2. TYPES OF WAGERS

SIX WAYS TO WIN
The first thing you have to know is what types of tickets are sold, what bets they signify, and what has to happen in order that you will be able to cash each type.

A straight WIN ticket costs \$2. You cash it if the team you selected wins the game on which you are betting. The payoff on a \$2 Win ticket is usually in the range of \$5 to \$40, but the average is around \$14.

A PLACE ticket costs \$2. You cash it if the team you selected comes in either first or second in the game on which you are betting. The payoff on a \$2 Place ticket can be anywhere from about \$3 to \$20, but the average is about \$7.

A SHOW ticket costs \$2. You cash it if the team you selected comes in either first, second or third in the game on which you are betting. The payoff on a \$2 Show ticket can be anywhere from about \$2.50 to \$15, but the average is between \$4-\$5.

A QUINIELA ticket costs \$2. As contrasted to Win, Place, and Show bets, a Quiniela ticket involves two teams. You cash the ticket if the two teams come in first and second in the game on which you are betting. It does not matter which one comes in first and which is second, as long as one wins and one places. The payoff on a \$2 Quiniela ticket is generally between \$20 and \$100, but the average is around \$46. There are 28 possible Quiniela combinations that you can bet.

A PERFECTA ticket costs \$3 (not \$2). It is similar to a Quiniela in that it involves selecting two teams to come in first and second in a game, but in order to cash a Perfecta ticket you have to pick the exact order correctly. In some frontons the Perfecta bet is called an "Exacta," or "Correcta," or a "Quiniela Perfecta." In other words, if you bet a "4-7 Perfecta," Team 4 must win and Team 7 must come in second for you to win. The payoff on a \$3 Perfecta ticket could be anywhere from \$50 to \$300 (occasionally higher---some have paid over \$1,000) but the average is \$135-\$140. There are 56 possible Perfecta combinations that you can bet.

A TRIFECTA ticket also costs \$3. * It is the most complicated of the six basic wagers since it involves three teams. To cash the ticket you must pick the three teams which will finish first, second and third, in the exact order. Because there are 336 possible Trifecta combinations, this is a very difficult bet to win. Trifecta payoffs vary widely, from a few hundred dollars to over \$13,000.

* In Connecticut, Trifectas cost \$3 versus \$2 in Florida. Naturally, the payoffs in Connecticut are proportionally higher.

HOW TO REQUEST TICKETS
The novice at any betting establishment, whether fronton, racetrack, or casino, is usually put off by the bewildering number of windows where tickets are sold and cashed. While the variety is large, the procedures for transacting your business are simple.

(1) Tickets are purchased at windows in the sections with large signs proclaiming "SELLERS" spanning several windows. Winning tickets are cashed at windows in the sections with large "CASHIER" signs.

(2) To buy a ticket in the SELLERS section, first decide which of the six basic types of bet you wish to make. Some windows handle only one type of bet (e.g., Win bets), while others handle more than one type (e.g., Win, Place or Show bets). The types of bets handled are clearly marked on the betting windows. You cannot make a bet at a window if the type of bet you want is not indicated on the window. * Don't argue with the ticket sellers if you find you are at the wrong window. Learn to read the signs!

* The exception to this is at Milford where the ticket machines at the \$2 windows will issue Win, Place, Show and Quiniela tickets; at the \$3 windows you can buy either Exacta or Trifecta tickets; etc.

Be careful to note the amount of the bets accepted at each window. A few windows handle bets only in multiples of the minimum wager. However, this is also clearly noted on the window.

(3) When it is your turn to bet, call out what you want to the ticket seller in a clear voice. Don't mumble. Before leaving the window, check your ticket to be sure you got what you asked for. If you correctly asked for one bet, but got something else, the ticket seller will correct his error. If you mumbled, he may give you a hard time.

