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Shelves and shelves of books have been written on money-management as it relates to gambling and betting on sports in particular.

As time goes on, I hope to add to this section of the site and share with you some of my observations about what it really takes to be a winner as a bettor.

I can sum it up as a three-legged stool: without each of these legs, the stool will collapse and you'll ultimately fail in your pursuit of profit and happiness derived from betting.

The first leg of that stool is obvious: you have to win more money than you lose. You do this one of two ways: you spend an inordinate amount of time trying to come up with a successful long-term strategy of handicapping, spending precious hours that don't interfere with the rest of your life. This is hard - very, very hard. I'm a pretty good investor - in many things: stocks, options, real estate, currency-trading. And I'm so good that I actually sell my advice to others about some of those investment-vehicles. But I'm lousy at commodities trading - never made a penny long-term. Yet, I know there's money to be made because I've followed the futures markets for decades.

So what do I do? I pay an adviser who has proven to be a long-term winner in trading futures contracts. I - the professional handicapper with 162 #1-category finishes in various contests over the years - pay someone else for investment advice in this instance. Why not? That's the smart way to approach this problem: I enjoy the concept of futures-trading - and I enjoy making money at it even more - so I pay someone else to help me attain those goals.

Just like you can pay Bob Akmens Sports to attain your goals of making consistent, long-term profits betting sports.

The second leg of that stool is equally important to the first: money-management. I can't tell you how many times over the years I've spoken to people ranging from professional gamblers to casual bettors who tell me their tales of woe, about how they had a nice run and then, wham! The ceiling collapsed and they lost their entire bankroll. That happens not because of a bad run - but because of poor money-management. I'll discuss some further aspects of that a bit later.

So, you not only need to win more than you lose - you need to have some measures in place to retain at least some of that money when things go sour - and they will go sour - I absolutely, positively guarantee that is true for every gambler who ever lived.



 Now, what's the third-leg of that stool? Attitude. Or more precisely, lack of a negative-attitude. Notice, I'm not using some New-Age, "feel-good-about-yourself" BS crap, the way they do in elementary schools these days so that it doesn't matter that we're raising some kids who rank 30th or 40th behind Albanian kids dressed in rags in math and science - what matters is that these kids feel good about themselves - so they can have a good lifetime flipping burgers because that's all they're qualified to do. Right? Not!

But back to attitude and betting. What you must avoid like the plague is wallowing in your own misery. You just can't afford to do that. I'm totally convinced that being extremely negative when you're losing will result in an almost self-fulfilling prophecy: you'll wallow so much that you'll probably end up losing all of your bankroll just because you can't stand wallowing anymore and you'll do something desperately-stupid - like going all-in on some meaningless piece-of-garbage 11PM west-coast game because it's your last chance and you can't stand another day of losing and being down and not winning and you have to end that right now.

Whew! Did I get my point across? Does this sound familiar to any of you?


I don't hang around negative people. They literally give off negative vibes - you can just feel the energy being drained from your own body and soul by their negativity. Negative people just creep me out.

What is the point of endlessly rehashing how you lost a given game? Okay, we can all vent - venting is actually healthy and constructive as it can purge our systems of this negativity. But there's an enormous difference from venting for a few minutes - or even a few hours after a game ends badly - and going on and on about your losses days and even weeks later.

Let me give you a example of the type of person who will never be a winner long-term at gambling. A recent NFL season was a good one for Bob Akmens Sports. For an unprecedented 7 straight weeks, Bob led the nation's premier handicapping contest for sports services run by The Sports Monitor in NFL win-percentage. He was #1 from Week 6 through Week 12 - and the win-percentage much of the time was a staggering 70-80%.

Now, around week 7, a new person calls up and joins for the NFL. He pays for a 4-week package and after his 4 weeks are up he says he's never won this much at the NFL in his life, so he decides he'll join for the balance-of-the-season package. Weeks 11 and 12 come and go and Bob is still on the top of the world with his NFL picks. Week 13? It's a break-even week with as many NFL losers as winners, so there's a little bit of loss of juice. Week 14 and we finally have a losing week, 1-2. What did Mister new-client do? He calls on Monday for the Monday Night play - something he never had done as he'd been getting his plays by email. But he's very, very agitated and says he needs to "win big" tonight. Now why on earth, we think, would he need a "big win" when he's won so much with us, and had all of one net-loser the previous day?

