Interesting: The Toughest Jobs in Sports

Yahoo Sports ran an eight part series on the toughest jobs in sports last week. One of those articles covered the professional sports gambler. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much from Yahoo but it proved to be an interesting read. See it here.

If you know anything beyond the absolute basics of gambling, you’re probably all too aware just how spotty news coverage can be. Sometimes it seems like reporters are just phoning it in while other times you can tell some real work went in to create the story. The one from Yahoo last week most definitely falls into the latter category.

Pros vs. Degenerates

One of the most interesting aspects of the article is its comparison of actual professionals and degenerates – those who get in over their heads. It never hurts to have a reminder of just how fine the line is between enthusiasts and problem gamblers.

One guy talks about how he knew everything about responsible gambling. He understood the numbers, bankroll management and how to research his wagers. Everything looked great on paper. But his problem was that he couldn’t just stick to a couple of well-researched wagers per day. He would always get that urge to have action on more games at night… and it cost him. Big time.

On the other hand, we have the successful pro who seems to have the same skillset as the degenerate, except the pro has the ability to stop. He isn’t feeding an addiction. He’s making money with carefully researched wagers and then going on about his day. The line between the two is fine but it makes all the difference in the world.

(By the way, the professional mentions his bankroll strategy. He says he always sizes his bets to around 2-3% of his bankroll. That’s exactly what I’m always harping about on here. Bankroll management is key!)

This highlights why we should treat sports betting with some sense of respect, even if it is just something you do once a month for fun. A serious, dispassionate approach helps you stay out of trouble and makes it easier to honestly analyze your habits. It also makes it easier to win, which is nice.

Here’s a quote from the professional profiled in the Yahoo article that demonstrates this dispassionate approach:

“I’m not real thrilled about how 2014 is going so far. I had a really lousy run in the conference tournaments and I can’t win a one-run game in baseball. When you’re losing close games, it runs in cycles. Sometimes you’re hot, sometimes you’re not, but it usually evens out. What I have to do is swallow the frustration of losing games I should win and wait until I start winning games I probably should lose because that’s going to happen too.”

This is exactly how a serious gambler should approach winning and losing. He doesn’t panic when the going gets rough and he doesn’t get cocky when things turn around. He puts in the work, studies the games and sticks to his bankroll management plan.

I don’t have any experience as a professional sports bettor, but I did spend a few years after college playing professional poker. The mindsets for both are the same due to the inherent swingy nature of both pursuits. Sometimes you hit bad streaks and other times you win despite making bad decisions. In any game of financial risk, you have to keep the long run in mind at all times.

The Yahoo article also goes into a little background of the professional they profiled and that was pretty interesting. He talks about how he ran his own illegal bookmaking operation in the US, got in trouble with the law and eventually went legit as a bettor, radio show host and tout.

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