Starting out as a sports trader – Scaling up

14/12/2016 | By | 4 Replies More

I was back on my small account on Monday. I was recording a few videos at low stakes (I posted one last week) and also giving instruction to my daughter; she is progressing nicely.

I’m also teaching a new recruit to the team. It’s interesting to watch and learn from newbies and how they look at the market. I feel like It’s a microcosm of the entire market. I ‘feel’ this in the market every day, but experiencing first hand in situ is useful. I think it’s easy to get detached and aloof if you don’t return to basics now and again.

I’m really enjoying trading at smaller levels, I think I know why.

The invisible man

As I mentioned in the last post, one of the problems I have is that working at large stakes is hard. Orders don’t get matched quickly so you have to wait. If you wait, you take more risk. The quicker you are in and out the less risk you take on a trade. That’s easier at small stakes.

If I trade at larger stakes, there may be times when I want to jump in and I become ‘visible’. Check out some of the graphs I’ve posted and you may see me. Sometimes opportunities merit just wading in, but most of the time I’m trying to be the invisible man.

Going for it

Trading at lower stakes gives me the ability to really go for it. I can max out my bank on a trade and feel fairly confident that I will get in and out without too much fuss. Knowing that gives me a bit more confidence. I can take a more ‘aggressive’ view of the market knowing I can exit quickly if needed.


In my previous session, I made just over £32 from my £400 or so bank. So this time, I had a little more money to play with. It makes sense to scale up as you go.

When I first started trading I used a bank of £1,000. I should really say, when I started trading seriously, because when I actually first started it was with tiny money while I got used to things. When I decided I wanted to go for it, I started with £1,000.

At the end of each week, I would slowly inch up stakes to bigger and bigger amounts. Getting a £100 week was the first target, then a £100 day, then I started thinking about if I could get a £100 race and upwards I went till it became a case of how much would the market take.

By not drawing down on my bank I accelerated the amount of money I could use. This had the advantage of getting me to higher stakes in a controlled manner and this created less pressure. If you start out using large amounts of money you immediately put pressure on yourself, so if you work with small amounts the returns can be small and frustrating but slowly increasing them will get you safely to higher stakes.


I traded 20 markets and got a profit from 17 of them, an 85% strike rate. Again this is more or less where I would want to be. I managed to avoid any big losses and found a little run of cracking trades. The 15:10 I had eyeballed at the very start of the session as a market I thought I should do well from.

Typically my approach is quite defensive. I don’t expect to lose, so I try and find markets and positions where that is less likely. I’ll scrape a profit out of them and now and again it will work really well. Sometimes, like the 15:10 I know way ahead of time what I expect to happen and when it does I just pile in.

My confidence was lifted with a really good trade to start. So that probably helped lift my results for the entire session. But it was a good session. I managed to avoid any big mistakes was consistent with smaller races and when I felt I’d found the right trade I traded it well.

My bank is now 1.5 times where I started, so the next time I use it my stakes will be lifted by a similar amount if the market accepts it.



Trading lesson

One of the things I taught my daughter on Monday, was not to be afraid of noise in the market. To do this I asked her to trade another account with just £2. It was done in such a way that she didn’t really have to pay it much attention. I gave her two really simple instructions: –

  • A simple selection criteria
  • An opening position that took only one click

You will note there was no exit strategy, that only came when the race was about to go inplay. You obviously have to exit your trade at this point. You can see she hit a 75% strike rate and that £2 stake generated a profit of £2. This excludes the moment she went in running on the 14:40, but won anyhow! I sort of wish that had ended in a loss.

It seems all newbies do this at least a few times before realising that it’s not a sensible strategy! Let’s hope that is not repeated. I’ve listed the results below. It’s such a simple process but one that is very effective at showing your true objective in a market.



Tags: , , , ,

Category: Featured, Trading strategies

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 (4)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Black Ice says:

    V interesting blog Peter. The big Qn is which horse did u trade in the 3.10? I wd guess it was High Command that came in from somewhere around 1.6 to 1.24 at BSP?..or was it one of the others that was on a major drift cos of the fav coming in. Wd be good to know as i have troubled to research the race! Many thanks,

  2. Black Ice says: many minutes b4 the off did you enter the market?…thanks

  3. Peter Webb says:

    Y, it was the short priced favourite. I’ve no idea what the name was!

    I quite like the shorties as I can read them pretty well and there were a number of favourable characteristics on this race.

    I spotted it a long way out when I profiled the card when I started trading but I can only really trade when good volume reaches the market so I tend to wait for that to arrive. That could me 10-2mins out, it varies by race.

  4. Black Ice says:

    Many thanks for reply Peter..very helpful. 1/4 on and it got beat!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.