Should I become a Professional Gambler?

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new2bogle2
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Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by new2bogle2 »

At the moment, i currently record my wins and losses when gambling and pay tax on the net profit. I’ve gotten quite good at what I do and I haven’t had a losing year, though one could argue a few years is a small sample size. It’s more of a part time job as I have a regular 9-5 but it crossed my mind that becoming a professional gambler and counting this more as a side business for tax purposes could have some additional advantages.

Might anyone here be familiar enough with this or a similar situation to offer advice or direction?
poker27
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by poker27 »

In which way are you gambling? Slots? Sports?
Loandapper
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by Loandapper »

new2bogle2 wrote: Mon Aug 17, 2020 9:15 pm At the moment, i currently record my wins and losses when gambling and pay tax on the net profit. I’ve gotten quite good at what I do and I haven’t had a losing year, though one could argue a few years is a small sample size. It’s more of a part time job as I have a regular 9-5 but it crossed my mind that becoming a professional gambler and counting this more as a side business for tax purposes could have some additional advantages.

Might anyone here be familiar enough with this or a similar situation to offer advice or direction?
LOL. Couldn't think of a worse group to ask for support on that one. :sharebeer
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Ramjet
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by Ramjet »

I used to play a lot of no limit hold'em at the local casino, a few players I played with went on to make a living out of it but they had to uproot their lives. The stakes and action were just not large enough to make it worthwhile locally. Some thoughts...Do you live in the right location and if not are you prepared to move? Do you know your hourly win rate? Are you properly bankrolled for extended losing streaks?
CorduroyGivenToFly
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by CorduroyGivenToFly »

You can make *some* money playing 1/2 or 2/5 against tourists in some casinos if you’re really good. But it’s probably not a good use if your time, depending on how much you value that at.
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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by Doom&Gloom »

If your question is should you file taxes on your gambling income as a professional gambler, the answer is likely "yes" if you meet the requirements.

If your question is should you become a full-time professional gambler, the rule of thumb is that if you have to ask, the answer is almost certainly "No!"
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new2bogle2
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by new2bogle2 »

Doom&Gloom wrote: Mon Aug 17, 2020 9:29 pm If your question is should you file taxes on your gambling income as a professional gambler, the answer is likely "yes" if you meet the requirements.

If your question is should you become a full-time professional gambler, the rule of thumb is that if you have to ask, the answer is almost certainly "No!"
I was wondering if there are any tax advantages to filing taxes as a professional gambler (ie my second job) opposites fo my current situation of paying taxes on net profits ?
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by CZjc1330 »

Of course not! Especially if family depends on your steady income. Study statistics of professional gamblers, they aren't rich, live in hotels, travel a lot, broken families == and on and on.
Concentrate on your 9 to 5 job.
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by JonnyDVM »

What ? How are you betting sports right now? A few years is not a big sample size, but if you want to do it professionally as a side gig, sure go for it. I wouldn’t mock you. There are many people that do it for a living and do it well.
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Ramjet
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by Ramjet »

new2bogle2 wrote: Mon Aug 17, 2020 9:32 pm I was wondering if there are any tax advantages to filing taxes as a professional gambler
Not a benefit but you WILL be audited
J295
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by J295 »

new2bogle2 wrote: Mon Aug 17, 2020 9:15 pm ...but it crossed my mind that becoming a professional gambler and counting this more as a side business for tax purposes could have some additional advantages.

Might anyone here be familiar enough with this or a similar situation to offer advice or direction?
No known tax advantages to calling this a “side business.”
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by Katietsu »

Do you have enough itemized deductions that all your losses are being counted against your winnings? Most people these days, do not get to pay on just their net profit. This is because you must report all your winnings as other income, but only get to include your losses as an itemized deduction. For this reason alone, it is beneficial for most to be a professional as far as the income included. You can also deduct other expenses when it is a business. However, as already pointed out, you better be right on your classification. You are not a professional gambler, particularly with a different full time job, because you declare it so. The negative tax side though, is that you will need to pay self employment tax on your earnings which can be significant if your other job does not already hit the FICA limit.
Last edited by Katietsu on Mon Aug 17, 2020 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by Doom&Gloom »

new2bogle2 wrote: Mon Aug 17, 2020 9:32 pm
Doom&Gloom wrote: Mon Aug 17, 2020 9:29 pm If your question is should you file taxes on your gambling income as a professional gambler, the answer is likely "yes" if you meet the requirements.

