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The Psychology of Gambling in Racing

It seems that sitting here day after day and trying very hard to exercise absolute discipline - (you can never do it 100% is my observation) - that it is only a natural outcome to slowly increase one's working capital in the punting bank.

To me it seems an unavoidable outcome but patience is essential for that to happen and is patience a virtue that you possess?

Can you genuinely say that you are one of the 5% of people who exercise extreme patience regardless of the circumstances being faced? There was a guy called Bernstein who actually did a study in to (would you believe) Behavioural Finance. He reasoned that his collected evidence “reveals repeated patterns of irrationality, inconsistency, and incompetence in the ways human beings arrive at decisions and choices when faced with uncertainty.”

Sound like you? Irrational? Inconsistent?

This chart is really interesting and, if you have been a punter for any length of time, I'll bet that you can recognise your own self in this. If you are new to punting, this is what you can expect to happen.

This chart represents the start and finish of a punting cycle of a run of "ins" and "run of outs".

Note that "Optimism" is at the same level at the start and finish of the cycle. The high point is after a run of winners and the low point is after a run of outs. All seem so familiar?

This wave chart is exactly what happens in most punters' minds, day in and day out, which is why you must have your emotions under control at all times - ALL times. It is a wave that will repeat with varying degrees of intensity as long as you are gambling on horse racing and is NOT avoidable. The scale and intensity of the highs and lows on this chart are directly related to length of the run of wins and run of losses.

It is the very reason why you must be operating with a method of selection that is successfully picking winners at better than about 30% of the time. Note VERY WELL: This does not mean it will pick 3 from 10 every ten bets but over the LONG TERM will pick winners at about 30% of the time or preferably better. This only works IF you couple that with a staking plan - a VERY CONSERVATIVE staking plan that allows you to hopefully recoup running losses and return to profit when the inevitable wave above occurs AND you adopt a minimum price that you are prepared to accept about any runner.

Sounds simple, doesn't it? It's not.

Essentially, using this broad strategy, punters should "stick" when the run of winners might tempt them to consider a more aggressive approach, or when the long losing streak might suck them into a highly defensive approach, or, even worse, a "who cares it's only another $100" fully stupid even more aggressive approach. The latter is really a recipe for disaster.

Punting on horses is not a short term endeavour. If you don't take the long view you are screwed.

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