The best way to ask for tickets is the way that coincides with how the ticket seller punches the request into the computer. You should ask for tickets as follows, always specifying the number of tickets you want (not the amount of money you are betting). For example:

"Number 5 to Win, once."
"Number 3 to Place, twice."
"Number 7 to Show, once."
"Quiniela 4-7, once."
"Perfecta 8-3, three times."
"Trifecta 6-1-2, once."

For multiple team wagers, where the exact order of finish is important, call out the numbers in the order you expect the teams to finish. An 8-3 Perfecta requires Team 8 to win. If you ask for a 3-8 Perfecta, you will lose if Team 8 wins and Team 3 places.

If you want to bet a series of similar bets, ask for them in order. For example, "Quinielas: 4-7, 4-8, 5-8 twice, 6-8." Some people would insert "once" after each of the single bets, but this is not strictly necessary.

OTHER WAYS TO WAGER
While there are only six basic bets in jai-alai, you should be familiar with several other expressions which have to do with specific combination wagers involving the basic bets.

(1) A BOX is a way of betting all combinations of three (sometimes four) teams in Quinielas, Perfectas or Trifectas. For example, if you want to bet Teams 3, 5 and 8 in all possible Quiniela combinations (i.e., 3-5, 3-8 and 5-8) you can go to the Quiniela window and simply say "Box the 3, 5 and 8." The seller will punch the three tickets you want. A three-team Quiniela Box costs \$6; a four-team Quiniela Box costs \$12.

Similarly, a Perfecta Box involving Teams 3, 5 and 8 would mean you wanted six Perfecta tickets (i.e., 3-5, 5-3, 3-8, 8-3, 5-8 and 8-5). You can simplify your request by asking the seller at the Perfecta window to "Box the 3, 5 and 8." A three-team Perfecta Box costs \$18. Four teams would cost \$36.

Trifecta Boxes also cost \$18 and are so frequently requested that only a single ticket is issued. The ticket signifies that you have every combination involving the three teams printed on the ticket. Therefore, if those three teams finish first, second and third in any order you will win the Trifecta and be able to cash your ticket.

(2) A WHEEL is a way to bet one team in combination with every other team in either the Quiniela or the Perfecta. A Quiniela Wheel costs \$14, and a Perfecta Wheel costs \$21. Suppose you have selected Team 6 as the team you strongly like, but rate the other teams as essentially even.

If you go to the Quiniela window and ask the seller to "wheel the 6" he will give you seven Quiniela tickets (6-1, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4, 6-5, 6-7 and 6-8). If you had gone to the Perfecta window with this request, you would have gotten the same seven tickets, but they would have been marked "Perfecta" instead.

As with boxing, wheeling is just a way to simplify and speed up the betting transaction. There are no special principles to be learned.

(3) The DAILY DOUBLE is a bet not currently found at Connecticut frontons, but I include it because it may arrive some day. Also, many fans are familiar with it from horse racing, but confuse it with the Quiniela. The Daily Double is simply a bet that requires you to pick the winners of two consecutive games. Although not found in Connecticut, certain Florida frontons have a "BIG Q" bet, similar to the Double, requiring you to select back-to-back Quinielas.

(4) A PARLAY is not a formal type of bet, but rather is a way of determining how much you bet. To "parlay" your bets on two separate games you simply take everything you collect from a winning wager in one game and bet it on another game. It is a good way to throw your money away.

ODDS
The payoffs on winning tickets are determined by the betting odds. The betting odds have nothing to do with the teams' actual chances of winning. Rather, they are a reflection of the betting audience's collective wagering pattern. How people bet is determined by how they see the teams' chances of winning, but their collective judgment is not necessarily valid. This should be obvious when you realize that the vast majority of spectators cannot even identify most of the players, much less correctly evaluate their skills.

Odds are usually quoted as something like "4 to 1." This means that if you win you will get back what the ticket cost you, plus a profit of four times that amount. Thus, a \$2 winning ticket could be cashed for \$10, a \$10 winning ticket for \$ 50, etc. Occasionally the scoreboard will quote odds like "5 to 2" or "9 to 5." To figure the payoff, you must first reduce these to the form "x to 1." Thus, "5 to 2" is equivalent to "2.5 to 1," and "9 to 5" is the same as "1.8 to 1."

