Sharp or Soft
In my articles sometimes I talk about sharp and soft bookmakers. This is important concept in the world of gambling but it might be confusing for some novice bettors. Here I shortly explain what it is all about.
The soft bookmakers are bookies that are in general bad in determining the correct odds for an event. This is not their point of expertise and they do not dedicate much resource to get better in it. These are the bookies that most often offer arbitrage opportunities and where sometimes you might find the best odds for value betting. In general they make their money by active marketing efforts to seduce the losing bettor and banning the winning one. The majority of known bookmakers fall into that category. Examples: bet365, William Hill, Ladbrockes, you name it.
The sharp bookmakers are the ones that are famously good in setting the correct odds. They much more rarely get the probabilities wrong (although sometimes they still do). Because of this and unlike soft bookies they can afford to offer in general better odds due to their lower overround. Moreover, they more rarely, if at all, limit the accounts of winning players. With them you will see less marketing promotions of the types of deposit bonus, free bets and such. The most famous sharp bookmaker is probably Pinnacle, you also have SBOBet who are quite sharp in football, as well as some Asian bookies only available through a broker like Singbet, IBCbet, betISN.
Why does it matter
This is interesting information but why would I care about the business models of the bookmakers if I myself don’t intend to start one, you might ask. Well, you mainly need to be able to tell a soft bookie from a sharp one in order to know where your winning account might get limited. When doing sports arbitrage for example the soft books will chase you while the sharp ones wouldn’t care. Sports arbitrage is also definitely not the only reason to get your account limited in a soft book – many players have had the same experience after following other types of profitable betting strategies. But there are other implications too – sharps often offer higher limits on events since they are more confident in the odds they are offering, which might be important for an experienced bettor.
In general in the betting world sharp bookmakers are respected while soft ones not so much. But we should not forget that the soft books offer great opportunities for Sports Arbitrage and often give good bonuses that one can benefit from. Make sure you use those opportunities and bag those bonuses before getting your account limited.
If you have any questions let me know in the comments.