Bookmakers & Betting
Systems & Strategies
Bookmakers make money because they set the odds in their favour but also because many gamblers do not give enough thought to the betting process.
Good Betting Practices
Research Your Bets
If you're betting on things without doing any research then its time to step back. Doing the research means:
If you make a bet solely picked at random or just on the word of someone else then this could lead you into problems. It's one thing to see some information on a site and use that as a lead to further research, but quite another to blindly follow someone's advice.
Set a Betting Budget
Gambling can be a lot of fun if you're sensible about it. You should set yourself a maximum you are allowed to lose in a month and if you hit that then you stop. That way it never becomes a problem, just a budgeted expense what sometimes comes up better when you win!
Having given yourself a "pot" to play with during a month, divide this up so that you can only risk a certain amount a day (maybe a quarter of your initial pot) otherwise you are probably betting more than you can afford and its pretty likely you could run out of money quickly.
Also set maximum stakes based on this - generally a bet of 10% of your pot would be considered a big bet, 1% a small bet. If you're betting more than that then unless you are very lucky you are on your way to "gamblers ruin".
Set a Daily Stop Loss
As well as setting budgets and staking limits it's important to set limits on how much you can allow yourself to lose in a day. One of the biggest mistakes you can make (as discussed below) is to chase losses by effectively altering your strategy.
The best way to recover from a loss to have a slow and calculated approach, waiting for the right opportunities, and doing it bit by bit, not trying to do it in one large "all or nothing bet".
Set a Daily Stop Win
By the same token it's easy to get carried away when you're winning and think you are invincible. For example, if at the start of the day you work out 3 horses you like on the day's cards then leave it at that.
If they end up all winning don't get greedy and start looking for other opportunities that weren't there that morning. All you are doing is making some bad bets, and chances are you'll give back some of your winnings.
Take a Break From Time to Time
Sometimes you just need to step back and clear your head. The rush of a series of wins can make you over confident as can the distress of a big loss. A gut reaction bet is rarely the solution. If you find you can't take a few days out then you have a problem.
Use Bookie Deposit Limits
Most bookies these days allow you to set a maximum daily deposit amount. This can be extremely useful if you are not the most disciplined of punters. Set this limit to what you would be comfortable with losing each day and then you should avoid running into any problems.
Bad Betting Practices
Chasing Betting Losses
This is a huge problem for many gamblers. Everyone has bad days from time to time, what's important is that you stick to betting on the right things - save your money for the good opportunities. This is one reason that it's important that you never lose too much in one day, as this can make you more desperate and hence more irrational.
Trying to find that one big bet to get you out of trouble is not a good strategy - more often than not it gets you in more trouble.
The best way to recover is take a break, learn from the mistakes that made you lose in the first place, and then try to claw the money back with a series of smart and small bets.
Changing Your Betting Staking Plan
One of the sure fire ways to lose all your money is to increase your stakes if you win. This just ensures that when you hit a bad run, it doesn't take many losers to really hurt you. Everyone goes through a day when everything loses that day, so if you're betting all your pot in one day then you will get wiped out from time to time.
If you are going to up your stakes then the best way to do it is when you set your monthly budget. If you have had a good month the previous month then maybe you can set a slightly larger pot and staking levels the next month - but be sure to take some money out - after all that's why you want the money isn't it - to spend on other things. Have something outside of betting that you want to put your money into a holiday, a new car etc something tangible that you can feel good about when you are thinking about your winnings!
Betting on Things You Don't Understand
If you don't understand a sport or a bet and you haven't researched it then don't bet on it. It's not as fun and you're far more likely to lose. This refers to both betting on sports that you don't follow closely or using bet types that you are not familiar with. In some cases you might not even realise that you've won!
Being greedy is not the way to be successful. As well as not over betting, it's also important to be realistic in your bets. If you're betting on 12 team football accumulators then unless you get really lucky you are going to lose every week.
The bookies are experts at developing new and interesting markets for you to bet on, however most of these are devised so they can make some good money out of you by coming up with bets that are a bit more complex and it can often be not so easy to spot that the odds offered are terrible value. Some of the longer priced bets like correct score, scorecast, first goal scorers are generally poor value and likely to erode you bank.
A better approach is not to look for stuff to bet on, but to look for good value bets and maybe stick to doubles and trebles at most and limit the bigger odds bets to trivial stakes.
Betting at Bad Odds
The difference between the odds offered by bookmakers can be substantial - as much as 50% and regularly 20%. So if you're not getting the best odds when you do win then you are going to need more winners to make the same money - that can't be good. Make sure you have a choice of accounts to choose from so you have every chance of snapping up that value early morning price!
Many many punters don't understand how much of an increase in profits you will generate just by a small increase in odds. Typically if you can get 20% better odds on average then your profits wont increase by 20%, they will increase by 100%+.
Betting What You Can't Afford to Lose
This is a difficult area as the thrill of betting is the element of risk so if you bet very low stakes then it really isn't going to be much different to not betting at all. However the key is that you must be prepared for every bet you make to be a loser and if this happens then while you may be disappointed it should not be a serious issue.
Some links to other info that may be useful:
Are you addicted checklist - Gamblers Anonymous
"Need Help Recovering From my Loss" - OLBG Forum
Gambling Counseling and advice - Gamcare