My Sports trading journey – Part three

11/01/2013 | By | 2 Replies More

Links to Part one, Part two

Betting exchanges arrive on the scene

I placed my first bet on a betting exchange on June 5th 2000. It was a bet on the FTSE close market, which I won. It took until 11th June before I did my first sports bet which was on Tiger Woods US Open win market. Both these were on Flutter, being a slacker, I didn’t join Betfair till the 18th June.

My approach was quite simple to start with. Because of my previous experience I’d learned that there was likely to be money made by arbitraging. Betting exchanges gave me the opportunity to lay the first time ever, so I decided to try and find the best price I could find any bookmaker and lay a lower price on the exchange. Hey presto it worked, but only on a very small scale, but it was a fun way to participate while I was busy with a ‘normal’ job.

One morning I woke up and realised that I could actually place two bets on the exchange and if both of these prices got matched, that’s always been a big if, I would make money. It was an epiphany and it felt like I’d discovered that one thing I was searching for all those years before. However the idea was only that, an idea. As always, it wasn’t as straight forward as it first seemed. When I first started doing it, it felt like I had discovered a possible quirk in the system and I feared it may be stopped soon after I discovered it. Looking back that was a little irrational. But its very rare in your life will you actually ‘discover’ something, so I didn’t say much about it at first. As we know now it’s common place and, with betfair’s cash out feature, this technique has actually become a unique selling point of betting exchanges.

In the very early days liquidity was incredibly poor and therefore you couldn’t really do much, certainly not do it for a living! But over time liquidity started to improve and a virtous cycle started up. Up to that point I’d stayed with markets I was familiar with, which was generally football, golf and financial markets. But the thing that caught my eye was horse racing. There were so many races on all the time and the money in the market was enormous in comparison to other sports at the time. So I faced probably the biggest challenge ever which was to understand how to try and make money from horse racing. I had to learn about horse racing! In fact it turned out that I managed to survive with very little knowledge of racing. I’ve got a bit better since then, but then so have a few other things.

I was still at a formative stage at this point. I was also in my early 30s and for years haboured a strong desire to work for myself.  But my normal career was still headed in the right direction though and over time I had gradually progressed to more and more senior roles. I was travelling a lot, as I worked for international companies and I quite enjoyed that. So the dream of working for myself seemed further away than ever. But the desire was still there!

Next part… The leap into the unknown!

031229 - Betfair football 3 - Copy

Betfair screenshoot from 2003 – Yep, I was archiving data right back then!


Category: Using Bet Angel

About the Author ()

I left a good job in the consumer technology industry to go a trade on Betfair for a living way back in June 2000. I've been here ever since pushing very boundaries of what's possible on betting exchanges and loved every minute of it.

Comments (2)

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  1. toughstart says:

    Will you be posting any further parts to this ‘journey’?

  2. Peter Webb says:

    Yes, just very busy this week on the early rounds of the Australian Open.

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