Bet City School
Never Chase Losses

Superb advice by Matt Bisogno of



How to Bet: Never Chase Losses

Yes, yes. I know you know. But you still do it, don’t you?! Me too, from time to time.

There is a fundamental flaw in the human psyche that needs us to be right. That, on a subconscious level at least, is one of the main reasons we bet. And it can be expensive.

Have you ever spent a period of time studying for a race, before placing your bet on the horse you’ve determined looks ‘nailed on’, only to see it unluckily fall at the last, get beaten on the run-in, never quite make it under a lambastable jockey, etc.?

It happens often, right? And the way we deal with such reversals of fortune will ultimately define the success or failure we have in the long term.

Because the problem with chasing is it’s irrational, and it happens when you’re in a bad place mentally. You spent an hour going through that race where the gods mocked you, and you lost twenty quid when you should have won two hundred. So what happens next?

The scenario that I remember from my ugly past – which still gets replayed roughly once every four months – is that I see a race going off in about five minutes time, I rush to the paper on the wall (or the internet race card), and I inspect the race conditions and the form of the favourite.

If the favourite looks good, I bet it. With more money than I backed the selection I took much more time over, which finished unluckily. That selection where I’d looked at all the other horses in the race, and made a clear case for my pick, and against his opposition.

Here I am saying, ‘the favourite looks like he has a favourite’s chance, so I will throw money at him and hope he bails me out’.

‘Hope betting’. That is expensive. When that ‘jolly’ gets beaten, perhaps in a close finish (30% of favourites win, but 62% place), you may feel doubly hard done to.

Obviously now the spiral is gaining downward momentum, and control is lost. The wallet opens and the next favourite is backed on little more than a whim. Soon enough, the last tenner in the purse is being lobbed at a greyhound – a bloody greyhound! – to nick back a few more punting chips with which to attempt to steal parity.

You walk out of the betting shop a hundred and fifty quid down. Or five hundred. Or a tenner. It doesn’t matter really. That’s a question of the scale of your betting. But the point is universal.

You feel terrible. Forget the money. If you’re lucky enough to be able to afford to lose that amount (which we all should be, but this is not a time of rational thinking generally), you will still be kicking yourself at the stupidity of it.

So here’s the deal: although I titled this one as ‘never chase losses’, I fully appreciate that this sort of monastic discipline is beyond most people – certainly beyond me – and I want to make these pointers actionable.

When you next encounter the ugliness of the above, ‘wipe your mouth’. Accept it. Commit to not doing it again, at least not in the near future. Do NOT repeat the scenario on the next payday, Saturday, whenever is your punting day.

If a reversal like this keeps you straight for three to four months, as it generally does for me, then it is simply a self-levied ‘stupid tax’ on our entertainment, and our longer term quest to win a few quid.

Shit happens. But it shouldn’t happen every week!


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