Arm 1: Crooks
Betfair – somewhere between regulated larceny and the wild west – is where races are fixed, where spots are fixed, where fixers fix and are fixed in turn by other fixers. It's a fat fucking fix of fixing fuckers. Facts.
Arm 2 : Insiders
“Now, I'm not a crook, but I do know my “mate's” horse isn't going to win today, but will break early from a wide draw to trade low in running before running out of puff on the home turn. The jockey will fall off if need be, as he owes us...”
Arm 3: Courtsiders
It's not higher, faster, stronger. It's faster, faster, faster. “Bet in-play now” bellows Ray Winstone for Bet365 like he's bothered by a nasty case of Madame Chalfonts, but bookmakers don't do in-play, not really. In-play is about an edge measured in micro seconds. If you're not at the front of the queue you may as well be Ned Beatty in Deliverance...oink, oink.
Arm 4: Robots
Or to give them their cuddly nickname, bots – sounds like Bod and Farmer Barleymow. Well, they are going to leech onto every bet you try to make and suck the juice out of it until your bet is a sun-dried version of its smiling fat original self. Value is incremental and here's the bad news, the bots own the increments.
Arm 5: Betfair bots
We love our customers. For breakfast, lunch and dinner. So, we understand that as an average punter, that in a two hander you haven't the mathematical nous to to tell whether it's better value to back the one or to lay the other. Don't worry Betfair values its losers, I mean customers, and we always make sure you get the fractions in your favour either way. Oh no hang on, no we don't, we have our own bot that cleans up those pennies before Arm 4 can.
Arm 6: Early birds
Betfair isn't responsible for all the dark pool tomfoolery that will leave you squealing like a pig. Sometimes your fellow, honest to good, ping-ponging, whiff-whaffers, will fuck it up for you. The overnight horse racing markets are like a flame to a moth for the £2 queue-jumpers, who should be strangled with extreme prejudice and righteous vengeance, as they ensure that every 12/1 dark horse in an overnight market starts off at 6/1 in a morning market.
Arm 7: The Pros
At one time, I'm led to believe, one syndicate was responsible for 10% of all horse racing turnover on Betfair. The syndicate had 30-odd, very odd, form specialists, every angle covered, algorithms coming out of their kazoo and every IT advantage imaginable, bar whatever Arms 3, 4 and 5 could come up with – like an armageddon of advantage. If you're sat at the table and don't know who the fool is, it's probably you.
Arm 8: Fat fingers
OK, that was my fault...as of course is my willingness to be Ned Beatty in the first place.
As the advert very nearly forgets to say, “Be careful out there...”