The Mindset Of A Losing Punter

Becoming long term profitable as a bettor means that you need to change your mindset. There’s no doubt it’s very tough to do, but for most people it’s essential.

The psychological shift from looking for winners and profit on a day to day, or even week to week, basis to focusing on profits over three, six and twelve months is crucial to the long-term success of your betting business.

And make no mistake, betting is a business. A serious business.

Which means it has to be run like one.

If you’re going to run it like one then you need to stop thinking like a losing punter.

I’m going to be a bit contrary in this post, but that’s because I know it’s going to help you in making your profits. So stick with me.

100% of losing punters think:

  1. How many winners you find is important
  2. Profit should be measured on daily or weekly basis
  3. A losing streak of more than seven is bad
  4. Your ROI should be at least 50%

And most crucially, they don’t really believe that it’s possible to make long-term profits from their betting.

This last statement probably seems totally illogical. After all, they wouldn’t continue to bet if they thought they couldn’t make long term profit.

Sadly that is not true. And is what is known as gambling. It keeps bookmakers alive because the excitement, the hope and the chance of winning big will always be there. But that is very different to a punter knowing, and I mean really deep down in the gut knowing, that they can make a long term profit.

You have to have 100% confidence in yourself. I can assure that mathematically it is possible, but you must know it as well.

There are four mistakes, the ones I’ve listed above, that all losing punters make. They may not make all of them, but they will without a doubt be making some of them.

And the first is how many winners you find.

Brace yourself for this because…

The amount of winners that you find is not related to your profit

I’m expecting a load of comments or support tickets shouting me down here. And please feel free to leave a comment if you need further clarification on this once you’ve finished reading this post.

But in no way do the quantity of winners relate to the size of profit. In fact, the bettors I know personally who make the highest ROI are the ones who bet on outsiders or exotic bets.

By betting on outsiders or exotic bets they are, by definition, winning very few of their bets. But when they do win… the profits can be huge.

Most betting teams make the majority of their profits from exotic bets and this is because the odds are far harder to work out which means the bookies are more liable to make bigger mistakes in them.

If you only won one bet out of every 200 then your strike rate would be 0.5%. A strike rate that most losing punters would laugh at and say you’d never be able to make money. But if you were getting an average of 500/1 on those selections you’d be making around 300 units profit for every 200 units bet. Which is a pretty damn good return.

Your profit comes purely from the combination of odds achieved to strike rate. You don’t have to have lots of winners.

The next mistake most punters make is…

Profit should be measured on daily or weekly basis

This is the mindset of a gambler, not a businessmen (or women). And your betting, if you intend to make profits, is most definitely a business. So you need to think of it as such.

In a normal business the shortest timeframe anything is looked at is quarterly, and very seldom are any decision made on anything less than bi-yearly and most commonly yearly.

It should be the same for your betting.

If you’re looking to make profits every day, every week or even every month then you’re going to be disappointed.

Start looking at results over less than three months and you’re in danger of losing the bigger picture.

If you are making regular profits every three to six months then you’re doing very well. It doesn’t matter what happens in a particular day or week.

But to do this you must be using a bankroll that you don’t need. If you’re using a bankroll that has to be taken out of your betting accounts in a few weeks then you’re not ready to start betting.

In your first year if you assume you won’t be taking any profits out for at least six months then you will be far more likely to succeed. Your bankroll is your business investment. If you invested in another business and tried to take your money out after a few weeks you would almost certainly be guaranteed to be in a losing situation. The same is true in betting.

And that brings us to…

A losing streak of more than seven is bad

One of the fundamental keys to understanding how your bankroll will grow is understanding losing streaks.

Losing streaks are not bad. They are just a necessity of making profits.

I can guarantee that you lose more bets than you win. In fact you’re going to lose way more bets than you win. If you win 20% of your bets then you are losing 80% of them!

That means your losing streaks will ALWAYS be longer than your winning streaks.

There is no way around this, it is just something that you have to come to terms with.

The length of a losing streak is directly proportionate to your strike rate and the number of bets you place. If in your first year you place 1000 bets and get a 20% strike rate then you may expect to have a losing streak of 4. But if you take two years, then it that time frame you can expect to have an average losing streak of 5.

The more bets you have and the longer the timeframe, then the more likely you will hit a longer losing streak.

And don’t forget we are talking about averages.

That means that you could have a longer losing streak than this, by as much as four or five times. It’s unlikely but it’s possible so you must be prepared for it.

The last most common thinking for losing punters is…

Your ROI should be at least 50%

There are of course some people getting 50% ROI, but not many. You must remember that in betting ROI figures are based on turnover not time unlike banks interest rates.

If you put money into a bank account and they give you 3% interest that is 3% over the entire year.

If you are making a positive ROI on your betting this is on every bet placed.

The difference is huge.

Bookmakers like to project the image of punters winning big from small bets. When somebody places a bet for £1 and wins £100,000 then it’s all over the news is.

But the truth is… they just got lucky.

A bit like a lottery winner.

But it’s the possibility of this happening that keeps losing punters coming back for more and so the bookies do everything they can to publicise the big wins when they happen.

Have you noticed that they never publicise the really big wins when a betting team has taken them for hundreds of thousands?

That’s because they don’t want to publicise that you can make a regular profit if you do it correctly. That doesn’t help their cause.

With that in mind even a 3% ROI becomes a big deal.

Let’s compare it to the bank.

You put £1000 in your bank and get 3% interest for a profit of £30 at the end of the year.

You put £1000 into your betting bankroll and make a small amount of 100 bets a month at £10 each. You are making an average of £0.30p on every bet, which over the 100 bets in the month is £30.

So you’ve made the same amount in a month that the bank is giving you in a year.

And that’s why betting teams are happy to take a low ROI and make a large number of bets.

