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Betting for the Ignorant

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  • Betting for the Ignorant

    If you understand horse-race betting, will you please explain it here in very simple terms? I don't even know the dfiference between pari-mutuel? betting and bookies. I do know what a long shot is. But "at evens"? Does that mean if you bet $50 you win your $50 back if your horse wins?

    Any other info appreciated, as long as it would be on a first-grade level -- which of course no one would explain to first-graders!

    Although, come to think of it, in "The Trouble With Angels" one of the sisters taught her math classes by having them bet on horse races ...
    Rack on!

  • #2
    A couple of places to check out

    https://www.twinspires.com/betting-g...g-horse-racing

    https://www.dummies.com/games/casino...s-cheat-sheet/

    Happy reading
    Maybe the reason I love animals so much is because the only time they have broken my heart is when they've crossed that rainbow bridge

    Comment


    • #3
      If you are betting at a North American racetrack or OTB simulcast facility, you're doing parimutuel wagering. Basically, all the money wagered is put into one big pool and the amount of money in that pool is used to determine the odds of each contestant using a formula. It doesn't matter where or when you place your wager, you're going to get the same odds as everyone else. Whatever they are at the start of the race is what they are for the payout. There is also a takeout, which is a small percentage the track/jurisdiction keeps for themselves. I don't know a lot about how different places do their takeouts, I just know it can vary.

      Not all countries use parimutuel systems. For example, the UK still has bookmakers (bookies) and *I believe* each bookmaker sets their own odds, which are sometimes fixed odds which don't change depending on the pool. They also have more flexibility with the takeout part. Don't ask me for any more information on betting in other countries because that's about all I know.

      So with odds, they are displayed as fractions, usually fractions of one... an easy way to think about it is "for every one dollar wagered." For example, if a horse wins at 3-1 odds, you earn three dollars for every one dollar wagered (minus takeout if applicable) + your original bet. The payout shown on the toteboard is based on a $2 bet, which is the minimum win bet in North America. So at 3-1, you win $6+ your $2 = $8.

      When a horse is going off at even money, that means you'd get one dollar back for every dollar wagered, plus your original bet. So $2 bet at even money = $4. Heavily favored horses can go off at less than one, too, meaning you earn less than a dollar for ever dollar wagered.

      With a parimutuel system, each different bet type has its own pool and therefore its own odds. What they show on the screen or the tote the bulk of the time is the win pool, for bets placed on the winner. They will usually cycle through the other pools (place, show, the exotic bets) quickly a few times before the race, but those odds generally aren't readily displayed.
      Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

      Comment


      • #4
        IIRC the minimum return on a $2 bet is 2.10 and that is referred to as a minus pool because the pot loses money. Really doesn’t happen that often and it’s only on those wagers on that horse. Overall, the House always wins. Which is good because the tracks get a cut which they put towards operating costs and purse money.

        Those links posted are very informative and, if you take it slow, relatively easy to understand.
        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Rackonteur View Post
          If you understand horse-race betting, will you please explain it here in very simple terms? I don't even know the dfiference between pari-mutuel? betting and bookies. I do know what a long shot is. But "at evens"? Does that mean if you bet $50 you win your $50 back if your horse wins?

          Any other info appreciated, as long as it would be on a first-grade level -- which of course no one would explain to first-graders!

          Although, come to think of it, in "The Trouble With Angels" one of the sisters taught her math classes by having them bet on horse races ...
          Be glad to. Once you read everything everyone has suggested, calculate how much that bet costs and put it in your retirement account. I guarantee you will end up with five to six figures more than if you actually pushed it through the window.
          Last edited by Palm Beach; Jun. 21, 2019, 07:53 AM.
          "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him."

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by findeight View Post
            IIRC the minimum return on a $2 bet is 2.10 and that is referred to as a minus pool because the pot loses money. Really doesn’t happen that often and it’s only on those wagers on that horse. Overall, the House always wins. Which is good because the tracks get a cut which they put towards operating costs and purse money.

            Those links posted are very informative and, if you take it slow, relatively easy to understand.
            The "house" is the track and is only interested in the placing of a bet and not the outcome. Unlike casinos, parimutuel pools are simply bettor against bettor. A $2.10 return is not necessarily a minus pool. A minus pool occurs when so much money is bet on one entry that meeting the $2.10 requirement means the track had to pay off more on that entry than was taken into the pool. Simple example--a short 3 horse field goes to post with a $100,000 net win pool-- $1000 bet each on the 1 and 2, and $98,000 on the 3. That's the equivalent of 49,000 two dollar bets on the 3. The 3 airs as expected and the track has to shell out (at $2.10) a total of $102,900 to meet the regulatory requirement.