If your question is should you become a full-time professional gambler, the rule of thumb is that if you have to ask, the answer is almost certainly "No!"
I was wondering if there are any tax advantages to filing taxes as a professional gambler (ie my second job) opposites fo my current situation of paying taxes on net profits ?
If you dig deeper, particularly wrt your state taxes, you may discover that paying taxes on your net profits is not an acceptable method. I can not emphasize enough that you should look at how your state taxes gambling winnings very, very closely. The time to do that is before you have accumulated significant wins and losses--and not simply net gains/losses.

There are at least a few good books on "taxes for gamblers." Check a couple of them out. Good luck!
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by whodidntante »

The advantage is it will allow you deduct business expenses like hotel rooms and Internet access if used for your business. You will be able to deduct losses without itemizing. It will also allow you to open a solo 401k, business checking, and business credit cards because you have a legitimate business.

The main disadvantage is self-employment tax, which is not owed on "other income."

Keep good and detailed records, as good as any other business would keep.

Now, for the question you didn't ask that I think is pretty important. You should know that whether you are better off filing as a professional gambler or not is not going to mean that you can file as a professional gambler. The controlling regulation is 1.183-2b https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/26/1.183-2

If you file as a professional gambler and that is disallowed, you're going to have to claim "other income" and itemize to deduct gambling losses, and your other expenses will be disallowed. My advice is to be prepared to do your tax return both ways.

You do not need to fear the IRS if you are right. It is fine to spitball in a forum, but consider getting professional tax advice.
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gr7070
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by gr7070 »

I play hold'em a couple times a year; have for decades. In fact when I first started playing hold'em was the rare game spread - 7-card stud was the common game.

I enjoy it, great fun. I'm quite good at it, and have read plenty of strategy and other ancillary things like bankroll management, etc.

The clear answer is no. Not just no, but hell no!

1. Just like so many professional pursuits to be a truly top player is quite rare. You are unlikely to be those few. Even just making a living is difficult for most all.

2. It's a horrific lifestyle. Physically and, often, emotionally unhealthy.

I only play a couple times a year and after a weekend I can't take the environment any longer - way too many self-destructive or exploitive personalities one encounters.

3. The mental skills required to be good at poker will enable most to make a fantastic living in other far more rewarding pursuits - monetarily and emotionally. And do so without the physically and emotionally unhealthy environments. I presume you have one of these (STEM) jobs; stay with that.

4. So, so many of the pros, even the ones that aren't famous, are degens. They become addicts.

Keep it a hobby. Let the winnings pay for a vacation or three and live your life in a much better environment.
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gr7070
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by gr7070 »

Doom&Gloom wrote: Mon Aug 17, 2020 9:54 pm If you dig deeper, particularly wrt your state taxes, you may discover that paying taxes on your net profits is not an acceptable method.
Yep! Almost certainly correct.

2+2 can provide plenty of info for your taxes.
BuddyJet
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by BuddyJet »

My short answer is that your current practice isn’t allowed as a hobby.

You really need to research the tax issue and I’d advise starting here.

http://claytontax.com/nevada/
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by mikemagz11 »

It depends on what you gamble. I attempted to become a professional poker player during/out of college. If Black Friday never happened, it certainly would have been possible. Having said that, I can't see how I would have lasted very long. The daily grind, swings in bankroll, long days/hours would have been too much for me to live a healthy life. I definitely think its possible as long as its poker related. Any casino games will run you dry quickly. Sports betting could be possible but the amount of people that can make it a successful profession is slim to none.
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by 7eight9 »

Can you pick 52.38%+ winners against the spread (-110)? Then you can be professional sports bettor. It sounds easy. It isn't. But some people can make a living at it. Or maybe your game is poker. I know people who have made that their profession. Perhaps you are an advantage player at blackjack. That is a bit harder as sooner or later you will be invited to count the spots on the dice.

Gambling is a hard way to make an easy living. There is an old joke in Las Vegas - (Q) What is the difference between a professional poker player and a large pepperoni pizza? (A) A large pepperoni pizza can feed a family of four. And there is a bit of truth to it. But the only way to find out if you have the right stuff is to give it a try. Best of luck in your decision.
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by Dottie57 »

Loandapper wrote: Mon Aug 17, 2020 9:26 pm
new2bogle2 wrote: Mon Aug 17, 2020 9:15 pm At the moment, i currently record my wins and losses when gambling and pay tax on the net profit. I’ve gotten quite good at what I do and I haven’t had a losing year, though one could argue a few years is a small sample size. It’s more of a part time job as I have a regular 9-5 but it crossed my mind that becoming a professional gambler and counting this more as a side business for tax purposes could have some additional advantages.

