Much has been said over the past few weeks when it comes to the issue of Courtsiding. The young man from the UK who was arrested in Australia has helped bring courtsiding to the attention of many. This has caused a huge debate across blogs and forums as to whether the courtsiders have so much of an unfair advantage that it means there is no point trying to trade tennis. Peter Scott from Dynamic Tennis Trading joins us to share his views on this….
My view on the matter is that it is true that courtsiders have a much bigger advantage then the rest of us but this does not mean it is pointless trying to trade tennis. Rather you should be focusing your tennis trading skills on match reading and taking up good value positions rather then trying to be first to the good prices after a point is scored. This is impossible if you are sitting at home.
There was a time, many years ago, when there was a viable tennis trading strategy which involved getting to the prices first. I remember buying an ebook about ten years ago with a Betfair Tennis Trading Strategy within it. It was as simple as “Back the player as soon as you see him score a game point/break point”. In those days there were not as many courtsiders so you could feasibly back a player and then lay them once the markets moved after they had scored a significant point. If you had the fastest connection that was anyway. However, by the time I came across it the courtsiders were already beginning to mark their territory in the tennis trading world and it was impossible to make it work. I remember trying multiple times and only managing to get matched just the once before I gave up.
I came along to this strategy late and it did not work for me. However, I do not doubt that this strategy worked for a short while but clearly some people took it further and decided to go to the side of the court to do this trading and then courtsiding was born. Before that, the tennis markets were definitely not as liquid as they are now and courtsiding is probably the main reason for that.
So anyone who tries to trade tennis now in that same way will quickly realise it is impossible. You can not get into the markets when you see a point scored on TV and expect to get a good price. The prices will have moved.
Therefore, you need to adapt your trading style. I trade tennis by taking positions in between points and with a short term view of getting out after a certain amount of points. I take up what I believe to be good value positions within a tennis match based on how the events are unfolding and how I feel the markets will react.
Tennis Trading for the home trader these days is more about match reading and having a “feel” for the markets then anything else. If you can spot when certain players are likely to have a dip or feel the pressure then you can trade tennis profitably and it is a skill that is developed with time. If you believe your tennis trading edge is simply getting into the markets before anyone else then you have to go courtside and this seems like a tricky proposition.
I am not saying that courtsiding is not an issue as there can be times when they catch you out even when you are trading between points. I have had an open lay on a player before and seemingly in a good position only for the markets to hoover down to 1.01 before my eyes. Moments later, I see that player drop to the floor with an injury which signals they are not continuing any further. Nothing I can do about it and I accept it as part and parcel of this sort of trading. It could have easily happened the other way also.
At the end of the day, someone somewhere is always going to be first to the information. If you ban people from trading courtside then that means those with the fastest pictures will hold the advantage and that is unlikely to be the average joe punter so either way we have to make do.
Therefore, you need to trade in a way that does not allow the courtsiders to hoover up your money. Do not leave your money in the market between points when trying to get a good price as you won’t succeed. Look to trade by taking positions based on the match so far. Read the match and trade that way. When you do trade like this, courtsiders are actually a help since you see the markets move before the point is scored on TV. This can give you a few extra seconds to make your next decision while other home traders might be still making their decisions. Courtsiders also help provide the amazing liquidity you see on some matches. These guys are trading with 5-6 figure stakes which makes more money available to be won.
I do not want anyone to misunderstand this article as being me saying that courtsiding is OK and not a problem at all. If the conspiracy rumours about Betfair insiders being the ones doing the courtsiding and with no time delay are true then this should be a really big issue as that would make the platform corrupt. However, these are just rumours and right now we can only deal with the facts that we have.
In conclusion, do not think that it is impossible to profit from tennis trading unless you are a courtsider. Most tennis traders adapted their trading style to accommodate the courtsiders years ago and there are still plenty making regular profits and trading tennis full time. Plenty of people have done so in the past year and will do so again this year. Courtsiding is an issue but there are ways to adapt your trading style so you can co-exist alongside them. Focus much more on match reading and finding good value entry points and you will do far better in the longer term.
Peter Scott is the author of Dynamic Tennis Trading and you can read the full review of that here!