I used WagerMate to make my picks in the August BetPTC.com Cash is King II contest, so I get to play in the “finals” in January. Also won a bit of cash.
I’m trying a new approach: I have a bunch of different strategy files, and make a bet if a horse is picked by more than one of the strategies.
Part of the process of releasing a new version of WagerMate is back testing. This figure shows how the new Build 318 of WagerMate performs, using the default strategy. This is based on about four year’s worth of data.
318 Back Test Report
So, if you blindly followed all of WagerMate’s suggestions, you would have won about 22% of your bets and got back 96% of the money you bet (i.e. a 4% loss).
In one sense, that’s terrible — we’d lose money! But in another sense, this is incredibly encouraging — before we’ve even applied a bit of our handicapping skill, we’ve changed the rules of the game. Everyone else is playing a game with a 20% takeout, but WagerMate users are playing a game with a 4% takeout.
If you can use your own experience and wisdom to sort through WagerMate’s selections, you should be able to improve on these results. If you have enough data to do your own back testing, you should be able to develop a better strategy than the default strategy built into WagerMate.
Of course, Your Mileage May Vary. Making money in back testing is not identical to making money with real bets.
I uploaded a new version of Wagermate today. Most of the enhancements are minor.
Here’s something convenient: when you’re working on the back testing tab to perfect a strategy, you can make it apply to just dirt races or just sprints (for example) by using the new checkboxes.
Back test tab with new checkboxes
I’ve taken to saving my strategy files with names that indicate what surface and distance they pertain to, like “DS long shots.wmst”.
If you follow WagerMate’s out-of-the-box betting advice, it will do a reasonable job of handicapping — but, you’ll be placing the same bets as every other WagerMate user.
I hope you’ve learned how to use WagerMate’s filters to develop your own strategies and how to save them as WMST (WagerMate STrategy) files. Strategy files let you bring your own personal experience and wisdom into the WagerMate handicapping process — you’re customizing the process. It’s easy:
- Click Start Handicapping, and let the simulations finish…
- Set some filters
- Click Save Strategy
Here’s a very simple strategy applied to the 2012 races to date…
Main screen with a filter
…it simply sets the filters for Recency, Maximum Morning Line Odds, and Good Last Race Required. Using this strategy for back testing on the races run so far in 2012 yields:
Sample Back Testing Report
Does this mean you can expect a 20% profit (an ROI of 120%), turn pro, and live happily ever after? Possibly not….
A few things to keep in mind:
- This is a tiny sample — just 41 races. My experience is that we need a back testing strategy that works on hundreds of races before we start to have faith in it.
- When I applied this simple filter to my entire set of data (about 4 year’s worth of cards and charts) the results weren’t quite as good:
Back Test Report on large sample
- Although the average profit for the 4 years was 5%, the best year showed a profit of 23% and the worst year showed a loss of 7% — so the road to riches is not smooth.
- Just because something works in back testing doesn’t mean it will work in the future.
You can download the related strategy file.