Top Tips: How to Best Manage your Football Trading Bank

We all have one aim and that is to grow our trading bank. There are an endless number of articles online about bank management; some of them are very sensible, while others are definitely not!

In this post, I will share with you how I manage my own funds and this includes sensible staking.

There may be flashier methods out there but this works very well for me. There are no bells or whistles, I keep it simple and then concentrate on what is most important - my trading.

I hope you find some useful information in this post which helps you to manage your bank properly.

What is a trading bank?

A trading bank is an amount of capital that has been set aside exclusively for the purposes of trading. It should never be more than you can afford to lose.

Through disciplined trading and good bank management, it is unlikely that you will lose your bank but be sensible. Set staking rules which you are comfortable with and stick rigidly to them.

This is a trading bank; do not gamble!

The aim is to steadily increase the trading bank over time. Set reasonable, long-term targets and break them down into smaller, manageable amounts.

If your target is to double your bank over the next year, how much profit is required each month? Each week? Each day? How much profit can you reasonably expect to make from each trade?

Therefore, how many trades should you aim to get involved with?

Cartoon archery target with an arrow in the bullseye used to illustrate the point that football traders should always be working towards an overall target.

Kevin Laverick discusses profit expectations here.

Every time you trade, you are working towards your target.

If you lose discipline and take a big risk, gambling on a goal, it will sometimes work out. The flip side is that the goal may not come and you will be left with a large loss.

How many successful trades are then needed to cover that loss? 

Gamblers do not make long-term profits!

There will be losses, but they have to be manageable amounts. There will be losing days, weeks and maybe even the odd month here and there but, as long as losses are managed properly, they will not dent your bank too much.

My correct score trades during March 2013 resulted in an overall loss of 0.9pt. It was only the second losing month since Goal Profits was launched and I was very disappointed. However, just one reasonably successful trade easily covered that tiny amount.

Small losses are acceptable and they are unavoidable.

Do not chase them, stick to your disciplined trading, stake sensibly and recover losses steadily.

This is the key to long-term success.

Setting up your trading bank

A number of Goal Profits members are aiming to trade full-time at some point in the future, while others are looking to build a second income.

My own philosophy has always been to start as you mean to go on. With that in mind, you should separate your trading bank completely from all other funds and keep it absolutely safe.

With the rise in cyber crime and hacking you cannot be too careful and, of course, without a trading bank you cannot trade at all.

While it's still pretty rare to get your accounts hacked, it can happen. In January 2017, a Goal Profits member had his entire Betfair balance wiped out! Luckily for him, he had been sensible and didn't have all of his funds in Betfair which meant it wasn't a devastating blow, but still horrible.

No bookie or exchange should be holding your entire trading bank at any time.

Apart from the risk of hacking, there have been cases where bookies have gone bust and taken account deposits with them. Of course, that's extremely unlikely to happen with a huge betting exchange such as Betfair but it's far from impossible.

Skrill offer a 100% guarantee for online funds and it is an absolute must-have. In the unlikely event that you suffer a financial loss as a direct result of unauthorised access to your account, Skrill will reimburse you in full provided you have met their common sense security requirements.

That gives you fantastic peace of mind.

Click here to open a free Skrill account, transfer some of your trading bank into it and from there you can move money in and out of Betfair or almost any other bookmaker very quickly and easily.

And don't take unnecessary risks either by having everything sitting there. Even when you have a trading bank of £5,000, you will be working with £50 stakes assuming that you split your bank into 100pts. There's no way you're going to need even £1,000 in your Betfair account.

I have split my own trading bank up and hold it in many places. Apart from Skrill and Betfair, I have funds in Matchbook and Smarkets in case Betfair suffers an outage and I need to trade out quickly.

Other investments include:

  • Low risk: Premium Bonds are safe as houses and, while the return isn't spectacular, it's better than a regular bank savings account.
  • Medium risk: High-dividend stocks are a long-term play, but they pay for themselves over the years. Or at least, that's the plan.
  • High risk: I invested in Bitcoin which I considered to be high risk at the time, but it's provided the best return by far. I post updates here from time to time.

