Selecting winners is one thing-backing them correctly is another. Money management, that's what it's all about.

Few punters ever really come to grips with how best to invest their cash on the horses they fancy. This is a great pity, because it means the punter may well be a good selector but fails to win, in the long term, because he lacks a grasp of the fundamentals of staking.

I've drawn up a list of 50 staking tips which will give you an insight into proper management of your betting cash.

Even if only a few of the tips stick in your memory it will have been worthwhile, for they may save you making the same old mistakes.

In future issues of P.P.M., we'll be presenting many more articles on staking and money management, so it's in your interests to become a regular subscriber. The annual subscription fee will quickly be recouped by more successful betting!

Now for the 50 staking tips:


  1. Don't get carried away by the prospect of each-way betting-if you are after 'insurance' you are better off backing two horses in a race for a win, rather than one horse each-way.
  2. If you insist on backing one horse in a race for win and place (each way) then think about backing in a ratio of one unit a win and three units a place.
  3. Establish separate betting banks for your win and place betting, and for your bets on quinellas, trifectas and doubles. Each is a very different form of betting, with differing cycles of success. By keeping them separate, you are easily able to identify which form of betting is making you profits, and which lose your money.
  4. Consider always playing it safe. Even if you remain a haphazard punter, try to put aside and KEEP half of any profits you make on a bet. Don't try to go for broke by re-investing the entire amount. Pocket part of your gain and punt the rest.
  5. When using target (or, objective) staking, always ensure you can introduce a safety brake if your wagers are climbing too high for your personal liking. Bring in new divisors and objectives (for more details, refer to the article on the 6 Point Divisor Plan in this issue of P.P.M.).
  6. Progressive betting can get you into trouble. Punters operating this form of betting can quickly lose all mental balance once his/her investments are climbing rapidly to the dangerous level which will see his capital bank wiped out. Ensure that you always have a 'safety factor' built into your progressive betting method.
  7. The danger associated with progressive betting is that you can never predict the actual sequence in which winners and losers will fall. A selection system may average 30 per cent winners, but there is no guarantee the winners will be spaced neatly enough to allow a progressive betting method to work before capital is gone.
  8. Most professional punters say level stake betting is the best and safest. In this way, you never bet beyond your means.
  9. Eric Connolly, the well-known punter of the 1930s, gave this advice never bet more than you can afford to lose, always bet in set amounts according to the size of your betting bank, be satisfied with small profits, never bet on races in which you can only 'fluke' the winner.
  10. Always have a sizeable betting bank-preferably 50 times your flat level stake. If you bet in $1 units, then a bank of $50 is called for. When your bank progresses to, say, $100, you declare a $25 dividend and then carry on with a $75 bank.
  11. Another point about each way staking-bear in mind how much such a bet reduces actual odds. A bet of $1 each way on a winner at 20-1 means combined odds of only 12.5-1. If your 20-1 chance runs 2nd or 3rd you lose the $1 win stake and win $5 for the place bet. Take the $2 total stake into account and your bet has been an overall $5 to $2 place.
  12. Leverage is important. You can achieve this very simply. Single out 2 races in which your selections look to be hot specials. Bet a fixed amount on the first horse for a place. If it runs a place, you take all the proceeds and place them on the second special The second horse knows nothing about your first choice! He is going to run just as well.
  13. Leverage means making your money WORK for you. You bet $20 a place on your first horse and it pays $2.00 a place. You now have $40 to go on your second selection. Your original $20 is working for you and that is the limit of your risk, but you now have someone else's $20 working for you as well.
  14. If your second selection got up and paid $2 a place, you would now have $80. Think about that. Your original risk was $20. This is 3-1 on your investment and yet the combined added odds of the prices you got on the two horses was only 2.
  15. Remember old advice: The punter who bets on every race, like the card player who comes in on every hand, is destined to suffer the same fate as the cricketer who tries to score a boundary off every ball. You'll wind up DOWN AND OUT.
  16. Be content with a staking plan that produces small, but regular profits. Pittsburgh Phil once said: 'I buy the bookmakers' dollars for 75 cents.'
  17. One reason why professionals last longer at the race track than the 1 amateurs' is that they plan their staking. They have patience and they wait for the right races and then attack them with a planned method of betting.
  18. Never be afraid of backing more than one horse in a race. Eric Connolly said the best judges in the world could go broke backing one horse a race-but by backing two, or even more, the chance of a bad run of outs is most unlikely.
  19. Discover for yourself which of your selections you should back. Keep a record and see if your 2-1 chances are making profits for you, or whether you are doing better from backing 8-1 shots. You could find that you are better off without the 2-1 chances, or vice versa.
  20. Whatever staking plan you adopt, be prepared for LONG losing runs. Sometimes, favourites can go two or three meetings without notching a win. If you back outsiders, you could go 50 races without a winner.
