Why bettors need to learn how to lose

People often think that betting is all about winning, but your losses are just as important as the wins. Even the best bettors will lose and it’s how you react to those losses that matter. Why do bettors need to learn to lose? Read on to find out.

A lesson you learn early on

Growing up my life was about playing sports; baseball in the spring, golf in the summer, basketball in the fall and hockey in the winter. Every season had its time, and the competition was year-round.

My dad always ended up being part of the coaching staff for each sport I played. He grew up with his responsibilities on the farm and did not play as many sports as I did growing up, but his moral compass was rock solid.

As far back as I can remember, after every loss on the car ride home no matter if it was coming from the Indian Reserve or the big city, he would mention one thing in a calm tone of voice,

“You need to learn to lose before you learn to win.”

It drove me to an absolute rage on more than one occasion.

“We lost, what in the world do we have to be positive about!?”

I would yell back at him.

As I grew up and my participation in sport changed from athlete on the field to spectator on the sideline with betting interest, I heard the saying less and less, to the point where I forgot about it.

The importance of losses in betting

About three years ago, I was sitting at a large sportsbook in the Dominican Republic – a place I called home a few years prior. One of the regulars was seated at the tables, and we were watching and betting on NBA.

The regular was extremely sharp, and in the couple years I spent there he routinely took advantage of basketball markets. His bad days were few and far between.

Sports betting is so mentally demanding because the best bettors in the world are going to lose ~45% of the bets they place over the long term.

Over the couple weeks I was visiting the island, he had a bad run and got entirely cleaned out. Near the end of the losing streak, it got to the point where he could not sit down when watching a game. He would pace around the seating booths in front of the wall of screens, living and dying on every free throw, he was on the edge of ruin that many bettors know all too well.

Eventually, he was tapped out. No more credit in the account and no more cash calls to process on the credit card. After several years of winning, he cracked and emptied his entire bankroll in a few weeks.

I was shocked to see someone who I respected so much struggle to cope with losing. He was better than that – I thought. How did this happen!?

Watching him in agony and disbelief, the only thing that came to my mind were those car rides home from sports growing up. I could hear my Dad’s voice again,

“You need to learn to lose before you learn to win.”

It was the first time in many years the saying came to my mind, but it was at that moment I realised in sports betting – even more than athletic competition - it is true.

Thinking back through my time running a sportsbook in the Bahamas, a lottery in Trinidad and managing a casino in Western Canada, there were so many occasions where I can pinpoint the exact same thing that occurred to regular players.

Why you need to be able to take the losses

Sports betting is so mentally demanding because the best bettors in the world are going to lose ~45% of the bets they place over the long term. There are few other things on earth where you can have so much success by being so unsuccessful. In a world of perfection, the key to sports betting is limiting in-perfection.

When things are going right, wins are coming in, and profit is piling up, everyone on earth can be great. It is easy when there is no downside to over come. The best bettors in the industry are the ones that can stay consistent through the worst of losing streaks and not lose focus of exploiting an edge.

Now more than a decade into sports betting, it is the bettors who can lose with skill, that I admire. It is the bettors that shake off a losing week like it was nothing and get back the next day level headed and grind back the losses. It is those bettors I strive to be like every day.

The next time you start to feel things slipping away and the feeling of tilt coming in, take a step back and remember; “You need to learn to lose before you learn to win.”

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Source: pinnacle.com

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