Last week on the podcast Nick Pinkerton answered questions from our members on how to get started as a serious punter including skills, lifestyle, mindset and form analysis.

In part two of our chat (below) Nick focuses on how, when and where to place a bet and also how to manage your money.

Punting Insights:

  • His preferred staking plan
  • How to deal with rising and shrinking banks
  • The reason why he never bets quaddies
  • How he has a much more balanced lifestyle than ever before

Today’s Guest:
Nick Pinkerton

Get the Transcript:

>> Click Here to Read the Transcript

David Duffield: I want to move on to the bet placement and staking money management. We had a bunch of questions in this one. The first one was “How can I make money out of exotics?”

Nick Pinkerton: Look that’s a conversation for another day. Exotics are tricky. I don’t play exotics, I’m a win only punter. I don’t bet each way. I literally bet win only. My own perspective, I’ve got that much respect for punting. I find it hard enough to back a winner, never mind point 1, 2, and 3 in a race or even find 4 winners of a quadrella. What I will say on the subject though is Daniel O’Sullivan opened my eyes once about 10 years ago to the chances of winning a quadrella and it struck me like a brick and I’ve never forgotten it.
If you talk even money about winning every leg of a quadrella, you still only going to win 1 in 16 quadrellas. I was like that’s amazing.
You mean if I back 50% of winning chances in every race, it’s only going to be a $16 chance. If you do the maths that’s right, 50% by 50% by 50% by 50%, comes out at $16.
That’s when I went too hard for me, I think I’ll leave that alone. I’ve got a similar philosophy about exotics, so there’s plenty of better people you could ask if you don’t me passing on that one.

David Duffield: Not at all. How do you determine the true odds for a horse to finish in a place?

Nick Pinkerton: Again, depends on, look, there’s a mathematical way of doing it, and then there’s other ways of doing it which are a little bit more artistic again. It’s again the art versus the science.
If you’re talking about backing the second or third favourite against the favourite you believe is totally undervalued, then the true mathematical odds are not going to represent the full opportunity as if it was the other way around. I think stick to the mathematics of it, but understand that there are opportunities to shift slightly over and slightly under from that.

David Duffield: Do you have a minimum price? This is a new question, not to do with the place, do you have a minimum price, say $1.50 where you won’t bet under that or do you just look at value?

Nick Pinkerton: Yeah, I would never back anything under $1.50. I have backed $1.35 at once and was in a 2500m race and I just didn’t enjoy the experience.

David Duffield: Did it win?

Nick Pinkerton: It did win. It was Faint Perfume in the VRC Oaks. It might have been $1.35 actually, but didn’t win by much either, I might add, but enough. I just didn’t enjoy it.
I think what happens when I start playing at that end of the marketplace, I start thinking about how I’d feel if it got beaten, and I start to lament the position I put myself in. Yeah, absolutely, just from a personal mindset point of view, and being able to control my confidence levels, I definitely have a minimum price.

David Duffield: What about getting the best price? It came up a few times. Someone’s got here, “knowing when to bet early or when to wait,” another person wrote “deciding the right moment to put your bet on”, so how do you try and read the market?

Nick Pinkerton: It’s got a lot harder since markets have opened on Wednesdays. Obviously, this would have been a very different question 5 years ago, before we had such activity from Wednesday through to race day, but I personally use Dynamic Race Odds.
I’m happy just to have a group of bookmakers there who I believe represent times when markets are likely to move and I just monitor horses on there until such a point as I feel it’s time to move. Do I get more right than wrong? Yes, but do I get plenty wrong? Absolutely.
I think it’s one of those things that over the course of time, you just have to run with. On a Saturday, if you’re looking at the horse’s prices at 9, 9:30 in the morning, and you haven’t had a bet in the race yet, but you don’t know whether to take that price that’s available at the time or not, definitely look at best of the best options and all those best odds guarantees if you can. It makes sense that if you’re not happy to take fixed odds, fixed price then, well, something to do with top fluc or best tote is definitely going to be a reasonable outcome.

David Duffield: What about getting a bet on? How do you about trying to stay alive with the corporates, and just being able to get a reasonable amount on when you do want to get involved?

Nick Pinkerton: Getting a decent bet size on has become a real struggle, as I’m sure everyone of your listeners will understand. I think the key to all is dribbling a bit on spread your bets across a whole range of bookmakers. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Don’t try and get egotistical about firming things. Just try and leave all emotion and ego aside and just be as under the radar about your activity as you possibly can.
Personally, I don’t understand why the corporate bookmaking model is the way it is today?
Why would you want to close the account of a winning punter, only to find out a month later he’s been using some bowler and taking you for another ride? Wouldn’t it make much better sense to make a phone call to him and say listen, you’re too hard to beat, but I’m not going to break you. I’m going to bet you the odds to win such and such. Everyone knows where they stand, the corporate bookmakers still get to see your flow, and we can all go on with our business. I know what my limits are going to be at every joint, and I just know obviously now I can pick a sequential order who I’m going to go to first, second, third, etc.
I won’t mention who, but I once had a corporate bookmaking account through which, I opened and for about the first 6 weeks I did nothing but lose. I was about $25,000 in the hole to this account at the time, and there was a day, it might have been Victoria Derby Day, 2012, I think it could have been, and they were betting $71 about a horse that was $51 in the ring. I asked them for $500 straight out on it. They bet me. Of course it won. It’s $35,000 to $500, and within a minute, I was barred. I couldn’t have another bet.
How on earth do you run a business like that? You let someone do $25,000 in 6 weeks. You go up 70’s on a 50’s chance, I have $500 on it, and that’s it. You’re barred. You’re finished. Just didn’t make any sense to me. It’s a disgraceful practice, and you’ve just got to do the best you can to stay alive and spread your bets.

