How to be Sensible and Gamble Responsibly (Examples)

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

How to be Sensible and Gamble Responsibly (Examples)

Responsible Gambling can be entertaining if managed well.

Most people enter into the world of gambling by having early home experiences of events like the Grand National or the Derby. Perhaps a visit to a racecourse resulted in an enjoyable and exciting experience that incites interest in finding out more about just what gambling actually involves.

You Should not Read This Article!

If you have a gambling problem or believe you may be getting one, then you should contact BeGambleAware immediately for professional help.


The process of developing an interest in gambling is usually taken slowly and most novice punters keep stakes very low until they feel more confident. But stakes can rise off the back of a good win, or even more problematic, off the back of several losses.

This guide is about trying to help you keep your gambling activity within your limits, to ensure it remains fun and that you stay in control.

How to be Sensible and Gamble Responsibly

Research your bets

If you're betting on things without doing any research then it's time to step back. Doing the research means:

  • You understand the various risks
  • You get more satisfaction from your wins
  • You can learn from your losses

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. 

How to be Sensible and Gamble Responsibly

If you want to bet on horse racing for example, rather than just taking a light looks and picking a bet with a view to what you might win, learn how to pick winners in horse racing and have a more measured approach

How can I improve my approach to gambling?

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 which can also return you a profit!

How to be Sensible and Gamble Responsibly

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 "gambler's ruin". 

If You Can Not Manage Your Betting Budget

If you have a gambling problem or believe you may be getting one, then you should contact BeGambleAware immediately for professional help.


OLBG Blogger Botev were an excellent article on his approach to betting on Basketball which is a great example of how to have a measured and considered approach before committing to bets.

Tips on How to Approach Betting on Football

These are the thoughts of some of the best tipsters on OLBG on how they approach making bets on football. A goldmine in sensible gambling approach

Best Football betting approach

Keeping up to date betting records

The most important aspect of making sure your gambling remains a positive experience is to keep a thorough check on how much you are spending.

With that in mind it is surprising how few people actually take the time to check the amount gambling costs them. 

If there are no checks in place to see what your outlay and profit and loss are over a period of your choice, then it is likely to become hazy as to just how much your interest in gambling is costing you (or, hopefully, how much you are in profit!)

How to be Sensible and Gamble Responsibly

The easiest way to keep a record is to have a separate bank account only for gambling. Place whatever amount you feel comfortable spending in, say, one month into this account and then link all your online bookmakers to this bank account. 

Let’s say you start the month with £100 and at the end of the month you have £35 left then it is clear that you have lost £65 over the month. Then you need to make a judgement call if you are comfortable losing that kind of amount in a month and, if not, drop the amount for next month down to something like £50. 

Record Every Bet - Win or Lose

Keeping records helps you understand exactly what you are winning or losing whilst betting - Plus, you can look deeper and see what you are good or bad at, and pick only the type of bets you tend to do well with.

If you can’t organise having a separate bank account for your betting you could do either of the following to ensure you know exactly how much you are spending:

Bet Only What You Can Comfortably Afford To Lose

You should decide that if you are going to bet, at the start of the month identify what your budget is and put aside an amount that will have no detrimental effect on your life, payments or family if you were to lose it

Place your monthly amount into one bookmaker account. If you lose that amount before the end of the month - STOP

How to be Sensible and Gamble Responsibly

Again, this method has its disadvantages as it means you are restricted to using just one bookmaker, although you could spread the amount across more than one account but it will ensure you know your profit and loss at the end of the period and as most bookmakers offer records of the bets that you have had, it provides an easy way to analyse the good and bad bets that you have had in that period.

Of course, you can just use your existing bank account for your betting but if you have lots of other items coming in and out of your account this can make the accounting process much more difficult to do.

It is essential to know how much you are betting each week or month and how much you have won or lost in that time.

Bet Only What You Can Comfortably Afford to Lose

You should never bet amounts that could impact your ability to pay your essential monthly outgoings such as monthly payments, food bills, or other life essentials. Your betting budget should come from your entertainment budget only

Reviewing my bets - what should I be looking out for?

Have a look through the amount you have been staking, and if you come to the conclusion that you have been betting too much then drop the average amount staked by, say, 50% to coincide with the overall reduction you are depositing into your betting account. 

