Luke, what is sports trading?

Luke, what is sports trading?

I think it’s time for a FAQ type post. I’m often telling people what I do, I can tell that for the most part, its hard to grasp verbally. Maybe written with some pretty pictures will help people to get their heads around it. Hopefully I can dispel some some of the common beliefs that just aren’t right along the way too.

Q. What is sports trading? 

A. Sports trading is trading the fluctuations in prices before and during the event. Trading the movements of the odds allows you to build whats called “a book” or ledger. Much like a bookmaker builds a book in any of the events they take bets on, sports traders can build their book by backing or laying a particular runner in an event.

Q. What is lay betting?

A. When I “lay a bet”, I’m essentially playing bookmaker. This means someone has a bet with me on a particular runner in an event and if that runner wins, I need to pay out the person the worth of the bet. If the runner loses I keep the amount bet by the person, just like a bookmaker would.

What is lay betting?
Lay bet overview. You are playing bookmaker.


Q. Whats the difference between what you do and a bookmaker? 

A. There are subtle differences, but ultimately there are a lot of similarities to what we do. The biggest difference is obviously the volume, solo sports traders like myself have much smaller bankrolls than your big corporate bookies. As such, the size of the bets taken and placed are much smaller. I’m able to dictate from the get go, how much risk I have on any given trade. Like bookmakers though I can adjust that risk before and during the match.

Q. So you’re just gambling for a living?

A. Well, in short, yes. What makes the proposition different from a few mates having a bet on the footy each weekend though is the ability for me to hedge my position during the event. I often have a number of chances to limit my risk while the match is on, or, guarantee profits no matter the outcome of the event. Check out the screen grab from Betfair on a trade done in the 2011 French Open.

Betfair trading French Open 2011 on Rafael Nadal
Betfair trading French Open 2011 on Rafael Nadal


Q. Trading the stock market would be less risky, right? 

A. This is a massive myth. I’d say they carry equal risk, if you buy shares you are making a bet that the value of those shares will rise in value. No one knows, unless you’re insider trading, that would be like fixing in the sports trading world, but that topic is for another day. I’d go as far to say that any investment is a gamble, some bigger than others, but you think the people who had a total of $140 billion invested in their saving accounts during the great depression saw that investment as a “gamble”? Of course not, it was “as safe as houses”. Speaking of houses, do you think the people that bought “sub-prime” homes in the US before the property bubble bust in the mid 2000’s thought they were gambling? No, it was a sure thing, its property. There are no “sure things” when investing at any level.

Q. How do you know what will happen in an event?

A. I don’t, no one knows, but based on my knowledge of how prices move in the market and what might be “more likely” to happen I can take positions before or during a match. Let me give you an example, lets say you look at the form of a race and see that out of the 8 runners, one of the runners has lead in every one of its previous races, meanwhile, non of the other runners have ever lead. You could make a fair estimation that this runner will lead again and place a back bet on the runner, expecting it to shorten in price the further it goes along in front. At a certain time in the race you can place a lay bet on that horse either removing liability or creating a hedge across all of the runners (like the Nadal example earlier).

Q. Do you use any specific tools to trade with?

A. I use a program called Geeks Toy which is designed for sports trading. There is a number of these about, some good, some not. A bunch of guys I know just use the Betfair interface though and they are very successful traders. So you don’t need expensive kit to start off trading, just a smartphone/ computer, internet and maybe a calculator.

Q. Don’t you wish you had security of knowing what you make every week? 

A. I’d be lying if I said there isn’t a part of me that would love that. But at the same time, I don’t see employment or  your own business as anything that is 100% fail proof either. In fact, starting a business is a huge gamble in itself. I had coffee with a friend of mine recently that has gone balls out to start his own business, hes liquidated everything and I mean everything, houses, cars, the lot. On top of that hes in debt, this guy will likely make it happen because thats the kind of guy he is, but still, there are risks attached to what hes done, risks that will have serious financial ramifications if for what ever reason it doesn’t go his way. As for employee status, I hate working for someone else, first and foremost, secondly, just because you have a job that doesn’t mean you will have employment with that business forever. You wouldn’t have to travel far to find someone with a horrible story of being made redundant and depending on their age when made redundant, it can be very tough to get back into the work force.

