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    Default Betting Sports for a Living

    About how many people would you estimate on this forum does this. I know guys like RAS who owns this site does it and of course makes money with his service with is still one of the best from what i hear.


    I'm talking about guys who make a living straight up betting sports. I know living is relative depending where you are located. You could make 20k a year in a poor country and thats more than good enough and be rich. So i guess lets use a benchmark of 50k a year. In order to do this, what would your average bet size has to be? Back then i thought its possible to bet say 500-1000 a game and well if you are good, 50k a year is possible. But when you look at it from a numbers perspective, that is almost impossible as that would mean you have to net 50 or 100 units a year.


    If thats the case, i would say 2k a game is probably the average size bet that would be needed if one wants to make 50k a year? The thing is from what i read a while back, almost no one can hit 60 percent. The best players can hit 55-58 percent. This is on spreads i believe. Of course for other stuff where its Moneyline, thats much different. So if you hit 55 percent, and let say you use -110 lines and make 1000 plays a year on average, and let say your average bet size was $1000, then you would win $550,000 and have losses of $495,000 for a net profit of $50,500. But how many people out there can even do something like this. Probably less than 1 percent right? Because that would be netting 50 units a year which seems to be way too high. And from what i read, it seems like ROI's just aren't that high at all. Im not sure what forum i read a while back, but some article mentioned a guy in europe many years ago that was one of the best bettors in some european sports and even had a book about him. They said his roi was something like 15 percent and that was the highest.


    So it seems like unless you have a huge average bet size, then someone can't really make more than say 30 units on average a year right? Obviously most people lose sportsbetting. I would say at least 95 percent minimum. Would that be about right?


    Now if someone had a huge bankroll and average bet size is 10k, well if they make 10 units a year, well that 100k and a good chunk of money. So it seems you have grinders who grind it out, or people that make big spot bets etc. If thats the case, whats actually the better route? The people with a huge bankroll and bets big in big spots... or the guy that grinds small edges etc. There was a website that i believe is called professionalgambler.com where the author mentioned that betting $500 a game is probably the absolute minimum you can do. Of course if someone does this, i cant imagine someone averaging much more than $15,000 a year at the max. That author seems to mention 1k as really the lowest that one should bet.

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    I ask this because i play online poker. Back then you could make a good amount of money just playing low stakes game and just heavily multitabling. You could play a tight set strategy and just be profitable due to bad players and also rakeback and some bonuses. To those people who are not familiar with online poker, back then you could play cash games where the max buyin is 100 dollars... you sit 20 tables play tight etc... pretty doable to make 50k a year. Very good players back then could make 100k a year +. Or play sit and goes and multitable them and make around that amount playing low-mid stakes.


    In online poker, its still possible to make a living playing low-mid stakes online like pokerstars etc but very hard. However the big difference is you dont need a huge bankroll in poker compared to sportsbetting it seems. This would be tougher on american sites due to not much volume. For example, if you have 5k or 10k in your poker account, you could play tournaments, cash games or sng and grind and make a few k per month. In sportsbetting, it seems like unless you are betting at least 1k a game... and even that is pretty low... you cant really make much right? Since you aren't suppose to bet more than 1 percent of your bankroll per game, so if you were to bet 1k a game, you would need a 100k bankroll. In poker, you dont need that big of a bankroll like you do in sports. You could enter say 1k worth of tournaments or cash games, and could profit a decent amount.


    But if you have say 5k in wagers in sportsbetting, say its 5 wagers of 1k each, from what i read, 5 percent ROI would be excellent. So 5500 worth of wagers at 5 percent ROI would be $275. But the thing here is if you lose 5 wagers, you are down $5500. This would be very hard to happen in even a week in online poker and basically close to impossible in one day if you play a lot of low-mid stakes tournaments. High stakes tournamentts would be different. Cash games i say its possible if you play mid stakes but i dont know much about cash.


    I also read a thread where someone mentioned that if you have a low bankroll, play poker. If you have a big bankroll, bet sports. Also the difference between sportsbetting and poker is i think the term is called scalelable. Is that correct? Basically the meaning was that if you make money betting sports at 100 dollars a game, well betting 1000 or 10000 dollars a game is the exact same thing. The higher you bet, its the same thing. Its not like poker where if you win at lower stakes, you go play mid or high stakes and its the same. Games are tougher as you move up in stakes. So that seems to be a huge benefit of sportsbetting vs poker. But the main thing though is it seems you need a huge bankroll and variance is huge in sportsbetting compared to poker.


    Anyone have thoughts/opinions on this? How much money would you say would be necessary as a bankroll to even bet sports for a living? If i had to take an estimate, i say you probably need $200k minimum? Whats funny is in poker, if you had a 10k bankroll, you could play a lot of poker online or even live poker like 2/5nl etc. But in sportsbetting if you only had 10k, you cant really bet more than 200-300 at the absolute max. And even if you did, you cant really make much betting that little a game.

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    Another thing i wanted to add in addition to this. As many of you know, online poker and live poker has gotten tougher. But live poker i believe is still soft as they put it. But in sportsbetting, has it gotten really hard compared to back many years ago? I always hear things like the lines are getting tighter and tighter etc.


