How to be a profitable punter

How to be a profitable punter

So you want to be a fellow profitable punter. You’re weary of losing to the bookie. Where are you going wrong?

What do you need to do to beat the bookie at the end of each calendar year?

What is the make up of the profitable punter? Someone who finishes each year in front of the bookmaker. In profit. What characteristics does that person need to possess?

In no particular order of preference, here goes. This is what you need. Is this you?


Is your glass half full or half empty? You need to have an optimistic outlook if you are to stay the distance in the race to beat the bookie over the course of one year.

For there will be downs. I compare punting to a rollercoaster ride. The ups are thrilling. Exhilarating. You feel on top of the world. You so enjoy the ride you want to scream with pleasure. That’s when you are winning. When you are making profit , by any means, and taking money from the satchel of the bookie.

But how do you react when the inevitable downs come along? Some bad runs can be long. You may feel as though you’ll never again have a winning bet. But you will. If I have learned anything from twenty years of profitable punting it is that these things are cyclical. On average I will finish each year having been in profit for nine months and recording a loss or breaking even the other three months. It’s how you react when things aren’t going your way that matters.

Do not throw in the towel. Keep the faith. Every punter has a losing run. No matter how experienced they are. Quitting is not the answer. Learning from any mistakes you’ve made is. It may simply be that you’ve experienced some bad luck. Which of us has not had a day when horses we back get beaten by a nose, a short head or a whisker? Who among us has not sat in dismay as an injury time goal in a football match deprives us of a tasty winning single bet or accumulator? It happens.

But remember that great feeling when everything on the punting front goes right. When we back huge priced winners of the Grand National. When we back 20/1 winners of the Derby. When we back a footballer to score the first goal at odds of 33/1 and he does precisely that. Remember those days when a magnificent seven football accumulator comes good and we win handsomely. Celebrate those days. Remember how good you felt and know that such days will return.

If you wish to be a fellow profitable punter, be optimistic. Don’t stay down in the dumps when you lose. Enjoy winning more than you loathe losing. Have your glass half full.

leopardstown punters celebrate

Winning. You wear it well


I bang on about this constantly. Time and time again since 1998 I have seen punters give up after a bad day, week or month of betting. Imagine if I had done that during a bad run in the past twenty years. I dread to think where I’d be had I lost heart and jacked it in during a bad week of punting fifteen to twenty years ago.

Timing can play a big part in whether or not a punter continues for the long term. For example, those who joined VG Tips just prior to me tipping 10 winners at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival were suitably grateful and sent me their thanks. But some may have thought I could walk on water when, in truth, I can’t even swim!

Those members stayed on and were on when I tipped the winner of the Grand National at Aintree for the third consecutive year. I still have to pinch myself at that achievement. I don’t know of another punter who tipped Rule the World when 50/1 for the 2016 National, One For Arthur when 40/1 for the 2017 National and, at odds of 12/1, Tiger Roll for the National last April.

So those VG Tips subscribers were highly delighted. Rightly so.

Even more so when, in May, I managed to tip to them the 20/1 winner of the Derby at Epsom, Masar, and, when priced 22/1, the winner of the Irish Derby, Latrobe

By this stage they must be thinking I am some sort of God when it comes to betting.

But what do they think now? After a crap couple of weeks of betting in July. Am I now useless? A waste of space. A loser. NO!

I am disappointed, for sure. I don’t like losing any more than you do. But I know I haven’t lost the knack. Not after all these years of bashing the bookie. That type of certainty comes with experience.

Thanks to two decades of profitable punting I know I will bounce back. I can be confident of that because I have been here before and yet ended every year in front of the bookie. I know that any bad run is always followed by a good one. You never know when that is coming. That would spoil the anticipation. But I do know that you don’t suddenly become a bad punter overnight. The chances are you have simply made some bad decisions. Or you’ve been unlucky, your horse being beaten in a photo finish. Or a horse you backed performing poorly due to an illness or injury that becomes apparent only after the race.

