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The home of intelligent horse racing discussion

Five thoughts on the psychology of horse race betting

Five thoughts on the psychology of betting




Tom Segal (Pricewise in the Racing Post) –

Keep it Fun

“Keep it fun, that’s the key to any gambling. Don’t let it mean too much. If it means too much then it hurts when you lose and if it hurts when you lose, that’s a problem. Just try to keep it nice and calm and fun.”

Alan Potts (Punter, author and pundit)

On the importance of ‘attitude

“Once you’ve gained enough experience to be able to analyse races with sufficient accuracy to find a decent percentage of winners, it’s only attitude that can prevent you from making profits. As with golf, it’s the six inches between your ears that will ultimately decide whether you win or lose”

Peter Braddock (author ‘Braddock’s Complete Guide to Horse Race Selection and Betting’)

On ‘punters’ vs ‘bettors’

“The bettor is confident and relaxed, certain in his own judgement, unafraid of being wrong because he knows equally he can be right and therefore is always able to acknowledge the times when he is unsure. The punter is never confident or relaxed because his uncertainty in judgement makes him afraid of being wrong, never knowing if or when he will be right and so unable to admit he does not know because to do so would confirm his state of indecision.”

Jeffrey Bernard (legendary columnist and inveterate gambler)

The losing gambler

“I remember having a perfectly miserable day at Fontwell Park one week, backing winner after winner until I met Jack Cohen [bookmaker]. He bought me a drink, a cup of tea, a cigar and lent me the fare home. He then told me that I was a lousy good-for-nothing. Life suddenly had some sort of meaning again and it was a tremendous relief to back the last two losers.”

Phil Bull (Timeform founder)

Handling losing runs

“Losing runs are inevitable. Everyone experiences them at some time or another, but they are simply part of the overall statistical pattern of events, and one must learn to accept them with equanimity. Nobody knows when a winning or losing run will start or when it will stop. So there’s nothing you can do about it except continue to select your bets with the care and attention you should always employ.”

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