The life of a professional online gambler can be a fairly lonely existence if truth be told. Without the radio streamed through my PC I would go mental for sure. I know a few other gamblers well enough to be able to email them to share a moan about results and so on but generally speaking I. Why it’s necessary to keep a record of your winnings and losses The IRS requires you to report all of your gambling winnings for the year as Other Income on page 1 of your Form 1040,U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. You may deduct your gambling losses for the year as. Gambler definition: 1. Someone who often gambles, for example in a game or on a horse race: 2. Someone who often. Polina Suslova was born in Panino, Nizhny Novgorod guberniya. Polina's father, Prokofiy Suslov, was a serf of the Sheremetevs, but was able to succeed as a merchant and manufacturer.He decided to provide proper education for his daughters, Polina (a diminutive form of the given name Apollinaria) and Nadezhda.The girls had a governess, and a dancing teacher. James Holzhauer on Baseball Betting, Revisited. By Joe Distelheim. January 31, 2020. Before he was a Jeopardy star, James Holzhauer made his money as a sports gambler. (via Game Show Network Vimeo.
To the outside world, Mike, 32, was a happily married dad working in finance. Privately, he was battling an addiction to gambling, which led to over £110,000 worth of debt – costing him his degree, marriage and almost his life. Now in recovery, and working with Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM), here he describes a day in the throes of his addiction.
12.01: It’s payday and my wages have landed. Emma is asleep upstairs but I get my phone out and start gambling on online casino games.
02.15: Still playing. I’m on roulette. When that wheel starts spinning – whether I’ve bet £1 or £1000 – I get this powerful rush; a high that comes just before the ball lands. Whether I win or lose right now is almost irrelevant. I know I’m addicted to that chance, the risk. My balance says £5000, but because I’m doing it online, it doesn’t feel real. I know I’m never going to get that money, I’m just chasing my losses – and I need at least £30,000 to manage my debts right now.
03.46: I’ve lost all my winnings – and blown my entire monthly salary. I have nothing in my account for the next four weeks but I have rent and bills to pay, plus payday loan companies and loan sharks chasing me. The debt is crippling me. It’s fine, I’ll sort it tomorrow.
05.08: Can’t sleep. Anxiety is racing through me. Growing up, my family only ever gambled on the Grand National, but I remember lying to my parents about what I had for lunch at school when, really, I’d lost it on a bet with friends. At 16, I was betting regularly, but it ramped up at uni when my student loan dropped. That, along with the independence of living away from home – and a job working in a bookies – fuelled the fire. I didn’t think I had a problem, or that it was something you could even get addicted to. Then I won £980, and I remember thinking how easy it was. I started betting on any sport I could and buying scratch cards. When I saw a mate on an FOBT (fixed odds betting terminal) and he turned £10 into £100 in 60 seconds, my enthusiasm rocketed. Within months I was on the machines (playing roulette, blackjack and slots) for nine hours straight when I wasn’t working. Once I found the games online, that became my crack cocaine. Ten years later, it still is.
07.30: I’ve had a couple hours of broken sleep and the reality of what happened last night slams me the second my eyes open. I lie to Emma that I’m late for a work meeting – she’s already suspicious – and rush out the door without having breakfast. What time is the overeem fight.
08.50: Arrive at the office, but I couldn’t care less about work. Today is about keeping my head above water. I’m lucky I get to work flexibly and independently for my finance job but I’m abusing that position a lot these days. I just need to get any money I can this morning so that I can increase it at the bookies – gambling is the only way to fix this.
10.18: Productivity level is zero. I’m constantly distracted and can’t stop checking my phone. Every time an email or message vibrates, I’m convinced it’s someone chasing me for money.
11.55: I’ve spent the last 90 minutes firing 20 online applications off to loan companies. I’ve rinsed the normal means of borrowing – my credit rating is fucked – so I’m trying to borrow from people I shouldn’t. I know they have huge interest rates, but I just need my hands on that money – I’ll worry about the repayments later. Or, I’ll win at least something this month to keep me going.