Q. How much can you make sports trading realistically?  

A. Realistically, its like any other industry, there are top earners and there are bottom earners. Starting out I wouldn’t have expectations too much higher than trying to make a few bucks on the side as you learn the ropes. I know guys quite well that are making between $250,000 – $500,000 P.A, in all likelihood there are likely solo operators making more, I just don’t know them. If you were able to start your own company in bookmaking down the track, the skies the limit.

If you have any other questions you would like to ask, please don’t hesitate to comment below or shoot me an email at lukeamacatyahoodotcomdotau.

Cheers Luke






Money update

Money update

I’ve been putting this off because, I thought it was going to take a lot of digging around as I haven’t updated my balance before Vietnam. That and the fact that I knew the financial slide had continued for me overall. Like most things that you procrastinate about, it wasn’t nearly as bad once I got stuck into it. Your head has this amazing way to make a mountain out of a mole hill at times, the sooner you rip and get it done the better.

Anyway, enough bullshit, on to the dollars. As I hinted the new plot on the graph shows a continued decline in profits. This doesn’t bode well for my dreams of sailing on a yacht in the Caribbean, next time Australia play the Windies over there. Although it can’t be seen, things have started to turn around in the last week and a bit. The lowest point my balance got to was about $1,000 less than what you see, a few things have really started to click for me in the racing markets. Yesterday I had my best day there with $350 netted, I won’t be declaring it a winner until I can put a month of consistency together, I have a lot to learn still, I’m doing that, but I’m “quietly confident” that its coming together for me.

Cricket is ramping up with the WT20 competition starting in India a couple of nights ago. I thought I was going to stay up all through the night for the competition, but fuck it, I really don’t enjoy the format enough to put myself through the pain. I will trade the earlier games that start at 7.30pm as they are ideal, but the 12.00am start can do one. Obviously, key matches I will stay up for, but at the moment in the pool stages I couldn’t give a shit.

I just want to make mention of the people that have helped me on this journey. In the past I’ve been focusing a lot of energy on people that are negative towards what I’m doing, trying to change their perception, I couldn’t give a flying fuck any more. The people I want to focus on are the people that have helped and encouraged me. I could do the standard “you know who you are” thing, but instead, going to list a bunch of people and how they’ve helped:

  • Becca – Hasn’t been easy for her I know, but she always backs me, I love you for that.
  • Peter Clark – Supported me in a number of ways throughout the years and on this venture hes been no different.
  • Greg Millar – Backed me 110% when I started playing poker full-time, without his support wouldn’t be doing this now.
  • Tristan, Robbie & Dave – Great lads, great support, great sounding board when things are tough.
  • The parents, they never know exactly what I’m doing but they’re never worried, usually more intrigued than anything.
  • @muller234 – Top bloke, always supported me, there from the start, has similar goals and dreams, great for a laugh. Pretty smart for a Geordie too.
  • @back2layhorses – Again, there from the start, chasing his dream too, always checks in to see how things are going, top bloke. Who would have thought England had so many champion blokes living there?
  • @tradermatt106 – There isn’t too many more people that have put time into me in terms of trading cricket. If you’re not following this guy, you should be.
  • @Relaxer_ – Seriously sharp operator and has put in a bunch of time to me. Listening to my rants and calming me down, thanks for the help legend.
  • @aussieruled – Not trading on the level of Matt & Relaxer, but certainly the first guy to show me around the markets, also been a great voice of reason over the time.
  • @DownIsTheNewUp_ – Legend guy, pretty much keeps to himself, but been very influential for me, always very succinct.
  • @Trooa – Don’t let the class clown act fool you, this guy is sharp. Another real supporter and been a huge help in my journey, cheers JT.
  • @leantothewind – This guy is a champion too, making his way, similar dreams to mine and he is having a crack. Hoping to be able to nail this caper together.
  • @Lost_MyProphets – After an honest post of mine, this guy reached out to me and has poured in a bunch of time to help me, super guy, very appreciative.
  • @CaanBerryTrader – Not as accessible as some others, his content is very good and has been a source to turn to when things haven’t been right.
  • @Tennisratings – I don’t do a lot of tennis these days, but this guy is a out and out champion, always makes time for you and very supportive, thanks Dan.
  • @day25 – Steve is a good egg, always makes time for you and has been a supporter of my blog. His blog has always been a place to go bury my head when times are tough.
  • Bunch of boys from Twitter; Tom, RKM79, Jesse, Lenny, Dan Armo, Charchandrick Bets, Tommy, GreenForm, Oruas, AngryRay, John Millward, Lix, Fenners, Onlyfoolsgamble, Sim, Paul, few others I may have missed. Supporters and good for a laugh.
  • All readers from Facebook; All the comments of support when I post, does mean a lot and thanks a ton. Special mention to the crew in “Derolicked politics”.

