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Coping with Success

I can still remember the first bet I made as a serious punter.  It was April 2002 and I had just parted with $3,500 for a software program which was going to make me rich.  I had set aside my $500 punting bank, and bet 5% as per the instructions.

  In those days I thought “takeout” was what we had each Friday nite for dinner, and so I drove to the local TAB and placed my bet – Sandown, Race 4 #10 Smooth Customer on the nose.  It ran 2nd, and was the closest I would come to a winner for another 14 bets.  The system was a dud – and I never had to worry too much about losing big because I did my bank in the space of 9 months in a series of ever smaller bets.

As it was dawning on me that I’d been “had”, I was also making the decision to have a red hot go at nailing this game.  I set aside a dedicated $6,000 punting bank, purchased any number of books, magazines and software, and started to educate myself in the manner of winning.  It’s been a long hard road, and I don’t consider myself there yet, but I’ve managed to be in front at the end of each year since then.

Most of the books that you’ll read on the subject of punting will all say that you have to have the emotional ability to be able to sustain a losing run.  What none of the books that I’ve read ever tell you is that this actually gets harder the more you win – not easier.

In the early days of my punting career, handling losing runs was relatively easy.  I was earning a good wage, and so losing ten $10 bets in a row was nothing too serious.  I could spend that on a Friday nite at the local with my mates.  However, as I started to get in front and my punting bank increased, two things happened – my bet sizes were increasing, and I was expanding my punting activities.

I can still remember the first Saturday when I outlayed $500 for the day – I was a little horrified and plenty scared and just prayed that I wouldn’t have a wipeout.  This was followed about 6 months later by my first $1,000 day and more recently my first $2,500 day.  My first $1,500 day was especially harrowing – I outlaid $1,560 and got back about $350 – ouch!

I don’t consider myself a “big” punter – I know there are people putting many thousands on a single race – but after 84 days in this calendar year, I have so far turned over some $89,711.  This is a far cry from when I started with a few $10 bets on the weekend.  Back then, I made more in a day at work than I won or lost in a week – these days I win or lose more in a day than I make in a week – and this is where being a winner can cause you some difficulties.

A little while ago a mate of mine came over as I was doing the daily wrap.  I was a little concerned as the week was going very badly – I was down some $2,000 so far, and it was only Thursday.  What was causing me grief was that this was by far the most amount of money that I’d ever lost in such a short space of time, and I was staring down the barrel of a very, very bad week.  When my mate asked me how I was doing, and I told him, his reaction was quite interesting.  “That’s only one or two collects for you” he said, immediately followed by “got any beer?”

Of course my mate was right.  While I’ve collected a couple of thousand on a single bet before, it doesn’t happen often, but at $250 for my maximum bet, it’s only a $9.00 winner and I’m back square.  As it happened, I had a $6.20 winner the next day, followed by a more good collects, and I managed to only lose a much more respectable $800 for the week.

To try to put some perspective on things, I reduced everything to “units” rather than $.  In the early days of my punting, the most number of units that I lost in a week was 12.  This year so far I have turned over about 10 times as many units per week as I did back then, and the most number of units that I’ve lost in a week has been just on 40.  Comparatively speaking, my losing streaks have been so much better, but in $$$ terms, my worst week losses are in the order of 12 times worse than they were when I started betting.

I have come to realise that I need to change my perspective on things.  There was a time when I got extremely excited after winning $200, the other day I won $500 and described it to my mate as “a couple of dollars”.  But I’m not yet ready to classify it as “a couple of dollars” when I lose that amount – and this is my next hurdle in the journey of the punt.

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