Skip to main content
dos and donts of being a bookie

Do’s and Don’ts of Being a Bookie

Being a bookie is a quick process, but bookie agents must prepare for pitfalls.  Here are some bookie do’s and don’ts so you can put your best foot forward.

As the NFL season kicks off many sports betting fans are looking to take the leap to being a bookie by starting their own independent sportsbook. While the process of creating and running an online sportsbook is easier than you might think, there are still a number of do’s and don’ts which every successful bookie agent should be aware of in order to create success.

DO prepare your bookie bankroll

Making sure you have enough capital to cover your losses may be the most important first step in being a bookie. While this applies to any new business, running a sportsbook is a very cash-heavy venture and requires a lot of short term planning when it comes to finances. Basically, if you don’t have enough money coming in to cover your losses, you will be in danger of busting out at any time.

A good rule of thumb for online bookie agents is to launch with enough capital to sustain through a month of the constant losing.  While this doesn’t sound like a long time, statistically speaking you should not lose for an entire month straight no matter how bad your luck is.  This is accomplished by ensuring you are coming into day one with reserves 4x the total maximum weekly potential winning you offer to clients.  For example, if you have weekly payouts set at $1,000 maximum with a stable of 10 players, you should keep a bankroll of at least $40,000.  This protects you from busting your bankroll after a sustained period of bad luck and keep your business afloat through the tough times.

DON’T forget to market your sportsbook to potential new players

PayPerHead agents have to start looking at their sportsbook as they would any other kind of business which they hope to see growth.  Marketing is an essential aspect of the expansion of any business and is a step which cannot be ignored when being an independent bookie.  Don’t hesitate to take lessons from the bigger offshore sportsbooks by offering promotions, utilizing social media, and even advertising.

Promotions are a great way to not only gain new clients but also to keep happy the ones you already have.  As a sports bettors, we are all familiar with the structure of sportsbook bonuses and should have no trouble offering the same at their own books.  Promotions such as a friend referral programs and sign-up bonuses can be a great tactic to grow your client base.   Promotions can also target current active players by offering rewards for betting a certain amount each month or offer risk-free bets periodically.

Social media marketing is another skill that the new wave of online bookie agents needs to familiarize themselves with.  If agents are looking for new clients, especially ones they don’t already know, then platforms like Twitter & YouTube are a great avenue.  Both have very strong sports betting communities with followers who respond positively to anyone posting quality content on the regular. Make your presence know by being consistent and offering up information and advice than parlay that influences into bringing in new clients to your sportsbook. Social Media is also an integral tool in promoting the types of bonuses mentioned above, both to new and current client

DO understand your sportsbook players

PayPerHead agents, as private business owners, must take time to understand their clients, their client’s goals, and the specific events or games they want to bet on.  Some clients are very casual bettors that don’t really have any specific financial goals and are generally just in it for the fun. Most of your players will likely fall into this category, so it is imperative that we understand their motivations for playing and how to get them betting more.

Casual bettors generally have a bet unit size of between $10 & $50 on any single game. The key here is to focus on maximizing the number of games casual players will wager on instead of trying to up their unit size.  Casual bettors like to bet on the teams they are fans of, so familiarize yourself with these teams, add them to your client spreadsheet, and use that information as you see fit.  Public bettors also like to go for the lottery wins, maybe making weekly 10-team parlay bets on ATS favorites or bet a lot of favorites.  These are both great bets for sportsbooks to make money on and yours is no different.

You should also be keeping an eye out for and sharp bettors under your brand, and be sure to keep an eye on them once spotted. These players are not necessarily negative to have, they just have some special attention which you will have to give.  First off, if at any point you feel unable to handle a pro bettors action, it’s best to let them know so they can take their business to a bigger book.  If you do feel confident in taking on a sharp player, be sure to set limits to protect yourself and don’t be afraid to limit which events they can bet on.  While keeping your clients happy is extremely important, at the end of the day this is a business and agents can’t let professional gamblers exploit their desire to keep clients happy.  Making money is still your number one priority.

Don’t let steam chasers put you out of the sportsbook business

Before we attempt to deny steam chasers from putting your book out of business, let’s first make sure everyone is on the same page about what steam chasing is. Chasing steam is a tactic which sports bettors have been practicing for decades now, and has seen a sharp growth with the advent of online sports betting.  In theory, it is quite simple, players will be viewing a live odds board with dozens of books listed, all showing the same number in a particular game.  All of a sudden, one book known for having high limits sees the odds shift significantly.  Steam watchers will see this, and immediately bet the original line at any outlet still offering it. Steam moves are caused exclusively by professional high limit bettors or sports betting syndicates. It generally indicates that a serious exploit has been discovered and big money is coming in response to it.  This is even more concerning to agents when you realize players need not know anything about sports to be a successful steam chaser; they just have to read the market.

Now, preventing steam chasing is not the easiest task to manage, but it can mean the difference of staying in business or folding up shop. The first step is to identify any steam chasers you have playing at your book, there may be a few or there may be none, but it’s important to highlight them.  This takes time as you will essentially have to become a steam chaser yourself.  You can then see who made wagers which coincide with the steam moves you have witnessed. Also, do keep track of the win/loss records of said steam bets. Once you have identified your steam chasers, you’ll need to minimize your losses; here’s how:

First, set schedule limit overrides on steam chasers.  You can identify which professional chasers that your clients are following and limit bets for a certain amount of time when the professional places a wager.  This keeps your casual steam chasers at bay, as they don’t do their own research and instead rely on following a real pro.

Another tactic is to add a half-point to all your lines.  This serves a few purposes but it also has the chance of eliminating steam chasing outright at your sportsbook.  If you are quick enough you can even use the line mover yourself to be an anti-steam chaser, though this requires skill.  You can also just take the game off the board altogether once a steam move is identified, this is perhaps the easiest and most effective tactic.

Do Pick the right pay per head software for your independent online sportsbook

If you want to be a successful bookie, picking the wrong sportsbook software is a great way to torpedo your new business.  Between server issues, bad odds, outages and lack of customer service, a lot can go wrong when starting your own sportsbook. These things are avoidable issues that can make or break your sportsbook.

PayPerHead is the premier bookmaker software on the market which comes with world-class customer service and competitive odds on all major events.  PPH also comes with comprehensive reporting tools, betting options and the best sportsbook management program the world wide web has to offer.

Check out our latest promotion for brand new agents and get started today.

Related News

Betting on the U.S. Election

Betting on the U.S. Election: Why Not Run a November 3 Election Contest?

Bookies that offer free betting software could score big dollars on the November 3 U.S....

NFL Draft 2024 Preview.

NFL Draft 2024 Preview

NFL Draft 2024 starts this week, but the teams have been planning for months to...

NBA Playoffs Betting

NBA Playoffs Betting: Are the Nets the Team to Beat?

Heading into the 2021 NBA Playoffs, price per head agents favor the Brooklyn Nets. Other...