We find out on Tuesday after the Monday play loses and gives us our first losing week since Week 1: he calls in tears says he's lost all of his money, his wife is going to beat him up, his bookie is going to beat him up, his kids are going to beat him up. What should he do? What should he do? Do we have a "lock winner" in hoops tonight, he actually asks?

Now what could you possibly say to this guy? As it turned out, we had a decent NFL week and we didn't hear from him again.

But how can you possibly win for someone who makes his own ill-advised decision to bet huge sums on 3 plays - 2 of which lost - on one given Sunday - and then decides to make the biggest play of his life (so he told us) on a routine, Monday-night play which happened to lose? The answer is you can't possibly win for someone like this - ever - because he will always self-destructively lose all of his money at some point - and rinse and repeat that cycle until the cows come home.

He's doomed to live in this betting-hell until his final gasp. I know this because I have spoken to thousands of players over the decades and I can tell which ones will eventually learn to become disciplined, good gamblers and which ones will not. I usually don't know this until the plays go south a bit - which they have to over the course of any season because no one can avoid some losses.

There are signals, of course, which only a finely-tuned ear like mine might discern from a potential client: if, even before he joins, he repeats that he needs 'big winners," it's not a promising sign, and I don't want his money or his business and I can't help him.

So, get over losses. Drive them out of your thoughts as rapidly as is possible - and do not under any circumstances let them fester and turn you into a bad, bad gambler - as this guy was - and is destined to be forever.

Move on. You will lose - not matter what it is that you put your money on - the Mets - Google stock - anything - you will have down-days. So get over it quickly - and if you can't bring yourself to think positively, at least don't think negatively.





Finally, I'm going to provide the answer I sent to someone recently who emailed me about money-management and asked me about the wisdom of decreasing your play after some losers.  The mere fact that someone actually thought you should bet less money - instead of more money - after some losses was very refrehsing - it's not something I hear every day from gamblers.  This is a guy on his way to betting happiness long-term.

You'll find more about several aspects of money-management, by the way, in our FAQ as well.

But this answer I gave covers some of the techniques I personally use in my own betting - and I hope they offer some insight into what I've learned over the years. Some of the material is repetition of what I've already covered. But let me tell you, this bears reading and re-reading until it comes out of your ears because I wish someone had shouted this kind of stuff in my face when I was young and stupid and prone to doing just these bad things I mention:


You can be the best handicapper in history - but you'll never show long-term profits unless you decide you're in this game to make a buck - and keep that buck.

If you're gambling because all you want to do is have the action, nobody telling you about a money-management system is going to change you - you'll ignore them anyway.

Any money-management system in which you actually decrease the size of your play after some losers is a good, sound one.

Think about that; you'd be doing just the opposite of what most losing gamblers do - which is increase your unit-play when you're down a few games.

I often make smaller plays after a few losses because I understand the laws of probability and have to assume I'm not immune to them.

When...not if...but when I have a losing streak, I want to lose as little as possible.

Here's what I usually do - though what works for me may not work for you if it makes you feel uncomfortable. Don't do something that makes you cringe when you do it - do it only if it feels right for you.

First of all, I no longer use any credit-accounts with any books. This is not because I couldn't afford to pay what I might lose.

This is because using cash accounts has several advantages:

a) it's not "play" money. Face it - you're gonna make a too-big bet more often when you don't have to actually lay your bucks on the line up front.

Every unrealized loss - or gain - is just that, unrealized. It's just not real until you push that cash-register key and it goes "ka-ching." Then it's real. And you either owe it - or you're owed it.

b) You can control your cash-flow more easily. Here's what I mean. Let's say you deal with your local book and you've rolled a $500 bankroll up to $2500. And it's Sunday. Now, you want like hell to keep a big chunk of that money.

