After thousands of years of evidence, the results are in – people love gambling.
Just like anything else, some people are better at it than others. The good news? Becoming a “good gambler” can be practiced and developed like any other skill.
Okay, let’s get the obvious out of the way first: luck plays a huge role in your success. With that being said, there are lucky gamblers who don’t maximize their winnings, and unlucky gamblers who are able to minimize losses. In the end it all comes down to strategy and developing good habits.
In this article, I’ll lay out the tips you need to know for a long and prosperous gambling career.
1 – It Starts with the Bankroll
If you’re serious about winning money, of even if you’re just concerned about not losing money, your bankroll should be your top priority at all times.
For experienced bettors, this might be a concept you’re already very familiar with, but there’s never a bad time to go over it again. If nothing else, maybe it will act as a reminder to keep up with yours a little more closely.
It should separate from your regular bank account, and should be closely monitored at all times.
Nobody likes to think they’re going to lose their entire bankroll, but you need to plan for the worst in order to save yourself from real financial trouble. Set aside an amount of money that you can afford to lose (yes, afford to lose ALL of it), and go from there.
At any time, it is okay to take money out of your bankroll (for example, after a big win), but you should never put more money into it until you’re at 0. You might be thinking, “If I’m going to reload it anyway, why does it matter?” The answer is simple – at least you’ll know how much you lost.
When you don’t separate gambling money from your regular bank account, it’s very difficult to track your progress. At best, it makes it much more of a hassle, at worst, you’ll lose track altogether.
The second and final component of your bankroll that you need to decide is what your percentage range is for how much you’ll put on any one play. This acts as a protection from you betting it all on what you thought was a “sure thing,” and depleting your resources quickly.
Most experts recommend putting down only between 3% and 5% of your total bankroll on any single play, but you can make adjustments as needed. The truly important thing is that you stick to your percentages. Over time, if you constantly make exceptions, the rule doesn’t mean anything.
Before you really ramp up your career in gambling, it all starts with getting a solid grasp on your bankroll, and maintaining it with great discipline.
2 – Sportsbook Selection
As gambling begins to become more accepted both legally and socially, there are more options for places to make a bet than ever before. This is both a blessing and a curse, as it can be hard to narrow down which sportsbooks are right for your situation.
While it’s true that you need to recognize what you’re looking for out of a sportsbook that matches your goals, here are a few things you should be paying special attention to in your search:
Any time you’re putting your hard-earned cash into an online platform, it’s crucial that you do all the necessary background research to make sure that it’s going to be safe. The vast majority of websites have protections in place that can give you peace of mind knowing your money isn’t vulnerable to thieves or hackers, but it’s still a good idea to look beforehand.
You don’t need to be doing a 2-hour deep dive on every single betting site you’re considering, but maybe take 10 minutes and look over user reviews. Like I said, most sites are perfectly safe, but 10 minutes is a small price to pay when money is on the line.
As previously mentioned, there are a bunch of gambling websites that are competing to earn your business. In order to win you over, most online books have some very enticing sign up bonus offers for new bettors.
They vary in what exactly is offered, but typically the rewards will be a cash-match when you first sign up. For example, if you deposit $200 initially, they might give you $100 extra in money to use for the sole purpose of betting on their platform.
Additionally, some sites offer free entry into betting tournaments. Weekly pick ‘ems in sports, or a daily poker challenges might have a cost to enter, but if you’re new, you could join for free.
Most bettors, and people in general, have been conditioned to think that freebies are often too good to be true. That’s not a bad bias to have, but in this case it’s okay to let your guard down. Gambling websites know that they’ll likely come out ahead if you stick around long enough, and so pulling any tricks to deceive new users is a good way to lose out on profits.
Use More than One
Just like you’d look around for the best prices on a new couch, so too should you shop around for the best odds on a game you’re looking to bet on.
The effectiveness and importance of shopping around will vary based on the sport and bet type you’re looking to make, but it’s a good habit to get into nonetheless.
Personally, I believe it’s most important when betting moneylines. Although the spreads might be the same for an NFL game across three or four sportsbooks, there’s going to be some variation in moneyline odds. If you were going to take a favorite at -200 using one sportsbook, you might as well see if you can find the same bet at -190 somewhere else.
It’s not going to make you a millionaire, but shopping around for the best odds helps you to maximize wins and minimize losses.
3 – Know When to Call It
The thrill of gambling defies logic. This often means that it causes people to act irrationally, and usually it’s against their best interest.
The key is to not turn your good days into average days, and not let your bad days become disasters.
When you’re fortunate enough to be up a significant amount on the day, there’s no shame in cashing out and trying your luck again tomorrow. The law of averages will suggest that your winnings will eventually stop, and the cliché “quit while you’re ahead” exists for a reason.
Most importantly, it’s crucial to your long-term success to avoid chasing losses. If you lose $100 on two consecutive games, the absolute worst thing you can do is try to win it all back by betting $200 on the third game.
If you’re truly into betting, you can enjoy it for years on end. There’s no reason to make plays that are shortsighted or that disregard the impact it will have on your future.
Gambling may have developed the reputation for being a vice, but if you gamble responsibly, it’s simply a way to add some excitement to your life. As long as you aren’t wagering an amount of money that can seriously hurt you financially, there’s no shame in embracing it.
Keep these three tips in mind throughout your gambling career, and odds are you’ll either come out a winner, or you’ll enjoy the thrill – even if it ends in a loss.