Okay - I assume you've picked yourself up off
the floor, wiped the tears of laughter from your face, and are
ready to read on - out of sheer incredulity if nothing else!
First - you may have jumped to conclusions
about that statement, but it is, after all, an absolutely true statement that cannot be
We've all seen the complete newbie win with his hunch play,
or little old ladies with their hatpins, or a guy winning a big pick 6 by
using the ages of his 6 children - etc., etc.. They won - easily and
without the merits of skill or adept horse handicapping.
Of course - you're right - that was just
race, or a short series of races, and they "got lucky" and happened
to hit. It has no bearing on what their results might be in a longer
series of racing days, weeks, and months.
But - it points to a fact often (and
conveniently) overlooked by the average player:
Anything can happen in a horse race.
In all of
horse racing, there is only one indisputable truth - the outcome of
race is uncertain.
I've been in this game for
years, and I still (weekly if not daily) see events, and combinations of
events in a horse race that boggle the mind - and could never have been
Recently, I was
watching TVG - the pacers at Dover Downs - and witnessed something almost
beyond imagination. As the horses and drivers raced towards the far
turn, they had to suddenly split apart, and take up wildly to avoid . .
. the tractor guy harrowing the track! He had completely spaced
out and forgot there was a race running!!
So - the 'racing gods' are
going to contrive almost unimaginable circumstances to beat you - to beat
you time and time again - and to make a mockery of all the in-depth and
subtle handicapping, and analysis you've done on the race.
What does all this have to do
with my original statement?
most often play
They are unsure of themselves
because of the uncertainty. They begin to believe that
it's all just a random walk, and that there is no hope, or horse system that
will actually beat the game long-term.
These players love the game,
and they are disinclined to quit it completely. They relish the
challenge. Often however, this leads to a never-ending search for
that "better horse system," or thinking that by trying harder and
harder, enough can be learned to become more sure of the outcome of the
races being bet.
Maybe - but we've already
established that this is a very confounding game we play, and that
there is never certainty about any one race's outcome.
All the endless
searching for the "holy grail" - the trying of this or that method
for a week or two, then junking it - the endless zigging and zagging . . .
it's all a crutch.
It's how players deal with
the frustration. It's how they compensate emotionally.
They challenge risky
situations (betting on horse races) that often have negative results for which they are not ready to
take personal responsibility.
subconsciously, they blame themselves - as if losing a horse race
bet reflects a measure of their own incompetence. Outwardly, they will
blame anything, and everything else; the method, the jockey, the trainer, the horse
The truth we've already
established though - is that there can be no blame for losing an individual race because
outcome was already absolutely uncertain from the start.
This blaming, both internal
and external, only serves to pull the player down to his own lowest common
denominator. It takes the pure and natural uncertainty of a horse race,
and creates fear, anger, regret and disappointment. The funny thing is
- that is why we play the game in the first place - the challenge of trying
to figure out and predict an uncertain outcome, and be rewarded for it when
we are correct.
Success in horse
racing betting requires
separation from the emotional.
It also requires the
elimination of short-term expectations, and the disillusionment that comes when these
expectations are not realized. The serious player needs
to assume absolute personal responsibility for his, or her decisions.
Success requires only that a
player find a horse system (a philosophy, a method (or set of spot plays),
and a valid money-management approach) that holds a long-term positive edge. He should then
bet into that
edge in a relatively emotionless, and unswerving manner.
'Next race,' or
expectations cannot enter into it. Neither recent losses, nor recent wins should
cause the player to move away from his chosen approach.
Success at anything is
nothing more than a state-of-mind
The successful player has to acquire a
state-of-mind that is unaffected by losses. As well, the giddiness and
overblown elation the average player feels after big winners, and "blue
moon" winning streaks should also be guarded against.
Betting horse races is not a
danger to us
But we can be a danger to
ourselves. The potential to become overly reckless, or overly confident
- the propensity to get depressed, or ecstatic - all these mitigate against
the otherwise easy task of winning at horse race betting.
So - what characterizes the mental qualities
of the successful horse handicapper, and horse race bettor?
Complete acceptance of the risk involved.
Maintaining consistency and
the inevitable losing streaks.
Not becoming over-confident in spite of
Not associating a losing race, day, or week with being
'wrong,' or being a 'loser.'
And - most important - the ability to act (bet)
hesitation, regardless of the outcome of the previous
bet, or series of bets.
Think about those qualities for a
For the average player, the perceived risk
factor for the next wager, and his confidence (or lack of same) - is the
direct result of the outcome of the most recent few wagers!
It makes no sense.
There is one unavoidable
prerequisite to all this - if the handicapper / bettor doesn't have a "risk" bankroll - he
can't play the game in a way that offers a good chance at success. Winning the game will not be at all easy in that case.
It's very tough to apply your
horse system with
"scared" money - money that could or should be used to pay
down other debts, or money that it hurts too much to lose. It would
be rare for a player to start from this point and succeed.
A player in that situation should be
realistic about it. Participate in the game as a hobby, and take care of life's
other priorities first. Save some money to create a decent sized bankroll that is
unencumbered by guilt, and committed only to the goal of serious race
In closing this letter, I'd like to present a
few other ideas for you to think about . . .
A quote from one of my mentors:
"What you haven't learned yet
Would you agree that the roll of the dice, or
the spin of a roulette wheel is a completely random event?
I'll assume your answer is,
"yes." Okay - how is it then that the casinos make billions
on the uncertain, and uncontrollable outcome of random events?
Easy answer: They have a slight edge, and they
gain the profits of that slight edge applied to a large number of decisions
Find your slight edge.
Then bet small enough that your bankroll can withstand the losing streaks
that are a natural result of any series of uncertain
events. You will then attain success.
And - after all . . .
The surprises and uncertainty of life
create the wonder that makes it worth living.