Learning From Experience
If you’ve been punting for any length of time then there’s no doubt that at different stages along that journey you’ve taken stock of your activities and wished you could achieve better results.
However, it’s not enough to think and wish for better results in the future, you have to take deliberate action to make them happen.
Unless you’ve simply been on the end of a normally expected losing run with a winning strategy, achieving better results from your punting in the future requires change.
LEARN FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE
The first step forward is to learn from your experience. That means reflecting on what you’ve done in the past, learning from that experience and doing some things differently in the future.
Consider the following question:
“Do you have ten years punting experience? Or one year’s punting experience ten times over?”
The difference is incredible and very important to understand.
If you’re not reflecting on your behaviours, actions and decisions as a punter and purposely setting out to improve them, then you aren’t really gaining experience.
You are more likely repeating the same experience over and over with the behaviours that stop you from reaching your goals continuing to plague your punting game.
This may relate to the way you do the form, make betting decisions, manage your money, deal with positive or negative results and other aspects of your psychology.
MOVING FORWARD AS A PUNTER
If you haven’t been happy with your results and understand some of the weaknesses that contributed to those results, then don’t fall into the trap of repeating the same mistakes. Commit yourself to actively reflecting on your past experiences and learning from them. Implement changes to the areas of your game that need improvement and make the next 12 months a noticeable improvement on the last.
How can you do that?
FOCUS ON THE PROCESS
You often hear about coaches or athletes in elite sporting teams talk about ‘trusting the process.’ They don’t focus on ‘winning’ but instead focus on the individual things they need to do in order to perform well and maximise their chance of winning. They focus on what they can control, right down to the finer details of what they need to do before, during and after competition to achieve success.
That same type of thinking applies to punting.
You’re focus shouldn’t be on the idea of winning, but on all of the things you need to do so that you perform well as a punter and maximise your chance of winning. Successful punting is about consistently implementing good processes in the way that you study races, make betting decisions, manage your money and react to winning and losing runs.
The outcome of races is totally outside of your control. You will get good luck and bad luck along the way, but if you consistently implement good processes in your punting then the winning percentages will end up in your favour.
MY TOP FIVE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT
The extent to which you need to do things differently going forward depends on how much your results need to improve. In my experience, many punters are close to winning and just need to make a few small changes to get them over the line and start making progress towards bigger goals.
Here are my top five recommendations for improving your punting process and therefore your results in the next 12 months and beyond:
1. Develop and COMMIT to a strategy
To win you need to have a strategy for how you study races and identify bets that provide you with a profitable edge. How are you going to find horses with a better chance of winning than the price you take? What do those horses and scenarios look like?
It’s amazing how many punters I come across that don’t have clarity on what they are actually looking for in a profitable betting opportunity. You can’t take a haphazard approach to studying the form and expect to make a profit by just backing horses on a whim of inconsistent reasons that are often not at all related to betting value. Develop a process for doing your analysis and principles on which you will make your betting decisions, that you believe will give you an edge. Once you have a strategy then commit to it. Work hard to find the betting opportunities that are consistent with those principles and the discipline to pass on races that don’t fit.
There are many different ways you can go about finding an edge and discussing them is beyond the scope of this article. The Betfair Hub contain many articles and resources that can provide you with ideas and the tools to develop a winning strategy on racing or sports.
Sticking to your strategy
Having a strategy is one thing, but the area many punters fall down in is sticking to that strategy. It’s important to recognise that even the best betting strategies have losing runs, it’s a natural part of the game. Don’t interpret a bad day, week or even month as a sign that your strategy is no longer profitable. Avoid the trap of looking to change your strategy whenever you have a bad couple of days, searching for the perfect approach, you won’t find it!
Of course, not every strategy is profitable and there’s always a high degree of uncertainty in wondering whether you are just having a normal losing run or whether your approaching is a losing one. However, our natural tendencies mean it’s far more likely that you will give up on a good strategy because of a normally expected losing run that you will hold onto a bad strategy for too long.
