Sports Betting vs. Texas Holdem – Which Is Better for the Average Gambler?

Sports Betting Screen on Left and Taxes Holdem Hand on Right

Sports betting and Texas Holdem are two of the few ways to make long-term profits through gambling. Both are extremely popular among those who like using skill to win.

Of course, the average gambler isn’t a skilled pro who makes consistent profits. Instead, they’re just somebody who aspires to be a winner someday.

Assuming you fall into the latter category, then you might want to know if Texas Holdem or sports betting is friendlier on your bankroll.

The following guide discusses what aspects make both sports gambling and Holdem tough. It also provides advice on which game is best for winning—or at least losing less—as an average gambler.

How Tough Is Sports Betting to Beat?

Real money sports betting might give you an opportunity to win profits, but it’s certainly not easy to win with. You’ll encounter lots of the following obstacles when trying to become successful.

Beating the Bookies Is Hard

You’re going against bookmakers when betting on sports. If you want to earn profits, then you’ll need to beat the bookies.

This task is difficult due to the odds makers’ skill. They’re great at crafting tight lines that don’t offer much of an advantage to either side.

Of course, a select few bettors do win long-term profits. They’re masters at handicapping and, potentially, arbitrage betting and/or steam moves.

Even with plenty of effort involved, it can take years to develop this prowess. Most bettors never develop a knack for overcoming the bookies.

Sports Betting Strategy Is Difficult

You don’t necessarily have to be an aspiring pro just to learn sports betting strategy. Instead, you can take it day by day and steadily improve.

Of course, you’ll still find it hard to consistently win more money after reviewing strategy. Again, the bookmakers are really difficult to beat.

You can get started by learning handicapping tips. From here, you might move on to the aforementioned steam moves and arbitrage betting.

You Must Overcome the Juice

You’d have a much easier chance at winning in sports gambling if it were just you going against other bettors. In this case, you’d stand a 50-50 chance of winning.

Of course, sportsbooks want their cut of the action for accepting bets. Therefore, they take juice (a.k.a. vig) from the losing side of wagers. With point spreads and totals, sportsbooks typically collect 10% juice (-110 odds) from the losers.

You have to win 52.4% of your bets just to break even with 10% vig. For comparison, the world’s best sports bettors usually only win around 55% of their wagers at -110.

Crowd at Sportsbook, Money Falling Down

The Temptation to Chase Losses Is Great

Despite the juice and how good oddsmakers are, you can still expect to win between 45% and 50% of your wages as an average gambler.

That said, you might always feel like you’re due for wins after a steady stream of losses. Going further, you may be tempted to chase losses. As you may know, chasing losses refers to placing wagers just to win back previous losses.

The big problem with this is that you could end up losing far more money than you’re comfortable with. You’re better off forgetting about past losses and thinking about the present.

How Tough Is Texas Holdem to Beat?

Texas Holdem is one of the most-lucrative gambling games. It gives you a realistic chance to become a professional gambler. I use the word “realistic” lightly here, though, because Holdem is such a difficult game to beat.

You Must Win Against Human Opponents

Not every Texas Holdem player is excellent at this game. Nevertheless, a number of players are at least proficient with strategy.

You won’t have a walk in the park winning in this game. If you’re new to holdem, you’ll almost assuredly lose money to more-experienced opponents.

Even when becoming a solid player, you’ll continue running into challenges along the way. After all, your opponents have the ability to make adjustments and remain unpredictable.

Holdem Strategy Is Endless

The good news is that you have no shortage of resources when trying to become a good Holdem player. Countless poker articles, books, training videos, and Twitch streams are available.

Of course, the same conveniences that are afforded to you are also available to others. Any player can access a large range of articles, videos, and Twitch streams online.

You’ll have to spend a large amount of time learning Texas Holdem strategy in order to excel. Even if you just want to be an above-average player, you’ll need to dedicate some time to strategy.

You Must Overcome the Rake

Every poker room collects rake from the action. The industry standard is 5% rake from a cash game pot and 10% from tournament buy-ins.

You can see that cash games are slightly easier on your bankroll. Even still, 5% is a lot to sacrifice in such a tough game.

That said, you must be good enough to outplay opponents and beat the rake to win profits. The first part is hard enough without adding extra fees to the equation.

Poker Player

The Only Real Profits Are at Higher Stakes

You can’t just toil away in $0.02/$0.04 no-limit cash games and $1 tournaments while expecting to win any real money. Instead, you’ll need to move up the stakes and take on greater risks.

Higher stakes provide more profits per hour if you’re a winning player. You can also multi-table at lower online poker stakes to boost your win rate.

Either way, you’ll be facing a greater challenge. Better players tend to be at the higher limits. Multi-tabling online, meanwhile, requires greater concentration and mastery at your chosen stakes.

Of course, you can always stay at the limits you’re most comfortable with and stick to a single table. The drawback, though, is that you won’t be able to win any more money.

Which Game Gives the Average Gambler a Better Chance?

As can be seen, both sports betting and Texas Holdem come with challenges. You won’t waltz into either pursuit and automatically start winning.

Almost any gambler would appreciate the life of luxury that comes with regularly dominating Holdem or sports gambling. But as they say, if it were that easy, then everybody would be doing it.

Which of these types of gambling is the easiest for the average gambler? Sports betting is slightly easier for the average Joe.

Provided you bet somewhere around –110 odds, you’ll at least win close to half your bets. Sports gambling is set up to provide fairly consistent wins.

You almost have to try to lose the vast majority of your bets. The best way to avoid purposely losing involves not wagering on parlays (a.k.a. sucker bets).

Of course, you still need to avoid chasing losses and other pitfalls. As long as you can do this, though, then you won’t lose an insane amount with sports wagering.

Texas Holdem is perhaps easier to beat long-term thanks to how you’re not going against the oddsmakers. However, Holdem opponents can still be difficult to beat—especially at higher stakes.

Assuming you’re not a winning player, then you’ll likely play a higher volume of Holdem hands than you would make sports bets. This increased betting volume means that you stand to lose more money overall with this game.

You can minimize the potential pitfalls by being good at bankroll management. The average player, though, doesn’t pay much attention to managing their bankroll.

Our Final Thoughts on This Comparison

Neither sports betting nor Texas Holdem is a cakewalk. You need to spend considerable time developing the skills to beat either pursuit.

Assuming you’re just a typical gambler who’s looking to have fun, though, then sports wagering is a better bet. It gives you a solid chance to pick up consistent wins. Furthermore, you probably won’t risk as much overall on sports betting.

Texas Holdem is a great game if you’re trying to become a professional. Provided you have endless amounts of time to spend on strategy, then you can work your way up the stakes and win.

If you’re like most people, though, you don’t have the hours and probably won’t win anytime soon. This high playing volume can also eat away at your bankroll quicker than would sports wagering.