Learn from a pro

“Don’t count your winnings by the day. The reality is that it doesn’t really matter what you do by the day, it matters what you take home at the end of the year. You’ve got to think long-term and the only way is value. The price must be right. You just keep taking value. You won’t back all the winners but you’ll end up with money. Winning is a long-term project. If you just want to go and enjoy yourself and knock off a hundred or two, that’s all very good, but if you want to win you’ve got to have a professional approach.”

Those are the wise words of multi-millionaire former pro punter Paul Makin. For any of you who don’t already know, Makin made his millions by developing software that analysed Hong Kong racing and identified horses that were overlays. In recent times he again came to prominence as the owner of former champion miler and new sire Starcraft.Makin’s punting prowess is well known, so it’s worth discussing his comments in more detail. “Don’t count your winnings by the day”. Not even Paul Makin wins every day. Punters must be able to accept that losing days are inevitable and you should make sure you keep your head, even on a poor day. Successful punters stick to their plan through the good times and bad and one way to maintain your focus is to concentrate on your profit or loss at the end of each calendar month. Don’t worry about a losing day or losing week and understand that even successful punters have losing months throughout the course of the year. Always keep the big picture in mind and remember if making a living on the punt was easy, everyone would be doing it. “The price must be right – you just keep taking value”. Only back a horse if you’re getting a price which is greater than it’s true odds of winning. Have the discipline to not back a horse if it is under the odds. As an example, only back a horse at $2 if it has a better than 50% chance of winning the race. Only back a horse at $5 if it is a better than 20% chance of winning. For those who don’t immediately understand this concept, consider a coin toss – while you may have a few wins taking $1.90 on Heads or Tails, eventually it’s inevitable that you will lose. The same principle applies in racing. Don’t back a horse because it’s the $2.50 favourite and you think it will win, back it because it has a better than 40% chance of saluting the judge first. “If you want to win you’ve got to have a professional approach”. Spending a couple of minutes right before the jump taking a cursory glance at the form just won’t get it done. There are myriad variables in each race and while most of these are factored into the prices, some are under-appreciated and others are exaggerated. An example is a horse’s last start finishing position and it’s fair to say that there is a lot of value to be had by backing horses that were unplaced last start. So a professional approach includes form analysis, comprehensive ratings, extensive video replays and speed maps. You need to spend the time compiling this information yourself, or otherwise find someone that does. One idea is to specialise in betting on your home state only, since you will be much better off with a professional approach such as this, rather than a nationwide scattergun. So to paraphrase one of Australasia’s most successful ever gamblers, if you’re serious about making a profit on the punt make sure you accept losing days, think long-term and most importantly always look for value.