Nick Mordin caused something of a publishing sensation back in 1992 with his book Betting For A Living.

It became a bestseller and remains much in demand today, years later.

Mordin has since penned another book, Winning Without Thinking, another bestseller, though I often feel that the book we are all waiting for is Losing Without Thinking, which so many punters are guilty of, despite the mountains of information freely available to them.

In this article, let’s peruse just some of the thoughts of Nick Mordin to remind ourselves what all the fuss was about:

  • In my experience, the average successful system has a productive life span of around three years. That’s how long it takes either for punters to catch on or for the circumstances that produced the profits to change.
  • Most punters aren’t satisfied with winning a small amount. They ignore the meagre yet profitable returns which can be gleaned from betting short-priced horses to win or place. They want to go for the big score. Some of the simplest and most successful systems profit from this behavior.
  • Horseracing is a dynamic, ever-changing sport. New patterns in results are constantly being brought about by a variety of influences. Punters are very slow to take these on board. They bet as though racing remains the same as it was a decade ago. Correctly predict the effect a recent change will have on racing results and you can base a system on it.
  • I truly believe that the paddock is the last great bastion of profitability for the average punter. When they bet at home they operate at a severe disadvantage with their professional brethren who can run rings around them with the aid of computers. When they go to the course, however, it is they who have the edge . . . no system is ever going to replace the human eye when it comes to assessing the physique and fitness of a racehorse.
  • I once asked seven of Britain’s biggest racecourse bookmakers how much money, in percentage terms, the average punter lost to them. In other words, what was their gross profit margin. The answers varied from 3.5 per cent . . . to 5 per cent for a rails’ bookmaker who reckoned he exceeded his rivals’ profit margins by having a select group of wealthy clients (i.e. a bunch of upper class twits with more money than sense).
  • If the horse you fancy has raced within the last month and worked out since, you can be pretty confident it will parade fit for its race. But if your best bet of the day hasn’t raced recently and shows no gallops in the last fortnight, you should be prepared for negative signs when you view the horse in the paddock.
  • Clearly, the bigger the weight, the bigger the horse’s chance of winning. This should surprise no one. The horses carrying higher weights are the ones the handicapper thinks are fastest. Of course, on so called galloping tracks, horses carrying higher weights should start to be affected by their burdens. The easier turns on these tracks enable horses to run at much closer to racing pace.
  • For far too long I believed that all that mattered was picking the biggest possible percentage of winners and betting them to win. Now I realise that it is value that counts and that value is not only found in win bets.
  • The size of your bet should not only be dictated by the price on offer and the confidence you feel. You should also take into account your own personal level of bet that you feel comfortable with. If it worries you to bet more than $100, don’t do it. If you feel OK about putting $500 down, do so, if your betting capital is big enough.

** WINNING WITHOUT THINKING by Nick Mordin, and BETTING FOR A LIVING by Nick Mordin (Aesculus Press).

By Philip Roy