At a glance, there aren’t many similarities when comparing poker and horse racing. However, there may be tips and tricks we can take from one and apply to the other, most notably having a bankroll management strategy.
Check out any of the top poker sites, and you’ll see they all give advice and recommendations on how players should manage their bankroll – yet curiously, such information is lacking (for the most part) when it comes to betting on the horses.
It’s not a game of chance
Gambling games are often grouped into games of chance and games of skill. Online slots, roulette, baccarat, and lottos are prime examples of the former, while poker and sports betting can fall into the latter category.
The basic foundation is knowledge. If you’re playing poker, you want to know about probabilities and pot odds, among many other variables. For horse racing, an in-depth knowledge of handicaps, courses, conditions, jockeys, and betting odds is a must. For sure, poker and horse racing are vastly different, but you can improve your chances of winnings with research, study and practice.
Basic bankroll management tips
We’re going to start with the golden rule: treat your bankroll as an investment, and it’s your mission to help this investment grow. Before we go any further, we are not saying that punters (or poker players) should bet as a means to make money, but you need the mindset that this is an investment and that you’re not simply going to waste the cash.
Thinking of your bankroll in this manner should (hopefully) eradicate the silly, often speculative, wagers so that you can put your attention to bets that have a better chance of success.
Expanding on that idea, it’s imperative that you select your bets carefully. There are hundreds of horse races every day, but that doesn’t mean you should have a flutter all the time. Just like playing poker, you need to choose the games you play.
Additionally, you need to always bet within your bankroll. It is tempting to throw more money at a bet if you’re on a lucky streak, or to do so after a few losses in the hope that you can recoup some cash, which is generally called “chasing losses.” This type of indiscipline will likely lead to you parting with most of your bankroll more often than not.
In poker, you can look to build your bankroll playing small stakes. For instance, if you play sit and go tables:
- A $55.00 bankroll for $1.10 buy-in games. This staking system allows for 50 games
- A $110.00 bankroll for $2.20 buy-in games.
- A $275.00 bankroll for $5.50 buy-in games
The basic principle of this system is that the player has a starting bankroll of $55.00. After a lot of grinding, when they hit $110.00, they move up to play for higher stakes ($2.20).
It is possible to implement a similar bankroll strategy when betting on horses, but you must account for the variance in prices. For example, you don’t want to be wagering the same amount on a 1-2 favourite as you bet on a 33-1 long shot.
The simple way around this is to put parameters on your bet selections. Therefore, you don’t bet on horses with long odds, and you avoid wagering on races with large fields because there’s more chance of something unexpected happening.
Still, the bottom line remains the same. Your aim is to gradually increase your bankroll. Don’t get impatient. Stick to a plan. It might take weeks or months, but with the right level of discipline and dedication, you can beat the bookie.