David Duffield: A lot of questions about staking. “What staking plan do you use, and what are your risk versus return rules?”

Nick Pinkerton: As far as staking is concerned, this is the thing that got me into the most amount of trouble in the 5 months I was having a losing trot. As I said, once I stepped away, Caulfield Cup Day last year and looked back at it, I realised that’s where I was making my biggest mistake. I just didn’t adjust where I needed to.
As I was bringing in new variables, I was backing more horses in a race, and just didn’t compensate appropriately.
I think the best staking strategy long-term is to bet to collect a certain percentage of your bank. Depend on your confidence level edge and some other factors. I think somewhere between 2.5% and 5% is probably common practice. For me, I use something even a little bit more simplistic than that.
I tend to group horses into price ranges and bet a certain number of points. Which is again very similar to a percentage of my bank. Just depending on what price bracket the horse is in. The most important thing to remember is 2/1 chances will win more than 4/1 chances and 4/1 chances obviously win more that 10/1 chances. You’ve got to have a staking methodology that recognises that appropriately.
You can’t be betting level stakes in my mind.

David Duffield: What’s your view on proportionate staking as opposed to escalator betting, and how and when do you choose one over the other? By escalator I mean level stakes, but the stake increases as the bank increases, but never decreases.

Nick Pinkerton: Escalating and diminishing banks are interesting.
I think my best advice on that is if you stick to collecting a certain percentage of your bank, and you stick with that as your bank rises and falls. Now I don’t mean necessarily in every little increment, but if you start with a $10,000 bank, you might say OK when it gets to $15,000 I’m going to increase my bet size. Or when it gets to $7,500 I might decrease my bet size. You don’t need to do it every day, but if you were to do it every day that would solve the problem of it escalating and diminishing bets.
I just look, what’s my styling bank at the beginning of the day. OK, what percentage am I going to back a horse to collect, what percentage am I looking to collect from my bank and go with that. If the bank’s $11,000, it’s that percentage, if it’s $10,000, that percentage.

David Duffield: This question is about bankroll growth. How do you access your winnings to use as a steady income, withdraw from accounts or laying true exchanges or copying commission? Also, after a successful run of winners, how do you keep the money and then continue with the build up of winnings? My bank has grown more than 4 times over the last 6 months, but I’m still betting at the same level per unit as I did at the start. At what point should you look to up your betting stakes?

Nick Pinkerton: Well that’s an excellent effort.

David Duffield: That’s a nice problem to have.

Nick Pinkerton: Yeah, it’s a great result. I think this comes right back to the very basics we talked about at the very beginning of this call.
What’s your plan?
Is your plan to bet so that you can build the bank big enough so that one day you might be able to rely on it for income? Or is your plan to bet so that you might be able to take your family away on an annual holiday at Christmas time? Is your plan to bet to get an extra mortgage repayment in every year?
What is the plan?
If you’re lucky enough to be able to quarantine some cash and say, all right, there’s my $10,000 starting bank, and I’m going to grow this as hard as I can for the next 5 years without taking anything out of it, such as your client has got 4 times growth?
Then that’s probably the best scenario, and in the event that you’re getting that sort of growth, you should definitely be increasing your stakes. If you’re betting to collect a certain percentage of your bank, you would have been doing that, and that 4 times growth would probably be significantly higher now.
The key to betting, obviously is that with punting you can make your money work much harder than a traditional investment will, because you’re going to turn that upfront capital over multiple times every week, month, and year.
You want to be maximising your opportunity if you’ve got an edge and you’re a profitable punter and you’re growing your bank, increase your bets to reflect the growing bank size. Leave what you can in there, so that you can leverage off the extra return from the growth in your bank.

David Duffield: Another good question is: Establishing bank size and unit bet size when using several different betting strategies at the same time, I have a $20,000 betting bank, with 3 different, independent strategies, betting the ratings, the New Zealand tips and the Sports Predictor service. Should I be using $20,000 bank for each strategy, so one unit amount terminology is $200? Or dividing the bank into 3?

Nick Pinkerton: I think you should be using 3 different banks for 3 different strategies. Would you agree with that?

David Duffield: That’s the way we recommend it to people. There can be… the beauty of having 3 strategies is it’s highly unlikely that all 3 all going to have a big drawdown at the same time, so you can have some diversity there, but for full bankroll protection, you really need to have separate banks for each strategy.

Nick Pinkerton: Yeah, particularly when they’re unrelated like that, given they’re sports, New Zealand, and Australian products. Three banks makes sense.

David Duffield: OK. Do you play the multi-s?

Nick Pinkerton: No.

David Duffield: That was short and sweet and the answer I expected. Do you ever stop because you’ve won enough for the day?

Nick Pinkerton: No. I think that’s really important. Why? The first 6 races have gone well, should the results of races 7, 8, and 9 be any different? It’s-

David Duffield: Also we don’t judge our results on a day anyway. People like to and you can fall back on that subconsciously, but we look at a monthly approach just because it helps you deal with the ebbs and flows and as far as it going away or not. Day by day is not really something that we measure other than we have to in that we report the results on the website.

Nick Pinkerton: Yeah, absolutely right.
There’s nothing harder to deal with than a day where you’ve gotten off to a flying start and you’re having a personal best after race five and you end up square or slightly in front or heaven forbid, slightly behind.
It is hard to deal with, but it’s just how it is. There’ll be other days when you’ll get off to a shocking start, you’ll get out and finish just in front, and if you’d stopped after the shocking start you would have got the other results.
I think the most important thing here is the last race never comes and really, end of day, end of month, end of quarter, or end of year. They’re just accounting periods. The only reason we put a line in the sand is so that we can actually get some indication of how we’re going and form some evaluation on what we’re doing and what we might be able to do better. If not for that, I wouldn’t recommend any bet ever being different on the basis of an outcome that’s already happened.

