Friday, 16 October 2020

Should You Get Angry When Your Bet Loses?

Should You Get Angry When Your Bet Loses?
I'm sure YOU have had one of those days when a losing bet makes your blood pressure hit the roof.

If you bet on a regular basis it is par for the course (especially if you bet on golf). 

It has happened to me umpteen times and I could tell you stories about winning and losing bets which make you smile like a Cheshire Cat and others turn your hair grey overnight.

The losers can be hard to swallow. Like a jagged little pill. Those horses that get caught on the line. Those that run on like a steam train but lose on the nod. The worst are those bets which you realise (sometime before, definitely after the event) were a complete, bloody, irritating mistake (keep calm). Like the day I didn't lay off a horse in running at 1.03 (1/33) for a couple of grand. That was a mistake. A frustrating, stupid, irritating mistake. The days I have been thinking about betting on an outsider (a couple at 200/1 on Betfair) and seeing it, them, many of them, win. Heartbreaking. But whose fault was it? 


In some respect, if I have to learn a lesson, I would rather learn it quick and make sure it doesn't happen again. We all know they do happen again until the day comes when we are so sick of the stupidity of a missed or absurd bet that we start to carve an answer in stone. I think every gambler needs their very own 10 Commandments. Guidelines which keep them on the right track. As a gambler, If you feel you don't need guidelines I would question your thinking. You don't have to write them down or carve them in stone but they are there firing on all cylinders as synaptic nerves in that grey matter. Those delicious neurotransmitters which make sense, logic, reason and a myriad of emotions. 

''No wonder some people take Prozac'' 

I've had this conversation with my good friend Eric Winner. He is a sprint race analyst and has been betting even longer than myself. Eric says: ''He doesn't bet with emotional attachment'', because his method is objective and data-driven. There is a lot to be said for taking the emotion out of gambling. Emotion is called the why of behaviour. 

What motivates you? 

Anyway, my way of betting is data-driven, emotionally driven and based on a multitude of information both qualitative, quantitative, nomothetic and idiographic. So I can register with the temperament of gambling - winning and losing. Feelings of blood-boiling annoyance whether directed at a jockey (who looked like he was slurping a cool beer in an armchair) and predominantly at myself for not seeing the obvious. That horse is too keen every race so why should this day be any different? 

But does being angry about a racing result mean it is a bad thing? 

Some people would say yes. 

It probably varies from one person to the next and dependent on who they are as an individual. 

But for me being angry about a losing bet is fuel to find an answer to a question. To make sure, if possible, it doesn't happen again. And, yes, be, perhaps, even madder the next time if it happens again because I didn't learn from the last lesson. 

If I make a bad decision and the horse loses then I need to learn. Sure, there are plenty of horses that lose and run to their best. Those are not the issue. I have lost many times and even though it isn't ideal I am happy in the assessment of my choice and decision. But not when making a ridiculous mistake of a bet. That is a different story and needs to be knocked on the head. A sledgehammer to drive a six-inch nail deep into a piece of wood. Where it remains fast. 

So emotions when betting can be the curse of many a gambler. They can, to some extent, distort the mind. But they can also help build new understanding and discipline which can make those days of high emotion a thing of the past. 

Never Act Like These Idiots

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Assessing Your Bets to Win More Money

Assess Your Betting to Win
Even without realising you probably bet a certain way. This may be the case if you don't assess your bets. It's good reason why you need to take note of each and every wager: course, code of racing (Flat/NH), betting odds, going... The more info you detail the better. It will help you consider, perhaps, the strength and weakness of your betting day, week, month or year(s).

It is all too easy to bet without thinking. Automatic. Perhaps subconsciously you have a losing pattern which is blighting your success without even appreciating its affect. 

If you are winning money, you may consider you don't need to investigate. That may be a mistake because minor improvement can make a huge difference to your fortunes. If you are losing consistently, this assessment it crucial. Review your bets. No need to obsess about it but be mindful. 

You don't need to do anything there and then but just take note. 

It might be: ''Another odds-on shot, beaten''

''Every time I bet on a double-figure priced, the horse runs horrendously''

''Soft ground. Why do I keep betting when the ground changes?''

