Sunday, 7 October 2018

Gambling: Learned Helplessness

Seligman: Learned Helplessness
Lots of people gamble. 

If anything, there are more people gambling than ever. Men, women and children (given half a chance). This must have much to do with the increasing number of adverts pushed across the board. 

Football, darts, horse racing... At the commercial break you find you have been transported to a universe populated by Ray Winston and a variety of bets. Or some other geezer, who suggests you can boost your bet. That's trumped by a celebrity who says you can create your own bets. 

Planet Bet. A place where insurance brokers have fixed gadgets to zebra crossings so you can see the changing odds and likelihood that you may be run over or disabled by drunk driver or some old dear who is rushing home to check her Lotto. 

I wonder if adverts for gambling will go the same way as smoking? Every other sport was sponsored by Embassy or Benson & Hedges. You get the feeling that betting will follow suit as more and more people fall prey to what seems an innocent pastime. 

This post is about the more established gambler. The kind of gamblers who should know better. They love to bet. They win. They lose. But here's an interesting question. Do they ever learn?

It may seem a strange question to ask. However, has your approach to the way you bet changed with time? Have to become more successful? Have you stayed exactly where you started? 

If you went to evening school for five years, it would seem a touch different if you never progressed past basic mathematics. If someone asked how your studies were going and you said: ''I'm still taking basic maths'' you may get an odd look. 

''Wasn't you taking that class five years ago?''


If that is the case for your betting, then perhaps you need to stop for a moment and consider a rethink. 


Because what you've been doing doesn't make sense. 

Is the fact that people consider they cannot win at gambling the reason why they don't question an irrational behaviour? Perhaps, it is just an addicts mind? But I don't think so. In psychology there is a theory called learned helplessness. Where an animal receives an electric shock when it wanders to a certain part of its cage. Every time it goes there, it had a painful experience. Not surprisingly, after a while, it simply keeps away from this part. However, this behaviour remains even when the electricity is switched off. The dog, cat, rabbit, human has learned to be helpless.

Definition: Learned Helplessness

A condition in which a person suffers from a sense of powerlessness, arising from a traumatic event or persistent failure to succeed. It is thought to be one of the underlying causes of depression.

Is the fact that so many gamblers have resigned themselves to losing that they never progress to win?

Saturday, 29 September 2018

A Betting Strategy for Your Favourite Horse Trainers

Betting odds. 

Whether we are talking 6/4 of 1000/1 they mean something. Price to chance. The odds of winning or losing. At the end of the day, they detail one thing: an opinion. I guess unless you are betting in a vacuum, it is a consensus of opinions to form one opinion detailed in a fraction or decimal. 

This story is anecdotal rather than based on data. However, I could easily run a test on a given trainer to pinpoint an interesting fact about betting odds. I've noticed that certain horse trainers have an increased chance of winning when their runner is at a given price or within a certain range. 

I'm not just stating that the shorter the price a horse the better chance it has of winning. That isn't always the case. 

I remember years ago, and I'm talking a long time, when Ron Boss used to train in Newmarket. 

Ron was an astute trainer of two-year-olds. For the size of his string, he always found a decent horse. Very much in the mold of Paul Kelleway, he wasn't scared to contest the highest class even when others scratched their head.

 A few readers may remember Mon Tresor winning the Middle Park Stakes (Group 1). You need a long memory to remember 1988. It was the start of my interest in two-year-old horse racing. I had the Racing Post delivered every day. I could recall every horse, form line, winner to a point of being a potential candidate for Master Mind. Ron Boss was a character. He was a superb trainer. 

The funny thing I always noted about him was his knack at winning with two-year-old colts and fillies on their second start. They are very consistent when priced at certain odds. This may have been a coincidence, but every time he had a winner they seemed to win  second start at odds of 11/2. 

It was uncanny.

I have noticed similarities with other trainers. I'm not going to detail them here because I don't want to just give my best info away. 

However, I would suggest to those punters who follow a given trainer to take note of the horses that win on debut or second start and see if you can spot a pattern. 

I know I have found a number who remind me of the good old days.   

Where are they now? Read about Ron Boss.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Will Torcedor Make His Breakthrough At Melbourne Cup?

Torcedor has established himself as one of the leading competitors in the English flat season over two miles in 2018 and Jessica Harrington will be hopeful that her charge can end the term with a victory at the Melbourne Cup. 

