I’m not a fan of the phrase professional gambler as it has the feel of an oxymoron. For anyone to earn a consistent profit from betting requires a tremendous amount of discipline, research and self-restraint (something that applies particularly strong in football). I am not attempting to come off here as some betting guru as I know I’m not but I have been able to make decent money doing this over the past three years, enough in fact that I feel I will share some of the tips I use to whoever is reading this.
- Practice makes perfect
When you start betting on football no-one knows for sure which market they are most adept at, if even at all. Practice is essential, even if it is with 10p stakes or on making notes of bets purely on paper and keeping note of wins/losses. Doing this on different markets will allow to gauge and hone whatever strengths you may have. If you find yourself constantly losing and running into an empty bank, that will be the indication you either need to change the markets you bet on or in fact should not gamble at all. Do this over and over until you are sure. Note how you do over 10 bets placed, 20 bets placed, 50 bets placed, 100 bets placed. It may appear to be daft betting with 10p stakes but it will be an important indicator of your abilities and weaknesses and should give you the confidence to bet or even deter you from gambling completely. You may have a hunch but it is best to let the stats reveal the answer to you.
- Starting Bankroll
Once you have singled out a market(s) you seem to be able to produce the goods in using small stakes , it is time for the real thing. When you start betting and intend to make considerable long-term profit it is extremely helpful to your cause if you get the ball rolling with a decent bankroll. Whatever you consider as decent is up to you but the bigger the better. The larger your starting bank, the bigger your stakes and the greater profit you can earn from the get go.
- Bankroll Management
This is one of the two most crucial factors in long-term profit from gambling. You must stake within your means. When I first learned how to play poker I took for granted the importance of this but the more I played the more it became clear that this was key to betting long-term. Anyone who has played poker competitively will understand the significance of bankroll management. This is a large part in which discipline and self-restraint come to the fore. What I do is limit my bets to three stages – 5%, 2% or 1% of my bank. The deciding factor in which stakes are chosen from these three is dependent on my confidence of the bet landing.
The biggest reason for limiting stakes to those percentages is to weather any storm that eventually arrives. And it will arrive. No matter how good you are, you will lose bets. Staking to these percentages makes these losses very manageable and will prevent any serious chasing which may result in a wipe out of your total bankroll if you had lost a considerably larger percentage of your bank. This may seem extreme but in the heat of the moment when money is lost, you find yourself selecting bets you otherwise would never have picked if you were thinking clearly. Trying to see winning bets in selections you otherwise would never have touched if you hadn’t previously lost. Rest assured that almost every gambler who takes it seriously will have experienced such a melt-down at least once.
The percentage breakdown of the stakes do not have to be the same as mine, they can be bigger or smaller but limiting your stakes to fractions of your bankroll is important as losses WILL happen. It is imperative though that you follow your staking plan at all times.
Knowing what you’re betting on is vital. There are various websites out there that offer in-depth such as Soccerway or WinDrawWin. There are also various betting forums out there that may come in helpful. A very recent example of research aiding my own betting is the match between Moreirense and Benfica in the Portuguese League Cup. I knew Moreirense were bottom of the league and as they went 1-0 up against Benfica my instinct was to back Benfica outright at 1-0 down. However, a quick look on soccerway showed their League Cup is split into qualifying groups and this match was not necessarily a must-win for Benfica. I therefore avoided backing Benfica outright and just as well, the match finished 1-1.
Your general knowledge on football can also come in handy as it may reveal a side to the match others do not see. Shining examples of this would be altitude in South American. In the intercontinental tournaments, sides often suffer the problem of playing at an altitude they are not accustomed to. In the 2012 Copa Libertadores, it was no great surprise to see Bolivar beat Santos 2-1 in La Paz and Deportivo Quito hammer Universidad de Chile 4-1 in Quito. It was always on the cards that playing in places like Quito or La Paz, the two highest capital cities in the world, would mean the likes of UDC and Santos would struggle heavily as they are not acclimatized to such environments.
- Strike Rate
Along with bankroll management, this is the most crucial element of long-term profit. As previously stated, you will at some point back losing bets. They are impossible to escape. 1/100 shots are busted every single day. So whatever you back, it is imperative your strike rate is high. My preferred system (if I can call it that) is backing a goal in the second half of games. I always watch the matches I bet on for some time before I place the bet. The game has to be open and I do not bet a goal to happen in games that are currently drawing – one team has to be chasing the game. The goalscoring, or lack thereof, of both teams involved are also taken into account and the importance of the match along with a myriad of other defining factors This method does not work for everyone but it has been very effective for me. At the end of the day the choices you stake on are what you feel will happen accompanied with what the stats indicate may happen.
I may do another article later on other betting systems such as arbing, trading etc.
I hope this mini-guide helps some of you out there. They have helped me and many others I am sure who have adopted a similar mentality. Good luck!