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Golden Rules 3

DON’T SHOW BLIND FAITH IN YOUR ANTE-POST SELECTIONS

Readers occasionally criticise tipsters for tipping against a player or team we have already recommended backing for long-term success.

This is most common in snooker and tennis. For instance, we may have advised a bet on Andy Roddick to win Wimbledon but, come his quarter-final match, have reached the conclusion that the value lies with Roddick's opponent and advocated a wager on him instead. "What is that all about?" the reader will demand. "If you tipped Roddick at the start you can't start riding another horse halfway through the race."

Why not? If, subsequent to our original advice, Roddick's last-eight foe has shown better form and is overpriced it would be remiss of us not to advise getting on the best-value player.

So it is with everyone's punting. Each event has to be analysed using the most up-to-date information available and should not be clouded by an earlier trade on the same event.

In other words, if you have backed Mill wall to win the Championship, you are not obliged to stick by them come what may. On a match-by-match basis they may represent what you consider to be value - this should be especially true in the early part of the season given that, if you dispute the bookmaker's assessment of the team's long-term prospects you are also likely to disagree with their match prices - but you should not wear blinkers that lead you to the conclusion that they will always be value or, indeed, are never worth opposing.

Evaluate each proposition on its current merits. Be prepared to admit an earlier long-term wager you struck may have been wrong.

Stubbornness and intransigence are characteristics no successful punter possesses.

BE RECEPTIVE TO THE VIEWS OF OTHERS, BUT DON’T BE SWAYED TOO EASILY

Just as bad as not backing a winner that you fancied is not backing a winner because you let someone either talk you out of making the bet or, worse, still, into backing something else.

It is interesting, if not always beneficial, to hear the views of others on a betting event you have an opinion on. Sometimes you will pick up a key point you had overlooked. Other times you will hear a theory you disagree with, thus strengthening your belief that you have made the right choice.

What you should never do is fall into the trap of believing the person whose view conflicts with yours is probably right.

If you have confidence in your judgement you will be immune from this pitfall, but there are times, especially when you are on a bad run, when you are vulnerable to latching on to someone else's opinion in the belief that they are probably in better form than you.

This is a particular risk when the person expresses his views in vehement tones. If you find yourself sold on a proposition other than the one you were planning to back simply because you are impressed by the way the person is stating his case, you should switch off and stick to your guns. Oh, and don't answer the door to salesmen. You are probably just the sort of person who would be coerced into spending a fortune on a set of encyclopedias.

The best punters quietly go about their business without telling the whole world who they fancy and why.