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Matched betting is using the free bet bonus that bookmakers offer and betting on all possible outcomes of an event to guarantee a profit.

By betting an event at a bookmaker and laying (betting against) the same event at a betting exchange it is possible to use the free bets offered to guarantee a profit. The only risk is human error.

Matched betting will guarantee you profits. Football matches are the easiest events to use. There is a spreadsheet attached to this link that will help you a lot with matched betting.

Here are the basic steps for matched betting.

  • Sign up for a Betfair account. Deposit about £100 (you can start with less but it speeds up the process and makes it easier if you have more in your account)

  • Register at a bookmaker of your choice. You can see details about the free bets that bookmakers offer in our Bonuses and Site Reviews section.

  • Find a match to place your qualifying bet on. This takes time as it is important to find out where the odds are most favourable. (I will be adding a list of matches that are good for matched betting soon)

  • Deposit funds into your account at the bookmaker. (If the bookmaker you choose has a 100% free bet up to £25 then deposit £25 into the bookmaker)

  • Make a bet with the money you just deposited on the match you chose (e.g. £25 on a team to win)

  • Use the spreadsheet attached to this link to work out how much you need to wager at Betfair

  • Go to Betfair and find the match that you have bet on at the bookmakers. But this time click on the Lay button for the same team that you bet to win and bet the amount that the spreadsheet says in the Lay Stake field.

    Here is an example of how it would work and what you need to do using Betway as the bookmaker.

    Silkeborg v AaB - 05 April at 12:00

    Stake £25.00 - make a £25.00 free bet!

    Back The Draw in Betway

    In Betway find the "Danish SAS ligaen" matches from the football menu and locate the "Silkeborg v AaB" match. Stake £25 on The Draw at odds of 3.40

    Lay (bet against) The Draw in Betfair

    In Betfair on the left menu click Soccer > Danish Soccer > SAS ligaen > Fixtures 05 April > Silkeborg v AAB > Match Odds. Click the PURPLE box showing odds of 3.35 and lay £25.76 against The Draw. Your liability will be £60.54.

    All outcomes are now covered

    You will make an acceptable loss of £0.54 from this bet in order to obtain the £25.00 free bet.

    * If its a draw you will make £60.00 profit in Betway to cover the £60.54 liability lost in Betfair.

    * If it’s not a draw you will make £24.47 profit in Betfair (your £25.76 lay stake minus 5% commission) to cover the £25.00 deposit lost in Betway.

  • With your free bet from the bookmakers first find out if it the stake is returned or not. This information should be in the thread about the bookmaker in the Bonuses and Site Reviews section. (most bookies do not return the stake)

  • Find a match to bet on that will give the most profit. You should be aiming to get about 70% of the free bet back as profit. (The general rule is that the higher the odds, the more profit you can make. Be careful to check you have enough in your betfair account to cover laying the bet)

  • Use your free bet on the match that you have chosen.

  • Go to Betfair and lay the amount that the spreadsheet says you should lay for the same amount of profit if the bet at the bookmakers or Betfair wins.

    Here is an example using Betway again for how to place your free bet.

    Liverpool v Benfica - 08 April at 19:05

    Make £18.95 guaranteed profit from the £25.00 free bet!

    Back Benfica in Betway

    In Betway find the "UEFA Europa League" matches from the football menu and locate the "Liverpool v Benfica" match. Stake £25 on Benfica at odds of 5.75

    Lay (bet against) Benfica in Betfair

    In Betfair on the left menu click Soccer > UEFA Europa League > Fixtures 08 April > Liverpool v Benfica > Match Odds. Click the PURPLE box showing odds of 6.00 and lay £19.96 against Benfica. Your liability will be £99.8.

    All outcomes are now covered

    You will make £18.95 profit from the £25.00 free bet.

    * If Benfica win you will make £118.75 profit in Betway to cover the £99.80 liability lost in Betfair.

    * If Liverpool win or it’s a draw you will make £18.96 profit in Betfair (your £19.96 lay stake minus 5% commission) and lose nothing in Betway as it was a free bet.

  • Wait for the match to be finished and you will have a profit.

  • Repeat using another bookmaker and continue making risk free profit.

With the examples that I used you would get a guaranteed profit of £18.95 without actually risking anything at all because you had all of the options covered. This can be done at a lot of bookmakers and you can earn a lot of money from it.

