The following is a Ratings2Win Educational Article

Convictions based on illusions

Have you ever seen the road shimmer in the heat and swear that you are seeing a puddle in the distance? Or have you been lucky enough to see an even more elaborate Fata Morgana? Google it, there are some far out images to show what can happen. Your mind is deceived by the apparent evidence based on what you perceive. A mirage!

Whilst harmless illusions like the above are fun and intriguing, there is another type of mirage that is far from harmless fun. The illusions that I’m talking about are punting illusions and they cost punters money and time; even more devastating is the fact that most of punters are not even aware of them. In fact I know some well respected punters that are so blinded by their convictions that their demise and the demise of others are based purely on the fact that they observe without evidence.

I should clarify; without long-term evidence. What you observe over a short period of time or a small sample of selections is NOT evidence. Yet every day, hundreds, if not thousands of punters Australia wide invest their money based on a conviction obtained by seeing or worse still by just accepting such ‘evidence’.

A personal example of this arose the other day when a friend of mine wanted to eliminate Northern Territory from his punting. There is enough ‘evidence’ that could sway many to extrapolate such idea into a ‘maxim’; poor liquidity, small fields, way too many poor quality horses as it’s often the last destination for many horses being sold down the ranks (or is it up the country). What about the heat? I could go on; these are just a sample of the general ‘ambiance of thoughts’ that many have about NT as a punting destination; for others its SA or TAS. Others create cultivate such ideas about distances or TAB numbers or about just about anything else associated with punting.

The problem starts when such ‘thought ambiance’ meets some ‘cold hard facts’ obtained from the observation of few days/weeks; we have all of a sudden a ‘supported theory’ that becomes ingrained into the punters mind. Such evidence is then further reinforced any time he/she looks at the results. Our mind is great at distinguishing patterns, especially when we are focusing on them.

My friend wanted to eliminate NT because his ‘thought ambiance’ met with the fact that he lost a few bets in a row on NT races, over a few weeks; on short priced favourites no less, while being in a general betting slump. Such a powerful combination of emotional distress over an extended time frame created the need to do something about it. Once I would have wholeheartedly agreed with him, however now I don’t; this is thanks to the work I have done for Ratings2win in terms of programming and researching.

I have learned that unless an idea can be tested, over thousands of samples and/or years of data then a conviction I may have could be an unfounded mirage.

Using the tools that I have at my disposal I am able to test my ideas to see the long-term and the true effect of any decisions I want to take. I can tell you that I am mostly disappointed with the results of my ideas; that is the nature of this game, you try and try and try. The difference is that I am disappointed in one test or a series of tests without any financial damage and without a dent in my betting confidence. More importantly when I find something that works, I am then confident that it will continue to work! It just does!

Take the opposite situation of the general punter; they test their convictions over long-term by punting with their hard eared money and as the true results materialise their betting confidence dwindles which in turn makes it possible for them to make further mistakes and illogical decisions. As a result they start to form new ‘thoughts’ that are really destructive; “can’t be done”, “its all crap”,”the gods are against me” and so on.

The time they have wasted is irrecoverably gone and now to boot they have even more mental crap to deal with and it’s likely that even if they come across a long term profitable method they will discard it at the first sign of trouble! They will then continue jumping from method to method whilst being in a tail spin or they discontinue their punting in total disillusionment with the whole industry and become bitter, cynical, angry and often broke.

So, finally what is the real truth regarding the performance of the betting method my friend was so quick to ‘analyse’ on his knowledge and the ‘evidence’? Based on the last 4 years the strike rate is 80% and nearly 16% positive POT. Oh yea…. those short priced favourites that no one can win on and the NT racing that is well below par produce a great profit from a method based on the unemotional results of tested evidence. A stark reminder that what you are basing your betting decisions on might be nothing but a mirage!

Convictions based on real evidence

It’s lucky that my friend is intelligent and the knee jerk reaction decision he considered making lasted about as long as it took for me to do the test. I had the capability to run the test that he didn’t and we both learned something valuable. For him the test reinforced the merits of his decision to purchase R2W Axis and he is now a very happy client and for me, well I was just happy to help.

Regardless of whether your circumstances reflect the positive or the gloom scenario painted previously or something in between the answer to any racing question is to test your ideas long-term and over a substantial sample size. For that you need a database.

