8 Things Successful Sports Traders Don't Do

If you're reading this, then the chances are that you dream of trading on Betfair for a living. Maybe you have subscribed to various sports trading forums and blogs and perhaps have read a couple of ebooks on various Betfair trading strategies.

As you read all these articles, blog posts and books you find that you have built up a wealth of information that is turning, or already has turned into information overload. There are so many things that a successful trader is meant to do and sometimes trying to copy those things seems impossible or contradictory; but have you ever stopped to wonder what a successful sports trader doesn't do?

Well here is a list of 8 things that successful Betfair sports traders definitely do not do, they don't do them because they know that by avoiding these 8 things, they will maximise the profits that they make on Betfair whilst minimising the losses; so read on to find out what these must avoid habits of a successful sports trader are.

chasing losses

1. Successful Sports Traders Don't Chase Losses - This is probably the most obvious thing not to do, hence the reason it is at number one. Chasing losses is to be avoided at all costs, in poker it is called going on tilt, the reason being is that a poker player who is desperately trying to even up the bad luck he got in that particular hand, or recreate the time when he threw away a 7 and a 2 which would have won the hand, resembles an old pinball machine that would tilt and stop working if you moved it around too much.

When you're experiencing tilt, your brain is full of  cortisol (the stress hormone), which clouds your thinking and reduces the chances that you will make a good decision. Losses can be painful, but in order to be a success on Betfair you have to learn to accept them, learn from them and then move on and leave them in the past, this is the art of analysing without dwelling.

Unfortunately most people do not learn how to get over their losses because they are stuck    in a cycle of losing in the same way and that is frustrating. Avoid those ways and you will stop trying to chase your losses. If you want to know if you're stuck in a loser loop then read The 5 Most Common Reasons For Losing Money On Betfair.

Manchester City v PSG on Betdaq 

2. Successful Sports Traders Don't Stare At Odds – Betfair have obviously spent a lot of money and time making their interface look and feel pleasing to use and experience. It is probably a big reason why Betfair is still around ten times more popular than Betdaq (the average Betdaq market has about 10% of the volume as the average Betfair market), the interface is looking nicer on Betdaq these days, but in my opinion they still have a way to go.

This aesthetically pleasing experience can mean that you don't log out and leave a bet alone when you should. The fact is there are a few markets available to trade on Betfair which require your more or less constant attention, like point-to-point tennis betting. However there are many more markets that don't and so a successful sports trader will login, make his trades and then logout, probably not logging in again till it's the next time to trade.

If you do get into the habit of staring at the odds of your event, or just leaving the window    open in your browser or on your phone, then you are much more likely to panic and jump in with unnecessary bets, which means you're much more likely to lose money.

3. Successful Sports Traders Don't Leave Wins & Losses To Chance – The main reason why good sports traders don't stare at odds, is because every time a pro sports trader puts money on an event, they know how much they stand to win if things go their way and how much they stand to lose if the event turns sour.

The reason they know these things is because they have used both winning, back/lay and stop loss points. They do this by leaving orders in the market, they either do this using trading software or they do it manually, how they do it isn't important, they do it, that's the important bit.

Most people leave their wins and losses to chance in that in any given trade they are simply trying to win "as much as possible" whilst losing "as little as possible."

A successful sports trader will have simply put the orders into the market to cover those    outcomes, leaving them as unmatched bets. The main reasons they do this are; 

Depending on the event, the odds will jump around whilst the event is taking place, making it very hard to quickly grab odds as you're trying to work out how much to put on.

Once the event has started you are emotionally invested and therefore are much less likely to make rational decisions, causing you to stay in a trade too long or pull out too quickly.

You remain in control of your bankroll if you know potential profits and losses before the event, there may still be flexibility in a trade, in that you win more or lose less than you had planned, but that is considered a bonus and with stop loss points, you will never lose more than planned.

Copying this tactic is easier than you might think, as you can put projected back and lay odds into your betslip either before, during or after your initial bet and the Betfair engine will display your potential future, profit and loss.

4. Successful Sports Traders Don't Hedge Stable Markets – There are two things that we can say about the human race and those are; we are inherently negative and we are naturally cautious. Being cautious is often a good thing, hence the saying; better safe than sorry.

However being overly cautious isn't always the best tactic when trading on Betfair, simply because it may cost money by preventing you from maximising your profits in a given trade. On Betfair we use hedging or dutching as it is sometimes known to cover conflicting outcomes in an event. 

So for instance, in a game of football where the away team is weaker, but you're not sure how they are going to defend. You may cover 0-0, 0-1 and 1-1 as well as over 2.5 goals, this lessens the chance of losing, but also will decrease your profit, because you can't win all of your bets. 

