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Jeff Tune's Gambling Blog
Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Sometimes things don't go as planned.  You handicap the races in advance and when you get to the track to bet, the turf races have been switched to the main track.  Or your key horse of the day is scratched.  You may be caught by surprise by a late scratch or jockey change.

Last Friday night I had some things to do earlier in the evening, but decided I was going to head up to the track later to play the late races at Mohawk Raceway.  I had handicapped the last four races in advance.  So I get to the track, plop down in front of a TV, and start switching channels looking for Mohawk.     Where the !@#$%  is Mohawk and then I remember - for some reason my local track does not carry Mohawk on Friday or Saturday nights!  Great, now what?

Well, I didn't want to turn around and go home, so I grabbed a discarded thoroughbred program.  There was certainly a lot of racing left - nearly a dozen tracks running, including Churchill night racing!  I suddenly felt like most of the others here - quickly looking to see what track to bet next.  These simulcast programs are the kiss of death for most horseplayers - they simply bet too many races.  I never use these programs to seriously bet.  Those Equibase figures just don't seem to make much sense.  So I was basically just looking at the running lines and trainer/jockey records.  I lost a few bucks playing a Mountaineer race and then a Lone Star race, and decided I'd play one more race before heading home. 

The last race at Charles Town was a $5,000 claimer for non-winners of two, distance was 6-1/2 furlongs. The #3 horse, Dot Mitchell (5-1 morning line odds) caught my eye.  She had just broke her maiden at this same distance, battling for the lead in what looked to be a decent pace and drew away to win by two lengths.  At eight minutes to post she was 7-1.  "I'll keep my eye on her odds," I said to myself.  At two minutes to post she was 8-1 and I placed a win wager. 

Well, Dot Mitchell turned in an almost identical race as her maiden-breaker and returned a sweet 14-1.  Sometimes things don't go as planned but turn out ok - go with the flow!

 


Posted by pa/tune at 9:43 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 1 July 2010 9:28 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Online Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker! This PokerStars tournament is a No Limit Texas Hold’em event exclusive to Bloggers, you too can take part by registering on WBCOOP

Registration code: 577459


Posted by pa/tune at 5:24 PM EST
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Sunday, 3 January 2010
2009 RECAP
Mood:  lucky

2009 was a real struggle, both at playing the horses and playing online poker.  But the good news is that I came out ahead for the year.

I cashed out $100 at poker but nearly went broke for the first time ever (been playing for six years).  A long dry spell took me down to my last $10 but I came back and am currently at my break-even level.  As usual, I played mostly small sit-n-go tournaments - a mix of limit and no-limit hold 'em, omaha hi-lo, stud hi-lo, and my favorite game, horse.  A recent PokerStars update now allows you to see notes on players who are entered in tourneys - a nice feature!  So I now look for tourneys where those weak players are entered - it will help me in 2010.

I spent many days at the track in 2009, maybe more than in any previous year.  I cashed a lot of tickets (and many pick threes), but I failed to hit a big one.  Nonetheless, I made a small profit of $183.  This was somewhat of a surprise as I had a pretty horrible Saratoga meet, although I won the week I was up there.

Harness winnings narrowly beat out thoroughbred winnings, and once again Woodbine Harness was my best track, accounting for 25% of my total winnings.  I did pretty well at my home track, Presque Isle Downs.  PID percent of total winnings was nearly double that from 2008.  The bulk of my wagering was pick three and win betting (77% of total winnings).  Once again I cashed tickets at 30 different tracks!

Harness vs. Thoroughbred

Harness winnings          - 53%

Thoroughbred winnings - 47%

By Track

Woodbine Harness  -  25%

Presque Isle Downs - 19%

Meadows                 - 10%

Saratoga                 -  9%

Mohawk                  -  9%

By Bet Type  

Pick Three     - 39%

Win               - 38%

Exacta          - 12%

Daily Double - 11%

 

 

 


Posted by pa/tune at 12:30 PM EST
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Tuesday, 7 July 2009

If I have one angle I use most when handicapping thoroughbreds it would be trainer stats.  I use the Brisnet Ultimate PP's and the first thing I usually look at is the trainer stat numbers.  Lately I've been handicapping my local track, Presque Isle Downs.  I'm still perplexed by PID - the artificial Tapeta surface sometimes favors speed and at other times favors those closers that come six wide around the turn.  This year it seems that the track has played pretty fair overall so I've been experimenting with the Brisnet numbers.  I add the E2 and LP figures (second early pace and late pace) and go with the resulting highest total.  Sometimes I will add in the final speed fig.  It's been working pretty well.