Repeat this analysis process every month (or 3, 6 or 12 months as you get more comfortable) whilst remembering to keep an overall profit and loss figure for each year. 

How to be Sensible and Gamble Responsibly

Keeping detailed records in any form of life is not everyone’s cup of tea but if you are keen to really focus on the sports or events where you do best you should consider taking your betting records to the next level.

Keep a basic spreadsheet which details the date, amount, sport and event and then do a profit and loss sum for each bet. Then keep a running total of your profit and loss that you can examine and analyse where you are making the most profit (and the largest losses).

The amount of detail you want to add to your records is completely up to you but it is usually a good idea to have some way that you can see your profit and loss on each sport (or each division within a sport such as National Hunt, Flat and All Weather in racing or Premier League and Championship in football etc etc).

How often should I bet?

The question of volume tends to come up fairly quickly after someone first starts to record his or her bets as it tends to be that they suddenly become aware that they are having lots more bets than they realised. 

How to be Sensible and Gamble Responsibly

If the amount of time you spend recording your bets starts to become a real chore then the chances are you are betting too often. However, questions like this are purely a matter of taste for each individual. 

Are you the sort of gambler that likes to bet little and often? If so, physically recording hundreds of bets per month might not be time productive and you may be better just relying on the monthly profit and loss figure mentioned in the earlier paragraph. 

Are you Betting too Often?

If you have a gambling problem or believe you may be getting one, then you should contact BeGambleAware immediately for professional help.


Or you may be concerned that keeping a record for a month has highlighted that you bet too often. Obviously the more often you gamble the harder it is going to be to come out of the month in profit (Is that true?) so you may want to analyse your bets in-depth and then consider cutting out bets on a sport that isn’t looking profitable or reducing your overall level of stake.

You may also want to really focus on the areas you enjoy and that appears to be the most profitable.

How much should I bet?

The first thing to keep in your mind here is you should only bet an amount you can afford to lose.

It can be very easy to get carried away in the moment if you are at the races with friends or enjoying a night out in a casino or at a greyhound track but try and remember to ask yourself the question of how am I going to feel tomorrow if I have lost a lot of money. 

How to be Sensible and Gamble Responsibly

The question of staking is a difficult one but it always needs to reflect your current overall financial situation. Obviously every bet you stake has the chance to be a loser and you need to be aware that long losing runs are inevitable at times. All gamblers need to make a judgement call as to how much losing the amount they are staking would impact on their life outside gambling. 

This poster asked about how much should be bet on a certainty - Thankfully OLBG members aware of sensible gambling came to the rescue quickly explaining that there is no such thing as a certain bet.

There is no such thing as a CERTAINTY in Gambling

There are very likely outcomes but odds and probability have to be taken into account. Understanding odds is an important part of keeping your betting in check and making sensible betting decisions.

Understand Probability Here

Imagine you are going to place a well-researched bet now and you will most likely have an immediate idea about the amount you would feel comfortable staking. Imagine yourself handing over the money and if you feel uncomfortable at the amount involved then reduce it until it is not giving you cause for concern. The opposite also has to be true in that it has to be enough that if you win that it will mean something but by trying to gauge a figure by imagining these two scenarios you should come up with a general stake amount that you are comfortable with. 

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". 

Do You Feel You Struggle to Manage How Much You Bet?

If you have a gambling problem or believe you may be getting one, then you should contact BeGambleAware immediately for professional help.


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.

My friends all stake more than me. Should I increase my stakes?

Absolutely not. We should all only stake amounts we are comfortable with. If your friends are staking amounts you would be uncomfortable with then stick to what you are happy with. Imagine how you will feel if you stake above your comfort zone and your selection loses?

How to be Sensible and Gamble Responsibly

I’m on a bad run but surely my luck will turn soon?

One of the worst approaches you can take in gambling is telling yourself that a bad run of luck must turn soon. 

A bad run of luck can also turn into chasing losses and making other poorly judged betting decisions which can lead to bigger losses, debt and worse

How to be Sensible and Gamble Responsibly

Thinking that luck is against you and will surely turn in your favour eventually more often than not leads to further bad decisions and eventually to problem gambling.

