Betfair Trading Explained: Complete Beginners Guide for 2023

Last updated: May 4, 2023
Home Office

Are you one of the growing number of people thinking about learning Betfair Trading this year?

If so, it might be a wise move with the current economic situation.

Here’s my ultimate beginner's tutorial on getting started as a Betfair trader, with everything you need to know to get started on the betting exchange quickly, safely and profitably.

As many of my readers know (and often say in their testimonials), the UKFootballTrading website only exists because of my genuine desire to help committed people become successful traders.

No fluff, no ‘secrets’ withheld, just useful explanations to help anyone who’s serious about Betfair trading to achieve their goals and maybe even… their dreams. 🙂

(Don't forget to download a free copy of my Betfair Trading For Beginner's ebook)

Ok, let's dive in...

What Is Betfair Trading?

The shortest possible answer is: Bet trading, as you're trading bets with other people, be they bettors or other traders like yourself. But I'd usually describe it more like this:

Betfair trading is the process of placing multiple trades (bets) on the sports betting exchange in order to guarantee a profit regardless of the outcome of the event.

Betfair Price Chart

Just like any other business, if you buy low and sell high, you make money. (Psst, if you don’t, you don’t!) Due to the fluctuation of prices (odds), and the huge sums of money in the markets, you can generate regular profits and earn a good living from betting exchange trading.

I won’t bore you with the full history but it is useful to know where this new type of trading came from.

When founded in June 2000, Betfair was unique from the start. Unlike traditional bookmakers, Betfair chose to create an ‘exchange’, so instead of punters betting against bookies, they could now bet against other punters.

With this new exchange being little more than a piece of software running on a website, their costs were tiny in comparison to a high street betting shop. This led to better odds being available, causing the company’s explosive growth as millions of gamblers shifted their normal betting over to Betfair.

But this also resulted in the creation of a new and enormous trading environment, where traders could make regular profits by predicting the moves in prices (odds), without any real interest in which horse or team may win the event.

I trust you now understand why the Betfair exchange gave birth to a completely new breed of trader, the Betfair Trader, people like me and maybe soon, you!

How A Betting Exchange Works

Trading Places Film

On most types of ‘exchange’, the ‘stuff’ changing hands is a stock or commodity like wheat, sugar, or gold.

On a betting exchange, the only thing you can exchange is bets. Mindblowing stuff I know!

The ‘price’ of these bets is the odds. But this exchanging process wouldn’t be possible without the ability to place lay bets as well as back bets.

In the old days, when the bookie took your back bet, they were actually ‘laying’ that event, placing a bet of their own that your selection would not win.

If you lost, they’d keep your back bet. If you won, they’d pay out your bet multiplied by the odds (their ‘liability’).

The exchange made it possible for the average ‘man on the street’ to place lay bets instead of only back bets. So you can now bet against something happening as well as for it.

What this means is that since you can now bet on both sides of ‘the book’, if you backed a horse at 3/1, and laid the same horse at a lower price like 2/1, you would make a profit from that ‘spread’ (difference).

In principle it is no different to buying shares at £8 and selling them for £10, except here you can actually go both ways, so you could sell them first and buy them back later, exactly like traditional ‘spread betting’.

With Betfair exchange trading, the real gold lies in understanding the influences or 'market forces' that cause prices (odds) to move up or down, and we'll get to that later.

For now all you need to know is this:

  • If you believe a horse’s odds are going to drop or 'shorten', you’d back it first, and then lay it at lower odds later.
  • Conversely, if you think the odds will rise you’d lay first and then back to close your profitable ‘trade’.

That's the Betfair exchange explained, now let's talk about how traders profit from it...

Betfair Trading Basics

Learner Driver

It’s over a decade since I began helping people to trade the Betfair markets.

In that time I’ve learned that most beginner traders make the mistake of diving into their chosen trading methods too early, before gaining a proper understanding of the markets and the underlying forces at work.

This foundational knowledge is essential before any strategy can be employed successfully, so I will cover those crucial foundations in this section with links to more detailed articles where needed.

Backing and Laying

I've already referred to these types of bets but due to their fundamental importance to trading, I have a dedicated article about Backing and Laying on Betfair.

