Betting Habits of Professional Sports Bettors

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**Note – the following article was originally published by Dave Compton back in the mid 90’s. I met Dave through a website he used to run where he offered his football selections each week. since starting Bettorsworld back in the mid 90’s, I have had the good fortune of getting to know several extremely sharp sports bettors and others who make their living off the outcome of Games, one way or another. Many have contributed to my sports betting education, but Dave would be right at the very top of that list. Thank You Dave!


since my foray into the internet started Four years ago, I have had to adapt to an entirely new “type” of clientele. The old fax/letter clientele was carefully built over many years from a base of very sophisticated sports bettors who had a wonderful grasp of all the nuances and shades of the sports betting Game.

Unfortunately, the number of these types of people who come in from the net is infinitesimal. For instance I have NEVER read a post in ANY gaming newsgroup that I could be made to believe came from a “real” professional sports bettor. The true pros in this arena just do NOT scrutinize the net for such swill.

Before I continue let me give my definition of a sports betting pro. It is anybody who makes his total living wage from sports betting on the PLAYER side of the counter PERIOD. NOBODY that posts to the gaming newsgroups meets that criteria. TOUT services do not meet that criteria. BOOKIES do not meet that criteria and guys who have ANY other job do not meet that criteria. < Still true today >

Although less than I use to, I still deal everyday with several people who DO meet that benchmark. I have come to know and respect many of these guys through the circulation of this letter. So what does this have to do with money management?

Well most real professional players practices a VERY rigid form of money management based on the original Huey Mahl stuff taken from the Kelly Criterion. His bet size and number of bets per session is ALWAYS on auto pilot.

If his bet size today is suppose be $1200 then that’s what he bets per unit.

If his maximum units bet this session is 6 then he NEVER exceeds it.

In a nutshell, what REALLY separates the big guys from the patsies is discipline. They aren’t going for the big kill. They win and lose and win and lose but they are constantly GRINDING that bankroll inexorably upward.

OVER 98% of ALL the people who have corresponded with me from the internet site are “chasers”. They cannot control their money. Nearly every guy who tries to make it in sports betting goes bust because of a lack of discipline. They lose and they chase the loss. The have no “plan” to follow as far as the number of bets they make and the size of those wagers. They try REAL HARD for a while but sooner or later they just cave in and blow their bankroll. It is very sad but also quite predictable.

The following statement is an absolute truth:

There are MANY THOUSANDS of great sports “handicappers” but there are very FEW great sports “bettors”.

since I have been doing this so long I have had the opportunity to correspond with literally hundreds of guys trying to make the leap from AVocation to Vocation as far as sports betting goes. Of those several hundred, I have met SEVEN people that made it.

I can hear you now ; “HEY Dave, I know a LOT of guys who bet sports for a living ”

No, actually you don’t. You may know GREAT sports handicappers or bookies who hit it big year after year but you DON’T know a LOT of guys who bet sports for a living because there aren’t a LOT of guys who bet sports for a living.

It takes a very special person to develop the cast iron will that is required to make a living this way. Way less than 1% of all the casual and not so casual bettors I have met in my lifetime (and that is a BUNCH) have the confidence and self command to become real pros.

SO….. since your chance of becoming a pro is remote in the first place what are the things you can do to at least cut your losses or boost your winnings?

O.K. Here’s the scoop.

QUIT betting so many freakin’ Games !

Pick a unit size you are comfortable with and only bet that unit size this week.

Pick the number of bets you can comfortably affford to play at your unit size this week . DO NOT bet more wagers than that this week.

Keep a CASH LOG of EVERY transaction you make and WRITE IT DOWN. After every entry, check your log against your number of bets and bets size criteria. You will be amazed.

At the end of the week (Tuesday for most bettors) check your NET p/l for the week. WRITE IT DOWN.

If you are net LOSER for the week consider lowering your unit size for next week.

If you are net WINNER consider raising your unit size for next week.

DO NOT CHANGE your maximum number of weekly bets during the season.

That little list is really simple but not even nearly 1% of the people who try to do those things are actually able to do them over the long term.

That list won’t make you a pro but following the above criteria EVERY WEEK will loosely emulate what the pros do in earnest all the time. It won’t make you rich either but if your handicapping is even respectable, you will be absolutely astounded at the bigger profit or smaller loss you will show at the end of the season.

Over time, only the “grinders” survive.

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