View Full Version : A few questions about the pick 6 and big tickets

06-01-2017, 01:11 PM
I am a regular pick 5 player and used to be a common pick 4 player until I found out that pick 5s at every track are about 10% less take than the pick 4. Since the P5 is also a $.50 base wager and I haven't had any difference in adding the extra race, it has turned out to be a no brainer so far. As I've improved over the years in creating these multirace tickets, I've found that the only thing dissuading me from playing the pick 6 is the $2 base and the possibility of the conglomerate plays or buy groups that try to outleverage the single bettor. I'm at a point in my life where my handicapping is solid enough to justify risking a lot more of my discretionary income, if it is the right racing day, scenario (carryover) or card. In considering this, several other questions have arisen:

1. If I wanted other people interested in investing or playing my picks, I don't feel that splitting it evenly is fair if we hit. What do you guys think is fair? Obviously if you do hit it is a big payout for the common man who knows just a little about racing.

2. As above with regards to the tax situation if you hit, how do you factor that in? If you have a family member that can cash the ticket at a lower bracket, what should that person get?

3. Do you think the decision to play a pick 6 (not rainbow, the classic $2 pick 6 play) should be based strictly on a particular card with singles or races you love? Big pool? Carryover only to justify the play and maybe get a good consolation?

Thanks for any input. A final question is if they ever show how many tickets were bought into the pool --- I know they always publish the pool $ total, but I'm wondering historically what I might be going up against. I'm guessing that information is either very hard to find or not published.



Inner Dirt
06-02-2017, 11:14 AM
#1. Whenever I have played a group ticket, myself and at least one other person has input in picking horses. As for dividing the money, you get paid according to your investment, not your horse knowledge, if you put up 10% you get 10% of the gross return back.

#2. Who cashes and what cut they get needs to be pre negotiated on a case by case basis. As you know there are a lot of variables and some people are not well schooled on taxes. If your group has a lot of hits they need to be spread around. A couple dingers and a retired guy cashing them with no other taxable income gets shoved in the top tax bracket. States like California start taking away deductions for top earners. They had a guy decades ago at the OTB in San Bernardino who had a church and he would cash any ticket for a 10% cut. I wonder if he ever got in trouble.

#3. Carryovers are good as that is bonus money, but do not play unless the card looks good to you. The fact you like the card and feel you don't have to over spend to have a chance should dictate whether you play or not.

06-02-2017, 02:31 PM
A lot to talk about with group tickets. For one, make sure you are the lone decision maker or the frustration will be huge. For instance if you have 3 people with input, no matter what happens somebody will be right, somebody will be wrong and it just emotionally is hard to deal with. Since you are setting up the group, make it clear for the get go, it is your group, you make the selections and that is the way it is. Anybody that is not comfortable with that, should not invest. I agree with Inner Dirt that proceeds should be based on investment size. They have to live with the losses if you proceed to lose a huge sum of money, they deserve their fair share of the profits if you attain them. You need them as much as they need you, or else you will just do it yourself, which of course is the best way to do it.

Regarding taxes, I would have a serious conversation with my accountant and get some input there. I think the great thing about 50 cent pick 4's and pick 5's and 20 cent rainbow pick sixes (despite the fact you are crushed with that extra take), players can do their own thing, on their own bankroll, and not experience the guilt and pressure of losing other investor's money (both of which are not to be taken lightly).

I will be honest, the only situation I would even consider doing this in is the jackpot pick six in Southern California. With enormous jackpot pools that you actually have a legit chance of pulling down if you have an ample enough investment. The rest of the basic carryover situations I do not think are that big of deal that I would go there. You just have to take your shots on a small play and hope you get really lucky. I think the negative outweighs the positive in basic carryover situations and there are plenty of good alternatives with pick 4's, pick 5's.

Regarding how other people play, not public knowledge, and really doesn't matter anyhow. Just like you transitoned from pick 4's to pick 5's, you now have to transition from pick 5's to pick 6's and a base bet of 4 times as much. Usually requires 1 more single at a minimum(or of course a much larger wager). Worry about what you are doing right and wrong and not what other people do. The value of the carryover is the fact you are now in a positive expectation pool or very low takeout pool with huge money in it so you are amply rewarded on the day(s) that everything goes right for you.

