Jeff Tune's Gambling Blog
Wednesday, 18 July 2012
How can you pick five of the first six winners and lose money on the night? Easy if you are me. At Presque Isle tonight. Arrived too late for the first, my pick won at 4-5. Was in the long food line for the second, my pick won at 3-5. Played pick threes in the third, was ready to run to the window when I noticed my pick was 5-1 but not enough time. She wins at 4-1. My pick in the 4th, Silver Prospects wins at 9-1. I have some win money on this one. I'm alive in the pick three with two, including a $211 payoff for .50 with Radiant Sky who leads all the way around the track but loses by a head. Grrrr. My pick in the sixth - second choice at 2-1 wins it. I have him keyed in pick threes. 10-1 winner in the seventh is on my P3 ticket. I'm alive with two in the finale but neither wins. Meanwhile I'm losing money betting The Meadows. I leave the track slightly down for the night. On to Saratoga!
Update: I just hit a 4-1 winner at The Meadows, bet it on Twin Spires. Now ahead for the night, whew.
Monday, 23 January 2012
When looking back at 2011 it just seemed that I struggled all year. I just couldn't get a nice hit or a good streak going. Mid-summer, going into the Saratoga meet I was even for the year. I did ok betting Sar but then the post-Saratoga slump hit and I ended the year down $427.
Looking at my stats I see two major reasons for the losing season. First I did not hit any big pick threes. I hit a few mediocre ones but no signers all year. Generally I did not do well betting pick threes in 2011. Note that win bet winnings were more than double pick three winnings. Secondly, I did pretty horribly betting Woodbine harness. Woodbine has been my key to past winning years but it was a real struggle this year.
But there were some highlights. The Meadows continued to be a strong track for me (I just wish they offered a rolling pick three). I did very well at my home track, Presque Isle Downs. PID accounted for 26 percent of my total winnings - more than any other track. And as noted above, I had a good Saratoga meet.
Surprisingly, thoroughbred winnings beat out harness winnings for the first time in a few years. Probably because I did quite a bit of betting at PID. The racing was very good there in 2011, with larger fields than in years past.
I opened up a Twin Spires betting account in the spring, specifically to bet the Gulfstream Park closing day Rainbow Pick Six. No I didn't win that one but my balance stands at almost exactly what I originally put in. Online betting comes in handy at times and I'm having fun with it. I hit a pick four this year! I hardly ever bet these and this wasn't a very big one - it was a .20 payout which Woodbine offers. I plan to experiment with these in 2012.
Of course online poker was a bust since the feds closed down PokerStars last spring. I did get my balance returned to me. I figured I won approximately $3500 over the seven years that I played on PokerStars. I did play one live poker tourney here at Presque Isle Downs recently. It was a $50 buy-in NL Hold 'Em. I played well but didn't get very good cards at all. I didn't cash and finished 11th out of 37 players. It was a good learning experience and I will try some more poker in 2012.
I played blackjack only once all year. I was shocked one Saturday afternoon in early December when I spotted two $5 blackjack tables. Unheard of these days! And there was an open seat! I sat down and played for a short while and ended up losing $30. More $5 blackjack please!
Harness vs. Thoroughbred
Thoroughbred winnings - 62%
Harness winnings - 38%
Presque Isle - 26%
Meadows - 20%
Saratoga - 10%
Woodbine Harness - 9%
Gulfstream - 8%
Belmont - 6%
By Bet Type
Win - 55%
Pick Three - 25%
Exacta - 10%
Daily Double - 9%
Saturday, 23 July 2011
Happy Saratoga opening day!
I love handicapping Saratoga every summer. It's a real challenge. You have horses and trainers coming in from many different tracks. For me it is the ultimate handicapping puzzle. I handicap extra-hard at the Spa and when I win it's very rewarding. I use Jim Mazur's "Saratoga Handicapper" and Brisnet pp's for my handicapping. Historically, I've done very well at the Spa, but I've lost the past two years. I attribute that to the influx of turf sprints and New York-bred races. I will be up at Saratoga July 28-31. This will be my 21st year up there!
Opening Day Saratoga is an automatic vacation day for me. I used to always go up opening week, but the past couple of years they have opened on Friday instead of the traditional Wednesday. I don't yet have the 2011 "Saratoga Handicapper" (I never got my order form in the mail, I'll pick one up in Saratoga next week), but I use the Handicappers from 2010, 2009, 2008.
