To be successful in business requires you to have the ability to do something better than someone else, acquire the skills to constantly improve your performance, plough the profits (if there are any) back into the business to make it grow.

In addition, you have to ensure your business has sufficient working capital. Sound familiar? It should, because that is what you will have to do to be successful if your intention is to become a professional punter.

Having made this decision we should tackle the last point first: Working Capital, or as it is known in this industry, a Betting Bank.

Easy ... Tell your wife you intend to mortgage the house to establish a betting bank. Then go to your local bank manager and tell him the same thing, that you want a loan on the house to set up a betting bank to bet on the horses.

Don't be surprised if the bank manager turns you down and suggests you should refinance to another bank. To encourage you to do this he may very well commence repossession if you do not take his advice. Arriving back home a bit disillusioned you may see your belongings outside the front door and also find the locks have been changed and you are handed some sort of legal document about restraining orders and such.

Alternatively you may find that your peers have decided that some medical attention is required and a short stay in some mental institution is in order.

Interesting enough is the fact that if your proposal was to invest in shares or some other socially and commercially acceptable venture, you would not have any problems at all.

So to avoid this disruption in your life you will have to consider another attack to obtain the Working Capital you require. Read on ... all is not lost.

It's essential that your betting bank is in place before you begin any serious operation, so you must set up a TAB Account and probably put the amount you would normally bet each week into this account.

Whilst you are abstaining and building up this bank you have a lot of work to do and some serious decisions to make concerning what and when you are going to bet. This is the selection process.

If you bet $50 per week, then at the end of 50 weeks you have a betting bank of $2,500. More importantly you still have your wife and kids who love you, as well as the bank manager. I leave the sanity part open.

If I may jump ahead a bit here, you should understand that when you do bet you are only allowed to bet one per cent of your betting bank on any selection; saver bets are at one-half a per cent as they are designed to help the main plan. So your betting unit for a $2,500 bank is $25 on a main selection and $12 on any saver bets.

The next thing to realise is that whenever your betting bank increases by $100 you can increase your betting unit by one dollar. This means a compounding process occurs in that bets are never reduced and you are always covered for 100 bets.

You can budget or expect a percentage return of, say, 10% on turnover so assuming your bank is $2,500 and your
betting unit is $25 at an average of four bets a week ($100), then the annual turnover for 50 weeks is $5,000.

The return, on level-stakes betting, is $500 profit. This means that your betting bank has compounded five times and will be close to doubled provided your selection method is any good at all. I hope I did not lose you on that one; if you are still confused do not ask your bank manager to explain it to you, ask the kids instead.

You should also understand that the $500 profit represents a 20% return on your betting bank, which is a very healthy tax-free investment by any standards.

Whilst you may consider this to be a very slow process of building up your Capital, you do have a lot of other ground to cover and the discipline required is part of the training process.

How's your mental health these days? It's important we address this, as you need to know if you are the nervous type. I mean, you need to know, because you have to be able to deal with any emotional problems that arise while you are attempting this gambling venture.

You see, if you're going to panic whenever things go wrong it's going to affect your domestic situation once again. We can't have the wife and kids having to put up with your emotional outbursts and depression just because you are not happy about something, can we? This will also affect your wellbeing and you need to be Mr Cool when things go wrong.

I guarantee that things are going to go wrong more times than right, which is pretty depressing at any time. Why would anyone want a business that appeared to fail most of the time and hopefully come good over an annual period?

Whilst I admit this is not a desirable scenario it's something you have to be prepared for in advance. In doing so, you can plan on how you will be able to handle the situation.

When you bet money on a weekly basis, being four or more bets per week, one of three things are going to happen:

  1. You will win.
  2. You will break even plus or minus a bit.
  3. You will lose.

Now two out of three is not too bad to start with, is it?

The individual result of a race, a week's betting or even a month's activity cannot be crucial to your overall plan for success. This is why my previous comments on working capital are vital and your understanding of the betting bank concept must be set in concrete.

