Trading back then was a laborious task. I used a calculator, laminated sheets showing conversions, fees, calculations and so on. Even the simplest trading strategies needed calculating manually.
Sports trading software changed all that by taking care of those sums, letting traders focus on the most important thing: trading decisions. But it also helps us to read and understand the sports markets, spotting trends and increasing potential trading profits.
Whilst it's true that those who are just learning to trade on Betfair may not have any need for the advantages of software, if/when you decide to get more serious and earn a living trading sports, you'll definitely need the lightning fast order submissions and 'full market depth' only available in software.
This article will review all the available options and give you my opinion on which is the best Betfair trading software, both for beginners and experienced traders. And please note: I do not receive any commission payments from any of them. My opinions are 100% honest and unbiassed.
Why Use Sports Trading Software?
Over the years I have tried out pretty much every software package you can find. Some I loved and some I hated, but most of them now do provide just about everything the average trader could need during a session.
There are costs involved of course, but when set against the backdrop of a 'business', as opposed to a 'hobby', they become practically insignificant. Just think of the average outgoings or monthly costs of running any other business, or just consider the cost of running a car to get to work!
All of these cost many times more than even the most expensive trading software. So, as far as I am concerned, there is simply no sensible reason not to use it.
Besides, one good trade per month, even on fairly low stakes, will cover your software costs for that entire month, maybe even the year!
Free betfair trading software is available, by that I mean free trials or the free tiers some of them offer. But if you have serious goals of trading for a living, just invest a little money and get the right tools for the job at hand. (Obviously the free trials can and should be used to try them out before buying.)
There are many benefits to using dedicated software. I will list some of the biggest ones below:
Software makes everything quicker, whether that's order submissions, exits, switching between different sports markets to check on other trades, and so on. The speed increase is huge and this has a direct impact both on your trading efficiency and your potential profits.
All modern software programs have much faster price updates due to the API they use to connect to Betfair's servers. These give you many updates per second, which is much faster than the updates you'll get in your web browser. This also means your trades can be opened and closed at lightning speed, and your chart data will be as up to date as possible at all times.
'Full Market Depth'
Of course most gamblers (who use the website) don't need to see many prices as they want to get a bet on immediately, so they are only interested in the current price and a few above and below.
But when you're submitting large numbers of back and lay bets, as traders of course do, there is a lot of utility (and value) in being able to scroll up and down to see prices much further away, perhaps to stick in a few 'speculative' orders, especially when scalping.
Most Betfair software programs offer full market depth. It's massively useful when trading horse racing markets, regardless of which specific method you're using. It's absolutely critical for trading horses pre-race.
Anyone who's ever used a web-browser knows only too well how troublesome they can be.
Yes, they work fine 'most of the time', plenty good enough for ordering those used undies off Fleabay! But it's just not reliable enough for trading real money in often volatile markets.
With all the potential bugs, viruses, malware and phishing exploits etc, browsers are rife with potential problems and dangers. They always have been and always will be, it's just a function of their enormously wide userbase.
Even without malicious attacks, browsers can prompt for an 'update' at any time and when they do, you're often forced to quit and restart before the update can complete.
There is also an inordinate number of ways in which a browser can just 'fail', from SSL errors to java and other coding errors to about a million others! They are just not a professional thing to be using for our serious purposes.
On the other hand, I can honestly say I have only had a handful of genuine software failures or reliability issues throughout all these years of trading.
In one such instance it was my own fault for not updating the software when it prompted me to, before I started trading. In another it was an internet connection issue which would have had the same effect on my browser anyway.
Reliability is obviously important, but so is your trading mindset, and the more reliable your trading software tool is, the more you can relax and forget any realistic worries of it letting you down when you most need it.
In short: Browsers are for browsing, trading software is for trading.
Aside from the fewer risks of technical glitches as mentioned above, your actual trades are more 'secure' when using dedicated software as they have functions you just don't have available in the browser version of the Betfair exchange.
There are several examples but I will just give one: Stop Losses.
The use of a stop loss in Betfair trading is, or at least should be, an integral part of your daily routine.
Whilst this can just be done mentally, for example remembering which price you decide is your worst-case exit, it's so much safer and easier to just let your trading software handle it for you.
With literally just one click you can have a safety-valve on your trade, and perhaps on yourself too, if you get my 'drift'!
