) instantly increasing the profits at the same time. The best advice for anyone learning about trading any sport on Betfair is to; start small and lose small until you find something works, only then increase the stakes and win considerably bigger.
Betfair Trading FAQ’s
How much can I make from Betfair Trading?
The number one question on everyone’s lips. In reality there will always be more losers than winners when it comes to trading Betfair. I often find myself comparing it to various statements about the distribution of wealth. Of the majority that bet and trade on Betfair most will lose, which in turn means the winners often win big. How big, is completely down to the individual. Starting small is important although the potential upside is huge. While im not the average Betfair customer I personally managed to quadruple my annual salary within a few years discovering Betfair trading.
How long does it take to become profitable in Betfair trading?
Becoming profitable in the markets is quite a personal thing. Everyone’s different and had different ideas, which makes this difficult to answer. For myself, it must have taken a few months until I realised I was making sense of all the flashing numbers and charts. From there probably a few more until I was breaking even on a regular basis and confident I was onto something. The difference being back then there was very little online in the way of Betfair trading guidance. In the beginning I didn’t keep many records either, which, can make the process a lot more difficult mentally. Keeping expectations low and focusing on the process rather than results will enable you to become profitable a lot faster.
What size bank do I need to start Betfair trading?
This is often an early concern for many, but it shouldn’t be. Starting out in the markets doesn’t have to be costly. GeeksToy software has a training mode setting, allowing you to lose nothing but your time while learning. From there, I would suggest starting small. If you’re trading on Betfair in any sport you should know the numbers will start to add up quickly if your consistent. Starting with a £200 bank on £2 stakes isn’t a bad thing at all, try to see things a bit longer-term. Over the years I’ve seen many come and go, often because they expected too much too soon.
Where can I learn more about Betfair trading software?
There are several different trading software’s on the market although I prefer the Geeks Toy. If you are unsure about setting up the ladder interface or getting started, there are several video’s on the YouTube channel link listed at the bottom of this page. Most Betfair trading software has all the functions you’re likely to need. It’s unlikely you’ll get far in the pre race markets without using the ladder interface.
What’s the best sport to trade?
Betfair trading is possible on just about every sport. Although some markets have less liquidity (money) in them. It still means there’s opportunity, although it’s often a different one. As an example, greyhounds markets are often only very active in the last two minutes. Where as you could place huge bets on a football game, days before the start! It’ll depend on the individuals style of Betfair trading as to which is ‘best’. Also, it’s important to find a sport you’re actually interested in. Otherwise it’ll get boring fast!
What’s your best advice to somebody who is new to Betfair trading?
For anyone new, that’s serious about Betfair trading I would suggest a few things; dream and think about making those big profits, and on a regular basis but start small. By this I mean, learn to make mistakes with a small amounts of capital and only increase them once you have a clearer feel for the markets. All too many people realise the potential the markets have to offer and jump in on enhanced stakes too fast and get burnt (in the beginning I did this too). Setting very little ‘expectations’ will aid you if anything. Just about everyone who attempts Betfair trading will face three common problems (more-so if you come from a gambling background for point two). They are by far the most common mistakes I have made, and heard the same from others.
Situations – Horse racing is a broad area, much like tennis, or football trading. No matter what you are trading on Betfair you will need to remember situations are unique. For example a world cup football match will trade differently to a lower division game. Wimbledon games will trade different to Australian Open and Group 1 Horse races will trade differently to a Novices race. Learn to spot the differences and fit in around them. If you were a marathon runner, would you compete in a 100m sprint with the same tactics? trading Betfair is no different.
Going In-play – By this I mean letting open trading positions, that were not meant for going in-play, run as a bet. Usually because you couldn’t come to terms with the fact you made a bad trading decision. Doing this will end up in the worst possible outcome sooner or later, by losing your entire bank. Betfair trading is not a case of ‘hoping you get it right’ and letting it run if you don’t. Approaching it with a strict, professional outlook will pay for itself in the long run. This is the number one reason people give up trading Betfair in a short space of time.
Personal Attitude – This may come as a shock if you’ve only just started, or are planning to. You’re own personal attitude when trading Betfair is absolutely paramount. If you are prone to being ‘hot headed’ or a little excitable when trading, learn to slow down, set your environment to encourage this, learn to accept when you are wrong. A bad attitude in the markets will ensure you lose in the long run. Everyone has emotions and is only human, so it’s to be expected. But the more you are aware of this and manage to keep it in check, the faster you will succeed.
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