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How to make the transition from Matched Betting to Professional Sports Trading

Martin's picture
Oct 02, 2017

At BTC we know lots of our members are from a matched betting background.

This article is specifically for you so that you can identify the challenges of transitioning between the two disciplines.

Let’s be clear on that, these are two totally different things with upsides and negatives to both.

I won’t talk much about the positives of matched betting (you will already be very aware of those!) but will look at the downsides of it that are rarely mentioned online.

I will talk about the positives and negatives of trading in comparison and why it is important to have this information during the move.


‘Matched Betting’ and it’s hidden hidden downsides.


Why most seasoned matched bettors are now turning to trading to try and make a long term living?


  • Your earnings will always decrease in the long term when matched betting on your own accounts, this is simple maths. As bookmakers and casinos close your accounts your ability to profit from their offers starts to dwindle significantly.

  • It’s not entirely risk free as advertised - here is a hidden truth that matched betting sites will never admit to. Every offer has risk attached. Bookmakers do not always pay out to bonus abusers and have held thousands from people in many cases. Whilst you will make a good profit from matched betting overall and these instances are rare, if you lay off a big bet only to be denied the bonus you could lose a big amount of money. (Like it or not this happens from time to time).

  • The constant fights with dodgy bookmakers can be tiring, people get bored of arguing with William Hill over a £10 free bet or being asked to spend hours on live chat chasing up a £10 casino bonus.

  • No long term value, matched betting is a great way to make a quick buck but once that passes there are no genuine long term ways to make money from bookmakers. (Don't believe the nonsense your matched betting provider will try to sell to you, you will get gubbed by many bookmakers if you do matched betting it is a matter of when not if).

  • High risk slots offers are highly encouraged but can lead to big losses on a bad month, this is hard for anyone to stomach, especially on randomly generated gaming machines. It is not rare for people to lose thousands in a month.

  • Matched betting is a great way to build a bankroll but beyond that people want something they can make a real living off.

I sound like the forecaster of doom here but remember I am not against matched betting at all!

I will happily take any free money going, as we all should.

However, I am also a realist and have seen all of the above many times.

You will likely make a lot of money from it in the short term and that’s why you are here.

You have a bankroll to start the real long term business of trading.

The negative side of trading that matched bettors must be aware of:


  • Trading carries more obvious risk compared to matched betting, there is no such thing as risk free trading. Don’t let any scam sites try to tell you otherwise. However, there are multiple ways to minimise risk e.g. paper trading, testing and managing your bankroll properly.

  • Bankroll management is crucial - far more crucial than matched betting.

  • It is a learning process that does take time to master, you cannot just watch a training video and follow the instructions and make money. Trading is a fluid process on a marketplace.

  • You need to understand the sport you trade on, this means studying, researching and watching it.

  • If you mess about you will lose your money fast.

OK so now that’s out of the way I have some good news! There are big upsides to trading:

  • You can make a living from it and once you master your sport you will potentially have a job for life.

  • Betfair, Smarkets and Betdaq will never shut you down for winning! They love it as they get commission either way. No more fights with bookmaker's live chats! Yipeeeeeee.

  • Your earnings can be pretty limitless - if the market you bet on has a lot of money in it then your stakes can be as high as your bankroll allows, meaning you can upscale as you earn and re-invest profits.

  • You can trade at times that suit you, most sports will have events on at all hours, especially football, horse racing and tennis.

  • No silly terms and conditions to read through when trading, market rules are always the same as they were the day before and rarely change (but make sure you learn the initial rules when you are new to trading!).

  • Don’t worry about being ‘gubbed’ or sacked it won't are the boss! (I guess you could sack yourself but that would be very Machiavellian).


Sounds great but how do we transition?

I think if you take a good look at the points above and take on board the advice you will be a good deal of the way there.

Mentality is much more of a factor in trading, you have to think and be clever yourself.

If you are willing to prepare yourself for losing runs, testing strategies for 3 months before betting real money and manage your bankroll properly, this transition will be straightforward.

You now know the negatives and positives so you can be ahead of the game in that respect.

Members of Betfair Trading Community have a unique opportunity to liaise with top Professional Sports Traders on a daily basis.

In fact, 3 of us run the site, not including the other Pro’s who are a part of the community.

You also have a wealth of information on the website, such as blog articles that are pure gold!

Tried and tested strategies, hundred of hours of top quality podcasts and daily trading advice emails sent to you.

There really is no reason this transition should be difficult to do.

It will be hard work but what is there in life that was worth doing that didn’t represent some challenge to us?

If you want it come and get it!