Knowing how to deal with losing is essential if you want to be a professional sports bettor.
And yet it’s losses and losing streaks that are often the wire that trip most bettors up when betting. Losses can cause major problems unless you know how to handle them. They can cause you to chase and lose your entire bankroll (while losing your mind).
In this article, I want to talk about dealing with losses in sports betting. I’m going to show you how to put in place a long term strategy that will help you to not minimize betting losses, but to at least prevent those betting losses from becoming destructive.
A loss is a loss in betting.
That’s all it is.
It’s something that happened.
And it’s something that will happen again and again.
Understanding that losing is just part and parcel of betting will help you deal with them better. If you lose, you lose. You refocus, you move on. You don’t dwell.
I’ve seen bettors get really angry at teams and athletes who’ve ruined their bets.
It’s not healthy. It’s when sports betting turns ugly.
The moment you start getting angry at those who have “cost” your money is the moment your emotions will override your logical thinking – and gambling will soon become a problem.
Teams will lose. Athletes will lose. Don’t grow angry and bitter just because they cost you your bet. Accept that today wasn’t their day, or that you simply backed the wrong outcome, and take a break from sports betting for a few days if you feel the red mist is descending.
I’ve thought long and hard about why losing in sports betting hurts so much.
See, like a lot of bettors, I used to say to myself “okay, I’m gonna stake $50 here, which I can afford to lose. It doesn’t matter if the bet loses – I definitely won’t chase. Let’s just have some fun!”
Yet, when the bet lost, I got crazily upset and chased.
Was I taken by surprise?
I might have said “it doesn’t matter if the wager loses,” but I said that before the wager had lost. In my mind, I was clearly still expecting to win. I was experiencing the buzz of winning before I’d won.
And I think this is part of the problem with betting for a sports bettor. Each time we place a wager, we expect it to win. Otherwise, we wouldn’t place it and betting would lose its allure.
Moreover, placing a wager is a huge thrill in itself. We know that money is on the line and we could win big here. So when we don’t win, we’re hugely disappointed. And we want to experience that thrill again straight away. So we chase our losses and end up on a bad losing streak.
As such, it’s really important that you understand why losing hurts so much so that you can remedy the situation. It hurts because placing a wager and picturing the bet winning gives you a dopamine hit. When the wager loses, you’re on a huge downer and you need that dopamine hit again straight away.
So what should you do?
Try to find something to replace betting immediately after you lose a wager that will give you a hit of dopamine. This could be anything – listening to high-octane music, working out, cooking. Anything that makes you feel great.
A few years back, when I hit a losing streak at sports betting, I used to chase losses so I could get my money back ASAP.
Here’s how it usually went: I’d lose, say, a $100 wager, and then I’d put on a series of bets to win that back as soon as possible. These were all awful, ill-informed, stab-in-the-dark bets that all lost on sports I didn’t even understand. Before I knew it, I was down $1000.
The next day, after I’d calmed down and recalibrated, I found value bets on the sports I understood and made $750 back. This is because I had a clear head.
Imagine if I hadn’t chased and instead took my time to focus on the next value bet the following day? I would have been in major profit again just 24 hours later.
Yet I couldn’t help myself – I wanted to be back in profit within 10 minutes of losing.
That’s just dumb, but it’s the way so many people play it.
Chasing is the quickest way to lose everything. And yet it’s so easy to get into a chasing mindset – and a losing cycle.
To avoid chasing, my advice is that, when you lose a bet, close your app. Switch it off and do something else to take your mind off things, even if that means going for a walk to clear your head. Get out of the chasing mindset as soon as possible and recalibrate either a few hours later or the next day.
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