The Mental Wiring of a Good Gambler

MMA Betting: The Mental Wiring of a Good Gambler

By Loot, MMA Handicapper,

We hear a lot about traits we need to have to become successful at MMA betting. Sometimes lost in the discussion is the issue of being a good gambler. People think something isn’t gambling because it requires skill. Betting on MMA isn’t the same as playing the Lotto or a slot machine, but it can still become a showcase of how bad a gambler you are if you let it.

When you take a look at a successful gambler, you will see common threads that pop up again and again–hallmarks of any professional MMA bettor. Chances are, the vast majority of us will never achieve these heights, but here are some characteristics we should keep in mind.

Imperviousness to Pain: A great MMA fighter has the ability to soak up punishment that would crumple the average man. Those who bet on MMA need to develop the same ability. That means being as emotionless as you can in the face of defeat. Losing an MMA wager can be tough. It might be quite some time until we place our next bet and the urge might be to go out of our way to get that taste out of our mouths.

Remain stoic when your bets go south. Realize, as MMA fighters do, that getting hit is part of the business. No one emerges unscathed. You’re going to take your share of knocks and the sooner you resign yourself to that fate, the sooner you will be properly-equipped to handle defeat. When you lose, it’s like getting hit. You can either handle it like a pro who hardly bats an eyelash or get mad and red-faced like a kid in a schoolyard.

Handle it Like a Market: It’s odd to compare Wall Street with betting on MMA, but the connection isn’t as bizarre as some might think. Wagering on MMA fights is a market of sorts. Just like with stocks, we look to back something that has high value and is likely to produce a profit.

Those who excel at stocks do a lot of the same things successful MMA bettors do. They back underrated entities. They can sense when something has hit a wall and isn’t likely to produce desires results anymore. They have a sixth-sense of when something has inherently good value and aren’t hesitant to pull the trigger on a given proposition.

In MMA betting, that equates to getting the right price before buying into something. Just like a stock guy says he won’t buy a stock until it hits a certain price, you should have stringent requirements for at what price you will back a fighter. Any decent stock market player will tell you it’s not enough to simply identify how good or bad something is. It’s about value. The greatest fighter in the world can have odds that make betting on him a bad move. Conversely, no matter how much we believe a fighter can’t win, the price could make betting on him a good move.

Advanced Analysis: We can sometimes fall into the trap of judging fighters incorrectly. We conduct an overall appraisal and wind up missing the bigger picture. The more wagers we lose, the more we realize that analyzing this sport requires a discerning eye. It’s not enough to weigh the abilities of fighters on a mythical mental scale where we attribute a value. A lot of bets are made on the basis of analysis as elementary as “Fighter A is better than Fighter B.”


The old boxing adage that is now an MMA slogan as well is “styles make fights.” It’s the most important thing to understand for those who want to make a serious go of betting on MMA. We don’t look at the fighters as two separate entities. Rather, we make calculations based on style to create a prediction based on what type of fight the two men will create.

In other words, we don’t just compare each fighter’s individual analysis and then stick a < or a > in the middle. The handicapping of a fight revolves around the fight itself. We gauge the strengths and weaknesses of each fighter and try to determine how those factors will play off each other. When doing so, we’re very specific. We don’t just say a fighter is vulnerable to kicks, but we know particular kicks to which he is susceptible. Then we see if his opponent possesses that kick in his repertoire. And we go all the way down the line, looking for favorable or problematic match-ups along all skill-sets before making our wager.

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