Jun 5, 2019
Jun 5, 2019

Betting for a career: Never have a number

How to budget when betting for a career

Why do people fail at betting for a living?

Short term losses vs. long term gains

Betting for a career: Never have a number

Many people who want to become full-time bettors will calculate how much money they need to win per month in order to live comfortably. In his latest article, Adam Chernoff explains why picking and sticking to this ‘magic number’ isn’t always the best strategy.

“Ok, I take home $5,000 per month, my living expenses are $2,300 and my wife takes home $1,800. That means if I quit my job to bet on sports, I am going to have to make at least $500 to keep to lights on, and another $2,000 to live comfortably. I could put $15,000 together in a betting bankroll, which means to make $500 a month, I need to return 3% at a minimum and anything above is a bonus.”

I am sure many people reading this had a similar process play out in their mind at one point before. The idea of betting sports for a living is extremely alluring but leaving a stable job opportunity to pursue a life if betting is not something often recommended.

Having a number is a big reason why many people who try to make a living off of betting markets fail in the short term

For those that do take the leap, the first place they tend to begin is determining what "the number" is required to live each month.

The idea of determining a number makes sense. Most people have a budget which is equal to the amount of money they want to live comfortably each month.

Most people would not consider leaving their current job for one that pays them an amount of money less than the number needed to live comfortably. When it comes to the consideration of earning income from betting, the same comparison is often made.

The problem is that having a number is much more of a detriment or anchor than it is a goal. Having a number is a big reason why many people who try to make a living off of betting markets fail in the short term.

Having a number forces action

Sports betting markets do not run on a calendar. Betting opportunities do not get better or worse depending on the time of the month. If a bettor is tied to a number and is falling short due to losses, the temptation to force wagers towards the end of the month to reach the goal becomes very real.

If every month there is a required target to live, it is next to impossible for anyone to keep a cool head if they are experiencing negative variance and are below expectation for the month.

Having a number prevents maximization

If a bettor has a number they are always anchored to it. The flip side of forcing action is becoming passive. Not betting enough can be much more detrimental to a betting bankroll than betting too much, and it is much easier to fall victim to it.

 If there is a monetary goal each month and the early days go well with several wins, becoming passive and not maximizing wagers in fear of undoing the progress and missing a goal already achieved will often prevent further success.

Having a number can encourage a false sense of reward

It is human nature to put effort towards reaching a target and feeling great about accomplishment. In sports betting, a bettor can often be making very good bets but experiencing poor results.

Or, on the flip side, a bettor can be making very poor bets but getting lucky. If a bettor has a number, the overall success will determined by how often the number is hit.

If you can work towards focusing your energy on your process and edge you will soon never need to think about your number, ever again

This is an easy way to fall into a false sense of reward and sure way to take the focus off of the betting process.

Unfortunately, not having a number is a very challenging thing for most new bettors to do. When I first started betting, I was married to a number ever month. It made me a complete mental headcase, tied in emotionally to the results of my wagers.

It took me a couple of years to work past the point of thinking about my number and focusing on my betting process and identifying an edge. If you are in the same spot, I can assure you, it is not easy.

But, if you can work towards focusing your energy on your process and edge you will soon never need to think about your number, ever again. 
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