Being able to make a living out of games of chance and gambling seems like a dream job. Images of turquoise waters and tropical beaches come in the mind: The fresh breeze at the seaside cools the advantage gambler pleasantly, who is taking a nap in a hammock under the palm trees nearby. Minutes earlier they bet some thousands of dollars, thanks to their laptop and internet connection, whilst they are enjoying a cocktail drink. Meanwhile, beautiful girls with great suntan try their skills playing beach volley somewhere not far in the scenery. Dreams never hurt anybody. However, you should know that things are not always as they look like in advantage gambling.
Recently, I was asked via an email message how much money I had in my pocket when I started my journey into gambling.
Not much, that’s for sure. Initially, I began playing blackjack counting the cards, as you might already know (read more at the about me page). My capital was €1,500 even though I had decided to stop in case it dropped to €1,000. I was 24 at the time. Although the risk of ruin was huge, I got lucky and ran into positive variance. I ran good. You should take your chances while you are still young and have plenty of time and options available if something goes wrong.
Concerning my capital for sports trading, my starting bankroll was even less. No more than €500. Yet, in that case, it was not a matter of pure luck. It was about me getting involved in something only a few had tried at that time – which I did well by the way – till the point competition surpassed me.
It’s simple as that: You do not need much capital in order to be successful when you first start. There, myth busted.
All you need to achieve your goals are persistence, willingness, and discipline.
Obviously, my 500-euro investment surprised my email friend. “How can that be, starting with such a small bankroll?” He asked. Well, €500 may be a lot of money for some people or just a few bucks for some others. It depends on the person. If you sit on a million, a 10-thousand bet could be a reasonable risk to take. Still, even if this is the case, why don’t you start cautiously considering you know almost nothing about the ins and outs of the game?
“And how did you manage to make a living out of this job? You must have been very patient,” my friend added.
Actually, one should not be patient but persistent.
I would probably need patience if I had to face negative variance when starting out, still knowing that my system will eventually yield profit. Advantage gambling is unique in that sense. You should have done your homework in advance, to understand what the worst or the best scenario of the strategy you follow will be. Or else, you are about to proceed blindfold and accept the outcome, whatever that will be. Chances are you will lose all your capital before you figure out what went wrong.
You need persistence to stick to your plan, to have a strategy and not divert into other options that may seem better at that critical moment.
If your actions do not bring you closer to your target, then they drive you away of it.
It all started in 2003, while still being a university student. I was searching the internet in order to find out how John Taramas, a famous advantage gambler in Greece, managed to consistently win at blackjack. “If he can do it, so can I”, I said. “He is not smarter than me”, I thought.
I studied and practiced at home a lot, hardly spending my allowance, in order to accumulate a small capital and begin as soon as I have learned how to win. I just wanted that and nothing else. I was focused.
My willingness was overwhelming.
Nevertheless, before you know it, casinos changed the rules whenever I was there betting, giving me a hard time. I was spotted and treated like an enemy. Finally, I was not allowed to enter the premises anymore. I was barred not because I had won a lot, but at the excuse of being successful and… young. Other players seem to second that decision murmuring: “… if you win a thousand at 24, what will be casinos’ losses when you become 34?” Well, here I am at 36, much different than I expected.
I had to stop blackjack altogether.
It made no sense going after a job that would make my life miserable. Besides, automatic shuffling machines were introduced zeroing out the chances of winning, or better, worth winning. Still today, some stubborn people continue struggling against the odds. They chase the wrong dream, which can never come true. Of course, this is what they have trained themselves for and this is what they continue to do. Nevertheless, I moved on. I did not want to be trapped, beset in an unfair battle, spectacularly spending what I had earned so far.
I walked away. I showed discipline.
The year 2005 found me studying and searching the internet for about 16 hours a day once again. For months, I was looking into the next opportunity that could come on my way. Yes, for 16 hours a day. Much like blackjack, when I played the game non-stop for 16 hours. Every night, I was going home just to get some sleep. After waking up in the next morning and having something to eat I was ready for “work”. This is the only recipe for success in any job, not just advantage gambling.
It’s called, hard work.
Nonetheless, I was found back at point zero. I was saving again money till I decide what will be my next step. I had to make my decisions. What am I going to do? Should I return to my studies at the university? Or should I carry on towards my ultimate goal? This is not an easy decision to make – dropping out of university – especially if you have no job, income or enough cash.
In the end, sports trading was my way out.
I started with €500. It seemed easier compared to blackjack. So I continued. For months, my whole life was moving around sports trading. I didn’t go out much with friends, for a cup of coffee or dinner. I had my goal, always keeping me busy. “This is my chance and I must take full advantage of it, for as long as I am able to do it,” I was thinking.
Why was time even an issue, you may wonder. The answer will follow.
People expect to win in gambling, poker and other games of chance just by reading newspapers and books for about one hour per day. They dream a comfortable living, entertaining themselves every night, enjoying their food at the most luxurious restaurants, just by pressing some buttons on their keyboard.
This is hardly the case.
There is no such thing as easy money in gambling, despite the rumors. Unless, of course, you are hoping to be amongst the lucky ten who win the lottery every year. But, obviously, this is wishful thinking. It’s about the “hope” that the gaming companies sell to their customers.
Are you prepared to cope with the sacrifices advantage gambling requires?
Are you ready to devote endless hours studying the games of chance? Are you ready to abandon everything in order to accomplish your goal and make your dreams come true? Are you ready to live a lonely life because of advantage gambling?
The job of advantage gambler is no different to other jobs. This is probably the reason why you are not already in that turquoise beach reading these lines! The risks are high. But so are the profits if you succeed. That’s why it’s called reward/risk ratio. Yet, only a handful of people is successful.
In your workspace you may be invisible if want to. Still, that won’t prevent you from exceling and climbing to the top of your niche’s circle. The more you are involved in this job, the more you love what you are doing and the better you define your goals and improve yourself. As long as you live and breathe for your job, there is only one way; up.
Moreover, in gambling you do not have to beg or complete chores in order to succeed. You are on your own, you alone with your money. You don’t have to report to anyone but yourself, since you are the boss to yourself. But if you run out of money, you are finished. You are sacked. And no “previous experience” can be included in your resume. Most people will say: “the poor child, gambling destroyed him”. And you would have no counterargument in your defense.
Competition is tough. Yes, you are alone at your office. But, on the other side of your bets lies the competition. You are in the same league as some very talented opponents. Do not let the rumors fool you. Your villains are not spending their time relaxing on a beach, having massages, waiting for you to take their money and reap the profits.
They are experts in their field like Billy Walters, Warren Buffett and George Soros, or Daniel Negreanu and Phil Ivey. And many others, you and I probably never heard of. Mysterious figures that do not seek publicity and remain in the dark, doing methodically their job behind closed doors at their offices, ready to drive you bankrupt.
This is what happened when competition surpassed me. It took me some time to understand that.
In advantage gambling, today’s opportunity may be tomorrow’s old news. What may seem a great discovery now, next year would be history. Your income is not guaranteed.
Are you ready to face such a challenge? Are you ready to switch games and career track from one moment to the other? Are you ready to acknowledge your failures? Do you have a plan B in your life?
If your answer is yes, go ahead and follow your dream. Your small capital should not be a problem. You can start small. But, I recommend learning how to prepare your cocktails on your own; you will enjoy your drinks alone for a very long time, confined in your room.