A great start to the meet as I hit the first race exacta. Tom Bush and James Bond are second-tier trainers who do well at Saratoga year after year. They combined for a $119 exacta. Then in the third, Wise Stop looked to be the speed of the six-furlong race. Last year Sar 6f races were won by wire-to-wire winners 37 percent of the time. My Brisnet pace figs showed Wise Stop to have a real speed edge. Bingo! Paid $11.80 to win. No more winners for the day but I showed a $50 profit.
Speed is looking good on both dirt and turf. I will probably put up selections for next Wednesday July 27, and I'll try to post to this blog from the Spa! Good luck!
Tuesday, 8 February 2011
2010 was a very good year. Profit from playing the horses was $1472 - not bad at all for this $2 bettor. I can pretty much narrow down that profit to one very good day betting Meadows harness and a two-week stretch at the beginning of May where I was on fire and couldn't lose (including a future bet on the Derby winner). I played to my strengths - harness racing, mainly Woodbine and The Meadows, and focusing on pick threes at those tracks.
The stats below tell the story. The Meadows was the surprise of the year. 37% of my total winnings! It was at the Meadows that I cashed three pick threes >$250 and three win bets >20-1. Once again Woodbine was a profitable track. Not one thoroughbred track accounted for more than five percent of my total winnings! Pick threes accounted for 55% of total winnings.
There were some racing disappointments. Once again it was not a good summer at Saratoga. Realizing that I wasn't doing well, I scaled back on my betting there. Likewise for my local track Presque Isle Downs - still a parimutual puzzler to me. But even more, the short fields turned me away.
Online poker was a success also as I cashed out $250 from PokerStars. Playing almost strictly sit-n-go tournaments.
My state of Pennsylvania okayed table games at the casinos. I played a little blackjack - basically sit-down-and-see-if-you-have-any-luck. And I didn't. Only played four times and lost $160. But I will try again in 2011.
Harness vs. Thoroughbred
Harness winnings - 70%
Thoroughbred winnings - 30%
Meadows - 37%
Woodbine Harness - 21%
Mohawk - 8%
By Bet Type
Pick Three - 55%
Win - 23%
Exacta - 14%
Daily Double - 8%
Friday, 24 December 2010
Experiment successful! I played 20 of the $2.20 tourneys (see below post) which cost me $44. I cashed for $67. Nice $23.00 profit. But if you look at the following recap, I should have quit after 10 tourneys. I started very strong and finished pretty bad, lol. The recap below shows my finish and "out" hand.
1. won - $11.00
2. fin. 11th (out: my J 10s vs. A9)
3. won $6.00 - fin. 7th. (out: my KK vs. A8)
4. won - $11.00
5. fin. 12th (out: my QQ caught trips vs. A8s caught flush)
6. won - $11.00
7. fin. 13th (my K8 vs. AQ)
8. won - $11.00
9. won - $6.00 - fin. 7th
10. fin. 12th (out: my 56 vs. 10 6)
11. fin. 21st (out: my A5 vs. KQ)
12. fin. 22nd (out: flopped top pair, top kicker - got beat by two pair)
13. fin. 20th
14. won - $11.00
15. fin. 25th (out: my trips vs. straight)
16. fin. 14th (out: 89s vs. 22)
17. fin. 10th
18. fin 16th
19. fin 21st (out: my 99 vs 55)
20. fin. 8th (out: my 55 vs. AA)
Tuesday, 7 December 2010
Every Sunday, PokerStars offers the Sunday 1/4 Million tournament. The prize pool is guaranteed at $250,000 and the buy-in is $11.00. This tourney attracts between 25,000-30,000 players each week. PStars has numerous satellite tournaments for this, but the one I usually play is the 36-player sit-n-go which has a $2.20 buy-in, and is a turbo tournament (the blinds go up every 5 minutes). The top six finishers win an entry in the Sunday 1/4 Million (and 7th place gets $6.00).
I seem to do quite well in these. I will play only premium hands but will try to see a flop cheaply with a small pair, suited connectors, or ace-suited cards. If I get short-stacked with less than 10x the big blind, I will go all-in with any kind of hand. Quite often this is how I will win these things. It's a different kind of tourney in that the big stacks may sit on their chips since they already are in the top six. The short stacks are playing cautiously, and by being aggressive later in the tourney, you can often steal the nice-sized blinds and really build your stack. Also these tourneys won't have too many real sharp players so the above average player will do well.
If I win an entry, I will usually unregister and take the $11 tournament dollars to use for a couple of $5 or $6 tourneys. But I've decided to experiment and try to parlay these $11 payouts. Can I win better than 20% of the time and make a profit?