The Irish horse rose to prominence in the 2017 season – notably with a victory over Order of St George in their clash at Navan in the Vintage Crop Stakes. Aidan O’Brien’s charge was the favourite for the event, but Torcedor produced the upset to win the race. It’s that sort of prowess on the track that makes the six-year-old one of the leading contenders in the bookmakers’ odds compiled by Oddschecker for the meet at Flemington Racecourse. 

Harrington’s charge was beaten at the end of the last campaign by Order of St George, who earned his revenge for the defeat at the British Champions Long Distance Cup. Colm O’Donoghue in the saddle got a fine performance out of the bay gelding, putting pressure down on his rival down the stretch. The two competitors battled down the final straight, but O’Brien’s charge proved to have the pace when it mattered at the crucial stage to clinch the Long Distance Cup

He returned to action for the start of the 2018 campaign in Meydan at the Dubai Gold Cup. However, Torcedor endured a miserable outing with the worst performance of his career, placing in last out of 16 competitors. The six-year-old needed a response to put the outing in Dubai behind him and O’Donoghue was able to bring out the best in his charge at Ascot in the Sagaro Stakes. 

The Irish horse was considered the favourite for the race and duly delivered on expectations with an accomplished display. He had a steady tempo throughout the meet after taking the lead six furlongs from the finish. Torcedor pulled away from the rest of the field to win by five lengths to get back to winning ways. The performance proved to be a fine warm-up for his next outing. Harrington put her charge forward for the Ascot Gold Cup. The bay gelding had competed in the event in 2017, only to finish off the pace of the leading group. Big Orange won the event ahead of Order of St George, with Torcedor placing down in fifth. He was an outsider with a starting price of 14/1 for the meet, but proved to be a true contender for the crown.

The six-year-old was able to match the pace of the leading group and was in with a shout of the victory with two furlongs remaining. His compatriot Stradivarius had the extra pace when need to pull ahead of Torcedor along with Vazirabad to take the crown. Torcedor did place in third ahead of Order of St George, highlighting the quality of the performance, although not quite good enough for the major victory. 

The Irish horse would collide with Stradivarius once again at the Goodwood Cup Stakes. John Gosden’s charge was the overwhelming favourite for the title considering his performance in the Ascot Gold Cup. O’Donoghue got a solid run out of Torcedor at Goodwood, but he could not close in on Stradivarius in the closing stages of the race as his rival had the speed to edge away from him, taking the race by half-a-length. Once again it proved that Harrington’s charge has the capability to compete at the major events, although the ultimate success evaded the bay gelding. 

The Melbourne Cup will give Torcedor a stronger opportunity to break his duck at a major event. The Irish horse does have five victories in the 19 races of his career, although the high point thus far has been his triumph over Order of St George at the Vintage Crop Stakes. 

He will face competition for the Melbourne Cup with Withhold being the leading contender among the bookies for the title following his win at the Stobart Rail & Civils Northumberland Plate Handicap. On the surface, Torcedor would appear to have a stronger calibre than Roger Charlton’s charge given the standard of competition he has faced over the season. Therefore the six-year-old could finally be ready to make his mark with a victory at Flemington at the beginning of November.

Friday, 7 September 2018

2:05 Ascot Racing Tips (7th September)

Betting at the races2:05 Ascot - 

7f Charbonnel Et Walker British EBF Maiden Stakes (Plus 10 Race) (Sire And Dam Restricted Race) (Class 3) (2yo)

Going: Good 

Runners: 11

Bangkok -

Ran great race on debut for Andrew Balding. Deserved favourite who will take some beating. 

Murray River - 

John Gosden has a wealth of talented two-year-olds. This Derby entrant has fair each-way claims if priced 13/2 & less SP. 

Prince Eiji - 

Cost 2,600,000 guineas at the yearling sales. Stable can win on debut but will need to be a talent to lower the colours of the hot favourite. 

Fox Vardy - 

Great to see Martyn Meade training a Frankel 2yo in the ownership of King Power Racing Co Ltd. Meade can ready a debutant. 

Gambon - 

Once raced for Eve Johnston-Houghton. Ran a nice debut but been off course for over two months. 

God Has Given - 

An expensive yearling purchase costing 350,000 guineas in the ownership of the China Horse Club International Ltd. Not fancied in the betting but worth noting in the market. 

El Picador - 

Not best fancied on debut when eighth. Needs to find improvement. Unless seriously backed, others look more likely. 

Felix The Poet - 

Archie Watson has been inspired in these last few seasons. However, this gelding doesn't look fancied here. 

