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TOTGA
28 Jun 10 19:43
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Date Joined: 13 Jun 10
| Topic/replies: 102 | Blogger: TOTGA's blog
I was reading an article about trading the other week. A comment in there made me realise why the 3% of account holders in profit don't share what they're doing.

Basically, new trading strategies for the financial markets have to be invented all the time, because the moment it becomes knowledge how a particular method is successful - and is copied by others - the liquidity dries up and hence the method becomes less successful (or worse, starts to fail).

This has meant more exotic trading strategies are kept secret, and on the whole the only strategies that can be discussed openly are the ones where "everybody wins" - e.g. if everybody accepts a fundamental in an annual report means the price will go up and everybody invests, the price goes up, hence profit.

I'm thinking in terms of betting - most of us are probably aware of most strategies including dutching and backing under-round, laying over-round to payout or liability (where you can get matched!), straight trading on price movements outside of in-play, "stats bets" on 1.05 or 1000 in-play, trying to get an edge by going to the course, etc.

However, these put most of us in the 97% of accounts not making money. I'm wondering if this is because the moment you share a strategy, it becomes worthless. The only one I can think of that seems to have stood up is trading on fluctuations, but then people keep their reasoning for targeting markets and runners to themselves, so same thing.

One other contrary point I realised is that bookmaker's adopt a "betting strategy" of laying over-round, which seems to have stood up to a few hundred years of hammering... why does that strategy survive being in the open, and others do not?

In essence, it seems these last two strategies still work because there is still a fundamental disagreement over value within the markets. "I believe this is good/bad value" is the bedrock of both actually working.

Was just curious what people's thoughts are: can a successful Betfair strategy ever be shared? And if so, and you have such a strategy, perhaps you would care to prove your point... :-)

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Replies: 219
By:
Beefie
When: 28 Jun 10 20:18
Totga

I'm not sure from some of your comments, particularly your final line, whether or not you are just another fisherman.  However, in the spirit of the broader discussion topic you raise I point you to the Efficent Market Hypothesis, which Wikipedia opens up with:

"In finance, the efficient-market hypothesis (EMH) asserts that financial markets are "informationally efficient". That is, one cannot consistently achieve returns in excess of average market returns on a risk-adjusted basis, given the information publicly available at the time the investment is made."

Now I know, particularly in recent times, that EMH has come under considerable academic attack.  However, it continues, in the generality and with certain caveats, pretty much to hold good.

It follows, therefore, that any one who has found an "edge" (which by definition must be an inefficiency in the market - here described often as finding "value"), exposes themselves to "informational efficiency" the moment they reveal the nature of that edge.

The comparatively low liquidity of the sports betting markets (against financial markets) will only serve to magnify this effect.

You can be pretty sure that anyone who claims an edge and is happy to socialise and/or sell it is one of three things:

1. Very, very stupid - so unlikely to be in this postion
2. A charlatan - selling something worthless to the gullible
3. Some smart individual who is attempting to manipulate the market to their advantage.
By:
clarky
When: 28 Jun 10 21:37
I am now in profit after 30 days of my new system!Will I say what the simple system is? NO,because it took me five years to get here!!!!!!!

All you need is bookwork and an exit strategy............
By:
countcilla
When: 28 Jun 10 21:44
I think Beefie is spot on.  Having clocked up nearly nine years on here, its only been the last 3 years that I have found my edge / market inefficiency.  I would'nt dream of telling anyone, even close friends and family.  Once you let the cat out of the bag, it will get around.

Although there is a lot of useful information out there, ultimately to become successfull you need to find your own unique edge.  Im always looking for new angles on markets as some successfull strategies in the past no longer work.
By:
tobermory
When: 28 Jun 10 21:45
One other contrary point I realised is that bookmaker's adopt a "betting strategy" of laying over-round, which seems to have stood up to a few hundred years of hammering... why does that strategy survive being in the open, and others do not?

It survices in the open because you need a bookmaker's licence to do it.
By:
TOTGA
When: 28 Jun 10 23:21
Beefie, no fear I am no fisherman - whilst this account is young and new (so young, it's not seriously in the red! ;-) ), I actually have had a relationship with this site and exchange betting for about 8 years. My last comment was a joke, no fear.

