We’ve never had it this good

When you sit down and think about it I’m sure you will agree that punters have never had it this good. Here are just a few reasons why punting today is much easier than it was 10 or 20 years ago. Betfair – arguably the greatest innovation of the last decade for three key reasons: (1) very competitive prices (most markets around 105%) (2) you can ‘be the bookmaker’ and lay a horse that you think is under the odds (3) you can trade in and out of positions to guarantee yourself a profit before the race has started Sky Channel and TVN – once upon a time the only place you could watch a race was in the TAB or at the track. Thankfully those days have long gone and you can now enjoy the sport of kings from the comfort of your couch. And it’s even better with Sky’s extra two channels. You can even watch the races on your 3G phone for a small monthly fee. Top fluctuation – particularly on metro meetings, the top fluctuation product is very competitive and occasionally the markets get down very close to 100%. Bookmakers taking phone bets – younger readers may not realise that until the 1990’s bookmakers were not even allowed to accept bets by phone. Seems crazy, but so does trying to ban mobile phones from the track which clubs tried to do for so many years. Sectional times – it’s hard to believe that something now regarded as being such an important factor in analysing the form wasn’t even available in the 90’s. Take sectional time information away from professional punters now and they’d feel like their hands were tied behind their backs. Fast and extensive databases – want to know whether there really is a second up syndrome? Or whether you should avoid horses going back in distance? Or if a certain sire’s progeny love the wet? All of these questions and anything else you can dream up can now be answered definitively thanks to the horse racing databases available on the market today. Foxtel IQ and Bigpond race replays – not so long ago the only way to watch race replays was by video. Nowadays you can watch them (and easily pause and rewind) using personal video recorder’s like Foxtel’s IQ. And the Bigpond website is also an excellent online option for metro race replays. Fast internet – dial-up wasn’t that long ago in terms of years, but it does seem a lifetime ago when you consider how reliant we are now on broadband. Trying to read the form, monitor the latest odds and place bets would be very different in a dial-up world. Wireless internet – has also made things better for the punter. Whether it’s just the mobility of your laptop around the house, or around your town, the portable computer is a godsend for punters. iPhone and other smartphones – potentially an even greater innovation for punters because it’s basically a pocket-sized computer and one you can get away with them using at the track or TAB. Apps and smartphone friendly websites will make the iPhone (and Google’s new phone) almost essential for keen punters. Free form – everything you need is available online or offline either free or for a very small fee. A punter is more likely to suffer from information overload rather than missing out on anything they could want for. As well as form guides you can get countless horse racing articles, interviews, statistics, product reviews, local and overseas books, forums and more. Dynamic Odds – rather than having six or eight different websites open you can use just the one site to compare bookmaker, tote and Betfair prices all from the one screen. You can even use it to place your bets. Easy access to approximate exotic dividends – no longer do you need to guess as to whether your desired combination/s are at value odds, because that information is freely available to all. You can back exotic overlays just like you do for win betting. Record keeping – most people have Microsoft Excel but even if you don’t you can use free software such as Google Docs to record every bet you make. This is one of the most important things to do if you want to be a disciplined punter. Overseas racing – we used to get just a handful of overseas events each year and many were on delay. Nowadays you can bet globally and our interest in racing outside of Australia will only grow. Professional advice – this isn’t meant to be a self-congratulatory piece, but just in general terms I suggest that if you do thorough research on ratings and selection services with a proven record you can substantially improve your results. Sports betting – punting on sports (particularly AFL and NRL) has grown exponentially over the last decade and when you consider the TV ratings these sports achieve surely this growth will continue for a while yet. This will be fast-tracked even further when the government eventually relaxes the in-play betting laws and allow us to bet online during the games. Seeing all of those in print makes you realise just how much the punting game has changed in the last 10 or 20 years. And while no-one knows how things will change over the next decade, what I do know is the astute and disciplined punter has never had it quite as good as we do today. Good punting David Duffield