In the image opposite, the orange box shows the position of an automated stop loss during a trade, and can be dragged along behind the trade to lock in profits as the trend continues into more and more profitable territory, so it isn't just a loss prevention tool by any means.
Increased Focus & Fewer Distractions
It may seem to some like a minor benefit but it's actually one of the biggest ones for me personally, as I have always been quite easily-distracted.
When I am trading, my normal web-browser is firmly closed. I separate my everyday web activities from my trading by having two browsers, one for the usual stuff, and one for any browser needs I may have during trading. I strongly recommend this to beginner traders too:
Install a second browser just for use during trading. Brave is good as it has built in ad-blockers. By doing this, you can make all the shortcuts or bookmarks you need for trading, such as live streams, RacingTV, football stats sites etc, and this keeps the browser clean and focussed on the task at hand.
Depending on which style of trading you're doing you may not need a browser open at all. If not, don't!
Aside from browsers and their massive ability to steal your attention away, trading programs help you focus just due to the fact they will usually be used in full screen mode and often have charts or other windows on any side screens you may have.
And that's worth a note too... if you get into using software regularly you will probably benefit from at least one extra screen, maybe even two, as you can then keep as much data visible as possible while you manage your trades and find new ones.
Extra screens are especially useful when it comes to using charts to analyse market patterns such as trends and reversals etc.
Improved Market Analysis
The importance of this can not be overstated and it's the reason I said that software can (and should) help your profits increase.
Most software options provide various charts, as well as technical analysis tools such as trend lines that get automatically drawn on the chart.
Whilst you can definitaly go overboard with chart usage, there is no denying their immense power in helping you to read the markets accurately. And when you do that, you can obviously expect to increase the number of successful trades, and probably reduce the number of losing ones too.
Once you have been looking at these things for a while, charts or graphs especially, you will never want to trade without them again.
Last point before we look at software choices, it's worth knowing the basic hardware requirements.
If you have a Microsoft Windows machine you're probably fine, although make sure it's fairly decent and not too old or slow.
There is a way to run 'Windows-only' software on an Apple Mac computer (and even Linux for that matter too), and there's a growing number of people using non-Windows machines these days so I thought it was worth covering that briefly.
To run windows-only software on your Mac you have to install an extra program to allow an entire Windows operating system to run on it, in which you'd then install your preferred flavour of betting exchange software. You have three main choices:
This is free and basically allows you to install both Windows and Mac operating systems alongside each other on the same machine, but you can only run one at a time. You choose which you want at boot up, hence the name. You power up, choose Mac or Windows, and then it will boot into that system.
Apart from the fact this is the only free option, it's the best in my view, as it ensures you can't possibly be distracted by your normal (Mac side) activities, such as email, messengers, finding out what your so-called 'friend' had for dinner last night on Faceplant, and so on!
This is 'Virtual Machine' software. It allows you to run a second machine, but a 'virtual' one (i.e. not a real one). By installing Parallels you will have a Windows operating system running as an app inside your Mac OS.
I used this myself for a good few years. I now have a dedicated trading machine which runs Windows natively and gives me a second desk to keep me away from distractions physically as well as technologically. Did I mention I am easily distracted? 🙂
This is just a competitor to Parallels; it's another VM (Virtual Machine) program for Macs, and I have to say it has forged ahead in the past 5 or 6 years to now being, in my opinion, slightly better than Parallels. But they are both fully reliable for trading purposes.
Aside from operating system issues, you may also wish to consider the amount of RAM you have in your machine. This is particularly important if you are a Mac user thinking of running your sports trading software inside a VM, as that eats up large amounts of your RAM which can cause the whole machine to slow down.
If you don't have enough, your software could grind to a halt as your computer is now running two full operating systems which can be too much for many older machines. For that reason you should test your whole setup carefully with minimum stakes before you do any serious trading.
Bandwith & Speed
A good stable internet connection is another essential, as is a reliable (and ideally wired) mouse and keyboard, none of this flakey unreliable bluetooth nonsense please!
Learn from my experience rather than your own: Cables rarely fail, wireless technology does! Same goes for your internet connection, use a good old fashioned cable connection rather than Wi-Fi if your machine has an ethernet port.
