Poker vs Betting: Differences and Similarities

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There’s an innate human drive to become all that we can be. That potential drives us to compete both against ourselves, against others and also against the market. Some do it for the benefit of profit, and some do it just to prove themselves and others they can beat the game.

In this post we take a look at differences and similarities between playing poker and betting on sports, both endeavours where millions of players compete each day on a global scale. Let’s start with the differences first:

Differences of poker vs betting

The most obvious and biggest difference you can find is the speed with which decisions have to be made. Once you sit down at a poker table, you have limited time to choose between fold, call or raise. There are time banks available on most online poker sites, sometimes also at the live tournaments. But other than that, your average decision has to be made within seconds or tens of seconds. Some of those decisions come pretty quickly for experienced players, where you don’t need to think at all – you just rather execute your game plan at the table. You can compare different online poker sites at BeastsOfPoker.

In sports, the situation is completely different. In most cases, you have at least several hours or days, sometimes even weeks, to lay out all the factors of your decisions before making a bet. The bookmakers and exchanges have odds available 247/7 for all the different matches and races, and as soon as they become available with opening odds, you can start making the bets. Bets will be taken all the way to the start of the event, giving you a very time window in which you have to act. For seasoned bettors, the decision to pass an event can come pretty easily if the odds don’t offer any value.

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The only exception to this difference is the in-play betting also known as live betting, where you make bets as the match progresses. You need to notice any momentum shifts quickly to profit from live betting, but there can also be big opportunities to master this type of betting strategy.

The other difference is that in poker, you’re playing against other people while the casino takes a small portion of each pot called rake: For betting, you’re always trying to beat the bookmaker. This is not such a big difference though, as in betting the bookmakers adjust their odds according to the amount of bets that are placed on each side. This means that after all, you’re betting against all the other people who have placed their bets on that match, as each bet shapes the odds of the market. Some bookmakers put more weight on the bets of sharp bettors, which means they move their odds more once winning bettors start placing their bets on any given match. The Sure Bettor has written a good guide on how to find profitable bets in football.

What are the similarities then between sports and betting? The most important ones are:

Similarities of poker vs betting

The biggest common factor is that both are an investment activity where you have to invest money to make the right decision. You’re challenging the player on the other side of the poker table or the sports match. Luck may accumulate over time in poker, while in betting the variance occurs mostly inside the match.

In both sports and poker you can only influence your decisions, not the outcome of match or what cards are being dealt.

In betting you can work on whatever schedule you want, which is true also in poker. However, in poker it’s beneficial to play when the games are at their best, usually during the evening and night time.

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Final words

Both betting and poker are fun activities that you can do both at home and at the casino. However, the level of play has risen significantly since the early days of the poker boom and times of telephone betting. Some software tools have also entered the market that are changing the landscape of gaming, so technical skills can be a big advantage in poker and sports.

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About Annabel Johnson

Part time gamer, reviewer and blogger. Full time geek and tech expert!

View all posts by Annabel Johnson

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