Anyway, in the third race the other night I had narrowed it down to two horses.  This was the middle leg of a pick three, and I had included these two in my pick three wager.  I hit the first leg and was content to just sit on my ticket in this race.  I was watching the horses come out onto the track and heard the announcer introduce them.  The five horse, Bukah, was trained by Scooter Davis.  Now I know Scooter Davis is a winning trainer at Mountaineer, but I had noted that he was 1 for 25 at PID!  So I immediately tossed the horse.  But I glanced at my PP's and saw something I had missed.  Scooter Davis had just claimed Bukah and he wins 42 percent first off the claim - a super stat!  I looked up at the board and saw odds of 14-1.  Definitely worth a win wager.  Bukah stalked the pace and won by half a length.  The odds had drifted up to 21-1 and the payout was $43.00!!  Don't ignore those trainer stats.


Posted by pa/tune at 6:59 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 16 July 2009 10:42 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Time to recap 2008.  It was a good year.  Racetrack profits were $666 with poker profits $400.  Also won $250 in the Brisnet Online Handicapping Challenge (entry was free).  I did not play in any local handicapping contests this year.  I did very well betting Saratoga.  My annual stopover at the Turning Stone Casino on the way to Saratoga resulted in just enough blackjack winnings to buy my lunch.  Only played poker online at PokerStars.  Did well playing satellites to get a seat in the weekly Sunday Two Hundred Grand tourney.  Twice I finished in the top two percent to get a nice cash. 

Looking at the percentages below you can see that I had success this year betting pick 3's (which also accounts for the high Santa Anita number).  No surprise that Woodbine Harness takes over as number one track, but thoroughbred winnings still are way ahead of harness winnings.  Note that Presque Isle Downs is my home track but the short fields kept me from betting it much of the time.  I cashed bets at 30 different tracks! 

Harness vs. Thoroughbred

Thoroughbred winnings - 62%

Harness winnings          - 38%

By Track

Woodbine Harness   - 21%

Santa Anita              - 16%

Saratoga                  - 15%

Presque Isle Downs  - 10%

By Bet Type

Pick Three    - 41%

Win              - 31%

Daily Double - 15%

Exacta          - 13%


Posted by pa/tune at 7:52 PM EST
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Sunday, 4 January 2009

Those magic words.  Those of us who play online poker love to see them - "Congratulations!  You have reached the final table."  While I usually play single table sit-n-gos, I also play 2-table and 5-table tourneys.  In the 5-table tourneys (45 players), the top seven finishers cash so getting to the final table means you are close to the money.  I occasionally will play bigger tourneys with over 100 players (or with over 1,000 players).  My goal in these is to cash and I can only recall getting to a final table once.  It was a 500-player satellite-to-a-satellite for a WCOOP event. I actually won that one.

Last week I entered a $3.00 HORSE tourney with 232 players.  It always seems that in these long HORSE tourneys there will be one stud hand that kills me.  Usually it will be stud high-lo and I'll start with a 2345 and then get a JQK.  But I was playing cautiously and was having pretty good luck too.  Well those magic words finally appeared and I made it to the final table.  I think I was second or third in chips but by that time the blinds were so big that the money was going back and forth.  I ended up head-to-head.    I was down in chips by 2-1 to a player who wasn't really that good.  "I just need to trap him." I said to myself.  Soon I got the hand I wanted - pockets A's in stud high/lo.  I check-called and let him bet, but he had a 246 so I figured him for low and maybe a straight or flush draw.  But by now I was pot committed and who knows?  Well I couldn't get anything to go with my aces. He had pocket Q's and won it all with Q's and 9's!  I lost about 80 percent of my chip stack and soon finished in second, receiving $97.45 - my biggest cash yet on PokerStars.

I guess when playing poker tourneys there are words I would rather see. "Congratulations!  You have won the tournament."

-COMING SOON - My 2008 recap.

 


Posted by pa/tune at 3:10 PM EST
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Sunday, 19 October 2008
Brisnet Online Handicapping Challenge

I've had fairly good luck in the past with handicapping contests. I've won prizes in online contests, and have done well in local live contests. Just as the poker player's goal is to win the World Series Of Poker, many horse players have the goal of winning the National Handicapping Championship.

I've played the Brisnet online contest for the past couple of years and I've come close to making the top 50 a couple of times. There are no doubt thousands of players in these contests and you must have any longshot that happens to win.

