I Stopped Gambling and Started Betting

If they sound alike and have the same feel most of the time they could be. But truth be told they couldn’t be further apart. Gambling for me creates an image where someone is making a drop of coins in any slot machine, the scratch-off ticket from behind the counter or a keno ticket filled out with a small pencil. For many years I thought the same of horse racing when i would see players run up and make a wager with 30 seconds to post at What-Ever Downs. Gambling always gave me a mental image of quick-draw wagers with little to no thought. I doubt there was any mention of money management because it looked like a venture of rapid-fire action.

I’m not about to sit here and say I’ve never pulled this trigger. How would you think I’d know about this practice ? – Yep, guilty as charged and it started many moons ago. I can remember the first was getting to scratch off $1 tickets with my dad. The lottery had just come into play in Ohio and we ventured over to get some tickets. It was rapid fire and quick, mindless wishing at it’s best. – Then came the jog into the track to bet the chalk in the small field or the middle odds selection looking for that $12 payout. – Your favorite color horse, number, or rider aboard. No diving into the program, just pick and pray. – At some time most of us have done this and many would not like to be named. – That is just fine. For the gambler, punter, or player. There has always been a journey of sorts. You start small and graduate to bigger plays. The more invested, the higher level of action junkie excitement.

For my pals at the track or anyone who knows me has heard the old batting average number. – If you have two identical 280 hitters and take away 25 at bats for one. His average would be slightly better than the other hitter. – Think about it. Fewer trips to the batter’s box and fewer times for a strikeout, pop-up, or getting nailed at first on an infield worm burner. – Yeah, it holds some truth unless you’re Mickey Mantle or Pete Rose. But I digress…

I started taking it a bit more serious by taking home the Daily Racing Form and doing my homework the night before. Maybe a quick glance at the weather long before the times of having an iPhone or computer to use. – I would burn the midnight oil and have a ton of ink on the big dirty newspaper. I used to love the big paper and now it has been replaced by a smaller version that is tough to read unless you have eagle eyes. – That was the beginning of the process. You could bet dollars to donuts I had every race picked and maybe a few simulcast races if they were offered. -That being said how many times have you run the entire card ? – Maybe a couple times if you are lucky or maybe just once. Either way has the odds stacked against you.

Over the years I began to love the handicapping process. The reading and using video replays. Add them in with up-to-the-minute weather and scratches and your game is starting to evolve. – But still the hat goes deeper and the bevy of books that surround my desk came into play. – “How to be a Winning Horse Player, The Exotic Player, and May the Horse be With You.” – It was a must for every handicapper worth their salt to own a copy of “Betting on Myself.” – The process continues and your level of understanding grows. You start telling others you’re a horse player and not a mindless gambler. No wild cherry poker machines for you. You’re all about thinking it out and taking a swing. – Good start.

Over the years I have grown fond of making spot plays. – If there are 12 races on the day I like, it was filtered down to eight. Of the eight plays, I try and filter it down to four. From the four good plays I’ve found, two are going to be good swings. The other two are going to be average plays. – That is a glance at my day. I used to fire on every race going to post as younger player and over the years walking to the car early in the day. Things have to change if you expect any change in the outcome. – I could go on and on about what I like and what I think. But were all different and that’s what makes racing. Here are a few ideas before starting your day. They are not in stone, but keep them in your pocket before making that next impulse play.

* If you don’t bet the pick-six, don’t jump because you hear about a carryover. – Sucker bet, and when it’s a one ticket win payoff. It’s even more a sucker bet. – With the exception of a must payout situation.

* Think about ladder bets. – If you are an across the board player, example – $2 to win, $4 to place, and $8 to show. See how they double for the next rung ?

* Parlays are great fun. Find your wagering level, and start a place parlay. – If you start off with $20 to place and roll it over 5 times without adding any more money and just carryover your win money. – Here is a glimpse of what you will have if your horse pays $3 to place after five races = $20 to place race #1 = $30, $30 to place race #2 – $45, $45 to place race #3 – $67.50, $67 to place race #4 – $101.25, and $101 to place on race #5 – $151.88. – Not bad for a little fun at the races all for the low cost of $20. – Great for making some money and you’ll find that stress just melt away.

* Don’t bet to show in races less than 7-8 horses, and make sure your price is 12-1 or better.

* If you like five tracks, drop back and follow three. Of the three, really dig into two ovals. Of the two, find your home track. There is no way in Hades you can follow five tracks with accuracy. Get rid of the idea of more is better. Whittle down the number of tracks you follow and watch your profits rise. – If you feel the urge to follow more, stick to your three and find that data provider who does this as a profession. They save you time and you’ll use your handicapping hours deciding how you’ll make your bet. – You are already in the right place with Winning Ponies and they’ll make your day at the day windows a success.

* Handicap a race as if all is according to the data. I have a couple acquaintances who are jockey agents and they leave their own riders off a ticket. – Now most would salivate at this info, but the reality is watching your rider score at a boxcar price while you were all over the chalk. – Bet no tips. If they were real you wouldn’t have heard. Even if they come from friends and good sources. Over the winter I must have had 20 sure-fire locks. If two of them won, that would be a high percentage. And how many times can you payoff the house with a $3.40 mutuel ?

There is no hard and fast rule to handicapping the races. If there were, there would be a handful of people who would make millions and the rest of us would watch. – I am trying to get you to fine tune your process. There are only a couple of games where money management and knowing your strong points payoff. Black Jack, Poker, and Horse Racing. – I like to spend time deciding who I like and what price is acceptable. Then I use as much time deciding how I’m going to play the race. – There has to be a process if you are looking to take your game to the next level. Think back to the old days of betting without info and firing away for the action. That is a sure-fire way to find yourself out in the cold. Oh, you’ll have a couple of good winning days, but it is impossible to keep this “tap-dancing” routine in action and expect to win on a consistent basis. – Just think it over and get ready to fine tune your game as the spring and summer ovals are in full effect. – Best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies !