Most punters don't understand statistics at all and that is one reason why
most fail. For example, most punters believe that horses at even money i.e.
$2.00, should win fifty races out of a hundred. In other words it is the same
as tossing a coin so you can only bet heads or tails. It's not true.
Even if over time you get exactly a fifty percent strike rate, recent history
suggests that over thousands of events the variation can be out by
as much as 20%. So imagine this. 400 winners at even money from a thousand bets,
or this, 580 winners from a thousand bets. One delights and one
horrifies and so far we are only talking about actual strike rates. Imagine
the variations that are possible if we are talking about 5/1 chances!
Here's another but unexpected variation. The TAB price on these very same even
money bookmaker chances have been known to vary from $1.30 to over
$2.80. Imagine a low strike rate period where a significant number of winners
pay much less than the bookmaker price. History suggests that this
is the more likely scenario.
How can we beat the odds? We can't but we can make some headway by betting
groups of horses in a race. This strategy is called dutch betting and we
achieve it by betting enough on each horse so that the same profit is made no
matter which horse wins. In theory, if we bet a number of horses in such
a way that we will make 100%, the TAB takeout and or the bookmakers margin,
will ensure that our actual strike rate for these horses will be around 45%.
Now we will find that our strike rate will vary between say 30% and 60% over
significant numbers of horses but because we are backing horses in various
price ranges, the fluctuations may not be so steep. On March 9th I noted a strike
rate of 37% for the day on my dutch betting and ended the day with
six winning races out of seven. With only forty or so races it is a very small
On March 10th, I bet only a dozen races but achieved a 60% strike rate which
improved the overall tally to just over 40%.A mate of mine started a similar
dutch betting strategy several weeks ago but was alarmed after his strike rate
for two betting days was only 27%. He was so unnerved by this he ceased
betting the strategy. You can see how difficult it is to remain focussed when
things are not going your way.
The key feature of any betting strategy is to know your long term strike rate
and also adopt a staking strategy that can cope with the short and long
term variations that are inevitable.
The general public does not see Racing as anything but a gamble, yet informed
punters like myself, are able to make regular profits most years.
Note that I said years, because if you don't have this long term view then like
many others you will be not only a short term failure but a long term
one. Many punters give up on a strategy simply because they encounter a short
term loss but are unable to see the long term because they don't stick
with it long enough.
My current strategy is based on betting two three or more horses in a race
on a dutch bet. I use Winform's new Money Factory Professional Edition
software which includes the most powerful dutch betting software I have ever
seen. More importantly, the new program records every bet and where it is
placed and keeps a running total of strike rates, dividends, and profits. I
have been pushing Winform for years to introduce such a product which also,
by the way, allows me in selected races to have a win or place bet or even an
each way bet and in some cases a proprotional win/place bet such as one
win four places if I believe that is the most appropriate bet in the circumstances.
Today, it is possible by signing up to any number of Racing sites sponsored
by the larger bookmaking firms, to get a range of selections, form or
ratings for little or no money. Even Winform's ratings which are Australia's
most professional and successful, average only about $22 per week with a
long term subscription. The point is that you don't have to worry too much these
days about finding selections with a good chance of winning. The key
factor these days is the staking and bet placement strategy but more about this
in a future article...