12.30: A colleague asks why my hands are shaking. I tell him my brother is ill, and I’m really worried about him. He is, but I play that in my favour knowing it will give me breathing space. I know that sounds horrible, but that’s the kind of stuff I do now: I’m an expert in deceit and manipulation. Previously, I’ve asked close family members and mates to bail me out because I’d got into “a bit of debt”, and I’ve given them account details for a loan shark when, actually, it’s one that I’ve set up. I’ve told them I need £500 to make the repayment when, actually, I just need £200. It means I can use the other £300 to gamble. I put my gambling before everything and everyone else; including Emma when I steal from her purse, and my 18-month-old son, Rory, when I steal from his piggy bank. My mum has handed me cash, made me promise not to gamble it – and I’ve sworn on anyone’s life that I won’t, knowing full well I will.
13.05: Everyone’s off for lunch. I’m still not hungry. I have a couple of quid in change, and I’m going to head to a bookies. I know I can turn it into £1000. The most I’ve ever won is £3500, but I lost it – and yet I’ve still placed a 15p bet the next day and told myself I can win it back. Before I leave the office, I turn my phone off so Emma can’t track my location. I get why she does: I’ve lied to her loads about my whereabouts, or been caught out when I’ve gone to a pawn shop or the bookies. I feel like I’m living a double life. Constantly remembering what I’ve told people and keeping up with the lies is exhausting.
13.36: I didn’t win. By the time I walk back into the office, my heart is racing, I’m sweating and there’s a crushing feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach.
14.45: Pacing up and down in the men’s. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve escaped to the toilet today. I look in the mirror; I look awful. But this is probably easier to hide than drug or alcohol abuse. The signs are behavioral, not physical. My mental health is suffering hugely but I won’t tell anyone else – it’s too embarrassing, and I know people won’t understand. And I won’t go to the doctors, I know I’ve got a gambling problem – it’s taken so much to admit that to myself and those closest to me – but I’m not prepared to admit out loud I have mental health issues or take medication. That’s not the person I am – and I know I’ll be fine. I’m not afraid. I know I’ll find a way to sort this. I’ll play the people I need to in order to work this situation to my advantage.
15.37: My working day has gone out the window. My focus is still on trying to get hold of some money. But borrowing is even more difficult for me these days. I can’t get loan companies or sharks to send me money via bank transfer as Emma has my driving license, birth certificate and passport to stop me opening more bank accounts. I can’t risk her finding out I’ve had a relapse, I know she will – it’s a ticking time bomb. I remember there’s a ring at home – I’ll pawn it tomorrow.
17.30: Finish work and Emma WhatsApp’ed me. I haven’t replied to her last three messages. I tell her everything’s OK. It’s not OK – and we’re not OK. Last month I told her I’d kill myself if she left me. I won’t but I know that will make her stay with me. She says my addiction is a toxic disease and something I can’t control. She always says to talk to her if I gamble, and that she’ll help me but I never do. And each time I get myself out of a shit situation, it gives me the confidence to keep going. I’ve had every reason to want to stop. I’m experiencing the harm of gambling: I left uni without a degree because of it, I couldn’t get a mortgage because of it, and now my marriage is barely surviving because of it – but I’ve just not had the genuine desire to stop. Plus, nothing can stop me. I’ve closed bank accounts, I’ve tried getting exclusion from bookies, I’ve downloaded software to stop me going on online gambling sites. Mum has paid for me to go to hypnotherapy, but once I walked into reception and watched her drive off, I left and spent the money for the session on gambling. People might say the risk of loosing my marriage, or my son, should be enough to stop me but in reality – it isn’t.
18.10: Head to my second job in a pub. I’ve started working a few nights a week to help get more money. I also deliver groceries. I realise I need food so my mate in the kitchen cooks me dinner. As I eat, I check my phone – someone’s commented on a Facebook photo of me, Emma and Rory in the park last week. We look like a perfect family but behind the scenes it’s chaos. If ever I take Rory somewhere at the weekend, it’s always scheduled around the sport I’ve put bets on.
