A new year-and just the right time to plan your betting for the next 12 months. In this special article, Jon Hudson hands  but some sensible advice for all punters ' whether you bet in $1 units or $1,000 units, to keep you 'nosing ahead' for the year.

If you earn $30,000 a year, you might decide to bet 10 per cent of it over a year. In one month that would be around $250, or $62.50 a week, allowing for four weeks' holiday break. I'll assume these are your final-earned dollars and so are taxable at 50 per cent-you are, then, betting with $6,000 and you have already paid half of that amount to the taxman.

Is it possible to double your betting dollars and so recoup all those lost tax dollars? Well, it's possible but unlikely. More probable is that you might be able to win, say, 10 or 20 per cent of that $3,000. Doesn't sound like much does it, but realistically that's what you should expect. If you win more - that's a bonus.

One proposition that could pay off-as long as you stick to it without deviating is to bet $15 on each of your four 'best bets' each week. The remaining $2.50 could be used for a double.. a quinella or even a lottery ticket! That $15 bet represents half a per cent of your bank, and it means you can have 200 losing bets before your annual bank disappears.

If the bank begins to build, you continue to bet at half a per cent of whatever total the bank reaches. Never go People who are in business know how vital it is to have an annual 'cash flow' projection, and to have some fixed objectives to achieve during the year ahead. Punters should think in the same way, but few bother. Which is an enormous pity.

These same punters often have little idea what their betting activities cost each year. Which, again, is a pity. If they did, they would be shocked, I'm sure, and would quickly want to bring some sort of order into their betting approach.

January is the ideal month to begin anew. Cast aside all your old mistakes, foibles and weaknesses and make a resolution to do it properly this year. Draw up a betting plan-and then force yourself to stick to it through the good and the bad.

The first thing you need do is decide how much you want to bet. Have you ever really seriously sat down and worked out what you bet in relation to what you earn? Have you checked your outlay on the horses against your income? Put it this way-if you are paying 35 cents in the dollar in tax, then you have to make adjustments to all your expenses to see how much you are REALLY paying for your pleasures.

If you pay 50 cents in the dollar tax, you should double the 'cost' of whatever you do. I'll explain: If you outlaid $2,000 per year on betting, and you were paying 50 cents in the dollar in tax, you would really be taking $4,000 of your gross income for betting purposes, because that's what you have to earn in order to have the $2,000 in your hand! So it's an $80 a week commitment, not a $40 one back. Always bet half a per cent of the highest point and you can always have 200 losing bets over the year before wipeout.

To break even on the year, you would need to back one winner out of those four best bets each week at minimum odds of 3/1. Could you do it? It seems attainable, doesn't it. The key is not to back any horse under 3/1, and then to ensure your strike rate is 25 per cent or more.

Let's say you struck 30 per cent winners at an average of 7/2. That would be 60 winners each grossing you $67.50, for a yearly take of $4,050-a nice profit of $1,050, or 35 per cent on turnover.

Many punters like to 'ride up' with their successes, and this is why the safe form of betting, level stakes, doesn't make great appeal. But level stakes betting is the great test of any selection method. If it can't win at level stakes, then it's unlikely to win on a progression staking plan.

So when you plan for the year, level stakes betting should be your No. 1 priority. The method I outlined just now is basically a simple level stakes plan, and I'm sure you will find over a period of a year that even if you lose, you won't lose much (as long as your selections are reasonably good).

Let's assume you managed to pick only 20 per cent winners at 3/1 each. That would be a total of 40 winners, each grossing $60, for an annual return of $2,400-a loss of some $600, or $12.50 per week over the planned 48-week betting period.

Another way you could plan your year, should you want a slightly more exciting approach, is to start with a bank of, say, $2,000 and bet $50 per selection. If, at the end of a week, your account is up by more than $400 (i.e. $2,400 or more) you raise your bet to $60. If there has been no increase, stay at $50.

Never decrease the original bet, as it is calculated at 2.5 per cent of your bank's highest point.

