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Which Pool to Wager Into?
Winning at the Dog Track
by Bill McBride

Greyhound fans usually have a selection of pools in which they can wager. As well as win, place, or show bets, the dog player can also choose from the daily double, the quiniela, the perfecta (exacta), the trifecta, or the superfecta. Other “exotic” wagers are also often available, such as the twin-trifecta, the tri-super, the pick-3, pick-6, and the double quiniela.

You won’t learn which pool is “best” from this column. You will learn how to determine which pool is right for you, at which tracks and grades. In mutuel wagering you are betting against your fellow fans, not against the “house,” the track, or the dog owners! At one track fans might be better than aver-age at picking the trifecta. To make a profit in that pool, you have to be better than they are. It also means that the trifecta payoffs at that track are likely to be smaller than average, due to larger numbers of bettors splitting the pools.

At another track, the fans might not favor a certain pool. At the Tri-state track in West Virginia the entire exacta (per-fecta) pool might total less than $100! Fans there just seem to have an aversion to this bet and there is no way you can make a profit. At another track the exacta (perfecta) pool might average $2000, sometimes shared by only 3 or 4 winners! At some tracks fans like to shove money into the daily double pools, fattening them up to be shared by astute handicappers. If you want to make a profit at the dog track you best give this matter as much thought as you give to your actual race handicapping. Likewise, your wagering must fit your handi-capping skills. For example, if in a certain grade your methods regularly fail to eliminate dogs from finishing third, you may have difficulty in the trifecta pool. To cash tickets, you’ll have to include all of the dogs in the show position, an expensive proposition, particularly if the payoff at that track is on the slim side. Additionally, you’ll need to be able to narrow your win selections to no more than two or three, and your place selections to five or fewer, otherwise you’ll be hard pressed to make a profit in the exacta (perfecta) pool.

Is there a grade or course at a certain track where your first selection wins or places some 60% of the time? If so, and the payoffs are large enough, and if you eliminate at least 3 or 4 dogs from the place position, you may be able to make a profit in the quiniela pool. You will discover the best pools only by “back-testing” your wagers. Only by doing this for yourself can you learn the route to profitability. The answer for you is almost certain to work out by a variety of wagers; trifectas at a particular track, grade, and condition, a win bet only in another grade at the same track, a superfecta when it fits, and never a daily double when the two races are of a combination of different grades. “Back-testing” will uncover a number of scenarios in which the best pool is no pool at all! By doing your homework to see how you would have done by mak-ing different kinds of wagers on certain kinds of races you’ll find that you should not bet those races at all. You will have learned that making a profit at the dog track is in knowing when to sit out!

This story was first published in the October - November 2002 issue of Gambling Times Magazine.

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