Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sports betting - handling losing streaks

Like poker, sports betting is a kind of activity that can be potentially psychologically straining on the player. Few people realize it, but both winning and losing streaks exact a psychological toll on players, that can lead to potential faults in the system they’re using. Winners can get greedy and wager more, this way kicking up a carefully balanced and well thought-out bankroll management system. Handling winning streaks is always easier than coping with losing streaks though. Losing streaks have the ungodly ability to make players chase their losses, which is the equivalent of going on tilt in poker. Needless to say, there’s nothing more destructive for your bankroll than that.
Here’s a brief list of what measures you can take when you’re hit by a losing streak, in order to help you tide your bankroll through the rough times to possibly see better days and to claw your way back above the red line.

Don’t watch the games you wager on. Unless you’re one of those utterly light-hearted recreational bettors who only bet to add some salt and pepper to the regular excitement of watching a game, you really shouldn’t watch the games on which you have action. The emotional high and lows provided by such games expose you to unnecessary stress. Seeing the match swing the other way in the last few seconds of action due to an erroneous call by the referee is a surefire way to tilt.

Venting is actually not a bad idea when it comes to losing streaks. Call your friends, or step outside and shout your woes into the wild blue yonder, just make sure you get over it as soon as possible. You do not want to stew in your anger a second longer than absolutely necessary.
Never forget to step back and to take a look at the bigger picture. Maybe you’ve lost money over a week’s time, but you may still be ahead for the month. Focus on what you did well when you were winning and try to replicate those actions. Don’t let your losing streak sway you: if you’re playing with EV+ you will turn a profit, all you need is some patience.

The “what if” is quite probably the biggest enemy of the bettor. The biggest problem with “what if” scenarios is that they carry faulty math. You may win $100 and ponder on about how you could’ve won $300 instead, had you made slightly different decisions. In hindsight, everything in much clearer in sports betting as well as in life in general. You can’t begin to base your future decisions on “what if” mathematics though because they just don’t work.

Successful sports betting can often feel weird: more precisely it can feel a lot like losing. Even extremely successful bettors often lose close to 50% of their bets. Stop chasing that “feeling like a winner” thing, because you’ll probably never find it and you’ll hurt your bankroll in the process too.
Take a long hard look at your losses and try to analyze them in a level-headed manner. I know it is difficult to get over your losses while analyzing them, but if you want to improve radically, this is the best way to do it. Take a look at the way the line moved, at the box scores and focus on clues you may have picked up but failed to act on for whatever reason.

Bet less. This is quite the opposite of chasing your losses. When you feel like you can’t really get anything right, stop pushing the envelope and pull back on the reins a little. This is a decent damage-control measure that will allow you to protect your bankroll while riding out losing streaks.
Damage control is equally important in online poker. Playing less when things don’t seem to work out is always a great idea, but an even better damage-control tool is rakeback. Sign up for a rakeback deal at rakemeback.com and you’ll limit your losses seriously. You may even get paid to play through one of pokerprops.com’s poker prop deals.

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