Jerod's a good horseplayer and a sharp dude. In this month's edition of Horseplayer Monthly he wrote a super-good article on making sure you set the table to be a good player. If not - if you are distracted, are not comfortable, have not done the work - you are probably going to fail.
"As a father of two little ones, in a two person working household, with a job that requires a fair bit of travel; free time is at a premium. In my own experience, this game requires a huge time commitment to be effective. Even with the aid of a sophisticated handicapping software provider, time is the single most key ingredient to successful play. Perhaps this is not the case for others, but my best results have been in years where free time was abundant. I’m sure many of you out there in Handicapping Land are in a similar situation in one form or another. I’ve found myself quite frustrated over my recent handicapping results, but only have myself to blame as no one is putting a gun to my head and placing these losing bets."
In a recent interview with Mike Maloney, this was echoed:
"A lot of that is pressure and just the grind of being there. And it's very labor-intensive work. I work 80 or 85 hours a week when I'm playing seriously. If I don't work those hours, I'm not successful. It's that tenuous for me: If I don't do it at a certain level of effort, then I can't be successful."
A player who is juggling a job change, a couple kids and a wife who is doing the same has the exact same feeling as a pro player who has been doing this for years. This ain't smoke blowin'.
I don't play poker and maybe there is some overlap in "being in a zone" of some sort, but I don't think poker players go through the same process we do, in setting the table to be comfortable and confident. Their brain has the tools needed to sit down at a table. They choose the table - bet size, limit or no limit. The variables are much fewer than what your average horseplayer does each day.
We have to be firm on what's playing at a track - speed, no bias, closers. We have to be firm on the horses we like. We have to know if a trainer is tearing it up or cold. There are literally thousands of factors we have to be happy with before we make a play. This is what makes handicapping the greatest game in the land, but the most frustrating at the same time. As the title suggests, it is "Work, Life, Handicapping Balance"
To read the rest of Jerod's article and to sign up for the Horseplayer Monthly e-magazine each month for free, please click here.