Lets assume you start with 2 things:
1) A bank. (your betting fund)
2) A unit stake plan. (betting units) This could just be one unit for all bets or a whole range.

Some techniques might be: 

a) You can bet a fixed % of bank each time. This means your bet size will fluctuate depending on your bank size. This has the benefit of stopping you going broke and lends a discipline (which is an underrated facet) to your staking. It also means if you're accurately measuring value and you're good you will turn a profit (i.e. there is no bet weighting to mess it up).

For me it has 2 main problems:
- If fails to reflect the merits of a individual bets. Not all even money shots are the same - it's perfectly reasonable to be more confident of one over the other even if you back both.

- It can play mental tricks. Lets say your normal bet is £50, your starting bank is £1000 and you decide to implement a 10% of bank strategy. It may not be long before you're betting uncomfortably large amounts of money which can make you over cautious. 

Alternatively you could be betting overly small amounts. Amounts so little you don't give a hoot about which can lead to carelessness. This can, of course, be mitigated by siphoning off your bank when it gets big, or supplementing it when it gets low.

So perhaps I can introduce a general rule here.

You have a betting comfort zone - a range of stake within which you can bet effectively, without mental anguish / carelessness. 

b) Progressive staking plans. You can implement a progressive staking plan which is based on previous results. We can use a method introduced on this site:

£5 on the first horse, if it wins, £5 on your next.
£5 on the first horse, if it loses, £10 on your next etc…..

The problem with this sort of bet is that it it takes an independent bet and factors in the success of that into the attractiveness of the following bet. This for me makes little sense. 

As an example. It's casino time and your doubling up on red.

£5 red, first spin - black. Odds of 18/37. (quite apart from the fact this is a terrible bet).
So next £10 red, second spin……well it doesn't really matter does it. What you are effectively saying is you have the identical bet but it's worth twice as much the second time. If that loses you are now saying the bet is worth three times as much than it was the first time. However the odds remain the same.

Okay a mathematician can step in here and point out the odds aren't quite the same…..but I think the point holds. I won't argue - eventually you will get a red but I will argue that this escalation of stakes doesn't reflect the true odds (okay, true value). This applies even more when not dealing with mathematically determinable odds. What has your loser in the 2:30 got to do with your bet in the 3:00 (speaking generically here) that warrants twice the investment.


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The same goes for betting on doubles. They may be attractive because of the combined odds. But if you double up 2 evens shots are you really saying the second outcome is worth twice as much as the first? What if you back a 5/1 shot and then a 3/1 shot in a double. Does the 3/1 shot really warrant a stake 5 times the size of the 5/1 shot?

Also if the first leg of the double loses did you really want nothing on the second?. If so what the f*** where you doing including it in the first place?

c) Price Related Variable Unit Plans
This is a plan where the stakes are escalated according to the odds with the aim of achieving a roughly similar return with each winner. E.g 3 units on at evs or below - 2 units 5/4 - 2.1, 1 unit 3/1 above. This isn't a bad technique as it requires discipline and also recognises that all bets aren't equal. However by focussing on the end result your are applying rigid rules that do not necessarily reflect the true value of the bet. E.g the 2/1 shot may be an even better bet than the evs shot (in terms of pure chance) yet you are having twice as much on the evs shot.

d) Confidence Related Variable Unit Plans 
Similar to the above but you're using a gut feel to set your stakes. Has the benefit that perhaps you are loading according to the true worth of the bet, but who really knows given you are applying no discipline or technique to the setting of this. However if you have a good gut feel it may be racking them up for you. But wouldn't it be better actually understanding the decision and having method behind it.

e) Value Geared Bets
This is the method I am currently looking into. I have come to believe there should be one guiding principle when it comes to staking. The more the odds are in your favour the more you should have on. Basically this means if you back a 2/1 shot whose true odds should be 4/5 you should have more on that a 2/1 shot whose true odds should be 7/4. Although both good sound bets (we are assuming your measure of the true odds is accurate) surely a level staking approach doesn't reflect the exciting opportunity of the 4/5 shot priced at 2/1.

To use the blackjack example. You can be the worlds best card counter but won't make any money UNLESS you are able to increase the size of your bet when the deck is in your favour (i.e. on a high count). This is effectively levering value / striking when the %'s are in your favour and is entirely independent of the result of the last hand (count aside). This is how you turn the %'s in your favour.

I think it should be the same in other sports. The disadvantage of this method is, of course, that if you can't accurately assess true odds you're in for a nasty shafting. But if you can't do that I hope you're only betting for fun anyway!

So here's a suggested appraoch which brings together the value element and the weighted staking element. It requires a comparison of available odds with true odds to calculate the bet strength. 

Determining this is very personal. One way would be start by calculating the difference in true odds (this is subjective) over available odds as a % (a % is more accurate than points as it takes into account the length of the odds i.e 2/1 for an evs 1/1 is a bigger "rick than 10/1 for an 8/1).

E.g. Lets say for me to place a maximum bet I would require a 350% "value" premium. So if the "true odds" (determined by my form analysis and pricing up of the market) of my selection was evens for me to place a maximum bet the odds offered would have to be 7/2. My maximum is 10 pts, my minimum is 1pt. My bet strike is a premium of 125%. So on an evs shot I'm only interested in betting at 5/4 or better (otherwise I don't deem it value). I would then have a sliding stake scale according to bet strength (defined by true odds vs available). So I may come up with the following:

True odds EVS.
Avail Odds Stake
5/4 1 (this is min bet as it is at 25% premium)
6/4 2
7/4 3
2/1 4
5/2 6 
3/1 8 
7/2 10 (a once a year, monster price rick)

Here the stake units would be within my comfort zone. If my minimum bet is £100 and my maximum is £1000 then each unit - £100. Obviously this maximum bet should be placed in the context of the bank. It's ludicrous to have £1000 on a selection when your bank is £2000.

In that case it would make sense to increase your bank, decrease the unit range (say 3 point not 10 point) or bet smaller amounts. For me 10 pts is far too volatile but I think a range up to about 4 is a realistic starting point. E.g. £50 min, £200 max. (2 pts = £100, 3pts = £150).

Anyone any opinions on any of these methods? 
Do you think the last technique would work?
Are there any others that people operate?

Irrespective of the above it would be useful if we could instigate a standardised site wide unit plan. It's very difficult to gauge confidence regarding bets when people give figures (which are relative) or pluck units out of the air (both of which I think I've been guilty of). Axe - any ideas?.

Also, I think spread betting requires a whole different article….

Andrew Moraghan
(Comments on this article to Moz via the forum)

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