When I first got involved in betting, I signed up for a service that published betting systems. Each week I would get a list of them and basic instructions.
Of course, none of them worked, but I knew that. I was just interested in what sort of things were being touted. That would help me understand what people thought would work and also the sort of things that most people were focused on.
Wind forward all these years, and people still buy systems, sometimes for eye-watering amounts. But they still won’t work.
Why is that, and why are they less likely to work now?
We know when something is popular
We often field queries in support, asking how to implement something. But the guys always look for queries that don’t make sense. So a caveat we issue before telling people how to automate something is to point out its flaws and risks.
We can’t stop people from doing something daft, but we can highlight the problem and hope people take it on board. That’s what I aim for with this blog.
Betfair trading isn’t a system
I’ve heard some people try and describe Betfair trading or some aspect of it as a ‘system’. It’s about as far removed from that as you can imagine.
Betfair trading will almost certainly improve your betting system, as part of the process is about getting the best price. I can take nearly all betting systems and enhance them with some trading.
If you bet on an outright market or do an accumulator, that is a way of betting. If you are Betfair trading, you are profiting from volatility in the market, and that profit is outcome-independent. Very different from betting, though I acknowledge many people who want to sell you something deliberately blur the boundaries.
In summary, Betfair trading is a way, not a system.
Tote betting is a way, outright betting is a way, each way thievery is a way, and Betfair trading is a way. They are all betting-related but not systems in their own right.
What people are looking for
If you look at nearly all betting sites, social media influencers and affiliates, they know exactly what your average punter wants. They want a low-free, easy-to-understand, easy-to-implement betting method to yield a passive second income stream. Have I missed anything out there?
Modern purveyors of systems no longer need to guess what people want. They can search and copy others or use SEO analysis to find the hot buttons that will get people to buy their system.
But here is the problem, they don’t work. But of course, these people don’t care; they just want money from you.
You can’t blame them. Making money like this is relatively effortless and low risk if they get away with it. Convince people you are an expert, then flog them something or get paid to promote something. Get an ego boost as an expert and a bulging bank balance from your sales.
Generally speaking, people doing this create the look and style of helpful information by copying others. They then throw in some buzzwords and modify the system to add ‘value’.
Of course, lots of people can do this, so you end up with this strange situation where after many duplications of the same information have been made, any valuable content has vanished. You are left with a Hodge podge of misinformation. This is often worse than just using a plain vanilla sensible staking system.
Being in the market right from the start, I’ve created much original content. I’ve watched much of it reused, which you expect, but it’s constantly drifted dramatically from the original point I’ve tried to make. Sometimes errors or misinterpretations creep in, and I’m left scratching my head about what I’m reading.
It’s no wonder people get confused. It can be a right old mess.
One of the earliest systems
One of the earliest systems I saw is still around today in many forms.
The original creator probably had no idea that nearly 20 years later, people would still be plagiarising and re-inventing his system. To some extent, I have as well. People kept asking for my views on it, so I have produced content on this specific system. Mainly to highlight good and bad practices around it.
When I was asked to look at this system in 2004, I could see it would get a high strike rate, but there didn’t seem to be any particular reason it would make money in the long term. So I wrote some simple automation to test it over a year. It didn’t make any money.
I thought I would look at the website and see what claims were being made about it. So I browsed the site and, at one point, retyped the URL with path /admin/ in it. To my surprise, the entire database of customers was listed under that path, along with full names and addresses and all manner of details. They also included a list of affiliate payments.
It turns out this system, which didn’t work, had netted the author the best part of £250k in sales, of which roughly £60k had been paid to affiliates. Ironically it showed that most of the affiliates were themselves, system sellers. No better audience to sell to, I guess.
True expertise takes time and sacrifice to achieve. But as with most things, the more effort you put in, the greater the reward.