The reason I asked is two-fold:

1. I wasn't aware that EMH had a name although clearly knew the concept or something like it must exist, and was hoping somebody would be able to give me the name of it, thanks! Wish the article I'd read had just named it!
2. I come from an industry (software development) where sharing knowledge and ideas is how one makes progress, and yet it is the opposite of what I experience whenever I come back into the World of exchange betting. I'm curious as to why when staking we make our predictions openly, but when trying to trade or play the maths, we keep our cards so very close to our chests.

It seems everybody has a system, and as the old line goes, bookies love punters with a system (and for a reason). I have to admit I don't believe anybody on this forum who claims to be always ahead, but the idea that it's possible - it's what keeps us all here, surely?

And if all of us were to find our own "market inefficiency", the whole thing would be a zero-sum game for us all and the industry would be dead. It's what makes me skeptical about all training sessions (including those supplied by Betfair), books and guides.

The only book I've found to have reasonable suggestions (and trust me, I have a sizable and varied library on sports betting) is "The Art of Legging", which was once much loved by a handful of forum regulars and is the story of how bookmakers have kept themselves fed and clothed - including the maths of the over-round. Perhaps it's time to go and buy that pitch and get a license after all... unless I can find my own secret inefficiency all of my own...
By:
I.quit.my.country
When: 28 Jun 10 23:22
trade fluctuations and then lay em like the bookies........once you've traded (u need the ability to spot the steamers) then a 3/1 shot u find yourself laying for only 6/4........easy peasy

sometimes u can over-complicate things............think about it: we'd all be rich if we could lay at SP - but you can lay for less than SP if u are smart

ability to spot the steamers: simplest way is to remember; the punters, they back the same ones every time....

will I lose my edge because I shared on forum? NO......because if u read the above sentence again you will únderstand why
By:
TOTGA
When: 28 Jun 10 23:32
I.quit - I think this is what I come back to with the difference of opinion comment I made.

Some people will consider a horse to be 2-1, others will be 3-1, and all you're saying is if you can decide which one will win in terms of money down before the market gears up, you're going to be on the right side of a trade.

On a wider issue, it's the fact bookies can get away with a decent sized over-round that suggests the core of what's going on in a punter's head is "confirmation bias" - they're not interested in objectively true "value" (if that's even possible), but in a subjective analysis that makes them bet despite the book being mathematically proven to be against them in the long run.

Is it the case then if we bring that lesson back here, that what we have is 97% of accounts suffering from confirmation bias (even if they are trading), and 3% have actually found the market inefficiency that mathematically works? Maybe.

At least most people here aren't as insane as most if they're staking, and at least are doing so at better odds. As for the high street shops and on-course punters, as the computer in War Games concludes: What a strange game. It seems the only way to win, is not to play.
By:
I.quit.my.country
When: 28 Jun 10 23:54
not playing is a good way to go......your life will be brighter thats for sure

but why not try and join the 3%.......get the form book out, pick one to lay........trade the movements to bring the liability down and make some money

I make money now because I have a regular job.......I can come here one hour a day or maybe one full day a week, no pressure, no worries, I can close the comp down and not worry about the balance in the top-left corner......this helps 4 sure
By:
The Investor
When: 28 Jun 10 23:57
Analyse what you are doing, and where you are making money. Once you have pinpointed where you are making money, do only that.
By:
I.quit.my.country
When: 28 Jun 10 23:59
good luck and good night.......a defeatist attitude is the best way to make money betting.......expect to lose, don't care, quit caring is the best advice and you be surprised how u suddenly win........it's a funny old game.............try trading to lose each time.......green city
By:
REM
When: 29 Jun 10 09:29
Seeing that to win you must either:

1. have information that others don't
2. use a system that others don't
3. Be a better judge of an event

1 & 2 will not last long as others follow.

As for 3, if it's instinctive or some sort of dead reckoning, you probably can't communicate it.
By:
1.01 Layer
When: 29 Jun 10 10:30
I've shared several of my strategies with people over the years but now don't really bother.

On the forums you'll probably get abuse and most seem to think you're bullsh!tting anyway.

No one I've told privately has made a success of it as they lack 1 or more of the key ingredients, most commonly - discipline.

One of the hardest things to balance also is the confidence to back your judgement with the humility to admit when you're wrong and get out at a decent price.  I suspect that most of the losers on here have their egos to blame.



On the subject of sharing, I agree that the more that follow a strategy, the smaller the margins become.  So a single strategy is very unlikely to be successful for long.

