Betting Horses & Rolling with the Punches

I listened to a pretty good betting podcast with ITP last night, linked here.

As many of you know, ITP has been betting horses for his supper for many years. And during those years there have been many betting shocks - rebates, no rebates, exchanges, high signal fees, higher takeouts, larger fields, and shorter fields. 

It probably won't surprise you that each of those shocks changes betting behaviour, which ITP lists in the pod.
  • Higher rebates made him bet more, in massively large multiples. This is like marginal cost equals price point in business - produce as much as you can until profit approaches zero. 
  • Exchanges were the string cheese of the betting market - a new way to consume a product, and when these are offered (at a fair price) total betting volume increases (as it did with him). 
  • Higher signal fees are borne by the player.  He bets less now. 
  • Shorter fields = less variance. Less variance means fewer possible outcomes, which means lower handle for him. 
If you don't roll with all of those punches, and you bet professionally, you have to adapt to stay in the game. But if you listen to the podcast, you'll hear how hard that is for many to do. In fact, at one point ITP noted that succinctly, when he said you go where there is some edge, and if things are too hard, you do something else.

When those of us who do gamble talk about (incessantly sometimes, I know) much of the above, it's because it works exactly as prescribed. When we read in the Bloodhorse that increases in signal fees are great for racing, we cringe. When we see a CHRB meeting where a takeout increase is applauded, we're confused. When we see racing step on some form of new way to bet, we wonder what in the hell they're doing. Do they want us to bet less?

ITP's pod touched on several other issues that might be interesting to players, so if you have the time (and we might with more and more isolation being asked for) I found it a pretty good listen.

Have a good Monday folks!

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