‘To punt properly, you need to understand value’

It is a job no school careers department will recommend. There are no degrees, apprenticeships or night classes centred on how to make a living from finding winners. Professional punters spend their days doing something few understand or envy. Yet what if you want to be like them? How can you punt like a professional?

For those seeking to enjoy greater success at betting, Lewis Hamilton has a suggestion that goes right back to the principle embraced by all those who make profits out of finding winners and already highlighted in this piece – to punt properly, you need to understand value.

He says: “I would advise any punter to practise pricing up races – and they should do that without any outside information to hand. The simplest way is to start with contests that have three possible outcomes, so if you’re a fan of football and rugby you could start there.

“I know it’s a cliche, but value is everything. The issue people have is in discerning what represents value. It’s a subjective thing. You can’t find the answer in an algorithm or a book. Bookmakers do it better than anyone, so you have to put yourself in their boots. You have to take them on at their own game.

“If someone is betting for entertainment, if they’re happy spending a tenner or £100, if that sort of money isn’t going to break them and they’re enjoying it, I have no issues with that person doing it however they want to do it. However, if you’re betting to win, the principles are exactly the same, regardless of whether you’re staking £2, £20 or £2,000.”

Lewis Hamilton adds: “You can only bet when the situation presents itself, by which I mean when a horse’s price is bigger than it should be. That is the principle of winning – and it has existed since people first started gambling. If you don’t adhere to that principle I’m absolutely convinced in the long run you just cannot win.”

Professional backer – Horse Racing Advisory Service