This is the transcript, chapter 5 of 5, for the PaceMakesTheRace Podcast: Interview With The Gambler – Part 2, which originally published in 2015!
In November 2012, I interviewed a full-time, self-supporting professional gambler. 2.5 years later we have gotten together for another interview.’ I think you will find his story continues to be interesting.
Gambler: There are guys who are making a lot of money at daily fantasy baseball, football and basketball.
Personally, I think basketball and baseball offer the best opportunity because you have more chances to exploit an edge during the course of the longer season.
But because you have fans there and I will use the same example I gave you before, Derek Jeter. Last year, people used him on their teams every day.
I love Derek Jeter. He is one of my favorite players of all time. He sucked last year from a fantasy point of view. I played a little bit for fun without the tools to really fit the players.
But I was never going to use him because there is no value in that. But you have people going in, putting money down and wagering on the performance of their favorite player.
You have a much larger pool where there are a lot more fish, recreational people in this big pool that you can exploit.
Personally, I will tell you that I think Daily Fantasy Sports is terrible for the recreational player because the pros who do it who have the tools to use and can really exploit that advantage.
If you are just a casual person who likes baseball just go bet on your favorite team. You have a much better chance of winning than trying to find the perfect team for the day in baseball.
But people are attracted to that draft and your favorite team is part of it. At some point I need to stop being lazy and really try to figure out a way to try to exploit it.
I really do think that right now we are at maximum volume of people participating in it. This is probably where the best opportunities lie to have the largest edge.
Dave: What I am hearing you say is that you think Fantasy Sports are a good arena potentially even for you because the competitive bar is very low.
Gambler: Right and I also think it is a great arena for horse players because you are doing the same thing you are doing when picking race horses.
Dave: Except the competition is lower. Am I right?
Gambler: The competition is much lower. How much of the money is dead money in the pools of a New York track on a given day?
Dave: New York is a good track to play because my belief is, and this interview is not about my belief, that it has to do with the competitive level in the pool.
The whales are the big issue because they are the most competitive players. If I may, I would like to shift this conversation back. I hear what you are saying. It is all about the competition with which you are cutting the game.
Gambler: Right, and let us say it is for the larger tracks where you have more recreational players in the pool.
Let us say half the money on the New York track is dead money. I have no idea if that is true. I am just pulling that out the air.
On daily fantasy sports, probably 90% of the money is dead money. It is almost like being Andy Beyer when he had his speed figures before they were published. He is being fired before he published his figures.
Dave: I am trying to take this back to poker for a second. At the competitive level, is that a factor in your choice of tables?
You talked about being in twelve different games. I do not know how the poker world works, but are there sites or levels that you simply say ‘they are too tough or that are not where the easy money is therefore I avoid them?’
Gambler: Yeah. I am sitting at a six man cash table and if I know who the other five players are, I win. Why do I want to play with guys I know are good?
I want at least a couple of people in there I know I have never seen before or people I know that are very bad.
If I know the other five people are all very good, confident, regulars I have no desire to play that. That is not going to help me accomplish my goals which are to feed my family.
Dave: Now that we have established that, I want to take this back to your Wednesday Aqueduct versus your Wednesday night at Mountaineer.
Aqueduct is a relatively low rebate track while the other one is a very high rebate track. My contention has always been that the high rebate track draws more serious money, thereby raising the bar.
Can you see the logic in that?
Gambler: Absolutely, because you will see that in different poker sites online when you go to a poker site that offers a large amount of money, which is basically like a rebate.
Plus they have incentives for people who play a lot where they are allowed some kind of rake race. On those sites you are going to see many regulars on there because people are grinding away just to get their rake back and bonuses.
However, on a site that is not like that, you have a lot more recreational players doing it because they are never going to put in the volume where rate back is really significant to that.
They are never going to be able to get those bonuses, so they are not drawn to those sites. It is the same thing.
As I said, half the money in Aqueduct is hard money to win and 70% of the money in Mountaineer, because of the higher rebate, it is also hard money to win.
On Wednesday Night Baseball playing fantasy, probably only 10% of it is smart money.
Here’s my closing question. Do you have any suggestions for what I call the winning is everything player in any arena whether it is horse racing, poker or sports betting?
Is there anything in particular you have not mentioned today that you think is really important?
Gambler: I think ultimately the answer that everyone can give is winning is never making the right decisions blah-blah-blah.
The bottom line is, if you are not winning, you have to make a change.
You either have to change what you are doing or change methodology. If you are making the right decisions and you need not bother, you will win. It is too easy to think you are not making the right decisions and getting unlucky.
I am a big believer that the cumulative effect of bad luck leads to bad decisions. I would say the bottom line is winning is everything. That is how you keep score.
Dave: If you are playing whatever you are playing, if I am player that is constantly making deposits to my account and rarely making withdrawals is there anything in particular you would say to me?
Gambler: Slow down and examine every decision you make, really talk through it.
Verbalize it out loud, even if there is no one else in the room. Force yourself to really examine your decisions to say is that the right choice? Am I doing what I know is right? Or am I not sure?
If I am not, why am I not sure? Let me write that down on my list of three things I need to improve on and go take a look to figure out how I can make the right decision.
Dave: What about the people who want to deny that they are not winning players yet still make regular deposits and not withdrawals?
Is there any kind of reality check you would suggest for them or should they just have a good time which is okay?
Gambler: It really depends on what your goals are. If your goal is to become a better player then you need to really take a look at the decisions you are making.
If your goal is to enjoy yourself, and you are enjoying yourself; let us say you are losing a horse race at $200 a week but that is not a significant amount of money to you.
And there are a lot of other things that people do that cost $200 a week.
That is your hobby so enjoy it.
Ultimately, I think it does come down to happiness. If you are unhappy with your results and your results are making you unhappy in life you need to change something.
Dave: Would you say improve your skill set?
Gambler: Yeah for the most part.
If you are at a point where your results are making you unhappy in life and you need to make a change, the change you need to make is either
one: you need to figure out something else to do with your time or,
two: if you do not want to do that you need to figure out where your leaks are and plug them so that you can change your results.
Not everyone wants to put the effort into changing. It is not easy to change your results. It is not easy to sit down and honestly look at what you are doing.
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