Betting is Fun! Not a Way to Make a Living

Gambling since its inception and even to this day has been associated in society to something terrible and flawed in a sense.

Sports betting is currently one of the most popular forms of gambling right now, but why is it that most people associate this with something bad or vicious. The chain of thought may go something like this: betting = excitement = addiction = problems. Is that the true reality, however? Let's figure this out.

First of all, it is important to understand that this is not completely the truth. Millions of people are betting on their favourite teams each weekend and are experiencing no problems. Betting is another form of entertainment invented by humanity. However, like any pleasures or entertainment, there is a flip side of the coin.

This is what we call excessiveness, something that destroys the enjoyment we get from the activity and turns it into suffering. There are thousands of examples from life. We enjoy a glass of Italian red wine on Friday night, but we will certainly suffer if that turns into a bottle or two bottles and then into every Friday not. 

You have also probably noticed how much pleasure you get from a cup of coffee in the morning (even better with sugar) and how you start to feel sick if it is already the fourth cup of the morning. In all cases, there is a pleasure and the risk of ruining everything.

Problems begin with that risk. However, this does not mean you shouldn't play ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ since there is a risk of playing for 40 hours straight and risk a heart attack. The problems are not with betting, wine, coffee, video games or ribeye steaks, rather where we try to fill our lives excessively.

So then, how do we enjoy betting? The answer is in David Sumpter’s Soccermatics:

I watched a game with my friend John. Atletico played Olympiacos and are losing 2-0 by the 31st minute. The odds of Atletico winning climbs up to 7.00 - the number flickers on the screen. “Champions League games can be unpredictable,” says John. “Ten dollars on Atletico will surely revive Tuesday night.” He takes out his phone and places the bet. An hour passes, and the score ends 3-2 in favour of Olympiacos. John is now ten dollars poorer, but we jumped out of our seats many more times than we would have without the bet.

Revitalizing is what betting does. Brings a highlight to a dull evening. It increases the degree of interest in what is happening. We all madly love to predict: the weather or the outcome of the championship race in England. But to predict without risk is uninteresting. “Any predictions in a situation where you do not risk your own skin are void,” says Nicholas Taleb, a former trader and risk manager, now a doctor of philosophy and author of Anti-Fragility. Taleb in his statement did not mean betting at all, but we will try to adapt it.

Risking the skin" in the stakes is exactly the line behind which the problems begin. But to risk nothing is to speak into the void. To reinforce your prediction with real money - this is it, the true purpose of betting. What kind of money is another question? And here again, you can use the "bar strategy", invented by Taleb, who, I repeat, I didn’t mean betting at all. The strategy is to completely avoid risk on the one hand, but fully accept risk on the other.

As a result, the risk of loss is reduced, and the risk of disaster is reduced to zero. As an example, Taleb cites an investment portfolio - you invest a little money in risky stocks, so if the stocks burn out, you will not feel losses, but if you take off, you will make a profit. Eureka! After all, this is the first principle of getting pleasure from bets: not to become poorer if you lose, but to become richer if you win, and even with pleasure say: I told you! 

And why just say that Messi will move to Manchester City if it is much more pleasant to charge a comfortable amount for this transfer, and then with pleasure to read the headlines of all sports sites like “Lionel Messi has moved to Manchester City”.

I know a man who put a couple of thousand dollars for the Rangers to win the championship in Scotland, watched almost every match of this club, did not win money but has since adored the Scottish Premier League. Isn't that great?

Betting on the victory of Trump in the presidential election, if you are good at American politics, or betting on the next Newcastle coach if you are fumbling in English football. Finally, to put Barcelona's victory at Old Trafford for a huge net deuce, if you are absolutely sure that Solskjere has no chance, and then cheer for Messi and company wholeheartedly.

And a little more about the problems. Most people perceive rates not in the vein described in “Soccermatics”, that is, “revive Tuesday night,” but in a completely different way. "Earn money", "Get Rich", "Raise Dough" - this is what attracts people to bet, who are absolutely not interested in either the fight between Khabib and Conor, the Champions League or the Olympics.

They are only interested in numbers that can be credited to the card. But in a battle with numbers, numbers always win. And attempts to get rich turn into losses, problems, dependence. Strange logic in general: we all know that you can earn money at work, but we want to do it at rates.

Betting, like gambling in general, was never about making money. People who are going to join the company in the evenings to play cards, enjoy the process, the amount of money carried out by the end is the last thing on their mind.