Celebrating my 40th birthday this week had me reflecting on what I’ve learned in my punting career. So (in no particular order) here we go:

1. Anyone who claims they never went through a losing apprenticeship early on is long odds-on to be having you on.
2. Betting with an edge offers superior returns to any other investment class.
3. Staking and money management are the most under-rated aspects of gambling.
4. No-one avoids drawdown so why be surprised when you go through it?
5. Over-estimating your edge can make an otherwise successful punter go bust.
6. Don’t love a horse. Love a price.
7. Your best bet becomes a lay the moment they announce a change of riding instructions.
8. If you don’t have an intimate knowledge of the mathematics of punting then you are betting on borrowed time.
9. There are many different ways to win in this game but professionals have plenty in common such as work ethic, discipline and confidence.
10. Lazy punters lose.
11. Be very clear on the difference between causation and correlation.
12. Always be prepared to pass on a winner if you’ve missed your price or have other serious doubts.
13. Jumps’ racing doesn’t come close to paying its way and is irrelevant to all but a tiny minority.
14. Inside barriers are (as a group) terrible betting propositions.
15. Most jockeys are inconsistent; it’s just a matter of how much so.
16. Backmarkers suck and unlucky horses tend to stay that way.
17. The favourite/longshot bias is alive and well.
18. Serious betting is now something akin to technological warfare.
19. Level staking is for losers.
20. Don’t be fooled into believing you have found a highly profitable approach as (positive) variance can work in your favour.
21. Statistically significant sample sizes are much larger than most people think.
22. As a general rule commentators have no clue and are best ignored.
23. Over-bet trainers and jockeys tend to remain below average from a punting perspective.
24. Betfair-itis (definition: dramatic and often late price drift on Betfair to far exceed bookies prices) is a serious condition that is harmful to your punting health.
25. In-depth analysis of trial form can be highly insightful.
26. Speed maps are an essential tool for any serious punter.
27. The market underestimates first uppers, first starters and the quick backup.
28. Most professionals operate on low single digit profit on turnover.
29. Professional punting is more isolating than it is glamorous.
30. Boxed exotics are an inefficient method of betting.
31. Profitable edges become obsolete faster now than ever before.
32. Blindly backing a market mover after the move is just plain dumb.
33. Casinos get rich on the collective ignorance of the Gamblers Fallacy.
34. If you don’t know your edge, chances are you don’t have one.
35. (Murphy’s law) No doubt Murphy was a punter as every new plan or strategy will start below expectations.
36. Being a contrarian isn’t easy but it is essential
37. To win long-term you must know something the market does not (or a have better understanding of it)
38. It’s true that you can’t eat value, but it’s also a fact that you that you won’t be eating without it.
39. There is a huge business opportunity for a high volume, low margin corporate bookie in Australia.
40. Hong Kong racing leads the way in so many ways.
41. The quaddie sub farce will probably last another 40 years.
42. Success is like being pregnant…everyone congratulates you but nobody knows how many times you were f****d

OK OK so I went over my allotted 40 lessons…must be old age kicking in.

Good punting

David Duffield