Workshop Article 1 – A Correct Mindset

Again big thanks for all of your replies last week.
There was a lot in there!

I think I’ve opened up not one but several cans of worms but my goal is to help you make money from your betting, so I’m gonna try and help.

The problems ranged from small “easy” to answer type things to much more broad issues that I can only really scratch the surface on.  (I’ve still to reply to many)
I’ve decided to create a series of “workshop” articles, as its obvious I’m not going to be able to wave a magic wand a solve everyone’s problems overnight, but maybe in small steps we can get there!

The mentality of betting seemed a good place to start so I’ve started with that.

A Correct Mindset – The Emotional/Psychological side of betting.

When I first started betting I’d say that I was “average” at keeping my emotions under control. Now I would say that although I’ve still not quite achieved mastery, I am very good at managing my emotions. So, you get better at this through experience.
Now, I know at least one of you has told me how having a bet on something is exciting and makes it worthwhile watching. I agree.  And that’s all well and good if you’re betting as a pastime or a hobby. That’s not what I’m about. Don’t get me wrong I can help you “hobby” gamblers out there bet more profitably or more likely “lose less”.
But I’m out to make a profit from betting, period. If that means not betting on one day, or several days, weeks or whatever – that’s what I’ll do.
At this point it is worth mentioning that a small percentage of people, perhaps 1%, will develop into “problem gamblers”, that is they become addicted. Its worth reading this article: , just so that you know the signs.

Now assuming you’re not the “addict” type and that your primary reason for betting is profit, there are number of ways you can approach the emotional side of things.  I believe that there isn’t a right or wrong way. But from my own experience though I will say this:

If you’re constantly getting the “ump” after a losing bet you need to change your approach. No one likes losing bets, but you must accept that they are a necessity, no one ever in the history of time has just backed winner after winner with 100% success.
If you find that the pain of losing a bet is too great, or even the stress level waiting for a result is too great, then perhaps your stakes are too high for you. Even if you are working to a set bank/plan, sometimes the actual act of having a sum of money that you consider significant is too stressful and you end up making bad decisions. Building up stakes incrementally over a prolonged period is the way to avoid this.

Techniques for success

  • Pre/Post bet thinking.

This is one I use myself as a tipster and punter. All I do is before I give out the tip/bet money on a selection, I imagine the race is already over with the horse having run a shocker and I ask myself “would I still be happy with this bet if it loses?”, now that might sound silly as no one likes losing bets, but as I’ve said you have to accept them and move on. If you feel as though you could see yourself saying “I knew that wasn’t solid enough” or “I knew I shouldn’t have bet in a race type xyz” then forget it and don’t bet. You should be able to say, “yes I’d be happy if it wins or loses, as to me it was a value bet and the type of bet that will make me a profit -long term”.


  • The wider picture –  Keep in view and in mind.

The other tactic I use when perhaps I’m on a series of losers or barren spell is to take a look at the overall picture. That’s why I always create a graph of the running profit/loss for all the parts of my portfolio plus anything I’m paper trading. It gives a visual guide as to how important the actual upturn/downturn is and how relevant it is.

Of course you need to have enough of a results history to do this with real confidence, which again is where being patient, starting small and doing your research beforehand comes in. A figure that stuck in my head many years ago with regards to testing horse racing systems was 500 bets. That’s how many you need as an absolute minimum to have a statistically viable sample size. So to clarify, a smaller sample of bets might not actually prove anything at all either way, a profit could have been down to luck or short term factors.  Of course it could be argued that this is a somewhat arbitrary number, and that’s true in some ways as certainly you might need a much bigger sample with long shots yet with a real high strike rate a smaller sample would do. But keep in mind that small samples prove nothing. 6 months, 12 months, the course of a season, and/or several hundred bets should be the sort of data sample sizes you are concerned with. Those who draw conclusions on small samples or worse still individual bets will always end up making bad decisions.

Make thought out educated decisions; ask yourself “am I sure”. Then stick by them and don’t beat yourself up when they go wrong. Everyone backs losers but occasionally even the most diligent of punter will decide to follow a tipster or system that goes pear shaped. So don’t beat yourself up over decisions that go bad, but keep a record of them and try and understand what went wrong and why.