Chasing losses is the quickest way for gambling to become a problem as in this situation the decisions you are making become more and more about trying to win back the losses already incurred rather than being an informed judgement based on form and value. If you feel you are starting to chase your losses, that is the time to walk away, have a break and then evaluate the bets you have been making that brought you to that point.

Your Bad Luck is Probably Bad Decisions!

If you have a gambling problem or believe you may be getting one, then you should contact BeGambleAware immediately for professional help.


Admitting to yourself that things are getting out of hand can be the hardest thing to do - There have been many times people have asked for gambling help on the OLBG forums, but if you are worried you should seek professional help

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!

Gambling Greed

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 your bank.

Do You Make Crazy Bets Trying to Win Huge Amounts?

If you have a gambling problem or believe you may be getting one, then you should contact BeGambleAware immediately for professional help.


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 won’t increase by 20%, they will increase by 100%+.

If you have a problem it's not as easy as to simply say don't bet at bad odds. You have to understand how to make value bets only.

Understand What Value is in Betting

Getting value is not going cure a gambling problem, but understanding how to find value is an important aspect of not making bad bets.

Avoid Low Value Betting

Betting and alcohol don’t mix

How to be Sensible and Gamble Responsibly

Whenever you tend to hear stories where gambling has gone horribly wrong it is often the case that the big losses have been incurred at a time when more than a usual amount of alcohol was involved in the equation as well.

OLBG members recalled drunken bets and the subsequent regret in a forum thread about drunken betting - If you are drinking don't bet, it is as simple as that

Alcohol can reduce inhibitions and this is not always a good idea when gambling is also part of the equation. Taking risks with gambling you would normally never consider without the influence of alcohol almost always turn out badly. 

Try to keep gambling and alcohol separate.

Don't Gamble and Guzzle!

If you have a gambling problem or believe you may be getting one, then you should contact BeGambleAware immediately for professional help.


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. 

If you feel you have a problem with gambling there is lots of information available that can help and various restrictions you can choose to apply to your betting accounts if you are concerned you have a problem:

How to be Sensible and Gamble Responsibly

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.

Have You Thought About Setting a Limit But Couldn't Bring Yourself to Do It?

If you have a gambling problem or believe you may be getting one, then you should contact BeGambleAware immediately for professional help.


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 overconfident 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.

Keep gambling fun

Most of all, gambling is meant to be enjoyable.

If, after applying all the advice given above, you feel that gambling is causing you stress or financial concerns then it may be best to give gambling a long break or even consider removing it from your life.

Has Gambling Stopped Being Fun For You?

If you find yourself thinking about Gambling when you should be working, or are distracted by gambling thoughts when you should be talking to your kids, you have a problem


9 More Top Tips for Betting with Discipline

Stick To What You Know

It’s tempting to bet on anything and everything you are interested in, particularly if you can watch that event. 

However, the sports and events you are most likely to win money on are those that you have the most knowledge on so it is almost impossible to make money on sports or events you don’t know very well. 

This is because the only way to beat the bookies is to either know more than them or to be extremely selective with your bets, either way, you won’t be placing plenty of bets on a variety of sports or events that you don’t follow that closely.

Start A Betting Bank

Betting School ImageOne of the best ways to encourage betting discipline is to set yourself a strict betting bank.

Separate your betting bank from your day to day money and your usual bank account and only bet out of your betting bank. 

Fluctuations in profit and loss will be detected more easily by taking this approach and it also means betting won’t impact your day to day finances.The amount of your betting bank will be determined by how comfortable you are with risk and also how much disposable income you have. 

You should never put any money into your betting bank that you rely on for anything else. All bets should only ever be made with money that you can afford to lose. If you get through your betting bank quickly it is probably time to take a break from gambling.

Read about setting up a betting bank on the OLBG Forum.

Don’t Bet For Fun

It is often tempting to place ‘fun bets’ on events you are interested in but haven’t necessarily found an edge in. 

Fun bets are usually based more on gut instinct than research and are therefore more likely to be losing bets - and losing money isn’t fun, even if the stakes are smaller than your usual bets.

If you think you need a ‘fun bet’ in order to enjoy an event you are watching perhaps it’s time to switch that event off and not watch it.

Place Only Your Planned Bets

Decide what events and outcomes you want to bet on a day or two in advance of the event (time before varies depending on the sport and odds availability) and then don’t place any more bets. 

