The Psychology of Gambling - Horses

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Postby oldmansea » Fri Aug 21, 2015 10:09 pm

Gut instinct is just another name for data you can't quantify. If you can't do that its not much use in the long term. Navel gazing is a much underrated pastime. When you know yourself, Grasshopper, you can know horses.

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Postby DocRuthless » Wed Sep 09, 2015 9:56 pm

Excellent thread, some compelling and insightful reading from posts of members of OLBG.

I'm a newcomer to the site, have been an avid viewer for the past month and thought I would join up.

I came across this a few weeks back and it got me thinking. I'm a final year Psychology student who is currently planning out a dissertation piece. I'm looking to do it on something unique and interesting that will captivate the reader. I've been planning on writing up a dissertation related to gambling, with my focus possibly being on horse racing.

However I'm stuck for a specific view or research point, I'm not sure what to write about. For example you could focus it on why people chase up their losses trying to make money back, or something like compulsive gambling in general and why do people do it?

I was curious would anyone have any bright ideas on what route I could go down and possibly focus on, something unique possible. I'm willing to spend a serious amount of time researching this study so open to anything. Thanks

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Postby man o bong » Wed Sep 09, 2015 10:02 pm

Well, there is no doubt you have landed in the right place in terms of research material and people to ask questions of

Something I have always found interesting about gambling is this

Winning consistently is boring!!

Yes, I did just write that

From a psychological viewpoint there is a huge difference between gambling and betting

The latter more likely to result in the absence of the adrenaline rush that goes hand in hand with gambling where the long term outcome is not so certain

The main issue is that gamblers want to make their profit in large amounts and quickly whereas bettors will be happy (and without the rush of gambling) to make smaller amounts over a longer period of time - hence the potential for boredom if the mindset is not in the right place

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Postby oldmansea » Thu Sep 17, 2015 11:05 am

I have mentioned it ad nauseum but the sense of pleasure people get when identifying with other losers is interesting. If you regularly are a winner, then in a way you are declaring yourself different or superior and as such have less in common with your less successful fellows. We do not by instinct like winners since by definition they are in some way superior to us. The urge to lose like everyone else is a powerful one.
MOB too makes a valid point, winning is boring. If you spend your waking days, and I work on horses full time, in constantly eliminating or quantifying chance it takes the randomness out of life. There ceases to be any surprises. 40+ hours a week and then seeing the results turns you into some sort of unfeeling robot, you become a living computer and a life without chance is dull. I like to call it the the '23 red' moment, when the dullness overwhelms you and you make a gamble as opposed to an investment. I was at Beverley yesterday. Backed one horses on Betfair to place and one reverse forecast. Both bets won. I did not even watch some of the races and left early. All around me are excited punters, some even said on the phone to others that they were, 'here to lose their money' I did not have any of the excitement or pleasure that they had except for a nice day out in the open air I could have been anywhere.
The other factor I think is interesting is simply our need to lose, what particular part of us does it satisfy, the need to fit in, to be a part of the herd? A need to confirm some sort of world view about how life has cheated us? If we took an habitual loser out of a group of losers and placed them in a group of friendly and supportive winners, would they evolve into a winner through peer pressure?
A study of the factors involved psychologically in gambling would be of great use and help people better understand the process.

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Postby Certain01 » Fri Sep 18, 2015 8:51 pm

I still like to think of it as gambling.

My finest days were spent in the bookies, with the coffee machine that never worked, trying to chat up the girls behind the counter and the screams of "whip the thing" aimed at the dying favourite at plumpton.

There was always the loud one who knew all and tried to teach you the methods of his madness.

I'm not so sure that sitting at home trying to squeeze out an extra 0.001 of profit from Betfair gives me the same thrill, as it's not really gambling if you never lose.

Mod edit: language please

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Postby turflinetrading » Mon Sep 21, 2015 10:38 pm

Have had bundles in my pockets, and there have been times when there have been just a few pennies in my pockets, but would not change any of those moments for any amount of cash, life's a gamble they say, and it has taken me to some great places and times, and long may it continue.

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Postby excarman » Tue Nov 10, 2015 5:25 pm

I joined the forum when I was made redundant in Jan 2014 because I wanted to make money on the horses.

I was not a betting man so I knew I needed the tools to win.

After reading forum posts I could see that from the variety of the people who posted I could learn from their experience and I set about learning.

I also read a number of books about betting and the betting business.

I think it was only on the 17th of October 2015 that I finally passed my exam and I now know how to bet smarter and win some money.

I have started the thread below and will run it to the end of the month. So if you want to come along for the ride click the link.

When I get the next big winner I will try and thank the bloggers and fellow forum members who posted and helped my learning.

Let me mention some of The Psychology Of Gambling Rules I have put in place.

1 Only bet what you can afford.
2 Have a Betting Bank to see what you Win/Lose
3 Never bet on every race.
4 Remember you will not win in every race
5 Enjoy and have fun.
6 When the enjoyment stops have a break from the horses.
7 Be consistence with your betting know your strengths and weakness.
8 Only bet on horses in the 20/1 Up bracket as this gives more chance to win back my money when I Lose.
9 Never back more than 1 Horse in a Race.
10 If not to sure about a bet don't make it as there will other bets in the future.