And as regards paying for tips, systems etc. people will only sell something when it has become almost worthless to them.  The only things worth paying for are Betfair for Dummies and a cheap API like Geeks toy or Gruss (if you're into that sort of thing - not that I am).
By:
Beefie
When: 29 Jun 10 10:40
Totga

Interestingly you raise the matter of Confirmation Bias.

For me, an understanding of this concept, together with its associated behaviours, is key to identifying and exploiting the market inefficiencies that it undoubtedly creates.  Analysis of the data shows Confirmation Bias becomes more pronounced when the market is at its most stressed/volatile (when the emotions of fear and greed are at their most pronounced).

With regards to who makes money and who doesn't - that's a difficult one.  In theory a random system, with a well managed bank, should break even before commission.  The commission will take it into the red.  I suspect that a significant number of people here follow what happens in casinos, they go bust faster than they should because of poor bank management (and also in many cases not managing the spread).

Reading many of the threads on here also shows a lot of people are subject to Illusory Correlation.  They believe they have a winning system, but any simple statistical analysis such as a Chitest invariably shows they're just riding a winning streak, and inevitably eventually go bust.

Every now and again someone pops up to buck this trend.  Some probably have an edge, but I suspect that many are just riding a prolonged winning streak.  A simple Monte Carlo simulation of a random strategy will show that say of 1,000 people, many will break even (before commission), some will make a little and lose a little, and the odd one or two will make a lot and the odd one or two will lose a lot.

Assuming that you have established an edge (that withstands the rigour of statistical significance testing) you can expect it to decay over time - even if you keep it secret.  This is simply because the market tends to efficiency.  The market works out what you are doing.  On here that can happen fairly quickly.  You might be surprised (although being a software engineer it's unlikely) at the sophisticated tools aimed at the exchange.  I myself use a number of AI products.  These can identify new entrants and strategies being executed in particular markets fairly quickly.  You also have the Chaos effect.  Someone executing a new strategy with just £2 bets has a significantly greater impact than the butterfly flapping its wings in the Amazon.

Having said all of this - there are edges out there to be found but I agree with a number of posters (Investor, Clarky, Countcilla) you have to do the work, and you must apply method.

GL
By:
Trevh
When: 29 Jun 10 12:09
I can't believe 3% of account holders are in profit, I bet it's more like 0.3% in reality.
By:
brendanuk1
When: 29 Jun 10 12:14
have you seen the WC fan leaderboard? I am something like 7000th with 1% profit.

3% in profit = 250k in fan v fan
0.3% in profit = 2.5m in fan v fan

3% looks more likely to me
By:
Trevh
When: 29 Jun 10 12:18
Sorry didn't understand any of that, but I'm talking about long term winning accounts.
By:
brendanuk1
When: 29 Jun 10 12:34
its ok dont worry about it
By:
Beefie
When: 29 Jun 10 12:40
Brendan

I think that's interesting - can you please point me to the WC fan leaderboard.  I would like to understand it.
By:
sevey
When: 29 Jun 10 12:42
As It Says In The Book Find The Price & Thats Your Winner
By:
brendanuk1
When: 29 Jun 10 12:44
promos tab-> £100,000 give away (its both mega minute and fan v fan) you need to place bets after logging in took couple of days for me to turn up there after logging in for first time
By:
REM
When: 29 Jun 10 12:44
It's also probably true that less is more. The fewer bets of real quality the more likely you are to be ahead. Too many bets and weaker choices are made. Certainly Betfair's strategy is to make information widely available to reduce anyone's advantage, thus turning Betfair into a lottery/casino event where everyone slowly contributes to commission without being wiped out.

A sensible nugget of advice I was given is to never regret not having a bet.
By:
Beefie
When: 29 Jun 10 13:08
Thanks Brendan.

Football's not my thing.  Have I understood this promo properly?  If I place 5 separate £2 bets on a 15/1 shot in any qualifying match, and it comes in, I would top the overall leaderboard.  If no-one else beats it I pick up the £25,000 at the end of the competition?
By:
brendanuk1
When: 29 Jun 10 13:24
current leader is guy called Sergei from Russia with 1481% profit. You would have to beat that. Although some early leaders continued to bet instead of sitting on their 1000% plus profits. I am down to 8000 Cry.

Dont know the ins and outs of it really just curious as to where i was in the leaderboard. You would have to read the rules if you were serious about it.

