This is a question from our The Horse Handicapping Authority Facebook Page.
Shawn asks: “How much do you have to bet per race if $30.00 is hobbyist? What does it take to do it for a living?”
Let’s work through the math.
Let’s say that you are wagering $30 per race and you do that 5 times per card and you play 4 tracks. That is 20 races per day times $30 per race = $600. Let’s say that you are earning a 6% profit, after rebate. That makes your net for a full day $36, or about $4.50 per hour (for an 8-hr day).
Of course, if you spent 3 hours the night before preparing for the next day, then you have invested 11 hours and are now at $3.27 per hour.
What is a “fair” hourly return for a “professional” handicapper?
Let’s say that a fair hourly return for a “professional” handicapper is $75 per hour. Therefore, considering the 11-hour day we described above, that would mean he would need to make $825. If we divide by 6% (the anticipated ROI) we find that he needs to wager $16,500 per day.
Continuing further, at 20 bets per day, that places him at $825 per race, a very aggressive sum to invest.
This quickly becomes a case of “Do we raise the bridge or lower the river?” If that per-race figure is high (which it is for most players, including me) then we need to find a way to play more races.
Suppose the handicapper was to play twice as many races? First, he’d have to find a way to cut his handicapping time per race in half. But he would still need to bet over $400 per race.
You get the idea. This is why most would-be “career” players do not want to look at these numbers. This is also why paper-and-pencil handicapping is very difficult to make significant money: how do you cut the handicapping time down to (say) 5 minutes per race so that you can handicap between races (and completely remove the night before work)?
Many of our software users routinely play around 80 races per day (or even more). Those who have seen me play know that I am like a machine gun: one race after another; bang, bang, bang. (Or is that rat-a-tat-tat?)
But look at the difference if one CAN make 80 bets per day. Betting $16,500 / 80 is “just” $206 per race. I am not saying that is an insignificant amount, but it is an amount that is reachable by “humans.”
Further imagine that a with this number of plays your consistency goes up quite a bit. Based upon a 4-day work week, now you make as many plays in a day as you did in a week. This also allows you to wager a greater percentage of your bankroll, which allows you to grow faster (to get to that $200 level).
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