You may be quite happy with your bets and consider they cover a variety of bets and money backed. 

It is possible you notice that when you increase your stake you find a loser. Perhaps after a couple of losing bets you half your stake. Sod's Law, it wins.

There is no right way to bet, because everyone has their own approach, likes, dislikes, sport, bet type... 

But within that range you may just notice an anomaly.

If you can weed out one or two weak bets you can use this money to bet on your greater chances. 

For that reason, it is good to keep a diary or notepad and make assessments throughout the season. 

Friday, 28 August 2020

Betting Outside Your Comfort Zone

Betting outside your comfort zoneBetting. 

How much would you have to bet before you felt uneasy? In ''uneasy'' I mean how many pounds, shilling and pence before you'd feel pretty peed off if it lost? 

The old maxim: ''Bet what you can afford to lose'' is, I guess, what most people do. 


Very few people bet crazy amounts of money fun. A percentage do who have a problem. But even those of a compulsive nature probably do their dough betting £20, £50 or £100 a time. 

Please, don't bet if you do not have a good reason why you can win. If you are basing your ''skills'' on looking at the form on the wall of your local bookmakers your knowledge base isn't likely to put you ahead of the game.  It's like studying for a test without really reading the book. There are plenty of pages bar the first and last. 

I love to watch business stuff, videos, info and people chatting about investing money. This bloke asked how much money would you invest. Basically, investing money you can afford to lose. He said about 30% of his savings. But this varies from person to person. Makes sense, hey!   

It depends on your comfort zone. It's a similar question with betting. How much is too much for you?

We have all seen people who have lost too much. While others are enjoying their day they sit withdrawn, blank expression, thinking how the hell did I lose all that money. They are struggling because it was more than they wanted to lose. Not a good feeling. Stepping outside that comfort zone.

Very few people would contemplate betting all their money on the spin of a roulette wheel. 

Black or red? 

Not many people would feel comfortable doing that. But how many could bet all their money - lose - and say: ''Let's go get something to eat, and you're paying'' and act as though nothing happened? In actual fact, not caring that it had happened?

I guess there are some people who could. I would love to meet them because they must be very confident they can make that money again. 

I imagine a number of people who have bet and lost all of their money are more likely to climb the stairs of the nearest high building and jump than decide which burger they want to eat.  

When betting, don't push yourself to the extreme if you cannot handle the consequence of the loss. Don't just think of the small loss on the day. If you have lost a fortune over the years, what is the total? It could well be £50,000. Did breaking those bets into smaller sums make it easier to swallow? 

I guess so. But it's still the same as betting a bloody big wedge. 

Be wise when you bet. 

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

19 Things About the Life of Legendary Pro Gambler Phil Bull

1) Born, West Yorkshire, 1910

2) Son of a coal miner and school teacher

3) Started betting as a schoolboy

4) 1931 Graduated from Leeds University reading Mathematics

5) Love of horse racing and maths helped create his own Timeform handicapping system

6) He gave up being a school teacher to become a professional gambler

7) In the 1940s, he sold his tips under the pseudonym of the Temple Time Test

8) He was friends with bookmaker William Hill 

9) His betting records show that from 1943 - 1974 he won £295,987 (about £5M in today's money)

10) After the second world war, Bull and Dick Whitford created Timeform in 1948 

11) Bull headed the company until his death in 1989.

12) Timeform is now owned by Betfair Exchange 

13) In 2012 Frankel received the highest ever rating

14) Phil Bull was a racehorse owner and breeder setting up Hollins Stud in Halifax in 1947. 

15) He bred top class horses including Romulus & Eudaemon.  In his own colours, he won with Sostenuto & Charicle.  

16) By 1980 his stud fell by the way and he owned individual horses.

17) 1980 he was made Chairman of the Horseracing Advisory Council. (He lasted just 4 months)

18) One of his legacies is the Racing Post Trophy, formerly known as the Timeform Gold Cup established in 1961. He wasn't happy with the limited number of one-mile two-year-old races.   

19) Three horses have won the Racing Post Trophy before winning the Epsom Derby: High Chaparral, Authorized and Camelot.  

Saturday, 18 April 2020

The Reality of a Professional Gambler

Professional gambler storiesSo many punters would love to be a professional gambler. I must admit, I love a good professional gambler story. 

