Poker skills that will stand you in good stead when betting on sports
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Poker skills that will stand you in good stead when betting on sports

At first blush, it might seem that nothing could be more different than poker and sports. No one has suffered a torn muscle or a knee-cartilage injury while engrossed in a round of Texas Hold’em, after all. But if you dig a little deeper and start looking beneath appearances at the psychology involved in both forms of the contest, some striking similarities begin to emerge. Here’s our NJ Online Sportsbook guide to how your poker skills can inform your betting on sports.

The art of reading people

It’s a well-known fact that the best poker players have learned how to read people and notice the subtlest tells – those little gestures and mannerisms that signal whether a player is in a weak or a strong position at the table. Transposing this skill into sports betting puts bettors in very, very good stead. But what signals should you be sensing? The key one is watching line movements, which will tell you where the money is heading on a line. A little homework can help, too, like searching out the proportion of individual bets and comparing it with the percentage of money placed – crucial information to craft an intelligent sports bet.

The art of being decisive – and knowing when

Successful poker players have refined the complex process of recognizing exactly when to apply the brakes and when to fire the thrusters and turbo-accelerate. Well, that’s another “transferable skill” that can be taken directly from the poker room to the sports betting arena. Learn to read those betting lines in sports, because none are created equal. Putting it bluntly, some will leave you feeling “meh,” while another will squeeze your adrenals so much you’d be willing to consider staking your mortgage on it.

If you’re used to big poker tournaments, you’ll know that the wisest strategy is patience: take it easy, save your betting money and wait for the right moment to take a bigger shot. Precisely the same holds for sports betting. If you’re in a game where everything is stacking up in your favor, put your money there rather than frittering it on a raft of mini-bets in an effort to cover your bases.

The art of sound bankroll management

What’s the primary cause of poker players going broke? By a wide margin, it’s down to bad bankroll management. Enthusiasm and boldness are good – but only when they’re coupled with experience and level-headed wisdom. Naïve players often get nervously overexcited in big tournaments, cashing out on games early on – until all of a sudden, they’ve used up all their funds. The very same error of judgment occurs in sports betting.

If your budget is, say, $1000, it’s generally not a great idea to blow half of it onthe opening weekend of the National Football League season. Be restrained. Try not to spend more than $50 in one go with a budget of this size – and spread your bets more widely tominimize the impact of those unpreventable contingencies that so often add up to “bad luck” in sports betting.

The art of restraining impulsive actions

Even seasoned poker pros can indeed tilt under pressure – but they do so far, far, less frequently than novices. If you learned to prevent emotions from governing your reactions in  you could do with taking this aptitude with you to sports betting. Those who know how to steer away from tilting won’t end up wasting money on illogical and rash bets. Ensure your head always rules your gut.