5 Stages To Trading on Betfair For A Living (+Speeding Them Up)

Posted on Posted in Betfair, Psychology

successful trading

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…

Lightbulb Trading Betfair for a Living

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…

You’ve realised that if you’re to be trading on Betfair for a living then only one thing matters; consistency.

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!

Related: Simple Horse Racing Trading Strategies

In summary my main two pieces of advice to any progressing trader would be:

  1. Suck up every big of knowledge you can, absorb it all. Collect ‘edges’
  2. Learn about yourself, how you react, feel and most of all: take responsibility for your clicking.

51 thoughts on “5 Stages To Trading on Betfair For A Living (+Speeding Them Up)

  1. I think I’m still at the first stage and have a lot of learning to do. I know one of my problems is trading out for a small loss when the market goes against me. I keep thinking it will come back and I can salvage something and of course I lose more as its too late to get out. I think I need to tell myself to get out for a small loss and start afresh. As you’ve stated before Caan, it’s the overall picture to look at not just one trade. As long as you win more than you lose. Thanks for the posts they’re really informative.

  2. After a whole year of trading I think I am between 2 and 3 now. Extremely good post. This is exactly how I would describe my journey. And I see the light in the tunnel more bright now.

    1. Yes, it’s frustrating Tom as you don’t know how far off you are from that split second… so many give up when the reality is it could only be a day or so away 🙂

  3. stage 3 creeping forward but don’t like the losing trades. Still got a lot to learn about closing out for a small lose instead of turning it into a bigger one.
    Good Blog mate a cracking read

  4. I think I am nearly there,especially after my purchase of the video pack,I am at 4 I would say ,so sticking with it ,you really are the real deal ,every one of your articles are worth studying ,( any new videos coming to the video pack ??)

  5. Caan this is one of the best articles you wrote. As you said, people will take your advice to lightly but those who will make it will understand. Keep up with good work !

  6. So good to see that even the top traders like yourself have gone through what others and myself are going through at our novice level. Great article. Think I’m midway through no. 3 and looking forward to completing it and now knowing what to look for when I’m at step 4 and 5. Thanks for the heads up especially the tips about others. Reading trading in the zone and it’s slowly putting mindset pieces together. It’s basically what you already know…..risk managemnt is real people! Cheers again Caan and keep up the great helpful articles.

  7. Stage 3 I’d say Caan. Slowly becoming comfortable of taking losses and aware of impact of mindset on Trading actions, and knowing when I’m not feeling right. Bank is still small and get the occasional drawdown. Working on consistency. Feels a long way off still and get times when I wonder if wasting my energy

    1. You are describing me! lol! I find one positive about social media, I would of given up if it wasn’t for other peoples support so keep going Kodiac!

  8. hi caan i purchased your both trading guide and video pack..through them i acquired so much knowledge about trading and iam making few dollars consistantly every day ..and also iam fearing because i didnt know is this legal in india or not, because betdaq is not accessable from india,,but betfair has no issues,,pls help me on this that i have any alternative because iam earning great profits through football daily like more than 300 to 400 dollars

  9. When I read this blog I felt someone was spying on me…It’s me down to a T……But now that I know more about myself, I am going to slow down and be very wary of the mistakes Ive made in the past….Thank you so much for this blog very helpful eye opener…

  10. Have to say Caan that if it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t be trading, it’s been a very long and expensive journey but now starting to turn regular profits, had my first three figure win only yesterday, beats me why more people don’t try it?

  11. Hey Caan, could you make a post (or do you have a post) about this “friends are becomingly increasingly interested when they see the fruits of your new-found success. Be wary of that by the way…” and this “the urge is to tell everyone about your new-found success. Be careful!” I definitely have those urges constantly, what are the cons of doing it? If people ask what you do, how do you deal with it?

  12. Great post. Been trading on and off part time across mainly football, done ok, mastered a few strategies. Made redundant and now have big bank and going full time. At stage 4 been through other stages and back again! Confident the psychology side is there – discipline. Wait….wait….wait….then pounce! If it tuns against you I will be jacking my ass outta the market quick! Hers to my new future!

  13. Thanks very much Caan. This isn’t my first time at giving trading a crack. This article is very helpful and I can relate to large parts of it. I think that I am in the transitional period between stages 2 and 3. This hasn’t been easy, even this time around, but things feel different this time, don’t feel as demoralised. Things feel as though they’re starting fall into place and I feel as though I am spotting a lot of patterns (obviously room for improvement). Discipline has been lacking and I have made stupid errors, but I am continuing to work on that side of my game including re-reading chunks of “Trading in the Zone” etc. It is all good fun and a nice challenge to get my teeth into at the moment. I hope to join you all…..one day

    Thanks again Caan, all of your articles and blogs are much appreciated

    All the best

    Michael

    1. No problems Michael, thanks for taking the time to post and give me some feedback. Hopefully I hear youve made it further down the line and are trading on Betfair for a living!

