We haven’t talked much in recent years in PPM about “Dutching”.  Oddly enough, I find very few punters seem to refer to it all. Is it a sign of the times? Have punters decided they simply can’t cope with the Dutching mech­anism? Perhaps they feel they can’t get the value they need to make it pay?

A letter from Jack of Parramatta said the following (in part): “What has happened to Dutching? When I was growing up, my dad was a fan of that sort of betting, and he and his mates seemed to make a bit of money with it.

"All the punters I speak to nowadays, who are under 40, don’t even know what I’m talking about.”

Jack’s right. The younger the punter the less seems to be known about Dutching. “Too difficult,” said a youngish (32 years) friend to me recently. “Haven’t got the time to muck around like that,” said his friend.

Dutching deserves to remain part of the punter’s armoury. Used sensibly it can be a highly effective form of betting.

What is it, then, I can hear some of our younger readers asking? Well, it’s betting two or more horses in a race in some manner as to guarantee a certain return. Another way of labelling it is to call it proportional betting. (Now that’ll frighten even more people!)

The guarantee, of course, is only valid if one of the horses you bet actually wins, and I guess followers of Dutching sometimes forget this important aspect!

Dutching shortens your losing streaks and enables you to cash more often, which is a psychological plus for a start. There are programs around on the Net which can work out your Dutching calculations (click the link for a punting calculator at the PPM website at www.practicalpunting. com.au.

Let’s take an example: If you like a 3/1 shot and a 4/1 shot, you look up the appropriate percentages for those odds. These are are 25 per cent and 20 per cent. So, you’d bet \$25 on the 3/1 chance and \$20 on the 4/1 chance. If either wins, you’d get back \$100 for a \$55 profit.

What if you wanted to, say, bet \$286 on the race? Since the percentages of the horses you’ve chosen to bet add up to 45, simply divide 286 by this figure. The result is 6.355. Then you just multiply each of the above bets by 6.355 to determine your bet.

The 3/1 would get 25 x 6.355 or \$159, and the 4/1 chance would get 20 x 6.355 or \$127.  In many races, the obvious contenders are bet down so far as to make Dutching impractical. Let’s say you come up with three horses that you think can win and they are 6/4, 2/1 and 5/2. You cannot Dutch all three and make money.

6/4 equals 40 per cent
2/1 equals 33 per cent
5/2 equals 28 per cent

These add up to 101, so for every \$101 you bet on these three, you’ll get back only \$100 if one of them wins. So you’ll either lose one dollar if a contender wins, or lose \$101 if they all lose.

US expert Barry Meadow warns: “The architects of Dutching forget that a large percentage of the time a horse you don’t like will win the race. This includes that horrible favourite you couldn’t wait to bet against, and that ridiculous longshot you figured had no chance.

“Every time you Dutch, you will omit some horses. And frequently the one you omit will beat you.

“Even though you may cash a lot with Dutched bets, you won’t necessarily earn big bucks. Say you Dutch a pair of horses, one at 8/5, the other 3/1. To break even, one or the other must win 63 per cent of the time (38 per cent plus 25 per cent).

“It’s the same as playing a 3/5 shot to win. The closer the combined odds percentages get to 100, the less margin for error you have.”

Barry’s words of wisdom are well worth taking into account. My point has always been that if a punter uses Dutch betting INTELLI­GENTLY and picks his spots carefully then it can pay off.

Another way of using Dutch betting is to bet across several races instead of two or three horses in the same race. This can be a much better approach because with, say, three horses in separate races, bet proportionally, you can hit three winners and not just one!

By Philip Roy

PRACTICAL PUNTING - MARCH 2005