Horse racing Victoria

Over the past few weeks, we’ve hopefully removed a little bit of the mystery around how successful punters actually make money.

First of all, we asked a very important but often overlooked question: what kind of punter are you? 

What are you in it for? A bit of fun, or to make money?  Those two aren’t always one and the same, and it’s crucial to understand why.

We then looked at an area which is equally as important as analysing the form: mastering the maths.  Firstly, what the odds you’re offered actually mean, and the most critical aspect of all: betting to value. Secondly, it was bookmaking percentages and how the bookies actually make themselves a profit from your betting.

Finally, continuing on the maths theme, we looked at the dangers of variance.  Not understanding variance, not taking a long term view, and not having a genuine bank continues to trip up aspiring punters.

So what now?

Hopefully this series has shown you what’s actually required to be a successful punter.

Forget (for now at least!) the bags full of cash, the flashy suits, the jets to Monaco and all the other crap that is presented as the professional gambler’s lot: if you can tick off each of the following, you’ll be well on the way.

What you need…

1: A bank.  If you don’t have a genuine 100 unit bank, and stake accordingly, you won’t make it.  Simple.  At some stage you’ll need to draw down and if you haven’t got the bankroll to draw on, you’ll have nowhere to go.

2: An edge.  Basically, this is what you have over the bookmaker.  Doesn’t matter if it’s horses, football, Slovenian handball or two flies running up a wall: your own market has to be more accurate than theirs over time, and has to overcome their market percentage.  That allows you to bet to value and end up in front.

3: Work ethic.  Yes, there is work involved!  If you’re a professional analyst or somebody who does their own markets, there’s an absolute mountain of work involved.  That’s why we have a team of full-time, experienced professionals for each sport or area of racing we look at.  Some of them also have large teams of their own.  All of them spend countless hours staring at screens to get their job done (it’s much more than a 9-5 job).

Even if you don’t do that yourself, and leave it to the professionals, there’s still work to be done.  You need to take the time to record all of your bets so you know exactly how things are going and can make adjustments as required.  You also need to spend the required time ensuring you secure the best odds possible on your bets.  It’s easy to just put them all down with the one bookmaker.  It’s also lazy, and won’t get you very far.

4: A long-term outlook. We’ve looked heavily at variance and how you need to guard against it with your bank.  Making real money on the punt is like most other investments: you need to ride out the ups and downs and focus on the longer-term results.

It’s also about emotions.  You absolutely need the ability to remain emotionally stable, mostly when things aren’t going well during losing streaks, which happen to everybody.  If you’re somebody who throws the toys out of the cot after a bad day, week or month and changes what you’re doing, then you won’t have the ability to stick with things for the long haul.

Got all these things?

You’re well and truly on the way.


1: What kind of punter are you? 

2: Mastering the Maths

3: Mastering the Maths Part 2

4: The dangers of variance


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