Updated on 09/17/2011 9:56PM

My 2 cents: Dime supers should die


PHILADELPHIA - Get rid of the dime superfecta.

Other than being an invitation to mischief and one more sorry ode to the $2 bettor, it is a wonderful idea.

"They're just asking for you to cheat," said my friend Ray, one of America's biggest bettors.

If you box eight horses in a super, it used to cost $1,680 for $1. Now, if you bet a dime, you can do it for just $168.

Ray, who likes to try to overwhelm pools at tracks without giant super pools (such as Lone Star Park), imagines a 10-horse field where somebody "knows" two of the more logical horses are not going to be in the top four. That person boxes eight and has a very realistic chance of taking down the whole pool at a track where the pool might typically be between $25,000 and $30,000. It is those smaller pools that are most susceptible because there are just not that many combinations in play.

"It does not take much to control the pool," Ray said.

Is actual cheating going on? There is zero proof. But it is quite a bit less expensive to try and then take advantage by covering all the combinations.

Ray, who typically bets $400 or $500 per super, won't play at tracks with dime supers. So, this is also taking some of the bigger players out of the pool.

Even if nobody is doing anything wrong on the racetrack, someone is doing something very wrong in the tote room.

There is deception every time a price is posted that has nothing to do with reality. The 3-7-6-9 super in the eighth at Lone Star on July 16 was posted as $273,894. This was not the Breeders' Cup at Lone Star. This was just another race with a normal pool. The actual payout was $27,389.40, the whole pool.

The posting of the huge number at the track and in the results gives a false impression. By deception, it gets people into a pool that looks very big, but, as any serious player can tell you, is not. The tote systems are programmed to post the payout in relation to a $1 bet. Thus, a dime winner of $27,389.40 is posted as the winner of $273,894. Something is very wrong with that.

The Lone Star example was a dime ticket, but the lone winner got all the money. One could argue that isn't right either. A better way to do this is if a lone winner has a dime ticket, that winner gets 10 percent of the pool. And the other 90 percent would be paid out as a trifecta.

And there is also this.

"How does this wager make economic sense for the racetracks?" economist Maury Wolff said. "The 10-cent denomination encourages bettors to call out complicated wagers which take a lot of the clerk's time, or to slowly punch them in at a self-service terminal, and there's very little money actually wagered on the transaction.

"Either your labor expenses or the number of self-serve terminals are going to shoot up, or else you're going to end up shutting out more people with a wager that doesn't do much for handle. Since it's a national betting market, the tracks offering these bets are bringing these complications to all the tracks that take their races. There have probably been quite a few irate patrons who have been shut out by someone making a flock of dime super bets."

Look, if you don't want to invest real money, just bet to show. That is the pool for people who don't want to take any risks. Get out of my superfecta pools. You are in the way.

These people betting the dime supers are the same people asking for your program as you are leaving the track. They should all be barred. Tell them to go bet on arena football.

Some tracks have already irritated a bunch of big bettors by shutting out many of the rebate shops. Now, they are aggravating more of the same big bettors by giving the little guy a better chance to win. Why?

They should search everybody who comes into the track. If you have less than $100, you should be sent home. Really, what purpose do you serve? Get out. And take your dime supers with you.