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Exchange Wagering 101
HRN Original Blog:
Exchange Wagering 101

You Can't Allow Yourself To Get Carried Away

It's hard for me to believe that it is already six years since I went to England to work for Racing World television.  Seems like just yesterday.  And of course, one of the first things I learned about there was a betting exchange called Betfair.
And as someone whose first career was spent as a trader at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and at the Chicago Board of Trade, I was instantly fascinated by this new way of playing the horses as well as other sports.
Having had a background in trading, plus a pretty big advantage over there on knowledge of American racing... it didn't take very long for me to get stuck in.
Because of those circumstances, along with getting otherwise unfathomable prices on certain horses, it didn't take long for my discipline to crack.  And with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight, there were two mistakes which I consistently made in my first few months across the pond. 
Here they are:  First of all, bankroll management.  Having belief in your knowledge in general terms is a must to be successful in this game but when mixed in with a bit of stubbornness, trouble can be lurking.  Simply put, in my early days on Betfair, I would think I knew more than the market did and as an example, if I liked a horse who figured to be 2-1 at closing in the tote and I was able to get 4-1, my natural instinct would to be load up, figuring I could sell back some of my position when the market came back to what I perceived as reality.  Or, in a worst-case scenario, I was getting a massive overlay on a pretty large investment.
And on too many occasions, I would find myself just having too much of my 'bank' at risk in relation to how I played most of the other races.  Given my perceived edge on a race-to-race basis, there really was no need to take such risks.
Secondly, I was getting involved with too many races at too many tracks.  Because of the overlays one can get on the exchange, it is normal to think that if I were to get involved with more races, I would naturally just make more money.
This concept didn't work for a number of reasons.  While I certainly had a real edge in circuits which I followed on a regular basis such as the NYRA tracks, when I would play a track which I didn't follow regularly such as Penn National or Turf Paradise, sadly, I didn't know more than the competition and in some cases less.
For me, this was driven home when I met one of my work colleagues on Racing World, the legendary Mr. Q., Paul Quigley.  Mr. Q. specializes in some of the smaller American tracks and currently knows more about New Mexico racing than 99.9% of American horseplayers ever will.  I was naive to think I could just play any American track and have an edge.
On top of the lack of knowledge, there is just so much one can handle time-wise/work-wise before leaks occur.  Getting out of my comfort zone, playing more tracks, more races was a recipe for disaster.
When betting exchanges finally get a foothold in the USA, there will be serious temptation on a regular basis.  But as in any other form of punting on horse races, staying within your bankroll and not getting carried away with too many tracks/races is a must for success.
Remember, when playing on the exchange, it is all about price.


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Exchange Wagering 101

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Exchange Wagering was passed by the state of California in 2010 and could be implemented there as soon as May 2012.  

The advent of exchange wagering opens a whole new world of opportunities to US horseplayers and market traders. HorseRacingNation's Dave Gutfreund, who successfully played on Betfair's exchange for over 2 years while covering the races at Racing World TV in London, will blog each week to help prepare US players on what to expect as the exchange comes to town.  

Betfair is the world's leading exchange wagering provider, handling more than 7 million transactions per day.  Betfair is also the parent company of TVG.  

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