In fantasy world, I would venture to say that the vast majority of gamblers, sports or otherwise, would say “professional bettor” could be classified as a dream job. Unfortunately for most, this will never be more than wishful thinking.
With that being said, there are those few, special minds who were able to turn betting on their favorite games into a full-time job that pays the bills (and then some). It’s worth asking, “How did you do it?”
No piece of advice or information is going to take you from an average bettor to a pro, but some words of wisdom can’t hurt. In this article, I’ll lay out 8 pieces of advice compiled from professional bettors and elaborate on the meaning.
1 – Luck Is Overrated
Obviously there is some level of “luck” required with professional gambling. However, the best approach to take ignores luck entirely and focuses on things like numbers and probability.
It’s important to recognize that professional gamblers see things from a long-term, big-picture perspective. This means that even if you get unlucky one day, the numbers would suggest that there will be a correction.
Always remember the concept of “regressing to the mean.” Essentially, this explains that over time, things will eventually settle where they’re statistically most likely. Take this approach toward gambling, and you’ll start to recognize that over time, luck has much less to do with winning that you previously thought.
2 – Bankroll Management Is Crucial
In business, it’s essential that you manage your budget. At the very least, you need to know what it is. The same thing can be said about gambling.
Setting up a bankroll is a great first step if you’re trying to turn gambling from a hobby to a job. If you’re not familiar with what a bankroll is, here’s a simply breakdown:
Your bankroll is a pool of money from which you bet. It is set aside from where you keep the money you need for things like rent, food, and regular life expenses. It’s crucial to have a clear separation between the money you use for betting, and the money you use for things you need.
Once you’ve determined what your overall bankroll is going to be, the next step is to decide on a percentage range between which you’ll bet. For example, most experts recommend betting between 2% and 5% of your total bankroll on a single play. Any less isn’t worth it, and any more is too risky.
While the above percentages are typical among pros, you can decide for yourself and proceed accordingly.
3 – Don’t Look for Sure Things
The drawback of looking for a “sure thing” when gambling is that they usually don’t pay very well, and they require a big risk.
In this piece of advice, the professional was talking in regards to sports betting. He laid out how people are often quick to bet on huge moneyline favorites and take small wins, which they hoped would add up over time.
As he pointed out, what often happens instead is that people suffer one unexpected loss that sets them back an amount that’s hard to recover from. It makes sense too – if you bet $600 to win $100 on a team at -600 (a “sure thing”), and they lose, you have to now win 6 bets, and risk $3,600, to win back your money.
The bottom line is that it’s gambling – you’re going to win some and lose some. By trying to get cute, you’re only hurting yourself.
4 – Setting Goals Helps Keep You on Track
If you were wondering when the professional gambler’s advice would intersect with a normal professional’s advice, this is it!
Just as you would with any accounting, marketing, or distribution job, setting goals is a way that gambler’s monitor their progress throughout the experiment. The goals must be realistic, but still encourage you to push yourself to reach your full potential.
The gambler who gave this piece of advice says he sticks to monthly, quarterly, and annual goals. Any less than that is too short of a time to get an accurate picture.
If you are gambling for a career, you know that the line between financially stable and in serious jeopardy is thinner than it might be in other professions. Staying on track and meeting goals is a good way to combat this reality.
5 – Be Realistic
I know you might be thinking, “We’re talking about gambling for a living, I think we’ve passed the point of realistic!” Although it’s certainly a more unusual way to earn an income, gamblers are just like everyone else in that they have to manage expectations.
Additionally, don’t go in expecting to win every single bet you make. Even losses are part of the process.
6 – Diversify Your Options
This is starting to sound more and more like a regular job with each piece of advice!
Most professional gamblers have a specialty, be it real money blackjack or poker, but nearly all of them are able to play a range of games if one isn’t working out.
For whatever reason, there are times when even the best gamblers will have to deal with a losing streak that puts financial pressure on the whole operation. Sometimes if things aren’t going as planned, a change is needed.
You don’t have to become an expert in every possible form of gambling, but it helps to have a wide-range of knowledge when it comes to both casino games and sports betting. Not only does it give you more options, but it provides you the chance to take advantage of certain promotional opportunities as they arise.
7 – Study the Industry
New avenues of gambling are opening up on a constant basis, and with each new offering comes a potential new opportunity. Additionally, getting insider information on the games that are currently being offered can do wonders for your chances.
Remember that when talking about professional gamblers vs. your weekend casino visitor (who has gambling experience), you’re talking about maybe a 3% to 4% difference in overall success rate. This slim margin that sets the pros apart simply comes from doing the research.
Finding out which casinos offer the best payouts, which websites have the best promotions, and which horses are starting to become a force in the racing circuit all have an impact on your bottom line.
Obviously, it’s much easier to stay up-to-date on all things gambling when it’s your only job, but that commitment is often what sets the pros apart.
8 – Discipline Is Vital
You aren’t going to have a coach or a boss on the sidelines giving you advice. In fact, you’re quite vulnerable to your own potentially self-destructive behavior. For this reason, gambling discipline is the single-most important quality to master for professional gamblers.
When emotions run high, bad decisions can lurk around every corner. Trying to follow up that big loss by doubling down, or simply betting outside of your bankroll range is something that every bettor feels from time-to-time.
The ability to check yourself before making any reckless decisions can be the difference in a professional gambler and the casino’s favorite weekend visitor.
Don’t worry – if you feel like your discipline isn’t where it needs to be to become a professional gambler, remember that it’s something you can practice like anything else.
The point of this article is not to convince you to become a professional gambler – quite frankly, few people have the time and resources to support that endeavor.
The intended takeaway is that the mindset of professional gamblers differs from the average bettor in the ways above. Treating gambling like a job can actually result in a nice side-job income even for average gamblers…if they’re willing to put in the work.