If the lifestyle and income of a professional gambler seem attractive to you, this article will point out some of the reasons why it might be a career worth pursuing and some of the reasons why you might want to avoid gambling entirely.
Here are some of the pros and cons, along with a brief examination of a few of the details for each pro and each con.
There are many ways to gamble professionally, but in order to limit the scope somewhat, we will confine the discussion to the legal routes, which includes betting shops, wagering at a sports or racing venues, and betting online.
We have arbitrarily chosen to stay away from casino gambling, but many find it appealing for the primary reason that with all casino games, the edge enjoyed by the house is known in advance. The casinos participate in every wager and they know that in the long run, their edge in the slots or any of the table games will return a profit.
The shady areas should be avoided unless you are going for a career as a professional criminal. Back room poker games always carry the risk of seeing your ace-high same suit straight, the rare Royal Flush, beaten by a Mississippi Flush.
For any who are unfamiliar with the term Mississippi Flush, it is a small revolver and any five cards.
That is a good reason for anyone, from the professional, who gambles solely for that reason, to the occasional punter who would like to turn his or her $10 punt into $31 to $35 by backing the winner of the Melbourne Cup.
Everyone likes a thrill. The thrill achieved from winning a wager is a reasonably safe one, consisting mainly of a surge of adrenalin. Other thrill seekers experience that same pleasurable rush, but do it with life-threatening activities, such as climbing mountains, jumping out of airplanes or plunging down a raging river in a kayak.
Someone might know otherwise, but as best we know, no one has every fallen into a crevice, had a parachute malfunction, or drowned as the direct result of gambling.
All it takes is a stake. The size of the stake is the key question. Your regular expenses must be covered for some time when you take up professional gambling. Knowing that a rent or mortgage payment and food to eat is dependent on the Brisbane Lions beating the Richmond Tigers by 40 points or more puts you in a bad psychological position, where you might be tempted to wager more than you can afford to lose.
That one might sound more like a “con” argument, but we include it with the “pros” just to convince you that you need to decide in advance how much you need to earn to cover basic expenses before you place a wager.
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Walk into a betting shop or visit one of the many online bookmakers, and the question becomes not one of finding an opportunity, but limiting the choices to those with the best probability of returning a profit. Remember that on a losing wager, the bookie keeps your money, but on one that wins, the bookie will take a percentage. The term for the bookies’ cut of a winner is known as the margin.
The wagering scene is Australia is fiercely competitive, with most bookie margins in the neighbourhood of five percent. Professional gamblers who place hundreds or thousands of bets over the span of the month well know the erosion of margin and they will do everything in their powers to find the lowest possible margins.
One thing they do is to use one bookmaker that has a low margin for soccer and another bookmaker for football, and another for racing.
Many professional gamblers specialise. Betting on racing is harder than betting on sports, but the actual market does not matter so much as does developing expertise in the type of gambling you feel suits you best.
A successful professional gambler sets his or her hours. They can sleep all week if all they want to bet on are the weekend fixtures. Even the games or races held during the week typically do not start until mid to late afternoon, so getting up at the crack of dawn is seldom necessary, except for gamblers who want to work the international markets or place live in-play wagers with an overseas wagering agency.
Professional gamblers do not deal with cranky bosses or customers, their business expenses are low and travel time, in the case of an online gambler, is limited from the time it takes to walk one room to the one containing the wagering terminal, even less for those who use their mobiles.
Gambling is not extremely complicated. It does not take years of education and apprenticeships to learn the trade. Your education will be supplied to you every time you place a wager and you will learn through experience, which bets work best for you, and which to avoid.
You will learn more about yourself in a year, provided you can hang in there that long as a professional gambler, than you could in a lifetime of conscientiously avoiding risk.
From an outside perspective, it may seem as though the sports, races and other punters are your adversaries, until that sublime moment comes when you realise that the only thing holding you back is yourself.
This marvelous discovery will cross over into many other areas or your life, including you physical and mental health, your relationships, and how you perceive the events of the world around you.
Even gamblers who come to the realization that gambling is not something they wish to pursue as a career and vocation, and decide to abandon gambling, do so with a far better understanding of what makes them tick and why others act the way they do.
If any of the above reasons appeals to you, or you think of other “pros” not mentioned here, it is important to take a close look at the other side of the equation, the “cons” of a life of professional gambling.
This is the exact opposite of “pro” number one. You have no true control over how a punt will play out. Unlike selling your time and skills, through an employer or directly to a customer, you will encounter situations where through no fault of your own, you will lose your stake on a race or sporting event.
You might have the perfect wager on an ideal market, and then a key player ruptures an ACL during training in the week leading up to your perfect punt. Your perfect pick in a season long futures bet is shattered when a key rugby player decides to hop codes and leaves his club in the lurch. A heavy track might see your carefully chosen galloper lose to a long-priced mudlark. The list of potential disrupters is long.
The excitement that accompanies winning is balanced by the boredom and frustration of losing. The frustration part is easy to understand; no one likes to lose even once, and losing elevates to frustration when repeated too regularly.