The odds shown on the scoreboard are estimates only. They change every 90 seconds as more money is bet. The final odds are determined only when the betting windows close at the start of each game.

The final odds are determined by the actual amounts of money wagered on each entry in the betting pool. There are six separate betting pools for WIN, PLACE, SHOW, QUINIELA, PERFECTA and TRIFECTA wagering on each game. The odds in any pool are independent of the odds or amounts wagered in the other pools.

Let's examine an actual game to see how it works. Here is the way the WIN betting pool wound up at the Hartford Fronton in the 7th Game on Thursday, September 30, 1976.

Post Position Amount Bet to Win (Net Pool Minus Col. 2) Divided by Col. 2 Official Final Odds Approximate Odds Shown on Scoreboard
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5)
1 \$314.00  \$4.31  4.3 to 1 4 to 1
2 280.00 4.96 4.9 to 1 9 to 2
3 330.00 4.06 4.0 to 1 4 to 1
4 176.00 8.48 8.4 to 1 8 to 1
5 238.00 6.01 6.0 to 1 6 to 1
6 244.00 5.84 5.8 to 1 5 to 1
7 232.00 6.19 6.1 to 1 6 to 1
8 196.00 7.51 7.5 to 1 7 to 1
\$ 2,010.00  Total Bet
(341.70)  (Less) 17% "Take"
\$ 1,668.30  Net Pool

Note in Column 2 that a total of \$2,010 was bet to Win. 17% is subtracted, part of which goes to the State of Connecticut for taxes and part of which goes to the Fronton as compensation for putting on the show. * This is referred to as the "Takeout" or "Take." This leaves a Net Pool of \$1,668.30 to be distributed to those who select the winner. Column 3 shows how the odds are initially calculated. The amount bet on any individual team is subtracted from the Net Pool to be distributed, giving the total profits to be distributed to holders of tickets on that team (if it wins). The profit per dollar wagered is then found for any team by dividing the total profit by the amount bet on that team. These are the numbers shown in Column 3.

* As this book was going to press, Connecticut increased the deduction from 17% to 18%, reducing the payoffs in all pools by 1.2%. The percentage deducted varies from state to state.

Since the Management does not like to make payoffs in pennies, any odd cents are then chopped off, resulting in the final (rounded) odds shown in Column 4. Column 5 shows the approximate odds that are displayed on the scoreboard. The scoreboard odds are just an approximation and are always shown on a conservative basis. As you can see, the official final odds in Column 4 are a little higher in all cases.

Team 1 won this game at final odds of 4.3 to 1. This made the payoff \$10.60 for a \$2 ticket. \$314 was bet on #1 to win; this is the equivalent of one hundred and fifty-seven \$2 tickets. Therefore, the total amount distributed to winners was 157 times \$10.60 = \$1,664.20. The difference between the actual amount distributed and the Net Pool (\$1,668.30) shown at the bottom of Column 2 is \$4.10. This is called "breakage." It occurs due to the rounding in Column 3. The breakage is added to the 17% take, making the actual final "take" 17.2%.

As indicated earlier, there are six different types of wagering on each game, (Win, Place, Show, Quiniela, Perfecta, and Trifecta). Each has its own separate pool, and the odds in one pool have no effect on payoffs in the others. The calculation of the odds in some of the more complicated pools involves more steps than I showed for the Win pool, but the basic idea is the same.

For those of you willing to make the effort to study the odds offered and to learn the normal relationships that one should expect between the odds in the different pools, there are often opportunities for substantial benefits to be realized from betting your selection in one pool as opposed to another.

Generally speaking, the Quiniela pool is the most popular and the most heavily bet. Quiniela betting originated with jai-alai, and betting in this pool adds to the enjoyment of watching the actual play. We will return to this point in more detail in Chapter 7. In the game we just examined, \$16,288 was bet on the Quiniela pool versus only \$2,010 in the Win pool.

