Successful people in all walks of life use mentors to help them set and reach goals. Some people actively look for mentors, while others find a natural mentor relationship as a byproduct of networking and normal social interaction.
A mentor can be a tremendous help when you’re trying to accomplish something that you haven’t had success with before. They can give you real-world advice drawn from their experience, and they can help you see things you don’t even know you should be looking for.
Does this mean you need a mentor to reach your goals? With the vast amount of information available today, anyone with enough time and determination can develop the knowledge and skills they need to accomplish almost anything in their life.
This means that you don’t need a mentor. But you might want to consider finding one anyway because a mentor is one of the best shortcuts available to the knowledge and experience you need.
What does all of this have to do with gambling?
Gambling is not really different than many other things in your life. You should have some gambling goals, and you should be working toward improving your results. Wouldn’t it be easier if you could find an experienced gambler that’s already beating the game to learn from?
I put this page together to help you learn more about what a gambling mentor is and so you can decide if you want to try to find one.
What Is a Gambling Mentor?
A gambling mentor is someone who can help you reach your gambling goals. The best type of gambling mentor is one that understands and uses advantage play. They don’t necessarily need to make a full-time living gambling, but they need to be able to beat the house edge when they do play.
The list of gambling activities that allow a normal person the opportunity to play with an edge is fairly short. While there are a few ways to profit from other activities, the most common activities that offer the chance at a real edge are:
- Betting on sports
- Betting on horses
- Betting on dogs
- Daily fantasy sports betting
- Esports betting
The problem with this list is that many of the skills required to beat one thing don’t translate into other areas. Poker skills are of limited use at the blackjack table or in sports betting.
Likewise, blackjack skills aren’t very useful when betting on anything else. Sports betting is similar to esports betting and daily fantasy sports, so there is some crossover there. Betting on horses and dogs is also similar.
A few things do carry over from one activity to another, like your mindset, confidence in your ability to do what needs to be done to get an edge, and your ability to manage your bankroll.
The main reason I point out the lack of similarity between most of these activities is that a sports betting mentor will be of limited help if you want to improve your poker or blackjack skills.
But if you’re a poker player and want to learn how to bet on sports, the same mentor will be quite valuable.
Very few gamblers are highly skilled in more than one area of advantage play. A few are able to dominate in more than one area. When you split your focus between two or more areas, each one suffers to some degree.
I can beat most poker games, most blackjack games, and have a winning record betting on sports, but as a generalist, I fall far short of maximizing my profits in any of the three areas. I’ve learned to use a few specialized techniques to bet on sports that allow me to make a small profit on a limited number of games, but these situations don’t come up every day.
Most of my profit from poker comes from only playing in games with worse players than me. These games aren’t available every day, either. I don’t enjoy blackjack as much as the other two activities, so I don’t play it as often.
The top poker players in the world focus all of their energy on beating poker. The top blackjack players focus all of their energy on beating blackjack. You see where this is going.
The next section deals with how to find a mentor, but for now, you need to understand that a good gambling mentor is one that specializes in what you want to accomplish.
If you want to be a generalist and participate in many different gambling activities, someone that has the same skill set as me would be a good choice. But if you want to concentrate on an individual activity, someone like me is a poor choice.
Blackjack players need to look for a mentor who has experience beating blackjack, and poker players need to look for someone with experience beating poker.
How to Find a Good One
It can be challenging to find a good gambling mentor. It’s not like they advertise in the newspaper or online. You can find a few good poker mentors online who offer their coaching services for a fee. I talk about whether or not you should pay a mentor in the next section, so I don’t cover it here.
You can look for a paid mentor, usually in the form of a coach or consultant, but this isn’t how most gamblers find a mentor. The way most gamblers find one is through building relationships as they gamble.
Every time you gamble, you should be meeting new people and striking up conversations. The more people you connect with and build relationships with, the better your chances are of finding a good mentor.
One thing that keeps most successful gamblers from mentoring others is that most people aren’t willing to do the work that’s required to succeed, and they don’t do what the mentor tells them to do.
Many years back, I was trying to learn how to succeed in affiliate marketing. I joined the popular forums and tried to learn as much as I could. I built relationships and tried to add value anywhere I could. By taking part, building relationships, and trying to add value, I was able to find a small group of experienced people who helped me learn what I needed to learn.
One of the most important mentors I’ve had is someone I met at that time. I’ll never forget what he told me when I asked why he was offering me so much help. Here’s what he said:
“I don’t mind helping you because you actually do what I tell you. Most people don’t do what I say to help them, so I stop wasting time with them.”
This might sound egotistical, but it’s not. He was sharing information with me that he’d learned from experience, and I was willing to rely on his experience to help me reach my goals.
The same thing happens to successful gamblers. When they try to help most people, they either ignore the advice or want to argue about it. After this happens several times, the experienced gambler gives up.
If you want to find a good mentor, start meeting new people and building relationships. When an experienced and successful gambler offers you advice, thank them and try to use their advice. The next time you see them, let them know how you’ve used what they helped you with.
The best mentoring relationships develop naturally. If you’re looking too hard to find a mentor, the odds are that you’re going to push the best ones away. Build a relationship first, and then let the mentoring relationship develop naturally.
Do You Need to Pay a Mentor?
The issue of paying a mentor can be a bit controversial. When you look for a coach or consultant, the relationship is clear. They offer their experience and advice, and you pay them for it. This can be set up as a one-time meeting or an ongoing relationship.
