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THE "X" FACTORS IN RACING

Events over the last few days have made me re-visit this topic again. The X Factors are the unforeseen events that can happen that make it harder to turn a profit at this sport.

As you know, it's a hard enough battle as it is without the gambling gods frowning upon us from great heights!

I am "live" on the internet for a lot of the day. Some punters are far more addicted than me - especially those that "progression" bet or use a staking plan like Cascade 10 that has each bet dependant on the result of the previous investment and the permutations that apply.

One of the greatest hazards of being an internet punter is the very technology upon which it is based. Now the ISP I use is usually exceptionally reliable but the last few weeks they've had a "bad run" - all sorts of things seem to have happened which has impacted upon their capacity to provide their usual excellent level of service.

None of it has been their fault - mother nature, server failures, interstate connection losses (not good when you're at the very end of the line in Tasmania!), extended power losses - all sorts of stuff.

So what are the options if this happens to you? If it happens on a regular basis either a) change providers or b) live with it. It just becomes a part of the mountain of odds you have to beat to come out in front in the long term.

The drama involved in changing providers, especially if you are in business, is unacceptable as your email addresses become redundant unless you then fiddle around with e-mail forwarders. And what if the ISP you switch to is even more unreliable than the people you left? Do you do it all again? If you've set up email forwarders do you them forward the forwarded.......oh, good grief!

The other day in our area we had a power outage - again, an unusual event. Happens every blue moon and then maybe even less. What a disaster - no TV, no internet, not even hot water to have a cup of coffee. How on earth did our ancestors live in such a horrid unfriendly world?

Luckily the power outage happened around 5.30 when most of the punting activity for the day had ceased but what if it had been earlier and when I may have been involved in some tricky staking plan based calculations?

It's impractical to think that you can just quickly pack up and whiz down to the tote and pick up where you left off. For starters that happens to be about two races down the road and I rarely have the cash to punt up instantly at the point a progression plan may have left me dangling. And if you are playing on a betting exchange, like Betfair, the chances of access from another part of town are probably just about zero.

Inevitably, when the power black outs and internet outages occur you can be assured the next race just happened to be the 8/1 winner that makes the difference between a poor week and a good week arrives, or the 2's on pop you wanted to lay misses the start by 5 lengths and runs second last.

It's just the way it is. There's no point complaining about it and raging on like an imbecile. That achieves nothing and probably upsets your whole reasoned approach when things do get back to normal. Umm - you do have a reasoned approach to all this don't you? Don't, as poker players say, go on tilt when things do go wrong. That is guaranteed to cost you a lot!

So what is the solution? There is none. Accept it as part of the game and if you are working to an overall 6% to 7% long term statistical advantage maybe reduce that by 1% when you are looking at your long term future - just to be on the "safe" side for those times when the gambling gods turn against you!