Working Through A Losing Run
Are you struggling through a run of losses? Today on the blog Alex Lee shares his experiences and tells us how to get through a losing streak.
#1 - Define What A ‘Losing Run’ Means To You
What is a losing run? One person’s losing run is another person’s ‘accounted for blip’. In other words, no profit-making strategy ever survived by relying on every single selection winning. It’s nice to go on a winning run, granted, and you should never place a single bet that you haven’t first thoroughly researched. If you find, however, that two or three of your selections lose on the bounce followed by a lengthy winning run, and you’re showing steady progress in your profit and loss table then my advice to you would be not to fix something that isn’t broken.
If your losses are costing you in the pocket, however, then there’s something fundamentally wrong with your staking plan (i.e. how much money you’re placing on each bet) and/or your selection criteria (i.e. the reasons underpinning your pick). A losing run is only of relevance, and only worthy of doing something about, if it’s seriously eating into your wallet.
#2 - Take A Break
Compare the activities of a professional sports bettor to that of a professional sportsperson. This analogy works well when it comes to dealing with the heartache of a losing run. Even the best pro bettors lose from time to time, but it’s the way they deal with their losses that sets them apart from consistent losers.
Imagine you’re a football manager who has just witnessed his team lose after extra time in a hard-fought cup tie. The last thing you want to do is wait a couple of minutes after the final whistle, then go straight into another high-intensity match. The team needs some rest and you need time to re-think your tactics, assess injuries and select a side capable of winning the next match. Exactly the same principles apply to dealing with a losing run in betting. Simply take a break, take stock and work out why you’ve been making the wrong selections. There isn’t a punter in the world that makes consistent profits by putting ill-researched bets on in a rush.
#3 - Identify The Salient Facts
While there is a certain amount of mileage to be had in looking back at head-to-head records, for example, be very wary of the pitfalls that this particular selection criterion holds. Any match which took place between two players more than three years ago - in my experience - holds absolutely no bearing on the potential outcome of the game you’re about to bet on. Likewise, if you’re betting on tennis for example, take a look at which surface the players are best suited to, as you’ll often find that Player X is dominant over the Player Y on grass, but Player Y may be equally dominant over Player X on clay.
Conversely, head-to-head records in team sports must be taken with a very large pinch of salt, as the chances of the two teams both featuring exactly the same players who took the field the last time they met are on the slim side of none. Anyone claiming anything otherwise is frankly a bit of a fraud or at best someone who will never make consistent profits from sports betting.
Always take into account how much a match means to a player or a team. By this, does Team A really need to stay in another minor cup competition because it has pressing matters in a more lucrative event in a few days’ time? Does player A desperately need to beat player B to stay in the top 32 and thus guarantee a seeding in the major tournaments?
#4 – Analyse Your Betting History
If you go on a long losing run, resulting in your betting bank dropping to unacceptable levels, then there’s something seriously wrong. Never, ever chase losses, however. Go through your spreadsheets of shame and if you look close enough you’ll see where you’ve gone wrong.
It’s sometimes as simple as, for example, ruling out ‘away’ selections, erasing picks which are above a certain ‘highest odds’ threshold or even adding further criteria such as ‘key players in/out’ for a team sport or ‘recent form against left-handers’ in tennis by way of an example. In sports betting, regardless of how successful you are, the more markets you get involved in, the more chance you have of making losing selections. Your new strategy might be as straightforward as limiting your bets – this immediately and by default makes you pay more attention to the ones you do actually place. There are only 24 hours in a day, but an hour spent analysing a couple of events beats half an hour analysing four! Spend more time on your preparation and you will find that you become more successful in the long run. The sporting cliché of “The more I practise, the luckier I get,” applies perfectly to betting.
#5 - Get Over It!
Pick yourself up, dust yourself down and prepare more thoroughly for your next selection. The bottom line is that there’s no shame in admitting to yourself that you can’t turn a regular profit at a particular sport and calling it a day, or at the very least taking a break while you assess why and where you went wrong. It’s better to stop punting on a sport with which you never seem to achieve consistent wins than continually haemorrhaging cash.
Have a look at what else is out there, do some paper trading (that is, placing imaginary bets and keeping a record of their success or otherwise), identify a new sport to get involved with or attack the existing sport of choice with a brand new strategy. As the old adage goes: “Fail to prepare, and prepare to fail.”
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