Most people can’t be bothered and go for easy money. You can get away with that for a while, but eventually, you will have to admit you are not an expert and have not made much or any money. At this point, they are on thin ice as, technically, they have committed fraud.
So most people quietly disappear into the background with their loot, but some bluff their way forward with implied authority, hoping there isn’t a knock at the door.
People aren’t incentivised to tell the truth
You end up with this problem whereby people are not incentivised to tell the truth. This pushes the sell side of the industry down the path of finding something appealing rather than something factual that actually works.
There are no punishments for deliberately publishing dodgy information, no due diligence of whether the system seller uses their system or has made any money from trading or betting. It doesn’t matter. This issue is compounded as competing system sellers compete with each other with more appealing offers and claims. At this point, the system tends to drift dramatically from its origins, and things descend into a bit of a fantasy.
Of course, lots of these systems seem to work, but it’s often a trick. You tend to find most systems, as I have often discussed, are designed to deliver a stream of winning bets or trades. What’s wrong with that?
Well, winning is not profiting. It’s easy to win frequently but fail to profit long-term. This is something you need to understand before you set out on your trading journey.
If you can’t get your head around this, your prospects of matching money in the long term are entirely doomed. Check out this video, where I explain this in more detail.
The ultimate reason betting systems don’t work
Much has changed since those earlier days when I looked at those basic betting systems.
The typical narrative back then was that the people selling these systems couldn’t bet using them as they were banned. This was a thing back then, as I discovered early in my betting career. So there was a little justification for cashing in on your knowledge.
Wind forward a few years, and you now have betting exchanges where you will not be banned from winning. Find something that works, and the sky is the limit!
Liquidity is the limit in reality. If you try and bet or trade above that, you will influence your outcome. So you have to stay inside the nascent liquidity in the market. But within that amount, you can earn as much as possible.
But a significant change transforming everything is the ability to bet and trade automatically.
Historically you could argue that even if you found something that worked, you may be unable to scale it or have the time to put on those bets. But now you can bet and trade 24×7. Automation is like having an unpaid employee working for you.
In short, if you find something that works, you automate some or all of it to maximise your returns. That’s it!
I run many bits of automation daily, all doing their own little thing, waiting patiently for an opportunity or carefully and diligently executing their betting or trading plan silently in the background for me. 95% of the work for me was done by analysing and forming the strategy and it now just sits there working away for me.
The secret to finding a winning system
The best system that works is one you have developed yourself. But how would you do that?
Perhaps you have specialist knowledge of a sport, some unique angle you can bring to the table. That’s all great but always remember one essential thing. In an efficient market, if you bet or trade at random, you more or less break even less commission. So the barrier you are trying to overcome is actually minimal.
The first thing I did when I arrived on the scene over 20 years ago, was start betting and trading and random. The key thing this did was teach me how the market worked and what little changes would do to a strategy. This gave me my base to work from and defined my objective to be profitable.
From there, I just kept on testing, tweaking and refining. Learning how each market worked, why, and what happened when doing something different.
It’s possible to take a traditional betting or trading system and tweak it slightly to make it profitable. But realise that the variability in the strategy may take time to play out. You won’t know if it works properly until you experience an entire cycle, especially in sports.
Lots of people never get this far. So there is another part of a successful system, psychology. Systems regularly go through winning and losing runs, and it’s just human nature to panic when you are on a losing run or get over-optimistic on a winning run.
But this is where automation wins again. In this sense, sometimes traders are their own worst enemies.
Automation makes trading more straightforward and practical because you can adopt a ‘set and forgot’ approach to your trading and get objective feedback from the market. That’s much harder if you are just manually trading.
I trade manually and automatically, but both rely on me being just a bit better than completely random. It sounds strange, but that’s more or less my ‘secret’, and it can be yours if you are prepared to work at it.
Which, in my experience, most people are not!
Meanwhile, don’t forget to buy my new betting system. It’s available now in limited numbers, and there’s a discount for the first 20 lucky buyers.