In this edition of Trader Talk, I manage to catch up with David G who has been trading football for his main income for over 10 years now.
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Most interestingly, he only picked this up in his retirement and uses the old chestnut of lay the draw as his main strategy.
Go grab a cup of tea, coffee or a nice cold beer and lets get into it!
Hey David, Many thanks for sitting down for this interview for the Sports Trading Life readers.
I am very excited to speak with you about this.
So you are happily retired and trade football, mainly doing Lay The Draw and making £30-40k per year for the past decade now. Congrats.
What job were you doing before you retired?
I wore many hats during my work career. Starting out as a school caretaker, becoming a courier, nightclub bouncer, Argos delivery and many more. I was a bit of a hustler.
But as you can tell most of those jobs were fairly physically demanding and by the time I hit my 50s I was in a bit of a pickle and just couldn’t keep up with it anymore.
I had no choice but to retire when I injured my back during my latest profession as a painter & decorator.
This was around 2007-8 and it led me to find various make money online schemes with Betfair being a big one at the time.
How did you discover the world of football trading? What attracted you to it?
There was a book around the time called “Lay back and think of winning” or something like that. (EDIT: We dug it up, still available on Amazon. See below)
I can’t remember if the book was actually any good but the concept of being a bookie was interesting. I tried some horse laying and the first one I had a lay on at odds of around 10 actually won which wasn’t a very good start at all.
There was also another book but can’t remember the title which involved a chap who was trading all sorts of sports and trying to make a profit in a diary style format. Really great read.
I had always had a little bet on the football and I came across what I think was called (sorry my memory is terrible) Football Trading System by Ian Erskine and another similar one at the time.
Anyway, both were about laying the draw and getting out after a goal. This sounded easy enough so I went with that and this has been my main strategy ever since although tweaked.
Interesting to hear. Are you saying you were profitable right away?
Not immediately no.
I had some struggles with discipline, bank and staking.
I remember a furious night after 2 0-0s in the only 2 matches I picked out and then putting the rest of my bank on a South American match and fell asleep.
Woke up to find that was 0-0 too!
I lost about £1k with that and felt terrible since there were times in my working life when 1k was a whole months wages.
I remember blaming everyone but myself for that which feels so ridiculous looking back.
You think there is a conspiracy against you, like how is that possible?
Must have been a 100-1 shot for that to happen.
We have all been there mate. How did you manage to turn things around?
My biggest problem at this point wasn’t technical. I knew the basics of football trading.
I realised it was mental and I wasn’t convinced it was even possible to really do this.
Thankfully, I met some others on what was maybe the FTS forum or something else around the time and it was good to see there were some making lay the draw work for them.
Lots had the same problems as me but knowing some were doing good with it gave me the boost to keep trying.
At the same time I also discovered Matched Betting so that was a big help towards rebuilding my bank and trying again.
I knew I couldn’t do that forever so needed to get a nice bank to move forward with.
With some of the tips I got from 1 or 2 members in particular I was confident I could do it this time.
In the meantime, I was buying every ebook or system that came out to get more and more gems of info that could help. These sorts of things would help hugely with my education and give me ideas to try out.
Around what sort of bank do you have?
I now use a £8000 bank. I didn’t start with this, it got built up over several years with matched betting and profits.
This means I can typically risk £300-£400 per trade which is just about enough that doesn’t leave me with sweaty palms. I think I could make more but I don’t need more. I am happy with the stakes I use and not taking any serious risks.
I have tried putting it up to £500 risk per trade but I start to get sweaty palms. I have found my ideal stakes and will leave it at that. I see screenshots from that Psychoff chap and it gives me a nosebleed!
Is it still Lay The Draw strategy you use?
I use a few others but lay the draw is the main trade I usually enter the market with. That is my entry point so to speak.
Many struggled to make LTD work for them, any tips or pointers that helped you? Can you tell your entry point?
There is lots I can say about this subject.
My entry point varies. Some matches I go in at the start if the draw odds are below 4 and if they are above 4 I am happy to wait until the second half to go in.
I think trying the typical trade of locking in a profit after a goal is too hard to be profitable long term with unless doing it in the second half maybe.
You need to try and get a late goal or a 2-0 goal lead to make a substantial profit.
But I don’t use a rigid approach. Not sure if it was you who said it or someone else (bad memory I know) but take every match as it comes.
There are some matches I trade where I am expecting the favourite to win and if they are winning late on at 1-0 but the stats say they are dominant then I let it run for longer to get a bigger profit. I used to fear the late equaliser but I found if looking at numbers my selections were more likely to double the lead than give it away.
Only closing the trade out if I am uncertain about that team holding on to the lead. Teams like Arsenal and Southampton are typical ones that concede late equalisers and I wouldn’t let it run. Either way, I check the recent form to see if a team is good at holding a lead if there is any doubt I can get out for a small profit.
The thing I love about lay the draw is that even if it is 0-0 heading into injury time you are still alive as one goal can change everything. You are never dead until the final whistle.
So are you saying you don’t have a “fixed” system, you trade based on your view of how the match is developing?
Yes, that is correct. With my aim being to try make the biggest profit possible.
Some matches are straight forward as the favourite starts to win easily but some others need some decision making.
A good example was the recent lunch time match between Wolves and Brentford.
Wolves are a superior team so I judged they would go for the victory and the draw price was around 3.50 which is always a price I look for.
Anyway, Brentford the underdog took the lead and previously I might have panicked and got out but now I adopt a wait and see approach.
Surprisingly Brentford then went 2 up and now I could take a profit but it wasn’t what I was aiming for.
