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In a previous article I jokingly suggested I had put all my assets – my savings, the deeds to the farm, my kids’ Trust fund, and the proceeds from selling one of my kidneys – on a horse at Newbury. I showed this was potentially financial suicide, and an extreme example of bad money management.
I wrote that more often than not a losing punter will find himself saddled with a bunch of bad betting habits. It is these bad habits that have gotten him, and his betting bank, to where his is now – the Poor House.
To arrive at a change in fortune, and to start making consistent profits, the losing punter has to be prepared to make changes to the way in which he bets. In the previous article we talked about the cornerstone supporting my own personal betting strategy, and that is finding value in every bet you make.
You will only ever make a profit from betting if you consistently back horses at prices too high when compared to their actual chance of winning. This is exactly how bookmakers have made their money for generations – they consistently lay horses at prices too low compared to the actual chance of the horse winning. When punters continue to take these low prices day-in and day-out, it will only ever be the bookmakers who come out with a profit in the long run.
The second ‘bad habit’ I want to examine is the subject of inappropriate staking. What do I mean by staking that is not appropriate? Well, what I am driving at is placing bets that are generally too large in proportion to the size of your betting bank.
Before I expand upon this, the concept of a betting bank is a side-issue in itself. You categorically MUST have a sum of money put aside for the sole purpose of betting. It scares me rigid when I hear of people simply ‘dipping’ into their current account to place a bet using their debit card.
If you do not have a separate account for your betting activities, you cannot keep records, and you will not be able to answer that simple question, “Am I making a profit, or a loss?”
It goes without saying, that betting involves a degree of risk, and you should never bet with money you cannot afford to lose.
Getting back to inappropriate staking, the idea of lumping all your money on one horse is an extreme example of over-staking. Of course, on the one occasion this strategy may pay off. We had friends round a few nights ago to play one of those Race Night DVDs. I was comfortably in front by studying the form before each race, and placing considered bets at what I considered to be value prices. As you might imagine, I had a suitably smug expression on my face as we came to the last race, and our friends were complaining I enjoyed a ‘professional advantage’.
My wife then decided to put every penny she had left on an 8/1 chance. The race turned out to be the ‘lucky last’ for my wife, and she walked away with the whole bank!
But seriously, continue with these tactics, and it will not be long before you lose everything.
Personally, I would never consider starting any betting campaign with a bankroll of less than 100 points. In other words, I will divide my bank by 100 to arrive at my unit stake. You can see that I will only ever be putting 1% of my bank at risk when I place a bet.
This is a very generalised approach, and you might argue that a little more consideration should be given to a punter’s typical strike rate. True, if someone has a strike rate of 50% then it is statistically highly unlikely that he will suffer a run of 100 losers to go bust. So, in this case you might be justified in operating a smaller bank. Bear in mind that when flipping a coin, it is by no means unusual to see 6 or 7 ‘heads’ in succession, and losing runs in double figures do occur.
Erring on the side of caution, you could foresee two such losing runs occurring twice in close succession. In which case, I hope you can see that even when considering a system which such a high strike rate, having a bank of well over 20 points now seems very sensible.
With my own Redd Racing betting service, we enjoy what I would consider to be quite a healthy strike rate. However, we have experienced a negative swing of some 60 points during one particular month a couple years back. The account recovered to make a profit by the end of the month, but it underlined the importance of having a bankroll large enough to absorb the losing runs that EVERYBODY has to endure from time to time.
Indeed, it would probably be better advice if I suggested members of my service had a bankroll of 150 or even 200 points in reserve.
Yet I often receive emails asking me whether it is OK to deposit £100 with Betfair and start with unit stakes of £10.
Betting with stakes too high in proportion to your bank normally comes out of a desire to make money quickly. I think we are all guilty of getting overly greedy sometimes, and unwilling to think a little more long-term. People are inclined to set themselves unrealistic profit targets, given the size of their betting bankroll. Having a bank of £100 and expecting to be able to make £100 per month is not realistic. Get-rich-quick does not exist.
Akin to the Tortoise and Hare story, let me give you an example of where what might initially seem like a very moderate return, actually gives surprising results over time.
If you started with £100 in your betting bank, and increased this bank by just one-half of one per cent every day, after just 6 months your account would have a balance of £244 due to the compounding effect. You could more than double your investment in 6 months with this seemingly small daily profit return. Take that to your bank or building society and see if they can come anywhere near such a deal!
Hopefully this demonstrates how ‘slowly but surely’ wins the race.
