Honour among thieves

Haven’t written in this thing in fuck knows. Been a long time anyway. Started out as a chance to keep myself publicly accountable when trading and then I got a little bit Day25 with it and was doing holiday updates and now I’ve decided to just write about whatever the fuck I want; I’m turning this whole blog into a steaming pile of mutant shit. But anyway, “honour among thieves”, who are these thieves, well if you’re on the punt and winning, you’re a thief in this story.

I want to take you back to where it all started for me 5 years ago. Sitting at the poker table and someone asks me if I had ever heard of “sports arbitrage”. After getting the run down I realised that I could make some extra cash on the side of poker, relatively risk free. I was signing up (or using past muggy accounts already opened) to do matched betting“. I was young in the industry, naive and I really didn’t know any better that was my edge. I mean my bankroll wasn’t big, I had been shown this low risk way of making extra cash, this is a gold mine that will just go on forever right? WRONG, BANNED!

From there my now wife, her sisters, my brothers, my mates and a few randoms too all also “got into” matched betting. They all followed the same systems as me, all used my laptop and did it under my very watchful eye (wink wink). This was a gold mine for “them” that would continue to go on forever right? WRONG, BANNED! And so I ran out of people to “tell”. It was then that I realised that if I wanted longevity in the game that I would need to bet at places that wouldn’t ban me. I had been using Betfair in matched betting and come across sports trading“, this was going to be my way forward.

Fast forward and I’m asked to fill in for my mates indoor cricket side one week. Here I meet Tristan Merlehan who happens to be the captain and founder of the side. We get chatting later and I find out he owns Topsport; “fuck” I think in my head “I hope the cunt doesn’t find out I used to do that bonus bet shit at Toppy, don’t think the bookies like it”. Anyway, “who gives a fuck, bookies are all cunts” I thought to myself, what does it matter.

Few months go by (I won’t go too deep into my “bromance” developing with Tristan but I’ll leave it at; this guy has to be one of the most thoughtful, generous persons I’ve ever met, that and he loves punt and sport, lad) and we are having a beer after the game as is tradition for our indoor team the “C U Next Tuesday’s”. Tristan tells me a story about a client who stung them big time. This person found a horse mispricing in an ALL-IN market for some upcoming race. The finer details I can barely remember but they aren’t super important, I think the horse won some lead up race and they hadn’t moved the price despite this having happened. So the client finds the error and bets it to win a stack. Now my response to Tristan at the time was “well you guys should have been quicker to move it”, so naive, so so wrong.

As time went on I started to learn that bookmaking relationships like any other are give and take. I was at a Betfair function one year before Magic Millions and Tristan also attended. He wanted to introduce me to one of their biggest clients who we will call Dale because he reminded my drunk mate of Dale Steyn (and he let him know about it too “YOU LOOK LIKE DALE STEYN, STEYN TO WARNER, BANG” he reckoned). Anyway Dale and I got chatting, quite fascinated with his whole operation we talked for quite some time only interrupted when said drunk mate would yell across the whole party at Campbell Brown who was a Betfair guest on the night “OI CAMPBELL, CAMPBELL, CAMPBELL, OI CAMPBELL” *Campbell finally acknowledges with a look* “CROWS” *fist pump from my mate*, *awkward laugh and nod from Campbell*.

But I digress, one thing that Dale said to me that blew my mind and educated me was that his relationship with Tristan and Topsport was one of huge mutual respect. Although his livelihood depended on finding value, it didn’t depend on finding it through errors. The value of having Topsport as an “out” vs betting grubby errors was a “no-brainer”. In fact Dale had code of honour with Topsport that if he or his crew saw anything clearly incorrect they would “bet $1 on that runner and that would alert the traders that something was wrong and give them a chance to rectify it. After that whatever they went back up was fair game”. This moment stuck with me forever, here I had a professional punter, wildly successful winning at a big rate against Topsport and yet they both were mates, drinking together, chatting shop, not all bookies are the enemy? They’re not all cunts?

From that day I set out to do the right thing by those books that had done the right thing by me. The list wasn’t very long it had one name on it Topsport (Betfair also been brilliant and have big time for all the Betfair Aus crew, but talking bookmakers specifically here). I made an agreement with Tristan that if I saw anything I too would be betting $1 on it to alert the team. I also became an advocate for their business in the social sphere and I defended them when the opportunities arose. Not only that my best punting mates in the industry (we have a group chat) also started reporting errors directly to me and I would send them to Tristan. We all too, like Dale had started to realise that the offering from Topsport far outweighed the short-sighted snipe of an incorrect price. What happens if Topsport ceases to exist? Where are we then? Frightful thought.

Fast forward to today. I have 3.5 places I can bet to win more than $5; Topsport, TAB (in cash, account is fucked), Betfair and the half is BetEasy who on their day will let me on to win $500. Lets remove BetEasy because really its rare I try there as limits pretty grim and lets remove Betfair because they won’t ban or limit. Leaves TAB (cash) and Topsport; and for me (I can’t speak for other sports in fairness) but this is a mismatch of epic proportions. Take any random cricket game “Toppy” are likely to offer some 250+ markets for you to bet on whereas TAB might be lucky to offer 25. Toppy I can bet in my jocks from home, TAB I have to put clothes on and run to the pub hoping the price hasn’t gone. Toppy will lay me to win $1000-$2000 on the most esoteric markets and main stream its literally nose bleed sizing. I get more on than majority of clients because over a sustained period I’ve built a relationship, they know I won’t snipe them and in return I get on for more than the average bear on 100% “fair bets”, “respect is earned not given, it’s a 2 way street”.

I wrote this piece because lately I’ve seen a lot of filth getting bet in some of my extended circles as well as talk about what makes a good or bad bookie. Each of you will have your own opinions and you’re entitled to them. To me though, if you’re a winner you should be thinking about building relationships with true betting bookmakers, looking after their business means looking after your own. As someone once said to me this game is a “marathon not a sprint” and the thought of running a marathon to the TAB with cash in hand every day, clothed to bet on 25 markets isn’t much fun.

Caveat: I’m not holier than thou, do I love a good palp rort? My fuck, do I ever (probably tried/ been on 5 this week). But pick your targets, think about it, use your fucking noggin! Time and a place for everything.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s