Which type of punter are you?
Racing Editor for bettingexpert. Always searching for winners "against the crowd" and trying to find the value.
Email : stephen at bettingexpert.com
Anybody who has been around a betting shop, a racetrack or a sports bar knows that punters come in many different styles and attitudes. Today on the blog, our racing analyst Stephen takes a look at every shade of punter. Which are you?
Punters come in all shapes and sizes and play in an incredible number of different ways. Down the years, as both an on-course bookmaker and working in a trading room for online layers, I have seen and met many of these unique breeds and been one myself since college.
Which one are you?
1- THE ARBER
The scourge of the online industry, arbers are not tolerated at all and any sniff of an arb leads to accounts being severely limited. The arber is content to grind out tiny miniscule profits using betting exchanges and online firms to guarantee a profit regardless of the outcome. Traders find that all "arbing" accounts show a small profit on turnover over time and for this reason clamp down on these punters more harshly than any other.
2- THE PRO-PUNTER
The fastest growing breed of punter given the internet age has provided so many opportunites to find value in a vast number of areas. So many young professionals have come and gone in recent years, often "between" jobs either in the betting industry or having had experience in the financial sector and believing they can go it alone. The survivors are those that specialise in certain areas of expertise and can avoid the common pitfalls that many encounter when suffering losing runs and losses of confidence. The most successful in this sphere in recent years has been Pat Veitch, who has used military planning to execute his business on a daily basis and is rightly feared across the industry.
The trader tries to read the way the betting market is moving and take positions with little interest in the final outcome but intent on locking in a profit. They are best compared with stock market traders, buying and selling shares at levels which they believe will soon become advantageous. Traders have suffered many blows in the past year or so, with declining liquidity on the betting exchanges and also crippling new "premium" charges on those who avoid any loss risking positions. Many who start as traders often fail to trade out when the market moves against them and end up becoming gamblers before returning to the job market (which they also find has moved against them!!). Sharp traders however work the angles, using analysis of in-play and long-term market tendancies to keep one step ahead. While maintaining investment discipline they are able to succeed in field that an increasing number of punters are trying their hand at.
4-THE "IN RUNNING" PUNTER
A small group enjoyed huge successes with the advent of betfair in the late nineties and early 2000's. They rapidly realised that the "live" pictures relayed via the racing channels were in fact many seconds behind "real" time, and stationed themselves at courses/stadiums where they could trade the sport via laptops/mobiles. They made vast sums betting winners that had already won or laying fallers that had already fell, or got themselves great value betting horses that were going best turning for home while those indoors felt the race was still developing. This opportunity has become far far tougher in recent times, with widespread awareness of this delay meaning that liquidity is very low especially towards the closing stages. As with all "good things" it has come to an end and those left playing "in running" tend to be excellent judges who would be winners regardless of any time advantage over the regular punter.
4-THE BETTING SHOP PUNTER
A dying breed of cash punter who tend to bet in accumulators most days for an "interest". These punters, usually of an older generation in Britain, are not price sensitive at all and bet purely for the excitement rather than any long term prospect of winning. They are the off-course industries bread and butter and have oiled the cogs of horse racing for many decades. Some shrewder punters have found betting in cash is often a way of slipping under the radar and "getting on" bets that online would see them severely limited. However, managers of the shops are now firmly aware of this, and are under strict orders to "phone in" any wagers above a certain amount to the trading office.
5- THE FEARLESS BIG HITTER
These "whales" play in huge size and tend to come in a blaze of glory and leave with their tales firmly between their legs. Some have however stayed the trip. In Britain, Harry Findlay, JP McManus, and Michael Tabor are three high profile huge players who bet firmly to their own opinion and have enjoyed considerable success over a number of decades. When they play a wave can be felt rippling through the off-course betting jungle as people attempt to follow in their bets. In the past "commision" agents have handled this business and filtered it into the industry in a wide array of ways, charging up to three per cent for the privelege! This has rather withered in recent years as the betting exchanges have made it possible to play easily in far bigger size, without having to spread the money around.
6-THE CHASER "ON TILT"
A trait of many of us punters, and the main cause of why some very decent judges of their chosen area of expertise to fail to win overall. This "chasing" mentality is something we must all try and overcome, and it is completely irrational. Many punters are in complete control of their betting and level of staking when they are winning, but as soon as they fall behind on the day, or something unexpected and unfortunate happens, i.e a horse falls at the last when 20 lengths clear that you have had a big bet on, then a "red-mist" descends and they chase those losses, playing in far bigger size than normal as they desperately try to recoup. A former colleague of mine was a classic example of this. He played on football in running, usually laying the "overs" on corners/goals etc etc and was a very good judge of the exact price things should be. If confined every year to playing solely on that he would readily win thirty or forty thousand pounds a year. However, when a late goal or two went in and it meant he lost on that match, he lost all control and would "tilt", immediately trying to win back todays losses by either laying a horse, betting a rugby team, or basically ANYTHING that was on in the next ten minutes. The huge advantage a successful punter has is he can choose his fights, where a layer has to bet on everything. When that discipline goes the layer suddenly holds all the aces, and usually all the money.
7- THE TIPPING LINE PUNTER
These punters behave in a "sheepish" manner and usually end up getting very poor value for their cash, even if they latch on to a successful tipping line at an early stage. Firms get alerted to followers of a certain tipsters as punters appear on their bet "scroller" in sudden waves, all trying to bet the same horse or team. They can swiftly get these accounts limited and cut the price rapidly. Usually the followers are not price sensitive and will accept a shorter and shorter price as they believe the "inside info" they are getting is red-hot and causing the price to crash. Usually these tipping lines, such as Isiris, charge vast sums to their subscribers and tend to reinvent themselves several times over the years to try and entice people in.
Which are you?
Of course many of us are a combination of the above at various stages of our betting "careers" and things often change as our personal circumstances alter as we get older. All of us aspire to bet in a professional manner and learning from others is a massive part of this. Some of the excellent advice provided by BettingExpert can be invaluable in the ongoing pursuit of victory over the old enemy.
You can follow Stephen on Twitter @stephenh61
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I think I would call myself Part-Pro, Part-Trader with the occasional betting shop punt when out for a drink with mates.