Gambling Can Become Profitable But It’s Insanely Hard

You need a strategy, risk management and discipline to make money in gambling. It sounds easy yet 90% of gamblers fail in poker, sports betting and casinos.
Gambling Can Become Profitable But It’s Insanely Hard

Gambling is a 400-billion-dollar industry. This means there are 400 billion dollars to grab, placed by punters and bettors worldwide. That is the gambling pie. Now, grab a spoon and read how you can take a bite as I did for three years, by trading sports odds.

First, let’s say a few words about how the big guys work in this business.

The gambling industry is mainly made up of sports betting operators, casinos, and poker rooms. These are the industry’s big winners, due to how games are stacked against players. Bookmakers make money due to vig, casinos are guaranteed to profit due to the house edge, and poker rooms receive rake from every pot.

Total global gambling market gross win from 2003 to 2015 [Courtesy of]

If you want to win big and constantly, you need to start a gambling business. No other way around. You cannot take a bigger cut of the gambling pie unless you are one of these companies. Even the most successful poker players and sports bettors cannot compete with them in profitability.

Yet, these businesses are not one-man shows. Plenty of people work in the gambling venues, from dealers and odds compilers to marketers and public relations staff. They are real businesses with business plans that guarantee them a profit for offering a service to the public. That service is entertainment. Because that is what gambling is.


For all that people to work and get paid their salaries, gambling companies need big cheques and margins. Otherwise, their business isn’t sustainable.

There are two ways to accomplish that: by either having bigger-than-average profit margins or increasing their turnover. Usually, brand new gambling companies go for the former. As they build up their customer base, they reduce their margins to attract more turnover and compete with the big guys. By the time a gambling operator generates sufficient revenue and net profit every year, their business is safe, as long as they don’t fall behind to competition.

Then, it’s a matter of how many more gamblers find their service attractive. The more they do, the bigger the cut for the company.

Either way, gambling companies are after punters’ money. Those 300 billion dollars. Gamblers are feeding the whole gambling industry. Even in poker where at first glance whales (wealthy bad players) lose to better, regular players. Note “regulars”. Eventually, those regulars will keep playing, paying rake on a daily basis, giving a portion of their winnings back to the poker room.

So, here’s how to stop feeding the gambling industry.

Stop gambling!

If you have been gambling, stop. Unless you are a winner, you need to stop. And since you are reading these lines, you have been losing money. So, stop losing money!

So simple.

Now that your bankroll stopped depleting, it’s time to understand the ins and outs of the gambling industry. That is known as the iGaming industry if you are gambling online.

Size of the online gaming market from 2003 to 2015 (in billion U.S. dollars) [Courtesy of]

In gambling, someone has an edge. It’s either you or the man on the other side of the betting line. That usually is the house, standing for bookmakers and casinos. That edge is either predetermined (think of roulette, where you are paid 35-to-1 on a 37-number wheel) or fluctuating (think of betting odds that move up or down).

The best way to comprehend the edge is a coin toss.

Imagine you bet on a coin flip, at less than even odds. No matter your choice of heads or tails, you are going to lose money, in the long run. You are betting on a 50-50 chance but only get paid less than double your money on each coin flip! Depending on how much less you are getting paid, your bankroll will withstand a certain amount of bets.

So, if I’m offering you 1.90 (decimal odds) for each coin flip, your money will end up in my pockets after 200-300 coin flips. That’s how you have been feeding the gambling industry. And that’s what the house edge is all about.

But how do I know how big is your bankroll?

Risk management in gambling

Before you even think of beating the casinos or the bookies, you must understand risk management. Also known as bankroll or capital management, risk management will be the decisive factor in your success. No matter how much edge you gain over the gambling companies, bad risk management will make your betting bankroll evaporate.

If you are going to remember one thing from this article, note this:

Always risk maximum 1% of your gambling capital.

That’s easy to remember, right? Set aside a specific amount of money for your gambling habit and split it into 100 parts. No matter your gambling medium, you should risk no more than one part on each bet you are placing.

That’s pretty much it!

That would also get you in a safe distance from disastrous staking plans, like martingale systems. When the time comes, you’ll move up to more advanced staking strategies than flat betting, such as the Kelly staking plan. Until then though, stick to risking 1 per cent of your bankroll and you’ll be fine.

Remember that this rule applies to small and big bankrolls alike! So, your bankroll’s size doesn’t matter when it comes to risk. Size only determines how much money you will make or lose in currency terms.

Find a gambling system

Now comes the really tedious task of creating a profitable gambling strategy. Finding an edge in the market isn’t easy, I’ll tell you that. If it were that easy, and given the simple risk management rule I explained, everyone would be a winner. But you already know that only 5% or so of gamblers can make it pay.

In order for you to make money, someone has to lose. It’s a zero-sum game, where gambling operators also get their cut. Thus, we need to exploit the market, looking for leaks and biases, like the favorite-longshot bias . The average gambler follows specific betting patterns. You mustn’t do the same. Always do something different, always think different.

Be the first to … or be the best in exploiting a known fallacy.

Oh, and if you do, don’t let the world know unless you are after fame and reputation. Otherwise, your edge will diminish as more people will imitate you, and market finds its new balance.

Finally, don’t worry if your first betting system fails!

Be disciplined, stay on your toes and avoid burnout

So, by now you should have a viable system and know how much to bet on the next game. You are on your way to becoming one of the elite professional gamblers. What can go wrong?

First, you may not be disciplined enough to follow your own rules! Wouldn’t it be pity to lose money, after all that research and study? Yet, even reputable and notable sharp bettors may lose their discipline after a long losing streak.

Don’t be that guy.

Trust your proven strategy, stick to your risk management plan and always be prepared for variance. Embrace the drawdown and never question yourself at tough times, as long as you are doing everything by the book.

By the time you experience several months or years of successful gambling, there’s a big chance you feel… bored! Yes, believe it or not, no matter how much money you are making, doing the same, dull thing every single day, will get you bored. At first, making money from gambling seems like a dream. But like in every other business, routine will take the pleasure away.

Find the missed fun, by exploiting new markets, trying something new or improve your methods.

Finally, burnout is a serious hazard in all kinds of successful gambling. Take breaks, go on holidays, and enjoy your profits and hard work. Don’t let gambling consume you, no matter how big you are winning.

Enjoy life, because in the end, isn’t that the meaning of living?

Let’s not hurry things up though. Most probably, you’re having a difficult time to break even to say the least. Winning in the long run seems too far away at the moment. Don’t despair. Stop gambling your money away, find an edge, forward test your system in paper and when you feel ready, do not risk more than 1% of your bankroll. I am sure, we’ll be hearing from you soon!

You can find the five most recent articles I wrote about gambling here.