Be it a stack of old ‘Daily Telegraphs’ or a pile of notes scribbled on index cards through to Excel or our R2W Axis software. Each method has a penalty; going through the newspapers/notes is slow and agonisingly prone to error. Excel is faster but you have to learn what you are doing to obtain the information and then to actually use it; also time consuming and unless you cover every possibility from the start you may not have all the data you need and let’s not mention programming and formula errors.

Axis is free from fatigue of repletion and does not require the skills and time to create the formulas and code needed in Excel. It’s drawback to some is that it costs money; purely for research purposes the outlay is $1.08 per day. Personally I have to tell you that if I found a program like Axis before we wrote it there would be no Axis. Everything I need is there and for a buck a day I wouldn’t bother with anything else, I would have spent my time researching instead.

What benefits can I obtain from a database?

Long-term analysis is needed to back up your convictions, findings, ideas or prejudices otherwise you are only ever guessing what the true outcome might be and in this game not knowing the truth is painful to endure. Please beware of using long-term timeframes to create small sample size back fitted tests; the correct combination is long-term and large sample size.

Keep up with the pace of the industry. Times have changed, and methods have changed and the market is getting smarter all the time. This change means that in order to continue to find or hone your edge you would most likely benefit from the information in a database to have at least at the same type of tools as your competition. Many on this forum have Axis and other programs, and we all compete with each other in broad terms on the punting plane. This competition is the reason that we are limiting the number of licences for Axis, to preserve the edge we have and those that our clients find.

Having a database is smart. The freedom and insights that it gives you has the same ‘self made’ level of satisfaction; but without wasting hundreds of hours through trial and error creating something that might do half the job. The tools that you have access to in Axis Historical are beyond comparison with anything on the market today. Best of all when you find your edge you can seamlessly transition to receiving today’s form and create your selections for today’s betting.

Having a database is fast. Processing 50,000+ races in a few minutes with absolute accuracy and with a single click of a button is a far cry from the hundreds of hours some ‘invest’ in their research to arrive at the same conclusion.

Having a Database is easy. Many believe that using a database requires some special skill. It does not; it requires imagination to search for a betting edge. As long as you can post on a forum you can operate a program like Axis. The hardest thing to do is the installation and we can do that for you remotely if needed so there is nothing to worry about.

Axis Database allows you to create unique content. With so many options in Axis, including the ability to import 5 external ratings and to create 2 ratings from scratch within Axis based on user specifications the unique edge that our clients enjoy is almost limitless.

Axis can positively impact your betting today; even if you have the ‘buck a day’ Axis Historical. You can analyse your daily bets as they happened and see where improvements could be made. You might be ignorant of the fact that your bets perform poorly with a certain combination of factors and eliminating them might save you thousands of dollars in the process as well as improving your over all betting confidence. You could analyse your betting approaches and your staking to see how you can minimise risk whilst getting the best out of your bets. You might be using ratings about which you know next to nothing (outside of the overall percentage strike rate which may be out of date); in this case Axis can help you uncover hidden potential in your investment. You could answer the questions you ask on the forum without wasting time waiting for some Good Samaritan to consult his database and give you the answer. You wouldn’t have to reveal your profitable ideas inadvertently unless you wanted to and you could become a better contributor to the forum overall.

There is no downside to owning a database. A database is like a book, when you don’t need it just sits there, when you do need it, the information that it can provide at your fingertips is invaluable. Axis can be just that for you, a reference point that you consult as needed. Some of our clients have called it addictive, and it is true, you may spend more time on it initially but the time you will spend on it will be time well spent. It will retain its value for many years to come as all program updates are free and all you have to do is keep the data up to date, or not. You will still have a valuable reference even if it’s not up to date. In the old days one could argue that the processing power or storage capacity of a PC prevented the rank and file punter from having the opportunity to run one. That is just a myth now with modern PCs, even my 8yo AMD testing clunker runs Axis just fine.

So is it time for a change? As I mentioned above, change is happening regardless. If you are not winning or if you feel/know that your method could use some fresh angles then continuing on the same path that you have been on up to now might be comfortable but is unlikely to yield anything different; you’ll get the same stuff and maybe that isn’t cutting it any more.

While we all have different ideas and approaches to punting knowing the outcomes long-term increases your profitability and overall improves your enjoyment of horse punting. You simply are blind without that information and your competitors are happily passing you by. One thing is for sure, time is money; commencing at just $1.08 per day for Axis Historical, each 5 min you waste is costing you at least that much, assuming the minimum wage. Exactly how valuable is your time and what new angles could you uncover and what could you accomplish when your time is spent wisely using the Ratings2Win Axis?