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The idea of being a professional gambler is hugely appealing to many and whilst the reality might be a little different from the dream, making a full time income from wagering at the leading betting sites probably beats slaving away in a call centre or a warehouse! If you want to know how to become a professional gambler then we have a few pointers on how to get started, as well as a few warnings.
Gamble ResponsiblyDisclaimer: Gambling can be addictive. Be responsible at all times. Know your limits. begambleaware.org
Pro Gambler Job Overview
Here are some basics facts to review before we delve deeper into how to become a professional gambler.
- Educational Background – Even though there are colleges and universities that do offer a degree in gambling, becoming a pro does not require a specific certificate or diploma. Be that as it may, strong mathematical skills are a great plus.
- Job Responsibilities – Pro gamblers spend most of their time watching matches, reading data and comparing stats.
- Working Hours – If you are looking for a job with fixed working hours that allows you to have your weekends off, then gambling is the exact opposite. Though flexible, the job will require you to work around the clock.
- Expected Salary – No fixed working hours and no fixed salary. Some months your income might be very big, but you can never plan ahead.
- Professional Advancement – It all depends on you and how willing you are to stay on top of gambling trends. If you have thirst for knowledge and do not rely on “tricks” then you can develop greatly and become better than the best.
Where to Start?
If becoming a full-time punter who is able to live off betting is your aim then knowing where to begin can be hard but, as with many things in life, passion is usually a good starting point. Most people don’t wake up one day and decide to be a musician, an actor or a professional football player. Life doesn’t ordinarily work like that. People become those things because they are passionate about music, films and acting, or playing football.
It is the same with being a professional gambler. If you just think “oh, being a pro gambler sounds good, you don’t go to work and you easily get the edge” then it probably isn’t going to happen. If, on the other hand, you love watching lots of sport, enjoy betting and the discipline of trying to find good bets, and you have experienced a bit of success over an extended period of time, then maybe taking the next step could be possible and – more than that – even a wise move.
That isn’t to say it is impossible to start from scratch, or that you absolutely must have established the notion that you already know how to be successful at betting and take these skills a step further to advance to a real professional. But trying to be a pro gambler without good prior experience will be much more difficult than building up from a solid foundation.
Key Skills Needed
Going pro is not for everyone as we have already pointed out. Make sure you see yourself in our checklist, because the qualities outlines below are essential for anyone who wants to become a professional gambler.
- Keen attention to detail
- Innate curiosity and love for learning
- Excellent research and data-compiling skills
- Resolute and persistent
- Can-do attitude even when under pressure
Tips for Going Professional
There are lots and lots of different ways of being a professional gambler, but in this article we are only looking at sports betting. In addition, we will look specifically at being a professional in the purest sense – simply placing bets and risking less over time. There are other more complex ways of being a full-time punter, including trading, courtsiding, and being an arber and advantage player, but here we will look at how to beat the bookies simply by placing good, honest, old-fashioned bets.
The key to making a living from betting in this way is to find value bets on a regular basis. A value bet is one where the odds are essentially higher than they “should” be. If you have a single dice and it is a fair one, the chance of any given number being rolled is one in six. This is a 16.66% chance and the “fair” odds would be 5/1, meaning that if you bet £1 and won, you would get £6 in total back.
If, however, you could find someone prepared to offer you odds of 6/1 on a given number, this would be a value bet. The odds you are getting are better than the probability would dictate. You would still expect to lose five times out of six, but whenever you did get a hit your statistically expected one in six, you would get lots in returns, covering your five losses and leaving a nice margin.
If you could find such value bets every day by comparing bookmakers odds, over time the maths dictates that you will get the edge and this is how people betting professionally operate. Value is the one simple thing a professional gambler is looking for. There is no secret system, no magical staking plan and no mystical trickery, just the consistent identification of value.
How to Find Value for your Gambling Endeavours
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Sadly, though, there is no simple trick when it comes to finding value bets and the only way to do it is through thorough research and hard work. Effectively you need to know more about a given sport, team, or match than the bookies in order to ascertain when they have priced an event incorrectly.
