Winning with Eb Netr...
We've all had them. Losing streaks are pretty depressing, especially if you don't know why you're having one. All of a sudden, you stop hitting winners and start picking losers. It seems like the universe is laughing at you by making your dogs fall down on the turn, get bumped on the break and fade right before the finish line. As a friend of mine once said, "It's heart-rendering."
I've had plenty of losing streaks and I get just as bummed out as the next person, although I shouldn't after all these years. I don't always practice what I preach, so sometimes it takes a while for the fact that I'm on a losing streak to filter through my thick head.
But when it does, I try to remember what's helped me in the past when I've had losing streaks. The first thing I check is whether I'm in balance. That might sound kind of Zen-ee or Woo Woo, but it's not. I'm talking about being balanced when I handicap, not about tying myself in knots and chanting Ommm.
You don't have to be a Zen guru to realize that there is a natural balance in the world and when you get out of balance, things don't work the way they should. One of the ways that I get out of balance and start losing is when I get oppositional. I start picking dogs, not because I think they're good dogs, but because the other bettors or my friends DON'T think they're good.
I get to the point where I'm not betting favorites at all, because they're favorites. Everyone else likes them, so I'm not gonna. Nyah, nyah, nah nyah nah! Yeah, like a little kid, I'm just being ornery and like a little kid, I'm mostly hurting myself. When I realize this, I give myself a good talking to and make sure that I go back to handicapping the way I always do.
After I get myself straightened out, if I pick a dog that's a favorite, I play it, even if I think the rest of the crowd likes it. I don't give it a miss because it's a crowd pick. And likewise with longshots. Some of my worst losing streaks were because I got burned by a couple of longshots that looked really good, but didn't come in. So for awhile, I wouldn't bet a longshot if you paid me.
When I do this, I miss a lot of winners. Because of the way I handicap, I often pick dogs that go off at long odds but which are good bets. So if I don't include them in my boxes and keys, I miss quinielas and trifectas. This kind of losing streak only ends when I smarten up and realize that I'm overbalanced again, only against longshots instead of against favorites.
Then there are the losing streaks that I have when I get stale. Just like the dogs, sometimes I need a layoff. If I realize it, I take a break from the track and do more of the other things I like to do. I loaf and go to the shore and walk along the water and throw sticks for the only dog I'm always a winner with - my Black Lab. She never thinks I'm a loser.
After a week or so, I'm rested, alert and ready to hit the handicapping again and I almost always do better. I guess being away from the same-old same-old perks me up. It seems like I have a fresh outlook on handicapping and this is when I've come up with some really good handicapping approaches. (I took a break a couple months ago and that's when I got the idea for the system I'm working on now. All I have to do is stay away from the track long enough to finish it.)
Losing streaks can hurt. Not only do you lose money, but you lose faith in yourself and wonder if you'll ever cash a ticket again. I think it's best, when you have a losing streak, to really analyze how you've been handicapping and betting. Check whether you've been betting too many favorites or too many longshots.
Think back over the last month and try to remember if you've been listening to touts or people who say they're giving you a winner. Have you been trying to use the odds to pick dogs? Have you been putting too much trust in the program picks and not enough in your own handicapping skills? Are you just stale?
Chances are, if you try to think about it rationally, instead of thinking that it's just luck, you'll come up with a reason for your losing streak. That's important, because you can't do anything about luck, but you can do something about making mistakes. Analyze and find out why you're losing, then fix it and move on. Losing streaks don't last, but they can sure feel endless when you're in one.
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