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Avoid these betting mistakes at all costs

Mel Gee here.

Having started right at the beginning of my journey in a previous article, I thought I would move on a little further to advise/suggest what you need to do to become more professional, more successful, and more likely to make your betting profitable, long term.

I must stress here though, it’s not going to be possible to relive my exact journey, but if I can help you along the way, so be it.

How many times have you heard the phrase, “It’s a mug’s game”?

A lot of times, I suggest?

And that phrase is almost always associated with horse racing, betting, and, more often than not, getting out on the favourite in the last race. And, do you know what? I agree. That is a mug’s game.

Why is this? It is quite simple really. The average punter is not a disciplined punter.

And the bookmakers love them! I wonder why. Oh yes, “Gamble Responsibly” Ha!

We are all taught disciplines from an early age: at home, school (must do homework set!), further education and of course employment and work environments.

But when it comes to betting/gambling, life seems to be more gung-ho!

I think, personally, the reason is because one expects to not win and it’s ok because gambling for most is not relied upon, it’s not an expected income. What’s a couple of ££s, or a fiver or a tenner in the big scheme of things?

We know 98% and more will lose so people have a herd mentality that it’s ok to lose because “everyone else does”.

A slippery slope

I suppose a reasonable example would be the fellow who has a pocket full of money and heads off to the High Street bookmaker or funds his online bookmaker account or, less so, attends a race meeting and bets a small stake on a horse in the first available race. It wins!! Great, he is in profit.

Does he stop betting? Take the profit and run. Of course not! He is on a winning streak!

So, the next bet is placed with a larger stake. Often the next stake is part of the winnings from the first bet plus the original stake, because the next horse selected is better than the first one so this surely wins; but the bet loses…

Got to have another bet now because that loser was a little unlucky in running, or the jockey waited too long before mounting a challenge or any other reason that can be taken from an endless list of reasons…

And so, the day goes on, and as with most punters there is no discipline, no betting bank, no money management, no proven method of picking out horses with reasonable chances to win, no staking plan and so he ends up betting on the favourite in the last race to “get out” of losses made.

Absolutely crazy! But this scenario, or very close to it, happens daily to punter after punter. I wonder if you can see yourself there?

That is why you don’t see a poor bookmaker! It’s a well-worn cliché but often so very true.

Most bettors do not know how to bet, it is as simple and as straightforward as that.

How do I know this to be true? I used to be that punter, that’s how. I was alongside 98% of bettors who lose on a regular basis. What a statistic! Just 2% of bettors, long term, show a profit. Do you recognise yourself in this scenario? Read the above again and be honest with yourself. Do you see yourself now, or close to it? Yes? I thought perhaps so!

Thankfully, believe it or not, I got lucky.

It’s all about discipline

My passion has been all things horse racing for more than 50 years, and I eventually got tired of losing. I had a wealth of knowledge, but I couldn’t piece it together.

I had discovered things from constant and in-depth form research that I was certain no other person was aware of. They couldn’t be aware because nobody would have travelled my particular journey and to discover the “unknown” one has to keep on and on and on, digging and digging further.

I termed these discoveries ‘nuggets’ but I didn’t trust them in the beginning! I was still making the same mistakes. For example, a horse’s form was on good ground or better, today was soft ground, and I still backed it! Madness! I knew the likelihood of it winning was reduced, but still I paid to find out!

I needed to learn discipline.

I had finally lost enough money to make the changes I knew I needed to make if I was going to continue in this sport.

And here is a ‘gem’ for all bettors: You have to make the decision yourself that you have lost enough money in order to make the change to disciplined betting. If you want to win consistently, that is!

It was like owning a 10,000 piece jigsaw all jumbled up in the box. I needed to step back and make this jigsaw into a masterpiece!

It took some time, a lot of discipline and courage, but I did it.

I can now say, honestly, that I am in the 2% of bettors who make a profit, long term.

The interpretation of the form book had become an art well learned and I was back enjoying the sport that I had loved for so many years.

The changes I made then are with me today. The ‘nuggets’ became rules, set in stone, sacrosanct.

A novel approach

I feel I must add here that how I approach a race is different from most people…

Most look to find the winner of a race, I don’t. Surprised? I think you might be.

I look to see if there is a horse I am going to bet on, in line with my rules. If the horse fails just one rule, then it is no bet. I don’t argue with myself to make it a bet, not now. My approach, though, is not 100% correct in selection, of course not, but the exceptions continue to prove the rule. I can live with s better than 50% strike rate when the average odds are well above even money!!!

Basically, by applying these rules, it reduced considerably the number of bets and consequently the number of losers.

But that was not all that needed changing….

I had to change my mindset with this newfound discipline.

I needed to learn to wait for the opportunity to present itself, and opportunity wasn’t there every day. Not every week either!

I had found through research, failures and successes, the knowledge I had gleaned over 30 years or so, all directed me to one niche area of the racing calendar – eventually.

The answer all along was Class 1 races. The best of the very best.

But that’s not all: I needed a new discipline – patience.

Next up was a betting bank, a bankroll. All businesses need funding. Proper funding.

I needed a sum of money completely devoid from any other commitments. This money was for betting purposes only with no other pressures added to it.

I decided on a point-based bank.

One Point = £xxx (my choice) multiplied by 20 Points = £xxx Bankroll.

I felt armed and extremely dangerous. An approach I knew would win long term. I had discipline and the patience to wait for the right time. I had a bankroll.

Worthwhile bets, with worthwhile stakes, to make worthwhile profits.

I was ready to win.

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