Some years back a great friend of mine we nicknamed ‘Jocky’ – due to his uncanny likeness and build to that famous darts player of the 1980s, Jocky Wilson – decided to take his gambling to the next level and go full time.1

Not a decision to be taken lightly, but when it came to NFL and NBA games Jocky really did know his onions. He put the American NFL TV experts to shame when it came to match predictions. He soon built a nice betting bank due to his steady incremental gains brought about by his sheer hard work and endless hours of watching games.

This took time but eventually he got to a stage where he had enough of a comfort blanket (betting bank-wise) to take the plunge and part company with his long-standing courier job.

When push comes to shove the decision to go full time is made all the easier when you are completely confident you can replicate past gains and have the ‘buffer’ of a sizeable betting bank to see you through the inevitable downturns.

The next step – and an increasingly difficult hurdle these days for the prospective professional – is not whether you can replicate previous gains, it is more about being able to get your bets on, especially if using traditional bookies.

If your betting profits derive from the high end of the Betfair liquidity markets then you only have the commission to worry about and not bet restrictions. If your methods centres around using bookies, unless you have a network of agents much like many of the successful gamblers of years gone, to place bets then your only realistic vehicle for betting profits is Betfair or other exchanges.

So having established your method is profitable using exchanges only, the next question you have to ask yourself is – are you in total control? By that I mean: are you in full control of the selection process, or are you relying on any third party for your information? And who knows where they could be in a few years from now?

Having said the above, I do know a handful of full time professionals who rely on third party services for their livelihood and do very well. However, they have in place a strict portfolio mix of services they constantly monitor for signs of deterioration.

One guy who I’ve worked with on various strategies has a developed his own unique algorithm that helps him detect such deterioration from tipsters that has enabled him to become full time.

The algorithm he developed would alert him to suspend betting for a period when the program detects certain variables that indicate the tipster is on a prolonged downturn. He will then stay out until it is safe to start betting again when indications are the tipster is starting to hit their long-term average strike rate. Obviously the program can’t be exact, but certainly accurate enough for him to bet at the correct times during the tipster’s lifetime.

A pretty groundbreaking bit of kit that ensure he has been on the right side of the profit line for the majority of the time… or continually riding on the crest of a wave with each of his portfolio tipsters, at least!

On several occasions I’ve asked him to strongly consider making it for commercial sale. I’m sure this would have huge appeal as thousands of us at one stage or another have followed tipsters whether good or bad.

Recently I get the impression he is warming to the idea – but I won’t hold my breath. It is far more complex then I have alluded to above and such piece of kit would be every punter’s dream as knowing when to ‘start’ and ‘stop’ following a tipster before a huge downturn can be a problem. I will keep you informed.

The main point is he developed his own way of betting and making a living that suits him and him only. While putting his fate into the hands of others, he has worked out a way to make sure he is following the right ones at the right times. Let’s face it, there is no shortage of choice out there so he is constantly adding and deleting new tipsters on an ongoing basis.

If going full time is not a realistic goal for you, then part time is a very valid option. Again, maybe with the right portfolio mix of tipsters and strategies, or even if you want to go it alone with your own methods.

Many people who wish to be part timers start off as what I would call ‘leisure punters’, subsequently finding they have hit on a winning formula and one that has gives them longevity. He/she would then proceed to up their game in going part time and developing the enormous discipline this requires even at part time level.

In fact, many are happy with their semi-professional status as the diversity of work and punting suits them from a security point of view. Likewise, others having seen what hey can do part time up their game to full time. Make no mistake – these are very disciplined individuals and have to be when paying your bills is solely derived from this income.

Now on the flip side, the leisure punter who joins a service may conveniently overlook the importance of a betting bank simply because they are not relying on this money to pay their living expenses. If they were, you can be damn sure they would have this betting bank in place – and fast,. They also wouldn’t be so lackadaisical with their money management.

Most leisure punters will gamble on hitting the ground running when joining a service or following a method, and truth be told this rarely happens… as you no doubt have experienced.

Bookies deliberately target leisure punters for obvious reasons: they have disposable income they want to spend and are not overly irate if they lose it. This is evident my the sheer amount of ‘specials’ on offer, especially enhanced-odds Accas… the bets they know the professionals won’t touch with a bargepole.

Losing money every weekend is not a leisure activity for me, and therefore to those who are leisure punters I would say it is time to adopt the ‘fake it until you make it’ approach.

By this I mean pretend that you need this money to pay your bills. This will focus the mind and give you a steely determination you never thought you had in you. Try it, it really does work – although it may take a few weeks to get that laser-sharp focus.

Once this mentality kicks in you will be amazed at the results of how you carry on when in a downturn. It is a great experiment and one that will you become more defensive over your weekly disposable income.

I tried this with a few guys many years and they reported back how they stopped placing willy-nilly bets and soon their mind became trained on what is the most they can get back for every pound invested.

In summary…

If you are currently a leisure punter who feels you can now move up to part time status but lack the discipline, do try my experiment above to see how that could transform your betting profits even with your weekend punt.

Also, never, ever take the plunge from leisure punter upwards until you have the comfort blanket of a sizeable betting bank in place. One that can cover at least three times your worst drawdown from your past records.

Did you get on at 5000/1?

Finally, I cant leave without congratulating Leicester City as the stories just keep rolling in about those that backed them at 5000/1. I only had a £100 on at that price as the bookie wouldn’t let me have my usual £1,000 stake on – I wish! Even a tenner would have been nice.

Anyway, it is clear those that backed at that price were indeed Leicester fans placing their annual small stakes, loyalty bet. Of course, the major liabilities for bookies were the bets placed for larger stakes at prices of 100/1 when Leicester were still going strong mid season. No one believed it could carry on…

If you’re one of the successful Leicester backers then please do share your story. By the way, mine’s a pint if you’re asking.

And just before you go, click here to find out where we are with Sports Betting Pays third week results.