Punting Pointers

What do you do when your betting bank doubles? Is it full-steam ahead, or should you take some or all of that as profits? How much should you increase your bet size, if at all?

That’s a nice problem to have to deal with, but what should you do if you wipe out half your betting bank?

There is no right or wrong answer because everyone’s betting bank, punting goals, financial commitments and mindset are all different. But here are a few options to consider:

(1) Percentage of bank fixed

This is where you record your total funds set aside for betting, calculate your bet size accordingly and never waiver from that. Eg a $10,000 bank and 1% bets means you are betting $100 a race. Now flat betting isn’t a recommended strategy whatsoever, so maybe you bet to collect 5% of your bank at either your rated price or the market odds. So in that case it means betting to collect $500.

In a scenario like this if you have doubled your bank and want to increase your bet size you’d be well advised to do it gradually. Phase it in. For example instead of going from $100 to $200 per bet overnight, increase it say $10 a week for 10 weeks. Doubling overnight causes a lot of people extra stress, whereas doing it over time can be a win-win. That’s because if you continue to win then you are winning more dollars than you were previously. While if you do go through a losing streak then at least you are losing a lot less than if you had gone the doubling overnight option. Plus at the end of 10 weeks you will get to where you wanted to in terms of staking.

(2) Percentage of bank – fluctuating

The strategy here is that your bet size is based on a percentage of your bankroll before each raceday, or even before each bet. So your bet size increases during a good run and reduces when things aren’t going well. It doesn’t suit everyone though because a sustained losing run reduces your bet size and means that it takes longer to recover than the fixed strategy. It’s like a stockmarket scenario whereby if your shares drop 50% in price, you actually then need them to double just to get back to where you started.

Our NSW ratings analyst Nathan Snow calculates his bet size at the start of every day based on his total bankroll at that time. Right from when he first started out as a professional punter he wanted to make sure that he never, ever went bust. The consequence of that would mean having to get a ‘real job’ which was to be avoided at all costs. So by cutting back his bet size during a lean trot he protects his bank. And when the upswing comes his bet size in dollar terms is still big enough to generate good profits. Either way he manages to sleep well at night rather than worrying about ever wiping out.

Our Melbourne ratings analyst Andrew Hannan actually re-calculates his betting bank before every race.

(3) Percentage of bank – highest point
Another option is a balanced approach where any time you hit a new high, you increase your stake accordingly. So you can grow your bet size as you achieve success. It’s a variation of option 2 above (percentage of fluctuating) but you should understand there is less drawdown protection. If you have staked too aggressively it is possible to go bust.

(4) Take some profits and re-calculate
This is where if your betting bank reaches the goal of a new high (say 50% growth), you take a portion in profits and the remainder is retained and your bet size increased accordingly. So you might pay yourself 25% and also increase your bet size by 25%

Harness racing professional punter Ben Krahe suggests you reward yourself after a good run of success. In Episode 69 of the Betting 360 podcast he said: “When you win, you should actually reward yourself, go and spend the money on something. Go and buy yourself a new pair of jeans or go out for dinner or whatever, because you want to be able to enjoy what you’re winning and the reason you’re doing it.”

“It’s well and good to keep the money in the bank and to have a bank for the bad times, but go and spend some of your money and when you do it, think back and think how happy you are that you were disciplined and the way you got there as opposed to fluking a couple of winners on a Saturday afternoon in the old times, but this way you’ve really ground it out and you’ve done it the right way.”

Those are four strategies to consider and of course there are many variations of each.

With any approach it is important to understand variance in betting which we have written about many times. Or as tennis betting syndicate operator Elihu Feustel says: ‘use math or die’.

It’s essential to have a plan for rising and falling banks because you will encounter both as a punter. As the boy scouts say – be prepared.

Good punting

David Duffield