Origin of the 10-cent Superfecta
The superfecta is a challenging bet found at most racetracks across the country in which the bettor is required to pick in the exact order the horses that will finish first, second, third and fourth in a particular race. Due to the difficulty involved, this bet can generate some very large payoffs. It is not uncommon to see one-dollar payoffs in excess of $10,000 on a daily basis.
Those who are successful at playing the one-dollar superfecta will bet many combinations of numbers to increase their chances of winning. Typically the amount wagered per race ranges between $24 and $120 per race. Because it is expensive to bet a one-dollar superfecta effectively, the superfecta had fallen out of favor for most horseplayers until recently.
It was Hinsdale Greyhound Park in New Hampshire that first experimented with a 10-cent minimum superfecta bet back on September 3, 2004 as sort of a gimmick to attract new fans. Not only did it catch on with the new fans, it also caught on with the regulars.
This brought the superfecta bet out of the shadows and into the light for the average horseplayer. You will now find 10-cent superfectas at almost all racetracks across the country including greyhound, harness, quarter horse and thoroughbred racing tracks.
Big Payoffs and Excitement Contribute to Popularity
What has made the 10-cent superfecta so popular? The answer is that it gives the average horseplayer a chance to walk home with some really big money without having to spend a lot of money. A typical 10-cent superfecta payoff will usually return somewhere between $50 and $250. But it can pay more – much more. In fact, if your lowly 10-cent ticket happens to be the only ticket sold with the winning combination, you take down the entire superfecta pool! (On several occasions, 10-cent superfecta payoffs have been in excess of $50,000.)
For most, it is just a fun bet because it doesn’t cost a lot of money to play and you can walk away with hundreds, thousands or even more. For the price of a two-dollar win ticket, you could buy twenty different 10-cent superfecta combinations. For the price of a typical six-dollar across-the-board bet, you could give yourself 60 different ways to win. In addition to all of this, it also puts additional excitement into watching races. In fact, at times you will be rooting just as hard for that fourth place finisher as you are for the winner!
Getting Started with a Four-Horse Box
The simplest way to get started playing is to just pick a sequence of four numbers, bet ten cents, and cross your fingers. One way to increase your chances of winning, would be to play your four numbers in what is called a four-horse box for $2.40. By boxing your four numbers, you now win if your horses come in first, second, third and fourth in any order. This gives you twenty-four ways to win. (Although this is not a strategy I recommend, it is the simplest way to get started playing.)
In addition to the four-horse box, there are several other popular methods of play among superfecta players. In my book, The 10-Cent Superfecta Complete Guide to Wagering and Winning, I explain each method in detail and point out the advantages and disadvantages of each. The superfecta bet can be full of twists and turns for those unfamiliar with it, not only because of alternate methods of play, but also because of the variety of betting strategies and the difficulty involved in the figuring the cost of betting combinations.
Handling Betting Combinations
Any bet that is not a boxed bet is considered a betting combination. When you use a betting combination you turn the superfecta into a four-part bet in which you must handicap each of the four legs – first through fourth. Typically you try to zero in on the potential winner of the race and then work your way down by adding additional horses in each successive leg. The difficulty with betting combinations is that the cost is often hard to gauge.
Figuring Costs Quickly By Using Cost Tables
Figuring the cost of boxed bets is rather simple. Figuring the cost of betting combinations is quite another story. I feel it is important to know the cost of your bet before you get to the betting window as it helps you stay within your budget and also allows you to know what impact adding or removing a horse will have on the cost.
There are two basic formulas that are used to figure costs. However, figuring costs from formulas can get to be quite tedious. To make figuring costs much easier, it helps to use a cost table such as the ones included in my book. Using a cost table, you can quickly look up the cost of your betting combination.
You can also use cost tables to choose from among the hundreds of betting combinations displayed to find a betting combination that fits your budget and the number of horses you wish to cover in a race. Cost tables will show you how you can partially cover anywhere from five and fourteen horses in a given race.
Playing the 10-cent Superfecta
If you were interested in playing the 10-cent superfecta but didn’t know where to start, a great opportunity would be when you have a strong opinion on a race. You won’t have to spend a lot of money to give yourself a chance at a big payoff.
Paul Lambrakis has been a professional handicapper for over 25 years and is currently the senior staff handicapper at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, CA. He is also part of the Hollywood Park handicapping staff. He is the author of 10-Cent Superfecta Complete Guide to Wagering and Winning.