This is the number one question you need to ask yourself if you want to be a regular bettor on the horse racing game. Having a flutter on a horse is fun, but it’s better fun when you win, or at least have some form of a long term plan of action to steer yourself in the right direction. You don’t want to be beating your head off a stone wall by gambling on a game that is unbeatable, or already solved. You would be as well off putting it all on 32 red, closing your eyes and praying to a messiah in the sky.
So then, is this game still beatable in 2018 and beyond?
The answer to this question is an unequivocal, YES!
The racing game can and always will be beatable. There are far too many variables that can affect the outcome of a horse race for things to ever reach a stage where a long term profit is no longer attainable.
Games like chess are solved. Poker is in theory unsolvable, but the best humans and artificial intelligence have advanced the game to such a degree that edges are now ridiculously small. Sports betting has it’s edges, but again, these edges are small. Horse racing is the one last golden carrot. There is just so much going on and so much that we don’t yet understand, for this game to ever be unbeatable.
Information at our fingertips
Having said all of that, the racing game has of course changed dramatically in recent years, primarily due to the internet. Things are no longer like they were. The computer changed it all and everyone is more clued in. Punters, bookmakers, the handicapper, trainers, the racing press, all of us now have streams of information at our fingertips. This same information was also largely available in the old days, but you had to work harder for it.
Nowadays we have it easy with instant access to free video re-runs of every race along with detailed online form books like the Racing Post, Racing UK, Timeform and others. In the old days we had to keep stacks of old newspapers to follow the form and VCR tapes to watch re-runs. We also now have blogs like this one and others too with useful tips and information. We have jockeys and trainers websites with personal blogs often giving out valuable information. We have computer software that can quickly analyse reams of statistics and spit us out likely race results with little actual effort on our part.
All of this spreading of information has in essence made the racing game easier for everyone. Easier to study races, easier to gain information on horses, easier to pick winners. This should make it easier to win, right? Well no, not if it is also proportionally as easy for bookmakers and their odds compilers to price up a race more efficiently than ever before. We are all steered more easily towards the winners and so are the bookies and therefore the market is tighter and the odds skimpier.
Harder than before for winning punters
The overall result of this is that people like me, who were easily beating the game pre-internet, now have less of an edge than before. We are still winning, but our edges are significantly smaller as more people now know what we always knew. The stuff that us fanatics originally found out through sheer hard graft and painstaking record keeping, is now readily available to the whole World with much less effort.
A lot of small winners pre-internet are now break even or small losers for the same reasons the bigger winners also now win less i.e. everyone is more clued in and the game is tighter. So the people who used to win are still winning but are now typically winning less and some might even now be losing. This is of course good for bookmakers.
Easier for losing punters
So, what then has the internet boom done for losing punters? If it is now typically harder for those who won pre-internet, then it must be harder still for those who always lost, right? Actually, no. A lot of people who were small losers or close to break even, can now maybe be small winners as more information helps them find an edge they previously didn’t have. Also, those who were perennial losing punters (i.e. 95%+ of people) are typically still losing but definitely losing a lot less than before. Information that they were too lazy to look for in the past is now falling into their laps and making the racing game easier for them.
Therefore, the top tier of gamblers (the top 1% of the 1%) are winning less than before. There is an overall higher volume of second tier small winning players who win a little, and the many losers are typically losing less. All of this of course means the bookies are winning less from the average losing punter and losing more to the increasing number of small winning accounts i.e. everyone is meeting closer in the middle, closer to that break even, middle line. This is good overall for the majority of punters and makes life a little tougher for bookies, but don’t fret too much for the big bookmaking firms as they are still raking it in due to the massive increase in volume of gambling that the internet has brought. Far more people still lose than win and this will always be the case, so the more volume of people gambling and the more opportunities they have to gamble via apps etc, the more bookies win.
In essence then it’s actually easier than ever before for both bookies and the majority of punters.
So don’t be afraid to have a go. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that this is a mugs game. It is a mugs game when played by mugs, the same as any profit seeking adventure will be a mugs game when played by mugs.
Why people loose
The reason that most people lose at gambling is not because the racing game is bent or unbeatable. They lose because they are lazy and looking for easy money. Easy money does not exist in 2018. It never existed and it never will.
The unfortunate reality is that the average punter walks into a bookie shop and typically looks at a newspaper for anywhere between 5 to 60 seconds. Then they glance up at a screen for another 10 seconds to check some odds before frantically pulling a 20 from their wallet and rushing to the counter to get on. When their horse doesn’t win they blame the horse, the jockey, the trainer, the bookie, the system, the missus, the neighbours missus i.e. everyone and anyone with a pulse rather than blaming themselves. On the rare occasion that they do win, they typically get caught up in the buzz and have a another few bets until the winnings, and often more with them, are lost back again. It’s a pathetic cycle all too common to all too many.
You can’t just click your fingers and turn a 20 into a 50 or more. Bookies are not stupid. They are reasonably clever and to beat them you will also need to be reasonably clever. You need to pay attention to what you are doing and you need to work for your money. If you want easy money then I can absolutely promise you that this is not the game for you. If you want to grow up and put some work in and try to beat the game, then this could be the game for you, because it is still beatable and always will be for those who want it bad enough.
A major step in the right direction will be to follow this website. Read all the entries in this insight column and read all the race previews in the previews section. Read them several times until you understand the concepts. Then as the months go by try to incorporate the concepts into your own selection making process. Feel free to leave comments and ask questions. I will always endeavour to answer you back. Hopefully we can get some good discussion going and learn from each other.
At the end of the day, it’s the spreading of information that will get you more clued in and closer to that break even line and beyond it.
Good luck out there!