The boredom aspect comes into play when you come to the realisation that you will spend many hours on a weekly basis poring over form guides for racing or tuning into information from any source dealing with sports betting as you attempt to gain an edge by knowing all manner of historical data covering all sorts of possible scenarios.
The Richmond Tigers may look like a solid wager to beat the West Coast Eagles at the MCG, until the day after you place your punt, Tom Lynch or another key player is handed a suspension or an injury that will hold them out.
There are hundreds of these scenarios that come into play for every race and every game; placing a punt without adequate knowledge is a sure path to losing.
For every successful professional punter you care to name, it is highly likely that that punter fell flat on his or her face several or more times before they learned to make gambling a profitable pursuit.
One of the key discoveries they make is that there is no such thing as too much of a stake. If your plan is to scrape together $1000 and use that to build a bank, be prepared to wait until you have $50,000, because paying the bills and putting food on the table will not happen overnight, and probably not even over the course of a year.
The numbers used for the example are only guidelines. Only you can determine your comfort level, but with eyes open, knowing that you can do everything right and still lose money is a sobering thought, one not to be lightly discarded.
The human mind craves routine and reasonable expectations of the immediate future.
A gambler has neither. The issue then becomes one of how much uncertainty you can tolerate. It is possible to become better adapted to this reality of gambling, but perfection is not only elusive, it is an unreasonable pursuit.
If even one punter had absolute certainty, he or she would quickly break the bookies and the job description of “professional gambler” would cease to exist.
The physical and mental ramifications are myriad. You can see them by watching high stakes poker when a player is all in and spends those moments before the final card pacing, hyperventilating and dying by the second. Observe a trainer at a Thoroughbred race whose career hinges on a win and you will see much the same thing.
For some people, the physical and mental demands of gambling are simply too intense and those demands affect all areas of life.
There are no fifteen-minute breaks twice a day, no hour for lunch, no paid holidays or vacations. There will be many occasions when all you want to do is crawl into bed and get some sleep, but you have to confront the reality that you have several or more hours’ worth of work to do to get your bets on.
There is a big disconnect between the flash suits and E-type Jags you see in all the images of the successful professional gamblers and the work that happens day in, day out in the trenches.
If the game was baseball and you carried a batting average of .500, you would be the greatest player who ever lived. If you can manage to keep your average around .300, you will earn millions.
You can win half your punts and still lose money. You could win 75 percent and still lose money. The financials of professional gambling are simple. You have to win more money than you lose and you have to win more than it costs you to cover your business and living expenses.
That is no mean feat and the reality has been hammered home to many who thought that professional gambling as a way of life was a life of glamour, ease and ceaseless thrills.
It takes thick skin to come home at the end of a day with your pocket lightened by the amount you had staked for the day. Neuroscientists who study brain chemistry have compared the urge to gamble as being more insistent for some people than drugs such as heroin, cocaine and nicotine. If your personality leans in the direction of being unable to control impulses that supply pleasure, you might find gambling dictating your life, a life where you will do anything to make the next big score, the score that you need in order to honour your self-promise to walk away forever.
As this article has attempted to demonstrate, professional gambling is a two-edged sword. For every benefit, there is an equivalent drawback.
A years-long exploration, with gradual exposure to the risks and rewards of gambling, couple with frequent spells from wagering activity of any kind, is a prudent course of action and gambling can be rewarding for those who approach it with a healthy dose of patience.
Neds definitely deserves consideration. New punters will find information that is helpful for account management and details on wagering The Neds Punters Toolbox alone is sufficient reason to establish membership.
Ladbrokes, of all the online bookmakers, might be our first choice if we could have just one. They could and do function as an additional option to other bookmakers, just to keep everyone honest.
BetEasy is a welcome addition to the online wagering scene They have competitive odds, plenty of markets and enough ongoing promotions to keep things interesting Check out our full review here.
Palmerbet’s landing page at palmerbet.com is very efficient Below the login panel is a simple banner with choices for Racing, Sports, Quick Multis, Promotions, Blog and Bet Book.
Bookmaker.com.au is a hybrid of a sort. It is owned and operated by Ladbrokes, but run as a separate entity. Markets and odds are identical to those found on Ladbrokes.
MadBookie is one we would consider as a sole agency or in conjunction with one or more other agencies. There are a sufficient number of promotions to warrant visiting the site on a regular basis, especially when something big is afoot.
SportsChamps has found a unique market segment and the growth in the number of competitions over the past year tends to indicate that there is a demand for a different way to punt that will be appealing to punters.
TopBetta started out as an organiser of betting tournaments and added a Sports Bookmaker’s license from Northern Territory in 2016. We do have to give TopBetta a lot of credit for their great tournament types.
If we could have just one bookmaker BlueBet would be in our top three. Our judgement is based mainly on the website and mobile offerings, as those play a key role in the decision-making process.
PointsBet offers an adequate amount of conventional betting markets, but they also offer markets not usually found with the other bookmakers, some of them quite exotic