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Follow this tips for winning at horse racing:
Employ a Sound Money Management Strategy
It is impossible to win at horse racing, or any other type of gambling, if you do not have a sound money management plan. The question is, what constitutes a sound money management plan when it comes to horse racing? The answer: Optimal Betting.
Optimal Betting is based on a mathematical principal called the Kelly Criterion. It recommends that you bet a percentage of your bankroll based on your “edge” over the game. Your edge, can be expressed as follows:
Edge = W – L/$ odds
W = percentage of horses that win the race (your win %)
L = percentage of horses that do not win the race.
$ odds = the average win payout based on $1. To determine this, take your average win mutual, subtract $2, then divide by 2. Note: If you do not know both your win % and average win mutuel, then you should start keeping track immediately.
Optimal Betting theory would hold that a horseplayer should bet 3-4% of his/her bankroll on each wager.
With Optimal Betting, it is imperative that you always know your edge.
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Maintain an Adequate Bankroll Dedicated to Horse Race Wagering
The size of your bankroll depends largely upon the amount that you are comfortable betting on the races. Many wagering systems, theories and guidelines are built around an assumed bankroll of $2,000.00.
If you are using a bankroll of $2,000.00 and plan to bet 2% of your bankroll per race, you will be limited to $20.00 wagers. Your standard wager size is also commonly referred to as a “unit.” A much more conservative estimate of how large a bankroll should be is to use to take your average win mutuel, expressed in odds to 1, and multiply if by your standard betting unit, then multiply that amount by 100.
Always Insist on Both Value and Price Before Placing a Bet
Limiting your wagering to situations where you have both value and price is an important winning factor that many otherwise good handicappers often overlook. Contrary to popular belief, being a winning horseplayer is not about picking a high percentage of winners. Rather, it is about finding good betting opportunities based on value and price.
So exactly what are value and price? The terms are usually used interchangeably, but it should be clearly stated that value and price are not the same thing. Simply put, price is your reward for taking a risk. The greater your risk, the greater your price should be. We, however, are greedy and always insist on price even when our perceived risk is not that great. The minimum price I always want is 5-1 odds. I actually want better than that, but will settle for 5-1 if I really like a horse.
Be Selective – Be Willing to Pass Races and Don’t Force Bets
Even on the slowest of racing days, there are many, many horse races run in North America. On prime racing days, there are literally hundreds of races run. Each race represents a betting opportunity. These opportunities, however, are not created equal. Believe it or not – please believe it – most horse races are poor wagering opportunities. Successful horseplayers wait for good betting opportunities, then pound the hell out of them.
These days, most of the people who go to the track to watch live races are either (a) losing players, or (2) are “old school” folks who don’t have an Internet connection. Why are most of the players who go to the track losers? They are losers because they are there for the social aspect of racing and are prone to betting every race on the card, and betting it poorly at that. I am generalizing here and understand that there are always exceptions.
Master Your Handicapping Method
Here is a winning factor that you don’t really see discussed. A common axiom among horseplayers is that there are many different ways to win at racing. Some handicappers use a speed-based method, others use pace, while others still use esoteric ratings of their own creation. Each handicapping methodology, and there are lots of them, has its own advantages and disadvantages. The important thing is that a horseplayer master whatever method they use.
Too many horseplayers decide to purchase a handicapping book or buy handicapping software, then quickly discard it when it fails to be a Black Box. Handicapping, no matter what method you use, involves a lot of reading between the lines.
Have a Game Plan
If you don’t have a handicapping plan, you’re going to be a loser. All successful gamblers, whether they are card players, card counters, sports bettors, craps players or horseplayers, have a plan.
In order to have a plan, you must first determine what kind of horseplayer you are. Are you conservative? If so, you need to be willing to grind out a profit playing straight bets (win, place, show) and exactas. Conservative players try to hit a high percentage of winners at overlaid prices. They don’t go overboard going for large exotics scores.
Keep Records of All Your Bets
Record keeping may very well be the most important aspect of winning at horse racing. After all, how do you even know whether or not you are winning or losing if you don’t keep records?
Keeping records of your horse racing bets does more for you than just telling you if you are ahead or behind. It also helps to show your strengths and weaknesses as a handicapper. Perhaps you are awesome at picking winners in juvenile (2 year old) maiden races, but terrible at graded stakes races for older horses. What if you didn’t know this? What if you thought the opposite were true?
Record keeping will tell you how well you are doing at handicapping races, betting them, and where your strengths and weaknesses lay. In short, record keeping is truth. Winners keep records while losers remain in denial.
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