L'Un Deux Trois - 

Michael Bell can win with debutantes and some at big prices. This 50,000 euro purchase may be best watched today. 

Red Armada - 

Interesting that Clive Cox gave this horse a Group entry. He didn't look that good on debut and needs to improve. Maybe better than see. 

Conclusion: Bangkok is a worthy favourite after a smart debut. Prince Eiji could have each-way claims for Roger Varian. Red Armada needs to improve considerably but interesting why Cox gave this horse a Group entry. May have a little more going for it than looks. 

Monday, 27 August 2018

Pro Gambler: Betting Big Odds On

Odds On Loser Challenged by Clown
Pro gambler stores are always popular. To walk in the shoes of someone who puts their money down betting that they know a little more than the bookmaker who thinks they don't. A battle of wits, judgment and courage. 

I say courage because for some professional gamblers they have a lot more to lose than win. How come? 

When they bet huge odds on.   

Betting odds on takes a certain mentality. You find comfort in the fact that your horse is favourite, high-profile trainer, leading jockey takes the mount. All the money is on this beast so let's feel the safety in numbers. 

What could go wrong? 

Odds on winners are good news but odds on losers hit you hard. All that positivity comes back at you in the negative. You literally feel as though a clown is following you round the racecourse. He's pointing at you: smiling, laughing, sneering, mocking. You feel like your trousers are going to fall down at any moment and you can't remember if you put on boxers or not.

He shouts: ''Look at this chump, he backed an odds on loser!'' 

He gives you a couple of honks from his horn. Smiles. 


He delves into a bag and pulls out a cream pie and everyone on the racecourse is watching. Even the commentator [Tommo] is keeping the crowd informed to a point they missed the finish of the last race. Bookmakers price up whether you will get the cream pie within the next few minutes. 

You'd bet on it yourself, but fearful of what happened to this poor loser. 

Out of the corner of your eye you spot a line of clowns limbering up with their best stuff. One is scooting round the course in a clown car as parts fall off along the way. 

I remember a story detailed in Dave Nevison's book which he spoke of one pro who bet huge odds on and hardly dare watch fearing any moment his horse would be struggling or notice (somehow) it was being ridden by a real clown. He's laughing at  the crowd as he fires confetti into he air. He yells: ''You f****** losers!!!!'' 

Too many times that big, strong, colt returns to the paddock with cream pie all over his face. 

Strangely, they never called for a stewards' inquiry. 

The perils of betting big odds on.

Saturday, 25 August 2018

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.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Group Horse - The Best 2YO Horses in Training

Havana Grey full brother to Havana Ooh Na Na
That's correct. Group Horse Daily details the best of the best two-year-old race horses so you don't need to do any work at all. Just shows how generous some people can be, while others, give zilch. 

To detail how good this information is, we are posting here so you ca review the horses and take a look at the website which features lots of data you won't find anywhere else. You can find it yourself if you want a full-time job. 

Monday - 

Just four two-year-old races to consider. 

2:30 Pontefract - 

Class 2 race so all of these are noted by their respective trainers as talented to some degree.  

2:45 Wolverhampton - 

A twelve-strong field over 7f. William Haggas has *Eyelool taking part. This Irish bred gelding, a son of Dragon Pulse has been favourite on both starts to date over six furlongs. Wasn't best away on debut when behind Marten Mead's talent, Advertising, who showed class a Royal Ascot when runner up in the Coventry Stakes (Group 2). Eyelool has a wide draw, which isn't ideal, but stepping up to seven furlongs should help on that score. This could well be a drop in class. 

Karl Burke is a fantastic trainer. Not being funny, but if you can't make money off his two-year-olds you are doing something wrong. I'm not going to tell you all my ways but Swissterious is better than seen on debut. This bay colt didn't show much ability at all on debut at Nottingham but a decent lay off and step up in distance should be positives. May be worth a speculative bet if available at huge price. 


6:30 Windsor - 

A big field of fifteen two-year-olds. A wide (high) isn't ideal. The first horse to note is Chynna, trained by Mick Channon. Didn't do much wrong on her second start at Kempton. Not been seen for a couple of months so perhaps given time to strengthen up or may have had a problem. 

Richard Hannon has Ginger Nut who has plenty of pace if going on. Been a consistent type in four runs so far and should hit the frame. 

Interesting to see *One Kiss entered for David Evans after racing just three days ago. That was a hot race, with the first three up to pattern race standard. A wide draw isn't ideal. May well be a non runner. A horse who could go well in future. 

