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john1166

rookie botter

Posts: 9 Member Since: February 11, 2009

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June 2, 2010 09:57:45

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Hello guys!

Or should I say G'Day mates! (Sorry couldn't resist!)

Anyway, I've been a member of Diybetfairbots for 15 months now and I have never made a post until now. I've been quite happy to just sit on the fence and read all those insightful and sometimes witty posts by other members.

Ok, since about September 2008 I have been developing my own betfair bot using C# Express 2005 with only an intermediate knowledge of the C programming language. And I must say it's been a slow learning curve trying to get a handle on object orienting programming for the 1st time.  Sometimes it took me a couple of weeks or more  to get a specific part of my bot to work properly and that's with extensive Googling! There were many times when I nearly gave up.

Anyway before I give you my life story, my problem is the minimum bet size. Within the 1st month that I started to write my bot, I discovered the technique to place less than the minimum bet size of $6 as it was then (now it's $5 her is AUS). In the 1st 12 months of using my bot on the free API, I attempted to trade mostly as I thought this is where the money was. Unfortunately I got burnt many times leaving trades open and had lost  sizable sums of money in the process.

So for the last 6 to 8 months, I have been testing other strategies (like dutching and similar) using small amounts of money that places bets on most of the required selections below the minimum amount.  Now for the very 1st time, I have received an email from Betfair stating:

"We are aware that some customers use software that circumvents the minimum stake restriction and we have automated
procedures that identify accounts looking to disadvantage or inconvenience other customers by matching an excessive
number of small bets.
On reviewing the activity on your account, we are happy to accept that the bets you have placed that are less than the
limit were not placed in bad faith, and that your intention was not to disadvantage or inconvenience any other Betfair
customers.
Please be advised that Betfair takes a firm stance on minimum bet abuse and any further infringements may result in
account suspension. If you need further clarification on this policy or have any other questions regarding Betfair,
please don't hesitate to contact us".

I did ring the Betfair help desk here in Australia and spoke to a rep who did understand my point of view but he also reminded me of Betfair's policy regarding the minimum bet and said that it's quite possible my account could be suspended indefinitely if it occurs again. He was very nice about it though! (And I did ask)

What can I say?  I really don't want my account suspended! I've spent too much time (and money) getting my bot to where it is now only to be suspended indefinitely. I guess I just have to ease up on "excessive number of small bets".  How many bets is not excessive anyway?

So if there is anybody out there who has been caught by this or has a suggestion or two, I would be glad to hear from you!

John.....

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fred77

Botting Guru

Posts: 199 Member Since:May 14, 2008

#2 [url]

June 2, 2010 15:42:06

Hi John

Well first up, a big well done on getting there by yourself without recourse to newbie questions :) It sounds like you have the tenacity to reach your goals.

If you're placing sub minimum bets on multiple selections in a market then that's quite a lot of small bets. I magine the warning/suspension threshold is more like a ratio rather than a specific number of bets. They probably wouldn't mind so much if you were matching some sizeable bets too. Hopefully somebody else might be able to clarify. I suggest emailing BDP for advice.

There are many strategies that you can only realistically operate or test with large disposable funds. If you can't afford to test for real then perhaps you should follow a different path. Try strategies that you can test without betting for real, either in real time or using collected data.

I've always been into testing for real, win or lose it keeps things exciting. I know that psychologically, it can be bloody awful testing using funds that have been earned the hard way, it gets easier once you've got a winning bot or two under your belt.

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john1166

rookie botter

Posts: 9 Member Since:February 11, 2009

#3 [url]

June 2, 2010 18:20:43

Hi Fred

And thanks for the reply!  I was getting a little anxious waiting for that 1st response!

Yes you are probably right about the ratio, for the last few weeks I have been hammering those sub minimum bets a bit too much i think!  That's quite a change from trading with liabilities in the balance of $500 or $600 in the past. I have been using the sub minimum bet technique since I was aware of it back in September 2008 and this was the 1st infringement notice I had received from Betfair.

But I gotta admit it, I'm a little weary on going sub minimum for a while!  I'd like to keep my account in the usable state!  As for testing my strategies, I have also written 2 analysis programs that I use on collected data and have done so for a while now. One I use on standard data and the other on full depth data.  The problem is I'm always making modifications or adding or should be adding new functionality to these apps.  And if I leave it for a couple of weeks, it's easy to lose focus of where I was and continue on even though I document my programs heavily!

I've designed my bot mainly for horse racing (but it does seem to load most of the other markets) and it's the UK & Ireland races that I usually work with. The Aussie markets are just too tight with not enough liquidity most of the time and only the big city races go in-play! The no betting in-play restriction was lifted more than a year ago here in Aussie land.  That just made it more fun and dangerous at the same time!  The dangerous part was not closing those open trades even when I had the chance in-play.  That's when I resorted to sub minimum bets and testing strategies without losing my shirt!

