Basics of How a Bookie Works In Context of Sports Betting

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Online betting websites like are actually glorifies bookies. The only difference is that they hire a number of people to set the odds of a game. But the question is how do they work and how do they earn money in the whole betting venture.

Consider a coin toss, say  X and Y are tossing coins and they are each betting $100 on it, X wins if its head and Y wins if its tails. The mathematical probability is 50% of heads and 50% of tails, so the odds offered by the bookie should be 1:1. So, if X wins he gets $200 and Y gets nothing and vice versa. is a reputed site that offers bookkeeping services to bettors.


But from the point of view of a bookie, this makes no sense as he or she doesn’t make any money at all. So, in order to make money, the bookmaker will offer odds of 1:2, so the pot is of $200, but if X wins, he gets $50 as profit, so total $150, Y gets nothing and the leftover $50 goes to the bookie as profit. So, the people making bets are getting a lower pay out than they would if the mathematical probabilities was followed.

It might seem that the bookie is taking too much money without doing anything, but the truth is they do take risks. In the coin toss scenario, the bookie isn’t taking any risk as the books are perfectly balanced, but in real life sports betting scenarios there is much risk involved as there are many variables to factor in while calculating odds.

For example, if team A is playing team B and team B is the clear favorite, then most people might bet on team B, this means the bookie will have to assume risk for team A. And if the bettors win, the bookie will pay them out of his or her pocket. So, in such a scenario, the bookie might tweak the odds so that more people bet in favor of team A and the book balance out so he or she can make a profit.

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