If you’re like many people who are struggling through the tough economic conditions in the United States, you may have thought of winning money at the horse races as a possible way to supplement your income. While it is possible to win money betting on horses, doing it consistently or making a profit over the long haul is very difficult. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to think that you have a good chance of succeeding with a small amount of cash.
A big bankroll doesn’t guarantee success at horse racing handicapping, but it does help. The average horse player goes through many ups and downs, just like the economy. There are good cycles and bad cycles. Having the money to survive them is important and the under funded player often loses it all on a down turn only to see many winners that he would have had if he could have lasted long enough to stay in the game.
Does that mean that the amount in your bankroll is the most important number in your horse racing handicapping career? No, it doesn’t. While bankroll is important, it isn’t the most important thing. The next number that comes to mind is the number of races played. While you have to play enough races to win enough money, there is no magic number of races that will insure success or lead to failure.
If you try to play every race rather than picking your spots and best bets you will almost certainly lose, but the number of races isn’t more important than another number. You may call this the golden mean of horse racing. Similar to the Fibonacci number found in the natural world. It is the ratio between the odds on a horse on the tote board, in other words the price it will pay if it wins, compared to the actual odds of the horse winning.
The whole point of handicapping is to determine the actual chances of each horse winning. When playing exotic bets it also becomes important to determine where a horse is likely to finish if it doesn’t win, for instance, which one will be second and third, etc. Why is this comparison of its chances of winning to the actual payoff so important? The reason is that it is impossible to make a profit betting on horse races unless you bet on horses that will pay enough to cover all bets and make a profit.
For instance, if a horse has a 30% chance of winning, it will win 3 out of 10 races. If you bet it in each of those races for the minimum $2 bet, it will cost you $20. That means that those three winning tickets will have to pay a total of $20 just for you to break even. Anything over the $20 is a profit. If you manage to master handicapping so you can accurately tell what a horse’s chances of winning may be, then you simply need to watch the odds board to find good bets.
I know it is easier said than done, but that is how it is done and the only way you can survive as a horse player and therefore, it all comes down to that one number, what the horse will pay.