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Placepot Analysis 2 by David Renham
Last week I started to investigate the placepot and this week I am adding to the research. To summarize my initial findings from the first article:
1. The performance of favourites is often highly influential in terms of the final dividend;
2. Dividends range considerably from less than £10 to well over £1000;
3. Around 45% of dividends exceeded £200 in the survey;
4. Placepot payouts quite often hinge on one or two races per meeting – eg. a big field handicap; a odds on maiden failing to make the frame; a race where all placed horses are big prices; a 5 runner race becoming a 4 runner one, etc, etc.
It is clear therefore that numerous factors can affect the placepot dividend (return). However, with payouts often in the hundreds and thousands it is clear that the number of horses we put in our placepot is a vital consideration. The lowest number of horses you could choose in total for a placepot is just 6; 1 horse for each race. Conversely, there is no maximum figure, but clearly the costs become considerable if you start looking to put too many horses in. For example if you chose 4 horses per race, this equates to 4096 lines!!! At 10p a line that would cost you £409.60 – a tad excessive!
To begin with I have constructed a table showing you some potential perms for your placepot. I have limited the number of selections per race to a maximum of 3, while the most number of bankers I have chosen is 2 – a banker is a term for a single selection in a race. The table also shows how many horses are covered and how many lines / bets that would entail:
It is clear that a 1,1,2,2,2,2 combination could be placed in a different way. In my example the bankers have been chosen in race 1 and race 2, but we could have the following combination  2,2,1,2,2,1, where the bankers are now in race 3 and race 6. However, it is essentially the same perm with 16 lines, and if I had showed all such combinations in the table there would be no space for anything else! Hence it is taken as read that you can mix the positions of each perm up but you will still have the same number of bets / lines regardless of order.
What one should notice is that there can be serious differences in terms of number of lines / bets. For example you can choose 14 horses for your placepot perm in numerous different ways. The three shown in the earlier table are as follows:
As one can see, the way you place these 14 horses can make a difference of 63 lines / bets (144 minus 81). That equates to £6.30 extra even at 10p a line. Indeed, using more bankers means that theoretically you could have only 9 lines with 14 horses if you used the following perm:
It is worth investigating different perms and how many lines / bets they create. My personal preference is usually to cover the competitive handicaps with 3, 4 or 5 runners, while looking for 1 or preferably 2 bankers in “easier” races. It may look like this:
Of course any “banker” is risky – but if you can successfully find them, then they can be worth their weight in gold as they help limit the number of lines / bets. In this example, 2 races are well covered with 5 and 4 selections respectively, and hence one would expect a big perm, but having two bankers helps cut this 15 horse combination down to 80 lines / bets.
Other placepotters will have different ideas – some will simply put in 6 bankers; others will put in 2 horses per race (64 lines / bets); others will go for much bigger perms such 3x3x3x3x2x2 which equates to 324 lines / bets. The people using very few lines will argue that although they may not be successful very often, when they win, they get excellent value. The people using several lines will argue that they will win more often and although they have to fork out decent sums each meeting, they also have the capacity to win more from the fact that they can have multiple winning lines.
I don’t think there is one right answer – it is down to what you are comfortable with. Also you cannot have a totally fixed approach because each race meeting is different – the make up of the races can make a significant difference to the number of lines / bets you have. Imagine these scenarios:
Clearly meeting 1 looks by far the hardest in terms of landing the placepot. Banana skins in every race – a 4 runner open race to begin with and remember only the winner in a 4 runner race counts for placepot purposes. Race 2 has only 3 places from 15 runners in a competitive looking handicap. Race 3 has only 2 places in a trappy looking 7 runner handicap. Race 4 may have four placepot positions, but 24 of the runners are going to miss out! Race 5 only has 3 places for 17 runners in a claimer, while race 6 also has only 3 places with a complex maiden with little or no form to unravel. If you were able to confidently keep the number of lines / bets to under 300 for that meeting it would be a miracle. Of course without seeing the races in reality it is impossible to make an accurate guess at the number of lines needed but if I were ‘playing’ the minimum number of lines for me could easily be as high as 576 – a 4x3x3x4x2x2 perm. Meeting 1 could of course produce a huge payout – it is quite possible that no single figure priced horse would have made the frame in the last 3 races – if that was the case the dividend would be on its way to a very high figure.
Meeting 2 looks far far easier from a placepot perspective – having said that the payout is likely to be fairly low if the races went to form.
Thus they are different ways to “attack” the placepot in terms of the number of lines or bets you have. In the next article I will explore this bet further!



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