Following on from the success of my Bitcoin investment, I have started 'social lending'. It's like an affordable version of Dragons Den (fun!) where business owners pitch for loans and you decide whether to invest or not. Click here for more details.

Even when I'm not trading football, my bank is still working.​

Note: I am not a financial advisor, I'm simply sharing my own strategy. 

Password security

We're told to use a different password on each website and we all know that we should do it, but even the suggestion of remembering hundreds of passwords is ridiculous!

Until recently I had a password for general sites, another one for anything financial and another for my main email account. I could cope with remembering three of them, any more than that wasn't going to happen.

The scary thing is... if someone found out my Betfair password, they'd also be able to access all my bookie accounts!

Finally, late in 2016 I followed a friend's advice and installed Lastpass. I now have a different password for every single website and I can access them on my main PC, laptop or phone.

Lastpass was dead easy to set up, in fact it asked me if I wanted it to automatically change the passwords on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Yes please!

It takes all the hard work out of password security and it's free! Even the paid version is only $12.

It's an absolute no-brainer, click here and spend an hour securing all of your accounts.

How to stake properly

"How much should I stake on each trade?"

This is probably the question I am asked most often and there is no simple answer because everyone has their own risk/reward levels.

The aim of football trading on Betfair is to grow your bank as safely as possible, so the amount you stake on each trade requires some thought.

If you stake too much, you could hit a bad run and lose a large proportion of your funds. This will often encourage loss chasing which is the quickest way to losing the lot.

You cannot stake too little.

Think about that for a minute; you cannot stake too little.

A profit is a profit and just £2.74 profit every day for a year adds up to £1,000.

You do not need large stakes in order to make good profits; what you must do is make sure that your liabilities are in line with the size of your trading bank. If in doubt, go small.

Aggressive traders will risk anything up to 5% of their bank on a trade. That’s far too much for me, but it works for some. I much prefer to stick to 1% as a maximum and it’s dead easy to calculate too; simply divide your bank by 100.

Again, you cannot stake too little.

If the stake at 1% is uncomfortable, divide your bank by 150, 200 or even more. Once you know the value of one point (1pt) you can easily manage your stakes.

Back Bets

For back bets you can either use a 1pt stake or adjust the amount so that the potential profit is 1pt.

The second option is quite handy as it means you stake less on higher risk bets, which makes sense.

Personally, I don’t back more than 1pt so anything priced under 2.00 will return less than 1pt profit.

Lay Bets

Lay bets work differently in that you must make sure the liability is no more than your maximum loss limit.

If the price is under 2.00 you will be able to stake more than 1pt if you wish and still have the maximum loss under control. However, it is similar to a back price being above 2.00 in that it is higher risk.

You may wish to apply the same limit and only lay to a maximum of 1pt.


Trades are different again, in that your maximum risk may be more than 1pt. This is because for many strategies, such as correct score trades, the potential profit is that much more. Therefore, it makes sense to take bigger – yet still controlled - risks.

Of course, you can always use different point values for different types of bets and trades. You may divide your bank by 100 when placing a bet, but by 200 when trading.

It makes sense to be flexible so that you are always comfortable with the risk/reward.

For example, using the ‘CS4’ strategy at Goal Profits I know that my maximum possible loss on a 0-0 result is 3.2pts. However, if I start out with a half stake I reduce that maximum loss to 1.6pts which is much easier to deal with.

The upside, of course, is that a ‘CS4’ trade can return in excess of 10pts profit. One of those every so often really boosts the bank!

The ‘CS3’ correct score trading strategy risks a maximum of only 1pt so you could trade this strategy with 1% of your bank and have no worries whatsoever. It makes great profits too!

When opening a trade, you must always be aware of the maximum loss you have allowed yourself and stick to it. Employ a trading mentality, not a gamblers' gung-ho mindset.

When a trade loses, it is vital that the loss does not dent your bank. Trade with discipline and chip away at your targets.

Remember, if you’re sweating on a goal then you’re probably staking too much.

Losses are always going to happen so make sure they are amounts which you can accept. Gamblers go for big wins, traders aim to keep losses small so that the profits add up.

