18 February 2011

New Pimlico Wager Not Very Well Thought Out

Frank Stronach got laughed at by anyone who understands wagering for his Quad Superfecta idea, which would have resulted in the same potential combinations as 20 times the amount of stars in Milky Way Galaxy if only dealing with 8 horse races.

So it appears he toned down the odds. Instead of 8 trillion to one, Stronach and/or his brain trust has come up with a bet that has "only" 250 million combos (if all races at 8 horses). It is called the "Slider."

To cash the $100,000 guaranteed Slider you have to pick the winner of the first leg, the straight exactor in the second leg, the straight triactor in the third leg, and the straight superfecta in the fourth leg.

The goal of course is to have the pool grow because of the impossibility of cashing it, to a point where it will be worth millions and millions, thus attracting new millions every day.

The problem with this is that the Slider Pool has as much chance to grow to even a million as someone buying a quick pick has in cashing it.

Who is going to build the pool? Today's bettor is pretty sophisticated. And even if they even try it once just to get a first hand idea of how impossible it is to cash, they will stop donating in a hurry.

The lottery or slots player may not understand the bet. Go into a slots parlor and ask some blue haired old lady what a superfecta is if you don't believe me.

And besides, a bet that everyone can understand, the Pick 6, is a tough sell to lottery players even when the pools get into the hundreds of thousands or even millions.

As for the 18% takeout, what a joke. I can just hear Frank Stronach say, "dey vant low takeout betz, I give dem a low takeout bet. Dohs so called value players vont be able to turn dis bet down."

A bet like this that is potentially life changing (though if someone wins this won they might wind up with two or three years of income in reality), doesn't need a low takeout. There isn't enough time to churn back the winnings for most gamblers.
This is the kind of bet that can get away with a 35% takeout.

Lower the takeout on exactors and doubles to 18% or lower Frank, if you seriously want the game to grow, and if you are looking to attract value players.

Back to the Slider. If you make the following bet, key a winner onto an exactor box onto a triactor box onto a superfecta box, the 50 cent bet will cost $144 (1*2*6*24*.50cents). Good luck to that. Also, think about how many times in your life you ever would have hit that exact sequence. If you said zero, you are telling the truth.

Now lets say it is a super chalky looking four races. You like a 3-2 shot in the first leg, and exactor that will pay $20 in the second if it wins, a triactor that will pay $80 for a deuce in the third leg, and a super that figures to pay $200 in fourth leg for a dollar.
The probability of that hitting (when taking real odds before takeout) is something like 3*25*50*260 which is about 975,000-1. Again, I don't see the pool hitting a million ever, and there are probably only a very few days when a sequence like this is even likely, even at Pimlico.

Another reason this bet has failure written all over it is there are no consolation prizes. Lotteries and slots understand that churn is critical to keep players in the hunt. Lets say you are lucky enough to hit the first three legs in the Slider, it is an insult to say "thanks for playing, come again."

I'm all for bets that might lure slots and lottery players into betting on the races, but this bet will not do it.

The Gulfstream Pick 6 and the Fortune 6 at Beulah are very good ideas in that they can potentially grow enough to the point where the unsophisticated crowd might take a chance and might start learning about the races in the process. It is simple. Pick a winner each race, and the fact that if you do hit all 6 parts but share the pool, you will get more than just "too bad, so sad, try again." Even sophisticated players have admitted playing these bets when the pools get up high enough.

You can tell something about this bet, it was devised by someone who doesn't understand the bettor or the potential bettor. There was most likely zero market research done as well.

A National Lottery Pick 7 or 8 might work. But it would need to be available at Quickie Mart kiosks across the country. Oh, and consolation prizes are a must.

Why didn't Pimlico at least run the idea through HANA before coming out with a new bet? They'll help, I'm sure. But there is no way thumbs up would have been given for The Slider."

A real businessman would have reached out to the public first. This Slider is just a hare brained scheme devised by someone who just has zero clue.


Frank said...

While much of what you're saying may be accurate, I can tell you with 100% certainty that this idea did not come from Stronach -- it actually came from horseplayers at LRL. Whether they'll support it... well, time will tell. But the contention, made in many places, that this was done without horseplayer input is simply not the case.

Cangamble said...

Hi Frank. They must have asked the wrong two or three guys.

Anonymous said...

The idea isn't completely lacking. You drop the super and you have something more realistic. The other problem you didn't address is late scratches.

Cangamble said...

Anon, I'm not saying that the concept of trying to do what Stronach is trying to do here isn't worthy.
And yes, if the super were dropped, it would make this bet a 150,000-1 quick pick possibility assuming 8 horses a race. But those odds are too low for what Stronach is trying to accomplish here, as I do think it would be played and it would be hit. The key would have the third leg (the triactor have 10 or more horses to bump the odds of cashing it and increasing the chance of carryover).

And you make a great point regarding late scratches. Is the ticket refunded, or do you sub the favorite in the position that your horse was scratched from. What if you already have the favorite? What if two of your selections are scratched?
This bet has disaster written all over it.

Anonymous said...

A better name for it would be "The Cycle." And it should be a dime bet.

Anonymous said...

I think it is a great bet and when it gets over a million bucks I will be playing it!

Anonymous said...

I bet at lrl w/many people that are their everyday and never once was asked about a new bet idea as we would have easily come up w/ something "bettor" than this.Just an idea,make the slider a guaranteed 3 million,you will get great intrest and a pool up to 100 million before its hit if ever. .By the way as a group we at lrl have gone to the mgmt. w/ideas and have been continually ignored.I was at the mtg w/stronach and would have to say that he beleives the racing model to be broken and would like to tell him that in some ways it is but w/good ideas it can be easily fixed.

