Opportunties are what you make them
There are many ways to do your Betfair trading, but I believe there are three key stages if you want to make the most of any Betfair trading strategy.
I still trade manually, but my repertoire of available options and what I do on a daily basis has changed a lot over the years. This year I estimate I will trade somewhere between 35-50,000 markets. I could do that without following my particular path through the markets. So this is the progression that I had on that long journey.
Step one – Manual trading
Most people start by manually trading.
Doing something in the market that involves opening a position, then closing it and hedging that position. This is really where you should be starting. Get some structure into your trading. Understand what you are doing and why and then look for that opportunity in the market.
In the old days, you would use the website to place bets or trades into the market, but that’s inefficient by modern standards and therefore you should be using some Betfair trading software.
Step two – Manual trading with Betfair trading software
Using any software like Bet Angel is always going to be a step up from using a website. On a website, you have many clicks and keypresses to open and order, enter a stake when putting it in the market. Repeat that to close and hedge a position. It’s time-consuming and laborious and somebody will be doing it quicker than you.
Therefore, most ‘manual trading’ is now considered to be using some Betfair trading software, but manually invoking its functions yourself by clicking and placing trades yourself. When you manual trade in this manner you are usually looking for an entry or exit point. As such you have a process for your Betfair trading strategy, but your actions are to trade it yourself.
To some extent or another, I’ve always traded manually. I trade manually because opportunities can present themselves at any moment and I’m happy to jump on them.
Of course, you can do this completely manually, but even my manual trading now contains several elements to it. This means that the only manual part is the actual placement process. But that is guided by tools, options and other information that is presented to me on Bet Angel.
The main reason we allow significant modification and the ability to gather and push information into your favoured Bet Angel interface, is so that you can have a guiding hand when manual trading. Even if you are just a manual trader, Bet Angel will allow you to do what you wish, even better.
Semi automated trading
To some extent, Bet Angel has always done some level of semi-automation. Using the Global Settings you have been able to get Bet Angel to do things such as offsetting, batching, stops, fill or kill orders and so on. You could place one order and Bet Angel would do all the work for you in managing that position.
But Servants, available via Guardian automation, took things to a whole new level.
Servants are context triggered automation. What does that mean? The idea of servants is that you watch your TV pictures, your trading screen or whatever is most important to you and Bet Angel does the rest. You click a mouse, press a keyboard button or gaming device and Bet Angel will swing into action creating the perfect trading position.
Your mouse or keystroke determines which selection you are active on, but the rules you put into the trade can tell it exactly what to do and when. It’s a great mixture of the skill of manual trading combined with the speed and precision of automation.
Fully automated trading
For a long time, really serious fully automated trading wasn’t possible on Betfair.
Betfair had a number of restrictions in place due to limitations with their API and available resource on the exchange. Despite this various levels of automation were available in Bet Angel as we were able to work around these issues.
When Betfair changed the API to allow streaming the opportunities for Advanced automation exploded and we completely re-wrote Bet Angel to take advantage of that.
Automation makes trading simpler and more effective because you can adopt a ‘set and forgot’ approach to your trading and get objective feedback from the market. That’s much harder if you are just manually trading. When manually trading you may introduce some objectivity into your trading that’s difficult to measure.
When automating you can start with a simple strategy or by replicating a manual trading strategy. From there you can build additional layers and complexity to create some great pieces of automation. We have designed it to be simple to use, via drop-down menus, while still containing features that are familiar to traditional coders.
But automation can do a lot more besides. It can gather data on your trading for analysis and improvement and also hunt alert you to opportunities that you would miss if you acted purely manually.
It’s a whole new world to explore.
I now have multiple bits of automation often running simultaneously on the same markets. All looking for opportunities, or alerting me to things it can see. I also run automation pretty much 24×7 now. So even when I’m sleeping I’m still trading!
How to have your cake and eat it!
I had a really simple start, trying to arb on the Betfair betting exchange by taking back bets with bookmakers and sportsbooks. Something people would recognise as matched betting now.
My first arb turned into an ‘on exchange’ arb where I put both back and lay orders on the exchange. That turned into trading, then that turned into software in its own right and more advanced strategies. I couldn’t have dreamed how everything would have turned out. It was a sort of unplanned progression.
I now find myself trading pretty much 24×7 across a whole range of sports and markets.
Rather than my manual trading starting point, I feel more like a conductor of an orchestra; but perhaps one sat in the pit with an instrument as well.
I wave my hands around instructing various levels of automation and semi-automation, but also join in during key moments in whatever piece we are playing. When we retire for the evening, I’ll start writing my next piece of music.
It feels like a natural progression in the market and your understanding of the market.
You start manually, prodding and probing the market. You then automate all or some aspects of your entry or exit using some form of alerts or semi-automation. Soon you will be ready to take the final step of fully automating.
Once there you can still manually trade, but take feedback from automation to improve further or to supplement what you are doing.
But the best thing I like about it is, that even when I’m not trading, I’m still trading. It’s really the best of both worlds!