Dave Schwartz Teaches Hybrid Handicapping (Podcast Transcript, Part 2)
Over the years there have been a handful of key handicapping concepts that have dominated horse racing. In my lifetime it was Class, then Speed took over in the 1970s, then Impact Values in the 80s, Pace in the 90s, and powerful regression systems in the new millennium.
What will be next? Where can you begin now to get an informational advantage over the competition?
What if you could get ahead of the curve?
This was not an article about horse racing because he also talked about a lot of other areas. However, this is what I took from it. The first personality he called a free-styler. The author considered this personality to be a new breed of chess player, someone that does not play against the computer, but with the computer.
Introducing the Free Styler.
I would imagine that there is a lot of poker software that does the same thing. The idea is that you let the computer make most of the moves, but occasionally you have to overrule it. These types of players have come to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the software and the strengths and weaknesses of their own decision making.
Ideally, they take and use the best of both. I envision that this is what many “old timers” have already done. I say old-timer with respect since I an old timer myself. The thing is that it is not just about spreading out the reports in front of you, it is more about imaging.
You are using software and you literally tell yourself that the software indicates that you should bet the 3 and the 4. But, you look at the racing form and determine that you like the 1 and the 3. Therefore, you settle on the 3. It’s that kind of concept.
Although I think that sounds more like a consensus decision, it could mean that you have found that it is a good thing, not bad, when the computer disagrees with your long shot pick. The point is simply that you have to understand your strengths relative to a computer software program or a set of reports.
Introducing the Synthesizer.
The second kind of personality is one that the author called The Synthesizer. This is the kind of guy that is able to look at multiple sources of information and bring them all together into intelligent selections.
I am of the opinion that this is what most people try to do with the method commonly referred to as “eye ball scan.” It is a difficult approach because quantification from the report to the selection process is very difficult to turn into a number.
A lot of people do not realize that they do this, but when someone says: “I like the 3 and the 4 and the 7,” it means that he wants to put the 3 in front of the 4 and the 4 in front of the 7. That is called, even though you may not think of it that way, ”giving them a number.”
The 3 is the best, 4 is second best and 7 third best. That is assigning a number. When it comes to synthesizers, I had a client who was a psychiatrist in San Francisco. That man is probably the best all around eye ball scan, synthesizer handicapper I have ever known.
The guy was able to bring together BRIS reports, the output of my software and perhaps one or two other software packages, spread the information out in front of him and come up with selections. I know there are lots of you out there saying that you do the same thing. The question is how successfully do you do it? For me, being a synthesizer of information would be impossible. It just does not suit my personality. In fact, I would also find it difficult to be a Free Styler.
Introducing the Systemizer
That brings me to a third type of gambler, one which has not yet been mentioned in the article. This “type” is my own invention. I made this up completely and call this type of player a systemizer.
This designation fits me. It is the kind of player that puts most of his time into improving a systematic approach; someone who puts all of his effort into building and testing a system. Then on race day, he literally becomes a clerk (or technician, if you prefer).
I follow the rules of this system, effectively doing whatever the system says and I have confidence in the long term results that I will get. For me, this is perfect. I think that for a lot of you being a free-styler would really make a huge difference in your game, especially if you use something like the Monty Hall Problem concept.
If you do not know what that is, you can Google it or go to my website and look under Dave’s videos. You’ll find that in one of the TV shows we did. There is an entire segment on the Monty Hall problem.
Click here to see the Monty Hall Problem explained on Wikipedia.
In the world of horse racing, football, baseball or basketball, commodity trading and the stock market, for example, the most important thing is to have an accurate probability. That and knowing the odds at which you are going to make a bet are equally important.
If you have probability and odds you have it all. The world is your oyster. I actually refer to this as the pretend world because there are no accurate probabilities in an individual event, whether it is a horse race or for a stock trade going north or south.
There are only probabilities and their accuracy must be measured over a large sample of races. In truth, accuracy is measured in relationship to the odds and wagers invested. In other words, the way we keep score is money returned relative to money invested.
I bring this up because, as a systemizer, my nature is to want a probability and the odds. I project the dollar net and how much I should bet. That makes everything perfect and I live happily ever after and make millions of dollars. It would be great if that was more than just a dream or wishful thinking.
The results can only be as good as our probabilities and projection of the odds. I want it to be clearly understood here that, while I myself am a Systemizer, I can squint my eyes a little and also see myself being a Free Styler. However, I cannot see myself being a Synthesizer.
You may be the other way around. You may choose to be or feel more comfortable as a synthesizer. Perhaps you see the two on opposite poles and the free-styler kind of bridging the gap in the middle. I am not trying to change you from being a synthesizer or an eye-ball scanner, if you will.
The thing is, if you are not a very good synthesizer or systemizer then the logical place is to come in towards the center. If you are spreading all those reports from BRIS, DRF, Equibase, Track Master and whatever else is out there on the table, and your results are not what you would like them to be, you may need to “move to the center.”
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