Only a tiny percentage of punters (around 3%) have a long-term profitable record. That is not meant to be patronising or a put-down, it is just a fact. Clearly the millions in TAB and bookies profits have to come from somewhere.

So what separates losing punters from the few that are genuinely successful?

Here are a few important traits:

(1) Losers only worry about trying to back winners. Winning punters focus on finding value runners.

(2) Losers say you can’t eat value. Winners say you can’t eat unless you keep getting it.

(3) Losers want to bet every race, every day. Winners are addicted to winning, not punting.

(4) Losers think drawn 1 always means drawn well. Winners know that these horses are often overbet and that backmarkers drawn inside are poison.

(5) Losers believe that famous punting sayings like ‘odds-on, look on’ or ‘second up syndrome’ must be true because they are repeated so often. Winners question everything.

(6) Losers look solely at winning strike-rates. Winners place more emphasis on profitability.

(7) Losers ignore the mathematics of odds, percentages, staking and variance. Winners embrace it and expect variance in the short-term and reversion to the mean in the long-term.

(8) Losers think that a losing run means they are due. Winners understand that probability has no memory.

(9) Losers think speed maps are only for trainers and jockeys. Winners rely heavily on speed maps because without knowing what’s likely to happen early in a race it’s very difficult to know what will happen late.

(10) Losers love to blackbook and bet on get-back horses that finish hard. Winners focus on on-pace horses that make their own luck.

(11) Losers ‘do the form’ using the same information as everyone else. Winners produce or get access to information that others do not.

(12) Losers think overall and sectional times are too hard. Winners base much of their form analysis on assessing times.

(13) Losers think short priced horses can’t possibly be value. Winners understand odds and percentages (plus the favourite/longshot bias) means any price can be value.

(14) Losers are easily led and listen to anyone with an opinion. Winners are confident to the point of being insular and stubborn.

(15) Losers follow the market. Winners lead it. (16) Losers stake their bets according to gut instinct. Winners have a staking plan that balances risk and reward.

(17) Losers have a plan, but only until they have a great run or a poor one and it is actually needed. Winners operate in a methodical manner whether red-hot or ice-cold.

(18) Losers rely on one bookie’s offer of good odds. Winners shop around to find the best prices and understand better odds can dramatically increase your profits.

(19) Losers spend no time at all assessing the form after a race has been run. Winners spend as much time post-race as they do pre-race.

(20) Losers don’t worry about keeping records. Winners regard their results spreadsheet as the best betting information they read most days.

(21) Losers count their profit or loss by the day. Winners look long-term and realise punting is a marathon, not a sprint.

(22) Losers think the missing ingredient in their (lack of) punting success is luck. Winners realise you get exactly what you deserve and nothing more.

The bookies literally have the odds in their favour. To beat that edge and then to finish in front requires a winner’s mindset, work ethic, strategies and staking.

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