Sports Betting vs. Poker – Which is More Profitable?

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In a previous article we discussed which sports you should bet on to have the greatest chances of making money. But what about other forms of gambling, like, say, poker?

Sports betting and poker are similar in the sense that they are both ways of putting a bet or a wage on an activity or game, but to determine which is more profitable, we must look at the most common differences between them.

As you know, betting is the act of placing bets on the results of sporting events. This means that you can place bets on football matches, basketball games, boxing tournaments, horse races, and any other major sport you can think of. Poker, on the other hand, is a card game that involves other players. These players bet on which hand is best under the rules of the game.

In sports betting, any part of the outcome of the sporting event can be bet on. For instance, in a football match; the overall outcome can be bet on i.e. what team wins, what team loses, or if they play a draw. Also, the identity of the goal scorers can be bet on. 

Unlike sports betting where the betters are merely observers of the game, in poker, the partakers in the wager are playing the game. They try to get the best combination of cards depending on the rules of the game while trying to figure out how good the cards of the other players are, or force a better hand to fold. It involves math skills, critical thinking, and the innate understanding of the bluffing element.

Poker Players Have More Control over the Bet

Poker and sports betting can both be studied, and the participants can become specialists in them. However, this is achieved in different ways. Specializing in sports betting has to do with studying the sports and going over statistics to be able to accurately predict the outcome of sporting events. For poker, specialization comes from learning how to play the card game and adequately tell what kind of hands the other players have. 

Winning Odds Poker

According to professional poker players at, winning poker strategy can be learned by anyone who is dedicated to study the game and put in the hours at the tables. Hence in poker, the outcome of the game is more in the hands of the person placing the bet than in sports betting where despite forecasting and trying to predict the outcome of the game, the actual outcome of sporting activities is completely out of the hands of the person placing the wager.

Long Losing Streaks can Occur in Both Poker & Betting

The power of the poker player over the game can however be a curse. In the sense that in a poker game, a player can keep raising his bet as the game goes on unlike in sporting events where the bets are placed before the game starts – unless you’re a fan of live betting.

This means that a poker player can keep losing, raise the stakes and keep losing. This can go on and quickly become a financial ruin if you don’t set betting limits for yourself at the online poker rooms. Some people have lost their entire lives and savings on a poker table.

NBA players losing

It is possible for people to also lose terribly in sports betting, but it happens a bit slower and it involves much more intentional acts on the part of the player than in poker. This however goes both ways. Having the ability to raise the stakes in poker games also means the player could also win bigger. The same goes for sports betting though as you have the option to wager a bigger bet, and you must be ready to drop your stakes in case you get unlucky for several games.

Sports Betting gives more Freedom on what to Bet on 

As discussed earlier, sports betting gives you a wider range of things to bet on than poker. It gives the one betting a larger margin of freedom. For instance, a person can bet on a sports team winning or losing a game which is two out of three possible outcomes of the game. You can also bet on almost any variable in the game and on as many variables as you want while in poker, you’re only betting on the cards in your hands for the money on the table.

Draftkings betting options list

This freedom and the wide range of variables to bet on in sports betting gives the person placing the bet the possibility of winning a seemingly infinite amount of returns. Although, some poker games might have an extremely large amount of money on the table to be won.

Poker Players can Walk Away during a Hand

Most cash games (games that aren’t tournaments or SNGs) allow the players to fold and leave the table at any time with the ability to take the earnings he/she has made (however much they have on the table at the time of walking away).

However, in sports betting, once the game starts most platforms wouldn’t let you remove your bet until the game ends and the outcome of the bet has been concluded. Whereas others might let you pull out a small amount of the bet if they do at all, this like many other factors shows how the poker player has more control over the bet than a person waging a sports bet.

The Complexity of Poker is Greater than that of Sports Betting for Beginners

Sports betting is much easier for a beginner than poker. A person who can easily predict the outcome of a sporting event can place a bet on it and can quite possibly win. However, poker is a very technical game with rules. A person would have to learn how to play the game, learn how to read the game, and learn how to read the other players to even begin to play the game, talk much of winning. 

Poker probability

So, sports betting and poker can both be profitable. Poker demands more technicality and learning than sports betting. It also gives you more control over the bet, but sports betting gives you a wider margin of possible winnings as it has many variables to bet on. Hence, sports betting can seemingly be more profitable than poker, but in actuality, the level of control a poker player has on the game, his ability to raise the stakes, and his ability to fold in the game gives the poker player the power to maintain profit over a long period.

how many poker players are profitable?

Determining the exact percentage of profitable poker players is challenging due to the variability in skill levels, types of poker games, and the environments in which they are played (online, casino, home games, etc.). However, it’s widely recognized in the poker community that only a small percentage of players are consistently profitable over the long term. Its thought that only around 30% of players are profitable and make enough to make a living off of playing.


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What is the Most Profitable Sport to Bet on?

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Understanding Sports Betting Odds

Manuel Martinez

Manuel is the founder of the Betting Report network. After leaving PokerStars (Flutter) after 4 years, he decided to start his own sports betting news network with being its flagship.

Author: Louis Miller