All these people have helped back me and I really appreciate that. It doesn’t go unnoticed and its very humbling to have great support. I must not lose sight of the support, for every hater there is 50 supporters in my life 🙂

$1060, account balance +$7116.94

Cheers Luke

Betfair trading profit and loss graph.

Betfair trading individual trades
My plays and trades since my last post. A lot of red, but things are turning around for me, expect to see a big bounce back in the next few weeks.





Self sabotage 101

Self sabotage 101

I had another blow out. So disappointing, going away on holiday tomorrow and didn’t really need this. Up until then it was a low-key but profitable week; picking up about $600 of profit. I had picked up where I left off on my horse racing edge, working on getting my sample size bigger and things were going along nicely. Yesterday I attempted to trade some Australian races, but the liquidity was so terrible that the markets were far too volatile. I got stuck with one lay, the race jumped before I could hedge, you know what happens, the thing comes from 2nd last to win. Things went downhill from there.

I attempted to mug bet my way out of the hole, but the hole got deeper and deeper. In the end I busted a bank, giving back the money I had won during the week and more. It’s disappointing, these are mistakes I’ve made before and it certainly makes you second guess your ability to progress in this industry. Maybe I’m destined to fail like everyone seemingly expects me to.

I hate to admit that I could be so foolish as to do this, it’s embarrassing really, I was a complete whale punter yesterday, sad shit. It’s so embarrassing that I didn’t want to write this blog post about it. But when I set out to do this, it was going to be “warts and all”, no hiding the truth from people, besides, in the future these are the posts that may help someone on their journey and that’s half the reason I’m doing it.

There were positives to come out of it all. Yesterday was the first proper realisation that this is going to send me back to “the real world” if I don’t plug this leak. With my other blow outs I either blamed the market, the player, team or that fucking horse that came from 2nd last, (jokes, not it’s fault at all, this is on me). I would rationalise it by saying “I could afford to take a bit of an extra risk there”. But this is it, I’m making a stand on this sort of shit. No more, this loss will be a “watershed moment” for me and I will be making some changes to help stop this from happening again.

As I fuck shit up, rules are added to the list. I’ve added a safety net for these sorts of mishaps, I won’t be having any more than $500 in my Betfair account at any one time. Any additional winnings will be withdrawn, while I will top up the account if required after any losses. When I played poker full-time I had a session limit I was prepared to lose. Although in theory I shouldn’t digress from my most effective strategies when winning or losing, the fact is that when I lose a “significant amount”, my head get’s a little fucked up and I’m not thinking with complete clarity. The next rule is pretty simple; don’t, fucking, do that, again!

Leaving tomorrow at 9am for Vietnam. I’ll enjoy this holiday with my beautiful girl, eat great food, drink great beer, see great things and meet some great people. When I’m back I will be head down bum up on turning things around. I’m getting closer to getting this all together everyday, either that or I’m massively in denial. I’m sure this post will help all the haters, haha, fuck. It’s not the end of the road, nor the end of the world.

-$1750.06 on the week, account balance +$8176.94

Cheers Luke

Betfair trading profit and loss graph, down swinging.

