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Racing News
Tuesday 13th February 2018
   
Can Statistics Make You Rich?

Any type of gambling involves a blend of skill and luck, and the chances of winning are bound up in mathematical probabilities – or statistics. We see it in horse racing when a certain horse is at 10/1, and we see it in the casino, where the odds of winning on red are just a little worse than even money.

Using statistics to make money

To understand the theory, the casino is the perfect place to start. On a roulette wheel, there is nowhere to hide and no skill involved. It all comes down to two simple parameters: The odds of winning and the success rate. If you bet on red, you will get even money odds, equating to 2.0. The success rate is the number of red slots divided by the total number of slots on the wheel, which comes to 0.486. Multiply these and you get 0.973 – in other words, a win rate of 97.3 percent, or a house edge of 2.7 percent.

In blackjack, on the other hand, there are numerous strategies you can employ, in terms of hitting, standing, doubling down, card counting and so on. A skilled player can reduce the house edge from around four percent to about 0.7 percent. Give it a try – the Casino Apps website has a whole list of online casino apps that you can download here. Take some time to learn the basic blackjack strategy and watch how your success rates improve.

Kempton racing
© Racehorse Photos

Applying statistics to horse racing

Racing fans would argue that there is even more skill involved in betting on the horses than there is in playing blackjack. There is certainly more data to go on to inform your wagers, but to make money, you need to apply that same mathematical equation.

The first thing you need is data. Keep a record of every wager you place, including the odds, the amount staked and the result. Only with this information can you work out your average odds and success rates. When we multiply these factors together, we need the product to be more than 1.0 to come out on top.

Clearly, if you can make the number higher, you will end up winning more money. There are two ways to do this: Increasing the odds or increasing the win rate.

1) Better win rate

This sounds the most obvious, but is actually the more complex of the two parameters, simply because there are so many factors involved. Studying form is one thing, but you also need to take into account how a horse performs in different conditions, such as the number of horses in a given race, the ground conditions, even the size and enthusiasm of the crowd.

2) Better odds

Alternatively, you can increase the odds. Crucially, this does not mean changing your strategy and betting on higher risk horses. It simply means shopping around to get the best possible price. The online betting phenomenon makes this simple. Decide which horse to bet on, then explore as many bookmakers as possible to get the best odds going.

Finally, remember practice makes perfect. Keep track of your performance, and continue to refine your strategy to optimise your winnings.