What used to be the white whale of horse racing, the Pick 6 has mostly gone the way of the dodo, at least in its traditional format. As the name implies, you must pick the winner of six consecutive races to cash the Pick 6 – no small feat – and to make it even more fiendishly difficult, the minimum bet is typically $2. Given this pricey base and the scope of the wager, the cost to play it can get exponentially expensive. Don’t fret, though, because racetracks have almost universally phased out the Pick 6 in favor of what are known as jackpot Pick 6’s, or the Rainbow 6, which can be played for a fraction of the price. These bets present their own unique frustrations, but at least they aren’t as cost prohibitive.
The Pick 6 is all about survival. There’s almost never a scenario in which you’d play it for more than the minimum, as it’s exceedingly difficult to incorporate every horse you think has a shot at winning and you’re just looking to make it to the finish line. Like the Pick 5, one of the most important skills to playing the Pick 6 is figuring out what races require only one or two horses and what races necessitate maximum coverage. Singling, or using only one horse in a race, becomes almost essential for one or two races to make playing the bet affordable. Sound betting principles still apply – you don’t want to completely eschew longshots just because they’re not as likely to come in – but more so than any other bet you need to consider a horse’s actual chance of winning and not focus too much on who figures to offer value.
Why play it?
The best reason to play the Pick 6 is of course the giant payouts the bet yields. There is no other bet in racing that consistently produces five and six-figure sums the way the Pick 6 does, which is due primarily to how difficult it is to hit. This aspect of the bet also produces one of its most compelling features, the carryover, that occurs when no one correctly picks all six winners on a given day, prompting most of the pool to be ‘carried over’ into the next day of racing. This means that the following day’s Pick 6 pool is already seeded with money, sometimes as much as seven figures!
Unfortunately, the bet is a dying breed, but if you are able to find it, and risk aversion is an alien concept to you, the Pick 6 is your wager.