1. Be Disciplined
There are hundreds of reasons why 95% punters lose year after year, but the number one reason that most punters fail is due to a lack of discipline. Patience and discipline are arguably the most important skills to possess when it comes to betting. Yes, money management and being able to find value in the market are necessary but without discipline these skills are useless if you can’t put them into practice.
While it would be great to get rich quick from betting, it’s simply not going to happen. Too many punters get caught up in short term results and fail to realise that betting is a long term prospect.
If you want to be a successful punter then strong discipline is a must. Having a bankroll management plan and sticking to it is key. Punters will often lose discipline and change their betting approach after a bad run, but it is important not to lose your way if things aren’t going to plan.
Having discipline also includes not placing bets you normally wouldn’t simply to have an interest in a match. Punters will often have a bet on Friday night footy or the big G1 horse race of a Saturday just to make the event more interesting. This is something most punters out there do and while there is nothing wrong with that if it’s what you want to do, don’t expect to be a successful long term winner with this approach.
2. Do NOT Chase Losses
Chasing Losses involves increasing your bets and stakes in an attempt to win back past losses.
It is a trap a lot of punters fall into when they are having a bad day and rather than just accept the loss they will endeavour to scrap all of their previous hard work and up their bets in an attempt to just hit their way out of the hole they have found themselves in. This is obviously a VERY bad idea and a good way to ruin months of good work just because you couldn’t handle a bad day. It is a sign of desperation and will have a negative impact on both your bankroll and your psyche.
As a punter you have to accept that you will have both very good and very bad days over the journey, but not to let your emotions take over in those situations. If you find this is a common fault of yours then you should seek professional help as it is an obvious sign of Problem Gambling.
3. Manage Your Money
If you are wanting to take your betting more seriously then you need an allocated “Bankroll” of funds strictly for betting purposes. Having separate funds away from your day to day spending money allows you to take a more business like approach to your betting. Simply “topping up” your account when it runs out is not the way to be a successful punter.
Your bankroll can be any amount that suits you but you are likely to be betting 1-2% of that total bankroll per bet so make sure it is an amount that you feel comfortable betting that portion of per bet.
Once you have a bankroll coming up with a competent staking plan to use it on is the next step. Even if you are consistently getting value about your bets, if you over bet when staking on them you can go bankrupt.
Let’s take a coin flip as an example. In any coin flip the true odds of a head or tail result is $2.00 as you have a 50% chance of either winning. This means if you take odds that are less than $2.00 you will lose long term, but if you were given odds of $2.40 about a coin flip you would take it every time as you would win 20% POT over time.
The trouble comes in that even though you are taking value, you may still lose over 10 coin flips in a row due to variance and probability in numbers. As a result of this, if you over bet and don’t allow for this probability you can go broke in the short term. In the space of just 100 coin flips you are 54% likely to have a losing streak of at least 6.
Finding the correct staking plan for you is always a balancing act between making sure you don’t over bet and risk going broke, but also betting enough to ensure you maximise your profits. Risk of Ruin is a concept used in gambling and finance relating to the likelihood of losing one’s bankroll to the point that it cannot be recovered and is worth reading up about before you get started.
There are many different staking plans out there and you can even develop your own to suit your needs, it’s not a one size fits all deal so best to study yourself and find out what suits your needs. Any Martingale system must be avoided when finding a staking plan however.
4. Control Your Emotions
What happens between the ears can have more effect on your gambling than any other outside influence. For a lot of us, the mood we are in dictates both the bets we place and how much we stake on them. To be a successful punter this must be avoided.
All of your betting decisions should be void of any emotion. If you trust your own selection process and staking plan then everything should be done in a very systematic fashion and not reliant on the highs and lows of short term gains and losses. Of course this is easier said than done and a trap a majority of punters will fall into at one time or another.
Have you been on a winning streak and riding the high of this by changing your betting to increase your stakes and bets to take advantage of this sudden windfall? If so then stop betting immediately. Too often punters will be more flippant with their funds after a win.
Similarly are you in the middle of a bad losing run and feeling depressed and sad or angry? If you are then stop betting immediately. This is the emotional downswing that takes its toll on most punters, and can wipe out an entire bankroll in no time. It is what leads most punters to loss chasing and just trying to win their way out of trouble.
Here is a chart of the the different moods that most punters go through during their betting phases. You will likely recognise some of these swings in your own punting emotions.
As you can see both Optimism and Frustration occur at the same stage, but the emotion is different based on your past performance. This chart of highs and lows is exactly what most punters will go through on a daily basis and MUST be nullified if you are going to be successful.