They detail often gritty, determined if not private people who have both ability and a dream. The focus being able to make a living and stay ahead of the game. No easy task. I noticed this comment from an anonymous reader who took the plunge and decided he could make it as a professional gambler. 

When betting it pays to use a decent website which offers the best bookmaker deals and check out odds because each point makes a difference over a season. Presently, punters are taking note of the next horse racing events. Take a look at the top 10 betting sites for horse racing, offer and more.

In response to this insightful post Becoming a Professional Gambler Anonymous said... 

This post is a true reflection of being a professional horse gambler. I tried to go pro a few years ago after a number of profitable years as a semi-pro. I had won around 15 grand over a 6 year period and decided to go for it. Unfortunately, it did not go to plan. Being a gambler doesn’t mean you have to spend a day on a horse racecourse and spend an entire paycheck. Usually, the things don’t go the way you want, and your favourite horse finishes the race behind all other – that’s a bad luck – but you also should know when to stop. 

The pressure is different when you go full time. You can try too hard or get negative when things don't go your way. With only betting the flat it is a short season to make money and I had a bad start to the season which really put me on the back foot. During the year I missed out on 2 big priced winners through family commitments both costing me nearly 100 points profit. These missed chances were very hard to take. I managed to get my act together late on in the year and won 5 grand in the last 10 weeks of my season but it was all too late. 

I had missed my chance and had to go back to working full time. It was a difficult time but I learnt a lot. I don't regret taking my chance. During my gambling over the last decade I have had a number of near misses to land big wins to break into the big time and with a little luck I know I could be betting full time now,. There is a very thin line between gambling and investing, the horse races are sometimes decided by inches and photo-finish, so it is always good to have a few horses as back up plan.

I have had 4 or 5 narrow defeats that cost me 25 grand in winnings. I even had 2 near misses in one week that cost me winnings of 12 grand. You are always left with the feeling of what if! I have had numerous big price winners. Horse racing can be lucrative in gambling, but you also have to think outside the “box” sometimes, if things are going south for your pocket. I have won 4 grand, and lots of 2 grand on single bets in my time to relatively small stakes but it is hard to break through when you have a family and commitments.

Have you ever fancied yourself as a professional gambler? Perhaps you gave it a go or still winning and making a living from what you know best. Great story from Tony Ansell: I've Made £750k Betting Honestly on horse racing. Good luck to all.

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Weather to Bet or Not


Where does it start or end? I'm talking sports rather than financial loss or gain. 

Every sport seems to have a betting angle. However, thinking about it, it doesn't have to be a sport to bet, hey? 

You may want to know the betting odds about something happening. That must be more varied than any sports. It must cover millions of things. One such happening is our fascination with the weather.

I guess the only time we hear about punters sticking their hand deep in their pocket regards the likelihood of a white Christmas. Snow on Christmas day to be precise. I can't say I've ever bet on snow falling, a rainbow leading to a pot of gold or a hailstone measuring the size of a tennis ball. 

Perhaps I should.

Have you ever met anyone who bets on the weather? 

I haven't. 

I remember watching a program on TV with a meteorologist who knew more about the weather than your average Joe. The word meteorologist actually refers to a study of the atmosphere. They use science and maths to predict weather and climate. 

Interesting. Perhaps. I know most people in the UK love talking about the weather. 

So what do most weather-betting fans bet on? 

Temperature markets. Betting on the prediction for the temperature for a given month. This may be an exact prediction, a range. Generally, we are talking about the high temperatures in summer and the lowest in winter. Other bets relate to rainfall. 

It is surprising to hear but internet betting on the weather is more popular than imagined. 

Friday, 6 March 2020

Professional Gamblers: Alex Bird Backed Mill Reef to Win £100K

Alex Bird Professional Gambler
The face of gambling has changed with technology. 

Take a look at to see the latest odds.

The old-style pro gambler plying his trade at racecourses across the country. Alex Bird, known as the original pro bettor, learned his trade from his bookmaker father. He decided it paid more to be on the other side of the counter. 