Such a disappointing mistake towards the end of the week. Have to learn to stop this or the dream will be over before I know it.
Things were going along slowly and nicely this week before I had an absolute blow out. It’s so disappointing that I wasn’t even doing what I wanted to do, I was mug punting. Disappointing.


“Old habits, something, something”.

“Old habits, something, something”.

They say that “old habits die hard” and I’m a walking, talking example of this. Hands up if you’re like me and learn most lessons the hard way? It’s a shit situation right? On one hand, you have all these motivational quotes saying “don’t give up”, “failure is a step towards success”, all the while, you are getting burnt with these failures and wondering “am I just in denial”? In the gambling world, this can get fucking expensive, fucking quick.

Despite every sane cell in my brain telling me not to; I went back to horse racing this week, what a masochist. I’m fearful of how this chapter ends. Last time; I nearly killed the girlfriend, I had her hiding all the sharp objects in the house and locking the door to the balcony. I’ve basically, never had any success in this cunt of a sport, be it gambling or trading.

Why? I hear you asking. In short, I’ve developed 3 edges which I have been paper testing for the last six weeks. That alone means I’ve certainly come along way since my last foray into this market. I also used very small stakes when flicking over to try with real “moola”. Again, this gave me confidence that I was taking this seriously, last time my over staking was wild. I had a good start to my real money trades and time will tell now how it pans out long-term, fingers crossed, it’s a market I’d like to crack.

Good variance gods were shining brightly out of my ass crack this week. Usually, gamblers, traders, this blog is full of horror stories about how if some “pure cunt” had have just caught the ball everything would have been all right. This week I was on the pants boner side of variance on a number of occasions.

Hail Mary – GB v Det

GB v Det - Hail Mary
That pass and catch netted me $300 extra dollars than I would have got had GB gone on to lose by less than 3, which it looked like they were going to do. Good variance 🙂
King Kohli hits a boundary to win my overs bets
King Kohli also helped me out this week. I had 3 different overs bets on run line bets after 70 overs in their second innings. With one ball left before the time expired, King Kohli drilled a boundary to win 2 bets, was a $400 swing. Good variance.
Good variance when betting on cricket unders in India v South Africa
More good variance! I could afford just 1 run in 18 balls, get in there! Was a big swing for me, had a lot of under 40.5 and 42.5 too, but these half run winners gave me wood. Good variance.
How woman feel when their partners love sport or gambling on sport.
Saw this on Facebook and it was definitely something I can relate to. I try not to let losses be noticeable, but sometimes it’s hard, just thought it was funny and threw it in, haha.

Finally, thanks to everyone thats having a read each week. I have some really filthy things in the pipeline for this blog. I’m pretty excited by what is coming up, will be good fun, should give some clear insight in to what I’m doing on a day to day basis. Stay tuned and if you ever have questions get on to me on Twitter @lukeamac.

+$618 on the week, account balance +$5462

Cheers Luke

Weekly profit and loss from my trading on Betfair and with the corporate bookmakers.

Each trade I made this week in excel spreadsheet.
Each trade-by-trade in Excel sheet. Putting in here because I’m using a mixture of corporates and Betfair now.
Betfair trading on horses pre race.
First night back trading the nags on Betfair. Some small amounts, but really working hard on the consistent little 5-10% gains.

Back on the path to success!

After a rocky few days, I’m back on the path to success. It’s well documented how monumental my fuck ups have been in the last little bit, last night was the confidence shot in the arm I needed. My selection process was back, decision making was much better and my discipline was there.

I didn’t end up with huge, money last night, all for one play that cost me a full unit. But green is green and last night just cemented in my mind that this can be done and lucrative. Played around with some more tennis last night too, I’m yet to have an unsuccessful trade there, just playing around, sample is so small it’s laughable though.

Cheers Luke

Money lost, nothing lost. Confidence lost, everything lost.

It was always going to happen, after my horror night another one right after, just testing how well I had really learnt my lesson. Sadly, on the results front, there is little positivity to report from last night’s session of trading. I dropped another $300 sending my bankroll into the red for the first time, eh!

