I’ve never had any luck playing the stock market.  I’ve only ever done it on the back of a big poker win or a big touch on an ante-post bet.  The net result has been enormous, sometimes complete, losses.

One airline I invested in crashed – pardon the pun – one diamond mine may not of ever really existed and the software provider that was going to revolutionise online poker  …didn’t!  Possibly my timing was out, my incursions into share trading was a 2007 affair and I think most wannabe Gordon Gekko’s ended up in soup kitchens after that annus horribilis.

Funnily enough, since then, I’ve had no real interest in the beast.  What I do know is information is the key to profit-making for the countless small-time traders attempting to eke out a crust from playing the markets.

They stare at news screen for hours, like valium addicted zombies playing Zoom poker waiting for Aces or Kings, eagerly anticipating dramatic news that can have any effect on a company’s stock:  The awarding of a contract or the loss of a court case can see immediate movement in a stock value.

Call me old fashioned but making a potential three percent on a five grand investment, and clearing €150 profit, before paying subscription fees to all those news lines, does not float my boat. Firstly I much prefer sports as my gambling medium and secondly I want substantially greater profit margins.

Twitter has very much come to my rescue.  It is my information curve and I now have four dedicated Twitter accounts.  Why have four you may ask…

One is for horseracing (following only jockeys and trainers), one for Formula 1 (only following drivers and teams), one for Reality TV (following respected news sources and dedicated show tweets) and a final one is for Darts & Snooker (again primarily following players and their management).

I like to keep them running throughout the day and, more specifically, throughout the night.  They are a direct line to the athlete’s themselves, they give first-hand news to you, not third-hand information which has been passed on via a news agency.

Now, does that approach pay off you are asking?

Well, in 2012 I had a four-hour window to lay 6/4 favourite Lewis Hamilton in the Chinese F1 Grand Prix.  The Englishman had qualified in second and looked to have an outstanding chance to take an early and unassailable lead.

However, post-qualifying and after the odds compilers had been sent home for the night, news came through of Hamilton’s need to change the gearbox in his car.  Under the rules that necessitated a grid penalty, meaning he started the race from seventh, and immediately became an 8/1 shot.

By the time the odds compilers were back at their desks I’d backed all of the principles at prices dramatically greater than the likelihood of them prevailing as well as laying all I could on Betfair’s race market.

In October Downhill ski sensation Aksel Lund Svindal took to Twitter to announce he had just ruptured his Achilles tendon whilst training and he was likely to be out for most, if not all, of the forthcoming season.

The firms were not awake to this newsflash either and by the time red flags were waving like the May Day Parade in Tiananmen Square I was on his only conceivable rival for the overall world cup points title, Marcel Hirscher, at 2/1.  By the end of the day that athlete was trading at 1/4!

So there is just two examples of how the bookmakers can be beaten. It is very much a case of finding information and acting on it quickly.  No different than number crunching on the stock market but surely much more fun – and profitable.