Many people see gambling as the dream profession. Who wouldn’t want to make money simply by betting on sporting events, gambling at the casino and taking a punt at the financial markets? Even better, profits on bets are tax free in the UK – and that’s just one of the reasons why professional gamblers are looked on with great envy.
But successful pro gamblers are rare breeds. Gambling successfully enough to make a living from it is a highly difficult skill to master. As such, very few people achieve it. However, while there are many pitfalls, the rewards are almost boundless. Here’s what you need to carve out a career as a professional gambler.
1. Get started with a robust plan
Firstly, it’s important to understand that we’re talking about a full-time job here. That might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many would-be gambling pros don’t have a plan to meet their financial obligations – they just want to win big. Successful professional gamblers understand that to survive financially, you need a sensible plan and a strategy.
It’s a good idea to use spreadsheets to account for every bet you make, and where. This will help you keep tabs on your money and where you’re achieving success.
As for how much money you’ll need to get started, this largely depends on whose advise you take. A good starting point is £500. Anything less could be wiped out very quickly indeed.
2. Learn from the best
When you’re starting out in your professional gambling career, what can you learn from the best in the business? While many professional gamblers choose to keep a low profile, others are comfortable to enjoy their time in the limelight and share their best tips with rookies.
- Billy Walters. Walters is said to be the most meticulous punter on the circuit. Like most people in his privileged position, Walters is very coy as to how much he earns but we do know that he started out with humble beginnings, losing his early savings of $75 before he ran into people who could help him to turn it all around.
- Michael Kent and Ivan Mindlin. In the 1980s, this pair formed the Computer Group and developed an algorithm that spotted weak betting lines and took advantage accordingly. While aspiring professional gamblers may not be as lucky in terms of running into such helpful company, it does pay to have a strong understanding of mathematics, particularly when it comes to backing and laying to secure a successful trade.
- Gavin and Alex Walker. These identical twins claim to have made £400,000 from gambling in just 18 months. The two men were making thousands every day, specialising solely in football, and were happy to share some of the strategies that had made them so successful. Their strategy is very simple: They bet exclusively on football and on single outcomes only. There are no complicated accumulators or formula bets and all of their stakes are made in play, once a match has kicked off. They also seek matches where odds are priced incorrectly high – and that’s where their experience counts. These are probable outcomes that carry higher odds than they should. For the Walker twins, it’s all about looking for value and while they took two years to get to the point where they were making good profits, all that research and hard work is paying off.
- Wild Bill. Before going full-time as a professional gambler, Wild Bill was a defense attorney for 30 years. This gave him experience finding loopholes in any given system – and the ability to recognise an opportunity to exploit it when it presents itself. Bill also gambles everywhere, including on online casinos, which give him sign-up bonuses and additional funds to play with. In this exclusive interview, Wild Bill reveals more about what it takes to become a professional gambler – and some of the winnings he made in his first year.
3. Diversify your dealings
In the pre-internet age, professional gamblers were well-known faces around the race courses, greyhound tracks, casinos and betting shops of the UK and beyond. In some cases, that would be a disadvantage as bookmakers would be wary of their skill and could refuse to take a bet in some cases.
In the digital era, professional gamblers can carry out their business with greater anonymity – but it’s still possible for an online sportsbook or casino to close their doors to the biggest earners. In order to counteract this, pro punters need to diversify and have a number of accounts open. There are literally hundreds of casino, sportsbook, bingo and lottery operators online so it is perfectly possible to spread the bets out over a wider area and to lessen the risk of losing an account.
4. Put in the time and effort
As previously mentioned, gambling is a full time job and requires commitment and dedication, just like any other profession. The Walker twins watched up to five football matches every day. While that might sound idyllic to some, remember they were working to analyse live odds and prices rather than be entertained by the football on show.
Serious gamblers, particularly those betting in play will naturally need to do plenty of research but they also need to watch as much sport as possible. Away from the TV broadcasters, many bookies offer a live streaming service which can help in providing as much live sport as possible. This is another important aspect of pro gambling and underlines the need to be prepared if you are going to take this seriously.
In a study conducted by the Gambling Commission, it was found that among 4,000 adults, most gamblers liked to spend their money on bingo and lottery. Those are essentially games of chance and not ones that a professional gambler would consider.
In order to make consistent profits over a period of time, however, it pays to work on your maths skills to work the odds in your favour – in the way that the Walker twins have done. They also specialised in one discipline – in their case football – and while that’s not a necessary requirement, it does help in terms of focus.
Professional gambling can lead to a lucrative career and wealth beyond your wildest dreams, but it’s also hard work. If you’re considering going down this path, be prepared to put in the hours and make proper plans to earn those great rewards.