Table Games & Horseracing

I recently went to a local horse track to bet the Kentucky Derby. The great thing about Parimutuel racing is you can bet on horse races, without being at the actual venue holding said race. So, even though I live in Michigan, thanks to parimutuel racing, I can bet (and watch) races from our the country. The Kentucky Derby was one such bet.

I went with a couple friends of mine who do this every year, but I only “bet the ponies” once every couple years. The downside to living in Michigan is that we no longer host any thoroughbred racing, it’s all harness racing. They called me up a few days before hand and asked that I join them, I figured “What the heck? Why not!”. Now, because they (specifically the husband) know what they’re doing, he was making all sorts of bets. I could barely keep up with what he was doing…and then when he asked me review his tickets, it could have been some sort of math problem with the numbers & symbols, etc etc.

But as I was sitting there, with nary a clue what was going on around me, it occurred to me the last time I felt this way was when I was a craps-noob and would stand at the craps table making my lowly Pass Line bet and watching (& wondering) in awe what the Hell was going on around me. The same held true again this time. I know how to bet a horse to Win/Place/Show, but trifecta, quinilla, box four horses (that should be a drunk bachelor party activity), were terms I’d heard of…but knew nothing about.

My point: that feeling of ignorance sucks. I should have gone online and done a little ‘Horse racing 101’ research. It wouldn’t have taken but about 15 minutes to learn a few of the terms/bets eligible to be made. So I place that on me. Conversely, if you go to the casino and take a friend who is NOT a table game player, make sure to slowly and methodically explain what you’re doing and your desired outcome. My friend just threw terms out at me with no real explanation of WHY he was doing what he did. So the event itself was enjoyable only from the social aspect of hanging out with my friends. The activity of horse betting was lost on me.

So next time you’re at the craps/Blackjack/roulette/3-Card poker table and you see that deer in headlight look by your friend, make sure you throughly explain to him/her what’s going on. But, hopefully, they will have done a little bit of prep work ahead of time on their own.

After all, you can take a horse to water…but you can’t make it drink!

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