Types of Gambler – which are you?
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However, unprofessional as it is, I have to admit that not all bets that I place are motivated by profit. That is not to say that I don’t want them to win, of course. I have been a semi-professional gambler for 10 years, by which I mean I have consistently made considerable profit from gambling activities over that period. I have had eight losing months in that time and this variance, along with a number of other factors, is what persuades me to maintain my day-job.
The fact that I do have a secure income aside from gambling is, in turn, what enables me to make some bets for fun, others as an emotional hedge and even the occasional one because I’m drunk or bored!
In this short feature I take a look at the different styles of bettor and different types of bets (and the motivations behind them), partly for fun but mainly to help you avoid common gambling errors. You may learn from mistakes, but it’s better not to make them in the first place.
The Professional Gambler’s Bet
Relatively few people take this approach to betting and it takes time, discipline and skill. If you’re serious about making money then this is what you should strive for every time. This is a cold, calculated bet, placed when the odds are mathematically stacked in your favour. This is what we mean when we talk about value, that the odds for the event are higher than the probability of the desired outcome. The concept of value is discussed more later but if you are looking to do this full- or even part-time and are in it to drink champagne not Ribena, then there are a few very basic rules to follow.
– Only bet on sports and events you understand and know very well as otherwise your chances of finding value are slim. When I say ‘know very well’, I’m talking Statto-type knowledge. Effectively you need to know more than the person at the bookmakers who is setting the odds.
– Research the bet thoroughly using as much information as is available.
– Only bet when you are sure you have an edge.
– Don’t chase losses or bet when drunk, tired or otherwise lacking in clarity of mind – recipes for disaster that are best avoided.
Of course, by using our betting tips you can avoid all the hard work and just lazily enjoy the fruits of our labour. However, blindly following ANY tips – even ours – with large quantities of cash is not something I can really recommend. Only by doing the research, assessing the probability and seeking out the value can you be confident your money will be safe. So, if you have the time and inclination, I would suggest using our tips as a starting point from which to find winning bets at favourable prices but to consider them and their logic yourselves. Of course if you don’t have the time, sit back, have a beer and let us take the strain so you drink the champagne!
The Drunken Bet
We’ve all been there. I think. You’ve had a drink, and placing a bet on 4-0 to Grimsby Town / texting your ex- / going over the road to try and befriend the local drug dealers in the name of promoting social cohesion / singing karaoke / telling your boss he’s got bad breath (delete as appropriate) seems like a good idea. The odds on a 4-0 scoreline might be 66/1 for a reason, you’re ex- has the restraining order in place for a reason and you don’t normally sing Eye of the Tiger, also, for a reason. Drunken mistakes – don’t make them with your hard-earned cash.
Chasing your Losses
This is the worst bet to make and can end in real, real trouble. Even the most hardened pro or seasoned gambler can make this very common mistake and in my younger, more foolish days I was certainly quite prone to it.
You start out with a reasonable bet – reasonably thought out, decent value and a sensible stake. It loses. As does your next, similar bet of the day. And the next. As your wallet is haemorrhaging money your control and emotions are also bleeding away. And so you stick the total amount of your losses on a bet, practically any bet, as long as it settles fairly soon and has odds around evens, that is ill-thought out and probably bad value. It loses. You’re now in serious shtick for a few hundred (or even thousand) quid so what do you do?
Double up of course, on a similarly poor wager, that also loses. Chasing losses goes against everything a professional gambler would advise as it lacks thought, control, research, discipline and a staking plan. Of course you may well get away with it several times and end up turning large losses into break-even days but on the occasion when all your bets go against you, you are in big trouble.
A friend of mine who had a system that was making him around £30k a year tried to branch out into other areas, areas where his knowledge was limited and his edge small or non-existent. Over a two-week period of chasing losses he lost £50,000. Ouch. Time to get a new job methinks!
The Bet as a Purchase
This is a bet for fun. The bet is you actually purchasing enjoyment rather than trying to fund that second home in Barbados. As such, winning or losing is of less importance because your payback is emotional not financial. I’m a little bit of a sucker for this as, when the powers that be at Sky Sports schedule games like Sunderland v Stoke for live coverage, what’s a guy to do?
It’s football, so I’m watching it but the only way I can actually enjoy it is by placing a bet to add a little spice. The same when the missus drags me to watch Leeds United – a little bet on the correct score just about keeps me from nodding off. This is the key, making it a little bet. Of course, fivers here and tenners there soon add up, which is why I call myself a sucker. Also in this category are bets your Gran places on the Grand National, backing a White Christmas and other events you wouldn’t touch with a bargepole.
The Regular Bettor
This is the friend you have who “likes a bet” and takes it all quite seriously, but not that seriously. They follow tips from friends who have friends who drink a in a pub with the uncle of a jockey’s agent, or they back their hunch that Carragher must score a goal eventually, or they place a score on Tiger Woods in every Major despite the oft-ludicrously small odds and his ever decreasing chances of ever lifting another Major!
This type of gamble probably falls somewhere between the Professional and the Bet as a Purchase. This is not a great category as it is one that will probably lead to consistent losses over a long period. The Regular Bettor might call it all a bit of fun and will occasionally have good wins and even lengthy winning streaks. Just enough success to keep them going with their bets but over a lifetime the bookies’ overround will leave them around 20% down. At just £20 stake per week that’s £12,400 over a lifetime, or about £27m adjusted for inflation (give or take!). Much as they say they’re in it for fun, they really are in it to win but are lacking the knowledge or focus to make that happen. I suggest either giving up, reconsidering your stakes or making use of the advice and tips from us here at FBFT!
So, the question I would ask is, how many of these boxes do you tick, how many are you happy ticking and how many would you like to drop? With the exception of chasing losses, which I would class with being a Liverpool fan and torturing kittens as categorically bad, none are negative patterns to follow, per se. What is important is to understand how you bet, why you bet and keep control of your stake in relation to your motivation. Lecture over.