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Author Topic: Is it possible to "work" as a gambler and live off the profits?  (Read 12641 times)
bit777
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July 26, 2013, 07:50:41 AM
 #61

You should watch The Gambler, with James Caan. Also High Roller, the Stu Unger story. 21 is a good movie, Rounders too.  They all resemble the life of the lifetime gamblers in different nuances. If you think you have the balls to handle such a life, then gambling as a profession is for you.
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mises
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July 26, 2013, 11:10:11 PM
 #62

You should watch The Gambler, with James Caan. Also High Roller, the Stu Unger story. 21 is a good movie, Rounders too.  They all resemble the life of the lifetime gamblers in different nuances. If you think you have the balls to handle such a life, then gambling as a profession is for you.

For an "insider's perspective" of the movie "21" see http://wizardofodds.com/games/blackjack/21-movie-truth-and-fiction/

I'd highly discourage anyone from pursuing gambling as anything other than an occasional pastime; it is a fool's errand to do otherwise.
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July 27, 2013, 06:47:14 AM
 #63

You should watch The Gambler, with James Caan. Also High Roller, the Stu Unger story. 21 is a good movie, Rounders too.  They all resemble the life of the lifetime gamblers in different nuances. If you think you have the balls to handle such a life, then gambling as a profession is for you.

I'll note again that with regard to Rounders, the only character in that movie any professional gambler should emulate is Joey Knish, not the Matt Damon character.  Also, balls have NOTHING to do with it.  In fact, it is absolutely to the contrary.  You have to avoid those "ballsy" bets like the plague.  Your bets should be based solely on an evaluation of the edge related to the percentage of your bankroll it will take to make it.  Are the numbers right?  Make it.  Are they not?  Don't.  Period.

"Don't got the stones? You ignorant punk. I play for money. I owe rent. Child support. I play for money, not the fuckin' world series on ESPN."  Joey Knish

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7NxEj4A1Cg <-- full scene.  Only worthwhile gambling advice ever given in a gambling movie.
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July 27, 2013, 10:10:46 PM
 #64

There are a few possibilities:

1) Play poker well. This is probably the most popular way, and thousands of people make a significant income just playing poker (keep in mind, this means millions are probably losing).

2) Sports betting. Some players are able to be profitable long-term here. I don't really know much about it.

3) Abuse casino promotions. Although this isn't really winning from gambling and is more just winning free money and trying not to lose it all.

4) Develop an advantage in a casino game. There are a few ways to do this: count cards, learn how to manipulate dice in craps, etc. This is definitely the hardest way.

Good luck!

Would say that 2 could include any events betting, sports is the most popular type.

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July 30, 2013, 08:17:52 AM
 #65

In games of "pure" chance, the house usually wins in the long term. Statistically speaking. But you can beat it in the short term. If you get a lucky streak. It does happen.

My Grandfather made a living as a young man as a professional gambler. But it was in poker, a game of skill. I guess he made sure that his skill was better than his opponents' skill.
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July 31, 2013, 12:19:20 AM
 #66

Games that don't have a "house"... or are PvP that involve at least a little bit of skill, where you can bet the winner (or loser.) ... some card games, shooting games, chess, ...

dondon
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July 31, 2013, 12:35:09 AM
 #67

It is possible to grind out an income with sports betting, but even then you will experience swings from time to time where you run hot or cold.
You can also make some money using matched betting to take advantage of free bet offers using a bookie and an exchange, but those will eventually dry up after you have made ~700-1k in profit. Not something that would sustain you long term.
You can also try arbing, but like others mentioned, you can get your account limited by many bookies if you just use them for arbing or leveraging their free bets.
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July 31, 2013, 02:26:17 AM
 #68

Only sharks make a living gambling.  Cool
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July 31, 2013, 02:28:25 AM
 #69

I think you can "grind" almost everything, even games of chance. But how patient are you? Unless you have a huge starting bankroll, it might be a better idea to do a different kind of investment (go gamble on asic mining companies for example).