If you want to make an additional income through betting on sport, you must embrace patience. If it’s not a characteristic you were born with, then acquire it. Fast!

be a profitable punter. join vg tips betting tips service

Nothing like the feeling of winning


Treat betting as though it is a job. That is what it is to me. You can have days off. Indeed you must have days off. I do.

It is true that I have not had a proper holiday since early 2004, but I no longer look at the racing seven days a week as I did as recently as six years ago.  Back then I didn’t tip or back in every race meeting. Nothing like it. I was as choosy, as selective then as I am now. But I did study every race at every meeting. On a Friday, for the next day, that often meant looking at twelve race meetings, including utter rubbish racing at the likes of Wolverhampton and Southwell. I learned that if you do that madness awaits you. For some years now I have concentrated on the best race meetings. The quality, not the quantity.

If you bet at every race meeting, you’ll go insane. The only winner will be the enemy, the bookie. They want you to bet every day. On anything. They don’t care what. Just so long as you bet. The more often you bet the more likely they will finish ahead of you each year, not the other way around. That’s why you get e-mailed special offers. If you take a break from using their online account, you will get an e-mail telling you how much they miss you and offering some enticement to return.

The bookmaker is not your friend. They are your enemy. Don’t dance to their tune. Make them dance when you want to take to the betting floor. Bet when you want to bet. Not when they want you to.

I treat the constant challenge of annual profitable punting as a job of work. I am at my desk early, doing my very best to avoid distractions. Let’s face it, distractions are many and varied these days. The dog gets walked. My head gets cleared and then I try to concentrate on the job at hand. Social Media can get in the way. Everyday tasks may interfere from time to time. After all, we all need to eat, drink and shop. But, thankfully, the telephone doesn’t ring these days. Praise the Lord!

The discipline I am talking about is sticking to what works best for you. Be that betting on racing or football. Or both. Or perhaps you know your tennis or golf inside out and you have a good record betting on those sports. One of my greatest bets of all time came at Wimbledon. You can read about that by clicking here.

These days I stick to the two sports I know best. Horse racing and football. It is these sports I study the most. These sports that I concentrate on for the lovely and loyal members of VG Tips. I work with my members, hand in hand. They own this service as much as I do. We’re in it together. Walking the path to profitable punting.

Another tip I have for you is to not bet simply for the sake of it. For the thrill. Resist the temptation to bet on something you know nothing about. Don’t bet when bored. Do anything but that. If bored, go for a walk, go to the pub, watch dreadful daytime television (channels without bookmaker ads). Anything. Just don’t let boredom lead to you logging in to your bookie account.

Stick to your way of betting no matter what. Even when it breaks, don’t try to fix it. Let’s say that you have been betting for some period of time. You’ve found which type of bets work best for you. The bets which deliver you the most profit. You’ve learned which racecourses you do best at. Which jockeys or football teams are your ‘lucky’ ones. We all have those. Time and experiences teaches us that.

When you have a bad run of results, do not throw the baby out with the bath water. Win, lose or draw – bet the same way as has proved to be successful for you in the past. As an example, if you only back each way but have had a few losers, don’t suddenly be tempted to bet win only on horses priced odds on.

profitable punter vernon grant being paid out on a winning bet

Another winner! Bookie Julie Williams hands over my winnings

If your aim is to make money each year through betting then by all means change your socks and underwear. Just don’t change what has proved to be a winning formula for you.

Patience. Discipline. Optimism. Three characteristics you need to be a profitable punter.


Join VG Tips via this link. There is safety and unity in numbers. Come on in and be a resident at the home for profitable punters.

Watch my online video course on how to bet better. Find the short, sharp video lessons in the blog section of the VG Tips website or at my YouTube channel.  

Next up, in part 2 of how to be a profitable punter, I write about decision making, looking for value in the betting market and the fact that there is no such thing as a certainty when it comes to betting. Only probabilities.

In the meantime… be lucky!



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