  14. Hi Caan your so right I have recently started trading it’s not easy and so much to learn at the moment nothing is going right I have tried Australian market on horses no luck but I feel the market there is so out of line it is hard to call so I believe I need to stick to British events and build up my knowledge and stop going from one strategy to another and look at trades differently I find it hard to read the market but I feel I have jumped feet first if this makes sense your so true in what your are saying I need to keep it simple and take little wins and build my experience up problem I find in trades is that I seem to let the winning period slip through me in trades maybe I trade to much on a race any advice you could give me would be brilliant I have studied so many videos from you it looks easy but it’s not as simple and easy as you make it look do I need to look at the graphs more or give myself more time pressure race as I belive sometimes I trade 5 minutes or less before a trade and maybe jumping in to nearly??thanks again
    ANTHONY

  15. I am fluctuating between stage 1 and 4 and can’t break the cycle! I can make steady profit but fall for the old trading problem of staying in too long on the trades when they start going pear shaped hoping that the price will come back!

    The odd thing for me is for the first half of my trading day (daytime horse racing meetings only) I am very disciplined and can walk away from a losing trade as I know there is plenty of time left to get it back. But it’s when I have say 13/13 green trades I do whatever it takes not to have a red one…..so I stick with losing trades too long with the liabilities getting bigger.

    I am so close to cracking it but need to iron out this “perfectionist flaw” I have when on a decent run! Maybe stopping at a certain profit amount might do it, but it’s hard to do that when it’s all going right!

  16. you just described every step I’ve been though so far. I made a profit on almost every trade at first and was tempted to hand in my notice. It seemed the more I learned, the worse I got.

  17. This is just perfect, It describes most of my ongoing journey, The best thing Ive read about trading.
    10 out of 10 Caan. I have your book and Video Pack, but this tells the whole journey not just the edge an how to implement them. Great. Regards, Max.

  18. i am definitely stage 2 tried trading lost some money so stopped I think I have learnt not to chase a loss luckily
    made my bank back up with match betting just because its the safer way but this trading bug has never left me so after reading various blogs and scouring the net for tips I decided to give trading another go, buying the pre race guide and now the video tutorials hopefully should give me some kind of help

  19. I was so glad I read the 5 stages thread it actually helps put your head right as sometimes I was thinking I should be better than this etc etc but on reading this I really am on stage 2…..but trying to break through into stage 3 is harder than I thought but at least I am on the up. I also found Leytons comments to be true and the more I learnt the harder it seemed to profit. I will have some party when I break into stage 3!!!!
    By the way Caan just as a quick question. With all your knowledge and experience in pre race trading if you were having to use £50 stakes how much would you expect to make daily and to make that profit how many races would you expect to trade. I realise its a taboo thing about daily earnings etc but just a rough guess will do.
    Do you find trading the greyhounds beneficial (if you do actually trade them with volume so low)

    Thanks
    P

  20. Hi Caan,

    thank you very much. Amazing article!
    I think I am on stage 3 and good to know I am on the right track.
    Now I just have to train myself to have the right mind set and discipline and follow it.

    Thanks again.

  21. Caan,

    I’ve got to say mate, this is one of the best articles for an introduction to Sports Trading I have read over my many years of dipping in and out of using all of the platforms.
    I’ve still not mastered it, and with time constraints it’s been a long learning path, but the whole reason for me joining your site is because I now feel I have learnt to completely discipline myself after going through the gung-ho approach in the past, winning a grand one day, then blowing it the next. A pure gamblers attitude.
    Turning a profit is my main aim (duh obvs!!), and feel that now I’ve learnt the self-control part I am fully prepared to listen and take onboard any advice from someone that talks straight!
    I will not give up!
    I cannot recommend this article highly enough, and will be scanning this site from page to page absorbing as much information as I can.

    Cheers, Blip

  22. I’m gonna start reading these blogs, never bothered before. I’m still at stage 2 after a year of trying. Great to know it’s not just me that’s Mr. Erratic, chasing losses, refusing to take a loss. Thanks Caan.

  23. Hi caan can’t thank you enough for all the guidance you have shown me in the last 9 months of my journey ,I read the book trading in the zone and it’s well worth a read ,I have experienced the times of giving up like most but I kept on it and now I am consistently making good money and thinking of going full time next year !your a inspiration and a real source of wisdom and advice !not many of you about .I believe I am close to the last stage but still have lots to learn and will keep doing so !

  24. Is it possible to earn money with a short amount of time daily, such as 2 hours or is this a full time job. I’ve made some money matched betting but after a couple of gubbs I’m looking at this.

    1. Hi, sure it’s possible. But most people don’t make money straight away no. Trading isn’t matched betting at all, it’s different. I wouldn’t want to mislead you, have a look about – too many think they are the same 🙂

      You’ll soon see you can make way more trading on Betfair (for a living or not). But it’s not as easy to master as matched betting.

  25. As usual a good article and always helpful . I trade in play on the horses and have recently started making good money but I always feel as if there is something round the corner to break the winning cycle and cant believe that I am at last making good profits. I have been through all the stages before as you have and nearly given up a few times but always persisted cos I knew somehow there was a way to make money from Betfair . I think the ideal Betfair trader has to have certain qualities which are developed over time and the main ones are self discipline and judgement..
    All the best for the future Caan

  26. I read this post before but such a good post I’ve just gone through it again,
    About June time I lost my bank making silly decisions which even at the time I knew was wrong,
    I stopped trading totally for a month but instead went through all the notes I’d wrote and blogs and videos I’d read and watched and wrote myself a set of rules, I now stick to them and seen to be seeing everything much clearer,
    Being in the right state of mind is just as important as reading the market,
    I’m now steadily building up my bank and with the tennis season coming to a close I’m looking forward to the break then a positive 2018,
    Thanks for all the YouTube videos, blogs, etc caan,
    Cheers
    Scott

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