Jai-alai betting patterns are remarkably stable. For a typical evening with a cumulative total of \$400,000 bet on 12 games, the amount bet on each game will vary between \$25,000 - \$40,000, with an average of \$33,333. On a per game basis this will normally be distributed among the six pools roughly as shown.

 Win 5% \$ 1,667 Place 3% 1,000 Show 3% 1,000 Quiniela 43% 14,333 Perfecta 15% 5,000 Trifecta 31% 10,333 Totals 100% \$33,333

The importance of the size of the pools will be discussed when we get into the mechanics of wagering in Chapters 6 and 7.

I want to stress again that the odds shown on the scoreboard before each game are not guaranteed. They are estimates only. They can and do change significantly during the 10-15 minute betting period between games. By the way, the relatively short time between games in jai-alai is both good and bad. Unlike horse racing, which allows 20-40 minutes between races, jai-alai has very little dead time. The five hours you spend at a fronton, if you stay for all 12 games, is one of the fastest periods of five hours you can imagine.

On the other hand, the short duration between games allows very little time for studying the program and deliberating on your bets. You have to think and act quickly! This places a great premium on doing your homework in advance.

UNDERSTANDING THE SCOREBOARD
The first thing you should do upon entering any fronton for the first time is to familiarize yourself with the scoreboard. They vary greatly from location to location. Detailed explanations will be found either in the program or in free brochures handed out in the admission area. I will only touch on the highlights here.

One section of the scoreboard is usually devoted to a display of the latest odds in the Win pool. Another section shows the score of each game while it is in progress. Finally, the payoffs on all six pools for the last completed game are shown in a third section. All modern scoreboards are computerized. The numbers are flashed electronically, based upon the calculations of the fronton's master computer.

The odds section of the scoreboard lists the eight post positions for the next game, usually in a vertical column. Next to each entry will be a number which is the most recent odds quotation in the Win pool. It is shown in abbreviated form. For example, if you see the number "4", this means odds of "4-1"; "10" means "10 to 1," etc. This is very simple to understand except for two special situations. While most of the odds are quoted in the form "x to 1," in certain situations they are quoted in the form "x to 2" or "x to 5" instead. In these cases the odds are displayed so that you will see both a 5 and a 2 next to the post position number, with a flashing dot between them to indicate that the odds are "5 to 2", not "52-1." Similarly, a "95" with a light pulsating between the 9 and the 5 signifies odds of "9 to 5," not "95-1." Don't let this confuse you. * You will get used to it soon enough.

* The situations where odds are quoted as "x to 2" or "x to 5" are limited to these.
 1.5 to 1 3 to 2 1.2 to 1 6 to 5 2.5 to 1 5 to 2 1.4 to 1 7 to 5 3.5 to 1 7 to 2 1.6 to 1 8 to 5 4.5 to 1 9 to 2 1.8 to 1 9 to 5

The section of the scoreboard which shows the score of the game in progress lists each post position number and indicates their cumulative points directly to the right.

Finally, the payoffs on the game just completed are shown in a format such as the following:

 WIN 2 13.00 7.00 5.60 PLACE 8 10.40 9.20 SHOW 3 4.40 QUINIELA 2-8 59.80 PERFECTA 2-8 150.60 TRIFECTA 2-8-3 883.20

This tells the crowd that Team 2 won, Team 8 came in second, and Team 3 came in third. A Win ticket on Team 2 pays \$13.00, a Place ticket pays \$7.00, and a Show ticket \$5.60. Note that the cents are always shown, even though the decimal point may not be. Similarly, a Place ticket on Team 8 could be cashed for \$10.40; a Show ticket on 8 is worth \$9.20, etc.

Payoffs are always shown for the minimum wager. This is \$2, except for Perfectas and Trifectas which are \$3. If you bought a "Box" or a "Wheel," you still collect for the minimum wager, since these combination bets are only ways of ordering or selling multiple tickets in an expeditious fashion.

