Which of These Seven Types of Real Money Sports Gamblers Are You?

Man Looking Through a Magnifying Glass on Left Computer on a Table in Background And a Man With His Finger Up on Right

During my days covering major poker tournaments worldwide, I learned a lot about how the pros and Joes tend to classify themselves. You have your “rocks” who sit and wait for monster hands only, and your “calling stations” who have never seen a bet they’re not willing to match. The “GTO bots” seem to play according to optimal computer algorithms, while the “wizards” boast a more intuitive, flexible approach.

And as I’ve immersed myself in the world of online sports betting in recent years, I realized that the same sort of player classification system exists within this branch of the gambling community too.

Below you’ll find seven common styles of sports bettors, along with the personality traits which drive their behavior. At the end, ask yourself which betting style best matches how you try to beat the books.

1 – The Public Side Player

In sports betting industry parlance, the term “public” side is used to describe whichever team is attracting the heaviest volume of wagers. And inevitably, the legions of tourists and casual bettors who comprise the public put their money down on big point spread or moneyline favorites.

As opposed to the public, “sharps” or “wise guys” tend to take the points or juiced up moneyline odds by betting on the underdog.

You might hear the phrase “public bettor” used dismissively, but unless you’re hoping to take this gig pro, don’t worry too much about backing favorites first and foremost. You can still win with this cautious, conservative approach, provided you practice sound bankroll management and pick your faves judiciously.

Public side players simply like to go with the flow, taking the top teams and best players while dodging doormats and scrubs. This doesn’t always pan out, of course, as every dog indeed has its day… but public bets are popular for a reason.

2 – The Tout

Another odd turn of phrase used in the sportsbook is “tout,” which has come to take on a number of meanings over the years.

Originally, touts were those flim-flam artists found on late-night cable TV promising to deliver “CAN’T-MISS LOCKS of the WEEK” and other nonsense of the sort. These folks sold their supposedly winning plays to unsuspecting marks who didn’t realize how the scam worked.

Touts of this nature would pick one side one night, then back the other side the next, and wouldn’t you know it? Half of their audience was left convinced that the tout knew their stuff. From there, the tout scored a loyal customer who couldn’t quite grasp that they were getting conned.

Fortunately, those old-school touts have been banished to the netherworld of seedy social media accounts. They’re still out there trying to sell picks, don’t get me wrong there, but by now most bettors know touts aren’t on the up and up.

Man in Suit Holding Money on a Field Math Equation on One Half

Leaving aside the professional touts, another common type of sports bettor never seems to make any bets at all. Instead, this modern-day tout fires up Twitter and proclaims their daily picks to the world:

“If you ask me, Notre Dame (+2) over Cincinnati is clearly the right play here. Defense, coaching, the Irish have all the advantages this Saturday.

I’ll be passing on this one personally, but I wish you the Luck o’ the Irish backing Notre Dame this weekend!”

That little proviso at the end really says it all, doesn’t it? The tout purports to have a solid read on a game, they even go so far as to handicap it and make a pick… but they never place a real money wager.

In my estimation, touts like this simply enjoy talking about sports betting, but they don’t want to get their hands dirty. Risking money isn’t for them, and losing it is a nonstarter, so they resort to making phantom picks for the fun of it.

To each their own I suppose, but I really can’t see why anyone would go through the motions without getting to enjoy the sweat come game time.

3 – The Tout Tailer

Due to the proliferation of sports handicapping media outlets, such as Covers and VSIN, you’ll find no shortage of non-betting touts online these days.

And why is that? Well, these guys and gals have a ready-made audience thanks to the wave of statewide sports betting legalization. As more and more people discover the sportsbook for the first time, inexperienced bettors are happy to “tail” touts who seem to know their stuff.

In fact, in the comment section under any well-known tout’s pick posts, you’ll see a steady stream of tout tailers offering up a reply:

“You did it again Pam, I just cashed this parlay after listening to your podcast!”

“Damn it Danny, I don’t even know why I bother following your page these days, you haven’t given me a winning day in weeks now.”

Tout tailers tend to be followers by nature, seeking out guidance and mentorship from respected authority figures. Rather than do their own research to handicap a game, the tout tailer is content reading a blurb or listening to a podcast clip before blindly backing their faithful leader.

4 – The Handicapping “Pro”

Another subset of sports bettor doesn’t bother listening to anybody else’s advice… they put in their own work instead.

These players crunch the numbers, study the stat sheets, and even develop computer algorithms to assist in predicting results. Self-styled professional handicappers may or may not beat the books consistently, but every ticket cashed or crushed results from their own independent thinking.

Guy Looking Over Sports Betting Board, Money Spread Out

Personally speaking, I admire this approach to the game, especially given the glut of touts and tout followers spawned by social media.

Whether you win or lose, when you’re willing to put your money where your mouth is by betting on yourself, my respect has certainly been earned.

5 – The Kamikaze

A kamikaze-style sports bettor does exactly what the name implies, wagering with reckless abandon and putting everything on the line for a single shot.

Kamikaze bettors can’t seem to get a grasp on bankroll management or betting in standardized units. Instead, they size up their bankroll at the moment, make an intuitive guess on a game, and fire away for every dollar they have on hand.

Of course, when the kamikaze finds his or her target, the profits produced can be quite explosive, to say the least. Betting it all and winning big is certainly a thrilling moment, one which can even prove to be addictive for some kamikaze bettors.

On the other hand, when a kamikaze bettor misses the mark, they splash down and sink deep into the murky waters of a $0.00 account balance.

6 – The Parlay Pusher

Parlays are by far the sportsbook’s best friends, offering longshot payouts at even longer odds against.

But once in a blue moon, stories emerge like the anonymous parlay pusher who had a chance to turn a $25 “free bet” into more than $750,000. That player nailed all 15 NFL games ahead of Monday Night Football, and fortunately for them, the fine folks at BetMGM offered a six-figure cash out before the bettor’s Lions pick fell to the Packers.

Pen on Top of Parlay Bet

Sportsbooks love to market massive payouts like this to parlay pushers, secure in the knowledge that the house will always win way more than they ever payout on these low-risk/high-reward wagers.

7 – The Bonus Hunter

Last but not least, the sports betting bonus hunter sees their sports betting account as a means to an end.

Sure, they’ll make a few small deposits and place a few minor bets, but the goal isn’t to win wagers. Instead, bonus hunters scour the sports betting industry landscape for free bets, deposit matches, odds boosts, and other freebies handed out by the house.

Hey, whatever floats your boat and all that, right? For my money, scoring these bonuses is always a sweet side hustle, but it can’t match the satisfaction of beating the book fair and square.


With millions of people suddenly free to wager via regulated online sportsbooks, the market is flush with a fresh supply of new bettors. And as these players gain experience down the road, they’ll eventually find themselves falling into one of the categories explored above.

Each betting style you just learned about has clear drawbacks and benefits, and each works for a certain sort of person. And while it doesn’t matter all that much which type of bettor you happen to be, it’s always fun to reflect on the reasoning behind the style you’ve decided to deploy.