Mega Minute is being split between something like 100 winners each time so a tenner if you guess rightCool
By:
The Investor
When: 29 Jun 10 18:14
Good post Beefie, if you have a decent understanding of statistics, you can estimate how likely it is that any profit you made is just due to luck. Also, the spread is a far more significant factor than most people realize.
By:
The Investor
When: 29 Jun 10 18:17
Brendan, just had a look at that promo site. I don't really get it.  If you placed just one bet at 20/1 during the world cup and it won, would that put you in first place ahead of the Russian?
By:
The Investor
When: 29 Jun 10 18:19
Don't forget to do the 'mega minute' as it's free ;)
By:
brendanuk1
When: 29 Jun 10 18:27
you would have to read rules, think there is min amounts of bets needed
By:
The Investor
When: 29 Jun 10 18:39
Every now and again someone pops up to buck this trend.  Some probably have an edge, but I suspect that many are just riding a prolonged winning streak.  A simple Monte Carlo simulation of a random strategy will show that say of 1,000 people, many will break even (before commission), some will make a little and lose a little, and the odd one or two will make a lot and the odd one or two will lose a lot.

I would go so far as to say that if you looked at the PnL of a highly successful bettor, it would be impossible to prove that they have an edge at all, and that it is not due to luck. You may be able to say with an ever greater degree of certainty that there is skill involved, but you cannot prove it.

It is only when you are told why this person is making profit that you can prove it, as long as you make the assumption that this reason is valid.

For some highly successful bettors, you may be able to show that the probability of these results occuring by chance is so many billions to one etc. That's still not the same as proving it, and these calculations may be incorrect anyway (think kurtosis / fat tails), and not being able to prove what kind of distribution you are dealing with at all.
By:
DaveEdwards
When: 29 Jun 10 18:46
Very interesting thread all who have contributed.

My thoughts on how to approach the whole trading/betting issue are as follows:

1) Trading - do I honestly believe that I can out do other traders on here, many of whom have a City trading background?

2) Betting - do I honestly believe that I can out do people betting on this site? Whilst not completely representative of all betfair users a quick view of any forum will indicate the level of competition.

I'm not trading.

To take the example of football, most of the forum are basing bets on a quick view of the league table, who they like/dislike and sometimes wholly incorrect interpretations of contextual information. Can they be beaten?
By:
Beefie
When: 29 Jun 10 19:18
I would go so far as to say that if you looked at the PnL of a highly successful bettor, it would be impossible to prove that they have an edge at all, and that it is not due to luck. You may be able to say with an ever greater degree of certainty that there is skill involved, but you cannot prove it.

It is only when you are told why this person is making profit that you can prove it, as long as you make the assumption that this reason is valid.

For some highly successful bettors, you may be able to show that the probability of these results occuring by chance is so many billions to one etc. That's still not the same as proving it, and these calculations may be incorrect anyway (think kurtosis / fat tails), and not being able to prove what kind of distribution you are dealing with at all.


Investor, I completely agree.  Without some idea of the risk they are running (they could be repetitively laying 999/1 shots) I can't see how you can calculate the probability of the results being down to anything other than chance.

With regards the footy promo - I read the rules and although I maybe wrong, I think your proposal to back a 20/1 shot is the way to go.  It says you have to place at least 5 bets - so 5 x £2 on the same thing at 15/1 or greater should do it if it comes in.  Now that's a value bet.
By:
driller
When: 29 Jun 10 21:05
No market inefficiencies exist on Betfair I'm afraid, a 2/1 shot is really a 2/1 shot. It's a zero sum game minus commission. The market is accurate at all times.
By:
Beefie
When: 29 Jun 10 21:48
Driller

No market inefficiencies exist on Betfair I'm afraid, a 2/1 shot is really a 2/1 shot. It's a zero sum game minus commission. The market is accurate at all times.

I'm afraid that is simply not true.  The market is accurate most of the time - but most certainly not "...at all times"
By:
The Investor
When: 29 Jun 10 22:04
I take it driller is joking.

Anyway, even if prices on Betfair were perfectly efficient, it would still be possible to make money by offering the spread.


If you have worked out a tennis player's correct price is 40, you could offer to back the other guy at 1.03, and offer to lay at 1.02. This kind of thing isn't possible in financial markets.
By:
REM
When: 29 Jun 10 22:56
The biggest mistake anyone can make is to think that you must find the winner of an event.
By:
argentum
When: 30 Jun 10 00:19
I was reading an article about trading the other week. A comment in there made me realise why the 3% of account holders in profit don't share what they're doing.

