That term may bring up some bad memories for a
few of you, but don't worry - I'm not going to be discussing d-i-v-o-r-c-e.
I am going to talk about a few things that could 'separate' you from racing
(or at least from your bankroll) though, so heads up - here we go . . .
Entertainment versus Income -
You love racing - right? That's why you're in
it, and naturally you derive enjoyment, and entertainment from watching and
participating in the game. For most, that's as far as it ever goes, and
that's as it should be.
For others, the goal of making profits is
paramount. The more serious a player becomes, the less they seek,
or even pay attention to the aspect of being entertained. And again,
that's as it should be. I won't go so far as to say that the two are
totally irreconcilable, but I know for myself - when I'm truly out for just
the pure fun of it, I don't bet much - if at all.
The difference between a 'fan' looking for a
days' entertainment and a truly serious player could be likened to the
difference between running through a sprinkler on a summer's day as opposed to
swimming the English Channel in late fall. The latter requires stamina,
serious commitment, and is full of risk and challenge - the former requires no
more than the desire to be happily entertained.
versus making money long-term -
These aren't irreconcilable - it's just that
the 'mind-set' for the one is quite different than the 'mind-set' for the
other. We all always prefer making money - today and forever!
But for some, making money today is an emotional thing. They would
rather 'dumb luck,' or a freak occurrence end up putting money in their pocket
than executing the proper value plays all day and not making any money.
If a person's entire racing career consisted of
just a few days at the track - then fine - let the good times roll and hope
Lady Luck smiles on those few days. If, however, you're in this for the
long haul and are even half-way serious - then making the proper play is
always the primary goal. Losses incurred while making those plays should
not be cried over. The bottom-line over the long-term will reflect
positively and reward this kind of astute and 'correctly adjusted' player.
'Swinging for the fences'
versus 'grinding it out' -
At first these seem like they might be
irreconcilably different, but good players usually have a little of both in
their game. Swinging for the fences causes a lot of strike-outs.
The bankroll must be larger - the psyche of the player must be fairly immune
to longer losing streaks. When the big hit is made, the player needs to
be the kind who can continue on without reacting wildly to that success -
another drought may well be right around the corner.
Grind players are often associated with place
and show betting, or win and exacta betting while keying on the legitimate
chalk. The active bankroll can be smaller. There are a lot more
cashed tickets and the losing streaks are shorter in duration.
But - even long-shot and exotics players fall
into a kind of grind. After all, this is a game that essentially has
no end. Surviving to play another day is always key, and any good player
pays great attention to that fact. Even high rollers are, in effect,
grinding. It's just that their peaks and valleys are much more radical
than the typical low-price grinder mentioned above.
Picking winners versus making
On the surface, it appears that these two are
almost the same thing and anything but irreconcilably different. But -
that's just on the surface - which is about as deep as the average player ever
goes. The murkier depths of the true reality of betting the races is not a
place they want to discover.
Picking the most winners is not the key
to making good money at the track. If you happen to be one who still
thinks that is the case - do this: Bet all the 3/5 to 6/5 horses that come up
in any race for the next couple of weeks. It's guaranteed you will have
a higher win % than your racing buddies, but you'll still be in the red. Betting to hit lots of winners is just a slower way to lose.
It's uplifting to the Ego - maybe - but ultimately a downer on the bankroll.
This whole fixation with picking winners is the
ruination of many players. That ole' Ego is the culprit here. A lot of players just need the bragging rights - they
need to be able to say, "Yea, I had the winner - it was an easy pick."
Others - novices in the game - actually believe winning should come readily
and steadily without much effort on their part. They are still under the
illusion that it is an easy game.
Betting every race versus
limiting and restricting wagers -
Now we're getting into the truly
irreconcilable. Any one who tries to to play every race - or even most
races - cannot win in the long run.
It never ceases to amaze that
otherwise intelligent people who are successful business persons, and would
never think of trying to expand their line of products or services to include
all types and categories - when these same people get to the track,
they think they can bet every type and category of race and still come out
As in all walks of life, individuals have their
strengths and their weaknesses.
Some handicappers are sharp on the
maidens - others aren't / some players make good profits on Graded Stakes
races - others don't / some players are stronger on the minor circuits / some
are students of breeding / etc. etc.. In this age of simulcasting, when
there are many tracks available to bet every day of the week, why in the world
do players want to even try to bet every race?
The multi-track situation
invites exclusivity and focus. Players can find a niche/s and/or
eliminate whole types and levels of racing. They can concentrate where they do
well. The act of concentrating their energy will of itself increase
the results of their play.
Public Knowledge versus
Proprietary Knowledge -
It is extremely difficult to make long-term
profits with widely used, publicly available information. This is a
pari-mutuel game (as it's usually played), and anything available to the
general public has 'negative expectancy' written all over it.
I'm not saying that you can't find a novel
combination of factors, or a unique mix of public information that will stand
you well in this game, but the most commonly available of these (Beyer
numbers, the popular "sheets," DRF consensus picks, popular "black box"
systems, etc. etc.) are all but useless for those seeking a real edge. Their
value has been steadily eroding since the moment they first became public.
If you can come up with your own unique method
that gains you an edge, then you will be "on" certain horses for different reasons
than the other players are on them. Over the long run, this will tend to
get you better prices and you'll less often land on the over-bet public
'Dipping In' versus 'Hanging
Lots of players expect that, even though they
only wager a day here and a day there (often with many days in between), that
they should hit it good on those days they have chosen to play.
In a full week's worth of wagering, the actual
profits for the week are very often made on a single day - and on that day
those profits come in 2 or 3 races. Now - it could happen that the one
day a "now-and-then" player decides to bet will be a good day - but that would
be relying on a lucky choice.
Imagine that a full-time player makes profits
in 2 weeks of four and that the profits in those two weeks are made on 6 good
days with 3 good paying races on those good days. That's 18 races that
make all the difference in his bottom line for the month. Playing 5 days a
week x 4.2 weeks a month = 21 days. If he is wagering in, say, 12 races
a day (multiple tracks) - that would be 252 races in the month.
The "now-and-then" player bets on, say, 7 days
a month. Maybe a visual representation will serve better than the
statistics would: Below is the full-time players races for the month.
Each mark is a race wagered.
IIIIIIIIIIII IIIIIIIIIIII IIIIIIIIIIII
IIIIIIIIIIII IIIIIIIIIIII IIIIIIIIIIII
The red/yellow marks are the 18 crucial wagers that the month's profits were
generated by (all the other wagers were just essentially going up-and-down -
breaking even at best).
"Needle in a haystack"
- for the now-and-thenner guy!
If he wagers for long enough at the same skill
level as the full-time player - he'll come up with the same approximate
bottom-line results. But, he'd need to bet for three months to
get the same ROI and total results as the full-timer did above.
As I said, most players who can't play
regularly just can't understand why they don't win very often.
time is slower than real time anyway - ever notice that?
When you have
time to stew over losses between races - or for days or weeks - it can seem
like forever. Then what happens? They are off onto some new method
or service - ever searching for the perfect method that will get them profits
all the time. I read somewhere that the average novice player lasts
for less than two weeks on any new method or "system' he tries.
Okay - enough of all that. You don't need
to file any separation papers yet! Just strive to become aware of the
realities of this game, so you can up your performance and your results.