Part 3: The stats of Jonas Gjelstad and becoming a pro
Jonas Gjelstad’s 10k to a $1 million run
As a benchmark for what is required to do extremely well, I have added Jonas’s results for the $10k to a $1 million run below. One thing to note is that his avg. ROI per bet overall is at 3.40%, while on this run he’s running at 5.87%, so pretty good! Second, note the number of trades in a month varies. So if one is using Trademate in June, when the majority of football leagues are on holiday does not give a very accurate representation of what it is like during the regular season. Just like there are more games on the weekends, there are more games in some months. Third, look at how his turnover times and avg. bet size relative to the bankroll is in general higher in the beginning. Finally note that even when his bankroll is at approx. $400k, he’s able to flip it over 13.8 times in the best month!
Based on the user data from Trademate within reasonable presets (tight, but still a solid sample size), it is possible to beat the Asians by 0.4% flat. By using Kelly one should expect to run slightly above that, thus 0.6%, was used in the simulation above. Now, there is a gap between the 3.4% overall that Jonas has been achieving and 0.6%. First, Jonas is extremely good at what he is doing. Combine that with grinding hard and some run good on top and you get extreme results. Second, Trademate was founded by Jonas and built based on his inputs with regards to what to look for. However it does not include everything that Jonas is doing, and sharing every little detail of his strategy would not be very smart as it would remove his edge on the market. The fundamental nature is still the same though, identifying value and beating the closing line.
Learning the craft and making a living
Today’s world is fixated on short termism and getting rich quick. If your goal is to turn this into a living you need to spend the time it takes to get there, which includes getting in a large number of trades every week. Remember that Rome was not built in a day, nor did Jonas wake up one day and suddenly have a million dollars in his bank account. In turning $10 000 to $1 000 000, Jonas spent the time necessary to learn his craft and to find edges in the market.
Sports betting for a living includes spending a large amount of hours working on weekends when your friends are out having fun. Whether it is a job, poker or betting, one needs to grind to make money. This is especially true in the beginning. If you are just learning to play poker and start to count hours you should not even bother, because you will be making less money than by flipping burgers at McDonalds. Similarly building the bankroll from betting to a high enough level that one can make good money from a 0.5% ROI / bet takes time. And if one is able to make an additional $5 - $10k from betting on the side on top of a $50k annual salary, then that is a 10-20% increase in spending power.
People tend to overestimate what they can do in a week and underestimate what they can do in a year. This is very applicable to value betting, because of compound growth. Which can be referred to as the snowball effect. The snowball starts out small, but as it keeps rolling it grows and grows, until it becomes very large indeed. Just look at the difference in Jonas’s turnover in the beginning compared to the later months.
Also, if you are just starting out playing poker, but have $100k in the bank you do not head straight to the high stakes tables and put it all in play. You spend the time necessary to hone your skills. You take some shots at making it at a higher level and if successful you move up a level. Gradually you get familiar with the new dynamics and the higher stakes on the next level.
A comparison we like to use for Trademate Pro is to compare it to a poker HUD. It can help you to make better decisions and to find the valuable positions. But just because you are playing with a HUD you are not going to play poker like Phil Ivey, nor are you going to bet like Jonas if you are using Trademate Pro. But if you are serious about playing poker online you should be using a HUD to get better information on your opponents, which helps you make better decisions and improve your game. If your competition is using a HUD and you are not, then they will have an edge over you. Whether this edge is larger than the relative edge between players based on skills will vary, but in a competitive market, you need all the edges you can get.
When Jonas quit school and moved to Thailand to play poker professionally he had already built up a solid poker bankroll while playing besides studying. He had shown that he had an edge in poker, which he could exploit to make money. Thus taking the leap do to it full time was not that risky for him. Similarly when he eventually started spending the majority of his time betting rather than playing poker it was because over time he had seen that he could make good money from it and that his ROI per time spent would be higher on betting than on poker. He also had his poker bankroll to fall back on, if the betting went south. Another aspect that Jonas likes to point out is that he nevers risks more money than what he is comfortable with losing. Because value betting opportunities are skewed towards evening and weekends when the games are played Jonas is still capable of combining it with poker to get an even higher overall ROI. This is the same reason as to why I’m working on Trademate while betting on the side. With my current bankroll and equity in Trademate, I can get a higher ROI in the short term by growing Trademate. At the same time I can keep building my betting bankroll on the side. This is what gives me the highest ROI on my time spent.
Note, that I’m mainly talking about those who want to turn sports betting into a living here. On this journey Trademate is a great tool that can help you along the way by saving you time and effort in identifying value. But to do as well as Jonas has, you will ultimately need to spend your own time learning your craft and increasing your knowledge of the market. Also, for those who are looking to use Trademate Pro, one does not have to move directly into the Asian market if one still has soft books where one is not limited. The best combination would be to combine value betting in the European and Asian markets as this would increase the number of trades and higher stake sizes for the highest overall turnover. Or in other words if I could get a 2.6% interest in one bank, but they had a limit on how much I could deposit and 0.5% in another, it makes sense to deposit as much money as possible in the one with the highest return on investment. Then put the remaining money in the second one.
I hope this post has been enlightening in terms of putting some numbers on what is required to make a living from betting and to help you decide on what is realistic and what is not. Finally, if you do not take action, you will not get anywhere in life.