The Journey of Becoming a Pro Bettor
The Journey of Becoming a Pro Bettor
Everyone who gambles will want to be the next John Negraenu or Maria Konnikova or even play at the same table with one of them. Even though this might sound like a long shot, it is possible to become a professional gambler when you know what you are doing.
Therefore, just mastering the fundamentals and knowing the theory is not enough. If you fail to apply yourself, all of this will be for nothing. After all, what matters most is how you perform under the pressure and tension during an actual match where the stakes are high.
“90% of this game is half mental.”- Yogi Berra
For some, it may be the allure of being in total control, being their boss. While for some, it could be the thrill of making money in situations where the odds are stacked against them. Whatever it may be, we will uncover what can be done in becoming a professional bettor and what is typically expected of a successful one.
One of the key items possessed by professionals you should have is the consideration of whether or not this option is even realistic for you. Apart from having the right mentality, what can you do to even make pursuing this source of income remotely viable, i.e. is your edge sustainable and quantifiable?
When you are using your recent past results as the launchpad of your professional career, you might have been somewhat unrealistic. This is because you want to have a surefire plan that considers how you pay for the expenses outside of gambling: cost of living, utilities, health insurance, etc.
This means that you are self-employed if you continue with this, and also requires you to have a basic understanding of some fundamentals such as taxes and retirement benefits.
Instead, it would make more sense to think about why you should not become a professional bettor. That way, when the list of reasons you can think of no longer presents itself as an obstacle, then you can consider leaping to go pro.
With that said, do you have the objectivity required in being a professional bettor? Say you want to be a sports bettor for a living; will you be able to put any team allegiances aside and bet on the team that is favoured to win rather than your favourite team when the situation dictates so?
The outstanding fact is that everything in professional gambling all boils down to the numbers. In this case, we are talking about Expected Value (EV); is it in your favour? Because a rational professional bettor will ensure that they always have a positive expected value.
Thus, any bet made without a positive EV will have negative consequences—a few negative EV bets are all it takes to completely evaporate your edge. And not only that, you need to consistently focus on this mentality 24 hours, seven days a week, plus integrating concepts such as Cover Betting and Account Seeding into your gameplay can take a toll on you eventually.
They are, however, for aspiring professionals, just a reference on how strict they intend their approach to be.
As a sport or professional punter, you might tend to measure your performance using the metric of wins over losses, and that is indeed a general indicator of performance because sports are built around that.
However, as a pro bettor, you need to be able to detach yourself from that traditional train of thought of wins and losses; was your previous bet a positive EV? If yes, then that is a win. If not, then that is a loss.
“Winning Is The Best Deodorant.” – John Madden
As the most popular sports term that holds in professional betting, the only problem it has is that it will end up masking losing behaviour. So a lot of times when you are going to look deeper into the results, you need to see whether or not you have an edge.
To see if the market believes you have an edge, you can use an online value calculator tool.
Long-Term VS Short-Term Results
Understand that if you should leap to be a part of the elite group of professional sports bettors, you are now a business that is geared for long-term success. Therefore setting long-term goals is the top priority. Always remember to stay focused on those long-term goals that will help you grow. You should ignore short-term variance and consistent daily wins, and instead, take a measure that is most suitable for you.
Understand that your betting success is determined across the scale of a year, and you should use this as a measure of success. This does not mean you cannot track your performance for any shorter or longer period, but also, do not focus so much on short term fluctuations towards your success or failure.
Money is not only a reward but a tool to defend and create leverage for income. For example, an RM500 bet is a fraction of your funds you can use to hopefully gain a return. If you win, then you will be able to use those earnings to bet bigger for future games you wish to bet on. Conversely, if you lose, then the tool at your disposal will be less for the next bet.
And this is why choosing the proper bet size is important, giving parity to all bets as a dependence on any single bet can negatively affect the sustainability of the business.
Desensitise Yourself to Fluctuation
If you can view your bets as a fraction of your bankroll, then you will also need to view the fluctuations as natural and unavoidable. Conditioning yourself to the notion that the current amount is just a single point in time is crucial because it will open you up to more opportunities where you can make your bets count.
This gives you more impetus to track your EV, rather than just winging your bankroll. Your numbers will eventually converge over time, where your bankroll will always fluctuate around your EV, seldom being in sync with it.
