THERE was a valuable lesson for regular punters contained within a $411,188.06 Pick 6 payout at Gulfstream Park on 6 August, writes BOB EHALT.

The punting genius who was the only one to correctly select all six winners on this day made excellent use of his $2,160 betting kitty, electing to use 10 of the 11 horses in one of the races. That was field minus one.

While it’s hardly unusual for a Pick 6 player to use the “field” in a race (using all of the horses in that race), what stood out here was that the horse left off the ticket was the favourite in the race.

And that’s why they call it gambling.

By taking a stand against the favourite – who finished fifth – the punter wound up having the $59.40 winner on that ticket and was ultimately rewarded with a life-changing payoff.

While cashing a Pick 6 ticket would be a dream come true for a modest player, anyone can benefit from the wagering strategy and confidence that went into that huge payday at Gulfstream Park.

As much as some form students like to focus their wagers on favourites so that they can cash a winning ticket more often, these so-called “chalk” players are actually working against the odds. Even if favourites win 33 percent of the time, that means they lose 67 percent of the time.

It’s those numbers that illustrate why a punter would always be wise to exploit a vulnerable favourite. You’re chasing bigger payoffs, and, yes, about 67 percent of the time it makes sense to bet against the chalk.

While a handicapper should always strive to pick winners, sometimes it can work out just as well when you find a race where you do not like the favourite. By spreading your wagers a little more than usual in that race, you just might cash a ticket that puts you in the black for the rest of the day.

And if you’re worried that the horse everyone but you seems to like will beat you, remember, about 67 percent of the time that horse will lose. So go ahead, take a chance.

In case you have forgotten already, that’s why they call it gambling!

Art from The 10 Habits Of Highly Effective Horseplayers (Charl Pretorius, 2004).

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