This can be easier than it sounds as you can find yourself getting sucked into placing more vets for a variety of reasons, be it chasing, wanting a fun bet, stumbling upon new information, or anything else.

If you find this difficult place your bets and then find something else to occupy yourself with whilst your bets are taking place, go shopping or visit some friends or do some much needed DIY around the house. 

If you want to watch the event you have bet on try Sky Plussing it or watching it online after it’s happened, that way you can’t bet on it whilst you are watching it.

Don’t Ever Chase Losses

Betting School ImageChasing is one of the worst habits a punter can have and it can be one of the hardest bad betting habits to kick.

Chasing losses occurs when you’ve had a bad day betting and you try to win back that lost money by placing more bets. These bets won’t be the planned bets that you placed at the start of the day but instead are bets on any event later in that day or weekend.

Chasing is bad because it shows a distinct lack of discipline. 

The bets placed when chasing your losses are not as confident as your initial bets that lost otherwise they would have been placed with your initial bets and the pool of events to bet on by the time it comes to chasing will have narrowed so the chances of finding any decent bets are pretty slim.

You may find that chasing bets works on some occasions and you make your money back but in the long run it is highly likely that if your more confident bets aren’t winning then your less confident bets are very unlikely to yield a profit. 

Instead of chasing put more time into researching your bets or read more of the OLBG Betting School for more helpful advice on betting strategy and how to bet on individual sports.

Learn From Your Mistakes

The most disciplined punters will always learn from their mistakes. 

Throughout your betting life your betting habits will be forced to evolve due to a number of factors and one of those reasons should be learning from your mistakes. 

Over time you will figure out that certain sports and markets don’t suit your betting habits and the quicker you can avoid betting on those sports and markets the sooner you should be making more profit.

Choose Your Bet Types Wisely

The more disciplined punters will usually stick to betting on singles as opposed to accumulators and there is a very good reason for this. 

The phrase ‘the more you choose, the more you lose’ is very applicable to betting and accumulators in particular. The more selections you add to a bet the more variables you are adding to the bet.

One of the main shortfalls of betting accumulators is you are often mixing up different value selections. Your bet of the weekend might be a 2/1 shot and you might put it in an accumulator with two or three shorter priced selections. 

The 2/1 Nap may well win but there is a good choice one of the other selections will let you down and cost you any returns.

Picking value singles is the way most successful punters operate and that is what bookmakers look for when they are restricting accounts. 

The more clinical you are with your bets, the more the bookies will worry. 

There are very few people who find themselves struggling to get a bet on with the bookies if all they do is back accumulators. Accumulators can be a fun bet, but as we know there is very little room for ‘fun bets’ when it comes to making money.

Punter's Mentality

In a forum thread entitled ’winning and losing’ OLBG member oldmansea made a valuable point about the mentality of some punter's and how betting can distort opinions, quoted from the national press.

Dr Luke Clark from the University of Cambridge, who led the research, explained that during gambling games, people often misperceive their chances of winning due to a number of errors of thinking called cognitive distortions.

The Daily Mail

The article goes on.....

For example, ‘near-misses’ seem to encourage further play, even though they are no different from any other loss. In a random sequence like tossing a coin, a run of one event (heads) makes people think the other outcome (tails) is due next; this is known as the ‘gambler’s fallacy.

There is increasing evidence that problem gamblers are particularly prone to these erroneous beliefs

I often think punters are incapable of thinking consciously of cognitive distortions and of forcing themselves to justify their dearly held belief that horse A can beat horse B, when all the evidence points to the contrary.

Almost as if it is the act of belief that is significant, not the weighing of evidence and to question the belief is to betray an act of faith. 

It perhaps chimes with today's preoccupation with the cult of celebrity and the oft-quoted rubbish from them that, 'If you want it enough will happen'

Can there be anyone who wants it more than the gambling addict who needs a win just to put food on the table.

More Advice

If you are looking to follow some sort of betting discipline checklist you could check out a couple of OLBG blogs by OLBG member ebookconverter. His series on Betting Tips To Help Improve Your Punting offers quick fire tips on what to do and what not to do when it comes to betting and staying disciplined. 20 Tips from ebookconverter whilst another 20 tips from ebookconverter.. will also add more insight.

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

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