Anonymous said...

A lot of inaccurate comments on here. You shouldn't write what you're not sure of, and your facts and suppositions are bad. The bet was created by gamblers. The details haven't been worked out. The bet has disaster written all over it? You should sign your name to your blog, so we know who you are. But keep up the good work taking shots at people trying to come up with fun, interesting new ideas. You make it like the bet is punishment. Classy.

Cangamble said...

Anon, the only thing I might be wrong about is that a couple of gamblers might have been asked to give some input. But anyone with a clue about bettors and probability would never have come up with this ridiculous wager.
As for putting my name on this blog, those who matter know who I am. Funny that someone who signs in anonymously is asking for my name. Hilarious, almost as funny as the rest of your comment.

Cangamble said...

Also, this bet isn't a punishment, what is punishing is that someone in racing management thought this was a good idea so much that they got it approved.
We need people in charge who understand gamblers.

Bobby S. said...

Anonymous 11:10, can you please explain why this bet doesn't have disaster written all over it instead of shooting down CanGamble's opinion of this wager which I have to say seems right on target?
You say there are a lot of inaccurate comments on here. I don't see any except your claim that the bet was created by gamblers if your claim is true that is.
Not to defend CanGamble here but doesn't he say that the Fortune and Rainbow Six are good ideas. I agree with him that this Slider bet is a bad idea. Does that make me not classy too?

Wallyhorse said...

Some excellent points there. Trying to pick a straight winner, then a cold exacta, a cold trifecta and a cold superfecta in four consecutive races, even if all four races had only six betting interests is not easy to say the least. About the only way I would look at this wager would be as a one-cent (yes, a penny) wager, as even at a penny, it would takes thousands of combinations if not tens or hundreds of thousands of combos to hit it.

One wager I'm surprised no track has thought of implementing is the Double Exacta, a wager originally offered by (the now-late) New York City Off-Track Betting in the 1970's and '80s. While it mainly was offered on special event races (both Thoroughbred and Harness), in the mid-1980's through the early '90s, there was a unique Thoroughbred-Harness version of the bet offered on Thursdays and Saturdays where you picked the first two finishers in the last race at whatever NYRA track (Aqueduct/Belmont/Saratoga) was running and the same on the first race that (at that time) offered triple (trifecta) wagering at Roosevelt (usually the 3rd Race) or Yonkers (usually the 4th Race). That bet actually was quite popular in that it was hittable with a reasonable investment, even with there never being a carryover as it rarely failed to be hit.

The Double Exacta to me is something that should be seriously looked at by tracks as a wager to be offered. Especially as a 50-cent wager, it's one that I suspect would be very popular.

Anonymous said...

twin exacta is a winner as i hit on 82 cold then 52 cold - once!

i am told hong kong has a multi horse wps parlay on as many horses as you want in whatever races on a $10 ticket - boxcar payoffs as long as 1 pick in each race is in the money, you win

Anonymous said...

I see these carry over pools that only God can win as being negative no matter the take out. Each day the carryover is combined with the new wagers and the entire pool is hit with the full take out one more time, day after day, until won.

This is not a straight take out situation. Every day that the carry over exists exposes the original pool to 18% take per day for each day. A first day pool of $100,000 is reduced to less than $2,000 in just 20 days of carry over. That is the hidden method to this madness.

They have created a pool that will not be won that they can "take out" to death...

Cangamble said...

Anon, it doesn't work that way. The takeout only comes out once. The track only take's money out of the new money bet daily.

Anonymous said...

Your observations and angles are plainly off the mark here.

In addition to what others have pointed out, the implication that "The Gulfstream Pick 6 and the Fortune 6 at Beulah are very good ideas" is absurd.

Both are ridiculous wagers which basically implode upon themselves. Each one inspires 'sophisticated' players to make extremely unsophisticated wagers to have any prayer prior to April 24. Furthermore neither bet affords anyone with knowledge about racing and wagering a significant edge over those who don't have any such knowledge.

Sure, on April 24, the Gulfstream bet will seem glorious all morning long. Indeed a few souls will net $2000 or $4000 or so for pocket-sized investments upon its conclusion.

All in all those two bets just take money out of circulation for the good of nobody.

The inherent problem with them, as you could see if you weren't over-thinking the issue, is that with each passing day and each added dollar wagered, the bet actually becomes more difficult to hit.

When a mutuel clerk betting a dime or a dollar on his carry numbers every day actually has a better chance of hitting the big jackpot than does a serious player investing $1000, then you've got a poor wager. When the incentive is on wagering less, that's a problem!

But be sure to participate in the fun-filled fiesta that will be April 24 at Gulfstream, when the bet will have been accumulating since January.

Cangamble said...

Anon, the point I'm making why these types of pools might be good is because it could attract the lottery and slot players.
Horse racing needs to create more players, and I see bets like this having that potential. I could be wrong.

Wallyhorse said...

I must disagree on the Fortune 6:

Especially at Gulfstream, especially with everyone trying to focus on the jackpot, the pool wagered each day is enough to take a shot at what sometimes is an inflated payoff for a dime on the "normal" pick-six, especially if you don't like the favorite. There sometimes are opportunities with that pick six if you shun the jackpot because of so many other shooting for the jackpot portion.