Dealing with Losing Runs: 5 Rules for Football Traders

Desert road with signpost directing Winners and Losers
Kevin Laverick, professional football trader at Goal Profits

by Kevin Laverick

We all have losing runs, even the most skilled traders have them. I certainly have them (probably more than most) and they're a nightmare, turning the calmest of people into quivering wrecks.

From time to time, we have all thought, "when will the next winner come?"

It seems the harder you try, the unluckier you get. Nothing goes right, the world is against you and even your faithful dog has turned his back on you. Ok... that won’t happen, but you know what I mean!

Losing runs wouldn’t be at all bad if you knew where the next winner was coming from. You have come into this trading game and expected it to be easy peasy, but a losing run really tests you.

So, how do we deal with losing runs?

First things first, what you don’t do is lose your head. If you do that you will also lose your bank along with it and that experience alone would be enough to put many people off trading for life!


Here are 5 rules for dealing with losing runs:​

Rule 1

Losing runs happen all the time, so train your mind to accept them. Be prepared for them, because they can happen at any given moment. You have had a good run, so now you have to accept that a bad run is just round the corner and, the one certainty is, it will come.

With experience you will be able to identify it and use smaller stakes straight away which will save some of your bank.

Rule 2

Understand when you are in a bad run. Is it a couple of losing bets in a row? Or is it something much longer? If you are backing at big odds you would not be worried about 4 or 5 losers on the trot; that is par for the course and has to be expected. But if you are an odds-on backer then 4 or 5 losers on the spin would be unusual.

You yourself will be the judge of when a losing run really is a “losing run” or when it is just the normal course of events.

Rule 3

Make sure you keep records of all your trades. That will help you immediately see your losing runs by determining what exactly a losing run is for you. It will also alert you as to when a losing run is likely to start and/or finish.

I know it is a bind having to write them up every night, but it will be time well spent in the long run and gives you a great handle on your trading style. From your records you will be able to analyse which particular bets are causing problems and which are not.

Rule 4

Find where the problem is. It may be that it's simply down to bad luck, but don’t rely on that. You have your betting record and that will help you find what's going wrong.

Maybe longshot away wins are not coming in and you have been backing too many of them, or goals are currently in short supply and all your bets have been aimed at plenty of goals. You have what you need to find the problem.

Rule 5

Keep your discipline. Throwing your money around trying to solve the problem will not help if you do not know what the problem is. Chasing losses can only ever end up one way and it is not pretty. Stay in control of your discipline and consider your options in a rational way.

If you have worked out that you are purely having a run of bad luck, that will change. However, if you have identified a flaw in your trading regime then you need to fix it before you re-start. That may mean ditching a system, or looking to back at lower odds.

One good option is to take a complete break for a week and that will often do the trick.

Losing runs are annoying, but inevitable. Accept that from the start and you will deal with them so much better. Stay calm, keep your discipline and make sure you survive the run.

Protecting your bank is paramount, after all you can't trade at all without one!

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