Regarding whether or not to play a certain pick six. Good luck sticking to your guns. When you are staring at a 1/2 a million dollar carryover, it it really hard to cap a card, come up with 2 singles that look good to you, but come to the conclusion that everyone else is going to single them too, they will both likely be under 1-1 and you give them only about a 40% chance of winning each, I guess I will pass. That theorectically is the logic you are supposed to use when playing a pick 6, but the bad news is you can use that exact logic, pass that pick six, they both win for fun, the other 4 races come in like a dream for you and you miss out on a $80,000 score. On the other hand, remember that you can cap 5 races well, but in just takes one race that you just can't get a handle on, that you decide to go 7 deep in (with no A choices) and watch the 8/5 shot cruise home, and your huge investment just gets crushed. The good news about being undercapitalized is that you can cap a big carryover situation, be up all night deciding who can I toss, who should be "A", who should be "B".....look at 90 different ways of attacking the pick six and come to the conclusion that I can't play this for less than say $2000(way over my bankoll). But if you have a group of investors behind you, now you have that bankroll, and guess what this very subject is the one that will likely be the difference between your group making money over the long run or not. The bottom line is when to play, who to play, how to play are vital decisions that need to be taken very seriously, if this is going to be a success for you. Just look at the Twinspires players pools over the last year. Money is not a cure all in this game, a vital ingredient, but doesn't guarantee you squat.

One final note is that before actually doing this you should go on a test run. Now I am not going to say play on paper, because playing on paper is BS. Anybody can say If I was going to play a pick six today, I would go 4 deep here, 3 deep here singlehere spread 6 x 6 x 6 on these 3 races requiring 1 of 3 top choices. So we have 3 tickets looking like this


I bet a little more using the "A" on each ticket so I can hit up to 3 times instead of just once.

So these tickets total $864 each or a total investment of $2592. There is no way when playing with that kind of real money that you are going to hit the submit button without going over each race a zillion time to make sure you didn't miss anything. Sure enough you will likely make some changes as you further investigate. You may even talk your self of of the play. Playing that kind of money when you are not used to it is not easy.

To do a test run I would suggest you do a pick 3 parlay on these plays. So on the above 3 tickets, you theoretically have 36 combos in the late pick 3 on each ticket. Divide that $36 by 9 and it gets you to a $4 play. So you can simulate playing a pick 6 for 1/18th of the cost, but a least you still have skin in the game. So in the above play you are playing a $12 pick 3 4x3x1 or making a $144 play. Let's say your first pick 3 comes back 6-1 with a 4-1 with an 8/5 so it pays about $100. You get back $1200, and you would now parlay that $1200 into the second pick 3 which requires 3 different tickets

Total of 108 combos. So divided your 1200/108 and play a 11 pick 3 on each of the 3 tickets. Let's say this time around you do hit, but it sort of chalks up on you and you get home a 3-1 with a 4-1 with 6/5 shot with only 1 A choice and it pays $45. So in this case you will only get back $45 x 11 or $495+$12 left over from the first pick 3.

So essentially are simulating pick sixes by playing pick 3 parlays. This actually can get very complex and sometimes you can't do it based on how you structure your tickets, but in the situation you can make it work this is a very good way of getting your feet wet in the process of playing pick sixes. You don't get the carryovers, but if you are getting rebates, you can probably get some hefty ones. In the play I mentioned about you would have risked $144, made $363 profit, but received rebates on $144+1188 or $1332. Obviously you need to do this at big tracks, as you don't want to crush your prices.

The whole excercise of a pick 3 parlay gives you skin in the game, because you are feeling the pain of your losses, the frustrations of singling the wrong horse or using the wrong A.......but at the same time you are risking your money at a bankroll you are comfortable with as you transition into this next endeavor. You are also giving yourself some experience with pick sixes (because this is identical to a pick six other than you are missing out on carryovers and consolations). Now if you do decide to do this, I do suggest that when you do really well on the first pick 3 you don't do a full parlay. For instance in the example I gave where you got back $1200, you could theoretically keep $400 and parlay only $800. Consider the $400 a consolation and even if you do really well on the late pick 3 you will still get back 2/3rds of the proceeds (so you are not killing your opportunity).

06-02-2017, 03:39 PM
Question to add, do you think Jockeys are extra motivated if they know their horse will win a jackpot for someone? Almost happened the other day at Santa Anita, #6 99/1. Do winners customarily tip them big? If I won $400,000 based on the jockey and horse pulling off an upset, might visit them with money in an envelope. Are they thinking of this?

Now, on the investing, if you feel you should be entitled to a bigger chunk based on your experience, depends on a few things. Do you think your investors should invest to lose money based on your cut eating into their expectation? I wouldn't feel good making money based on someone's ignorance, thinking you're helping them when you're stealing from them. Has to be win-win, not win-lose. You're going to scare them away expecting too much anyways. How to solve this problem, no idea.

06-03-2017, 05:11 PM
You need them as much as they need you, or else you will just do it yourself, which of course is the best way to do it.

Thanks for the great reply, Poindexter. Odds are (:p), if I do it moving ahead, I'll do it myself or with very minimal (~10%?) side investment.

I'll keep you guys posted. I'm looking at the Belmont Card this Saturday in hopes that I really like a few of those undercard stakes races.

06-09-2017, 12:27 PM
Anyone playing the pick 6 at Belmont tomorrow?

Sorta interesting now that the Belmont Stakes is so wide open. It would have been even more interesting for me had Classic Empire run, since I didn't like him.

Do any of you guys stay away from "singles" in a leg when the field is 10+?