A Win ticket ordinarily should return about double the payoff on a Place ticket and three times the value of a Show ticket. This is because coming in first or second is twice as likely as winning, while coming in first, second or third is three times as likely as winning.

Similarly, the average Quiniela price is about three times the Win payoff. The average Perfecta payoff should be about triple the Quiniela, allowing for the \$3 vs. \$2 minimum bet and the greater difficulty in picking the exact order of finish.

These relationships do not always hold in a particular game, however. There are examples of Place (and even Show) tickets paying more than the Win payoff on the same team. In the 10th Game singles match at Hartford on May 27, 1977, Number 2, Camy, paid \$22.00 to Win, yet the Quiniela paid only \$27.00 and the Perfecta an incredibly low \$33.80! This type of anomaly is rare, and is due to the fact that the odds in each pool are determined independently. While the fans tend to favor the players in the same proportions in all pools, it does not always happen that way. The smart bettor learns to look for these situations and bet to maximize his payoff if he should be right about who will win.

Returning to our discussion of the scoreboard, at the three Connecticut frontons there is a substantial difference in their arrangement. Bridgeport has the simplest scoreboard with only the three sections mentioned. The scoreboard at the beautiful new Milford Fronton adds a fourth feature which indicates the current "batting order." In other words, it shows the order of rotation in which the teams are currently playing. The two teams on the court will have their numbers listed first; the next team up will be third, etc. When a team loses, its number is moved to the bottom of the order, and all the other teams below it are moved up one position.

The scoreboard at Hartford is by far the most complex, but when you understand how it works, it makes the game more enjoyable for the fan. On the right-hand side of the scoreboard is a column of numbers showing the rotation order of the players, and this is changed automatically after each point just as on the Milford scoreboard. Hartford, however, also shows the score of each team right next to the team numbers as they stand in rotational order. This is extremely helpful when you are trying to keep track of whether your team still has a chance to get up again, once they have fallen behind. In a typical game this column might look as follows:

 5 2 2 6 4 4 8 0 6 5 3 0 7 6 1 6

This tells the audience that Team 5 (with 2 points) is serving to Team 2 (with 6 points). Teams 6, 7 and 1 are also at Game Point, but their chances of getting up again are slim. If Team 5 wins this point, the scoreboard will then show:

 5 4 4 4 8 0 6 5 3 0 7 6 1 6 2 6

But the most important feature of the Hartford scoreboard is that the Quiniela odds are shown also. This greatly facilitates making your betting decision while you are still in your seat.

This brings up the question of where fans learn what the odds are in each pool before the game. In all frontons, the Win pool odds are shown on the main scoreboard. Place and Show pool odds are not displayed anywhere, so if you want to bet in one of those pools you must do so "blind." This is also true of Trifecta odds. The physical problem of displaying odds on 336 betting possibilities obviously precludes effective dissemination of this information. Therefore, if you want to bet on the Trifecta you must also do so without any knowledge of the odds.

For the Quiniela and Perfecta pools, the frontons resort to numerous television screens which are placed in prominent locations throughout the betting areas. These alternate showing first Quiniela odds for several minutes, then shifting to Perfecta odds, back and forth. Hartford is unique in showing Quiniela odds continuously on the main scoreboard. However, Hartford only shows Perfecta odds on the TV screens during the final two minutes of wagering. For most of the betting period their TV monitors simply show the main scoreboard.