As the size of your trading bank rises (or falls) you will need to adjust your stake size. When your bank is rising, think very carefully about increasing stakes and do it in small increments. Be cautious.

However, if your bank falls then you should consider decreasing your stakes much more quickly.

You cannot stake too little, so protect your bank above all else.

Tracking results

As with everything else, I keep this simple. There are lots of flashy spreadsheets you can use, but all you really need is a basic one with a list of relevant numbers (and perhaps a chart).

Firstly, it is absolutely vital that you record every single trade you make. You do not have to show this spreadsheet to anyone else so there is no need to cheat.

It is very tempting to miss the odd losing trade off in order to make the profits look better, but you are just cheating yourself. It’s pointless, yet many people do it. Make sure you’re not one of them or you’ll get nowhere.

On the first sheet, record all of your trades with as much or as little information as you like.

The most basic sheet may only have the date, result and running total but I recommend a bit more than that; it all depends on how you wish to analyse your results in the future.

I recommend recording the date, sport, home/away teams, trade type, strategy, stake, liability and profit/loss. At the end of each month, you will be able to quickly and easily analyse your performance then make changes as necessary.

I also use the “comments” function in Excel to make notes about each trade, some of which are very critical of my own trading performance. I highlight my mistakes or errors of judgement so that I am able to learn from them. In my view, this is very important for my development as a trader.

While it is vital to keep track of how each strategy performs, it is just as important that you do not do it too often. I consider that monthly is the absolute minimum, though I will always give strategies at least three months and usually six.

Every strategy in existence has bad runs and it does not mean that it will not make a very good profit long-term; and that is all that matters. Short-term performance is largely insignificant.

When I add a strategy to my trading portfolio I will have monitored it for some time beforehand and a losing month is not going to put me off. I will have confidence in my judgement and stick with it.

There are many punters who jump from system to system chasing the “golden egg” and all they end up doing is losing money. There’s no shortcut to long-term profits, no matter how many swimming pools and Ferraris are on the sales page of the next system which catches your eye.

On the second sheet of your results spreadsheet, list all of the bookmakers with whom you have an account, not forgetting Skrill.

At the end of every month, record the balance of each one and make sure that the total matches the running total on the first sheet. If it does not match, you have missed recording a trade and you have some searching to do. It is much easier to find a missing trade over one month than it is at the end of the year, so check the totals often.

If you find you regularly miss trades, check more often so that it’s easier to find the errors.

You may wish to set up a chart to show the progress of your trading bank. There may well be ups and downs over the months, but as long as the overall trend is upwards you are doing ok.

You could also record results by points rather than cash amounts which will give you another angle to analyse.

Bank management checklist

Here is a checklist to help you set up your trading bank:

  • Open a Skrill account - click here - to take advantage of their online security.
  • ​Transfer your trading bank into Skrill (or the remainder if you already have funds in Betfair, etc).
  • ​Set up a simple spreadsheet to record results or download the example spreadsheet and make a note of your trading bank balance.
  • Calculate maximum stakes for each system or strategy.
  • Set sensible, achievable targets and start working towards them.

In summary

​As I said right at the beginning, my bank management is very simple. I’d rather concentrate my energies on making profits than constructing flashy spreadsheets.

It’s nice to be able to analyse results in many different ways, but at the end of the day all I want to know is that my portfolio is making money. The rest of my time is much better spent working towards my targets.

I hope you found this post useful.

Good luck with your trading!

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  1. Thanks for Sharing Steve – Bank Management in my opinion is as hard to crack as discipline, however once you have cracked it then it helps to keep on top of those losing streaks. Excellent article – hope everyone reads it

  2. Great Read Steve, tracking results was my weakness for a long time, when I accepted the admin side of it was as important as the trading itself I was able to analyse where I was going wrong and make adjustments….

  3. very informative post thank you.i am just starting out with trading as i was match betting for a while made some good cash that is funding my betting now but would like to learn more have tried a few different things the main one is lay under 1.5 goals and back over 1.5 goals plus scalp the the draw i have done 27 like this and lost 5 got out too early on 1 off them and got in too late on the other(i give my self first half then trade out so 45 min maybe thinking of going to 60 min) seems to be working

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