Progression betting. Ugh, I can bear some of you say. Please, not progression betting. It doesn't work! And neither does target betting, and so on.

To which I reply: Why not? Anyone who has properly used the long-standing 6-Point or 10-Point Divisor plans can attest that they perform well. Other punters will say that they've had success for many years by the astute use of progression betting.

What you always need to do is weigh up the pros and cons of progression betting, and compare the results with those achieved from level-stakes betting.

You can often play your heart out with progression betting and then find you'd have done just as well with the same stake on each selection. Much depends on how the winners fall in any sequence.

Some years back, I became friends with a chap in Sydney who used a progression plan on a day-by-day basis. That is, he never carried on the progression from meeting to meeting.

He bet on all eight races on a card, and worked his progression forwards and backwards. Firstly, this is the progression approach he used:

2-2-3-3-4-5-6-712

This totals 32 units for the day. But he launched into things in a big way by betting his first selection for 2 units a win and 7 units the win. You can see that he was running two progressions; one from the lower end and the other from the high end.

Heady stuff. But this man never let things get out of control. As soon as he was in profit, he shut up shop for the day.

If his first horse won, he scored big and that was it. Finish for the day. If it lost, he continued the progression series.

Now, I knew this chap only for a matter of months while I worked out a contract with a Sydney company, so I don't know how he got on long term. During the time we compared notes, he was certainly doing well.

Of course, progression betting can be followed in a number of ways. An old-time series uses the following progression and calls for a bank of 122 units.

2-2-3-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-12-14-17-20

The rule here is that when a series makes a profit, of any amount, it is ruled off and a new series is started.

The odds of a winner determine the size of the next bet (assuming no profit has been reached).

The following is the chart to use:

ODDS OF WINNERGO BACK
11/8 or shorter1 step
6/4 to 7/42 steps
2/1 to 11/43 steps
3/1 to 7/25 steps
4/1 to 9/28 steps
5/1 to 11/211 steps
6/1 or longer15 steps
This assumes that you are going to back horses at 5's or longer. I wouldn't. I feel that with progression betting, it's essential the bettor stick to well-fancied runners.

I would seriously consider ruling out any price longer than 3/1. This keeps you in a strong price bracket as far as winners are concerned.

However, looking at the plan as it has been published, an example of how it works is this:

If your betting scale has progressed to 8 units and you back a winner at, say, 4/1, you would go back 8 steps. This would take you back to the first bet of 2 units and the series would be closed off.

Had the bet of 8 units been on a winner at, say 5/2, you would have gone back 3 steps, so the next wager would have been 5 units, with the series uncompleted.

The object, its creators say, is to get back to the original wager in the scale, that first bet of 2 units. When this is achieved, there will always be a profit.

There is one further rule: If you reach the last bet on the series and it loses, never go beyond it, even if the series is only showing a small loss at that stage. Always accept this loss and begin a new series.

Another aspect to remember is that a unit can be any sum of money you like. It can be $1 or $10, or $20 or $50.

If you make decent profits, you can increase the size of your unit. You may begin with, say, $2 bets and if you see a nice profit accrued, then raise the unit level to $3.

If you use solid selections, this progression play will give you a great deal of fun.

By Mark Merrick

PRACTICAL PUNTING - DECEMBER 1999

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