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Sarah J. Phillips: Is betting a real job option for the unemployed?

Betting with food stamps could become a reality if the economy continues to crumble.

My circle of gambling friends is partly comprised of recreational bettors. Betting has provided them a release from daily troubles, like quarrels with the significant other or a poor day at work. It’s always been a safer way to alleviate the pain than turning to recreational drugs, even though the government seems to think they’re one in the same.

If you haven’t heard, unemployment rates in the United States are sky high. Every time new jobs are promised, more seem to be taken away. Maybe Obama should use my reverse jinx theory and tell everyone there will be no new jobs and the opposite will happen. Just a thought since we’ve supposedly tried everything.

Unemployment has hit just about everyone directly or indirectly. Either you’re unemployed or someone in your circle of friends and family is. My group is no different.

Some of my recreational betting friends are now, perhaps dangerously, turning to betting to stem the lack of income. Before you roll your eyes and slam them for even thinking of this as an out for their problems, you have to understand that this isn’t their first resort.

The job applications have been piling up along side a mountain of debt. It’s especially troubling when you consider the fact that most of them are qualified and just happened to have been snuffed by nationwide downsizing.

Combine that with the embarrassment of having to pay for groceries at the checkout stand with food stamps and you start to realize the reality of the situation they’ve living in. As they say, desperate times call for desperate measures.

However, there are many red flags to their plans of establishing a steady income through handicapping. First and foremost, they have no idea what they’re doing. Gambling for recreation and gambling for livelihood are two very different mentalities.

A bet lost for a recreational bettor can be upsetting, but a bet lost for a professional could be the difference between steak and TV dinners. I play soccer for recreation, but there’s no way I could play for my livelihood. A hobby can’t become a career overnight.

Can I blame them for this shortsighted thinking? No.

Unemployment and a small winning streak has led them to believe that betting can be a career. With the job outlook looking bleak, this seems to be a logical decision. The key phrase in that sentence is “seems to be.” Everyone wants to be a Vegas Whale and live a story of a successful gambler who beat the books. The fact remains that it’s far more work than glitz and glamour. This is real life, not Two For The Money.

Could it end well for them? Possibly. As illogical as their decision seems, I’ve always believed that anyone who’s ever done anything great took a risk to do it. Does that apply to covering spreads? Your guess is as good as mine.

People always say, “Don’t get so upset. It’s only a game,” when we yell at the late-game fumble or missed foul shot.

If they only knew that quality of life could be dependent on the bounce of a ball.

Til next time, cover the spread.

--

Follow Sarah J. Phillips on Twitter @Covers_SJP

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Posted by Kushdoubt
2 years ago

Football - Arizona Cardinals/Green Bay Packers - total Over 19½ (-120) for the 1st half held on Aug 19 at 7:00pm [winner] ....close one!
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Posted by Vectorfsm
2 years ago

@sjp In any case, thank you for getting me to talk my fingers off about this sh*t because I obviously like to do it and you have quickly become "acceptable" in my book. I will now be checking out your content in the future.
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Posted by SarahJPhilli
2 years ago

@Vectorfsm: Very cool. I'm usually a little funnier. :) Have a good day.
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Posted by Vectorfsm
2 years ago

@sjp, good question...The problem is that the factors simply CANNOT be the same. If I have 2k, and I decide I want to make 20 100 dollar bets for my financial future, with sports if I don't have incredibly crappy luck then I should be ok on a 20 game sample. With poker, if I sat down with my $2k at a table in anticipation of making 20 bets (lets say the blinds are $50-100,) unless I have an INCREDIBLE amount of luck, I'm going to leave that table empty-handed. So the approach is different. In poker, I will sit down at a $100 dollar table in 20 different sessions, and within each of those sessions I have a tremendous amount of individual bets...lets say I play 200 hands per session...with the understanding of up to 4 rounds of betting per hand in texas holdem...over 20 sessions at $100 each, I have LITERALLY 16,000 betting opportunities over those 20 sessions to realize a profit margin (whatever over 50% winners im running at.) With this in mind, poker BECOMES a very solid option, because even though there are crazy swings, you get more chances. So to answer your question...I'll go with poker. The only thing that I can really see on the side of sports is that it takes A LOT less time to make 20 bets than it does to play 4000 hands.
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Posted by SarahJPhilli
2 years ago

@Vectorfsm: We're in agreement that poker would be a better route. However, in reality, all factors are usually not the same, and learning poker takes time. As they say, time is money. I think individuals are more likely to turn to sports betting in this down economy, and results may be ugly.
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Posted by Vectorfsm
2 years ago

Which is exactly why you have more control and a larger betting sample to realize your percentages in poker...you have a series of bets/hand, with the hope to realize an over 50% scenario over time, but in sports betting, you have a much smaller amount of opportunity (or betting sample) to realize the same thing. But sports incorporates less luck than poker which is why I think it can even out.
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Posted by SarahJPhilli
2 years ago

@Vectorfsm: So you think sports betting is a more viable solution for the unemployed than poker? Assuming all other factors are the same (same level of expertise in both).
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Posted by Vectorfsm
2 years ago

@sjp...Well when you think about it, its really the same thing. In sports, you don't bet on a winner necessarily, you bet on the anticipation of a WINNING RESULT. For instance, over 8 runs in an MLB matchup. If I bet in poker, yet I'm bluffing, the hand never mattered in the first place---the only thing that matters is my anticipation of a given result, which hopefully results in a WINNING RESULT. You know what I mean?
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Posted by SarahJPhilli
2 years ago

