Choose your Opponent
By “Bad Bill” McBride
If poker was your game, and you could choose the players you'll be matched against,
there's no doubt you'd select the "dumbest" opponents possible. After all, if you had a
choice, why would you want to risk your money playing shrewd, experienced poker
At the dog track, you have a choice, in this respect. You can exercise your advantage in a
number of ways. I'll describe some of those.
First, however, make sure that you have a good grip on exactly who ARE your
opponents. Always keep in mind that you are NOT playing "against" the dogs
themselves. And you are NOT playing "against" the track owners. The whole game, the
factor that will determine if you are to be a winner or a loser, is how well you engineer
your edge over YOUR FELLOW FANS! If you were sitting in on a blackjack game, it is
a matter of you and your fellow players versus the "house". In this light, your fellow
players can be thought of as your "allies", (though there is no way you can "team up" to
the house's disadvantage!) At the race track, it's a different game. In pari-mutuel
wagering, while you might think of the crowd as your "fellow fans", they are really your
adversaries, competitors, rivals, and foes. There is no need to behave in an antagonistic
manner to them, but keep in mind, at all times, that if your are to make a profit, IT WILL
COME FROM THEIR POCKETS! You must adopt and maintain that mindset, if you are
to wager intelligently and create a positive Return On Investment, (ROI), for yourself.
When you're at the track, look around, even at the folks at your same table, THESE are
the people you are hoping to outwit! (The HOUSE is going to get its same cut, no matter
So, the less skilled that your fellow fans are, as a group, the better edge you will have.
The "dumber", less practiced, and more naive they are, regarding dog racing and
wagering, the better you are likely to do! But how can you have any control over this?
Here are some clues:
Some tracks are located in "tourist areas", where many of the fans are casual one time
visitors. Thus, the overall "intelligence" level of such a crowd is lower than a track played
by mostly experienced players. If you have a choice of which track(s) to play, (as you
may well have, due to simulcasting), play those tracks that are in this category. Likewise,
at your own "home" track, you can choose to attend those sessions at which there will be
a larger percentage of casual fans. You'll need to do a little investigation in this respect,
as this factor varies from track to track. You may find that matinee crowds, for example,
might tend to be composed of less sophisticated bettors, (or vice versa), or that weekend
sessions bring in more "numbers bettors", etc, which dilutes the average intelligence of
your opponents. One circumstance that holds true at most tracks is that "special
promotions", (giveaways, food specials, etc), tend to draw in large numbers of far less
experienced bettors. ("Pool Feeders" is what I tend to think of them as, and the more the
merrier!) That's a good time to apply your skills!
The other way you "play the crowd" to your advantage is in the monitoring of how "they"
are wagering into the various pools. This is most obvious in the WIN odds, as reflected
on the tote board, (but remember that the pay-offs in the other pools have no direct
connection to the WIN odds!)
And when you see that the crowd is over-betting or under-betting certain dogs in certain
pools, be prepared to modify your wager to fit the opportunity!
For more insights into Greyhound Racing,see
Good Luck at the Dog Track!