2006, Number 40
Inside This Newsletter
Wagering Series Part 4
• Quickly, How I Use ALL-Ways
ALL-Ways Version 12 Released
ALL-Ways Version 12 software was released on December 19, 2006. Comprehensive descriptions of the new features in Version 12 are available on the Frandsen Publishing Web site at www.frandsen.com and on the ALL-Ways Free Software page on the BRIS Web site at www.brisnet.com. The Standard Edition is also available for downloading from the same ALL-Ways Free Software page.
Frandsen Publishing is a family business and the whole family is going to escape the cold Minnesota winter with a two week vacation to Florida. Frandsen Publishing will be closed from Saturday, February 11th through Sunday, February 26th. We will re-open for business on Monday, February 27th. During this hiatus, please direct your support calls to BRIS at 1-800-354-9206. You can still leave messages for Frandsen Publishing by calling us at 952-937-9180. We will return these calls after we come back from Florida.
Wagering Series – Part 4
Where to Go >From Heretc "Where to Go From Here"
The first three parts of our ALL-Ways Newsletter series on the wagering side of playing the horses were included in our January (#36), April (#37) and July (#38) 2005 issues. We devoted our entire October 2005 issue to the Breeder’s Cup and now return to this fourth part of the series. If you have not read the first three parts, we suggest you do so. All ALL-Ways Newsletters are available on both the Frandsen Publishing and BRIS Web sites for free. Note that we are also expanding the series to five parts with the final part (Part 5) scheduled for our April 2006 newsletter. Part 5 will include a summary of the whole series, a Top 10 List of the most important things to keep in mind and a one page reference sheet you can use to as you go forward.
The overall objective of the series is to help unprofitable players move into the profit column and to help players who are already profitable do even better. We approach this by discussing ideas of how best to integrate your handicapping and wagering decisions.
Part 1 was aimed primarily at helping players who are losing money. It covered the need to set realistic expectations. Then it introduced a temporary method of play to help losing players “stop the bleeding” while they “re-tool” their handicapping and wagering approach. Central to all of this is to change the definition of a successful day of playing the horses to just making a $1 profit. This change in both objective and attitude is an extremely important element of this whole wagering series. This temporary approach suggests limiting betting to the 2-horse win wager and the Show Partial Parlay wager until reaching the $1 profit objective becomes routine.
Part 2 continued to define and refine the temporary approach. It introduced what we believe are the three most important handicapping skills. They are: 1) Being able to classify favorites as legitimate, vulnerable or false; 2) When the favorite is vulnerable or false, being able to identify the two most likely non-favorite horses to win the race; 3) Being able to identify a good non-favorite Key Horse. We also introduced a simple, organized four step process leading up to your final handicapping and wagering decisions. The steps are: Step 1) Isolate the likely in-the-money contenders; Step 2) Upgrade or downgrade each of these horses based on some fundamental handicapping areas; Step 3) Upgrade or downgrade horses based on the pace scenario in the race; Step 4) Upgrade or downgrade the horses based on a number of specific situational factors.
Part 3 was titled “How are you doing … really doing?” It presented ways to determine what did work, what did not work and what handicapping signals were missed. It also described a Problem Solving Matrix aimed at isolating problems into handicapping, wagering or money management categories and determining if the problems were caused by a lack of knowledge, a faulty handicapping/wagering process or a discipline issue.
This part of our Wagering Series will cover three items. First, it will present our recommendations for where to go from here. Second, we will add a new type of wager to our temporary approach while striving for consistent $1 minimum profits. This new wager may well be one you want to continue on with in the future. We call it the Win/Insurance wager. Finally, we will cover the subject of moving up the logical progression of wager types. Let’s get started.
Where you go next is, of course, dependent on where you are. If you are working on our temporary $1 profit plan, you are in one of three places: 1) You are making at least a $1 profit on a reasonably consistent basis; 2) Or, you are doing pretty well, but not quite achieving consistent profits; 3) Or, you are not doing well and need more work and time to refine your handicapping and wagering skills.
If you are doing very well: There are three alternatives for moving forward: 1) You can just keep doing what you are doing and enjoy playing the horses in a nice, non-stressful way; 2) Or, you can keep doing what you are doing, but increase your bet size a little at a time. This will help turn your modest $1 profits into higher profits without making any fundamental changes to your game; 3) Or, you can take advantage of your success with the three critical handicapping skills and move up the logical progression of wager types, which we discuss later in this newsletter.
