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Do Pro Betfair Traders Use Their 'Gut Feeling' To Trade?

Martin Futter's picture
Jan 19, 2021

If you have been around Betfair trading on the Betfair exchange or even if you have just been a punter at a bookies, you will probably have heard someone talk about how their 'gut feeling' was the reason behind a trade or bet.

For those who are not aware, the definition of a 'gut feeling' is a feeling that someone has that seems to predict what will happen, not based on any actual logic.

So let's give an example. A man decides not to get on a plane one day, the plane crashes and everyone onboard dies. When asked why he did not get on a plane the man said 'I just had a gut feeling that something was going to go wrong, so I did not get on the plane'.

In this instance the man had no prior knowledge that would help him make this decision, just a feeling within himself. It could be a coincidence or a higher power but it's not possible to know for sure.

Why do I bring all of this up? 

I know of traders and bettors who use the Betfair exchange and their gut feeling to make trades or bets. 

What I want to do today is examine this, whether I think it is the right or wrong thing to do and to think about where these gut feelings actually come from. 

First off, I will be really honest with you, I cringe a bit inside when someone tells me, 'Well, the reason I made the trade was I had a gut feeling it was going to happen'. 

Why is this?

Well I get a similar feeling when I hear phrases like: 'I put a bet on that football team because I really like the colour of their football kit', or 'I traded on that horse because I really liked the name'. 

What's the big problem? There is no logic or basis to these trades. If you win it is luck and if you lose it is luck, you may as well go into a casino and start betting on the roulette wheel.

Betfair trading is heavily skill based in the long term and those who succeed at it, do so by using their Betfair trading skills to have an edge on the trading markets. 

There is no logic to the idea that a team will win because you like the colour of their kit, or a horse will do what you want it to because you like the name. 

In the same way I would suggest if you are trading on something just because of a 'gut feeling' then you are relying purely on luck and are not using the skills that you could to actually make money in the long term.

Put it this way, if you have any doubt about this, I have been heavily involved with Betfair trading for 17 years, met many pro traders some of whom I speak to on a daily basis and not once has anyone ever said to me 'I make money long term trading based purely on my gut feeling.'

So should we just ignore our gut feelings?

You may expect me to say, 'YES!' but actually I don't think we should ignore our feelings.

There is a way in which gut feelings can be useful when trading on Betfair.

What I have noticed is that gut feelings often come from a place of knowledge when relating them to trading. 

Sometimes we may have concluded that a team should win a football match but we may not know why.

So it may feel like we have a gut feeling about it but it could be that we actually have done some subconscious thinking to come to this conclusion. 

Take a team you support for example, let's say you have a strong feeling they will lose today, is this just natural supporter pessimism or do you in fact have the knowledge that other team is simply better and more motivated. 

Maybe your mind has been working it all out while you think you are thinking about other things. Who is to really know where these 'gut feelings' come from?

We could get deeper here and turn this into some kind of psychology lesson (my Masters in counselling may finally be used!) but to be honest we don't really need to.

The truth is having a 'gut feeling' about something is fine but to truly use it for trading you need to back it up with research.

What separates the average Betfair traders from the Pro Betfair traders? Often it is research and hard work. 

Regardless of your position on the validity of a 'gut feeling' the simple solution to find out it's worth is to research the selection, see if your feelings match up with the evidence and hard data and work from there.

The next step is to test it, trade the selections without money, just note down what happened and whether you would have won or lost money based on those picks. 

See, if you research and test your selections and find that they do make money, then great you have done your Betfair trading due diligence and can use them as part of a trading system or trading strategy. 

This is the key to everything with Betfair trading and this 'gut feeling' you have is no different.

I will leave you with this, it is amazing how often people had a 'gut feeling' after something already happened.

I am watching a TV show called 'The Circle' on Channel 4 at the moment and people have to talk to each other online without seeing them ever in real life. Some of the people are 'catfish' basically pretending to be someone else.

Why do I mention this?

Well often these people find out who the catfish is after they leave the show and nearly always they say 'I knew it', 'Or I had a feeling something was up'. Yet strangely, they never mention this before they find out. 

Now if these people are being honest and not just saving face then there is a lesson to learn here. 

When your 'gut feeling' is telling you a team will win or a horse will lose, it is probably that your brain may have picked up some clues about what is happening or going to happen.

So we should not ignore this but rather we should look further into it.

Looking further into it means that we should research the selection and test them over time to see if they are profitable.

If they are then great, we have a profitable Betfair trading strategy, if not well let's test something else! 

Hope you enjoyed reading this blog post, if you have any questions on anything please do not hesitate to ask me on the forum or email me: info@betfairtradingcommunity.com

 

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