David Duffield: I agree. Now, last thing I wanted to cover was the work life balance. Someone has written here and said, “managing time, family, work, and punting, how do you do it?”

Nick Pinkerton: Chronic, it’s absolutely chronic. Particularly with video work, it’s one of the hardest things to stay on top of because as soon as you take a holiday, you’ve got a backlog of work to get on with, and of course you came to get back on with the pre-race and the betting side of things, rather than the post-race and database maintenance. It’s really tricky.
In my case, I’m a father, I’m a husband, and a father of 4 children. They’ve got used to that lifestyle but it’s a disciplined approach everyday. This has got nothing to do with racing, but it’s probably going to help people, or I hope it helps people.
Every day I have a plan for what I want to achieve for the day. The first thing is life. I make sure my wife’s got what she needs to have what she wants done in the day, my children have what they need to get done what they need to get done in the day, then I structure my activities, then I make sure the last thing I do every day was go back and deal with life issues again. If you just get your head into what I’m doing and don’t pay any attention to what the wife and children want, it ends up in tears.
The other beautiful thing about what I do is I’ve got flexibility in terms of time. Saturdays are obviously Saturdays, Wednesdays are Wednesdays, but the rest of it, you can do your replays over 5, 6, 7 day period. It’s not like they have to be done at a certain point in time, so if I’m up at midnight, trying to finish a workload for a day, because I’ve had to spread myself across the family, then that’s one of those things I have to do. It’s a much better option doing things that way, than getting things done and finding out that everyone else is just pulling their hair out.

David Duffield: Great answer. We’ve covered, getting started, lifestyle and mindset, form analysis, bet placement, staking, money management, it’s been fairly comprehensive. Was there anything else you want to chat about just before we wrap it up?

Nick Pinkerton: No, the only thing I will say, is I really do want to encourage people that I really do believe, I’m speaking from a personal experience of 20 years, I think people should be encouraged to view punting as a viable alternative form of investment.
I see no reason why they shouldn’t be able to do that if you compare the results you can get from a $10,000 starting bank in punting, using a Champion Picks product or a product of any service provider, if you compare them to what you’d get by giving $10,000 to a managed super fund investment plan, I think you’ll find over 3 year period with appropriate skills and planning and discipline, you can get a much better outcome. I’ll encourage people to do that.
Most important thing is just find a selection or pricing product that works, that you’re comfortable with, but ultimately, chase more pleasure, more profit, more confidence, in what you’re doing, and understand that you can get a return and get extra income and cash from whatever it is you’re trying to do, as long as you follow a plan and stay structured and disciplined.

David Duffield: Good advice. Really appreciate your time, Nick. Thanks for returning to the show and all the very best for 2015.

Nick Pinkerton: Absolute pleasure. Thank you, David.

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Weekend Racing review – December 13th

by darryn on December 15, 2014

Flemington review by Ray Hickson

Race 1: Dorevitch Pathology (1600m)

1st Audino – Jordan Childs
2nd Epic Saga – Damian Lane
3rd Tallat – Regan Bayliss

Tallat was sent straight to the front with Audino trailing early. Epic Saga raced outside Moscow Pearl. Tramcar Johnny raced a bit ungenerously and pulled his way up three wide. Zlatan and Godfrey were at the tail. Audino moved alongside Tallat midrace to share the lead and Tramcar Johnny kept going up to third. Moscow Pearl continued to get a nice run with Epic Saga dropping back a length or two. Audino was asked to go past the 400m but Tallat still had a kick and Epic Saga was emerging out wide, while this was going on Moscow Pearl couldn’t get a clear crack at them and seemed to give up a bit as she didn’t dash at all when she found room. Audino kept going and just held off Epic Saga to make it three wins on end. Tallat was entitled to box on for a place and he did while Godfrey ran on along the fence without threatening ahead of Moscow Pearl, who has to be regarded as disappointing. Wasn’t a fast run race and that played into the hands of the winner.

Follow: hard to knock the winner but a city win mightn’t be far off for Epic Saga. (Click to continue reading…)

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We first had Nick Pinkerton on the show in July 2013 and he talked about how his experience in financial markets helped shape his approach to punting. He also gave some solid tips on how to find value as a punter and how to keep the odds in your favour by managing risk. Nick learned the trade with Ferncourt, Mark Read and Con Kafataris to hone his form analysis and risk management skills.

So we’ve got him back on the show to find out exactly how he’s been going over the last 18 months and he is honest enough to explain why it hasn’t all been plain sailing.

Punting Insights You’ll Find:

  • Why punting is like an extreme sport
  • The key lesson he learned from successes and failures in the last year
  • Why excellent form analysts can still be very poor punters
  • The profile of horse he is looking for when doing video replays
  • How he deals with losing runs

A link to the case study mentioned: Lessons From The Brain-Damaged Investor

Today’s Guest:
Nick Pinkerton

Get the Transcript:

>> Click Here to Read the Transcript

David Duffield: Good day, Nick, and welcome back to the show.

Nick Pinkerton: Hi, David, how are you?

David Duffield: Going very well, thanks and looking forward to having another chat with you. We had you on right about 18 months ago and have followed you up until that time as well. Yeah, just wanted to check in with you, see how things have been going, and also we’ve taken some questions from our members on some of the most pressing issues and what they would like to ask of someone that’s been in this game for quite a while. We’ll run through those in just a moment, if that’s OK?

Nick Pinkerton: Yep, no problems at all.

David Duffield: All right, the first range of topics that came up was just to do with getting started, and one of the common questions was: How do you gain the confidence when you’re starting out?