Might anyone here be familiar enough with this or a similar situation to offer advice or direction?
LOL. Couldn't think of a worse group to ask for support on that one. :sharebeer
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aristotelian
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by aristotelian »

J295 wrote: Mon Aug 17, 2020 9:43 pm
No known tax advantages to calling this a “side business.”
I am not sure of the legality of this, but if it was considered self-employment he could set up a Solo 401k and defer a portion of the income, plus get the QBI deduction. The downside is he would have to pay both employer and employee share of FICA taxes.
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by whodidntante »

gr7070 wrote: Tue Aug 18, 2020 9:44 am I play hold'em a couple times a year; have for decades. In fact when I first started playing hold'em was the rare game spread - 7-card stud was the common game.
There is a group of players at the VFW who live in a time bubble where hold'em never happened. They play for really small money though. A private club I play at used to spread it sometimes. I enjoy 7CS, particularly if we can get a couple of hold'em specialists to sit down and make the game worthwhile. :twisted:
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by bltn »

I m not a gambler but I had a business partner who played blackjack several times a year. He showed me a a list of instructions for blackjack that, if followed, would decrease the house s winning percentage to 51-52%. That makes blackjack sound like it follows the principal of reversion to a mean, like all sequences of random events.
I would think in poker , your advantage would be against less capable players. Bluffing is likely a skill. (I told you I m not a gambler and probably don t know what I m talking about!).
Reading the above posts, I think the first post by gr7070 might be the most useful.
I m amazed at the expertise on gambling I see from posters on this site.
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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by Doom&Gloom »

bltn wrote: Tue Aug 18, 2020 11:20 am I m not a gambler but I had a business partner who played blackjack several times a year. He showed me a a list of instructions for blackjack that, if followed, would decrease the house s winning percentage to 51-52%. That makes blackjack sound like it follows the principal of reversion to a mean, like all sequences of random events.
I would think in poker , your advantage would be against less capable players. Bluffing is likely a skill. (I told you I m not a gambler and probably don t know what I m talking about!).
Reading the above posts, I think the first post by gr7070 might be the most useful.
I m amazed at the expertise on gambling I see from posters on this site.
You shouldn't be. It's (almost always) just numbers.
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Watty
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by Watty »

Other than the finances and taxes I would be more concerned that going to casinos a lot during the middle of a pandemic might be a sign that you have a gambling problem.

It might be a good time to take a six month break and then reevaluate what to do next year.
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by inbox788 »

new2bogle2 wrote: Mon Aug 17, 2020 9:32 pmI was wondering if there are any tax advantages to filing taxes as a professional gambler (ie my second job) opposites fo my current situation of paying taxes on net profits ?
Besides writing off expenses and losses, you might qualify for retirement plans like 401k. Consult a professional accountant/CPA for expert advice.
Loandapper wrote: Mon Aug 17, 2020 9:26 pmLOL. Couldn't think of a worse group to ask for support on that one. :sharebeer
I think he's already doing it. It's just going thru the formality of putting it on paper (i.e. Form 1099/1040). Going through the formality of a business plan would also be a good idea, and under risks, explore if there are any benefits of bankruptcy.
whodidntante wrote: Mon Aug 17, 2020 10:13 pmNow, for the question you didn't ask that I think is pretty important. You should know that whether you are better off filing as a professional gambler or not is not going to mean that you can file as a professional gambler. The controlling regulation is 1.183-2b https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/26/1.183-2
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by lernd »

new2bogle2 wrote: Mon Aug 17, 2020 9:15 pm At the moment, i currently record my wins and losses when gambling and pay tax on the net profit. I’ve gotten quite good at what I do and I haven’t had a losing year, though one could argue a few years is a small sample size. It’s more of a part time job as I have a regular 9-5 but it crossed my mind that becoming a professional gambler and counting this more as a side business for tax purposes could have some additional advantages.

