As the old saying goes…’Keep Your Friends Close..And Your Enemies Closer’ and this is certainly the case for us gamblers when it comes to dealing with bookmakers.
After all there is only ever really one winner in the battle between bookie and punter. Either we win and they lose or woe betide…they win and we lose. There is no middle-ground.
So as part of this quest to understand our rival, we have once again gone behind enemy lines and grabbed an exclusive interview with another ‘bookmaking mole’ who was happy to spill the beans on what really goes on behind the scenes.
It’s part of a full feature available in the latest SBC Magazine and to whet your appetite I have a few extracts to share with you today.
To give some background, our ‘mole’ currently works as an odds compiler / trader for a major bookmaker, having cut his teeth originally at Bet365. Below are a few of the questions and answers to be found in our interview…
We started off by asking him about what it is like to work in a modern day bookmakers and how it all comes together…
“There’s a huge variance between bookmaker roles and even the sport you’re covering. Bet365 was an extraordinary place to learn a trade as the depth of coverage and quantity of bets was staggering.
Bet365 now has evolved to a point where the role of ‘trader’ is all but extinct. They produce early tissues, release them to low limits and let the market tell them the right price. They’re not restricted by having a string of shops to manage, so can move a price in a heartbeat.
Their pre-game books are not much more than their way of ensuring that they have the right base variables (prices) for their in-play model, which is when they take the vast majority of their turnover.
The most important part of a trading team now is the team that marks up accounts. Deciding which accounts are sharp and which aren’t is key to knowing when to move a price. There are accounts that you’re happy to let win as a trader (‘markers’), and some you’re not (e.g. arbers). Spotting the difference is key to running a profitable sportsbook.
Pre-Game ‘trading’ has become simply seeing what the marked accounts have bet, and moving the price accordingly. In-Play ‘trading’ has become little more than data entry / scoring.
This was when I turned to rugby. Rugby is a sport which, like cricket or snooker, is too complex to model easily – and relied more heavily on manual trader controls.
Where I work now has a much greater emphasis on releasing the right prices. We work all week producing our lines, rather than just releasing a ‘best guess’ on Monday. This extra effort gives us our edge on the market – put simply – we work harder to compile our prices than other bookmakers.
This is why the company I work for now not only has the strongest reputation for having the right prices, but also the best punters in the industry.
Next up we wanted to know just how bookmakers viewed winning punters? We wondered if there was a ‘company policy’ or line to follow on how to handle them that traders were told to follow…
“Every bookmaker is different.
There are layers who will close an account after one bet they don’t like (bet365, Skybet, Stan James). There are others who let you win a certain amount before reviewing your account (Bet Victor, William Hill, Ladbrokes). Some start you off on low limits and raise those if they like your business (Bwin, Marathon). Some start high, and will factor your limits without closing your account completely (Pinnacle, Bet Fred, Paddy Power).
There are winning clients that you’re willing to tolerate as a layer. These clients are called ‘markers’. The idea is that they can help you to make money by pointing out the value before the bigger hitters get involved.
No bookmaker will tolerate cheats. Cheats are players who play arbs, late bets, palpable errors etc.”
Finally, we asked him for his thoughts on the best and worst bookmakers out there?
“Depends what you mean! The best bookmakers out there are bet365, by a country mile. They’re willing to cover absolutely anything, and are willing to be first to release a price. While they get mocked for low limits and aggressive account factoring, their bravery and willingness to do this shouldn’t be underestimated.
They’re also more willing to take sharp business than their reputation suggests – remember – without sharp business they won’t know when to move a price. As long as you’re asking for ‘reasonable’ take outs you should get a good run there.
In terms of which bookmakers are most accommodating for winners, I’d say that Bet Victor, Ladbrokes and Hills are the best. They’re all willing to take decent bets to new clients, and will give you a bit of time before deciding to pull the plug.”
Full Interview Available In Next Monday’s SBC Magazine
Although the answers above form just a small sample of our ‘insider interview’ it should hopefully give a good sense of just how invaluable this kind of insight actually is.
Other topics tackled include the likes of…
- How and why bookmakers try to restrict winning punters
- Tips and tricks on how to stay under the bookmakers radar
- The ‘red flags’ to avoid when betting
- Why your stake size matters
- The best & worst bookmakers and bet broker firms
The full interview with our bookie mole will be available on Monday via the latest Smart Betting Club Members Only Magazine.