Betting on horses and handicapping horse races requires good discipline because it is very easy to get carried away and lose money even if you are good at picking winners. More than one handicapper has managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory when he or she got careless with the bankroll. A good handicapper has to take some time to define good money management skills and then practice sticking with them, no matter what.
It is easy to sit at home before the races and make plans of how you will handle your money and what bets you will make, but as we all know, once the races start and the money starts moving, our juices start flowing and the old competitive spirit kicks in. Making money decisions about discipline and strategies is difficult enough without waiting until you are in the midst of the handicapping battle to start making major money decisions.
That is why I recommend that you make realistic decisions and stick with them, even if you only do it one day at a time. Now here is one of the most important tips I could ever give to any gambler or handicapper (yes there is a difference, though how much of a difference depends upon you). The advice is this, never, ever, say to yourself, “I am only going to lose this much today.” (You supply the amount.) That is one of the worse lines I have ever heard.
It has to be the surest way to guarantee defeat and a loss. You are already planning on losing and have even decided how much you will lose before the day has begun. I suggest limiting losses and good money management, but I suggest the following type of statement to make to yourself before you begin betting…
“I am going to limit myself to a (you supply the amount) investment today.” Also, I suggest you also say the following, “When I have won (once again, you supply the amount) today I will be satisfied with my profit and stop betting for the day. With those simple lines and that strategy you have planned for a profitable day and also have decided ahead of time how much is enough. Too many people win money and are way ahead, whether at the race track or in a casino, and still go home a loser because they didn’t stop when they reached a reasonable win amount.
If you are going to spend time and money handicapping and are serious about making a profit then I suggest you sit down on a day when you are not going to the track or OTB and set down some guidelines for yourself. Establish some reasonable goals, such as how much money is enough of a win to make you happy and feel that you had a profitable day at the track. That should be your top limit. Then determine how much you feel comfortable losing in a day. Remember, it is a long ride home or a long time between trips to the track, so always save money for the next trip and don’t lose so much that you are sad or depressed over a loss.
If you are unsure about how to handle betting discipline there is an excellent section of True Handicapping written by a behavioral therapist and handicapper that teaches how to build discipline and still enjoy the races.