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Betfair API – Greening / Hedging / Cash out issues

On Friday 19th June, without any prior notification, Betfair introduced some changes and new rules to their API. This had the effect of preventing ALL API software users correctly hedging position on the Betfair betting exchange.

Typically this would have exhibited itself when trying to implement greening. The Betfair exchange wasn’t accepting orders correctly, leaving stray orders in your unmatched bet area. This meant that customers were left with slightly uneven positions in the market which they were trading.

Changes to the API should be announced in advance and that gives us time to implement and test any key changes. On this occasion Betfair changed the API without informing us, so the first we knew about it was when we spotted it ourselves when trying to hedging our own trading postions. Betfair didn’t acknoledge any changes until much later than evening.

Why did this happen?

Betfair felt the integrity of the exchange was threatened by an exploit that existed.

There has been a loophole in the way Betfair round bets for many years and is often exploited by a few users so it’s is something that’s been on their radar for quite some time, obviously though something must of happened during last week to prompt them into doing the sudden unannounced change when they did on Friday.

For example – a 13p @ 1.06 back bet is ‘unfair’ as it ‘ought’ to win 0.78p, but actually – due to the old rounding – wins 1p, which is a 28% uplift in profit.

However having hundreds and thousands of tiny bets like that hitting the exchange from various accounts purposely exploiting this loophole is bad for API stability which effects us all so its not a bad thing Betfair have taken decision to close this exploit once and for all.

What we did

Although no one was aware of this change coming, we spotted something was wrong within hours and moved quickly to release an updated build of Bet Angel later that same evening to our forum to try and reduce the wider impact these new changes were having on customers using stakes below the £2 Betfair minimum, particularly when greening up with small stakes. This enabled Bet Angel users to continue using the software and their trading throughout that weekend.

Once we were able to speak with Betfair and get clear confirmation of what exactly what it was they changed and what the new parameters and calculations now being used were we could then issue another build of this Bet Angel at the start of this week with tighter coding.

Updating Bet Angel

We recommend updating Bet Angel. These updated versions will still allow you to continue to place bets and green up with small stakes still. But due to the new Betfair rounding rules, there may be times when your P/L still ends up uneven by a few pence. So we have also updated the Bet Angel logging to spot when the API rejects these bets due to rounding, this allows users to see clearly if that was indeed the reason their order was rejected or not.

If that does happen you will see an error written to your Bet Angel log which looks like ” While Greening Up Unable to Place Lay Bet Due to Befair’s Rules Regarding Payout/Liability Rounding”

The latest builds of Bet Angel are now;

Bet Angel Profesional V1.52c

Bet Angel Trader V1.4.4c

These can be downloaded from both our forum and main website, once installed you will see one of those build numbers in the bottom right corner of the blue login window or by clicking the ‘about’ tab once logged in.

If you are installing the latest version of Bet Angel to a VPS you may need to follow the specific instructions listed on this blog post.

Note; If you are not using the latest version, you will also see a pop-up message at login prompting you to download and install the latest version.

For full details of the changes made by Betfair on 19th June please see this post from their developer’s forum

The post Betfair API – Greening / Hedging / Cash out issues appeared first on Betfair trading blog | Expert advice from Professional Betfair trade.

Installing software on your VPS

You may want to, or be required to, install software or updates to the software you have installed on your VPS. If you can’t install software on your VPS it may be that the download is “blocked”.

Because your Windows server / VPS is connected to the internet 24×7, security tends to heavily restrict what software can be installed without your specific permission.

So there are two ways to ensure you are able to install or update your software.

(1) Copy and paste from your local PC to the VPS

Ensure the clipboard is enabled in your client software, ‘client software’ is the software you use on your local computer to connect to the VPS. You should find the clipboard under an options or settings menu if you wish to check.

Download the software you want to install to your local PC. Then copy and paste it to the VPS. You should find that the software is ready to install.

(2) Unblock the software downloaded onto your VPS

If you download the software using a browser directly onto your VPS then you may need to unblock the software.

To unblock the software, download it to the VPS and make a note of where that file is located.

Then right-click on the icon and locate the ‘Unblock’ option on the bottom right of the dialogue box. Click to unblock the software and you should be able to run the application.

The post Installing software on your VPS appeared first on Betfair trading blog | Expert advice from Professional Betfair trade.

Betfair trading – Trading Order Flow – explained

What is trading order flow?

When I first started Betfair trading, I worked in markets I was familiar with. Football, Financials and Golf. I felt comfortable in these markets and traded them well. This was because I understood what the price should be and how the market would react to changing news.

I kept looking at horse racing markets though. They were massive compared to the markets I was trading, so I felt I should get involved. As I didn’t know much about horse racing I decided to trade sports markets like you trade the stock market.

