Dealing with Losing in Sports Betting

Bradley Gibbs


When it comes to sports betting, losing is very much at the forefront of each and every punters’ activities. In a nutshell, losing is something that simply every punter will experience. There are several different ways in which the sports betting punter deals with losing, some positive, some not so positive. The ways in which a punter deals with losing will have a major effect on whether or not they are successful in the long-run.

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What type of punter are you?

There are generally four types of punter. These are:


The occasional punter is someone who bets purely for fun. They will likely place small bets at irregular occurrences. Every now and then they might have a few pounds on a football accumulator. The motivation for these punters isn’t really financial and is generally to do with something other than the gambling itself. It’s more likely to do with social interaction – perhaps they place small bet with a few friends just for a laugh.


Much like the occasional punter, the casual punter generally bets for fun, but will do so at more regular intervals. For example, this type of punter will probably place a certain type of bet, albeit a small one, maybe once or twice a week. Again, this is usually a football coupon or perhaps they might have a few small bets on the horses every Saturday afternoon. The casual punter views betting as either a pastime or hobby and isn’t expecting any real financial gain.


This is the type of punter who gambles whenever they can, as much as they can. Compulsive punters gamble because they feel they cannot stop themselves from doing so. For the compulsive punter, gambling is a form of escapism and is likely to becoming a controlling force in their life.


Serious punters are the ones who treat their sports betting like a business. They aim to make a profit in the long-run and put in the hard work required in order to stand the best chance of doing so. Even though sports betting/gambling is something that serious punters can enjoy, their betting operation is conducted with a sensible focus and is not considered a hobby or social interest.

Questions to ask yourself

Firstly, punters should assess their attitude towards betting, and ask themselves a few key questions, such as: What are my betting goals? Am I betting for fun? Am I looking for fast money? Am I serious about making a profit in the long term? How do I react to losing? Is losing or being wrong something I can handle in general life?

For those punters who place a few small bets every now and then without investing any real time or thought into their selections, losing isn’t really an issue. This is because they aren’t looking for anything other than a bit of fun and, therefore, realistically, they aren’t expecting to get anything in return.

Dealing with losing isn’t really relevant to those punters who’re betting occasionally or casually. Even for compulsive gamblers, dealing with losing or, more importantly, learning how to deal with losing probably isn’t of much interest, unless their attitude towards betting changes. For compulsive gamblers, the best thing to do is to seek guidance or help in order to stop gambling.

Dealing with losing is a subject area that is pretty much specific to those who’re keen on taking their betting seriously and who want to set out on the road to making a long-term profit.

Reactions to losing

Making mistakes, suffering setbacks and, more significantly, taking hits financially are all common experiences for the sports betting punter; however, it’s not about whether these experiences occur or not, it’s about whether or not the punter can deal with them in the right way.

When suffering a losing bet, there are generally three types of reaction. Firstly, there is the punter who becomes angry or upset at losing their money, and as a result feels the need to get it back immediately by placing a bet on the next available event. Secondly, there are punters who will feel equally angry or frustrated with losing their money; but, on the other side of the coin, in order to prevent losing any further money they stop betting indefinitely. These are the two most common types of punter reaction. Unsurprisingly, both are ill-advised.

What is far less common, is the third type of reaction. After losing a bet, there are those punters who are able to sit back, look at the loss, take into consideration what went wrong and move on. These are the punters who understand that, in order to be successful, punting is not about the short term. This third type of reaction is the only one that gives the punter any chance of long-term success.

Controlling your emotions

As touched on above, every punter will experience losing. Losing isn’t something that can be escaped in sports betting, it’s just part and parcel of the game. Before you can get anywhere, this is something that needs to be accepted. Of course it is incredibly easy to say that all you need to do is to remain unemotional, but, in reality, this is something which isn’t too easy for most people. Which is why, out of the vast number of sports betting punters that exist, so few are able to make a success of their betting.

