Another gambler's tale...Story of my (Gambling) Life!

This is quite an old post (Thursday, 08 November 2007 09:14)  which I found on the net but it shows how this individual gambler diversified over the years - attaining considerable success after a number of disappointments.

My name is Jim Makos and I am a professional gambler since 2003. I played at the casinos' blackjack tables for a year and during the following 2.5 years I have been a Betfair trader trading the odds in the UK Horse Racing markets. Nowadays I'm playing online poker. Apart from online gambling, I also write about online poker and trading for the Betfair's Greek Blog and own various websites.


During my first year playing Blackjack in the casinos, I made €10,000 in a month.

During my first year trading in Betfair's UK Horse Racing markets I made almost €100,000.

Nowadays, I'm trying to make €1,000,000 playing online Hold'em poker.

Seems that I got your attention, right? Here are more details about my life as a professional gambler.

I was born in 1979 in Greece. During my childhood, nothing extraordinary happened, except the fact I had a serious injury at school which held me in a hospital's bed for 6 months and made me use crutches for 2 years. Since I recovered I started physical exercising, swimming and weight lifting and I was in love with gymnastics and a sporty, healthy life. At the same time, I began studying Chemical Engineering in the university, but never actually finished it. The reason was that I needed to stand out from the crowd, to make something out of my life, to get away from the usual "school, university, job, retirement". Nothing wrong with that honestly, I was just another strange, ambitious and extremely selfish kid. To tell you the truth, if you haven't big ambitions and a huge ego, then you are not going to make a big success in gambling. After all, even those, that in fact have these characteristics, aren't guaranteed that they will not fail.

While I was preparing my final diploma's work, I began reading and studying about blackjack in internet. Exploring websites, registering in forums and visiting every little corner in the web that could be valuable for me. I then visited the local casino with €1,500 as my bankroll in Christmas. That was pocket-money I was saving over the last months by not going out regularly, by not using the car daily, and by not making too many calls with my mobile phone. Yes, I was indeed a small Scrooge McDuck.

Although I had that amount of money, I was ready to spend just €300 for the time being and if I lost it, I would quit and return to my university tasks. Now that I think about it, I really don't know if I would actually graduate as a Chemical Engineer, but my options would be limited by then. The first day I gambled, I won about €180. I was in high spirits. My first earned money.

Surely, you now expect the dreadful continue which should see me lose it all, correct? Wrong. Maybe I was the one out of ten kids who would never look back again in this adventure. Without doubt, I was extremely lucky during my first steps. After a week (I played blackjack on a daily basis) I won €1,000 in just 2 hours. My bankroll had almost doubled (€2,800) in ten days.

Now, that is called huge variance. I was playing certainly above my bankroll limits and risking going broke at about 85% probability (risk of ruin). Fortunately the following months made me realize that, without losing too much of equity. My bankroll was neither increased nor decreased, it more or so fluctuated around €2,400. We are talking about playing blackjack for 5 months, almost every day. I was getting a bit nervous and finally, the day that changed my life came.

I was left with €2,150 and I had decided it was time to change my mobile phone. I was about to buy a new one with that €150 of mine. However, I had told myself that if I dropped below €2,000 I would quit the whole idea and get my university degree. I honestly had said that to myself. On that day I went to the casino with a very close friend of mine, Petros. At this point I have to admit that he had been a great companion and support during my early gambling days. He used to come with me almost every day I went to play, and he kept on encouraging and motivating me, although I had been a bit of a pain in the ass for him. On that day I changed my €150 for chips telling him: "That is it, that is my last money ever gambled on a blackjack table". He sat beside me only to lose €50 of his money in a matter of minutes. He was unlucky at that moment, while I was about to witness my best up to then day.

I made €1,350 in just 2 shuffles of the decks. It was the first time I got a grip of a €500 chip. It was the first time my winnings had to be counted with a money counting machine. It was the first time my bankroll finally had broken the psychological (for me) barrier of €3,000 (that is one million in the old Greek currency).

In November of that year, I was playing about 10 hours average per day. There were days that I sat to play at 13:00 and stood up at 05:00 in the next morning. 16 hours straight. 4 days in a row. I made €10,000 during that month, or €40 per hour of playing. On 5th of December I was naturally barred from the casino. Not long afterwards, automatic shuffling machines were installed in casinos country-wide and blackjack was over for professional players. My blackjack career ended in less than a year.

