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Why Is Discipline So Often Overlooked?

In gambling, there is understandably a lot of emphasis on the concept of 'luck'. Even the most skilled gamblers would admit that if you could have anything in gambling, it would be an endless stream of luck. The reality is though that many players experience luck from time to time but don't always know how to use luck to their advantage. Also, a good gambler acknowledges luck and doesn't just presume they made a genius play.

The best analogy for this would be when a word class athlete benefits from the mistake of his opponent and makes sure that he doesn't let up. On this occasion, he needed the mistake to happen to be successful but does that mean that is the only reason why he has done well? Of course not, they understand the game and realize that over an extended period of time luck evens itself out. 

Very few gamblers describe themselves as lucky or unlucky. From a personal point of view, I cringe when I see someone bemoan their luck while gambling. If you want to deal in certainties then gambling is not for you, and if you wanted skill to be rewarded every time, what would be the point in amateurs competing against you or the house staging the game you are playing? Simply put, you can only judge someone's results based on an extended period of time.

Poker and Tilt

The game of poker is in my opinion the best example of where many potentially good players get bad results because they are incapable of thinking rationally. There is a word to describe the process of playing differently because of annoyance in poker, and this word is tilt. The best example of this is that you are patient for 30 minutes and then make a great play and the guy who has a 5% chance hits his miracle card. When this happens great players will attempt to remain calm and not change the way they are playing, but this of course is easier said than done.

Go and watch a video of Phil Helmuth and you will understand what tilt looks like in all its colorful glory. When John Mcenroe used to seemingly lose his mind on the tennis court it didn't hamper his performance. Some would say it focused his mind on the game even better. The difference with a sport like tennis when compared to gambling though is that adrenaline doesn't serve you in any way. Therefore if you believe that anger and having a chip on your shoulder motivates you I would suggest that you take a few minutes and consider the consequences of your actions.

The best gamblers in the world don't suffer from tilt. Not necessarily because it is not part of their DNA. They are just conscious that over the course of a long career they will experience bad beats numerous times.

You Can't Win Every Time

Imagine you found a system where every time you played you ended up winning. Well, you would be a genius as you would have broken a system that is deemed to be unbeatable. Therefore, losing should come as no surprise to anybody whatsoever. What does happen though is that the habit of winning a few sessions and making great decisions can make gamblers believe that they have cracked the system, or at the very least found a way of playing that means they will, without doubt, be profitable in the long run.

If you have ever seen a graph of some of the world's most successful gamblers you might be incredibly surprised. There can be months where the player is not in profit, in fact, some players might experience a hot streak while the rest of the months are underwhelming. Some successful gamblers even have a year where they are not in profit. This again is where experience is crucial and you can seriously not underestimate the value of taking a few steps back and evaluating your game.

Evaluating Your Game

If you have good discipline you will be able to evaluate your game in such a way you will be able to get a good indication of whether or not you just got fortunate or you played very well. You will only truly know this if you have good knowledge of the game you are playing. If you made a bad decision in poker and got lucky on the river card on the biggest pot of the evening, a bad gambler would say I have won so much money, I am great at poker! While the pro would say, I got so lucky tonight. I am grateful for it, but if I keep making decisions like that it will hurt me in the long run.

Why Is Discipline So Often Overlooked?

This applies exactly the same to bad luck. Let's say you go all in with Kings or aces on three separate occasions but don't win any of the pots, the bad gambler with no discipline might decide that poker is not for them and that they need to either give the game up or change strategy. While the pro will know the exact odds of winning in this scenario so will understand that although losing a hand of this nature can hurt from time to time, especially in crucial moments, luck is essential to any gambling game, otherwise, amateurs would never play.

Why is Disciplined Overlooked?

When we watch any form of entertainment, consistency is not something we look out for, generally speaking. In the world of professional gambling, mavericks and great characters are far more likely to capture the public imagination than someone who is consistently putting in good results in a business-like manner.

With this people presume that discipline is more important for some players than it is for others. The truth is every player who has ever succeeded long-term has discipline listed as their number one priority, even when they don't always adhere to it. Gambling is based on cold data and no matter what some will make you want to believe, the best people at it tend to be math geeks who don't play the game with any emotion.

This article delivers the thoughts and opinions of the author, and it doesn't represent the stance of GoodLuckMate.

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Matthew Gover
Matthew GoverUpdated: 08 Sep 2022
Matthew has been writing about the iGaming industry for several years. He has always been passionate about writing and has a huge love for sports. Therefore, he decided to combine...

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