If you’re new to horse betting, your head is probably spinning. There’s so much to learn and some of the concepts are quite complicated. But no matter how green you are, there are certain mistakes you can avoid to increase your odds of winning money at the track.
The 6 Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make
There’s plenty of luck involved in gambling. There’s also a lot of skill. As you learn more about the art of horse betting and the different tactics successful gamblers use to consistently win, you’ll start to identify trends and powerful heuristics that transform your results for the better. But you’ll also need to weed out costly mistakes such as these:
- Placing Bets You Don’t Understand
Horse betting can be confusing to the total newbie. There are straight bets, exotic bets, trifectas, exactas, superfectas, daily doubles, Pick 3s, Pick 4s, Pick 6s, Rainbow 6s, Fortune 6s…it goes on and on. But you don’t have to understand all of them to get started. In fact, you should probably set your sights on more basic options.
“If you’re a beginner, it’s easiest to start with a few straight wagers,” Hollywood Casino of Perryville notes. “These bets are simple, straightforward, and fairly inexpensive. And you’re only betting on one horse per bet.”
Never place a bet you don’t understand. If you don’t know if you won by looking at the results after the race, it means you placed a bet that was beyond your skill level. You might occasionally win as a result of dumb luck, but you’ll lose more often than not.
- Playing Too Many Races
If you’re betting on dozens of races, your risk of making uninformed and ill-advised bets increases exponentially.
It’s best if you focus your energy and effort on just a few races. This gives you more time to prepare (and an opportunity to actually watch and enjoy the races).
- Chasing Losses
If there’s one no-no in horse racing – or any form of gambling for that matter – it’s chasing losses.
Example: You lose $20 on a race that you thought you should have one. Rather than cut your losses and move on, you place another $20 in an attempt to make up for the loss. You lose that race, too. Then you place a $40 bet to make up for both of the misses. You lose again and place a $80 bet…and before you know it, your $20 loss has morphed into an $160 loss. That’s what it looks like to chase losses.
The smartest thing disciplined gamblers do is set stop limits. They go into a race day with a certain amount to bet and they don’t go a penny over. If you can adopt this same approach, you’ll do better than most.
- Ignoring the Jockey
Don’t focus on the horse at the exclusion of the jockey. Both play an important role in the odds. Yes, the horse comes first, but the jockey’s performance will tell you a lot.
When analyzing a jockey, consider the past results and times for the jockey, past results when the horse and jockey have been paired, experience of the jockey, the jockey’s experience on this track, etc.
- Failing to do Proper Research
If you’re just going to the track with a couple of friends on a Saturday afternoon to have a few drinks and laughs, there’s nothing wrong with throwing down five bucks here and there on random horses that you like. But if you’re actually trying to win some money, research is everything. Without it, you won’t be able to pick out the value odds. Instead, you’ll be at the mercy of the oddsmaker.
- Making Lots of Bets on Long Shots
Everyone loves the story of the guy or bought a $1 lottery ticket and won $1 million. So when we see a horse with 100-1 odds, we salivate at the idea of turning a few bucks into a wad of cash.
There’s nothing wrong with betting on longshots here and there – especially if you’ve done your research – but it’s highly unlikely you’ll win. You could place 10 bets on 10 different longshots and you’re still playing at a disadvantage. Be smart!
Improve Your Odds of Winning
There’s no magic button you can press to win more bets or get higher payouts. However, if you know how to limit risk on the downside, you’ll significantly improve your odds of leaving the track with some extra cash in your pockets. Hopefully you’ve found this article enlightening. Now be sure to put some of this knowledge to use the next time you bet on the ponies!