Every handicapper must overcome a series of challenges in order to achieve success on the track. The master of EZ Horse Betting must learn how to pick winners better than the other bettors at the track. Years of study and watching many horse races are often what separates the good from the great, the winners from the losers.
There is another challenge involved in horseracing. It is one that the handicapper has no control over whatsoever. Some would even call this particular challenge invisible. It is called takeout and learning what it means and how it works is important if you want to consistently win money betting horses online.
Takeout-How Tracks Make Money
A racetrack is just like a casino. It exists in order to make a profit for its owners. A casino makes money when gamblers play slot machines and lose money. A racetrack does not gain when bettors lose because the individuals at the racetrack are betting among themselves. The racetrack makes its money by taking a portion of each betting pool for itself. This is called takeout.
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Here’s a simple example. Let’s say that the people at the track have bet $1,000 in total wagers on the Pick Six. Therefore, the pool that those who win this difficult bet will share is $1,000. If more than one bettor wins the bet, the track divides the pool equally among the winners. If one person wins the bet, this is called scooping the pool and that one individual takes it all. Scooping is somewhat rare today thanks to syndicates and other groups which get involved when a Pick Six pool skyrockets and play many combinations.
But wait. Before the track divides the pool among the winners, it deducts an assigned amount for itself. This is the fee the track receives for facilitates betting. In some states the takeout on a Pick Six can be as high as 20%. Takeouts on exotic wagers tends to be higher than the takeout on straight bets like win, place, and show. The takeout on those can be much lower. The track can afford to do this because those bets account for a large volume of wagers on each race.
So, in the above example, the pool is $1,000 minus 20%. This equals $800 to be divided among those who win the bet.
Why Handicappers Hate Takeout
Every serious handicapper does not like takeout. They rail against it and cry that it is too high. The reason for this is very simple. Every dollar of takeout essentially devalues their bet.
It’s all about the odds. Remember the example we used earlier? Let’s say that the cost of a ticket in the Pick Six is two dollars. With a pool of $1,000 a player is risking $2 to win a share of that pool. If ten people hold winning tickets, each player should receive $100. That would mean getting odds of 50-1 on your original wager.
Don’t forget the takeout! The track gets paid first. The ten winners divide $800 and receive $80 each. The odds on the original wager have now dropped to 40-1.
Anyone that has played a Pick Six will tell you that 40-1 odds are a little bit stingy. A Pick Six requires you to pick the winner of six consecutive races. It is almost impossible to do. It’s a bit like winning the lottery. You expect to be paid handsomely for taking a chance.
Now, bear in mind that the example we gave is a very simple one. The actual Pick Six pools at tracks in America regularly exceed $1,000,000. In addition, the pool carries over to the next day whenever there is not a winner. In recent years, these pools have risen to multi-million dollar jackpots.
Where takeout can really come into play is when playing straight win bets. The handicapper must achieve good prices on his winners to beat the game in the long run. Many handicappers will not bet on any horse that offers less than a 3-1 payout. They believe this price is necessary in order for them to make a profit.
A good way to monitor the pools at various racetracks and study how takeout affects the overall game of racing is to register an account with our trusted racebook partner. You can get live updates straight from the tote board at your favorite track in real time. You’ll also reap new player bonuses and rewards. You might even qualify for a rebate on your losses.