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Beating that run of racing bad luck

Just as you will have incredibly good runs with punting, so you will inevitably have bad runs of outs. A lot of people describe this as a "run of bad luck" which is of course total BS.

Luck, to me, plays but a minor part in the whole equation and has nothing to do with the mechanical approach necessary to make a profit LONG TERM from my chosen interest. N-O-T-H-I-N-G!

For heaven's sake, I've even seen web sites selling good luck spells and potions "guaranteed to make you an instant winner". Are you kidding me? People out there actually send good money for this rubbish? Okay. Different strokes for different folks and whatever floats your boast and all those other assorted cliches.

What a lot of people interpret as runs of good luck or runs of bad luck are really just statistical clumping - where the "return to mean average" gets a healthy kick along over in a relatively short space of time. As my red headed mate was very fond of saying in her political interviews - please explain?

Over a long chain of random events, there will always be an "average" result statistically. Which is why when you have had a series of "outs" with a long term winning proposition, it seems you inevitably get a "clumping" of successes to even out the results to a "mean average" over the long term. Which is why of course 3/1 winners don't necessarily happen along every 4 races. Wouldn't it be convenient if they did?

What I look for in any methodology I want to add to my arsenal, is LONG TERM success strike rates hopefully beyond 35%. Why 35% they screamed? Easy as - I know that in the LONG TERM, favourites will win between 32% and 34% of the thousands of races run every year in Australia and there will be times where they will win race after race after race with seemingly endless predictability. Similarly there will be just as many times when favourites will lose every race on any day with monotonous regularity but long term they will average out to that 32-34% strike rate.

Now provided you are getting better than around $3.20 for every one of them and they average 33% you should over that 12 month period make about 6% net on your total investment. Easy isn't it? The drama is that the runs of outs when you are betting at the pointy end of the market, accelerate your losses very quickly if you are "behind", and the difference between playing catch-ups at $2 and catch-ups at $4.50 is, as Darryl Eastlake was wont to say, HUUUUUUGGGEEEE!

The other problem is that favourites don't average $3.20 when they do win. Speaking of statistical clumping, how do you think the unbeaten Black Caviar has impacted on long term favourites "averages"? And at $1.04 that it always pays for a win, how do you think that has shaped the last couple of years? So would that be statistical clumping if you were looking at 5 year averages?

Similarly, what if you have a method that LONG TERM returns and average price / win of $8.50, but only 18% of the time? In terms of annual return, what's better? That or backing favourites?

Obviously then, the secret to making more than that is to start with a method that LONG TERM averages better than 35% or even 40% with a similar if not better, average price/return. This is why if you check out our Whole Box & Dice page, you will see why we look for ideas and methods that can be used in conjunction with each other that have that sort of return or average price and we periodically test them to make sure they are still on target and that our original test period was not long enough to eliminate the problems of statistical clumping.

If you can arrive at a method that returns 40% and your average is still $3.20 - well, you do the maths.

We know then that LONG TERM you should end up in front. Note the word "should". As we keep saying, nothing, absolutely nothing, in gambling arenas is ever guaranteed and you would be fool to think it could be. If you truly believe that anything in gambling will make you loss proof, for your own sake stop immediately and find a new interest before you do serious damage to yourself and those you care about.

What a lot of people tend to do, and I've observed this over a lot of years, is that when that "bad run of outs" strikes, they tend to go crazy betting on races they wouldn't normally consider, hoping that by having more bets they get a better chance of returning to the "average" that has otherwise won them money. I understand why they think that way, but it is, of course, flawed and their quality of decision making sadly more than offsets their eagerness to return to what they perceive to be "normal". Think about it - if you normally don't bet on Adelaide races because of any number of reasons that you have analysed, why would you start throwing money at them just because your method is going through a "statistical clumping" period?

The answer may well to bet less. We don't. We simply continue on in our normal way of doing the business because LONG term, we believe the results should return to stability and our staking plan will all but cover the most dire run of outs. And if it doesn't? Hey, that's gambling. So we lose a bank? You must be able to structure your gambling in a way that losing a bank or two over the space of a year is not a diabolical financial problem for you or your close ones - because in all probability it will happen. If you truly believe you can afford to lose, say $1000, this year and not go off in to a dizzy downward spiral, don't set it all up in one account. Break it in to 4 banks of $250 and use one until you either break it or are able to withdraw from it and return it to your working capital account and be free to continue on.

Another idea may be to demand a higher than usual level of interest, ability and decision from yourself before sitting down to gamble when you’re in the middle of a bad run. A "bad run" will often make you think you're going to lose even before you start the day's activities. I strongly would argue if that is your state of mental frustration with statistical clumping - STOP - go for walk, go fishing - plant some roses - do anything but gamble as you are on a one way trip to disaster, You simply must believe that you are adopting the best strategy you can in the method that has proven successful for you in the past or you are inevitably headed for Self Pity Street. It is alright to occasionally visit Self Pity Street but you don't want to live there!

If you know that you are doing what you normally do to the best of your ability and are not deviating from your long term strategy, it will make you far less likely to "go the guts" when things start heading south. And remember, even with a 40% strike rate, 60 times in a 100 you will be wrong and things will be heading south.

Losing streaks are part of the furniture and cannot be avoided. What can be avoided is panicking when they come along.

Even if you say, "hey this really sucks - I'm stopping for a week", that's terrific because with your method of selection and long term results, it should make no difference if you don't bet the next ten selections or twenty or one hundred selections because you should be confident in the long term returns from that methodology, that you can drop in and out as you need to. As we have written before, no one person can be at their computer doing this 24 / 7. It is impossible to do that so don't even try.

For most people, the only certainties in life are taxes and death. If you happen to be a gambler you can also add losing runs to that list of inevitabilities. So don't get angry. Get over it and deal with it in a way that will not only make you feel better about it but probably enhance you chances of navigating your way through it successfully.

There is no such thing as "bad luck". There is such a thing as statistical clumping (and I have the stats to prove it!)

This article is copyright, August 2012 . All rights reserved. May be copied freely for personal use and yes you can put it up on your web page providing this copyright notice stays in tact.