How to Manage Your Betting Bankroll
All effective horse players possess a common trait: the ability to manage their bankrolls effectively. Without exaggeration, money management is at least 60% of the challenge a regular horse player faces in trying to sustain profitability. The hurdles are numerous and require a player to master the psychological and fiscal nuances of the game with the same acumen and vision necesary to succeed in any enterprise where money is at stake. Here we'll take a look at the basics of sound racetrack money management.
Start with a logical bankroll and stick with it
When deciding how much to risk on a given day, week, or month of wagering, it is a prerequiste that players be completely and unabashedly honest with themselves. Money set aside for wagering purposes must be separate from the money needed to conduct daily affairs and pay rent, bills, groceries, gas, clothing, etc. That much must be abundently clear for even the most casual of gamblers before getting started. Because the money a player sets aside for betting is entirely personal, there are few hard and fast rules that apply better than the basic maxim of "only bet what you can afford to lose." A player's conception of his own bankroll may be adjusted as the player grasps his own habits and sense of personal finance, but must be strictly adhered to once established. Adding to the bankroll with additional funds during losing streaks is as ruinous as betting above the prescribed bankroll during winning streaks.
Set the rules of engagement
Once a player determines what he is comfortable wagering on a given day at the races, he must also determine a specific plan for how that money will be spent. A good handicapper preparing for a race card or multiple cards, always identifies the most optimum bets of the day well ahead of time. Through trial and error, the effective bettor also has a keen understanding of which bets they excel at, and which ones have proven to be less successful. A solid pick three bettor, for example, is well-advised to identify prime pick three sequences on a given race card and devote the bulk of his wagering capital towards these bets. As a general rule, it is good practice never to dedicate any more the 25% of a total bankroll towards a single bet. The amount of money a player bets should always be proportionate to the amount of confidence they have in the bet itself. This requires a good deal of self-reflection and discipline.
Corralling loose bets
A "loose bet" is the kind most casual race-goers make at the track. These are the kinds of spontaneous wagers people make based on hunches, emotions, half-baked ideas, and other suppositions. There's nothing inherently wrong with a loose bet, but these types of wagers should only consume a very small percentage of a player's bankroll - somewhere between 5-7% falls in the range of acceptable. Playing with a well-thought-out bankroll is one of the first steps towards becoming a more successful horse player.
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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!