We often get asked, do bookies ever lose? – and the answer is yes. In fact, they lose thousands of bets every day. They’ve even been known to take a bashing from punters, such as when they lost millions in one afternoon when Frankie Dettori rode seven winners at Ascot.
Some punters have also been lucky enough to land big accumulators betting on horse racing, football, or a combination of sports. But for every punter that has landed such a high-profile bet, there are millions that have lost money trying.
If you ask most professional successful gamblers how they win money, they will tell you that they play a patient game, with long-term profits being the goal rather than trying to get rich quickly.
If you’re looking to get rich quickly by landing an accumulator, we wish you luck. But if you’re serious about making a long-term profit from gambling, we’d urge you to take a few minutes to read this article which explains how professional gamblers make money.
Understanding How Bookies Work
If you’re not familiar with how bookies work, then it’s important you understand that bookies are always trying to make sure the odds are in their favour.
When betting on all types of sporting events, bookmakers create what is known as overround books that are designed to guarantee they win in the long run.
Let’s use a hypothetical football match between Chelsea and Manchester United to highlight what we mean by an overround book. A football match is a 3-way betting market in which there are three possible outcomes, a win for Chelsea, a win for Manchester United, and a draw.
Let’s say that the probability of all three possible results is the same, so each has a 33.33% chance of winning. That means that if the bookies offered fair odds about each selection, then each outcome would be priced up at 2/1 (3.00). But bookmakers aren’t this generous, and they bet to what is called an overround book. In this instance, all three outcomes would be available at 7/4 (2.75).
If you had a £10 bet on all three outcomes, you would have staked £30. But no matter which one won, your return would only be £27.50. This means, if a bookmaker laid all three of the outcomes to the same amount of money, they would be guaranteed to make a profit. In this case, they would make a profit of £2.50 from a turnover of £30, which equates to 8.33%.
At this point, you’re probably asking why bookies bet overround? The answer is because they can because millions of punters are still willing to take odds about selections that are shorter than they should be. Bookmakers are also in the betting game to make a profit and they have a variety of expenses to cover.
How Do You Beat A Bookie?
While many punters are destined to fail in their quest to make a profit from gambling, that is because they fail to understand how they can beat a bookie.
While bookmakers may tilt the odds in their favour by betting overround, we as punters also have a few things in our favour.
Firstly, you don’t have to bet on every race or event, just the ones that offer you the best chance of winning. Even if you think a selection has an outstanding chance of winning, you still don’t need to bet if you think the odds are shorter than they should be. This takes discipline, but discipline is something professional gamblers must have.
Secondly, you have the right to disagree with the odds that a bookmaker offers. If you think the odds are too short, then don’t bet. But you may also think that a bookmaker is being generous by offering odds about some selections that are too big, in your opinion.
In this scenario, what you’re doing is backing your judgement when you think that the bookmaker has underestimated the probability of a selection winning, and this is when professional gamblers bets.
For example, when you think the probability of a selection winning is 33.33%, but you can get 3/1 with the bookmakers when it should be 2/1, then you have found what is known as a value bet. This is what all professional gamblers are looking for.
What you need to remember is that value is all about your opinion and, if your opinion proves to be correct more often than not, you’ll have a great chance of being a professional gambler.
Another bonus for professional gamblers is that the world of betting is full of punters that are only too willing to have bets when the odds are not in their favour. This means that bookmakers will take bets on a wide variety of selections in each betting market and, when they’re betting overround, they don’t care which punters win and which lose, providing they make a profit overall from their overround books.
Winning Even When The Bookies Win
If every selection gets backed in a race or event, some people will win, and some will lose. Occasionally, when demand for some selections means that bookmakers can’t balance their books, even the bookies lose. However, bookmakers are happy to lose sometimes, as they know the odds are in their favour in the long run.
But even when the bookies win, you can still be a winner. Just don’t be one of the sheep that bets on obvious selections that are often underpriced because the bookmakers know that lots of punters will still bet on them at those odds. Be disciplined and wait to bet on selections you know have a bigger probability of winning than the odds imply.
If you’re good at picking value-priced winners, we salute you. Keep up the good work and you’ll be a winner in the long run, even if the bookies win. All you’re doing is taking a share of the money that other punters are willing to lose in the name of fun.
If you’ve not yet mastered picking value winners, you can still make a profit by following the tips of professional gamblers that know how to exploit betting markets to their advantage.
We hope that’s answered your question, do bookies ever lose?