For most punters, trading on Betfair for a living is just a dream. But why?
The concept is simple; back high and lay low. Or vice versa… it shouldn’t be that hard at all! And it really isn’t to those who have mastered it.
But there’s plenty more to it if you’re to end up trading on Betfair for a living. I’ve been through it all myself…
The good news being it’s absolutely worth it on the other side! In this post I’ll take you through the five stages every successful trader has to go through, let us know what stage you’re at with a comment at the end.
5 Stages: Trading on Betfair For A Living
If you’ve just stumbled upon this post in the early stages of learning to trade it’s likely to be a real gem. Referring back to the post from time-to-time as well as reading books like “trading in the zone” by Mark Douglas will accelerate your progression. Although not usually in the way you’d expect…
Trading on Betfair for a living can be tough. Especially if you’re not looking at the opportunity in the right way, which leads me nicely in to the first stage.
Stage 1: Obviously Inefficient
So you hear about people trading on Betfair for a living, sound’s too good to be true at first doesn’t it?
But it’s not…
You might have seen a YouTube video or two, or even have a friend that’s making some money doing it. How hard can it be? You download some software, load up you’re account before quickly realising it isn’t to quite as simple as you thought. You dive in and place a few trades, some win, others lose – it’s not so bad.
And then you up the stakes, foolishly you think you’ve cracked it already….
Suddenly everything seems to be going against you, every trade you enter seems to turn against you…
Some don’t but you manage to somehow turn them into a loss anyway! What’s that all about?
The early successes have made matters worse, and so you take more and more risk. You attempt to turn your losses around by doubling up or even worse; going in-play. Occasionally you’ll get away with it but over the longer-term you end up battered and bruised for your efforts.
You’re behaving irrationally, completely inefficient and incompetent. The worst bit being you’re quite oblivious to what’s going on within your own trading-game.
For most people this stage only lasts a few weeks or so, those that might have come from matched betting or arbitrage it’s likely to be somewhat shorter… they’ve usually already made these mistakes.
Stage 2: Inexperienced and Suddenly Aware
The cold hand of reality slaps you square in the face… you’re hap-hazard approach just isn’t going to work out over the long-term.
You realise that a bit more understanding and knowledge is needed. You haven’t yet acquired the skills to generate a consistent profit. Responsibly, you accept there’s a bit more work ahead but it’s okay as the light at the end of the tunnel still shines bright. Trading Betfair for a living is still an option, but it’s not going to be this week…
You start to trawl online forums and blogs, much like this one for every nugget of information you can find. Some bear useful information while others are utterly useless, clearly you’re not alone in your quest for Betfair riches. The main trouble being you jump from one method to another without giving them enough time, without trying to optimize each one… and of course the most important thing of all – you’re own personal involvement.
Support and resistance, long-term trends, morning trading, picking top and bottom, backing to lay, you’ll try them all. Different analytics sites the lot! Trying to find the exact point of entry and exit and the magic formula to print money… At point’s you’ll think you are 100% right and add to trades again and again, only to end with burnt fingers.
But it doesn’t stop there…
You’ll find yourself on various software forums asking question after question, some that, over time you’ll look back at and think was daft. Eventually you’ll start to think that other posters are lying about their profits and Premium Charges. After all, they can’t be making so much money because you’ve looked everywhere! you know many of the things that have been said, but still you’re making next-to-nothing.
But here’s the reality… Most of the successful traders read them forums but don’t actually post. They’ve been through these stages too! and they know a large part of the answer doesn’t lie there in the forum although it may have been mentioned many times before.
In truth this stage can last an eternity if you let it. I myself must have dwelt here for around 6 months or so at least, in that time banks will be blown and immense frustration experienced. You’ll look to everyone else and spend plenty of time blaming the market, posters on forums and the like. It’s the stage where many give up…
But of course the market does not care for blame. It’s cold, hard and going to do what it likes. The sooner you realise this, accept responsibility for 100% of your own actions you’re doomed. No amount of forum posting can make this happen either, others can tell you till their blue in the face, but until you decide in yourself things will remain extremely tough!
At last you reach the point where enough is enough. It’s do-or-die time, you take responsibility for your over-trading and erratic behaviour. You know you need to build consistently on those market ‘edges’ and make this thing work.
