Betfair Trading

The Next Step for Matched Bettors?

By Pro Trader, Caan Berry


Trading on the betting exchanges can be extremely lucrative.

But where do you start? Does it compare to matched betting? Is trading the right thing for you? Where can you get the best advice? Who’s worth listening to?

All good questions that deserve a solid answer. In this article, I’ve managed to get Professional Trader, Caan Berry, to answer them all.

Betfair Trader Caan Berry

The Next Logical Step

First and foremost, you’re probably here as someone who’s accustomed to making money through matched betting.

Does that mean you’ll definitely be a successful betting odds trader? No, unfortunately not.

However, I do believe it puts you in a considerably better position than most. Why? Because you’ll already understand the basic concepts of backing, laying and securing a profit. You may have even noticed a few factors that affect price movement, which is a great start.

As free bets and various bookmaker offers start to dry up, matched bettors are always on the lookout for the next profitable opportunity.

While trading bets doesn’t guarantee a profit for every trade, the potential upside is massive in comparison. Some top traders make in excess of seven figures each year. That’s right, Betfair millionaires if you like. No gubbings or account restrictions either.

In reality, the amount of people achieving this is small, but just a slither of the profits can be life changing. But in order to make the next logical step a successful one, you’ll need to know the basics.

Trading Basics

Successful trading isn’t quite as simple as matched betting, at first anyway.

The best trades come from understanding market characteristics. Once you understand the situation in hand, it becomes far easier to profit.

Let’s take a look at a small trade I placed for this article, broken down, step by step.

#1 – The Opener

Finding the best opening to a trade is probably the most important part. Entering at a value position is what we’re looking for, be it back or lay, it doesn’t matter.

Below, you can see I have placed a lay bet on Always Amazing at odds of 6.00 for £50.00.Betfair Trading - Opener Betslip

Betfair Trading - Opener Market

#2 – The Close

Once the trade is underway, and often before, it’s best to think about the exit.

Again, we want to leave the trade at the most valuable position, limiting risk and maximising the potential returns.

For this particular example, I backed Always Amazing straight away at odds of 6.20, again for £50.00. This meant that the price didn’t even have to move! We just had to get both bets matched…

Betfair Trading - Close Betslip

Betfair Trading - Close Market

Take note of the green profit figures that can be seen to the left of each horse’s name. If Always Amazing doesn’t win the race, our lay bet covers our back bet and we break even. If Always Amazing wins, we make a profit of £10.00.

#3 – The Hedge

Entering at 6.00 and closing out at 6.20 is all well and good, but much like matched betting, we need to lock in a profit.

As mentioned above, placing the same sized bets means that we only profit if our selection wins. We don’t want that. We want to win regardless of the outcome.

The screenshot below shows my betslip including a ‘hedge’ bet, which is a term that has been carried over from financial trading. It means to close out our position, win or lose, across the entire market. It’s a little like the saying, ‘hedge your bets’.

Betfair Trading - Hedge Betslip

Betfair Trading - Hedge Market

You’ll notice that the lay bet stake has increased by £1.56. You’ll also notice that the profit figures to the left of each horse have changed. We now stand to make a guaranteed profit on any outcome.

So you can see that the whole process is a little like placing a qualifying bet in matched betting. The difference being that I’d found a situation where I knew the market was likely to move in my favour.

Knowing how and where the market is likely to move is important, as of course is then placing the bets effectively.

Getting A Running Start…

So how do you know where the price will move? And when?

Like anything in life; the more you learn, the easier it becomes to win.

Just think about matched betting for a second. On the day you started, it’s unlikely that you realised how many offers were out there! Or how to maximise returns. But the more you learnt, the easier it became. Trading is no different.

Understanding the market principles, pricing, and how a market will behave is vital.

For example; in tennis there are one or two points within a match where it’s quite easy to exploit the situation for little to no loss. Horse racing markets on the other hand, behave very differently, with many more opportunities to place a successful trade. Usually they’re only seconds apart.

The best advice I can give you is to look out for those vulnerable points and work out where the value is. Why does the market over/under react to them?

Maybe that’s a little broad though, so I’ll give you a situation where, if you see it happen, you can make some quick cash (you’ll need to react quick though)…


The horses are parading at the start of a race. One of the horses rears up and throws the jockey from it’s back. Not exactly unheard of, is it?

In this situation, whoever lays that horse first is going to be looking at a profit, because the price will drift, sometimes very aggressively.

