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How do you bet on Betfair?

The betting world was changed when Betfair arrived on the scene and launched their betting exchange. This revolutionised the industry because it’s a whole new ball game. You will be used to betting at sportsbooks or down your local shop, where it is you against the bookmaker. That’s not the case at Betfair though, it’s you against other punters with Betfair charging you commission on the transactions that take place.

Betfair acts as an intermediary which will give you a completely new betting experience. Here, we shall give you a preview of the countless betting possibilities on Betfair. But first and foremost, let's find out more about the principle behind Betting Exchanges.

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Winning with the best odds

When bookmakers set the odds, they are also taking a risk: if the odds are too high, they will lose money if punters place successful bets. To compensate for this and remain profitable, bookmakers have in place the bookmaker’s margin. This is a certain percentage that should ensure they make a profit on an event.

However with Betfair, it's the punters who sets the odds, so Betfair cannot lose because the website charges 5% commission on the punters' winnings. The full details of their commission charges can be found on the Betfair site.

There's no disputing the outcome: You can see therefore that some better winnings are available on the Betfair site. And another great incentive to join their site is the Betfair welcome offer (check our review) that can be received when you become a site member.

Betting Exchange: Step into the bookmaker's shoes and offer bets

Betfair allows punters to bet against each other. For this exchange to work, punters must offer bets and odds. This is the principle of the "selling" of bets, otherwise known as "laying".

The principle is simple, let’s show you just how it works. Say Liverpool are home to Everton in a big Merseyside derby. The away side have been playing well of late and will want to do well against their local rivals. You therefore believe that there is a chance that Liverpool might not win this match. You therefore decide to ‘sell’ Liverpool winning. 

This sees you offering other members of the Betfair site the chance to bet against you. They will be betting on Liverpool winning the match, the result you don’t believe will happen. Odds will be set and hopefully other punters will take you on.  You are thus stepping into the bookmaker's shoes. If Liverpool wins, you must pay the winnings of punters that have bet against you. If Liverpool lose the game or it ends in a draw (i.e. Liverpool don’t win), you keep the stakes of those punters who have accepted the bet. There will be commission charged though by Betfair.

Want to find out more? Consult our special article devoted to the selling of bets on Betfair.

There will be other occasions when rather than you being the one who sets the odds, you will be matching a bet. If you saw someone selling Everton, then you can buy that bet. You will be a winner if Everton win the match and receive winnings based on whatever odds were set.

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Trading on Betfair: Pocket a big win with live betting

The ability to "buy" and "sell" bets offers you totally new betting experience, this being trading on live matches.

Let's look at a simple trade on the stock exchange? The trader buys shares at the lowest price and seeks to sell them at the highest price. On Betfair, the principle is the same, but in reverse. The Betfair trader buys odds at the highest level and seeks to sell them on again at the lowest. The profit is made on the difference in odds between the purchase and the sale.

Curious? Check out Herve's exclusive interview, a talented trader on Betfair who gives detailed examples of trading on Betfair.

Secure your winnings with Betfair!

How many times have you thought that you've won a bet, only to find out your hopes have been dashed in injury time? Luckily, thanks to Betfair, this misfortune need never happen again! Betfair allows you to secure your winnings by placing a live bet that runs counter to your initial bet.

Here's an example: You bet on Arsenal before the match at odds of 1.80. It's now 75 minutes into the match and the Gunners are winning 1-0. You know the London club is struggling to hold onto that lead. Perhaps the goal came against the run of play or they’ve just had a key player go off injured. You are now nervous about whether they can go onto win the game, so what do you do?

You can sell your bet at the current Betfair odds of 1.15. If Arsenal do go on to win the match, the amount you win will have been slightly reduced by that other bet but if the game doesn’t end in a victory for Arsenal, you will be glad that other bet was made.

Take advantage of the Betfair welcome offer? You can receive up to £100 in free bets, which our team has negotiated for you so can start to discover a new way of betting with Betfair!

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