Like everything [mostly] in Matched Betting, the easier days have passed us by, and same applies to Sharbing
Sharbing is done professionally by some … some who really know their betting shops.
Sharbing is all about timing, as a good sharber will agree.
Back in the day – even probably as recent as ten years back – many people used to “Sharb” Football coupons in the betting shops.
Back in those days, bookmakers did not adjust the prices on their football coupons, making it possible to take the coupon price – even when the price had contracted online and via teleBetting. (TeleBetting used to be a common form of betting).
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I.T. advancements soon put an end to that!
I recall seeing some betting shop staff members performing the arduous task of manually changing the prices (on football coupons), so as this was not taken advantage of.
Due to the fact the bookies didn’t have everything running electronically back then, it was hard for them to update the odds on their systems. The poor ol’ Betting shop staff member was there scrubbing-out the odds with a pen, manually!
This Sharbing section will also include some of the “Dodgy dealings” that used to happen in betting shops, some that I have witnessed while being there and some that I have witnessed, while working in the industry in the late 1990’s.
My Sharbing History
Apart from performing the above method – of taking advantage of football coupons that had not been updated, my experience with Sharbing came purely from an Arbitrage approach.
I did do quite a bit of it – enough to get “Shop Gubbed”!
That’s right “Shop Gubbed”: where a Trader (usually sat in a head office or remote location [from the shop] advise the shop and staff to offer you “SP Only” bets).
“SP”, as most of you probably know means “Starting Price” … this counteracts what I’m trying to do [get a value price], and therefore makes the process not worth doing! In other words: “Do one”.
I and am not claiming to be a Sharbing expert, as mentioned before I did this from an Arbing/Value approach and not the offer-hunting approach performed by some Sharbers.
Therefore, these are merely my opinions, based on my experiences, whilst performing the kind of sharbing needed, to suit ME; this list is by no means exhaustive …
There are/were different versions of Sharbers; ones like me who used the shops for value and Arbs; Sharbers who relied on offers; Sharbers who took advantage of footy coupons [the most common].
• Sharbing can also be helpful to those who don’t possess those Sharb-Hunting skills, like me!
• Sharbing can be handy when gubbed.
• Sharbing Can be handy when you don’t wanna harm your account.
• Can be good for getting value, without harming accounts.
• Can be good for [example] getting extra stakes on offers, such as: WH flash that was previously advertised before, as an example:
William Hill previously ran a popular offer called “Flash Odds”. This was mainly on Horses at 12:00 midday, daily.
Mostly the Max stake was £20, sometimes £10 max.
However, in the shops you could mostly get £20 – even when the bet was £10 max online!
This is handy if you live in an Inner-City area, that has a cluster of William Hill shops within a 500-metre radius.
Even better … if you’re out with a friend, you could also twist their arm to take a punt too!
Sharbing is also good for markets such as:
• Ante Post markets, TV Markets, “Specials”, Politics, Greyhounds, Arbitrage, the list goes on
• Ante Post markets are good because the prices usually don’t contract quickly.
Example: March 2018 a horse called WINX was 5.0 at WH and SKY.
I could only get on £7.50 with my gubbed Sky and £3.33 with my gubbed WH.
So, I visited 3 local WH shops and placed £180 three times.
I layed this total stake at odds of 3.0, days later, On Betfair.
I posted all this out in real-time on my Twitter page and made a youTube video about it, on my old channel. I will retrieve and add that video here at a later date.
The fixed-odds markets didn’t move quickly.
But the betting companies slashed WINX the following day.
The reason they didn’t move the odds quickly became apparent a few days after …
There was doubt the horse would run. Hence why juicy prices were on offer!
In my opinion: Bookmakers’ Traders are given more discretion on markets like this.
My judgement and purpose for backing this horse was the fact that it was betted-on quite a bit on Betfair, even as low as odds 2.5! I thought “someone either knows or made an error” when backing the horse at odds 2.5.
I believe, if the horse had of run, it would have been an SP price of odds-on at least.