Building Bankroll Like a Pro
A pro bettor’s objective is to always grow your bank. There are many with the notion that being a pro bettor will afford them a nice car, nice home, and lifestyle that they desire. However, the reality is different, and if you decide to work that way, similar to taking money out of an investment where a great opportunity cost is incurred.
The optimal thing to do with this is to buy a bigger bankroll. If you can prevent any funds from going into your spending, then you are keeping your tool intact and thus can expand the leverage you already have in betting. You may even reach a point where a bankroll size relative to what you can bet makes bankroll growth inefficient, thus forcing you to diversify.
An important aspect you must have as a pro bettor is the ability to handle the losses of sports betting as well as the fluctuations that come from the game. What is far more important is that of handling losses better than wins, as the mental fortitude in situations like these is what will determine success or failure.
It Never Is a Material Loss
Many bettors tend to think of money lost in the form of opportunity cost as a purchase that they could have made elsewhere. Thus, an RM2000 bet should never equate to a new flatscreen TV on your mind. Viewing it as a means of funding your necessary purchases would mean that it never really formed part of your bankroll in the first place.
After all, your bankroll consists of ringgits that exist for their utility value, and any gain or loss is not representative of any material object whatsoever.
Always Keep Future Expected Value in Mind
Remember that your real goal is gaining EV to maximize your bankroll growth. Any gain in EV means that you have never lost ground towards your goal. Losses in actual value are only damaging if you overbet your bankroll. You should instead focus on the increases in EV rather than the decreases in actual value as it will do wonders in allowing you to accept a loss or even a devastating bad beat.
Shaking Off Extended Losses in 3 Ways
If you gamble, then you will eventually have to deal with losses, especially consecutive losses. And how you deal with losses is another crucial factor in your ability to handle losses. You can deal with those losses in these 3 ways:
Pause: Take a break for some time, days, or even weeks. Resume only when you feel that you are ready to start going again.
Adapt your stakes: While it is not that worthwhile to lower your bets since it will be detrimental to bankroll growth, which is infinitely better than raising your bets to compensate for recent losses. Lowering your bets when your instinct tells you so can ensure that you will have a long life in the gambling world; a useful tip to use.
Realign your focus: Recenter yourself by focusing on something else, such as betting on a different sport or game.
Once you are confident again, continue betting as you have. There is no such thing as throwing caution to the wind.
Being able to handle wins well is equally important as handling losses. The way you handle wins is important as you will learn how to become increasingly desensitised to the changes in your bankroll—you will be more numb to the wins than losses.
Evaluate Your Results
Of course, you will likely keep going the way you are if you are winning. But working hard on your way up will reward you handsomely and put you in better shape for the long term—constantly assess your edge and the market’s efficiency.
Remember not to get complacent and continue to find ways to improve your edge. Continuous improvement is key.
Some players might develop a God complex once they have gotten good at the game, believing that nothing can beat them. Similar to believing you are cursed. Streaks happen, and the human brain tends to pick up on patterns even if they do not exist. Being on a winning streak does not validate your edge any more than when you are losing, as there is no such thing as winning all the time.
Bet However Much When Appropriate
The Gambler’s Fallacy is where players believe that a random event is less or more likely to happen based on the results from a previous event. All events during a gambling session are independent of one another. Thus, if you have used your winnings to buy a bigger bankroll, you should adjust your bets accordingly.
Buying More Bankroll
Of course, the best thing to do with your bankroll is to buy a bigger bankroll. While it is alright to reward yourself, just remember that your bankroll is an investment fund, and you might be less inclined to take money out of it.
If you want to become a part of the professional sports bettors’ scene for a living, there are a few things to remember.
First, you need to always remember to detach yourself from the funds that are at your disposal, but rather treat them as a tool you can use to grow and run your business in the long run. While you are on the tables, be sure to desensitise yourself to fluctuations as those numbers are only a point in time. It is alright to take calculated risks, but let that be the most of it.
Should you encounter a win or loss, never treat them as a material loss, something that you could have used the money to purchase. Instead, use your funds to purchase a bigger bankroll, and once you see the pot of gold in front of you, thinking of it as an investment fund can reduce any desire to take money out of it. Remember to always keep yourself centred, and not to get flustered when things do not seem to go your way for a while.
The next step is to learn about the different types of betting systems. There are many different ways to bet on sports, but the three most popular methods are moneyline, point spread, and parlay bets. Each type of bet has its own advantages and disadvantages.