Most gamblers, even professional ones, will admit that they don’t bet simply to win some money. Their greatest motivation is the feeling of success after a winning a football bet, the feeling of correctly predicting the future. As no punter can win each and every time, keeping your composure after a lost bet is a matter of vital importance. The ability to stand up after a missed prediction, or worse, a losing streak, is a crucial factor for your long-term bankroll.
Sports betting psychology has devoted countless chapters on getting over a losing streak. Long-time experience has taught bookies that this is one of the most vulnerable moments a bettor might be in. A loss of temper after three, four or more big losses could lead to erratic movements, such as increasing the wager inconspicuously, or quit gambling altogether until they find tempting odds. However, learning to control your feelings after losing is without doubt the greatest piece of self improvement you can get.
Identify your playstyle
Before talking about overcoming a losing streak, you should place yourself into one of the three main gambler types. This categorization is crucial, as your playing habits are completely different, as is the advice you should get to overcome a continuous “bad luck” streak.
Casual: If you belong to this category then you typically bet every once in a while and spend little money. You consider sports betting as an amusing habit, occasionally betting along friends and almost exclusively on games you’re gonna watch live on TV. The best advice you can get is this: Set a limit on the money you spend on betting and don’t exceed it for any reason. If you bet for fun, consider your money lost as soon as you place a wager, similarly to paying for an after-work drink or watching a movie at your favorite cinema.
Professional: If you consider yourself a professional gambler, this means you’ve become accustomed to “emotion management”. Thus, you know how to react if you lose badly and similarly don’t over-react when winning big. Your bankroll is strategically set, you have a staking plan which you don’t give up and you never bet without detailed analysis. However, you’re human, after all. Best advice: Keep a small amount of your bankroll (let’s say a 2% of the total) completely free and consider it lost from the beginning. Use it to amuse yourself with fun bets.
Compulsive: This is the most risky category of gamblers, and the most typical one. Some would say you’re addicted to gambling, but everyone knows its hard to admit. You bet daily, but without having a specific staking plan. If you win, you increase the steak, if you lose, you reduce it. As you bet big sometimes, you get anxious about winning. You balance between the two categories mentioned above, but you really need to make a choice: Either reduce your betting habits and admit you’re betting for fun, or go professional.
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How do you react to winning and losing?
Knowing thyself, like the Greeks used to say, is really important in betting. What’s your reaction after a late goal of the opposite team? Are you’re thinking about getting your money back at any cost? Do you feel like throwing your mobile phone away, upon hearing the result? These two are the most common reactions. A slight minority of punters know exactly what to do after a series of lost bets.
You could pose the same questions to yourself after winning a bet, especially a high-paid one. Is this going to affect your way of analyzing? Are you going to increase your steak because of this win? Have you ever found yourself placing more bets due to feeling overconfident?
Understand that losing is part of the game
Even the best punters, who’re staking Asian Handicaps in almost evens odds (2.00), are considered successful if they hit over 58% of their staked bets. What’s that supposed to mean? That even a professional bettor loses nearly half of his bets. Losing is a common situation you have to deal with, as soon as you place your first bet. A logical perspective is not to avoid losing altogether, but to have more winning bets than losing ones.
The psychology of gambling contains the term “emotional control”. If you hate losing, not only in betting, but generally in games, then perhaps betting is not a good idea. If you have an overdeveloped ego, betting is not for you. If you get overly anxious when you watch a football match, you should reconsider putting your money on bets.
3 steps to get over losing streaks
- Take a break: This is a piece of advice that even an apprentice could give you, but in most cases is helpful. When you bet all the time, you get into it so much, you start seeing opportunities where they don’t actually exist. Slowing down, even avoiding betting for some time, helps you cool off and reconsider your tactics in cold blood.
- Analyze your betting theory: Do you have that annoying feeling that you are trying something that simply won't work out for you? You’d better check it out. If your way of picking matches seemed safe in the beginning, it's possible that after a series of losses you could mention some holes in it. Don’t insist on your initial view, simply because you don’t like admitting you made a mistake. Have a look at your betting tips archive and rethink your decisions.
- Get over it: Easy to say, hard to do and crucial to understand. During some time periods, you’ll lose even if your picks are carefully thought of. This should not affect your betting psychology. After all, there will be some periods when you’ll win, even if you don’t completely deserve it. That’s just how it goes.
How to avoid a relapse
If you consider yourself a disciplined bettor, you’ve probably faced some of the situations mentioned above and found a way of confronting, or at least restricting them as much as possible. You’ve won some battles, but this is a continuous war. The more you deal with betting, the more temptations you encounter, so the possibility of a relapse is always high.
- Don’t overdo it. Create a strict limit, either in terms of bets, or money wagered. Even if you bet professionally, don’t exceed this limit for any reason and learn when to stop. If you’re in a bad mood, it’s more difficult to think clear when under pressure.
- Never chase losses. It’s the easiest and the shortest way of your betting financial disaster, if not your complete financial disaster. Remember, tomorrow there will always be a better chance of winning than tonight. Don’t run after bets; thousands more will follow.
- Control your emotions. You’re not only betting to feel the adrenaline pump in your blood. If you’re making decisions when in bad or over-the-top mood your thoughts will be clouded. If you’re not a resilient person, you’d better become one. Learn when to retreat and when to attack, don’t let your ego guide you.
- Create a winning mentality. If you bet only on matches you’re convinced are worthy regardless of the final result, you’ll learn to expect winning them. Don’t sink into misery due to an early goal, or a late equaliser by the opposition. Think about it like a temporary setback on your way to success.