How Good Are Sports Bettors in Poker?

Several similarities between sports bettors and poker players allow these two disparate groups to alternate between the two disciplines interchangeably. Both fields demand risk tolerance and strategy, but that’s not where it ends. We’ll highlight the most prominent points and look at similarities that dictate why online bettors prefer specific poker websites.

Finding Value

As a sports bettor, it’s imperative to use your judgment when viewing fixed odds. Sportsbooks’ odds naturally have a house edge, and it’s your job to discern the actual probability of a bet and find value in the markets. Bettors need to be on the lookout for any pricing mistakes a sportsbook may have and capitalize on them. Bettors should never forget that the sportsbook is a business looking to turn a profit. As a result, the sportsbook traders have to price up an event with attractive odds used to entice bettors but, in all likelihood, doesn’t reflect the actual probability of an event. Bettors need to find value in the odds before placing a bet.

Similarly, poker players are always seeking value too, and they calculate pot odds to evaluate if the risk is worth the while. They assess their opponent’s betting action and predict the hand they’re up against to see if there’s potential value and if they’re getting the right price to play their hand right to the end.

Bankroll Management

Bankroll management is critically important when it comes to both sports betting and poker. It’s one thing to employ a bankroll strategy and another thing to use it to good effect. Discipline is vital as you should avoid wagering with money you can’t afford to lose. When you follow a bankroll strategy, you also ensure that your judgment is untainted by the stresses of chasing losses and striving to hit a big win.

Both sports bettors and poker players need to keep records of their wagers and never stray from their strategy of only using a set percentage of their bankroll per bet. This strategy ensures that they are still in the game even if they lose bets. Typically top poker players never wager more than 1% of their bankroll in the buy-in, while casual players sometimes use 2-5%; similarly, a bettor should also look to keep their exposure in a single game low.

Avoiding Emotional Investments

It’s essential to remain impartial when betting or playing poker. It’s natural for a bettor to have a favorite team and a poker player to favor a particular hand over another. The key to success is to discard emotions and only place wagers based on rational thinking. 

Poker players are adept at discarding superstition and have the insight to know that a particular favorite hand that yielded profits in the past is unlikely to do so again. Doing the same for sports is trickier as favorite teams and players are far more ingrained and therefore harder to overcome. Once again, placing bets based on fanaticism, admiration, or even dislike is unlikely to deliver favorable results.

Bettors and players should temper their emotions as they’re in the business of winning, first and foremost.

Exploiting edges

In sports betting, an edge is an advantage that a bettor has over the sportsbook. In the pursuit of sharpness, it’s not uncommon for sports bettors to weigh up different sportsbooks’ odds against each other to find a more significant advantage. For example, one sportsbook offers 10/11 or 1.90 – this provides the sportsbook with a 10% buffer, in other words, their edge. Another sportsbook sets a price of 11/10 or 2.10 on the same event – this gives you an advantage. As previously mentioned, some sportsbooks may publish erroneous odds, which allow bettors to gain an advantage.

Top poker players habitually seek an edge or a way to turn the odds in their favor with minimum risk. In poker, the edge might not be as big as in sports betting, but even a slight advantage could dramatically affect a poker game. For example, you manage to determine the fish and sharks early on, or you’ve evaluated an opposing player to have an average skill set lower than your own skill set. It could also mean that you’re adept at reading tells and identifying if an opponents’ hand is worse than your own.  

But in the end, an edge is only helpful if you make the most out of it by playing.

Becoming a More Versatile Gambler

Several online casinos feature a sportsbook which makes for an ideal platform for those bettors looking to dabble in poker and vice versa. The bettor and player’s skill sets are very similar, which allows for more gambling scope and the potential to generate additional profits. The low barrier to entry makes sports bettors good poker players if they harness their gambling skills.

About the Author – Hein Sondag

Hein has worked in the online casino and sports betting industries for over ten years. A wild man at heart with a passion for writing about what matters most about betting – turning a profit while enjoying the gameplay. He’s an avid fan of horse racing, baccarat, and the slot industry’s latest developments. When he’s not keeping tabs on the latest online casino developments and writing for, he’s cycling, hiking, and swimming with sharks.

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