You can read that later but for now just be aware that:

  • When you back something, you are placing a bet that it will happen.
  • When you lay something, you are betting that it will not happen.

Understanding Decimal Odds

Decimal Odds on Betfair

This can scare people a little, especially those with years of bookmaker betting behind them (Moi? How dare you!) But it’s really very simple.

In fact once you understand it, you’ll realise how much easier it is to work in decimal odds than fractional odds. Fractional odds are what you’d expect to see in a normal bookmakers.

There is a simple way to convert fractional to decimal, although you won’t need to convert it very often (if ever) when trading. If you take the odds of 4/1, the decimal equivalent is 5.0. When you understand why, you’ll see that simplicity I mentioned!

Fractional odds only relate to the profit your bet will earn you if you win. So if we look at 4/1, if you placed £10 at 4/1 and won, you would receive £40 back as your winnings, plus your stake. Total return = £50.

Decimal odds are simpler because the price tells you exactly what you will get back, i.e. your total return including the stake. £10 placed @ 5.0 = 10 x 5.0 = £50. Didn't I say it was simple?!

P.S. You may want to read my more detailed explanation of betting odds

Understanding Price Moves

Before you can attempt any sort of trading, you absolutely must have a good understanding of why prices move at all. Without that, how could you ever hope to predict the most likely direction, never mind timing the move correctly?

In the purest sense, there’s only one reason prices ever move in a market: Money!

As my old stock trading mentor used to say:

“Never forget the 3M’s: Money Moves Markets”

If there’s more money trying to lay a horse than there is trying to back it, the price will rise. Vice versa and the price will come down.

But money belongs to people, so you need to understand what motivates real human beings to either back or lay in any given market. And this can vary between markets.

For example, the team announcements before a football match will always cause markets to move, not so much in horse racing! However a jockey change or ill-health report on a horse might have a similar effect in a horse race, not so much in the FA Cup final!

Understanding how to assess these market forces, depending on what type of trading strategy  you choose, is utterly essential to making profits on Betfair.

* I will soon be writing a detailed article just covering how to read Betfair markets. Check back for a link to that when it's published, or Subscribe for free notifications by email.

Charts / Graphs

Betfair Price Chart/Graph

Betfair provides basic charts showing the general direction of prices. You can only view them when logged in.

Trading software (covered later) also provides charts and they are generally better than Betfair’s ones.

For now all you need to know is that charts show you the ‘raw data’, with prices up the Y axis, and time along the X axis.

This means you can see what has happened to the odds in any event, from the opening of that market through to the current second. It’s a basic graphical representation of what people, sometimes millions of people, have done with their money in that market.

This data gives a great insight into what the market sentiment is towards any particular team, horse, player or whatever else. It is of no use to you when using some methods like football laying the draw, but it’s almost essential to others like trading horses before the off.

* Interpreting Betfair charts and applying their patterns to your trading is another planned article I will be publishing soon.

Ladder Interface

If you’ve never heard of the ladder interface, it’s just the screen format which many traders use in their preferred trading software.

Trading Ladder Interface

It presents prices in a vertical ladder, one ladder for each team or runner in a market.

It’s a nice way to trade because it allows you to see a wide range of prices, where you can enter an order with one click quite a long way away from the currently traded price.

This allows the placing of orders in advance of a price move, and you can also see other useful information like how much money is sitting in the queues at each price increment, whether a short term trend is developing, whether there are any obvious areas where the price got to and then reversed, and so on.

Understanding Support & Resistance

This is another topic I will soon covering in much more detail with a full page article. It's too important not to, although like the charts above, it only applies to certain methods.

Football trading generally doesn’t demand any knowledge of this because it doesn’t have any bearing on your trading, but for horse racing it can be a very lucrative thing to master.

Essentially, support and resistance both just mean ‘price resistance’.

  • If the odds on a horse keep shortening to a specific price but then stop and drift up again, this would be called ‘support’, because the price is being resisted from going below that point, and thus the price is being ‘supported’ (upwards).
  • Conversely, if that horse’s odds drift out to a specific price before getting backed in shorter again, that would be called ‘resistance’ because that effect is limiting it’s rise any further.