If you are doing just pretty well: Chances are you just need to improve a bit with respect to the three critical handicapping skills. You may also need to refine your decisions on when and how to make your 2-Horse Win and Show Partial Parlay wagers. You may also want to add the new Win/Insurance wager discussed below. You should not increase your wager size and you should not move up the wager progression until you are able to make a $1 profit on a reasonably consistent basis. Very often, a losing day can be reduced to one or two bad decisions. See if you can identify and fix these occurrences.
If you are not doing well at all: For sure you do not want to increase your wager size and you do not want to move up the progression of wager types. Chances are you are having problems in one or more of the following areas: 1) You have not embraced the goal of making a $1 profit. If your mindset is not in tune with this simple $1 profit objective, you are probably making too many wagers and you are pursuing wager types that you are not ready to handle. 2) And/or you have not yet embraced or “mastered” the three critical handicapping skills. The most frequent problems we see in this area are either not accepting the need to avoid wagering on legitimate favorites or not developing the skill to classify the favorites as legitimate, vulnerable or false. Remember, favorites lose 2 out of 3 races. It is your handicapping job to identify the races where the favorite is most likely not going to win. 3) And/or your discipline when playing the races needs to improve. The kinds of discipline problems you should avoid include: • Betting too many favorites • Making too many wagers because you are not passing races that should be passed • Wagering on Exactas, Trifectas, Superfectas, Daily Doubles, Pick 3s and 4s before you have mastered the three critical handicapping skills • Making bad end-of-day wagering decisions in an attempt to recover from losses or trying to make big profits.
If you fall into this “not doing well” category, we suggest going back to parts 1 and 2 of this wagering series. We suggest you work at embracing the change in objective to making a $1 profit, limiting your bets to the 2-horse win and Show Partial Parlay wagers (and, perhaps the Win/Insurance wager discussed below) and developing your proficiency with respect to the three critical handicapping skills spelled out in Part 2 of this series.
We were actually “turned on” to this type of wager by an ALL-Ways software handicapper who had been using it successfully for a number of years. We tested the wager, with considerable success, over a six month period in conjunction with refining our recommendation for this Wagering Series of newsletter articles. We believe it deserves consideration for the temporary approach towards making the $1 profit objective and also on an on-going basis. We like the wager. There is nothing particularly exciting about it, except that it helps move players towards profitable play.
What it is:
Simply stated, the Win/Insurance wager is a “win-place-show” wager on one horse in the race. The characteristic of the wager that is different than how most people place an “across the board” win-place-show wager is that the amounts wagered are different for the three positions. What the ALL-Ways software handicapper recommended, and we used with considerable success, is to wager in a ratio of $2 to win, $4 to place and $12 to show. This level of wager is quite acceptable for our scaled-back, temporary approach to making our $1 profit. It fits nicely with the 2-horse win wager and the Show Partial Parlay wager in that exactly the same three critical handicapping skills support this kind of wager. So, no new handicapping skills are required, just another wager type decision.
How it works:
First, the place and show parts of this WPS wager provides some insurance in case our selection does not win, but comes in 2nd or 3rd. If our selection does win, the place and show wagers increase the profitability. Here is a pretty typical situation when a 3-1 horse selection wins the race. The horse paid $8.40 to win, $5.40 to place and $3.20 to show. We are paid $8.40 for our $2 win wager. We are paid $10.80 for our $4 place wager. We are paid $19.20 for our $12 show wager. In total, we are paid $38.40 for our total $18 wager.
Now, had the horse come in 2nd and assuming the same place and show payoffs, we would have received $30.00 ($10.80 + $19.20) for our total $18 wager. Had the horse come in 3rd, we would have received $19.20 for our total wager. So, if the horse wins, we make a nice percentage profit. If the horse comes in 2nd, we still make a profit. If the horse comes in 3rd, we at least get our wager investment back, hence the use of the word “Insurance” in the wager name.
When and how to play it:
You can approach this wager from two different perspectives, the “Win Perspective” and the “Show Perspective”.
The Win Perspective: When you are handicapping to classify the favorite and when you are handicapping to identify the two non-favorite horses most likely to win the race, if you see a horse you really like to win and it is going off at 3-1 or higher, then bet the horse to win, place and show as described above. Some people will advise scaling back to just a place and show wager if you are not confident the horse will win. We do not like that approach. It is, in our opinion, always a good idea to include the $2 win part of the wager. From this perspective, if we make the Win/Insurance wager, we will do so in lieu of a 2-horse win wager.
The Show Perspective: When you are handicapping to identify your non-favorite Key Horse and/or your non-favorite Show Partial Parlay horse, if you see a horse that you really like, then make the win-place-show wager as described above. From this perspective, if we make the Win/Insurance wager, we will do so in lieu of a Show Partial Parlay wager.
