One of the more hotly debated topics in trading circles is the question of when to take the profit. By that, I mean do you take any profit as soon as it appears or do you stay in the trade if there is a possibility of a greater return? The obvious problem in taking the latter course is that not only may you not acheive that objective but worse you may even end up in a negative position.

In answering this thorny issue I can sense even as I write a hesitancy of my fingers on the keyboard buttons. Is there a definitive answer, a golden rule? I believe there are a number of factors that can all combine to muddy the waters. 

1. What kind of trader are you: Quantity over quality? You trade a lot of games and accept that some will be losers so your approach can be more aggressive. Some you win, some you don`t; consequently letting a trade run to its postive or negative conclusion is reasonable.

2. Risk v reward: If you follow meticulously a staking plan that is geared towards a steady percentage increase in your profits then setting exit points and religiously stickling to them is your mantra. You will cut out a greater number of losers but achieve a higher strike rate, albeit with smaller profits

3. Trading on instinct: This is particularly relevant if you are actually watching a game or in-play stats give you a clear picture of how the game is panning out. Number of shots on target, amount of possession, a red card, the nature of the match itself (is it a Cup game where a team desperately needs to score or defend a lead) can all give substance to your decision whether to stay in or exit.

4. A random response: You`re on fire during a trading session, winners keep coming, your P/L is growing greener by the hour. Flushed with success, who hasn`t metaphorically speaking, let their guard drop and say words to the effect of "sod it, I`ll stick around and see if there will be that one more goal that will give me a 85% ROI". It`s not scientific but the Gods sometimes have a way of shining their light directly on you. 

5. Doing the maths: The style of trading I personally use relies heavily on rapid & consistent calculations of where I`m at at any given point during a trade (hence my use of an in-play spreadsheet that tells me at a stroke exactly what the P/L outcome is on all possible scorelines). This is vitally important because the majority of my trades invloves the inter-connection of several markets. I may have a healthy looking green on a particular scoreline in Correct score but that has to be offest against a nasty red on Under 2.5 for example. I simply have to work out mathematically what the future scenarios will be if mor goals or no goals are scored. Additionally, I have to take into account the timing. At what stage am I in the match? HT? 75mins gone? I need to ask myself the question "what if X or Y happens......and crucially, when?"

Saturday, 21st Jan: Three trades all exited by HT

Remarkable that all these trades demanded the same exit strategy but they did so because all three offered identical reasons for doing so. Each trade was weighted towards a team winning - and winning by beating a handicap. All three games followed the same script that I had hoped for in my pre match analysis and all three promised a bumper payout - should one more goal be scored! The obvious problem was if they scored more heavily than I wanted.

The key to takng the ultimate decision to exit what would I have to do IF that one more goal was scored and at what time? The trick really is not to be blinded by that whopping green on the scoreline that represents your best possible outcome. You are going to LAY it to cover other danger scores anyway so don`t take the risk of letting the trade run and hoping that the timing of events will fall exactly as you want.

ncle rtham


wba sunderland   


barnsley leeds


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The Fu fighter


In my 20s I became obsessed by the game of snooker. 10 hour sessions at the local club in Bethnal Green in London`s East End where I was sustained only by an almost manic desire to be a better player and a steady diet of liver sausage & onion sandwiches. I even paid for lessons - funded by a flukey acca I landed on the greyhounds at Hackney Wick one saturday morning - with an improbably named guy called Jimmy Sunday. The Club was populated by the steroetypical Arthur Daley wannabes, youths with criminal aspirations who were all called Terry and had 12 bruvvers and old geezers who needed to get out of the house (there was no mindless daytime TV in those days). 

They all shared one common characteristic. A pallour of skin that made Bela Lugosi look like a ruddy faced Norfolk farmer. Oh yeah, and everyone hated Steve Davis (but unsurprisingly loved Barry Hearn, that cross mix of Donald Trump & Nigel Farage). 

Snooker is the only sport where your opponent during the course of a game doesn`t do anything (except smoke Embassy No1s and eat liver sausage sarnies) while you are at the table centimeteres  - ok, inches -  away from recording your first ever 50 break. 

Ronnie O`Sullivan, Romford`s answer to Martin Scorcese (it`s the eyebrows not the skill with a camera) got his first 50 break when he was still in diapers and his old man was with his mates down the Imperial Crown plotting a snatch & grab at some poxy sub-Post Office. I could never figure out why these villians did that. A £1200 haul using shooters for which the punishment for armed robbery if caught was a minimum of 7 years. There`s just no value there chaps.

