While all punters can have their own way of beating the bookie, there are certain rules that we should all follow. What to do and what not to do if you want to be a fellow profitable punter. Some rules of how to bet better are well known by everyone. Others you learn along the way. Below I outline some tips to ensure you can enjoy betting on sport while also making a profit across any punting year.
Expectation. Be realistic with what you expect to achieve from betting on sport. You are not going to make yourself a millionaire. Don’t reach for the stars. You are far more likely to win on a single bet than any ambitious accumulator. Treat the latter as fun bets and with small stakes only.
Confidence. Have confidence in your own ability. After all, if you don’t, who will? Of course, confidence comes with experience. With success. With learning how to be a profitable punter, winning more often than you lose. Don’t set yourself short term targets. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Becoming a profitable punter is a marathon and not a sprint. There is no get rich quick scheme when it comes to betting on sport (whatever you may read on some dubious websites). Your confidence will increase as you learn more and get better at betting. I have always judged my own success over the period of twelve months. I suggest you also base your success on one year of betting.
Mentality. There’s no point betting if you are easily disappointed or prone to depression when things go wrong. You need to be mentally strong and be able to take defeat in the same manner as you enjoy victory. Your glass should be half full, not half empty. You must celebrate the wins and savour those victories. It’s not a crime to cheer on your horse or punch the air when a football bet wins for you. But modesty is required. Don’t be too boastful to others about your successes. Don’t get down in the dumps when you lose or pass on your misery to loved ones. Remember, nobody died.
Walk away. Never, but never, chase any losses. It is one of the most common mistakes punters make, be it online or at a racecourse. You lose one bet, maybe the next one also. So you spend the rest of the day chasing those losses, convincing yourself that the next bet will win. It’s likely it will not. If you’re having a bad day, walk away. Come back to betting fresh another day. Never bet for the sake of betting. Never bet on any old thing. Wait for the right bet, not any bet.
Sobriety. On course bookmakers must have been missing the crowds of punters the past year. Especially those who hand over money with one hand, while holding their sixth pint in the other. Never bet when drunk. When spectators are allowed back on to racecourses and into football grounds, either go to watch the sport and have a bet if you so wish, or go for the beer. Never both. A pissed punter will pretty soon be a poor punter.
Stakes can be small. Do not bet with sums you cannot afford to lose. Ever. It doesn’t mater how high or low your income is, pay the bills before you punt. Only bet with sums that you will not miss if you lose. Because, some days, we all lose. It goes with the territory. If you cannot afford to have a bet, don’t have a bet! It’s as simple as that. There is no shame in having small stakes bets if that is all you have to spare. Do not listen to the high rollers who suggest betting with pennies each way is pathetic. It is not. It is how most punters started, including me.
Hesitation and Indecision. He (or she) who hesitates is lost. Or could lose. The one way to ensure you do not win on a bet is to not have a bet in the first place. Only to watch the horse or team you fancied romp to glory. Changing your mind about a bet is a sin we have all committed. Myself included. More often than not, I have found, I was right the first time around and wrong to change my mind about a selection. I am in recovery!
Be Selective. One all too common mistake punters make is simply to bet too often. On anything. There are people who will bet on sports they know nothing about, sometimes taking place in parts of the world they’ve never heard of. I used to work with someone who would bet on two flies crawling up a window. Literally! He once had a few of us betting on who could kick a football the furthest distance across the River Thames. Crazy. When it comes to betting on busy days of horse racing or football, do not bet on anything and everything. Be selective with your selections. Base your decision on probability and price. I shall be writing more about probability later.
Sleep well. And please, if betting leads to you losing sleep, stop it! Leave it alone for weeks or months. Or find another way to pass your time. Punting can drive us all to distraction some days. But you have to be able to take the highs and the lows. Do not dwell on a losing bet. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start again. Enjoy winning in equal measure. But if it all gets too much, it really is best for your state of mind and health to stop betting.
Bookies Tricks. My ultimate plea, do not be tempted to enter those online casinos the bookies tempt you to try. Unless you have a track record of breaking the bank at Monte Carlo, or being banned from Las Vegas casinos because you always win, do NOT waste your money on those games the bookies make most money on. Betting on sport is a skill. There is something on which to base your bet. Form, knowledge, results. Once you begin playing online Bingo, Roulette or the countless other games more readily associated with a casino, you are simply gambling on chance. And, ultimately, the casino always wins.
No shame in betting. How do other people react when you tell them you like a bet? Do they laugh? Or give you that look of pity too readily associated with gamblers these days? Ignore them. Probably best to tell them you spend your spare time counting road cones or catching butterflies. It always amuses me when I see that look on the face of people I am introduced to who ask that most banal of questions: ‘So what do you do for a living?’ How I have long hated that question. Long before I did this full time. To tell strangers you bet on horse racing or football is to be on the receiving end of that look which says: ‘Oh dear, Poor you. Your poor wife/husband.’ They never say it, of course. But they are thinking it. Forget them. If they are not willing to listen to the detail and skill behind the art of profitable punting, they’re not going to understand if they did. Stick to what YOU know. Stick to what YOU do best. Don’t give a flying fig about what other people think of how you spend your spare time.
Be lucky. We all need a slice of that from time to time.