Esports betting may seem easy to experienced gamers. After all, how hard can it be to predict outcomes on Dota 2 or Overwatch if you’re an expert at playing them?
But the truth is that playing video games and wagering on them have distinct differences. If you go into esports wagering without understanding these different skill sets, then you’ll likely get destroyed. The good news, though, is that it’s not impossible to become a winning esports gambler. In fact, you have a far better chance of making money this way than by trying to become a pro player.
The key, however, is understanding common mistakes that other esports bettors make so you can avoid them. I’m going to discuss 9 common blunders that beginners make with esports gambling.
The most-common mistake that beginning esports bettors make is not having a good bankroll management plan. Bankroll management refers to your strategy on bet sizing and managing your esports gambling funds. Unfortunately, too many new bettors have no strategy at all.
Failing to exercise good bankroll management leads to making risky wagers that will eventually drain your funds during a losing streak. Even worse is when you dip into money that’s meant for bills and other expenses. This leads me to the first key of bankroll management, which involves deciding how much you can comfortably risk on esports gambling. We all dream of winning big when gambling. But it’s also important to consider the reverse in that you could lose all of your money.
Everything begins with deciding how much disposable income you can risk on esports betting. This involves adding up your weekly or monthly income and expenses. You should have little trouble determining your income after taxes if you earn a weekly paycheck. Simply look at your pay stubs and figure out how much you make each week.
Adding up bills is more difficult, because you may have multiple obligations every month. Here’s an example on calculating your bills and expenses.
The next step is to subtract your bills/expenses from income after taxes. Doing so will give you an accurate number of how much disposable income you have each week or month.
Here’s an example:
Some players might go all in with their $1,000. However, I suggest that you keep money back in case of an emergency and/or for savings purposes. You can then add additional money to your bankroll on each month to help it grow. In the example, you could put anywhere from $300 to $500 into your roll.
Once you’ve sorted out how much money you can afford to risk, the next step is to decide how much you’re willing to bet on each esports match and tournament. This is a crucial decision when considering that the majority of bettors risk too much on each match/tourney. You should instead have a conservative approach so that your bankroll is never exposed to a high degree of risk.
Some professional esports bettors only wager 1% of their bankroll on each match or tournament. Doing so prevents them from being exposed to significant risk during a downswing.
Here’s an example on how this strategy works:
You can take this strategy further by also breaking your esports bankroll down into units. Each unit is simply a measure of your average bet. Experienced esports gamblers like using units, because doing so allows them to become less attached to the money. Going further, they can make clear decisions without worrying about how much they’re winning or losing.
Your unit size would be $50 in the example above. You then decide how many units to risk on each contest. Assuming you follow the 1% model, then you’re going to bet one unit per match for tournaments. But if you have a smaller bankroll and want more significant winnings, then you may decide to risk anywhere from 2-5 units per bet.
The overall key is that you have some sort of bankroll management plan to avoid betting money you can’t afford to lose. Having a plan also helps you remain disciplined and stay in the game longer.
One of the most-exciting parts about esports betting is that you can wager on a variety of games. Here are the main games that are covered by online bookmakers:
Chances are that you want to place bets across most or all of the games you’ve played. But you also don’t want to fall into the trap of wagering on every game, including the ones you only lightly play.
For example, I enjoy Super Smash Bros. and Street from time to time. But I don’t play these games enough to truly know them. Instead, I focus on the games that I already know well like Call of Duty and CSGO. Sticking with what I knew accomplishes two goals:
The latter aspect is crucial, because it’s hard to become a betting expert on multiple games. You’ll have a much better chance of success by picking one or two options that you thoroughly understand and gambling on these.
Another mistake that beginning esports gamblers make involves wagering on too many matches and tournaments. Much like spreading your bets across too many games, wagering on an abundance of matches/tournaments can lead to poor decisions.
First off, you don’t have time to properly research dozens of matches and bets each week. You’re guaranteed to place a large number of uninformed bets at this pace. Poor bankroll management is another problem that you may run into when making numerous wagers each week or month. A high volume of uninformed bets can quickly diminish you bankroll.
A better approach is to focus on quality over quantity. Spend time researching each wager and make the best possible picks you can. Provided you start experiencing success and winning money, then you should consider a higher betting volume. But don’t take on more than you can handle until you’re actually winning.
I mentioned in the introduction that being a good gamer doesn’t automatically equate to betting success. But this doesn’t mean that you should go into the matter completely blind. A successful pro football bettor at least has a vague understanding of what NFL teams do on offense. Likewise, an esports bettor should know what constitutes a good strategy in their preferred game(s).
If you’re a casual observer with limited esports knowledge, you can quickly learn more about your favorite games by watching YouTube videos. Watching just a few YouTube videos should be enough to catch up on the strategy basics. You can then slowly expand your knowledge on a given game by continuing to watch videos.
Again, you don’t have to be a pro-level gamer just to make quality bets. However, it’s at least wise to gain some strategy knowhow so that you can better handicap players and teams.
