Greyhound Handicapping - It's Lonely At The Top

During my 30-plus years of going to the dog track, I've met quite a few people who make a living from betting on the dogs. They didn't come up to me and announce it, of course. I found out by seeing them at the track every day, talking to them, listening to them and watching how often and how much they bet. The biggest giveaway was how many times they cashed at the IRS window.

I've been to that window more than a few times, myself, but I don't live on what I make at the track. It's always been a secondary thing to me. These guys and gals, though, not only live ON the track. They live AT the track. That's the first clue to why most of the rest of the world hasn't heard about them.

Unlike the new breed of poker "stars", the people who make a fortune at the dog track - and at the horse tracks to a lesser extent - keep a very low profile. Not for them the big splashy lifestyle, the fancy cars and houses. Most of them live a lot like you and I do. Their track trips are like going to work is for the rest of us.

Maybe because it takes tremendous concentration to do what they do consistently, a lot of them are loners. You won't find them surrounded by friends, laughing and having a good time at the dog track. You won't find them at all, because they blend into the crowd and don't draw attention to themselves. Often, it's the guy way in the back row of the upper grandstand, going over his program with a styrofoam cup of cold coffee next to him.

Or it might be the woman with the sunglasses pushed up on her forehead and the calculator, staring at the odds board with a minute to go to the first race. The one thing that all of these people who bet for a living have in common is their ability to tune out the rest of the world and concentrate totally on their handicapping.

Many of them use systems, some that they've come up with themselves and some that they've bought and learned to use like a weapon. Once they figure out how a system works, they can refine it and make it even better until it's the closest thing to a sure thing that you're ever going to find. I know a man who spent four months working on one single spot play until he had figured out how to know when a dog with that particular situation would come in - or not - almost every time.

From then on, every time one of those spot plays showed up - and it showed up at least once on almost every program - he cashed tickets on it. Most of us aren't able or willing to spend four months learning just one handicapping technique, which is why most bettors don't even think about trying to make a living at the track. Most of us are happy if we can just make a little profit when we watch the dogs run. We leave the big wins to the people who are willing to live on what they earn from the dog track.