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Old 09-21-2010, 10:42 AM   #16
Dave Schwartz
 
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The idea that a losing horse player is just one book away from becoming a winning horse player is absurb.
I could not agree more.

Becoming a winning player is not, generally, the result of adding a single idea. It is usually the result of several, small, incremental improvements.

The idea that a player is just one concept away from improvement is very believable.

To me, the logical progression is to learn what everybody is assumed to know. From there, the process is to either prove that some of the things that are so well known are either not true or more true (forget Aristotle here) than the public thinks.

The final idea or two that usually brings it together is adding something that is not so well-known to the equation. The more obscure and counter-revolutionary the idea, the better. Of course, it must be a good idea to begin with.
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Old 09-21-2010, 11:20 AM   #17
Charlie D
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Schwartz
I could not agree more.

Becoming a winning player is not, generally, the result of adding a single idea. It is usually the result of several, small, incremental improvements.

The idea that a player is just one concept away from improvement is very believable.

To me, the logical progression is to learn what everybody is assumed to know. From there, the process is to either prove that some of the things that are so well known are either not true or more true (forget Aristotle here) than the public thinks.

The final idea or two that usually brings it together is adding something that is not so well-known to the equation. The more obscure and counter-revolutionary the idea, the better. Of course, it must be a good idea to begin with.


Sorting the wheat from the chaff
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Old 09-21-2010, 11:51 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Schwartz
Find a mentor. Years of practicing by yourself is a brute force way of doing this that may never produce fruit.
...
If you want to compete on a level that allows you to win consistently, get some help. Very few people reach their potential all by themselves
Great advice. I wish that I had one when I was a noob. Hell! I wish that I had one now! The only people that I knew were not winners. I relied a lot on handicapping books and the ones that I read at least drove home the point about value bets.

And as Charlie D just posted, if you can sort out the wheat from the chaff on this site you will also learn a great deal.
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Old 09-21-2010, 12:06 PM   #19
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Learn to model the elements of your handicapping methodology. Then study the records to determine the ROI's of each factor and/or group of factors. Become selective and only make wagers where historical records show you have an edge.

The tricky part will be when to decide when you have enough records for the ROI's to be reliable. (Many small samples show profitability, only to turn in to losses once more records/races are added to the sample.).

One additional point.....learn the difference between wagering to make a profit and wagering just to have action.

Best wishes and handicapping!
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Old 09-21-2010, 01:05 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Robert Goren
Quit before you get hooked. If you are smart enough to beat this game, you will make a lot more, a heck of lot more money some place else and you will be a lot happier. I will say this. Nobody I know (or even heard of) who makes any real money at this game wasn't positive almost at immedately. I never heard of any one becoming positive after 4 years of losing.

Couldnt disagree with you more.
1. I couldnt imagine doing anything else with my life no matter how much more money I made.
2. From 1985-1993 ALL Terrible losing years.
3. From 1994-Current (with the exception of 2008 that I'd rather forget about) profitable.
Agree with whoever said find a mentor. Or just find someone you know is successful and sit close by and listen to them speak. Some of the sharpest guys I've learned from never even knew they were teaching me (of course, there hard to find now with the internet and adw's in play)
Also agree with whoever said learn how to wager. That's the key to success. I have many friends that go to the track with me. I tell them which horses to bet. I walk out winning thousands and they walk out losers.

Last edited by TEJAS KIDD; 09-21-2010 at 01:08 PM.
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Old 09-21-2010, 01:18 PM   #21
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People sitting with Dave for a month or two, with zero handicapping knowledge about horse racing, would be far ahead of someone else who has read every book known to man who did not sit with Dave, imo. That to me, is a little known fact about our game, that others in other games embrace (like poker).

Guys who know how to bet in a similar arena (like poker) already have the skills in place to be a winner with some help. Newbies who don't know how to bet or have those skills are up against it.

If Phil Ivey sat with Dave, or Massa or Platt for example, and who does not know a fetlock from a form cycle, would know edge and common sense by playing poker.

Take for example, a MSW to MCL dropper with a positive jock switch. A newbie would want to bet the horse more than likely. While a guy like Ivey would probably say "he's dropping in class, he is getting this big jockey change and he is advertised as the ML fave, which everyone can see plain as day on the form; so why would I want anything to do with him?"

That horse with those angles is like holding pocket queens, but a gambler knows when to fold pocket queens.

Ivey, or someone like him, would be ahead of 60 or 70% of horseplayers because he would be gambling, not betting and searching for winners. Our game is counterintuitive to many because we are supposed to pick winners, however picking winners has nothing to do with us being successful as horseplayers.
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Old 09-21-2010, 02:09 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Goren
Betting horses has one thing in common with the PGA. Most people who take up golf do not have innate ability to play professional. The same is true of betting horses. The idea that a losing horse player is just one book away from becoming a winning horse player is absurb.
Yes, that's just the way it is Robert.
Nick Mordin wrote that successful punters have natural and learned skill sets that far exceed those of major company CEOs. You also cannot just work at it and ensure success. You have to work very smart, not hard. Unlike real life, there are no compensatory prizes for near misses - it's tough. About 4% scrape a tiny profit and 1% a living.
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Old 09-21-2010, 04:26 PM   #23
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Nick Mordin... isn't that the guy who told us at Saratoga one year that he never bets?

(Doesn't negate his good advice.)
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Old 09-21-2010, 05:00 PM   #24
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Not So Fast. Is it "vulnerable."

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeanT
Take for example, a MSW to MCL dropper with a positive jock switch. A newbie would want to bet the horse more than likely. While a guy like Ivey would probably say "he's dropping in class, he is getting this big jockey change and he is advertised as the ML fave, which everyone can see plain as day on the form; so why would I want anything to do with him?"