He needed to be at the course because one technique he used to beat the bookies was betting on photo-finishes. Even on today's betting exchanges, there is a market for those who have an opinion of any result. However, on course, in those days of old, there was plenty of time to bet while the photo was developed. 

Bird noticed that more often than not, the horse on the far side looked to have won. This was an optical illusion. 

It was reported he made 500 consecutive winning bets and in the process made a fortune. 

Such was his influence in the betting ring, that he could make false favourites. He employed an army of bettors who placed his money off course, sometimes betting up to 50K a time. As the on-course bookmakers set the SP price, he would often bet what seemed significant sums of money on another horse, followed by punters, making sure his 'original' fancy drifted in the betting. 

Bird used race times to find winners, similar to Phil Bull who was the founder of Timeform. 

He detailed how Mill Reef broke a track record on firm going but also won in the mud when winning the Gimcrack. He concurred this was the mark of a great horse and backed him at 4/6f. Bird placed his biggest bet £60K. Mill Reef trounced his rival by four lengths. 

Mill Reef Winning Epsom Derby 1971
The following year Bird backed Mill Reef to win the Epsom Derby in 1971. This son of Never Bend, trained by Ian Balding in the ownership of Paul Melon, won by two lengths. Alex Bird was reputed to have won £100K on this exceptional bay colt. 

Mill Reef Racing Record:

Winner of 12 of his 14 races. He was runner-up in those defeats. 

Coventry Stakes (1970)
Gimcrack Stakes (1970)
Dewhurst Stakes (1970)
Greenham Stakes (1970)
Epsom Derby (1971)
Eclipse Stakes (1971)
King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (1971)
Prix de l'Arc de Triompe (1971)
Prix Ganay (1971)
Coronation Cup (1972)

Mill Reef was retired at four after sustaining an injury but a noble stallion and sire.  

Bird was as studious in his later years as younger.  Just a year before he passed away, in 1990, he backed Final Shot to win the Ayr Gold Cup. The horse was backed form 40-1 - 10s. 

Alex Bird's Golden Rules to Making Your Betting Pay:

1) Hold your bets if there is a change in the going.  

2) Bird love each-way bets, especially maiden races with 8 - 10 runners with just a few noted form horses. Oppose the favourite and combine the second and third favourites in each-way doubles/trebles. 

3) A good 7lb apprentice is worth their weight in gold. 

4) Never bet on the first show - horses usually drift in price on the second or third show.  

5) Bird rarely bet on handicaps. 

6) Never bet on three-year-old maiden fillies. 

You may be interested in reading Alex Bird's: The Life and Secrets of a Professional Punter, published in 1986. [Written with Terry Manners]. It details his story covering almost four decades from 1946 - 1985. 

In this modern age of technology, it would have been interesting to see how Bird would have figured. In truth, such a man would have used betting exchanges to his advantage. Successful gambling is as much to do with the principles of working and discipline. When you consider how many modern-day pro gamblers work, they seem to lack by his lofty standards. 

Saturday, 15 February 2020

Thoroughbred Horse Racing: How to Train an Amazing Racehorse

An equine student, just like a human student, needs to learn the basics to excel in a sport. It is a fact that all horses know how to run. But in the wild, this is usually in relatively open spaces or straight lines. 

Thoroughbred horses are bred and shipped around the globe, and their race training differs widely depending on where they are residing. Regardless of the rate of training, each horse is different and will progress at its pace. 

Training a thoroughbred horse to become an excellent racehorse is a strenuous task. It requires an enormous amount of patience and skill to train a horse to race properly. Below are some ways to effectively training a racehorse. 

Lead Changes 

Horses running on a racecourse need to learn how to channel their energy effectively throughout the whole race and how to run in a circle. 

However, a vital part of that is changing leads. When a horse runs, the legs on one side of his body will extend, or lead, farther than the other side. Racing in North America takes place in a counter-clockwise motion, meaning a runner usually will be on his right lead during the straightaways and left edge rounding the turns. 

A horse will tire more quickly if he stays on the same lead for a prolonged amount of time, so teaching him to change on cue is essential. 

A runner is also being conditioned while he is learning to switch leads on command. Horses also slowly prepare for an event just like athletes. 

