Gordon's Dog Blog

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Stat Attack ---Stat Force ---RG Tip Sheet

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Would You Bet If They Only Gave You Half Your Profit?

Wagering is the skill we all need to improve. And there are some structural elements to wagering on greyhound races that you should be intimately familiar with. Because the deck is stacked against you, and you need to be really really good to turn the odds in your favor.

For example, let's look at takeout. What's takeout? Every time you place a bet on a greyhound race, the track and the government take a percentage of that wager to cover their costs and taxes, respectively. The amount they take out is huge. I mean, really huge. At most tracks, the takeout on anything other than win/place/show betting approaches or even exceeds 25%. So in order to make a profit at the track, you have to overcome the removal of 25% of the money from your potential win pool.

Takeout has an interesting side to it. Quite often, the takeout should whisper to you, "Don't make that bet!"

Let's think about your precious wagers. Let's say that you are going to make a trifecta bet, and you expect that the fair probability of your $1 bet winning is one chance in 500 tries. If you placed this wager 500 times, you would expect to win it once. Your fair income should be $500 if you place a $1 wager on it. So if you hit it, you would then have a $499 profit, right?

Nope. Before you get paid, the track removes the takeout from the pool. So your $500 fair payoff is reduced by 25%, or $125. So instead of giving you your $500, they only give you $375. So your profit of $499 is reduce to a profit of $374! Ouch. Think of that in terms of percentages. Your income is $374 instead of $499, which is (374*100/499) only 74.95% of what you deserved in a fair game, because of the takeout. Obviously this game isn't fair! But we're adults and we realize the track and government must carry on, so we grin and bear it.

But you know, that 74.95% number hints at a problem. With a 25% takeout, why is my profit missing that little .05? Why not 75%? Well, well, well. Now you are asking an interesting question. Let's look and see what happens with takeout and your profits in another situation.

Let's say you have a bet you want to make that you should hit 1 time in 100. At our mythical fair track, you bet $1, and get back $100 for a $99 profit. But with the reality of takeout, you will only get back $75, not $100. So your profit is only $74. In percentages, you got (74*100/99) only 74.75% of what would have been fair. Hey, that's slightly worst than the 1 in 500 case! But only slightly.

What happens with a 1 in 10 bet? You bet $1, and expect to get back $10. But after takeout, they only give you $7.50. So your profit is $6.50 instead of the $9 you expect. In percentage terms, that is (6.5*100/9) only 72.22%. Wait a minute! That's not even close to 75%. As the late great Billy Mays would have said, "But wait, there's more!!"

What about a 1 in 5 bet? You bet $1, expect $5 but get only $3.75. Your profit is only $2.75 instead of the fair amount of $4, which is 68.75%. Ouch!

What about a 1 in 4 bet? You bet $1, expect $4. But you only get $3. Profit is $2 instead of $3, or 66.67%.

See where this is going? How about a 1 in 3 bet? You bet $1, expect to win $3. But they only give you $2.25! Profit is $1.25 instead of $2. That's (1.25*100/2) only 62.5%. Now we're WAY down from 75%, aren't we?!

Now look at a 1 in 2 expectation. You bet $1, and expect to win $2. But they only give you 75%, or $1.50. So your profit is fifty cents instead of a dollar. That's only 50%!!! That really bites, doesn't it?

So in a nutshell, with 25% takeout, if you play a wager that you think should hit HALF THE TIME, they will only give you HALF YOUR FAIR PROFIT.

So looking at the situations detailed above, there are some lessons to be learned about wagering on greyhound races. The higher your real chance of hitting a wager, the less of the "fair" profit you will collect. If you are silly enough to play something that should hit half the time, you will only get half as much profit as you should. The longer the odds, the less brutal the takeout penalty is on your ROI.

Remember, you get to choose what kind of wager you place. So you can choose wagering strategies with low probabilities or you can choose strategies with high probabilities. The higher the probability, though, the better you have to be to overcome the built-in bias against "fair" payoffs. Do you really think your handicapping is good enough to overcome the situation where they only pay you half the profits that would be fair? Maybe not. So consider wagering on events where the probabilities are much longer. You have much less of an obstacle to overcome on a 1 in 10 shot, versus a 1 in 2 shot.

It's about wagering, not handicapping!

Gordon Waite

boy do you guys confuse me

One guy says you got to find the dog who gets to the 1/8 spot first and if you do that you will get rich.And give him $2500 and he will teach you how.

Another guy says buy my sheets and they will show you how to find the winner

Then you say it's not handicapping it's wagering.( I also buy your sheets)

I am beginning to think the only people who REALLY make money on the dogs are those who sell sheets, books and courses.

How does a guy like me who just wants to be able to go to the track and pick up some extra pocket change ever make it.

Everybody know everything but most us don't make any money. But we keep trying. I am beginning to think, you have more of chance going to the casino, playing $2 and hit the button. I'm serious.

Does any body ever make any money other than the occassional lucky score


boy do you guys confuse me

Don't give up! When learning it takes a lot of time and money to make money at the track. Gordon has a great tip sheet (Stat Attack). Use that with your handicapping and in time you WILL make money. I have been at it 30 years and this is how I make a living.
I can't stress this point... Do your homework, don't spend more then you have and most important you can't win every race. Good luck, Mark

take home

Gambling certainly has it's down sides , but the dollar spent that has a 500 DOLLAR return and no taxes is what makes you come back for more.The wise gambler knows that to beat the competition first learn all you can about what your betting on if it is dog racing you better know what to look for in every race and where to find it .I don't know a thing about the stock market but I do know if you make a profit you pay taxes not so on dog racing unless you hit a truly big tri.I agree with Gordon wagering is the true key to a good day at the track and greed will kill you .



Thanks for your comment. I wanted to point out that even though the government doesn't hold back taxes on your winning tickets when they are small, technically if you have a gambling profit at the end of the year, you do owe income tax on that profit, just as if it came from any business activity. We were audited shortly after we started Racing Greyhounds, so I'm intimately familiar with the tax aspects of greyhound racing!

Thanks again, and good luck at the races!