This is even harder than it sounds because the overround, effectively the bookies’ cut, means they have a fairly large margin for error. If the true odds on a given outcome should be, for example, 2.0, the bookmakers will usually price this at around the 1.9 mark. They have a margin of around 10% on any given bet and so even if they assess a market incorrectly, there remains a strong chance the odds will be bad value.
However, from time to time, they will make sizeable errors and at this stage the pro will be able to spot that their odds are genuinely out of line and offer real value. You need to have an edge on the bookie, the market or both.
Simply knowing that, for example, Liverpool have injuries to their three best forwards and that Virgil van Dijk is suspended isn’t enough to find value opposing the Reds. Everyone else will also be aware of those facts and so the odds on Liverpool’s opponents will already be shorter than they would typically be.
Equally, seeing that Team A has scored two or more in each of their last five matches and Team B has conceded three goals in each of their previous five doesn’t mean that betting on Team A to score will be a value bet.
Whilst the stats suggest that they should, that alone is no good, especially if the odds are far too short. The crucial thing is being able to weigh up in your own mind the percentage chance of any given outcome, be that a golfer to become first in an event, a penalty to be awarded in a game or a horse to finish first a race.
If the available odds are better than your calculated probability and, best of all, you think you know why that is the case (perhaps the bookie or the market have overlooked an obscure piece of information you have discovered, or they have misinterpreted or over-valued a certain fact or stat) then you have hopefully struck value gold! What is more, if you combine your knowledge and research skill with special promo code offers, you will surely double your chance to make it pro quicker than you have imagined.
What Skills Should I Put to Practice?
Many professional gamblers will come from a mathematics background or have a history as an avid sports fan, and often both. Being able to build mathematical models to calculate the probabilities of the various outcomes is a major plus, whilst an in-depth knowledge of the sport in question is essential in order to understand what factors are relevant.
In addition to understanding the sport, what affects a wager’s probability of success and the maths behind all that, someone wishing to become a full-time gambler also needs tremendous self-discipline. You will be managing yourself and be your own boss, so being motivated to do the required research and number crunching is vital.
However, you also need self-discipline from the point of view of being able to control your impulses. Always being able to bet regardless of time and place thanks to betting apps means that you have to deal with the rational part of your being and not let your emotions come into the equation is crucial for a professional gambler. Whether you are on a bad run or a good run, keeping your emotions in check is vital as otherwise, you are likely to place bets that you wouldn’t otherwise make.
The Reality of Being a Professional Gambler
Being a professional gambler does not mean sitting on a yacht, placing the odd bet in between sipping cocktails and chatting to models and film stars. The reality is a lot of time spent by yourself watching events, checking odds, calculating probabilities and questioning your own judgement.
On top of that, you have to have the strength of mind and self-belief to handle bad runs. Over time, if you are calculating things correctly, you will risk less. But even the greatest professional gamblers will hit bad runs where luck is against them.
If someone offered you odds of 2.2 on the toss of a coin, that would be great value, leaving aside the suspicion that only someone with a rigged coin would do that, 2.2 on a coin toss is a bet any pro would take every time. But they would still expect to lose 50% of their bets.
And that means the probability of losing eight bets in a row would be around 0.4%. That’s a tiny probability, a one in 256 chance, but a professional gambler will place thousands of bets over their careers, meaning that at some stage, no matter how good the value is in each individual wager, they will hit a very bad run of losses.
At that point, confidence will be low and your bankroll will also have taken a real hit. As a full-time gambler, you have no other source of income and you have bills to pay and, perhaps, a family to look after. At times like this professional gambling is a lonely place and maintaining the belief in your ability to find value bets is sure to be hard.
Make no mistake, for those who are able to make a living from gambling, it can be an incredibly rewarding, enjoyable and liberating career. But it is certainly not easy and definitely not without its negatives or its risks.