Cashing Out SR and SNR Free Bets
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Before you attempt this, please make sure that you have read and understood the beginners guide in the beginners section of the Knowledge Base. This article is designed to illustrate the different procedures involved in cashing out SR and SNR free bets in a little more detail than is given in the Strategy Library, for the benefit of beginners. The mechanics of placing the bets at bookie and exchange are dealt with elsewhere.
How to tell if a Free Bet is SR or SNR.
Most bookies will say in the T&Cs whether the stake is returned or not. If they don’t there are some rules of thumb, but often if you can’t find out easily the best thing to do is to ask the bookie.
In general if you see an offer which says something like “bet £25 and get a £25 free bet” and there is no mention of wagering, then the bet is probably a SNR free bet. If the free money is described as a bonus and there is reference to wagering several times the deposit and/or the bonus, then it is probably (but not always) SR.
I will always give the bet type and strategy in the bookie pages, so if the T&Cs on the site look the same as the ones on the bookie page then just follow the strategy indicated.
Using the Bookie List to find a Free Bet
Not all bookies are the same and neither are their offers. Some are quite definitely better and easier than others. Use the colours and ratings in the bookie list and bookie pages to guide you with regard to the safety of the bookie and the simplicity of the offer. I recommend tackling only free bets which are shown in green to start with. There is a more detailed guide to using the bookie list here.
Almost always a free bet has to be earned by betting on something else first, using your own money. There may be conditions attached to this – minimum odds, or betting on certain events only. A typical example would be bet £25 at odds of evens or greater to qualify for a £25 free bet. So you have to find something to bet the qualifying £25 on. You can either search through the bookie’s odds manually looking for close matches with the exchange, or you can use software such as our oddsmatcher to search for you.
The idea here is to find something where the back odds at the bookie are as low as possible relative to the lay odds at Betfair. It also helps to look amongst the shorter prices, because you need to have enough money to cover the liability at Betfair, and this gets quite big at high odds. For example at 3.0 a £25 bet requires around £53 to lay it (depending on the exact prices of back and lay) whereas at 20 you would need around £500.
The exact odds you choose will depend on several factors – how much time you have to spend looking, how easy it is to look, how generous or otherwise the bookmaker is etc. As a typical example, you might be looking at a football team where the bookie has 2.4 and the price on Betfair is 2.44. You might decide this is ok, whereas 2.54 at Betfair would be quite a large difference and you can probably do better. Unless you can find an arb (a situation where the lay price at Betfair, after taking commission into account, is lower than the price at the bookie), you are going to make a small loss on the qualifying bet. Arbs are rare and don’t tend to last long, so you are probably going to need to accept a small loss on the majority of free bet qualifiers.
In order to calculate the profit or loss from the qualifier, and the exact stake to lay on Betfair, you need a spreadsheet. I use the matcher spreadsheet, matcher which I find simple to use. There are detailed instructions for using the matcher spreadsheet in this post.
The screenshot below shows the matcher spreadsheet calculating the lay stake for a £25 qualifier at odds of 2.4 at the bookie and 2.44 at Betfair. The commission rate is set at 5%.
Here you can see that the lay stake you need to place at Betfair is £25.10, and the return on the bet is £23.85. This actually translates into a loss of £1.15 (£25 – £23.85) because the spreadsheet is designed to calculate SR free bet returns – see below.
So all you do is find your qualifying bet, check that it satisfies all the conditions laid down in the T&Cs for the offer, and put the bet stake and back and lay odds into matcher. You then place the qualifying bet at the bookie, and the corresponding lay bet at Betfair, sit back and wait for the match to finish. You will then find that one of the bets has won and the other has lost, and the bookie will credit your account with a free bet.
Cashing out a SR free bet
If your free bet is stake returned, you simply repeat the above process. The only difference is that because the money you are betting with is free, the profit figure (in the above example £23.85) is all profit. Unfortunately it is rare to get a straight SR free bet like this – much more commonly a wager requirement (WR) has to be met before you can withdraw your money, and this will eat further into your profits. You can also find that your bets win at the bookie, and because you can’t withdraw until you have bet through the wager requirement, a good deal of cash gets tied up in the bookie account. For this reason I advise beginners to avoid bets with a WR until they have built up sufficient funds to cope with this possibility, and I strongly advise concentrating on SNR free bets first – see below.
Free bets with a WR can be identified on the bookie list by a figure followed by xD+B (or xD or xB), eg: 100% to £25 SR 3xD+B (2.0). This is a £25 SR free bet with a 3x WR at evens or more, which would amount to a requirement to place £150 of bets before you can withdraw. Most of the free bets listed in green on the bookie list do not have a WR other than betting through the free bet once.
Cashing out a SNR free bet
Once you have done the qualifying bet you need to choose suitable odds for the SNR free bet. Unlike the SR free bets, you need to choose something with reasonably high odds. The reason for this lies in the maths behind the calculations of returns from the bet and can be seen from this graph:
The matcher spreadsheet can be used for SNR free bets, the only difference being that you need to enter the value of the free bet into the “Stake Forfeit” field:
Play with some odds combinations in the spreadsheet to illustrate the effect of odds on the returns of SNR free bets, and also take note of the size of the liability at Betfiar – you will need this amount of money in there in order to place your lay. Obviously the bigger the odds are the more money you will need to have available in Betfair, and this may limit you at first. Ideally you should be looking at odds of 6 or more for a SNR free bet as the return diminishes rapidly after that point.
Once again, because this is a free bet, the back profit and lay profit figures on the spreadsheet are the amounts of actual profit you will make on the free bet after paying any commission at Betfair.
Refund if First Bet Loses
Occasionally a bookie offers a refund if the first bet you place loses, instead of a free bet. These are usually in the form of a cash refund, which may or may not have a WR. These offers do not need a qualifying bet, and you simply treat the first bet, with your own money, as SNR as above.
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