Tuesday, March 4, 2014

California Players Pick 5. It's Just About Value

As we embark on tabulating the 6th Annual HANA Racetrack Rankings, we were having a discussion about how the rankings exhibit horseplayer "value". That's a tough word to quantify, but if you understand gambling only a little bit, it can come naturally.

The gentleman who hit the Black Gold Pick 5 mentioned today, even with that bet, he was seeking value. "“There were some days when there were some small fields or lots of favorites that I thought would win, and I would sit those days out ...." he said. He found no value.

Value can come from carryovers (which are simply a takeout reduction bet), low takeout, higher field size; many things.

Reading back to the California Players Pick 5 - the bet that was initiated at the behest of primarily horseplayer Andy Asaro, in the throes of massively declining handles after the takeout hike in 2010 - the concept of value comes full circle.

Brad Free, after day one of this new lower takeout "value" bet wrote:

"The low-takeout (14 percent) pick five that made its debut Thursday at Hollywood Park attracted a modest $103,291 pool. Is it a good bet? You be the judge. California recently hiked takeout to 23.86 percent for exotic wagers with three or more horses. Under the standard takeout, the winning pick five Thursday would have paid only $233, compared to $263. Under standard takeout, the amount removed from the pool (the takeout) would have been $24,459 compared to just $14,460. Bettors on Thursday received a "bonus" of nearly $10,000. A bet that would have paid off at 466-1 odds, instead paid 526-1. "

Some in the racing industry will lead you to believe that this increase in payouts (which is what lower takeout is) does not make a difference. This "value" is too small to change behavior.

They're wrong.

Four years hence, the lower takeout pick five does not handle $100,000 like it did day one. It can handle five times or six times as much. In fact, there is a possibility this Santa Anita meet will be down in overall handle (even with the carryovers and all their good weather this winter), while the pick 5 will be up millions of dollars. 

Do horseplayers seek "value"? You bet they do. They do each and every day.

The 6th Annual HANA Racetrack Rankings, with updated, sortable statistics on takeout rates, field size, signal availability, handle size and wager variety, among others, will be released in the April 2014 issue of Horseplayer Monthly. 


Anonymous said...

My bosses love it when you say 14% is low.

HANA said...

We did not use the word low. We said "lower".


Anonymous said...

The guy who hit the black gold pick 5 got value on the bet just like someone who wins the lotto got value. For everyone else the bet has a takeout rate of over 50% which makes it (and all these other jackpot bets) the worst play you can make in just about any form of gambling. These bets should all be done away with in favor of lower day-to-day takeout. Just my humble (math-based) opinion.

Anonymous said...

Can't believe anybody even plays the P-5 at Santa Anita with all the very short fields in the early races. Only 22 horses in the P-5 one day.
Much rather play the GP P-5 or any other track with fuller fields than what's offered at S.A.