The Grind, part one

The Grind, part one

January 24, 2020

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by Frank Cotolo

Veterans of pari-mutuel betting call it “The Grind.” It is the first and foremost method of play for professional gamblers. The Grind is solely about making win wagers for a long-run profit, and that, literally, is a grind because there is no consistency to the return of investment per bet. A bettor hits a win for $5.60 and another for $10.40 and another for $7.00 and along the way he or she loses”X” amount of cash from losing tickets and The Grind continues, until forbid, it turns a profit or a deficit.

But The Grind offers a terrific condition: only one result of each wager is necessary in the stream of wagers made to keep the bettor in the black. That single condition is the horse bet must win.

The win, place and show pools offer the same condition, respectively, with a bonus — you can cash on a solo place bet if the horse wins and you can cash on a show bet if the horse wins or places. The Grind offers these advantages barring any exceptional results (disqualification determined by the judges).

Many bettors find The Grind to be slow and tiresome and they are correct. That does not change its sole condition, which is unique compared to the exotic betting schemes available that keep bettors buzzing with action.

Exotic wagers demand many more conditions without displaying possible payoff prices, too. There is no way to apply The Grind’s process to exotic wagers because the situations demanded to win exotics become more difficult per type of wager. Have you ever looked at exotic wagers based on what they demand?


Daily Double — Two in separate races
Exacta — Two in a single race
Trifecta — Three in a single race
Superfecta — Four in a single race
Super Hi-5 — Five in a single race
Pick 3 — Three in separate races
Pick 4 — Four in separate races
Pick 5 — Five in separate races
Pick 6 — Six in separate races

Usually, a bettor does not respect the strength of the demands involved in winning exotics. That’s because he or she almost never plays the base number of horses needed to satisfy a win. Who plays “cold” single or multi-race exotics?

Let me see a show of hands.

Just as I thought, no one.

Bettors accepted as a solution to playing cold exotics a most idiotic method — buy lots of losing tickets. That is, buy a single ticket with multiple choices in each exotic leg or finishing spot expected, knowing very well that many of the combinations they choose will not be in the correct orders and ultimately only one set of numbers will provide success. Of course, that makes all of the numbers that do not play into the winning set — there is no other way to label them — losing ticket combinations.

So what you say? The single set of correct numbers in a multiple ticket will pay off so greatly that the cost of purchasing losing tickets to come up with a winning one will be moot.

Not really and hardly ever. There are two reasons the exotics vary greatly in their payoffs. Here is one example from a veteran bettor:

Lucky Kalanges, my longtime associate in the betting business, tweeted a scene from an all too common situation on the topic of betting exotics with a novice bettor.

Lucky said, “I explain [to the novice] how the Pick 6 has changed to a ‘Jackpot’ and that the pot only pays out if there is a single winning combo. ‘Well, that sucks,’he says. ‘Let’s just play the Pick 5 from now on.’ Wish I had explained it before we put in that losing ticket.”

The jackpot demand is a condition no bettor should accept.

Reason two concerns the types of winning sets. In pari-mutuels, winners share the pot. The more favorites appearing on a correct set, the less the winners collect. The more horses outside of public favor on a correct set, the larger the reward. More importantly, exactly what correct sets pay is not revealed until the race stream is official, so, it becomes possible that a correct set among incorrect sets on a multiple ticket could return less than the cost of the multiple ticket.

Those two reasons are challenges enough to make a-multi-race-exotic ticket unassailable. Add to them a debilitating factor — the exotic becomes more important to hit than any winners it may supply, causing bettors to pass playing various horses in the win pool.

The Grinders, if you will, do not have such a problem, because, remember, nothing comes before a win bet and, as you will see in upcoming parts of this series, making win bets a priority is the key to playing any kind of exotic.

To be continued…

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