    There are obviously still a good amount of poker pros playing online and live... but much less many years ago for sure. Obviously if the good players go on huge bad runs and stretches. But more often than not, these players are profitable. The ones that play poker for a living are mostly profitable... though i do hear that players who play tournaments are broke or in huge makeup etc.


    Im thinking the amount of people that bet sports for a living compared to playing poker has probably got to be like for every 100 pro poker player, probably 1 sports betting pro? However, i do know that are arbers who do this but most of those people don't make much money at all. I don't believe any would make anything close to 50k a year. It definitely was possible back many years ago when sportsbook gives you ton of bonuses and there were lot of arb opportunities, but now there are very few if any. Back then i believe there were lot of online casino bonuses as well where you could make lot of money doing bonuses and they were very +EV as you were to put it. So in terms of betting straight up in sports, anyone have thoughts/opinions on this? My guess is you need at least 200k bankroll to do this and probably should be betting 2k a game on average if you want to even make 50k a year... which would be 25 units a year and a bit more than 2 units a month which seems doable. I would be also curious what sports ppl would be betting to make this amount. I mean are there anyone that bets nfl or nba for a living? I cant imagine nfl as there just isn't much volume and NFL is the toughest sport to beat due to the tight lines. Well if you make 5 figures... sure its possible. But other sports it seems like limits are much lower so you cant make much that way either. Im assuming college sports like cbb is the easiest of all? Always heard cbb is a sports bettors favorite due to so many games and lines where oddsmakers aren't aware of everything etc.

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    kelly criterion

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    Quote Originally Posted by donny2 View Post
    Another thing i wanted to add in addition to this. As many of you know, online poker and live poker has gotten tougher. But live poker i believe is still soft as they put it. But in sportsbetting, has it gotten really hard compared to back many years ago? I always hear things like the lines are getting tighter and tighter etc. .
    I can't compare to way back in the 80's or 90's, or even the early 00's for that matter, but it's pretty logical that anytime a +EV angle becomes more or less public and the amount of money coming in becomes too one-sided for the bookies' liking, they'll adjust their prices. By 'public' I also mean when too many sharps are on the same angle for too long of a time. In baseball, there used to be an angle where home underdogs, that were not facing a top20 pitcher, and were not on a 3 game losing streak (or worse), were +EV. As that info became public, books adjusted and now there's not a whole lot of EV to be gotten on those MLB home underdogs. There's plenty more examples of things that 'used to be profitable'. But rules change, analytics change the betting patterns, but when used by the teams themselves, can also change the games, and thus sometimes create other angles that are profitable. It's an ever-evolving game between you and the bookies. There are so many sports, so many angles you can find, it's up to you to put in the time, have an analytical mind and use that profitably for your own bankroll.

    Quote Originally Posted by donny2 View Post
    I would be also curious what sports ppl would be betting to make this amount. I mean are there anyone that bets nfl or nba for a living? I cant imagine nfl as there just isn't much volume and NFL is the toughest sport to beat due to the tight lines. Well if you make 5 figures... sure its possible. But other sports it seems like limits are much lower so you cant make much that way either. Im assuming college sports like cbb is the easiest of all? Always heard cbb is a sports bettors favorite due to so many games and lines where oddsmakers aren't aware of everything etc.
    It's up to you to find out what works best for you. Either you automate everything or you pick a conference or division and make sure you know every team inside and out. Both would be best off course. I'm pretty good at RegSeasonWin-totals and futures in the NFL but don't think I have an edge on single game sides or totals. So I'll take the RSW bets and the future-bets and hope to make an amount on them. More and more books are offering bets on fantasy points in the NFL, so I'm going to see whether I have an edge there. I wouldn't call the NFL difficult to beat because of the tight lines. It's difficult to beat because of the huge variance in results created by turnovers, which is a mostly random occurrence. Your also continuously working with small sample sizes (16 games).

    In my opinion you could make a living with a 50K bankroll, but I advise you to prove to yourself first that you you can beat markets and produce +EV bets. That doesn't happen overnight. There are very sharp guys that might have only 10-12 bets a week, and others that have multiple sports automated with algorithms and will play 100-150 bets a week. You have to find out what works best for you.

    I watch 2 or 3 games of soccer in the afternoon and will also watch 2 or 3 games of NBA basketball in the evening. Found a couple of angles that can be exploited in live-betting, I do relatively fewer pregame bets nowadays. But all-in all over 60 hours a week in it for me.

    There are many ways to skin the cat,
    - some have models that are built on player performance
    - some look at the betting patterns and mostly base their bets on technical analysis of the betting market.
    - others play certain angles or situations which they like

    not every capper is the same. Find out what works for you before you jump in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by durito View Post
    kelly criterion
    Theoretically, Kelly criterion is best, but it ignores the realities of life, expenses, unforeseen results/circumstances, fluctuating legalities, perpetual profiling/limiting/banning, a constantly changing industry, moving money around, taking out profits, human psychology, etc. I just found it impractical a long time ago.

