How much money should you take to the races with you?

That may seem like a simple question, but it's a moot point for many punters.

After all, how many times have you paused to 'have a think' before, setting out to the track? Taking a pause to wonder if you should really take $250 with you, when you know there's an electricity bill for $125 and the rent to be paid?

The main thing about deciding on a 'bank' is that you must feel comfortable with it. If you aren't, then other psychological elements will come into play.

If you are playing a risky game by going to the races with MORE MONEY than you can afford, then do stop and think twice. You will be betting with scared money - money that you cannot afford to lose.

Best to leave it at home, and go out only with a sum of money that you can afford to lose.

Taking too little money to the track is as much a silly thing to do as taking that which you cannot afford to lose.

A good thing to bear in mind no matter how much you take is that your winnings will be limited by whatever amount your bank happens to be.

A sensible approach if you can afford only a $20 betting account is to follow a cautious approach, and not hope to win vast amounts.

Follow a system of staking that sees you bet five or 10 per cent of whatever your bank happens to be. With a small bank, this is VERY sensible.

Let's look at what you could do with a small $20 bank, assuming you will be betting 10 per cent of whatever the bank happens to be.

You can sustain a long losing run without blowing your $20. Your first bet is $2. If it loses you have $18 and your next bet will be, theoretically, $1.80 but you bet $2 anyway. It loses, so your bank is $16 and your next bet $ 1. 50. If that loses, your bank comes down to $14.50 and your next bet is $1.50 again.

If that loses, you are down to $13 with a $1.30 theoretical bet coming up, but stick to $1.50 for unit-sake. Another loss will see your bank down to $11.50 and your next bet will be $1. So far, then, you have had six bets at $2, $2, $1.50, $1.50, $1.50 and $1 and you still have $10.50 of your $20 left, without having had a collect.

Let's assume you back a 3-1 winner with your $1 bet. This gives you a return of $3 profit, which takes you back to $11.50 plus $3 equalling $14.50, so your next bet is $1.50 again.

Okay, you strike again with a, say, 2-1 winner. You again win $3 and your bank goes to $17.50.

You can then suffer another string of losers without seeing your bank at risk.

With some sound judgement, you can at least leave the track without having lost more than a portion of your bank. With better judgement, you will be well ahead.

If you are clever enough to leave the track with $30 in your pocket you can then start using this bank next time around, with $3 your first bet.

From small beginnings come very juicy apples.

By Statsman