It’s fun winning bets. It’s fun collecting your winnings. That is the high of engaging in a bit of betting. But with highs, come lows of course. Those lows would be losing bets and therefore losing money. If you are betting with any kind of frequency, then you are going to have the experience of losing wagers. It is going to happen.
That is the eyes wide open approach to your betting. It is something that every beginner should take a moment to recognise. It’s easy to get swept away by only thinking of profits and beating the bookmaker. Bettor’s fallacy is believing that you are expertly going to pick a winning bet every time that you fill out your slip. Managing a sports betting bankroll is therefore very important if you are to be a successful long-term bettor.
Bankroll Management in Sports Betting
Every bettor is different. Everyone has different levels of funds to play with, and every bettor will assess risk differently. You can have two different punters who each have £100 to play with. One of them may be the big bold bettor who throws the whole lot on one single bet. The other may be the more cautious punter who splits that money up into ten bets of £10 stakes.
There’s no right or wrong way in either approach. It is just a preference for your own betting. But one of the underlying things about it all is money management. It is likely to be a big influence of how much is played. The first bettor who throws £100 down on a single bet confidently can probably afford to lose it more than the other bettor can.
If there is such a thing as a golden rule of betting, it is this: never bet more than you can afford to lose.
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This is perhaps not one of the more glamorous or exciting aspects of betting, but it’s so important, especially for beginners. The bankroll is how much money you have to bet with. This budget could be set for a day, a week or a month or whatever.
It is important to set one though and the way to set it, is by thinking of that aforementioned golden rule, never bet more than you can afford to lose. Let’s say you have £50 for a day of Saturday betting. Approach the day with the worst case scenario of all that stake being lost. Can you afford for that to happen?
Yes, it’s negative and pessimistic, but it’s also real. Then you can carefully pick out your bets and decide if you are throwing that whole stake at one bet, or if you are going to split it up. This is simply managing your bankroll. It may also be worth setting your stall out before any bets have been struck, that any profit from the day won’t be gambled.
You can set yourself a rule that it goes straight into your pocket and not risked. Then at the end of the day, you still won’t have lost more than your initial balance of £50.
Playing with profits
Of course, there is a different approach, you may wish to play with profits. Let’s say from your £50 bankroll, you staked £10 on your first bet of the day on a 2/1 horse that wins. You have £20 profit. Maybe then you adjust your bankroll for the day because at this point you are ahead.
If you can’t afford to lose more than the £50 then maybe you could put all of that back in your pocket and then do the rest of the day’s betting with the £20 profit. The worst-case scenario at the end of the day from that is then you essentially broke even. You would just have to find ways to use that £20 profit most effectively, likely looking at backing strong horses at smaller odds for example.
Remove yourself from any emotional attachment
There are so many different ways to approach betting and managing your bankroll. But however you look at it, that aspect of controlling your finances is there. You have to be controlled with cash and remove yourself from any emotional attachment. It’s all about cold hard logic and mathematics. There’s an old chestnut of a saying, “quit while you are ahead”.
If you are happy with your day’s return after just two of your day’s five bets have been played, be prepared to accept it and walk away. The same is of the reverse. If you do find yourself in a bit of hole for the day and things just aren’t going your way, walk away. Don’t end up in the next scenario.
One of the big things that punters get caught up in, is chasing bets. This is when you try and throw money at risky wagers to try and make up for losses. Losing streaks happen in betting and let’s say you played three £10 bets in a row on the horses and they all lost. Your bankroll has taken a hit.
It is at that point where a bit of panic can come in. Instead of accepting those losses, emotions start rising and that’s when riskier bets are taken. You are £30 down and then look at the next race and start seeing (inventing) reasons for backing the 25/1 outsider over logic. Chasing the risky bet isn’t likely to get you out of your deficit, it’s only likely to increase it.
The other way punters chase bets is by increasing their stakes. In the same scenario of being £30 down instead of playing your next stake of £10 as planned, you throw down double your stake. There’s suddenly twice as much risk that your bet has taken on.
This is real money that you are playing with. Just because it’s digitally represented online as numbers on a screen, doesn’t detract the value of it. Understand your financial limits and stay within them. Set your bankroll for the day, create some rules of what you are going to do with any profit. Plan, organise and again, never bet more than you can afford to lose.
We highly recommend reading our other beginner betting guides for more tips and to gain a solid understanding of betting.