A more traditional mentor relationship usually doesn’t have an agreed-upon fee. Many mentoring relationships don’t involve direct payment in any way. I’ve worked on both sides of the mentoring relationship, and the ones that work best are the ones where the mentor gets something from the relationship.
This doesn’t always have to be money. Sometimes a mentor gets fulfillment from a relationship by being able to help someone else grow and accomplish their goals. Sometimes the mentor benefits from the relationship by the person they’re mentoring introducing new ideas or contacts to them.
Anytime someone has mentored me, I try to pay them back in some way for their time, effort, and expertise. The mentor I mentioned earlier has helped me in many ways over the years. We still talk or exchange texts or emails at least once a week. Over the years, he’s helped me make a great deal of money, but I’ve also been able to help him make money.
I have some experience in areas that he doesn’t, and I’m glad to help him when he has questions about those things. He had a situation come up a year or so back that could have crippled his main business. I was able to provide a quick solution. Both of us are still benefiting from the relationship we established over a decade ago.
If you find a good gambling mentor who helps you make money, you should try to pay them back in some way. If you have a poker mentor and their advice helps you win a big tournament, consider giving them a piece of the action.
If you meet your mentor for dinner, you should always try to pick up the check. You can also pay them a percentage of your gambling profits.
I want to warn you of one thing about paying for mentoring. If you offer to pay a mentor, and they refuse the money, don’t push the issue. Some mentors can be insulted if you try to pay them. If they don’t want money, look for other ways to repay their kindness.
Why Would a Winning Gambler Help You?
I’ve already touched on this a little bit, but there are many reasons a winning gambler might help you. You’re also going to learn that many winning gamblers aren’t willing to help anyone.
I never judge a successful person who doesn’t want to help others. They put in the work and time to get successful, and they don’t have an obligation to help anyone else just because they’re successful.
Some successful gamblers are naturally helpful people. When they find someone they like and who’s willing to learn, the successful gambler may be willing to help.
Gambling is a somewhat lonely profession. Winning gamblers rarely have anyone who they can talk to that understands what they do. A successful poker player can talk to other poker players, but most recreational poker players have no idea what a full-time player deals with. A mentor might just be looking for someone they can be friends with that understands what they do.
You might also find a mentor who’s interested in something in your life other than gambling. What do you bring to the table?
I worked with someone in what I’d call a dual mentoring role in the past. He had a great deal of knowledge in an area I wanted to know more about, and I had experience in an industry he was interested in. We talked on a regular basis for a long time and both got a great deal out of the relationship.
If you know successful gamblers, start trying to build a relationship with them. Don’t ask them for anything, and don’t ask them to mentor you. Just build a relationship and see where things go. Try to offer them some value in some way when you can.
If you don’t know any successful gamblers, get out there and start meeting some of them. The only way to find a mentor is by expanding your contacts and social circle.
Building a strong relationship can pay dividends for many years. I needed something last week and thought of someone I used to talk with regularly. I’d helped him with a few things over the years, but he’s extremely busy running a successful business now. We don’t talk often now, and it had been over a year since we spoke.
I called him, and he picked up. We had a nice conversation, and he was glad to help me with what I needed. He still remembers some of the things I helped him with several years ago, so he takes my calls and is willing to help me.
The fact that a busy business person takes your call might sound simple or like it’s not a big deal, but if you try to call successful business people, you quickly learn that they don’t have time to waste talking on the phone to just anyone.
Have you built any relationships where they pick up the phone when you call, even if it’s been a long time and they’re busy?
Even if it doesn’t seem like it, mentoring is a two-way relationship. Even if you seem to be getting more out of the relationship than the people mentoring you, make sure that you learn why they’re helping you and do your best to return the favor in one way or another.
Gambling Mentor Dangers
If you end up in a bad mentoring relationship, it can hurt you more than it can help. You can find plenty of gamblers that talk a big game and claim that they’re crushing the casinos. But when you find out the truth, they don’t know anything more than you do.
I’m not saying that you can’t benefit from a relationship with someone close to your skill level. I’ve discussed poker hands with another player over the years, and we both learn together. I might be a slightly better player than him overall, but we’re pretty close to the same skill level.
The danger is when you start being mentored by someone who gives you bad advice. Most gamblers who mentor others don’t purposely give bad advice, but it can hurt you just as much when you get bad advice from someone with the right intentions as when you get it from someone with bad intentions.
If you try to find a mentor the way I recommend, by building a relationship first, you should have a good idea of their true success and experience. As you get to know them better, you can learn if they know what they’re talking about or if they’re more like the slimy salesman trying to sell you sports picks.
If you find a possible mentor who asks for payment for their advice, it might be worth considering if you can afford it. Just make sure that they know what they’re talking about.
You might want to agree on a one-time fee and meeting so you can see if they offer advice that’s profitable. You can research what they tell in most cases to see if it’s worth the price you paid.
I don’t recommend entering into a long-term paid relationship until you’re sure the person can help you reach your goals.
You don’t find much information about gambling mentors. This might be because the common belief is that if you know how to beat the casinos, you wouldn’t want to share your secrets.
This may be true of some individuals, but there are others who’re willing to help you in the right circumstance.
The truth is that you don’t need a mentor to become a successful gambler. But if you can find the right one, it can help you reach your gambling goals faster.
The best way to find a gambling mentor is to make contacts and build relationships.
Don’t go out looking for a mentor; instead, start looking for relationships with successful gamblers. As you get to know more people and get to know each one better, you can find a mentor or mentors.
Try to develop something that you can offer in return, whether that’s advice in an area you know about, some form of payment, or simply being someone that understands what they do and who offers a sounding board for them.