Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Psychology - can we control it's impact and effects?

First off, thankyou to the posters who left comments under yesterday's posts. Worth a read if you haven't done so already. Some interesting issues/suggestions raised.

Right, I think I need to make one thing very clear after yesterday's post. I am NOT thinking of jacking my job in to go full time punting. As things stand at the moment, even if I wanted to I couldn't, for reasons that will become apparent later in this post.

What prompted me to blog on the subject of going pro' was a comment I made last week about putting myself in the position where I could if I chose to. Getting myself into a position where I have the choice is going to take time. It will mean a) making profits; that b) can be ploughed straight back into the betting operation. 'B' could be tricky, as the income generated by my betting does come in more than handy with coping with the costs of everyday life.

The point I was really trying to make yesterday was that with job security becoming something to be enjoyed only by a privileged few, taking the risk of jumping into full time betting may not be the leap it once was. The risk part of the risk:reward ratio aligned to such a move has and is decreasing. People giving up a salaried job are perhaps not giving up as much as they once were, for not only are there decreasing levels of job security, but the ability to save adequately for retirement - even if salaried - is becoming more and more compromised.

Having said all that, there surely remains a huge psychological gap to jump if giving up the monthly pay cheque in favour of relying on the outcome of football matches and the ability of certain horses to run fast for one's financial wellbeing. I would also suggest that if we are to go betting full time to allow more time to be spent with the kids, etc., then spending all waking hours stressing about bets and losing runs might just take the edge off it all! There'd be no point in changing lifestyle if you still couldn't enjoy it, would there?

If we analyse the sources of stress when gambling, what do we find? Is it possible to identify specific sources of gambling-related stress and then do something about them to facilitate a life of gambling largely (but not entirely, I'm sure) devoid of the causes of stomach ulcers and tension headaches?

Possibly, is my answer. To my mind, and I speak entirely subjectively here, if you have a number of services that you have faith in, and you have a bankroll of sufficient size, plus funds in the bank that you can call on to act as a buffer to the inevitable losing spells to draw upon to maintain your standard of living for a decent period of time (perhaps two years?), then the stress would possibly be soothed. I can't imagine it would disappear entirely, but rather hang around, lurking just beneath the surface, ready to cause havoc given half a chance.

I'd wager (heh!) that the most common cause of gambling-stress is trying to achieve too much with too little funding. A betting bank of insufficient size or over-leveraging, perhaps. If I were going full time, I would forget about leveraging. I leverage my betting funds at the moment. But were I gambling for a living, the sense of security I would get from not leveraging at all would probably provide a rather snug comfort blanket. It would make little financial sense and would mean that looking at things entirely objectively, some funds were being under-utilised, but what I might lose from not maximising the impact/power my betting bank might hold would be countered by the psychological benefits. Possibly as confidence grew from making a success out of things, then an element of leveraging could be introduced. But as the biggest part of the battle, initially at least, is a psychological one, would this not make sense?

So, there's my solution, and therefore ultimate aim...to win enough to get to the point where there are a couple of year's living expenses in the bank and separate betting funds sufficient to not feel obliged to apply leverage. Getting to that point might be dependant to an extent upon profit-making, but let's not forget that I was talking about changing lifestyle. I guess people in my situation could gain a significant, if not the total sum of necessary funds from the process of "downsizing" that would be an inevitable (and desirable) part of the whole process.

I know from experience what it is like setting up a new business. Although the company I work for is not my company (err, obviously), I was one of two members present in the office on Day 1, the other being the owner. I was 24, had just six months' experience gained at a "big" company, had just taken out my first mortgage two months' previously, and my wife (girlfriend as she was then) had just quit her deadend job to start upon a "proper" career role. It was high pressure, but it was an opportunity. Would changing to gambling for a living, with funds behind you that were sizeable if not bottomless, really involve more pressure than that scenario sixteen years ago? Does it provide a real opportunity? Of course, all these questions are rhetorical, as I've not done it. There may be a few readers who have made the jump who are laughing their socks off reading this "shit", thinking I don't have a clue. And who would I be to argue with them?

I'm aware that what I'm writing here is only from my own personal viewpoint. Others may have bigger concerns and sources of psychological pressure when it comes to gambling. The point remains though - can these sources of pressure be dealt with sufficiently to make professional betting a realistic career-option, and one that is no more stressful (when we think about it) than the sort of salaried position that most endure?

Tomorrow, the practicalities.

Today's Betting

Not much by way of returns today. The Sportsman Racing had an each way selection come in second (Raleigh Quay - Ripon - 100/30 and 7/2) for a small loss. No success today for Winning Racing Tips (0/1) or The Market Examiner (0/3).

Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.3pts, -0.3pts.
The Sportsman Racing: Staked 0.5pts, -0.079pts.
The Market Examiner: Staked 3pts, -3pts.

Summer Of Football have a bet tonight in the Brazilian second division (never thought I'd see the day when I was playing in that league!) but as it doesn't kick off until 11.30, you're going to have to forgive me if I don't report back on that one until tomorrow.

Make the most of the evening sun. Looking at the forecast, it could be the last we have for a while. Probably until next summer in fact.


  1. Hi Rowan,

    I've really enjoyed the last couple of posts, and some of the comments that followed yesterday's.

    I've had the benefit of experiencing a big corporate job, followed by 2 years of professional 'gambling', followed by a return this year to a corporate role, so I feel pretty well qualified on the subject!

    One element of betting/trading that I overlooked was the self-employment aspect. No paid holidays, no sick pay, no bonus, no company pension contribution, no car, no annual pay award and so on. For anyone used to running their own business the step into professional gambling would surely have less impact, but for me I hadn't fully appreciated just how much I took for granted in the corporate job.

