How much do professional gamblers bet? It is a question regularly asked by punters interested in how others make a profit from betting. The answer though, is not straight forward and the figure will be as individual as the person asking the question.

professional gamblersBetting professionally requires dedication and discipline, and any professional operation also needs to be adequately funded. So how much do professional gamblers bet? As with many such questions, it depends on many factors.

Betting tank

Every professional gambler or sports trader will be well aware of the risk of losing runs. Whatever price range they happen to operate within, losing streaks can, and will, occur. This is not something that could happen, but something that will happen. Any professional who does not have adequate funding to continue operating after a string of losses will have to go back to the day job, so one thing all successful professionals have in common is a well funded betting tank. Most will not risk more than 1% or 2% of their bankroll on a single selection. Stake size may even reflect the relative health of that tank at any given time – though staking plans can often split opinion.

Expected Value, Number of bets and Turnover

The next ingredients that contribute to the ultimate stake size, is the gamblers expected value from each bet, and their ultimate turnover during a given period. In order to turn a profit, professionals will have a positive expected value from each bet struck, this in turn will give a ‘return on investment’ figure when all bets are accounted for. Sports traders will generally hope to have a consistent edge of around 5% or 10% over the book, when viewed over a long period.

Each trader will then have an idea of what sort of income they would like to achieve, and the calculation can be worked backwards to see what stake size is required. Assume a football trader can find 100 bets per calendar year, and has shown a consistent 10% edge over previous campaigns. If they want an income of £50,000, the average stake will need to be £5000;

£5,000 x 100 (bets) = £500,000 turnover
Expected performance  = 10%, of £500,000 = £50,000

We can now see why stake size is dependant on so many other variables. Another trader may be able to find 250 bets a year and reduce bet size accordingly, others may want a bigger income or even perform slightly less well and only see an edge of 4%. All of these factors contribute to the final figure.

Returning to the betting tank, if a professional is betting £5000 on each wager, and does not want to risk more than 2% of his working capital per bet, he needs a fund of at least £250,000. Aspiring gamblers therefore need to temper that early enthusiasm and work with a staking plan that fits within their current means. Over stretching is likely to result in failure when those losing streaks hit. It is also true that punters need to monitor (accurately record) their performance over the long term in order to know they have an edge. Without an edge, stake size will only dictate how quickly money is lost…

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