20.43: I’m so tired and the pub is busy. Can’t stop thinking and worrying that I haven’t been able to access any money today. I remember to change the passcode on my phone again so Emma can’t check anything when I’m asleep later.
23.19: Arrive home. Emma is up and we have a glass of wine. It still surprises me that I can take or leave alcohol. When I was younger and I got involved with the wrong kind people through gambling, I dabbled with drugs, but I’ve never shown signs of addiction to anything else. Emma seems fine but is asking a lot of questions about my day. The conversation is calm and I want to hold on to this feeling for as long as possible as I know within a few days a standing order will bounce and it will all kick off.
00.15: In bed. I feel beyond exhausted and hugely alone in my worry. A lot of people would say the opposite of addiction is sobriety. I’d say the opposite to addiction is connection. It’s a very lonely place. Whenever I’ve tried to explain it to those closest to me, they can’t get their head around it. They look at it though a logical lens, and say: “What the hell would possess you to take coppers from your kid’s piggy bank to gamble with? That’s evil! Why don’t you stop and think?” But in my experience of addiction, that logic doesn’t apply. It’s too powerful and destructive – it defies all logic. That’s not my thought process when I make these decisions; I don’t think like other people in those situations. But tomorrow I’ll pawn that ring and double the cash: Saturday is the best day for sports betting. I’ll sort it.
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Who am I?
My name’s Mat and I am a professional gambler. My background is software engineering, in particular software testing, and before that physics culminating in an MPhys degree in Physics with Theoretical Physics from Manchester University. Unfortunately ill health pretty much forced me out of work in the summer of 2009 and I have been working hard on my gambling since.
The earliest bets I can remember are an each-way on Nahthen Lad in the 1998 Grand National (racing prominently but fell at the 11th fence) and a couple of punts on Argentina v England in the World Cup of the same year. I think I had Batistuta to score first and England to win 2-1 and I put them on as separate bets rather than as a scorecast. Good job really as that match ended 2-2 with Batistuta opening the scoring with a sixth minute penalty so at least I got my first trip to the payout counter. Since then I remember having a few bets on the football of a weekend around the start of the millennium but I first started to keep records of my bets in the summer of 2003 so I tend to regard that as my Year Zero.
My betting is almost entirely done online these days. I can’t really remember the last time I placed a bet in a bookmakers. OK, when I go to a racecourse I tend to bet with the bookies or the Tote rather than betting online, although I do sometimes check the Betfair odds on my mobile just to see what’s on offer. A lot of my action goes through Betfair. That’s partly because they often (but not always) have better odds on offer but also partly because many of the horse racing bets I place are lay bets (backing a horse to lose) so I need to use a betting exchange.
I probably bet more than many other professional gamblers too. An average month will see me strike around 1000-1100 bets across a variety of sports but mainly on horse racing and football. I know there are pros out there who may not bet every week let alone every day like I do. They are the pros that wait for a good bet and place a large stake on it. That’s not my style for various reasons. I like the action I get from betting every day, and the idea of a single horse (or whatever) carrying a large amount of my cash damn near terrifies me. I prefer to spread my money around and have more horses/teams working for me. I am after a steady accumulation of profits (which is why I like lay betting as it has a high strike rate so provides me with regular winners) and like to spread my risk across multiple sports, systems and services so if horse racing (for example) is affected by the weather I have other sports I can work with to continue my quest for profit.
There are those that can take a racecard or a copy of the Racing Post or whatever and a little while later will have assessed the merits of every horse in a given race and come up with a probable winner. I have a lot of respect for those that can do that but it’s not my style. I can read form and interpret racecards, no worries, but my record at picking winners that way is not great.
I truly believe that the human brain can hinder thought processes as much as it enables them. It can raise so many “what if” questions that one soon gets so confused that the thought process is best abandoned. Take analysing a horse race as an example. You start with the first horse and note it has previously won over today’s distance, a good sign. But it has also been beaten nine times over the same distance. And the distance win came at a flat left-handed track and today’s course is a galloping right-hander. Plus the ground is heavy today and the horse’s win came on good ground. A different jockey is riding the horse today too. And the field is much larger compared to previous races the horse has entered. How many of these factors matter?