To summarize, my advice would be to set your unit stakes at one per cent, or even one half of one per cent, of your total betting bank. By striking only value bets, and when the odds are in your favour, your betting bank will grow. As your bank grows, so you can naturally increase the size of your unit stake to make more profit – but your bets will still be in proportion to your bank.
In the next part of this Sensible Money Management series, I will look at more bad habits that suck money from the accounts of losing punters.
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This is the third instalment in a series of articles on profitable betting through sensible money management. So far, I have discussed the importance of getting value when you bet, to maximise the returns you achieve when your selections win. In the most recent article you should have learned to keep your stakes in proportion to the size of your betting bank.
Today I want to examine a common mistake that often gets punters into serious trouble – chasing your losses.
I don’t think there can be many of us who have not at some time, decided to get back what we just lost by betting a little bigger on the next race. It is sometimes known as progressive staking.
Let’s take a simple scenario: you bet £10 on Red Rum, and he loses. What do you do? Perhaps you continue with your selection methods and come up with another pick in the next race – Best Mate. The price is 6/4F
But, rather than putting another £10 bet on Best Mate, you decide to ‘chase’ your loss from the last race. You add another £7 to your stake so that when Best Mate wins you will pick up an extra £10.50 to recover the bet you lost on Red Rum. Good plan? Could be, after all Best Mate is a sure fire winner, right? May be. May be not!
What happens if Best Mate loses? You are now £27 ‘in the hole’. But you still have a plan. Your next selection is a dead cert winner at Even money. You place your usual £10 stake plus an extra £27 to cover your losses so far. No need to worry. When this one comes in, you will have re-couped your losses and have a £10 profit to show as well.
Let’s take a step back here. You are staking £37 to win a £10 profit. Think about it – you are effectively getting odds of only around 1 to 4 odds-on about a horse that is Even money in the market. That is terrible value!
You may escape this time and your horse may well win. But what if, heaven forbid, your red-hot even money favourite fails to win? After just three bets, you are down to the tune of £64 when your normal stake is just a tenner!
Long losing runs do occur, more frequently than you might think, and even with short-priced selections.
If you spent a day in a casino at the roulette tables, and analysed how many times you witnessed a run of 7 or 8 consecutive ‘red’ numbers, I would not be at all surprised if you saw this happen four or five times – in a single day. Here we have pretty much a 50/50 bet, even money, that the roulette ball will land in either a red or a black slot. Yet I was amazed to learn that the longest run of the same colour (reported) was THIRTY-NINE consecutive reds!!
Imagine if you were betting on black, and saying to yourself each time “no worries, it’s got to be black next time…. Surely?”
But let’s go back to the more common occurrence of a losing run of 7 even money bets. We will be betting on the red.
We place a £1 bet on the first spin. It’s black. We chase our loss by ‘doubling up’ and next bet £2. If we were to carry on in this manner, after 6 spins we would be betting £64 to win our original £1
I sincerely hope my point is getting across. By chasing your losses you can very quickly see your stakes climbing to preposterous levels, to win your original, relatively small stake. The risk is way out of proportion compared to the potential reward.
One last example to really ram the point home. The Racing Post runs a tipster competition. All the leading racing journalists are involved, representing the nation’s newspapers and horse racing publications. These are experts at tipping horses. Take a look at the results table any day, and see for yourself the longest losing run. Remember, these are the experts.
I looked today, and Racing Post PostData has suffered this season a losing run of twenty-seven. Twenty-seven consecutive losers from an expert tipster! And believe me, he is not on his own, just the worst offender this season so far.
There is an old saying – “Don’t throw good money after bad”. If your selections don’t make a profit from simple level stakes betting, don’t try and make them profitable by throwing more money at them. You may survive with a profit for a while, but this approach is a disaster waiting to happen. Sooner or later you WILL blow your entire bank chasing a disproportionately small profit.
If your selections don’t make a profit from simple level stakes betting, change your system.
Football (Soccer) Betting Strategy - Discover Winning by Picking DrawsWhy A Betting Exchange Can Offer You The Key To Successful Gambling…
Too many gamblers are still living in the ‘dark ages’ and will only ever place a bet with a traditional bookmaker. They either can’t be bothered to learn how the exchanges work or simply don’t realise the features and value that can be had when betting within an exchange environment.
Believe me, using a betting exchange is very easy, and if you are not already using at least one exchange you should join one immediately after reading this article…
I'm not saying that a betting exchange should be used for all your betting. There will still be occasions when a traditional bookmaker will offer more desirable odds than those that are available on the exchanges. However, in the majority of cases you will find better value on the exchanges and additionally there are other VERY IMPORTANT features that only the betting exchanges offer. More on this later…
So What Is A Betting Exchange?
