A man who was famous for strong leadership and rousing speeches in World War II isn’t normally your go-to guy for betting lessons. But you will soon see that there is much to be learned from many of the famous quotes from former English Prime Minister Winston Churchill:
“I am an optimist — it does not seem to be much use being anything else.”
A bettor without optimism has no chance of being successful. If you don’t genuinely believe you can win then there is no doubt you will be proven correct.
“True genius resides in the capacity for evaluation of uncertain, hazardous, and conflicting information.”
The same goes for handicapping sports and being able to consistently find value.
There is no such thing as having all of the information you need. And what information you do have may conflict in a number of ways so the ‘true genius’ of a successful bettor is in being able to gain insight from your analysis and then using it in such a way that beats the market.
“Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and the glory of the climb.”
Sports betting is a very difficult game to beat. The general efficiency of markets means that most successful bettors operate on what many others would consider to be surprisingly small profit margins. So you may as well enjoy the journey and the constant quest for improvement.
“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”
Just because you hear the same thing repeated doesn’t establish it as fact. You may hear it many times from many people but that does not (in isolation) make it true.
“The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you can see.”
Many bettors suffer from ‘recency bias’ where they place too much emphasis on what they just saw. They assume that whatever has been happening in recent times will continue to occur indefinitely. This can be overcome by going back further and using larger (more statistically significant) sample sizes. Or it can be as simple as forgiving a team who has had one or two bad games.
“The truth is incontrovertible. Panic may resent it, ignorance may deride it, malice may distort it, but there it is.”
The same goes for your betting results and is one of the reasons why most bettors don’t bother to keep them. To quote someone other than Winston Churchill “You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality.”
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
There is no such thing as a foolproof approach. Even the most successful bettors in the world are constantly reviewing all aspects of their approach. Bettors need both the courage and the betting bankroll to continue during the inevitable periods of drawdown.
“It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link in the chain of destiny can be handled at a time.”
Planning is guessing, so as a bettor you need to be able to adapt to changes in the market.
“I pass with relief from the tossing sea of Cause and Theory to the firm ground of Result and Fact.”
Don’t get caught up in subjective assessments of why something is or is not working. Stay as objective as possible.
“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.”
Don’t be fooled into thinking that your plan simply has to work. The long-term results will tell you exactly how you’re going.
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
Even the very best bettors will lose 40% or more of their bets so you need a mindset that can cope with this.
“Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities, because it is the quality which guarantees all others.”
Much like optimism, a bettor who lacks the courage of his convictions is a lost cause.
“No hour of life is lost that is spent in the saddle.”
And no hour spent improving your betting knowledge is wasted either.
“I wonder whether any other generation has seen such astounding revolutions of data and values as those through which we have lived. Scarcely anything material or established which I was brought up to believe was permanent and vital, has lasted. Everything I was sure or taught to be sure was impossible, has happened.”
This was probably true a century ago but surely it’s even more pertinent today. We’re in the midst of revolutionary technological change. Those with the best data and smartest application of the insights gleaned from it are the most successful.
“You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.”
Many bettors operate in a similar fashion. They try to spend five minutes handicapping a game, or they listen to a sports media personality. It’s only when the losses pile up that they truly take stock of their betting activities and resolve to make the changes necessary to get on the right side of the ledger.
“Of course, when you are winning a war almost everything that happens can be claimed to be right and wise.”
And sustained betting success can lead you to believe that everything you do contributes evenly. That’s a false assumption though. Don’t assume that the winning will automatically continue or that every aspect of your approach is optimal.
“Sure I am of this, that you have only to endure to conquer.”
The same goes for betting. You have to stay in the game to win so protecting your betting bank is of the utmost importance.
Winston Churchill may have died more than 50 years ago but hopefully you have gained some insights today from some of his most famous quotes.