In-play confusion netted a Betfair trader £10,000

So if you’re trading on pretty much any sport, one of the pieces of advice that I would give you is simple: read the rules!


Because if you don’t, you could fall into a number of traps. It’s also important to understand what governs the settlement of a market within an individual sport as well. If you do that, then you’ll probably be able to spot a few opportunities where the market makes a mistake…

On one such occasion that happened recently, a Bet Angel user made £10,000 in just one horse race in just a few minutes!

Now in this instance this was mainly down to a misinterpretation of the rules, so let’s look at exactly what he did to make an incredible trade.

So what are market rules and what do they do?

On a betting exchange the market rules are there to govern, they have to be fair to both sides of the book (backers and layers.) It’s not like a traditional bookmaking set up where if you do something crazy, the bookmaker can adjust it or make a commercial decision on whether the interpretation of the rules or the market were correct.

Betting exchange’s are hard and fast because they need to balance out both sides. If you’ve backed something and it favours a layer you wouldn’t feel too happy, so ultimately there’s a set of rules in place that determine and governs exactly how a market will be settled and exactly what the market is.

However, there have been instances where people have completely misinterpreted the rules. The most recent was the next U.S. president market where people were betting on something that simply couldn’t happen according to the rules. Funnily enough this even happened twice!

Check out this video if you’d like to learn more!

Read the rules!

So one of the messages that I’ve got for you today is: always read the rules, understand completely the market that you’re active in and what the rules mean for the way the market’s going to be settled or how things could change.

Now most of the time, that’s pretty clear and if you get a bit of experience in a market, you’ll begin to understand exactly what that scenario is and how it could influence the outcome of things.

For example on horse racing, it’s fairly standard if you’re trading but there are situations where if you perform one strategy or another that could radically affect the way that the market is settled, depending upon what is goes on.

In racing there are at least two markets over the course of the year that are very high profile which are initially created as false markets. Even I’ve fallen into that trap when I first started out, everybody does it so I don’t feel too aggrieved if you fall into the same trap every now and again.

No harm in being cautious.

Now generally for the day to day stuff, things are pretty obvious, neat and tidy, but there are situations where unusual things can happen. If you see an opportunity that’s too good to be true, then you can always pop onto the forum and ask for advice and somebody will correct you fairly quickly if they think you’re making a mistake.

There’s no harm in asking because there is no such thing as a stupid question. I’ve fallen into traps and in the past and I’m sure anybody that’s new to this game may also fall into trap. By and large, you can basically be rest assured that most markets are fairly clear and plain. It’s just the odd exception that occurs sometimes catches people out.

If you want to know what the rules are and each underlying market, then you can do that. Go to the Betfair website, click on the ‘i’ icon, and that will bring up a set of rules.

Click on the grey ‘i’ button to bring up the rules

So what happened to allow him to bag £10k?

You see the interesting thing is sometimes the actual rules of the sport can determine something really unusual. This was a situation that occurred fairly recently at Fontwell where something unusual happened.

Now if you were smart, then you would actually be able to take advantage of that and indeed, one Bet Angel user did, making an awful lot of money very quickly. He achieved this simply because he knew exactly what the rules of the underlying sport meant for what he could see on the screen. In fact, it was actually highlighted somewhat as the market unfolded as well.

In order to understand what he did and how the rules influence the settlement of the market which created this opportunity, let’s actually examine what happened in that race.

Hurdle Hardship!

In this particular race, as the horses were coming around to meet one of the hurdles, one of the horses clipped the top of the hurdle and had to be pulled up.

So the jockey decided to pull up the horse and dismounted on the course where they decided to attend to the horse immediately at that particular section of the course.

Now, of course that created an obstacle and the horses were going to be coming back round to meet that hurdle again on the next loop of the course. So they took measures to try and alert the jockeys to exactly what was going on which caused a moment of confusion.

So what we’re looking at here is a jumps race and as the name suggests, they have to clear all obstacles to be able to win the race legitimately. Obviously, what happened on this particular occasion was that all but one of the horses actually cleared the obstacle.

There was a certainly amount of confusion, but the interesting thing was that the jockey on the horse that actually jumped the hurdle came out and said:

Now, the interesting thing was that the commentator picked up on this almost immediately and indicated that it looked like all of the horses that missed it weren’t going to actually qualify to win the race. In fact, the only horse that would technically win the race was the one that actually jumped that hurdle.

So all of the horses carried on around the course as though nothing had happened and the race was run in the same manner in which you would typically expect.

Of course, the funny situation that we had here was that the horse that crossed the line first wasn’t actually the winner because the only winner of the race would actually be the horse that had finished and crossed all those obstacles. The interesting thing about this race was as the winner went across the line and the market was suspended, you could still back the actual winner of the race (the horse that wasn’t disqualified) at a fairly good price.

You could also back the horse that finished first as well. This created a lot of confusion in the market and one really astute Bet Angel user understood what had happened and had picked the right horse. He knew the rules of the market, they understood the rules of the underlying sport itself and took full advantage of this opportunity.

Profiting from the opportunity

So somewhat ironically, I wasn’t able to profit from this! As you know, I tend to do pre-off racing predominantly. I do some in-play stuff and a lot of that is automated because my main focus is on looking at the next opportunity that’s coming around the corner. However, I always have the racing on in the background so that I could tell that something unusual was happening.

Now this Bet Angel customer got in contact with me to say, did you see what happened to Fontwell? It was then that I figured out that something unusual happened and he sent me his P&L.

The unusual thing about the screenshot is that he obviously had to be decisive and take action. So as the horses were coming towards the finish line, something really unusual was happening and that was that the price on the horse that was in the lead that crossed the line first was shortening.

Now of course, the horse that was way back of the field was the only horse that had actually managed to successfully clear all the hurdles. So therefore, all of the other horses would be disqualified and even as that crossed the line, it was still available to back a fairly decent amounts.

There are several reasons for this, one of them is cross matching and various other things. There were lots of people on course that either misinterpreted, didn’t see what they’ve done or didn’t understand the rules.

Nonetheless, you could basically still back the horse that was the official winner, even though it was much further down the field and there was still money available at fairly decent odds when the the imagined winner crossed the line.

So what this Bet Angel customer did was they just took as much money as he could on that horse after it was declared the winner. Now it did get a little bit of press coverage, but ultimately it was one of those strange events that occurred that had all of the right components to it.

There was something unusual that happened, there was a little bit of confusion and therefore that just tipped the jockeys minds in the wrong direction. Ultimately, jockeys can get banned for making these sort of mistakes and that’s how the racing authorities try and clamp down on these errors.

Of course events like these still happen simply because of a confluence of coincidences that leads people into these areas. You can’t completely stamp it out because sometimes fate just dictates and a little bit of confusion sets in a strange set of situations occurs and that’s the way that things turn out.

However, the moral of the story is, if you’re aware of all of those rules and you’re sharp enough, then there’s no reason why you couldn’t take advantage in these situations. That is exactly what this Bet Angel customer did on this occasion and it allowed him to profit well!

Grand National

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