Horses will start with routine jogs and gallops in the wee hours of the morning. Majority of racehorses are stabled at tracks, be they a racecourse or training centre, and those venues will have a period in the mornings for horses to train. 


Basic conditioning of the equine athlete involves consideration of the level of competition that you expect the horse to achieve, the event in which the horse will be competing, then the time you have in which to condition the horse, and the horse's past conditioning for the game. 

The goal of any basic conditioning program is to enhance the physical and the psychological responses to exercise. 

Psychological responses with conditioning include greater desire and confidence to perform and minimized resentment and boredom. 

Physical responses include greater strength and endurance, enhanced skills (such as jumping and reining), and minimized soreness or injury due to exercise.

A conditioning program should be specific to the event to train appropriately for the type of exercise in the game. 

For example, Thoroughbred trainers would not want to strictly use an aerobic conditioning program for their 3-year-old Thoroughbreds because racing is mostly an anaerobic event.

The horse will gradually be asked for more in its exercise as it builds up conditioning. Finally, the runner will breeze or work, meaning he’ll run at a stronger pace for a specified distance. These are timed and can indicate a level of fitness and readiness for a race. Some trainers typically work their horses fast; others may let them start at a more moderate pace and finish fast. 

Gate Training

The starting gate is one other major component a newbie on track needs to become familiar with. It takes time for horses to acclimate to the small stall enclosure. 

Gate training will start by walking the horse in and out of the gates, build up to standing for periods in the space, both by themselves and besides other horses, and ultimately exit the stall at a run. 

Once horses have been trained to accept a rider and respond to initial requests, they learn to break from the starting gate, one of the more difficult aspects of training for some of them.

Just like what the Pegasus World Cup 2019 contenders displayed during the competition, a large amount of connection is needed between the rider and the horse to get through the gate with ease. Many breeders and trainers have their mini gates that they use for novice racers. First off, the horse is led to the gate and then gradually taught to enter the chute and remain there with the rear door closed. Horses are also taught to respond quickly to the gate opening at the start of a race and not to spook at the sound of the corresponding bell or buzzer. 

Accidents with nervous race horses do occur at the post, and they can be dangerous for the jockey and the horse, as well as for the gate workers who help the horses load at race time.


A good trainer can incorporate runners into a developed system. A great trainer will get to know the pupil, try to understand them, and design a training program around them. 

To become a great trainer, you need to focus your attention not just on training a horse to run well but on schooling the horse in all activities of the track to make the race enjoyable for the animal and to minimize anxiety. 

Monday, 27 January 2020

Don't Be A Naive Gambler

It's often the case we don't realise we have a problem until it is too late. 

Gambling is a fine example. 

I have been gambling for decades and appreciate that gambling without discipline is a recipe for disaster. Why am I good at gambling? Because I don't like gambling. It sounds a contradiction in terms. You may well say: ''Why don't you stop betting?''

The reason is that I make money from gambling and my expertise within this subject has led me to make money from websites just like this. I can tell you something, if I started losing money, I would stop. 

And that's the problem for most people who become addicted to gambling. They only find out they have a problem when they try to stop. It is true that certain people are susceptible to addiction. I'm not sure of the psychological make-up or how it works but it is a fact. If it isn't gambling, it will most likely be something else. 

That is why people should question their actions. Gambling isn't the fun package that all the adverts try to exclaim. 

Gambling, in my opinion, shouldn't be fun. It's a business. Bookmakers don't lay bets to be part of the party. Let's have a buzz and bet on a horse, dog race, whatever... 

I believe in the future, just as advertising for smoking was banned the same will happen with gambling. The effect this will have on the gambling industry would be significant and may be the final nail in the coffin of the sport as we know it. That is why we see all this advertising as an aside of the advertising to gamble (don't gamble). As the adverts say: ''When the fun stops - stop!''

I really do look at this type of ''concern'' in a cynical way. Why? Because very few bookmakers will tell a gambler who loses their shirt to stop. I remember watching a TV programme about a bookmakers/gambler and a compulsive gambler losing all his money, cracking up and attacking a fixed-odds betting terminal (which chewed through his money in a flash) and then suggesting he shouldn't gamble when he had lost all his money. I thought it was particularly cruel and patronising. 