Nick Pinkerton: I think in regards to confidence, I see punting as a bit of an extreme sport. If you use skiing as an analogy, lots of people can enjoy green runs and have fun. Some can go down a green run and tumble, and others don’t like to tumble. Yet, there’s plenty of people who with a bit of practice can go and tackle a black diamond run, but it takes a completely different type of attitude and application to get to representative level or whatever it is you’re doing.
Betting is all about confidence. If you’ve got skills and a plan, you’ll get there, but nothing builds confidence more than having that intimate knowledge of what factors provide you with the edge that you’ve got and helping you make that money. The most important thing is just trying to identify what your edge is.
I’m not all things to all punters, but I manage to find out what works for me.
Although it hasn’t always been that way. Since we last spoke, I’ve actually just got back from a long break from racing, only in September of this year. I come back from Caulfield Cup Day in 2013, and one of the reasons I took that break from racing was I actually had a dent in my own confidence. We’re not immune to it, even after 20 years of successful punting. I had my first extended losing period in sort of middle of 2013 through to Caulfield Cup. Then at the time, it seemed inexplicable, but funnily enough, when I stepped away, as most things do, when you get out of the heat, you can see the trees for the forest.
I realised a few things.
Basically, I got away from the things I used to do and do well. I got confused between what my strengths were, and I tried to incorporate a lot of things that were just not my natural way of doing things. I got further and further away from the things that I was confident about. Even to the point that I started to question whether I even had an edge in what I thought I did.

David Duffield: We might expand on that a little bit later, just to get you to see the journey that you’ve been on, but in terms of getting started for a lot of guys that would dream about going from what they’re doing right now, to doing it full time. Obviously, the skills and the plan is one part of it. Do you think that’s the only way to have that confidence is just to have that skills and that background behind you?

Nick Pinkerton: Yeah, absolutely. One of the sayings I grew up with when I was financial markets trader through the 80’s and 90’s is, I once came across a saying and it says, “Fear is crippling, and fear comes from ignorance.”
Now that’s not ignorance in an absolute sense, obviously, but it’s ignorance in the sense that you can be overwhelmed or intimidated by what you don’t know. I think that’s the most important thing.
For a punter to go from a weekend warrior or a part-time punter with a full time job to someone who relies on it for an income, you really need to understand what it is that you don’t know that you don’t know. You’ve got to read and research everything you possibly can, because most of us know what we don’t know, but a lot of us don’t know what we don’t know. That’s the thing. You’ve got to look at other successful punters around you, find out what they’re doing, and find out what resonates best with you. Build a plan around that.

David Duffield: OK. I like that quote about fear. Another one I’ve heard which isn’t probably quite as appropriate, but “Fear is pissing your pants, and courage is being able to get on with the job with wet pants.”

Nick Pinkerton: Yeah, absolutely. Courage and resilience is something that professional punter definitely needs a lot of, yeah.

David Duffield: Another one about getting started was: What is regarded as an acceptable strike rate? This is the way it was phrased to us, so you may even mention profitability, but: What is regarded as an acceptable strike rate for a serious punter to aim for, or is there another measure that should guide a punter?

Nick Pinkerton: Yeah, I wouldn’t be concerned about strike rate at all. I’d be hard pressed at any period of, I can get the figures of course, but over 20 years, I’ve never had a look at what my strike rate is. If I’m reporting on results, yes, I’ll say I had a strike rate of and average dividends of, but I’ve got to go and find it. It’s not something I’m looking at.
I think what’s far more important is profitability. You need to be looking at what your level of profitability is or your profit on turnover is. Again, I come back to it, you need to be mindful of where that’s coming from.
Where is your edge? I’ve met a lot of fantastic pre-race analysts, but they’re not great at post race analysis. I’ve met lots of great pre and post race analysts, but they’re just no good with race day betting operations. They just don’t know how to bet. They can isolate winners and they can play on the good market, but they take the market to the races, and they come home losers.
I think you just, what it is that’s giving you value that you think you’ve got in the marketplace. That’s the most important thing. Not strike rate, but your profit on turnover and your profitability will give you an answer to what that edge is. You should know through what you’re doing where that edge is coming from.

David Duffield: Yeah, and one of the main things you do want to be aware of your strike rate, I know it’s not a major metric you look at in terms of success, but just bankroll management and being able to cope with losing runs. That’s because obviously the lower the strike rate, the longer the losing runs you’re going to have, and you need both the bankroll and the mindset to overcome that.

Nick Pinkerton: Yeah, absolutely, and I think there that the key to bankrolls is having a realistic expectation of what your horses chances are of actually winning the race.
I think on balance, the average punter watches a $4 chance go around in a race, and I think their expectation is the horse has a much better chance than the average $4 chance would have. Likewise I know people who back odds-on chances, and they just think they are across the line.
You’re taking $1.80 something, you think it’s a good thing, right?
But the reality is, $1.80 chance is going to get beaten plenty of times, so you can’t kick the can when 2 or 3 of them get beaten you happen to bet 4 or 5 of them in a row and they fall over. It’s certainly not beyond the realms of possibility. I think you have to keep in mind the whole time what a horse’s most realistic chance of winning is, and obviously, starting price is the best guide to that.
If you’re going to bet $10 chances, you need to manage your business a hell of a lot differently, than if you’re going to back even money chances.

David Duffield: Another question we had, and you’ve mentioned this in terms of knowing your rate and also confidence and discipline, but this says, “What, in your opinion, is the key to long term success?”

Nick Pinkerton: Very good question. I think it’s having a very clear plan that’s built around your skills and the skills that work for you, and then the discipline and resilience to carry that out. When I mean resilience, I’m talking about the ability to have the next bet exactly the same as you would have before the previous bet’s been resulted.