But do you really have the discipline to bet just $500 of that bankroll on Sunday's plays and keep 2 dimes untouched? Or will all that money burning that metaphorical hole-in-your-pocket cause you to bet most of it on those Sunday football games? I'll bet that's true more often than not. How do I know? I've been there and done that.

Instead, if you have an offshore account and you have $2500 in it, push that cash-register key and cash out those 2 dimes before Sunday's action even starts.

By doing so you accomplish this: you have real money - $2000 bucks worth - on its way to you. Doesn't the idea of that make you feel good? Feel like you've actually accomplished something, instead of running like a gerbil in a cage with the wheel spinning all the time?

And doesn't looking at that big check when it comes just make you smile?

You'll still have that nickel to play with on Sunday. Consider it a personal challenge to once again build it up to a sizeable amount.

Yeah, I know all about guys who want the big score all the time and play 6-team teasers or parlays and when they actually hit it big can't stop looking for that elusive big payout each time they bet.

Be realistic. Set realistic goals. That's what I do. I may bet more than you guys, but I do just that with my offshore accounts: to me, it's a game within a game to put X dollars in the account and set a goal of Y dollars where I'll cash in maybe 3/4 of the balance when it hits that Y figure.

And I don't screw around with this - I just don't make exceptions. When I have hit that bankroll target-number, I don't even wait for the next day to put in my online withdrawal request. It goes in right away after the last game is final - and that money is now on its way to me.  It's mine now - not the book's.

And I've actually won something - not just paper-profits, which you can never spend.

How much should you bet per play? Again, only do what feels comfortable for you.

My style of betting involves spot-action. I'm not gonna pay the juice on 20 plays a day.

And I know that chances are better that I'll have a winning day than I'll have a losing day. All I've got to do consistently is win 52.4% of the time to break even at 11-10 vig - and I'm pretty confident I'll do that.

I don't sit here with a schedule and circle Duke because I "think" they'll cover - I might circle Duke because I have some sound reasons to do so. I also don't expect horrendous 0-12 runs to happen because my methods are sound and long-term proven.

Notice I said don't expect; these rotten runs may happen, but that's rare for me.

 After decades of finding out painfully what works and what does not work, I personally do this:  I play about 3% of my total bankroll (or the total amount I can afford to lose) on a regular-play; I bump that up to about 4% on a Play-of-the-Day (P.O.D.) for a given sport [notice, I don't go crazy: 4% is just 1/3 more than 3% in actual dollars]; and I usually play about 5% for the overall P.O.D. for all sports.  It works for me.



Which means if I go 1-4, what happens? My bankroll goes down in size, and while I'm still playing 3-5% a play the next day, the amount I'm playing is less than I played the prior day.

And you know what? If I'm losing more than I'm winning, I will not - I repeat will not - put more money in that betting account just so that I can have a bigger bet. I will punish myself, so to speak, by progressively betting a smaller and smaller amount per play - still that same 5-10% of total bankroll.

I will actually deprive myself of the joy of a potential big win.

Even if I get to some joke figure for me like $50 per play by doing this, I'm not going to break my rule and subject myself to large losses willingly. Even if it does mean completely tapping out that account.

Thankfully, I don't remember too many instances of that happening lately. What do I do then? I wait for confirmation - of what? That I'm winning again.

I handicap and put no cash on those plays - I just watch 'em. Now, realize this happens not after a single losing day, or two such days - this could only happen after many, many losing days in a row.

And after I completely deplete that account - and after I've had any kind of winning day - 2-1, even 1-0 - I fund my account again and start the process anew.

So, again, I endorse any money-management system that decreases the size of your bet if you lose a few.

What happens if you're lucky enough to see the reverse happen and you win a few? Well, I still play that same 3-5% per play, but now it's a bigger bet because my bankroll is swelling - until I hit my target figure - and then bam!

Out that money comes.  Like the wind blowing it towards me.

To summarize, I keep my losses small and I let my gains run.

All of this I learned painfully.

And, I really do feel your pain when you lose plays - I have for the 30 years people have paid me for my plays.

But I'm offering you a solution to keep more of your sanity and more of your money which has worked for me - and I hope works for you, too.

Good luck to one and all!


Bob Akmens






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