Clearly, companies have a responsibility to a point. But when their business is to make money, are they going to draw the line? It will be at a point when the gambler has little left to lose. So they can ''seemingly'' smugly justify they are doing the right thing. It is truly a callous act of self-interest. Sickening. 

I do think each and every potential gambler needs to think about what they are doing before they do it. 

Gambling isn't fun or a game whatever the adverts say. 

I've never seen an advert that tells the truth. 

It's a positive spin on propaganda. They pay huge sums of money to spin a yarn within the guideline which allows. 

There is no easy money to be made gambling. The only way you can win is by making it your profession and a full-time job. If you haven't got 10,000 hours to learn your trade (just to start) and 40 - 60 hours a week to study, invest and learn many lessons along the way. Please don't fool yourself into thinking it is a laugh, easy or you can somehow ''magically'' be better than all those before you. We live in a competitive world. Everything, where you can make money, is competitive. You are playing with fire if you think the layers are an easy target. 

You should always be careful of anyone who offers you a bet. They do so because they think you are the prey. When you bet you do it for one reason, that you are looking at the layer and saying: ''I know something you don't know.''

If you wouldn't sit down with a random person to play chess for £1,000 then don't bet with a bookie. 

You may think I'm being all nonsensical about gambling. However, like your naivety, if you have no understanding of gambling, you will learn a hard lesson. It may be a lesson that destroys your life and those around you. 

It is estimated that several hundred men commit suicide every year because of problem gambling. 

Be responsible and consider why you want to gamble and then keep asking why, why, why to each answer.

If you want to bet to make easy money - then you'd be better off spending your time taking a degree and improving your job chances. 

If you want to bet for a buzz - then you simply need to question your thinking. 

Never, ever, bet for fun.

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

When is the best time to bet?

Time to bet

It's a pretty open ended question. 

How often do you bet?

I've often been criticized for not betting enough. ''What are you waiting for?'' Impatient. I understand the regular Joe at the bookmakers is waiting for the next race. He's an eager devil waiting for the next race before the last has finished. Most bet on favourites. If the horse races don't come fast enough they dabble with the greyhounds. Trap 1. If that isn't enough, they bet on virtual racing. The only good thing about that is animal welfare. 

The two-year-old season isn't like any other age group of horse. 

Each year we start with a blank slate. A fictitious piece of chalk in hand, drawing a picture of long-legged horse. Yes, it's black and white. The picture forms with every day's racing. I feel like George Stubbs, the English painter of horses. Whistlejacket. That was one of the horses he painted, not a jacket you wear to wolf whistle girls.  

It takes time to understand the early two-year-old racing. Without a reference point - a level of ability - we're guessing. That doesn't sound like understanding or objectivity. It isn't a word someone would invest money, hey. I kind of ''guess'' the price of oil will go up. It doesn't instill much hope. 

So the early season is all about watching the races and individual horses; to learn about each.I have watched a race twenty times. It can be a tiring endeavour. I have been known to fall to sleep mid race or watch one umpteen times because I keep dropping off before they cross the line. However, you can just about guarantee I watch every race and horse (repeatedly). Why? Because I want to know more than the average punter. Joes Bloggs doesn't really think about these things. Understanding, knowledge & proven ability takes time. 

The early-season form can be tricky. A horse finished second, so everyone thinks it will win next time out. It might do just that. But if it beats a slow horse (remember, we don't know it is a slow horse, yet) then we may bet and feel like a complete idiot. So many horses are beaten in this manner. We wait until those form lines start to build. In addition, using Group Horse, I look for significantly entered juveniles. In truth, I have a number of ways to make assessment. All parts of the jigsaw puzzle. 

The season started in March/April and I will be unlikely to bet in that first month. Most people would be pulling out their hair, teeth chattering, eyes bulging as they look at the race cards in the daily paper. I could wait forever. I'm not betting for fun or humour, the buzz or whatever. I bet for all the right reasons. That it is a bet with value. 

Never feel as though you are in a rush to bet. Don't look for bets. It will addle your brain to a point where you don't know when or why you are betting. Betting isn't fun. It shouldn't be fun. Losing money isn't fun. It is business. Bet for all the right reasons. 

You will know when it is time to bet.