Gambling Discipline: Are You Your Own Worst Enemy?

Unfortunate as it may be, the vast majority of gamblers are destined to lose. Far from a pessimistic perspective, this is simply the reality of gambling and an important point to acknowledge.

Whether you gamble for fun or with the intention of turning a profit, you need to consider the fact that the house always wins. Sooner or later, luck runs out and so does your bankroll. That is, unless you possess the kind of gambling discipline that separates successful gamblers from their doomed counterparts.

By ‘successful’, we mean gamblers who enjoy what they do, keep on top of their finances and don’t lose more than they can afford to.

What is Gambling Discipline?

Every gambler has their own unique approach and attitude. Nevertheless, your approach to gambling must be underpinned with logic, reason and a strong sense of discipline. Otherwise, you stand to find yourself on a losing streak that simply isn’t going to end.

As every gambler is different, it’s up to you and you alone to set the ground rules necessary to keep things under control. Nevertheless, there are certain characteristics of good gambling discipline that apply in all instances.

Examples of which include the following:

1. Don’t expect to win

Some people manage to successfully turn a long-term profit through their gambling activities. For the other 99.9% of the gambling community, this simply isn’t the case. If it was, it would be impossible for casinos and bookies to stay in business. They’re able to operate exclusively due to the fact that the overwhelming majority of players lose.

This is something that needs to be acknowledged and considered on a regular basis. If you gamble and win, good for you. If you gamble and lose, so be it.  But if you gamble and expect to win, you set yourself up for a potential disaster.  Having unrealistic expectations is a great way of steering your decisions in entirely the wrong direction. So even if you consider yourself a more advanced gambler, you still need to view wins as a possibility, but never a guarantee.

Ultimately, gambling is a form of entertainment – not a reliable source of income.

2. Make bankroll management a priority

The idea of having a bankroll management strategy in place isn’t particularly thrilling. Nevertheless, it should be considered mandatory. On the plus side, it’s also relatively simple to instigate. After which, it’s up to you to ensure you stick with it.

The most important rule to follow when gambling is to never wager any money you can’t afford to lose. You need to play as if every bet you place will find its way straight into the coffers of the casino. If you bet £100 and lose £100, it needs to be £100 you can afford to lose. A loss you can walk away from with a smile on your face, fearing no consequences or repercussions as a result.

Bankroll management simply means identifying how much you can afford to lose per day, week month and so on. This is then your gambling budget for that allocated time period, which are under no circumstances can be breached. If you lose that whole lot on your first bet of the month, tough. The single most defining characteristic of good gambling discipline being strong and consistent bankroll management.

3. Stop squandering your winnings

You start out with a gambling budget of £100 for the week, only to go and strike it lucky with a £1,000 win. You’re now looking at £1,100 in your bankroll, so what do you go and do? If you’re anything like most, you’ll blow at least £500 of it on nonsensical bets you wouldn’t normally go near. A common yet unfortunate mistake that doesn’t qualify as gambling discipline.

Dealing strategically with wins is just as important as coping rationally with losses. If you suddenly find yourself looking at a decent amount of cash, why blow it on a whim? Why not distribute it over a much longer period of time and maximise your enjoyment for the longer time? Why not set up an account and save towards something you’ve had your eye on?

It’s always tempting to get a bit silly with your winnings. The problem being that in the heat of the moment, you’re almost guaranteed to make appalling decisions.

4. Keep your emotions in check

Speaking of which, emotions are your worst enemy when gambling. If any of the decisions you make are based on your ‘feelings’ at the time, they’re probably the wrong decisions.

At its heart, every casino gaming gambling activity is a statistical, logical and mathematical venture. Emotions do nothing but cloud your judgment and steer you down the wrong path. If you’re overly-elated and euphoric, you’ll make terrible decisions and face heavy losses. If you’re miserable or angry, the same applies.

Of course, it’s hard not to get emotional when gambling – emotions being part and parcel of the whole experience. Nevertheless, you need to keep your emotions in check and know when to walk away if they’re getting the better of you.

5. Learn the rules…all of them

Last but not least, it’s impossible to gain enjoyment from any casino game or gambling activity if you don’t fully understand it. The more time and effort you spend getting to know the game or gambling market, the more likely you are to have a great time and avoid heavy losses.

In the case of casino games, it’s important to learn not only the rules, but also the pay structures, the odds associated with different bets and so on. With sports betting, it’s up to you to get to know the sport, the team or the market at the deepest possible level, which will help guide your decisions.

One of the worst things you can do is to simply make it up as you go along. Much of the outcome may be decided by chance and chance alone, but there’s always such a thing as stacking the odds against yourself. Which is, for obvious reasons, the last thing you want to be doing!

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