If we decide to make this wager from the “Win Perspective”, we are willing to wager on the favorite if the favorite is going off at 3-1 or higher. Keep in mind, however, this will results in the lowest payoffs. A successful wager against the favorite will produce higher payoffs. The best payoffs will come from the “Show Perspective”, which is not surprising because the Key Horse and/or Show Partial Parlay horse will not, by definition, be the favorite. Like all other wagers, the best payoffs are realized when the favorite finishes off-the-board.
We are going to start off this subject with three firm statements:
1. If you have not mastered the 3 critical handicapping skills, you should not move up the progression of wagers.
2. If you do not embrace the concept of “Never bet against legitimate favorites” and “Almost never bet on legitimate favorites”, you should not move up the progression of wagers. (See Newsletter #30, “The Curse of the Legitimate Favorite”)
3. If you cannot make a $1 profit on a reasonably consistent basis playing the 2-Horse win wager and/or the Show Partial Parlay wager and/or the Win/Insurance wager, you should not move up the progression of wagers.
Conversely, if all three of these statements are positive for you, you are ready to take a step up in your wagering. We recommend you go slowly, taking one-step-at-a-time and keeping your wagers small until you have mastered each step.
The 3 Primary Wager Groups
The first group of wagers we call “WPS Wagers”. These include the 2-horse Win wager, the Show Partial Parlay wager and the Win/Insurance wager as well as all other wagers that pay off based on finishing in a specific win, place or show position. This is the starting point for moving up the wager progression in the second and/or third group of wagers.
The second group of wagers we call “Multi-Position Wagers” which include Exactas, Trifectas and Superfectas. These wagers are all about win, place, show and 4th place handicapping.
The third group of wagers we call “Multi-Race Wagers” which include Daily Doubles, Pick 3s, Pick 4s, etc. These wagers are all about, and only about, handicapping for win horses.
If you are going to move up the progression of wagers, you have already mastered the WPS wagers. So, we are going to focus on the Multi-Position Wagers and the Multi-Race Wagers. We will be showing you are favorite ways to play these wagers and we will point to the specific ALL-Ways Newsletters to look at that will explain why we like the wagers. You may want to play the wagers in a different manner. But, the 3 critical handicapping skills will still apply. As a reminder, the 3 critical handicapping skills are: 1) Classifying the favorite as legitimate, vulnerable or false; 2) Selecting the 2 non-favorite horses most likely to win the race; 3) Selecting a non-favorite Key Horse.
Exacta Wagers (NL #3): Our favorite Exacta wagers are:
AB/ABC $8 for a $2 Exacta
AB/ABCD $12 for a $2 Exacta
Horses A and B must not be the crowd favorite (Skill #1). Horses A and B are our 2 non-favorite horses most likely to win the race (Skill #2). Horses C and D come primarily out of our handicapping process with respect to skill #2 and with respect to finding a good Key Horse (Skill #3). This is simple enough. Let’s move up the progression to Trifecta wagers.
Trifecta Wagers (NL #5, #6 and #7): The following chart illustrates what we believe to be a good method for determining if the Trifecta is playable or not. It shows the importance of being able to classify the crowd favorite.
Our favorite Trifecta wagers fall into two groups. The first group we call the “Exacta Plus Show” Trifecta wager. For example:
The other group we call the “Exacta Plus Key” Trifecta wager. For example, if we designate the “D” horse as our Key Horse, the wager would look like this:
These three wagers add up to a $24 wager for a $2 Trifecta.
The Exacta part of these Trifecta wagers requires all three of the critical handicapping skills as show above. This is why we say it is not wise to move up to Trifectas unless and until you have “mastered” the Exacta.
Superfecta Wagers (NL #20): In order to play the Superfecta, we require that two criteria be met. First, the underlying Trifecta must be playable. Second, the crowd favorite must be false. We must be convinced the horse will not win the race.
There are two approaches to the Superfecta that we like. The first we call the Trifecta Plus approach. Here is an example of a $1 Superfecta that costs $24.
The second approach we characterize as the “Key Horse With Required Finish”. For example, if we use the “D” horse above as our Key Horse and we require the Key Horse to win, place or show, the resultant wager looks something like this:
These three wager tickets cost a total of $36 for a $1 Superfecta.
