How to Play Rolling Pick-3s Wagers

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by Glen S. for Agameofskill.com

Many of the bigger tracks have rolling pick 3s, in which horseplayers are asked to select the winners of three consecutive races. I think this opportunity is a huge advantage to the player if the pick 3s are played in a certain way (which we discuss below).

For starters, the research has been done on rolling pick 3s and the payouts are usually higher than a win parlay of the horses that win each sequence. Also, the pick 3 is a small enough sequence that you can play a strong ticket and not spend that much in order to hit it.

The bigger payouts are obviously when longshots come in, but you do not need to hit back to back 10-1 shots and to get “paid.” Get one price horse in there  and you will be rewarded.

Now it is important to understand you can’t go overboard and put all your budget in one basket when playing these pick 3s. I also think if it is costing you over $48 to play a pick 3 partwheel, you probably shouldn’t be playing it because you really do not have a good feel in the sequence.

Here are a  few key rules I apply when I am playing rolling pick 3s to keep the cost down.  I find it important to have at least one key in the sequence I like a lot. When I start the pick 3 sequence and roll them, I only start when I either have a key or two horses in the first leg. If my key is in the last leg, and the first two legs I need bunches to “save alive,” I will only play one pick 3 until my key is in the first leg. If the total cost of a ticket is between $8 – $12 and I have no key, then I will also play the ticket.

The best way to explain is by an example.  Consider the following hypothetical sequence:

Race#2  Feel only two horses can win.
Race#3  Like a horse at 5-1, can take a chance and key him, but could use others.
Race#4  Vulnerable favorite that should get beat, like as many as four horses, but there are unknowns to deal with.
Race#5 Solid key, expected favorite, ml 2-1, but will go off as low as 4-5.
Race#6 Mid claimer, three or four contenders to use.

Here is how I would play the races 2,3,4

Race#2 start:  1,2/1/all (8 horses), and   1,2,/1,2,3/1,2,3,4

Rae#3 start:  if 1,2 wins then I would play  1,2,3/all(8)/1  and 1,2,3,4,5/1,2,3,4/1.  If 1,2 loses in race 2, then I would play 1/all(8)/1

Race#4 start:  if alive from races 2 and 3 then would play 1,2,3,4/1/1,2,3,4; if knocked out, then I would play all/1/1,2,3

You will see that I adjust my tickets accordingly. I am either expanding a few longshots if I have a few good pick 3 tickets going, so if I lose a final leg, I am “covering” a little (having a longshot that is coming in that I will now have).

In all cases I need to hit one of my keys somewhere to win. Playing the above tickets keeps the ticket size down but allows you many options to hit a nice ticket or hit a few tickets in a row. Either way you are making some money.

Feel free to comment or question on why I play it this way, and even tell me that this is the wrong way to play. I am always open to discuss new ways to play or learn something new.

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 12-time qualifier to the National Handicapping Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 twice. He recently won a $24,000 package into the 2016 Kentucky Derby Betting Championship. A former executive with Brisnet.com, Rich is also a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program. He is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

Comments

  1. Please explain what it means you can pick which race you can start your rolling pick 3 in .thx

    • Curtis, with rolling Pick 3’s, the Pick3 starts with every race on the card except the final 2 races. Thus, you can pick where you want to start your Pick-3 wager. Not all tracks offer this.

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