Basically, new trading strategies for the financial markets have to be invented all the time, because the moment it becomes knowledge how a particular method is successful - and is copied by others - the liquidity dries up and hence the method becomes less successful (or worse, starts to fail).

This has meant more exotic trading strategies are kept secret....

I'm wondering if this is because the moment you share a strategy, it becomes worthless.

Was just curious what people's thoughts are: can a successful Betfair strategy ever be shared?



I would have thought that this was obvious - if you have an edge on Betfair then the more people who know about it then the harder it will be to get matched at the right (value) odds.

Personally I've found using Betfair to be very dynamic - by that I mean I've had to change my approach/methods to accomodate the constant changes....the way I play now (in-running in the place market, from home) is considerably different from when I started a couple of years ago. I'd be interested to know if other in-running players have managed to keep the same approach for a lengthy period of time...profitable of course.

If I fancied a horse from a form point of view and felt it was seriously overpriced, I would happily share that with others in the hope they could win a few quid (and have done on many occasions on here and various other forums) but would I share my profitable in-running methods? Not a chance, that would be some dumb move.
By:
DaveEdwards
When: 30 Jun 10 07:06
REM Joined: 09 Jun 02
Replies: 1571 29 Jun 10 22:56   
The biggest mistake anyone can make is to think that you must find the winner of an event. 
...........................................................

How is this a mistake? Same applies to finding loers too of course. If you are correct more often than other people predicting the outcome of an event how can this be a mistake?

There is more than one way to skin a cat.
By:
u25k
When: 30 Jun 10 07:57
there are no secret strategies or secret trading methods. I can teach you multiple strategies to make money but still you may end up losing due to lack of qualities you need to be successful here. My profits in last 5years plus on betfair is 530k and I can tell you there is no secret formula for success.

I tried to help friends on their request to teach how I do and what strategies I follow but it is useless to them as my decisions are more intution rather than pre planned. I do in-running only. I don't use fast pictures. But I can say I do use different stratgies for different sports. It is more predicting the patterns and making a betting plan.

some people like multiple entry and exit in one match. Some people may do only one or two entry and exit decisions.
some people like to punt and some trade. Few people may combine both to get best of both.
Some people like to wait for result and few people like me always prefer to trade out for profit or loss.
Backing favourties or laying. Both are good strategies and most important thing is timing of your trade(in-running)and selecting what to do, planning and executing. When things go wrong how you get out and what you do.
Sometimes chasing is good but not always. Discipline to make rules and following them.
staking and again discipline in stakes as per plan.

so many ways to make profit and at the same time to lose.
By:
REM
When: 30 Jun 10 08:21
DaveEdwards Joined: 06 Sep 07
Replies: 4738 30 Jun 10 07:06   
REM Joined: 09 Jun 02
Replies: 1571 29 Jun 10 22:56   
The biggest mistake anyone can make is to think that you must find the winner of an event. 
...........................................................

How is this a mistake? Same applies to finding loers too of course. If you are correct more often than other people predicting the outcome of an event how can this be a mistake?

There is more than one way to skin a cat.



Yes, the mistake is thinking you must find the winner. It is what defines the mug punter and they are most welcome in bookies up and down the land.
By:
REM
When: 30 Jun 10 08:37
u25k Joined: 10 Jul 05
Replies: 668 30 Jun 10 07:57   
there are no secret strategies or secret trading methods. I can teach you multiple strategies to make money but still you may end up losing due to lack of qualities you need to be successful here. My profits in last 5years plus on betfair is 530k and I can tell you there is no secret formula for success.

I tried to help friends on their request to teach how I do and what strategies I follow but it is useless to them as my decisions are more intution rather than pre planned. I do in-running only. I don't use fast pictures. But I can say I do use different stratgies for different sports. It is more predicting the patterns and making a betting plan.


Interestingly, NFL is bar far my most successful sport, having followed the game since the 80s. I don't watch live, but make my decisions following the online play-by-play score knowing that it is behind the markets (even knowing what has happened from the markets). I study the the game pre-ko, consider why a team is performing better or worse IP and make a judgement on their next few plays and overall game plan. It works very well. Come superbowl and my only live game and I can't make it work because I've lost my decision time and visual structure, so I can only make that game pay by sneaking around the obscure markets and taking a long view.
I don't touch tennis (still got burnt this wimbledon) because I made some great decisions pre game, but mess them up IP because the ebb and flow of a match (esp womens) causes me to panic. It's all down to the point structure and speed. Cricket is a much better pace of game for me and another sport I understand well.
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