    Everyone has different trading methodologies, with differing projected volumes, differing projected RORs, etc...so it's impossible to give you one number and say that it's the minimum requirement. All I can tell you is that the skill that you must acquire is the ability to take a beating. And I mean both financially AND mentally. Anyone can dish out a beating; few can take one. Your process in this business has to be flawless. I have a "Sports Trading Code" that I recite every single day. It is two pages long. Keeps me focused on executing my process as perfectly as I possibly can every single day. You will find that the quality of your results can deviate from the quality of your process for longer than most can imagine or be comfortable with...and it will break most people at some point. You better have some mechanisms (including a money management process that can take a friggin' ass whoopin' for a long period of time) that can help you cope with that reality.

    (And I know durito understands this and has intimated similar musing before on this forum. I say this to try to positively affect some young sports trader perusing this forum who needs this advice as badly as I did when I was starting out.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by blackbull View Post

    Everyone has different trading methodologies, with differing projected volumes, differing projected RORs, etc...so it's impossible to give you one number and say that it's the minimum requirement. All I can tell you is that the skill that you must acquire is the ability to take a beating. And I mean both financially AND mentally. Anyone can dish out a beating; few can take one. Your process in this business has to be flawless. I have a "Sports Trading Code" that I recite every single day. It is two pages long. Keeps me focused on executing my process as perfectly as I possibly can every single day. You will find that the quality of your results can deviate from the quality of your process for longer than most can imagine or be comfortable with...and it will break most people at some point. You better have some mechanisms (including a money management process that can take a friggin' ass whoopin' for a long period of time) that can help you cope with that reality.

    So true, you don't hear about this angle often enough. But, in addition to a supremely thick skin, you need to absolutely have an edge. Otherwise you will sink to a slow death.

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    None of that has anything to do with proper kelly (fractional staking). In fact fractional kelly is optimal for dealing with all that. The OP (who posts these same questions every year on12 forums) is doing something absurd like assuming a constant unit size for a whole year.

    How are you feeling if you start with 50k, betting 1k a game and you lose 15 units, do you still want to bet 1k a game? If you aren't lowering your unit size as your roll decreases you will quickly end up with 0.

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    Quote Originally Posted by moconnor View Post
    So true, you don't hear about this angle often enough. But, in addition to a supremely thick skin, you need to absolutely have an edge. Otherwise you will sink to a slow death.
    If you don't have thick skin and (more importantly) an edge you won't make it as a pro and will fail no matter what bet sizing strategy you use. That death may be much faster too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by durito View Post
    None of that has anything to do with proper kelly (fractional staking). In fact fractional kelly is optimal for dealing with all that. The OP (who posts these same questions every year on12 forums) is doing something absurd like assuming a constant unit size for a whole year.

    How are you feeling if you start with 50k, betting 1k a game and you lose 15 units, do you still want to bet 1k a game? If you aren't lowering your unit size as your roll decreases you will quickly end up with 0.
    If I start with 50k and lose 15units betting 1k I increase my bet size because I'm due

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    I am not betting same market as you folks but I make ten of thousands of parlays per year which pay 3/1 all the way to 10000/1. Some wagers are $2 and others are $1000 . If I flat bet I would either be broke and or not achieving optimum growth . Same rules apply to spread bettors but not as dramatic . Flat betting is great for record keeping as RAS does because otherwise records would appear polluted with all the different size stakes.

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    It's really helpful to read these posts. Thanks! For me, just a few years into betting, and definitely an amateur dabbler, I am confronting a paradox similar to one brief foray into counting cards in Vegas a long time ago...By the time I do what I need to do in order to win, it's not easy and can get pretty tedious. But the initial attraction to betting in the first place is that it supposedly makes you easy, fun money...

    I'm really hoping Old Timer has a few things to say on this subject!

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    I can say with all honesty that I am positive ROI over the last 15 years - mostly flat betting, winning about 5k per year, year in, year out. However, I can say with certainty that I would be negative ROI if I did it for a living - or even if I significantly raised my units. It's easy to think clearly, disciplined and unemotional when there is only a few hundred bucks on the line. And as disciplined as I think that I am, nobody, and I mean nobody, is immune to getting caught up in the emotions after a bad beat or a missed play or a bad line. Or even going tilt if other parts of your life are stressing you out.
    I admire those that can do it for a living. But it's also one of those, "Be careful what you wish for". The stress could make it as painful as a job that you would quit. And at least in the job, you're guaranteed the paycheck.......

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    Quote Originally Posted by durito View Post
    None of that has anything to do with proper kelly (fractional staking). In fact fractional kelly is optimal for dealing with all that. The OP (who posts these same questions every year on12 forums) is doing something absurd like assuming a constant unit size for a whole year.
    Donny, I've gotten a headache from reading your yearly posts. Between the Execedrin I can't discern whether these are inquiries, research material for a lingering thesis, or self assurance of alleged knowledge.

    Bob Martin the Koufax of Gambling 101 was asked this same question numerous times. His standard reply was "Marry a women with plenty of money." That said with a smile without giving away the store.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lumpy19 View Post
    If I start with 50k and lose 15units betting 1k I increase my bet size because I'm due
    It works for blackjack, it obviously works for sports.

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