The Risk Factor
I don’t know about you, but I run into risk almost daily. Whether I’m trying to define my risk, actively seek new risk or it inadvertently finds me. Knowing what risk is, is the upmost important part to succeeding at it. Now, it always helps to have statistical probability on your side, especially in the betting world. But if you don’t know where to look for that magical probability factor, you’re going to make life a lot harder on yourself. When you melt down all the so called complex outer layers, risk is simply perception. That is where the journey starts. That’s a dirty little secret, so don’t tell anybody.
If you’ve ever taken any form of medication, you were probably aware of the risk factors associated with it. The perceived benefits outweighed the accompanying risks, or in this case, side effects. So, chances are we’ve all had to deal with a little short term constipation for the greater good to save our overall health. Maybe you’re one of those lucky people that finds money lying in the street and on sidewalks all the time. If you are, congratulations. Me, I’m not so fortunate, but I’ll tell you this. If you spot money in the middle of the road and go to pick it up, you’re actively seeking and defining your risks. Hopefully in this example risk doesn’t accidently find you because if it does, it’s in the form of a car, or worse, a bus. Pretend though, we spot a few bucks sitting in the street. We may have looked both ways in the road before we decided to venture out, probably even had a plan of picking it up and crossing to the other side. The situation is perceived, safe, or my favorite term, deemed “risk free.” Like most Major League Baseball stadiums being built now a days, we ignored Rule 1.04 which asks for ballparks to be positioned East-Northeast to avoid sun glare. I say that, because with the sun in our eyes while we cross the road to get that money honey, we got hit by that F’in bus. You see, that’s gambling.
One of the biggest pitfalls to a ‘player’ is they don’t know how to perceive risk. There really aren’t that many empty streets with piles of money scattered around on them. There’s going to be cars, buses, bikes, taxis, blown manhole covers, homeless people and god knows whatever else standing between you and cashing that ticket. Behind every successful betting system, strategy or scheme. There is a healthy definition of risk perception. One of the best ways to cut out the BS in somebody is to ask them, what’s risk? See what they say, or better yet, how long of an answer they give. Now, perceiving risk is different than finding value. I will cover the latter within the next few posts, but if you can’t perceive risk, it’s going to be hard to find value. There is hope for us all, I promise. The good news is humans have been perceiving risk for so long. It’s actually embedded in our DNA. Look, picking winners is hard enough, I could only imagine what it was like to be a caveman. Fighting dinosaurs instead of bookies? No thanks. Internally, we actually feel the right way to proceed with the risks presented to
us. It’s our brains that make us do the stupid stuff. Testosterone and Cortisol usually have a controlling interest in our decision making ability. This is another topic I will revisit soon but the skinny of it is this. That feeling you get after you hit a bet, that’s testosterone. When you lose, and want to punch a wall, go to sleep or not see society for a while, that’s cortisol. Testosterone makes you risk seeking. Cortisol, risk adverse. Somewhere in there lies clarity and the sweet spot for cappers, investment professionals and the “epiphanied “individual.
At the end of the day, all a betting line is supposed to do is blur the lines of risk perception to the best of its ability. A betting line is instituted so both sides can receive the closest amount of equal action as humanely possible. With that being said, if you’re dicking around broken hearted over a half a point line movement, I’m sorry, but we’re not playing the same game my friend. At the end of the day, what makes a sharp, a sharp, isn’t the amount of winners they have. It’s how they think. Before a single dollar is made or even transferred from their pockets to the windows. They’ve defined their risks by first perceiving the situations they are about to get into. I write down and study all my losers. It’s not even because I like the abuse, I swear. It hurts staring at squandered money that has blown opportunity written all over it but analyzing the agony of defeat is one of the greatest preparers of success. I go back and look at what I did differently between my winning plays and losing plays. Did I rush the bet by under estimating the counterparty? Was my due diligence lacking when it came to a players health, mental state or current form of the team? Maybe I just completely botched up the call. Sometimes I do everything right and it just either wasn’t my day or the Russian mob needed the match to end in a draw. Which explains that goal 2 minutes after the allotted injury time was “over.”
Knowing your risk and knowing how to interrupt it is the foundation to finding success. Mitigate enough of your risk and good things will happen. Elite performance is not an accident, it’s earned. There is an old Michael Jordan gambling folklore story that once a reporter asked MJ why he loves to gamble. Jordan responded along the lines of
“It taps into the same competitive spirit as playing professional basketball.”
Author: Christian Cianci