Jun 08

10 things I learnt betting my way out of my overdraft—without risking a penny

Reading Time: 4 mins

Boy, I just can’t catch a break these days. My cat won’t stop harassing me, my Tinder account keeps crashing from excessive right-swiping, and I’m so strapped for cash I’ve had to limit my tagine consumption to thrice a week.

I get a message from MoneyMagpieI’m to trial a “matched betting” app. Betting is the thing where you make money from doing nothing, I think. I jump at the opportunity.

Here’s what I learnt.


‘Matched betting’ combines the thrill of gambling with the ‘having money’ of not gambling, and the app Heads&Heads is a good place to start

Man winning

The Heads&Heads “Oddsmatching Software and Calculators” tells you what to bet on and calculates exactly how much money you need to place on a game/event, as well as how much to place on the opposite result occurring for the same game/event – both these bets will then essentially cancel each other out and generate risk-free profit using the free bet gained from the bookmaker offer. It’s like that Nigerian Prince who emailed your mum is actually real.


Users unlock free bets from “Welcome Offers” to bet using bookmakers’ own funds

Couple celebrating win

You’re like a modern day Robin Hood, except instead of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor you’re accepting free bets from licensed bookmakers and staking them on horses. Grandma Tilly anyone (that’s a horse)?


Don’t gamble your free bet

Group of men watching team lose on laptop

I learnt the hard way when I bet one on England. Never a good shout (sorry pap).


In fact, don’t gamble anything

Girls winning online

A momentary lapse in judgement, coupled with the flawed logic that matched betting had led me to become an expert in the ways of the bookmaker, led to a Kim Jong-un themed fruit machine taking all my money. Peace talks are off.


You’re best staying away from far-flung overseas games

Businessman celebrating a win

Bookies grow suspicious when punters go for strange overseas markets—fair enough, you don’t often see the regulars down Ladbrokes rallying for the Chungking–Pyongyang fixture.


In fact, they’re suspicious of everything

Suspicious woman

Bookies are known to restrict matched bettors’ accounts, because they (legally, mind) exploit their welcome offers – just like the bookies themselves exploit everybody who’s ever stumbled into a bookmaker looking for a quick buck only to return six days later with no clothes, a mephedrone addiction, and several million lire of debt. The difference, of course, is that matched bettors can boast of a clean conscience.


They love live chat

Couple using laptop

Live-chat support abounds in the betting universe. While I wasn’t particularly enthralled by “Garry” from William Hill Online’s chat (Me: “Good Evening” Gary: “Yes”), James, the apparent sole operator of Heads&Heads’ live-chat, was a hoot! He was also online literally 24/7 and once told me he hadn’t eaten all day, so is most likely a circuit-board.


You have to lose before you can win

Man celebrating a win on his phone

The first bet a matched bettor has to do is the “qualifying bet,” which proves you’re genuine and unlocks the welcome offer. You’ll have to be prepared to weather up to 57p in losses on this initial bet, so make sure to scrimp and save before you commit, especially, if like I was, you’re 3p off overstepping your overdraft and having Santander impound your cat.


Bookmakers have appalling tastes in website-decor

Unimpressed woman using laptop

I didn’t know “dilapidated-Weston-super-Mare-amusement-park-chic” was a thing, but apparently bookies hire web designers from seaside brothels in the 1970s.


You can earn up to £1500 a month

Couple celebrating with large handfuls of money

One user doubled the worth of their student loan and paid it back straight out of uni. Because I was late to the game, I’ll only be able to pay back my loans if I get run over by the Conservative’s party bus and claim compensation, although they probably won’t pay up.

Sign up to Heads&Heads here.




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