Meet the American Zen Watson, a professional tennis bettor. He manages to regularly earn good money in this area, which has long turned for him from a simple hobby into a source of constant income. He kindly agreed to answer our questions and share the secrets of his successful game.
When did you start betting?
Once, while studying at the university, I met an experienced slot machine player who explained to me his methods that allow him to win very good money at times. I tried to improve them, and I remember that in those years when many of my fellow students graduated with heavy debt, I even managed to save something as a student.
After graduating from the university, I was looking for a job in my specialty “Accounting and Finance” for some time, but because of the high competition it was almost impossible to find a good job for a university graduate without work experience. At the same time, I did not abandon my hobby, regularly continuing to play the machines.
At some point, realizing the futility of my attempts to get a good position in some bank or government institution on the fly, I thought, why not devote all my free time to gambling. To begin with, I set for myself a period of six months, during which I planned to improve my skills and bring them to professional.
During this time, I gradually moved away from slot machines, moving to online poker, where I also managed to achieve good results using a similar game methodology. It was in those years that a law was passed in the United States that prohibited gambling on the Internet. However, it was too early to be discouraged: after all, no one canceled bookmakers, where the principles of the game are also not very different in general. So I gradually moved on to sports betting.
Which markets do you prefer to bet on?
Almost from the very beginning I began to place bets on tennis, where, firstly, major tournaments for both men and women take place almost all year round, which means that trading opportunities are constantly present, and, secondly, in individual sports, the underdog’s chances of beating a favorite are much higher than in team sports, and this circumstance is often underestimated by bookmakers, which can be fully exploited.
At the same time, I prefer to place bets already during matches, since most ordinary players and traders in this case, no matter how paradoxical it may sound, have much less data available for analyzing the game than before it began. I use my own database for live bets; I also share this information with my subscribers, and I already have a lot of them.
In general, I mainly trade in the match odds market. At the same time, the speed of the software does not play a significant role for me, since I enter and exit positions in the market during pauses in the game – for example, at the end of a set.
What bankroll management strategy are you using?
Since the days of playing online poker, I have developed my own bankroll management strategy, which I still use today. So, in poker it is believed that a player needs to make 40-50 so-called buy-ins, that is, intermediate bets, to play a certain bet. This is roughly equivalent to 2-2.5% of your bankroll.
At the same time, I created a script for myself, which I use when determining the size of a specific bet. Here I can give one piece of advice: do not focus on success or failure in every single match: it is unwise to waste your nerves and energy on this, because the profitability of your strategy as a whole is important.
Tell us about your typical day.
In many ways, my working day – you are not asking about leisure, right? – depends on where the next tennis tournament takes place. For example, matches in Asia and Australia start early, and at them I usually draw up my daily trading tables the night before, which I send to subscribers.
In this case, I try to go to bed early and wake up around six in the morning. After a cup of coffee, I make the last changes to the scripts, fixing the possible entry points to the market for each of the matches I selected. Since I have already done all the main work the day before, it takes me no more than fifteen minutes. Then I wait for the best moment to start trading.
If the matches are held in Europe or America, on the contrary, I get up a little later and then prepare everything I need for betting. At the same time, I try so that no one bothers me at this time, although I can communicate with relatives or friends on social networks. At the same time, constant concentration only on bets can lead to a nervous breakdown, so I advise you to take breaks from trading.
Do you rely solely on statistics, or is there intuition in your actions?
It happens. But, frankly speaking, not often. At the same time, mostly intuition can lead me to refusal to enter the market at a certain position, than to create a new one.
Another example – when compiling tables, when evaluating the shape of an individual tennis player, I can take not a standard sample of his matches, but a more expanded one, intuitively feeling that a simple version may not give me a correct assessment of his current level.
Which young tennis player would you recommend to pay attention to now?
I am very impressed by the play of the young Russian Daniil Medvedev, and I am impressed with the progress he made in the rating table in a short time. He has already won several prestigious tournaments, and I think this is only the beginning of his successful career.
Medvedev demonstrates excellent play on any type of surface, which is not typical for most of his colleagues. This could serve him well in the future.
Finally, we would like to hear from you some betting advice in addition to what you have already given us.
I recommend collecting all available data both for individual players, when it comes to tennis, and for teams, if we are talking, for example, about football or basketball. Get yourself a special folder on your computer or laptop where all this will be stored.
Manage your own bankroll wisely. You can be as talented as you like, but if you don’t learn to manage your own emotions when determining the size of the bets, all your efforts are doomed to failure. At the same time, learn to separate your gambling account from real money, as they say, “for life”: even if you crash in bets at some period, this should not be reflected in the level of your material well-being in general. And I certainly do not advise anyone to gamble with money borrowed from friends or with a bank loan.
You must develop your own strategy based on the rates of the potentially profitable markets. In the process, you may encounter “side” markets, which sometimes seem very tempting. However, I do not advise you to waste your time and effort on them: for myself, I have already concluded that most of them in the future will turn out to be low-liquid or completely illiquid.
You must have good motives to enter and exit the market by closing a bet. There is no place for emotions or, for example, lack of time to wait for the end of the match (or part of it). If you have entered the game, leave your other desires and deeds for later. Remember that any bettor who goes about his emotions will tend to overestimate their role in the betting process.