As more and more interest is shown in the forum about this subject I decided to write some articles about it. I trade tennis for a living for the past 5 years so I think I am in a position to share something from my experience. This post is intended for arbers with limited experience in trading. A more detail post will follow about tennis trading.
First let me tell you how I got into arbing and how I found this forum. Unlike most of you guys I discovered trading before arbing. At that time I was enjoying success in my trading but wanted to give arbing a go and see what it’s all about. Having already had plenty of trading knowledge it was very easy for me to figure out what I have to do: live tennis arbing (mainly between bet365, marathonbet and betfair). It was mind blowing: easy, fast, risk free profits. Why would anyone want to risk his money in trading when you can make easy profits in arbing ? I was thrilled to have found arbing. It only took me a couple of weeks until limits started to come. I tried a couple of friends accounts but limits came even faster. So I quickly understood that arbing comes with a price and I am not willing to pay it. I don’t want to be bookie dependent I want to make my profits in the long run without being worried about limits and suspended accounts so I got back to trading.
Once you grow tired of being limited and opening accounts the next logic step is to start trading. The big advantage in trading is that you can do this under one ID. It is possible (but not recommended) to do it under one single Betfair account. Another big advantage in trading is: you don’t have to be right at the end of the outcome, you have to be right only for a selected part of the match. So concepts like backing a loosing team and making profits, or laying a player trailed by 4-1 in the first set and be in a profitable position even if he lost that set by 6-3 are possible in trading.
There’s three important aspects to work on: money management, trading strategies/systems and trading psychology. The last part is often under rated so I’m going to share a story from my first year as a professional sport trader to see what can happen when approaching the markets with a wrong state of mind. After about two years of part time trading I took the big decision to go full time. It all started great, I was on a roll with five consecutive very profitable months, French Open was coming and I had high expectations. I approached the tournament way too excited. In the first round I made 15 consecutive losing trades (short priced favorites, outsiders, players serving for the match, even money trades etc.) it all went against me. It was the biggest loosing streak I have ever had (it’s actually pretty hard to make 15 consecutive loosing trades, even if you flip a coin you get some right
) I blew a big chunk of my bank that day. We all know the best thing to do when facing a heavy loss is to take a few days off but how could I stop when the French Open was in full swing ? I went on and it was a complete disaster. I’m talking about months of profits blown in a few days. Trading for recovery and don’t set the expectations properly can lead to disaster. Don’t make the mistake to underrate psychology.
Trading can be done both prematch and inplay. Prematch trading is safer and easier, you can take your time to make decisions, market moves much slower, it’s great to be used in the beginning but the opportunities and rewards are limited. Eventually you’ll want to move your focus to inplay trading, that’s where the real fun is.
I made a Q & A for any Arber that wants to give trading a shot. If you have any other questions feel free to ask.
1. Where do I start ?
Select a niche (market/sport). We’ve all seen P/L from users that trade 5-6-7 sports. If you have limited experience with trading it’s a mistake. Focus on one sport. The markets behave different from one sport to another and the last thing you need is to get confuse. Once you’ve mastered one sport move on to another.
2. What are the best sports for trading
Horse racing: best sport for prematch trading. Tens of races every day high liquidity high volume this sport offers a lot of trading opportunities, arguably the sport with the most opportunities. However if you are living in a country where the information about horse racing is limited you might give it a second thought.
Football: Plenty of markets to trade here as well: match odds, under over, correct score, half time etc. You can combine certain markets here ex: back the home team to win, cover it with correct score 0-0, 0-1 etc. Scalp the under/over goals market: whenever you see an injury it’s a great time to make a few ticks. Lay the draw, back the draw etc. A downside to football is that most of the matches are played during the weekend some in the same time, whilst in the middle of the week is pretty quiet.
Cricket: I have limited experience here but I saw plenty of markets hitting 20 millions traded on Betfair so there are definitely plenty of opportunities here as well.
Basketball: there isn’t as much liquidity on this sport but definitely doable.
Since my focus is mainly on tennis I will leave this sport for another more detailed post.
3. I know what sport I want to trade, what next.
Get as much experience as you can. Watch matches, trade markets, get the feel of how markets behave in certain conditions. Follow experience traders in your selected sport. There are plenty of videos on youtube with trading and strategies.
4. What does it take to be successful in sports trading ?
An edge ! Whether is knowledge, experience, information, statistics, mathematics, automatic betting, modeling etc. You’ll be competing against other traders; what looks like a good entry point to you might look as a valuable exit point for somebody else. Since you are at the beginning you obviously have no edge or clue what you edge might be but in time with enough experience you’ll figure something out. This things go hand in hand.
5. What is the biggest challenge I will face ?
Facing losses. As an arber you are probably used with slow steady income, with some occasional losses (when you can’t cover your bets, bookies void you winning bets etc.). When trading you will inevitably face some ugly loosing streaks. You need to look at the bigger picture, what you are looking for is longer term profit.
6. How long before enjoying success in trading?
Depending on your experience might take you a few months or a few years to start making regular income. An advice here: use small stakes at the beginning, if you are to loose money, might as well loose small. But I wouldn’t look at it as lost money, more like money used to learn the markets. The best way to go here is to mix your arbing with trading. This way you will keep your profits and slowly starting to learn new ways of making profits.
7. Betfair premium charge?
Once you hit a net profit on you betfair account of 250k, you will have to face a 50 to 60% premium charge. It is inevitably a concern for any aspiring trader. You don't want to spend so much time and effort to learn the markets only to be stopped by betfair premium charge when you are successful. Two things I want to mentions here: First, 250k is more then a decent amount. If you can make it, go for it. Second: there are ways to avoid it, this forum offers great solutions. Plus other exchanges are getting better at inplay trading, I've started to move some of my tennis trading to Matchbook.
to be continued ...