So you're gonna be a bettor, huh?
Level 2 - DEEP DIVER
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Our last post on the generalized Kelly Criterion was theory, theory and more theory. Math is indeed beautiful and you probably feel sharp hyping yourself up to some formulas, however the reality is that out in the markets there are already lots and lots of people that know how to count. In other words, your ability to manipulate mathematical expressions will be far from enough.
Therefore, if you want to become a profitable bettor, there is, to say the least, some basic practical stuff you got to have under your belt. At the end of the day you will be competing in an extremely challenging environment and thus it will be important to consistently operate in an optimal and *efficient* way, not only math-wise. The conversion of equations (ideas) into real bread is, as you’ll notice, *always* more about the conversion than the equations.
Below is our elementary 5-step overview of how to launch and subsequently manage a personal betting operation without messing things up along the way.
Bad news: Last week we were completely rekt by Twitter and our main account @BowTiedBettor has for some reason been permanently banned. We have no idea of why but we keep moving forward and will do our best to find a bird app employee to unlock the acc for us (not much hope at this point).
Okay, so you’re new to betting (if not, go straight to step 2) and have no idea of how and where to get started. Great news for you, because in this case step 1 is absolutely obvious. Go straight to our 101 on bonus rugging [BR], read about and learn the concept, then begin executing. After a couple of weeks you will, by nature of the scheme, have learnt the basics about betting and betting markets and as an extra bonus you will have built up a decent starting bankroll. As you are about to finish step 1 you will find yourself filled with confidence and curiosity, ready to continue your betting adventure.
You have now completed step 1, which means two things:
You have built up an adequate betting bankroll (should be north of $ 5 000 if US-based, otherwise it is probably a bit less).
You have access to quite a few betting accounts and are comfortable using them.
At this stage, there are two main routes going forward.
Option number one is to restrict yourself to bonus rugging by focusing on collecting reload offers (expect ~ 1 500 $ in profits/month) and extending the main scheme to new persons/identities. Split the profits with the ones you are doing it with in the beginning and as you become more experienced/the process becomes more and more optimized, you should consider keeping a larger cut for yourself. Back in the days we used to do this exact thing (~ 5-600 people/ID’s in total) and we will be sharing lots of useful content and details on it as soon as we observe a sufficient BR-activity within our following.
Option number two is to initialize your transition into *real* betting. It should be stated though that making money by beating the markets isn’t the easiest endeavour and if you decide that this path is the right one, you should definitely be prepared to spend hours and hours with zero profits (if you are lucky) until you begin to connect the dots. Please do not be naive and jump straight into NFL betting, instead pick a smaller, less analyzed market to begin with.
A combination of (1) and (2) above is of course a plausible alternative.
Unless you are [redacted] you should always pick the *easiest* and most inefficient markets available (this goes for anything business-wise). As long as you are not hindered by market limits, you should never even think of moving into larger markets and especially not into those who have been observed by brilliant minds on a daily basis for the last +30 years. Use your brain, not your ego, anon.
Familiarizing yourself with a new sport/market by simply watching games/races is *extremely* inefficient. The clever way is instead to pay attention to the markets for movements and then contemplate why certain moves occurred. This way you will learn a lot both about the underlying events as well as the market participants you will be competing against.
Example: Do not spend six hours watching the races. Tune in for the last couple of minutes before post-time, check out which horses are bet heavily during this period, then go figure out why. Ideally you optimize this process by building scrapers and programs that log this data throughout the day.
If you chose to focus solely on bonus rugging in the prior step, skip this and jump straight to step 4.
Step 3 is the step at which you are going to spend a lot of time, and if unskilled/unfortunate, be stuck on for a long while. This is the part of the process where you are going to evolve from an aspiring bettor into a successful one in possession of quantifiable edges. The bullet points below contain a subset of things to consider to succeed here:
Most important thing. You *must* bet/try out ideas with real money if your aim is to at some point turn professional. Researching is not researching unless you have something to lose. Your “study” of the market is undoubtedly not worth your time unless you know that performing it badly will cost you real money.
If you are serious about betting it is absolutely necessary to realise that betting is
Keep track of all your bets. Betting spreadsheets are available everywhere online, alternatively you build one yourself in Excel.
EV must be your god. -EV should make you hate yourself. Every proposition ever should be thought of in EV-terms.
Haven’t heard of EV? Our Betting 101 explains!
Autist note: Theoretically, Kelly is definitely more important than EV, but since the increased generality is rarely relevant in practice, EV suffices for most occasions.
If you would not randomly throw thousands of dollars on a stock, why would you do it with a position in the betting markets? If you can’t avoid putting on random bets for “recreational purposes” while on a serious betting path, close your accounts immediately and call 1-800-GAMBLER.
Note: You will inevitably stop enjoying sports in the same way as before as soon as you reconstruct your view of what betting is. When everything is seen through the lens of probability, teams, horses and goals turn into numbers and the question of “who do you think will win tomorrow’s game?” does not amuse anymore.
