Come Out Roll

Come Out Roll

How do you prevent handicapping and betting the races from being just a crap-shoot?

Several of you have commented in response to various posts that success at this game seems to be ever elusive.  It comes for a while, then disappears as quickly as it came . . . something seems to work for a time, then it doesn’t.  What gives?

Every single handicapper has had runs of successful wagering. This is proof that it isn’t that difficult to accomplish. The $64,000 question then becomes – “How do I maintain the advantage – how do I keep it from slipping back . . . in fact – how do I continue to increase profits over time, and prevent p*ssing them away during negative streaks?

As I commented to one of the posters recently, the main way is to be sharper than the next guy in your handicapping and betting – which kind of goes without saying.

But beyond that and perhaps even more important:  There are two correlatives I think are so key to the game that success cannot be had without their mastery . . .

It continually amazes to see how the ‘average player’ approaches this tough game. The self-discipline that would be required of them in so many other aspects of their lives – goes missing.  The common sense that they show elsewhere seems to be in very short supply when at the track. Why is this?  It is a question that needs asking  – and answering – if success is to become permanent.

The two correlatives that I mentioned above as being absolutely crucial to long-terms profits in this game?

“Patience” and“odds selectivity.”    They go hand-in-hand.

– The player that “needs action” – is in all likelihood doomed to long-term losses.
– The player that falls in love with a selection/choice he has made pre-race, and just can’t get off that horse no matter how the actual post time odds come up is in all likelihood doomed to long-term losses.
– The player who all too often makes a statement like, “there is just no way that horse can win,” for no other reason than that the crowd is shunning the horse and it’s odds have climbed to a bombshell type number – is in all likelihood doomed to long-term losses.
– The player who feels that he has somehow wasted his time if he handicaps a full card – but then finds no acceptable wager – (yep, you guessed it!) is in all likelihood doomed to long-term losses.

The power and efficacy of raising your minimum acceptable odds parameters – and steeling yourself to having the patience to sit on your hands until those odds present themselves – is inestimable. Just this one thing – if you can do it – and do it with unshakeable consistency from here on out . . . will change your game – period.

You know that method or ‘system’ that worked for you for a while – then didn’t?  Try going back and simply raising the minimum odds up substantially. If you were allowing yourself to wager on 2-1 shots, try raising it to 9-2 odds as a minimum. If your previous minimum was 3-1 – test using 6-1 (taking into account [and having a “sliding scale”] the number of starters in the field). 

I am talking about “win” wagering – and/or using the horse on top in the single race exotics.  The same theory does not necessarily apply to place and show betting, or to multi-race wagers.

I know we at Horse Racing Gold have perhaps been part of the problem for some of you. In various methods we’ve published, the minimum acceptable odds were set lower than they should have been.

It was a concession to human nature!

Since the average player tries a new method for 7-10 days before going on to the next “new method,” we hoped to instill a bit of the patience part of the formula by getting him/her enough cashed tickets that they (if newbies) wouldn’t be so apt to skip on to the next thing after the first losing streak.

Patience and strict odds selectivity . . . seems straight-forward and simple enough – right?

Look – a bit of self-examination will show you how difficult this simple idea can be in real-time application.  

How many times can you watch your “top horse” win and pay $8 or $9 – while you don’t have a bet on him? And to make it so much worse – maybe you’ve also just accumulated a losing string of 9 wagers where your horses would have paid over $20 (some well over) – but didn’t win (several likely didn’t even come close to hitting the board). So a $20 bettor is in the red around $180 on this losing streak, and a quick calculator check shows that she would have only been down a few bucks had she been betting the lower payers.

But that is the catch . . . the being down a few bucks.  The situation of having a slightly negative ROI from betting the lower priced horses (and granted – also cashing more tickets) – is likely to be a permanent one.

So at least consider making your next round of wagering – a “come out roll.” Start anew – with more patience and stricter acceptable minimum odds parameters.  Don’t be greedy/needy for the sheer number of cashed tickets – be concerned only about your long-term bottom line.