David Duffield: That’s a good way of looking at it. One of the things I’ve noticed, just speaking to a whole gamut of professionals across different codes, is that every professional punter operates differently. You can’t just buy a professional punting franchise and operate it that way. People have very different approaches, and they can all win with different strategies and definitely different mindsets.

Nick Pinkerton: Absolutely. I think the idea of a professional punter or the success of the successful punter actually combines art and science. I think to be a successful punter, you need to be an artist with a science degree basically. The science degree will keep you solid and in line with facts and statistics, and the artistic element will obviously allow you to bring in your own interpretation of variables.
For arguments sake, with me, I would say my number one strength is in my pre-race analysis, which comes from a post- race work. I do a hell of a lot of video replay work, and I look for a certain profile of horse. I look for a horse that basically can demonstrate a capacity to absorb pressure in a race and still finish its race off. It’s a combination of sectionals and just overcoming some sort of adversity. That involves some sort of artistic nature and I’ve tried to teach that to people to get some duplicate ability or duplication in the amount of work I can cover, but I’ve had varying degrees of success with doing that. Some people get it, some people don’t.
I tried to map it down to a set of markers, and I think that would make it easy by making it a science, but I can’t try and teach someone when a horse is pulling. We can all see the extreme examples, but it takes a lot of experience and a lot of practice to know when it is really pulling to the detriment of itself. Or when it’s just racing a little bit keen and it’s probably not going to make a lot of difference to the outcome. Just not something I find you can teach.

David Duffield: That covers some of the getting started questions that we had. There were three other broad categories that came through. Next up will be lifestyle and mindset issues, then form analysis, and then bet placement, money management, and that type of thing.
The next category being lifestyle and mindset, a question we had was, “My biggest pain is me. In your punting life, have you ever felt this way? It’s such an up and down business. Could you share some strategies on some ordinary periods”
You mentioned that post Caulfield Cup day, 2013, was one of those periods or the lead up to that anyway. What would you share with someone like that?

Nick Pinkerton: It’s a good question. The roller coaster nature of punting is just something we’ve got to get used to. I don’t think there’s too many ways around it, and the nature of the beast is you’re just going to have those ebbs and flows. What I think is really important is that resilience I talked about before.
There was a study done back in 2005, and it’s an interesting study. They found a group of American academics, and some of them had an injury. They had a known injury to areas of their brain that were known to be associated with emotions.
They had 20 of those people, and they had 20 people that supposedly uninjured. They each gave them $20, and they gave them 6/4 about a coin toss. They were going to toss the coin 20 times, and they each had an opportunity to have a $1 wager on each of those 20 tosses.
The results are amazing. You can just imagine what happened. Some of them got off to a good start; some of them got off to a bad start. In the end, the basic findings of the result were that those that had an injury to parts of their brain that control their emotions, they bet on 16 out of the 20 occasions, even though they were getting 6/4 about an even’s chance. Yet, the people who had no impairment to the emotional element of their brain, only invested 12 out of 20 times, even though they were getting 6/4 about an even’s chance.
I think that says a hell of a lot about how we get in our own way, and I totally empathize with the question that your client asked. We do get in our own way.
Why on earth would you invest 12 out of 20 times, when you’re getting 6/4 about an even’s chance? The only possible conclusion is because we’re starting to think about the run that we’ve had. I started with a good bank. I could walk away with the $20 if I don’t play now. I’ve lost $5 in the first 5 tosses. I don’t want to lose any more. I’ll just close up shop. It doesn’t make sense if you’re getting 6/4 in evens chance, you should be betting on all 20, shouldn’t you?

David Duffield: Oh, for sure. I’ve never heard of that case study, so I might look it up myself. (Link to case study)

Nick Pinkerton: Yeah, I’m not sure the name of the study, but it’s an interesting study. I think the findings are something we can all relate to. It’s interesting.
Another thing is some more statistics, I’m not exactly sure what they are, but it’s something like in your punting life, you’re going to spend more than 80% of your time with a bank lower than it’s been at some point in the past, regardless of how successful you are. I think there’s some statistic that almost 50% of the time, your bank is going to be at least 25% lower than it’s been some time in the past. You’ve got to get used to these things. These are just normal things.
Income from a professional punting career is not going to come in a linear fashion. It’s not going to come in a straight line, but you just have to have some resolve to that. I think the most important thing is confidence. If you can build some confidence around what it is that is making you money, that will get you through those periods of negativity, for want of a better word, or some sort of drawdown on your bank. Does that answer your question?

David Duffield: It does and there’s a few follow ups related to that. These are all individual responses to a survey we sent out to our members, but it was, “How do you stay confident when 3 or 4 punts go wrong? How do you handle a run of losses, coping with losing runs? How does he deal with the psychological trauma of a long run of outs, losing odds on selections, discipline not to over bet?” They’re all on a similar vein, so I thought I’d share that with you, and see if there was anything else you wanted to mention about that, and just the importance of mindset.

Nick Pinkerton: I think in terms of handling a brutal long run, I can speak from experience. I recommend walking away.
One of the things you can do is just put some space between you and what you’re doing. Doesn’t need to be 12 months, but I think if you’re having a bit of a bad run, and you started to watch a spate of seconds or a spade of unlucky interferences or something like that, and you’ve started to question yourself. You can actually catch yourself starting to bring that negative talk in your mind, but I have a look at this. Everything I bet gets caught 3 wide or gets interfered with. Just take a break.
Put some space between you and what you’re doing for a week or two. Clear your head, and come back again with a fresh mindset. When you do come back, get very clear about what it is you’re going to do. What processes are you going to follow from a pre race and a betting point of view and still stick to those bets.
In regards to the over betting elements of it, I think the most important thing to do there is have a list of bets, and don’t have any of those impromptu, spur of the moment, type of bets. I think they are probably the curse of every weekend warrior or every part time punter.

