bet more than you can afford to lose. Even if you
do everything right, even if you follow all the rules,
even if you are the best handicapper in the universe,
you can still lose. That's why they call it gambling.
If you have to do anything other than get into the
cookie jar to pay your losses, or if the amounts you're
playing make you nervous or change your personality
if you lose-stop playing! Go back and reestablish
your personal goals. When you go back to playing again,
make sure you're comfortable with the amount of the
bankroll at twenty times your normal wager, and be
prepared to lose it. I didn't say start the season
expecting to lose it-I said be prepared, emotionally
and financially, to lose it.
Why start with twenty times your normal play? Because
you are not going to win every games, and you're not
going to win every day. In fact, you're going to have
some losing weeks! Even the best players have losing
streaks, and they have to be able to weather them.
You have to deal with outright upsets. You, or your
handicapper, will just plain make a mistake, and you'll
occasionally have to deal with what is known in the
business as a "bad beat." That's a play
where you did everything right, you had the games handicapped
right, the games went exactly like you thought it would
for fifty-nine minutes, and then a crazy play or a
bad call cost you the win.
day to break even. Your first goal every games day
should be to do no worse than break even. You want
to live to fight again another day. Understand that
sports wagering is a day in, day out grind, and it
takes patience, patience, and more patience. You're
not going to win a fortune in a weekend; it's how
you wind up at the end of the season that counts.
If you gear yourself mentally, and position your bets
financially, so that on your bad days you break even,
when the really good days come along and you go 3
- 0 or 4 - 0, your bankroll gets a little bigger.
The only way to be a winner at the end of the season
is to be around at the end of the season.
One of the best
handicappers I know once told me something I have
always remembered, and I want you to remember it too.
He said, "John, they play the Star Spangled Banner
somewhere every day." In the world of sports
betting, there is always another games tomorrow
chase a losing streak. Be prepared to accept a losing
day. Doubling up or tripling up to make up for a losing
day or a losing weekend almost invariably leads to
higher losses. Sometimes it seems that there are days
when you're just "out of time with the cosmos."
When this happens, just accept them as you accept
the days when it seems like you can't do anything
Cut back on the number of plays and the amount of
the wagers when you are on a losing streak. Conversely,
don't be afraid to let your winnings run when you're
on a winning streak.
Never play from less than a full card. What does this
mean? Well, here's an example: Let's say that you
start the day ready to play four wagers out of a thirty-five-games
card, with two morning bets and two afternoon bets.
When your games are over, you've won one and lost
three, so you're down two bets. But wait ...there
are still five or six night games left.
Forget it!! Accept
your losing day and wait until tomorrow when you have
a full card to choose from again. If any of the five
or six games remaining had been good enough to play,
you probably would have selected them to begin with.
For this same reason, never try to catch up from a
losing weekend on Sunday night or Monday night games.
Try to catch up the next weekend when you have the
opportunity to look for the best plays. You must control
the betting situation instead of letting the situation
control your bets.
With rare exception,
make every play for the same dollar amount. How many
baseball games would you play where the line was minus
300? Hopefully, not any! If you lose a game you've
bet three times your normal play on, you'll have to
win four other games to get back to the plus side.
Or worse, you'll get caught up in "chasing,"
where you'll play a couple of games at higher amounts,
trying to make up for the big play you lost.
But there are
times when extra wagers are warranted. Just be aware
that these plays come along only once in a while.
When you have
doubled your starting bankroll, then, and only then,
consider moving your normal play to a higher amount.
Take it slow for your first move up, for just about
the time you think you are invincible... you know
Set a limit to
lose back down to-remember, you're not bullet proof-and
if you lose back to that number, say 50 percent of
your profits, go back to your original wager.
Do not play parlays
or teasers. I hate to be repetitious, but giving your
money away on sucker bets is not managing your money
If you're having
personal problems, don't play. Remember that you don't
have to play every day or every weekend. If you are
having person problems-problems with your spouse,
the kids, your job, your health, or your finances,
just take some time off. Anything that makes you operate
at less than your best diminishes your chances of
winning, and the games will still be going on when
you get back. Know when to play and when not to play.
Now that we've
covered self-discipline and money management, let's
go on to the third reason why most players don't win.