Have you got the Bankroll Blues? What I mean is this-do you suffer from what you believe is an acute form of money depletion?

A lot of punters put themselves into this category. They believe that because they have only limited funds with which to bet they stand no chance of winning.

A reader from Cairns, Mr W. W. T., wrote to me only recently and had a complaint on these lines: “You people keep on talking about big professional punters, but what about us blokes who can only afford to bet with $10 or $20 on a Saturday. What hope have we got?"

The fact is, Mr T., that no matter how little your bank you can still apply logical, sensible money management techniques. Your profits, obviously, won't be as big as the punter who puts on more but your prospects of winning will be the same.

Take, as an example, the pro punter who bets three horses a day at varying prices. He might select horses he has priced at 3/1, 4/1 and 5/1. Now, this punter will only back them if he can secure better prices than these, but he will bet them as if they were at his prices.

Okay, let's say he works to a straight percentage formula. In this instance, he would be betting (assuming he bets in hundreds) $250 on the expected 3/1 chance, $200 on the 4/1 chance and, say, $170 on the 5/1 chance. Now, remember, these horses are not in the same race but different races.

The small punter could now be saying something like 'oh yeah, that's wonderful for him, but how could I make anything?' Quite simply, all the small punter has to do is pare down the bets.

The punter we've just talked about is staking $620. A small punter could do the same thing and stake only $8. His percentage return will be the same as that of the big punter.

The small punter would bet as follows:
3/1 chance             $3 win
4/1 chance             $3 win
          (rounded off from $2.50)
5/1 chance             $2 win

There's your simple $8 bet-and your potential return should all three win at, say, a point above the required odds? Well, you'd get a return of $15 from the 3/1 chance (assuming it paid 4/1), $18 from the 4/1 chance (assuming it paid 5/1) and $14 from the 5/1 chance (assuming it paid 6/1).

This is a total possible return of $47 for an outlay of $8. Even if you struck with only one winner you would make a profit. Now what's wrong with that? If the 3/1 chance (at 4s) was your sole winner from the three bets you would get back $15, and that's a profit on turnover of close to 100 per cent! Fabulous stuff, indeed.

You may be a small punter but that doesn't mean you haven't got a chance. Let's look at a punter with $20 to bet. Remember last issue, my article about the $6 bet which gave you 19 chances of a return? You could bet like that in three separate goes for $18! You'd have a great chance of at least squaring the day or making a decent profit.

If you aren't keen on that method, what about dividing your money up into place doubles and trebles? Pick out four horses at 3/1 or better and link them in all-up place doubles and trebles and a four horse parlay. That's six doubles, four trebles and the parlay, a bet of only $11.

A clean sweep of placegetters each paying around $1.70 to $2 would put you right into profit. In fact, you'd have a great day. If we assume two placegetters each at $1.70, one at $1.90 and one at $2 you'll find that four-horse parlay by itself would return you almost $11. That covers the bet. All the doubles and trebles would be cream!

The point I wish to stress-and I cannot stress it strongly enough-is that Big Money doesn't necessarily give the Big Punters the armlock over the small punters. You can bet exactly as they do but in smaller amounts. Your actual percentage return on invested dollar is' the same, only the amounts differ.

A friend of mine, a pensioner, picks out three horses per Saturday. He has only $12 to spend. What he does is to find a couple of likely placegetters in the early races and a solid win bet in the middle or end of the day.

He bets the 'place specials' $5 a place each. Any returns are wagered on the 'win special'. If he has nothing from the first two place bets he puts his last $2 on the win horse. But let's assume for the purposes of this article that he strikes OK with his place bets. One pays $1.40, the other pays $1.60. He has $7 back from the first one and $8 back from the second, a total of $15. This is added to his final $2 for a $17 win bet on the 'win special'.

If it wins at, say, 2/1 my pensioner pal has a return coming to him of $51. His profit for the day, then, is $51 minus $12 equalling $39, or more than 300 per cent on his original $12! Not a bad day's work by any standards.

Remember, always, that small is beautiful, as long as you maintain strict standards of money management. You don't have to be a Big Punter to make it all work. Little fish are sweet.

Finally, if you want to read more about some of my thoughts on money management, selection and betting psychology then make sure you get a copy of the new Gold Collection of PPM articles. It's a beauty.

By Statsman