This post is the latest edition to the LetsCompareBets.com guide to becoming a amateur bookmaker. For the other post in this guide to being a bookmaker, visit the bookmaker guide.

The rule of thumb about a bookmakers book is that it produces a profit across a series of bets over a certain time period. For the amateur bookmaker one of the principles needs to be to create a series of risk free bets that generates a profit. This is the easiest way for normal people, that is to say, people with no experience of compiling odds, to act like a bookmaker. Betfair is an essential tool in this process. Betfair is a betting exchange and generally has some of the most competitive odds on the market. Visit the Betfair FAQ for more information.


The method of making sports betting trades to get close to becoming a bookmaker revolves around making back lay arbitrage bets. A back bet can be placed on Betfair or with a traditional bookmaker. Importantly the back bet must be at the longest odds possible. Often traditional bookmakers post odds (antepost odds) earlier than Betfair. In which case the back bet is best staked with a normal bookmaker to secure the longest odds possible. A corresponding lay bet is placed with Betfair later at shorter odds in order to guarantee a profit.

Here is an example of how using antepost odds can be used to guarantee a profit. It is suited to events that will have two teams battling it out, like cricket or tennis. Take the recent cricket world cup final for instance. The odds first posted for India to win where 3/1. In the final, after India got through, the odds where now 4/6 odds on. Sri Lanka who where going to be battling it out for the Cricket World Cup where priced at 11/8. Taking a bet on Sri Lanka using the right calculations would guarantee a tidy profit. This is a type of back back arbitrage bet that can be used to guarantee a profit. Betfair or traditional bookmakers can be used.

The second example uses the back lay method of becoming a bookmaker.

Nick Watney to win the US Masters Golf tournament. When the odds where first posted it was possible to get a 33/1 long shot. Nick later went on to win a another coveted golf tournament, the World Golf Championships…. bookmakers later axed the price. At the time of press Nick Watney is fourth favourite at 16/1. Factoring in some of the special promotions available this could still be a good bet to make a risk free profit. Bet365 are offering a promotion that refunds any loosing bets if Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson wins. The loosing bet would be refunded if Nick looses to two of the best golfers in the world. It just needs Nick to play well during the tournament for the odds to shorten further. A savvy amateur bookmaker can place a lay bet on a betting exchange like Betfair to guarantee a profit. Not only would there be a risk free profit but the US-Masters-Giveawayloosing bet with Stan James would also get refunded (t&cs apply). This is a great tips incidentally, whether a or not a risk free bookmaker bet is set up.

The next method of learning to be a bookmaker uses horse racing. Some clever Betfair bookmakers place a back bet on a horse early and a corresponding lay bet after the odds shorten. The beauty of this strategy is that it all takes place before the race starts. It’s all antepost betting. A selection of the best known tipsters are used, in combination with information from Racing Post. When a number of respected tipster’s opinion converges on one horse a back bet is placed as early as possible. Punters pile into betting on the horse after they see lots of tipsters recommending the horse. This results in the odds shortening because nobody wants to loose all that money if it wins. After the odds shorten a lay bet can be placed for a risk free profit.

Some amateur bookies will check trainer websites because they often release early news about the condition of a horse or change of jockey. This information is what changes the chances of a horse winning a race. Say one or two tipsters tips a horse, then a successful jockey like Tony McCoy is confirmed as riding the horse, the odds will surely drop dramatically. Get the news early enough and it’s possible to make large risk free bets. Following trainers closely is a must for this bookmaking technique. Visitors may find this article by Ricky Taylor at Betting School informative.

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