How Sports Betting Can Improve Your Poker Profits

2 years ago
How Sports Betting Can Improve Your Poker Profits
18 Feb

Neil Channing might be one of the UK's best loved grinders, but when he's not hustling people at the Vic or accepting prop bets from unsuspecting newbies, the poker pro is betting on horses. Although he now calls the felt "home," Channing was once a professional tipster and it's in this section of the gambling world that he first learned the betting strategies that would later help him win more than $3.4 million at live tournament tiles across Europe.

Today, Channing divides his time between sports betting and cash games. There are a few lessons we could learn from the one they call "Sensei." Skilled poker players and sports bettors actually have a lot in common in terms of strategy. Whether they are looking at early odds for the 2015 Grand National or registering for the next online MTT, the routes to success are the same.

So, what are these alleged crossover skills between poker and sports betting? Let's take a look and find out.

Spotting Value: Betting the bookie is a process of spotting value and seizing it before the dynamics change. Punters like Channing have made a career out of spotting mistakes in the market and using them to their advantage. This skill is also one that professional poker players have mastered over the years.

If you're playing online, the key to spotting value is through stats. Surveying the lobby to find tables where VPIP rates are high and PFR numbers are low is crucial if you want to make the most money possible. Just like a sports bettor using their knowledge to outthink the bookmakers, a winning poker player won't simply take the first option available. Instead, they will assess the market and pick out the weakest looking game and pillage it for as much money as they can before the dynamics turn against them.

Managing Your Money: Bankroll management is an age-old piece of advice that's just as important today as it was 50 years ago. Bankroll management is arguably the biggest skill a sports bettor or a poker player can acquire, but it's important to remember that the rules are never static. As an industry changes and the dynamics evolve, so too do the restrictions you put on your betting.

For example, in-play betting is now a major part of the sports betting sector and this has forced punters to be more frugal with their cash. Because in-play bets can be a lot more volatile, it means you need a bigger cushion to avoid going broke. Similarly, in the online poker world, the average skill level has increased dramatically over the last ten years. While it was once the case that 20 buy-ins was enough for a certain level, it's now closer to 75. Bankroll management is a skill you need to constantly refine if you want to maintain a solid win rate.

Cranking up the Volume: Making money in poker is all about playing as many hands as you possibly can in the best ways possible. Just like a sports bettor looking to make incremental profits through a series of +EV wagers, a successful grinder will look to squeeze out a profit over a long period of time. Looking for that elusive "big one" is one of the biggest sins a professional gambler can make and it's something you should avoid if you want to emulate the likes of Mr. Channing.

Of course, a 50/1 horse like Night in Milan, who has been announced in the weights for the Grand National, could romp home and earn you a big score, but the chances are slim. Similarly, constantly moving all-in with 7-2 in a game of Hold'em will sometimes pay off, but in the long run you'll lose a lot of money. In sports betting and poker it pays to be patient and shoot for incremental wins rather than life-changing returns in a single hit.


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Ivan Potocki is the editor in chief and one of the lead news writers for PokerTube. His natural flair and enthusiasm for journalism combined with a deep poker knowledge make him an exciting contributor for PokerTube.The experience garnered playing poker professionally for several years and the knowl...Read more


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