Dairy of a Pro - part 1
Hello Orio subscribers, I’ve agreed to write an article for the team at Orio Sports, providing information on some important elements in my betting journey over the past few years, to becoming a full-time Pro Punter. I want these lessons to help you in your journey to becoming a winning bettor and for some of you, a Pro Punter.
I am writing this under a cloak of anonymity for a number of reasons. My background, however, is something I can share with you. I’ve spent almost 6 years betting, but as a consistent winning bettor, approximately 3 years. Having worked at a bookies from 19, I got some early exposure to betting on Football. And let’s not make any bones about it, I was a losing bettor in those early years. Backing short favourites in accas thinking i couldn't lose, until the weekend when it all goes wrong! I’m sure some of you have been there. But as I was regularly exposed to losing punters with the odd shrewd face coming in the door, I knew who I wanted to be and who I didn't want to be. And it was proof, there was a better way to do things and that you can make serious money from betting properly.
I’d say I began applying myself to start winning, a year into my job. It started where most others did, I was “sharbing” (* arbing shop coupons) when not at work, and matched betting/arbing online. This was great education, as it taught me about the importance of price. But as anyone who has done this will agree, the accounts dried up quickly and the sharbing has become harder. It lasted a couple of years until it became obvious there was no long term path focusing on these areas. And that's when I started focusing on Football. At first, it was all team news, information in lower leagues from mates, and picking off slow or early prices (using what i’d learnt about markets arbing). No team ratings, no player adjustments, but it was enough to start winning. So here I was, I'd built myself a bit of a bankroll from the matched betting, arbing/sharbing and was grinding it out on some opportunities in the Football. But the more I read and researched, the more I realised there was so much more for me to learn to really maximise what I could take out of the Football markets.
It was at this point I found the Orio Sports Masterclass course (click HERE for more information) and it opened my eyes to the way the Pros are doing things. This was the information I’d found impossible to come by up to this point...How do you create accurate ratings for teams? How do you use the various pieces of information (Odds, Shot Data, xG etc) in your betting? And how do you do that at scale, so you can bet as much as possible, as profitably, to not just make a nice side income, but make this a full-time job?
The course really was a catalyst for me, and the support Rob has provided with his experience as a Poker pro, was pivotal in me looking to go from winning bettor to full-time Pro.
I took the leap and went full-time at the start of the 2019/20 season, leaving my job in July ahead of the season beginning in August (I primarily cover English/Scottish leagues). This isn't a decision I made lightly, and I will quantify some of that decision with you in this article. To my benefit, I am still young (26), have very little in the way of monthly fixed expenses (no kids or mortgage) and was in a job where my salary was easily exceeded by betting winnings. I’d also built a healthy enough bankroll. But these things were just contributing factors, the primary decision was made based on the projections I had made about my betting compared to my required income.
Before going pro, I need to factor in a few necessary levels of earnings to decide whether it was the right decision. My personal circumstances:
I need 18k per annum to have an income I'm comfortable with (cover basic costs and have some left over)
I want 30k (2.5k per month) to have an income I can enjoy (increase social life & holiday) and build the bankroll.
I want 40k+ to invest for the future, build the bankroll and have an enjoyable life in the present.
The question was, how much turnover do I need to be doing each season to ensure even in a below average year, I can still make the 18k income?
My combined EV across Asia & Soft bookmakers ~5%
Below Average year = i will use the 25% Percentile
Bet Count = approx 1000 bets each year
Using a simple Monte Carlo sim of 1000 bets, 1000 times, if i can get an average of 600 GBP per bet (600,000 turnover), my 25% percentile returns would be ~16k in any given year (median returns 30k).
I was comfortable with this, my average bet was already around 500 GBP and often there was some additional liquidity in Asia (particularly when I was betting lineup news). I was also confident that with the additional hours, my turnover would increase from looking at more leagues (I was spending about 20 hours a week on my betting whilst still working).
Using the above numbers, I was happy my betting could generate the necessary income. And remember, I'd got a big enough sample of historic bets as well as enough years and experience (+bankroll) behind me to take this step. Which took me on to the next part of the number crunching, could I survive periods of drawdown?
I’d done some bankroll/staking calculations and determined I had a 28% chance to have a losing month, in any given month. My “life bankroll”, i.e the money i had set aside besides my betting roll was just over 6 months living costs. So let’s use the assumption 6 consecutive losing months in my first 6 months as a Pro would be the end of me...0.28^6 = 0.05%
Big tick on that, I can be assured that it would be a horrendous run at the start for my living expenses to be depleted to the point where I have to return to work. This % was so low, I did not really even consider analysing the various permutations (i.e 1 winning month in 7, 2 in 12 etc) and what this would mean for my prospects as a pro.
And this takes me on to the last point for anyone to consider when deciding on turning Pro, what is the worst case scenario? For me coming from a relatively low paying, unskilled role, there are very few barriers in returning to the same role or similar. So when i calculated the risk and looked at the worst case scenario, it became a very easy decision to make...I quit my job and prepared my first season as a Pro…