How to Bet Races With a Small Bankroll

How to Bet Races With a Small Bankroll

Horse racing may be the sport of kings, but that doesn't mean you have to bet big to get involved in the action and turn respectable profits. In this piece, we'll take a look at some common sense strategies and thought processes for turning the proverbial toothpick into a lumberyard.

Transforming the $2 bettor 

Even playing the game at the lowest level, the $2 bettor can realistically compete with large-budgeted players with a few simple stategic adjustments. First, the $2 bettor is best advised to ditch traditional win, place and show betting in favor of slightly more complicated exotic bets. Here's why: it's hard to get very excited betting a couple dollars on a 2/1 shot to win. When the horse wins, the $2 bettor gets $6 back at the window. Such experiences might be entertaining at first, but players bettting small sums of money are unlikely to maintain their enthusiasm for betting and handicapping on such a small scale. Now let's suppose the $2 player looks at things through a slightly different lens without compromising his pledge to thriftiness. If there are ten races on a card, the $2 per race player is essentially devoting $20 to playing the races. With this in mind, let's closer examine some better options. 

Bets made for smaller bankrolls

It can be argued that the pick three has become the ideal bet for small-budgeted players now that it is offered as a 50-cent minimum play at most major tracks in North America. The bet itself is simple to conceive and offers players a chance to use multiple horses and chase handsome payouts when the right combinations prevail. The same $2 player with a total bankroll of $20 for the day could easily pinpoint desirable pick 3 betting sequences on a race card and stay well within his budget while still competing with much deeper-pocketed players. Let's consider the following pick 3 play:

Race 1) 5,7

Race 2) 2,4,5,7,9

Race 3) 8

In this example, the hypothetical player has decided to use a pair of horses in the first race - the #5 and #7 - while spreading out in the second race with five possible runners, before singling his best bet in race 3. The cost of such a play, calculated by multiplying the number of horses used (2x5x1) by the 50-cent minimum base bet, would total just $5. In this particular example, the $2 bettor is actually saving a buck over the three races by playing an exotic wager, but most importantly, our small bettor is giving himself a legtimate shot to make decent money. Let's say the 5-horse wins race 1 at 4/1 odds, and the player catches his biggest longshot in race 2 at odds of 11/1. Then the 8-horse completes the winning bet in race 3, scoring at 4/5. Such a bet would generally pay $75-$100 for the 50-cent minimum and the player only had to be correct once! Figuring out how to stretch a buck is very beneficial at the track, and playing for bigger profits is far more enticing.


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* REMINDER! - you must be of legal age in your state or province to legally wager on thoroughbred or harness horse racing. Please bet responsibly!