            Comment


            • #7
              Besides the odds, understanding the racing form is also necessary. As is the selections of different bets you can make. When you read the racing form, and get to know the horses, the jockeys, and the trainers, the full story is available for you to understand. Is a horse dropping or moving up in class? How has each horse been running recently? Is there speed in the race? Is the horse you like a speed horse, or a come from behind horse? How do the other horses in the race look compared to the horse you like to win? If there is a lot of speed in the race, your speed horse may get involved in a speed duel early, and tire, setting the race up to be won by a come from behind horse. The racing form will tell you a lot of this information, if you know how to read it. Betting successfully over time is dependant on learning about these things, not going in blind and betting on the one with the nice silks or the longest tail. This is what fascinates serious bettors at the track, the game of figuring all this stuff out, and making the selections, reading the race in advance of it happening. Far more interesting than just wagering $2 to win on your lucky number.

              This is one of the reasons why horse racing is struggling to gain an audience and remain functional on the globe. Because it takes some effort to learn how to participate. Not nearly as "easy" as buying a lottery ticket or operating a slot machine. But so much more fun.
              www.cordovafarm.weebly.com

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by NancyM View Post
                This is one of the reasons why horse racing is struggling to gain an audience and remain functional on the globe.
                Yes and no. Racing across the globe is fairly popular. From December 14, 2018

                Horse racing is a big industry now and is a hugely popular sport with fans around the world. Some countries top the list for big events though and attract more fans placing their bets on meetings like the Melbourne Cup, the Grand National and the Dubai World Cup, via their favourite betting companies like Bet365, Paddy Power and Timeform. Here are the top locations around the globe where an interest in horse racing is at an all time high.
                IIRC, at Royal Ascot yesterday (Thursday) the King George V Stakes was moved up earlier on the card to make the time more amenable to the Japan TV audience.

                IIRC, it's expected that 300,000 people will attend Royal Ascot's 5 day meet.

                Maybe racing is struggling in the US, but I don't know that I'd say it's struggling globally.
                Maybe the reason I love animals so much is because the only time they have broken my heart is when they've crossed that rainbow bridge

                Comment


                • #9
                  I know in the UK there is a shortage of qualified help in the yards. The wages are low, even when housing is provided, so some people opt out of racing into better paying occupations. And it's a very very expensive sport to get into, they are having a hard time attracting new trainers and owners. So they struggle in a different way.
                  "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My grandmother taught me to read the DRF charts when I was around 8 or 10. It’s really not that complicated and each horses chart shows it’s last...6 or 8?....races. Lists race, purse, conditions, track surface. More important the exact position that horse was running in each furlong and by how much and lists the top three finishers whether that horse was in them or not and the winning time. Also includes very brief comments, lagged early finished gamely for example, led early tired badly, never threatened, rallied late, wide on both turns, lugged in badly, outrun, lost rider. Sort of a thumbnail sized recap. Tells you if it’s a come from behinder, stalker, like being alone in front. These things help betters, race anyalists trainers and jockeys figure out how a race will likely set up.

                    My own personal favorite comment was one from Santa Anita mid 70s. “Led early, turned right at head of stretch” . 8 words tell quite the story.

                    Anyway, learn to read the charts. Interesting actually, not like just crunching numbers.




                    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by NancyM View Post
                      Besides the odds, understanding the racing form is also necessary. As is the selections of different bets you can make. When you read the racing form, and get to know the horses, the jockeys, and the trainers, the full story is available for you to understand. Is a horse dropping or moving up in class? How has each horse been running recently? Is there speed in the race? Is the horse you like a speed horse, or a come from behind horse? How do the other horses in the race look compared to the horse you like to win? If there is a lot of speed in the race, your speed horse may get involved in a speed duel early, and tire, setting the race up to be won by a come from behind horse. The racing form will tell you a lot of this information, if you know how to read it. Betting successfully over time is dependant on learning about these things, not going in blind and betting on the one with the nice silks or the longest tail. This is what fascinates serious bettors at the track, the game of figuring all this stuff out, and making the selections, reading the race in advance of it happening. Far more interesting than just wagering $2 to win on your lucky number.

                      This is one of the reasons why horse racing is struggling to gain an audience and remain functional on the globe. Because it takes some effort to learn how to participate. Not nearly as "easy" as buying a lottery ticket or operating a slot machine. But so much more fun.
                      It's certainly not as easy and convenient and I think columnists like Andy Beyer (I can't refer to him as a turf writer) helped pave the way within racing. When I first became interested in racing in 1987 I would religiously read his columns in the Washington Post and I can remember several involving the new exotic bet "Double-Triple" which involved a trifecta progression in two designated races with a carryover if no one hit. He would go on and on about how many hours he had to spend in front of replay monitors and when he did score a big jackpot he again lauded the hours that he spent working on the handicapping. His ego put forth the notion that the only way a person could be successful was to become a hermit to handicapping. One could tell Frank DeFrancis, the last good track operator ever, despised this because any time a regular every day Joe (or Grandma) would hit the Double-Triple using methodology such as making a selection because of the silks colors or a horse's name, there would always be a special to the editor article with the details. Frank understood that he had to cater to the serious player, but he also knew he had to provide entertainment for the casual fan. The worst decision he ever made was his last (if he even did make it) where he left son Joe in charge.