Well that's the computer stuff taken care of, now let's look at some of the best sports trading software options currently available.
Bet Angel Professional
Bet Angel is one very powerful bit of kit.
It has a well-organised interface which is easy on the eye and is nothing short of functionally perfect in my opinion.
Peter Webb is a well-known full time Betfair trader and he designed Bet Angel to suit his own trading needs with a heavy emphasis on charts and automation.
This brilliantly-designed package is absolutely jam-packed with useful features. It's at the 'expensive' end of the scale at £150 per year but only when compared to other software, not when compared to the purpose it is purchased for. The Bet Angel Automation features alone are essential tools for many full time traders, again not for me as automation isn't my thing but I am a bit jealous of those who use it as it's extremely clever and can save a lot of time at the computer. Maybe one day!
£150 is a snip if you're trading full time but I know many readers will be beginners and this might be a bit much to commit in the early days. If or when you get into detailed chart analysis, I think most people tend to lean towards Bet Angel, historically anyway. Having said that, the various competitors have seriously upped their games in recent years and most alternatives are more than capable of doing almost everything Bet Angel can do.
Bet Angel is extremely stable, very cleanly laid out, has buckets of training materials and tutorials, and there's a vibrant user discussion forum. The Guardian feature alone makes it worth the price tag as far as I'm concerned, here's a quick demo of how it works:
I couldn't even begin to list all its features, so I won't try. From automated stop losses, to 'position in queue' (very handy for scalping), to detailed charts, to Excel spreadsheet connections (for automated trading) and much more. I have whiled away countless hundreds of hours Bookmaking, one of my all time favourite trading approaches and a sheer joy to do with Bet Angel.
It's a complete Betfair trader's toolset which I've come to really enjoy using, and I am not the type of person who uses the word 'enjoy' in the same sentence as the word 'software' very often!
They offer a free trial of Bet Angel Professional, and they offer a reduced version called Bet Angel Trader, and a free version too called Bet Angel Basic, but I wouldn't bother with the latter. For more information visit BetAngel.com
You can only run this on Microsoft Windows, currently versions 8.1, 10 and 11. If you use a Mac computer you can run it but you'll have to install one of the programs mentioned earlier to run Windows in a virtual environment or with Boot Camp.
There are various pricing tiers but the best value is the annual package at £149.99 per year. They also offer a free trial, or one day's access for 99p, which gives anyone a full day to play with it and see if you think it's for you.
Gruss Betting Assistant
Gruss is a serious competitor to Bet Angel and, when factoring in price/value for money, it could be a better choice for many people, especially novice traders who are yet to try any trading software.
I know people who use Gruss full time and they actually prefer it to Bet Angel so clearly there's some personal taste involved here.
Having used it for around a year myself I have to admit Gruss is a fantastic piece of software for the money. The price is a very reasonable £6 per month or £60 per year. That's less than half the price of Bet Angel.
Gruss has excellent charts these days, and everything you need to see during a trade is clearly displayed right under your nose near where you are clicking, this makes split second decisions to back a steamer or lay a drifter as easy and uncomplicated as possible.
It also has a nifty feature for opening up Betfair live video feeds for the current market, right there inside the software. This is extremely useful and I know people who chose Gruss purely for that feature.
Gruss Betting Assistant was built by two brothers, Mark and Gary, and they do a fantastic job of supporting their customers. When you trade for a living, having fast and efficient support is a big deal.
From memory last time I used it, Gruss still has that small "family business" feel (because it is exactly that) and I personally liked that a lot. But then I am the type of person who goes to a little back street hardware shop for a 3 inch countersunk screw, rather than queuing up behind 200 families in B&Q to buy a blister pack of cheap Chinese mass-produced junk. 🙂
In terms of usability and functionality, I can't fault the Gruss program in any way. It's reliable, fast, and a pleasure to use. They actually had 'ladder candlesticks' (a very useful small scale chart on the ladders) before Bet Angel did. It has a right click stop loss function, live video feed built in, and pretty much anything else you could need. I used Gruss for a good while, mainly for trading the draw in football but also for horse racing too.
The settings are quite intuitive and easy to work with. You can play with colours and layouts to your heart's content. I am fussy about how my ladders look when I am trading so I like the flexibility Gruss offers, everything is tunable and customisable.