Here's how the contest works:
Players need to select one horse in the 8 designated contest races during each Saturday event. For each correct selection a player will earn the mythical $2 Win and Place mutuel payoff. The maximum return on any single race is $42 for Win and $18 for Place. The player with the highest accumulated bankroll will be a grand prize winner of the satellite contest and win a entry into the 2009 Coast Casino Horseplayer World Series!. In addition, the top 50 players in the standings qualify for the Brisnet.com NHC Qualifier Finals on November 15th. On that day only 250 members (the top 50 players from each of the five events) will compete for three qualifying NHC spots in Las Vegas.

The top ten finishers of each satellite event actually win prizes.

I handicapped the races very quickly, selecting a mix of longshots and favorites. I checked the results of the first race, a five furlong turf claimer from Suffolk Downs (a track I never play). My longshot selection finished second, good for $12.20 and a better return than the winner ($7.40 and $4.00). I then watched the next race online - a route claimer from Woodbine. I had selected the favorite who looked to wire the field. She finished second and returned only $3.00. I then headed up to my local simulcast outlet to watch the rest of the races.

Well, to make a long story short, I won four of the remaining six races including the two biggest prices of the day (both 6-1). My final bankroll totaled $87.30 - good for third place and a $250 prize! I was only $1.60 behind the winner and .30 behind second place (and $500).

So for the eight races, I had four winners and three seconds. Funny, the one race I got blanked in was the one I was most familiar with. It was a sprint from Philadelphia Park which featured horses I had seen run in their last race here at my home track Presque Isle Downs. The impressive winner last out had been NIGHT STAND but for some reason I played against him this time. He easily won again at 5-2.

Anyway, it's on to the final tournament!

 


Posted by pa/tune at 4:17 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 29 April 2008

   Sunday nights on PokerStars feature the big weekly tournaments.like the Sunday Million and the Sunday Warm Up with a $200 buy-in.  Then there is the Sunday Hundred Grand which is more my speed. The buy-in is $10 but they run satellites all week for this.  A couple of Sundays ago I played a $1.00 satellite for this tourney.  There were 45 players, the top four go to the Sunday Hundred Grand tourney.  I ended up finishing second so it was on to the big one later in the day at 3:30 PM.

   The game is no limit hold‘em.  Total prize pool for this was $200,000 and there were 20,000 entrants.  First place wins $20,000 and the top 3,000 get paid.  I had real good luck early on as I got pocket A’s twice and Q’s once in the first twenty hands.  Then I was dealt pocket 8’s, caught a full house on the river.  My opponent caught a flush and went all in.  Bingo - $15,000 pot.  Then pocket 8’s again, flopped a FH – $3,000 pot.  Then pocket A’s again!  Another big pot of $4,000.  After 41 minutes of playing I am in 13 th place!  Then at the first break after one hour, I have 21,000 chips and I’m sitting in 34 th place.

   I didn’t fare so well in the second hour.  At the next break I have 12,400 chips and sit in 1848th place.  There are only 3,044 players left so at least I’ll make the money barring any crazy hand – I might even fold AA!!  The money starts at 3000th place and is good for $20.00 (1315th-3000th).

Hour three opens with me getting KJ suited.  Uh-oh, the big player with 40,000 chips raises and it will cost me about one third of my stack to call. I wimp out and fold.  Of course the flop comes up J-8-3.  Then a 5 on the turn, A on the river.  Big player wins it and mucks his hand.  Whew, probably would have lost anyhow.  Well at least I am in the money now.  I’ll go all in with any decent hand since I only have about 8 times the big blind left in chips.

Three hands later I’m under the gun first to go and I get dealt 77 and I go all in.  I get two callers – A8 and AJ.  And my 77 hangs on to win it!  I rake in the $13,000 pot.  A short time later I get AA. I make a decent raise and two other players both go all in!  I end up winning a $93,000 pot and now I’m back in the top 100!!  Then I win another $40,000 pot with KK vs. QQ.  I did maybe make one mistake a bit later.  I raised with KT suited in early position.  Another player went all in for $25,000 and I called him. He had KQ and ended up winning the $87,000 pot with King high.  So at the end of hour three I have 70,000 chips. I’m in 365th place out of the remaining 616 players.

 

Hour 4 – blinds are now 4000-8000 with a $800 ante – yikes!  Once again I will probably go all in with any decent hand, however if I can make it to 360th place I will get $100.00. Right now I’m guaranteed $80.00.  Now it is 5000-10000 with a $1000 ante.  Gotta make a move soon.  I get K-10 and go all in.  It folds around to the big blind who calls and shows a 10-5.  He pulls a straight and knocks me out.

