Pick Three or Parlay?

by Ed Meyer

posted on September 15, 2008 in Educational Articles, General Discussion, Handicapping | No Comments >>

Yesterday, I ran into a gent who loves to play the races. He has been an avid player for 40 years. I looked him over and he had the look of a professional man. No judgment here; just taking in the obvious. Then began a lesson steeped in history, fun, and our mutual love of racing.

Tom was a player of parlays. This is a great wager where you select a runner, choose a win, place, or show spot and fire the entire wad. If you hit, then roll it over to the next race. My friend told of stories that had me laughing, listening and wondering how he took the train home at the end of many days.

The overall feel was that this was the greatest way to grow a bankroll. I do agree, it is a fine wager. But we are afforded a few more exotics than back in the day. Hence, we need to always be on the side of constant education and introspection.

After hearing Tom’s philosophy, I told him I loved his “go get ’em” attitude. If the game had more Tom’s, we would be much better off. They love the game, and they love to wager. It was at this point I brought to his attention that when he made wager #1 that he faced a 17% or better takeout of his wager. He agreed. I then proceeded to wager #2 where he again faced the dreaded 17%. He took a swallow of beer and listened. When wager #3 comes up, you get to give the track 17% more. It was at this point he said, “O.K, O.K.. what’s a guy to do?”

I then pointed out the Pick Three wager. He said he knew about it, but didn’t play much. It was the golden words of facing one takeout % versus three that drew him a little closer. He asked how he would benefit. “I see the takeouts, but what is the difference?” I then told him that by dodging the takeout, he would eventually see more profit over the long haul. You do have to do your homework in advance, but the added value would be worth the study.

He sat back, drank down his adult beverage, and said, “You are right young man. I like the idea of saving the added %, and the payoff has to be better.” Then, I came back to visit Tom later in the day. He had hit his first Pick Three, and I think he is hooked. Oh, he’ll still play small parlays. But only to pay for draught beer and for bankrolling major paying Pick Three’s.