A typical display of Perfecta odds looks like this:

 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 -- 35 30 25 45 70 30 30 2 25 -- 25 35 45 180 45 30 3 25 25 -- 60 35 90 40 30 4 25 30 25 -- 99 99 35 70 5 50 30 50 120 -- 260 50 40 6 99 140 80 45 320 -- 90 260 7 50 45 45 25 35 140 -- 80 8 40 30 25 25 25 99 90 --

Note that the numbers in the extreme left-hand column indicate the Win position, while the numbers across the top row indicate the Place position. Thus, if you wanted to bet a 6-4 Perfecta, the odds would be found at the intersection of the row which begins with a 6 and the column headed by a 4. In the example above, this would show you that the odds are 45-1, not 99-1 as you would find if you read the number at the intersection of column 6 and row 4. By the way, you should know that when the odds show "99," it is a special code meaning that no one has yet bet on that combination. This is true of all computerized scoreboards.

TELEWAGERING
For the evening programs, the Frontons also provide what is called "telewagering" (or "call-a-betting") service. Young ladies circulate through the audience during the betting period before each race, accepting bets until up to two minutes prior to post time. These ladies are not bookmakers and receive no commissions. They are salaried employees of the Frontons. They carry portable telephones, calling in your bets to special ticket sellers and giving you a receipt in lieu of a ticket. The money goes into the regular betting pools. However, telewagering is permitted only on Quinielas and Perfectas.

If you win, the telewager clerk who took your bet will redeem your receipt for the proper amount of payoff. You may only cash your receipt with the person who sold it to you. Do not go to the regular CASHIER windows or to a different telewager clerk for a payoff.

Many bettors tip the telewager clerk the amount of the odd change when they win. While this is not required, it is similar to tipping a waitress who brings you a drink. It is expected. Nevertheless, payments are made promptly and efficiently regardless of whether or not you tip or have tipped before. If the clerk makes a mistake, she has to make it up out of her own pocket. Since mistakes are sometimes a matter of debate, it doesn't do any harm to have the clerk feeling positively about you. Naturally, if someone renders you exceptional service, a tip is always a nice way to express appreciation.

The important thing to know is that when you use telewagering, you do not have to worry. Your money is safe, your bet secure, and payoff certain if you win.

THE PROGRAM
The most important item you will purchase at the fronton is a program. In addition to details about the rules of play and wagering, it provides much information concerning the odds, the players, and-most important-the post position statistics.

For each game, all players are shown in post position order. The "Morning Line" odds for each entry are also given. These odds are a rough guess as to what the final odds (to win) may be. Final actual odds often vary considerably from the Morning Line, so I don't pay much attention to them.

The playing records for each player are also shown on the page for each game. It is important to note that the player's record is for that game only; it is not his record for all games combined (the average strength of the competition varies from game to game). Nor is it his record with the partner he will have for that game. * It just tells you that if this is Game 5, he has played so many times this season in Game 5, plus the number of times he has come in first, second or third in Game 5. It does not tell you what post positions he had in those games---a vital piece of missing information. For these reasons, the playing records are not as valuable as they might appear.

* The Hartford Fronton has experimented with showing the complete record of each team, playing as a team, right on the page for each game. Always check your program to be sure whether each game's statistics are player records or team records. It makes a difference.

On separate pages of the program, the players' records for all games are shown, although the amount of detail varies from fronton to fronton. This is mainly useful in judging the class in which each individual plays, as we shall discuss. Some programs also show player pictures and make comments about their abilities. The smart bettor has to learn to read between the lines of these commentary notes.

"Shows promise" often means "Has done little so far, but we are hoping" "likes to catch the ball forearm" may mean that the player is a powerful forearm thrower, but can equally mean that he has a weak backhand. Generally, the programs emphasize the players' talents and ignore their weaknesses. There is nothing dishonest about this. We could hardly expect the management to make pejorative comments about their own people. Like any sport, jai-alai has its superstars and its plodders. The best way to evaluate players is to observe them and know what to look for. This book will help you to do that.

The most useful part of the program is the section which shows how many times each post position has won and the frequency with which each combination has won the Quiniela, Perfecta and Trifecta. Not all post positions or combinations come in with the same frequency. Learning why (and what it means for betting purposes) will be one of the most important things you will learn in this book.

