DISCIPLINE IS ABSOLUTELY VITAL to success in betting. You can be a master in the art of finding winners, but if you lack discipline you will struggle to avoid losing money in the long run.
Even if you are what could be termed a recreational punter, someone who enjoys the odd flutter with money he can easily afford never to see again, it is important to exhibit a degree of discipline. So-called fun bets start becoming a lot less enjoyable when they consistently lose.
Indiscipline can creep in both when you are winning and when you are losing. They say a football team is at its most vulnerable when it has just scored, and the same can be said of the punter who has just backed a winner.
If he is not disciplined, he is liable to start dreaming of riches. He may adopt the philosophy that he is betting with the bookies' money and that it is therefore not a major problem if his next bet is unsuccessful.
Selectivity is an important watchword and there is a strong temptation to discard it when you have just visited the payout counter. You cannot wait to get stuck in again. Playing up your winnings is an enticing concept - the belief that you are about to embark on a spree that will culminate in you winning a life-changing amount. It might happen, of course, but the far likelier outcome is that you will be back to square one very quickly.
For the punter who has just backed a loser, the equivalent of playing up your winnings is chasing your losses and is just about the most dangerous thing you can do. The difference between chasing your losses and playing up your winnings is that the journey back to square one is likely to take far longer and be far more painful.
Instead of waiting until you see a price that you genuinely consider worth taking, you bet at the next available opportunity in the hope of wiping the slate clean as quickly as possible.
If that recovery mission fails, you try again. And again. And before too long you are deep in trouble.
Overstaking is a classic trait of indiscipline and is often associated with the folly of playing up your winnings as quickly as possible instead of attempting to gradually consolidate your gains.
And in a similar vein, it is possible to under stake, usually when you are treading carefully because things have not been going well. It is an understandable fault. If you really fancy something but have not been faring well, the natural inclination is to hold back a little given that you do not wish to slip further into the red.
Yet a five-star bet (or whatever terminology you wish to use to signify a betting proposition about which you are supremely confident) is a five-star bet regardless of how your recent punting history has gone.
Basically, your approach to striking a bet should be consistent regardless of whether you are in profit or behind. That means keeping a clear head, remaining confident (if you have been losing) or cautious (if you have been winning) and, above all, maintaining discipline and control at all times.