* NR

6:45 Hamilton - 

A five horse race. A sprint over 5f 7y on good to firm going. An interesting race. Although a couple of winners make the line up we have one horse with a significant entry. Karl Burke has the only horse noted here. This course is a starting point for many of their more talented juveniles. Havana Ooh Na Na is a full brother to Havana Grey who proved a really smart two-year-old for the stable winning multiple times at Group class. It is never easy for a debutante to lower the colours of winning opponents but this colt could be talented enough to do so. He has been earmarked for the Dragon Stakes Listed race at Sandown and this race has been taken as an ''easier'' alternative. I'm pretty sure this horse has a level of ability but not sure if I would jump in at short odds. If drifting a touch may be worth a small bet.  

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

The Logic Behind Winning Bets

They say: ''knowledge is power''. Within betting that saying holds substance. A fool and their money are soon parted. That's why, in my opinion, you should never bet for fun. Why? Because it can be a slippery slope to betting without thinking, following your emotions and the buzz associated with those feelings. Use a reputable bookmakers like to open an account and see if you can make your betting pay. (If you work hard, you can.)

Believe it or not, emotions are dangerous. How come? Because they are irrational and lack any logic.  

I'm sure all the greatest philosophers would agree that those two qualities go a long way to finding answers to questions. Picking a winning tip is finding an answer to a question. The question is a puzzle. Aristotle, the founder of logic said: 

''Rhetoric is the counterpart of logic; since both are conversant with subjects of such a nature as it is the business of all to have a certain knowledge of, and which belong to no distinct science. Wherefore all men in some way participate of both; since all, to a certain extent, attempt, as well to sift, as to maintain an argument; as well to defend themselves, as to impeach.'' 

Five tips built on logic:

1) Jack of all trades and master of none. If someone says they bet on everything and anything - they know very little and you don't want to even consider their opinion. Sounds harsh. Well, perhaps, but it makes sense, hey. Logic. 

2) Do it yourself. True, you can follow your favourite tipsters and some are very good. However, you will learn much more by doing the ''donkey'' work yourself. You will understand what makes a winner. And reason why it pays to specialise. It is the best opportunity you will have and your knowledge will be worth something. If you are one of those people who take a quick look at a race card on the wall of a bookmaker do yourself a favour and give up. It simply isn't possible to know more than the people who are laying the odds. Unless you know more you will lose. 

3) Bet small and build your betting bank. You don't need to bet like a pro to learn the ropes and make your betting pay. It takes the pressure of the gambling game and you can focus on what makes your betting pay by being objective. 

4) It's lovely to have a day at the races but do it rarely. Betting on course in not a good idea in this day and age and you need to search bookmakers and betting exchanges to find value. What is value? It is the difference between winning and losing. Make the most of every bet. 

5) Stick to one sport. Whether your passion is football, cricket, horse racing, greyhounds or even betting on the weather (some people do) don't spread yourself too thin. Also, if you are passionate about your sport you will find the determination to succeed when things get tough. 

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Can Psychology Help you win at the races?

Fast as a horse?It's an interesting question.

I studies psychology to degree level. I learned about the study of mind and behaviour with the Open University. It did me proud in ways. Over six years later I gained a 2:1 BSc Psychology. A few marks short of a 1st. I'm competitive to a point. It was a slight irritation that I didn't get the top honours. Not that it mattered. I have never really done anything with my degree. Why? Because I completed the marathon study just to prove I could. I always knew I would but, at times, you have to prove the point.

I never doubted it for a second. The interesting point being that with that mind set I was 80% finished even before I had start the first module. 

What did I learn?


What would I tell others from my experience? Don't imagine you cannot achieve a degree even if you have no qualifications. Without doubt - you can if you really want it. 

I used to look at my class mates when they were 18 and going to universities around the UK if not the world. I wasn't sure where I was going. The CSE didn't give me too many options. 

That CSE was the best thing I could have got at that time as it proved a true motivator. 

But can psychology (I'm getting there) help you win at the races? 

So much of psychology is about psychopathology and addiction. It is a credible pursuit. 

I have found a few psychology theories and principles that can bring light on gambling. 

Bet I Can Throw A Six

Can Psychology of Chess Improve Your Gambling?

A Contrasting POINT On Gambling Psychology

I Followed that Horse Off a Cliff 

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Betting Outside Your Comfort Zone

Betting outside your comfort zone

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.