The quick pop-open charts under the ladders are a great idea, and really useful when assessing a horse's prior trend during the morning before the trading period. Gruss just offers pure good old-fashioned value for money!
Is it as pretty and slick as Bet Angel? Well, it never was but it's getting quite close lately so if you're on a budget but want full featured software, maybe give it a whirl.
Gruss is coded using Visual Basic (VB) so it needs both a Windows operating system to run on, but also one with the Microsoft Framework 4.6.1 installed. This again means Mac users will need to play with Virtual Machine solutions to get it running. Not a big deal, I did it and used this trading software just fine like that.
£6 per month - Extremely good value for money and, considering how close this is to Bet Angel in terms of features, it's almost like having free Betfair trading software! £6 a month? Come on, that's peanuts! Not good enough? Then they offer a 30 day free trial too, much respect is due to the Gruss team for making this excellent software so accessible to novice traders.
For more information visit Gruss's website.
I hope this doesn't make me too unpopular but, for me, this is a bit of a 'Marmite' choice.
Many people absolutely love it, and it gained a massive following due to being free for a looong time! (It was first released in 2008 or 2009 if I recall correctly.) Then when it was no longer free it was still very cheap (a fiver if I remember) for a good few years, but that was many moons ago now.
It is fast and powerful, not as well laid out or as pretty as Gruss, but at the price that didn't bother many people way back when, so it's following grew to an army of newbies and semi-professional users (and some pros too of course). Full-time Gruss users absolutely swear by it, it is without doubt 100% usable for professional trading, and most people I know who regularly trade football in-play use 'the Geek'.
I just never took to it. I wasn't keen on the screen layout and colours etc. It also had a cheap 'feel' for me, which shouldn't count for much here really.
I wasn't hard up enough to be pushed into it by a free or very cheap price tag, so I suppose that's why it didn't get enough time on my machine to get me hooked like it did so many others! But remember I am fussy and I like what I like.
I am also something of a creature of habit, and I get a lot of screen headaches so if something doesn't work nicely on my eyes, it's a bin job for me, and sadly Geek's Toy didn't suit my visual needs and therefore never got much of a seat at my trading table.
It's far more powerful than it was in the early days before they introduced some charting elements and other things. It does remain quite basic on the eye though, well it does to my eye anyway!
Whether or not it's the best sports trading software will always be a personal opinion of course. However it's worth noting that Geek's Toy is still one of the most commonly used trading software packages on the market. I am sure the price has a lot to do with that, especially the historically low price which got many traders hooked on it early on in their careers.
Despite being cheap, I personally find it a bit lacking. But if you are on a tight budget and you want to start trading with proper order submission software, you'd be wise to try it out at least to get you off the ground, and who knows, you might end up using it forever.
I should end by saying that right now, in 2023, Geek's Toy has come a long way from the days of old, which was when I formed most of my opinion of it, and I may even give it another try some time soon as I do like to give them all a test run every year or two just to check what sort of progress they are making! This little video certainly makes it look more appealing these days:
As with Bet Angel this software requires Windows. It does however run very nicely on less powerful machines so that could be a consideration.
Currently the price is £20 for 3 months usage, or £120 for a lifetime licence. They offer a free 14 day trial.
Just be aware that the lifetime license is only for one Betfair account so if you had another one you might sometimes use for any reason (no winking necessary), or if you hope to be able to use it on your friend's account or anything like that, it won't work. The lifetime license is for you combined with your one Betfair account only.
For more information visit GeeksToy.com
Bet Trader Evolution, to give it its full name, brings a slightly different twist as it is the only one which a Mac user can use without running Windows in a virtual environment.
That is a big selling point of course, but it isn't quite as good as it sounds because it's not actually 'written' for Macs, it's not 'Mac trading software' per se. They have just built a 'launcher' which runs as a small app on Macs, and when you run that it just opens their browser-based software which then, er, runs in your web browser.
Whilst that disappointed me a little when I tried it, it's definitely still good news for those who want to trade on a Mac which isn't powerful enough to run VM software.
The problem (for me at least) is that you're trading in your web browser, so my earlier comments on the intrinsic problems of web browsers come to the fore again.
It's also not very customisable like the others, no doubt being limited by the web browser itself to some extent.
