• Becoming a Pro Gambler, Part Deux

    POSTED Apr 7, 2011
    One of the most popular articles I wrote for Youbet.com (in the days before the merger with TwinSpires), was called “Becoming a Professional Gambler” and it detailed my attempt to make a living as a professional horseplayer. Not a public “pro” or one that has found the secret to beating the living snot out of the races but is willing to share his/her brilliant insights for a reasonable daily, weekly or monthly sum, mind you. No, my desire was to become an honest-to-goodness fulltime player — like one of my handicapping heroes, Barry Meadow.

    Initially, my quest went well. After a week, I had nearly doubled my initial $500 bankroll ($500 was chosen because I felt that was an amount that nearly everybody could afford); a few days later, I topped the $700 mark in earnings.

    Then, shortly after I began “super sizing” my lunch orders, confident that my paper earnings would accommodate the additional expenditure, my best-laid plans, as the Scottish poet Robert Burns once predicted (probably with me in mind), went astray — as I noted in a follow-up article:
    “Two weeks ago, I promised to document my journey as a professional bettor and, this week, I’m sad (kind of) to announce that that journey has ended. I noted at the beginning of my quest that success hinged on my mechanical, or systematic, techniques (like my Win Factor computerized fair odds line) to carry the bulk of the analytical load, as I doubted that I would have much time to do my own handicapping. In fact, outside of my free selection last week, I didn’t look at the past performances at all. And, while my Win Factor method did, in fact, produce positive numbers (see stats below) it did so in such a haphazard fashion as to age me 17 years in 17 days.

    After nearly tripling my bankroll in my first week of ‘pro’ wagering, I begin to lose… and lose… and lose some more. If it had been a weight loss program, I’d have considered it an unqualified success, but it wasn’t — even though I definitely felt like The Biggest Loser.

    When I finally threw in the towel, I had lost an astounding 24 consecutive bets on overlays going to post at odds of 3-1 or greater. By way of comparison, the longest losing streak I’ve had with my qualified free selections this year is eight. What’s more, my starting bankroll of $500, which had once topped $1,200, stood at a mere $528 by the time I walked away, half-crazy and muttering to myself. It got so bad toward the end that, while I understood the plot of ‘Inception,’ I was confused by old ‘Ernest’ movies.”
    Well, call me crazy, but I’ve decided to try again. One thing the “Score with Simon” promotion has taught me is that conditions are rarely ideal when it comes to betting. Consequently, success is often dependent on one’s ability to adapt — whether it’s having to wager $10,000 in a day, determine one’s bets hours before post time (without the aid of the tote board) or handicapping until the wee hours of the morning.

    So, in addition to trying to score every Saturday, I’m going to start betting — seriously — during the week as well. And, just like last time, I’ll be documenting all my successes and failures, via blog posts, screen shots of my TwinSpires account, etc. If things go well, I figure I can be an inspiration to other would-be pro bettors; if things go badly… well, Charlie Sheen is still looking for assistants, isn’t he?

    Staring Bankroll: $492.60 (hey, that’s what was in my account at last check).

    (Click on image to enlarge)

    Stay tuned…

    Pinpointing the Preps

    Recently, I’ve had some questions about the pace figures earned in various Kentucky Derby preps to date. Below is a chart summarizing that data:

    (Click on image to enlarge)

    Keeneland Opens

    If you like big fields and even bigger payoffs — and who in their right mind doesn’t? — you’ll love the racing at Keeneland, which begins its spring meeting on Friday. And to help handicappers nab some of those juicy mutuels I’ve prepared a couple of charts — the first showing the performance of favorites under a variety of different circumstances, and the second detailing the average speed rations at various race distances on both turf and Polytrack.

    (Click on image to enlarge)

    Early Speed Ration (ESR): A measurement of a horse’s early energy expenditure in relation to the total race requirements. The lower the figure, the greater the horse’s early exertion in that event.

    Late Speed Ration (LSR): A measurement of a horse’s late energy expenditure in relation to the total race requirements. The higher the figure, the greater the horse’s late exertion in that event.

    Early Speed Ration

    -15= Demanding. -10= Brisk. -5= Moderate. 0= Soft.

    Late Speed Ration

    0= Excellent. -5= Good. -10= Fair. -15= Poor.

    Jack Hobbs said...

    Love this post, and also love Moomin!
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    Jack Hobbs said...

    Im thankful for the article. Great.
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