I also believe others felt the same, too, and that is why the money was wanted for it on Betfair, at such low odds.
Maybe a bit of “FOMO” was going on! Any traders out there will certainly relate to the FOMO syndrome!
A fortnight later … the horse was withdrawn!
The Australian owners did not wish to fly WINX over to the UK
But I managed to lock in a good profit, so wasn’t bothered!
Sadly, I am not able to upload the bet slips from Skybet at odds 5.5, due to copyright concerns again.
The only thing I really missed out n was to witness just how good Winx really was, against the best I the horses World?
Early Days of Sharbing
Prior to 2013, bookmakers Shops used to allow Horse Racing bets to be placed for the following day in the Betting Shops! You can still do this online; but of course, not if you’re gubbed! Which was what this was good for!
Example: It is Thursday and I wish to place a bet on a horse that is running on Friday.
I WAS this guy! If you work in the Bookies, I was that pest!
There were still stake restrictions and “shop gubbings”, but it was do-able!
True, yes, you read right … you CAN get shop gubbed!
Go into a Betting Shop enough times [asking for value prices] and they might restrict you to “SP Only”, happened to me several times … and if you think I’m exaggerating, then try it!
Although Sharbing, using the “horse arbitrage” method required a bit of “ducking n’ diving”, it was at least possible, albeit at £50, £100 or £200 stakes.
£200 would be the golden number generally. That was the max, when asking for arb value prices at such times in the day.
Unless, it was [for example] a high-profile TV race.
There may be some discretion then. But popping in there at times when market movements are at their peak for price movements (0900-0915) and asking for a price … you’ll be lucky to get £200 on a value price.
The beauty Sharbing [the evening before the next day’s racing]wasthe prices did not contract as quickly, compared to if you try it in the morning in a betting shop.
Trust me, with Horse Arb Sharbing, price contraction and timing are EVERYTHING.
You need the cashier to be lively, if you are backing these prices in the morning around 09:00am!
Price markets peak around 09:00am, this used to be due to the fact bookies [used to] all wait and “price-up” around the same time, fearing they might “make a mistake” otherwise, if they were the first to take the risk!
Generally, it was only the big companies who would risk this.
Although these times have long passed – the 09:00am peak-price pattern still exists.
Hence why: going in a betting shop at this time … trying to snatch juicy arbs will be possible: but be prepared to be irritated by the several hurdles you will face.
These issues include:
The time is 09:01 and ….
• Staff are busy “pinning-up” the raceCards form on the walls, within the shops, and also having a crafty fag!
• Staff are going to be in no rush to get your £200 stake on at 3.25!
And why should they? They’re just there to do their job!
And at 09:00 they want to chill-out before all the racing gets underway!
They don’t want some excited Arber waving betting slips at them, panicking!
They don’t understand our panic!
Regular Jim and his 23 betting slips …
You might get queued behind the regular old fella … who has 12 betting slips written out … and has his daily chat with the bird behind the counter, the highlight of his day! … By which time your 3.25 odds are now 2.75!
And by now, you are so stressed … that you are in grave danger of joining the pensioner – who just placed 16 betting slips, to a trip to the Wetherspoons pub he visits daily at 09:30am!
I have witnessed many pensioners’ routines! Bookmakers, newspaper, then Wetherspoons at 09:30!
Living the life!
Roll-on retirement, I’ll be joining them! I love chatting to the old school guys in Bookies and respect a lot of them, despite getting in my way at the betting counter!
Phoning-up Head Office!
Shop staff will often have to telephone their Traders [at time of writing this Coral and Betfred use this method].
Ladbrokes do theirs electronically – but there can still be a delay – as is often looked-at physically by a real person!
William Hill Shop prices are also hard to determine at 09:00am time.
Their online races they offer prices on can also differ from what you’ll get offered in shop.
This may have changed, as nothing stays the same. But you can get the general gist of it = it’s not plain sailing.
However, it is do-able if you know what you’re doing. If you know what times the offers come out. Times are ever changing.