That said, the software that runs in the browser is very nice to use. It has some nifty features, it's beautifully laid out and very easy on the eye, and it has most of the features found with other programs.
Windows and Mac.
£9.99 per month or an annual subscription for £99. That's a lot more than Gruss which I think is superior, although BetTrader may be suffering a little from the dreaded 'Apple Tax'!
Visit RacingTraders.com for more information.
I have mixed views on Fairbot, and I have had those same mixed views for countless years now.
I have used it and I can confirm the software itself works well, perhaps very well, certainly in terms of providing all the essentials like ladder interface, charts, one click order submissions, full market depth, green up and stop loss functionality and so on. So why do I have mixed views?
Well, it's just very dated. That in itself isn't a huge problem, certainly not for me anyway as I am pretty dated myself and I don't want to be the pot calling the kettle black! But the truth is, it has been dated for as long as I can remember, and I have a long memory!
Function is of course much more important than 'feelings', but when there are other software choices which perform perfectly and look much more modern and slick, I find Fairbot just gets left behind somewhat.
Also the training resources (if you can call them that) are few and far between, they are at best 'thin', at worst 'non-existent'. All in all I am sure it's probably perfectly usable for even full time professional Betfair trading, but it just isn't for me I am afraid.
It's not all just feelings however.
Come on guys, if you can't even install an SSL certificate for secure data transfer between potential customers and your website, causing my browser to warn me your site may be 'dangerous' (even though it's not of course), what are we supposed to think exactly?!
As software writers you can't exactly claim ignorance as if you don't understand tech stuff, leaving 'laziness' or not caring about your website (or visitor data security) as the only two possible explanations. Neither are good!
If you want to try for yourself, or take a look at whether Fairbot may be your preferred trading software, visit them at Fairbot.com. I should add: I wouldn't personally enter my private information or payment details into any website without that padlock symbol denoting a secure connection!)
Windose only. 🙂
$11.95 per month
$29.95 for 3 months
$54.95 for 6 months
$99 per year
This comes last but certainly not least. Its full name is Advanced Cymatic Trader.
I am pleased I took a fresh look at this program when writing this review because Cymatic looks extremely interesting these days.
It has a very very nice looking GUI (user interface), it must be up there with Gruss in being almost as pretty to look at as Bet Angel.
It's very modern and very intelligently organised for sports traders. One of the things you'll find when you try out different software is how they all have different places to put important stuff like shortcuts, buttons, settings, charts and so on.
This makes a big difference to fluency and efficiency when trading the markets because every second counts, and if it takes half a second instead of a quarter of a second to do something you might do hundreds of times a day, that all adds up and has a real impact on your trading day.
Cymatic has an About page which explains who's behind it, and it's impressive stuff. They have a brilliantly written proper user manual which explains stuff perfectly, and they also have some very well-explained videos (although not many very recently) which give you an insight into the developer behind it, as well as showing what appears to be the immense power and functionality of this software. Here's an example:
Advanced Charts & Graphs
Cymatic has what look to be some of the best Betfair price charts and graphs I have seen in any software available. He obviously has a mind for trading generally (I now see he has experience of trading Forex which explains a lot) and it's evident that he has put a lot of that experience into his thinking behind the charting abilities within this software.
This really is excellent, charts can add so much to your trading profits when used correctly.
Mind your Ps & Qs
Cymatic was the first software of this kind to implement a feature which I can not describe how badly I needed many years ago! It's called 'Position In Queue' and it's now being added to most Betfair software programs but Gavin claims to be the first to implement it and I have no reason to doubt him.
I can't begin to describe the hassle it was for me to do this manually for years! I won't go into it in detail but in simple terms, when you put an order into the ladders, your money sits behind the queue of money already put there by other people on the Betfair exchange. I am happy with queuing, I am British after all :). But I am not happy to have no bluddy idea where my money is in that queue!
I used to do literally hundreds of manual calculations in a single day just to work this out for myself, particularly when scalping or bookmaking. That meant tedious paper scribbles, sometimes pretty frantically, just to do what I knew would be easy for a programmer to implement into software!
Well it looks like this chap did so, and long before I ever knew anything about it! That's more than a smidgen annoying I can tell you! The image below shows a column which appears when turning this feature on, shown on the right of the two ladders: "PIQ". (I put the blue box around to highlight it.)
