How-To's of Wagering
About Pari-Mutuel Wagering. When you make a wager at a racetrack you
are NOT betting against the "house" as with most casino games. Pari-mutuel
wagering means "betting amoung ourselves." The odds are dynamic and are solely
dependent upon how you, the participants, place your wagers. When you're at the
track or a simulcast wagering facility, the track extracts a commission from all
wagers made and redistributes the remaining funds (or wagering "pool") among the
winners. In fact, the racetrack has absolutely no interest in the outcome of a
race. The track receives its commission per wager, similar to a stockbroker's
compensation, no matter if a favorite or longshot wins. YOUR wagering
determines the favorite and longshot odds, NOT racetrack management.
The How-To's of Wagering. At most race tracks (and off-track wagering
locations) the minimum straight win, place or show wager is $2. The final
winning prices are all based on a $2 wager. For example, if you bet $10 to Win
on Best Pal, and the Win price was $5.20, you would fill your pocket with
a total of $26. The math looks like this: [$10 multiplied by $5.20 Win divided
by $2 minimum= $26.00].
Straight $2.00 Wagers:
Exotic Wagers. These wagers are generally more difficult to win than
Straight Wagers and may require some advance handicapping. However, the
potential payouts are significantly greater. (Not all racetracks offer every
exotic wager. These are general guidelines; different tracks offer slight
- WIN - - You win if your horse finishes first. (On
average over 30% of favorites win.)
- PLACE - - You win if your horse finishes first or
second. (On average over 45% of favorites win or place.)
- SHOW - - You win if your horse finishes first,
second or third. (On average over 60% of favorites win, place or show.)
- WIN/PLACE/SHOW - - An equal amount bet "across the
board" to win and place and show. For example, $2 across the
board, or $2 win and place and show.
- DAILY DOUBLE - To win you must pick the winners of two consecutive
races. Wagers must be placed before the first of the two races. Minimum bet is
- PICK THREE - To win you must pick the winners of three consecutive
races. Wagers must be placed before the first of the three races. Minimum bet is
- EXACTA - To win you must pick the first two horses to finish in exact
order in a single race. Minimum bet is $1.00.
- TRIFECTA - To win you must pick the first three horses to finish in
exact order in a single race with eight or more betting interests. Minimum bet
- QUINELLA - To win you must pick the first two horses to finish in
either order in a single race. (Easier than an Exacta, because either horse can
finish first or second.) Minimum bet is $2.00.
- SUPERFECTA - To win you must pick the first four horses in exact
order of finish in a single race with eight or more betting interests. Minimum
bet is $1.00.
- PICK SIX - To win you must pick the winners of six consecutive races.
Wagers must be placed before the first of the six races. (This is a very
difficult wager, but the payouts can be very high!) Minimum bet is $2.00.
- PICK FOUR - Similar to the PICK SIX, but uses the last four races.
Minimum bet is $2.00.
- PLACE PICK ALL - You win a major payoff if you pick the winners or
second-place finishers of the entire card (8, 9 or 10 races). If no ticket
contains the winning combination for all races, the payoff will go to the ticket
with the highest number of correct selections. Minimum bet is $1.00.
- WIN, PLACE AND SHOW PARLAY - Parlay means to take your winnings (if
any) and wager them on the next race. Minimum bet is $2.00.
Horse Racing betting strategy:
The challenge of betting on horses is to collect and analyze information and
then make a sound judgment on what to bet on, what type of bet to place and how
much you decide to wager. In order to be a winner, you need to take into account
the following three main factors. (analyze them and act on your findings accordingly.)
- The odds offer (Price)
- The value of the odds (overpriced or under priced?)
- The type of bet (single, multiple, combination, etc.)
The odds offer has to be at least 2:1 to make it worthwhile. If necessary, choose
a selection with a slightly higher risk to prop up the price.
The value of the odds must be such that the sportsbook's commission is to a minimum,
if at all. Some selections get 'steamed' unnecessarily. When this happens, the
'favorite' price lengthens. Take advantage of those situations.
Three type of bets seem to stand out as a sensible combination to use because they
are simple, not too difficult to win and have good winning potential: the Straight
bet, the Doubles and the Future.
Horse Racing tips:
- Bet only on horses that you feel, have a good chance of winning.
- If you don't like a horse, don't bet on it.
- Give preference to winners. Choose a horse that has won before.
- Avoid betting on a horse that has just moved up in class.
- Look for value odds as much as likely winners. If you keep looking for
them, you will learn to spot them fairly quickly.
- Look for a horse that has a fair chance of winning and is not heavely bet.
This is usually a good value bet in the long run. On odds of say,
10:1, you need to win once in ten attempts to break even. Anything more
is net profit. Horses backed heavily by betting services and computer
handicappers may win more often, but are usually poor value bets.
- When the track is slow or heavy, give preference to fast starters. Slow,
muddy and heavy track conditions usually favor the horse that takes an
- A straight bet is simple, manageable and not too difficult to win. Play
it but always weigh the odds. Avoid favorites and long shots unless you
are getting advice from a professional that knows what they are doing.
Be selective - don't bet on anything or everything.
- When betting straight, consider betting to win and show, or each-way,
if the odds are relatively high.
- The sportsbooks, bookmakers and the track secretaries are well informed and
have a lot of experience setting the odds. Their starting prices are usually
excellent indicators as to which horses are likely to be among the first
three in a given race. Sometimes experienced handicappers will put a lot
of weight and money on a horse. This creates a false price, which in turns
causes, the prices of other horses to drift into the market; therefore
gets longer. As a result a horse shown as a favorite or even second early
on may drop down the list as the start of the race approaches. As
a result his odds improve significantly, that is get longer. This doesn't
always happen but when it does, bet on the horse that was initially favorite.
It is always a good value bet and in the long run you should make a profit.
- If a horse is heavily backed just a few minutes before the start of
the race and his odds are sharply reduced, bet on it. This is a strong
indication that somebody has reliable favorable information about the
horse that nobody else is aware of.
- The horses to look out for are those
whose overall form shows that they are capable of winning, regardless
of the class of race in which they compete. Two or more wins in the form
shown in newspapers or the Racing Form are often an indication of a possible
big win by a lower rated horse. An added bonus is they usually start at big prices.
- When making selections, always give preference to a horse that ran recently.
A horse that has not raced for some time may have suffered some setbacks
like an injury or an illness. No matter how good his form was if it is
not recent, chances are the horse will not win.
- Give an extra point to an experienced jockey on longer distance races
(over a mile). A jockey's ability assumes greater importance as the distance
increases. Most apprentices are capable to break a fast horse, which is
very good in sprint races, and the majority of their wins are usually
accomplished under such circumstances. However, in route races (distance
of longer than 1-1/8 miles) they usually do not fare as well. This is
not necessarily because they are lacking in basic ability but because
they are lacking in the experience needed to properly gauge the pace of
a race. An experienced jockey can enable a front-running sprinter to perform
as well in route races.