It’s in your blood, you want this! And so, in a split second something changes – stage 3. The light-bulb effect…
Stage 3: BANG! Eureka
Before the penny drops you begin to realise it’s not just the ‘edge’ that’s important. There’s something else that’s making a huge difference.
But what is it?
Of course, it’s you! You’re behaviour, discipline, mindset, mentality – whatever you want to call it. You begin to realise this line you hear throughout all the forums on the web:
“let a profit run, close a loss fast”
Is actually true, and quite possible too. Half the time it was there staring you right in the face… you are a large part of the edge. How you execute your trades, when you choose to play and of course when you don’t!
You spend more and more time focusing on both the market edges you have, as well as how you actually use them. Trading psychology has a whole new meaning all of a sudden. The light bulb begins to burn bright like never before…
This moment of clarity means you now start to see things differently. You realise that both you, and all the other trading on Betfair for a living can’t predict where the market will go half the time, let alone all of it. You double down on just one or two strategies that you know have potential, developing your own preferred way of trading. It’s important because we’re all unique and some methods suit your trading personality than others. Things are going well, confidence begins to grow. Now it’s time to cultivate it.
Each time the market shows you an opportunity you take it. When it doesn’t, you do nothing… why would you?
You have an edge and you’re comfortable with it. When the market turns against your edge you don’t get frustrated or angry, you close it out for the loss without a problem. After-all you know you’re going to win in the long run. Trading isn’t personal anymore, which prevents you from making further mistakes!
The best part…
It’s ironic as you will have read about things like this, in articles like this. Except now you look back at them with a dirty great grin on your face. You wasn’t ready the first time you read it, but you are now!
All that success was cemented in your mind during that split-second in which you took full-responsibility, rather than just paying lip-service to it.
Stage 4: Mindful of Your Growing Skill Set
Taking the losses in your stride you begin to excel, trading only when the time is right. Winners run to their full conclusion knowing the risk/reward payoff involved. The best part being that losing is no longer painful, it’s just part of the game. Like a business has expenses.
You’re now at the stage where you break even at worst. Maybe not making a fortune, but its steady money at the least. You’re well aware of your growing skill set… friends are becomingly increasingly interested when they see the fruits of your new-found success. Be wary of that by the way…
If you wasn’t before, you’re hungry for more. You’ve tasted a slice of the dream, it’s real and the more you taste the more you want. It’s quite addictive.
You’ve begun to understand your own strengths and weaknesses, and so you can build on the good and eradicate the bad. As time goes on you begin to profit more and more, it’s almost as easy as you’d imagined when you first started out!
Sure you have some ‘blips’ on the way but life is good… this tends to go on for a number of months 4-6 maybe.
Stage 5: Unaware of Your Competence (in the zone)
We’re cooking on gas now…
You begin to trade without thinking so much. You’re ‘in the zone’.
Focusing on the bigger trades becomes a priority, it’s all about maximum efficiency. Having mastered yourself, how you feel in the moment and how that sits with your edge is key. You know this, you do it instinctively.
The balance is booming and people around you are starting to wonder ‘what’s this Betfair thing all about’ instead o telling you you’re crazy.
You take a peak at the forums from time to time. Seeing your past self in others questions, occasionally you’ll post but realise it’ll probably be taken far too lightly.
Trading has become less exciting, like anything you master in life. Winning gets boring…
One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was:
“get your kicks from spending the money, not earning it” – on the GeeksToy Forum (User: Millionaire Fund)
He made some good posts before disappearing if you care to look them up…
Trading on Betfair for a living brings its own problems too though, although admittedly some are nice problems to have:
- You’re financially free but instead of worrying about paying bills you’re worrying about reducing commission charges.
- Not that you’ll need it, but banks and lenders simply won’t believe how you make your money – even if they can see that Betfair deposits £10,000 into your account each month. Madness I know!
- Outsiders, spouses etc. generally thing you don’t do anything and are available to complete tasks for them (particularly trading from home).
- And of course, the most dangerous; the boost in income can attract the wrong crowd… the urge is to tell everyone about your new-found success. Be careful!
On the upside though, and probably the most enjoyable success is to know: You made it! ….and of course tell people you gamble for a living the first time you meet them!
In summary my main two pieces of advice to any progressing trader would be:
- Suck up every big of knowledge you can, absorb it all. Collect ‘edges’
- Learn about yourself, how you react, feel and most of all: take responsibility for your clicking.