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sports betting and poker use the same skills

There are some striking similarities between poker and sports betting.  Since Everygame runs both a sportsbook and a poker room, we felt it appropriate to discuss these interesting similarities.

Poker and Sports Betting are Related in Interesting Ways

Some people are professional poker players and some are professional sports bettors.  It would be interesting to discover that at the highest levels of both gambling practices the professionals in one were also professionals in the other.

It might be, however, that at the highest levels no one can be a true professional in both in the same way that professional chess players are not professional checkers players!

Still, the similarities between successful sports betting and successful poker playing are remarkable.  Let’s look at them.

The Use of Mobile

In both poker and sports betting, mobile offers the greatest measure of versatility.  We think of mobile poker, for example, as convenient.  We think of it as a great way to play when you have just a few minutes to play.

However, the area of coincidence between mobile poker and mobile sports betting is in the area of versatility.  The versatility of mobile sports betting is obvious.  Sports bettors can bet to accommodate injuries or changes in the weather in real time.

Mobile poker also allows for tremendous versatility.  You might find yourself able to join a game with very amateurish players.  If you had to wait to get home to play against those players, it is quite likely that they would no longer be playing.  Mobile gives strong poker players the versatility of taking advantage of other players’ inexperience.

Mobile does the same in reverse.  You might want to challenge yourself by playing against strong players.  Mobile also allows you to do this in real time when the same opportunity might not come around when you open your desktop computer to play.

Online Betting

Here we might be talking about betting on any online platform.  Online poker has many advantages over land based poker.  It doesn’t cost anything to get to the games.  It is far more anonymous than playing against opponents in person.  It gives you the opportunity to play without worrying about your visible tells since no one can see them.

Online sports betting allows you to follow many games at the same time.  Here it is not a matter of the cost of getting to game   In sports betting, you want real time access to all the games that are going on at the same time.  All you need is Everygame Sportsbook to follow every game that is happening at that moment.  The most proficient sports bettors have a strong sense of which team will win any given match but as the game progresses these same sports bettors might change their mind.

We mentioned injuries or weather changes above,.  A good sports bettor also sees players tire out.  He or she sees that the replacement players may not be up to the challenge in the game at hand.

Baseball, for instance, can go from one team being overwhelmingly favored to win to the other team suddenly being overwhelmingly favored to win and the difference might be in the skill set of one replacement player.


We have hinted at this area of convergence between sports betting and poker already.  Here let’s make the case that the types of analyses we make in poker are very similar to the types of analyses we make in sports betting.

In poker, we analyze hands, we analyze opponents, we analyze hand ranges, we analyze the odds, and we analyze both position and street.

It might seem that sports betting has nothing in common with all this analysis.  But sports betting does have similarities here.

Analyzing Opponents

First, in sports betting, you analyze both teams in a match as they relate to each other in terms of strengths versus weaknesses or strengths versus strengths.  It is exactly the same as in poker except that in poker the analyses are all on individual opponents whereas in sports the analysis may be on individuals but they also apply to teams as a whole entity, depending on the sport.

Analyzing Hands

In poker, we analyze different holdings at different stages of the hand.  In sports we analyze the position of the team or player at different junctures of the match.  Every hand in poker changes as players get good cards and other players fold.  In sports no team will ever fold but they can also “get good cards”.  In sports a “good card” might be an opportune moment to bring in a replacement.  It might also mean that the opposing coach had to bring in a replacement player at a very inopportune moment.

Just as a strong poker player will pounce when he or she realizes that an opponent doesn’t know what is happening in the hand, so a sports bettor will pounce when suddenly the competition between the teams weakens.

Analyzing Odds

By now, everyone knows that the math of poker plays a huge role in players deciding how to proceed in the hand.  Sports betting has its own set of odds.  We spoke about it in a roundabout manner when we talked about replacement players.

Simply stated, the odds that one team will win the match often depends on the replacement players.  One reason baseball is so hard to analyze is that since they play almost every day, a manager has to save his weaker replacement players for weaker opponents if he can.  But he often can’t.  The savvy sports bettor knows when it is time to jump in and win a bet at the last moment.

The Ability of Coaches

We hear this so often that it has become something of a cliché.  After a championship game in a team sport, the losing coach will take all the blame upon himself by declaring that he was outcoached.

As brave as it may seem to people who are not sports bettors, this response is often true.  The really good sports bettor might analyze the opposing coaches in a simple mid-season match but even more so in a championship match.

Staying Calm

This is no less important as any other factor in the long-term success of either a poker player or a sports bettor.  In poker, we talk about tilt.  We repeat ad infinitum that learning to avoid tilt is just as important as learning how to compute the various odds you need to be a really good poker player.

YouTube is replete with instances of tilt in an important poker match.

Sports bettors also have to learn to control tilt.  Sports analysis can take you only so far.  As the famous movie director, Spike Lee, once said, sports are great because they can’t be scripted.  Sports can be analyzed but they can’t be scripted.  So, you’re going to have to endure some bad beats in sports betting as well as in poker.


Poker is a lot more individual than sports.  Poker is more straightforward than sports.  Still, poker seems to have nuances within nuances and complexities within its enigmas.

The best poker players and the best sports bettors draw from the same set of skills to excel in their given fields.