Haphazard, emotive or "the good word" and "dabbles" selections are out. Forget them because they cost you serious money in the end.

To illustrate why things will go wrong and still work out in the end, let me give you an example.

TAB No. 1 wins about 20% of horse races over a year. So if you bet on all TAB No. 1 horses, without any elimination rules to get rid of some bad bets, you will lose 80% of the time. So in 100 bets you will have 80 losing bets, hopefully not in a row.

I don't know many people who could handle losing 80 bets in a row and I am one of them. Since it's unlikely that the other 20 winners would also win in a row, the 80 run of losses occurring in a row is highly unlikely.

But losing runs will occur and this is where your conviction and courage has to come in. This profession is not for the light-hearted or people who have emotional problems.

The character-building exercise of actually overcoming these psychological problems and ending up being Mr Cool when all others are cracking up is a goal that, if achieved, will earn you respect. To be able to overcome personal defeat and rise above it to fight another day will ensure success for the rest of your life, worth developing.

There is life after and before racing, or your job for that matter. It is important that you don't allow any aspect of the racing scene to undermine your quality of life. Confidence brings success and should bring enjoyment.

The ability to obtain current information and use this information to your advantage has always been a significant tool towards being successful, more so than utilising historical information, which can be misleading, and in some cases signify a trend that is false.

This is the fun part. And while you are building up your working capital this is what is going to occupy your time.

A key plan of attack is to develop your own selection method. There are several good reasons for doing this, the most important being that it is yours individually and will suit your particular nature, you will end up with a system that, so far as you are concerned, is unique. The success it brings will be your success and you can rely on you, can't you?

That does not mean that you're not going to get the best help there is available; after all, that is what I mean by using current information to your advantage. The wrong approach to this is to simply adopt some plan that has a historical basis unless you have verified it.

Most systems rely on a key factor such as:

  1. TAB Number One.
  2. Last-Start Winners.
  3. Placed Last Four Starts.
  4. Win Ratio Greater Than 30%.
  5. Place Ratio Greater Than 50%.
  6. Pre-post Betting Favourites.
  7. Winner at the Track and Distance.

The list could go on forever.

Then the system usually applies some elimination rules to hopefully weed out the losing bets and make the whole thing profitable. The quality of the system writer and the research done will determine how effective the whole thing is, in the end.

PPM will undoubtedly provide you with more ideas concerning the key factors and the elimination rules. The more you read, the more you get. In addition, other racing publications end up providing even more information and you end up with more than anyone can handle.

To retain your sanity just accept about half a dozen that you like as there is not one particular key that's going to be any better than the other, as I see it.

Then with or without applying any elimination rules start monitoring the progress of the methods and look at these factors.

  1. Win Ratio.
  2. Profit/Loss.
  3. Percentage Return (if there is any profit).

For example, take TAB No. 1. As I've said previously, this one wins 20% of the time as is with applying any elimination rules. Now we don't want 24 bets each Saturday betting on Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, so some elimination rules are necessary. I personally like between four to six bets per week and expect one to two winners per week on average.

The obvious elimination rules to apply would be as follows:

  1. Last run on a metropolitan track.
  2. Run 1, 2 or 3 at its last start.
  3. Days since last run no more than 28.
  4. Racing in the same state as today's race.
  5. Carrying less weight than its last run.
  6. Has a top jockey on board

Once again, the list is endless with some very good ideas still coming at us currently.

If what I am suggesting you have to do appears to be hard work, then you're right. If you are not prepared to do this, then you should treat your betting on the races as a hobby and limit your weekly bets to, say, $20 and just have fun at whatever you like.

A popular one is any horse with the letter "r" as the third letter in its name.

If you are serious about being a professional, then stick with this series and take a look at the second part, coming up in the July PPM.

Click here to read Part 2.
Click here to read Part 3.
Click here to read Part 4.

By Keith Roth