If you’ve laid that horse at that moment in time, there’s certainly no chance of the price contracting! The implied chance of the horse winning has decreased, because it has expended energy and exhibited a temperament issue. Who wants to back the horse that’s poorly behaved with a nervous and potentially injured jockey on board? Not me!

As a rule of thumb, the worse the horse plays up, the bigger the price movement will be. Common sense right?

Making Serious Money

The downside to making so much money on Betfair though, is their premium charges.

It’s not the end of the world, but something to be aware of. When you consistently win on Betfair (there’s a rather detailed criteria), you qualify as a ‘Premium Customer’. This means you have to pay 20% of your winnings, excluding commission, to Betfair that week. There are ways around it, but that’s a whole new subject.

The key points to note are; you need to have made over £5,000.00 on Betfair alone, been a consistent winner, bet on over 250 markets and generated commission of less than 20% (unlikely if you’ve been matched betting).

This charge was the catalyst that encouraged me to write a full guide some time ago; The Pre-Race Trading Guide. Since then it’s been updated several times, helping many to find their way around the betting markets.

There are a few resources online, but generally speaking, not many are worth listening to. Betfair themselves have a learning directory where they endorse a few proven professional traders.

Betfair Pro Trader Caan Berry

Serious About Making This Work?

For anyone that’s interested, Caan’s site has developed since it began in 2011. There are several books and courses on offer…

Pre Race Trading Guide

The first of Caan’s products, which has just been upgraded at the start of October 2017. A guide, presented in PDF format explaining how the exchange markets work, what influences them, those involved and how to position yourself on the right side of probability.

Caan Berry - Pre-Race Trading Guide

The guide also includes two supporting videos and any future updates, which are all updated within a personal user dashboard.

Video Course Package

Following the trading guide, users requested more video recordings of Caan’s trades.

The video package consists of 96 trading videos, including audio explanation and annotations.

Caan Berry - Advanced Video Pack

They’re a little more complex than the initial trading guide as Caan uses trading software and shares his setup, what he’s thinking in the moment and how he reacts.

The execution section of the video course package is particularly useful.

Tennis Trading Guide

There’s no secret that trading the horses is Caan’s first love, although he’s been successful in the tennis markets too.

Caan Berry - Tennis Trading Guide

His Tennis Traders Guide is much like the Pre-Race Trading Guide although covering a different style of trading, made to fit for the tennis markets.

The guide also comes with a bonus video, featuring full annotation. The video alone is worth the cost of the purchase.


Trading is a little more specialist than other methods discussed on this site. However, with additional perseverance, the potential is far greater. I’d advise checking out Caan’s blog and YouTube channel for a little more understanding.

Trading is no doubt a longer term project, but it’s one that is totally worthwhile should you make it out the other side.


  1. Matt

    You are running out of ideas matt.

    1. Matt

      Trading is something I’ve been meaning to cover on the blog for some time. With our experience of using the exchanges, trading is something that a lot of matched bettors are curious about.

  2. Anders DeRich

    No just no…

    1. Matt

      That’s fair enough Anders. Trading isn’t something that will appeal to everyone.

  3. matchedem

    Definitely something to look into…just wondering why are we suggesting the use of betfair over smarkets here?

    1. Matt

      We can trade on any betting exchange mate, it’s just a case of personal preference. Caan uses Betfair and has included screenshots of a recent trade.

      1. Alvin

        To be fair , I think it’s a reasonably natural step to go from matched betting to trading, as you will already have experience on the exchanges and matched betting only has a finite lifetime once your accounts get gubbed. I’ve considered it, but not confident I would be any good at it, maybe will try with small amounts to see how I get on.

  4. Laurence Stanley

    I started off with matched betting and ended up building a trading bank out of the profits. Matched betting was great for short term cash but trading is a skill that will last you a lifetime. It’s not for everyone and takes than you think, but if you have the right attitude you’ll never look back.

  5. Dave_Jones

    I quite like having a trading section on this site. I do think though people need to be aware of how much more difficult it is to make money from trading than it is from Match Betting. The free information on this site provided by Matt and many of the knowledgeable posters has enabled me to make a nice sum of money. I have used a small proportion of this to take a sports trading course and using small stakes to attempt to learn to trade pre off horse racing.

    After nearly 7 months, I am still not making consistent profits trading. I only use small stakes so on average I will make more in one day match betting than I will lose in a month of trading.