In order to deal with losing effectively, being able to control your emotions is key. If you are someone who simply cannot accept losing and finds it too hard to take, then success will never be achieved. For example, if you are the type of person who places a reasonable size bet (say £50) on a horse and then paces up and down before the off and hides behind the sofa during the race, then your efforts are probably better expended on something other than sports betting.

When aiming to take control of your emotions, it’s important to not get caught up on any one particular bet or one particular day of betting. Providing you are confident in your ability to bet effectively in your chosen area, it is important to remain focused and to stick with it. Don’t lose sight of the fact that for all serious punters, long-term success is the aim. Every successful punter that has ever lived will have experienced losing in the short term, but, one of the main reasons behind their success is that they dealt with it correctly and didn’t allow short term losses to displace their focus.

Resilience not recklessness

“There is nothing in this life that can destroy you but yourself. Bad things happen to everyone, but when they do, you can’t just fall apart and die. You have to fight back” – Alexandra Monir

When the punter experiences losing it is indeed important to “fight back”, but you have to do this in the right way. After a losing bet or a losing run of bets, again, remind yourself that the goal is always the long-term profit. It would be easy to go straight back in and try to recoup your losses on unplanned and unwise bets, but this will only make things worse. You need to build up a betting resilience. This can be done through positivity. When experiencing losing, try to remain calm, sit back and have a look at the loss, analyse what happened and learn from it. Perhaps you overlooked something or made an error in judgement, these things happen. Be confident in what you’re doing, think back to successful bets and re-instil the fact that you’re a serious punter, a punter who is putting in the hard- work and betting only when good value exists. Remind yourself that it is important to continue in this vein.

Don’t go overboard when winning

Although this article is about dealing with losing, it is relevant to establish that punters should also take a similar approach when winning. Just as it is important not to get too low with the lows, when experiencing the highs you shouldn’t get too high either. Balance is key. Remaining balanced will go a long way to helping you achieve the desired results.

As a punter who’s taking their betting efforts seriously, there’s no better feeling than seeing your hard work pay off with a winning bet; however, it is important to remain grounded and not get carried away. After a few good wins or a winning streak, it’s easy to be careless. Punters should be wary of this. Don’t think that you’ve cracked it and that winners will just come easily, because they won’t. Keep working hard, keep devoting plenty of time and thought into your betting and be prepared for the losses.

Key things to remember

Avoid chasing losses

Perhaps the single most important thing a punter can do when experiencing losing is to avoid chasing their losses. This can’t be stressed enough. Unless you’re aiming to lose all of your betting bank as quickly as possible, then chasing losses should be deemed as an absolute no-go. Of course this is sometimes easier said than done and we have all been in that position where a particularly well thought out and planned bet has lost, it’s frustrating and the temptation to try and get the money back straight away can be hard to rid. In these situations you have to be strong, remember that the goal is always long-term profit, don’t get caught up in the moment.

Take a break

Don’t be afraid to take a step back from the action. When you have a serious approach to betting, it requires a lot of investment, not necessarily in terms of money but time. Not only is serious betting very time consuming, it can be both mentally and physically draining, not to mention emotionally. Experiencing a losing run can make you feel over-tired in all of these ways. This is when bad judgement and poor decisions are most likely to occur. As is the case in many different situations, sometimes all that is needed for us to perform at our best, is a rest. Taking a period of time away from the game, where you are able to enjoy other things without having to think about betting, can often help to yield positive results in the future. So don’t hesitate in taking that little break if you feel it is needed.


As mentioned above, always try to remain positive. Losing is frustrating, but as a serious punter it is something you are prepared for and are expecting to happen regularly. After a losing bet, analyse what you think went wrong, sure, but don’t dwell on it. Think about previous successes and be confident in your ability.

Lastly, never forget that for you to yield success your goal will always be long-term profit, don’t allow singular or short-term losses to cause you to lose sight of this.

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