Follow these rules:

  1. When the bank reaches $2,400 raise the bet to $60.
  2. When bank is $2,800 then bet $70.
  3. When bank is $3,200 then bet $80.
  4. When bank is $3,600 then bet $90. (5) When bank is $4,000 then bet $100.

After that, keep betting to 2.5 per cent of the highest point of your bank. This gives you a backup of no less than 40 straight losses (which should never happen).

Once you have doubled your bank, you should take out the $2,000 you started with, and then begin the process again. You could then consider raising the minimum stake to three per cent, or maybe four per cent.

I am now going to assume that you have decided to adopt the sensible approach of betting level stakes for the year. You are a small punter, with not much more than $30 a week to risk. This gives you a total of, say, $1500 for the 12 months.

Small bets will see you battling throughout the year to gain even a modicum of profit. The plan I propose for you requires discipline and some element of bravery.

The plan calls for just ONE bet per fortnight, a total of 26 for the year. That means you will be placing about $57 on each horse. Suddenly, then, you have been transformed from a small punter into a pretty big punter-and all because you have decided to exercise patience and discipline.

These 26 selections will be played at level stakes throughout-but there is one added impetus to the betting operation. Should you back a winner (and let's hope you do), you pocket half of the return and then re-invest the remaining half on the next horse you back (still, of course, placing the usual $57 on it).

By doing this, you are seeking a few 'big hit' returns, along with any returns from the level stakes betting. For instance, let's assume you strike two winners in a row, each at 7/2. You have $57 on the first 7/2 winner and the gross return is $256.50. You pocket half of it, and then reinvest the other half, $128, on the next horse.

You will, then, be investing a total of $185 on the next horse. If it wins at 712 you will get a gross return of $832.50. You apply this same principle throughout the year. It cashes in on a rim of TWO winners. Don't try beyond the double. If you strike two winners, then that's it. You wait then for the next winner before attempting another double.

A total of seven winners from the 26 bets for the year at 3/1 will ensure you a profit, without the re-investing on the double. If you could strike two winners in a row a couple of times, you would significantly boost your profit margin.

Let's say you struck seven winners for the year at 3/1 each, and that you managed to get two running doubles. Your annual balance sheet would show a nice 20 per cent plus profit.

A win strike rate of 27 per cent should be achievable if your selections ' are soundly based. Remember that you only have to pick one best bet every two weeks, and you only have to pick one winner at 3/1 or longer every seven weeks!

Your profits, of course, would be considerably boosted if you struck doubles that comprised value-priced winners. A $57 bet on a 6/1 chance followed by another winner at 7/1 would give you a gross return on the level stakes bets and the double of $2,256. With two winners you are more than $750 in front for the year!

Now, for those punters who want a very cautious approach. A sensible approach that eliminates a lot of the risk. If you want to play super-safe, then always ensure your bank is 50 times your level stake win bet. If you bet in $10 units, then your bank should be $500. Never vary from this margin.

Keep to a level win bet on all horses. When your bank increases by 50 per cent ($250 to $750) you declare yourself a capital dividend of 25 per cent ($125) and increase your level stake bet by 25 per cent.

This means your bet rises from $10 to $12.50. You are, in fact, betting two per cent of your operating bank on each win bet. This may appear a slow means of gaining profits but you have to keep in mind that you are now treating your betting as a 'business' and profit-making is a long-term operation.

To get yourself into a truly positive frame of mind, go out and buy yourself an 'accounts book' and then mark it off week by week. Keep a strict record of all your bets, noting the wins and losses, and make sure you accurately tab the profit/loss situation.

Doing this will make you feel good about yourself, and remind you on a daily basis that you are, at last, treating your betting in a professional manner. It's amazing what a difference such a positive attitude can make to your betting.


  1. Never bet more than you can afford to lose.
  2. Try to bet in set amounts, according to your capital.
  3. Be satisfied with small profits.
  4. Aim to eliminate 'risk' from your betting by studying all angles of form. Leave nothing to chance.

By Jon Hudson