Put very simply, betting exchanges are a secure place where members of the betting public can exchange bets with each other anonymously, at odds that they specify themselves. The exchange companies simply act as the 'middleman' and match peoples bets.
As there are no bookie margins to factor in, prices are very often more desirable. The betting exchange companies make their money by taking a commission payment on your winning bets. This is usually in the region of 3 - 5%, but even taking this into account, it’s very common to find better prices on the exchange.
The cumulative effect of better prices when combined with a good staking plan, can make the difference between you generating a healthy profit or a bad loss. Using an exchange does not mean you will automatically win more frequently! You still have to find good value winning bets yourself or via a professional tipster but it’s the effect of getting a better return on your winning bets that will boost your betting bank and protect you during losing streaks.
Most people use the betting exchanges on the internet, but you can also place bets on the telephone.
Betting Exchange Advantages
As well as regularly finding better prices when backing a selection, exchanges also give the gambler some other very important advantages over traditional bookmakers.
Some of the key advantages are:
1) The ability to LAY a selection if you think it will not win.
2) The ability to BACK or LAY a selection to be PLACED. (This is very different to the well know Each Way bet offered by bookies and can be very powerful).
3) Betting IN RUNNING on many events INCLUDING HORSE RACING. This can give you many advantages and opens the door to new methods that may secure you more profits.
4) If you are very successful, you will not have the exchange company threatening to shut your account down. A very important point !
5) The ability to TRADE on price movements in betting events to guarantee yourself a profit regardless of the result.
6) Arbitrage Opportunities. Bookie and exchange price discrepancies often allow you to take a NO RISK bet.
Those are some of the key benefits of using a betting exchange and I will dig deeper into these and explain how you can use them to your advantage in future betting articles.
For the remainder of this article, lets concentrate on point 1 above, LAYING a selection to Lose.
LAYING A Selection to Lose – A Major Advantage Of The Betting Exchanges
Probably the most important feature of a betting exchange is the ability to LAY a selection. But what does laying a selection mean?
Laying a selection is often referred to as 'Playing the role of a bookmaker'. Like a bookie, you offer a price against a selection / event happening (eg. a certain horse to win a race or a football match ending as a draw). You only do this if in your opinion there is a great chance that the horse won't win or the football match will not end as a draw. The betting exchanges simply match your lay bets with other customers who think the opposite of you (eg they think the horse will win or the match will end as a draw).
The odds that you offer determine how much money you will need to 'pay out' if the selection actually wins (just like the bookie does when you have a winning bet with them). So if you were to place a lay bet of £10 at 5.0 (4/1) against a selection, you would be liable to pay out £40 from your account if that selection won (The other punter gets their £10 back plus £40 profit). If however, the selection does lose you get to keep the £10 staked by the other punter (just like the bookies have done with all your losing bets all these years!). It's as simple as that.
Now, you might be thinking 'great, I'll simply lay all the rank outsiders and clean up'. STOP! Don't even go down this route. If you keep placing lay bets on selections trading with very high odds (eg 50/1), you will win regularly but when 1 of them comes first you will probably wipe out all your winnings and more! A single £10 lay bet at 50/1 would see you liable for paying out £500 should the selection win!
Therefore, I strongly recommend that you decide upon a sensible upper limit for lay odds and stick to it no matter what. Just think about how many favourites get turned over in horse races every day of the year that are perhaps available to lay at very short odds like 1.5 (1/2). Your liability on a £10 lay bet at these odds is only £5, or £50 on a £100 lay bet. I like to keep my lay bets at odds below 4.0 (3/1) but that's just my own personal choice but it gives you something to go on.
Flexible Odds / Placing an Order
The odds you offer obviously need to be realistic in order to be matched, but if you are not happy with the current price being requested by other punters you can simply place an 'order' in the exchange at your odds and hope that somebody eventually accepts your offer. (eg you may feel that the current price of 3.0 (2/1) is too high a price to lay a certain selection, so offer a lay bet at 2.75 (7/4) instead). If your lucky the price may well be matched. If the event starts without your lay bet being matched, your bet is simply cancelled so you gain/lose nothing.
Lay Betting might sound very confusing to the exchange newbie, but believe me it soon becomes very straightforward and you will find yourself laying selections much more frequently than you think. Let's be honest, it must be easier to pick a horse you feel will definitely lose in a average 12 runner race, than find the single winner!
Well that's it for part 1 of my betting exchange articles. In part 2, I will be explaining the Betting Exchange Place markets and how you can benefit from them.