Once, sports betting and poker were associated with Vegas and high-stakes risks. Since both have expanded beyond Nevada, they may seem to have less in common. Sports bettors rely on hard analysis from algorithms and pundits. Poker players have only their own experience and knowledge to guide them at the table.
However, the underlying skills that both successful punters and poker pros foster are surprisingly aligned. After all, the margins for winning in either industry are deceptively slim, especially for newcomers.
As more poker rooms and oddsmakers shift to offer their services online and via mobile device, margins for victory have expanded along with the availability of resources. Though some prefer to play and punt in-person for the experience or out of habit, the most competitive deals are found online.
One simple way that poker players and bettors alike can maximize their winnings is to keep their fingers on the pulse in terms of online opportunities. Some sites collect free bets from top sportsbooks, which makes comparing deals from oddsmakers easy—and there are just as many that do the same for poker rooms.
Aside from shopping around for the best deals, poker pros and successful punters have three other critical characteristics in common. They know how to manage money, they know a thing or two about dealing with the unknown, and they aren’t afraid to evolve with the times.
Tip One: Managing Money
Urban legends about massive payouts abound, as do stories of those who lost it all on a wayward bet. Stories about either extreme don’t exactly depict the norm for those who play poker and wager on moneylines as a hobby.
Most end up cutting even—edging up in a good month or losing slightly in an unlucky month. However, pros who earn a living from point spreads or bluffing at the table have one thing in common: they know how to manage their money and construct detailed plans before they bet big.
For most, tracking expenditure is a skill that takes time to develop. Certain casinos and sportsbooks allow users to deposit money into a prepaid card, barring them from accessing funds directly from their bank. When the card runs out, the day is done. No matter the preferred method, honesty about finances separates pros from amateurs.
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Tip Two: Dealing with the Unknown
Punters and poker pros are experts at dealing with unknown quantities. In the case of sports betting, the entire point is to determine the outcome of a sporting event. For poker players, unknown quantities directly shape the game, including an opponent’s hand and their ability to bluff.
So how do pros in both fields deal with the unknowable—especially when it can make or break their day? The answer is deceptively simple; it’s a part of the profession and there’s nothing that can be done. That’s why Tip One is so important; those who first tend to their bank account will never be compromised—no matter how shocking the upset.
Dealing with the unknown is about keeping composure during a trying defeat and knowing when it’s time to cut losses. The most seasoned pros have flopped flushes on runner-runner full houses and lost big thinking Mike Tyson would barrel through Buster Douglas. It happens; chin up.
Tip Three: Rely on Technology
Modern technology has revolutionized poker and sports betting. Carnegie Mellon University made headlines a few years ago when it created the first AI poker program capable of defeating pros. Oddsmakers aren’t far behind with their machine learning algorithms that provide ‘computer picks’.
A veteran in either industry knows how to use technology to their advantage—though maybe not in the most predictable ways. For example, plenty of apps help manage more administrative sides of the job; a budgeting app can help a player or punter manage their funds, while a biohacking app can help someone isolate at what time of day their mind is sharpest.
Moving forward, advancements in AI will have direct effects on both industries. In sports betting, algorithms may be able to identify winners with enough accuracy that the industry changes radically. For poker, AI programs are likely to change how newcomers learn the game.
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