On financial markets you can trade many ‘instruments’ without knowledge of their underlying value, you just trade the activity what you see in the market. That’s what I intended to do on horse racing, trade the ‘flow’ of the market. If I thought people liked a horse I’d back at a higher price and trade out when it was lower and vice versa.

Racing markets are typically the best market to trade order flow. In financial markets you have market makers, buyers and sellers putting orders into an order book and a market price. When sports trading you have bookmakers, backers and layers, the betting exchange and odds. They are not too dissimilar.

In the past, I have talked about its effectiveness in terms of a trading strategy, but a few people have said to me whether I could elaborate, specifically what you’re looking for with order flow when trading. So here is the Betfair trading strategy I use the vast majority of the time when trading horse racing on Betfair. Trading order flow, fullly explained!

You can read on via the blog post, or watch the video if you prefer.

Early stages

Kempton Race course parade ring

When we arrive at a market, the most important thing to realise is that horses have to get saddled up before they go into the parade route and taken to post.

Until that happens, a lot of people won’t place a bet on a market because they can’t see how the horse is behaving. It’s a bit like trying to buy a second hand car without looking at it, you don’t part with the cash until you can see the goods!

So when you look at the market, the same thing is happening. The most important thing when you trade order flow is to wait for the money to arrive.

Here is an example of a market at Sedgefield, with about three and a half minutes to go.

Understanding order flow in Bet Angel

blue box highlights how money has been traded so far

You will need to have some trading software when you attempt to trade order flow. Here, obviously, we are using Bet Angel.

When looking at the image above can see that there’s plenty of money coming through the market. When you look at the top of the Bet Angel screen, you’ll see how much money has been traded so far and how quickly that is increasing. If you don’t see this, you can adjust and bring this up in the settings.

Your first objective is to start looking at the market to understand what’s going on. When my screen first appeared, all of the runners were level in terms of the odds, to see this I basically centralised the ladder by pressing the ‘enter key.’ By centralising it it allows you to understand where the current price activity in the market is and where most of the backing is.

highlighted in blue is the second favourite of this race

So if we look at this market, we can see from the picture above that the price on the second favourite has been moving in and therefore you can see that that has been backed.

highlighted in blue is the first favourite of this race

In comparison, we can see that the price in the favourite has been drifting out gently. So even from a base level, that gives you a clue as to what’s going on.

Image showing the top four favourites on this particular market

You can see they don’t like the favourite as much as they like the second favourite as well as the fourth favourite a little bit as well.

So if we use both the second and fourth favourite being popular in the market as an example, then that’s probably going to put pressure on the second and the first to start drifting out.

How to read the order flow

The bigger and darker the colours in the ladder are shows that at these points a lot of money is being traded. The darker colour ,which you can use it to define if you wish, is how much money has been traded in the last 60 seconds.

So you can see there’s been quite a bit of money traded, but what we want to look at the shape of that money. There are varying amounts of activity throughout this section of ladder, some with more money and same with less, these are then getting matched.

So this is what we’re talking about when looking specifically about order flow, we can see that he’s being backed here which is pulling the price in. But as a consequence, you can see it’s pushing the other prices out on this particular occasion.

Blue highlights the most activity in the market on the first favourite

If we look at the favourite (pictured above on the left), you can see that most of the money was matched around 4.6, but it’s gradually been drifting towards 5.3 where there is now more money.

The interesting thing, as you can see, this has sort of stalled. It doesn’t have the same shape that you can see on the second favourite is now about to disappear off the bottom of the ladder which you can see in the image above to the right of the favourite.

What can we take from these readings?

So let’s explore this particular market further, where do we think this is going to go? One possibility of what could happen is whether we think the second favourite will stall.

Current status of the second favourite

If you look at the image above of the second market we can see that it has reached the price at 4 with reasonable amounts of money, then it charged down to about 3.5.

But can you see that their money sort of drying up around 3.55? So if I was looking at trading this, I would start looking for confirmation that maybe nobody is willing to back it below this current point within the market. Therefore, the price is going to start going up.

Overview of the market at this current stage

If the price is going to start going up, then you’ve probably seen support for the favourite on the favourite’s ladder.

You can also see that when I re-centred the ladder, there’s been a bit of support for the third favourite which you can see in the image above. So if we get two of them that are obviously receiving backing activity, then that will help push the price of the second favourite up in the other direction.

When people see something go from fours down to lower levels, where there was a big chunk of money went in the market, then there’s a natural tendency to try and jump on that which you can will make it lower. In this example there seems to be a bit of late backing on this second favourite.

Second favourite

You can see that when the price on the second favourite reached around the 3.50 level, that we became a little bit more cautious. We may have got lucky on this particular occasion if we backed it at this particular price. However, my instinct when we’re down at this level is to look at the other runners, look at where the orders are going in and then not trade the continuation of that backing, but to oppose it.