David Duffield: It depends I think on how the selections are being generated because for our members, if we’ve had a run of seconds and stuff, we encourage them to dust themselves off and keep going.
Not to bet more and not to bet less.
I think it’s different if you’re actually doing the form yourself, and a lot of it is your own gut instinct and experience. That can be swayed or negatively affected if you’re having a bad run, but if you’re following a proven approach or you’re getting some third party analysis done for you, we actually recommend that you stick it out, because the way variance works I think people would be surprised that you could be doing a lot right, but still losing.

Nick Pinkerton: Yeah, I’d agree with that. If you’re getting your information from a reputable provider, yes, definitely try and stick with it, but if you have started to second guess and pick and choose, then I think it’s seriously time to consider what role you’re playing in the outcome. That might be when it’s time to say, I’ll just step away for a week or two.
Yes, absolutely, if you’re following them exactly the same, and you’re not picking and choosing. You’re not saying, oh, I’m going to leave this one out; it’s too short or I’m not going to bet that, it’s too long, yeah, by all means, stick definitely the plan.

David Duffield: All right, let’s talk form and a nice easy one to start with. That is, what do you consider most important when assessing the form in a race? Nice broad one for you.

Nick Pinkerton: Yeah very broad. For me, it’s trying to identify what would be grossly under valued or over looked by the marketplace. That can come from an analysis of sectionals. It can come from an analysis of rail positions. It can come from an analysis of where I thought the bias might be on the date. Then, of course, the important part of that is comparing it to what you’re hearing in the marketplace. Comparing it to what you think the mainstream opinions may be.
A classic example there might be Vince Accardi’s IVR’s which I know champion picks have been a big supporter over the time.
If something comes to town on a Saturday, in a stakes race, and it’s a provincial Victorian maiden winner, it’s going to be hard for a class weights ratings type of person to get it in. It might be hard too for a speed performance analyst to get it into the market as well, depending on how the sections of that race work. There could easily be things in the way Vince has looked at it, because he benchmarks it against every other horse, rather than relative to class or rather than relative to anything else. If, for arguments sake, that horse represented a good opportunity to me, being a Saturday stakes race, it only its second start at Melbourne. I would be comfortable that the reason that horse is overpriced, is because it’s undervalued by all traditional forms of ratings and pricing. I’d be comfortable that it’s because of the power of Vince’s IVR’s that you can back that horse on the premise that it’s undervalued or overlooked by the marketplace.
It depends on what it is for you. For me, as I say, I find a lot of them from video replays, and I tend to look at form analysis from a horizontal, rather than a vertical aspect. What I’m getting at there is when you pick up a form guide, you’ve basically got last run, second last run, third last run, fourth last run, etc. People want to get as many starts on a horse as they can.
I understand that, but the key to successful punting is getting a longer horizontal line. In other words, you could introduce a lot more variables about that particular run that will give you more intelligence and insight into what might have happened on that day, rather than just finishing position, beaten margin, weight carried, in running position, jockey, etc.
Some of my biggest results have come from being able to have a broader wider, horizontal landscape in terms of how I look at each horse’s run.

David Duffield: So if you’re going deeper into each run, does that mean you don’t go quite as far back as most people?

Nick Pinkerton: Yeah, I tend not to. I definitely weight recent runs a lot more significantly than obviously older runs, and I wouldn’t necessarily go much further back than two preps. The exception to that is, obviously, if a horse is first up today, I might look at his last 4 or 5 first up runs, if he’s got a reasonable race history.
When I look at that, the sort of thing I will be looking for is a horse that might be have 5 starts first up and never been placed. I’ll go back and look at each of those first up runs and along my horizontal line of variables, I’m trying to find something that is compelling enough for me to excuse, forgive, or overlook any or all of those horse’s first up runs. That’s pretty much how I’m doing things.
If I can find something that might have been unlucky at its last first up run and finished fourth in good company, and its previous first up run it finished fourth again when it should have finished much closer or its previous preparation it finished fifth when it was on a bog track and it didn’t handle it, it’s clearly a dry track horse, if I can find a compelling argument like that, then I’m getting excited about backing a horse that statistically had 5 first up runs, never been placed. If I can get what I think is a reasonable price about that horse, which almost certainly you will, you know it’s because the market’s probably looking at statistics, rather than performance.

And the wider you go with those horizontal factors, the more variables you can bring in, the more opportunity you’ve got of finding variables that might different to how the marketplace is seeing things.

David Duffield: Yeah, and it makes perfect sense. We’ve often said a lot of the, pretty much all of the commonly available form and stats that’s baked into the cake. There’s no real edge to be found there.
It’s the other stuff where you can find value. We try to do that with our own class and speed ratings. You said you do that by digging very deeply into every run, well not every run, but more importantly the recent runs.

Nick Pinkerton: Yeah, absolutely.

David Duffield: Next question was about jockeys. It says, “Do you have a list of jockeys that are questionable, so maybe not dishonest, but probably more importantly, unreliable?”

Nick Pinkerton: Yeah, I’m glad you separate dishonest and unreliable, because the dishonest element is something I just push to one side. You’ll go nuts trying to get to the bottom of who’s honest and who’s dishonest. To be honest, you’d probably go broke first.
I think the important thing is to deal with the unreliability element. I think what we spoke a lot at the beginning of this call about confidence with punters, I think it’s very important to understand confidence levels of jockeys as well. I think even very top class jockeys have runs that come in and out of confidence. I can imagine, Nash Rawiller in Hong Kong I think Nash is something like 2 winners from 109 rides in Hong Kong, I just can’t imagine that Nash is riding with the same confidence as he would have been in Sydney back in 2012 with those sorts of stats.
We all know he’s an exceptionally good jockey, and we all know he’s very capable at the top level, but how would you feel about backing him when he is 2 from 109 over there?