And if you do have a huge bankroll, then it might be better to invest it in a real company (real stocks, NASDAQ, NYSE, Wall Street, Fortune 500, etc.) or real estate.

sevenVII
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July 31, 2013, 02:46:05 AM
 #70

Honestly, do you want to depend your livelihood on a throw of the dice? Also, say you are successful but then something changes and you have a string of bad luck.. How do you put that on your resume?
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July 31, 2013, 05:11:21 AM
 #71

How do you put that on your resume?
Safest to do it part time as a supplement to your income so you have something else to fall back on and don't have a 5 year gap in your working resume.
Would be pretty hard to explain what you were doing in between in a job interview.
bit777
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July 31, 2013, 06:37:24 AM
 #72

You should watch The Gambler, with James Caan. Also High Roller, the Stu Unger story. 21 is a good movie, Rounders too.  They all resemble the life of the lifetime gamblers in different nuances. If you think you have the balls to handle such a life, then gambling as a profession is for you.

For an "insider's perspective" of the movie "21" see http://wizardofodds.com/games/blackjack/21-movie-truth-and-fiction/

I'd highly discourage anyone from pursuing gambling as anything other than an occasional pastime; it is a fool's errand to do otherwise.

I am personal friends with one of the characters depicted in that movie, and he is still doing it in different nuances. In recent years he frequents Mohegan Sun/Foxwoods and cleans the casino for 20-25k every time he goes. When they visit Vegas, they play Baccarat and abuse the comps programs to get suites and dinners on the house, then they hit the bj tables for 2-3 days and take off with a lot of money every single time. They go once every 4-5 months. I can honestly say he is one freaking successful gambler. He can beat any blackjack game that has up to 6 decks in use in his sleep. And I know that there are at least 3-4 others around him that have a similar skillset and success rate.
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July 31, 2013, 09:32:02 AM
 #73

unfortunately NO, it will works if you are the house
because the house allways make profit of it, gambling just for fun only
IMHO
darkmule
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July 31, 2013, 10:16:13 AM
 #74

Honestly, do you want to depend your livelihood on a throw of the dice?

No.  And a professional gambler who is actually a professional does not do this.  He depends on his livelihood for a very lengthy series of rolls of the dice to tend toward average as the convergence of random variables basically breaks even.

Quote
Also, say you are successful but then something changes and you have a string of bad luck.. How do you put that on your resume?

Of course, you might have a resume so spotty that being a professional gambler is actually much better as an explanation for holes in your resume than even worse reasons you didn't have a job.

Beats prison, I suppose.
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August 01, 2013, 02:10:27 AM
 #75

...
Of course, you might have a resume so spotty that being a professional gambler is actually much better as an explanation for holes in your resume than even worse reasons you didn't have a job.

Beats prison, I suppose.

True, true... There are worst reasons. Still, I think having part-time employment during this time would be best under the circumstances.
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August 01, 2013, 09:19:45 AM
 #76

True, true... There are worst reasons. Still, I think having part-time employment during this time would be best under the circumstances.

During the years when gambling was my largest source of income, I was also lucky enough to have a part-time to full-time job where I could basically choose my own hours and my own work.  So if I was having a bad week (or just sick of it), I could do real work.  Basically, I was in a pool of people who transcribed court and legislative hearings like House of Representatives committee hearings or Social Security disability hearings.  While I had a general policy of never refusing the higher paying overnight assignments to maintain a reputation for being a reliable go-to guy for those, otherwise, I did what I wanted when I wanted.

I kept meticulous records so I could claim every possible deduction and paid self-employment taxes (and anyone who does not is a fool if they have significant gambling income because this kind of income basically begs for a tax audit).  You absolutely have to keep track of losses if you want to itemize them as deductions, and if you don't, you end up in the awful position of owing taxes on all your winnings while being able to deduct none of your losses.  (I once knew a poker player who went around to the horse track to pick up losing tickets for this purpose, but I personally wouldn't recommend breaking the law.)

There is also the option, for a winning player who is not approaching it as a business, of reporting it as some kind of hobby income.  The law is actually somewhat unclear on how to go about this.

So that is yet another issue about gambling as a profit-making activity.  You can beat the house rake and still end up getting screwed by the much scarier government rake.  A Vegas loan shark has nothing on the IRS.  (I would actually use slightly unfavorable accounting methods and overpay on the gambling-related income.  The purpose of this is that if they did audit me, they'd end up owing me money, and if they ever did it again, I could warn them at the outset that fucking with me would again result in them owing ME money and do you really want to do that?  Apparently, my paper was legit because they never did.)

