Losing Streaks Come and Go – How Do You Handle Them?
Many horseplayers cannot tolerate losing streaks of even one race. We come to the track expecing to hit every race knowing the more races we blindly bet the greater our chances of losing.
I've seen $10 bettors make an early score for thousands of dollars, and go broke within a few hours. Anyone who has been betting horses for a while knows (or should know!) that the favorite wins 35% of the races. But did you know the second choice wins 20.5% of all races? That means HALF the time one of the top two choices win. Add the third choice and you are at about 62-65%. I highly recommend a book called How to Win at Horse Racing by Robert V Rowe he has lots of detail on these type of statistics.
So there are players blindly betting longshots every race trying to beat the "chalk" with only a 30% chance of winning spread among maybe 5-9 other horses! It's called CHASING. But what I'm here to talk about is losing streaks and their psychological impact on players.
Fact of the matter is that they DO and WILL happen. If you are not sure about your picks and the certainty of your win percentages, you may end up in a stressed out panic after losing 2-3 in a row. Then pressing your bets thinking, "The next one HAS to win." Ehhh, no it doesn't.
Don't get me wrong if you have a losing streak of 5-6 straight and you have no clue what your longterm win rate is — stop immediately! But if you know you are going to average 50% (like in a coin flip) then you do not have to panic, you know in the longterm any negative losing streaks will even out.
Here's is an awesome guide that will tell you EXACTLY what to expect for both winning streaks and losing streaks. You can download this helpful spreadsheet for free at www.daytradinglife.com
Let's say you have a method of picking horses that shows a 45% win rate. That means you will LOSE 55% of all your bets. What are the odds of a 5 race losing streak in 25 races with a 45% win rate? According to the numbers your chances are MEDIUM (about a 44% chance) for this to happen ONE time. And 6.5% chance of happening TWICE in that 25 race stretch.
So what does that tell you? Your system sucks? No! It's telling you that's what you can expect in a short run of 25 plays. It could happen once, and is not to likely to happen twice BUT IT CAN! Do you get it? Knowing this helps you prepare and stop panicking like a crazy person. Just know you will weather this out and plan your bets accordingly. This tells you under NO CIRCUMSTANCES bet all your bankroll on a few races – you can catch your system in a losing streak!
What about a longer period of say 150 races? Here we go with a win percent of 45% which means the calculation of potential losing streaks is based on a rate of 55%
Wow that's an eye opener huh? The chances of you losing 5 in a row are HIGH and will happen at least 3 times in that 150 race timeframe. Truthfully, how many of you would pack it up and quit after the second losing streak (some I know after 2 races n a row LOL). Bottom line is you are still hitting 45% winners!!!
Last one. What about an 8 race losing streak in 150 plays?
Well well, it's almost a 50% chance you will lose 8 in a row! Yet STILL win your 45%!!!
There you have it. Some of you will understand it. Sadly, some of you will not. But this is how you make money at racing. You have to KNOW what your long term win percentage is – and understand how many you could lose in a row and manage those losing streaks – and use that information to bet the right amounts and not too much on any race. This way when the dust settles you're left with a profit instead of empty pockets!