Expectation
vs. Reality
Every
single horseplayer that I
know wants to win.
I
don’t know many
horseplayers, however, that really know what to expect, or have a plan
to
accomplish whatever goal he or she may have. As
2007 begins, it is time to sit down
and formulate a plan of attack
for this racing year.
Ask
yourself the
following
questions.
I
can’t answer these
questions for anyone, but honest answers can help each person
can learn
what to expect for the coming year.
1.
How
much of a bankroll do I have to put towards
gambling on horses? This
is a very
important question.
How
much money are
you willing to put aside to wager on horses.
2.
What
expenses do you have that directly relate to
wagering on horses? Some
things to
consider are past performances, subscription charts plans, books,
breeding
data, software, programs, gasoline, admissions, etc.
Don’t
include that shiny new
laptop if you
would have bought a computer anyway.
3.
How
many days per week can you handicap and wager?
This
isn’t how
many days you
would like to
play.
It is how
many days you can play
once you consider the time and energy you have available.
In
theory, I’d
love to gamble seven days a
week, but I’d probably hate it pretty quickly and also be
worn out to the point
it would cost me money.
4.
On
these days, how many race cards can you
realistically handicap and bet? Consider
things like how long it takes you to handicap a race, which tools you
use,
etc.
Leave
yourself
enough time so that
you are comfortable with your decisions.
5.
How
many weeks a year can you handle wagering? I
think everyone needs substantial
breaks
from betting.
I
like to play about 40
weeks a year, and take off 12 weeks spread out during the season. This
is similar to #3
above.
Take some
time off to step away from the
game.
You’ll
be amazed at the energy and
enthusiasm you have when you come back.
6. What
percentage of the races you handicap do you find
quality wagers? Do
you bet all the races
you handicap?
A few? Or
somewhere in between?
7.
Do
you bet primarily straight wagers (win, place, etc)
or exotics? The
key
here is that exotics
probably require a bigger bankroll. The
chances of losing streaks increase with the longer odds you are
playing, and
exotics are always going to be longer odds or require bigger bets.
8.
What
is my expected Return on Investment (ROI) based on
previous success or expected success? Keep
records!
If you
don’t, you
can’t really answer this question. Even
so, make your best estimate and be realistic. Don’t
kid yourself into
thinking you can maintain a 30% ROI betting
every race at 15 tracks a day.
9.
Am
I getting a rebate? If
you are not, can you? A
rebate
is a great boost to your income, and helps on those losing days as well. You
may lose $500 one day,
but it can be nice
to check your account the next day and see $200 of it has been returned.
While
I could never
cover all
the
scenarios, here is an example from a friend I asked the above questions. He
told me he hoped to win
about $40,000 this
year to double his income.
Was
his
expectation realistic?
His
answers:
1)
$2,500 2)
$2,000 3)
5 4)
4 5)
40 6)
50% 7)
Win 8)
5% 9)
5%
My
friend, to make $40,000
betting, needs to actually show a profit of $42,000 to cover his
expenses.
He plans
to play five days a week, 40 weeks a
year, for a total of 200 days.
He
further plans to play four tracks a day, which average 10 races each
day.
So he has
40
races a day for 200 days, or 8,000
races, to handicap this year.
He
is
disciplined enough to only bet 50% of these, so he will actually bet
4,000
races if he follows his plan.
To
make $42,000 betting 4,000
contests, he will need to make $10.50 per race. Using
this information, how much does he
need to bet per race?
He
says he expects to make 5% betting, plus
5% rebate, for a 10% profit.
To
make $10.50
per race, he needs to bet $10.50 divided by 10%, or $105 per race.
The
question now is can his
bankroll support $105 win bets.
I
would
generally recommend betting 1% of bankroll for exotics, 2% of bankroll
for win
bets, and 3% of bankroll for very conservative win and/or place bets. If
he bets much more than
this, it greatly
increases the likelihood of a losing streak crippling his bankroll. In
this case, if my friend
were playing
exotics, he could play only about $25.00 per race. He
does not however.
I
asked further about his style, and he told
me he rarely plays any horse below 41, and plays some long priced
horses.
With this
information, I would say no more
than 2% of the bankroll should be wagered on any one race, which
equates to $50.00
per race for him.
Even
if he were
successful playing much more conservative bets he shouldn’t
go above 3% of
bankroll, or $75 per race.
Clearly
my friend needs to
reevaluate his expectations.
He
can do
one of two things.
First,
he can lower
his expectation in half, to $20,000 per year. This
would give him the possibility of
success.
The
second, but much more difficult option is
to change your plan to meet your goals. Most
people don’t have the
luxury of increasing the bankroll, so what else
can be done?
In the
next article, we’ll
look at the pros and cons of changing various aspects of your plan to
see which
are the most likely to succeed, and which changes will most likely fail.