As the government class this as gambling earnings you will not need to pay tax on anything you make either.

As I mentioned in the steps above, I am going to create a list of good matches to use for each bookmaker. This will be updated once a week.

It is really important to keep a log of all of your bets and results so you don't make any silly mistakes. Also a good way to keep track of how much profit you have made so far.

I have decided once again to enter another scheduled tournament on PokerStars for a $5.50 entry fee. I joined very late, after 55 minutes had already passed. Just in time for the break. First hand after the break I doubled up. I limped in with 10 3 suited and flopped an open ended straight draw, called a bet and the turn gave me a flush draw too. I check raised all in. I was unexpectedly called and hit my flush on the river to double up. This was a risky move and I wouldn't normally do it, but I had a lot of outs and also suspected that the opponent was bluffing and wouldn't call my all in bet. Just hit a bad bit of luck now though.

I had K8 in the small blind and called the blind and got to see the flop, which was 3K9, I made a bet and was called, the turn was another K so I check raised all in again, thinking that there was no way that he had the other K. Unfortunately he did and I doubled him up. His kicker was a Q and he left me with only $1,100 chips left. Still, no reason to panic.

No reason to panic only because I just got knocked out once more :-(  I had made once successful steal and built my chips up to $1,500. I found myself with 1010 and thought it was the ideal opportunity to go all in. I was called by a player with QQ. No luck for me as none of the two remaining 10 cards came up on the board.

Instead of starting a new post for Part 5 I will include it in this post too. I have just entered a $5.40 double or nothing Sit and Go. I haven't played many of these games and know little about effective strategy. I think the general idea though is to play very tight. I'm not sure if I will play like this though as if that is how everyone else will be playing. I am going to test out the strategy I talked about earlier for being on the final table of a 27 man tournament. As everyone else will be playing tight I will play a more aggressive game. I will wait until the blinds are big enough to be worth stealing first as there is no point in risking chips when there is little to gain.

That strategy failed once again, but only because of more bad luck and this was my last poker game of the day. I had 67 suited and raised preflop. The flop was 627 and I raised again on the flop. I was called and the next card was an A. I checked and then the opponent bet, I raised all in and was called. It turned out that the other guy had A2 and had also hit two pair. It was very unlikely that that would have happened. He shouldn't have even called my bet on the flop when he only had bottom pair. The river didn't help me as it was another A and I was knocked out of another game. No more poker for me today. Only have $3 left in my account. I might try tomorrow to build that up to $5.50 in a micro stakes cash game in order to have one more attempt at recreating my bankroll from nothing. Not a big deal though as I haven't actually invested any money into this and am only playing with profits from a previous winning streak a couple of weeks ago. Would be nice to build up a bankroll from nothing though.
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Part 3 of my day of poker. Have moved onto the 27 man Sit and Go tournaments as I wasn't having much luck with the bigger tournaments. Was only a $5 entry and the top 5 will get paid. From previous experience playing tournaments with this format, I have learned that the best strategy is to just be patient and not play too many hands. It is not too hard to get onto the final table by just surviving. Then once onto the final table it is time to step it up a gear and start playing more aggressive. This is because most people will slow down their play at the final table. Most people get afraid of getting knocked out right before the money starts so will fold a lot more hands, this is the time to exploit that weakness and raise the pot a lot more often as it becomes a lot more likely that people will fold. A lot of extra chips can be gaines on the final table before the last 5. I should be able to talk about actually doing this soon.

There are currently 16 players left and I'm in the middle of the field. Just had a chance to call someone all in for $600 in chips but decided against it, I had A8 suited and it was very likely that their all in was a bluff, a desperation bet made because they were low on chips but I don't want to take any unnecessary risks at this point in time. I've fallen into the bottom 3 now, 10th out of 12. Only 3 more places to go and it's the final table and I can start being more aggressive. I might have to start upping my game early though as I have a small amount of chips relative to the big stacks now. They may call me just for the chance of knocking me out if my stack gets much lower. Final table is on the horizon though.

