Emotion Will Lose You Money!

There are a few things that prevent the majority of punters from being successful in their betting. Without a doubt one of the biggest causes of losing is emotion.

Betting with emotion is dangerous!

That is the only way of putting it.

It is not only in sports betting where the most successful can prevent their emotions from influencing their bets. This is also a feature in successful stock brokers, forex traders and all forms of investors.

If you talk with anybody who is successful in any kind of investment field, you will find out that they have their own tricks to prevent emotion from becoming part of their decision making process. The only way of finding out the best way to do this for yourself is to practice.

As sports bettors we actually have a harder job than most other investors!

I was chatting with a successful stock broker the other day and he is a horse racing fanatic. Although he has owned racehorses and knows a lot about the sport, he has been unable to ever make a profit on it. This is someone who makes millions in profit for the company he works for every single year, by investing!

So why can’t he make a profit on horse racing as well?

In his own words it is because…

I get emotionally involved in a horse race and that prevents me from looking at the basic facts”

When he is betting with his own money he finds it very difficult to stop becoming emotionally involved, when he is betting with someone else’s he is no longer emotionally involved and makes sound investment decisions.

So how do we stop this from happening?

The first step is to realise that sports betting, like other investments, is a long term proposition. Even though a race is over in a few minutes, does not mean that you can expect to make a profit every day, every week, or even every month!

There will be losing runs, that is the nature of betting whether it is on a horse race or a share price. So…

  • Do not watch the races you have placed a bet on and only check the results once a day at most, ideally you should update your results weekly.

Yes this is hard, but it will prevent you from becoming emotionally involved in whether you are making a profit throughout the day and placing bets you otherwise would not have.

Secondly, you should make records of EVERYTHING!

I cannot stress the importance of records enough. If you don’t have a record of what you have bet on and the reason, then how are you ever going to be able to find out what is making you money and what is losing you money!

While records are absolutely essential, it is very easy to get obsessed with the profit/loss figures in them. To prevent this, only analyse them monthly at the most. Personally I only really look into my records in detail every 3 months, without 3 months worth of information I am basing any changes on emotion rather than statistically significant data.


  • Keep accurate records of all bets and the reason for choosing the selections.
  • Only analyse these records once a month at most. Ideally every two or three months.

If you put these three steps into practice, then you will have started the journey to preventing emotion from becoming a part of your betting.

There is a reason that most pro-bettors don’t watch much horse racing, unless it is post-race replays to analyse how a horse ran. The reason is that they do not want to become emotionally involved, the real interest is in how much profit they are making not in whether any one horse won a particular race.

Always remember, you are getting involved because you want to make a profit in the long-term.

Michael Wilding

Michael started the Race Advisor in 2009 to help bettors become long-term profitable. After writing hundreds of articles I started to build software that contained my personal ratings. The Race Advisor has more factors for UK horse racing than any other site, and we pride ourselves on creating tools and strategies that are unique, and allow you to make a long-term profit without the need for tipsters. You can also check out my personal blog or my personal Instagram account.


  1. Very good advice , particularly concerning watching races involved in as a lose can influence your betting logic in future race choices .

  2. You make it sound as though a punter should only bet on sports he doesn’t enjoy.
    Surely it is very difficult to become expert enough on sports that one doesn’t watch.

    I find that even if I do not care for a sport, if i start following a tipping service for it then i start to become more interested in in and actually start watching some of it. For example, before i started betting on Horse Racing, I didn’t even watch the Grand National or the Derby. But now I am glued to the TV every time that Frankel runs.

    1. Didn’t mean for it to sound like that Ian. You should certainly enjoy the sport but if you want to be more than a casual punter, it is key to be able to separate your emotion or enjoyment of watching the sport from your betting. It is this that the majority of punters struggle with.

  3. I plan my bets as early in the day as I can, and place the first as close to the off as possible but use the “stop at a winner” strategy – more often than not, I’m doing other things when my bets run, but it’s sometimes more convenient to watch, particularly if there are two projected bets within a few minutes of each other and then if the first loses, I can place the next in time for the off. Is there owt wrong with this strategy?

    1. That sounds like an excellent strategy. It isn’t the watching of the races or the enjoyment of the sport that is the problem. It is the watching of a race and the winning/losing which then propels you to have a bet on another horse that you would not have bet on if the previous races results hadn’t turned out as they did. It is betting on this emotional involvement that is what causes so many punters to lose. If you make selections and place your bets before racing and don’t bet during the racing day then you avoid this pitfall.

  4. Emotional involvement and ties to a particular horse/s is what makes horse racing so attractive to me. However, I have learned to bet sparingly or not at all on races in which “my horse” is running, ESPECIALLY if my horse is favored. I nearly always select bets on value, but never bet against my horse. You call it “emotion”, I call it “jinx”! Heh.

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