Friday 16 October 2020

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