Great Record Keeping Leads to Horse Racing Handicapping Success

Do you cringe when you see horseplayers toss their non-winning tickets on the ground at the track or on the floor of the Off Track Betting (OTB) parlor? You should. Good record keeping in any endeavor leads to success. This not only applies to your cash management, but your handicapping as well.

The Tax Man Cometh

Your tickets are the basis for good record keeping both for cash management purposes as well as handicapping. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), “Gambling income includes, but is not limited to, winnings from lotteries, raffles, horse races, and casinos. It includes cash winnings and also the fair market value of prizes such as cars and trips.”

A winning ticket over $600 (USD) requires the track or OTB to forward your information to the IRS. Commonly called a “signer” in horseplayer parlance, the track has you fill out a form with all the pertinent information required by the IRS and in turn you receive a “W-2G” from the payer. Should your handicapping lead to this kind of success, it is very important to save your losing tickets. You can then offset your winnings.

In order to offset your winnings you must claim your full winnings on line 21 on IRS form 1040 (2009) and then deduct your losses on IRS form 1040, schedule A. Your losses claimed cannot exceed your total winnings. However to do so you must have accurate back-up records. Again, according to the IRS, these records must include date and type of wager, name and address or location of gambling venue, amount won or lost, and believe it or not, the names of the people with you. Those tickets contain most of this information, which is why they are so important.

Record Keeping for Handicapping Success

Those tickets are important as are the notations you make on your past performance sheets for each race. Utilizing this combined information can lead you to further handicapping success. It enables you to see what type of race (conditions) you handicap the best. With accurate record keeping you can go back and examine what wagering angles you are good at and what you missed in certain types of races. More importantly, you can evaluate your overall handicapping statistics. Great records that help you analyze race-by-race, conditions by conditions, distance-by-distance, trainers and jockeys, and wagering interests (horses) give you a superb review of your strengths and weaknesses in your handicapping. Careful notations of key horse performances help you identify those that are improving which in turn helps you make a great choice next time out.

Great record keeping will lead you to handicapping success and keep the taxman from muddying up your day. Start now. Begin your journey to handicapping success.

The Truth About Horse Racing Handicapping Gimmick Betting

There is no doubt that how you bet is as important as what you bet in horse racing handicapping, if you want to make a profit. Good money management is the key to being able to stay ahead and that is a tough battle when you’re trying to make a living betting on horses. One of the most important lessons you’ll ever learn about gambling and maybe life itself, is that you have to keep track of your money and manage it wisely.

As I’ve often said before, “Good money management will get you through times of poor handicapping better than good handicapping will get you through times of poor money management.”

One of the ways that wise guys will tell you that you can make a profit on your betting is with gimmicks like distributing your money in the pools or increasing the amount of your bets based on your losses. Both of these gimmicks are very dangerous and not based on sound principles. A losing bet is a losing bet no matter how you bet it. If your flat bets don’t make a profit, increasing or decreasing the amount from race to race won’t help.

Let’s say that you’ve just bet on three races and lost on all three. Does that mean you’re more likely to win on the fourth? No. Why would losing three times make you a better handicapper? Please don’t get suckered into the “Law of probability,” myth. There is no law that is enforced regarding how many times you can lose except the law of diminishing returns which means how fast your bankroll disappears.

Martingale betting has been around a lot longer than I have and I am classified as a fossil by the scientific community. People have lost fortunes at the roulette wheel, baccarat tables, and race tracks using this progressive betting scheme. You may get lucky and hit something when your wager amount is increased making you think that the scheme worked, but in the end, you’ll eventually lose.

Another method of betting that has been circulating lately is the idea of spreading your amounts among the various straight betting pools. Bet a small amount to win, more to place, and a lot to show. Where is the logic in this? If a win bet is profitable, why do you need to bet so much to show? The same is true of the place bet.

While backing up your win bets may make sense to preserve your bankroll because your horse is more likely to place or show than it is to win, those bets still have to be able to show a flat bet profit in order for that scheme to work. If you make a flat profit of 10% on your winners but only hit 30% of the time, and make 5% on show bets but hit 60% of the time, you may put some money in the show pool to keep your cash flow, but there has to be an overall profit or you’re still losing.

The way to horse racing profits is through good handicapping and being able to put a price on a bet and then only wagering when the odds are favorable. It is like any other investment. Don’t fall for these gimmicks and you may one day make a profit. It isn’t easy, but desperate measures that make no sense will only make it tougher.

Two Golden Rules of Horse Racing Handicapping and Betting

Almost every human endeavor has a golden rule that the participants need to learn in order to be successful. Handicapping horse races is no exception. There are a few truths of the game that every horseplayer will eventually discover, many times by experience. While knowing the golden rules may not make you successful, not knowing the golden rules will almost always contribute to your failure.

There are many ways to arrive at a horse to bet on or an exotic combination, however the golden rules are immutable. They do not change no matter how many races you play or what kind of race you play. Off track or fast track, they don’t change. There are times when you’ll hate them and other times when you will rely on them. Don’t take them personally. They were true before you were born and when you’ve cashed your final ticket, they will still be going strong.

The first rule is that nothing works all the time. By that I mean that any angle you can think of or discover will work some of the time, but nothing will work all the time. There are sad stories of a horse player discovering an angle and playing it on paper for a long time before finally taking the plunge and betting on that angle. He builds confidence, it seems to always make him money so he finally mortgages the agrarian business and puts it all into his new money making wonder only to have the universe pull the switcheroo and to have it stop working.

He pours more and more into it certain that it will start to work again and make him money and guess what? That laughing sound you hear is the god’s having a good yuk on the hapless gambler because he didn’t believe it when he read that almost anything will work some of the time, but nothing works all the time.

Rule two is value and all that it implies when it comes to finding bets. Good horseplayers don’t look for good horses, they look for good bets and in my experience they are hard to find. What makes a bet a good one? Profit over the long run is the answer. It is a racing and betting scenario that when played many times will return the bettor’s original investment along with a profit. Some call it ROI. Because things are always changing at the track those profitable scenarios come and go which leads us back to rule one.

BE creative and always keep an open mind. Keep looking for the next good angle and don’t bet a dead horse when the universe hits the “off” switch and the angle goes South, so to speak. Know when to play it and when to pass it up.