Learning Life Lessons from Sports Betting: Why It’s Wrong To Say Gambling Is a Waste of Time
We always hear about the problems of gambling: it’s bad, it’s a waste of time and money, there are better things to do. Heck, our news section has some horror stories. But the problems are only part of the story, often a rather small part of the story, because, while some people do develop problems, most don’t.
I don’t want to underplay the dark side of gambling, but in this article, I’m going to ignore that side of gambling and focus on its benefits instead…and, this might shock you, but it doesn’t involve winning money at all!
In fact, I’m not even going to mention winning money – apart from the two times I just did.
In this article, I want to focus particularly on the benefits of sports betting because it’s one of the best forms of gambling to hone various skills.
And these skills are transferable – they help you in the wider world too.
Sports Betting Helps Improve Maths Skills and Shizzle
Once the sports betting bug bites you, you’ll start noticing win patterns. You’ll then feel an overwhelming urge to log these patterns so that you can predict future wins, so you start recording things in Excel (or Google Sheets) – in other words, you start developing analytic skills.
Sports betting is a great way to learn how to use spreadsheets. If your boss wants you to brush up on your knowledge, but you’re finding it difficult to stay focused because it’s boring, try using gambling as your data set. It makes it so much more interesting when you’re (literally) invested.
But there are more skills in this maths subset. If you become serious about sports betting then, over time, you’ll learn about economics, statistics, algebra, database management, automation modelling, and R (a statistical programming language)…
…all those things from school you thought you’d never get the hang of suddenly start to make sense.
Maybe they should introduce gambling to the National Curriculum? I’m sure the kids will perk up once there’s pocket money involved.
Imagine if GCSE Maths allowed the kids to win a countywide jackpot? I would have tried harder!
Sports Betting Can Teach Perspective Taking and Positioning
If there’s one thing missing in modern life, it’s people’s abilities to take on different perspectives. We’re all a little blinkered – you’re blinkered, I’m blinkered, they’re blinkered.
Sports betting helps you to take on different perspectives. You imagine yourself in different scenarios, “What happens if X-team wins this week, but loses next week?”, “Is Y on top form this week? If not, then maybe I should take a position against them for a while?”
It teaches you that the best you can do in some scenarios is to make an educated guess on which position to take and then allow it to take its course.
You realise life gives no guarantees, that you can do everything right, but luck can still come along and knock you over at any moment.
The team you’ve backed is on a winning streak but then the star player breaks a leg. You’re just about to crack the last egg in a 4-egg omelette and it’s rotten.
It’s a great life lesson.
Gambling on Sports Helps Hone Observational Skills
One thing you’ll quickly pick up with sports betting is that there’s a “follow the crowd” mentality. Bets seem to avalanche as people jump on the bandwagon. It’s incredibly difficult to break this herd mentality. You see the majority moving in one direction and you feel your instincts dragging you the same way…
…but over time (by using your maths skills), you’ll notice how the bandwagon is often wrong. You’ll be able to spot the things about a situation that have made it different this time.
You’ll start looking for indicators that support or oppose the crowd’s assumptions. This will hone your observational skills as you’re always on the lookout for those wrinkles in the situation that indicate a wiser path to follow.
You’ll look for, and find, further information to make better choices/bets.
Gambling Helps Boost Stoicism and Emotional Regulation
As I mentioned in the section on perspective taking, there are no guaranteed wins with sports betting. You need a certain amount of mental fortitude to accept losing without overreacting, which can lead to you chasing losses.
Being magnanimous in defeat, keeping a level head in adversity, and not throwing good stuff after bad stuff, are all important lessons that you can learn with gambling. In fact, “tilting” is a common term in poker and it refers to players losing their composure as they start to lose.
By learning how to manage tilts in poker – and its equivalent in sports betting – will teach you about emotional regulation in general.
Sports Betting Can Lead to Greater Enjoyment of Sport
A big surprise when you start sports betting is how much more enjoyable you’ll find sports that you didn’t like before.
E.g., what do you think of golf? Is it a boring sport? Many people think it is but not me. I started betting on golf tournaments about 5-years ago and I can tell you that it’s far more intense than you probably think it is. There are genuine nail-biting moments and it’s made all the better by the fact you have a stake in it.
The same can happen with any sport. Don’t like women’s football? Place a bet. Think darts is for old people? Start analysing and betting on premier league darts.
Any sport can become fun with a sprinkle of gambling!
Sports Betting Can Help You Time Travel
Finally, any type of gambling can cause you to time travel if you’re not careful. And, as the law of time travel tells us, there’s no going back. In other words, watch out that you don’t gamble away so much money that you age 90-years in a single session!
Those grey hairs grow fast when gambling gets out of hand.