Monday, Oct. 20, 2014

Gambler or Investor?

My Wednesday blogs will be centred around the art of making a living from football betting. These first few weeks will be setting out the ground and understanding the difficulties we have to overcome.

So, back to the main question, which one are you? A gambler? or an Investor? Or are they one and the same?

I have been a gambler for about 15 years but have been an investor for about the last 5 years.

In my mind an Investor is someone who takes their time weighing up the risks and rewards for the investment they are about to make. (Though it makes me wonder with those City Whizz Kids playing fast and loose with our money over the last few years).

I feel a Gambler is someone who plays by instinct and gut feeling without fully assessing the risk and reward scenario. Does this make the gambler any less successful than the investor?

Well in the short term, maybe not. The gambler may be on a “winning streak” but sooner or later this will come to an end and the mathematics of gambling dictate that in the long term, you cannot possibly win. On the other hand, the investor slowly accumulates, with only the occasional blip.

The Gambler - Boom and Bust

The Investor - Slowly, slowly catchy monkey

So how do you move from being a gambler to being an investor? There are many facets to this and we shall be exploring them all in the fullness of time but today we are going to be looking at a couple of these.

The Bookmakers

Bookmakers Are The EnemyIt has been said that to make a profit at betting is like a war. A war against the Bookmaker. My advice is when in a war make sure you know your enemy well. Your enemy is the Bookmaker. What is it about the Bookmaker, well I can tell you that:-

  1. They are very good at what they do
  2. They are very devious
  3. They will do whatever it takes to part you from your money
  4. They prepare for battle in a meticulous way
  5. Any chinks in their defence are quickly sealed

Bookmakers don’t like you winning, they prefer playing against people who lose. Wobetide anyone making a consistent profit from them. They monitor you, they restrict you, they will close you down. BE WARNED, they are the ENEMY.

It is getting more and more difficult these days, to get the money on at the odds you want with any Bookmaker and they are all the same. Nevertheless, they are an evil necessity and we must play along with their game in an effort to translate an edge into a consistent profit.

The main difficulty with Bookmakers is the in-built advantage they have on any market they mark up. The odds are always slanted in their favour and if they have a “balanced book” no matter what the result is, they will come out with an equal profit. This advantage to them is known as the “overround“. In football markets, they generally make a profit of 8% on any result.

This then is our starting point. We are -8% before we start. We have to turn round this disadvantage before we can start making a profit. This, I can tell you, is the first step to making a living from your betting—-just getting to that point where you are not losing. By breaking even you have turned round an 8% disadvantage and that is pretty good going. Remember then, the first thought of an Investor is not to make a loss!!

As a potential Investor in the betting market then, the first thing you are going to need are a number of different accounts with a Bookmaker. This is because when you have found a value bet then you need to get the best possible odds to make the best possible returns, (latest odds can always be checked at or

Over time these will make a difference and boost your ROI. How many accounts is up to you but I would go for about 10.

You can find a short list of 9 at and they also have a full list of 39. You will also need an account at one of the Betting Exchanges, preferably Betfair, as they have the most liquidity.


Probably the number one characteristic needed by someone intent on making their living from sports betting is Discipline. Without it you will ultimately fail. Discipline is about:-

  1. Only betting when the odds are in your favour and not the Bookmaker’s
  2. Never betting on impulse
  3. Betting with the head and not the heart
  4. Doing the homework before the bet
  5. Not betting on “tilt”

By this last one I mean not betting when you are annoyed or angry about something. You may have just lost a big bet and you want to get your money back quickly, so you bet on the next event. If you do bet on that event, then as sure as eggs is eggs, you will lose. Never be afraid to end the day on a losing bet, there will be many more opportunities that will come your way.

It is the devil’s own job to keep your discipline at times. We have all been there, giving all our gains back to the Books and feeling so aggrieved. Invariably we then go and do something even more stupid and don’t we feel foolish then——”I should have stopped, I should have stopped”. Mmm, discipline, difficult to teach, difficult to keep and manna from heaven for those loathed Books.

I am basically a Maths and Stats man with many years experience and I can quite categorically say to you that if you don’t have a system, plan, or method with an edge then there is no hope of winning this war. The maths are on the side of the enemy and you cannot defeat the maths, without the edge.

That is it for this week but I will be back next Wednesday to talk about “the edge, expectations and value“. Meanwhile I will be blogging again on Friday with some more footie news.