  • Be philosophical when things go wrong.

Even with all of that taken into account, accept that luck will always play a part, both in betting and in life in general. Some people out there may suggest that you can influence it, but basically its all just perception. I mean if my house were to be hit by lightning and burn down, some would say that’s unlucky. Others would say “lucky you wasn’t in it!”.


  • Make a plan, stick to a plan. Plan again.

Whenever you start a certain system, follow a tipster or indeed start a whole betting portfolio, make a plan. That should include your stakes, or staking plan, a point of review, and set figures at which you will take a profit or cut your losses. It doesn’t need to be anything spectacular or complicated. But you need to know what it is and you’ll need to refer back to it. Deciding beforehand on all of this will mean that you’ll be less likely to make those knee jerk decisions that are often made after a losing or winning run.
I’ve seen both scenarios many times; the punter on a winning streak increasing his stakes only to lose all on the following downturn; the frustrated punter who calls it quits on a losing run only to miss out entirely on the winning run that would have put him in the black. You can avoid both scenarios with a proper long term plan.

Still to come:

  • Finding Winners
  • Finding Tipsters
  • Sorting the wheat from the chaff, dealing with the “inbox noise”.
  • Beating Bookmaker restrictions and closures.( I know this is a real issue for lots of you)
  • AND….Much, Much More!!

Paul Ruffy

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29 Responses to Workshop Article 1 – A Correct Mindset

  1. Pingback: Finding Winners | Finding (and avoiding!) Tipsters | Betting Value | Betting Profits Bulletin

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  3. Paul says:

    Great article, and good comments too!

    Firstly, I’ve got a long way to go before the psychological element doesn’t affect me so much. You’d think I’ve got a million pound at stake the way I am when I’ve got a bet on! BUT… I never bet what I can’t afford to lose so that’s a good thing.

    Here’s one for you…

    Do you find yourself hating the player/team etc. that’s causing you/caused you to lose your bet??? W****r! You shout at the TV screen!!! I consider myself to be a fairly decent guy BUT want all the bad luck in the world to happen to the player I’ve opposed!!!

    I’d like to hear your thoughts on this scenerio…

    You’ve got a lot of money on Murray’s opponent and Murray slips and twists his ankle or gets injured in some bad way. Which option do you prefer…

    A) You’ve won your bet, and Murray could miss several tournaments.

    B) Risk losing your bet and hoping that Murray will be OK to carry on playing.

    Assuming that the bookie plays out on an injured player.

    Phew! It’s (A) for me!!!


    • paulr says:

      I do get irate only when jockeys fail to ride out a finish for 3rd when you’ve backed them each way, then they dont get pulled on it at all. That winds me up.
      Aside from that type of thing sport is sport and I don’t complain.
      I wouldn’t wish injury on anyone, but it really wouldn’t bother me to see a keeper throw the ball in his own net if it won me money!
      I do find myself sometimes hoping a jockey comes to grief it means my horse could win in fleeting moments, that’s bad as I hate seeing a horse injured or a jock. What I’m actaully hoping for is that the jockey has a soft unseat, and the horse is fine!
      Same with your example, I’d hope Murray couldn’t continue but that his injury was only very minor.

  4. Pingback: Successful Betting Series: A Correct Mindset « SkyBlueKangaroo

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  6. pete stanton says:

    In my opinion it is best to join the service for a calender year,in order to give it a fair run.It is imperative that the amount you use per point,in my case £100.00,on the 1st JAN is the same amount on the 31st DEC.

    • paulr says:

      I would tend to agree with that, if that’s your plan at the start and you’ve allowed a big enough betting bank.

  7. Derek Gill says:

    Thanks Paul for these well written articles and they are interesting too. Look forward to the next. Cheers.

  8. kamal says:

    an article very well written but doesnt add to ones knowledge. lets see what do the other articles have to reveal. keep it up paul you are adding another dimension to betting kamal

  9. David Camm says:

    Very useful information Paul. It’s so easy to ‘get lost’ at times. Especially when on a bad run. Your information has always been useful and personally I would like to receive more. Regards Dave C.

