Matthew Benham has (and still is) lived the dream of most red-blooded males. Benham began life as a professional gambler after he was one of the first to adopt the Expected Goals model and apply it to his betting models in the early 2000s.
In 2004 he set up his own company that provided statistical research and sports modelling services to some of the biggest gambling syndicates in the world. He then went on to set up his own betting company, Matchbook, in 2011.
Not only has Benham made a successful living from sports betting, but he is now the proud owner of not just one, but two, football clubs. In 2006 he invested money into Brentford Football Club, and has since gone on to become owner, then in 2014 he put money into FC Midtjylland and has since become the majority shareholder of the Danish club.
Tony has been trading on the Betfair Exchange since 2004, shortly after it’s conception, making him one of the most experienced sports traders there is.
Unlike the traditional concept of a professional gambler, Tony makes his living not from taking on the bookies, but by taking advantage of the small nuances of trading in-running on football, horse racing, cricket and other sports.
Tony’s edge over others comes from trading techniques that he has developed, refined and mastered over the years. He isn’t interested in the final outcome of a match or race, but instead looks to identify which way the market moves and then executes his techniques in order to establish make his profit.
One of the biggest challenges facing sports traders is to maintain the right mindset whilst executing their moves, and Tony is considered one of the sharpest brains in the game. So much so that he has been known to deliver sports Exchange trading masterclasses for Betfair themselves in the past.
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Tony Bloom’s profile as a professional gambler is similar to that of the aforementioned Matthew Benham, but The Lizard has his beginnings routed in poker.
He is known for making back-to-back final table appearances in the first ever two Poker Million Events, appeared in the Late Night Poker television series and has also appeared at the final table of a World Poker Tour event. As of 2008 he had won in excess of $1,500,000 at the poker tables.
Bloom set up his own private sports betting consultancy firm called Star Lizard in 2006 and then in 2009 became the chairman of Brighton & Hove Albion after securing a 75% shareholding of the club. He has since overseen the club’s return to the top flight of English football in 2016, following a 34-year hiatus, and developed a new state of the art stadium.
Bloom also owns a second, overseas, club in the form of Union SG in Belgium.
Caan Berry is another that makes his living from trading sports on the Betfair Exchange. He’s a big voice in the advocation of the Betfair Exchange in comparison with traditional bookmakers and can often been seen on Twitter and YouTube calling out sportsbooks for limiting punters or offering poor odds in comparison.
By betting on the Betfair Exchange you can get better odds than with a traditional sportsbook, and you won’t ever get your stakes limited like is often the case with winning punters on bet365, Sky Bet and others.
Berry is one of many professional punters that have chosen to give up their day job and move into trading as a full time profession. He now generates profits that exceed what he earned in his day job and was even selected as one of Betfair’s trading experts in their #betfairtraders campaign back in 2014.
Like Hargraves, Berry understands the importance of mindset and the ability to keep a clear head when executing trading techniques.
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Harry Findlay went from punter, to professional punter, to racehorse owner, to releasing his own biography. Findlay was the owner of famous Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Denman who had one of the greatest racing rivalries of all time with multiple times champion Kauto Star.
The legend of Harry Findlay is that he started with nothing, made millions, lost it all, won it all again and has repeated that process several times over. He’s not known for a considered, mathematical approach to gambling, but instead he was happy to trust his gut and bet on instinct – it worked for him , for a long time, but perhaps inevitably it didn’t last.
One of his most famous bets was a reported £2.5million stake on New Zealand to win the 2007 Rugby World Cup. Findlay booked a box for himself and some friends to watch the final against France live, and all looked to be going well when the All Blacks led 13-3 at half time. However, the French would come storming back in the second half and eventually win the match 20-18. Findlay claims to have placed a smaller stakes saver on France at half time, but still lost a seven-figure sum on the match.
Peter Webb is one of the most successful Betfair traders of all time, and at his peak was reported to be betting up to a quarter of a billion pounds annually on horse racing alone.
In 2003 he went from selling computers to becoming a full time trader on the Betfair Exchange, at which point he claimed; “I doubt there’s many people earning more than me on Betfair – it’s substantial by any terms.”
Webb traded on the sports Exchange in the same way that a City trader would play the financial markets on Wall Street. Unlike some of the other traders we have discussed however, he does most of his trading before an event goes in-play by anticipating which way that a market will move. Whether that be because of anticipated team news or other market forces.
Although the £250,000,000 figure mentioned earlier may sound daunting, Webb began his journey as a full-time trader by depositing just £1,000 into his account and placed his first ever trade with just £5. Which shows what can be done with the right mindset and techniques on the Betfair Exchange.
Webb has since gone on to launch his own trading toolkit – Bet Angel – that plugs in to the Betfair Exchange, allowing him and other users to set up bots and software that execute trades for him. It’s a product aimed at the more advanced Exchange traders, but shows just how powerful Betfair can be once you have mastered the platform.