 

PokerStars update:

 

On Sunday nights you will find many pros playing on PokerStars.  They are usually in the big tourney or playing in big limit ring games.  You might see Daniel Negreano, Greg Raymer, Joe Hachem, Chris Moneymaker, Isabelle Mercier, and others playing.  It’s fun to watch them play and read all the railbird comments (especially when Isabelle is playing).  Another pro who plays almost every Sunday is Humberto Brenes.  Yes, he’s the crazy guy with the shark who you may have seen on TV.  Well I found him one recent Sun. night playing in a .10-.20 Limit Hold ‘Em game!  Yes, that is cents not dollars.  I got on the waiting list to play and about 15 minutes later I was playing at the table with Humberto! 

   My very first hand I get dealt pocket 10’s. I raise and get a bunch of callers including Humberto.  A 10 comes up on the flop.  Humberto bets, I raise, he calls and another player calls.  The turn reveals three spades on the board so I check.  The other player bets, Humberto and I call.  The river is an 8 which pairs the board.and gives me a full house.  Humberto bets, I raise. He folds, the other player calls and I win a nice pot.  I played for about an hour with Humberto.  He was real friendly, chatting with everyone.  I won money and he lost a little.  Before I left the table I told him it was a pleasure playing with him and he thanked me.  I am now ready for the World Series of Poker

 


Posted by pa/tune at 9:55 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 26 March 2008
Bridgejumpers

   I was up at the track last Saturday afternoon to check out the three-year-old Derby prep races.  The champion 2yo from last year, War Pass was a huge favorite to win the Tampa Bay Derby.  I didn't intend to bet the race at all and I fully expected War Pass to romp - it was a pretty weak field.  The only question I had with War Pass was that he had led at every call in every one of his races.  How would he react from off the pace?  But even if some cheap sprinter beat him to lead here, surely he would stalk and prevail.

   With a couple of minutes to post, the TV moniter showed the WPS pools.  Over $600,000 was bet on War Pass to show - definitely the result of one or more big "bridgejumper" bets.  Of course I've seen this before.  If the big favorite runs out of the money, the show prices are huge.  The few times I've bet another horse to show in this situation I've either got back the $2.10 or zip when my horse runs out.

   I went to the window and bet $2.00 to show on my second choice, Big Truck.  Well if you haven't heard, War Pass never saw the lead and finished last!  Big Truck won it and my show bet returned $25.20.  Nice to get back 11-1 to show on a 7-1 winner!

PICK THREE UPDATE:

   Luc Ouellette is my new fave driver at Woodbine.  He brought home two thirds of my winning pick three last week.  I played a 2x1x2 x $1.00 = $4.00 ticket.  The middle horse was Quail Seelster, a Tune's Tip.  But forget what I said in an earlier post about the pick three paying more than the parlay.  The winning odds here were 15-1, 11-1, and 3-1.  The parlay for a dollar would have been $770.40.  My $315.55 payout was less than half of the parlay!!  Oh well, leave it to those Canucks to screw up the mutuels.

 

 


Posted by pa/tune at 10:41 PM EDT
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Friday, 7 March 2008

Because I have a small betting bankroll, I don't bet trifectas and superfectas but I love the pick three.  It's a great bet for the small player.  As Harvey Pack once said, "bet a little to win a lot, not the other way around."  A small pick three investment can bring a handsome return.  And the P3 almost always pays more than the parlay would.  The reason for this is that there is only one takeout on the P3, but a parlay would have a takeout on each of the three races.

I also like betting the P3 because if you are alive after the first leg you can "sit" on your ticket the next race.  You've got action and you don't have to shell out a single dime.

It's been awhile since I cashed a decent pick three however, but a couple of weeks ago I got lucky at Santa Anita.  I don't play the Calif. tracks very often and I won't go into why I happened to be playing SA that day and how I picked each race, but I hit a pick three that paid $501 for a $1 ticket.  I played a 1/3/1 ticket for a total bet of $3.00.  Odds on the winning horses were 3-1, 9-1, and 6-1.  A $1 parlay would have resulted in a return of slightly more than $300, so it was a nice return.

Fast forward to last Sunday at The Meadowlands.  I hit two pick threes on the card.  The first was 7/5, 6-1, 1-5 with a $1 return of $39 (parlay is approx $25).  My ticket was a 1/4/1 x $1 = $4.00 total bet.  The next was 5-1, 1/5, 5-1 with a $72 return for a buck (parlay is approx $55).  My ticket here was a 4/1/2 x $1 = $8.00 total bet. 

 Of course the more combinations you play, the more you increase your chances of hitting a big payout.  Try hitting the "all" button in one of the legs.  One thing I try not to do is start out a pick three with a big favorite - everyone will have this one on their ticket.  It's better to have a big fave in the second or third leg (see the Meadowlands example above).  Good luck playing the pick three!

 

 


Posted by pa/tune at 9:20 PM EST
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