Horse Handicapping

Turning Pro – Harder Than It Looks

by Dave Schwartz on November 28, 2013

 

Two months ago I began playing professionally. I thought you would be interested to know how it is going thus far.

First, many of you have assumed that I have been playing every day for years. That is not true. Most of my play has been via a wagering partnership where I support the software and my partner handled the wagering end. The partnership play (and the resulting income) has slowed from a small river several years ago to a small stream, and in the last couple of years, to not even a dribble. We have talked about “turning pro” ourselves and moving more of our resources — that means time to me — to the playing arena.

We primed ourselves for several months, testing our system, fine tuning all the facets of it. We even produced a product and a seminar around The System. (Please note that this is not a sales pitch. No place in this email will you be asked to purchase anything.) In early October we began play with real money.

I was amazed at how much pressure I felt playing for the first time with the absolute necessity of winning. It certainly was not the money, as the wager size was not that much. Initially, around $30-$40 per race. It was the fact that winning mattered. I guess you could say that I am a person that does not “lose well.” I don’t mean that I get angry and throw chairs. That is not my style. I mean that I take winning (and losing) so seriously that it nags at me if I had a bad day.

As it turned out, I actually won the first 10 consecutive days that I played. These were relatively short days because I found the intensity of the battle absolutely fatiguing. The first day I was literally exhausted after about 2 hours. By the tenth day I had strengthened myself to last about 4-5 hours.

Now, I know that some of you are scratching you heads and saying, “What is he talking about? I love playing! I could play all day, every day and never get worn out!”

I assure you that playing with the expectation that you MUST WIN is very different. There is an intensity that comes with it. Consider a Major League baseball player or a PGA golfer. There was a time when the young golfer just loved to go hit balls and putt his way around those 18 holes, then went to bed dreaming of his next day on the course. Just imagine that how different it is for a money player. Sure, they still enjoy their sport and love being a golfer – and probably wouldn’t trade it for anything else – but it does become a DIFFERENT THING. It becomes a thing of GREAT IMPORTANCE.

There is also the humiliation factor when one has a bad day publicly. The world expects the professional to play well every day. And so does the player.

This is why I call playing “Entering the Pit.”

You suit up in your armor, pick up your sword and shield, and prepare to kill or be killed. Once you get the confidence that you are going to win long term, the entire process is one that you look forward to, but, at the end of your daily time IN THE PIT you are worn out from the battle.

I experienced similar when I played blackjack professionally over 30 years ago.

Eventually, I got myself on a Thursday-through-Sunday playing schedule. (Now that winter is upon us, I have shortened it to Friday-Sunday.)

The first 10 days went great, with 4 large wins, 3 small wins and 3 wins that were barely break even. This was considered a testing phase for me.

Then I stepped up the wagering. Guess what happened on day 11? LOL – Of course. My first losing day. And it was a big one, causing me to blow back half the profits I made from the previous 10 winners.

I am a “session” player. That is, I take a part of my total bankroll and decide on a goal. In this case, the session was only $750 and my goal was to triple it. That is, my goal was to play until the $750 became $2,250 or went away completely. When a session ends, whether from winning or losing, I put the session money plus profit back into the BR and reassess. Then I choose the size and goal for the next session and the entire process starts again.

The Play-By-Play
Day One had me down about $300. Fortunately, Day Two was kind to me and the BR recovered to just over $1,000. Days Three and Four were also kind, and by Day 6 (counting the rebates) I was just $32 shy of winning the entire session. It was a great way to end my week, as well.

By the way, on the topic of rebates, I do not count them in my session, unless I need to in order to put me over the top. Generally, I just leave the rebates as “extra money,” to be counted or directly withdrawn whenever necessary.

As my play continued, it actually took me 4 more days to push past that last $32. Those 4 more days were all about breaking even, but eventually I broke through, winning the session outright (i.e. no rebate money necessary).

After winning session #1, I reassessed and upped the session size to $1,000, with the target to triple again (i.e. win $2,000). Currently I am around $600 winner towards that goal, but like session #1, it started rough; at one point I was down almost $450.

At the rate I am winning, it will be several months before I will be able to withdraw “significant” money from my account. I guess I will need some patience.

Stay tuned for more of this ongoing story.

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