So You Want To Be A Professional Sports Trader?

  My Dad really regrets letting me play with Barbie dolls

My Dad really regrets letting me play with Barbie dolls

I came across someone the other day on my twitter feed and this bright young man said that he wanted to become a professional sports trader and all round Betfair whizz when he left university, he was even studying economics as he thought that it might give him an edge.

We talked about trading in general and we touched on subjects such as self sabotage and maximising profits. As I gave him advice, for some reason I started thinking about the golf book Dream On the story of a man who decided to set himself a challenge of taking thirty three shots off his game in order to shoot a par round in just one year.

Taking thirty three shots off your game in just one year is an amazing feat and requires dedication beyond belief; it's the equivalent of being able to run 16 seconds for the 100 metres and then taking that down to 10 seconds in a year!

He went from someone who would have placed fairly close to last in a club competition to someone who could have held their own next to a professional golfer in just one year, the book detail’s the amount of dedication needed to even take ten shots off his game let alone thirty three.

As he’s coming to the end of his journey he realises that he doesn't after all want to be the journeyman pro that he thought he did. He imagined the life of a journeyman pro golfer to be that of showing up for the lesser tournaments, winning the odd one and placing well now and again in a major, it seemed like a life of Riley, flying around the world playing golf and making a decent living from something so utterly enjoyable as golf.

 Horsenden Hill Golf Course where the Zen Trader dream's on

Horsenden Hill Golf Course where the Zen Trader dream's on

The problem is that his projected image of being a pro golfer did not include all the gruelling training he’d have to do day after day, week after week, rain, hail, sleet or snow. He realised that while this training was making him a better golfer, it was taking the enjoyment out of the game and getting over that final hurdle to take the last five or six shots off his game was the hardest part of all.

He points out that he realised whilst doing the challenge that he never really wanted to be a pro in the first place. He realised he never actually even wanted to be the best club player, he just wanted to be good enough to beat his mates fairly regularly whilst still having enough competition from them to make it fun.

How do we relate to this when trading on Betfair?

Well in much the same way trading is an enjoyable activity, instead of hunting down pars and birdies with great chips and monster putts, we are using our knowledge and sometimes luck to carve out a trade and there’s nothing better than seeing a trade green up in the first half of an event.

You very well might envisage the life of a pro sports trader as you might the life of a pro golfer or footballer, getting out of bed when you want, swanning round in expensive cars with beautiful women and champagne, and occasionally reflecting on how quickly you manage to acquire wealth. 

I know I did.

What you don’t envisage is all the hard work you have to do in order to get to that stage, taking thirty three shots off his game of golf required John Richardson to be out on the course for hours and hours each day practising whether he felt like it or not; often to the annoyance of his very tolerant wife.

Richardson realised he'd have to do this and more if he wanted to become even a journeyman pro.

Becoming a professional trader on Betfair will require you to spend most of your time researching, making notes, filling in your trading notebook and watching sports you have absolutely zero interest in.

Your vision of being a professional sports trader might be that of spending an hour or two a day researching and trading and watching the cash roll in; when in reality the amount of time you spend will probably get close to eight to ten hours a day honing your skills, in other words; being a professional sports trader on Betfair is like doing a full time job.

Ultimately if you want to make enough money to support yourself and possibly your family then you’re going to have to make a certain amount of money each month in order to carry on and that amount is going to include all your losses.

A lot of the fun will be taken out of trading when that red or green book is inextricably linked to your financial well being and that of your family’s.

A lot of sporting events that you’ll want to cover are on the weekends at times when you’d usually be out with your mates or hanging out with your family, a lot of that time will have to be sacrificed; do you want to do that?

The best way to assess if you really want to become a professional sports trader is to draw out a time map and look at the amount of time you spend working at your normal job, how much time you spend with your friends and family and how much time you simply have to yourself.