Good Sharbers would invest time in building a relationship with the shop staff.
Seems to work, you keep them happy, they scratch your back!
I know one guy in the past that dated a few Betting shop staff to make his life easy! It may have been the uniform he was attracted to?
My Sharbing experience came from a straight-forward arbitrage approach.
So, I cannot comment on the complexities that exist with Sharbing … as I am not expert in it; my expertise lies in Horse Arbitrage and knowing how to judge the Betfair market signals.
There are people who do sharbing professionally, that know offers ‘inside-out’.
If you’re not one of those guys – and just want to Sharb to get good prices – yet not damage your account health, then I recommend these markets:
• Ante post markets
• Specials markets
• TV Markets
Dodgy Dealings in Betting Shops
• This section is not encouraging or condoning this behaviour, just a report.
My video below condenses this paragraph.
If you spend enough time in betting shops, like I sadly have – you will witness a lot of dodgy dealings going on.
There was one guy called “The pencil man”.
He ended up getting 3 years prison, in 2003 and again 9 years in 2015 – however, the nine-year stint was for multi accounting online and not in shops that time.
It was not the multi accounting that landed him in the ‘Boob’ for a nine-year stretch, it was the people he ripped-off in the meantime.
The people [whose betting accounts he was using] were his victims.
He repeatedly said to them “Oh, I need to put more money into your account – to enable withdrawal”.
But how did he con the Bookies?
He was called the ‘pencil man’ because he plied his trade with a pencil.
Years ago, betting slips had a front copy and a lower carbon copy – which the customer took. The betting shop would keep the top copy.
Apparently, John, the pencil man was a ‘larger-than-life’ character – who was able to charm the betting shop staff enough to distract them – in order to retrieve his betting slip and alter it.
While chatting to the staff member – he probably made them feel so comfortable, that when they turned their back or eye from him – he swiped the betting slip and erased the writing – instead, replacing the writing with the name of the winning horse or greyhound.
He then slipped the carbon copy underneath this, then handed the slip back over to collect his winnings!
Another crooked trick was “slow count”
Again, I am not encouraging this, just reporting behaviour and dissuading anyone from trying this.
Unscrupulous people would place a bet – usually on a greyhound race, or a race with a short distance, like a 5-furlong sprint for example.
They would hand-over their betting slip just before the race went off … then hesitate to hand-over the money for the bet stake.
They would ‘wait’ and see if the greyhound or horse was doing well and/or won, then give the money to the betting shop cashier.
Common excuses were “I’ve got to go to the cash point, or I’ve lost my wallet”.
This is a criminal activity and the people doing this were punished, either by conviction or at least getting banned from the betting shops concerned. The betting shops would display ‘mug shots’ of
The betting shops managed to stamp most of this out over the years – and staff are much more aware of it nowadays than before.
Another dodgy trick I have seen people do – which is quite sad is: they would write the number ‘3’ on the betting slip. They would write the figure very lax and scruffy. If you write the ‘3’ now, with a tail at the top you can see the resemblance it COULD have to the figure 5.
‘3’ could indicate the horse number and/or the Greyhound trap number. If 5 won, the person would argue the ‘3’ was a ‘5’ and vice versa. Betting shop staff are trained how to deal with this upon starting with these betting companies – so I doubt this craziness goes-on so much today as back then.
Bullying at FOBTs
I’ve also [several times] witnessed people wo have been playing on machines, lose their money and leave, to go to the ATM – only to come back and see a new player on that same machine get lucky with a win.
The bullying then started, with the guy claiming it was HIS money that the new player won!
Absolute madness! I’ve even seen this happen when an innocent player has been intimidated and told [by the guy intimidating] that he has stolen his money form the machine!
I’ve seen fights in betting shops several times … and even a drunk guy passes out, while soiling himself, clutching Special brew concealed inside a brown paper bag!
But it was all worth it … as it was profitable!
Nowadays, I prefer the luxury of my PC!