“Bots” are headline news at the moment. There are newspaper stories reporting that betting exchanges are being over run by bots stealing the value from punters. Message boards are buzzing with paranoia. A witch hunt is being called for.
Most of this is hype. There is no invasion of bots. So, what happens if there are two bots scanning the same event at the same time? Only one can grab the value. What if there is an invasion and 10, 20, or 50 bots are all active at the same time? They can not all take the same bet. Only one will win. It is survival of the fastest. Think about it. A typical task for a bot is to continually scan the exchanges and find situations where a book goes under 100% for backing or over 100% for laying. When these situations are found, a bot snaps up the bets with a guarantee that a profit is made on the outcome of an event.
Not All Betting Bots Are Bad Bots
Most bots are just checking the prices. They are set to scan all, or selected events at regular intervals to get price updates. These are run by sites which check odds, or provide a service such as ratings. They are even used by private individuals for personal perusal of prices. Some of the bots were even created with the full assistance of the exchanges need to keep offering new services. Offering a direct link to the live prices is a typical service which can be made available for sites such as flatstats. On the daily systems sheet we could display the current live back and lay prices, all updated in real time.
When Bots Attack
A badly programmed bot can cause chaos on the exchange. One which is set to scan multiple times at very short intervals can create a situation where the exchange is overloaded. The throttle is usually turned up on special events such as ‘in running events’ so that value bets can be had even before a human moves the mouse and clicks a transaction.
Exchanges have only themselves to blame for this. They should have ‘trip wires’ in place to detect a bot bombardment and to block its traffic from entering the building. They can also check their logs to see which accounts are continually winning every day and shut them down. But it is rumoured that some bots are raking in hundreds of thousands of pounds. If this is true, then the exchanges are profiting from this. They will be getting anything from 1%+ commission on these bets. Would they want to shut down a bot which is profitable for them?
Fight Back – Bet Like A Bot
The following information may help you to speed up your exchange betting transactions. Nothing below is illegal or immoral. There is a risk in that you may corrupt your PC, so use at your own risk.
- Use a macro recorder
Everything you do with the mouse or keyboard can be recorded and stored as a macro. This macro can then be played back at the press of a button.
You can store the key and mouse sequence for backing or laying a selection into one of the keyboards function keys. When you want to process the transaction you just press the relevant function key. This is much faster than having to negotiate a mouse and enter figures with the keyboard.
- Close unnecessary programs
When trading, ensure your PC is exclusively running the exchange and nothing else. Close down email, music, live video feeds, etc. Turn off any printer or scanner software which could be running in the background. Next to the clock in the bottom right hand corner, there should be few icons. You can right click on them and choose ‘exit’ to shut them down. Be careful about shutting down any anti virus software though.
By allowing your PC to give its full resources to the exchange window, you should be able to process bets faster. By closing down programs such as email you will not be distracted at the time where you need 100% concentration.
- Do not watch the races
If you are trading on every race then do not waste valuable time by watching the races. You have no way of influencing the result by watching the race, so use the time to try and spot value bets. Whilst others are watching the racing, they will not see price changes in the live bookies market. By monitoring the markets you can get to see steamers or big drifters early and take the necessary action.
Soon after a race has finished you will see much more activity on the exchanges. This is where race watchers are playing catch up.
- Tune your PC to the max
There are many tweaks, tips and tricks you can use to optimise your PC. If you search for the words ‘optimise’, and your version of windows on a search engine you should find lots of information on how to fine tune your PC. Some are risky but the benefits are well worth it.
You can also find information on how to speed up your internet access. Your modem or cable device is probably set for basic default settings. By tuning, you should see an increase in speed.
- Add IP addresses to your hosts files
You should add the IP address of the exchange and any other betting site you use to the windows hosts file. This is a text file which tells your PC where the site is on the internet. Rather than having to look the address up in an internet directory, your PC can read the local file and thus speed up the time taken to use the site.
- Ensure your clock is accurate
The internal clock in a PC can drift by many seconds each week. If you are trading close to start time you may end up with suspended bets. Ensure your clock is accurate by using a program which synchronises the clock with an authoritative time source.
- Reboot your PC before trading
Windows is notorious for leaking memory. Throughout the day, memory is lost whilst you open and close programs. Later on in the day you may notice your PC being a bit sluggish. By rebooting, you clear out any memory leaks. Always reboot your PC before you start trading.