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A brief guide to using betting exchanges

Since Verity was showing interest in this topic over at Iain's place, herewith a brief run down:

I'm going to focus on Betfair, because that's what I use, and my political betting has been conspicuously more successful of late than my punts on the nags and football.

If anyone fancies signing up with them, send me your e-mail address as we both get kickbacks for someone new signing up.

Anyway, supposing that has been done, Betfair uses decimal odds rather than the more usual 4:1 etc. It takes a bit of getting used to, but they are easier to make sense of for a new punter than English odds.

From the sidebar on the left, choose 'politics' and then (for sake of argument), UK, next Labour leader. Due to Betfair's use of frames I can't link directly. Broon is currently trading at 1.44 / 1.45, meaning you can back him at 1.44, which if you win gives you your stake plus 44%. So, a tenner punt gives you £14.44 gross. If you don't fancy Broon's chances, you can make a lay at 1.45. Broon is currently very liquid, whereas other figues have a much wider spread between back and lay prices - Alistair Darling at 300 / 500. While a bet on Darling at 300 would be taken instantly - depending on the size of your punt - you don't have to go for 300. In the backing box (click on the blue box) it will then offer up 300 for you to place your stake. The odds can be raised, and there the bet sits until someone is prepared to offer those odds, or it lapses because nobody is.

So, assuming you have staked ten pounds on Darling, and are convinced he will win, you can sit back and wait for the result. Let us say that the entire cabinet bar Darling are imprisoned for electoral malpractice and Darling becomes the only game in town at 1.1, you could lay off the bet with the same stake. On that basis, if Darling does not become leader you have lost nothing, and if he does, you still get the vast bulk of the winnings you would have had at 300.

There's a lot more, but that covers the basics. Betfair's own site has ample explanation and helpful demonstrations on how to bet too. Minimum stake is £2.00. It's pretty easy and a minor rush when you win. I made some useful money on the Lib Dem leadership, the Bromley by-election and the Swedish general election. Here comes the caveat - never gamble with money you can't afford to lose.
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Anonymous Anonymous said... 5:17 pm

Thank you, Croydonian. I didn't understand a word of that, but if you have found them to be honest, that's fine. Is it secure?

How do you collect your winnings? (I'm assuming,like gamblers all over the world, that I will be involved in winnings.)

What are the odds that Blair will be gone by the end of this month?  

Blogger Croydonian said... 5:44 pm

Ah well... Clearly a career in writing instructions does not beckon...

I know some serious gamblers (I just muck about), and they all seem entirely happy with the probity of the company. When you start an account you provide your banking details that you might deposit money, and any winnings can be transferred from Betfair into the same account.

The odds of Blair being out by 30th September are quite high - back 44, lay 95.

Shortest odds are April-June 2007 at 2.54/2.74.  

Anonymous Anonymous said... 5:53 pm

Croydonian, at the risk of sounding ungracious, I am going to say that I was intensely irritated by your hectoring New Labour last sentence.

I think it's safe to assume that everyone who reads your blog is an adult, and I don't know why you feel that they need life guidance from you.

I was asking for technical advice on how to bet online. Not only was it surprising and irritating, but it was intensely patronising to get a little guide to running my life thrown in.

I will decide whether to bet without your prim little caveat.

I am sorry to be so harsh. I'm sure you meant well, but you shouldn't assume that anyone who hasn't asked for your advice on how to live their lives will appreciate your giving it to them anyway.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 5:56 pm

That's me told....  

Anonymous Anonymous said... 6:44 pm

I'm sorry to be so irritated, Croydonian, as you are civil,always courteous and always amiable.

Had I written in: "I am a rather weak-willed individual without much knowledge of how the world works, and I would like to ask you - what's your opinion of betting money I can't afford to lose?" - fair enough. But I've been betting all my adult life. I drink too, without any regard for how many "units" Tony Blair and his enforcers deem is good for me.

I do want to thank you for Betfair and the information on how to bet, though. I hope there are no hard feelings.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 6:48 pm

V - not a problem. It wasn't addressed to you as such, more me putting in a get out of jail free card in case someone had a moan at me.

Anyway, I will know that Hell has well and truly frozen over if you ever stop being robust in how you express your opinions. So, no question of hard feelings.  

Blogger The Hitch said... 7:09 pm

she also
"knows where you live"  

Blogger Praguetory said... 8:05 pm

William - If there's a book on next Chancellor, I'd put money on Balls at anything above evens.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 9:30 pm

PT - indeed there is. Yours at a bet price of 3.55. Darling is the favourite at 2.55.  

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