    More significant was the amount of time that I spent thinking about my trading when I wasn't supposed to be working. I managed to get myself into a pretty decent position in terms of monthly income and I had every reason to forget the trading until racing started each day, but it was never that simple. I mentioned in my blog the other day that professional betting/trading can become all-consuming. It's so easy to get completely absorbed in the job to such an extent that you don't enjoy your 'free' time as much as you would expect. Some days would be losing ones. I didn't have the mental strength to be able to switch off from a poor day's trading and enjoy the next morning on the golf course before work. I found myself spending some mornings analysing what went wrong and what I needed to do to fix it. Other mornings I would find myself researching new angles with a view to spreading my risk. I've just enjoyed a fantastic week's holiday with the family and have hardly thought about work at all.

    A further consideration for anybody contemplating the move is whether they can cope with the loneliness factor. Having worked with large teams of people for most of my career I found myself really struggling with feeling isolated from the world after a few months. This got progressively worse (as did the CV incidentally). Now, having been back in a social working environment for a few months, I know that trading alone in a home-based office will never suit me as well as being out and about. Yes I am no longer my own boss, but with that comes a degree of security that I didn't have whilst trading. You make the point that in today's economic environment every job has its risks, and that's true to an extent, but for me the balance tips in favour of not being solely dependant on myself for my living as long as I can make that last. I now have the support of a large corporation when things are not going so well, and I have my colleagues to have a laugh with along the way.

    All of which leads to me to conclude that being self-employed in any business wouldn't suit me as well as being part of a company. This is only a personal view and we're all different of course. One final point I would make is that I don't agree with the comment made yesterday about having to find your own methods to become a true professional. Whilst I did find my own methods, you are still a professional in my view if your main source of income comes from betting/trading, whether you're following tipsters or not.

    I look forward to reading your post tomorrow.


  2. Hey Mark,

    Nice to hear from you. It seems you've made the transition back into the corporate world nice and smoothly. :)

    Thanks too for taking the time to send such a thoughtful post - very much appreciated. I shall print it in the main body of the blog tonight and comment there. You address a lot of the points about the practicalities involved that I want to delve into.

    Thanks again,


  3. Hi Rowan,

    Interesting thoughts.
    I became a fulltimegambler 1-1-2011 and still am a fulltimegambler.
    I enjoy it very much but I agree with Mark that it can be a bit lonely, and the decisions you have to make on your own, you can never ask someone's opinion because there are no people who you work with together.
    A solutions is (what I did) it to find an other gambler(s) to share experiences... I email every day to an other gambler and that helps a lot must say! Sharing experiences is great and discussing a problem with someone else helps me also! A blog is good also, but you never know who is going to read it and with an email you know who is reading it!
    Mentally for sure it is tough, especially these bad losings are tough to handle.
    That is the hard part, the good part is the amount of freedom of course, to be your own boss and fill in the workinghours as you like, I really like that part!
    I usually work between 9.00 -18.00 , after that I stop working, turn my PC off and forget about betting and for some reason that works, when I watch TV for instance I do not think of betting at all, in the beginning I could not do that really but now this is going okay. Just make sure you have some distraction(s)!
    For me I have no regrets in trying to become a fulltimegambler... I still do not know if I am good enough or mentally strong enough, time will tell! But being a fulltimegambler takes time, probably a few years to be really good, for sure I am not there yet!

    I am following systems developed by other people, but I do not think that is a big disadvantage...
    These systems consists of a set of rules, I do not mind that someone else invented these systems.
    Making your own systems is a very hard nut to crack, you need very good knowledge of the sports and even than... you are completely independent of course but it is so difficult.

    I think the questions you have to ask yourself:
    What risk do I really take? If you would quit your job is it possible to go back to your old job if it does not work out, in other words how easy is it to find a job again if things do not work out?
    Do I have enough money to survive a certain period (at least one year, preferable three years) without salary in other words what are the financial consequences?
    The longer the period you can survive without salary the less stresss you will have...
    When I started I could survive three years without salary, that makes it a lot easier, less stressfull than 1 year for example, you get nervous pretty soon!
    Maybe you could send SBC an email and ask them about their opinion?

    I guess the most important part is to be realistic with your (financial) expectations...

    Rowan, I can not really help you in becoming a professional, but at least I have some life experience and can give you some tips which are pretty straightforward but better to mention.

  4. Hi,

    Like I said to Mark above, thank you very much for taking the time and trouble to post like that. Very much appreciated.

    What you say makes a huge amount of sense, especially the bit about having money that means you can survive without a salary, and I reckon the bigger this pot of money is, the better!

    It's great to hear that you've learnt to switch off after 18.00. That gives me hope, because as I'll be mentioning in tonight's blog, that is something I think I could very easily struggle with.

    Thanks for your thoughts,


  5. Hi Rowan,

    No problem....

    Well, to be honest I could not switch off my PC in the beginning, I watched my betfair account every minute (maybe you know what I mean :-))) ... but after 17 months that part is going much better now...
    But I think we all have to understand one thing:
    Being a professional fulltimegambler takes time, probably a few years to be really good,... but does not that count for other jobs as well? I started as a softwareengineer more than 20 years ago and I can tell you that it took me a few years to really learn the job, like all other softwareengineers too, you can not learn it in one year for example.
    The same goes for gambling, it really is a job/profession and it just takes time to learn.
    Every day you will learn and will get better...
    Having kids could be an advantage, you have your hands full with kids which is good of course...your mind will not be with gambling when you play with your kids I guess.