Punting Pointers

Mike Tyson may have taken a few too many hits to the head during his boxing career, but he once said something that was quite brilliant in it’s simplicity:

“Everyone’s got a plan. Until they get hit”.

And that applies just as much to punting as it does to pugilism.

Many punters come up with a definitive plan on how they are going to turn their results around and win consistently. They decide on how they are going to do the form, determine their selections, manage their money and how they will win big.

But on a raceday they ‘get hit’ when their first few bets lose and their well constructed plan goes out the window. Instead they do one or more of the following:

Chasing: have more bets than initially planned and/or bet more on each horse.

Lose confidence: they no longer have the courage of their convictions so either don’t back the horses they originally intended to, or reduce their outlay.

Listen to outside influences: suddenly the selections of mates or radio and TV pundits are treated with far too much importance and this can include premature calls of track bias.

Rely on flawed assumptions: some punters think the next bet will win just because ‘it has to’ since the last few lost. But every bet is an independent event, meaning there is no factual or mathematical reason why a previous result would have any effect on the next one.

All of these actions above have the same end result: you lose long-term. There may be the occasional day where it gets you out of trouble, but sooner or later the undisciplined approach will blow up your bank.

One pro puntert says that every punter he has ever met talks about being disciplined but only a tiny percentage actually are.

“I have mentored many punters over the last few years and very, very few stick to their plan in a business-like way. The problem is there are only two possible results when you break a rule and neither of them are positive. Either (a) you have success so you do it again, or (b) or you don’t have success so you’ve lost when you shouldn’t have”.

“Spare time between races can be dangerous but you should use that to update your betting records, analyse races already run, shop around for the best odds for races later in the day, consider any possible track patterns or bias, maybe even monitor weather reports. But whatever you do, don’t get involved in ordinary races.  Be satisfied with consistent returns rather than chasing the big win and always remember that just one undisciplined bet can wipe out what would have been a winning day”.

Many professional punters have just as many losing days as winning ones. It’s just that the money lost on an average losing day is less than the average amount won on a winning day. Part of the reason is because they are betting with an edge, but the other important factor is they can stay disciplined on both losing and winning days.

So to paraphrase Mike Tyson and relate it back to betting:

“Everyone’s got a plan. Until raceday”.

You must expect to get hit because it happens to everyone, even the most successful punters that have ever lived. Be very clear on how you’re going to deal with a losing run before it occurs so that when it happens you fully prepared both psychologically and in terms of sticking to your plan. This preparation and mindset is the only way you will be able to maintain discipline during the adrenaline rush that is raceday.

Good punting

David Duffield



  1. The greatest difficulty I find with maintaining discipline is not the fact of a losing run, but the number of meetings over which it occurs. When I look at my records I can see losing runs of 9 or as high as 15 and I can see that the bank always recovers and the good winners roll in to redress the run. But it is human nature to want to win ‘on the day’. A losing run such as the above could be spread over 2, 3 or 4 meetings, depending on how selective your method is. If you have spent all Friday on form, listened to the latest information, checked the radar for possible weather changes etc etc you naturally want to walk off the course in front! This is where discipline really is the key and a long term outlook essential. Easy to say but little comfort on a losing Saturday night! (And then your footy team goes down as well.)

    • It’s great that you have those betting records Nick as many punters don’t even know what their actual results have been.

      The ‘win on the day’ mentality is certainly a big factor with most punters but we try and break it down into month-long chunks to assess our results. And it’s a cliche but punting seriously is a marathon not a sprint so you have to keep your ere on the big picture.

      Good luck tomorrow…and to your footy team 🙂


  2. great article, have to copy it for a couple of young fellas I know who are working in stables and don’t (WON’T) keep records.
    unfortunasely punting is a “fun” activity and I can’t persuade them that a more profeswsional approach will double the fun

  3. It seems that”SKY” is hellbent on NOT giving out times run on Melbourne tracks,even on saturdays! After a race they seamlessly go to an interview or even a dog race! When the times for dog or harness racing can and are put up on-screen,why not Melbourne racing? A while back there was considerable interest in a big race in N.Z. track s7,there were 4 Aussie horses in this race,but do you think they would put up the times being run in N.Z.? not on your nelly,I suppose the turnover might have been disappointing,how could it be otherwise. If the “service” was being run by say Mark Read,we no doubt would have times to go by,as HE knows how much confidence means to turnover!

  4. Great article again! Recently, I have written down my betting rules and guidelines, i.e. what my betting bank is etc. etc., almost like a contract to myself so I can stick to the plan, and stay in control and avoid the risk of chasing money on the losing days. Rather than being restrictive, it is quite a liberating feeling as I feel like I have some solid guidelines to work within.