Sunday, January 22, 2012

Non-Handicapping Handicapping

Over the years what I've found is that the principles of being a good handicapper (and money-manager) in horse racing, overlap with many other disciplines.

Today in Harness Racing Update, one of the books on this list was used as an illustration with regards to how so, so many participants and gamblers view supertrainers. If you'd like to read that story, or sign up for Bill Finley's internet magazine, for free, you can here.

Here's a short list of books I have read that have made me better at betting, decision making on play/pass, odds board makeup, and understanding horse racing, in general.

1. Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell - Although on the surface this book is about "gut feel" it truly isn't. There are dozens of examples and illustrations in it, that hit home for us as handicappers. It reads like a magazine piece, as well, and you can finish it in one or two sittings.

2. Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely - Behavioral economics is the rage of late, and the author writes the Freakonomoics of that genre. Why do we make the decisions we do? What's our motive? Are we rational? Although several chapters of the book were more for marketers, there were plenty of gems for handicappers.

3. The Way of the Turtle by Curtis Faith - A stock trading book which tells the tale of taking newbies and turning them into successful traders. A number of the rules - the rights and the wrongs - completely parallel what we do as handicappers who have to manage a bankroll and read odds boards.

4. Supercrunchers by Ian Ayres - I guarantee there are thousands of handicappers heading to the races today with three hot "angle bets". I also guarantee that a majority of them are betting angles that may have worked at one time, but are costing them money now. This book explains how computers and data are shaping the way we make proper decisions.

5. Gambling Wizards by Richard Munchkin - How can you get that list of experts in one book and not learn anything? It includes an excellent interview with the late Alan Woods.

Those are a few of mine. Have you read any books outside horse handicapping that have helped you become a better player?

2 comments:

bumby said...

Thanks for posting that list of books. Of those, I've only read blink, and that one definitely made an impact on my capping.

A book I am reading right now seems to have a lot to offer horseplayers, though it is written with the trader in mind:

Enhancing Trader Performance: Proven Strategies From the Cutting Edge of Trading Psychology by Brett N. Steenbarger

Pull the Pocket said...

Thanks for the tip! Ill order it.

PTP