Has betting, and in extent gambling, anything to do with psychology? Well, you certainly don't require a master's degree in this field or need to study Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung before you place a bet. However, as in every aspect in life, the way we assert our choices has everything to do with psychology which is exactly the case in sports betting as well.
One of the first steps a bettor has to take before he can start acting professionally, is to understand that his thoughts and emotions impact his decisions. Searching for lucky charms, undergoing superstitious routines and listening to would-be fortune tellers who promise unfathomable riches, are all in vain. The key to winning is calculated thinking and peace of mind. Before you place a bet, you must be calm, focused and free from pressure of time or money.
Step 1: Check your emotions
Try to concentrate on betting, moments after having opened a utility bill. Try to focus on betting a few minutes after having had a brawl with your missus due to any trivial reason. Try to be calm and build an acca with only 10 minutes remaining before the matchday starts. You think you can do this? If the answer is no, then you shouldn't worry. It's the same for all of us.
Unfortunately, most punters don’t care much about their emotional state before placing a bet. What they also don't understand is that this is one of the key reasons they fail to produce any long term profits. Of course, you have to face life's problems everyday, not to mention people who negatively impact your emotional status. The point is not to withdraw yourself from having any emotions, but to isolate your betting routine from the rest of your day.
Betting is basically a weighing and measuring procedure. You try to pick a winner, or winners, from hundreds of different events. The best weapon in your arsenal is the ability to distinguish valued bets from non-valued ones. This is the most accurate filter when it comes to counting numbers, processing data, news and odds, and deciding where to place your money. If you overlook the fact that you're wagering a smaller portion , there is absolutely no difference from investing or stock brokering.
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Step 2: Your mind is a tool - Use it
Psychology has shown that the the mind can be manipulated when we deliberately undertake certain habits. For example, psychiatrists advise insomnia patients to create a mind-relaxing routine, hours before going to sleep. This way they can convince their brain that it should relax and rest.
The same thing has been tested in gambling, especially among poker players: Devoting a few hours casually checking the matches and reviewing your older predictions will help your mind focus and make better choices.
Balance is key here though. You must not pressure your mind or expect to see results from day one. You need to be relaxed and develop a routine that feels natural to you. This means that you must try this out a few times in order to feel confident and not just try to convince yourself you are ready.
Step 3: Time and Money
You’ve got to be patient enough to be able to overcome a series of lost bets and wait for the right moment to strike. You must also realize you won't get rich within a few weeks, or months. In other words, understand that the psychology behind gambling is that winning takes time.
This is not affecting only amateur or apprentice punters, but also experienced ones. Most of them understand they won't win a fortune within a season, but they often overestimate their abilities by increasing their stakes without a clear strategy of by setting unrealistic targets.
Money management is another important factor to attain an emotional balance. You need to ask yourself the following three questions:
- What is the mamixum amount you can afford to spend?
- How much do you plan to spend every month or week?
- What is the “regular” amount you will place on a normal bet?
The answers to these questions must be sincere and more importantly, not be altered in the future. Whoever risks more than he can afford to lose is not only putting a dent on his bank account, but also his state of well being. The amount you’ve agreed to spend on betting is like an investment and has nothing to do with other needs, such as paying bills or buying groceries.
Step 4: Discipline and Clarity
Another way of preparing yourself emotionally is to realize that in order to ultimately win in betting, you have to accept you will make some mistakes. It is your duty to spot them and work hard to overcome them. Our last piece of advice may sound a bit cliché, but it is crucial: work your body along with your mind. The Romans had a saying: "mens sana in corpore sano" or "a healthy mind lives in a healthy body”.
Don’t just sit around and spend half your day in front of a computer screen. Do something creative, eat well, sleep regularly and excersise, even if it means going for a walk at the park . If you think that professional gamblers gamble 12 hours a day while eating pizza and drinking beer, then you had best change your views on what being a professional is.