Ask a simple question – how do bookies make money – and you’ll likely get a fistful of answers, the most popular being a shake of the head or a shoulder shrug. Or both. The real answer is actually rather prosaic. They make money by setting odds on an event that ensure that they maintain a profit margin regardless of the outcome. This is known as ‘margin’. This is why odds on outcomes change as more money is wagered – the bookie is mathematically manipulating the odds to preserve their advantage. This is known as keeping the book balanced.
Clearly there are other factors involved, such as an intricate understanding of the sport/event in question, but essentially that’s it. It stands to reason, therefore, that the bookie is basically trying to make money whatever the outcome and isn’t relying on luck. Take it a step further and you’ll realise that it must follow that the bookies are counting on relatively small margins, often as little as 4% or 5% and that, therefore, bookies depend on large numbers to make their money.
And there you have it – small margins and large numbers. Or put another way, little and often. Simple isn’t it?
What’s this got to do with you? Well, if the bookmaker doesn’t believe in luck and is quite happy to make a relatively small profit on a wager – (in percentage terms, remember, little and often) – then why not you? If you want to consistently profit in gambling, then you need to start betting smarter. You need to retrain your mind. Start thinking like a bookmaker.
This is not as easy as you might think, however, for the simple reason that most people gamble with one aim in mind – to get in return significantly more than they stake. Understandable but, ultimately, flawed. Even experienced bettors make this mistake. And it’s a mistake that the bookmakers cherish and encourage. Consider this: why are bookies seemingly delighted to publicise the punter who wins £10,000 from his seven horse 50 pence accumulator? Why would they be so happy to lose so much money? For the simple reason that they know it happens so infrequently. They know for every 1 winning seven horse accumulator there will be tens of thousands of others that will lose, so it’s ultimately in their interests to encourage this kind of rainbow-chasing.
So that’s the message of this article. Start retraining yourself. When people bet on football over 99% of them will wager in multiples – accumulators to you and me. A 4 team accumulator, for example, or a correct score double, typically to return at least 5/1, usually much more. Test your resolve. Try betting in singles. Try increasing your stake by much smaller margins, 60% or 80% or 110% or the like. In those three examples a £10 stake will give you a profit of £6 or £8 or £11. Instead of saying that’s hardly worth it, start the retraining by saying a £6 or £8 or £11 profit is perfectly acceptable and you’re on your way. Next time I’ll tell you how you can take your new philosophy to the next logical level.
Oh, and good luck.