Firedave trading Betfair with Bet Angel

Documenting my experiences with Bet Angel using BetFair. This will be used to record my progress as I take trading on full time.

Bet Angel - The most effective tool for Betfair

One of the main reasons for keeping the blog was to keep a diary of how my trading goes. This will help me learn and see how I was doing at the beginning to how I am doing now. Another reason of keeping the blog is to show others what is possible and how I am achieving the gains (although small at the moment, I feel these could become more impressive as my bank grows). To this end, I would like to say that my bank has gone from £20 to now £99.76 but not totally with trading. There were two events in between that helped. I am a huge fan of tennis, and when I saw Rafa Nadal playing the way he was at the French, then Queens, I was not going to miss the opportunity of backing him to win Wimbledon. This accounted for a small jump in fortune. The other, slightly larger increase (£20) was due to a good shout from my girlfriend. She wanted to place a bet on Spain in the football to win the Euros; which they did. The other £50 is from trading using Bet Angel. Since I started this blog back in March, it isn't terribly impressive amount for 5 months work. I do know I definitely wasn't trading anywhere near every week (let alone day). Ideally I would keep my betting account separate to my trading account. However, this would require me not to use Bet Angel as my interface (and having used it I find it hard to use BetFairs own interface!)

Aug 11, 2008

Steady going...

Although this seemed like just half an hours trading, it actually took place over an hour when I made a trade, went for a run in between the penultimate and last trades. These were awkward markets, as there was very little money. Try not to enter a market if no trends have formed (anything less than 300K is no good really). My bank is just shy of £95, this makes trading at size £3-£5 ticks very difficult when the price is low (Sub 2) and today all of the trading was around this value. However, a couple of swings I saw coming and was near the front a couple of times. I wanted to put my P&L up because I thought it showed what you could do in a short time with little effort. However, it wasn't as short as I thought it was and it wasn't a great bit of trading. However, I am now a few pence off the £100 mark. A few more days of this, and I hope to be able to trade the lower prices as often as the ones around the 5-8 mark. Happy trading (let me know if you use anything different to Bet Angel, always glad to hear other ways of making a few pence!) :D

Well I was getting itchy for a bit of trading. Having not done any for the last couple of weeks due to time pressures, I was wanting to have a quick session on Bet Angel. I opened up the market and selected a few markets to trade in the next half hour. The first race got off well with spotting the swing and taking a few ticks. I followed up with chasing the swing the other direction and made myself £2.56 after greening. OK, not huge amounts, but I was only using a £2 minimum bet...

I thought to myself, I can see what is happening here, let's try using the tick size as previously discussed. I set the tick size to £1, so every tick I make will make £1 before greening up. Had another stormer, where I had £10 on the favourite before greening. This turned into £3.01 after greening. I did 2 other races which were fairly small earners, dipped in and scratched out as I saw the money turning against me.

I know £5.57 isn't a lot, but with a bank of £90 it is a decent percentage. I think I will definitely continue with the tick size now my bank is large enough to sustain it. It also is becoming more profitable for the time invested. I think when I can get the tick size to be around £3-£5 it will be a lot more worth the time. On average, I will be hoping to take £5-£10 per race... but I will keep you posted on how that will pan out!

Aug 5, 2008

Tick Size

Tick size means, that for every tick I want to make/can afford to lose £x. This is set up in Bet Angel and means Bet Angel will calculate the amounts required to bet/lay to achieve the tick size.

Tick size is the most important criteria when judging how well you are doing. This eliminates the necessity of, how much do I need to bet or lay on a particular horse (or whichever market you are trading) but makes you think “How many ticks have I achieved today.” This shift in thought will really help with discipline and keep you on the straight and narrow.

At first I thought this was a bit of a gimmick. So I tried out the two scenarios. I tried a day of trading with set amounts based on what odds the market was offering, and I tried a day of trading using tick size. The day without the tick size enabled, I was still in profit and thought well what can tick size actually do for me. When I applied the tick size, I was amazed by the difference. When I checked my bank it had actually doubled the days profit. Now I am not saying that this is really a very good test, in fact I can see immediately that one day’s trading may well have been better than the other. However, what it did show me, was that it consistently made the correct choice (without me knowing.) At the end of the day I could clearly see that I was up 15 ticks. Whereas, before I could say my bank was up £x, but this didn’t relate to how well the day had gone (was this one big positive trade with lots of losses?)

Either way, use the tick size. It will help! If you don’t believe me, give it a try and let me know your comments! J

Hi! Sorry for the long time off period. I will be updating my blog over the next few weeks as a lot has happened since my last post. Getting more in to scraping, and in to the proper world of trading rather than odds betting. I have also had a mentoring session, which I will talk about in a separate post. The bank is up to £90 with only a couple of days trading from my last post. I will go over a few of the techniques that I have tried and failed, and that I have been more successful with. Also, I will have a couple of posts on whether this might be something I would like to do more full time, and commercial decisions that this would influence. The betfair market, reliability and sustainability are all aspects that I will be looking at as the credit crunch is well under way. Please keep posted, and I enjoy reading all the comments I have been getting. If anyone is keen to purchase the full license for Bet Angel, then please use the links on my blog. :)

Mar 19, 2008

Day 3

Perseverance with yesterdays trading strategy and a few dividends were paying off. I made the boundaries a bit tighter but found that they were more rarely hit (as you would logically think) This meant that when they were hit the horse more often than not went on to win. In the races that I could see some potential on dutching I tried out this. This effectively backs multiple horses to produce a profit. The easiest way to do this is to create an arbitrage, where the weight of money is over 100%, this does happen from time to time. An increase in risk is to ignore the complete outsiders and just back the horses who are in contention. With a £10 bet, you would lose £10 on the outsiders you were ignoring if they went on to win, but you would make £1-£2 on the any of the other horses if they go on to win. Anyway, £20.09, my balance is above what I put into the account (even though I got stung with the 30 pence transaction fee!)

