(3) Simple, Stupid Mistakes
In the excitement of finding a good arbitrage and hurrying to place the necessary bets, or maybe due to a large number of bets needed to close the position, it is not uncommon that calculation and/or placement errors are made.
For example, getting the stakes wrong or even placing an incorrect bet on the wrong match, the wrong market, and so on.
Perhaps there are not enough funds in the bookmaker’s account you are relying on and precious time is wasted whilst funds are topped-up or transferred. The delay only increases the risk that the arbitrage position may have fizzled out by the time you are ready to make the transactions.
If you are using betting exchanges, forgetting to apply the commission deduction in the arbitrage calculation or getting this amount wrong are other factors which could turn a safe arb into a tense gamble.
- Practice makes perfect. The only real solution to this problem is to practice, practice, and practice.
- Newcomers should always paper-test first without money, and then practice with tiny stakes until technique is sound. Only then should stakes be gradually increased.
- As well as accepting that it may take many years of apprenticeship, arbitraging requires a lot of patience to master.
- The main aim at the start is to limit exposure and losses to a minimum, but the time it takes to learn any new trade should be gauged in terms of the money spent to achieve mastery. Count the hours and calculate the costs (computer hardware, software, electricity, online banking charges, etc.) to decide whether it is indeed all worth the effort.
(4) Stake Limits and Termination of Bookmaker Accounts
Some bookmakers and all exchanges welcome arbers, but if a bookie happens to take an anti-arber attitude and recognises the betting patterns of an arber, it can very quickly close down that client’s account or seriously limit the stakes it is prepared to accept (effectively closing the account anyway).
Other countermeasures include stake limits for certain bets or, caps on winnings over a certain period (of course, losses are always unlimited!).
- To circumvent being classified an ‘arber’ and avoid the closure of accounts, it is advisable to place bets with as many bookmakers as possible and spread bets across the market.
- Some arbers may even use multiple accounts using different names (or even different IP’s) with the same bookmaker and take care that betting activities look like “normal betting patterns” (e.g. not betting ‘odd’ amounts such as, € 87.36).
- Of course, it is crucial to know the terms and conditions of each bookmaker in detail, especially their limitations. Exchanges like Betfair, for example, are only limited by the liquidity of the event in question and can therefore handle a portion of the arbitrage. However, with a commission charge as high as 5% for most clients, arbitrage profits may be completely wiped out.
- There is only one bookmaker, Pinnacle, which advertises its welcome for arbers. All other bookmakers are either openly anti-arbitrage (e.g. Stan James, Unibet), or are not keen on arbitrage clients.