Might anyone here be familiar enough with this or a similar situation to offer advice or direction?
Who your wins/losses are against matters too. “Going pro” means competition will be tougher. Winning frequently at the local country club poker game is like dominating your local rec center basketball league.
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by fyre4ce »

Can you let us know what kind of gambling you're doing, and why you expect it to have a long-term positive value?

Edit: Do you earn more than the Social Security Wage Base ($137,700 for 2020) at your 9-5 job? If so, the payroll taxes on adding additional income from a side job (gambling or otherwise) will be much smaller.
mayday23
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by mayday23 »

Gambling as your only job gets a lot more difficult when you need to make your monthly nut for food, rent/mortgage, expenses, etc. The pressure from going from a hobby to full time is immense and cannot be discounted.

Do I make this -EV call just because i'm down for the month and kids need school supplies? Am i betting the over just because i'm chasing losses from earlier in the month or does it have CLV?
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by flyingaway »

I wish I could claim gambling losses in my tax returns.
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gr7070
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by gr7070 »

flyingaway wrote: Tue Aug 18, 2020 5:14 pm I wish I could claim gambling losses in my tax returns.
It's better to claim winnings. ; D
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by Seasonal »

The Biggest Bluff is an very nice psychology book told in the context of professional poker.
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by abuss368 »

I am honestly not sure how to answer on a forum related to investing advice inspired by Jack Bogle.
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by happytrades »

Here was my experience.

I was an advantage player at blackjack about 20 years ago. I just played weekends, but it was hard on my family life. After one year I was up about $70,000, which for me was quite respectable. However, I experienced an "aha moment" at the casino one day. I was trying to count the cards, watch the pit boss, not get distracted by the bubba wanting to talk to me, dealing with cigarette smoke in my face, and the annoying sounds of the slot machines.

The "aha moment" was when I realized that this was work! And if I was going to have to work this hard, why not do something else that I enjoyed? If I was willing to work this hard, I could make more money at something that was constructive. So I quit.
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by inbox788 »

Watty wrote: Tue Aug 18, 2020 1:18 pmOther than the finances and taxes I would be more concerned that going to casinos a lot during the middle of a pandemic might be a sign that you have a gambling problem.
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lernd wrote: Tue Aug 18, 2020 2:03 pmWho your wins/losses are against matters too. “Going pro” means competition will be tougher. Winning frequently at the local country club poker game is like dominating your local rec center basketball league.
Poker at the local level (and probably many professional as well) is a lot like tennis, where it's not so much about hitting winners but making less errors than your opponents. You can probably get pretty far just playing the odds like blackjack basic strategy, but it's a dull methodical strategy.
flyingaway wrote: Tue Aug 18, 2020 5:14 pm I wish I could claim gambling losses in my tax returns.
No you don't! You are allowed to claim your losses, but only against gambling winnings. So if you're a Professional, then definitely track this.
Gambling losses are indeed tax deductible, but ...
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by HawkeyePierce »

I love a good game of hold'em and I've been known to spend lots of hours at the low-limit tables at the Mirage when I'm in Vegas, but this sounds like a miserable way to make a living.

If you've got the stats skills and intuition to do well at poker you could make much more reliable money as a data scientist at a big tech company and just enjoy poker for fun, without the pressure of needing to feed your family with your winnings.
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by Doom&Gloom »

gr7070 wrote: Tue Aug 18, 2020 5:26 pm
flyingaway wrote: Tue Aug 18, 2020 5:14 pm I wish I could claim gambling losses in my tax returns.
It's better to claim winnings. ; D
You got that right!
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by flyingaway »

gr7070 wrote: Tue Aug 18, 2020 5:26 pm
flyingaway wrote: Tue Aug 18, 2020 5:14 pm I wish I could claim gambling losses in my tax returns.
It's better to claim winnings. ; D
It is impossible for me to win with slots, I consider it as purely entertainment and budget it accordingly.
TimeTheMarket
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by TimeTheMarket »

Not having a losing year is not a great indicator of a living wage or better.

What game do you play, how many make a living at it, and realistically what are your chances of that? Most gambling you can't make a living at, but some you could in theory as others do.

Short: probably no you shouldn't quit your job.
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gr7070
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by gr7070 »

flyingaway wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 11:38 am
gr7070 wrote: Tue Aug 18, 2020 5:26 pm
flyingaway wrote: Tue Aug 18, 2020 5:14 pm I wish I could claim gambling losses in my tax returns.
It's better to claim winnings. ; D
It is impossible for me to win with slots, I consider it as purely entertainment and budget it accordingly.
Very true!

