Power Cap

Power cap- existential handicapping

19 November 2009

Do Low Minimum Wagers Lead To Degenerate Gambling?

This ought to be a hit amongst the action junkies, Churchill is going to lower the minimum wager on pick threes and trifectas to fifty cent starting today. With handle taking a slide across the board tracks have to angle for every edge to make sure they hold their share of the shrinking parimutuel pie. Takeout on these wagers is 19%.

The good news is that this gives horseplayers more options at the low end, the bad news is that another avenue of low minimum degenerate gambling has been widened. Are these low minimum exotic wagers bad for "OTB type" action junkies? Would some people be better off if they focused on win, place and show? If punters can not afford the $1 pick 3 should they even play the pick 3? Is the industry casually introducing degeneracy to racing fans by instituting all of these low minimum wagers? Do I need to arm myself next time I go to the track to fend off all of the seedy fifty cent and dime players?

Flushing OTB patron and sometimes Churchill Downs fan Dat Wi Nguyen was "very happy" when he learned about the $.50 pick 3


Cangamble said...

Pick 3's generally attract more sophisticated players. With a 19% takeout, only a couple points more than WPS at most venues, I don't see this being something that will wipe them out much faster. They will be able to take more combos, and if it is their niche, it gives players a better opportunity to win or break even. WPS bettors are not usually the Pick 3 bettors either.

Supers with 20 cent minimums have helped build up the super pools which is good for the game, but because there is usually a 25%+ takeout associated with them, they do wipe customers out quicker, and that is bad for the game.

Anything that has a lower takeout associated with it is much better for the game in the long run no matter what the minimum bet is.

Unknown said...

There have been plenty of studies done on this in other gaming arenas (penny slots, minimums at table games, etc.).

If you're that interested in the answer(s) to your own questions then do a little research before indicting an industry.

Call up some track managers that have had dime supers for 5+ years now.

Call up Bennett Liebman.

I look forward to your report.

The_Knight_Sky said...

Eddie D. wrote

Call up some track managers that have had dime supers for 5+ years now.


It is precisely that effect that I take offense with.

a) reducing the number of signers in pools such as the superfectas because they winning wager was not in a $1 denomination. It's fine if you're wagering at home at your computer but at the track I don't want some novice hogging the mutuel windows/machines.

b) the industry and various racing writers continue to promote the pie-in-the-sky approach to wagering. That's the macho thing it seems.

Handicappers must first show flat-bet proficiency with straight win bets on the races before graduating to vertical or horizontal wagers.

Last I heard, Kelly Percentage Wagering still builds bankrolls in 2009. Just about everyone's got the horse before the cart.

Anonymous said...

I'd rather have a dime super paying $150 ten times than a $1 one paying $1500. IRS!!! I always check probables on gimmicks and make sure I am well under G2 req'd payoffs.
Here in Michigan you can't even deduct your losses from your G2 winnings.

G. C. said...

I am not aware of any studies on exotic betting minimums. However for years NYRA resisted a menu chock full of every exotic wager for every race. I am not sure if exotic betting is the best way to grow the game.

G. C. said...

My approach to the game is to treat it as an exercise in reason, thus the subtitle "existential handicapping". The toughest fight all of us horseplayers fight is an internal battle; there is not one horseplayer who has found him/herself down a bucks at the end of the card and a passionate mania takes over reason. The toughest fight is to remain in the reason "sweet spot". This push for all exotic wagering may ruin many handicappers before they have a chance to really understand handicapping.

Horseracing can be an effective exercise in reason. Using reason and restraint the game can be beaten. On the best days you can even transcend reason and approach the metaphysical. Promoting the game as a lottery like exotic chase reduces it to its lowest common denominator.

Yet most of the horseracing media today emphasizes exotic wagering, from TVG's endless pick fours to Crist's "Exotic Wagering". Most of the handicapping focus on esoteric speed figures - while ignoring the eclectic side of the game that can be attained through observation and contemplation. The greatest return from this game is the discipline attained in making yourself into a winning player. That is why I question if lowering minimum wagers is in the best interest of the game or the punter.

The_Knight_Sky said...

Horse Racing must be able to teach basic mathematics to their customers. That includes a self-tally of their strike rate and overall ROI.

What good is the big Pick 3 hit last weekend for $1,500 if it took a total of $2,000 over the course of the month to hit it?

It is unfortunate that it has become "glamourous" to write books about Pick 6 tickets at the expense of a (mostly) gullible audience.

Successful horseplaying starts from the ground up through years of trial and error. And that means lots of lost wagers but hopefully not one's sanity.

G. C. said...

The tracks interest and the individuals players interest are two different things. The interest you share with the track is that it is in your best interest to see that the other players bet as much as they can as often as they can. That way the track does well and you have lots of "dumb money" to bet against.

Only in the far corners of the horseplayer universe (like on these blogs) can we talk about the handicapping proverbs of self control, a concept that is great for you but is bad for handle. We have to accept that the masses want a game reduced to speed figures and a bankroll dependent on large exotic scores that are often attained through compulsive betting.