Glossary: Commonly Used Terms


Red means losses, green means profits. This comes from the Betfair website colours for win/loss figures.

Greening up

Greening Up

The process of ‘levelling up’ all green outcomes across the board.

If you back a horse at x and lay it lower than x, you have a profit, but that profit is only earned if that horse wins, as you only traded the price of that horse and thus your profit is locked into that one.

By ‘greening up’ you place another small bet which spreads that green across all outcomes, guaranteeing a set amount of profit for the race no matter which horse wins.

Trading software has a ‘one click green up button’ which takes care of all calculations and makes it a thought-free process, ensuring you don’t risk losing any of your 'green'.

Likewise you can also ‘red up’ which spreads any losses across all outcomes to ensure you have a fixed and known loss on the event.


A tidy hedge

To place a small complimentary bet which ‘covers’ or ‘hedges’ against your liability on another bet or trade.

So if you felt sure Arsenal would go 1-0 up in the first half, you might back Arsenal for the first half, banking on that early goal (when their price would plummet and you’d lay to exit your ‘green’ trade).

To ‘hedge’ your position, or remove some risk, you could place a small back bet on the correct score of 0-0, which would recoup some of your potential losses, should Arsenal fail to get the expected early goal.

In that case, you’d close (lay off) the winning 0-0 bet when exiting your losing Arsenal back bet, significantly reducing the overall loss. This would be 'hedging your position' as the 'position' you took in that market was the expectation of a goal. You were just too much of a sissy to believe in yourself. 😀 (Joke!) 


This is commonly used to refer to odds increments. So if you backed a horse at 1.66 and then laid it at 1.62, you’d have netted 4 ticks.


Amount of money in a market. A market is described as 'very liquid' or with 'high liquidity' if it has lots of money flowing through.

Generally if you look at the trading ladders (or money waiting at each price shown on Betfair exchange) and see large numbers like thousands or tens of thousands upwards, that would be a pretty 'liquid' market.

Some might also say it has 'high volume' which means the same thing. If you have just £tens, £20s and £50s in the queues at each price, that would not be a very liquid market due to the low volumes of money involved.

Scratch (out)

This refers to cancelling a trade for break even. If you scratch a position, you will generally exit at the same price you entered, hence no win and no loss.

An example would be if you've opened a trade and you're waiting for the markets to move and they don't, or perhaps the event you're trading suddenly goes 'in play'. You'd exit the markets immediately by 'scratching' your trade.


Roulette Wheel

An advantage in any market which you have and most others don’t.

A casino has an edge on the roulette table, it’s called the zero slot!

That tilts the playing field in their favour, statistically. Without it they wouldn’t be guaranteed a profit in the long term.

Cash out

Befair’s term for their one click feature (a button on the website). In the past this type of one-click closure of positions was only possible with trading software. It closes your position and ‘greens up’ for you automatically, all with one click on the “Cash Out” button which appears once you open a position.


Dutch Clogs

Most people define this as backing multiple outcomes (i.e. teams or runners) in the same event to increase the chances of winning or 'cover' the risks, a bit similar to 'hedging'.

In the purest form, and certainly in anything I have done which I would ever call true Dutching, I would define it as backing all outcomes at the correct odds to guarantee an overall profit.

It’s obviously rare to find an opportunity do this and match all orders at the same time (years ago it was possible sometimes).

Instead you might order three back bets on a football game, Team A to win, Team B to win, and the draw. But you would order those at prices a bit higher than the currently traded prices, so that if all match, you have a guaranteed profit before the game kicks off. If not, you need to ‘scratch’ the ones already matched and cancel the ‘dutching’ trade.


Laying all outcomes for a guaranteed profit. The opposite of dutching, and something I used to do for hours every day as it’s highly addictive!

It’s what a bookmaker would do, hence the term! Bookies took people’s back bets on all runners in a horse race, hence they were ‘laying’ all horses by definition. That’s why they would monitor their odds carefully to ensure they could make a profit no matter which horse won.

