Having spent a lucrative 12 or so years betting with bookmakers it became tiresome trying to avoid the inevitable closures online and phone of betting accounts. I then moved into the city centre and started betting in shops thinking anonymity would last longer there. Alas this was not the case although my fitness levels increased substantially from sprinting from Cafe to Bookmaker around the city centre. At first the shops were welcoming, £50 here £100 there but as they realised that I was taking more out than putting in they soon started to refuse bets. My final option with the bookies was to employ students as runners. Again this worked but only for a short space of time as once again they too found themselves banned from placing bets. Finally after a few years running a highly successful tipping line I gradually realised that exclusive betting on Betfair could be very profitable but it required a different mindset, turnover, expectation and in some areas method than my previous existence as a bookmaker bettor. Now I would advise all punters to start out with Betfair as you will end up there eventually if you have the skill to be profitable and you will save time learning the skills needed for Betfair first rather than later.
With bookmaker betting I had a medium turnover of bets, around 4,500 per year with a ROI of about 12% to 15%. The first change was to recognise that my line of attack on Betfair was to go for a much higher level of turnover with both backing and laying and settle for a much lower ROI but higher actual profit. I was also happy to have threads to my betting that achieved small returns over break even simply because they help to lower commission rate. With this vast increase in action came the need for automated betting. Thankfully my background in computer programming enabled me to quickly get to grips with the Betfair API. Manually betting to the level that I do would be physically impossible without an automated approach. Why the big difference between ROI on betfair and with the bookies ?. My bookie betting used to focus on morning prices and liquidity on Betfair is weak in the morning so expecting to get the same amount on during the morning is not realistic.
The other aspect to large turnover coupled with low ROI% is you have to accept that micro monitoring progress is no good for the sanity. Things happen very slowly and this kind of betting is not for the ‘how can I make £20 per day’ brigade. My starting point with Betfair was that the takeout is about 1 to 1.5% and I have to tilt it so its a similar amount in the opposite direction. When you think of it this way it does not seem such an unsurmountable climb. Automated betting also allows you to continue playing even whilst you are on holiday lying on a beach. Something you could not contemplate with a manual bookmaker based approach.
So if you are running into your umpteenth bookmaker closure and are feeling bruised and battered simply trying to get bets on then contemplate a total switch to exchange betting. I fully expect that you won’t miss the bookmakers once you have explored the virtues of the exchanges.