How Long Does It Take To Be A Profitable Betfair Trader?

profitable sports tradingOne of the most frequently asked questions I get is, “How long will it take to start making money from Betfair trading?”.

It is the type of question where the answer “How long is a piece of string?” would be appropriate, however there are a few things I can say for certain with regards to it.

One thing that is for certain is that you will find it very hard to become profitable straight away and within a matter of weeks or months. I had an email recently from someone who had been trading for a few weeks and was wondering why he had not yet ‘cracked it’.

It is an easy trap to fall into as I remember when I first got involved in the world of Betfair. I expected that I would be pulling in 4 figures profits within just a month of practicing. However, the harsh reality kicked in for me and it was actually a few years of doing it in my spare time before things began to ‘click’.

The reality is that for most people you will probably looking at years rather then weeks or months before you begin turning consistent profits.

This is not usually down to the actual methods or strategy but probably actually down to a development of your mindset and the psychology behind trading over this time.

Going back to when I first got involved with all this, I was in a ‘rush’ to start earning the big money and this meant I did not take enough time to really learn the markets and develop strategies. I often get the feeling from people who email me that are just starting out that they are in the same sort of rush I was.

Ironically, it was only when I put the world of Betfair trading on the backburner and did it in my spare time that I began to see good results. I guess less pressure allowed me to discover new and interesting angles.

The Sultan over at Centre Court Trading summed this up recently in a brilliant article. He wrote

Expect to be learning for years

That’s right – YEARS! I have received emails from people who have started tennis trading for just a matter of weeks, who seem to think they must be doing something wrong because they are not making money. Either they have bought the wrong guide or  are applying the wrong strategies or there is something they must be missing. They want an answer, something that will give them a quick fix to easy profitability. I usually tell them that there is nothing they are doing wrong other than being impatient. I tell them that in all likelihood, they will still be learning in a few years time and if they are making money in 6 months time, they are either very lucky or one of the gifted few.

I would hazard a guess that if every trader was told “learning to trade the sports markets takes on average 3 years to become proficient” (I actually think it is longer than this but we’ll go with 3), at least half of those traders would not bother even trying to give it a go. I’m not sure I would have, to be honest! Most certainly expect profit within a few weeks. Even the most realistic and level-headed of us would probably be thinking within 6 months. Well I did this FULL TIME for 2 years before I got anywhere and I’m neither a gambling addict, nor short of academic qualifications. I’m just an average guy who didn’t give up when the going got tough – though I probably should have! The simple fact is, it takes time to learn anything, especially something that has the potential to be so financially rewarding. If it was that easy, exchanges wouldn’t exist – we can’t all be winners.”


Very true words, and pretty much every profitable trader I know took a few years before getting where they wanted to be.

As The Sultan says “Expect to be learning for years”. If you can expect this then you wont make any hasty or rushed decisions in the meantime. Betfair is not going anywhere anytime soon so why not just trade in your spare time and gradually build up your experience?

There is no need to be in a mad rush to quit your job and go full time with trading on Betfair. If you really hate your job so much or need a career change then you are better off going into something you already know. Learning how to be profitable on Betfair is a new skill and one that takes a serious apprenticeship (and a lot of blown banks) to achieve.

I do hope this article helps those who feel they are potentially going nowhere with their trading since if you haven’t been in the game for a year yet then you haven’t been in the game at all yet 😉


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  1. mick whitehill says:

    absolutely agree with your comments,Ive been dabbling since Betfair started I think Ive learnt a bit but obviously not enough as Im still not a millionaire. I have learned that dicipline is by far the most important factor.I keep promising myself a days trading course with the betfair guru Peter Webb,problem is costs £400 (d0 you have knowlege of him) Im currently attempting a long term strategy of place betting selected favourites and using a back&lay same selection staking plan using a bank of £3000 with a daily target of 0.5% of bank,and compounding it. Hope is to realise a £190,000 profit at the end of 4 years, dream is foolproof,reality is not looking good after only 1st week, ah that dicipline word again. I was hoping to discover the holy grail within your information but alas,you tell the truth,(a rareity within the betting industry) remember me if you ever that holy grail we all seek regards mick whitehill. (age 72, so dont hang about?????)

    1. Sports Trading Life says:

      Hi Mick,

      Yep thanks for the comment.

      There is an interview with Peter Webb on this site and various other articles. If you type his name into the search box on the right that should bring it up


  2. i agree whit the articel too ,i have trying to get it work for mee for over a year i think ,and for the first time i have got to the place where i dont have to put money in the account all the time 🙂 and like mick says dicipline is very very importan, lost many money on that account .

  3. cayenne turbo says:

    A real “leveller” of an article.I think most of us expect to make it overnight.But after the odd losing run we jump to another system and strategy and expect to hit the big time again.No exit strategies,letting trades go in-play,doubling up after a loss,it can knock your confidence.I’m sure a lot of would be traders quit after a few months.Anyway,another excellent article lads to help me on this steep learning curve.Onwards and upwards and f#;k the begrudgers…:)

  4. Hi,
    I discovered betfair just around a year ago and I can honestly say that I am making profit every week since last Christmas(around 100EUR per week using 500EUR liability). Not sure if is it beginners luck or is it the fact that I am trading AUS market only as I living in New Zealand. I tried to do UK market and its totally different story. What is it that the UK market is so much harder? Even the biggest AUS racing where the liqudity is not too far from the UKs I find much easier to trade than the UK. Do you think people can become profitable traders on AUS market sooner or is it just me who thinks its easier…
    Great article, the whole site is great. keep up good work. Cheers

    1. Sports Trading Life says:

      Hi thevlado,

      This is interesting that you mention this.

      I assume you are trading the AUS horse racing?

      Well, the fact you are making money from this market is probably because there is not as many competing traders as there is in the UK. So it is perfectly possible to start making money a bit quicker.

      Just try and make the money while you can before others jump in and make it harder!

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