Betting exchanges made it possible for me, you or anyone else to do some book-making, and it can be damn good fun!

In-Play or In-Running

An event or market which is live and underway. Football goes ‘in play’ from the first whistle. Horse races are usually referred to as being ‘in running’ after they set off.


If a horse is drifting in price, it’s called a ‘drifter’. When its price is shortening for a prolonged period, it is ‘steaming’. Racing commentators use the term, as do traders.


Horse racing term meaning ‘all the runners’.

You might hear “this is an experienced field”, meaning all runners are experienced at racing. Or if you lay all runners in a race, you would be ‘Laying the field’.


Betfair Crossover Price

Crossover points are specific decimal prices on the ladder where the ‘tick’ size changes. This is a subject well worth understanding fully, as it is one of the simplest ways to stack trades in your favour, and it is an integral part of trading 'pre-race'.

In short, these prices make great places to enter a lay trade due to the much greater reward compared to the risk.

Each tick in the right direction (upwards) is worth nearly double what each tick in the other direction is worth.

The picture shows that if the price goes against you (comes down), you'd lose £1.03 per 'tick', but if it goes in your favour (upwards) you'll make £1.93 per tick.

* I will be writing more on Crossover Points soon.

The Mechanics of a Trade

Although trading methods vary, every trade should consist of these 4 steps:


Here you are ‘opening your position’ in the market. This will either be a back or a lay bet, depending on which direction you expect the price to go.

Stop Loss

Self Defence Technique

Ideally you should decide this before your entry. But if not, then immediately after your entry you should determine the maximum number of ‘ticks’ you will accept going against you before you exit for a loss.

This is a crucial self-defence step to protect your bank, and your entire career as a Betfair trader will depend on your ability to do it. Knowing how much you can afford to risk on a trade is vital.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a successful trader, in any market on earth, who doesn’t know, understand, and employ a stop-loss religiously.

A stop loss can be a mental note, but it's better (especially when learning) to avoid any chance of forgetting or changing your mind and actually pre-order your exit trade. This can be done in trading software with a right click on the price where you want to get out if it goes wrong, and it will happen automatically (including if you get up to use the loo, yes, I have, and yes, more than a few times!)

You can ‘trail’ this behind your position if it’s going in the right direction too, this would be called a ‘trailing stop loss’ and it would basically begin by defending you against losses, but as your trade moves into profit, it can then protect your green as well.

All of my ebooks include detailed guidance on stop losses as it's critical to long term success and profitability.


Office Manager

Between opening and closing your trade, you are ‘managing’ it.

This is often overlooked by beginner traders which is a serious mistake.

More green can be made and more red can be avoided, by proper trade management.

For example if the picture gets stronger for your trade, you could add more money to your position on its way up/down the ladder.

Conversely you could remove some of your liability if you lose confidence in the move for any reason.


Whilst it sounds obvious, this simple task is one which should be done with great care.

It’s very easy to make the mistake of rushing off to another market to open another trade before carefully checking that you have closed out your previous positions.

Just one more thing before I go

Exiting will usually consist of:

  • Ordering your exit position and checking that it has fully matched.
  • Greening (or redding) up so you have identical profit/loss regardless of the outcome of the event.
  • Checking and double-checking that you have no sneaky liabilities hiding away to bite you later!

We have all made the mistake of rushing off, only to see a nasty red on our profit and loss sheet later in the evening! Check, Check, and Check Again! Oh and keep reading to see how it can cost £Thousands if you forget this! (Author hangs head in shame!)



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Betfair Trading Software

Originally the only way to open and close positions was using Betfair’s website, clicking on the back and lay buttons after calculating stakes manually, yuk!

Trading software soon arrived which made the process a hundred times more efficient. Without software, many trading methods would be somewhere between difficult and impossible, especially in the racing markets.

Betfair has an API (data feed) which your chosen software connects to, getting data bursts several times per second, giving you a very busy live trading screen much like you’d expect to see on a financial trading floor.

There are many huge benefits to using dedicated trading software, such as the advanced charts which help to show trends and reversals etc. There’s a few trading programs available these days, all of which are good and perfectly usable for full-time traders, but I won't go into that here as I have a detailed review of Betfair trading software.