Today was mixed, I was trying out a trading strategy where if the price of the horse dropped below 1.5 then place a back bet into the market at 1.3. This would be a fairly reasonable assumption, as the price will always tend to 1.01 as the horse nears the finish line in first place. This worked on the first race and turned a neat 1.31 profit. On the second race this was a little too vague and the price came in to 1.3 but then went out to around 2.5 as another horse overtook. If I were more alert I could have backed the other horse or should have looked at dutching the two prominent horses. Either way, I lost £3.98 on this race and am £2.67 down on the day. I think over more races with slightly tighter limits this would be a pretty good tactic but I saw the loss and decided enough was enough for the day!

I have a slight admission to make, thankfully I have this blog to keep me honest! After seeing how easy it was to make these small bits of profit I upped the stake to £10 and had a go. Now, I wasn’t planning on doing this for quite a while and I think this is what is referred to as emotion in betting! Anyway, the market moved the wrong way and caused me a loss of 88 pence. This was compounded by the fact that I didn’t green up, so I actually got the full weight of the loss. Note to self, quit when you’re ahead and don’t let yourself be seduced into anything until you know how it all works!

15 pence. Yes 15! So using stakes of £2 I have managed to get a back and a lay in the market with the lay a tick above the back. This gave me a small and modest profit of 20 pence which I greened out to guarantee me 3p. I did this a few times on different markets and even managed to do it a couple of times on one race! This was using the one click interface with global settings. This allows us to automatically choose when to place a back into the market a tick away so all I had to do was click ‘lay’ at the correct time and it does the rest for me! A positive start!

I have created an account with BetFair and deposited (a rather small amount) £20.


Okay, I can hear you all saying it “You’re a big spender!”  well, you’re right, I can’t emphasise this enough.  I have no idea how this may pan out, I could win big or I could lose.  What I really want to do is make sure I know what I am doing before using larger amounts of money.  The minimum stake in BetFair is £2 so I will be doing these for now until I get the hang of it! In fact, when I put the money into BetFair I got stung with a 30 pence transaction fee for using my credit card.  More accurately I have £19.70 in my trading account!

Every blog/story should have a beginning and this is mine. 


“A bet exchange allows punters (gamblers) to bet at odds set and requested by other punters rather than by a bookmaker. Members can make both 'Back' bets (normal bets on a selection to win) and 'Lay' bets (bets on the opposite side of the Back, against the selection), thereby eliminating the traditional bookmaker.


Betfair uses decimal odds, which are easier to calculate with than fractional odds. Its bookmaking model brings together two counterparties with opposing views, and thus removes the need for a bookmaker's markup or overround. At the more fancied end of the market the odds offered on Betfair tend to be closer to the bookmakers' odds, whereas for a more speculative bet the odds available may be over 50% higher on Betfair, more accurately reflecting the bet's true chances of success. Betfair punters are able to offer odds based on their own opinion rather than on a set bookmakers' margin. Betfair charges a commission on all winning bets, which is set at 5% of the net winnings for most markets, although according to how much a client wagers on the site, it is possible to reduce the amount of commission paid to as low as 2%.” - taken from Wikipedia


With this knowledge I have been looking at ways at best exploiting this potential to make money (in safety and not just by gambling!)  The leading tool in the market for doing this (in my opinion) is Bet Angel.  I have just created an account and am going to document my progress be it good; or more likely at this stage bad!  I am being very realistic about my chances as a complete novice and expect to lose more often than not.  Hopefully by documenting what I have been through it will show that even as a novice you can still make money by trading and creating a margin.  This is different to creating a complete arbitrage of the market, although you will still be able to do these if they occur on the market. 


The market I will be looking at will prominently be horse racing, although I may at times look at other markets to see how they move.  With horse racing we can make general assumptions such as “A horse will definitely win (assuming the race is not cancelled)”  with this knowledge we can make sensible decisions before the off to try and make a little margin.  Another feature with Bet Angel that really made my mind up to use it for this experiment is the greening up button.  When some profit is made on a contending horse, and you don’t want to trade the market any longer you can press the greening up function and it will spread all the profit over each horse.  This means that you will make some (it splits the amount of profit for one horse as equally as possible over all horses) profit no matter what.  If you just had loss on the one horse it would do the same with loss but a smaller amount – this is good if you make a mess and just want to take a smaller hit for certain rather than gambling that you might make a bigger loss.  As I post I will try and use pictures and text to describe what particular trading strategy I will use and how it faired.  That way you can see the mistakes (or successes!) I make and maybe adapt these for yourself. J