A Winner's Tips
A past punting acquaintance of mine came
to know in his final years a successful professional who
made more than a comfortable living. This professional,
who used a number of aliases including Bert, retired many
years ago. He would tell my friend stories about great
horses like Tulloch which he had seen race on numerous
occasions. He also had plenty of stories about racing
personalities of a bygone era. Many he knew on a first
Bert developed a special relationship with at least one particular bookmaker
who is no longer in the betting
ring. He never revealed the name of this bookmaker. He considered it a
breach of business confidence, but did say that the bookmaker made an
absolute fortune. It is not drawing too long a string to the bow to say
that this bookmaker also retired to a life of luxury.
Apparently this bookmaker also gave Bert the absolute top
odds available in the betting ring for any of his bets.
Not only that, should any of the main tote prices be
better he would be paid at tote odds. That is how
valuable Bert's information was. No doubt the bookmaker
made a nice living off Bert's information and many a time
there was a nasty losing race for bookmakers which he
Bert of course had many valuable opinions and
observations about punting but for many years had decided
that he would never share any with the run of the mill
punter. He was very sensitive and took offence easily
when losing punters told him he did not know what he was
talking about. He once made up a list of
many punting pointers in confidentiality and mailed it to
my past acquaintance. Here are a few of the many points
1. Punting must not be treated as a pure gamble
but as a business. Records must be kept.
2. To you win at racing you have to put in work. Nowadays punters do
not even have to make the effort to go to the races to have a bet. It is
impossible to make money by placing bets in the morning with the TAB and
collecting in the evening. That is just a pipe dream.
3.You have to learn to ignore tips from anyone, like race callers.
These callers know very little about form. Their media bosses create the image
that they are form experts. They are not. All their time is spent in learning
the colours and names of hundreds of horses they have to call.
It is also common for bookmakers to give their best bets. Can you think of
anything worse than taking tips from the "enemy"?
Tips from connections of horses are also fraught with danger. I have friendships
with some powerful connections of horses. When they were exceptionally
confident, their horse's chances were always talked down in public. They would
freely say the horse was a good show when they had no intention of backing it.
4. I will never contemplate backing a favourite on the tote. If I took
$2.50 on the tote when 3/1 is available in the betting ring, despite working
long hours, full time at this game, I would lose. My winnings have been halved.
The tote won't refund half my losses on losing bets.
5. It is essential to understand the basic
statistics and percentages involved in punting.
a) This applies to a horse's chances of winning a race in order to know if you
should back the horse. Backing horses at poor value in relation to their winning
chances means you will long term not get enough winners to cover your losses.
That is why backing horses on the tote is extremely difficult. You cannot
control the prices you receive. The tote wins every race. In order to do that, a
well backed horse has its price slashed in to such an extent that it is very
poor value for punters, so should that well backed commodity win, the punters
overall are still losers on the race.
b) Understanding what losing runs to expect. Most punters think if 10 selections
lose in a row then the selections were no good. I know nothing can be further
from the truth. I have had losing runs well in excess of 10 on many occasions.
For me it was just business as usual because I knew there was absolutely nothing
wrong with my professional selections. Of course, if the selections were just
made on the hop then it is a different matter.
c) Understanding basic percentages. It is quite amazing but many punters today
do not know that even money is 50% or 4/1 is 20%. They are not aware that the
percentage chances for a winner in a race is exactly 100%, no more, no less and
the more the total market is over 100% the worse it is for the punter.
If I did not have this knowledge I would be punting blind.
6. Staking of selections is very important. I
have never made my bet size on one horse dependent upon what happened in a
previous race. No staking plan can turn a level stakes loss into a profit.
Anyone telling you otherwise is not to be trusted.
7. I once had a punter tell me I was incompetent because when he told
me he was going to back this 16/1 roughie in a field of 17 each way I was
suggest that instead he should back another horse outright for
the win. I told him I regularly backed more than one horse in a race to win.
He said, and I have toned down his language, "You've got no idea mate.
You reckon you do O.K. and you can't even pick the winner with one selection.
If you back more than one horse in a race you must lose. You've got a losing
bet before the race even starts."
After that I no longer discussed punting with losers. Let them lose.
8. For many years I have not concentrated on picking the winner of a
race. There is always more than one winning chance in a race. I have been
backing horses that I considered offered good value.
Punt to Win 11/8/2000
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