Poker is one of the few games played in casinos that allow players to make a long term profit. While most poker players are overall losers, a decent number of poker professionals make a living playing the game.
Being a profitable poker player requires a certain skill-set that works well in other professions, such as day trading or investing.
Today, I take a look at the linking points between poker and sports betting and investigate what skills poker players have that might make them good at sports betting as well.
Poker Players are Not Risk Averse
Any form of gambling, including sports betting, includes some risks. Most regular people are quite risk-averse and prefer not to take any unnecessary risks in their everyday lives.
Even when profitable opportunities arise at the best betting sites, many people tend to back out when there is a risk of losing an investment. This could hardly be less true for poker players, who make their living off of taking risks.
Practically every hand in poker includes a certain dose of risk. Weighing this risk against the potential reward that could be won is what separates the winning poker players from the losing ones.
In sports betting, risks must also be taken. Even the best of bettors lose many bets and usually only make a profit worth several percentage points of their overall investment.
This makes sports betting a great opportunity for poker players who are already taking risks on a daily basis and are not afraid to put their money where their mouth is.
Analytical Minds Can Beat the Bookies
Betting on sports may seem like a game of chance to a casual bystander. After all, no one knows who will win a match beforehand, so betting on it may seem like a pure gamble.
However, this is absolutely untrue. As the betting odds tell us, the chances of an event going one way or another can be calculated to quite a certainty.
Being able to analyze all available data and turn it into tangible numbers is something that most bettors can’t really do. They simply bet on the team they prefer, regardless of the odds.
Poker players are used to dealing in percentages and odds, and understanding who the favorite is and by how much. Applying this poker skill to sports betting can make a huge difference.
Sports betting is all about weighing the odds that the bookies are offering against the realistic expectations and the best punters know how to do this very well.
Bankroll is King
Poker, sports betting, and even investing all require a bankroll. Depending on the size of the bets or investments you want to be making, you should always look to maintain a healthy bankroll.
If you have been playing poker for a while, bankroll management is a skill you will have probably learned quite well. In fact, you can’t really be a successful poker player without proper bankroll management.
The same goes for sports betting, where a good bankroll is key to any kind of success. Even the best bettors lose, and quite often. This means you need to be ready to take some losses along the way.
Calculating how much you can bet with your current bankroll is the skill you will need to develop. Fortunately, coming from a poker background, you should be able to do this without too much effort.
It’s all about the Long Run
If you have ever played poker, you have surely seen recreational poker players get really mad after losing a poker hand or busting a tournament. Pros, on the other hand, take it all in stride.
The reason is not that poker pros like losing, but rather that they understand variance. There is no winning in poker without losing along the way, and that’s just the way it goes.
The long term outlook that poker players have to develop if they are to succeed is another great prerequisite for a successful sports betting career.
Remember, even the best bettors only win just over half of their bets, so you should be prepared for some serious variance and losing stretches that will make you think you will never bounce back.
Understanding that these things happen and that money lost is only an investment is one of the key elements that make up any successful bettor.
Know When to Hold 'em and Know When to Fold 'em
The popular Kenny Rogers song “The Gambler” says that it’s all about knowing when to hold 'em and knowing when to fold 'em. Poker players know this all too well, but the same applies to betting.
Finding good bets and only betting when there is an edge to be had is crucial to any kind of success in sports betting. Many of us like making an occasional bet for fun, but to be making a profit, one must do so much more.
Any good betting pro will tell you that most sports matches don’t really offer any good betting opportunities. The bookies have their odds down so well that betting on either side in most cases is fool’s work.
Instead, those who really know how to bet will wait it out patiently and wait for the bookies to miss something. While this is not too common, it does happen, and great punters know exactly how to take advantage of it.
The Poker Mindset is Ideal for Betting
I have listed only a few of the main skills and abilities that poker players tend to have that make them ideal candidates for successful sports bettors.
The analytical mindset and good bankroll management that great poker players have are enough to beat the bookies. Simply understanding how the odds work and what you are looking for is a skill that most bettors don't really have.
If you are a poker player and doing well, looking into sports betting could be something worth pursuing. Just remember to treat betting just as you do poker: like a job. If you take a gambler's approach, you can expect gambler's results as well.