Did you ever wonder how other gamblers and horseplayers handle losing streaks? I am in the middle of one, or should I say, hopefully near the end of one, as I write this. Yes even old dinosaurs like me who have played the horses since the chariot races still go through losing streaks.
Let me tell you about my, “long dark night of the soul,” so that you may get something that will help you through your next rough patch. I sell horse racing systems, but before I will put one on the market, I test them and actually play them myself. That is how I manage to offer a no questions asked guarantee on everything I sell.
That is also why I try a lot of things in order to find that one right thing that works well enough to help a fellow horse player. So that is why, on October 5th of 2009 I started working on a toteboard system that follows the money and hopefully will be profitable over the long run. It is now November 6th, 2009 so I have been testing it for over a month. I have 160% of my bankroll left, so I am ahead at the time of this writing.
However, I was at 230% of my bankroll just three days ago! That means I have been on a nasty losing streak. The worst part is, I have had such high hopes for this method of picking winners by following the money, but now I don’t know if I will lose back everything I have won. It could have just been a fluke and this may be another blind alley, a dead end, I’ve certainly been down plenty of those while learning how to handicap horse races.
Should an old gray beard like me have so much trouble with a losing streak? After all, I’ve had them so many times that I’ve lost count. Of course, I’ve also had more than my share of winning streaks, too. The answer is, no matter how many times you live through them, losing streaks are still the pits and test you over and over. Handicapping horses for profit and really working at this business is a constant test and you are only as good as your last series of bets. Do the winning streaks help? Of course it helps to remember them as a reminder.
It doesn’t matter when you’re losing, though. It starts to dominate your thoughts, especially as you watch the money slipping away and don’t know where the bottom is. I suppose people who play the stock market feel the same way when it starts to slide. We speculators can’t help but wonder, “Where is the bottom?”
The worse thing you can do is to go on what the poker players call, “Tilt.” You have to keep your equilibrium and maintain a healthy attitude and lifestyle.
First of all, don’t start the negative self talk. Nothing will dig you into a pit faster than that internal dialogue that is negative or fearful. Gambling and playing the horses is streaky, it is a fact of life and if this is the path you choose then you’d better be ready for it. So chin up and shut up or start with the positive self talk, “Everyday in every way, I am getting better and better and this is just a stepping stone, however rough it may be, to success.”
It doesn’t matter if you totally believe it, say it anyway. Like they say, “Fake it until you make it.” Just as long as you are always honest with yourself about your winning and losing and the impact it has on you and loved ones.
Speaking of loved ones, that is another important part of living through a losing streak. Stay connected with people. Tonight I called my grandson and we talked about saxophones, martial arts, winter weather, and other things. It helps to remember that there is a whole world out there filled with many things and sharing those things with others is the best way to clear your mind and stay upbeat. It also means you’re not neglecting the ones you love and who love you. It is bad enough that you are on a losing streak, don’t put them on one, too.
If you don’t have any close relatives or friends, then strike up a conversation with a stranger and talk about the weather, baseball, the government, anything that will start your brain working on something other than the track and losing or winning. We humans are social animals and interaction with other people is like a healing balm, even if it is a little difficult to get a conversation going, even if what you really feel like doing is crawling into a cave and licking your wounds. Look around yourself and see the world.
Tomorrow I am going on a day trip with my Sweetie and taking care of health related business. That is another thing that you must do, take time off and get involved in something other than the track and gambling. Have conversations, see different scenery and locales.
Finally, when you’ve aired your brain out enough and have given yourself time off, get back at it again with renewed resolve to make it. Keep notes while you are gambling and know your ROI and what bets you have made. Review everything and find your weak spots and strengths. Be willing to admit your mistakes and also realize that sometimes it isn’t you or your method, gambling is just plain streaky. If you can look at the long run, the big picture, and see that you are ahead at all, then you are very fortunate.
Making 10% profit over the long run is very good in this business, sorry if I just popped your bubble, but that is the reality of betting on horses for profit. If you aren’t making it, that means you are one of many people who are in the process of becoming a successful horse player. Stick with a good system, don’t bet with money you can’t afford to lose. Take time off (people in all other lines of work do) and eat healthy food and exercise because we horseplayers have a tendency to let ourselves go, which in turn affects our ability to think clearly and have the stamina to win.
Above all else, enjoy your days at the races, if you’re not, then maybe it is time to take time off and assess your methods and motives. Life is short and should be enjoyable for the most part. Just as we use systems to beat the races, the are systems to get the most out of life, what I have just shared with you is a pretty good start on the basics.
Enjoy your days at the races.