I can't entertain the idea of playing slots, or any game against the house. The math-certainty loss would drive me crazy. Plus I just enjoy card games of all kinds, poker included. Cards are largely an exercise in math.

My wife enjoys them (slots)... unfortunately.
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by 7eight9 »

gr7070 wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 12:36 pm
flyingaway wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 11:38 am
gr7070 wrote: Tue Aug 18, 2020 5:26 pm
flyingaway wrote: Tue Aug 18, 2020 5:14 pm I wish I could claim gambling losses in my tax returns.
It's better to claim winnings. ; D
It is impossible for me to win with slots, I consider it as purely entertainment and budget it accordingly.
Very true!

I can't entertain the idea of playing slots, or any game against the house. The math-certainty loss would drive me crazy. Plus I just enjoy card games of all kinds, poker included. Cards are largely an exercise in math.

My wife enjoys them (slots)... unfortunately.
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Dr. Long
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by Dr. Long »

The higher the stakes, the better the players. The guys you are grinding against now as a side hustle won't be the same guys you are grinding against at a professional level. That's if you're playing poker.

If you're counting cards, you can't make a living at it these days. It's not like it used to be, plain and simple.

If you're playing slots or roulette and think you can make a living doing it, you can't unless you are willing to cheat.

If you're a general advantage player, be prepared to do a lot of travel, sometimes to places you'd rather avoid. Be prepared to skate legal and moral grey areas as well.

If you are sports betting, you can make a living doing this. This is one of the few professional gambling arenas you don't have to be the absolute best of the best to do it full time. Still, remember, a few years of past successes do not ensure a profitable future.

If you're gambling on FDs and finding great successes, remember that the last 10+ years have been the greatest bull run ever.

If you're gambling on something else not covered here, let me know and I may join you. Just kidding - Bogleheads.org is not the place for that.

Bearing all this in mind, I would highly reccomend against becoming a professional gambler. The mental and physical stress incurred often far exceed the payouts. It takes a very, very specific type of highly motivated person to be a successful professional gambler.
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by flyingaway »

gr7070 wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 12:36 pm
flyingaway wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 11:38 am
gr7070 wrote: Tue Aug 18, 2020 5:26 pm
flyingaway wrote: Tue Aug 18, 2020 5:14 pm I wish I could claim gambling losses in my tax returns.
It's better to claim winnings. ; D
It is impossible for me to win with slots, I consider it as purely entertainment and budget it accordingly.
Very true!

I can't entertain the idea of playing slots, or any game against the house. The math-certainty loss would drive me crazy. Plus I just enjoy card games of all kinds, poker included. Cards are largely an exercise in math.

My wife enjoys them (slots)... unfortunately.
I actually have a PhD in computational mathematics. But I don't want to use my brain in casinos when I am there to have fun. My wife also likes to play slots. So we have a fixed amount money set aside to have fun. I don't go to concerts, no sports events, no golf, etc. So I guess I should be OK.
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by flyingaway »

Deleted, wrong thread.
Last edited by flyingaway on Thu Aug 20, 2020 3:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by muddlehead »

Maybe I missed it. Scrolled through the thread. Did the OP state what his mode of super successful gambling is? Or is this, as I suspect, 5 minutes of my life I can't get back?
inbox788
Posts: 7606
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:24 pm

Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by inbox788 »

7eight9 wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 12:40 pmProgressive Video Poker can have a positive expected value --- http://www.videopokerinfo.com/progressives.htm
Very interesting...
Odds of Royal Flush according to google search is 1 in 649,740

1) If you play 649,740 hands, do you have a better than 50/50 chance of hitting a Royal Flush? Or along the same lines, how many hands would you have to play to have 50/50 chance of getting a Royal Flush? I'm pretty sure I haven't played that many hands of any poker in my life and I've never hit a Royal Flush. The best I might done is a straight flush in texas hold them, but I think the odds easier. (Not as much as I would have thought -- 1 in 72,193 video poker vs. Straight flush (excl. royal flush) 37,260 0.0279%; and maybe I never hit one -- if I was gambling real, I would probably remember it more)

2) How many hands can you play an hour? 60? That's still nearly 11,000 hours of play. You'd have to play years before you had any realistic chance of hitting it. It's a bit like being able to buy 10 or 100 lottery tickets with 10X chance of winning, which is worth buying, but the chance of winning doesn't significantly go up because you're still so close to zero, even though the odds of winning have gone up 10 fold. And the conditions have to be right, so even if it's 10% or 1/10 when the conditions are favorable (I'm guessing nowhere near that high), that's another order of magnitude decrease in odds or increase in time.