I have to admit it though, I have a great routine in a fast moving market where I can make a Back & Lay bet simultaneously with as little as a tick (or more) between them for a guaranteed profit if both bets get matched. I realized that sub minimum bets here would be too slow so I avoided it.  With mouse over the selection, a tooltip popup shows prices/stakes and liability in the appropriate colors so I can see my liability at a glance.  My only limitation here unfortunately is using the free API not being quick enough!  At one call per second, sometimes only one bet gets matched and the selections price is hammered in the other direction!!

My last option (I'm running out of ideas!) would be to scan all the markets I'm interested in over the course of a whole day at regular intervals and scalp trades this way, hopefully with very little risk.  Well, I've had the code for nearly 6 months all that is left to do is automate the betting itself! I better pull the finger out eh?

Ok, I know I've gone off topic but the ice has been broken and already I can think of another question as a new post!  I also look forward to conversing with you guys for advice and perhaps give some advice myself!

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jpl

bot addict

Posts: 82 Member Since:May 10, 2008

#4 [url]

June 2, 2010 23:00:26

It is a bit worrying not having any clear rules on what's acceptable.

I just ran a query to see how many sub-minimum bets I'm making: so far this year I've had 67,000 matched bets above the minimum and 20,000 below.  But I guess those 20,000 cover a variety of sins: some may have been placed at that size to green up, others may have been small increases to existing bets, and so on.

I've never had a nastygram from Betfair about it (touch wood).

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john1166

rookie botter

Posts: 9 Member Since:February 11, 2009

#5 [url]

June 3, 2010 05:27:02

Hi jpl

Yes you are right about the rules not being clear enough!  Wow, that's a lot of sub minimum bets for only 5 months! I didn't realize you could make that sort of a query on your account. I'll have to do a query myself and see how I've done.

Why do their legal documents have to be so long and boring?  I don't think there are many people out there who actually read the whole thing!  They should put the most important stuff near the top in BOLD.  And don't you just love the fine print?  Anyway, I skimmed through the Rules and Regulations found here applicable to my country:

http://sports.betfair.com/AUS_NZL/aboutUs/Rules.and.Regulations/

I found the word "minimum" appeared 31 times in the document and the best that came close to what I was looking for was this under section 9 (Multiples):

The minimum total stake for any multiple bet is £2. For example a 20p "Yankee" (11 bet combinations) representing a total stake of £2.20 is permitted. However a 1p "Heinz" (57 bet combinations) representing a total stake of £0.57 or a £1 double (1 bet combination) representing a total stake of £1 will not be permitted. For customers betting in currencies other than Sterling the minimum total stake which applies to a multiple bet will not necessarily be the equivalent of £2, though it will be calculated as described in the example above.

What I understand from this is if all my bets for a particular market combined is above the minimum amount then this is acceptable.

Then under Terms and Conditions (Section 9 Minimum and maximum bet stakes) found here:

http://sports.betfair.com/AUS_NZL/aboutUs/Terms.and.Conditions/#section9

Depending on the product or type of market you are betting on and depending on the currency that you are betting in, there are minimum bet sizes that apply. These minimum bet sizes are subject to change and may differ depending on whether you are on our site or using the Telephone Betting Service.
Your betting limit is represented by the lesser of: (i) your 'Available to Bet' balance shown in your account and (ii) your ‘Exposure Limit’ (which is available in the “Account Summary” tab in “My Account”). However in the event that we process an offer for a bet or the acceptance of a bet in an amount outside the applicable thresholds, such bet will nevertheless stand.

That last sentence really says it all.  If the bet is processed, then it has been accepted!  I do realize that being an exchange, a successful trade is the main goal of trading.  I have to admit,  I have made multiple sub minimum bets often to slowly push the profit of a market upwards.  I am sure Betfair are well aware of and allow it for this reason.

I guess with more and more people joining and using Betfair, all these tiny bets are just slowing down their system.  Hence we see those dreaded upgrades they do from time to time!!

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birchy

Betfair Elite

Posts: 593 Member Since:May 11, 2008

#6 [url]

June 3, 2010 19:34:48

What methods are we all using to place the sub minimum bet? I started off doing it the 3 bet/cancel method (i.e. back at 1000 for £2, update stake, cancel the £2 bet and then update the odds on the small bet) but then i realised i could get the same result by using a single bet request. What i do now is place 2 bets in the same request, with one opposing the other. For instance, let's say i want to back a runner at 3.25 for 10p, i place a back bet for £2.10 and a lay bet for £2. Neither bet is actually undersize. Is everyone doing this or am i opening a can of worms?

www.bespokebots.com

"This time next year Rodney, we'll be millionaires!"

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jpl

bot addict

Posts: 82 Member Since:May 10, 2008

#7 [url]

June 3, 2010 21:18:34

I'm still doing it the old-fashioned way.  Your approach sounds much better - but how do you know both sides will be matched?  Do they match the two parts of your bet against each other before they match against other people's bets?