Imagine the same scenario but you were placing 1000 bets per month instead of 100. You have now made £300 profit in that month, ten times what the bank would you give you in the year.

The problem is all in the mind of the punter. Because they can only afford a £1000 bankroll they know they should be placing £10 bets and making maybe £30 profit a month.

But that isn’t enough.

So instead they begin to gamble and place £100 and £200 bets, way more than they can afford, to try and make £300 or £600 in a month.

And in the same way that the majority of new businesses fail due to underfunding, the same applies to bettors who are trying to place bets bigger than their bankroll can cope with because they don’t want to wait for it to grow.

It’s worth pointing out that growth with betting bankrolls can be phenomenally fast as well if you reinvest your profits.

So ask yourself if you have any traits of the mindset of a losing punter. If you recognise any of these things in your own thinking work to rectify them because they will prevent you from making a profit in your betting.

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 Michael

    I really like reading your info it is indeed witty but very informative, but I have a bit of a problem which you might have an idea on and it is this:
    I make a profit on betfair (just) by backing the outside two in the betting on all 8/9 runner races because as you say in your article outsiders when they come in are value for money and as you will also know on Betfair they are a lot more value,
    so betting blind is still keeping me ahead but I would like your thoughts on how I could steamline this to make a better profit.

    What do you think.

    Kind regards

    Andy Pearce

    1. Thank you for the message Andy. Have you been recording the selections and race criteria? I would recommend you do, if you haven’t been already, and when you have enough data you start to look for the race conditions with the most winners and then you can take that further to look at patterns in the types of horses that win those races.

  2. Michael,

    I read all your emails and as you would expect some are more relevant (to me) than others. However, this article is probably the most valuable any reader will read and I thought it worthwhile reinforcing the message.

    Unfortunately, the truths contained will possibly put many people off but that only raises the value even higher.


  3. You make a point that hits me hard in that I need to up my turnover if I want to win more. I have had a profitable session with win/EW bets but looking at the 19 races, my records show me that I could have backed the winners of more than half, excluding any placed from EW bets!
    I don’t like backing the shorties, even though I have developed a staking plan that copes with losers – so I tend to think they’ll get beat.
    But today I’ve had winners at 7.0 6.6 4.5 4.1 4.0 and places at 4.3 2.84 from EWs.
    I am fearful of being an ‘investor’ and losing regularly it seems, yet I have the ‘nous’ but not the discipline to take a daily business approach to my use of my bank. It’s hard to change that underlying mindset but your thoughts make me want to do it. I don’t want 50% ROI but 5% seems small, but I can see that’s because I’ve got the wrong perspective.

    1. Thanks for the comment Chris. Turnover is not something that many bettors think about because traditionally (particularly in the UK) we think we should be getting high odds winners and betting very few selections to get a very high ROI. For me this causes the issues of downswings that can last months and far more instability than going for low turnover. You should think of the ROI in comparison to the risk. If I offered you the ability to give me £1000 and I would give you back an average of £150 every month on top of your £1000 would you do it?

      That’s like making a 180% profit over the year.

      Of course, you’d ask me how I was going to do it and what the risk was. But that’s the same as having a 100 unit bankroll, placing 100 £10 bets a month with an average 5% ROI per bet.

      Whether the risk isn’t worth the investment for you at the level is a personal choice, but rather than focusing on the % ROI number, focus on the downswings and losing streaks, bankroll requirements and determine if the risk is worth the potential return over three months to a year.

  4. Look at this site and follow my instructions below to see how 2% ROI can grow. (its in $ but its the same principle as £)

    Type in $1 in the investment amount box

    Daily interest rate 2% (So you’d be looking to gain 2c for every $1 invested) just imagine its £s

    Term: 365 days

    Duration: every day

    Check compound interest box

    and re-invest at 100% (this means you are re-investing all your profit)

    Check the view payment schedule

    Hit calculate

    Now see the power of slowly compounding your money over a year. By the way, I have had this knowledge for years but I am too stupid to make it pay because I have no patience and start panicking when i am losing. I know i have been in a position to do it. Michaels post had just reminded me how i need to change my ways. I am 40 and am hoping to slowly build a retirement pot with patience. I am going to try again

    Try it on 3% and see what that does.

    1. That HYIP calculator show that £100 becomes nearly £5m @ 3% after a year. Not possible betting but what a prospect1

      1. But on those settings it would be around 135 days to make 5k. So possible to make 15k in just over a year. Thats serious money from something that could be a part time passtime. As part of the correct mindset we need to forget that 5m figure and focus on an achievable amount. If i could bank even 10k per year for the next 20 years thats an extra 200k to retire on.

        1. Well I changed my approach from today and became a 3%er! from a £1k bank. Done and dusted; had a ew L15 fun bet with four long shots too, and the first is also in @ 11/1! The others run tonight at Kempton and the stake on this bet is covered by today’s profit.
          Thanks Michael and Nick for the inspiration; I just need to keep my daily discipline.

  5. Mike,

    Another great article.

    I agree the ‘business’ approach must be followed.

    Losing runs shouldn’t a problem, if the betting bank and staking plan are set up right. I tend to go for staking 1% of the current betting bank.

    The task should be treated as a job, like a ‘fund manager’ who is looking after an investment fund. Time is set aside each day to get selections and place bets. With reviews of performance every quarter / year, being careful not to change / drop strategies too often.

    Part of the profits could be withdrawn each quarter / year (your “performance related” fund manager fee!) based on the performance of the ‘investments’.

    I agree most of the profits need to be reinvested into the fund (aka betting bank).

    I like the idea of building up a retirement pot over 15 to 20 years.

  6. That’s because they don’t want to publicise that you can make a regular profit if you do it correctly. That doesn’t help their cause.

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