Tuesday, December 14, 2010

"Bad Bill" & Lady Luck

By “Bad Bill” McBride
After 23 years of studying the greyhounds, writing two books and hundreds of columns and articles, you could expect that by now I’ve learned how to rule “LUCK” out of the picture. LUCK is for those number bettors, right? It has no place in the serious handicapper’s results, right?
WRONG! “Luck” is always a factor when it comes to wagering! ALWAYS!
On any given race card, here are the two major ways the experienced handicapper can be affected by bad “luck”:

1. One’s winning tickets can consist of nearly all “chalk” winners. That is, the crowd’s wagering favorite can win too often, creating pay-offs far smaller than the averages one’s system is built on. Most of us count on “outsmarting” our fellow fans some percentage of the time. On a race card on which the mutual favorites win too often, we haven’t outsmarted enough people. That’s a piece of BAD LUCK.
2. The other BAD LUCK experience happens when unforeseen wrecks and crashes allow dogs that you scored as “unlikely contenders” to finish in the money. It is on these occasions when the number bettors take home some of YOUR money.
Either of these scenarios can occur now and then. In fact, each will very likely happen on a FEW races on any card, at any track, on any date. We learn to rather expect this. But when they happen on the MAJORITY of races on a given card, we can legitimately tell ourselves that we’ve actually been the victim of some “BAD LUCK”! Nobody can engineer ALL of the bad luck out the game, no matter how good they get. Don’t get discouraged in this respect. It happens, now and then, to nearly all of us.
One can multiply the effects of a run of bad luck, however, by reacting with panic, and throwing away an otherwise sound system. While we do need to keep up-grading and up-dating our approach, we must guard against a run of “bad luck” causing an emotional trashing of the principles that have proven generally sound. “Go back to the drawing board”, from time to time, as we all must. But learn to live with a certain percentage of adversity.
Above all, remember that IT IS NOT A MATTER OF “YOU VERSUS THE GREYHOUNDS”, but instead “YOU VERSUS YOUR FELLOW WAGERERS”! It’s important to utilize basic statistical and situational handicapping, for sure. But this is only the first part of the game. You then must work out the best way to make this information work for you by wagering correctly into the right pool(s), according to the way your fellow fans are wagering. In this respect it’s a bit like a poker game. Just remember that it is the CROWD that is holding the other hands, not the dogs. Nothing that you do or say is going to affect the outcome of a race. But how you wager on that outcome is certainly going to affect how you make out on it!
MOST of the time…… Except when Lady Luck frowns on you……
For more insights into greyhound racing, see my website www.howtobeatthedograces.com

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