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Why Gambling Alone Is Better

I have written at other times about why I prefer to gamble alone. Mainly for the "unhurried" decisions I find I am able to make. No pressure. Reasoned decisions. Well, that's what I aim for and sometimes they are achieved. Sometimes (!!).

It's why punting is such a selfish sport for me. It is always about me and what I decide - not what others tell me. So when you win well, it is always down to YOU. But there are other reasons why it is good to punt alone. I well remember the "good old days" of standing in the betting rings in Brisbane or Adelaide (way, way back) when it was interesting to observe the herd mentality that was in operation in those days. You could almost feel that something was about to happen.

An unsuspecting bookie, (yes they had lots of bookie in those days), would foolishly put up a slightly better price than his mates and the 'rush" would be on. Punters would literally run across the ring in the crush to "get on" and I found it hard not to get inspired by such a display of confidence and would naturally follow suit. They mostly lost.

These days I sit in an office with suitably subdued lighting, a TV quietly playing on the wall and a few computer screens displaying information I require to make a reasoned judgement - IN MY OWN TIME. The phone is not on. I try to have as few distractions as possible. Yes, it is a selfish thing I do but it is for me. Some days it is really boring. Some days it is good fun.

Punting friends who fall in with your "rhythm" are almost impossible to find. I used to have one. He's dead now. His name was Frank Kane and he was a dour Scot who said very little, loved Bart Cummings' horses and moved slowly and deliberately. There was never a rush. Never an impatient decision. He was a great counter balance to my excessive enthusiasm. We never tried to influence each other's decisions but occasionally would point out to each other why we really strongly fancied "something".

I could never tell during the course of the day whether he was in front or playing catch up because he moved through the afternoon in such an unstressed and controlled manner. He was impossible to read. It was an art he had mastered - probably went back to his SAS training. I still remember the day he backed a neddy called Butternut (might have been in a Moonee Valley Cup - can't remember but it was feature race of some description) and it saluted at long long odds. I had no idea he'd won "a big quid" on it till we were in the car on the way HOME, he was a great believer in the old Kenny Rogers song line where you "don't count your money till the dealing's done".

In a study, published at the beginning of 2010, researchers found that watching or even thinking about someone with good self-control makes others more likely to exert self-control. The researchers found that the opposite holds, too, so that people with bad self-control influence others negatively.

People tend to mimic the behavior of those around them, and characteristics such as smoking, drug use, gambling and obesity tend to spread through social networks. But vanDellen's study is thought to be the first to show that self-control is contagious across behaviors. That means that thinking about someone who exercises self-control can make your more likely to stick with your financial goals, career goals or anything else that takes self-control on your part.

If you are fortunate to have a punting mate to share your sport with, make sure he is not one who subconsciously influences you in to those rash, unnecessary bets that can turn a winning day very quickly in to a losing one. Stick to your plan - let him/her stick to theirs. Either that or gamble alone. Then your fate is entirely in your hands and decisions.





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