Which events are best for trading?

This is often asked but it's a bit of a 'piece-of-string-question' . All markets can be profitable but you can’t trade them all so you must choose. But I have one very important point to make in answering this, it’s called….

The Zulu Principle

Zulu Warrior

As many of you know, I have prior experience of trading stocks/commodities. That’s where I first heard this phrase and I just discovered it has its own Wikipedia page!

From a trading perspective, using this principle is a way of laser-focussing on what you find easiest, or have most knowledge and interest in. And that’s my advice to those trying to choose a Betfair market or trading method to learn.

The point being made is this:

Don't try to be a jack of all trades.

At least not until you can do so successfully, and that is years away, trust me on that!

Most professional Betfair traders are earning their crust from just one or maybe two sports such as soccer, horse racing, tennis, cricket, rugby, NFL, F1, Snooker etc. Most focus on one of the first two or three.

By specialising and focussing on one sport for your first year (or 5!), you exponentially increase your advantage and reduce your risks, as you grow in knowledge about that subject and this will always help to increase profitability. You learn the pitfalls too, think of red cards in football, or non-runners in horse racing.

What Interests You?

If possible, you should choose a sport which interests you at least to some extent.

You don’t need to know much about it, but that slight interest will mean you absorb information much more readily, and you will likely retain it much better too.

Many people like football, even if they don’t watch it regularly. I am not a fan of modern football, I like the sport itself but not the business, nor the players very much if I am honest. But I do like the game enough to be able to enjoy watching it and appreciate the talent etc. So when I started trading, I practiced what I preach here, and I focussed on football.

Over the years I developed my football trading until I had more than enough methods locked down, and then (and only then) I delved into others like tennis and the mighty horse racing markets.

This was more due to wanting a new challenge than to any particular desire to watch horses run in a circle! Also my wife was a bit sick of never seeing me in the evening, and most horse racing takes place during the daytime, unlike the footie which always had me pinned to my desk from dinner time 'til bed time, and if I did pop to see her we’d never get much peace with the goal alerts pinging on my laptop/phone!

Long Term Trading Opportunities

Long distance view

Most full time Betfair traders are trading markets just before they go in-play or during the event itself. But I’d urge all traders to keep a look out for longer term opportunities which sometimes pop up.

If you’re not ready for them, you’ll miss them. It’s nice to have a few longer-term positions running in the background, and they can offer some damn good profits too.

A good example of this is my trade on Leicester back in 2016 which I am sure many of my readers will remember well for all the right reasons!

If you’re a football fan, you’ll probably already know what I am referring to, but at the time most people laughed at my position!

It wasn’t emotion-based, it was evidence-based, and this is key to successful trading in any market. Don’t just ‘go with the flow’, as the flow usually goes down the drain!

Leicester City win Premier League

Be prepared to take a contrarian position if needed. Balls to what others think, only you win and only you lose, so it’s only your opinion that matters as a trader.

I won’t bore you with all the details but if you’re interested, the posts I made at the time are still live on the blog so I will just give you links in case you want to read what I was thinking at the time.

Short version: Nobody could even consider that Leicester could win the Premier League.

But as I was trading football daily, and therefore seeing a fair bit of their play (as well as the other teams), they were clearly playing better than any other team, and repeatedly so over several games fairly early in the season.

I decided to back them to win the league, not because I thought they would, but because I thought if they kept playing so well and winning so often, their odds would have to shorten, which would present me with some green.

Profitable trade on Leicester City to win the league

The sad part is that I missed a zero off my opening position stake. Remember what I said above about carefully checking your trades before closing the screen?!

This meant that my risk of a measly £35 netted me £423 profit, instead of the thousands that I ‘should’ have netted with my usual stakes.

Annoying? Just a little!

Here are the posts in chronological order for those interested in my thoughts at the time:

  1. 2016/01/16
  2. 2016/01/29
  3. 2016/03/22
  4. 2016/04/03
  5. 2016/04/04

What's your edge?

Sometimes it pays to ‘think outside the box’, especially if you have any specific knowledge or interest in a market, whether sports-related or not.