David Duffield: Very different to NSW like you say. Is there a question about the false rails as well and the moveable rails. How does that impact your form analysis pre-race and post-race where the rail position is?

Nick Pinkerton: It’s definitely a factor. I think the most important thing there is just to be aware of how the track is played on previous occasions when the rail has been where it’s going to be. You have some sort of expectation from a pre-race perspective, but then most importantly you need to be thinking on your feet on race day and make sure it’s playing out the way that you expected it to play out.
Or if it’s not, you’ve got to make the necessary adjustments. Probably the most recent example is Derby Day in Flemington this year. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. It’s one of those things that happened. Anyone who was betting on Derby Day as the day played out it became more and more obvious you just did not want to be rail or on pace, and you had to make adjustments for it. Even I, myself, was a bit slow. I was too forgiving early, so middle of the day it got tougher and tougher and ultimately I thought it became unplayable towards the end. No surprise, Bonaria wins the Myer Classic on the day. Is that what it was?

David Duffield: Yeah, when she was coming home pretty hard?

Nick Pinkerton: Yeah, where she sat back widest and just came down the other side. I think that’s probably the most favourable sort of run under those conditions. Yes, you’ve got to consider it. You’ve got to have an expectation based on facts and history, but you certainly have to play it on the day. When you play it, don’t be too quick to condemn any scenario.
If, for argument’s sake, if you’ve got the first couple of races won by leaders but they’re all favorites, you have to make some compensation for that. You can’t have the first 3 races with leaders knocking up, but they’re all 15’s, 20’s, and 30’s chances, then say ahh the fence is off. No, you have to be mindful of what the horse is in various stages or positions in the race actual expectation of winning were.

David Duffield: What about this one? “I can’t bring myself to back more than one horse in a race if one doesn’t stand out for value or it’s winning hope. I stay away. Is this the correct approach?”

Nick Pinkerton: For me, I very rarely just back one horse in a race, so it’s an individual thing. I just find it’s an inherent comfort in backing more than one horse in a race, but I totally get how some people don’t.
I look at it this way. I look at them all as individual bets so they all have to stand up in their own right. I certainly am not looking at it from a point of view of saying, OK well, I’m on the second pick, the third pick, and the fifth pick, and the accumulative percentage is this, so therefore I’m on a 9 to 4 chance or I’m on an even’s chance or something like that. I want them all to be, all to represent value for their own individual reasons, and I’ll just stake them accordingly in the same event.

David Duffield: OK. Someone else has said, “I suspect that the profiles of winners are changing in particular, longer priced horses are winning more frequently than in the past. What are your thoughts on this?”

Nick Pinkerton: No, I-

David Duffield: That’s something I can research by the way, but just off the top of your head, do you think that’s being more prevalent recently?

Nick Pinkerton: Not sure. I’ve only been back since September, so I’m not sure on that. I would suggest even if it is true, just to be careful of what time frame we’re looking at, because of the nature of variance and results, if you look over a 6 month period, it’ll be different to what you’ll get over 12 month period and different again to what you’ll get over a longer 3 to 5 year period. It might not have shifted statistics over 3 to 5 year period, even though in the last 6 months that may well be valid.

David Duffield: Another one is “How successful a strategy is it to follow the money in a betting race? Favourites win a third of the time? How do you balance where the money is compared with your rating of the form?”

Nick Pinkerton: Following money is great if you can get on before the money.

David Duffield: Which is kind of mutually exclusive.

Nick Pinkerton: Yeah, so I think following money is dangerous.
That being said, one thing I do believe in is I think the era of static prices, I think the era of getting a set of market prices early in the morning and betting to those prices is gone. I think you definitely need to be a lot more aware these days of marketplace movements, and you need to have a dynamic element to your set of prices.
What I mean by that is if you’ve got the favourite evens and the second favourite 5/2, if the favourite opens 5/4 on and it’s in to 6/4 on, and your 5/2 chance opens 3’s and is out to 9/2, I don’t think you can just bet that market like evens and 5/2 chances. I think you have to sit and say what have I got in my favour with this 5/2 chance? Why am I getting 9/2 about my 5/2 chance? What could the market have possibly undervalued? What is it overvaluing about the 6/4 on chance?
If you can come up with a definitive answer for that, then I think it’s fine. Then I think you can play the race, and I think you can play it confidently. If you can’t, then you need to sit and say, right, I’m certainly not going to back the 6/4 on favorite, but I have to tamper my enthusiasm about my second pick as well.
Following money is dangerous. Backing market moves after the market move is going to put you in the poor house, but backing things that move in the opposite direction on the back of that market move is also going to cause you harm if you’re not very confident about why the edge is there.

David Duffield: Now we had a few questions about how to form a market and how to quickly frame your own market. You’ve mentioned before that you’re more of ticks and crosses, overs and unders, kind of guy. Would there be any advice you’d give someone who’s looking to frame their own market to 95 or 100%?