    Its impossible to get accurate figures of the failure rate for sports traders on the exchanges, its the same for financial traders. The people in the know don’t really want to release those figures. It would seem though that less than 5% of people are profitable trading long term on the exchanges, and its a similar figure for people who try trading financial markets.

    My guess would be this is the complete opposite for Match Betting. I would think the success rate for match bettors is probably over 95%.

    I don’t want to put people off trying, but I think you need to be fully aware of how difficult it is, and just because you have some experience of using exchanges and understand the concepts of backing and laying, this alone will not give you enough edge to make money long term from trading.

    For the few that can succeed however the rewards can be life changing, so unlike match betting where you are severely limited to how much you can earn long term due to the inevitable gubbings that will occur, the sky is the limit when it comes to trading.

    Finally be careful when you see people posting their profits from trading on other forums (I am not talking about this forum), if you look around you will see that on a trading forum recently a couple of what people thought were reputable posters have been caught out. They were using practise mode results (play money) to represent real money profits, if you try trading you will soon realise that practise mode is nothing like trading with real money.

    1. Andy Lad

      ^Yeah, what he said

  6. Mark

    A note of caution to all matched bettors. My advice is don’t throw your hard earned money at this. It’s almost a certainty that you will fail to make consistent profits. Most traders experience occasional moments of profits, but they are soon wiped out by the bad trades. 95% + of us will make losses trading. There’s a very simple reason for this – no matter how well we try and stick to a ‘system’ our emotions will one day get the better of us and we will fail to come out of a bad trade. That’s what happens. If you still want to give it a shot then use extremely small stakes and see if you can stick to the rules. If you are breaking even after 6 months you will be doing extremely well!

  7. Big Jay

    Do not take what these so called pro traders say as gospel.

    All that glitters is certainly not gold if you do your research on them

    1. Caan Berry

      Hi Big Jay,

      I can only assume you’ve read a little of the bitter attacks from those hiding under anonymous aliases online, purely made up and fabricated of course (a competitor). Both Betfair and Betdaq have promoted me extensively which is not something that’s taken lightly. There was a strict criteria for them to do as they have, and spend a portion of their marketing budget in the process. They certainly wouldn’t promote someone if they felt they were risking their reputation in the process. It’s common sense that their first stop would be to check account details and legitimacy. Notice how they opted out of promoting certain others, that would have relished the chance.


  8. Richie

    Matt you read my mind. I have been meaning to look into trading in more detail for a while, as I have been playing around a little with it from the knowledge that I’ve gained from matched betting. Is there much more in the videos than the pdf? Is there any point in buying both?

    1. Matt

      Hi Richie. The video package contains the most information, which is reflected in the price. There are 96 videos, spread across 22 different modules, so it’s definitely something worth looking at if you’re serious about giving things a go.

  9. Douglas Brown

    Hi Matt. Quick question. You mentioned ‘bet high lay low’ or ‘lay low bet high’. Your calculator works out the lay stake. Do you have a calculator that works out the back stake if you were to begin a trade with a low lay? Thanks

  10. Stephen Morgan

    I am a successful forex trader and have had a lot of wins with matched betting since I started a few months back.
    So am looking for ways to make this into another income stream.

    I did experiment in 2012 with Bet Angel doing basic arbitrage with some painfully slow results in the positive direction.

    I have found out this week just how quickly you get your accounts ‘gubbed’ doing even small arbs which surprised me.

    Can anyone give me a lead here on which way I should go, the arbing software is expensive and you need a decent bank due to the cashflow constraints which is no problem but it would tie up a minimum of around 5K if I ran the book like a forex account

    Maybe I am missing the point? So some help would be appreciated

  11. chris

    this just about covers the very basics for a beginner very poor of caan

    1. Caan Berry

      Hi Chris,

      Indeed it does. It’s just a taster and some basic explanation, it doesn’t claim to be more? I like to help all that I can, but having poured my life into trading for a number of years now, and shared a hell of a lot for free, it’s a little disappointing to see such comments. It’d be nice to run my entire site, and share content for free.

      To do this I’d need to generate affiliate commission though, I can’t do this, as with trading being more niche – people already have an account by the time they arrive to me. And earning tidy sums already through trading, it wouldn’t make sense to give my time and expertise for nothing.