And I have a good real-world example of this point as well.

Take a look at my post where I spotted what, to me at least, was a glaringly obvious opportunity for green due to the famously biassed media coverage of the US Presidential election.

Remember: Emotion has NO place in trading.

CNN Biassed Coverage

I knew how unreliable the US mainstream media can be, and I knew that at election time, they are at their most unreliable!

More to the point, I knew the average man on the street buys every word of their dribble, which means prices would go in whatever direction the (often wrong) media sent them!

The entirety of the US media plainly hated Trump, and this was visibly impacting their reporting. My awareness of their rampant bias was my ‘edge’. Here’s a link to that fairly memorable night I spent at my trading screen!

Betfair Trading Methods

There’s a long list of methods you can earn a living with on Betfair. This is not the place to go into the complexities of each one.

I’ve published a full list of methods I recommend (and have used over the past 15+ years). You can find this on the Sports Trading Strategies page.

Sports Trading Ebook Covers

As well as articles outlining the methods, I’ve also produced some extremely detailed sports trading ebooks. Each of these is designed to take you from beginner to expert in each method, and some of them took many weeks or even months to produce.

The feedback on them genuinely blew me away, see the comments for yourself on the Testimonials page. Many readers are actively trading every day, exactly as per the instructions given.

If I had to recommend a good starter method for a novice trader, I would have to choose either Lay the Draw for football, or In-Running Racing Trading.

Both of these are relatively simple to learn but can earn consistent and substantial profits. The Pre-Race ebook is frankly a monster and the word 'ebook' doesn't do it justice, it's a lengthy e-course by any definition. But that fits with the task you undertake if you seek to master those markets, as that's neither for the feint of heart, nor for the lazy!

Whichever methods you consider using, make sure you read my Sports Trading Explained article before you commit to any particular one. I have a lot of very detailed information freely available on the site so please read and digest that first. More than a few people have done very nicely just with the guidance from my free articles.

Bank Management

Never break the rules of money management

This is a crucially important subject in any trading environment, particularly so on Betfair.

Of all the traders who fail, I'd say by far the most common cause is lack of discipline in following some rudimentary do's and don'ts which help to protect them from their own mistakes, and their own emotions (which are a big danger to any trader).

If there could only be one rule, it would be:

Protect your bank at all times!

As this is such a critical subject, I'll soon be publishing a separate article on 'money management'.

For now, the most important points are:

  • Set yourself a trading bank which you CAN afford to lose.
  • NEVER risk more than 3-5% (max) of that bank on any single trade.
  • Calculate that percentage DAILY, so it adjusts with your bank growth/shrinkage.
  • Never EVER break the rules of money management!



Psychological factors play a much bigger role in trading than many people realise.

Even some full-time traders I have known totally underestimated its importance, until it bit them on the behind, and then they began to take it seriously.

Never underestimate the power of your mind to mess with your own progress!

For many, trading will be the biggest psychological challenge of their entire lives, especially those who have never had to exercise extreme levels of self-control and personal discipline.

Your own mentality can (and probably will) be the biggest obstacle to your success as a trader. I speak from experience, not just of myself, but of countless hundreds of people I have helped and talked to about their trading over the years.

Emotions are probably the biggest part of that obstacle, and the two most common culprits are Fear and Greed. Both of those, and a whole raft of other mental barriers will be explained in my Betfair Trading Psychology page (* coming soon). Ignore it at your peril!

My Top Tip for Beginner Traders?

Keep a trading diary where you document all of your trades, including a brief note of the reasons and indicators you used to decide on it.

I've lost count of how many traders I have helped just by persuading them to do this for a month. All of them resisted and made excuses, until their losses finally motivated them to try something new, something they assumed would be a hardship, only to realise how incredibly useful it is and how much it advanced their trading results and their decision-making processes.

Writing a diary of trades

Not only does it give you a historical account of all your positions, it also serves as a reminder of your thinking at the time, and perhaps more importantly, your emotions and psychological state.

Armed with that, you can later track back to work out where you find success and where you struggle. It nearly always surprises learner traders to see where they are doing well and where they are not. Often they think it’s the other way around.

