ende

The Gambler’s Worst Enemy: Emotions!


It doesn’t matter where you want to succeed in life, emotions are in play with every good or bad decision you make.

In a betting context, emotions are a killer: too many emotive decisions will see long hours of preparatory work wasted and all expectations of success quickly dashed.

It is certainly not easy to lay all emotions aside but, unfortunately, there is no alternative if you wish to achieve long-term success!

The main problem of the gambler if not even his worst enemy is the gambler himself

Let’s look at a dictionary definition of emotion:

  • A strong feeling deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.
  • Instinctive or intuitive feeling (gut feeling) as distinguished from reasoning or knowledge.


Your worst enemy when gambling is invariably yourself!

If you lack the right mental attitude before entering the betting arena, then you are already a casualty.

You’ll come out of the experience bruised and bloodied, confused as to what went wrong, when all you had to do was follow the black and white rules of your own system.

We see the same pattern, over and over again.

People write to us explaining their good intentions based on really good strategies they have found, formulated over weeks, months, sometimes years’ of statistical analyses.

All starts off well and they proudly report their initial successes until they burst their own bubble:

  • The system is successful and produces profits but not quickly enough. Patience expires and greed takes over.
  • Gut feeling replaces the mathematical predictions and, instead of staying in the statistically ‘hot’ zone, selections are made outside of these very carefully calculated criteria.
  • Discipline becomes erratic and one or more rounds of betting are missed or ignored.
  • Losses are chased.
  • Too many adjustments to the original script are made as the season unfolds in response to undesired results.


A Real Life Example of Betting Emotions

One of our betting friends is in regular contact with us and he is highly skilled at identifying potential lucrative systems. He is representative of thousands of other bettors.

From our 2015-16 German Bundesliga HDAFU Table, which contains the previous five seasons’ statistical data, he was able to filter out a successful and very promising betting strategy.

The strategy:

Betting on all 17 home games of SV Hamburg with 100 unit flat stakes, the system was simple: back the underdog (the team with the highest odds), regardless of whether that be Hamburg at home or the away team.

Just one potential problem: our friend was (and still is!) a huge Hamburg fan.

So, what happened?

On 22/08/2015, Hamburg hosted Stuttgart in their first home game of the season. The underdog was Hamburg at odds of 3.0. With early season excitement, our friend placed his first bet and won when Hamburg recorded a 3-2 victory. His team won and his bet won – double joy!

Next up, on 19/09/2015, was Hamburg’s home game against Frankfurt, the underdog. Emotional problem: back Frankfurt to win, despite supporting Hamburg. Nevertheless, logic prevailed and the bet was placed. The game ended 0-0 and the first 100 unit stake was lost.

On 26/09/2015 Hamburg played Schalke, and this time, the home team was the underdog. Again, sticking to his carefully calculated system the bet was placed, but lost when Schalke won 0-1.
Three rounds and no further forwards.

Three bets placed, one winner with a return of 200 units and two losers with a total loss of 200 units. Square one. In fact, less than square one when factoring in the wasted time so far.

The fourth round was on 17/10/2015, Hamburg against Leverkusen, with the home side again the underdog. The bet was placed, the result was 0-0; the system now recorded an overall loss of 100 units.
Gnawing doubt set in.

In the fifth round, on 01/11/2015, Hamburg played host to Hannover who were priced at the longest underdog odds so far; 4.35. After three consecutive lost bets, our friend abandoned his system and backed the favourite, his own team, at odds slightly over 2.0. Of course, Hannover went on to win the match 1-2.

Five rounds, one win, 200 units lost. Could it get worse?

Heart Rules Head

Hamburg played Dortmund on 20/11/2015, and Hamburg were long odds of 9.0 to secure a win. Knowing his own team inside-out, our friend decided Hamburg had no chance at all and chose not to place the bet. Of course, he had the fans’ consolation when his team overwhelmed the favourites, 3-1!

So, after six rounds, our friend had placed just five bets, with only four of them within his original selection criteria. His losses were 200 units. Had he stuck to the plan and bet on all six underdogs, his profits would have been 1,135 units!

Could it get even worse?

You already know the answer! 😉

Party ‘Til You Drop

He was at a party on 05/12/2015 when Hamburg played Mainz. Already feeling sore about the ‘ones that got away’, he decided to have a good time rather than face the firing squad again and therefore didn’t bother placing the bet.

His philosophy was that his system had already produced a streak of winners and the chances were that this would breakdown at some stage. Mainz were the underdog at 3.3 and duly proceeded to win the match 1-3. Another lost opportunity.

Total apathy now reigned and the decision was made to give up the system altogether.

The next match saw Augsburg, the underdog, win 0-1 at odds of 3.25.

Bringing results up to date at the time of writing, Hamburg’s last match was a home defeat by heavy favourites Bayern Munich.

Summary Execution

Instead of registering a profit of 1,490 units from nine bets, our friend placed just four bets within his strategy (plus the one outside it) and lost 200 units. Does this pattern sound familiar?

And, he is not a stupid man. He is well educated and is currently graduating university with a degree in Economics. His name is Florian and we thank him for his permission to relate this story.

Instructions on How to Guarantee Bankruptcy!

Greed Emotion Shock Good Intentions - Until Bust

Simple: Let greed and emotions rule your bet placements.

Here, emotions include hope, euphoria, disappointment, shock, desperation, apathy, resignation. All of these things combine to make you a totally ineffective gambler.

Unfortunately, Florian ran the whole gamut (and probably more) when test-driving what, on the face of it, was a really promising system.


Next Page: How to Succeed…


learn to think like a bookmaker!
deciphering bookmaker mathematics

Last Update: 20 September 2017

Categories:Betting Advice Betting Guidance



3 Responses to “The Gambler’s Worst Enemy: Emotions!”

  1. Rod
    13 February 2016 at 12:00 am #

    Nice article. Since I started to pay a lot more attention to my emotions in an inplay match, my winnings have skyrocketed. I took a vow to convert 100 dlls into 10 000. I achieve it in 3 months just by watching the games and applying some stats from soccerwidow’s lessons.
    Keep in mind I did this on live fixtures and trading my positions. Emotional control becomes a must when you are winning but should sell or when you are losing but should keep your stake at the game. Its easier on your mind betting prelive with a bet and forget portfolio but I discovered I could make a lot more by exploiting the momentary value bets you get inplay.

  2. Ben
    10 September 2016 at 10:40 am #

    Hello to you all, who are following this useful site. Soccerwidow for punters is like Jose Mourinho for players. There to tell you there is no other better bet than YOU. Bet on you. Study, prepare, rehearsal 500 times, 1000 times, 10 000 times, and then go to war.

    Best article , #1Must read.

    Like Rod my focus and work gravitates around live fixtures – trading positions, since now it worked pretty well.

    Tip for begginers: after each day, analyze what you did well and what you did wrong and compare the results. Be objective . This way you will keep confidence and you’ll see where was bad luck, bad performance from you, or gambling(emotional -gut betting) .

    Keep up with the good work, Soccerwidow.

  3. Dom
    9 October 2017 at 7:44 pm #

    I trialled a lay system I developed on horse racing, at small stakes I was up to £400 profit in less than a few months, and then it turned against me and I dropped to £200 profit. Through fear that the £400 was just a fluke and fear of losing the rest of the profit I stopped the system and never tried it any further. Emotions meant I never found out if the system would be able to be profitable over the long term. Very good article

Leave a Reply / Comment