Can playing poker improve your sports betting?

Poker and Sports Betting

If you have an interest in sports betting, you know that there is no such thing as a certain bet. Even when it seems as though a certain result is guaranteed, we all know the feeling of seeing the seemingly impossible become very possible, usually at the cost of your wager.

It’s a similar story when playing poker; going all in on a hand you feel can’t lose, only to end up scratching your head as your opponent reveals a Royal Flush to smugly scoop your chips up while you do your best gracious loser face.

The similarities between sports betting and poker don’t end there, and the two are actually a lot more similar than you may have previously thought. With poker now more popular and accessible than ever before, mainly due to the growth in online casinos and poker sites, many sports betting fans are playing the game, if not making a permanent move, both via the internet and in casinos, or with friends.

But can looking at the game of poker benefit you when it comes to your sports betting?

Sports Betting

The Similarities

The main similarity between sports betting and poker is the fact that they both revolve around numbers. Whether it’s a score-line from an AFL game, the cards you’re dealt in poker or the numerous betting odds of both disciplines, making sure you have a basic understanding of the numbers involved is crucial to achieving success. Both sports betting and poker are structured in a way that allows the bettor to gain an advantage, and making the most of this “edge” is essential to seeing a return on your betting investment.

In poker, numbers are crucial, especially when it comes to probability and odds. While there is a 49.9% chance of getting a pair in poker, that percentage significantly drops to 0.3925% for a straight and just 0.000154% when it comes to a Royal Flush – the Holy Grail of the poker world.

For a start, knowing how to correctly place a sports bet or poker bet and what all the different terms mean is probably the most important part of research you can do. If you bet horse racing once a year at the Melbourne Cup, there is a good chance you base your selections on a name you like or one of your favourite colours. This might be a nice way of betting, but it’s not a strategy that leads to success.

While there are a lot of betting fans who spend hours studying form, conditions, history and a host of other factors before deciding on how to bet, it’s the same with the majority of successful poker players. While it’s obvious that there are only four ways to draw a Royal Flush in a 52-card deck, not everyone knows that the probability of making a regular flush is 0.367%.

As well as having a detailed understanding of the rules of the different variations of poker, those who walk away from the poker table with the most chips are the ones who are constantly studying and evaluating their own game as well as that of their opponents. While you can’t always research the other players you’re competing against during a game of poker, figuring out what type of player an opponent is – someone who makes rash calls or a safety-first player – is essential to getting the upper hand.


Rethinking Strategy
If you’ve ever lost a hand at poker when you felt you were onto a winner, you’ll have most likely put it down to luck, rather than yourself betting, calling or raising at the wrong times. In sports betting, punters are able to gain knowledge of a sport or an upcoming event rather than hope for a good hand, but there is the same feeling of a loss coming down to misfortune. A good poker player is able to rethink their strategy during a round, whether to call or fold depending on their hand, even if it means throwing away what looked to be a strong hand at the start. It’s the same when a player goes on a bad run; they need to rethink strategy and potentially even analyse the reasons behind the cold streak. For punters betting on horse racing on a regular basis, a bad run of form is a clear indication that you might not have done enough research on the runners and riders, or the right research before betting.

One of the most obvious similarities between sports betting and poker is the accessibility and huge selection available to punters. As well as being able to enjoy up-to-the-second betting on sporting events from around the world, bettors are also able to play a variety of different poker games from wherever you are, cutting out the time and money involved in having to travel to events.

No longer is poker a game that you need another three people or more to play, it’s now a game that can be played at home, on the train to work or while you’re waiting for your partner to try on 17 almost identical outfits. And it’s the same with sports betting. The huge selection of online sports betting comparisons sites and poker sites hasn’t only made it easier for punters to place wagers, the competition among companies on the internet has also seen bonuses and offers used to try and attract customers.

That’s right, in both sports betting and poker, risk plays a key role and is an aspect that definitely needs to be respected. While there is plenty of success to be had in both arenas, both include a fair amount of risk. Risk can manifest itself in a number of ways in poker, be it making a brave call, a bluff, raising the pot or even folding a hand. Any game involving gambling is going to come with risk, and a sports bettor or poker player needs to be able to weigh up the risk and reward involved with each and every bet, as well as adapting to the inevitable changes that occur during an event.

Depending on the money involved in the bet you’re making, whether it’s in poker or sports, it’s important to remember that anything other than calculated thinking will more often than not result in the loss of your bet and a dent in your confidence. These are games of skill, and should be treated as such.

Knowing what odds you have in poker can be a major part of the decision making process, but not every poker player is aware of them. While you’re looking at 20/1 for Two Pairs, 508/1 for a Regular Flush, it’s a steep climb up to 72,192/1 for a Straight Flush and an ambitious 649,739/1 for that elusive and pot-winning Royal Flush.

Online Betting

So, can poker improve your sports betting?

As we’ve discovered, there are a host of similarities between sports betting and poker, but that’s not to say someone who spends a lot of time doing one can automatically make a successful jump into the other. That said there are skills from one that can be adopted with the other. And if a poker player wants to try sports betting, and vice versa, there is an argument to suggest that their experience in one field could help in the other. Whether it’s the research, the strategy, the dedication or any number of key factors behind finding success in either sports betting or poker, there are clearly tactics that can crossover and help a punter find their feet in a new area of gambling.

While it’s obvious that there are plenty of similarities, perhaps the biggest one is the fact that playing poker and betting on sports – whether it is AFL, A-League football or horse racing – are an extremely fun hobby to have, even more so when you’re doing it correctly and finding success on a regular basis.

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November 25, 2015 by : Posted in Blog No Comments

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