I am always advocating that you should have a betting bank, then one, two or three systems to follow. Each system needs its own betting bank. If your betting bank is $1000 for each, then you will be safe enough in allocating 1 per cent as your betting unit, being a base bet of $10.

There are several lines of thought about what happens next and I would like to discuss three possibilities to help you decide which path you may want to take.

The options range from safe to adventurous, which largely depends on your own makeup or attitude. It's not a matter of which one is better, as I have a strong belief that most good investment strategies tend to balance out, so far as the longer-term result is concerned.

The important thing is that if you are comfortable with the method of operation, then you will make fewer mistakes in other areas of your betting or future betting activities.

We should all agree that I per cent is a very safe option as our base bet. If you follow the safe option and, should the bank reduce due to losing bets, the unit bet decreases also because it's always calculated on I per cent of the balance of the betting bank.

My preference is to simply look at the opening balance of your TAB account and bet 1 per cent, on each race, for the day's bets.

Obviously, if you have a bad run of losing bets, intermingled with a few short-priced winners, then the unit outlay is being reduced so there is minimal damage done. So long as the good runs come, or a few longer-priced wins kick in, it will all sort itself out in the end, with a profitable result, all going well.

The adventurous among us will not reduce the unit bets at all but will increase the betting unit when the betting bank goes up. Let's say the bank started off at $1000 and got to $1200, meaning a $12 betting unit is involved. When the losing run turns up, the betting unit stays at $12 no matter what the balance might be. The logic behind this is that when things turn around, then it will be easier, or quicker, to recover the loss situation.

The third option is to have a bank which is called a target figure to achieve - in this case $1000. Similarly, you bet the same 1 per cent, as above, and if you have a profitable day then the target remains at the $1000 and the profit is recorded, say, in parenthesis next to this figure.

When you have a losing day the amount lost is added to the target which means the next day's activity will involve the 1 per cent calculation being marginally higher.

So, if you lose $60, then the next day's activity means a target of ($1000 plus $60) $1060. The outlay per race is 1 per cent of this $1060 being $10.60 or $11 rounded up. So you have a mild progression when you are losing and whenever the balance brought forward gets back to $1000 you are in profit again.

These are the three options I would like you to consider. Although I have been advocating the first and safer approach since day one, I have done some research on this matter and am leaning towards the third option nowadays. Certainly the total outlay does increase by not reducing the bets as the bank decreases, but not to a great extent, and the profit is better when things come good.

What has swung me around is that I'm probably more confident now about what is going to happen in the longer term. I do not think a year goes by that I do not get some really good-priced winners sometime, usually when I least expect it to happen. I never expect it to happen, it just does and, of course, not nearly often enough. Having the larger amount on these is preferable.

In addition, I can see at a glance how the system is doing from a financial point of view, in that the profit is recorded separately. I always know how much I am trying to get back when recovering from a losing balance.

Should the target I am going for continue to grow to, say, 50 per cent of my bank, then the serious questions have to be asked about the selection method being used.

Whilst compounding the bank and increasing the bets as the bank increases can provide you with a very healthy balance at the end of the year depending on the cycle of when things happen, taking profits and starting again is a far cleaner method of operation, in my opinion.

Following several systems in this way also makes the exercise more interesting as you can identify which one is firing and perhaps identify the worst one as being not worth the trouble. Rather than have all your eggs in one basket, I do suggest that more than one system should be followed, with a consistent betting pattern as discussed above.

The Keith Roth File appears in PPM each issue. Keith covers many areas of betting, race selection and staking.

By Keith Roth