Nick Pinkerton: Yeah, there’s lot of little simple methodologies you can do. They’ll only give you a very simplistic sort of market, but by the same token, it’ll give you some structure, and it’ll give you some understanding of what you’re working with. A simple one might be to give a points allocation to each of your horses from something like 10 down to 1. Then you price them on their percentage of a total number of points. For argument’s sake, if you’ve got your top rated horse with 10 points, and your total number of points for all your winning chances in the race is 20, then that horses chance of winning the race are quite simply 10 divided by 20 or 50%. You price that horse even money. A horse that might have 1 point, you’d price at 5%, you’d price him at $21. Very simplistic approach, but that is some way in which you can price horses.
I think the more important thing, or perhaps the more profitable thing for people to pay attention to is just market order. I think if you look at market order, you assume if you use as a basic premise and a basic starting point, the market is pretty much right, and you work from there, then I think you’ve got a reasonable framework to start from.
By that, I simply mean when a market comes up on a Wednesday for a Saturday race meeting, put them in market order, go from the top to the bottom and see if you can pick some holes in them. If you find some obvious flaws in the credentials of the favourite, some obvious flaws in the credentials of the second favourite, then regardless of prices, if the third horse on the marketplace looks fairly solid to you, it’s clearly going to be an overs proposition.
If you follow that process from top to bottom, I think you get a clear idea without having to understand how to price them all. I think you get a clear understanding of where the opportunities may be in the race.

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Weekend Racing Reviews – December 6th

by darryn on December 9, 2014

Sandown review by Ray Hickson

Race 1: Booralie Park Handicap (1600m)

1st Backstedt – Stephen Baster
2nd Jacquinot Bay – Michael Walker
3rd Zabisco – Brad Rawiller

Backstedt jumped well but wasn’t able to cross Jacquinot Bay who kicked up on his inside and held him out with Sneak A Peek easing to third. Fulgur and Sweet As Bro weren’t far away and Zabisco and De Fine Lago were a couple of lengths back. Jacquinot Bay seemed to control things in front with Backstedt to his outside. Fulgur was on Backstedt’s back before the 600m but by the time they’d turned was a few lengths behind. Sneak A Peek went past Fulgur soon after but the leading pair had got right away. Zabisco was labouring as well. Jacquinot Bay looked as though he might pinch it by the 200m when he was a couple of lengths clear of Backstedt. They were both going up and down in the one spot but Backstedt just finished his race off a bit better and drew on to win by a length. Zabisco took forever to get going but did enough to grab third with Sweet As Bro grabbing fourth but he was never a chance. These horses are all well exposed and it doesn’t look a strong race.

Follow: be a little forgiving of Zabisco. (Click to continue reading…)

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When and how to bet

by David on December 5, 2014

Our harness racing expert Ben Krahe has been a full-time professional punter for a number of years and he was on RSN Radio this week to talk about when and how to bet (include place betting) and why he keeps a record of every bet he places.

Click here to listen in.

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Sale Race 6 preview

by David on December 3, 2014

#6 Transfer Allowance rated $2.10 ($3.40 available with Bet 365) is our clear top rater.

We have #4 Famechon a $4 chance and it is around that mark with the bookies.

#1 Tycoon Rob is rated at $6.50 and you can get $8.00 with Ladbrokes.

Go full screen (click the bottom right corner) if you want to see the data in each cell.

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Weekend racing reviews – November 29th

by darryn on December 1, 2014

Moonee Valley review from Ray Hickson

Race 1: Adapt Australia Handicap (1000m)

1st Bantam – Chad Schofield
2nd Miss Idyllic – Michael Walker
3rd Tiffany Cash Man – Chris Symons

Mixed getaway with four of the nine a bit slow. The other five disputed the early lead with Cheetah Ridge pressing on out wide with Miss Idyllic and Bantam pushing up on the fence. Miss Gidget and Palace Tycoon eased out of the battle and they were a couple in front of Artie’s Party and Zaaresque picking up ground. About 500m out Andy Jay lost the rider and Tiffany Cash Man was last. Bantam held out Cheetah Ridge with Miss Idyllic taking the trail coming to the turn. Behind her Palace Tycoon was being heeled along. Bantam shook off Cheetah Ridge soon after and Miss Gidget and Miss Idyllic set out after him, Palace Tycoon picked up the bit to chase and Artie’s Party was trying to get into the clear inside him. They were a few lengths clear of Tiffany Cash Man running on. Miss Idyllic moved alongside Bantam at the top of the straight and looked to have him covered fleetingly but there was a wall chasing them. Bantam kept kicking and Miss Idyllic had the head in front one stride before the line with Bantam’s head going down when it counted. Tiffany Cash Man would have beaten them both in another couple of hops. Miss Gidget and Artie’s Party were close up and Palace Tycoon was beaten about two lengths.

Follow: Tiffany Cash Man made a very promising debut. (Click to continue reading…)

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New and improved Sports Predictor Model

by David on November 28, 2014

A few months back we made two major improvements to our sports service to increase our winning strike-rate as well as our ROI.

Here are the profits for the last 6 months:

(Click to continue reading…)

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Matchem Racing hit the headlines recently when Fontiton demolished the field in the $250,000 Inglis Banner race.

They use prediction modelling including DNA and cardio testing to try and identify racehorses that have the genetic and physical characteristics to become elite performers.

The technology has been developed by Byron Rogers who spent eight years at Arrowfield Stud in Australia as Stallion Nominations and Bloodstock Manager where he was part of the team responsbile for guiding the stud careers of Redoute’s Choice, Flying Spur and Danzero amongst others. He also has extensive experience in the USA and has been based in Kentucky for a number of years. Combine that hands-on experience with a computer science background and you get a very interesting way of assessing yearlings.

Byron’s on the podcast this week to explain their unique approach. (Click to continue reading…)

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Bendigo Race 6 preview

by David on November 26, 2014

Tansy rated $3.10 ($4.20 available with Bet 365 and $3.30 elsewhere) won well last start rates #1 on both class and speed.

Search Squad rated $3.70 (up to $4.80 available) resumes here and got to a good level last preparation.

Churchill Dancer rated $5.50 (you can get $7.50) from the Hayes and Dabernig stable may have looked disappointing on face value last start but his ratings were actually OK there.


Go full screen (click the bottom right corner) if you want to see the data in each cell.

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