No matter how good you of a punter you are long runs of losing bets WILL occur. As a punter you can’t change that. What you can change is how you respond to them and not let them affect your future betting
With the enormous amount of sporting events and races out their to bet on it is almost impossible to attempt to keep on top of everything. Specialising on one particular area is a strategy most professionals will undertake. Trying to cover a wide range of sports simply means you cannot put enough time or effort into the research required and as a result you are spreading yourself too thin.
Find out what you are good at and focus your attention on that.
6. Keep Records
Keeping records of your betting is arguably one of the most important aspects to winning over the long haul. Afterall how do you know if you are a winning punter if you don’t keep records?
Keeping records doesn’t just tell you whether you are winning or losing overall, but it helps in identifying where your strong and weak points are. You might excel in Over/Under betting but struggle with Player Exotics and without record keeping might not be able to notice this. Infact most punters will often think they have a better record they do in areas and keeping a record allows you to get a true reflection of your abilities.
7. Seek VALUE Over Winners
Understanding the concept of value is critical to being a successful punter. Whether your bets win or lose is irrelevant if you are not getting value about your selections. It is easy to say a team paying $1.50 are the better team and should win this match. They may be a deserved favourite but are the odds reflective of their winning probability?
Value is determined by whether you believe the probability of a selection winning is greater than the probability its odds reflect. If a horse has been marked as a $2 chance in the betting then it has been marked as a 50% chance of winning that race. While yes it may be more likely to win the race than any other horse, is it a better than 50% chance of winning? If the answer is yes then this bet is value for you and worth betting on.
Value is a concept that not a lot of punters understand. You will often hear commentary in the lead up to a race that Horse X is value BUT that it is only value if it wins. This is simply not true as value is not determined by the result. If you were offered odds of $3 about a coin flip you would take it every time. Given the probability of a coin flip is 50% that would mean that half of your bets would win and half would lose. But $3 was still value EVERY time,whether it won or lost.
Another popular myth you will often see is that punters believe a favourite cannot be value because the odds are too short and a horse at large odds is value simply because it has a bigger price. But this thought process is quite often not true, while a horse might be big odds in the market it’s odds may still be too short in relation to it’s true probability of winning. Likewise a favourite might be short in the market but can still be value when compared to its actual chances of winning.
For the most part betting isn’t about finding winners, it is about identifying VALUE. As that is what leads to long term profits.
8. Understand The Numbers
While you don’t need to be a genius by any means, a basic level of maths is essential to being a successful punter. While some punters might be able to get away with gut feel and instinct for a while it is almost impossible for a punter to make long term profits that way as betting is essentially a numbers game.
To be a successful punter you need to be able to identify a selections winning probability in relation to the market, have a staking plan and understand bankroll management. All of these things require at least a basic understanding of numbers and mathematics.
9. Get The Best Odds
The idea of getting the best odds should resonate with most punters as increasing profits is the aim of the game. The difference between taking $2.50 and $2.30 might not seem like a lot on face value, but long term that can mean the difference between being a successful punter in profit and going bankrupt.
To get the best price you obviously need to have accounts with all of the major bookmakers out there as well as Betfair. A lot of punters will often only have one bookmaker account and do all of their betting through there and not see having multiple accounts worth the effort. But if you are looking to be a successful punter it is a necessity to be able to shop around and take the best odds possible.
Once you have all of your bookmaker accounts set up it can still be quite a bit of work to go from site to site to find out where the best odds are, but this is where Odds Comparison sites and software come in handy. These are sites that gather all of the feeds from different bookmakers and alert you to where the top odds are for each selection.
10. Set Realistic Expectations
Setting yourself realistic goals for your betting is an extremely important aspect to your betting. A lot of punters will have inflated expectations on what they should be achieving and when they don’t pan out react poorly.
Most punters come in expecting to win in excess of 30% profit on turnover over a high volume of bets, which is just not a realistic goal to set and you are already setting yourself up for disappointment. Some who are new to the game will argue the fact but even if you have “hot” streaks where you will be winning in excess of that, there will be just as many periods where you have equally large losing streaks and even the results out. If you are making more than 30% POT long term then you are either being highly selective and not turning over a high volume of bets, or you are one of the best punters in the country.
Most professional punters will infact be operating on less than 10% POT and the biggest pro’s in the country will be going at just 2-5% POT, but will obviously betting in a very high volume of bets.
If you follow these rules and take a systematic approach to your betting a 10% POT is not an unreasonable goal to set yourself. So from that if you want to make $10,000 per year you will need to be turning over at least $100,000 in that time.