I’ve been having a think about some bad habits I got into gambling/trading football last season. There was a period of a few weeks around the January, February 2011 time when I really should have totally pulled the plug on my betting/trading for a couple of weeks and taken stock of what was happening. Had I unwittingly changed my strategies? Was it bad discipline? Bad match selections? Or was I simply just in the middle of a bad run.
To be honest, I’d say it was a combination of all of the above.
I haven’t actually got an out and out strategy, finding one is bloody hard work. I’ve got a few systems that I use and tinker with and at the moment I am attempting to follow my low level stakes technique.
But before I attempt to fully implement a system, I feel I need to iron out some of my bad gambling/trading habits.
That’s why in this post, rather than looking at strategies, I’m going to concentrate on where I think I’ve been going wrong and what habits I feel I need to cut out of my gambling/trading.
The first thing I think I need to cut out is betting on late night foreign games I know nothing about. I’ve found if I have had a bad end to the day on the English and Spanish games I start committing the cardinal sin of chasing money. I end up gambling on South American matches I know nothing about late at night, I look at the odds for over/under 2.5 goals and base my goal expectation on these odds and lay or back a certain amount of goals in the game.
I may as well go and play roulette, as I have as much knowledge of what number might come up next as I do about the games I’m betting on. So why do I do it? I’m not sure, but one thing I do know is that all I’m doing is playing a lottery and it’s just a game of numbers. The first one might win, then the second might lose.
After re-reading those last two paragraphs, I see that the problem is probably not so much the match. But more the fact that I am chasing and am tired and frustrated. Foreign games can certainly be good to trade, but it has to be the right ones. I suppose it’s more having the knowledge to pick the right ones, rather than just betting on them because they are the only games on at the time.
This leads me onto my second bad strategy, gambling/trading when tired. If I’m still up having a go on these foreign matches, I have generally been trading all day. It usually happens on Sundays, generally I have done the live Premier League games and then moved onto the Spanish games live on Sky Sports, the last of which usually finishes at about 10pm. By this time I’m tired, my judgement has gone, and along with this so has any remaining discipline.
In these circumstances I just need to switch the computer off and walk away. I know it sounds hard to believe when you’re sitting at a computer all day, but I do get mentally fatigued and it does affect my judgement. That’s why so far this season, I’ve been identifying a handful of games worth trading, and watching them to see if any opportunities arise.
Which again, leads me nicely into my next problem. In the past I have tended to get involved in too many matches at once, I’ve had this view that if you have 10 bets and 9 win and 1 loses, then what’s the point in dragging them out over the course of a month when you can do it in a weekend. That there is little point in betting on one or two games a weekend, then losing after about 8 weeks.
So why not just get on with it and get through the process quicker? Answer, because that is a stupid way to trade.
I’ve at last now come to the conclusion that this is a stupid approach, in fact it is an absolutely ridiculous way to gamble/trade. For a start if you only trade a selection of matches you should have a fresher brain which should lead to more rational thinking and hopefully a more productive outcome. And it will also mean you are only betting on games that you know something about, rather than playing the lottery on obscure Peruvian matches with no liquidity kicking off at 11.30pm on a Sunday night (as mentioned above).
Another of my major sins is getting sucked into having a bigger bet if it is a bigger team, or I think I’m more certain about a particular team. I’m sure we have all done it at some stage. Last season I got back in from somewhere on a Saturday evening and noticed that in the 5.15 kick off, Man Utd were 2-1 down away at Wolves at half time.
Brilliant, there is no way Utd will lose away at Wolves. Get on the goals market, at least 2 more are guaranteed. Earlier in the day on the 3pm kick offs, I would have been having steady bets consistent with a percentage of my betting bank, but this is Man Utd away at Wolves, they are losing at half time, surely they will hammer Wolves in the 2nd half.
So what do I do? I put a bet on way beyond anything I’ve had that day purely because this is Man Utd and they are certain to win. What happens? The match ends up at 2-1 and I’ve done all my days winnings and a large percentage of my bank. All because it was Man Utd and they were (supposed to be) a cert.
I did the exact same thing in two Arsenal home games that they drew 0-0, both coming late on in last season. I think it was against Sunderland and Blackburn. Both identical (talk about not learning), both 0-0 with around 20 minutes to go, I’ve already invested some money on both matches, but this is Arsenal and they just don’t draw 0-0. I’ve covered all my losses laying 0-0, then with about 10 minutes left I’ve laid even more, as this is Arsenal and like I wrote before, they don’t draw 0-0 at home.
Oh yes they do, and again I’ve done a large chunk of my betting bank, not once, but twice.
I need to treat all bets the same. If I fancy goals in Stoke V West Ham and have a tenner on it, don’t have £50 on the Man Utd or Arsenal game just because it’s Man Utd or Arsenal, treat every bet the same and bet according to the state of your betting bank. This is yet another consistent mistake I made last season that I didn’t seem to learn from.
Also, if I fancy one bet more than the other. Go with the one I like best, rather than both.
This is why this season I’ll be implementing a staking plan, I’ll go into detail about this in a later post.
These are some of the biggest problems I have that I have managed to identify, I’m sure there are plenty more. A good staking plan is also required, but before that I need to get rid of some of the bad habits I have got into.
I hope readers find my experiences helpful to their own trading techniques, I’m also publishing this article as a reminder to myself to where I keep going wrong. I intend to read it regularly to remind myself what not to do. Please feel free to leave any comments about your own experiences.
Many Thanks, Dean