The last two days of my betting have been severely influenced by luck. Yet, as a punter the word ‘luck’ must be eradicated from the vocabulary.
Letmelivemylife wins it in a photo. Thomas Equinas gets a dream run through on the inside. Galileo Glass doesn’t get the gap. May Remain is beaten on the line.
The margins are small in racing. A millimeter or a split second can make a huge difference. The conclusion can only be that luck plays a vital role in the outcome of races.
What does that mean from a betting perspective? Well, some days luck won’t be on your side, no matter how much juice you’ve got in your bet. Another time the misfortune of others will be your luck.
Punters often remember – or see – only when luck turns against them. They don’t recognise when it is in their favour. The negative emotions felt from misfortune are profoundly intense. That’s natural, there is a psychological reason for it. Put simply: losing always feels far worse than winning ever could feel great.
That can be s problem if a losing day stretches into multiple days or even weeks. Negative emotions take over and it can become increasingly difficult to stay emotionally indifferent to the outcome of bets.
However: betting for profit doesn’t depend on luck. Not in the long-run. Therefore, it doesn’t truly matter whether a selection gets beaten in the closest of photo finishes today, or if the much needed gap is going to be denied tomorrow.
Good, quality bets that represent consistent value (i.e. beat SP/BSP) will turn a profit in the long-term. This universal truth will, no matter what, absolutely not depend on any luck whatsoever.
Also universally true is the fact that losing runs are inevitable and that variance has a lot to say about this.
With that in mind there are only two key ingredients to betting profit:
1. Value Bets
2. Emotional indifference to the outcome
A way to put these two points into one single common phrase that translates well to betting: bet the process, not the outcome.
One the point of emotional indifference we can certainly learn from the ancient Stoics – a philosophy that is all about decoupling the mind from negative emotions and seeing things for what they are, in a rational way, no matter what happens to us right now.
“The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are.” – Marcus Aurelius
If we got value in our bets then the misfortune today isn’t truly misfortune, when the action we perceive as misfortune is only one of the possible outcomes, in any case.
Last night reminded me in no uncertain terms about this: I backed 2 winners from 2 selections. Both were probably lucky to win in their own right. One got the most perfect run against the inside rail, the other benefited from a rival perhaps not getting out early enough, which may well have made all the difference in a tight photo.
That was in total contrast to the days prior, even recent weeks and months, and made me remember the importance of the aforementioned key ingredients.
Betting-wise the last half year was largely challenging. Especially the last three weeks, as I couldn’t back a winner, no matter how much value I got and how well selections were backed on the day.
I didn’t become a poor punter overnight. In fact, over the last three months roughly 60% of my bets beat SP… for minus 75pts return. Autsch. If one of the “unlucky” ones would have won, the red would have turned green. Other times my “lucky” winners could have lost on another day and may have changed the outcome of a green month.
Having extensive records of all my bets helps to see things in the right context. Largely, I am happy with my body of work over the last while. If I beat SP more often than not, I know I will win in the long-run.
I know this for a fact after nearly a decade of betting on horses and recording every single bet. In a time when my process has marginally changed and relies on a specific skillset that is different to the general punter hence generates an edge.
It’s a statistical certainty – and far from unusual if I consult my records – that there are times of despair, though; the average odds were 8/1+ over the aforementioned last quarter – losing runs are inevitable. Yes, 19 consecutive losing selections are tough to take on the chin. But it happens.
Long story short: luck may determine the outcome of today. It won’t determine whether you are going to be a profitable punter in the long-run. If you’re still in red after 1000 bets that’s not down to a lack of luck. It’s because of a lack of skill.
With that in mind: take the days when things go against your selection easier, and recognise the days luck is on your side. If you know you have an edge you will win in the long-term. That’s the only thing to care about.