Psychology is the key to successful betting.  I’ll emphasis this again; Psychology is key.  You can have the best strategy or system in the world, but if your mindset is not there you’ll soon find yourself turning winning months into losing months and small losses into bank breaking losses.

There are numerous articles, and books on the subject.  As most people have no time to read a full book I’ve tried to summarise some of the important topics into one article.

Below are the basic psychological rules that everyone should follow.  I’ll state upfront, there will always be the occasional bet that slips through the net (we’ll call these emotional bets) but if you follow these rules for the majority of your betting then you should be fine in the long-run.

Avoid random bets

Sounds simple but it is usually the biggest mistake most punters make.  In simple terms, ‘always bet with a purpose’.  Key points to note:

  • Ensure the odds make sense. Don’t just bet because you think something will win, ensure the odds are greater than their chance of winning (e.g. the toss of a coin, you would want odds greater than evens to make long term profit).
  • Have a plan. Know your exit points from the start.  Work out a variety of scenarios prior to placing the bet.  This way, when the bet starts unfolding you will know whether you want to stay in or exit.
  • Backtest your sure fire system. You may think you have a great system.  If so, test it out over as long a period as possible to ensure it is profitable.  On the flip side, the history may not always repeat in the future and don’t try and fit a system where the filters do not make logical sense.
  • Patience is a virtue. Boredom is often a big downfall.  You end up placing bets for the sake of it.  Always be prepared to wait until the entry and exit points make sense.

In summary, be disciplined and ensure all your bets are done with discipline and purpose.  If you start betting randomly, chasing losses, etc then STOP. Get some fresh air, give yourself a talking to, make some notes on what went wrong and then start again fresh.  Everyone will make mistakes, those who profit long term are those who learn from them.

Be prepared to lose

  • No system or strategy will win 100% of the time, no matter what the marketers may say. Even the best system in the world will have some losing runs as there are so many random factors that cannot always be controlled.  Being able to keep a clear head when things go against you is one of the hardest things to do but also one of the most important.
  • Key points:
    1. Don’t chase bad money with good money.
    2. Don’t leverage up to recoup your losses.
    3. Don’t scrap a method/system unless you know it is no longer viable. Challenge all the assumptions in the system and see if there is anything that has changed.

Don’t get greedy

You may think you have found the ultimate system I.e. the goose that lays the golden egg.  It’s making you lots of money, so you decide to increase your stakes dramatically to make as much money as possible.  If you have found the ultimate flawless system, then congrats to you.  For 99% of people that system will eventually hit a bad run.  If you have increased your stakes too high you will suddenly find your whole bank has been wiped out (see the separate article on staking/bet sizes).

Confidence vs Fear

Fear results in losses.  Confidence equals success.  By pulling out of a winging bet early due to fear, you will be reducing your profits and increasing the bookies profits.  So back to the previous point, know your entry and exit points from the start.  Don’t let emotion override your thinking.  Being confident in your research and proven methods will result in higher profits in the long run.  To caveat, if your strategies are not proven then blind confidence will be a quick way to the poor house.

Time consuming

Don’t expect to jump straight in and make lots of money.  Being profitable long term is very time consuming.  Don’t expect to spend 5 minutes looking at form or previous results and expect to pick a winner.  To make money, you need to get an edge over the bookies.  To do this will take time and research.   This is the only way to find bets where there is value.

Most people will end up failing due to laziness.  As soon as people realise they can’t make a fortune after doing 30 mins of reading they give up.  If making money from betting is that easy, everyone would be doing it.  To join the 2% club (people who are profitable from betting) then you need to be prepared to put some serious time and effort in.

To emphasise a previous point; The biggest mistake people make is not learning from their mistakes.  Take notes, learn from it, and ensure you don’t make the same mistake twice.