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Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

Need Fresh Ideas on Betting the Ponies? Try These New Titles

27 September 2006


Breeders¹ Cup time always seems to bring out the best horses, the ones that are worth betting. Annually, it also seems to generate new books for the handicappers. So it is with this year as four new titles for horseplayers are just out and each has specific strong points.

The 10-Cent Superfecta Betting Guide by Paul Lambrakis (46 pages, paperbound, $14.95) is a pocket-sized little gem, more a pamphlet than a book, that fits the needs of players who love this economical bet, a takeoff on the traditional bet of $1 that buys you one single combination of four numbers, providing there are at least eight entrants in the race. Since many tracks have reduced the minimum bet for superfecta to 10 cents, players now get more action, and when they win, they get a proportionally smaller payback. For example, if a dollar superfecta pays $1,000, then the 10-cent superfecta would pay $100.

The first 17 pages describe ideas, strategies, thoughts on building a combination and money management ideas. From page 18, the author reproduces charts that show anywhere from five to 12-horse combinations that will help ensure you don¹t miss a combination. Endorsed by several individuals including James Quinn, author of several books including the Handicapper¹s Condition Book and Figure Handicapping, the book fits neatly into a shirt or jacket pocket for quick reference, is easy to read and could make exotic betting a lot more fun for a lot less money.

Karl Johan Ljungberg is another new author, here with a book titled More Bang for Your Buck: Multi-Race Strategies for the Good Handicapper Who Wants to Be a Better Bettor (81 pages, plastic spiral-bound, $19.95.) Three different multi-race strategies get the focus: The Key; The Block and The Designated Hitter.

The Key involves the horse or horses you have decided will most likely win or at least guarantee a solid payoff. The Block asks you to designate which are your first, second and third choices and applies to two races; the Designated Hitter involves many more choices and races.

This book is a systematic approach to betting exotics, and the author says the principles can be applied to harness racing and the quarter horses as well. Those who like betting the daily double, pick 3 and pick 4 may find the strategies presented extremely helpful.

David Johnson¹s Value Betting at the Racetrack (268 pages, paperbound, $29.95) teaches the beginner or experienced bettor how to avoid negative betting angles and in nine comprehensive chapters promotes what he calls his Valuline method of betting. He debunks factors such as body language, class, form cycle analysis, pace analysis, pari-mutuel pool analysis, speed rating analysis, track bias, trip analysis, workouts. This chapter alone should make for fascinating reading. Johnson, who holds a doctorate degree, loves to swim against the current with his own theories of wagering and handicapping.

He gets his contrarian views going full bore from page 139 on, including an explanation of what Valuline betting is, which in part says, ³It is a list of win contenders which are bet when their track odds are higher than their fair odds. You make value bets by betting only on overlays.Š

³It scientifically evaluates the important factors in all the past performances of each horse in every race. It determines each horse¹s true chance of winning and converts the horse¹s win probability into a betting line.²

Packed with examples, formulas and results, it¹s geared for the horse player who wants a new approach and is willing to toss away many other preconceived notions about thoroughbred handicapping.

Johnson¹s book is based on analysis of more than 300,000 races. It¹s certain to generate controversy. The book¹s foreword is by the respected Gerry Okuneff and is dedicated to the late William Murray, a respected thoroughbred fiction and on-fiction writer.
Howard Schwartz
Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com
Howard Schwartz
Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com