Discipline in Betting

We’ve all done it, had a few unlucky losers, and then gone on tilt to start chasing your losses. Or maybe you are the type of person who can’t watch a horserace without having an interest bet. However if you want to be part of the top 10% of punters who actually make a profit from gambling then discipline is absolutely vital to success in betting. As this series of articles constantly stresses, betting is all about the long run, and you could be a master in the art of finding winners, but if you lack discipline you will struggle to avoid losing money in the long run.

Even if you are a recreational punter, someone who enjoys the odd bet and doesn’t expect to win in the long run, it is important to exhibit a degree of discipline. So-called fun bets are a lot less fun when they consistently lose.

Indiscipline can creep in both when you are winning and when you are losing. They say a football team is at its most vulnerable when it has just scored, and the same can be said of the gambler who has just backed a winner, you can think that you are unbeatable and quickly waste those hard earned winnings.

If he is not disciplined, he is liable to start dreaming of riches. He may adopt the philosophy that he is betting with the bookies' money and that it is therefore not a major problem if his next bet is unsuccessful.

Being Selective is the key. Playing up your winnings is an enticing concept - the belief that you are about to embark on a spree that will culminate in you winning a life-changing amount. It might happen, of course, but the far likelier outcome is that you will be back to square one very quickly because you are not making the correct bets.

For the punter who has just backed a loser, the equivalent of playing up your winnings is chasing your losses and is just about the most dangerous thing you can do. In poker parlance this is often called going on-tilt. The difference between chasing your losses and playing up your winnings is that the journey back to square one is likely to take far longer and be far more painful.

What you should do is wait until you see a price that you genuinely consider worth taking, but what you do instead is bet at the next available opportunity in the hope of wiping the slate clean as quickly as possible.

If that recovery mission fails, you try again. And again. And before too long you are deep in trouble, and that is how problem gambling begins..

Overstaking is a classic trait of indiscipline and is often associated with the folly of playing up your winnings as quickly as possible instead of attempting to gradually consolidate your gains.

And in a similar vein, it is possible to under stake, usually when you are treading carefully because things have not been going well. It is an understandable fault. If you really fancy something but have not been faring well, the natural inclination is to hold back a little given that you do not wish to slip further into the red.

Yet a cast iron bet (or whatever terminology you wish to use to signify a betting proposition about which you are supremely confident) is a cast iron bet regardless of how your recent punting history has gone.

Basically, your approach to striking a bet should be consistent regardless of whether you are in profit or behind. That means keeping a clear head, remaining confident (if you have been losing) or cautious (if you have been winning) and, above all, maintaining discipline and control at all times. It really all comes back to value, if you think that the odds you are taking are better than the true odds of an event happening then make the bet, if they are not then keep your dollars in your pocket.