Today I am going to be interviewing a man by the name of Ivan Zentsov. I first came in contact with Ivan in 2011 on the SBR forum. Ivan was running a profitable thread. He made money value betting with soft bookmakers and was making consistent profits. He is now sports betting for a living, though mainly with Asian bookmakers and exchanges.
1.Could you tell me a little about how you got into sports betting and your background?
I first got into betting for fun like most people. Putting on accumulators and going for the big money. Obviously I was very bad at first and consistently lost money. I came across arbitrage and exploiting bonuses, this really changed things.
It seemed crazy to me that bookmakers were basically giving away money. Limitations came eventually but accounts lasted much longer then they do today. They were also some crazy sign up deals, After a few months I was making more money from this then from driving my taxi.
2. How long were you able to arb for? When and why did you start value betting?
I burnt through my own accounts and some more through arbitrage. Not sure exactly how long but I was probably just arbing for about 2 years. I was still working the taxi’s at the time and built up a very good bankroll.
Many of my accounts allowed me to bet but smaller amounts. So I started value betting with a bank of around 50k. This took a different mentality to arbitrage as there were swings in my profits. Not everyday was a winning one but over the long term profits were made.
3. Eventually you moved on to betting with the Asian bookmakers and betting exchanges. Why was this?
Well I got tired of the fun and games you have to go through with the soft bookmakers. Being limited then eventually completely banned. There were only a limited amount of resources for me to continue betting with the softs. I knew that eventually I would have to change my methods of betting.
4. Were you successful straight away betting with Asian markets and exchanges?
Even though I had a lot of experience from sports betting, I was not sure my profits would be the same. So I gave myself a year to see what would happen. It took a little time but I eventually I was able to make money from these betting markets.
5. Would you share any information on how you did this?
I found some tipsters that had long term profits betting in Asia. Plus I have built up many contacts over the years in betting. There are a few of us that form a mini syndicate. We share information about good tipsters and bets in small markets we specialise in.
6. Could you share the tipsters you follow? What small markets do you mean?
Sorry but it is tough to get good odds fast enough as it is. If I shared them then this would make it even harder. The small markets I mean like less known leagues. For example women’s football or the Thai Premier league. Betting limits are not huge but this is were you can get a good return on your investment. We have a consistent edge in some of these markets.
7. You are sports betting for a living currently. Care to reveal how much you make in a year from sports betting? Also which sports do you bet on?
Lifetime I have made more then £500,000. Year to year it can be different due to the variance involved with betting.
Mostly football but also European basketball, boxing, handball and mma.
8. Any advice for someone that wants to make money from sports betting?
Take on the soft bookmakers first that is where the easiest money is. Look at betting over the long term. If you go full time make sure you have enough money to pay your bills for a year, then have a separate bankroll for betting.
Betting is not for everyone and can be very stressful. I have been lucky that I got into arbitrage when bookmakers were less strict. Also I was lucky to meet people that had been betting professionally long term and could show me the ropes.
People often think the life of a sports bettor is exciting but it really isn’t. My advice would be to take things slow and make the most of the best opportunities before the betting landscape changes.
Thank you for your time