Not wanting to join the Mug Punter Club?

This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

IF YOU’RE a mug punter you probably don’t realise it. So I thought I’d investigate exactly what turns normal people into mugs.

Well, in my view, a mug is the type of punter who goes into the betting shop minutes before the first race with his pockets stuffed with notes and leaves several hours later with his pockets full of worthless betting slips. Or the guy who ventures into the casino and starts with a decent stack of chips and departs some time later with nothing to show for his efforts.

In both scenarios the mug has no preconceived battle plan; no idea how he’s going to use his money; no clue how he is going to go about his business. It’s a bit like a general embarking on a campaign without any tactics. His troops would almost certainly be wiped out. I’m convinced no punter has an earthly chance of winning betting from race to race or on each spin of the roulette wheel.

Why do you think the bookies hardly allow punters to breathe before rolling out the next race – whether it be real or virtual, dogs or horses? That’s why most of them are keen to pay out on both results when there’s been a stewards’ enquiry. It means any winnings are returned to punters quickly so that cash can be recycled as swiftly as possible.

Turnover is a god as far as bookmakers are concerned. The more they take, the more money they make is their business mantra. My own theory is that successful punters don’t actually ‘beat the book’, their winnings come straight out of the pockets of the vast majority of losing punters. The bookmaker almost always wins. That’s why any sensible punter needs a strategy, to study the form.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s betting on short-priced favourites or big outsiders. Or whether you only play the Placepot, the Jackpot or the Scoop6. Whichever way you cut your cake, you must stick to your principles. If it works for you, stay with it, even in the face of criticism from colleagues or fellow punters. And don’t be down if you suffer some setbacks. If your particular method has worked over the years it will work again, rest assured.

Regular readers will know that I’m keen to back form horses for a place on the exchanges and I’m often told, ‘Anyone can pick odds-on favourites to get into the frame’. But can they? I sift through every day’s racing, crossing out the majority of races which I file in the ‘too difficult’ tray. And then I sift some more. I ignore plenty of odds-on and short-priced favourites, which don’t meet my fairly strict criteria. It might look easy but it takes a lot of work and a lot of knowledge of the form book. Simply finding an odds-on shot and backing it to make the first two or three simply won’t work.

Like anything in life you only get out what you put in. Even if a strongly fancied runner appears to have no conceivable dangers I will still go back and check the form of every runner opposing it. Yes, it takes time, but it becomes a ruthless process of elimination.

I’d rather eliminate the opposition than my betting bank!

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