So I bumped into Phil in the pub the other day, as you do, and he asked what I was up to.
“Betting,” I said.
“Gambling? On the horses?”
“On the horses, yes, but betting, not gambling.”
“What’s the difference?” he asked.
“Buy me a pint and I’ll tell you”.
So he did.
And I did…
Bonus Bagging is what it’s all about
After I explained the basic principle and the fact that I’d made over £400 from it – at which point Phil insisted I buy the next round which I would have done anyway as it was my shout – he expressed a keen interest in trying it himself.
“It’s pretty straightforward,” I said. “Just follow the instructions in the emails.”
“Is it really that easy?”
“Yep! Mind, there are a few tips I picked up while doing it that might help, save you a bit of time, make it go a bit more smoothly.”
“Tell me,” he said.
“Buy me a drink and I will,” I said.
So he did.
And I did…
1. Open a bank account
It’s a good idea to open a new bank account for this. You don’t want to mix this money with your every-day account and you will always know exactly how much you’ve made. This is important.
Get a Debit Card for the account, not a credit card.
2. Easy access
Make sure you can access the account online and that they have a contact number and email for you.
3. On the phone
Make sure you are also registered for telephone banking. This may require an additional telephone PIN number and/or password. You may or may not need it, but set it up just in case.
4. Fraud squad
Make a note of the customer support/fraud number for the Debit Card – this is not necessarily the same as the bank contact details.
You may get a call from the fraud department if they see lots of payments going to bookies. They may stop your card. That’s fine. It shows they’re on the ball and after you answer a few security questions they’ll reactivate your card.
Some card suppliers will not call and simply stop your card. This is less customer-friendly but also fine. At least it shows they know there’s a ball on the pitch. Give them a call, answer some security questions and they’ll reactivate your card,
5. Taking note
Make a note of all your bookie account numbers, usernames, passwords, etc.
You won’t remember them all – trust me! – so either write them in a book or keep them in a spreadsheet or document on your PC.
Don’t tell anyone (especially the bank!) that you’ve made a note of passwords. Not that it should come to that; this is just for your security.
6. Keep good records
You must, must, must keep good records.
I’ve adapted it because I don’t use some of the columns and fields, and I’ve added coloured rows to identify Betfair bets and a date highlighter.
Whichever you use, make a copy so you always have the original in case you make a mess of something.
Call your working copy whatever you like.
I call it My Betting Tracker.
You might like to call it My Holiday Fund!
It looks quite complicated but it will keep you right and make sure you know exactly where you are with the bookies and bets. This is essential.
You must, must, must keep good records.
Have I said that already?
7. Familiarity pays dividends
Familiarise yourself with the spreadsheet.
Read the Settings Tab and play with the settings on the other pages.
I’ve left the first few of my bets in the Bet tab – you’ll use this the most – so you can experiment but delete these, of course, when you start for real.
The pages are protected to avoid major disasters. To delete my entries you can either unprotect the page (instructions in the Intro Tab) or select cells and press the Delete key. Make sure you protect them afterwards. The purple cells are calculated automatically so don’t try to delete these.
8. Be aware
When signing up for Betfair and the bookies, some have a ‘gambling aware’ option which lets you limit the amount you can deposit and bet in a certain time period.
Do not activate this, particularly in Betfair, as you may run into a situation where you need more funds in Betfair for a Lay bet and if you can’t add more money you’re stuck! Happened to me once.
In case of emergencies, you could lay off on BetDaq but let’s keep thing simple by making sure you’re prepared.
9. Making a deposit
I’d suggest an initial minimum deposit of £750 in Betfair, although £1000 would be better. You might manage with £500. I think some people have Bagged with £250.
You need this to offset liabilities and it’s not at risk as such.
However, if you don’t have enough in Betfair to cover, you won’t be able to place the Lay side of the bets.
Some bookies require you to ‘roll over’ the bonus before you can claim it, so you could have three, four or more bets on the go at the same time.
You could wait until each bet is settled and the money comes back into your account, but the more you can cover, the faster you can proceed.
There’s no way of knowing how much you’ll need until you see the bets so you may not need that much but it’s good to be prepared.
When bagging a £200 bonus alongside other bets, I once needed £1500 in Betfair.
Put about £250 in the bank account. If there’s a £200 Bonus on the go, however, you may need more.
10. Selecting passwords and a username
You must make a note of these – see above!
It may not be sound advice to suggest that you use the same username for every bookie but there is a degree of practicality involved when you’re dealing with 30-odd sites.
But that’s up to you.
Pick something you can remember, a maximum of 8 characters and include a number and preferably a mix of upper- and lower-case letters.
Don’t use any @#-+=*& characters or the like as many sites won’t accept them.
I would definitely suggest using different passwords for each bookie.
Betfair keeps you signed in as long as the browser’s open.
