There is no doubt that how you bet is as important as what you bet in horse racing handicapping, if you want to make a profit. Good money management is the key to being able to stay ahead and that is a tough battle when you’re trying to make a living betting on horses. One of the most important lessons you’ll ever learn about gambling and maybe life itself, is that you have to keep track of your money and manage it wisely.
As I’ve often said before, “Good money management will get you through times of poor handicapping better than good handicapping will get you through times of poor money management.”
One of the ways that wise guys will tell you that you can make a profit on your betting is with gimmicks like distributing your money in the pools or increasing the amount of your bets based on your losses. Both of these gimmicks are very dangerous and not based on sound principles. A losing bet is a losing bet no matter how you bet it. If your flat bets don’t make a profit, increasing or decreasing the amount from race to race won’t help.
Let’s say that you’ve just bet on three races and lost on all three. Does that mean you’re more likely to win on the fourth? No. Why would losing three times make you a better handicapper? Please don’t get suckered into the “Law of probability,” myth. There is no law that is enforced regarding how many times you can lose except the law of diminishing returns which means how fast your bankroll disappears.
Martingale betting has been around a lot longer than I have and I am classified as a fossil by the scientific community. People have lost fortunes at the roulette wheel, baccarat tables, and race tracks using this progressive betting scheme. You may get lucky and hit something when your wager amount is increased making you think that the scheme worked, but in the end, you’ll eventually lose.
Another method of betting that has been circulating lately is the idea of spreading your amounts among the various straight betting pools. Bet a small amount to win, more to place, and a lot to show. Where is the logic in this? If a win bet is profitable, why do you need to bet so much to show? The same is true of the place bet.
While backing up your win bets may make sense to preserve your bankroll because your horse is more likely to place or show than it is to win, those bets still have to be able to show a flat bet profit in order for that scheme to work. If you make a flat profit of 10% on your winners but only hit 30% of the time, and make 5% on show bets but hit 60% of the time, you may put some money in the show pool to keep your cash flow, but there has to be an overall profit or you’re still losing.
The way to horse racing profits is through good handicapping and being able to put a price on a bet and then only wagering when the odds are favorable. It is like any other investment. Don’t fall for these gimmicks and you may one day make a profit. It isn’t easy, but desperate measures that make no sense will only make it tougher.