Betting on autopilotBetting expert Andy Newton gives readers the lowdown about betting bots. Increasingly popular with exchange punters, a bot can help you get your bets on at the right price when you’re otherwise engaged
If you’re into your betting and, in particular, you’re one of the ‘new-age punters’ that has fully embraced the introduction of betting exchanges then I’m sure your gambling tactics and strategies have changed dramatically over the last few years. The exchanges now give the everyday punter the chance to effectively become the bookmaker and lay a price on almost any event or market to just another ordinary person.
Since their launch in 1999 the main exchange, Betfair, has been on one of the steepest upward curves that any new business sector has ever seen, and with new software and features attracting streams of additional members to the concept each day, it’s hard to see any let up.
With 10 years of trading there are plenty of exchange users that have been playing the game now for quite a while, and with the success of such a great betting idea comes additional software add-ons to try to help the exchange punters further.
Have you ever missed a winner because you forgot to put the bet on? Do you work in a normal 9-5 job? Or do you simply not have access to the exchanges 24 hours a day? I’m sure the answer for a lot of punters to at least one of these questions is a big fat “Yes!” Well, several firms have jumped on the back of the exchanges’ success and have developed what is known as a ‘betting bot’. So what is such a thing? In simple terms it’s a piece of software that you can upload to your PC or laptop that will allow you to pre-set your daily bets – it will then go off and place those bets for you nearer the off time. Sounds great doesn’t it, and believe me, for people that don’t have time to sit in front of their computers all day they can be an invaluable tool.
There are new forms and varieties of this type of software hitting the web all the time – so what’s the best one for you?
Most of them offer a variety of features, from automatic betting, automatic bookmaking, market analysis, hedging, dutching, getting a green screen and so on. So you need to decide what you want to get out of a betting bot and make sure the features you are after are included in the package – be sure to read carefully what’s included before parting with your hard-earned.
The common requirement from most punters is to use them, like I’ve already said, to place their bets for them. Almost all the bots I’ve come across will therefore have this feature, but again it’s important to double check this as each will differ slightly from the next – there’s no harm in just firing off a few email questions to each company to get complete piece of mind. Or even better, a lot of them will offer you a few days ‘free trial’ or ‘money back guarantee’ to test drive your new time-saving application.
In terms of the software placing your bets for you – once you’ve downloaded the bot it will require you to log in using your existing Betfair username and password, which will then allow you to access all the markets on the exchange through their bot software. The exchanges are fully aware of the bots in operation and often have separate deals with them. In simple terms, when you log into your Betfair account via a bot, you have access to all the exchange markets but through the backdoor, which can often allow a faster connection and therefore quicker price updates – which of course can give you a vital edge in exchange land.
Things to Know
That’s the basics and the most common use of the bots, but really once you get playing around with all the other features they offer it can really help you to profit. For example, if you are worried you might lose too much in the day while you are out, then most bots will allow you to set a ‘stop loss’ – so, if you hit a certain loss for the day it won’t place anymore bets. While on the flip side to this you can also set a ‘stop profit amount’ which will allow you to tell your bot to stop placing bets when you reach a set profit limit.
Other things to look out for include making sure your betting bot seller has a strong customer support service. If, like me, you love the idea but aren’t the most technical person in the world, it’s important to chose one that guarantees help not only before you buy, but throughout set up and more importantly afterwards.
Now onto price; again this will vary depending on what product you chose. It’s best to choose one that either offers a free trial or a money back guarantee – as this will at least give you the chance to ‘try before you buy’. Some will charge you a one-off fee for the software and that’s it, while others will require an ongoing monthly payment in order to use the product. My personal opinion is that if you just want it to simply place your bets while you are out then the one-off payment ones (approx £40) that offer customer support throughout are all you’ll need, while if you want to take this to another level and either trade part/full-time then the monthly fee ones like Bet Angel (£29.99 per month) are certainly going to pander to your needs a lot more.
The final thing to note, which is important, is to ask about upgrades. Like a lot of computer-based products, not just betting bots, things change and, as we all know, technology moves on. So it’s worth asking questions like – what version am I buying, is there a new version in development, will I have to pay for any future upgrades and will I be contacted if there are any upgrades?
How does the software place bets for me?
1. Once logged in you find the markets/selections you want to bet on and add them to a selections list
2. You will need to modify a few simple settings to suit your betting needs
3. Decide if they are back or lay bets. Note: if you want to do a mixture of both in the same day on the same list of horses check before you buy that your software supports this
4. Set the stake for the days bets. Note: if you want to vary the stake on each selection on the same day again check that your software supports this as the more basic bots will only be able to keep the same settings throughout the day
5. Decide what your maximum and minimum odds are. The system will only then place the bet if these criteria are met. So, for example, you only want to lay a horse at a maximum of 10/1 and at the time the bet would get placed it’s priced 11/1, the bot will simply not place the bet
6. Set the time you want the bet to be placed. This can normally be anything from 30 minutes before the off time right down to one minute. Note: some bots also now offer bets to be placed in-running
7. That’s it! Make sure you leave your computer on, sit back, go shopping, play a round of golf and your betting bot will do all the work for you