On this occasion, there was some late money and things like that are going to happen. When we look at the market we’re trying to make a general judgement on where the price activity is. You have to remember that you can’t guarantee that you’re actually going to nail this every time.

Which markets are suitable for this strategy?

Horse racing markets pre race are perfect for trading order flow as they are driven by opinion. There is also a lot of variabilty in price and this creates the trading opportunity. This also creates the risk fo a loss as well so it’s important to have a trading plan and money management.

You can take advantage of any pre-off market in reality as they are all driven by opinion. In a football match the market moves very little unless there is team news but some pre-off markets are very quiet. So know your market before you dive in!

Understanding this Betfair trading strategy

Trading order flow is this manner is all about being generally right, winning more than lose and making judgements on what you see. This is why some people find it hard trading in this manner.

I’ve seen people pigeon hole strategies with this stye. Is it scalping, swing trading? In reality you don’t care, you are buying and selling like a market market. Whether you are going for long term bigger profits or short term small profits, the most important thing is to anticipate what the market is going to do an adjust your risk accordingly.

People have an instinctive need to win and to be right. But when trading in this manner you will also lose quite frequently. But that’s OK as long as you are consistent and keep to a trading plan. After two decades in the markets I still regularly lose 2/3 races out of ten, but I always win more than I lose in monetary terms over those ten races. Over the course of the day and week, that ends up with me almost being assured of a profit if I trade enough races.

But when we’re talking about trading order flow, this is the sort of thing that we’re looking at. When you’re trading order flow, you’re not just looking at the flow of money. You’re also looking at how that’s influencing prices and how movement across the book is likely to influence the position that you’re in.

There’s a lot of depth in the understanding of order flow. You should be looking at charts as well which I would have done alongside the ladders, if I was actively trading this market. If you’re trading order flow, you should be looking at where the backing money is going, where that’s influencing price and how that, and the other positions that you can see across the market are going to influence your particular trade.

When you put that all together you will end up become a more compentant Betfair trader, but that takes a bit of time. Read some of the other blog posts I’ve done and also watch some more videos to listen to what I am looking at when I do any one particular trade.

At the Bet Angel Academy, we have nearly three hours of videos for you to watch and understand what I am seeing register and view them on this link: –

https://online.betangelacademy.com/courses/betfair-trading-videos-horse-racing

I hope that gave you a better understanding of what order flow is and what to look out for when in a market.

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Twenty years later – Impossible is just a word

It’s all Impossible

When I was young, I was constantly reminded how some things were just impossible and why I shouldn’t try.

I didn’t grow up in an atmosphere that was particularly supportive so my world view was shaped by that. I tended to be risk-averse and cautious because everything seemed stacked against me. A lot of things just didn’t seem worth the risk. It wasn’t a very positive view of things.

It could have gone in either direction back then, but something deep inside realised this wasn’t what I wanted. I had many dreams, but that difficult start in life meant they were very, very distant. I  had no confidence, no mentor, no guide or path to follow, so I didn’t know how to escape that world.

Life was going to be a whole lot of hard work!

I started to read up and understand how others had been successful. A lot of them extolled the virtues of a positive mental attitude, a can-do approach! At first, this sounded like a load of bull, but over time I realised that if you surround yourself with positive thoughts and people while discarding negative thoughts and people, you slowly appreciate that anything is possible with enough effort and application.

Discarding negative emtions and people was hard, but it had to be done. I, slowly, learnt that things are there to be done, not to be avoided. The worst you can do is fail, but as long as you learn from it, that’s just fine.

Learning to do the impossible

One the first ‘moments’ to happen to me is that early of early computing. For some reason I really took to it and started to really get into things.

But this was another ‘roadblock’ moment. Despite my protestations, everybody thought I was just playing games on my computer. In fact, I was learning to write Z80 and 6502 assembly code. But that deemed impossible, as I simply didn’t have the skillset to do that.

To cut a long story short, this period of my life hit a low. An opportunity was missed and path unfollowed due to the ignorance of others. I’ve learnt from that experience that it’s better to speak out than to live bad decisions of yours and others and let chew on you. If you get the chance speak your mind and follow your drive.

A little while later I picked up a book called ‘Beat the dealer’. I read with fascination as it laid out how Ed Thorp worked out a system to beat the popular Casino game of Blackjack. While the lure of beating the Casino was interesting, what I found more inspiring was that somebody had done something seemingly impossible. That fired me up!

My interest in sports and in Thorp’s book led me to start modelling football matches and that eventually led to me trying my luck at the football pools.

Of course, everybody told me that trying to win the pools was pointless as it was impossible, after all, if it was possible somebody else would have done it? I had an idea though, using a combination of a pricing model to identify likely draws and an optimal covering combination, I should be able to do it if I picked weeks when the pool was suitably skewed. I was right!

