It Matters More When There’s Money On It

Just a few thoughts for the week that is in it…

My name is Brian and I have a confession to make. I do not have a clue about horses or horse racing and even more so, I do not care about which rich man’s horse can go faster than the others… But what I do care about is how I feel like an outcast for not knowing or caring about this stuff.

So if you’re a genuine fan of horse racing, fair enough, call me a gobshite and don’t read on. But if you’re not (and don’t lie to yourself, you’re not), have a read and let me know what you think.


Okay, so let’s talk motivation. What motivates you to gamble? It’s because you’re good at it, and you know how to make money from it. Yeah that must be…. eh actually, come to think of it, no, you’ve lost money. Maybe lots, maybe some. But the fact remains that you’re down a substantial amount of money since you’ve placed your first ever bet (so much that you’re nervous about adding up the amount up in your head right now). Come to think of it, in terms of things that you do in life, you’re pretty shit at this one. 

The funny thing about horse racing is, if you know about the game, you’re either in it, or they won’t let you in. Whereas if you THINK you know about it, then you’re the big fool that the bookies love to see coming.

So what is it that makes us fools want to throw our money away like this?

One of the key aspects of motivation is a thing called relatedness. Relatedness can be defined as a sense of shared experience. A sense of belonging. It’s powerful. As social creatures we want to belong and interact, and bookmakers know this. They have taken the importance we bare on relatedness and used it against us. Take Paddy Power and their ‘Free Clean Urine’ stunt at the Giro D’Italia… Hilarious stuff, but what it did was, it got us talking about them. It got us talking about gambling. It lured us in and said “lads how could something this funny be dangerous and chronic, sure gambling is just a bit of a laugh”. And they do this time and time again with their ingenious pranks, they kick start the gambling talk among us and our friends.

Think about it, this isn’t the first time this has happened to you. Think about that gym membership fee that you painfully handed over despite hating the very idea of going to a gym. Even just think about the clothes you wear and why you’re now wearing clothes that you wouldn’t be found dead in 5 years ago. It’s because society and your social circles are telling you that this is what you’re supposed to do now. This is Cheltenham week, and this week, we gamble.

Take any lads’ WhatsApp group, look at what came up over the last two days… Sit in the dressing room of any GAA team on Tuesday or Thursday evening, listen to the conversations… “I got Annie Power at 3/1 two days ago.” “I had a tenner on the fucker and he fell at the last.” These are the normal conversations of normal lads all this week. If these guys who I do everything with are all putting their money on horses, then it’s obvious that I should be doing the same…

But that’s where you have to stop yourself and remember some key facts. YOU ARE SHIT AT GAMBLING, you will lose your money.  When someone in the bookies mentions a green horse at 50/1 you think “a green horse??? Wow, I’ve never seen one before.” So stop pretending that you like this stuff. Go against the tide. Spend your hard earned money on something useful, like a fancy bun. That’s a way better idea.

Ah the aul pen behind the ear trick… He must know what he’s at.

So a couple of messages to finish off.

To the person who denies that they haven’t got a clue. 2 things to remember. Number one, you sound like Jay from The Inbetweeners when you’re telling your success stories. And two, you’re not fooling any of us so please don’t fool yourself.

And to the person who admits that they’re crap at this. Good, once you know that you’re no good at it then you shouldn’t have a problem. But remember that it’s not cool to gamble, it just shows that you’re easily led. So if somebody asks you whether or not you “backed anyone today?” Don’t be afraid or ashamed to say “no I didn’t, grand day out isn’t it?” And take the conversation from there.

Thanks for reading. I’m off for a bun…




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