As always – your comments are welcomed. I look forward to the discussion.         – Gary




  1. Hi Gary…Raising the minimum odds is something I’ve recently done…I,ve been working with “The Sniper Method”since early Febuary and have now raised the minimum acceptable odds to 4-1 and may go to 5-1 odds…nothing less …for any reason! Sure, I see lots of 3-1 and less winners come in every day,But when I pull out of a losing streak,the higher odds horses that come in help to get at some of the bankroll money back and surely helps to “feed” the bankroll so that it does not go to hungry, sort to speak.Example: this new month was off to a bad start, with a 12 horse losing streak..then, 0n March 3rd, an 11.40 winner came in at Gulfstream..soon after, a 17.60 winner at Tampa Bay..those kind of mutuals will get your bankroll back up rather quickly, and if you get into a winning streak
    as winners (and losers) seem to come in bunches, well, its not long before you are back in the black, as I am now, thanks to the higher mutuals. I would like to stress the importance of bankroll managment….it is soooooo critical and the difference between being in the red to often and being in the black often enough.I would like to take this opprotunity at this time to thank Gary for his help in the a recent email to me he wrote….”It is very difficult to state a definitive “best way to go” as it relates to money management. It has to do with one’s patience(or lack thereof)one’s tolerance, one’s income needs, etc..” Makes sense…go to Gary’s page on money management for some great info. on this subject. Thanks for the new article, Gary!!
    Your loyal client from R.I., Andy p.

  2. This is such a great blog entry, I had to reflect for awhile to see if there was anything I could add besides, “Good job Gary!”

    I might add that as handicappers, we can almost always come up with at least one horse to bet in a race we handicap. Our logic might be tortured, but we are so good we can usually come up with a reason to bet this horse or that. I call this ‘forcing it’ in my own handicapping. In other races we have a firm opinion and are confident that our horse will be there at the end. Between these two extremes we feel varying degrees of confidence.

    Most players will see their ROI improve if they stick to races where they have a firm opinion and are also receiving the requisite value.

    This won’t of course work for action players. You state that, “…[they are] in all likelihood doomed to long-term losses.” I will go one step further and state that they WILL lose long term.

    • Doug – Thanks for the comments. I guess – over the last 35 years of betting, I’ve had that feeling of “confidence” you describe – so many 100s of times turn into (for whatever strange “racing luck’ reason) a losing wager that I now take that feeling with a grain of salt.

      The handicapping can be P.I. perfect, the estimation of the horse’s chances of winning the race accurately gauged – and yet something will happen that prevents the horse from running his winning race. That’s why I want to be rewarded adequately when it all falls right – those winners have to make up for all the races where ‘racing luck’ stepped in and prevented the superior lower odds horse from getting his nose in front at the line. – Gary

  3. glenn davis

    The problem with setting minimum odds is it does not often put you on the horse with the best chance of winning a particular race. Game On Dude’s last race is a prime example. When I bet him he was 8/5. I thought that he would be a bargain at 4/5. He paid 6/5 and ran like 1/5. The missing link in handicapping is a true odds line. A program using multple regression formulas that could provide an accurate line is THE holy grail of handicapping in my opinion. Such a line would accurately point out the true overlays.

    • Glen – Agreed – using odds alone won’t put you on the horses with the best chance of winning. But then – I don’t really think that the best approach to making money at this game is finding the best horse in the race (your Game On Dude example is a good one) and then believing it is an profitable “overlay” when it is paying 6/5. It may be an overlay to the odds line you made, but if you bet enough of those horses that you made at 4/5 who went off at 6/5 . . . I believe you would sooner or later show losses on those wagers. Even if a small profit was gleaned, it would be a grind at best.

      I want to find the 3 or 4 horses with most likely chance of winning – and put my money where the best return (long-term) will be – i.e. (in general) on the higher paying of those 3 or 4.

      I don’t take any issue at all with your idea of the value of an accurate betting line – I just don’t want to use it until the overlays to that line are offering enough to make my risk worthwhile (and again – over the long term). – Gary

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