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Are You a System Hopper? Part 1

If you want to make consistent profits from sports betting season after season, you need to have a system.  A betting system is based on real-world patterns in performance.  It helps you to profit off of those patterns going forward, reducing your exposure to uncertainties. 


While there are a lot of punters who never use a betting strategy (most, probably), there are some who have the opposite problem.  They know how important it is to have a system, still have not found the perfect one, and cannot seem to stop jumping from one to the next.  These punters may have tried dozens of systems, but never actually pick one and stick with it.


This can be referred to as “system hopping.”


System hopping is a sneaky problem, because it disguises itself as a solution.  If you jump from system to system, you may even think you are doing something responsible.  After all, learning and testing and betting using system after system is undeniably a lot of very hard work.  We tend to think that if we are working hard, there will always be a payoff.


This is not necessarily true, though.  Sometimes the opposite is the case. 


System hopping doesn’t always look the same from one bettor to the next.  Here are some signs that you might be guilty of doing it:

  • You are desperately searching for the “perfect” system which is going to get you “perfect” results.  You have seen people promise “locks” and 100% returns, and you have made the mistake of believing in them.  Even if you do not, you believe you can get an 80-90% win percentage, and refuse to accept that even professional punters typically get less than 60%.  You may be borrowing and modifying systems designed by others, paying for them, or creating your own.  It does not matter how you find them, just that you keep jumping from one to the next.
  • You are using a whole bunch of different betting systems at once, or trying to.  You feel like each is a piece of a puzzle.  If you combine enough systems that generate a 55% win percentage, you feel like you will create enough confluence to win a higher percentage of the time.  Instead, you just confuse yourself.
  • You are only using one system at a time, but the moment something goes wrong, you rush back to square one and try a brand new system.  You never try to patch up the old one.  You just give up and find another.  At that point it all starts again.  You might become profitable for a time, but when something changes, you toss it all out the window.


These are common mistakes, and they aren’t exclusive to the world of sports betting either.  Gamblers and investors of all kinds fall into the trap of system hopping.  With each failure, your confidence drops, and this often is enough to make you feel like you need to start all over and that you cannot simply repair or improve what you already have.  It can become quite a vicious loop.


It is really important to pull yourself out of this cycle if you are in it.  I will talk more about the reasons in my next article, Are You a System Hopper? Part 2.


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