.
Your example wouldn't be an automatic toss in my play and the newbie may be right over Ivey. A MSW to MCL drop and Positive Jockey Switch are huge factors in Southern California. It may be the favorite, but it cannot be ruled out until you've determined that it's vulnerable in the race.
Low odds alone do not make a horse vulnerable.
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Old 09-21-2010, 05:11 PM   #25
Robert Goren
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The one piece of advice I will give. You need think about certain situations that arise from time to time ahead of time. A classic example of this is a horse who ran a reasonable close 2nd or 3rd in a stakes races at fairly high odds dropping back into a NW of 1 or 2 or maybe even a maiden race. What do you think about that horse? You should have idea of about it (and others just like it) before you see in it in the past performances. There are hundreds of cases like that one where you should not be trying guess what do as the post time approaches. You need to think it through ahead of time without the pressure of making a bet. Very good poker players do this. It is like knowing chess openings. If you play "on the fly" you will get burned bad.
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Some day in the not too distant future, horse players will betting on computer generated races over the net. Race tracks will become casinos and shopping centers. And some crooner will be belting out "there used to be a race track here".
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Old 09-21-2010, 05:26 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greyfox
Your example wouldn't be an automatic toss in my play and the newbie may be right over Ivey.
He may be right - in fact he is by my database over 32% of the time. But at a 0.70 ROI, people like Ivey will be tossing said horse out often times, trying to get paid a nice score to be ROI positive, and not worrying about losing a ticket 32% of the time.

Any "obvious" bet into 22% takeout is a bad bet in racing. If everyone else is doing something, true gamblers with a shot at beating the rake want nothing to do with it.

This is difficult for people to understand because handicapping books, ad nauseum, have conditioned them to do one thing and one thing only - pick winners. Picking winners that everyone else is picking is a one way ticket to the poor house.

Last edited by DeanT; 09-21-2010 at 05:29 PM.
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Old 09-21-2010, 05:33 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeanT
Ivey, or someone like him, would be ahead of 60 or 70% of horseplayers because he would be gambling, not betting and searching for winners. Our game is counterintuitive to many because we are supposed to pick winners, however picking winners has nothing to do with us being successful as horseplayers.
The ability to pick winners is under rated by many so called experts of the game. Whenever I hear the term value picks, I think of the old story told by stat profs everywhere of a drunk walking following the center line of a busy hi way. On average he will be very close the the center line, but it doesn't matter because he will be dead.
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Some day in the not too distant future, horse players will betting on computer generated races over the net. Race tracks will become casinos and shopping centers. And some crooner will be belting out "there used to be a race track here".
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Old 09-21-2010, 10:16 PM   #28
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My advice to you

Quote:
Originally Posted by Learned Hand35
Teddy's thread got me thinking.

For you veterans of the game, what was the learning curve for you regarding achieving positive ROI or at least negative ROI you could live with until you got back into the black in the next time frame.

My goal after my first year, a realistic one I hoped, was to cut my negative ROI in half. So far this year I have cut it down by a third. My goal was to show my first positive ROI by year four. Don't know if that is going to happen.

Thoughts, experiences, advice?
Most losers who enter this game with stars in their eyes make the grave mistake of thinking this is quick and easy money.

Quick? Maybe.

Easy? Hell, NO.
Millions of bankrupts will take the stand to say it was not their experience.

But then again, there is a paradox.

Once you have a winning method in place, and patience & discipline NOT to venture out of your circle of competence whatever the temptation, the game is easy, in the sense it then becomes 'mechanical'.
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The ONLY WAY the racing industry can survive is by reducing the takeout on WIN, PLACE & SHOW to ONLY 5%.

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Old 09-21-2010, 10:18 PM   #29
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You have to have a pretty big edge over your competition if you are going to beat the takeout in this game...but it doesn't necessarily need to be a handicapping edge.

If you have the ability to control your emotions under pressure...if your financial situation is stable, and it allows you to operate without the constant strain of money worries...if you have adequate time to dedicate to the game, making sure that your work is done in a comprehensive, error-free manner...all these are advantages that give you a sizeable edge over the competition by themselves.

Out-handicapping the competition is not the only edge...avoiding the mental gaffes that most people make is another big advantage, IMO.
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Old 09-21-2010, 11:31 PM   #30
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I'm a new player too. The question posed here is refreshingly reasonable. Achieving a positive ROI is obviously a worthy goal. But how realistic is it? If only the top 5% of players sustain a profit, are we willing to do what it takes to be part of that 5%? If not, is it acceptable not to sustain a positive ROI? Or must the hapless losers play in shame whilst lining the pockets of the smarties?

This thread includes references to other sports, including golf. Are they not worth pursuing unless we aspire to turn pro and profit from them? I'm not a golfer, but I suspect that equipment and fees can run into the thousands per year for even a modestly avid player. To put it in extreme terms, you could wager $400 per month on random horses and reliably spend $1,200 per year on your pastime. That's a lot of action for a modest expense compared with many other pursuits that have absolutely no chance of yielding a profit.

I don't mean to make a gratuitous devil's argument for being a losing horseplayer, or make excuses for being one, and I'm certainly not recommending betting random horses as a fulfilling pastime. But I am trying to put the endeavor into perspective, especially after reading a lot of ultimately uninspiring threads about profit and playing at a professional level. I appreciate the wisdom of top-notch players and those that aspire to be among them, but sometimes the standard for success can seem a bit severe (a sentiment that's perhaps driven more by the latter group than the former). I mean, just beating the takeout on a sustainable basis is a worthy measure of success, and that milestone is still a way's off from profit.
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