Quick Overview of the Psychology Involved When Betting

You could give 10 gamblers the same 10 tips, and you could get 10 different outcomes in terms of profit. How could this happen? There could be a number of reasons but the main one is between their ears.

Hopefully this brief guide will be your starting point to understanding some issues that your brain has to deal with, when it comes to gambling.

Desirability Bias

Desirability bias is basically betting on what you want to happen (like betting on your favourite team) than what is more likely to happen. The good news is that it is possible to train your brain to counter your desirability biases.

For the recreational gambler, their desirability bias is not an issue because they are betting mostly for entertainment purposes or to enhance the enjoyment of watching them in action. Winning is a bonus!

For those who want to take their betting to the next level, it is very important for them to let their heads rule their hearts, when it comes to placing bets.

Loss Aversion

When in a losing streak, our mind has a strong desire to recover those loses, but without the discipline to cut our loses, this can lead to more serious losses. On the flip side, when on a losing streak, our loss aversion instinct could be counter-productive and end up costing us money.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to hear that people hate to lose. What might surprise you though is the fact that people hate to lose significantly more than they enjoy winning. This can backed up by numerous studies. It basically means that our brains are wired in such a way that the negative feelings we get from losing something are far stronger than the positive feelings we get from gaining something. (gamblingsites.com)

An example of this is when you are following a sports tipster and their last 5 bets have all lost. The sixth tip comes through and your brain is telling you not to bet on it, so you don’t, and it usually wins.

Gambler’s fallacy

When following a sports tipster it is so important to follow their staking plan and place every bet they provide.

A trusted tipster, who shows a profit over several years, is a good bet that history will repeat itself, however, you also have to be aware of what is known as gambler’s fallacy. This assumes that past patterns (profit & loss) will repeat themselves in the future.

An example of gambler’s fallacy is when sitting at a roulette table and a red number has come up the last 7 times, so you assume that, law of averages, that the next one will be black. It comes in red again, and you have lost!

Every spin of the roulette wheel or throw of the coin is NOT dependent on the previous result. That is so important to remember when betting.

Confirmation Bias

Confirmation bias tends to be used through our subconscious and preconceived thoughts. I don’t do Everton to win on my accumulator because they lose every time I pick them. Of course Everton don’t lose every game but my confirmation bias tells me not to pick them.

Another example, take the Real Madrid v Getafe game, the majority of people will use confirmation basis and bet blindly on Real Madrid to win the game; without even looking at any team news or the latest stats. Why? because Real Madrid always beat Getafe don’t they! No they don’t.

As with any potential bet, you need to have researched your bet thoroughly otherwise you will lose a lot more than you win.

Your first 30 days for just £1

For help, support & advice about gambling please contact the National Gambling Helpline over the phone 0808 8020 133 or online.