So, it's a great time to be a gambler. Before you all jack in your jobs and head for the gold in those gambling hills, let's take a reality check.

Being a full-time gambler is hard. Really hard. Not hard as in a hard life, nor a hard job. Hard in the sense it's really difficult to be successful long-term.
Bookmakers are sharp
For a start let's look at what you're up against. The opposition. These come in two forms - the bookmakers, and your fellow gamblers. The bookmakers employ odds compilers. These people work full-time to set prices that are as accurate as possible, along with a nice profit margin.

If these people are accurate in their pricing we have no chance of making a long-term profit. And the bad news is they are usually very accurate. Not just that, but the bookmakers also get the jump on you by being aware of things you are not. They have a big advantage in the form of "market intelligence".

For example, they can see whether the people that matter are backing their own horses or not; and they can see where the "shrewd" punters are putting their money. And of course if you are too "shrewd" they can simply decide not to take your money and either close your account or limit you to very small stakes.
Gamblers are sharper
But they are only a part of the equation. You also have to be better than your fellow gamblers. And that can be very difficult indeed. Take Betfair, where punters bet against each other, and where the odds on offer should in theory be better, and where we should be killing the golden goose.

The adverts focus on a few mates sitting around arguing with each other about football before putting their money where there mouths are. But the reality is it's more like a wild west saloon. Every hustler, insider, grifter and chancer seems to be there trying to steal your money.

If you can manoeuvre your way round them you're still going to have to pit your wits against the pros who long ago were banned by the normal bookmakers for being too good. In this ultra competitive environment whatever "edge" you may have won't last long, as the marketplace has the habit of catching-up and moving on.

You could imagine successful gambling as the equivalent of being in a fast-moving river. It takes enough energy just to stand still, let alone to make progress upstream.
Full-time gambling is even harder
That covers what makes gambling itself so difficult. But professional gambling is even harder. And there is a key difference between part-time and going pro. When you aren't winning, you're losing. That's the killer. There's no monthly pay-cheque to smooth the way at the end of a terrible month. Just red figures staring at you.

And it's worse than that. More than a big fat hole in your betting-bank there's a big fat hole in your confidence to keep it company.
So, what qualities do you need to survive in this environment?
Strangely, all the successful gamblers I've come across have only one thing in common. They are all opinionated. Very opinionated. Annoyingly so, I'm afraid. That doesn't mean that being opinionated in itself will make you successful, but essentially you need to be able to make a decision and stand by it.

Otherwise, there seem to be three key skills. Firstly successful gamblers are businesslike in their approach. They keep the money separate, and they keep accurate records. Secondly, they have the discipline not to fritter money away - what poker players call "leakage" where they take their winnings and blow it on something like roulette.

Thirdly, they cope with losing so much better than anyone else. This I can say without question is my own personal weakness. I'm a terrible loser.
Remember, it's fun
So, that's the reality check. It may be a great time to be a gambler, but it remains a tough, tough world out there. Be careful. Of course, you don't have to take it as seriously as I do. I certainly didn't when I started. Doesn't it make much more sense to gamble as a satisfying and hopefully profitable hobby?

There's loads of different things you can do in your spare time. But are there any others that can make you feel so alive, and at the same time make you money? 

Wish he'd written this a year and a half earlier. Lazy mug ! Anyway, I've got a job again now, which is good. Though no more relationship, which is bad. :-(

(courtesy of edgehunters)