If you are the type of punter that changes your strategy a number of times during a year after a few bad days, then make a commitment to change that!
Focus on the process and what you can control. If you know that you are doing all of the right things and finding good betting prospects that have been successful in the past then don’t let a losing run or two put you off. The experience of breaking through a losing run, hitting a new winning run and watching your bank go to new high’s is very rewarding and fundamental to achieving long-term success as a punter, because you will have to do it many times during your career.
Give yourself the opportunity to do that by committing to your strategies for longer than you have in the past and avoid the temptation to change every time you have a bad couple of days.
2. Eliminate impulse bets
You know the one’s… those bets you don’t plan to make at the start of a day, but something happens to get you thinking about a particular horse and one way or another, you justify to yourself that it’s worth betting.It’s highly probable that at the end of a year these bets will return a significant loss, so if you eliminate them, your profit will naturally increase.
For example, if you make two impulse bets a week and they return a 15% loss with an average 2% of your bank staked on each selection, then that is costing you 31.2% of your betting bank in losses each year.
If your bank is $10,000, then you can increase your profit by $3,120 by eliminating those bets.
The message is simple… if the idea to back a horse doesn’t originate from your own analysis and normal selection process, then don’t bet.
3. Follow a consistent betting/money management approach
Quite often it’s not the selections a punter makes that prevents him / her from winning, but the inconsistent and haphazard way in which they bet. Chopping and changing your bet sizes and betting too much relative to your bank is a guaranteed path to either losing your bank or having it run so low during a normally expected losing run that you lose confidence and give up on your strategy, which in fact might be profitable.
Make a commitment to yourself that you will set an appropriate bet size for your bank (or money available each week) and that you will stake your bets consistently, regardless of previous results or your emotions on the day.
If you need to improve your game in this area then my advice is to bet to collect the same amount (4% to 5% of your bank) based on either your assessed price (if you have proven experience in this area) or the market price at the time you place your bet. For most punters, using the market price is the best option as it avoids over-staking based on assessed prices that are too short.
For example, if betting to collect 5% of your bank and the horse is $2.50 in the market then you would stake 2% of your bank (5 divided by 2.5 = 2).
If you bet with a set amount each day e.g. $100 then work out an appropriate collect target for each bet so that your total bets for the day match your budget.
4. Make an effort to get a better price
Most punters don’t realise the difference a few extra cents on each winner can add up to at the end of a year. For example, if you back an average of 3 winners per week with an average stake of 1.5% of your betting bank on each, then achieving an average of $0.20 cents extra in price on each winner adds up to 46.8% of your starting bank in additional profit!
You should have a number of betting accounts with bookmakers that offer fixed prices as well as other products such as top fluctuation, best of three totes/SP or similar.
In addition, you should also have a Betfair account, which can provide superior prices to bookmakers on many runners, especially on those away from the very short end of the market. It’s crazy to take a fixed price on a horse when the price offered by the Betfair exchange is much better. Over the course of a year, all of those instances where you think that one bet doesn’t make a big difference, they add up to a significant amount of money. With easy and instant deposit options, you only need to have enough in each account at any one time to fund one or two bets.
The key point is not to be lazy and just take any price that is on offer. There’s significant extra profit to be made each year by getting a better price for your bets
5. Keep records
Every punter knows they should keep records, but very few do, Why? Usually because it takes time to enter the details, but more so because they don’t want to face the reality of their betting performance.
If you want to improve your betting results then you must measure them, there’s no escaping it.
Apart from keeping track of your profit or loss, betting records can also highlight where you are most / least successful and provide a good tool to keep winning and losing runs in perspective.
For example, by looking at your past records you will gain confidence that your current losing run can suddenly turn for the better…. and just as importantly that big winning runs don’t last forever. Maintaining this perspective is a key element in betting success.
If you are serious about betting and improving your results then record every single bet you make.