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John Hyslop's Note on Responsible Betting and Bankroll Management

John Hyslop has a note about responsible betting and bankroll management. Read on to find out what he has to say.
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I'll never stop making gambling jokes. I just won't. It's who I am. But here's the thing. It's not because I don't think gambling can get you into trouble. It can. I've made every single mistake you can possibly make gambling. I've bet more than I could afford to lose. Many times. And I've lost after doing so. Many times. I've legit had to work extra bartending shifts before to pay off gambling debts when I was in my 20s. It was all part of the journey though people. But here's the thing, I learned a lot along the way and it's helped me get to a point where I can gamble every day and not have it affect my life in a negative way. I'll probably do it until the day that I die and it's because I know how to manage a bankroll. It's easy.

Now I've said many times the best way to learn the importance of responsible gambling is to gamble irresponsibly. I'm serious. If you're in your early 20s, with no kids and no real responsibilities, then go nuts if you want to do it that way. Track your results and I guarantee you start to learn things real fast. It's crazy how fast you learn things when you have to work extra shifts to pay for mistakes you make. But if you don't want to do it that way, there is another way.

What I did a long time ago was take my total bankroll that was dedicated to gambling only and divided it by 100 to give me 100 units. At the time it was $500 so my unit was $5 a unit. That's right -- if I had a unit on a game, it was a $5 bet. I got made fun of by my friends but at the end of the day, I was able to gamble every day and not have to worry about being homeless. It felt like an even trade. Over time, I was able to add funds to that bankroll periodically and before I knew it I was able to bet amounts I felt better about. Just enough to get the blood flowing but not enough to make me too anxious. That's just how balance works.

A byproduct of doing it like this was the fact that I wasn't pissed if I lost a bet. If you're awesome at this game we play and you're flat betting -110 lines, you're going to lose 45% of the time you play. That's a ton of losing, people. You have to have a way to deal with that. For me it's humor and since I don't view the cash lost on a single bet as actual "money" (it's just a unit), cracking jokes is easy. It's also healthier. I'm not kicking my dog, breaking my television, or yelling at my family after a loss. A certain amount of losing is expected. It's fine. And it's just a unit. There will be more of those won than lost over the course of a year.

This approach isn't for everyone. For instance, if you want to be a "pro" bettor that derives their income from betting, then you may need to contact a pro bettor. I'm sure they do things differently. What I view myself to be is a "sustainable gambler" (Sudoku just doesn't have the same kick). I'm not going anywhere anytime soon either since it would take forever for me to lose 100 units. I actually think I can win enough to add to that roll every year. I bet you can do the same thing if you really put the effort into it. And if you ever have any questions about bankroll management, my DMs on Twitter are always open. Just ask. Feels right.


John has spent the past 20+ years betting sports on a daily basis and is considered by many to be a walking sports betting encyclopedia. From obscure player props to sides and totals, if there is an angle, John will find it. His work has appeared on Rotogrinders and he has been a regular on sports talk radio stations across the country. Based in the US, John operates a blog & podcast, Sports Bets Beers, which covers betting angles in the NFL, NBA, MLB, & NHL.


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