Archive for the ‘How To Win At Horse Racing’ Category

How To Make A Living Playing The Ponies

If you’re interested in tackling the game on a full time basis and trying to make a living playing the ponies, I have a few suggestions based on how I do things that might help you get started.

Bankroll – I suggest a bankroll that reflects a 2% wagering maximum. If you want to bet $20 per horse, then you need to start with $1,000. As your bankroll increases or decreases, you should adjust your wagering amounts. 2% or 3% of your bankroll is ideal for your Win wagers. 5% would be an enormous wager. Although I do on occasion make 5% wagers, I mostly stay in the 2% or 3% range. Your bankroll should be kept separate of your everyday finances. Do not make weekly deposits to fund your bankroll. Start with a set amount of money, and let it run its course.

Win bets – I’ve kept detailed statistics on my wagering results in relation to Win or Win/Place or even Win/Place/Show, and I’ve found that the Win bet is ideal. It’s a single bet that can sustain you for a very long time, and if you hit the occasional long shot like I do, a single Win bet can make up for many losses. For example, I typically hit a triple digit horse at least once a month. So, if I hit a horse that pays $150 on a $2 wager, that one payout will recuperate 75 losses.

ROI – Can you pick winners at a 30% clip? Good for you. So can the betting public. The more important question is: do your selections produce a positive ROI? Your Win percentage is irrelevant if you have a negative ROI. All that matters is whether or not you’re profitable. With the types of horses I like to wager on, my win rate floats around 20%. I can increase my win percentage to around 30%, but my ROI will suffer as a result. You should calculate your ROI on a daily basis, and then perform a weekly summary as well.

Odds – Favorites at 8/5 or 1/1 or worthless for long term ROI. Don’t play them. I’d rather save that money and take a chance on a 80/1 flyer. I typically wager on horses at 4/1 or better. If the odds aren’t there, I abstain from wagering altogether. I suggest 4/1 or 5/1 for wagering minimums. Anything less is flirting with long term bankroll disaster.

Ego – Horse racing is no place for an inflated ego. If all you want to do is prove your capabilities as a handicapper, then keep your money in your pocket and focus on your win rate. My goal is to make money, which means ROI comes before everything. I will bet Win wagers on 2 or even 3 horses in a single race if their odds dictate such a strategy. I could care less which horse wins. All I want is a profitable ROI. You should too.

Losses – You will have losing days and losing weeks. It comes with the game. If you can’t handle losses, choose another profession and play the ponies on a part time basis.

Exotics – 99% of my wagers are straight win bets. Occasionally I’ll play cold doubles or pick 3s with one All Button for one leg and two singles for the remaining legs. Exotics are a bad play, plain and simple. If you can discipline yourself to avoid them altogether, you’ll do much better in the long run. I avoid exotics because of the sheer difficulty of hitting them. In a 10 horse race, raw math tells you that every horse has a 10% chance to win regardless of handicapping. So, if you place a single Win ticket on a horse in a 10 horse field, you have a 10% chance to win. For a Daily Double that has 10 horses in both races, a cold Daily Double only has a 1% chance of success (10 horses x 10 horses = 100 possible combinations). Would you rather have a 10% chance of success for your $20 wager, or a 1% chance of success? The percentage chance for Pick 3s, Pick 4s, Pick 5s, Pick 6s, and same race exotics, gets absurdly low. Example: A Pick 3 with 10 horses in each field has 1,000 potential combinations. If you play a cold Pick 3 (only one horse for each leg), you’ll have a 1/10th of 1% chance of success, or ” 0.1 %”. Even if you select 3 runners per race, you’ll still only have 27 combinations out of a possible 1,000 combinations, which will grant you a 2.7% chance of success. Stick with Win wagers if you want to do play the horses on a professional level.

Casino / OTB / Online – Where do you play the ponies? I’m based in Stateline, NV, and I play at the Lake Tahoe casinos. Other than placing my wagers with a human teller (which I don’t like doing), wagering at a casino is the best possible option because I wager enough to get free meals. If I drank alcohol, which I don’t, I’d get free drinks all day too. While those perks may sound irrelevant, the fact that I get free meals helps my overall ROI. An OTB – whether at a track or at a facility that only offers satellite wagering – is the next best option. You can play with cash and make your bets anonymously. Online wagering, in my opinion, is the worst option. It’s my belief (and you can call it paranoia if you like) that successful accounts get flagged and watched. I played online for a short period of time, made withdrawals on a weekly basis, and then watched my odds plummet in the following months. No matter what their TOS says, or how much they promise the security of your account, I firmly believe that accounts with positive ROI are flagged and watched. Don’t trust online wagering. Make your bets at an OTB or at the track.

California – I grew up in southern California and learned how to handicap by watching harness races. It took many, many years before I could wager on Thoroughbreds with the same confidence that I had when I wagered on Harness racing for a few years. Although I love southern California, and I love Santa Anita and Del Mar (I never liked HP, RIP), the wagering restrictions imposed on California gamblers is absurd. The state restricts how many inbound races can be carried at simulcast facilities. Their obvious goal is to try to coerce gamblers into funneling money into the California tracks. In 2010 I became so frustrated with the wagering restrictions, I packed up and moved to Nevada. It’s been horse racing heaven ever since. If you live in California, I suggest you open an online wagering account and use your online account mixed with cash wagering at the OTBs/tracks. There’s nothing more frustrating then finding a long shot you like for an upcoming race and then discovering that the daily CA simulcast, as set by the CHRB, has restricted wagering on that particular track and/or race. In situations like that, log into your online wagering account and make your bet.

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Recent Long Shots
Long Shots from Thursday 9/24 thru Sunday 9/27 Biggest long shot of the weekend: Novelty Act ($100) 9/26 #2 Late Pace AP 9
Thursday 9/24 Este Es ($22.40), Gabriel's Cat ($39.40), Captain Toews ($16.80) Above Fashion ($13.40), Erik the Red ($11.40), What's Fair ($15.00)Lydia's Angel ($19.60), Aunt Dixiejo ($19.40)
Friday 9/25 Estrada's Girl ($70.00), Loki's Vengeance ($13.40), Britannia's Moat ($12.40), Ila ($12.80), Super Zapper ($10.40)
Saturday 9/26 Key to Power ($13.00), Novelty Act ($100.20), Tiz Happening ($30.20),Aix En Provence ($14.20), Danalin ($11.00), Berra ($22.40), Palace Gate ($16.20), Teresa`s Pride ($27.70)
Sunday 9/27 Curlins Pride ($10.60), Gotcha Key ($30.40), Silver Sassy ($74.00), Arte Latino ($15.60), Rock Solid Golfer ($13.40) Tallow ($14.80),
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