Maintaining Emotional Control With Your Betting

We all get those bad days in our betting. It doesn’t matter how successful you are, it is part and parcel of the nature of the business. Like any trader there are swings and these can last from a few days to a few months. Within those swings we get bad days and good days. Sometimes, we get runs of good days or runs of bad days. We know that this is going to happen, but that doesn’t make it any easier when we get a run of bad days. It can also be a problem when we get runs of good days as well (I’ll let you know why in a minute).

If we’re going to maintain control during a losing streak, and increase our betting bank in the long-term, it is imperative that we learn how to maintain emotional control over ourselves. And this doesn’t just simply relate to our betting, it is about not getting stressed in our personal lives when this happens because that can also affect our judgement.

  • The first thing we need to do is to take a break from our betting. It is very easy to feel a “need” to bet every single day. This is not necessary!

There is always another race to bet on and if there is another race and we have the skills to make long-term profits then business will always be there. You will always be able to place another bet. Like any job it is important to completely relax and not think about it from time to time.

Once we’ve done this we also need to remember:

  • We have a betting bank for this reason.

We know that this is going to happen, it may be unpleasant while it is happening but it certainly isn’t unexpected. In fact, we’ve got a betting bank that is big enough to cope with the losing swings for exactly this eventuality. We are well planned!

However, even when we know all this it can still be difficult. I used to find it very difficult and it took me years to develop the trust in myself that I would end the year on profit. But, above all else, there is one major key in maintaing control during a losing streak…

Be Honest With Yourself!

Sometimes it is just impossible to control how you feel, especially when there is money involved. And if we want to make sure that we maintain the discipline needed to make a profit from our betting then we need to listen to ourselves.

If you’ve ever played poker you will know of something called Tilt. This is where you have a bad run and you start to play your cards differently to how you would normally play, you are going on tilt. And this will almost always mean that you’re making bad decisions. When this happens you know in your heart that you aren’t playing properly, yet you continue to play.

The same happens with horse racing. If you hit a bad patch then you know in your heart you are starting to make bets you shouldn’t do, or your starting to look at races differently or change up your strategy which has been working up until now. This is tilt for horse bettors.

When this happens you must be honest with yourself. Acknowledge that you are no longer being completely rational with your decision making and step away from betting for a few days. Spend some time doing something completely different. After all you know…

  1. A bad patch was going to happen
  2. You have a bankroll to cover it
  3. There is always more racing

The only thing missing is you being honest enough with yourself to take a break. Doing this is the difference between being professional and being a gambler. It’s a skill, it can be learnt like any discipline and you should spend the time to do it.

We also need to maintain this discipline when we win. This is something that is never talked about. When you see people talking about wins you hear about how much profit they made and how they spent it.

Is this the right thing to do with winnings?

No, but it is something that we all want to do. Instead we need to remember that:

  • Our winnings offset our losings and then give us a profit
  • After a winning streak comes a losing streak

This knowledge allows us to maintain our profitable betting for the long-term because we no longer go and spend all of our winnings. Of course we want to reward ourselves for having had a good day, week or month. But first we want to make sure the bank is back to the level it was before the winning streak, then leave a bit more in for bankroll growth. Once we have put these business costs aside we can then take what is left and “pay” ourselves safe in the knowledge that…

  1. We have recovered our bankroll and increased it slightly so we can bet bigger stakes
  2. We are prepared for the next losing streak which will start sometime in the near future

Getting the balance between enjoying our winnings and being disciplined enough to make sure we are keeping our business going for the long-term can be tough, but I can assure you it is well worth the effort.

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. Hi, exactly what happens when you are trying to recoup losses, but I have managed to be able to stop now, as you say always another day/race. Cheers Bill

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