Will This Take Your Staking To The Next Level?

Is it time to change the way you think about staking?

Level staking

Some years back, our fearless leader David Duffield wrote an article on staking.

Level staking is for losers” left little to the imagination and Dave signed off with “…if I ever meet a professional punter who bets level stakes, or uses progressive or regressive plans I will let you know. It hasn’t happened yet.”

Betting and the markets have changed a lot since then, so we thought we’d see if his conclusion still held true.

Do any racing punters win betting level stakes?

We asked around a number of professional punters – some from the Champion Bets stable and some others – to see if any of them did bet the same amount every time. The answer was an overwhelming “no”.

But that’s “overwhelming”, not “unanimous”.

Level vs Proportionate Staking

Level staking is, of course, having the same stake on each bet, no matter what the price of your selection.

Proportionate staking – true proportionate staking – is betting to win the same amount with each bet. So your stake is in proportion to the price – you load up on short-priced favourites, and outlay much less on long shots.

Most of the Champion Bets analysts use a form of proportionate staking, but with a slight difference – they stake to their own rated price, and not the market price. As successful punters, their rated price is more accurate, and it’s easier to recommend an accurate stake to members based on a static rated price, rather than all the different choices and fluctuations in the market.

Successful Level Staking

Most of the Champion Bets analysts use a form of proportionate staking, but with a slight difference – they stake to their own rated price, and not the market price. As successful punters, their rated price is more accurate, and it’s easier to recommend an accurate stake to members based on a static rated price, rather than all the different choices and fluctuations in the market.

We did, indeed, come across a few examples of punters – very large, very successful punters – using level staking in certain, isolated situations. They certainly didn’t use it all the time, but as part of multiple approaches that made up their betting approaches.

So when does it work?

The easiest way to answer that is to focus on the effective difference between level stakes and proportionate stakes. That is: if you’re level staking, you’re staking considerably less than you would on shorter-priced selections, and the opposite (considerably more) on the long shots.

Combine that with the fact that true proportionate staking relies on the market price, and you see a recipe for level staking being more successful.

In situations where the market significantly overrates the chances of shorter-priced pops – effectively, giving you unders – and underrates the chances of long shots, then level staking can outperform proportionate staking.

Does this ever occur? A good example that was given to us was if we were to back a specific, successful stable – one that punters generally flock to.

In that situation, the shorter-priced runners are often over-bet – the stable money comes for them and punters jump on. Their market price (which is what you’re proportioning your stake on) gets crunched and you get under the odds. But that’s not so much the case with the same stable’s less fancied runners, as the money doesn’t come and thus the market price more closely reflects their true value.

Sound familiar?

Back Weir, Drink Beer

We had a crack at illustrating it with a simple model based on Victoria’s largest, most successful and often most over-bet trainer, Darren Weir.

Looking at the last quarter of the 2018 calendar year (October – December), Weir had 830 runners in Victoria. Using proportionate staking on these (based on the SP, for simplicity’s sake) returns the following figures:

Staked: 717 units
Collected: 590 units
Profit/Loss: -127 units
PoT: -17.7%

So that’s our baseline, using a regular proportionate staking model. To test a level staking model, we need to come up with an appropriate stake. To simplify this, we just took the average SP of all runners, which was $13. Betting to collect our 5 units on this is a stake of 0.4 units on average. So we applied that as our level stake. The results…

Staked: 332 units
Collected: 243 units
Profit/Loss: -89 units
PoT: -26.8%

So there you have it – an example of a betting model where level stakes actually outperformed proportionate stakes for terms of profit & loss.

There is (as usual!) a catch here, that’s absolutely critical to the rare situations where level staking can offer a superior result: the size of the stake has to be absolutely optimised to the prices.

We calculate it based on the price we used (which was SP in this example), which gave us our 0.4 unit stake. Stake too much and you’ll quickly blow out the result in terms of units – as is illustrated by the inferior PoT % on the level stakes approach.

For example, if we were to use a level stake of 1 unit with our Weir model (rather than 0.4 units), the overall result moves from a loss of 89 units to a loss of 221 units – a huge drop-off and a far worse result than the 127 unit loss using proportionate staking.

So The Lessons?

There are, indeed, some limited individual betting approaches where level staking may provide a superior result to proportionate staking

Be careful! Just because you find it works with one individual approach, that certainly doesn’t mean it’ll work with all of your betting.

The size of the stake used in a level staking approach is absolutely critical: it must be optimised to the prices to ensure you’re not over-staking.

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