Anyway, yet another unglamorous reality issue with gambling for a living.  At the end of the tax year, you end up with tax returns that you can't even pay an accountant to do because they're such a nightmare.
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August 01, 2013, 05:14:41 PM
 #77

When I made this thread I actually had dice games in mind, as I had profited just a bit, but after I made this thread I actually lost about 45 bucks, increasing as the price goes up. I've actually recuperated almost all of it, but certainly was not easy.

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August 02, 2013, 06:39:44 AM
 #78

When I made this thread I actually had dice games in mind, as I had profited just a bit, but after I made this thread I actually lost about 45 bucks, increasing as the price goes up. I've actually recuperated almost all of it, but certainly was not easy.

Well some people get streaks of luck that can last a while in those dice or similar games, sometimes can trick them into thinking they can win forever.  But it won't happen the edge is always with the casino.

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August 02, 2013, 03:02:22 PM
 #79

I played professional poker for several years up to Black friday.
Thus I can attest from my own experience that it's very possible to make a very healthy living just gambling.

However I only played poker, a game in which I had a clear edge against most of my opponents.
I did play other casino games like roulette, but merely for pleasure. Any claims in this topic of consistently beating regular casino games should be taken with a good grain of salt, as they are definite -EV games. But they can definitely be fun Smiley

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August 03, 2013, 11:40:13 AM
 #80

I played professional poker for several years up to Black friday.
Thus I can attest from my own experience that it's very possible to make a very healthy living just gambling.

However I only played poker, a game in which I had a clear edge against most of my opponents.
I did play other casino games like roulette, but merely for pleasure. Any claims in this topic of consistently beating regular casino games should be taken with a good grain of salt, as they are definite -EV games. But they can definitely be fun Smiley


You probably also remember casino bonuses, if you exploited them, or as the term was, "bonus whoring."  When Internet gambling was a novelty (and to some extent to this day), there were often lucrative deposit bonuses which you'd get and then be able to turn into real money by giving a certain amount of action or "playthrough."  Like for 20x playthrough with a $1,000 bonus, you'd have to give the house $20,000 in betting action.  So any game with a house edge lower than 5% is an expected profit.  However, many casinos have stopped being so generous with these offers, or specifically exclude the low house edge games like blackjack, video poker, etc. from deposit bonuses.  Also, they tend to kick you off for "abusing" the bonus (by making money on it).  I never had any of them refuse to pay on a bonus or confiscate funds, though, even when I got kicked off all the Cryptologic casinos for basically raping the shit out of their bonuses.  This casino network with a lot of sites in it gave a monthly small bonus for a certain amount of play, and one month, I collected it on every site betting the entire playthrough value, something like $500 or so, on a single hand of a 21 variant called Pontoon.  Basically won 10 out of 12 hands and that was enough to wear out their patience.

There's also arbitrage betting, where you find two sportsbooks offering odds such that whatever outcome the sports event has, you still are going to make money even taking out the house vig on both bets.  For some reason, sportsbooks seem a lot faster to kick you off for advantage play, though, and then arbitrage opportunities dry up.  I have also found that in many of these arbitrage situations, one of the sportsbooks majorly screwed up and one of the bets is actually massively +EV.  But since I generally don't know jack about sports, I stuck with the sure things here, usually.

Casino tournaments are also a very lucrative casino opportunity.  In these, which are often partly skill-based games like blackjack but sometimes pure luck games like slots, you buy a certain amount of tournament chips (with no independent value), sort of like in a poker tournament, and it pays off in real money based on how many chips you win in the game play.  This can be winner-take-all or have a pyramid type payout structure with a big first prize and smaller prizes for second place and on.  Since most of the people playing these, other than maybe the blackjack players, are usually just recreational gamblers, it is possible to have an enormous advantage over the field.  

Progressive jackpots are also often a source of +EV bets.  Basically, on every bet on an otherwise losing game like a slot machine, the house takes a drop that then goes into a jackpot that increases in size over time.  So at literally no risk to the house, they get to offer a jackpot that when it gets huge creates a great deal of excitement.  Since these are usually on extremely unlikely events like poker bad beats or some goofy 5 of a kind on a slot machine, these are rarely exploitable by a single player with a normal size bankroll and require some kind of team play to make a regular practice of exploiting.  

Anyway, I've never found enough of these kind of opportunities to be a reliable source of income by itself, since other than bonuses, they're generally occasional events, but they can make a nice change of pace from poker from time to time.  

There are also, of course, rare occasions when a casino accidentally offers action that is favorable to the player.  Obviously, nobody is going to tell you about those if they know them.
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