Do you believe that there is skill involved with poker?
Is knowing when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em a skill? Can a person become a better poker player through hard work and practice?
Or do you believe that poker is entirely about luck?
Is the only differentiating factor between local card sharks and the people at WSOP good luck?
Maybe you lie somewhere in the middle, believing that the game is a combination of both. That’s a reasonable stance to hold.
However, fixating on the luck component of almost any game has no tangible use for anyone. Allowing luck to enter your thought process can only serve to create depression.
Of course, luck is part of any bet. However, luck can be created with skill and strategy.
Good Luck Is Intangible
There is nothing to be done about luck.
If luck is a real thing, there is nothing you can do to change it. You can avoid mirrors and black cats for the rest of your life, and it will have no effect on your luck. Luck is out of your control.
Because of this, luck is entirely intangible.
Luck can’t be quantified. It’s impossible to say, with certainty, that one person is luckier than any other. Luck cannot be tested or altered.
Luck exists only in perception.
Every game of chance involves odds. If you’re a bettor, you should be very familiar with them. Luck occurs because of these odds and how we perceive results.
People have a natural bias towards feeling that they’re unlucky. Similarly, they’re likely to feel that other people are much luckier.
When we fight through 100 games of poker for a good hand, we see ourselves as unlucky. Despite the win, we focus on how long it took to get there.
If someone at another table wins, they must be lucky. What we don’t account for is the fact that they might have lost the last game they played. They might never win a game again.
Statistics become odds, and odds become luck. All you have to do is add a little emotion.
This isn’t to say that the belief in luck is bad. However, it absolutely can be.
Emotion tinges nearly every aspect of our lives. Emotion also tends to lead towards bad decision-making. When it comes to betting, bad decision making can get out of hand quickly.
Belief in Luck Could Ruin You
Have you heard the term “manic depressive?”
Do you know what it really means?
It isn’t someone who is really, really depressed. Manic depression is a cycle of brief manic episodes followed by brief depressive ones that people get stuck in. Depressive episodes often involve little sleep and a lack of motivation, while manic episodes can make the sufferer feel like they’re invincible and able to achieve anything.
Many bettors suffer from something similar when they believe too much in luck.
When someone gets their first hit of good luck, they feel like it will continue forever. They go on a streak, making riskier and riskier bets. Of course, the higher the risk, the higher the reward.
They ride this high until they lose, often catastrophically. This is when the bad luck streak starts. They feel like they can’t win anything. It can often deliver a hit to their self-esteem, as they then begin to feel inadequate.
Why do they keep betting?
These people keep betting because they feel like they can relive those early glory days. They are constantly chasing that “good luck” high.
This is how a betting addiction starts.
Betting Strategy Can Create Good Luck
What if luck could be created?
It can be. This is where betting strategy comes in.
The core principle of betting strategy is maximizing rewards while minimizing risk. You can’t change the odds, but you can use them to your favor.
Strategy’s importance is more evident in some games than others. Chess, for example, is a game where strategy is the only thing that matters. Football is another game with not much of a luck factor — it’s not zero, but it’s not much higher.
Most sports tend to fall somewhere in the center. If luck isn’t involved in a game at all, then the gameplay often gets repetitive and boring. Similarly, many modern strategy games involve a significant luck factor.
A great player, coach, or bettor can account for luck. For example, a great football coach can prepare for things to go wrong.
Doug Pederson was ridiculed early in the 2017-18 season for going for it on 4th almost every time. Most other football coaches are extremely conservative about this decision. Pulling it off takes good luck.
Except it doesn’t: you’re much more likely to gain points going for it than not.
Sometimes, going for it will still fail, though. That is a calculated risk. Pederson determined that it was better to try to gain a few points several times in a game than to frequently attempt to hinder the opposing drive.
It worked. If you don’t know, Pederson took his team to the Super Bowl — where he often went for it on 4th.
Developing a Betting Strategy for Luck-Based Games
This same principle can be applied to any games that are more luck-based, with poker being easily the most popular example.
Great poker players know exactly when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em. They know a playable hand from an unplayable one.
They also know when a hand might become good. If you have a hand that’s looking for a 10, you should probably fold. If you have a hand that’s looking for any spade, you might want to keep it.
Poker players also put a lot of thought into what they’re betting and when. One raise can win a table. One raise can break a player.
Most importantly, they know when to stop. Even when their winnings are high, they know when to put their chips down and walk away. And when there are no winnings, they do the same.
Discipline creates luck. Skill creates luck. Strategy creates luck. Luck creates problems.