Also, 650k quarters is $162k that you have to feed into the machine, which is not an insurmountable amount. You'd expect to make some wins along the way, so the expected loss isn't the whole amount, maybe a quarter or half that (just a wild guess) if you wind up not hitting the jackpot.
Also remember that the odds of hitting a royal flush never change no matter how big a jackpot gets. Having said that, if the royal flush pay is considerably over the levels you see above then changing your playing strategy to maximize your chances of getting a royal can be a good idea.
3) :confused Aren't the odds different playing to optimize a royal flush vs not? I see my mistake now...That big number above is 5 card NO DRAW. With the draw, the odds improve somewhat. And it's not that the odds don't change, because the draw strategy does change, but that the size of the jackpot doesn't change odds, just payout.

So after finding one of these > 100% expected return, how much do you modify the play? Keeping the most AKQJT of the same suit maximizes your chances of a Royal Flush, but you wouldn't keep AT spades and throw away 3 deuces, would you? Or does that depend on whether the expected return payout is 125% or 500% or more?
Hit Royal Flushes More Often in Video Poker
A royal flush usually appears about once in every 40,000 hands when a player uses optimal strategy. It takes about 100 hours of single-hand video poker to play 40,000 hands, or about 25 hours if you're playing four-handed.
http://www.readybetgo.com/video-poker/s ... s-947.html
7eight9
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Joined: Fri May 17, 2019 7:11 pm

Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by 7eight9 »

inbox788 wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 7:20 pm
7eight9 wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 12:40 pmProgressive Video Poker can have a positive expected value --- http://www.videopokerinfo.com/progressives.htm
Very interesting...
Odds of Royal Flush according to google search is 1 in 649,740

1) If you play 649,740 hands, do you have a better than 50/50 chance of hitting a Royal Flush? Or along the same lines, how many hands would you have to play to have 50/50 chance of getting a Royal Flush? I'm pretty sure I haven't played that many hands of any poker in my life and I've never hit a Royal Flush. The best I might done is a straight flush in texas hold them, but I think the odds easier. (Not as much as I would have thought -- 1 in 72,193 video poker vs. Straight flush (excl. royal flush) 37,260 0.0279%; and maybe I never hit one -- if I was gambling real, I would probably remember it more)

2) How many hands can you play an hour? 60? That's still nearly 11,000 hours of play. You'd have to play years before you had any realistic chance of hitting it. It's a bit like being able to buy 10 or 100 lottery tickets with 10X chance of winning, which is worth buying, but the chance of winning doesn't significantly go up because you're still so close to zero, even though the odds of winning have gone up 10 fold. And the conditions have to be right, so even if it's 10% or 1/10 when the conditions are favorable (I'm guessing nowhere near that high), that's another order of magnitude decrease in odds or increase in time.

Also, 650k quarters is $162k that you have to feed into the machine, which is not an insurmountable amount. You'd expect to make some wins along the way, so the expected loss isn't the whole amount, maybe a quarter or half that (just a wild guess) if you wind up not hitting the jackpot.
Also remember that the odds of hitting a royal flush never change no matter how big a jackpot gets. Having said that, if the royal flush pay is considerably over the levels you see above then changing your playing strategy to maximize your chances of getting a royal can be a good idea.
3) :confused Aren't the odds different playing to optimize a royal flush vs not? I see my mistake now...That big number above is 5 card NO DRAW. With the draw, the odds improve somewhat. And it's not that the odds don't change, because the draw strategy does change, but that the size of the jackpot doesn't change odds, just payout.

So after finding one of these > 100% expected return, how much do you modify the play? Keeping the most AKQJT of the same suit maximizes your chances of a Royal Flush, but you wouldn't keep AT spades and throw away 3 deuces, would you? Or does that depend on whether the expected return payout is 125% or 500% or more?
Hit Royal Flushes More Often in Video Poker
A royal flush usually appears about once in every 40,000 hands when a player uses optimal strategy. It takes about 100 hours of single-hand video poker to play 40,000 hands, or about 25 hours if you're playing four-handed.
http://www.readybetgo.com/video-poker/s ... s-947.html
You are correct that optimal strategy does change.

