When we talk about 'staking' in our betting, what do we really mean? In simple terms, we are talking about money management. Just as a businessman/ woman uses money management to try to ensure an annual profit, so a punter - if he/she is a serious punter - must bet properly to ensure profits.

Alas, most punters have scant knowledge of what is required when it comes to managing their money. They spray bets in all directions, with little thought given to the end result of the dollar mayhem. I believe if the ordinary punter would only stop to think about what he is doing he could increase his profits, or at least lessen his losses, to a considerable extent.

Proper money management is the key, and to achieve this you can use any number of staking plans with your selections. Most punters get their share of winners; the problem is they invariably have too much on losers and not enough on the winners, and they fail to make headway financially.

A good, solid staking plan - and there are many of them - can at least put you on the right track. You can set targets to achieve and, with common sense and some good luck, reach them. But you must get your betting activities under control; it's as simple as that.

Some years ago, we talked in P.P.M. about an Introductory Staking Plan. This is for the punter who doesn't want to get too involved in complicated staking approaches, but who does have the desire to get himself on the right path. He realises his house needs to be placed into some sort of order.

This staking plan is as follows:

  1. Your bank should be 50 times your flat level stake. If your bet is $1 then your bank should be $50. If your bet is $2 the bank should be $100. And so on. Just multiply your bet size by 50.
  2. The approach is to keep to level stake betting for the win. When your bank has increased by 50 per cent (i.e. from $50 to $75 or $100 to $150 etc.) you declare yourself a 'dividend' of 25 per cent of the initial bank. If your starting bank was $50 and you now have $75, you declare a dividend of $12.50, which is 25 per cent of the original bank, and put this in your pocket! You stay on the same betting unit level until your bank has doubled.

    Once this figure is reached, you raise your level stake unit bet to $2 (assuming you began using $1 units). When you reach $150, declare yourself another dividend of 25 per cent of the original $50 bank (another $12.50 for you). As you progress you raise your stake level every $100 gained, but always making sure your bet is 2 per cent (one-50th) of your bank's highest point, and remembering, of course, to declare a 25 per cent dividend of your original bank for every $50 profit.

When your bank reaches $300, you would then be betting $6 per bet (a 50th of $300), and so on. This is a most effective system. Your bets are always known in advance, and you can never get into deep trouble with rapidly rising stakes. You are held to a 2 per cent bet of your bank's current highest point.

As well, you keep declaring yourself a $12.50 dividend with each $50 you make. (Multiply these figures by whatever stake you decide on, be it $2, $3, $5 or $10 etc. to start with.)

We now come to Target Betting, often maligned by some punters, but usually without much foundation. Critics claim target betting leads to dangerous 'catch up' wagers, but we are always going to be chasing losses whichever way we bet if the winners don't arrive. At least with Target Betting, you know that you have the capacity to recoup.

The following plan originated in England, and has been adapted several times here in Australia. You begin with your first race with the aim of winning ONE UNIT (a unit can be any amount you like). Depending on the price of the horses you want to back, you can place any amount on it, although never going beyond one unit at the initial stage.

Let's say your selection is at 5/1. You will not really need to bet one unit on it to achieve your initial one unit target; you can, if you wish, bet a half unit and if the horse won you would still win 2.5 units and thus easily achieve your one unit target.

Martin Dowling, who got this method off a friend in England, recommends you always kick off with a one unit bet, but after that you can cut back to smaller bets if you wish, depending on the prices of your selections.

If this first selection loses, you proceed to the second bet and your target is now a new ONE UNIT figure, plus the ONE UNIT you wanted from your first bet, plus the ONE UNIT you lost on the first bet. So your second bet target is THREE UNITS.

The rules of this staking plan say that you will not be able to stake more than two units to achieve that target of three units, because your maximum bet size is determined each time by the length of the losing run.

Example: Your maximum stake rises by one unit each time you lose. So if, at some time, on your fifth bet the maximum bet will be 5 units. Your sixth bet, maximum six units, and so on. You will rarely need to bet the maximum if you are backing reasonably priced horses.

Once you have secured your target requirement, you end the series and begin again. This is 'easy to follow' target betting which any punter can make use of in his daily betting. You can run each day's betting separately or link each betting day to the next. It's up to you.

Let's say you had 4 losers in a row and had bet a total of 5.5 units. Your target now would be 10.5 units with a maximum bet of 5 units. The horse you want to bet is priced at 7/1, so all you will need to bet is 1.5 units. Get the idea?

Finally a few words about The Annual Plan. This has been popular for many years with one-horse punters who  follow the selections of newspaper tipsters. The plan was designed to fit into the law of averages in relation to winners and their average odds. Studies show the average tipster gets about 25 per cent winners at an average starting price around 5/2.

On that assumption there would be 250 winners every 1,000 races whose combined odds totalled 625. To play safe, the Annual Plan halves the combined odds return, by deciding that every 1,000 races would produce the same number of winners (25%) but that the combined odds would be a very low 300.

This is equal to a total odds of only 30 points every 100 races. The plan treats every 100 races as a single wager on the assumption they will produce winners whose combined odds total 30. In other words, the objective is to win a pre-determined sum on 100 races' returning winners whose prices, when added together, will total 30.

As soon as winners whose odds total 30 are backed the win objective is achieve ' d and the series completed. Also, if at any time during a series a profit of one point or more for every race played has been made, the series is also completed and a new one commenced.

If, say, after 19 races you have made $19 or more then the series is closed off. 'The betting operation is along the lines of the much-publicised 6-Point Plan. If betting in dollar units, the aim is to win 30 points off 100 races so for the opening bet we divide 30 into 100 for an opening bet of 3.5 units.

If this bet lost, the next would be 30 divided into 103.50. If this horse won, say, at 4/1 you deduct this amount (4) from the objective, bringing the divisor down to 26 and the objective now being $89.50. We are now ahead of our objective, so a new series begun.

If. you find, because of a long losing run, the bets are becoming too high, simply introduce a new divisor and objective to add to the current one.

Assuming you have reached a position where the divisor is 20 and the objective, say, 200, you could simply add an extra divisor of 30 and an extra objective of 100, making the situation now a divisor of 50 and a target of 300.

There is no limit to the number of times you can use this sound safety rule. You will eventually reach your objective.

NEXT MONTH: We put the staking plans to the test using the selections of nationally known newspaper tipsters.

By Richard Hartley Jnr