      That said, there is some really useful content on the blog, if you take the time to read though 🙂


  12. Ben

    I started Matched betting exactly a year ago, before this point I had never put a bet down in my life! (and I’m in my 40s) the whole idea seemed made for loses. After a few months of opening accounts building a bank and getting gubbed (a lot) I realised that the whole matched betting thing is definitely limited. I then started researching trading options. During the last 9 months I have worked really hard on mainly football, I have tried a bit of horse trading and a bit of tennis but struggled to find an edge or reliable system. I have been pretty successful with football and have 3 systems 1 of which is a win what ever the result but I need very specific odds in 4 different markets to hit my magic criteria, it’s a bit like the infamous ‘Slicer’ although a lot more complicated and I can only really get 0.5% profit from liability, so a huge bank is needed for this one. I will probably be checking out Caan’s systems next year when the footie season is over as I would like to add horse trading to my repertoire but for now I am taking a well earned break. Anyway there is definitely money to be made trading but it requires a lot of hard work and discipline. Definitely give it a go but I would advise use small stakes and definitely use software. Oh and learn some maths and become a wiz on xl and you may find your own magic system!

    1. leke

      Please can u share this knowledge? I’m struggling with matched betting because I’m not eligible for most of them and will be grateful if U can help thanks

  13. Tom

    does the hedge bet replace the lay bet? and how do you work out the hedge bet?

    1. Tomasz Kolpaczek

      You can click “Cash out” on Betfair and it will spread your profit 😉

  14. Jojo

    I progressed from matched betting to sports trading, but the learning curve requires many many hours of reading, video study, practice sessions and discipline! I love the speed of pre race trading – keeps things exciting. I learnt (and still) from Caan, reading through all his blog for starters, then watched many utube clips from Caan and Peter Webb but prefer Caans honest, straight to the point, tell it how it is approach. So signed up to his video package and not looked back. He’s often on Twitter with hints and tips too. Obviously trading will not suit every personality but if you wanna try it, Caan is a good starting point.

    1. Matt

      Thanks for sharing Jojo, I’m pleased to hear things have gone well for you!

  15. pnicolas8

    I maybe one of the few here but I found Matched Betting very challenging, I could never find an arb after hours of trying, so I took to Betfair trading with the help of Caan’s book and I took to it like a duck to water, found it much easier than Matched Betting (I still dabble).

    Though as Jojo in the thread explains it takes a lot of reading and understanding, hours of reading actually, note taking, watching just learning.

    In my first week of Trading only I made a profit of over £100 and this was as a painfully slow studious newcomer.

    It’s not for everyone sure but want to thank Matt and Caan for their invaluble help and for this awesome blog.

    1. Matt

      Thanks for the kind words, you’re very welcome mate. It’s great to hear that you’ve taken to trading and are doing well!

      1. pnicolas8

        Thanks Matt, of course I meant after following all the bonus offers, new offers etc., you so kindly provided to begin with meant I had around £1000 to start trading with.

        1. Matt

          That’s great to hear. I hope it continues to work out for you!

  16. aaronzebaron

    @Stephen Morgan – If you are trading FX then you are going backwards by thinking about sports trading. The markets differ wildly in their sophistication, liquidity and depth, execution speed, order types and risk management tools, regulation, spreads, commissions, access (think HFT API’s and the like) and fairness (a trader could move prices in Betfair or Smarkets with just a few grand…good luck doing that in FX).

    Another thing is, I don’t think I have ever been re-quoted in FX markets, and I have been using those markets for over a decade. I have been in sports for less than one, and I am re-quoted nearly every time (not exaggerating) I go near either a live event or a horse race, sometimes to the extent of having a nervous breakdown. Frankly, putting any sizeable amount of money near a horse market for trading purposes (other than punting, matched betting (pre race) or being a bookie), provides a level of risk that I am far from comfortable with – the order types are not there, and neither is the liquidity.

    The example that guy provided took on £250 of risk for £1.56 (one pounds and fifty six pence) of upside. So he has to get through around 160 races without a horse pulling up, backing out, falling or the liquidity drying up, just to be in positive EV… or even worse, not being at the screen the second it does. The probability of any of these happening in the long run is fairly acute.

  17. aaronzebaron


    “reputable posters have been caught out. They were using practise mode results (play money) to represent real money profits, if you try trading you will soon realise that practise mode is nothing like trading with real money. ”

    Ha, it’s the equivalent of visualizing a sky dive as opposed to doing a sky dive.

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