However, most bookie sites log you out automatically after a certain time, often less than an hour, so it’s useful to create usernames and passwords that you can remember so you can log back in quickly.
But still write them down.
I have a method for devising passwords I can remember (sorry, can’t share that one) and there are lots of sites on the Net to help with password creation.
Here’s one simple idea. Use a ‘special combination’ of letters plus a certain number of letters from the bookie’s name. So, for example, Betfair might be brDrum2 (first and last letters of the name with ‘Drum’ being your ‘special combination). You get the idea. Work out your own.
Again, use upper- and lower-case with at least one number. No ‘weird’ characters, and a maximum of 10 characters.
This should work on all sites. What you want to avoid is having to break your username or password method for one or two sites. Although invariably you might have to.
Most bookies give you a straightforward bonus but with some you have to ‘roll over’ (i.e. bet) the bonus amount a certain number of times before you can withdraw it, or you may have to make 2 or 4 separate additional bets.
You need to specifically ask for rollover bets on the Bonus Bagging site. If this is the case Write Down The Requirements so you follow through on all the bets.
If you don’t make a note, you’ll get lost.
Coz you may have 2 or 3 roll over bets going one at once, plus normal Bagging ones
12. Arb work
When you sign up for Bonus Bagging, you may get an upsell page for Mike Cruickshank’s Arbitrage service.
When I joined, there was no discount available (I signed up anyway!) so you can join later if you wish with no penalty.
It’s not necessary at all, but whereas with Bagging you’re happy to lose a few pence or a few pounds on a bet in order to get the bonus, if you can find an Arbitrage opportunity you will, at worst, break even and at best make a little on the deal too.
However, you can’t Arbitrage the Bonus Bagging selections you are sent and you have to find your own opportunities.
So when the email tells you to deposit £20 at Stan James, back Naughty Ned for £20 at 2.56 and Lay off £20.24 on Betfair at 2.58, you’d lose 77p on the deal but – gain SJ’s bonus.
If you were to use Arbitrage, you’d use the software to find an arb opportunity between SJ and Betfair. It could be on any horse or football match at any time and, depending on the odds, you should make a pound or two instead of losing on the bet. And still get the bonus, of course.
Overall, arbing might make you another £40-90 but it’s more work and it will take you a little time to become used to it.
Markets with arbs in them move fast and there is the possibility that you place the back bet but the price has moved away from the lay side so you end up at scratch or even a small loss, too.
That doesn’t happen very often but, personally, even though I had the arb software, I just used the emailed selections.
Yes, anything for an easy life!
13. Open bookies
When placing and laying bets, open both the bookie and Betfair pages. The Betfair links in the emails take you straight to the relevant page but you have to navigate your way through the bookies’ pages which can take a while till you become familiar with their layout.
Check both sets of prices.
See what the Lay liability is and make sure you have enough to cover in your Betfair account before placing either bet!
If the prices have moved and are not what’s in the email, there’s a link at the bottom of the email which takes you to a page where you can enter new prices to get the correct amount to Lay. This is important 🙂
Place the Back bet first and make sure it’s been accepted, then place the Lay bet. If the Lay price moves after placing the back bet – don’t panic, just enter the new price into the calculator.
14. Record keeping
After placing both bets, record the details in the spreadsheet. Put the bookie in the Settings tab, the deposit in the Deposits tab and so on.
15. More Bagging…
At times you will win at the bookies (!) and so have money there. After doing all the work of setting up the accounts there are other zero/low risk ways of making money so I’d suggest you leave the money there for the time being.
When you’ve Bagged all the Bonuses, you can take it out if you don’t want to take it further.
16. Maximising profits
Other opportunities include Profit Maximiser which is run by the same chap as Bonus Bagging (Mike Cruickshank again). This throws up loads of offers every day but they are more complex and involved than straightforward Bonus Bagging.
For example, you might have to bet using a mobile device, you might get a refund if your horse finishes second, you might get a free bet that has to be used on a certain match or race or used in play. There are also bingo and casino bonuses.
These aren’t all as easy or as risk-free as Bagging but there is a dedicated Profit Maximiser community who make hundreds of pounds following the tips.
If you don’t fancy that, you will find additional Bagging opportunities in your inbox now and again but they are more rare.
So you might want to hang onto your bookie accounts for one of those reasons.
Keep tabs on where your money is – easy with the spreadsheet – and keep your Betfair account up.
17. Safe withdrawal
You can withdraw money from many bookies without trouble but some may ask for identification documents such as a scan of your passport, your debit card and proof of your address.
Aren’t you glad you’re prepared?
I think that’s it. 🙂
Meanwhile, back in the pub…
“Blimey!” said Phil. “I’ll never remember all that. Why don’t you write it down?”
“Buy me a pint and I will,” I said.
So he did.
And I did.