  21. With a betting bank, play safe and divide it into two. If your bank is $100, keep half of it in reserve and begin your betting with $50. Never invest more than 10 per cent of whatever your bank happens to be.
  22. More on level stakes betting: If you bet level stakes on two horses a race you'll probably sleep much better than punters who refuse to bet multiple. You'll win more often, and lose less frequently.
  23. A popular place progression method is the following: To earn $2 a race, you bet three times that amount, $6. The progression is $6, $8, $9, $12, $15, $18, $23, $29, $36, $45. As soon as a placegetter is struck, you begin again. Always back horses you think can WIN and back 'em to run a place.
  24. Another progression play: Bet like this-2, 2, 3, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14, 17, 20. When you strike a winner, go back the number of positions relating to the winner's price (i.e., 3-1 winner, go back 3 steps; 9-4 winner go back two steps).
  25. Be very careful in chasing losses. Always keep a cool head in times of crisis. If bets called for are big, rule off and start again unless you are supremely confident and have a bank that is still safe from wipeout.
  26. Punters who like FAST action can consider trebles. Back favourites to win three races in a row, or follow your favourite tipster and go for his selections to win three in a row. Take his best four for the day and couple them in six doubles and four trebles.
  27. With trifecta betting, decide initially which method of multiple linking you are going to choose ... and stick to it.
  28. Be prepared for long losing runs when you are backing trifectas. Even the great professional Don Scott says he experiences such losing streaks with trifecta.
  29. If you like lots of betting action you can go to the races with $84 and be in the position of coupling up all eight selections on a program into 28 doubles and 56 trebles. Should you pick four winners, you would have 6 doubles and 4 trebles winning for you. If you struck five winners, you would score with 10 doubles and 10 trebles. Three winners would get you three doubles and one treble.
  30. Multiple betting at the TAB offers you great value. Choose your bets carefully and you can get big returns. Trifecta betting pools are swelled with uninformed money.
  31. If you do not possess discipline, patience and an ability to believe in longterm profits, then you will NEVER be able to operate proper, rational staking plans.
  32. If you do possess the above attributes, you must also be prepared to work hard and diligently when making your selections. Read everything you can get your hands on. File newspaper stories and turn and finish photos.
  33. Don't try to become a professional punter unless you have enough money to look after yourself for at least a year-and a betting bank substantial enough to overcome long losing runs.
  34. Never attempt doubling up; you will enter tremendously risky territory. Doubling up, you need only five losers in a row to be betting 32 units on the sixth bet! And that's having started from just $I.
  35. Always make sure you keep a complete record of every bet you have. It's amazing how much money you lose track of if you do not keep accurate records.
  36. If you are wanting to be even more professional, keep a record of all costs associated with your betting (transport, entry fees, form guides, newspapers, pens, notebooks etc.). The result may astound you.
  37. *It is seldom a sound practice to bet in the first few minutes of betting opening on a race, even if you are pleasantly surprised at the generosity of odds available about your selection. The opening quotes are usually tentative and framed with a large margin.
  38.  *A race with a large number of starters is not normally a good medium for place, or each way, betting. This is indicated by the increased number of bookmakers who are prepared to bet each way in large fields.
  39.  *As the size of a field increases, the theoretical place odds approach more closely one third of the straight out odds-but bookmakers offer one quarter of the odds, regardless of the number of starters, as long as there are eight or more.
  40. *Treat each bet separately. Don't always bet each way; and don't always bet straightout. Tend to bet each way when (a) the horse seems virtually certain of running a place and (b) the horse is at such a price that even a 2nd or 3rd will result in a substantial profit.
  41. *On doubles betting: If you must take the field in a double, then take it as the first leg, rather than the 2nd leg. Most punters do it the other way around!
  42. Limit yourself according to your capital, to an equal or nearly equal, amount on every horse, and never deviate from that rule. Not even if the animal itself were to tell you it would win. (Goodman Brothers, 1895, How To Make Or Lose Money On A Small Capital).
  43. If your selections only throw up 20 per cent winners, you can expect a losing run of around 25 at some stage. Selections that win only 12 per cent of the time can lead you into a losing run of around 64.
  44. When betting think of a a pattern. A clearly defined pattern. This is how your betting should be arranged. Into a neat pattern.
  45. If you are keen on place betting, bear in mind that on the tote you are likely to receive 1-5th place odds and not 1-4th on most dividends.
  46. When betting for a place, think in terms of DOUBLES. These give you what 1 have already referred to as leverage on your dollar.
  47. A sound staking plan, based on progression, is to bet like this: 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9. A winner at any stage at 3-1 or better will produce a profit.
  48. Always use staking plans in conjunction with sound selection methods not just horses chosen at random in each race on the card.
  49. Long-term, think in terms of a return on your total betting outlay of 10 to 15 per cent. Achieve that and you are successful.
  50. Always bet with money you can afford to lose.

* Indicates extract from Commonsense Punting, by Roger Dedman

By Statsman