The journey to becoming a successful full-time professional Betfair trader isn’t a short one and it has had some unexpected twists and turns, both personally and professionally. There are many hurdles and things I have had to take on to even make good trading decisions, stop losing money and grow my trading account.
Over the next few posts, I am going to share my story with you, about how I quit the day job and became a successful trader.
The readers of this blog are a mix of those who trade part time and some who trade full time, but hopefully, no matter what stage you are at, this will inspire you but also allow you to learn from it too.
Where I started
To understand where I am today, you need to wind the clock back to my childhood and the spark that created everything.
When I was young I loved playing sport. That was about all I enjoyed really and didn’t particularly excel academically. As a result, I just bumbled through school.
One day I visited a friend; his Dad has just bought a Commodore Pet. My friend showed me how to get it to put my name up on the screen and from that simple start, I started to dabble in home computers. I coaxed my Dad into buying a ZX81 and I started to mess around with it.
My Dad often handed me his football pools coupon, so the first thing I really tried to do was to code something to analyse football matches. The idea was to try and understand what created a draw. I looked at many different things, but by collecting and analysing football results I slowly realised what ‘created’ a draw.
Everybody thought I was away with the fairies. But in spite of that, I set about optimising my football pools entry to try and get some dividends. Slowly but surely, the dividends started to come in. Before long I was winning multiple small dividens and as the dividend count headed into may hundreds, it eventually culminated in the ultimate reward, a first dividend on Littlewoods Pools. I still have the entry coupon and it sits in a frame on the wall of my office. A first dividend on Littlewoods was the maximun you could get and was my long term goal.
All this activity on the football pools, as a betting environment, sparked my interest in Gambling markets and I started to research how they worked and if there was a way to profit from them. Ultimately, with predictable results.
I learned on the football pools, that a lot of the money staked had no rationale behind it. People just used birthdays, lucky numbers etc. With so much ‘dumb’ money around, I thought that in the long term I may be able to perform better than chance, which is exactly what happened.
My start on gambling markets proper was to look at how bookmakers made the markets, what drove those prices and where inefficiencies could exist. I knew nothing about horse racing so I avoided those markets and focused on football instead.
Borrowing a trick from the football pools, I started doing some very complicated bets to cover off unlikely scenarios and maximise more certain ones. Despite being useless at maths when I was at school, my attempts on the football pools forced me to get my finger out and start working with probabilities and combinations. Basically, I was trying to optimise entries by ordering bets in a certain manner and by using very efficient covering combinations.
Banned from bookmakers
I managed to bag some really nice wins from the bookies, but it wasn’t long before I realised that with such huge over rounds the whole game was completely unfair unless you had some sort of special knowledge to overcome the bookmaker’s margin.
I also had this issue that bookmakers started to refuse my bets. I couldn’t place these bets by phone, I had to go into the bookmakers on a high street to place them. Initially, they would happily accept them. But when the first big win hit, it would often get referred to head office. Eventually, I started to run out of places that would accept my bets.
As I was trying to save money and get a head start in life without taking on debt. I shared a car with my girlfriend, who is now my wife. I started traveling to new towns and finding places to place bets, but this was turning out to a bit of a grind. Given my stage of life and the difficulty with getting the bets on and feeling the ‘system’ was working against me. I felt I had to find something else.
The next part of the trading journey was clear. As well as having a full-time job I was moonlighting at a local independent financial advisor. I started to get really interested in invesment and the stock market. So I turned to the biggest gambling market of the lot, the stock market….
Thanks for reading part one. When part two is ready, I will link to it here.