Super-Tanker Logic

Super-Tanker Logic

The “obvious bet” – is there such a thing, and if so – what makes a good bet obvious?

Recently I came across a speech given by ultra-rich businessman, Jim Tisch (son of billionaire, Larry Tisch) at Columbia University in 2006. 

What he had to say struck me as pertinent to the ‘pulling the trigger’ decisions we face every day in horse racing – a simple “test” that will eliminate bet-time indecision . . .

To paraphrase the story Jim Tisch told his audience . . .

In 1982, he bought 7 used supertankers for $42 million US dollars (gulp!).  His reasoning behind deciding to purchase the tankers at a huge discount was more complex than the following story (and included the cost of scrap metal, the price of oil, the situation in the mid-east, etc.), but essentially he said that, “When I first stepped foot on one of the (four football-field long) vessels , I formulated my “Tisch $6 million test” . . .

What is that test? Again to paraphrase Tisch:

“I looked to the front of the ship, I looked to the back of the ship, and I looked right and I looked left – then I scratched my head and said to myself:    Gee. You mean I get all this for $6 million?!”

It was, for him at that moment – an obvious bet.

Alright – how can we transpose and use the “Tisch test” for race betting?

Every handicapper – no matter how long in the game – has formulated for themselves a (larger or smaller) set of handicapping factors that they consider basic – and apply each and every time they look at a race.

Things like; recency, class level, form cycle, fit for the distance and surface, trainer/jockey, early speed, pace shapes, etc, etc.

Handicappers may consider as few as 3 to 5 while glancing at the Racing Form, or as many as 25 to 30 filtered through a piece of computer software.

But it struck me while reading the Tisch story – that the whole “value” question in betting the races could be made more straight-forward and basic by using the Tisch Test . . .

. . . After applying the handicapping criteria you choose and use – find the horse that ticks all the boxes – then simply add in the Tisch Test with a minimum acceptable odds kicker:

“Gee. You mean I get all this – and 7-2 as well?!”

You have now found your obvious bet.

Go to the windows – and let the racing gods take it from there.



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