That shows how many £££s are ahead of his order. That's Betfair Trading Gold right there!
Knowing where you are in a queue of money is instrumental to trading, or to my style of trading and scalping anyway.
I would place quite a few orders all over various ladders (see how the calculations racked up fast!) and whenever one of them moved close to one of my orders, I would zero-in on that ladder to try and time my entries of other orders around the same price.
My ultimate goal was to get myself to the front of as many queues as possible, and without knowing your queue position that's just impossible.
This is a big confidence vote for Cymatic in my opinion, just understanding the importance of this, let alone actually coding it into their software, well done that man!
Another nice feature is the way it can implement rules (via Excel spreadsheets) in order to add trade entry and exit conditions. Other trading software tools can do this but I rather like the way Cymatic handles it.
Rather than explain the many ways in which these conditions can be used, I will just give a brief example, since Cymatic has a video showing it in action.
I have produced a few sports trading ebooks and one of them details the Lay The Field strategy for horse racing. This is a 'set and forget' method where orders are placed before the race, and you just basically 'hope' to get more than 1 of the orders matched 'in-running'.
Obviously there's more to it than just 'hope' alone, including some study of course layouts, ground/going etc. It's a cute little strategy but there is a way to improve upon it, and that's to set conditions and let your trading software enter the orders when these conditions are met.
See Cymatic's video below which shows how this software can boost profits with this method:
I trust many readers will agree with my opinion that Cymatic Trader appears to be right up there with the very best, and in some ways it's actually ahead of them.
Windows only but I am pleased to see how many versions. It's particularly nice to see this will run on Windows 7 as that was far less invasive than the pure spyware that is Windows 10.
Here are the versions it can run on:
- Windows Server 2008 R2 or later
- Windows 7
- Windows 8
- Windows 8.1
- Windows 10
- Windows 11
Incredibly cheap for the punch it packs:
£6.69 a month
£35.99 for 6 months
£59.99 per year - That looks very much like a 'value bet' to me!
So which is the 'Best'?
Hopefully by now you've realised that 'best' is very much a subjective point and not a matter of absolute fact. All of the sports trading software discussed above are good in their own way but some are certainly 'better' than others in terms of reliability, features and value for money, the three most important points to consider when choosing Betfair trading software.
That said, I am not shy, and if you want to know what I think is the 'best', it's Bet Angel.
Sorry, I know, it's pricey! But as I said before, it only seems pricey because of the cheaper options available. The truth is Bet Angel does everything, it does it reliably, and it does it beautifully with no shortage of attention to detail on the aesthetics. I am the type who appreciate the finer touches especially when it comes to aesthetics.
Accepting that functionality is more important than looks, to me it's important to like the 'look' of my trading software because I can spend many hours doing so. Who wants to look at ugly anyway?! But of course what I deem to be 'nice'-looking may not tally with your opinions. My wife looks like the back-end of a bus, but to me she's beautiful. (I know I am going to pay for that one!)
For this reason the only true answer to the question of which is the best software for Betfair trading, is for you to ultimately decide that for yourself. However I hope you're now in a much better position to make that judgement, to take up a few trials of any options above which tickle your fancy, and see which you enjoy using the most.
Bet Angel is, for me, the Rolls Royce choice. It's about as close to trading perfection as it gets and it's beautifully designed. Maybe I am needlessly spending more money on some of that beauty, but some of us are that way inclined. If you're not, you certainly don't need to spend the extra.
Gruss is probably the 'best' when it comes to nothing but value for money, or 'bang for buck' as they say. It's functionally excellent and definitely not ugly or dated-looking at all, and the price is amazing considering how competent the program is for trading fast markets like horse racing.
Geeks Toy is good, I don't think it's very 'nice' but it is definitely powerful and functionally sufficient for any trader. It has very fast order submissions, it has a good 'market overview' chart, and the lifetime deal makes it extremely cheap if you can commit to using it forever.
I would have left it there, but I have to finish with just one more comment...
Cymatic looks extremely interesting and writing this software review has spurred me on to look into this properly very soon, as it looks like it could be the first program to kick Bet Angel off my machine in a long while! I don't know yet, I need to run it hard through its paces to check it's as good as it looks on the surface.
Rest assured that I will update this page as and when that happens.
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