A guide to professional gambling
A sharp Armani suit, a fat stack of chips, delicate glasses of bubbling champagne: the glamorous image of the professional casino gambler looms large over our pop-cultural psyche and can be hard to separate from reality. Real life is different from the movies, and poker players do not always look like James Bond. Yet there is a strong community of professionals who make their living through gambling, and the fantasy of becoming a professional gambler is more achievable than you may think – sans shaken martini, maybe.
What is professional gambling?
Before you reach the casino, it might be good to figure out what exactly a professional gambler is. There is no official licence required to define oneself as a professional gambler, or any university degree to take before you get your first-class honours Gambling BA. To be a professional gambler, a person simply has to make gambling earnings their primary source of income. Whether you’re betting on horses, counting cards at a blackjack table or perfecting your poker face at a brick-and-mortar casino, if you’re able to make your living from it, then you have what it takes to be a pro.
Why go pro?
At this point, you might ask yourself why? What are the benefits? What about gambling attracts so many to it as a profession? Why should I become a professional gambler?
No profession is entirely easy, but there are many enticing qualities to professional gambling that make it appealing to others. While there isn’t a 100% guarantee that a person will be a successful gambler, many gamblers do earn a lucrative yearly wage, making it an attractive option. Skilled gamblers can win themselves a budget that some celebrities might be envious of. The tempting possibility of having a luxurious lifestyle through gambling is a large part of its appeal.
As well as this, a considerable draw to gambling is the freedom it provides as a profession. You become your own boss – you work when you want, where you want, however you want. It allows you to travel to glitzy casinos in far-off lands, or to work online in the comfort of your own home. You decide how many hours you work and have more control over your hourly wage rate, if you have the prowess to win it.
Opulent riches and rock-and-roll lifestyle aside, gambling is not always an easy job, and it is a profession that is not suited to everyone. It can, at times, be a lonely and demanding career path.
One of the central drawbacks to professional gambling is the sheer difficulty of it: it is a skill, and a tough skill to achieve. While this may seem obvious, it is paramount that a beginner understands that successful gambling has a lot more to do with hard work and study than it does with Lady Luck.
Another aspect to consider is the isolation of the job. You are on your own, both literally and economically. You will face financial uncertainty, loss, stress, and could even potentially get banned if you manage to succeed – the cards will not always be in your favour, and you will be dealing with that knowledge alone.
Steps to going pro
Do you still want to become a professional gambler? Here are some practical steps you should consider when starting out.
1. Have the funds
While it might seem self-evident, it is important to have your finances in order when beginning and funds in place to gamble with. If you are dealing with debt or don’t have enough cash to start, it’s going to cause problems down the line. Having enough money from the get-go to tide you over if (and when) the going gets tough is essential in this business and should not be taken lightly.
2. Make a financial management system
You have funds, but now you need a plan in place to budget your bankroll. Leave emotions at home when playing – risking large amounts outside of your plan on a whim could be your downfall. Stick to your management system and don’t lose your head, even on the bad days.
3. Choose your game
You want to be a gambler, but which game to choose? You won’t make much money if you stick with chance-based games such as slots and roulette, but there are strategic games that will benefit you long term. Poker, blackjack, and sports betting are all popular with professionals as they are based on strategy and logic, not luck. Arbitrage and matched betting can also be profitable options but are frowned upon by casino management – tread carefully!
4. Study the game
Luck is for casual players. As a professional, you need to know and understand your game like the back of your hand. Study the rules, the stats, the players, and then study some more. Gambling is a craft like any other, and if you want to go pro, then you need to take it (and yourself) seriously.
5. Practice, practice, practice
People don’t become pros overnight. You wouldn’t hand a medical student a textbook and expect them to perform open-heart surgery the following day. Studying is important, but you need to get to know your game first-hand, play around and grow comfortable in your abilities before hitting the big leagues of daily professional life. Spend some time practicing with low-stake or free bets to get that hands-on experience before committing any significant part of your budget – don’t jump in the deep end before you’re sure that you can swim.
6. Rinse and repeat
Stick to your plan. It can be tempting to veer off course while gambling, with superstition, high stakes and higher emotions being part and parcel with the territory. Don’t get distracted by the big losses, or even the big wins – follow your system and keep your feet on the ground by remaining logical and cool-headed. Continue to study and practice, regardless of the ups and downs that are a natural part of this mercurial lifestyle.
Professional gambling isn’t always easy, but if you stick with your systems, the payoff could be priceless.