To be continued . . .
update: 1 for 2 so far
Saturday, 2 October 2010
The good news - I won a 360-player no-limit hold'em tourney on Pokerstars today. The not-so-great-news - the buy-in was only .10 and my first place payoff was $8.50. Still I was proud of myself.
I couldn't have asked for a better start - I went all-in on the first hand with QQ. I figured I'd get someone to call. Well, I got 4 callers! Three of them had an A and one guy had a K. A king came on the flop and I figured I was history, but then a Q on the turn and a Q on the river for quads! I quintupled up on the first hand!
I played it pretty safe for awhile but never dropped below the top 20. Luckily I had a wimpy guy to my left that I could bully and steal blinds from. I made it to the final table, lost about ninety percent of my stack, but made it back to finally be heads up with the chip leader. Turns out he wasn't very good at playing heads up - I just started raising every pot and got him to fold most of the time. I took a commanding lead and he finally went all in and I called with my Q7. He had A9 but I caught a 7 on the flop which was good enough for the win.
Wednesday, 4 August 2010
Free past performances
I just want to point out a couple of websites where you can obtain free past performances. I use both of these and print out the pp's at home. This will save you some $$ - the cost of printer ink and paper is far less than buying a program all the time.
Horse-races. net is one of the best horse racing websites. They have a free past performance link. You can get free pp's for certain trainers who have horses running. Some of these include Todd Pletcher, Bob Baffert, Gary Contessa, Barclay Tagg, Doug O'Neill, Linda Rice, Kiaran McLaughlin. You can quite often get the whole Saratoga card for free! Check it out at: http://www.horse-races.net/library/links-pastperformances.htm
For Canadian racing fans, check out the Woodbine/Mohawk website for free programs for Canadian racetracks. Check it out at: http://www.horseplayerinteractive.com/Racing/Schedules.aspx
Sunday, 1 August 2010
Lot's going on! First of all, table games are here in PA! I'll be trying my luck at blackjack soon. Forget about finding any $5.00 tables however.
It's Saratoga time! I played opening day and did ok, hitting a 7-1 shot and then a $107 double. I will be up at Saratoga this week! Can't wait!! It looks like I will have a laptop with me this year so I may post here or make selections.
I played Saratoga yesterday. Some nice stakes races - The Diana and the Jim Dandy. FOREVER TOGETHER who won the last two runnings of the Diana, is one of my favorite horses. I saw her win the Diana at Saratoga in 2008. Also, she has been training right here at Presque Isle Downs! She's trained by Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppherd. His assistant Barry handles his horses here at PID. I spoke with Barry yesterday before the race. He said she had worked great here. He was confident but noted that she had tough competition in PROVISO, the Bill Mott-trained mare. It was a great race. FOREVER TOGETHER was super-game, finishing third (Proviso won it), but only missed winning the whole thing by a head and a nose.
I was also betting Meadows harness yesterday. The Meadows used to be my main track back in the 90's. They race mostly weekdays now, so I don't get to play it much anymore. Also it was their big day - a 17-race card featuring their premier race, the Adios Pace. The Adios was race 11, so I played a small pick three on races 9, 10, 11. I hit the 6-5 favorite in the first part. Then driver Yannick Gingras brought home a 30-1 shot. In the Adios, I was alive with the favored Versado and the 17-1 Delmarvalously, driven by Brian Sears. They never posted the P3 will-pays, but I figured they had to be pretty nice. Sears took Delmarvalously right to the lead from the eight-hole. Wicked-fast fractions but Delmarvalously dug in down the lane and won it by a head! My pick three returned $1208 and I had it for a buck. Less than half the parlay but I wasn't complaining - my first IRS signer in quite awhile.
Then I played the late pick three - a $6 ticket, 6x1x1. I hit the first part with a 15-1 shot, then Ponda River who had a tough first-over trip last out, got up by a head at 10-1. Could I be looking at another signer? Nope, the will-pay on my selection in the finale, Nicoles Dreamboat, was paying $554. He won pretty easily at 9-5, again almost half the parlay, but a great day for me - a $823 profit. Looks like I'll be hitting the blackjack table!
Tuesday, 29 June 2010
Sometimes things don't go as planned. You handicap the races in advance and when you get to the track to bet, the turf races have been switched to the main track. Or your key horse of the day is scratched. You may be caught by surprise by a late scratch or jockey change.
Last Friday night I had some things to do earlier in the evening, but decided I was going to head up to the track later to play the late races at Mohawk Raceway. I had handicapped the last four races in advance. So I get to the track, plop down in front of a TV, and start switching channels looking for Mohawk. Where the !@#$% 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!
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