If you don’t get what I mean, you will by the time you find yourself pick up your phone to check how the Betfair market is trading the penalties in the World Cup final later this year. While everyone else is completely captured by the “extremely exciting” penalty shootout, you will be thinking about numbers.
Volume is key. Volume is everything. Do the math. With a ROI of 8-10 % (which should be achievable when you are still small and can take bets early + have access to multiple accounts) and a yearly turnover of $500 000 (or $1 400 a day) you are still making less than the median salary in the US. You gotta pump those numbers up!
To find your edge, you will need to both have access to and be able to understand data. Learn Python and work your way towards being able to scrape whatever information you are interested in (we will be sharing quite a lot of scraping stuff on our Substack, in the meantime visit Corey Schafer on YT for the setup/basics). Go on and study (applied) statistics and bayesian probability theory. THEN TRY THINGS OUT IN THE MARKETPLACE! Don’t just be another one of those modellers who always have tons of ultra-midwit opinions as a result of never ever wagering a dollar on their “statistically significant models”.
Read, read and read. Ideas inspire new ideas. Tons of betting books out there, just pick something up and get after it. LOL, just kidding, 99 % of betting books are complete garbage so you better be extremely aware of what you decide to spend your time on. Will set up a list of relevant material on the website sooner or later.
You now have, after tons of training, a (hopefully) profitable betting strategy (or you’ve gone all in on bonus rugging) which is printing dollars and you have recently begun betting it day in and day out. Everything looks great and as a daily routine you extrapolate your current earnings to remind yourself that you will have made it within the next 5 years. No clouds in the sky, the $-future looks bright!
Then a huge problem arises.
You’re trying to hit the +15 % EV bet but get an error, your maximum wager has been restricted to 4.13 $.
This is a common theme of the gambling industry (accept the fish, deny the sharks) and unfortunately there’s not much to do about it. Limits on sharper accounts have always existed and will always exist. Don’t complain, move on.
The solution to this problem is (at least for now, there are other ways as well) to begin using others betting accounts. Buying/renting accounts is a business of its own and there are some pitfalls to be aware of:
With probability one you will at some point receive requests from your bank regarding your transactions to and from other people. Therefore it’s better to prepare for this in advance by keeping a clear record of all the betting related flows that take place on your account. Then, when asked, you simply share it with your bank and you’ll (hopefully, see below) be good to go within 1-2 weeks.
Important: That banks are zeros shouldn’t surprise anyone reading this. If you’re unlucky they’ll just decide to restrict and/or close your bank account instead of actually reviewing things properly and to avoid being hit hard by such an arbitrary decision, make sure to always have a couple of different bank accounts (at least 5 in our opinion) at your disposal.
Taxes. Consult a tax advisor and spend some time to figure out what actually applies to your case. You do not want to be the guy “up” $350 K at 70 different identities not realising he owes more than that in taxes. (example: guy wins $15K using person 1’s accs, then loses $5K at person 2 → owes $5K in taxes with person 1, i.e. no profits). As a general rule, most European countries’ sportsbook winnings are totally exempt from taxes, whereas in the US the amount changes from state to state.
Be extremely, extremely paranoid when choosing whose accounts to buy. Since you will trust people with large sums of money you are better of just assuming everyone’s only intention is to steal your money/use it to finance their next round-the-world trip. Be well prepared for these scenarios. Of course, you *never* let anyone take your money (legal contracts, …).
If you have reached this step in your betting career, congratulations, you are about to make it. You now have profitable betting strategies (BR is included here), tax & legal matters in check and a sufficient supply of betting accounts with easy-to-beat bookmakers. What now?
Keep grinding and trust the law of large numbers. Whatever you do, keep going until you have reached your number (you do have a number right, anon?).
Expand your horizons. New markets. New models. New approaches. Betting exchanges. Offshore bookies. Asian books.
Hire someone and delegate part of your workload to free up time and increase efficiency.
IMPORTANT: Use your betting cash flow to set up another business from which you can collect a “real” non-betting income (many advantages).
IMPORTANT: Connect with other sharps. You now have enough experience to be worth sharing thoughts with, which should be used to your advantage. Strive to build real relations (don’t be the one trying to extract everything and provide nothing, bettors are not retarded) with others on a similar path. Most often these are win-win situations so definitely worth it. Anons online and/or ‘BILL BETTORS’ in real life (recommended), whatever suits you best.
There you have it, our five step guide to a successful betting career.
Of course, this is just a basic overview and there are many other factors that come into play along the way. However, if you can stick to these simple principles and avoid making some of the more common mistakes, then it won’t be long until you’re seeing noticeable progress.
Best of luck, anon!
Until next time…
If you strive for a successful betting career, you either become a paid subscriber or you do not. Regardless of your choice, we are thankful for your contribution in the financing of our operation.
Disclaimer: None of this is to be deemed legal or financial advice of any kind. These are *opinions* written by an anonymous group of mathematicians who moved into betting.