When it comes to placing a punt, it’s all too easy to make a mistake that can cost you big. With the rise of online gambling making it possible for you to gamble anywhere, it’s easier than ever to slip up.
Here is a list of common mistakes that put you and your money at risk, whether you realise it or not…
Relying On Your Gut
For a lot of individuals, it’s easy to acquire so much expertise that it’s mistaken for instinct. Players like Ronnie O’Sullivan can perform impossible shots without thinking, Phil Ivey can easily calculate odds on the fly without a hitch. But for the ordinary rank and file punter, gut or hunch-based calls may work out as one-offs, but they will never, ever consistently pay out in the long run. Making plays on instinct divorces you from the multitude of odds, percentages and stats that make up all sports and events. It prevents you from making rational calls to protect your neck and invites the fickle mistress of lady-luck to abandon you at a moment’s notice. If you do choose to decide based on your gut, make sure that your doing it to avoid a loss rather than chasing a win. In other words, if a bet feels right, do your homework, but if a bet ‘feels’ wrong, don’t do with it.
Not Having A System
If you’re looking to see regular returns from your betting, going in blind will never help. Gambling relies on a knowledge of ratios and stats to help you plot how much money you can afford to bet and calculate your rate of return. Any betting should be methodical and tracked – allowing you to see your returns over time. Even a loss will help add to that repository of information. Punts placed without rhyme or reason will leave you spinning your wheels when a structured approach (e.g. using handicap bets or ‘parachute’ options like cash out) can help multiply winnings or help build a safety net to mitigate your losses.
Punting Without A Budget
Even if you’re not looking to get serious about your betting, any responsible punter needs to know exactly where the money they are staking is coming from. Finding that your bets are eating into your day-to-day life is a huge warning bell about bad practice. Setting out how much of your income you can afford to risk on your betting is step one of being a solid gambler with a road to reliable returns.
Not Gambling Responsibly
With all the excitement around placing a punt, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment, forget yourself and act irresponsibly. Individuals can even find themselves putting money down that has been borrowed or should have been squirreled away for something else. Once you start hitting these tell-tale signs, it’s a clear red flag that you need to step away from punting for a while. If you think that your betting is becoming a problem, but best thing to do is act quickly and decisively. Step away from the game and seek help.
So, if you’re looking to clean up your game, what are some pieces of advice that will help stop you making mistakes?
Know the gambler’s fallacy: This states a simple fact; any two events that are carried out independently are statistically independent of each other. For example, imagine a friend places a bet that they can’t flip a coin and have it land heads; that’s 50/50 odds so you take it. They toss the coin and it lands…heads. Bollocks! You pay out, but they challenge you again to the exact same bet. They toss again and this time it comes down heads. Again, another pay-out! They challenge a third time and you feel confident that it can’t land on heads a third time! They toss – and it does! This cycle can repeat infinitely because each time the odds are always 50/50 – the outcome of the toss is not at all dependant on what came before and there are (sadly for this site) no gods stopping that coin from coming down tails just because it has been landed on heads fifty times already. While this is obviously applicable to real life punting – it would be insane to think a horse would win every race it would run in throughout a year – just because you’ve lost the last five bets doesn’t mean that you’re going to get ‘lucky’ with this one. The hardest part of any streak is learning to walk away because, rest assured, the odds you don’t want to turn up will appear eventually – and you don’t want to be there when they do. Anything that can impair your ability to make sound decisions should also be avoided. Always avoid punting under the influence or whilst exposed to anything that can affect your judgement. Having had a few pints is not a sound legal defence when trying to explain how you lost a couple of grand…
Learn your sector: Forewarned is forearmed. Regardless of the sport or event you’re punting on, building in-depth knowledge can help you make a more informed decision. We have talked in many articles about the importance of developing specialist expertise, but also knowing where your time is best spent. Fully vetted and time-proven tipsters can be a boon for spotting solid leads in the field. Bookies will also have comprehensive knowledge of a field, but rise of the internet has handed more power to individual punters. Twitter, fan sites, social media streams, reports and podcasts are all invaluable sources of insight and information that can help you cultivate an edge.
Crunch the numbers: Never thought you’d have any use for your GCSE maths? Guess again! The key to making good and reliable punts is down to acquiring solid knowledge of ratios and percentages. Internalising how to calculate these will allow you to quickly and effectively identify and take advantage of the best bets possible. This will help build your instinct for spotting risky picks and allow you to better manage your punting and personal budgets. And, after all, there’s no harm in conducting a little more applied maths is there?
Test your systems: Despite the mystique that surrounds it, at the end of the day gambling is about truths – either you won or lost. And when money is leaving your pocket, it’s impossible to pretend otherwise. Once you have settled on a system to use, make sure it’s working. This should involve tracking how much money you have made, where your losses have been and where you’ve been blindsided by being a bit too eager. If you’re making good money, you can choose to invest a little more time and energy into your betting and, conversely, if you’re not doing as well, you can look at where you’ve made errors in the past and place fewer, or more conservative bets.