Setting goals, and achieving them, is what betting is all about, though you wouldn't know that if you took notice of the antics of the majority of punters, would you? Maybe you're one of the errant brigade?

You know the ones I mean. No discipline, constantly running out of money, wasting money on bad bets, failing to do the homework on the form ... all that sort of stuff.

Well, there is some good news. The fact that you bother to buy this magazine every month is a clear sign that you're one of the more intelligent and thoughtful punters in Australia. You care enough to READ about betting and you're RECEPTIVE enough to want to absorb new ideas, or be taken through the various VALUES that constitute sensible betting.

One of the things I learned early on in this game is that you must have a PLAN. You have to look ahead, to set yourself a target, something to aim at. It doesn't matter if you don't make that target, provided you do your best to come somewhere close to its bull's eye.

By setting goals, I am talking about STRIKE RATES and PROFITS. How much do you reasonably want to earn from betting? Is your target an achievable one? Are you being unrealistic? Does your win-strike rate and the odds given on your selections add to long-term profits.

What I mean is this: If you strike 33 winners in every 100 bets, at an average of 6/4, you are getting nowhere. The average price on your winners needs to be 11/4 in order that you come out with a 25 per cent profit.

Thirty-three winners at 11 /4 gives a return of 124 from every 100 bets. That's a profit of 24 per cent. A very good profit in horse-race betting terms and, I must add, very difficult to achieve.


The lesson is obvious, then: your betting needs to be matched to the percentage of winners you select over a period of time. If you can pick winners, as we all can to varying degrees, you can make money in racing, and that means even if you pick more losers than winners, as you inevitably will. The key to success is the proper use of your available betting capital:  YOUR MONEY

The Betting Table on this page provides a clear guide to what prices you will need to obtain to make a profit. Quite simply, it puts before you the hurdles you face. If you bet 4/1 chances, and you want to make 25 per cent profit, then you should not bet any horse that goes to the post at less than 4/1.

Why? Well, the figures say you will strike 20 per cent winners. That's 20 winners every 100 bets on these 4/1 chances. If you can do that, you will BREAK EVEN. That's all. Twenty winners at 4/1 equals a return of 100.

Let's say you have a strike rate with your selections of a winner every four bets. That means 25 winners per 100. To make 25 per cent profit, those winners will need to average 4/1.

Sit down and think about that for a while. Is it possible you can do that?

If you tend to bet horses that are under 4/1, this may or may not affect your strike rate, but it will affect your profit-loss situation, Sometimes, of course, you will manage winners at greater than 4/1. Over a period of time you may find that your win-strike rate is slipping and that you are only managing a winner every six bets.

The Betting Table tells you what you would face given that situation if you were still wanting to make that elusive 25 per cent profit. For a bettor who hits one in six winners, an average of 9/1 is required in order to make 25 per cent profit. That's a tough call.

An old-timer once said that making money from racing is 25 per cent horses and 75 per cent mathematics, and how right he was. It is no trick to get a method of selecting winners that will average 20 to 30 per cent. In fact, back every favourite and you are likely to hit 30 winners per 100 bets.

The trick is to be able to invest on them in such a manner as to make the most money. But how many punters do you know who usually come out with a profit by catching one winner in every five bets?

I've seen many people lose money from selecting one out of three. If these same people had applied the right financial method to these winners, they probably would have come up with a profit, but, as I have indicated already, most will never take into consideration the importance of mathematical wagering and just take it for granted that the winners will ensure a profit.

There's an old saying around the tracks that to make money on your bets, all you have to do is have more money on the winners than on the losers. This isn't a correct assumption in all cases and it IS possible to make a profit at level stakes if you have a definite percentage of winners and only accept the mathematically proven odds, as shown in the Betting Table, or you bet to assumed odds, as I'll explain.

To make all this possible, the punter needs to have a definite "average of winners percentage" drawn up after a close examination of personal results over a good period of time (at least six months, I would suggest). Then, by using the Betting Table, the punter can determine what odds he must bet to in order to make his required profit.

There is a simple rule for scientific betting. It is W and L times 0 (L0). W means the money you may win, L is the money you put up, and 0 the correct odds you bet.

The rule says:

  1. If W equals LO, the bet's even.
  2. If W is bigger than LO, the bet's in your favour.
  3. If W is less than LO, the bet's against you.

It is your business to see that you never bet unless W is equal to or bigger than LO. If you do this, and never bet under rule 3, you are bound to win.

If you bet when W is less than LO, you are bound to lose in the long run. The exception, of course, is if you stake to assumed odds.

When your percentage of winners is based on practical results, and you have a steady percentage of winners, you may find as you reach a certain period of operation that your percentage will either get better or worse. (Higher or lower percentage of winners.)

At this point, if necessary and for surer results, change over to the odds for your percentage of winners. Keep your records carefully, always make adjustments when necessary, and you will find success in the long run.

Remember also to bet to assumed prices. For instance, if your percentage is one in four and the aim is 25 per cent profit, the price needed is 4/1. The horse to be backed may be only 2/1. Back it with the stake you would use if it was 4 / 1. The assumed price angle is also employed in reverse. Your selection may be 8/1 but you employ the same stake as if it were a 4/1 chance.

I think you will find this whole approach to your betting to be an interesting and very helpful one. At the very least it should make you stop and think about what you are doing.

So, a final look at the Betting Table. If your winners are arriving one in every three bets, you are in a good position to shoot for at least 25 per cent profit. All you need do is to average 11/4 about your winners. But if you are shooting higher and demand 50 per cent profit, then those winners must average 7/2 each. The more you want in profit, the harder the task where the odds of the winners are concerned.

If you're a really bad judge, and you average only a winner every 10 selections, then to get 25 per cent profit your winners must average 11.5/1, and for 50 per cent profit they will each need to pay at least 14/1. All I can say is good luck!

I doubt there's a punter out there who would tip only one winner in 10 unless that punter is picking only horses at double-figure odds. That's a risky way to go about things.

By P.B. King