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Chasing ‘phantom winnings' from unplaced bets  


A couple of months ago I was seriously considering making a five figure bet on an antepost sports market I didn’t know much about.

That terrified me enough into signing up for Gamstop.

Now it looks like that bet, which I did not place, would have been a winner.

Finding it a little hard to deal with this at the moment.

Any advice?
Posted : 30th December 2018 1:02 pm

I’ve had that happen to me quite recently. I contemplated putting a £10 double on a bet which totalled up to 35/1. Now whilst it’s nowhere near the same as putting down a 5 figure sum for a bet, the same sort of mindset followed.

I’d just lost a few hundred pound on FOBT’s and I thought this could be a bet to chase my winnings. I decided not to because I thought it was too far fetched. Low and behold, it won.

It played on my mind for a couple of days after but I justified it by telling myself that I’d have only chased further wins and eventually lost the lot. So would you. You’d have had short term joy but eventually that money that you’d have won would be gone. That’s the hard truth of compulsive gamblers like ourselves.

It’s easy to kid ourselves into thinking it would have been spent on something worthwhile or used to pay off some debts but the fact is, it would have merely been betting tokens that would have eventually been spent over time.

So yes, you may have won that particular bet, but in the long run, you’d be no better off.

Posted : 30th December 2018 3:53 pm

What would you have really done with the mythical winnings?

Probably gambled more.

The 2 bets I remember most was a near miss £5 treble in March 1985 that would have paid a terms money at University and a winning acca in 2011 that paid £28k and cleared almost all my credit cards.

Both losing and winning bets just fuelled the desire to bet more

The financial relief was temporary, it just improved my credit rating and allowed me to gamble more. The cards were maxed out again a year later.

At some stage you just accept your disease and have to let it go.

Posted : 30th December 2018 4:40 pm

Hey brucey.
I agree with K2. I think you have to let it go. Stop thinking about what could have been. Imagine if you placed the bet...and it lost!! You would be feeling a hell of a lot worse. At least your money is safely tucked away earning you interest instead of lining the bookies golden pockets!

Posted : 30th December 2018 11:14 pm

I can sit and watch the racing channel and pick winner after winner when I’m not betting. It all changes though when I’ve money on.

Posted : 31st December 2018 9:58 am


Completely understand why you would be finding this hard to deal with...

In my teens I lost the girl of my dreams who I've never got over and now 20 years later I have a beautiful wife and child - yes I still think what life would have been like with her but at the same time I'm mega grateful for the life I have now - especially when some people have lost their wife and kids through gambling. Yeah my wife is not that girl I referred to from my teens but she has stayed with me and supported me through the gambling. Would that dream girl have done so? I could have married her, gambled my life away and she would have probably f****d me off and left me with nothing... thank god I married who I did.

My point is that you can't let go because you're trying to predict future circumstances that we have no control over and they are never going to happen now anyway as that moment has passed so why waste precious time in the present thinking about a moment that will never happen now... life changes (unpredictably) from moment to moment - live the life you have don't waste it thinking about the life you could have or should have if all circumstances are in your control - because they are not! You could have cashed out those winnings then got hit by a car on the way out from the bookies - do you understand where I'm coming from? (sorry for the crass analogies but it is late!) :o)

Basically you're fooling yourself with the proposed metric that loads of money will bring you loads of happiness (as probably most of us have done who use this site) - but you don't know that for sure anyway - as the great Notorious BIG said "mo money, mo problems" and he had loads of it at the time of writing so there you go. And as outlined after acquiring all that money something really s**t could have happened in your life with may have rendered your fortune redundant as the crisis in question could not be fixed by money (eg illness).

Be grateful for who you are, what you have and where you are in this moment and leave it at that mate. Be careful what you wish for. And as Marcella wisely pointed out - you may have won that one but that chance is gone now and the chance of winning another one like that? Slim to none. If the chance were any more than that then everyone would be at it and everyone would be winning.

If you want loads of money and the opportunity to see if it brings you loads of happiness then start up an innovative business venture or work bloody hard at a job until you're rich. My point is here that you can achieve the same desired effect that you were looking for in other ways that harbour far less risk. Chin up mate :o)

Posted : 2nd January 2019 1:39 am

Thank you all for the advice, it has genuinely been very helpful and it’s bothering me a bit less now.

I really regret looking up those odds out of ‘curiosity’ at the time. I don’t look at odds any more now and it’s been great.

Signalman, you hit the nail on the head really. An inability to let go is a massive issue for me. I have never got over my first crush from when I was 10 years old. The rejection broke me and 17 years later I still have never dated, much less been in a relationship. I hold various grudges from my childhood. Heck, I still frequently moan bitterly about decisions made by a ex-manager of the football team I support (who was sacked two years ago!)

I know no amount of money would ever be enough for me. I aimed to win enough to pay for some hobby supplies, when I reached that, I wanted to win enough to buy certain electronics, then it would have been aim for a house deposit, etc. If I had won enough to buy a house outright, I’d still want to play and win more to pay for the house furnishings, then renovations, etc. Somehow very quickly I became comfortable making multiple 4 figure bets, so a 5 figure bet was the only natural next step. It’s insane really how much this has messed with my head.

Posted : 2nd January 2019 2:43 am

Hi Brucey-b,

Addiction is like an emotional illness, things we dont like to deal with consiously or subcounciously we can escape to the bubble that is our addicion where we get a temporary high and dont have to worry about anything else. Once we are gripped by our gambling we will be in denial as much as possible as admitting we have this problem means we have to stop gambling which, unless we are ready to get help, is not going to happen.

When we are in denial our brains will always focus on the winning bets, the almost won bets or the phantom bets as we are already making plans in our heads on how we will spend the money. But we never admit to the losing bets which far outweigh any winnings.

A good exercise (if we gamble online in particular) is to sit down and do an inventory of our betting deposits and withdrawals if we gamble online, obviously with compulsive gamblers we will win plenty of bets as we gamble so often, doing this via our bank and credit card statements we can view our deposits and withdrawals. Ideally sit down and do it with someome there as its a sobering experience as the amount of deposits far out weigh withdrawals.

Posted : 3rd January 2019 1:12 pm

Know where you are coming from. after 6months GF i finally gave in to temptation two days a sports bettor and fan, i continued to make predictions even though i wasn't gambling.yes you guessed it, most ended up eventually i invested {ha} that's a laugh.i lost 2 bets running both 4 figure now i find my self battling through again.30days GF.hoping and praying i won't be so silly as to think i can beat the bookie. yes, you can short term, but never in the long term.

Posted : 13th April 2019 7:48 pm
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