If the horse had raced a lot of times I would be happier analysing the form. Suppose it has raced 100 times over various courses and distances. Then you can start to form an impression of how well the horse perform on soft ground compared to good ground, how well different jockeys have ridden the horse, whether it is better on left-handed or right-handed tracks, whether it goes best after a long lay-off or whether it needs a pipe-opener before it’s ready to win again and so on. But horses don’t run that often and one is forced to base analysis on only a few runs. I am really not comfortable doing that.
My solution to this conundrum is numbers. I try to boil everything down to numbers. I can work with numbers, they are like an old friend and I am on very comfortable ground when I can view things as numbers. If something can be reduced to a numerical form then one can use those numbers to estimate odds of an event happening and can thus bet accordingly.
This approach means I often favour systems over tipster services. A system is basically a set of rules or filters that one can apply to some data to select suitable bets. For example, it may be that beaten favourites that lose by more than four lengths do better than the market expects in their next race. Knowing this I can scan the day’s racecards looking for beaten favourites, check the distance they lost by and if it is at least four lengths then I have found a bet. I don’t need to check the form of those horses this approach picks out, I can just back them blindly as analysis of past races has shown this trend to be profitable.
That’s a simple example, and I have no idea if beaten favourites that lost by four lengths or more can be backed profitably but you get the idea. For me it’s not about working through racecards analysing form, it’s about applying filters to the racecards and having the bets just drop out. All the hard work is in the analysis of past performances to identify these profitable filters.
Pro or semi-pro?
One question I have had to deal with from time to time is whether I am a professional or semi-professional gambler. It’s an odd question as surely the answer doesn’t matter that much. Being a professional is seen as being of a higher status than the semi-professional but other than that what’s the difference?
When I tell people I am a professional gambler I am sure they imagine I am risking huge sums of money and making a tidy profit off the back of it. Either that or they imagine I am an out of control wreck destined to lose everything. The second image is perhaps more prevalent in today’s society as when told what I do for a living people often ask “And do you make a profit?” Why would I do it if I wasn’t making money? I’m not an idiot!
The best way to describe my situation is probably something like I have a professional approach to my gambling, put in the hours of a professional but currently make a semi-professional income from my gambling. I will leave you to decide whether that makes me pro or semi-pro? I consider myself a pro as semi-pro implies I have a regular day job alongside my gambling which is not the case.
Examples Of Gambling Log
Why only a semi-professional’s income though? The reasons include risk aversity, portfolio imbalances and some good old-fashioned bad luck but I am working hard to address as many of these reasons as possible to take my betting to the next level.
Why am I writing this blog?
Now that is a good question. It’s almost entirely for my own benefit and most of the time I get what I want out of it whether you read it or not. It seems odd that I can have no readers but still be happy with my blog. That is because the process of writing and maintaining the blog is the release I need.
The life of a professional online gambler can be a fairly lonely existence if truth be told. Without the radio streamed through my PC I would go mental for sure. I know a few other gamblers well enough to be able to email them to share a moan about results and so on but generally speaking I suffer the highs and lows alone. Don’t get me wrong, I have friends and family around me but I don’t think any of them really understand what I do well enough to offer any sort of support when it may be required. So I have this blog instead. It allows me to gripe when things go against me, I can celebrate when things go right and I can generally natter about how things are going. If any of you want to chip in with comments do feel free though.
I have always found that writing things down helps focus my own mind. I think the brain has to arrange the subject matter into such an order than when written down it makes sense and in doing that it helps straighten things out. So as well as being cathartic this blog will help get my head straight and thus help my bottom line. At least that’s the plan…
Diary Of A Pro Gambler Twitter
It’s a poker thing. In Texas Hold’em the fifth and final community card – known as the river – can make or break your hand. And all too often I have seen hands broken by that damn river card and with that broken hand goes the pot I had been looking forward to dragging down. Thus my hand could be said to have drowned in the river. I adopted that sentiment for this blog as it just seemed to sum things up perfectly.