  10. PaulDViveash says:

    Great article – looking forward to the next one.

  11. PaulDViveash says:

    Great article – looking forward to the next.

  12. Barry says:

    Great article Paul, can’t wait for the rest.


  13. terry says:

    I liked your article,constructive and helpful,thanks – but, as mentioned previously,proof of pudding is in the eating,every adviser goes through a losing patch,so look at the long term results.
    PS watch your spelling -baron = barren !

  14. tony s says:

    As Kipling said

    “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same”

    I have tried to keep my emotions in check while betting and when it comes to losses I’ve managed to become philosophical about it and accept the indivudual losses and horrible losing runs as part of the game we’ve chosen to play. However, I find I still get excited about the winners so I’m not completely there yet.

    • paulr says:

      Well we all get excited about the winners, I don’t think we want to entirely suppress that! Just the urge to carried away after winners I think.

  15. Andy says:

    Hello Paul
    I’ve read numerous books/articles on this initial subject about gambling, but yours features highly as being succinct and constructive. I’ve actually copied and pasted it in to a word document to keep, which I rarely do.

    I look forward to more of the same; especially your views on sample sizes,ROI etc.

    Thank you Paul

  16. Liam says:

    You can spend a long time reading the same thing from different professionals but putting it into practice means stop reading and do it.

    If it does not work stop and try some thing else.

    I am of the opinion that all races today over 9 runners are worth an each way bet after weeding out the no hopers and just leaving the main contenders if any offer a good place bet that is where my money will go.
    I have that kind of mind set Specialise use discipline and look for Value.

  17. rick legg says:

    Hi Paul, thanks for the advice, all makes good sense, I feel i need to plan it more like a business, rather than emotional, intuitive betting. as i tend to have a “lucky” spell and do well, then a spell where even the stronger looking tips go wrong ! Look forward to your further articles

  18. Gray says:

    Great article Paul.

    I think its just as important to look at the bigger picture when you’re winning.
    It’s easy to think you’ve found the goose that lays golden eggs and start playing up you’re winnings. In the early days that’s where all my profit went.

    Now everything is much more controlled. Patience and discipline are are two of our best friends.


  19. john paton says:

    hi paul keep up the good work i thought that was a excellant read the section the correct mindset is spot on you do have to learn to take good with bad or pack it in have learned to control bets i think we have good days and bad its knowing when to walk away when its not your day always another

  20. ianf0ster says:

    A very good start ans well written too. Though you should really have gone into more detail about determining a significant number of bet results for a system. Its not just strike rate that affects the number of bets required, it is also the size of the average win compared to the size of the average loss. Thus a laying system with a high strike rate will usually require much more test data than a backing system with perhaps only half the strike rate.

    One big problem with strike rates, streaks and ‘the longer term’ is that until you have experienced them in live betting with real (not play amounts) of money, you only think you know how you will feel and react.

    If I had really known then, what I know now. Well I would be richer and might still be one of your subscribers.

    Looking forward to the next article.


    • paulr says:

      Hi Ian,
      Yes I agree with your points.
      Regarding sample sizes I think thats for another article, as like you say there are soooo many other things to consider as well, like ROI, winning odds, and then there are also some “tests” you can do, but more on that another time!

  21. Illphilroy says:

    Excellent stuff as always Paul and very thought provoking.

    Although I sometimes think I’ve got my emotions under control realistically I’ve got a long way to go and this should help me and I’m sure many others on the way.

    Many thanks.

  22. john frisby says:

    I have heard all this before over years then you come up with magic solution what is it going to cost $£ john

    • paulr says:

      There is no magic solution, and I already have links to my tips service (and other peoples products) on this site that I recommend. So nothing is being hidden.

      • Steve Deltasix Writtle says:

        Paul is honest as the day is long John Frisby – his WRT is honest
        and has made me over £4k profit in just over two years – he does not hide a thing and yes you can make money on the horses – it is not easy – it can be done I have proved it – Steve

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