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Discipline and Wagering

This week’s LET IT RIDE.COM HOT TOPIC comes from Jeremy Plonk of Xpressbet…take a read and VOICE AN OPINION!

Work and Play

All work and no play makes for a boring existence; but does working and playing the ponies ever really work out for you in the end? As someone who reads blogs on an online wagering site such as Xpressbet, my guess is that you probably mix in some of your favorite hobby in-between the day’s other labors.

I work in the industry, therefore, most days mean playing the ponies almost has to co-exist with working. For the past 20 years I’ve learned to juggle the two, and many of the lessons have been hard ones. When I used to work at the track and literally have a self-service machine in our office, discipline was a dirty word. Now that it’s a work-from-home and play-from-home co-existence discipline may be even more at the fore of horseplaying skills.

I’m proud to say that the single skill I’ve developed over the decades that has served my finances best has been discipline. Being disciplined doesn’t mean you have to bet less. In fact, that’s where my most rewarding (literally) approach has evolved. It just means you have to bet fewer races.

Let’s say you bet with the average $200-$300 bankroll on a given racing card or day of horseplay. Once upon a time, I promise you that I would have made 20-30 wagers in a full day, mostly in the $10-$20 range, with that type of bankroll. It’s an uphill battle and strategy that almost cannot fulfill itself for a few reasons.

First, you’re simply playing too many races. The numbers will catch up with anyone in any vocation. A baseball player may have a dream first-half of the season and hit .354 going to the All-Star break. But he’ll wind up at .320 by season’s end even if he’s among the very best hitters in the MLB. If he’s not a star, that .320 won’t even be on the radar when his baseball card is printed the following offseason.

Second, you’re not giving yourself a chance to hit someone of major significance. At $10-$20 per race, unless you’re one-punching a cold combination as my buddy Dick Jerardi likes to say, you’re most likely playing around in multiple combinations that add up to 10 or 20. When you are correct, you’re looking at $1 exactas, dime supers or $5 to win and place kind of situations. Those are fine and dandy; don’t get me wrong. But you must string many of those together during a day to add back up to $200-$300 and hit your break-even point. Can you seriously hit five $1 exactas that pay $50 apiece in 20 plays? That’s a fantastic bout of handicapping and horseplay, and you’ve managed to only break even.

Being more disciplined and still maintaining my normal, comfortable daily bankroll, I’ve given myself chances to have banner days with no more outlay than the norm. Take that same $200-$300 bankroll and consider the following strategy.

Bet 40% of your day’s bankroll on the race or sequence (double, pick 3, pick 4) you like the most. Take another 40% of that daily budget and play on the race or sequence you like second-best. And finally, use the remaining 20% to divide up among action plays that help you enjoy a fuller day, reduce boredom, and to avoid that dastardly feeling of, “Damn it, I liked that one and didn’t bet it because I was sitting here trying to be disciplined!”

With $200 for your budget, that means you’re going to play $80 on one race, $80 on a second race and then nickel and dime the other $40 on a series of $2, $4, $6 kind of bets. Even at $6 per race, that gives you six more races to play for $36. Now you’ve managed to bet 8 races on the day for $196, under your $200 budget even if you don’t hit anything and have winnings to churn. And you’ve moved yourself from the small-time bettor to the $50 minimum window like the old days.

It doesn’t take a huge bankroll to play like the big boys. It only takes discipline. Try this strategy a few times and give yourself a serious shot at some big money a few times each day vs. nickel and diming your way to a life of treading water. Because when it comes to mixing work and play, you’ll find that a couple of big plays per day is all you have the time and need for anyway.