Finding your own way

A common question you hear from newcomers to sports trading is, "How do you...?" and the frequent answer is, "I can't tell you." Information is the key to success in sports trading and people will hide information from others if it is of value. Once valuable information is shared it loses its value. You only have to look at a betting market to see information being shared and its value being divided up amongst the quick thinking.

I have spent the majority of my life learning how betting markets work. Even as a child I was fascinated by sports betting. And yet, I never excelled at school, in fact I was the exact opposite of a good student. You don't need to have had a good education to be a successful sports bettor but you do need to gain one. The ability to learn and research is important. At school I learned nothing. The classical schooling system never worked for me.

I wasn't a misbehaving pupil. I tried my hardest but I wasn't good at anything because I couldn't concentrate when people spoke to me. However, I am good at reading. Through reading I learned what I wanted to know for myself in the style and pace that suited me. I left school with few qualifications because I read things that 16 year olds don't need to know to pass their O-levels and yet I still ended up at Oxford University many years later.

The greatest invention during my lifetime must be the World Wide Web, although the web didn't come into being until I was 27 years old. A web browser is the best research tool available. We must all learn how to use it effectively. And by effectively I mean finding things out for yourself and not just going to a forum and asking, "How do you...?" because more often than not nobody is going to tell you and you've just wasted valuable time.

If you are weak at mathematics (statistics and probability theory especially) then learn it online. With sports markets ever more similar to financial markets you should use financial trading websites to help you understand betting markets more. Both markets work using the same principles of supply and demand. You must also learn some basic programming techniques to increase your work flow.

Read. Learn. Experiment. And keep on doing it until you succeed.


  1. Great post, I found it very inspirational!

    Do you have any thoughts about the future of Sports betting markets? I mean, Do you think the markets will remain profitable in the near future, or it is possible that it becomes so difficult that you'll can't beat the commission?

    I read in a recent comment from you, that you have a pessimistic view of the future, so I'm asking if that includes Sports betting markets, or Betfair.

    Best Regards!

    1. Sports markets will get ever more efficient. As in financial markets the enterprising will find ways of fooling people out of their money. I am just not the kind of person to imagine how to do that.

      Sports betting keeps me out of the financial markets and off the streets, which is probably what the government wants of me. Risk all my savings and stay off the streets.

  2. If you don't mind to ask, Why the government would want that you be out of the streets?

    1. You should know better than me!

      Aren't the streets of Buenos Aires usually filled with protests?

      Governments don't like protestors. It means they can't get away with their lies and stupidity.

  3. Argentina's government almost always gets away with his way, and it's pretty much "Bread and circus to the people". They somehow found a way to silence the protesters, but I know what you mean!
    On an unrelated matter, I made the subscription in SmartSigger magazine, and I'm finding very interesting topics to focus, although it's so difficult, as newcomer, differentiate gold from shit...haha.
    I've seen in your twitter that Betfair is changing its "API". Are you planning to make a new tutorial about the new version, or the change is not going to be substantial?

    1. Most of the programming articles on my site are based on the new API. If you intend programming then you can follow my articles on this site and in Smart Sigger magazine. If you are going to use 3rd party software for trading then they should already have moved across to the new API.

  4. My long-term intention is to make the most of my potential, and I find in your trading method a great opportunity to increase the scalability of my work.
    My priority now is Poker because of all the hours of study and research, and obviously it's my only income.
    I'm a keen of mathematics and computers, and I am a newbie as far as programming is concerned, so I know that it will take some time.
    I'm not interested in manual trading because it's probably that it be less profitable than poker. I'm very excited with the idea of trading bots because that would allow me do both, play poker and trading. Maybe I'm underestimating trading, however, from what I read at your blog the capacities that make me earn money at poker are the same at trading, especially in the mindset.
    The above questions that I asked you, are due I need to know how profitable is this market because could need too many hours that I'm sacrificing at studying poker. If the question is not very compromising, could you estimate me an hourly rate from a trader?

    1. I would say that you should aim for the following; losses less than 1% of the bet per trade and wins between 1-2% per bet. How far you can get your strike rate over 50% is down to your skill.

      If you can fully automate your trading then so much the better. If you can automate poker too then even better.

  5. Thanks for the advice, James!

    I'd love to automate poker, but it's not only extremely complicated, but also illegal. It's enough for me to know that Sports betting exchange could be a very profitable market, even if I wouldn't have what it takes to make it! At least I have peace of mind that I already have what people usually look for at these "Risky professions", beyond the money, and I'll not try to do something stupid because I'm not happy with my work!

    I found really interesting your last article at the magazine, and I'm already noodling around with the spreadsheet. I'll try to get some of the books that you recommend, especially regarding to technical trading. From what I've read fundamental trading seems pretty much as gambling.

    I don't feel very comfortable writing every question that comes to my head in your blog, so I'll try to take advantage of the Smartsigger forum, although I noticed it has a more fundamental approach. I'd like to apologize if I bother you!

    I look forward your next article, and I really appreciate the help that you gave me!


    1. Igualmente.

      Buena suerte con tu 'trabajo nuevo.'