Most esports bookmakers are competitive with each other in terms of odds. But you’ll still find some separation in terms of who offers the most betting value.
Certain sites have a reputation for offering favorable bets. You can find these bookmakers through reviews, which often discuss how a site stacks up in terms of odds. You’ll also find various articles through Google that discuss bookmakers with low esports margins. I recommend checking out several articles so that you can form a composite opinion on the top sites.
Even when you find esports gambling sites that consistently offer good odds, you still want to shop around for each bet. Doing so will help you get the most value out of every wager.
Here’s an example on doing this:
You definitely want to use Sportsbook Bin this situation, because they’re offering the most-favorable moneyline odds. It’s wise to sign up and deposit at several esports betting sites so that you can quickly take advantage of these opportunities. After all, lines can shift when bookmakers get too much action on one outcome.
The vast majority of esports gamblers are casual by nature and don’t keep track of their bets. This is a huge mistake, though, if you have aspirations of improving and eventually making long-term profits. Failing to record your bets makes it nearly impossible to determine how you’re doing. And when you don’t have concrete evidence on how you’re performing, and it’s easy to self-inflate your success.
Many amateur esports bettors claim that they’re breaking even or even winning money despite having no way to verify their claims. Some of these gamblers aren’t serious enough about improving to keep records. Others simply don’t want to know the truth, because they’d rather carry on with facade that they’re breaking even.
If you’re not keeping records on your esports gambling, then I suggest that you start doing so immediately. Here’s some of the information that you want to track in records:
You records may be more detailed than this. But you should at least keep track of the basics listed above. I suggest reviewing what you’ve recorded at least once a month in trying to determine your success rate. Knowing your success rate helps you figure out whether more research is needed or if you’re doing great as is.
You should look at a number of factors when handicapping esports matches and tournaments. But you should also go beyond the basics, like players and teams, and look at in-depth stats.
Head-to-head history is a crucial in-depth stat. This refers to how esports players and teams have fared against each other over time. The reason why head-to-head history is so important is because two evenly matched teams on paper may not be equals. One side may dominate heads-up clashes, which makes them a stronger wager.
Why is it that certain teams have another squad’s number? Much of it is psychological, because a team may have a mental block against another squad that they keep losing to. This isn’t to say that an esports team can’t overcome a rival that’s been dominating them. But until they manage this feat, it’s best to place your money on the other side.
New esports bettors commonly believe that winning is all about handicapping skills. While handicapping is important, it’s also important to get specific information before other bettors.
Having certain info before the crowd helps you find value in juicy lines before they shift. Here’s an example:
You still have no guarantee that you’re going to win this bet. But you’ve gained a lot more value by moving on Evil Geniuses’ line before it shifts.
What’s the easiest way to keep up on breaking news involving esports? Twitter is an excellent source of news, because many esports reporters tweet out breaking stories to their followers. Therefore, I suggest that you follow as many top esports reporters as you can handle in order to catch the latest news.
Chasing losses refers to when you bet just to win back previous losses. This is a common theme in esports gambling, because nobody wants to end up in the red.
Chasing losses leads to two big problems:
Addressing the first problem, chasing losing bets leads to a downward spiral where you pile up additional losses. The end result is that you quickly deplete your bankroll. Regarding the second problem, successful sports bettors only make wagers when they see value. They do not, however, bet just because they want to erase the deficit.
Here’s a common scenario that involves chasing losses:
You’d only be down $100 in this scenario if you would’ve just stopped with the original loss. Furthermore, you could take your time and thoroughly research another wager before betting again.
Instead, you’ve now compounded your losses by placing two additional wagers in an attempt to win everything back. It’s not easy to avoid chasing losses, especially when you’re stuck in a losing streak. But you want to do everything possible to put previous losses behind you and focus entirely on the next bet.
You’ll go a long way towards accomplishing this goal by simply avoiding the 9 common mistakes that I’ve covered here. The two biggest problems that you want to avoid include poor bankroll management and chasing losses. These two mistakes combine to drain your bankroll and quickly push you out of the game.
Therefore, you want to come into esports with a good bankroll management plan right away. You also need to remain disciplined enough to avoid trying to win back losses. Failing to focus is another crucial blunder. You can only master so many games from a betting perspective, meaning you don’t want to gamble across too many different games.
I suggest sticking with one or two options that you thoroughly understand from a gameplay and strategy perspective. If you’re a big fan of Dota 2 and LoL, then you can naturally transition into betting on these games.
Learning more about esports betting is of course important too. This is another area where beginners struggle, because they make research mistakes like ignoring head-to-head histories. Knowing how to properly handicap an esports match takes time. But the key is to pour through information and figure out how you can improve your betting efforts.
Of course, handicapping isn’t the only key to esports betting strategy. You also want to stay on top of news so that you can find value before bookmakers shift lines. Nobody is perfect when they start out with esports wagering. But you can definitely get off to a better start by identifying the 9 most-common mistakes and avoiding them.
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