How to Gamble

Beginner's Guide

What other entertainment option gives you the chance to leave with more money than you came with?

Before we even get to the myriad methods of picking winners, you’ve got to know how to place a simple bet. As a beginner, you’ll want to get the hang of the simpler bets before you go for the big scores. You could look at the program and bet on the funniest names or numbers that correspond to your birthday, but why leave it all up to luck when there is information there that can help you?

One easy way for a beginner to identify a horse with a good chance is to bet on the top riders. Flip through the program and find the list of leading jockeys. At most tracks the top five jockeys win more races than all of the rest of them combined. If you bet the jockey with the most wins in any given race, you can at least feel confident that your horse has a chance. In general, the elite jockeys get their choice of the fastest horses. Let them guide you to a horse that is ready to win!

As time goes on you will make more complicated bets with a higher potential return on your investment. But that will come in due time, as you also familiarize yourself with how to read the program.

Many tracks have experts that host seminars on how to wager, or they’re available to answer questions during the races. Ask anyone at your local track who that person is and they’ll be happy to teach you.

You can also purchase what is called a “tip sheet” at the program booth. Tip sheets cut right to the chase and give you an expert opinion on what to bet in each race. Most of them are authored by genuinely knowledgeable handicappers and are quite helpful. 

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