After winning many minor dividends, to even bodies surprise, I finally landed the big one, the first dividend on Littlewoods pools. Instantly dismissed as luck of course, by pretty much everybody. All those hours spent working towards that moment, unnoticed.

Nothing’s impossible

A key lesson I learnt was that nothing is completely impossible, it was just sometimes very difficult.

If you don’t have the skills naturally, you need a lot of drive to fill those skill gaps! You also learn that sometimes, you need a bit of luck. But even that taught me something, that luck is where opportunity meets ability. Negative thinkers just never spot the opportunity or dismiss it. But if you are looking for opportunities, you often find them. This is why it pays to have a positive outlook, it leads you into opportunties.

The path to my dream

Having finally settled into a career, I started moving up the ladder, excuse the pun. Interspersed within this was my desire to do something for myself. I felt I would only be fulfilled if I ever did this.

When I was made redundant in my first job I opened up an office in Southampton and started a new business. Ultimately I wasn’t experienced enough and it didn’t really work out. The idea and effort were good, but the decisions I made and the timing was wrong. But I had given it a go and learnt a lot.

I had also rekindled my interest in sport but this time from a betting perspective and had started dabbling with optimal covering with traditional betting. This was a path blocked by bookmakers, so I shifted to financial markets.

Wind forward many years and my career was at a much higher level but during the dot com boom I was sniffing around for ideas or opportunities that existed in this space. Again, the company I chose never made it. But my experience in that sphere gave me access to networks which exposed me to new ideas. One of those was betting exchanges.

Taking risk

So what is the best thing to do when you are settled into a career, have a wife, three children and a mortgage? Yep, you leave your normal career. When I quit my job all those years ago with a wife and three toddlers, despite what I had already learned, I was a bit worried about what could go wrong.

In fact, I should have been worried about what I was missing out on. Within about six months I realised I’d made the right move. Not that things were going well, but for the first time my eyes were open and opportunities were popping up all over the place.

I’ve learnt that through my involvement with Bet Angel as well. I’ve seen so many people take trading as the start point to much bigger things. That’s been hugely satisfying to watch and probably the most rewarding thing about what I have done in the last twenty years.

My Mantra

So when I speak to people now, I hope you start to understand where all my recommendations come from, all that experience.

Of course, everybody has different experiences and never shall two people have the same. But having seen both sides of the coin for myself and many others I know what I recommend to my children. So I echo that to others.

My mantra has been to accentuate the positive. I realise this annoys some people, but that in itself will tell you a lot about the way that people think. The key to progressing in all aspects of life is to overcome this inbuilt negativity and all the barriers people put in front of you. But if you choose to do so, you will attract attention from people who can’t do that, it’s just human nature.

Approach every situation with the view that people will be attempting to avoid a loss and will act to do so. Whether it’s the person that cut you up on the motorway this morning, the person that belittled you, that trade you took in-play, the football team that is 2-0 up, it’s all down to loss aversion!

It’s a powerful incentive and one that is hard to overcome, but if you really want to achieve something, you really need to lose that fear.

Pushing ahead

There are very few times you can truly call yourself an expert or feel you have ‘made it’. But even then, don’t expect to be treated differently.

As you cross each major milestone, don’t expect a fanfare or validation. If this is the reason you are doing something, you are going to be really disappointed. Your desire and drive has to be much deeper to feel fulfilled. You need to be doing things for your own reasons, not others. Other people can often be a barrier to your progress.

I have put a massive amount of energy and effort into my trading over the years and achieved more I could ever have dreamt of. My motivation? I’ve really pushed the boundaries of what you can do and explored and solved many problems that I thought were completely intractable. I’ve really enjoyed this side of things, this is what gets me behind my desk each day.

20 years since I started on Betfair

This evening I celebrate 20 years since I opened my Betfair account. They have been the best 20 years of my life and I hope more are to come. I’ve been going so long now that my children are now old enough to trade themselves. This feels like a natural progression to me.

Way back in 2007 I managed to trade all 28 races at Cheltenham to a profit, pre-off, for the first time. When did I last achieve this? This year! I also got a record result on the Gold Cup. In the last year, including lockdown, I’ve continued to do the seemingly impossible busily trading markets and putting though millions a week. When I started I didn’t expect to make it beyond five years, so to reach twenty is something I hadn’t planned.

But trading has also been an enabler for me to achieve much more in my personal life. I’ve really expanded my horizons and done a whole bunch of things I never thought possible and achieved quite a few dreams. I have some wonderful memories of these years and I’ve been gradually working my way down the bucket list and fully intend finishing it. I’ve had so many fantastic personal moments in my life in during this time, that I feel I have really lived life to the full.

One thing that has really spurred me on, I guess it’s a throwback to those early years. Is that the drive to achieve for me is often motivated by the achievement of what I am doing, and proving to others that impossible, is just a word.

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