Just some of my rules have you any.

The next question am I deluded follow the thread and find out.
They don't win often but when they do its nice

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Postby Steeplechasing » Wed Nov 11, 2015 2:50 am

The sad news of Pat Eddery's death set me thinking on just how long I've been punting. I can still recall his exciting battle with Philip Waldron for the Champion Apprentice title.

Over all these years, there have been a number of times when I've been convinced I have the analytical skills to make a success of professional punting, but, thankfully, with age came the realization that success would quickly drain away through the multiple cracks in my personality.

Racing knowledge, betting banks, record-keeping and all the other valuable practical assets are as nothing if your emotional makeup cannot stand the regular stresses of trying to make a living punting.

With nothing or little at stake, I think I could make a decent profit. If I knew I had to make that profit to feed my family, I'd crumble.

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Postby Shrews » Wed Nov 11, 2015 1:30 pm


Exactly my same thoughts Steeplechasing. This will be my ninth straight month in profit, but my real life betting bank says otherwise!

Basically when I bet with real life money I tend to lose it! Then I lose confidence in myself and therefore stay much more reserved in what I bet on. When I don't make the bet, then they win!!!!! I just know I wouldn't have the faith in myself to bet professionally.

The other thing is greed. I struggle to bet singles and don't have the zest to win a little bit here and a little bit there 'to make a reasonable living' The fun comes in trying to win big and revelling in those times that come on rare occasions. I am always enticed into a multiple bet to win 10,000. Whilst that might happen if I did it regularly, lets say 5 times a year @10,000, I would make a good living but hat leaves approximately 360 losing days!

Trouble is I just couldn't hack the risk element of 360 losing days! And any business relies on 'cashflow' to keep it buoyant, so if you have a high lose ratio then you don't have the cash to put on anyway!

You've got to be another breed of human altogether to be a Pro-punter. Very few and far between humans could do it as we're simply conditioned from a young age to be responsible and toe the line. People enjoy challenges and a little risk, but tend not to enjoy life-changing risks, especially if that risk affects loved ones.

Not many give up regularly paid jobs to start up their own 'legitimate' business and the reason for that is that we don't like 'life changing big calls! Whilst pro-punting is also legitimate, it's the way it is viewed by others that also puts us off. Are you setting up your own business or are doing something a bit 'dodgy'?

If you set up your own plumbing business people are sympathetic if it fails. Give up a regular job to become a pro-punter and people think you're a fool if you fail.

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Postby nors » Fri Mar 04, 2016 11:46 am

With Cheltenham a few days away a revisit to this thread should hopefully set us up correctly for the battle with the bookmakers. New members or those who haven't posted or those who want to add something please give us your take on the issue.

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Postby Derbz87 » Sun Mar 06, 2016 8:17 pm

Fascinating thread personally I don't look to make serious money out of what I consider to be a hobby, I've found in the past the bigger rewards come with the bigger risks but this extra risk can create an unhealthy relationship and it can take over other aspects of your life which is not something I'm particularly interested in pursuing. I could easily follow the racing with no money involved but truth be told there is an extra buzz when you put your own judgement on the line and actually proving yourself and your judgement right, increasing your knowedge and enjoyment of the sport is more exciting than the financial gains for me, particularly with big runner handicaps.

As a rule because its a hobby if horses don't pop up in my trackers on ATR or Sportinglife I won't blindly back anything without looking at the race, I won't back anything if I can't watch the race to see how it panned out and time commitments usually limit me to properly looking at Saturday races and big festivals.

Rules I've learnt over time (baring in mind I'm not looking to make serious money)

1. Obvious but give yourself a balance you are prepared to lose 100% of and do not top it up regardless of how you get on! If you empty it then no offence but clearly this isn't for you.

2. If a horse is available at an each-way profit making level (i.e. 4 or 5/1 or longer) then back it each way, I've lost count of the number of horses early on in my punting where I fancied it but only backed it to win and it ran a cracker only to be beaten a short head by the SP fav! It might not win you much but equally you don't lose out as often if your judgement is good.

3. Never back horses at less than evens in single bets theres no skill in it and 8/10 will win but that 2/10 will mean overall you'll probably lose money in the long haul. Ditto don't chuck more than 4 so called dead certs in an acca.

4. Exercise caution with antepost betting theres some great value to be had if you know a horse is certain to run early in the week for a Saturday race by all means go for it, I'm not a fan myself of backing Cheltenham horses prior to xmas so much can change with running plans, injuries etc...

5. If you look at a race and honestly don't fancy any of the horses with more than say 20% confidence or theres nothing between 7 or 8 horses and the prices aren't much value considering this then walk away from it there'll be plenty of other races

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Re: The Psychology of Gambling - Horses

Postby nors » Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:01 pm

Post Cheltenham and Pre Aintree can any members add further helpful insight?

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