Profitable betting - traits of a successful gambler
What are the traits of a successful gambler?
Profitable betting, can you distil down the key behaviours and skills that separate profitable bettors from unprofitable ones?
I think you can and I think it’s fairly simplistic when you think about it, though altogether more difficult to put into practice.
Profitable bettors skills and behaviours
I’ve known profitable bettors over the years. Difficult to say how many as the bulk of those I’ve come into contact with was while working for a bookmaker. It wasn’t always straightforward to tell if the individual you were doing business with was the source of the money or merely one of many putters-on deployed.
Some I got to know a little better, not that many, possibly 20 over the years who I became a little more acquainted with and they were the fronts of their show. Some, more than others stick in my mind, some of them very successful, who consistently won good money.
So what skills and behaviours did this group all display?
Simply put – knowledge, discipline and understanding odds. The mirror of these disciplines I can see at least one in every unsuccessful punter I’ve come across – lack of knowledge, ill-discipline and putting no thought into accepting value odds.
Profitable betting - knowledge, discipline and understanding odds
Obvious really and it’s the foundations for any bet, but they all knew the sport they were betting on. Not a cursory passing knowledge or breadth of understanding but deep knowledge. Experts specialising in their sport.
And it was specialising, all had their sport, none bet across different disciplines.
When I say depth over breadth of knowledge, not all knowledge holds the same value. You can know everything there is to know about a sport but one small piece of information or expertise can be key.
If that knowledge is publicly known then it will be built into the betting odds and they’ll be no advantage.
I’ll give you an example in horse racing, the concept of draw biases at racecourses is pretty much commonplace in a punter’s thinking nowadays. Go back 30 years, maybe not so much and there may have been an betting edge to be had.
I think most people are aware of the draw biases at Chester and Beverley. They are factored into the market and you’ll get no advantage betting low numbers at those tracks.
The sprint course at Sandown used to have a significant bias in favour of horses drawn close to the rail. Sandown has worked on levelling the advantage, there’s no significant draw bias now, though I’m not sure how commonly known by the betting public that is. Potentially there’s an advantage to be had by going against this common misconception.
Away from Chester and Beverley, there are a small number of tracks in the UK where at certain distances under varying ground conditions there are biases on a similar level to Beverley. At present, I wouldn’t say these are commonly known, that’ll change but, I don’t see these advantages reflected in the markets right now.
I’m not going to say which courses, that’s kind of the point of this post but they are there and with a bit of work you could find them!
Be better than the market, to do that you need to find information and knowledge that is not in the general domain.
A discipline in itself but it aids other betting disciplines too. You must keep records, complete and honest records of all bets.
Why is this so important?
It’s common sense, but you need to know if you are winning or losing. Don’t kid yourself, an honest record allows you to make decisions about what you do in the future with your betting.
Once you have accurate records it will help shape your betting decisions. Fun bets aren’t so much fun when you have to record them down and they’re proving non-profitable.
Make bets on their individual merit
There is an obvious crossover in the three traits, if you have an expert level deep knowledge on a particular sport then it will aid your discipline and keep you focused on making bets where you know you have an advantage over the rest of the people forming the market.
Making bets on their merit also steers you away from chasing losses.
Don’t let events out of your control affect your betting decisions. None of the successful bettors I’ve known bet on every race or every football match. Most would go days between bets and be disciplined to make bets when their knowledge pointed them to a value bet.
Often overlooked and the opposite side of the coin is having the conviction to maximise the opportunities when they present themselves.
When you have faith in your knowledge and are sure you have found value then have the bravery to load up and make the most of those opportunities. Far more profitable than making fun bets or bets that are undervalued. That brings me on to the final profitable betting trait.
Understanding odds and value
Chance vs odds available
It’s a skill estimating the true odds of an outcome happening, it comes with having deep knowledge and spotting a value bet. It can become quite intuitive as confidence in your knowledge is tested and grows but it’s a skill that can be learnt. Practise pricing up the odds on an event without recourse to the current market odds.
Ultimately betting is the exchange of money on the outcome of an event. If you can gain better odds than the true chance of something occurring and can deliver this consistently over the long-term then you will win.
It’s worth saying that you need all three elements, knowledge, discipline and understanding odds to be working in synchronicity. Without one, the machine won’t function.
Without knowledge, you’ll not be able to determine value, without discipline the wheels will come off at some stage, and without an understanding of odds then you’ll take too many bets under the true chance and not have a positive expectancy to your bets.
If you are looking to make your betting more profitable, the answer probably lies in improving and mastering these traits.