My betting has changed quite a bit over the last 3 or 4 years. As anyone will tell you, who have not got MUG tattooed on their head, bookmakers are doing their best to turn people away from horse racing in droves. There has always been a point when bookmakers show you the door but the time duration has become increasingly brief and the reasons ever more flimsy.  Just demonstrating that you are price sensitive can be enough even before you have turned a profit. This means you have to work that bit harder to get on. I became tired of this aspect of the game a few years ago and decided instead to turn my attention to Betfair betting.

Betting on the exchanges does not run the risk of closure as you are betting against other members of the public with Betfair simply taking a commission. They are therefore not concerned whether you are winning or losing. The approach however to becoming a winning punter on Betfair is certainly different to backing with bookmakers at morning prices. You cannot simply state that you intent to back the same horses with Betfair in the morning because the amount you can get on with Betfair is quite small within the morning markets. This means a completely new way of thinking and approaching your betting. Given that our American counterparts manage to cut a profit on the American tote system where final prices are not known until after the off time and the takeout per race is around 18%, betting into Betfair would appear generous by comparism, with its 1.5% per race takeout. Yes commission paid props that figure up a little more but we are still looking at favourable numbers that the average Yank would love to bet in should their authorities allow them to access Betfair.

My approach has been to rack up the turnover and accept a much lower ROI%. With bookmakers I was looking at around +12% off around 3,500 bets per year. On Betfair I am backing and laying a completely different set of horses with a round 20,000 transactions per year. The returns on this turnover are not surprisingly much lower at between 1% and 2% after commission. Implementing this amount of action demands automation and the whole bet lay process, along with selection, is automated. My programming skills and the help of Colin Magee’s excellent Perl libraries have enabled this part of the operation. It also demands a different mindset as you work through the year. I would not advise micro monitoring the action. You really will drive yourself insane. With these kind of returns you can expect large swings and large periods of going nowhere or worse. The closer you can get to letting it simply run the better.

Can you win on Betfair, well yes for sure and I know others who are also making it pay but you need to change your view of winning.