Cooper’s Law – 14 Easy to Follow Rules to Make Money From Horse Racing

Betting on tri-casts seems an improbable means to punting profit, but professional backer Paul Cooper used it to win nearly £400,000 on a series of bets at Thirsk.

Cooper was one of the first to capitalize on the fact that horses drawn high seemed to have a pronounced advantage over the straight sprint course at Thirsk. There are a number of tracks around the country where, in soft ground, a particular draw can prove an enormous asset, but at Thirsk the same was true on fast going. It appears that the inadequacies of the course watering system left a strip of ground under the stand rails ‘un-sprinkled’ which was significantly faster than the rest of the track. By betting the five or six highest draw numbers – those most likely to grab the favoured ground – Cooper was able to pull off a series of major coups.

‘I was hooked on betting at a very young age,’ admits Cooper. ‘But even then I knew that you had to be in control of it – otherwise it would control you.’

During the 1970’s, the ITV Seven was introduced. It immediately caught Cooper’s eye. ‘One of my first wagers was a £1.90 bet which won over £800. I was in business! A couple of years later, I collected £13,365 on a £3 accumulator and I was really on my way.’ Cooper is still fascinated by multiple bets – the prospect of huge returns for a small outlay – and believes serious punters should not treat them in such a cavalier fashion.

‘The Lucky 15 is a value bet.- it is a Yankee that also has four win singles, and the different bookies offer a variety of bonuses and consolations. For instance, if only one of your selections wins, you may get double the odds. So just one 7/1 winner virtually guarantees your money back.’

Cooper’s penchant for what Barney Curley calls ‘miracle bets’ is not his only apparent similarity with the man in the street. Like all betting shop regulars, he is irresistibly drawn to competitive handicaps where they bet 6/1 the field – but he hits the target far more often.

Cooper insists that studying trainers is the key to his whole business operation. The fact that, as an owner, he has chosen to have horses trained by Barry Hills, Jimmy Fitzgerald and Robert Williams gives a clue to the men he most respects in the game.’ ‘There are certainly some trainers I much prefer to back,’ he says. ‘What I really look for is someone who is perhaps underestimated and as a result their horses start at bigger prices than they should do.’

So what can we learn from the fastidious, immaculately turned-out Mr Cooper? Well, here are his 7 great Do’s and Don’ts, known as “Cooper’s Law!”

Cooper’s Law – Dos

1: Do stay cool, calm and collected when making a selection, and don’t go in head down. Weigh up all the possibilities and then have the nerve to go through with it.

2: Do bet only when you are getting good value and shop around for the best early prices.

3: Do back horses that have winning form. Shy away from maidens – the form is unpredictable and unproven.

4: Do bet in sprints. The form is often more reliable than in longer distance flat races.

5: Do find a small, competent yard to follow; because it isn’t fashionable, you’ll almost certainly get a value price on their horses.

6: Do look at horses in the paddock, especially in the spring and autumn. You can usually discard quite a few which are obviously not ready or are showing all the signs of a hard season.

7: Do bet within your means. Reduce your stakes when having a bad run – and increase them when things are going well.

Cooper’s Law – Avoid

1: Don’t get drunk or mix alcohol with betting. You need your wits about you to pick winners and to deal objectively with losing.

2: Don’t back short-priced favorites. The returns simply isn’t good enough, and let’s face it, they often get turned over anyway.

3: Don’t chase your losses. There’s always another day.

4: Don’t bet heavily when there’s been a sudden change in the going.

5: Don’t back out of form trainers or stables or jockeys carrying overweight.

6: Don’t back heavily at Chester. The tight track is a law unto itself.

7: Don’t bet in races over 18 runners. This is when the horses will split into two or more groups, effectively making it two or three different races.

The Capitalization of Dead Money

Pretend you’re sitting in a 10 handed $5/$10 NL cash game and you raise to $40 from early position with pocket 6s. The action folds to the big blind, who defends and calls your raise. The flop turns over Qs5d3h. Your opponent checks to you and you’re looking at a pot of 85 dollars. Should you bet? Why? What would you be trying to accomplish if you bet? You most likely wouldn’t want your flop bet to get called because you know your opponent either would be likely beating you or at least live (has some number of outs to beat you). Also, if we know our hypothetical opponent in this example would never fold pocket 7s or better, then you wouldn’t be looking to bluff him out of the pot with your flop bet. However, there is 85 dollars sitting dead in the middle of the table. You could win it just by betting.

This may sound like a value bet but there is one main difference. A value bet is generally a bet that you want your opponent to call with a hand worse than yours. You clearly would rather not be called here because you would have no clue if you were actually ahead in the hand or not. You definitely wouldn’t want to get check-raised because pocket 6s cannot stand much resistance on a Qs5d3h board. When you bet with a hand that is probably winning but overall fairly weak, you’re generally hoping your opponent will fold and you can pick up the pot immediately. The primary reason for your bet is not value; it’s strictly to win the pot. This concept is called the capitalization of dead money. If your bet makes your opponent(s) fold, whether or not you had the best hand, and you win, you just capitalized on the dead money that was sitting in the pot.