Any serious bettor needs to keep betting records, and also to take the time to analyse those records. Bookmakers keep records of everything, to prevent fraud and meet legal and tax requirements but also to check performance. The truth is that because the bookmakers keep records they are likely to know more about the betting success of each punter than the punters do themselves. Unfortunately on-line bookmaker statements show a betting history, but don’t show a running balance like a bank statement.
There is no excuse for the serious bettor not to keep records these days. Even someone with a rudimentary knowledge of computing can keep up a simple spreadsheet; download internet statements; and even scan vouchers. What you actually record depends on your betting patterns.
A simple date; stake; and return record for each bet will tell you over a longer period whether you are making money or losing it gambling. If you are losing at least you will know how much. Losses of £500 pa might be an acceptable cost for a leisure activity. More substantial losses should be a cause for concern and show the need for action (give it up, or adopt a different gambling strategy (such as buying professional tips.))
A sports bettor placing bets on many sports would want to extend the basic stake; return columns by each sport. Again adding these columns up over a decent period will show to him which sports he has most betting success at, and which the least. He can then make an informed decision for example to cut the number of football bets he makes and increase the number of dog bets. Concentrating on fewer sports where you have been successful in the past, at the cost of those where you have had less success is of course no guarantee about what will happen in the future. It is true however that different people are better than others in predicting results in certain sports, and by focusing your energies on those where you have done well in the past your betting performance should improve because you will understand even more about them.
A punter concentrating on horse racing might choose to analyse his stake/return performance by: course; type of racing (Flat/jumps/All weather); type of race (Handicap/ Listed etc.) Similar to the general sports bettor this will reveal over time which sorts of race he does well at, and overall performance in the future can be improved by concentrating on these types of racing.
Records can also be used to analyse staking plans and improve on them in the future. Spreadsheets are easily reformatted to analyse such information. Reorder the bets made by size of stake might show that your higher stakes has a 75% win rate, whilst your lowest a 25% win rate. Indicating that future betting performance could be improved by reducing the number of bets struck. It might alternatively show that bets struck had the same win rate regardless of stake, and that profitability could be improved by adopting an “even” stake plan.
For the more experienced and semi-professional bettor, with many on-line accounts, an analysis of win/lose amounts by bookmaker will mirror those records kept on him by the different bookmakers. If he has been particularly successful at one bookmaker he can plan to bet less there in the future and avoid the risk of a closed account.
Punters tend to remember winners and forget losers and few have any idea of how much they win or lose betting every year. Little effort is required these days to keep betting records. Analyses of these betting records can be a useful tool for the bettor to improve his betting performance.