One of the great challenges when matched betting is keeping your accounts open and one of the techniques that can help is mug betting.
As you increase your matched betting activity - and therefore increase your profit - the chances of having your account limited or closed increases.
Bookies restrict the accounts of winning players to protect themselves against losing. Matched bettors refer to this as "gubbing".
Bookmakers monitor customer behaviour and look for patterns that suggest matched betting. They can close or restrict accounts with no warning. Sometimes, they will simply prevent customers from accessing any of the promotions, such as free bets.
One of the most effective ways of throwing bookies off the scent is by placing mug bets.
This strategy is designed to make a customer look like a regular punter and involves placing a bet when no promotion or bonus is involved.
You can still lay your bet off on Betfair to ensure any losses are limited and it is well worth sacrificing small percentages for the sake of keeping your account fully open.
There is a comprehensive guide to mug betting on the training archive - available to Profit Accumulator members. Members of the PA forum also regularly share tips on mug betting and even compete in a friendly mug betting challenge.
Mug betting advice
Don't take the best odds: Bookies know when the price they are offering is competitive and will soon spot customers who only use them when their odds are the best. So, from time to time, use a bookie even when you know they are not offering the best price.
Play in-play: Regular punters tend to back in-play markets, so this is a good plan. Cashing out also makes you look like a normal punter - just be sure not to leave yourself exposed by cashing out if you've matched the other half of your bet.
Stick to the same markets: If you mainly bet on football and horses, don't suddenly start betting on Swedish volleyball or some other obscure market. This might be tempting if you've found a good odds match but it will make you stick out like a sore thumb.
Keep all your bets, (mugs, qualifiers and free bets), all placed on the biggest games possible. And keep it local - if you live in Scotland, bet on Scottish football.
Pick a team: It's worth choosing a team to regularly bet on as it makes you look like a supporter. For example, bet on Arsenal to win regularly.
Spread your interest: The bookies will mainly restrict you on account of your sports bets but if they are unsure and see you have a history of casino play then they may be more reluctant to restrict you and lose a good customer. The best way to do this without losing money long term is to do the +EV casino promotions. Also use the mobile or tablet app from time to time.
Multiples and accas: Placing doubles, trebles and other multiples are classic mug punter behaviour. Also look for accas that don't have refund or insurance offers.
Get involved in challenges: You might have seen betting challenges along the lines of "turning £10 into £1,000. This involves using your winnings to bet again, making look like you are trying to hit a target. Bookies love punters who do this (usually because they end up losing).
When, where and with whom?
It's particularly important to mug bet during the first few months of opening an account. The longer your account is active, the easier it should be to keep alive.
Different bookmakers have difference levels of tolerance - and they change all the time. The full list of bookmakers and how often you should mug bet with each can be found here.
Place bets on what everyone else is betting on. If you can see a large amount of money in the Betfair exchange market for it, then a lot of people are betting on it.
Tips from a member
As mentioned, there's lots of advice on the Profit Accumulator forum on how not to get gubbed.
Here's an extract from one thread.
"Think of your matched betting career as a character you're creating from scratch, every decision you make develops that character starting from the moment you register an account. What we ultimately want is to look like profitable 'mug punters' (hence the term, 'mugging').
"The most important thing we can do is to plan our mugging activities in advance and stick to it, how we bet (offers and mugs combined) determines our profile."