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birchy

Betfair Elite

Posts: 593 Member Since:May 11, 2008

#8 [url]

June 3, 2010 22:43:46

Not sure but they always get matched (so far...though not tested it fully as i only remembered the method a few weeks ago). I worked on the assumption that they match the bets against each other and that seems to be true when tested on quiet markets (maybe the cross matching thingy is working in our favour?). You can't do it via the website but i guess it should work fine if you're scraping or using the api. As far as i can see, it satisfies the rules because neither bet is undersize. Would be good to hear if this idea has any drawbacks or problems with unmatched bets...

I had my account suspended about 2 years ago when i was messing about with the exchange games api and had a bit of a battle to get it back. My basic argument was that betfair encourage trading but how can we green up partially matched bets below the minimum without breaking the rules. The final result was that they reinstated my account and agreed that it was sometimes necessary to place undersize bets to close positions but included a warning along the lines of: "it's ok but don't take the piss".

www.bespokebots.com

"This time next year Rodney, we'll be millionaires!"

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john1166

rookie botter

Posts: 9 Member Since:February 11, 2009

#9 [url]

June 4, 2010 16:30:37

I've actually thought of placing 2 bets simultaneously on the same runner using a Back/Lay combination as apposed to the usual method for sub minimum bets as birchy mentioned.  (and avoid sub minimum bets)  But after consulting the Betfair API Guide, I didn't think it was possible according to one of the error codes that could bet returned from the response: Value = "BACK_LAY_COMBINATION".  Condition = "Bets contains a Back and a Lay on the same runner and the Back price is less than or equal to the Lay price".  When I place trading bets simultaneously, the Back price is always higher than the Lay price (of course).  Well at least I've never gotten this error returned.

But I guess it just goes to show, if you don't try it, you'll never know for sure!  Seems the guide isn't 100 % accurate. Besides, what's the worst that could happen?  All you get is the appropriate error returned like "SERVICE_NOT_AVAILABLE_IN_PRODUCT".  I've seen this a few times trying to get Silks and attempting to link up the Heartbeat feature!  Yes, I'm still stuck using the free API gosh darn it!!

Hey birchy, just to clarify things, was your account suspended for sub minimum bet abuse? You said you were messing about with the exchange games API. Because I really don't want that to happen to me!

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birchy

Betfair Elite

Posts: 593 Member Since:May 11, 2008

#10 [url]

June 4, 2010 18:38:57

Hey birchy, just to clarify things, was your account suspended for sub minimum bet abuse? You said you were messing about with the exchange games API. Because I really don't want that to happen to me!

-john1166

Yes it was, but ALL my bets were undersize as i was abusing the 0.5p rounding rules to avoid paying commission.

www.bespokebots.com

"This time next year Rodney, we'll be millionaires!"

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john1166

rookie botter

Posts: 9 Member Since:February 11, 2009

#11 [url]

June 5, 2010 05:51:18

Hey that's neat!  How do you insert the text box from a previous post?

Well I think you can bet your bottom dollar (pound!) that Betfair will be looking at people taking advantage of any loopholes in their system. I have noticed upon refreshing my account balance from time to time that it can change by 1 cent once the market closes. As an example: @ 5 % commission, and 2  $0.10 wins, I'll assume 1 cent will be deducted from my account after the 2nd win!

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birchy

Betfair Elite

Posts: 593 Member Since:May 11, 2008

#12 [url]

June 5, 2010 13:14:18

Hey that's neat!  How do you insert the text box from a previous post?

-john1166

Just click on the "quote" button at the bottom right of the post.

As an example: @ 5 % commission, and 2  $0.10 wins, I'll assume 1 cent will be deducted from my account after the 2nd win!

-john1166

Yeah, commission is now calculated at account level rather than on each betting market.

www.bespokebots.com

"This time next year Rodney, we'll be millionaires!"

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john1166

rookie botter

Posts: 9 Member Since:February 11, 2009

#13 [url]

June 5, 2010 14:36:10

Doh!  Well there you go! That was my 1st newbie question!!

Next time I'll open my eyes.  Thanks birchy.  I'll give it a go now.


Yeah, commission is now calculated at account level rather than on each betting market.

-birchy

We really have to watch ourselves, even though we don't mean to inconvenience or disadvantage other players on purpose,  as long as we abide by their rules then it's ok.  I'm not having  a go at Betfair because I think it's unfair, after all, they are giving each and everyone of us an opportunity to make some money here.  As for going sub minimum, I'm sure that most of you would agree that the majority of us don't have very deep pockets!  No doubt were all looking for that magic formula to put us on the winning side.

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vonnch

rookie botter

Posts: 24 Member Since:November 24, 2013

#14 [url]

January 8, 2015 17:38:34

Bumping this up please. Is there a new minimum set for this year yet?imageimage

Last Edited By: vonnch January 8, 2015 17:50:32. Edited 2 times.

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