3 of the Worst Gambling Mistakes Even The Pros Make

So, you fancy yourself as a bit of a gambler, do you? Best in the business, are ya? OK, so you probably don’t think that. If you did, you wouldn’t bother to read about the worst gambling mistakes you can make. After all, you wouldn’t be the kind of frood that needs that sort of advice.

And that leads nicely to a big mistake that we’re not going to cover here: arrogance. It really is the downfall of many gamblers, but the reasons I’m not covering it here is that I doubt anyone reading this is arrogant about their game. You’re here because you want to learn to be a better gambler, and that means that arrogance is probably not something you suffer from when it comes to gambling.

When it comes to anything in life, everyone makes mistakes, and gambling is no exception. In fact, because of its emotional element, it probably leads to people making more mistakes than they usually do.

In this article, I’m going to look at 3 of the worst gambling mistakes people can make and give you some useful tips to help you avoid them.

Mistake 1: getting too emotional when you win or lose

Most of you will know what tilting means in reference to gambling. It’s when you start to lose and then begin to play erratically trying to recoup your losses and get the upper hand again. When people tilt, they start making silly mistakes and usually end up losing money.

But there’s also an opposite effect that doesn’t appear to have a name, let’s call it planing. Think of it a bit like aquaplaning, where the road’s so smooth and wet that your car starts skimming along the surface. If you’re a great driver, you can usually use this to your advantage somehow, but even the pros can end up taking it too far and spinning out. So you go from a perfectly smooth ride to danger in seconds.

So what’s planing when it comes to gambling? It’s when you’re on a winning streak and you get caught up in the moment. You start making silly mistakes because you think lady luck is on your side.

There might be a much better word than planing, but I used planing because it means I can post this song:

Both planing and tilting lead to silly decisions, either because you’re trying to claw back a win or because you think you can’t lose.

How to stop planing & tilting

It’s simple: learn to regulate your emotions better.

I’m being flippant. It’s a hard thing to do, and people spend years in therapy trying to do it, but there’s a few things you can do yourself. Unfortunately, it’s all the stuff you already know you should be doing: eating well, exercising, and meditating. If you’re playing online casinos, you could play calming chillout or study music. This will help to keep your heart rate lower.

Mistake 2: Thinking different situations are the same

It’s easy to think you’re spotting patterns when playing casino games. You start thinking you’ve encountered the same situation before and that you know exactly how to play it. But casino games are largely games of luck. You can’t work out the next move from what’s happened before. There might be some way of calculating the odds, but you shouldn’t feel comfortable that you know what’s going to happen.

How you should be thinking…

You should use past experience as a guide. It may help you make better decisions. BUT, you should never expect the past to inform the future completely. Just because a situation feels similar, it doesn’t mean it IS similar. Making that assumption can lead to big losses because you feel over-confident in an outcome.

Past= guide not gospel.

Mistake 3: Relying too much, or not enough, on psychology

With some games, psychology is a big factor, but it’s surprising how many people get it wrong. There are three things to remember when it comes to the psychology of gambling:

  1. Over-reading opponents: people give off microexpressions that don’t necessarily mean anything. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking each little twitch or itch is some sort of mental “leakage”. Not every action a person makes is a reflection of their thoughts.
  2. Psyching people out too much: there’s a careful balance between putting people on the back foot by psyching them out and making them think you’re trying too hard and, therefore, are not a threat. Many people have a weird belief that exhibiting “alpha” behaviour (being loud, aggressive, or high rolling) means they’re ruling the table. It doesn’t convey the meaning they think it does. Remember: “And any man who must say ‘I am king’ is no true king at all.” – George R.R. Martin, A Storm of Swords. Acting alpha makes you look insecure, and the real sharks will mark you out as easy prey if you do this. 
  3. Ignoring your own tells: Hey, it’s not just other people who give off clues about their thoughts through their behaviour. You do it too. You better know your own tells before people crack them for you. For example, do you tend to play faster when you’re on a winning streak? Maybe you get fidgety when you have a good hand? A good way to discover your tells is to record yourself playing a few games and study yourself. It might be a little overkill for a casual player, but for those of you who are serious about gambling, it’s well worth doing.

A man with his head in his hands. I used this image because it shows regret and this article is about making mistakes. The picture of the man is a bit of an arty rendition and has colour splashed over it.

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