Maybe not :-(

I went all in with KQ on the button, first person to act too. The big blind called for an extra $1,500 chips and had 44. Turns out that it's not my day when it comes to 50/50 hands as I lost again. The opponent managed to hit a lucky straight against the odds after I had already hit my pair. I would have doubled up if they had not hit the straight on the river and it would have been plain sailing to the top 5. Nevermind though. I guess today is just not my day for poker. There are good days and bad days. I can't be too upset though as I don't think that I have played badly today, just got unlucky at some crucial moments. On another day I would have won the hands that knocked me out today and would have made the money in at least one of the games. Can't decide whether or not to play another game today or to leave it until tomorrow. I think I will update with Part 4 later, gonna have an extended break to eat and focus on other stuff for a while.
I have decided to try my luck again at a scheduled tournament on PokerStars instead of the Sit and Go that I said I would probably do next. I have entered a tournament with only 500 players maximum for a $8.80 entrance fee. Only 54 players will get into the money and top prize in this one is $767 . With only 500 players in this tournament there is a decent chance of doing well if I play well. Updates on the way.

Bad news once again :-( Just got knocked out in 350th place. Someone had raised before the flop $300 and I had AK suited so I decided to push all in as it was very likely that this person would fold to the bet and I would have won a nice pot. Unfortunately they called the extra $2,900 chips and it was 77 against AK suited, a 50/50 hand. The flop was JQ3. Now I had more outs than before. Any 10, K or A and I would win the hand and double up. Unfortunately the next two cards were a 6 and a 4. None of which were the suit that I started with 2 of. Nevermind.

I think I need a little bit of a break after those couple of losses. I only have $13 left in my account after making a withdrawal recently so I don't want to be risking that money whilst I have the disappointment of previous losses still in my head. Think I will go and do the washing up and then try again a bit later.
Today I have decided that I will spend most of my time playing poker tournaments on PokerStars. I have just entered a scheduled tournament. I play these tournies often. It is a $5.50 entry tournament. The entry carries on for an hour after it starts so the field gets pretty big. I joined after 12 minutes and there were 1400 entrants at that point, there are now 1800 entrants and 300 have already been knocked out and it is only 22 minutes in. From experience in these $5.50 tournies I can predict that there will be between 3000 and 4500 entrants by the end of the tournament.

I've not started off well, everyone starts with $3,000 chips and I'm already down to $2,600. It isn't really a big deal at the moment though as the blinds are only $25 and $50 so my stack relative to the blinds is absolutely massive. My stick relative the the two big blinds is 2600:75 this ratio is called your M ratio, which when worked out properly is 34.66. The M ratio is probably the most important number in poker as it determines the way in which you should play. If the M ratio is above 20 then there is room to make a few errors in judgement and play can be a little looser. When the M ratio dips under 10 then it is time to play a lot tighter. Less gambling and less flops seen. When the M ratio goes below 5 then there is only one style of play that should be used. Whatever hand you have, when you are first to act put all of your chips in the middle, go all in. Hopefully everyone will fold and you will steal the blinds. Either that or someone will call you and you will hopefully have a 40% chance of winning the hand. The chance will be 40% if the opponent that calls has two random cards that are higher than yours. At this stage though if you have managed to get yourself in a position with such a low M ratio then you should just be hoping for a bit of good luck to get you out of that position. Time for another tournament update I think.

The first break has just finished after an hours play. I had got my stack back up to $3,000 but just lost $500 in a hand a second ago. The total amount of entrants was 2895 and there are 1500 players left. The top 414 players will get paid and first prize is $2281.45. The only other prizes over $100 are on the final table, so there is only one real aim and that is to get to the final table. I just had a couple of good hands, doubled up with AQ versus Q10 and got up to $3,900 chips, then I knocked someone out with 1010 against KQ and built my stack up to $6,500, have $6,000 now and the blinds are up to $100 and $200. My M ratio is about 20. Time to concentrate on the poker for a bit and take a break from writing unless something exciting happens. Bad hand just now.

Down to $4,200 after getting my KK8810 beaten by KK88A. I'm going to have to take a few more risks now. Some preflop raises in order to steal the blinds and the antes. The blinds and antes are $600 in total now and I need to steal this a few times by going all in. Hopefully noone will call these raises and I will get a few more thousand chips.

I've just been knocked out in 850th place :-( I went all in with 88 and happened to come across someone with KK and they knocked me out. Better luck next time I guess. I think the next tournament that I attempt will just be a 27 entrant $5 tournament. They normally only take about an hour and a half and there is a good chance of winning $50 for first place. Wish me luck.
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    April 2010
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