@Vectorfsm: Kind of. If you bet on the Over 8, there only possible way of winning is for the teams to score 9 runs. In Hold 'Em, for example, your bluffing ability can bail you out of the percentages to win on a given hand. You can't bluff your way out of a Over 8 sports bet.
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Posted by Vectorfsm
2 years ago

I think that there are similarities between sports betting and poker. They are both based on the premise that you can bet with an expectation of winning rate of above 50% if the factors pertaining to your bet are accurate. When you factor in the many people that play in a poker room versus a bookie with a sufficient amount of clients, both houses typically expect their return to be justified by the "juice" factor (or the 'rake' in a casino.) I think that you have a tremendous amount of control in Poker, but of course less than most pros would like to admit, and I think the control factor is higher for poker players. Part of the reason for this is that EVERY HAND PLAYED IS A BETTING OPPORTUNITY. It's not just about a winning or losing session, it's about the 50---1,000s of individual hands that were played within each session. With that statistical advantage, it is a lot easier to more quickly realize, say, a 54% winning ratio after having dealt with the ups and downs than having, say, 50 betting opportunities a WEEK with each wager you may place on sports (which is obviously a high number.) The luck factor in poker is higher, but there is always an exponentially larger betting sample, thus factoring out luck A LOT. In sports betting, the luck factor is relatively A LOT LOWER, but the betting sample is fractionally smaller, thus increasing the weight of the luck factor. As far as myself, I don't play any casino games and I haven't spent any time in my life betting sports---I have just gotten a sense of sports wagering based off of my virtual (fake) betting. I have however played A LOT of poker. I lived on it for 19 months but I've been profitable at it for 6 years...what it comes down to is this...do you want to make key analytic plays that you don't have a lot of control over but doesn't require a strong reliance on luck, or can you leverage your control over a game to withstand the tests of inevitable up and down swings based off of a strong luck factor? I like poker but when I don't feel like thinking all day, I could see sports betting as a more viable option.
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Posted by SarahJPhilli
2 years ago

@Vectorfsm: In poker, you don't necessarily need the best hand to win the bet. In sports betting, a win is only a win with the correct bet. So poker is different IMO.
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Posted by Skubishack
2 years ago

I did it for a year and was successful at it. Currently I am trying to build a bankroll big enough to allow me to make the kind of wagers that I want to, and that were so successful for me before. The only way to come out on top is when I go large (2 to 5 dimes per game). It forces you to do your homework properly and not make snap decisions(picks). I wish you all Good Luck... I know people need it these days... and I know that I definitely need it. Thank Goodness football season is almost here. Later... PEACE
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Posted by SarahJPhilli
2 years ago

@skubishack: 2-5 dimes per game would need a 100K bankroll. I don't think individuals who have been unemployed for an extended period of time have that type of money. :-/
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Posted by dagrad
2 years ago

MacDoc has a bunch of BS numbers and calculations. As good and complicated as it looks.... He is using the 10% juice to come up with his opinion. Fortunately for those in the KNOW..matchbook.com's juice is only .5% and 1% respectively..thus making his opinion confusing and INVALID. So if you can average 54-59%...you can make a living, but the key is to be disciplined.
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Posted by SarahJPhilli
2 years ago

@dagrad: Very good point.
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Posted by TML_Fan
2 years ago

Am I the only one that's lost trying to figure out how McDoc calculated all of that???
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Posted by SarahJPhilli
2 years ago

@TML_Fan: It would be easier if it wasn't jumbled together in the comment field.
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Posted by OCALSPORTS
2 years ago

Because unless you have an experienced individual (professional) to help lead you per say, your not gonna last. Do you honestly know one other person who could play his own bets and win at a consistent level?
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Posted by SarahJPhilli
2 years ago

@OCALSPORTS: Some people have to learn how to fish themselves instead of being fed, ya know? :)
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Posted by Kushdoubt
2 years ago

no problem sarah, good to see things are going good with your site. I made my first NFL bet of the season ..took over 37 on the NE/TB game....loooooookin gooooood!
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Posted by SarahJPhilli
2 years ago

@Kushdoubt: Awesome! Cheers to a profitable season. :)
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Posted by yankees1913
2 years ago

@SarahJPhilli - I bet sports professionally, I have been doing this for 20 years. I still remember the old days before internet betting. All I have to say is if you are planning on making that leap "don't let it be a leap of faith and bet with your head not over it"
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Posted by SarahJPhilli
2 years ago

@yankees1913: Very cool. I've been doing it for a few years now, but I still have other income sources.
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Posted by texas-bob
2 years ago

People should always say "“Don’t get so upset. Your losing bet was a bad bet. Believing you lost by bad luck makes an undesirable situation continue indefinitely. Taking risk coupled with wrong beliefs = a bad romance. Obama should use your reverse jinks theory and make his bet against whatever idea pops in his head. Worth a shot. Very funny article.
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Posted by SarahJPhilli
2 years ago

@texas-bob: Reverse jinx. :)
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Top Response

Posted by SarahJPhilli
2 years ago

"I'll check on this throughout the rest of today (Wednesday night) and tomorrow (Thursday) to respond to comments. -SJP"