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Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

Six Secrets of Successful Bettors -- Playing the Horses Intelligently

14 April 2005

Knowing when to bet, how much and when an advantage exists is a big part of what makes a successful horse handicapper. In one of the unique presentations of what it takes to "get the money," Frank Scatoni and Peter Fornatale have isolated "specific traits" successful players have in common. Their book, Six Secrets of Successful Bettors (273 pages, hardbound, $24.95) should be greeted with open arms by those looking for new ideas or a fresh approach to betting the ponies in the 21st Century.

Call it a "model for consistent success via practical elements," for here more than two dozen professional players help the reader isolate a pattern of successful play.

Among those making contributions to this fascinating work are thoroughbred players/writers Andy Beyer, Steve Crist, Steve Davidowitz, Cary Fotias, Brad Free, Len Friedman, Jim Mazur, Barry Meadow, James Quinn and Howard Lederer, David Sklansky, and Amarillo Slim Preston of poker fame, plus Roxy Roxborough, former Las Vegas linemaker.

They proved the secrets all successful gamblers share--and this includes knowing when to increase or decrease your bets; being disciplined and knowing their own limitations--and of course, how to process information after proper preparation. In effect, this is a battle plan for success, -akin to generals preparing for battle or a batter ready for the new baseball season. They each attack the enemy or the pitcher with a different approach or stance.

This book follows a trend of heavy thinkers who look at gambling as a form of investment when applied properly, like Larry Seidel's Investing in College Basketball, The Poker MBA by Greg Dinkin and Jeff Gitomer and Don Peszynski's Win More--Lose Less (Maximizing Profits on NFL Wagering).

In a way, the book is a text of successful patterns of thinking. One chapter includes the need to be a contrarian thinker ("steeling yourself against what the world thinks"), and of continuous learning (reading everything you can about your area of interest) including recommendations of key books which impacted their own lives. What's fascinating is learning how these people became as good as they are. Perhaps someone, a father, a mentor, a friend took them to the track, teaching them not only the positive side, but how to handle losses and how to manage their time.

Here the best of the best talk about pace, class, condition, form, speed figures, trainers, trip handicapping, track bias, the process of handicapping, the importance of value, favorites, handicapping vs. betting, how to construct a good bet, the different types of races, exotic wagering, the importance of record keeping.

One interesting chapter focuses on areas such as emphasizing the need for confidence and ability to take a risk and how to handle "bad beats." A final section briefly looks at rebates, takeouts, computer groups and conspicuous odds drops and finally an interesting look at the unique and popular betting exchanges of the United Kingdom.

There's much food for thought in this wonderful compilation of ideas and things learned from some of the survivors of the investing-wagering wars. In some ways, they guide or inspire, but overall I see this as one of the best buys ever for the beginning or experienced horseplayer looking for direction.
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