Do you dream of winning the World Series of Poker? Does “777” make you think of a slot jackpot instead of a wide-body airplane? Do you never miss the yearly Superbowl betting pool at the office? Do you love movies like The Hustler and Rounders? Do you go to the racetrack fantasizing about a 99-1 long shot coming in on your $2.00 bet? Did you love the Croupier entry on this blog?
If the above sounds familiar, then a) we have a lot in common; and b) you’ve probably dreamed once or twice about giving it all up and becoming a professional gambler.
Today’s interview is with a “punter” from the UK, Matt of punt.com, a fascinating gambling blog that I’ve been enjoying a lot lately. While Matt primarily makes his income from online sports betting, his site is a great resource for learning more about the theory and psychology of all types of gambling.
Cool Jobster Matt is here to give us a peek into a world that so many of us have thought about, but so few of us have actually entered: the world of the professional gambler.
When people ask you “what do you do?” how do you describe your job?
I say I am a ‘day trader’, just to make what I do seem an ounce more normal (and acceptable) than what I really do, which is I’m a professional gambler. For those people that are interested after that I usually fess up and describe more accurately what I do, which is bet on various sports while they are happening. This sounds risky and many people are probably thinking right now, this guy is a chancer! Well, I am, but I also really know what I’m doing (I hope) and that is I trade back and forth betting on both players (in the case of a tennis match) at various points in the match to trade a profit as the odds move. Confused yet ? That’s why I say I’m a ‘day trader’, because what I do is exactly the same as anyone trading the stock exchange… it’s just my market, is tennis matches instead of the Nasdaq. Believe me when I say it is all maths, probability, statistics and a numbers game, not at all betting and hoping to win. Some will be wondering how I can compare the stock exchange, I use a ‘betting exchange’, I exchange bets with other people on these exchanges, some of which handle more transactions than the stock markets.
What are the things about your job that you love?
I am my own boss, I work from home, I take time off when I feel like it and there is plenty of downtime to take holidays… I’m a master of my own destiny, I’m lucky to be in such a position.
What are the things about your job that you hate?
I might copy and paste in some of my answer to number 2 ! hehe I work alone, at home without much contact with other people. It’s a solitary job, sometimes you are working for hours on end and you lose money – you have to deal with this is a way that is professional and not in a way that 99.9% of people find natural, which is to try to get it back. Because I work at home, it’s difficult not to stay on the job 24/7, you have to manage yourself really well. I have to say, it’s quite boring in fact and maybe not as ‘cool’ as many would think.
What education, training, vocation or just plain luck would someone have to
have in order to get a job like yours?
You need good maths skills, you need knowledge of how to trade financial instruments and most importantly the psychology of doing so. You need some money to begin with that you don’t mind losing, and then you need focus, concentration and discipline.. very, very few people ever get to a point where they can do this professionally.
What is the funniest story you can think of that involves your professional
training or your job?
Hmmm, this is a tough one. Probably when I was still working in my old job, but trading at the same time, at work! Sometimes it was quiet, so my boss would allow me to trade and he would watch… I have him to thank for getting me involved in this, I was always better at it than him however. One morning I was trading and got incredibly lucky, in literally 2 minutes I made 2 months of my old salary while my boss was watching! He was quite sick at what I had just done, me – I was jumping around the shop we worked in scaring off the customers :)) Not long after that I gave up my job…
I want to also say that to anyone ever thinking about trying this job out, don’t! Seriously, it is incredibly difficult to accomplish psychologically without a lot of training… gambling is not something I recommend anyone to ever do, most people do not understand the maths of it or the risks beyond just the money they are putting on their first bet. Leave it to those that do it for a living and be happy in the fact that you can’t lose !