But there is some value in backing Ronnie`s opponent this afternoon, a skinny, pasty faced man of indeterminate age from Hong Kong called Marco Fu. Reaching the semi-finals of this years Masters Tournament, the Fu fighter has easily been the most impressive of the Top 16 players while Ronnie has never really got in the groove. 

Trading snooker is not that complex. A favourite strategy is to LAY the player at the table who has racked up, say 35-45 points, and needs 4 more reds with colours to win the frame. Two reds are in pottable positions but two are tight on the cushion. Clearing up is not a given in these circumstances. Odds of 1.30 or less are often the norm in these scenarios.

A more straightforward bet is simply to LAY Ronnie pre match @ 1.56. There will almost certainly be some point during the game where those odds will drift.

Right, I`m off to make some of those sandwiches most of you I guess have never seen let alone tasted. Oh, and I might step outside into the daylight to catch a few rays before I settle down in front of the TV, watch this unique sport played with such grace and precision by gentlemen in dapper waistcoats and patent leather shoes.

By the way, I know a bloke who knows a bloke who can get hold of a dozen pairs, size 13s, if you`re interested. Ask for Terry down the club to sort you out...........

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Less is more.......more or less

An excellent trading session yesterday, Sat, 14th Jan not just for the profit secured but because the central idea underpinning really shone through. The essential definition of Community is that of a group of people coming together with a collective aim. In our case it is to make money by trading football. It is also about helping less experienced traders develop and improve their trading skills. This can be achieved through personal diligence and hard work, learning from mistakes that are made and, crucially, courage. it is not an easy thing to be responsible for managing other people`s money, to persuade others to invest in your idea.

But putting your head above the parapet has its advantages too. It can help you focus better, concentrate more keenly on the trade you have selected. A winning pick can give you confidence as you bask in the applause of those who have followed your tip. A losing trade won`t necessarily conclude with a "great shout" response but it won`t be ridiculed or criticised either. There will always be a sneaking admiration for the guy who has the cojones to put himself on the line. To those members who I encourage to post trade ideas, remember that we are all adults and have the choice to follow or not!

So, let`s give it up for Leeroy (joined our Community only days ago) who stepped up with - and this is interesting - a couple of strategies that clearly he is comfortable with. Namely, the drip lay draw. Bingo`s sometimes overly complex 3 market trades or Gundulf`s Rolling Lay may not suit everyone so stick with what works for you. Along the way on your trading journey here at you will develop fresh ideas, take on board the thinking of others and ultimately become a better trader.

p l 14 jan

For all yesterday`s results please visit this page.

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LAY Under 2.5 goals

The 2.5 goals market has the highest liquidity of all the Betfair markets along with Match Odds & Correct Score. Simple, right? Will there be 3 goals or more or not? Checking the goals stats for your selected match is an easy enough task and the odds compilers who do their number crunching thing generally get the prices right on both sides of the market.

Traders who like this market will often wait for 15 or 20 minutes before entering the market as the odds on Under 2.5 will shorten and Over 2.5 will lengthen. They will be getting a price of, say, 2.60 on Overs as opposed to 2.0 before KO.

Then there are traders - in our community anyway - who will enter the fray at HT when the score is still 0-0. The odds on Over 2.5 will be around 9.0 or 1.15 to LAY on Under 2.5. We are now entering the world of the "Cheap Lay". Even better, we can select not just one game but 3 or 4 or 5 even. We call this "The Blanket Lay".

As for the mechanics of this type of trade / punt a neat trick is to bet to a liability rather than a payout. When placing a bet on Betfair you have two options: 1. PAYOUT  2. LIABILITY.  In most cases we always use the PAYOUT function.

See Image 1 where we have LAYED the selection for £10 and our liability is just £1.50


However, we can fix our liability to a set amount (e.g £10) and for this we click on the blue "Your liability" link. See Image 2


Now you have a liability of £10 (the max you can lose) and the amount you could win - £66.66. See Image 3

total liability


Now, if you want to extend this by selecting more than one match, again just type in the liability amount (e.g £10). See image 4

acca liability


Ok, that looks simple enough to set up. But do I trade this or do nothing and hope the goals flood in? Well, the beauty of this approach (because it`s cheap) is that you will come out ahead if just one of your selections wins. For example, if the Palermo v Pescara game goes your way you win £83.33 and if the other two don`t rpoduce the goals you want you lose £20 (£10 loss on each game). So overall you have profited by £63.33 (£83.33 less £20). Should two of the games have the goals you require then it`s your round down the pub!

Of course there are different ways to actually "trade" this as opposed to doing nothing at all. Best if you join our chat room to see how this is done since the possible moves you can make are determined by the timing of the goals.







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