In last month's P.P.M., I talked about setting up as a professional punter with an assumed bank of $5,000. The Annual Plan, a very good staking method, was explained in detail. In this article, I'm going to introduce you to new staking ideas, and point out a few of the traps into which novice pro punters can fall.

With $5,000 up as a bank, you are in the position of being a businessman. That amount is your capital. You must (a) protect it; and (b) increase it without taking too many risks. Therefore, money management is most important. A bad manager will send a good business broke.

The most common errors can happen when you are losing. This is the danger time for any punter, because losing punters are prone to become irrational. The punter who can guard against the worst errors will avoid the black days, retain mental equilibrium and enjoy peace of mind. The main mistake, as I see the situation, is trying to bet your way out of trouble by departing from your pre-set plans.

In cases like this, all a punter can think about is getting square on the day. But no-one should haphazardly chase losses if already in deeper than cash or credit resources warrant. You must always look at your betting over a 12-month period. One losing day is just that.

Most professionals owe their success to (a) having a good, set plan of action; and (b) having complete control over their money and themselves. There are no in-betweens. You are professional or you are not. I have talked to many pro punters over the years; they tell me that on any given day there must be a limit to the amount of money which can be lost, and you must be able to accept that loss.

They also stressed that if a satisfactory day is achieved then some of the profit must be retained should the bettor continue to bet. In other words-you won't go broke through taking a profit. Boiled down, the pro punters indicated that the basis of success is careful money management plus self control.

The second most common error of racing punters is that when losing they will start playing the odds rather than the horses they think are likely to win. This applies particularly to fancies which are at short odds.

Example: Punter X is at the track with 200. He has lost $150 by the final race. He figured Tulloch as the winner but the tote is showing only 6-4, and the bookies the same. His second pick, Dog Ears, whlch he' fancies only for a place, is a 4-1 chance. Instead of taking $60 to $40 to cut his losses, Punter X forgets the horse and plays the odds. He has $50 on Dog Ears at 4-1. Of course, Dog Ears fails and Tulloch wins. Instead of going home with $110, the punter goes home with nothing.

Now, let's look at The Working Account Plan. You can easily use this with your substantial $5,000 bank. It's a safe and quite sensible method with a built-in limit to the amount you can lose. Let's assume you have decided to bet five per cent of your bank, $250, on an initial series of bets. On Day 1 you have two horses picked out. You bet in $25 units flat stakes. The first horse wins at 3-1. You now have to even the payout over your next four bets (whenever they may be). That means you have $75 winnings to be divided into four. That gives you, say, $19 to have on each of the next four horses, as well as the base $25 you will have on each of them.

Let's go on to your second bet of the day and assume you are having a good day. The bet on this horse is $25 PLUS the $19 you have from your first winning bet which is earmarked for this second horse. That's a total of $44 on the second horse. If it wins at, say, 2-1 you have a profit of $8&-and this is now distributed on your next four bets at $22 each (plus the $25 stake you will have on all of them).

Get the idea? On the third bet in your series, you will be having $25 base bet $19 from the first horse's winnings, and a further $22 from the second horse's winnings, a total of $66. Should the third horse happen to win, the same distribution is made. Let's say it won at even money. That would give you a profit of $66, to be divided into the next four bets. As you will see, there is an overlapping as your winners roll in.

You can, of course, hold back some of the winnings each time. You may decide to hold back 25 per cent of each winning bet's profits and then distribute the rest on the following bets. That would be a sensible approach. You can carry this method from meeting to meeting, or simply race to race during the day. If your selections are good-and as a pro punter they should be!-you can strike some fantastic results.

Having a yearly objective is important. If you bet to take out a certain profit each race, you can do well, but the drawback is that there is a steep rise in stakes during a losing run embracing a sequence of shortpriced runners. To overcome this, you can have an "assumed price" and back each selection as if it is 4-1, irrespective of whether the odds are shorter or not.

Here's an example: A horse is 6-4 and has to be backed to win $60. You treat it as a 4-1 chance and invest $15. If the horse lost, your loss is $15 as against the $40 you would have blown backing it at its real price. Had it won, your profit would have been $22.50 against the required $60, but your objective is reduced by the sum gained.

The 'assumed price' idea is quite sound. It does apply a brake to swift rises in stakes, while all losses can be recouped and the objective gained whenever a winner is struck at 4-1 or longer.

While I like the idea of shooting to win a certain amount of money-and the 4-1 'assumed price' idea is fine-I have a real preference for the 6-Point Divisor Plan where this type of betting is considered. This is a clever staking method and I recommend you have a close look at it to determine if it will suit your betting action.

The Annual Plan in last month's issue works along these lines and is thoroughly recommended.

The late pro punter Eric Connolly had many good, bold ideas about racetrack staking. He said that before going into business a punter should set aside a bank of 80 units-with an operating capital of 40 units and a reserve bank of 40 units. (A unit can be any amount you like; let's assume you are risking $3,000 of your $5,000 bank, so the unit will be $3,000 divided by 80 equalling, say, $37.) So your initial operating bank is 40 x $37 equalling $1480, with a reserve bank of the same amount (not to be touched yet).

Your operation begins with a flat five per cent stake of $37 each ($74 total) on your two selections in each race, except in those races where you have only one selection; in these instances, you split the $74 each-way. It would take 20 successive losing races, with two selections per race, to wipe out the initial 40 unit ($1480) bank. Your stakes are never decreased. They are increased when the active bank is doubled.

Let's assume your bank grows from $1480 to $2960. That's 100 per cent profit. You withdraw $740 as profit, and add it to the reserve bank of $1480. You now have an active bank of $2220 and a reserve bank of the same amount. You now bet in 1/20th (five per cent) portions on your two horses per race-that is, $111 per race, or $55, say, each horse. If-heaven forbid you are ever wiped out, you bring the reserve bank into play.

You can see from this that your bank will grow rapidly, assuming that your selections are winning ones. It is a very good method. Connolly considered it a staking method which would enable a careful punter to gain capital growth. There's a limit to the sum that can be lost but no limit on profits. By betting a flat stake on two horses per race, the chance of a long losing run is very much lessened.

Give this Eric Connolly idea a lot of thought, as it could propel you on to big profits. It's a conservative plan. You have $5,000 in all.

You are betting, in the instance given, to only $3,000 of it, but half of this amount is held in reserve. With the active bank you do have, you are risking only five per cent each bet and so can go 20 losing races in a row before the first active bank is destroyed. But a run of losses that big is unlikely if you are backing two horses per race.

One word of warning: Don't go to the track ' and attempt these staking methods on race after race after race. Don't be hasty or greedy. Take your time, pick your horses carefully, have only a few bets per day, and look at a 12-month betting period. Be sensible and manage your money, and your senses, and you can surely make a go of professional punting.

Click here to read Part 3.
Click here to read Part 1.

By Statsman