Although 'target betting' has its detractors, it also has its supporters, especially where the much-discussed 6-Point Divisor Plan is concerned. The plan has attracted praise and criticism for many years, and while some punters laud its charms, others who perhaps haven't really tried it out on a permanent basis - scoff at its effectiveness.

But the 6-Point Plan, provided it is operated with sensible selections (and not on every race!), is the soundest of all 'target betting' methods. It has stood the test of time for some 60 years.

Lest anyone be suspicious of what this form of target staking is all about, it's best that we talk about the 6-Point Plan, just so you'll quickly realise that it is sensible and does not contain hidden disasters for the unwary.

The aim of the plan, as its title suggests, is to win a set amount (target) every time a player backs a winner, or winners, whose odds total 6. Your target figure - and you can use any figure as a target - decides the opening bet. For example, let's suppose that you were aiming to win $6. That becomes the target figure.

Your divisor is 6 (as per the name of the plan) and so your first bet is $1 (6 divided into $6). If your target figure was say, $12 then you would divide that figure by 6 and your first bet would be $2.

The procedure is simply a matter of division into the amount you want to win. It isn't necessary to know what your return will be - you merely play your bet, and then when a result is known you take certain courses of action, depending on the result.

Basically, as each point of the required 6 is achieved your divisor gets smaller, as does your target figure. When a loser is struck the target figure is increased. For the benefit of explaining the play we will work on a target of $12.

To work out the stakes we use the divisor of 6 (the points to be gained) and in this example we have a target of $12. The opening bet is $2. If the opening bet lost the target would be increased to $14. This is the original $12 plus the $2 just lost. The divisor remains the same at 6.

The second bet, then, would be $14 divided by 6, equaling $2.30.  This would be rounded off to $2.50.
If the second bet won at, say, 3/1 the gain would be $7.50.  This is then subtracted from the target, which is reduced to $6.50.

As 3 points have been won with the 3/1 winner, your divisor is reduced from 6 to 3, so the next investment will be $6.50 divided by 3, which is, say, $2 rounded off. This will be your next bet. If it also won at 3/1 or better the series would be closed off and a new one started.

If it lost, then the $2 bet would be added to the target and the next target would be $8.50, with the divisor remaining the same at 3. So the next bet would be $8.50 divided by 3, making a bet of, say, $3 rounded off.

Your betting sheet would look like this:

Series ends: All 6 points needed have been won.
Total Bet: 9.5 units. Total return: 22 units.
Total profit on series: 12.5 units.

Now for a word of warning: Assume the third bet in this series was on a winner at even money. This would have reduced the divisor to 2. When this happens - when the divisor is cut to 1 or 2 - it is safest to quit the series then and there, and start a new one with a new divisor and objective.

When you start dividing by 2 or 1 only, the stakes can rise too rapidly. So we bring in a safety brake. In this instance, you would have had 2 points remaining, so you add them to the divisor figure for the next series.

The safety brake means you start again by adding the outstanding balance of the target figure to the new series. In this instance, you would start a new series with a divisor of 8, and a target figure of 4.5 units PLUS the new target figure of 12, making a new target of 16.5 units.

As you will note, your new divisor is 8, divided into the new target of 16.5, which gives you an opening bet of 2 units. This really is an essential safety approach. If you kept on dividing by 2, and you hit a run of losers, the size of your bets would mount up very quickly and the situation would become not only annoying but potentially financially dangerous. The safety brake rule is a powerful weapon. Never be afraid to use it. It doesn't matter how many times you use it. Providing you employ commonsense and remember the safety rule you can rarely run into trouble with the 6-Point Plan.

Using the safety brake you are always in total control of the situation and, therefore, your money. And, remember, you MUST win in the end. On any reasonable set of selections you will eventually back winners whose total odds combined will wipe out the divisor and produce the desired target figure.

I recall some time back that, using as a sample the tips of a well-known newspaper 'expert', I encountered a run of 27 losers. But it didn't prove a worry because I brought in four new divisors and objectives and after the losing run ended there were 7 bets for 5 winners whose total odds were 31, so all losses were regained and five objectives were attained.

There is another safety brake which can be used. This is applied at anytime you feel the stakes are rising too steeply. The divisor may be 6 when you strike a slump which lifts the target figure to, say, 60 units, calling for a bet of $10. By adding a new divisor (6) and a new target figure ($12) the figures would be changed to 12 and $72, meaning a bet of $6.

If you wanted to reduce the outlay even further, your new divisor could be lifted to 18 with the target rising to 84. This would then require a bet of $4.50. It does not matter how many times you do this. The safety brake is there to be used for sensible money management. Never hesitate to use it. It reduces liability and will not alter the eventual outcome.

With this method, profit is the aim! And yet another safety rule you might like to consider is to start afresh as soon as you show a profit on a series. All you need do is arrange your betting account sheet with a separate profit/loss column which will show your financial position after each bet.

Your opening bet may lose, so the column will show a -2 (minus 2) sign. But the second bet might win at 3/1 and so you are actually showing a profit of some $5.50. You immediately close off the series and start a new one.

You have not gained your target figure but you have put yourself into profit, so you might feel happier in whisking out the profit and starting a new series. Much depends on your own betting personality. Some conservative punters will follow this line. After all, the plan in betting is to win and you will never go broke taking a profit.

Taking account of all the many criticisms of target betting, should you be afraid of using a method like the 6-Point Plan? Of course not! Consider it as against level stake betting. With flat bets you are still required to hit a winner, or winners, to recoup losses, aren't you? It's the same with target betting - except that target betting ENSURES you end up ahead by specifically tailoring the bets.

Punters who use level stakes may strike the same amount of winners but still be behind. With target betting you know how much you need to win, you know how much to bet; you know when you need to show caution; you know that when your winners' prices equal your divisor you have achieved your target.

Nothing could be simpler. So why are there so many critics? Mainly because they do not take into account the use of safety brakes, and they always assume the poor old punter is going to back hundreds of losers in a row.

Their argument is that stakes will rise astronomically in the event of a losing run. Well, this would be so if the losing run was bad, but again we can only point to the existence of the safety brakes. Commonsense is allowed to come into play.

For example, you might decide before any series is begun that you will never allow a bet to exceed, say, $10 or $15. Once you reach that stage (if you do, of course) you merely bring in a new divisor and target figure, and your bet is automatically decreased.

A friend of mine has used the 6-Point Plan for some 30 years. He is a small punter and usually picks out three bets for the day and uses the 6-Point Plan to back them. He rarely has a losing day. He IS a good selector but the main thing is that the 6-Point Plan has enabled him, all these years, to exercise complete control over his betting.

"Peace of mind," he told me when I asked what he found best about the plan. "I know where I'm at, and I can easily contain the losing runs. When I used to bet flat stakes I would panic and increase my bets needlessly, and then have more on losers, and panic again and cut back the stakes, and end up having hardly anything on the winners."

As an example of the 6-Point Plan we took the recent tips of a well-known Sydney racing expert (Jim Renwick, Sportsman) and applied the 6-Point Rules to them.

612S.Specia22 -2.00
614Q.33 -5.00
617S. Royal33-8.00
623 I.L. Sydn 44 -15.00
627Brave W.5 10-10.00
522Just Awe432 +18.00
Series ends: All divisor points won.
7 24 42.00 18.00
# Please note mat we rounded some bets off (up and down) in Me above example to avoid 50C (halo units. The same horses bet at level stakes of $3.50 each would have seen a return  of $34.50 for a profit of only $10.00.

By Alan Jacobs