Punting Pointers is an eight-part series aimed at educating punters to help take their wagering aptitude to the next level. Brad Gray sought the insights of five of the most respected industry figures when it comes to punting, form analysis and bookmaking.
We’ve made to it to the eighth and final part of the series. This last segment provides Dom, Robbie, Nathan, Daniel and John the chance to offer punters any parting wisdom, on any element of punting they see fit. Remember that the appeal about punting for many is there is no perfect formula, and that you'll never stop learning. For what it’s worth, my two cents is to ultimately, back your own judgement. Then you’ve only got yourself to blame which will drive you continue to make adjustments to improve your punting game.
Dominic Beirne (@domran)
My parting advice to new players is that it’s a circular process. You have to pay attention to why you thought something. The most valuable time you can spend is after the race meeting. Watch the races and ask yourself why that horse won at $10 or $50 and look for the explanations. You have to analyse post-race what went right and what went wrong for different horses. Post-race analysis is more important than pre-race.
There is always something to learn and new data to create and then analyse. Punting is a challenge but a rewarding one.
Rob Waterhouse (@RobWaterhouse)
I keep saying that you have to be in the market place and the track is the place where you are getting the best value. No doubt betting with the corporate bookmakers, and the deals they have for a short time, are also good but you have to be in a market place where there is not a large market percentage against you.
Achieving the best odds all of the time is the difference between winning and losing. The shopping is the key to it. If someone had done the long hours of form study the early markets are unsophisticated and there are still mistakes in them. If they intend to back horses to win a few hundred dollars they’ll do well out of it.
Four generations, Grandpa Bill is 95, Young Will is 2. A great Father's Dad. pic.twitter.com/KE4Y2JTIm6
— Rob Waterhouse (@RobWaterhouse) September 3, 2017
Nathan Snow (@snowbet)
The best piece of advice that has stuck with me is the harder you work the luckier you get. It’s the truest bit of advice I’ve ever been given.
In terms of general parting advice, learning bank roll management is something that doesn’t get touched on much in these. I’ve seen so many good form students that couldn’t gamble go bust and others who wouldn’t know one end of a horse from the other, who have an innate ability to understand markets and manage their bankroll well, become successful punters.
It’s about reading a market place, not just relying on a set of prices. You can be doing a race and two horses are $5 chances. You’re not looking at being too involved and all of a sudden the market is telling you that one of them is really an $11 chance. Then the $5 chance realistically becomes a $3 chance and all of a sudden you are playing. It’s hard to quantify but that’s what separates the best punters.
Daniel O’Sullivan (@TRBHorseRacing)
The single most important thing is to manage your money well. Done poorly it’ll prevent you from enjoying betting and enjoying any level of success because it’s a roller coaster ride and a long game. Even if you are betting for enjoyment you'll get a lot more enjoyment from betting if you are sensible in the way you manage your money. The way you make decisions. Your staking. Not chasing losses and all the traditional things.
In my experience, poor habits in that area is the number one thing that holds punters back from achieving whatever goals they have. It’s not the inability to find the right horses or know form, it’s poor habits when it comes to money management and staking.
Beyond that, it’s how you respond to good and bad runs. People think that having four losing bets in a row is a bad run but that’s just common occurrence. I call it managing the process of betting. The process of looking at the form, deciding your bets, implementing it, having a series of results and you react to that in a certain way and then repeat the process. To enjoy betting and have any chance of being successful you have got to be able to manage that process well. If you constantly lose the plot or run off the rails in one way or another it’s going to hold you back forever. I know people who have spent their whole punting lives locked in that cycle where they are going well, they try a new approach they’ve got a couple of winners but strike an inevitable bad run, which we all have, they chop and change too much, run out of money and three months later start betting again. All of that can be avoided by managing your money, and yourself, better.
The other thing, and it sounds a bit corny, is to just enjoy racing and betting. That should be the first and foremost thing. People go into it thinking they’ll make money out of it even though they might not know a lot of what they are doing. At a hobby level they think that they’ll make an income but they lose sight of why they are doing it, which is in the first place to enjoy the sport and the intellectual challenge. To make small steps and make appropriate goals. It’s unrealistic expectations that drive all of those negative habits and behaviours. If you learn to enjoy betting, the intellectual challenge, the sport, the horses, the big races and the not so big races and use that as a base it helps keep you more level headed and your betting in perspective. That’s what allows you to keep improving and make slow steps without getting too carried away.
Surround yourself with people that push you to do and be better. No drama or negativity. Just higher goals and higher motivation. Good times and positive energy. No jealousy or hate. Simply bringing out the absolute best in each other
— Warren Buffet (@itswarrenbuffet) December 24, 2017
John Walter (@J_Walter23)
The things I’ve learnt in racing have been from the strangest people so don’t be afraid to listen to anyone’s opinion no matter how good or bad a punter you are and put it into practice.
Probably the best thing I ever learnt was that strength was the overall winning factor in races – always trying to find the strongest horses in the truest run races. That’s why I like sprint races because they are generally run at a truer tempo overall. You won't finish too far away from the action applying that logic.
There are not too many ways to integrate data that people aren’t already doing, and very smart people, so it’s the little funny things you hear and angles that you can suck the most out of to gain an edge in this game. They are still there but you have to be open to some strange formulas. If you are going to do the same things as everybody else and follow the same formulas like a cookie-cutter you are going to struggle. You have to look at things from different angles to uncover advantages. Don’t go too big either because it’s impossible to keep up with the workload. You have to cut it down and carve out your own little niche.
A 10 minute brain explosion can put you back three months of work. It hurts the disciplined punters more than the radicals. If you grind away and then lose your path it’s a long way back. That is what kills people emotionally in the game. You put so much into it and it all just falls over then you have to start again. Keeping that in check is the hardest part. The best punters are the least emotional, long term. You’ve got to keep it out or at least let go once it’s finished.