Meet The Perfect Punter
Racing Editor for bettingexpert. Always searching for winners "against the crowd" and trying to find the value.
What is the life of a professional punter like? What must he do to remain in the game for the long run? Today on the blog, Stephen describes the world of The Perfect Punter.
Throughout our Talking Betting series we have discussed the world of professional betting with a selection of pro-punters and industry insiders, in the process attempting to unearth the trade secrets that set them apart from the crowd and survive long term in the gambling game.
Today we imagine the world of the "perfect punter".
Our PP made the bold step to go it alone in his mid-twenties after spending his years following university in a variety of roles for a major online bookmaker. Here he gained a valuable insight into the habits of vast numbers of punters and saw the failings that led many to lose steadily over a long period of time.
He developed strategies and areas of expertise in which he specialised, and always dreamed of not having to answer to bosses and devote more of his time to studying and betting himself. When the company relocated to Gibralter he accepted redundancy rather than move to Spain and used the money as a starting "tank" on which to begin his existence as a "pro-punter".
0ur PP treats everyday as a day in the office at work. He starts early at 7am and closes the door on the outside world until 6pm. He is not distracted by phone-calls or interruptions that can blight so many people who work from home. His office is crucially at the end of the garden in a converted garage where he can shut himself off and concentrate totally on the pursuit of profitable wagers and trades.
Crucially he has two days off every week (Sunday and Monday) which he can devote as family time and a chance to do chores and admin. He never bets at all on these days. He has regular holidays that are planned months in advance and again is never tempted to bet during these recreational times.
He never bets at all for the sake of having an "interest", or when out in the evening in the pub. He plays strictly only when he can find a price that is bigger than he believes the real chance to be. The PP is happy to have risk free trades when he can, i.e laying his stake back at a lesser price before an event begins, but he does not set out to arb deliberately. He is happy that his judgement will be vindicated over time and is calm in his mindset that he is "right", without having the arrogance to believe that everything he does is right.
Specialising and Price Sensitivity
Our PP is interested solely in one area of betting. He may enjoy watching the football live in the evening and attend Test Matches in the Summer on his days off, but he will never bet on sports where he has no edge or purely to bring excitement to an outcome to which he does not care. He devotes his time to watching over and over the recordings of horse races, making notes on how every runner has performed and storing them on his constantly updating database. In the morning he will price up every runner in the races he feels he can price i.e ignoring races with debutantes in or gambling stables, and will formulate a "tissue" price on every runner in these races. He will not even glance at the betting exchanges before formulating his prices and will try to get a "perfect" tissue at around the 100% point.
The PP will be aware of all real-time events that can alter his ideas about certain races, i.e non runners, the weather causing the ground to change, effect of the draw etc etc. He must have his finger firmly on the pulse but all the time using the solid base of his carefully constructed prices. He is not sentimental in anyway and does not attach himself emotionally to certain horses he has bet in the past. His view is C0MPLETELY and T0TALLY based on PRICE, and it is this that guides him when to bet. If he has missed a price he will never chase it down and accept underneath what his tissue tells him is the "real" chance of success.
Accounts and Exchanges
0ur PP has found life getting harder and harder in trying to have worthwhile accounts with online layers. He has found more and more that he needs to be inventive in getting wagers on at the best prices, i.e playing in cash in betting shops or getting relations to open accounts for him. 90% of his business is now conducted on the betting exchanges, although he finds the 3% "tax" on his winning bets has a huge impact on his bottom line profitability and would prefer to have the win bets with conventional layers. This has become difficult because of the heavy restrictions placed on every new account he opens as soon as it attracts the attention of traders.
The PP finds the challenge of getting bets on one of the major negatives of being a pro. The firms are increasingly intolerant of anyone they believe to not be a "mug" punter and horse racing in particular has become a comparatively unprofitable arena for them. When he started he found it relatively easy to play in size. He now accepts that most of his attempted bets will be reduced dramatically in the few online accounts he has left. While this is frustrating, he does take heart that this is a mark of respect in which the layers hold his judgement.
Finances and Control
The PP remembers advice that an old pro gave him when he first started: "Everyone is a blinding player when they are in front. It is only the true professionals that still play the same way when they are losing". The PP never chases his losses at all and maintains a level of betting unrelated to an event that has gone before.
His finances for betting are in a separate bank account that he does not use for anything else. That way he can measure his successes and failures without worrying about paying the gas bill. The PP will review each month how his betting is going, without suddenly changing strategy because of a temporary blip in profits.
Again it is a totally a numbers game. The PP views his profits as a salary for all the hours of studying that he puts in. He is not after a life changing win from wild accumulators, but rather the steady grind of regular winnings. This type of strategy is far easier to deal with mentally for the PP. His confidence in his own ability is measured by a steady flow of profits rather than by blasting his way out of trouble and all the highs and lows that punting that way can lead to.
Keeping Emotion and Ego Out Of It
The PP is calm and measured in his approach. He does not scream out loud in victory or defeat. He doesn't feel the need to tell all his pals (or wife) when he has had a spectacular winning (or losing) day. So many punters put their "egos" into punting rather than their brains and the PP has seen plenty come and go out of the game. He realises that to survive and earn enough he has to be consistent in his approach and unemotional in his mindset.
Loneliness, Feelings of Self Worth and "Grass Is Always Greener Syndrome"
0ur PP is happy in his own company but is aware of the mental strain that pro-betting can lead to. He has seen his best pal return to an office job purely because the lonely hours spent staring at a computer screen without human contact drove him slightly mad. He fell foul to the "grass is greener" idea where he felt he was missing out on the "real world".
Many pros feel slightly embarrassed to declare what they do for a living and socially it can be hard to explain to people who have pre-conceived ideas about the type of person a "gambler" actually is. The PP has found the best cure for this wobble in self belief is to try the occasional rush hour journey with his peers who still engage in the "rat race". He finds that 45 mins on a rammed train in the morning followed by standing on the tube into town rapidly cures him of any ideas of returning to a "normal" job.
The PP enjoys the fact that he manages his own time and is his own boss but recognises that, to avoid burn out and fatigue, he does have to regulate his hours spent betting and trading.
The PP has reached a secure financial position and is confident in his ability to stay ahead of an ever-changing game.
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Great and funny post, Stephen!
Is that you, the perfect punter? And do you feel "embarrassed to declare what (you) do for a living"? Or is that something you would recommend to others?
Great article and moral fiber explained here :)
The "staying-cool"-factor is always a problem for tipsters as well as betting people
Thanks for the good read , Bettingexpert.com has many good articles as always.
Great read Steve. Such a perfect description of the upside, downside and demands of the lifestyle. Loved it.
very nice -_-