The next 6 months were really hard. I concluded my diploma work, I returned to gyms and swimming pools (which I abandoned during my casino days) and spent over 10 hours daily on the internet searching for methods and ways to make money, mainly through gambling. I tried sports betting, sports arbitrage and stock trading. None was successful, but fortunately I was just paper testing them, except arbitrage which made me €50 daily but with an enormous effort and only to see a profit wipeout in a golf game, due to a mistake I made.

And then I discovered Betfair in May. I registered without a clue of what was going on in there. I had really trouble at first to understand the purple and blue squares, but it wasn't long before I got it. Still, I hadn't found a way to make it pay, and my anxiety was getting bigger and bigger. In late June, another fact altered my way of life. Permanently.

I came across the Racing Traders website. At that time, Adam, the site webmaster and owner, recorded and published videos of him trading the UK Horse Racing markets before the off in Betfair. He had just one 10-minute video trading a Cheltenam's race of that year. I must have watched it over 100 times. That video meant everything to me! I could see that someone made money and how (or at least have a general idea of how). I deposited €500 in Betfair on the 1st of July and started trading using a 56kbits dial-up internet connection.

The year was 2004 and automatic browser refreshers, automatic bets' submission and trading software were really hard to come by. However, after extensive research you could have the betfair interface refresh using a little program called "Privoxy". The bets though were still submitted using the standard way. I turned those €500 into €1,100 using privoxy, a 56k dial-up modem (1-2 secs refresh, occasionally internet resetting/logging out) and manual bet submission. The trick was that while Adam entered the stakes as "300, 400, 600" etc., I typed them as "333, 444, 666" etc.! Apart from that, given I had already studied about stock markets, charting strategies and patterns, I could point out a trend in the horses' charts. Adam on the other hand started publishing more videos, and I could see how he exited bad trades or made the most out of really good ones. That was also very helpful. Yet, the biggest difference was made when I installed an ADSL phone line and setup for a broadband Internet connection. I made €3,000 in August.

Then comes that dreadful continue you were expecting to see. I keep hearing that every gambler will face a tough situation, at least once in his gambling career. In September I had mine.

I had lost €4,500 in just one trade. That was huge money for me back then. I had all my profits during my last 3 months wiped out in a matter of seconds. In late August I lost €800 because I let my trade open in-running and never closed it. In mid September I did the same and lost €3,500 but managed to make it all back through very good trading in the 2 following weeks. And then I became careless and didn't pay attention to the clock, which left me watching a horse race in-play, only to be won by the horse I had an open trade on, costing me my whole betfair balance. That actually read, Total funds: €0.00! (You can see some of those screenshots in the Sports Trading Gallery)

I rang my friend Petros and met him in a matter of minutes. I was really disappointed by my performance and discipline. Once again, he was proven a huge inspiration, he encouraged me for the nth time and put me back on track. I took one week off, and then deposited €2,000 with my credit card in October. I turned it into €5,000 by the end of the month and withdrew €2,000 back to the card. In other words I never in fact deposited money since then and made over €100,000 in the following months. It was like I took a short-term loan from the bank, which I returned in less than a month, making the most out of it.

In summer of 2005 I bought my new car with my trading winnings, a Mercedes SLK. The idea of getting a very good car was a dream of mine since the age of 17, and I had managed to make it real 8 years later. Fulfilling a dream is truly one of the most amazing feelings.

However, since then my sports trading performance has a declining progress and I have stopped trading the horse racing markets in 2007. I have put a lot of hours into researching a sports betting strategy which I applied throughout the season of 2006-07.

Lately, I am playing poker online and you can see here and here some interesting posts.

I have started trading using a Compaq Presario 2702EA laptop at first, then purchased an Acer Aspire 1804WSMi and then I got a desktop and a fanless (quiet) Fujitsu-Siemens Lifebook 7120.

I own and design Jimmakos.com website since 2004. The main purpose of the site was to inform my friends of my progress and performances, while getting in touch with fellow traders and gamblers worldwide. The latest internet fashion trend is called blogging and I have altered my website to look alike one, although it started as an entirely flash webpage, then changed into an html page and lastly in php form using Joomla.

http://www.jimmakos.com/

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