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Keeping records is vital,to be a winning punter

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  • #929
    • Total Posts 190

    like a lot of people iv’e had a flutter on the horses since i was a teenager on a saturday i’d go to the pub with my friends,the all down the bookies to have a few bets.Maybe in the week id pick out four or five horses for thoughs yankees or lucky 15s the bookies love you to put on. Anyway id loose my money like most people never even knew how much in total,but I enjoyed it an could afford to loose what I did then i got married in my twentys to a woman who hated any form of gambling but still had my weekly bets, to cut a long story short we had kids and money became a lot tighter, we almost split up over my weekly flutter,after many rows i came to my sences  and deciced the kids came first.I still followed racing,but only on paper,for years I tried all the systems and many other different methods and then in the last few years I started to finish in front.Anyway this year my yougest son left school,so I took an odd £160 and opened an account I only do £10 wins and i write my results down in a notebook just the horses name,were it came,price and running total.My results since April the 1st 2006 are as follows 282 bets 77 winners and a profit of £500 my plan is to get to april and double my stake to £20 for next year but i want to put down a lot more detail about the horses im backing to see if I find any patterns to the horses im backing ie age groups distance,anyway seeing it in black and white in front of you is vital to staying in front, if not the most important thing I belive. My question to you all is what do you think the best way of colating all this information is, what way would you write it all down,is there any computer software for this function.Thanks for listening to me go on, i’ll look forward to hearing your veiws

    • Total Posts 3420

    May i suggest that in your record keeping you keep the records clearly spaced out and readable :)  

    • Total Posts 259

    I use MS Excel, though any spreadsheet software is adequate. It allows me to keep my records neat and tidy, and to make simple P/L calculations; and it makes me feel remarkably sophisticated and business-like.

    My columns are: the date; the type of race (i.e., ‘8F / CLASS 6 / A.W’); the name of the horse; the reasons for backing it (which is useful for finding patterns); the stake; then, the result; and comments on the result (if the horse loses, I will give a reason why it may have lost, and if there is anything to learn from it, to avoid in the future).

    Whenever I look at my records, I’m embarrassed by some of the bets that I’ve made, and I honestly can’t understand what I was thinking at the time; and this usually prevents any impulse bets on hype horses or any bets on horses which I have a strong doubt about yet I’m willing to bet on them anyway (because I’ve learned that the doubt usually becomes a self-fulfiling prophecy).<br>

    • Total Posts 1008

    I agree that it is a good idea to write down details of all bets made & as with NWRA, I sometimes look back in embarrassment at some of the bets I have made.

    This may not help for everybody but a few years ago I decided to keep records of all bets made ( showing the date, distance, type of race, course & age group ). After a year I reviewed all my bets and realised that I was making a profit in certain types of races and was losing in others such as hcap sprints, sellers, claimers, 2yo races, 3yo hcaps, listed races and hcap chases:(  – my favorite. I was also winning at certain courses and losing at others.

    I therefore decided to concentrate my efforts on betting on races and courses that I am good at & not bet on the others. As I said this has helped me a lot with my betting but I don’t know if it will work for everybody.  


    (Edited by SwallowCottage at 7:54 pm on Feb. 27, 2007)

    • Total Posts 5111

    Use an automated spreadsheet too:

    Date; Course; Going; Field size; Race details; Horse(s) bet; My odds; Bet odds; Edge; My stake; Level stake; Full Kelly stake; 2.5% of bank proportional stake; *BBSR stake; Finishing position(W P U); Gross return; Commission; Net return; Loss; Profit; Comments

    *BBSR = Base Bet (level stake) + Square Root of on-going net profit

    Edit: Swallow Cottage, your comments echo precisely the reasons I’ve taken the trouble to maintain these detailed records for many years. Retain the good, bin the bad.

    (Edited by Drone at 4:51 pm on Feb. 27, 2007)

    dave jay
    • Total Posts 3386

    I don’t bother keeping betting records .. I have a spreadsheet and a database, for data, but I’m only really interested in the bottom line in my BF account with regards to betting.

    Maxilon 5Maxilon 5
    • Total Posts 2432

    Agreed with DJ.  I admire the record keepers, but it’s just too much retrospection when we really should be looking forward. But each to their own.

    Additionally, the act of keeping a record, (which I have done) always seems to coincide with a shocker of a run.

    • Total Posts 379

    I don’t know if it’s vital. I do know I keep a lot. But then I have the time.

    I keep two lots of records.

    1. I keep handwritten records of every race I’ve looked at with a view to betting in.  This is essentially every class 3 race or higher. Each race takes up one page of a notebook. It include all the runners, my notes on their pre-race chances (spotlight style if you like), my tissue, the best morning odds available, my bets and any reasoning for them.  I then add a post race analysis of the  race overall and any relevant trip notes.   So, in the end I compile my own formbook.