Once you've done that you can start envisaging what it would be like to swap some of that time for researching and watching events, really visualise what that would be like and if that doesn't daunt you, then maybe you are ready to take that extra step and go that extra mile

Another thing you want to consider is the stress levels are going to be completely different. If you’re not yet a pro trader on Betfair, which I assume you’re not or you probably wouldn't be reading this article, then the amounts of money you risk on Betfair is most probably (hopefully) what you can comfortably afford to lose.



This may not be the case when you become a pro sports trader as you need to make enough money to live on as well as have enough to trade with; can you take that stress?

For instance Steve who runs the site and has made hundreds of thousands of dollars from sports trading has just had a three week period where he lost $71,479.12

Are you the sort of person who can handle that?

Only you can honestly answer that.

Will you be able to cut losses on a trade and look at a four or maybe even five figure red book? Or will you be the person who stares in desperation hoping your trade will come back because you “need this one”.?

Or less dramatically do you have the time? Have you got a family and/or job that demand's your attention for most of the day every day?

Different Strokes For Different Folks

There is no shame in realising that you are either mentally not cut out for staking large amounts of money on trades, or that you simply don't have the time nor the inclination to immerse yourself in a variety of sports.

The fact is if you take my earlier advice and work out how much time you have for sports trading versus how much time you spend on job/family and leisure then you will have a realistic amount of time per week you can spend trading.

Once you have done that you can work out what sort of sports trader you want to be.

Pro Trader

A pro trader will not have a regular job, trusting their trading to provide for them and possibly a family as well. A pro sports trader will invariably spend as much, if not more time dedicated to trading than they would at a regular 9-5 job.

These guys tend to measure their profit and loss in six and sometimes seven figures.

Second Income Trader

A second income sports trader is essentially the equivalent of a semi-pro, they won't trade as much as a pro trader but they will still trade three times a week on average. Being in this bracket means that you will spend extensive time researching your trades and you will keep a trading notebook.

A well disciplined Second Income Trader will be able to build up a decent size bankroll and make a four and possibly five figure sum in a year. 

Part Time Trader

A part time sports trader is just that, someone who dips in and out of trading and does minimal research. The average part time trader tends to stick to trading on sports he is interested in and will tend not keep a record of his trades or strategies.

Being a part time trader isn't necessarily a bad thing as there will be many who are still good sports traders and research and maybe even make notes, those are the ones who will make money, the others won't.

Big Event Traders

As the name suggest's a big event sports trader is  someone who waits for the biggies to come along. Whether it's El Classico between Barcelona and Madrid or a fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao. Those are the events that take your fancy, a big event trader is usually someone who likes to put a lot of money on, on a particular market, but that's by no means the rule.

Forward planning and targeted research is key to being a successful big event sports trader.

The Gambler

The gambler is just that, a gambler, probably has a Betfair and a Betdaq account as well as a host of other online gambling accounts and likes to go into the bookies as well. Or of course any stage up to that rather extreme example, but you get the picture.

If you're a true gambler you were probably attracted to the idea of Betfair and the higher odds than the regular online or high street bookmakers. But every time you trade out for a result that happened anyway you view it as a loss. Whilst most gamblers hit one lucky win in their lives, mostly they lose.

However don't despise the gambler (only if you see one in yourself) rather celebrate him! For the gambler is who often adds much needed liquidity to what may be an otherwise stagnant market on Betfair and or Betdaq. 

Gamblers, I used to be one of you and I salute you!


So next time you say to yourself “I want to be a professional sports trader on Betfair.” Ask yourself if you really do and visualize what that would actually mean in terms of sacrifices you will have to make in your everyday life. If you haven’t been put off by the reality of getting to that point, then assess how much time you have to dedicate to research, recording and doing your trades.

Once you've worked out what your natural level is, try and be the best in that category you can be, because ultimately the lines are clearly not as defined as I've set them out there. A second income trader can still earn similar amounts to a pro, just by disciplined trading. In the same way a pro trader can suddenly have an attack of "the gambles".

If you feel you are ready then sign up for a Betfair account here and a Betdaq account here. 

Find out why you need both here: Betfair vs Betdaq What’s The Difference?

The Zen Trader