I’d be lying if I said, the day before didn’t rattle me somewhat. My confidence copped a beat up and during my research for the days racing I had made some less than profitable adjustments to my selection process. This all happened in my subconscious, I certainly didn’t set out to fuck up my selections for the day. My mindset being just off had a dramatically bad effect on the results.

Despite the results, there was some positives to draw on from the session. I didn’t up my units and try to chase the losses. In fact, I stopped midway through the day of racing identifying that there was something fundamentally wrong with what was happening. Races were not panning out how I thought they would, my plays weren’t close and I was way off the mark.

If you are doing this on your own, you are doing it wrong. There is a really strong community on social media, forums, etc., get involved, get support and be supported. I did just that, chatting through some points with ‘ma boyyyzzz’ @muller234 & @back2layhorses. Those moments of clarity with them, speaking objectively rather than subjectively have given the three of us things to work on going forward.

Cheers Luke

What an abortion that trade was!

JESUS! What the hell? Last night was far from the “cruisy” sessions I’ve had trading of late, some bad variance early with a runner who’s never fallen going down over jumps kind of set the tone. I must admit though, trading was an after thought last night, so nowhere near the study and preparation I generally put in. The missus begged me to come to bed with her 😉 so I snuck out after she had fallen asleep. Now, I know what you’re all thinking and let’s get something clear before we move on; I wear the pants in the relationship, she just controls the zipper.

Getting to the abortion, Bath race, cost me $200!!! What tilted me so hard about this, was I had nailed the strategy. My play was to lay the horse as I figured he would settle out the back of the race somewhere/ had priors for missing starts. Then I wanted to back him at around 20% over the lay price. What was to follow was an absolute fucking disaster.

I fired in the lay just before they got the last horse in the stalls, matched! Calculated the back price, fired that in. Some of the back matched before the off, horse rears up, misses the start by three lengths, rest of the bet matched! Smiling, wait, what the fuck? I can see a red result if this horse wins now? My back bet had only been partially matched before the off and none in running when the horse missed the start. I hadn’t clicked the setting to keep the bet “live in-play” so it cancelled as the stalls opened, it didn’t match as I thought it had. What a NOOB, how could I make that mistake? No problem, I’ll just red out of this; click red out, horse runs to front now, shortens more, delete back bet. Try again; red out, horse runs further in front now, shortens more, delete back bet. Try again, red out, horse is 4 lengths in front coming out of the turn, shortens more. Horse wins by a mile, I lose $200 with steam blowing out of both ears.

How could I be so stupid? How could I miss seeing whether the back was fully matched or not? What an absolute rookie. I’m not happy, I’m really disappointed, I was fighting back hard after a tough start to the session, I was in the green and heading towards a nice little three figure sum profit for the day, now I’m in the red three figures, unbelievable.

Next race in 3 minutes, no time to get too down, a couple of interesting runners in the next, plus the two after that have your NAP’s running in them. Sometimes life has this funny little way of picking you right back up again, BING, BANG, BOOM. Little green and two beauties and we got the $200 back and then some.

Moral of the story? Few I guess, if you fuck up a trade, don’t just throw your hands up, try and fix it, won’t always be able to do it, but try. If I could have “redded” out for -$100 I would have been up extra $100 last night. Sadly I couldn’t get matched the way the race panned out (rarely see horses do what this one did last night, see it here if you want FML!).

Second lesson is got to get back on the horse when things don’t go your way. See what I did there? Horse, eh? Yeah, you saw it.

Lastly, preparation. It’s a must to have delved inside what ever discipline it is you are going to trade. There is still tons of little calls you make while you are in the heat of the battle, but having some good knowledge of what might happen in the war before you get into it is essential in my opinion.

Another green night, ended up a positive story anyway, little green to add to my past couple, think that’s three on the trot now. I’ll explain in another post soon what I’m doing with my bankroll etc. +$80

Leave a comment or ask a question, if it’s a good one I’ll answer it good, if it’s shit, I’ll answer it shit.

Cheers Luke