Data doesn’t lie, but if you don’t record it, you can never learn from it. So get an A4 page-a-day diary and write it down!




Thanks for reading. That concludes this beginner's tutorial.

Still interested in becoming a trader? Good! Next you should read my Sports Trading Tutorial.

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Is it easy to trade on Betfair?

It depends on the strategy you're using. Some trading techniques are quite easy to employ, whereas others are notoriously more difficult. Making consistent profits is where the true challenge lies...

"Is it easy to make consistent profits from Betfair trading?"

cat duhIn a word: No!

Sorry if that's not the answer you were hoping for.

Nothing as worthwhile, valuable, and sought-after as a way to make any kind of living from home, never mind such a substantial one, would or could ever be ‘easy’. Hopefully I don't need to explain why, but I will just in case:

If it were easy, everyone would be doing it, and the opportunity would vanish overnight. The markets need as many losers as winners for them to function. It's an 'exchange' remember?!

Having said that, a small percentage of people (I would guess 5% max) actually do find it surprisingly easy, at least compared to the rest of us.

I've known one or two of these types myself. They tend to be very self-disciplined, very driven, and also pretty laid-back people, meaning not easy to fire up or get emotional. Think computer programmers, librarians, accountants and so on, but the rare ones with a real sense of purpose within them.

What does this teach us? Well it reiterates my point about psychology being (in my view) the single biggest obstacle to a successful trading career.

For the rest of us, it’s a process of learning, practicing, losing, rinse and repeat until you make progress and, hopefully one day if you stay the course, finally hitting your very own “aha” moment.

This usually comes when you realise that if you can completely ignore your emotions, you can actually make money surprisingly easily!

If that sounds ‘easy’ to you, well maybe you will find it easy! But very few do. This is a business. Like any business it requires a lot of learning, patience, discipline and hard work.

On the plus side, it’s something you can practice outside of office hours, and it requires very little outlay compared to most businesses, so it’s certainly not without its (many) merits! Just don't expect to be an overnight success.

For a deeper dive, please see my article: Trading on Betfair for a living.

Is Betfair trading profitable?

In the hands of an experienced and skilled trader who has a good strategy, strong self-discipline, and a reasonable-sized trading bank, yes Betfair trading can be extremely profitable.

With my bank management approach, stakes grow in line with bank growth. Therefore to some extent the profits can be increased significantly without learning anything new or become 'better' at it.

Obviously the stakes must be within the range the market can handle for your orders to be matched when opening and closing trades.

But don’t forget the new emotions that come along with bigger stakes, I have seen that turn a successful trader into a losing one, just due to the added ‘fear’.

There’s no doubt though that a full time income is perfectly within reach of any successful trader with a few thousand or more in their trading bank.

What’s the best sport to trade on Betfair?

In my experience the best sports to trade on Betfair are Football, Horse Racing and Tennis. You should choose which is best for you depending on your interests, knowledge, time-schedule etc.

Is Betfair trading gambling?

Betfair trading is certainly not gambling, although there are obvious similarities. There are risks with both, but traders avoid risk, while gamblers tend to enjoy the thrill of the risk itself.

Consider the difference between buying a car to enjoy, and buying one to sell on for a profit. Take a second to think about that analogy.

If you are trading and it ‘feels’ to you like gambling, you’re doing something wrong and you need to get a grip on that pronto.

In my view the thing which differentiates trading from gambling is the reliance on ‘chance’. A gamble is a bet on an outcome with a ‘hope’ that it pays off. A trader, a good one at least, takes as few risks as humanly possible and aligns his money simply with the unemotional data and probabilities involved

Gamblers are risk-takers. Traders are risk-averse.

What is cold trading?

Cold Trading is a term which some Betfair traders use to refer to what is normally referred to as Technical Trading. Technical trading is based on data, usually represented in charts and graphs.

I used to trade stocks based purely on chart formations/patterns, so I was a ‘technical trader’, although I was also occasionally ‘cold’ when I couldn’t afford the heating bill!
Another article I am planning to write very soon will cover Technical Trading on Betfair.

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