Malcolm Gladwell in his book David and Goliath mentions that many successful business men emerge from having previous periods of disadvantage in their lives. Two such sources he writes about are parent loss and Dyslexia. A disproportionate number of top business people have suffered one or the other. His argument is that the continual setbacks and sense of failure that can come from especially Dyslexia, can immunise a person to some degree from the feeling of failure. Before reading Gladwell I had always been of the opinion that to be successful in any field a lack of fear of failing was a distinct advantage and one I have detected in most successful people I know. It came as no surprise therefore to be reading about this idea in his book although the idea that certain experiences such as these might be the reason was certainly new to me.
How does this relate to betting?. Well there can be few pursuits in which failure is handed out on such a frequent basis to even those that are successful at the game. I have yet to meet a successful punter who does not back far more losers than he does winners which usually means the losing days far outweigh the winning ones. Going home from work most days with a negative feeling is something that the majority of people would not tolerate in a job. In fact we are encouraged from an early point to crave a job that gives us that lovely warm feeling of contentment as we head home to the wife and kids, at least on the majority of days.
Does this mean that some people are better suited to betting than others and if so what is it about them that gives them an advantage?. The first thing I think the want to be punter needs is a healthy disrespect for money that does not spill over into recklessness. If you are the type of person who agonises about money matters or perhaps chases money for the sake of having it then you are probably not best displaced to become a successful punter. Betting requires a view in which money is viewed simply as some tool in the overall process of betting. If you betting bank is set at 200 points then somehow you need to think of it as 200 points and not 40k.
Occasionally arrogance is cited as a key characteristic and although it is true that I have known one or two arrogant pro punters I do not think their outward display of this is as key as some would believe. I have indeed met introspective players who can quite comfortably pull the trigger on a daily basis. Perhaps self belief is the key and this can be worn on the sleeve or not in different cases. One thing I would say is that the kind of pro who works off his own sense of value or an instinct for what are key betting components certainly needs a great deal more of this arrogant self belief than the more data driven analytical player who tends to work from a philosophy of ‘if I can’t measure it I don’t bet it’. I am certainly in the latter camp which is why I think that the last 15 years have been a goldmine for those that can code software, have a basic understanding of mathematics and statistics and of course a reasonable dose of some of the above.
If you are thinking of ways yourself to improve your betting performance rule out the idea of killing the parents, and if you cannot rule it out and happen to be dyslexic, it go’s without saying that you should not try to forge the suicide notes.