The Secret World Of Video Poker Progressives by Frank Kneeland is probably the best book on the subject.
I guess it all could be much worse. | They could be warming up my hearse.
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gr7070
Posts: 1467
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by gr7070 »

flyingaway wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 2:47 pm
gr7070 wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 12:36 pm
flyingaway wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 11:38 am
gr7070 wrote: Tue Aug 18, 2020 5:26 pm
flyingaway wrote: Tue Aug 18, 2020 5:14 pm I wish I could claim gambling losses in my tax returns.
It's better to claim winnings. ; D
It is impossible for me to win with slots, I consider it as purely entertainment and budget it accordingly.
Very true!

I can't entertain the idea of playing slots, or any game against the house. The math-certainty loss would drive me crazy. Plus I just enjoy card games of all kinds, poker included. Cards are largely an exercise in math.

My wife enjoys them (slots)... unfortunately.
I actually have a PhD in computational mathematics. But I don't want to use my brain in casinos when I am there to have fun. My wife also likes to play slots. So we have a fixed amount money set aside to have fun. I don't go to concerts, no sports events, no golf, etc. So I guess I should be OK.
I've been a card player pretty much all my life. If I didn't enjoy cards I'm sure I wouldn't play poker. So I can definitely understand one not playing, aptitude or not.
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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by Doom&Gloom »

inbox788 wrote: Thu Aug 20, 2020 7:20 pm
...
2) How many hands can you play an hour? 60? That's still nearly 11,000 hours of play. You'd have to play years before you had any realistic chance of hitting it. It's a bit like being able to buy 10 or 100 lottery tickets with 10X chance of winning, which is worth buying, but the chance of winning doesn't significantly go up because you're still so close to zero, even though the odds of winning have gone up 10 fold. And the conditions have to be right, so even if it's 10% or 1/10 when the conditions are favorable (I'm guessing nowhere near that high), that's another order of magnitude decrease in odds or increase in time.

Also, 650k quarters is $162k that you have to feed into the machine, which is not an insurmountable amount. You'd expect to make some wins along the way, so the expected loss isn't the whole amount, maybe a quarter or half that (just a wild guess) if you wind up not hitting the jackpot.
Also remember that the odds of hitting a royal flush never change no matter how big a jackpot gets. Having said that, if the royal flush pay is considerably over the levels you see above then changing your playing strategy to maximize your chances of getting a royal can be a good idea.
...
60 hands/hour? LOL! I can play 1200 hph, but I know people who can play faster.

IIRC the drain between hitting RFs is about 3% of coin-in for most "decently playable" games. In short stretches of even several hours it can be 10% (dreadful) or worse. Videopoker is not for the faint-hearted or under-bankrolled--even when the player has the edge.
averagedude
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Re: Should I become a Professional Gambler?

Post by averagedude »

gr7070 wrote: Tue Aug 18, 2020 9:44 am I play hold'em a couple times a year; have for decades. In fact when I first started playing hold'em was the rare game spread - 7-card stud was the common game.

I enjoy it, great fun. I'm quite good at it, and have read plenty of strategy and other ancillary things like bankroll management, etc.

The clear answer is no. Not just no, but hell no!

1. Just like so many professional pursuits to be a truly top player is quite rare. You are unlikely to be those few. Even just making a living is difficult for most all.

2. It's a horrific lifestyle. Physically and, often, emotionally unhealthy.

I only play a couple times a year and after a weekend I can't take the environment any longer - way too many self-destructive or exploitive personalities one encounters.

3. The mental skills required to be good at poker will enable most to make a fantastic living in other far more rewarding pursuits - monetarily and emotionally. And do so without the physically and emotionally unhealthy environments. I presume you have one of these (STEM) jobs; stay with that.

4. So, so many of the pros, even the ones that aren't famous, are degens. They become addicts.

Keep it a hobby. Let the winnings pay for a vacation or three and live your life in a much better environment.
I love this response. To be a profitable poker player in raked games, you really have to be extremely intelligent with a huge desire to play the game for profit instead of entertainment. Playing this game for profit in raked games is a grind and you will not experience pleasure from this game as someone who plays this game for entertainment purposes. Their are much more profitable endeavors to participate in for people with high intelligence who live in a place with vast opportunity like the United States.
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