    2. I also keep a spreadsheet. This lists all bets made and on-going profit or loss.  It then collects data for profit and loss against any number of criteria which I decide I want to measure at the start of each season. This has included such as:<br>- Bet type (win single, ew, place, lay etc)<br>- class of race<br>- type of race (novice chase, hcap ch etc)<br>- type of race (competitive, basic, lesser of evils, leg fave etc)<br>- Reason for bet (‘value’, horse to follow, etc)<br>- course/trainers/jockeys (usually tracking specific ones)<br>- whether backed horses were hot/cold<br>- day of the week<br>- going (eg I know I’m pretty hopeless when the going’s heavy!).

    And so on.

    At the very least it makes me feel methodical and professional. At its best I learn to handicap myself – my strengths and weaknesses are plain to see and so I can work to improve.

    That’s the theory anyway!

    • Total Posts 12

    Much of this depends on tha amount of action you have.<br>If you have any quantity of action and your making money from that I do think you have to be careful that you do not keep such complicated records that you spend more time keeping them than concentrating on the races coming up.In these circumstances record keeping can actually have a negative effect on your profitability.<br>These days you can download your results from such as Betfair and then if you need to check something you can go back and do that.<br>You also do not want to kill your enjoyment of the game.

    • Total Posts 2663

    Spot on Plato.  I used to over-analyse my results like mad, which was totally useless.  I think this was because even at my level of ‘action’ c1000 bets p/a, coincidental groups occur.  One year, I could look at say, 3yo middle-distance hcaps and do poorly.  The next year, I could do well in the same races.

    There was no reason for this – it just happened.

    Mind, I pretty much always bet at SP (which I’ve been informed is the work of Beelzebub), hardly ever on Betfair and I hardly ever attempt to take morning prices, so I’ve stripped out what I consider to be peripheral analysis anyway.

    The exception to this when I am at the races, (which I just consider a day out) and I’ll have more bets at lower stakes.


    dave jay
    • Total Posts 3386

    Isn’t it also true that markets are dynamic and not static, so what might have been a bet 6 monhs ago, isnt a bet today .. because things have changed?

    • Total Posts 17722

    Some might find the following link of interest:

                 OCCAM’S RAZOR

    I have long since thought that there is a tendency to over-analyse anything to do with racing, too much soul-searching often leads you away from often basic and simple truths, and even with elementary record keeping, one can go round and round until disappearing up one’s own jacksy.<br>Even on an average of around 200 bets a year, I only record names, prices, and amounts, and find that enough, particularly now internet access provides so much information, for any analysis necessary. <br>I also believe that psychology plays a large part, and depending on the state of mind, no matter how thorough one’s method, what looks a solid bet one day can look a stinker the next. Unless one is a complete automaton, how do you record that?<br>I do agree with Betlarge though, sp betting isn’t such a bad thing in these days of exchanges, arbing, and skinny ‘earlys’, but then I only usually bet on the better races where the markets aren’t so easily manipulated.<br> I also find Betfair prices over-rated at the sharp end of the market, maybe because I’m not prepared to sit all day staring at a computer screen to steal a fraction here and there, often to find it eroded  by commission.<br>

    • Total Posts 379

    As I’ve always understood it Occam’s Razor is a means of dealing with data in an elegant and straightforward way to avoid getting lost in the woods.

    It requires you to have some data in the first place though!

    An interesting aside on Occam’s Razor and horse racing was a study someone (Mordin probably) mentioned that analysed US horseplayers and the criteria they were using for their selections.

    They had to say what factors they used in order of importance.  As quoted, the study found that the first 5 factors on any horseplayer’s list accounted for their profitability and any further factors added no further value. I think some people interviewed were using 20 or more factors.  This finding stood regardless of what each individual’s 5 factors were.

    I always wanted to look at the raw data involved in that in more detail, to see exactly how factors were defined.

    See, I can’t help myself.  

    I do know I’d rather analyse my own raw data, over the raw data of the form book, and cerainly over statistics produced from other’s raw data – not that I don’t use all three. <br>

    • Total Posts 3420

    I have long since thought that there is a tendency to over-analyse anything to do with racing, too much soul-searching often leads you away from often basic and simple truths, and even with elementary record keeping, one can go round and round until disappearing up one’s own jacksy.

    <br>Spot on

    I think that we unconciously retain more information than we appreciate (well i do anyway..) and pouring over past records is liable to simply clutter the mind

    With internet accounts (i only bet cash on course myself)  the record keeping is there for you to see. Maybe because i dont have a huge turnover, but i have apretty good understanding how im doing at any one time

    And agree with dave j. After a while the records are of little interest anyway. you simply move on

    • Total Posts 1736

    IMO, If you are serious about making money from the game, you must keep records: if it is mainly a hobby, don’t bother.

    The pro or semi-pro needs to know profitability against turnover to determine whether its worth all the effort. Keeping records of individual bets can be part of the learning curve, even if the number of bets is not large enough to be significant for analysis purposes. You might also need to prove to the taxman that your fortune is legitimate and not derived from crime or the black economy.

    Hobbyists need only look at the bottom line: it will usually be in the red. Time spent analysing your bets is usually time wasted, unless you particularly enjoy it. Probably better to get your teeth into the form book and try to figure out why horses win particular races.

    I like the reference to Occam’s Razor because most racing systems(including my own) are over-complicated. Systems try to explain rationally something that is often too chaotic to be analysed, although it’s fun to try.    

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