                      Anyway, look at all the advancements for bettors in the last 20+ years--account wagering, TVG, individual seating w/monitors, etc. It's been all about keeping people away from the track or limiting the social aspect of going to the races.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        You really can't place an intelligent wager without reading the horse's past performances or "form." Odds alone tell you very little.

                        "Morning line" odds are the odds written by an oddsmaker prior to the race; the form publishes those odds so you can see what the experts think are the chances for each horse. Yet the morning line odds have nothing to do with with the actual live odds of a horse in parimutuel wagering. Sometimes the program might list a horse at 12-1, but then he becomes the betting favorite at low odds for whatever reason; sometimes insider info, sometimes because of a hot streak, sometimes for no good reason. So you turn to the past performances to get further information on said odds.

                        It's not hard to read the form, although it can seem overwhelming with all the numbers which are often unlabeled. Different companies publish their past performances *slightly* differently, although the general pattern is the same. There is always a legend published somewhere, so when in doubt, find that legend and figure out what each column represents. Most of the information is of limited usefulness to a novice bettor, but becomes more meaningful with experience.

                        The columns that are the most helpful for someone beginning include the finish position, the speed figure, and the distance/type of race/conditions.

                        Finish position is kind of obvious-- you want to see how the horse placed in his previous races. This number is usually one of the last listed on each line. There will also be a little superscripted number that tells you how many lengths the horse was ahead of the next one behind it.

                        There are different types of speed figures (Beyers v. E-speed figures), but they both do more or less the same thing-- they give a numerical rating of how fast the horse ran given the conditions. Time alone is not very useful for this purpose without a deeper understanding of the factors affecting it. Speed figs can be imperfect, but they give you a general ballpark of the impressiveness of a performance. For example, Horse A might have finished no better than 4th in all of his races, but was consistently running speed figures in the 90s. That would indicate that he is probably faster than Horse B, who may have won several races, but never ran faster than speed figures in the 70s. Of course, it's not quite that simple. If it were, betting would be easy. There are other factors at play and speed figures aren't perfect. But it does help you gauge a horse's speed.

                        With the distance/type of race/conditions, you want to compare it to the current race-- is this a similar race? Were the horse's previous races longer/shorter, higher/lower class? How long has it been since the last race? There is no one thing you are looking for in these areas, but it helps paint a picture. A horse might look like a sure thing on paper because he has won every race at 6f on the dirt, but for this race he is stretching out to 1 1/8 mi on the turf. A horse might have been running races for smaller purses in the past and winning and is now having to step up to a higher class. Or, a horse might be dropping in class, running for less money than before. The horse might only finish well on a fast track, or on a muddy track, etc.

                        As for the other stuff, as you gain more experience, it starts helping to further develop the picture. Comments, riders, points of call, medication and equipment changes, win percentages for the trainer, etc. Not super helpful at first, but as you understand the game, those pieces of information start becoming more and more beneficial.
                        Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Another advancement in PPs, depending on the product, is all kind of trainer stats concerning first or second start off the claim, first start after a 90+ day layoff, first time starters, and so on. This used to be information that a serious player would compile on his/her own and which would give them a great advantage. Now it's out there for everyone.

                          That being said, one of the weirdest angles I've ever heard came from a pretty serious player at Monmouth back in the '90s--"If it's high tide, always play the early speed."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Palm Beach View Post
                            I know in the UK there is a shortage of qualified help in the yards. The wages are low, even when housing is provided, so some people opt out of racing into better paying occupations. And it's a very very expensive sport to get into, they are having a hard time attracting new trainers and owners. So they struggle in a different way.
                            True enough, there is a staff shortage but actually wages are not bad compared to many/most rural wages, far better than other equestrian employment, and the industry is currently making efforts to improve recruitment. Three things I think may be influential in the shortage are a) Sunday racing, which was begun as a result of overwhelming pressure from the betting industry (they now want to stop it because it has not proved to be profitable) so a training yard is busy every day of the week and who doesn't like a regular weekend off? b) kids are pushed towards university by their schools which gain rewards for the number of pupils going into tertiary education: hard to say "I want to work in racing" under such circumstances, and c) football (soccer) has a ludicrous amount of media coverage and being paid eye-watering sums of money to play 45 games a year is more appealing to youth than risking life and limb many times a day if you become a stable lad or lass or a jockey.

                            And of course, people just grow bigger today than in the past but the racing weights haven't changed.
                            "Good young horses are bred, but good advanced horses are trained" Sam Griffiths

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