Before I came into the world of sports betting, I lived, breathed and ate poker. I both played and traded for years while working in the poker media living in Las Vegas. Almost everyone in my life has been in poker. I woke up thinking about poker and went to bed thinking about poker.
I often mention how the game has shaped the way I live and how the things I learned playing no-limit hold’em have turned into what I do now in sports betting. I never just played; I prepared by examining my hands with other players, studying with a coach, and reading books that were useful both about the math behind the game and about the way I thought.
Some of these books have stood the test of time, but not all have focused on poker. Some were written about sports psychology, others about finance, but they all helped me in my current role as an analyst. It’s all connected – golf, finance, sports, shopping, playing games, etc. – because it’s about the psychology of the act you’re training for.
I would like to share with you some of these books and they might be equally useful in your life – taking learned concepts and applying them in real situations.
I start with the “Mental Game of Poker” first. written by Jared Tendler. Tendler is a mental game coach who has worked with PGA and LPGA players, high stakes poker players, along with other professionals. First of all, the cover itself speaks volumes about how it could be used for other aspects of life with words like “right,” “motivation,” and “confidence” that are right there to get your attention. Here are some concepts that I found useful and that helped in sports betting.
Concept: One thing at a time
A sentence is written in the book when Tendler talks about the model of adult learning, which talks about the learning process. What really caught my attention was, “you can only work on parts of your game at a time.”
That’s right. When you are new to sports betting or even an experienced bookmaker, you could easily be overwhelmed by trying to do it all. Instead, focus on one sport at a time. On Gambling Twitter, you can see content creators and accounts that talk about MLB, NBA, USFL, KBO, horse racing, WTA, PGA, props and all the other sports that take place that day . He probably won’t win. Unless you’re using a model, hell, even if it is, there’s just too much information to consume.
If you’re starting out, focus on one sport you absolutely know the most about, the one you can break down with in bar trivia. Then get really good at analyzing that sport.
Even if you are an experienced bettor, then you know in which sports and in which types of bets you excel. Narrow your focus to less than a few sports. For me, it’s football, ATP tennis and PGA. At least to me, the more I try to add, the more my brain really blurs. It’s like any skill, you can be good at a lot of things or you can put your effort into a few and become great.
How I use this concept outside of betting: the same rule applies. Life can be a bag full. People have medical stuff, family stuff, business stuff, and everything can simply be recharged too quickly. Focus on one thing at a time. Have a list, mark each item one by one. This will help spread the burden.
Concept: Recognize your slope type
There is a whole chapter on slope. If you’ve played poker, you know tilt well. If you ordered food to go, came home to see that they gave you plain fries instead of curly fries, then you know the slope. What this chapter has helped with is recognizing that there are different types of slopes. In fact, Tendler shares seven. What I identify with the most is the “slope that loses hatred”. I’m a competitor at heart so, as Tendler says, even if we know variation can affect results, we still hate losing. Good if we lose, but the most important thing is how we will deal with the inevitable losses.
What this section has helped me to understand is, apart from money, why winning is so important to me and how to mentally manage in a variant. As the saying goes, “don’t let variance beat you by forcing you to play badly,” or in this case, bet wrong. What I mean by that is forced action, doubling or betting after a loss that you would not otherwise have.
Honestly, there are so many great quotes in this section. “If you lose by making lucrative games, the loss is temporary as long as you play well and progress.” The same goes for stocks, playing golf, really anything and everything. Make the right decisions, and then the deviation will eventually return in your favor.
Oh, but you thought tilt only exists when you lose? Tendler explains that there is also a slope for winners. You go into a hot series, you suddenly feel invisible, you gain the mindset of “I can’t lose” and then you find yourself making mistakes, betting on too many games, adding more parlay and wrongly increasing the size of the bet. Excessive self-confidence is also a thing, and with an increased ego, mistakes can be made.
Losses are inevitable. It is crucial to believe in the process (cliché, but true). It’s not just about self-confidence in betting, but about self-confidence in everyday situations whether in the gym, content creation or softball league across the city. Trust runs through what we do in our daily lives. For this I turned to the author himself. On the subject, Tendler said, “the bottom line is that it is too easy to trust equal results. The results are strong, self-confidence high. The results are bad, self-confidence low. That’s the most common mistake I see. “
One thing I preach is to keep track of each of your bets. It’s one thing to know what your ROI (return on investment) is, but it’s another to analyze why your wins were wins and why losses are losses. Tendler explains: “As a sports bookmaker, the luck factor in the short term means you will get a lot of fake feedback. Big bets can be lost and bad bets can be won. The key to getting out of this cycle is to clearly understand how you define quality bets and quality decision making. Then base your confidence on your performance, not on the results. Do it and your self-confidence in general will never get too high or too low. ”
So much for this! It is about the quality of the actions. I’ve been in decline lately so I asked Tendler how I can get my slot back. His answer was that it all starts with the question, “Did you like the bets when you made them? How strong was your mentality at the time? ”
I know I needed a bet break because at least one of them was “no,” but if your answer is “explicitly yes, no doubt and a strong mentality for all five, then attribute it to bad luck,” Tendler said of your confidence. “You don’t deserve a hit and you should keep shooting. These series are part of the game and you don’t want losses like this to change your decision-making process. You want to throw good money in the pursuit of bad money.”
I like that final part. It reminds me of something Tom Dwan once said, “You can’t win if you give up.”
Other concepts in the book that could be directly applied to sports betting: distrust of your intuition, assumption, burnout, lack of learning, and illusion of control.
I’ve read this book several times over the last decade, including recently last month, and will probably read it again in the future. There are concepts we know, but it helps to remind ourselves or helps to expand further for deeper understanding. If you want to improve your inclination, increase your self-confidence, increase your motivation and deal with variations, this is definitely one book I recommend. There is a reason why this is part of my video background.