Therefore it is best only to hedge when trading in a potentially unstable market because in unstable markets things change quickly from moment to moment and that is the best time to    have hedged, not when things are predicted to be nice and calm.

5. Successful Sports Traders Don't Dwell On Losses – As you have seen in number 1. The pros don't chase losses and the reason that they don't is because they have the ability to analyse their losses without dwelling on them.

This is an underrated skill to acquire, I have explored it previously in an article titled: Analyse Your Way To Betfair Profit. If you are the sort of person to dwell and agonise on each significant loss you experience, then I strongly suggest you follow the link and read the article, or give up trading, because you will not have a good experience if each loss hits you personally and sends you into a spiral of depression.

6. Successful Sports Traders Don't Doubt Their Decisions – A professional or just a really successful Betfair trader may take a long time to reach a decision, or they might decide to enter a market as a snap decision. But one thing they won't do, is to doubt that decision once it is made.

This is because a successful sports trader has rationalised that decision clearly in their own    mind and once they have got to that point, they know it is a good decision, regardless of the    eventual outcome.

There are little tricks of the mind you can use to be more determined and decisive when    trading sports on Betfair, I won't go into them here in order to keep this article from being to    long. But basically it has to do with vocalising your inner thoughts before putting a bet on.

When you vocalise your thoughts, they stop being abstract, subconscious intuitions and    become real, definite thoughts, which lead to real, definite actions. If you want to find out more about this technique, then read: How To Use Vocalisation To Win Big On Betfair.

The bizarre sport of chess/boxing

The bizarre sport of chess/boxing

7. Successful Sports Traders Don't Avoid Sports They Have No Interest In – This is a big one for me. In my discussions with traders and in my reading of successful sports trader blogs, I have noticed that they all at some point or another, trade on sports they just aren't that into.

The reason I say it's a big one, is because most traders on Betfair are trading in sports that    they like and are interested in, whilst they may occasionally trade obscure teams within those sports, they rarely, if ever, stray from their chosen sports of choice.

Why should it matter that you only trade football and golf? Why not just stick to what you    know?

Well it's a valid tactic to stick with what you know and in fact last year I wrote an article    called: Trading To Your Strengths - If It Aint Broke Don't Fix It! In that article I wrote about how a lot of amateur and professional traders alike, often sabotage themselves by not sticking to a winning formula.

That statement was and still is valid, however successful traders strive to find winning formulas in more than one or two sports, this allows them to switch sports when things aren't going well in one of their chosen sports and of course it means they are able to trade all year round, because they will choose seasonal sports that will allow them to.

8. Successful Sports Traders Don't Leave Their Money In Betfair Indefinitely - The most important component of being a successful trader on Betfair is winning money, if you win more than you lose, you're successful. However that money must hit your bank account at some point, or it can't actually be used like real money.

Successful traders have targets and exit strategies, so for instance, you might deposit £200 into Betfair and say to yourself, when I hit £600, I'm going to withdraw £200 and then carry on, until I hit £1000, then withdraw £400 and carry on, and so on.

Whatever the amounts are, you should have some kind of plan in place and then stick to that plan, just like the pros.

BONUS!

I had this article all nicely wrapped up and I thought of one more thing, something that was so important I felt that I had to break my symmetry of 8 things, I could have renamed it 9 Things Successful Sports Traders Don't Do, but somehow, 8 sounds better to me than 9; don't ask me why, it just does!

9. Successful Sports Traders Don't Speak In Currency - The saying goes; "The man who invented poker was clever, but the man who invented chips was a genius."

The reason behind this saying is because poker and gambling chips in general, enable the user to forget that they are using money and in a casino setting, it means that you are likely to spend more money if you are spending chips as opposed to actual currency.

Casinos use this to get our money from us, but you can use this same psychological disconnect in the same way pro poker players do. Instead of talking in Pounds, Euros, Zlotys or Dollars, successful sports traders speak in units. 

A unit is specific to the individual trader, so a unit to you may be £10 and to me it might be £50, but it will be determined by the size of your bank and the size of your minimum bet. So a successful trader doesn't say; "I'm putting £100 on Jordan Speith" but rather "I'm putting 2 units on Jordan Speith and am expecting about a 3.5 unit return."

Successful sports traders will refer to their bankroll as money, but only when they are depositing or withdrawing, once it is in Betfair, it is no longer money, merely their bankroll, made up of units with which to trade.

Okay, so there are your 8 things (with one bonus thing) that successful sports traders don't do; are you already not doing those things? Or did I mention a couple of things that you do and didn't even realise that you were doing them or that they were bad?

Well have a go at emulating these things and push yourself one step closer to being a successful sports trader on Betfair.

As ever, good luck and happy trading

The Zen Trader