How do you bet like a professional ?
Before you can learn to do that, you must learn to think like a professional in every respect. This is not a technical chapter based on selection processes and staking plans. They are, of course, crucial, but so too are the mental processes associated with betting professionally.
The main difference between a professional punter and an amateur is that the professional spends less time and effort looking for winners and more time looking for prices. That is the aspect of betting on which you must concentrate if you are ever to become professional.
A professional wouldn’t walk into a bookie’s shop, stare at the Racing Post on the wall for ten minutes, then hurriedly fill in an each-way yankee based on his favourite jockey’s mounts. I know that is an obvious example, yet so many thousands of punters every day hand over millions of pounds by acting in such a way.
The problem comes when you have a decent win by doing something like that – because it postpones the time when you will reach your senses – sometimes by years. Quite simply, you cannot be a professional and act in such a manner. A professional, by the very nature of the word, has to win. Not every day, or even every week – but he has to win to make a living, or at least to sustain the one he’s got.
Just imagine yourself in the position where you have to win – perhaps some of you have been in it. How would you act then? You would certainly take much more care over your selections – but is that enough? You will hopefully have set up a betting bank, and have decided roughly how you are going to stake from it. You will hopefully have a good grasp of value – the most important thing in betting. If you haven’t grasped the concept of value, then quite simply you will never be a professional – it’s as simple as that. You must be on the lookout for it all the time – you are not looking for winners, you are looking for value.
It is very tempting for me to start writing an in-depth analysis of value, selection processes, betting banks and staking plans – but I shall leave each to their own chapter, so that I can try to emphasise the emotional involvement that you will encounter in your quest to make a living.
First and foremost, you must be absolutely sure that your methods are right – so sure that you will never ever doubt them no matter what happens. Once you begin to doubt your methods you are in big danger. No matter what sort of losing sequence befalls you, you must never doubt the fundamental methods that you have learned. By attempting to drastically change them you are heading for disaster.
One basic principle which you should never forget:
No matter how bad your recent results have been, they do not, in any way whatsoever, affect the chances of today’s bet. Not in the slightest. Just because your last seven bets have lost has no bearing on the chances of the eighth. Everyone encounters sequences – it’s a part of life that things happen in sequences. You need to be aware of sequences and how they will affect you, but you also need to realise that every investment you make is a completely independent entity, unaffected by anything before or after.
Once you understand sequences (and it takes a long time), then you will treat the inevitable losing runs with a completely different attitude. You will begin to be unaffected by them – not totally, but enough to ensure that they are not on your mind as you make your next selection. This is important – if you are psychologically affected by being in the middle of a losing sequence, your judgement will be affected as you make your next bet. There is no doubt about it.
You may forego value to try and retrieve the situation with a short-priced favourite, which normally you would dismiss as giving no value at all. This is fatal, and must be resisted at all times. If you stick to the methods you know are proven, you are bound to win in the long term.
What I am trying to say is that after a while a week will become about as significant to you as a day used to be. Years ago I remember being upset as I trudged home after a ‘bad day’. How ridiculous that seems to me now. A ‘bad week’ barely affects me now, because I know that my methods have stood the test of time – and I also know that sequences follow us all through our betting lives, both ‘good’ ones and ‘bad’ ones.
On the other side of the coin, a ‘good’ sequence must never ever lead to rashness or complacency. If we remember the golden rule that each bet is completely independent of every other, we must know that ten winners on the bounce doesn’t give the eleventh any better chance than it already has.
If you ever make a bet purely because of the outcome of a previous one, whether it be because you are well in front so you decide to try to extend the winning streak, or whether it be because to want to recoup losses quickly, then you have not grasped the basic psychology required for the discipline of successful betting.
If you can’t sleep, and sit up all night and flip a coin repetitively – will there be times when six or seven heads appear one after another? Of course there will, and vice versa. You can’t stop it happening – it is a sequence. We have to live with them.
A losing sequence doesn’t necessarily mean that you are doing anything wrong, and in the same way a winning sequence doesn’t necessarily mean that you have the key to long-term profit. The only way to decide whether either is true is to keep cumulative long-term records of your bets.
In summary, here are my 5 golden rules to ensure you keep a cool head and the ability to concentrate positively and exclusively on your next bet:
1. Know your trade inside out.
2. Once they are tried and trusted, stick to your methods at all times no matter what.
3. Eliminate self-doubt.
4. Eliminate over-confidence, but not self-confidence.
5. Know that sequences, both good and bad, are an inevitable part of betting.