A good few years back I gained a Hons Degree reading Psychology with The Open University.
I was the male equivalent of Educating Rita.
You may remember the film released back in 1983, a screenplay written by Willy Russell based on his 1980 stage play. It starred Michael Caine and Julie Walters, who was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress. This film was all about identity.
I wonder, have you ever considered the significance of psychology as a positive tool for advantage?
Is it possible psychology could help improve your gambling performance?
The Psychological Edge.
You may consider this mailing worthy of your time or question whether it has any significance at all.
A fair number of two-year-old racehorses lose when priced at prohibitive odds.
It may be no bad thing unless you are an odds-on backer. I can't say I'm keen betting at short odds. It's an individual thing, hey. If you bet odds-on and make money then you don't need me to tell you about pounds, shillings and pence.
Personally, I would rather bet on horses priced 5/2 and bigger.
Although, it doesn't pay to say never.
You will simply paint yourself into a corner and there is no logic to that. So although guidelines and working to a pretty strict foundation of knowledge may be practical, an astute gambler is probably best defined by the decisions made when dealing with the misty grey (rather than black and white).
In ways, gambling looks very simple on the surface but there is more to it than meets the eye.
Have you ever considered your thought processes when you notice an odds-on favourite heading the market?
I doubt you have. It's not the first thing that comes to mind when you are eating your cornflakes while perusing The Sun.
There is more at play than just a short-priced favourite.
You may be a victim of psychology.
The trouble with so many aspects of psychology is that you don't even notice it is there - lurking in the background.
And if it happens to you then it's likely to happen to everyone.
We are often blinded by the human condition.
It is one of the reasons why you may benefit from keeping a diary or journal about how you think and feel when gambling, especially the procedures you employ.
True, this all sounds a bit hippie-like. You may wonder if I will be advising lighting joss sticks, taking a weekly yoga class or meditating before and after every bet.
(Whatever works for you).
How many times have you seen a race featuring an odds-on favourite and instantly moved on to the next race? You didn't question whether it could be beaten!
Once again, this isn't just a horse thing, it's a psychology thing.
I noticed this about myself.
It's what the majority of people do - without thinking.
Especially for those who don't bet odds on but fear them in opposition.
''It's a waste of time looking at that race because the favourite will win.''
Did you give the race careful consideration after thinking those thoughts?
You may be stumped by the human condition.
Have you heard of a psychological experiment run by Simon and Chabris (1999), called the Invisible Gorilla Test? It is about something called Inattentional Blindness.
The subjects were asked to watch a short video of two groups of people wearing black and white T-shirts passing a basketball around. The subjects are told to count the number of passes made by one of the teams. Amazingly, a person walks through the crowd of people playing basketball wearing a gorilla costume. After watching the video, the subjects are asked whether they noticed anything out of the ordinary taking place. In most groups, 50% of the subjects did not report seeing a gorilla!
Now, you may think what's this got to do with horse racing and betting.
However, I would suggest that quite often your attention is so focused on the sight of the odds-on favourite that you actually fail to attend to the possibility of any viable option because you don't even look to assess the other horses in opposition.
Now, I'm not saying everyone does this.
Many of you will think this is a load of mumbo jumbo.
But for those who can relate to this thought process, you have the opportunity to make positive changes.
In truth, this is just one of many psychological aspects that may hinder even the most professional of gamblers.
Because they are difficult to see and go by without a thought.
The next time you see a two-year-old race featuring an odds-on favourite, take a moment to consider your thought processes.
Introspection isn't easy to achieve.
However, it is something I am using as part of my gambling strategy. I have been surprised by how beneficial it has been. At the very least, it brings insight.
Over the last decade or so, I have studied each and every two-year-old horse trainer. This specific data isn't freely available but it helps me assess strength and weakness. Very few two-year-old trainers feature a strike rate higher than 50% with odds-on shots. This tells you that hot favourites are often poor value, especially when making their debut as inexperience is something few layers ever take into account.
No one is saying every odds-on horse is easy to beat.
In fact, many are exceptional bets and value.
However, this post isn't so much about the specific horse but how you think in general.
If you see a hot favourite in a race, pay more attention to not only the race but how you are thinking.
Sometimes, it pays to question why.
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Read our amazing last post: Don't be a Naive Gambler