Throughout the years that PPM has been published, the one constant theme of the letters we receive from reader’s centres around the complex (or seemingly complex) subject of multiple wagering.

Just how to frame bets with more than one horse being involved, and to do it profitably, seems to vex a vast majority of punters.

Some private research we did a couple of years ago indicated a deep sense of frustration among rank-and-file punters that they didn't know enough about betting to be successful.

We have referred a number of times in PPM articles to multiple betting, and offered suggestions on how to make it pay. The aim of this current article is to retrace our steps and to give you an overview of the 'basics' of what to do and how to do it.

The late Eric Connolly, one of Australia's greatest gamblers on the turf, always stressed that one of the key factors in betting was value (nothing new there!) and he felt all punters should understand the true meaning of odds before they started betting.

Connolly believed in multiple betting but he was sensible enough to understand what he was doing to the odds when he backed two horses in a race.

He wrote: "When punters commence dual betting, and making savers, they seldom realise the short odds they sometimes accept." To emphasise his point, Connolly explained that the favourite 'system' of many punters who never studied form was to back the first two favourites in a race.

Said Connolly: "Assuming that the first fancy is 2/1 and the second favourite is 4/1 (and you don't always secure such a liberal margin), do you realise what price this is that either one won't win? The punter is actually laying 8 to 7 on and if you don't believe me, then work it out."

The following is the workout:

You invest \$1 on each of the first two favourites, a total outlay of \$2. If the favourite (2/1) wins, you collect \$3, including the \$2 invested. Thus, you have actually laid 2/1 ON.

Should the second favourite win (4/1), you collect \$5, which includes the total stake of \$2. So, your overall price on the 4/1 winner is 6/4.

Connolly added: "To work out any problem in multiple betting you must add the odds to 1 to each wager and then add the least common multiple. Thus:

• First wager, the price was 2/1. Add 2 and 1 you get 3.
• Second wager, the price was 4/1. Add 4 and 1 you get 5.

"The least common multiple of 3 and 5 is 15, so the odds that one or the other does not win are 8 to 7 ON. You'll have to work sharp and accurately to win at figures like this."

The secret of the multiple system attack, of course, is going for a big bet with your first fancy and merely covering your losses with a slight interest percentage, or a saver, on the others.

The method to follow is one that all punters should seriously consider. Remember, you go for a big bet on your main selection and play the others to show you a slight profit should any of them win. Importantly, in making your saver bets, you don't add one to the price. You merely divide by the actual price.

Let's say you chose Horses A, B and C. Horse A is your top fancy. It's priced at 3/1. The others are B at 7/2 and C at 9/1. All you have to do is divide those prices into 100 to get the bet size.

Do the savers only. Divide 7/2 (three-and-a-half) into 100 and the answer is 28.5. Divide 9 into 100 and the answer (rounded off) is 11. That's a total of 39.5, which we'll round off to 40, making it 29 on Horse B and 11 on Horse C.

The remainder of your \$100 stake, \$60, is placed on Horse A at 3/1. Let's see what the outcomes might be should any of the trio win:

HORSE A: \$60 at 3/1 = \$180, plus \$60 stake, equals return of \$240 for a profit of \$140.

HORSE B: \$29 at 7/2 = \$101.50, plus \$29 stake, equals return of \$130.50, a profit of \$30.50.

HORSE C: \$11 at 9/1 = \$99, plus \$11 stake, equals return of \$110, a profit of \$10.

You can see from this that should B or C win, the profit gives you a slight edge - \$30.50 for B and \$10 for C. Should A win, you make a clear profit of \$140.

However, what you must remember, as Eric Connolly pointed out, is that the real odds of your bet are probably lower than you think. If A wins, you have bet a total of \$100 and won 140, odds of around 1.40 to 1.

You have had, though, the luxury of three selections racing for you, with the prospect of a profit no matter which saluted.

Eric Connolly said: "That approach was the bread and butter of my turf earnings, and what I accomplished in that regard can also be achieved by any punter who is prepared to await the right races and then put down his money in the manner the bookmakers like the least; that is, a keen, carefully controlled approach to make a book against the bookmakers."

It would be impossible to deal with all forms of multiple betting here, though in future issues of PPM we will be going into detail on other plays. Most professionals who bet in this way have one of two approaches:

1. To show an equal percentage of profit on whichever of their selected horses should win, or
2. Invest in such a way as to show a profit on their main choice and save their stakes, or make a small profit on the remaining chances.

For the small-bet punters, this form of betting needs a careful selection of races. Patience is the key word. You must do the form thoroughly and never bet unless you are certain you have trimmed down the chances to the horses you have chosen. If your judgement is correct, you'll never suffer a horrendous losing run as a multiple bettor.

You can actually kick off the battle with a smallish bank. A punter some time back reports that he started with a \$100 bank and decided to outlay 10 per cent of it on each bettable race, and keep all his profits working for him. He began making a book against the bookmaker with only \$10 at his disposal.

As his bank grew, so did his investment. When his capital reached \$300, the investment per race rose to \$30. Anyone can operate in a similar fashion.

If you want to spend only, say, \$20 a race, simply divide the prices into the sum, and not \$100. In the example we've given, you would bet \$6 on the 7/2 chance and \$3 (rounded up from \$2 to enable a profit) on the 9/1 chance, leaving \$11 to go on the 3/1 chance.

Even betting such a small sum, you stand to make \$24 profit if your main choice wins, \$7 if the 7/2 chance gets up and \$10 if the 9/1 chance wins.

Pick out two races a day and try this approach. If your selection skills are up to the task, you will find a winning path stretching ahead of you. Be sure to make adjustments if one of your selections is a late scratching.

By Philip Roy

PRACTICAL PUNTING - MARCH 1999