Some might get nervous and take the profit but why get out early when they are 2 goals up.
I decided to let it run and only take action if the score went 1-2.
Brentford got a red card to make it even more nervous and the old me would have taken the profit.
But in hindsight there was nothing to worry about, Brentford won 2-0 and allowed me to take home 100% of my stake with no trading even needed.
Wolves didn’t even have a shot on target I believe.
This shows you the mental struggles that we all go through and how you should ignore that little voice telling you to “cash out”.
In hindsight there was nothing to worry about.
How has lay the draw trading changed in the time you have done it?
Many have said it has got harder but I don’t remember it ever being easy.
You can see all the traders battling it out to exit the draw price after a goal and taking lower prices than they should. This was what spurred me to stay in. The team is winning, my trade is winning, lets see if they can get another goal. Even if it goes to 1-1 there is still a chance for another goal to make it 2-1 and reassess.
I think people maybe go wrong because they are in a rush to make a profit and panic when they get the goal.
Another tip is to never take a profit less than 50% of your stake. If that isn’t available after a goal I always stay in as it is not worth the risk I am taking.
So even though you were already making a living from football trading, you still joined Ultimate Football Trading when we first opened. What was the thinking behind that? Did it help you in anyway?
My thinking is that you have to always be learning new things and I make a point to buy any new football trading content that comes out if it looks good. I already know most of it but it keeps my mind fresh and there can always be little things to apply.
The strategy I really liked was the Jackpot method and one I use often when the scenario arises. Seems like such an obvious strategy now I use it but it never crossed my mind before. That has covered the cost of the course almost 100 times over by now!
I am a believer that in life you should always be a student and always trying to learn things even if you think you are a master. I know people love Ronaldo and Messi but for me Maradona was the master but even he had to train and keep trying to improve every day since the moment you stop you start to lose your talents. It is the same with trading albeit on a smaller scale when compared to an athlete.
I also picked up the Trend Report on Lay The Draw that came out recently.
This was pretty good and surprising as is nothing like my style at all. So things like that are good to keep things fresh and find new angles. I am still considering if I should incorporate it in or just stick to what I am doing but this is a good problem to have.
Going back to lay the draw, I am sure people will want more insight into the types of matches you trade, which leagues and how much research you do? Do you watch the live matches? Any extra tips?
I don’t watch the matches unless it is literally the Sky or BT sport match they are showing or if it happens to be QPR shown on the TV, rare thing these days.
I stick to the top leagues in Europe alongside Bundesliga 2, Championship and J League is usually a profitable one.
My research is often geared around the question “Do I think the favourite will go for the win?”
The way I see it, if I lay the draw I am backing the favourite but also taking insurance that the underdog might win (which happens often). So my prediction on the favourite doesn’t have to be right just as long as one team gets infront at some point.
I have known people to worry about if they will get the “goal” or not but that is my thought process.
Some of this is based in motivation too. If I have a feeling both teams might be happy to take a draw I avoid it. Liverpool-Chelsea recently was one I stayed away from for that reason and ended 1-1.
I like to get involved when one team feels they are superior and they will go out to win, when they are quite similarly talented I avoid it.
Do you have a set strategy that you follow every single time?
Once I am involved my strategy is not set.
If the favourite is winning as expected I am calm enough to let it keep going. If the underdog begins to win it depends on the time of the match. I can let that run and sometimes they go 2 up. If I look at the stats and the losing team is pressing then I can exit and maybe lay it again if it goes back to 1-1.
You have so many options, be flexible.
I know many people like yourself always hammer down the notion of “value” but honestly I have never been good with maths and this went over my head. But it has worked for me so far so I wont be changing it now!
Thanks for this, I think many might get a lot out of these tips. Great insight.
Do you do anything else outside of football trading?
That is really it.
Besides that I try to play Golf when I can and help my daughter out as she is a single mother. The past year has been really hard for many of us for obvious reasons.
But I really don’t need more money so won’t be trying anything new until it is really needed.
At my age you are just happy to be happy.
What is a silly newbie mistake you initially made that you now cringe about?
This is going to sound terrible but I still have the odd brain blip and back the draw instead of laying it.
I have to always double-triple check the trades when they are in play to make sure I haven’t done it again.
There were some times when I didn’t check, got the goal and went to the market to see I was in the red.
So now I have to make sure I check every single time.
What has been your most memorable football match to trade?
I have a bad memory so not the best question to ask.
But when QPR were in the Premier League was a fun time.
They didn’t win many matches but when they did and you made money on it was always a really nice day.
I remember when we played Chelsea and I thought we were going to get our arses handed to us. I went in a lay the draw, we took the lead and of course the draw price goes down since we were massive underdogs.
Then they had 2 players sent off and suddenly I could take a profit. But with the advantage over 9 men that was one where I stayed in till the final minutes to make a bigger profit. I was at my wits end but I had to stick to my plan and take emotion out of it.
Beating them and making an unexpected profit was a memorable day.
If you could give one tip to newbies, what would it be?
I am hoping there are enough above to help them out.
But I want to give a bit of a life tip here and that is to learn a skill.
I struggled all my life going from job to job because I was disposable and had no real skills. As soon as you learn a skill you can become more valued, you can earn more money or even work for yourself.
Football Trading is a skill but with all due respect, if you are young you can probably take some time to learn more lucrative skills especially with computers these days.
For those a bit older, trading any sports is a great place to start and a fun pass-time. I am going to be watching football anyway, why not make money out of it? Haha!
Many thanks for taking the time!
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