He observed that a bettor playing a conventional $2 Pick Six with a $100 bankroll is hopelessly outgunned; he can’t even afford to buy a ticket using two horses in each race. (That’s a $128 investment.) But with $100 worth of 10 cent tickets, Wolff said, “He’s got enough coverage that he’s in the game.”
Gulfstream President Tim Ritvo confirmed that the boom in the Rainbow Six is driven by players betting $300 or so — not the guys betting thousands.
And these players, he said, seem indifferent to the 52 percent bite.
I asked the Daily Racing Form’s Steve Crist, a serious pick-six player and author of “Exotic Betting,” for his ideas on tackling the Rainbow Six, and he replied: “I would counsel people not to play it unless there is a mandatory payout [on closing day] or a seven-digit carryover.”
Now that a seven-digit carryover exists, how might a bettor approach the Rainbow Six? In my opinion, a bettor should play only if he sees a glimmer of hope of winning the whole pool. Otherwise, it’s pointless to fight the 52 percent takeout. There can be no glimmer if the six races include some small fields or even one short-priced favorite who looks almost unbeatable. Too many other people will pick six winners.
Wednesday’s card offers no such easy spots; the six races include four 12-horse fields and no favorite at odds of less than 5 to 2 in the morning line. Even with such a difficult card, a bettor who hopes to win a seven-figure payoff will need to come up with a longshot winner — one who defies most handicapping logic — somewhere in the six-race sequence.
It is impractical to play a single Rainbow Six ticket scattered with wacky longshots in every race. It is a better strategy to start with a ticket using relatively logical selections. Then fashion another ticket that substitutes wacky longshots for the logicals in the first leg of the Rainbow Six; do the same for the second leg, the third leg, etc., and hope to hit one 30-to-1 shot who will bust out most of the other players.
This is a too-short explanation of a complex process; bettors who want to employ a smart strategy should read Crist’s definitive book or watch his DVD, “Exotic Tickets.”
For a handicapper armed with optimal strategy and a formidable bankroll, the Rainbow Six still presents an almost impossible challenge. But even those who recognize that the wager is a sucker bet may find it hard to resist the lure of a seven-figure payoff.
For previous columns by Andrew Beyer, visit washingtonpost.com/beyer