The Ultimate Top 10 List Of Betting Mistakes

I’ve been around the betting world in one way or another for around 15 years now, the internet has brought about a lot of changes in the betting world, but I still see all the same common mistakes being made from both betting beginners and experienced punters who should know better, here is my list of the top 10 mistakes.

1. Not taking your time to THINK!

So many people who take up betting do so for the rush, for the adrenaline of making a quick bet and seeing the result instantly.  The speed with which some people make their betting decisions is one key reason why they are ultimately destined to fail.  Take your time, consider your options, if there are only 60 seconds before a race starts and you haven’t made your mind up yet, consider NOT BETTING on that race, look to the next race or next event and make a decision when you are calm and not rushing to get your bet on at the last second.  Take a deep breath and RELAX!

2. Not using a staking plan

Staking plans sound boring, so a lot of punters can’t be bothered.  But ultimately the punters who use a staking plan and bet with discipline, are the ones who have the best chance of coming out with a profit at the end of the day.  Most punters just bet random amounts, sometimes based on whether they have been paid that day, or if they are ‘feeling lucky’.  If you can use a betting bank system and stick to it, then you are halfway towards avoiding the beginner’s mistakes.

3. Chasing your losses

This was such a common thing to see when I used to work in a bookmakers.  People would come along and bet £20 on a race, this would lose, so they would bet another £20 and that would also lose.  So next thing is, they’re coming to the counter betting £40 trying to chase the £40 they had already lost.  This type of betting can very quickly spiral out of control and I have seen people lose £1000 and more in the space of a few hours, just from chasing their losses of an initial small bet of around £20.  The best thing to do is choose a maximum stake you are happy with and never exceed that stake, if you have a bad day, walk away, don’t bet on any old race that you haven’t got a clue about just to chase previous losses.

4. Betting on your favourite team

I have loads of mates who are football fans of various teams and they very often bet on their own team.  For example I have one friend who often puts correct scorline bets on matches involving his favourite team, Manchester United.  He will NEVER consider betting against United, so his own bias is completely clouding any betting decisions he might make.  I see this time and again, personally I never bet on my own team as I have fallen into the same trap in the past and you are very often onto a loser with this type of betting.

5. Getting carried away after a big win

Have you ever had a big betting win and then said “You know what, I’m gona put it all on United to smash Norwich”?  I’ve seen this one time and again, people have a big win and then straight away get carried away, they get over-confident and addicted to that winning feeling.  For many people, having a big win is the worst thing that could happen, as this can quite easily spark a real betting addiction.   Don’t be a mug punter, if you have a big win you can still  stick to your staking plan, it just means that you will have a bigger betting bank for the times when you might encounter a losing streak.

6. Betting more than you can afford to lose

This is closely linked in with staking plans and chasing your losses.  I once saw a guy come into the bookies I was working in and over the course of a few hours he bet around £500 on horse races, all of which lost.  This man did not look a wealthy man, he looked pretty average really,  by the end of this losing streak the man was looking particularly pale almost to the point of being ill.  The next thing that happened was his wife walked in the bookies and dragged him out of there kicking and screaming asking him where the mortgage money had gone.  This is not fiction! These sorts of things are commonplace if you work in a bookies!  Only bet what you can afford to lose, do not bet with money that you need for food, bills or your family!!

7. Drinking alcohol and betting

Have you ever noticed how there are so many bookmakers shops really close to a pub?  Also how freely available alochol is at major racecourses and sporting events where betting is available?  This is not a coincidence, there are a few reasons why this happens.  Firstly, of course, the target audience of a bookies might also be the same target audience of the pub, i.e. men of a certain age who might also like watching sports and having a bet.  But also, when you drink, you are more likely to bet without inhibition, you will lose a lot of your discipline and become reckless with your bets.  It might only be the day after when you wake up and realise you went to the cash machine and made a big withdrawal and stuck it all on the favourite in the 3.40 at Sandown, who lost.  If you are going to have a drink, try and leave your cash card at home, set a budget for the day and only take out the money that you can afford to lose.

8.  Betting on anything and everything

This is another one from working in the bookies, you will see guys who will bet on ANYTHING, if 2 spiders were walking on the floor they’d bet on which one would win!  They are the punter who will bet on EVERY greyhound race, EVERY horse race, even all the new virtual racing the bookies have started showing.  You name it, they will bet on it and it’s the same with online betting, the same traps are there to fall into.  You should pick the sports that you really know your stuff in.  If you’re a big football fan and know what you’re doing, but know nothing about the horses, then stick to football.  If you are a golf addict, stick to golf betting.  Know what you are good at and stick with that, don’t just get addicted to betting for betting’s sake on sports where you haven’t got a clue.

9. Lack of research

A lot of punters are lazy, they can’t be bothered looking into form and just bet for a bit of fun.  This is fine if you don’t mind losing, but if you want to win then you are going to have to accept that you will need to do at least SOME research.  I once spent a whole day looking into a race I was going to bet on, this might seem a bit extreme, but this was a large-field major handicap race.  I picked the winner at 16/1 and was quids in.  If you do your research you will be lifting yourself above probably 90% of betting punters and giving yourself a much better chance of winning.  If you are serious about your betting, read the trade newspapers/websites such as Racing Post or have a surf round and find a decent online forum to share your views and interact with other betting punters.

10. Following the crowd

Don’t be afraid to be different, I recently looked into the Grand National 2013 and looked around all the newspaper columns before the race.  There was only one newspaper column that even mentioned eventual winner Auroras Encore.  But when I had looked into the race the day before, I found that this horse finished 2nd in the previous year’s Scottish Grand National and I felt it was an outsider in with a real chance at 100/1.   Nobody was tipping it, everyone was writing it off but I decided to have a bet and won some decent money on it, I even tipped it on my Grand National Tips site.  Don’t be afraid to go against the crowd, particularly if you have done your research and found a good value outsider.

Thanks for reading!

I hope that my list helps you to avoid some of the pitfalls that all too commonly befall betting punters.  Is there anything I have missed?  Why not leave a comment with your experiences or stories of betting mistakes you have seen others make or have made yourself!

By James Alker

One Comment on "The Ultimate Top 10 List Of Betting Mistakes"

  1. Carole Peters June 4, 2013 at 4:19 pm -

    Hi, nice article. I really like it!