The case for a trading bot with possible in play options
There are actually two separate comparisons here.
One is against a standard bot ( i.e. no in-play facility ) and the other is against doing it all manually on Betfair.
HELP PLEASE Whilst having a working knowledge of trading, I am relatively inexperienced when using a trading bot as I have done the vast majority of trading manually in the past.
For this reason, any comments, criticism, or corrections would be welcome as the blog could then be amended accordingly.
Since writing the first blog on bots I have been experimenting with a trading bot.
Knowing that I would be unable to give the Betfair version much of a workout within any short trial period offered.
The Betdaq version had to be used. I would also run into Betfair charges if adding a fully functional trading bot to my portfolio of standard ones.
There is currently no time limit on the free to use Betdaq version ( at some point there will be ) but any savings on cost would be more than wiped out by the disadvantageous odds available in running due to the poor liquidity in regard to any bets not successfully traded out before the off.
Some of the human emotion can be taken out of trading with careful use of a bot.
Even those traded before the off have to fight against a slightly wider ratio than is generally the case on Betfair.
I have adopted a strategy to get around this - albeit creating a bit of extra work and requiring more diligence.
It will also run into more commission on certain bets where the horse is laid on Betdaq and backed on Betfair or vice versa. Using the bot to lay or back on Betdaq and looking to trade on there too is the ideal situation but the problem arises with bets that may not get matched before the off.
Away From the Screen
After carefully programming the bot you can merrily get on with your life away from the screen.
To achieve the best odds available, in addition to the request on Betdaq, a separate bet needs to be placed on Betfair at falsely high odds ( to avoid untimely matching after the Betdaq bet has been matched ) with the option to take SP selected.
Any bet not matched on Betdaq can then be allowed to lapse with the Betfair one replacing it.
Should the Betdaq bet be matched, then the Betfair request must be cancelled.
If close to the off any Betdaq bet is unmatched, it must be cancelled to avoid duplication with the bet on Betfair.
In play betting
Betting in-play is fine on sports where there is a break in the action, but in the case of racing the difference between the action you see ( unless at the track ) is delayed and may be significantly different from what others are seeing live.
In general, it MUST be left to the experts as by the time you can react and place a bet, the situation could bear no resemblance to the one you thought you were betting on.
You may see a horse leading by 3 lengths at the last hurdle and fancy backing it at 1.05, only to get matched by someone who has already seen it fall!
Would you have backed it at 1.05 if you had already seen it fall? That is an extreme example but for the novice trader, betting in-play is best avoided.
For this reason, I shall in the main be dealing with bets up to the off.
Another issue with in running odds is the ratio between available back and lay odds.
In general Betfair odds will still be fairly close for the early stages of a race.
This will not be the case throughout the race, BUT any value on Betdaq disappears at the off with a standard overround hitting 130% for the back market and 80% for the lay market.
Whether or not this will improve over time should more liquidity be forthcoming remains to be seen.
The trading bot has many more functions than a standard one and I have only been able to scratch the surface.
One-click betting is the most expedient but can lead to errors for the unwary in the frenetic period prior to the off.
For that reason, I would suggest using the manual bet option initially although this will inevitably result in fewer bets due to the extra time taken over them individually.
Features can be disabled / enabled at will to save resources.
The power of the bot may cause charges to be incurred with the refresh rate set to be too frequent.
With all features open it may be necessary to slow the refresh rate slightly to compensate.
The Betfair version has an option to take BSP but that is obviously unavailable on Betdaq.
By selecting this option on Betfair, any bet not matched at the off will be settled at BSP with a virtually 100% chance of being matched.
As this is impossible on Betdaq, trading out must be done with an eye on TV or listening to the radio in order to ensure the start is not missed. The alternative is the solution outlined earlier.
The power of a bot is indisputable.
Whilst both the Betfair and Betdaq versions permit certain calculations to be done automatically, whether the advantages of doing this on the latter outweigh the extra effort involved in doing it manually on Betfair is currently questionable.
Unless there is substantial improvement in liquidity before the Betdaq version loses its free status, I would find it difficult to recommend that platform.
Any bot that has the facility to settle unmatched trades at BSP would take the stress out of the last-minute trading.
As these bots would probably not be free to use, the cost needs to be taken into consideration as an expense against profits.
The Future Of Betting Bots
Robots may assist or impinge our betting lives, but is a fact that more users (including bookmakers) will be investing time and money in bots.
To a serious trader this would not be prohibitive and to a novice ( with reasonable care ) should at least be recovered whilst gaining experience.
To read more about betting exchanges please visit the laying and exchange advice article.