Whether you are betting a simple staking plan, or an intricate one demanding lots of input and thought, you have to keep one point in mind: Strength of will!

Punters battle with this part of their psyche every day, and most fail the test. The heady atmosphere of a racecourse, or the thrill-game played out in TAB agencies around the nation, are conducive to massive over-betting (witness the enormous turnaround of money each day through the tote machines).

On any one race you can have win and place bets (or more than one), quinellas, trifectas, and often a race is the start of a double, or a treble, or a quadrella, or else it's a 'first four' race - and then, if you like, it could be art of a race-to-race all-up.

What a mess it is! Somehow there has to be strength of will applied, but the problem, as most of us realise, is the fear that by not having a bet you are going to miss out on that $5,000 trifecta for a measly $6. The sort of win that if it escapes you, makes you feel like slitting your wrists (or something like that, perhaps not so drastic; kicking the cat, perhaps?).

There has to come a day when things change for the better, when you stop over-stretching yourself. It has to be as soon as possible because if you look back at your betting in the last few months alone I dare say you'll find countless examples of how you bet too much, how you bet stupidly and without thought, and so on.

Those lousy bets probably mean you are 'in the red' with your betting. You think to yourself, 'if only I'd stuck to the game plan I'd have been okay' and you kick yourself for yes, lack of will.

We all know the feeling. Sad to admit, but I've been there and done that. Every punter enters a long tunnel at the beginning of his betting life. Most never reach the end of it. A few find the light at the end of that tunnel.

If you are one of those people trapped in that long, long tunnel, I simply say this:


There is no use going on like the proverbial head-in-the-sand ostrich. Sure, the big win may be just around the corner, but how long have you been straining and yearning and kidding yourself about it? Better that you make a break now. Make it clean and final.

Look at your financial setup again. How much can you afford to invest each and every week, bearing in mind that you must be prepared to lose the lot? All? I can hearing you asking that question. 'Lose it all? 'Well, frankly, it is a gamble, isn't it? So be realistic. If you can't stand the thought of losing it all you shouldn't be betting that much.

How much, then? That is up to the individual. The 'X' amount is the amount you feel you can afford to lose, an amount that won't put you in dire financial straits.

If you're the sort of bloke, or lass, who likes action (can't help yourself!!) you must find a good plan that will satisfy this craving for action, without going too far. It's absolute madness to have more than 10 bets a day (though the majority of bettors do) so try to act rationally.

What about four bets a day? What about betting for a place? Try it for a few months, see how you go. Maybe it's the opening you've been waiting for. Try the following simple approach:

  1. Select no more than four horses for a day.
  2. Back the first one for $20 a place (or whatever sum you like - $5, $10 etc).
  3. If it places, take the stake ($20) from the return, and distribute the profit amongst the other three selections in equal amounts.
  4. If the first bet loses, just move onto the next horse and treat it as your first bet of the day.
  5. Each time a horse places, withdraw the stake and allocate the rest to the remaining selections. On the final bet, if any money is to be redistributed to the final horse, it gets half of the distribution only.

Of course, this is a sort of restrained place all-up bet, making sure that if you can get the first bet into a place you will, at worst, cut even for the day. You won't get rich fast, but it is a plan that teaches you control.

If you get into the right frame of mind, and you have confidence in your selections, you can even have a go at this approach with win betting. You could coin some excellent returns with a string of handily-priced winners.

But, naturally, you will need self-control and the courage and determination to continue with the idea once you have got the ball rolling. This is where strength of will comes into being. The question is whether you have it.

It stands between you and ultimate success at betting. Without a steely resolve all could be lost. Test yourself out on 'dry' runs first, on any method you use, and see for yourself whether you could really handle the method you have chosen.

Play a mind game with yourself. When a big bet is called for, get the money out in front of you, lay it out in 10s and 20s or whatever, feel it, study it - then ask yourself if you're prepared to risk it?

How you answer may well determine the rest of your betting life.

NEXT MONTH: A psychologist tells you how to mentally prepare yourself for the betting battle - what not to do, and what you must do.

Click here to read Part 3.
Click here to read Part 1.

By Ted Davies