Before each game, at the start of the betting period, scratches will be announced. Pay attention! Players are frequently scratched due to ailments or because of injuries suffered during the evening. The substitute may be a player of greater or lesser skill than the scratched individual. Many people pay little attention to the scratches. You should. It is one of the many small edges you can get on the crowd. Getting an edge is the key to successful gambling.

A NOTE ON PLAYER NAMES
The custom among jai-alai players is to play under a single name. This may be his first name, his last name, a family name, the name of his town (e.g., Durango, Guernica, etc.), or just a pseudonym.

Most of the names are of Basque origin. Learning to pronounce them takes patience and a keen ear. Differentiating between similar names such as Goriena, Guerena, Guernica, Guerrica, Guarita, Guardino, Gorrono, Gorricho, etc., can boggle the mind. They should be pronounced with a Spanish flair, trilling the "r's," putting a "y" after the "n's," and remembering that in most European languages the vowels don't sound exactly as they do in English. Thus, the now-retired backcourt great, Larranaga, would pronounce his name "Lahr-rahn-YAH-gah". But be careful. Geno is pronounced "Hay-no"; Javier is "Ha-vee-air"; Julian is "Hoo-lee-ahn"; and Jesus is "Hay-soos." But Juan is "Wahn" and the American Joey is "Joey," not "Hoh-ee." If you pay attention to the public address system announcers you will become familiar with the different pronunciations in due time, even though they persist in certain mispronunciations such as calling Bereicua "Berra-koo-a" instead of "Bear-ay-kwa."

To the person unfamiliar with them, Basque names are often bewilderingly similar. A large proportion of them begin with a vowel followed either by a liquid "l" or "r," or a harsh "g," "ch," or "z." Certain combinations are seen over and over:

 "Ibar" as in Ibar, Ibarra, Ibarreta, Ibarreche, Ibarlucea, etc. "Ech" as in Echeva, Echave, Echano, Echaburu, Echevarria, Goicoechea, etc. "Ola" as in Badiola, Charola, Gorostola, Guisasola, Urcola, Odriozola, etc. "Aga" as in Larranaga, Urquiaga, Oleaga, Careaga, Arriaga, etc. "Mendi" as in Mendi, Mendive, Mendiola, Armendia, Salsamendi, Garamendi, etc. "Egui" as in Mintegui, Iturregui, Lopetegui, Mugartegui, Arregui, etc. "Arte" as in Arrarte, Mugarte, Ugarte, Uriarte, Ituarte, Zabarte, etc. "Arr" as in Arri, Arrieta, Arratibel, Arambarri, Larrea, etc.

But the most confusing aspect is the duplication of names. Sometimes, this will be avoided by one player changing his playing name. But there are many, many situations where players with the same name are all members of the same family such as World Jai-alai's Asis, Asis II and Asis III.

Bridgeport's Orbea is the younger brother of the now-retired Fernando Orbea, one of the all-time great frontcourt players. If they were both active, the younger brother would be called Orbea II. A still younger brother plays under the name Orbea III. Thus, we currently have Orbea and Orbea III active. Orbea III doesn't play as Orbea II because the true Orbea II is now playing as Orbea, since the original Orbea is retired. Will the real Orbea please stand up?

The Association of Jai-alai Frontons is currently attempting to resolve this confusion. One proposal would be to require players to select a playing name when they first start playing in the U.S. and to forbid any duplication for a fixed number of years after any name has been used. This system has worked well with thoroughbred horses.

My only point in bringing this subject up is to warn you that if you follow the players from fronton to fronton and season to season, you have to be careful to make sure you are dealing with the same people. You should make every effort to keep track of as many players as possible, as each fronton will add or delete players from its roster from time to time. World Jai-alai, the operator of the Hartford Fronton, also operates four frontons in Florida (Miami, Tampa, Ocala and Fort Pierce). They freely move their players around so that there is a need to evaluate new players several times in a season. Therefore, it is helpful to keep track of who is playing where and against which players with whom you are familiar, so that a changing roster will not cause you to throw up your hands in confusion.