Investment lessons for punters (part two)

Following up from last week’s article on what punters can learn from the world of investing: Aggressively monitor your betting activity Expect and react to change because a winning edge is never permanent. There is no way of doing this other than keeping accurate and detailed records. Most punters don’t though and that is almost always because either they can’t be bothered or they are scared of what their real results would show in the profit and loss column. Don’t panic Sometimes you will miss the price on a horse you had wanted to back and it’s now much shorter. Most punters would fear missing a winner, but if the odds available are no longer value than you can’t panic and bet anyway. Learn from your mistakes The only way to avoid mistakes is not to bet at all and that’s not an option for anyone reading this. So forgive yourself a few errors and consider them an investment in experience. Don’t become discouraged and most definitely don’t chase your losses. Be clear in your mind what went wrong and why, so that you can put measures in place to make sure you avoid making the same mistake in the future. The punter who hasn’t won a quaddie in months but says, “Today is different,” has just uttered three of the most costly words in the gambling world. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result each time, yet that is exactly how many punters operate each Saturday. One huge trait that separates winners from losers is the ability to learn not only from your own mistakes but also the mistakes of others. Finishing in front is no easy task The challenge is not simply making better decisions than the average punter. Unfortunately you can do that and still finish in the red because of the tote takeout/bookies overround/Betfair commission. The real challenge is being so much better informed (and applying that knowledge) than the amateurs and the professionals you are up against so that you beat the market percentage and finish in front. Anyone claiming to have all the answers doesn’t even understand all the questions An arrogant or complacent mindset is a road to ruin. Even if you can develop a very profitable approach there are no guarantees that this edge will remain indefinitely. It is often said that the only constant in life is change and the horse racing industry is no exception. Successful punters understand that ongoing success is a process of continually seeking answers to new questions. Keep emotion out of it Never bet based on sentiment. Yes, the horse may have won for you last start, you might like the jockey or love the trainer. But that doesn’t make this horse a value bet today. Never bet based on ‘inside mail’. A stable insider may, and I mean may, know that a horse is going well but have they actually done extensive form on the other runners in the race (and be sufficiently unemotional) to know what is a fair price to be taking today? There is something psychologically compelling about a hot tip but they should almost always be disregarded. Don’t be overly fearful or negative Research, discipline and coping with losing runs doesn’t sound overly exciting so it’s important to remember all the positives. Not only is gambling great fun and one that offers the potential of very good returns, but in recent years we have seen the advent of Betfair, lay betting, sports betting, corporate bookmakers, new bet types, pay TV, cheap databases, fast internet, smartphones, odds comparison, free form and access to overseas racing. The opportunities are endless and I wish you the best of luck in exploiting them.