The Essential Elements of Successful Betting

This article covers the three essential elements of successful betting:

· Selection systems

· Analysis of past results

· Staking strategies

Understanding these three elements will not guarantee success. However, not understanding them will almost guarantee failure, unless you are extremely lucky.

The first thing that a would-be backer or layer of horses needs is a selection system. Well, that is the first logical step, isn’t it?

So, armed with a winning selection system, you begin placing random amounts on your system’s selections. You then wonder why you lose money day after day. ‘Oh well’, you say, ‘the horse was unlucky’, ‘it had an off day’, ‘it was ridden badly’, ‘the ground was unsuitable’ and ‘the horse prefers left-handed tracks’ etc. We have all heard these excuses and we have even used one or two of them, haven’t we?

Occasionally, you get lucky and have the odd win. Sometimes, you have the odd good day or two. But, in the long run, your losses exceed your winnings.

Given that you don’t keep any records of your betting activity, you have no idea whether you have a successful system or not.

So, is getting a system the first logical move?

In my opinion – certainly not!

To be a successful backer or layer of horses, three things are required:

1. A system to select horses.

2. A method to record and analyse your betting history.

3. A staking strategy.

Do not try and cut corners. To be successful, all three are needed before you should venture forth into the world of betting. Otherwise …

Let’s cover the selection of horses first:

Selection System

Even a bad selection system, strangely enough, is better than no selection system at all. Here’s why:

If you are a person who selects horses based upon its name or your lucky number, the results, and thus winnings, will be totally random. It will therefore be difficult to analyse past results in a meaningful way and it will also be difficult to improve the system’s strike rate and therefore profits. More importantly, it will be difficult to stem losses because the reason for them will be totally random.

If you use this type of ‘method’ to select horses, then good luck to you. You may well need it.

If you use a system, no matter how bad it is, and you stick to it religiously, you will be able to analyse your past results effectively. You will then be in a position to identify which factors are the most important in determining whether or not you will win your future bets.

If your past results can be analysed, then those factors which are causing the system to win or lose can be identified. As a result, you are in a position to modify your future betting strategy. This can lead to an increase in your system’s strike rate and a corresponding increase in the profitability of your system.

So where do you find a selection system?

Firstly, within yourself. Most people who are drawn to horse racing have opinions on horses. They have theories relating to the outcome of races. If you are such a person, now is your chance to prove yourself.

If you don’t have your own system and can’t or don’t want to create one, then consider obtaining one from the internet. Some you may have to purchase but others are absolutely free.

So, now you have a system. That’s the first step dealt with!

Even at this stage, it would be foolhardy to place bets using your system. You need to prove that your selected system works. So, once you have selected a system, you should trial it for a period of at least one month. A three month trial period would be better still. During this period you should simply record the selections identified by your system, your intended stakes and the odds at the time that you would have placed your bets. Following the race, you should record the results of the races and what your profit or loss would have been had you placed your bets. Under no circumstances, should you place any bets during the trial period. At this stage, it would be far better to have patience rather than an empty bank account!

Analysis of Past Results

As I stated earlier, even a bad selection system is better than no selection system at all. The reason for this is that the results of even a bad system can be analysed and valid conclusions reached whereas it is pointless analysing the results of a totally random system since the results will also be totally random.

So, how do we go about analysing our past results?

Firstly, we record a few basic facts about each of the selections which your system selects. I would suggest that at least the following are recorded:

· Name of selection

· Date and time of race

· Name of track

· Going

· Jockey

· Trainer

· Draw

· Weight

· Form

· Weather

· Type of race

· Number of horses in race

· Starting price

· Position in betting at start of race

· Stake

· Odds

· Result of race

· Finishing position of your selection

· Name of winning horse

· Winning jockey

· Winning trainer

· Weight of winner

· Form of winner

· Starting price of winner

You may also wish to record additional information since the above is only the bare minimum that should be recorded. Some examples of additional information that you may wish to record are:-

· Whether or not the selection was wearing any form of head gear e.g. blinkers

· Whether the selection drifted in the betting market

I’m sure that you can identify additional data which you feel may be worth recording.

Having identified the data that you will record, you will then need a method to record it in such a way that it can be analysed as quickly and efficiently as possible. Although this can obviously be achieved using pen and paper, it is probably not the most efficient method available since it is slow, time-consuming and prone to error. The most effective method is to use a PC and a commercially-available spreadsheet application such as Excel or a commercially-available database application such as Access. If you are unfamiliar with the use of PCs, spreadsheets and databases, it is strongly recommended that you become familiar since their use will pay huge dividends.

Once you have recorded the data, you may then begin to analyse your past results. This will allow you to determine which of your bets are profitable and which are not. Identifying your unprofitable bets will allow you to modify your future betting strategy and will help to eliminate potential future losses. As a result, your betting activities will become more profitable.