I get some of my best sports gambling concepts from non-sports gambling books. That’s not really surprising, since there are so few serious works addressing sports handicapping and gambling. Of all the various gambling related disciplines, sports gambling is perhaps the most complex. The paucity of written work on the subject is downright shameful in light of that fact. Since there’s so little specific literature available some of the best theoretical resources available to the serious sports gambler can be found in books written for the serious poker player.
Poker literature is especially applicable to the sports handicapper because both can be very profitable for a knowledgeable, experienced and skillful pro. Poker expert Bob Caro has noted that while there are a number of professional gamblers specializing in poker and sports wagering there’s not a single person who can honestly say they play roulette for a living.
The simple fact is that the house edge in roulette cannot be overcome by any combination of skill, experience and/or discipline. When you win, it is because you get lucky. When you lose, its because you didnt get lucky. To add another Caro concept to the equation, the decisions that the player makes when playing roulette simply dont matter”at least in terms of overcoming the theoretical edge enjoyed by the house. In the long term, it doesnt matter whether you choose red or black, odd or even, or certain numbers. You may get lucky with your choices or you may not, but these decisions do not impact the house edge one iota.
Caro stresses the paramount importance of discipline to a poker player’s long term success and profitability. It’s important to keep in mind that to succeed as a professional gambler that you need to approach a trip to the casino with a diametrically opposite mindset to that of the recreational gambler. A recreational gambler heads to the casino to *avoid* discipline and ‘unwind’. The professional uses discipline to his advantage.
Caro’s emphasis on discipline in poker is also true for the serious sports gambler. The foundation of a professional sports bettor’s long term success is to approach it with the same discipline, rigor and professionalism that he would any other job. If you continue to think about it in the same terms as the recreational gambler does, you’re in for a difficult road. The more seriousness that you bring to your sports betting, the higher the likelihood that you’ll be successful.
There’s nothing wrong with being a recreational sports gambler, or a recreational gambler of any sort. They’re vital to those of us who do this for a living since they’re what keeps casinos and sportsbooks in business. Ultimately, the best handicapping is pointless without a sportsbook to take the action.
If your goal is to bet recreationally, that’s great. Unless you have the dedication, desire and discipline to approach it at a profession a recreational approach to gambling is ultimately better for most people. You might benefit from some greater money management discipline, but at the end of the day as long as you don’t bet more than you can afford to lose it’s really no big deal.