In the sports betting world, it’s a constant battle between the sharps and the squares. That’s why every edge counts. Sometimes it’s not about getting the best number, or beating the closing point spread. Rather, making solid decisions will help keep you on the winning path toward long-term success.
Anyone can pick three NHL matches right on any given week. Anyone can have a sick season betting on the right teams in the NBA. But inevitably variance eventually catches up to you, which is why long-term success requires skill, bankroll management, and mental toughness.
Strangely enough, playing poker could help you become a stronger spots bettor. According to the WPT, there are more than 60 million poker players worldwide, and Texas Hold’em remains the most popular variant of the card game, ever since Chris Moneymaker gained global fame for winning the main event at the World Series of Poker in 2003. Playing Texas Hold’em can help you develop a specific skill set that can be applied both in real life and at the sports book.
Playing winning Texas Hold’em requires dedication and discipline. You have to know when to pick your spots and because things change as you gain information after the flop, turn and river, you need to know how to adjust your Texas Hold’em strategy as the betting rounds progress. If you are too antsy or anxious, you might take a shot in a marginal hand you have no business playing. Tight-aggressive is a style of poker that rewards patient players. It means that you will want to be selective about which hands to play, but when you finally decide to play your poker hand, be sure you know if your royal flush beats the four of a kind and do your homework.
The same approach can be applied to sports betting. The fastest way to go busto is to make too many bets. Act tight-aggressive and bet fewer games. But when you bet… bet big.
HAND HISTORIES AND SELF-ANALYSIS
Some of the best coaches in the NFL never sleep because they are logging endless hours in the screening room watching videos and studying their opponents. Poker pros scrutinize their hand histories. Even if they win a big pot, they will deconstruct a hand to figure out if they could have played it better. Conversely, it is also necessary to study losing hands to find out where you made any crucial errors. If you play online Texas Hold’em, then you will be able to access your hand histories. Even if you play a hand in real life, you can recall enough details to go back over and study it.
Studying your previous wagers is essential in sports betting, especially any losing wagers. You need to see if you overlooked anything that might help you secure a victory in a future wager. What has this loss taught you? You should constantly crunch your overall betting numbers to find any weaknesses or flaws.
KNOW YOUR OPPONENT
Poker players will tell you that there are instances when their own cards do not matter because they are playing their opponent. Psychological warfare is an advanced aspect of poker, but the best players in the world like Daniel Negreanu are able to get inside their opponents’ heads and know what they are thinking.
In the sports betting world, it’s important to know everything there is to know about your opponent. You have to almost treat it like you are a spy and you’re digging up intelligence on the MLB team you are betting against. Don’t only read up predictions, but take the time to do your own analysis and you will be rewarded.
POSITION = POWER IN POKER
Position is a key fundamental in Texas Hold’em. The player who is last to act has a tremendous advantage because they have more information at their disposal. Playing too many hands from early position and out of position is a costly leak for poker players. On the flip side, playing positional poker is a strong strategy and tough to combat.
In the sports betting world, home field advantage is the closest thing to position in poker. Playing in front of a thunderous crowd is advantageous for the home team because they get to be supported by rabid fans. A boisterous fan base can give a team an emotional advantage, whereas visiting teams often struggle to play in a hostile environment. Be wary about backing visiting teams playing in notoriously tough arenas and stadiums. At the same time, backing underdogs at home in the NFL can be a profitable venture. It’s more difficult pulling off an upset on the road than it is at home.
BAD BEATS AND TILT
Bad beats are part of every game. Every poker player deals with them, but some do a better job at handling beats than others. Phil Hellmuth is known as a notorious crybaby whenever he takes a beat, and you might not want to act like someone whose nickname is “The Poker Brat.”
Bad beats happen, yet the best poker players bounce back from bad beats like nothing happened. It’s not easy being bulletproof, but it requires a lot of discipline and patience. You need a Zen-like willingness to stay in the moment and focus on the present hand, rather than obsess over a previous loss. If you get too worked up over a beat, then you’re going to go on tilt – so you need to take a break. Any poker player will tell you that they love to pad their bankrolls by taking advantage of players on tilt.
In the sports betting world, bad beats happen all the time too. Sometimes it’s a terrible call from a referee or official. Sometimes it’s just bad luck. Alas, you have to be able to absorb a beat without letting it affect your future decision-making skills.
Bookies easily profit from agitated and titled punters. Never bet when you’re on tilt! You have to avoid the impulse to instantly recoup your losses after a bad beat; otherwise you’re susceptible to make a tilt-induced wager in a game you have no business betting.
Also, never make wagers when you are upset or emotional about recent gambling outcomes or over real-life issues. That goes for playing a hand in poker, or betting an accumulator in the playoffs.
KNOW WHEN TO FOLD’EM
The lyrics to “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers apply to both poker and sports betting. “You gotta know when to hold’em, know when to fold’em, know when to walk away, and know when to run.”
Kenny Rogers is offering up great advice to all sports bettors on the planet. Sometimes the best bet…is not making a bet. Like Kenny Rogers advised, “You gotta know when to fold’em.”