The logical progression of these multi-position wagers is evident. When you achieve success playing the Exacta, the next logical step is to add or move up to the Trifecta, perhaps using the Exacta Plus approach to the Trifecta. When you achieve success playing the Trifecta, the next logical step is to add or move up to the Superfecta, perhaps using the Trifecta Plus approach to the Superfecta
Whereas the Multi-Position wagers require that we select horses for win, place, show and 4th place positions, the Multi-Race wagers only require that we look for winners. In our newsletter covering the Pick 3, we pointed out how dramatically the payoffs change when non-favorites win each leg. The Santa Anita example we used showed that Pick 3s with all three legs won by favorites had payoffs averaging $31. If only two legs are won by favorites, the average payoffs increased to $119. If only 1 leg is won by a favorite, the average payoff increased again to $641. If no leg was won by a favorite, the average payoff was $1,768. This speaks volumes to the need to be able to classify favorites as legitimate, vulnerable or false, our critical handicapping skill #1. This applies to all Multi-Race wagers.
Daily Double (NL #10): Here is how we like to play the Daily Double.
Ticket #1 A/ABC
Ticket #2 ABC/A
These two tickets cost a total of $12 for a $2 Double. Note that both tickets win if the “A” horse wins the first leg and the other “A” horse wins the second leg.
Pick 3 (NL #15): Here is how we play the Pick 3. It is simply an extension of the Daily Double wagering method. We play three tickets as follows:
Ticket #1 A/ABC/ABC
Ticket #2 ABC/A/ABC
Ticket #3 ABC/ABC/A
Each of these three tickets costs $9 for a $1 Pick 3 for a total cost of $27. This is the same cost as if we had simply played three horses in each leg. However, in our approach, you can actually win the wager three times if our “A” horse in each leg wins its race.
The important point to make here is that our A and B horses, and perhaps our C horses as well, will come out of our process for Skill #1 to find the two most likely non favorite horses to win the leg. Our C horse, plus other horses we may include in each leg, can also come from our search for a good non-favorite Key Horse.
When you are doing well with the Daily Double, move up to the Pick 3 and then perhaps to the Pick 4. Going beyond the Pick 4, such as to the Pick 6, requires a whole different wagering approach. But, the same three critical handicapping skills are required.
Here is why the three critical skills are so important. Skill #1, which is to classify the crowd favorite as legitimate or vulnerable or false, will help you determine whether to play or pass the race. Skill #2, which is identifying the two non-favorite horses most likely to win the race, will identify the two horses that will be your anchor horses in all wagers in the progression. Skill #3, which is to identify a good non-favorite Key Horse, will help you keep the cost of your wagers down by reducing the number of combinations. The process of performing skills #2 and #3 will help you identify the horses that you should include in your wagers along with the two primary candidates to win the race and a Key Horse.
Briefly, How I Use ALL-Ways
I start by “trusting” ALL-Ways software’s top 4 selections, Contender designations and Dangerous Non Contenders designations (DNCs). I do not start from scratch in my handicapping. Instead, I take the approach of trying to validate the decisions already reached by ALL-Ways software. There is a big difference in these two approaches. Validating ALL-Ways software is much faster and less prone to information overload.
The first thing I do is to determine, if I confirm ALL-Ways software selections, whether or not I would bet the race. I make any kind of wager from win or place or show to Exactas or Trifectas or Superfectas to Daily Doubles or Pick 3s or Pick 4s. It all depends on the odds and probable payoffs and how confident I am that I have the race figured out. I pretty much use the wagering strategies spelled out in ALL-Ways Newsletters.
Finally, I look for any high priced horses that ALL-Ways software may have missed. I look at pace considerations here, particularly late runners that may score at a good price. I also really like ALL-Ways Dangerous Non Contenders that have been designated as such because of Hall pace or speed figures. The Hall figures point out a lot of high priced horses, particularly if they are changing distance.
The primary reports I use are the Contender Summary, the Paceline Report, the Search Report, the Top 10/Ranking Report and the Past Performance Report. My wife uses the same ALL-Ways software handicapping reports except she likes the BRIS Ultimate Past Performances, which are free because I can use ALL-Ways data files to print them. I have also been using a new report in the Beta version of ALL-Ways Version 12. It is called the Spot Play/Final Process Report. It is fantastic for conducting a quick review of ALL-Ways software selections and for identifying high priced long shots, in an orderly manner.
I used to spend a lot of time handicapping the night before from “the bottom up”. I generally play three tracks, so it did take some time. But, I found that I was pretty much just validating what ALL-Ways software already determined. So, I decided to handicap at the track, still playing two or three tracks. It has worked out great. I do not bother to handicap some races because, if ALL-Ways software is correct, there is simply not a good wager available for the race. The races that I do handicap further to validate ALL-Ways software selections and to look for a long shot or two, only take maybe 5 to 6 minutes. This is easy to do at the track. We do get to the track about an hour before the first post time. I use this time to glance through all the races to see if there may be any good multi-race wager(s) (double, P3, P4). If I find some opportunities, I use the hour to look at each leg in the wager so I am prepared to make the wager if the odds hold up near post time.
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