Horse Race Betting for Dummies

If you’ve ever found yourself frustrated by the idea of placing a sports bet, I feel your pain. I am intimidated by plenty of gaming options in Las Vegas casinos. Craps, blackjack–anything where I need to be aware of the rules and perform them in front of the others that are more experienced will confound me. (What will happen if I screw up? Can they shout at me? Can they snicker at me? How badly will I be ashamed?) This is the reason I’ve pretty much stuck with playing slots throughout my gaming sessions in Vegas: No witnesses.
However, I’ve had a fascination with horse races for a very long time. Part of it is rooting for the underdog (or even”underhorse” as the case may be). Part of it is I adore horses; they’re such magnificent creatures. Part of it is that horseracing is such a subculture and business.
My June Vegas trip happened to coincide with the Belmont Stakes. For some reason, I took this as a sign it was time for me to understand how to wager on a horse race. I mean, if you’re planning to do it, then it may as well be a famous race?
I did minimal research online to learn about easy stakes and on the horses who would be running in the Stakes. I knew I did not need to bet on California Chrome, the frontrunner, since the odds were too heavily in his favor. And whenever I saw the name Wicked Strong (a New England horsey title if ever I heard one), I knew he was my horse.
That’s right, I wager depending on the horse’s title. I’m the worst kind of gambler there is. Do you see why I do not play anything aside from slots? But in my defense, I’d review Wicked Strong’s background and he had won any races, so it is not like he was coming in tenth or something.
So on the afternoon of this race, I worked up my courage and walked up to the woman working the desk at the Monte Carlo’s Race and Sports Book. “Hi,” I said. “I’ve never put a sports wager in my life, but I would like to wager on the Belmont Stakes. Would you walk me through it?”
Seriously, it had been as simple as that.
“Sure,” she said. I told her I wanted to bet a horse to reveal.
She said”It’s actually win, place or show, and you are gambling your horse will come in first, second, or third.”
“Alright,” I said, and told her I needed to wager on Wicked Strong.
She said she wanted the horse’s number, not name, and gestured to the list of horses for the Belmont Stakes which has been sitting on the counter in front of me. Wicked Powerful was 9, so I placed my bet on 9.
The minimum bet was $2, she told methat’s $2 for each of win, place and show, so the total would have been $6. I stated I’d like to wager $10. Certainly, my giddiness over putting my initial bet on a horse race had caused me to lose my mind. Betting the minimal would have been the wise play in this circumstance, because I know nothing about horse racing.
The girl at the sports publication looked at me as though I had been indicating I wanted to run against the horses . She softly suggested”Why not simply bet $5? That would be $15 total.”
I found the logic in this and agreed.
So I put my bet and she gave me my ticket. “If my horse wins–and I understand that’s a long shot–when do I need to come pick up my winnings?” I inquired.
“We’re open until 11pm,” she told me,”or you’ll be able to come in tomorrow.” I thanked her and walked off, gazing at my ticket and feeling very delighted with myself. The entire transaction took maybe five minutes (and might have taken less if I had not had so many queries ).
I realised my encouragement to Wicked Strong (who, by the way, is a very talented horse, since he tweets, too). I was torn between staying and watching the race going to the Atomic Testing Museum, but decided that I should visit the Museum as long as I was feeling up for it (because I was clearly coming down with a cold at the point).
In my way back from the Museum, I learned that Wicked Powerful tied California Chrome–to get fourth place. So I came very close to winning! But close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, not horse races.
I don’t have any regrets, though. As far as gambling goes, it was a fun way to lose $15, and it had been an interesting new experience for me. I would certainly take action. (But I would probably bet the minimal next time.)
It’s easy to see how people become addicted to”playing the ponies”. I probably would have been even crazier about it when I’d actually sat in the sport book and watched the race unfold. (Or, you know, if I had actually won.) I’ll have to try that next time.
At any rate, this should go to show you that there is no need to feel intimidated by sports betting in any way. If you go into it permitting the pros understand that you’re a newbie and need some advice, they will help you.

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