Recently, some of the P.P.M. writers got together for a 'talk-fest' to try to pinpoint some fresh betting ideas. The marble rolled out for me to compile an article based on our discussions, which mainly centred on drawing up a few staking plans for the New Year.

We have talked many times before about the importance of 'money management' in your betting. It cannot be emphasised strongly enough. And controlling your money, and setting goals, really isn't that difficult.

'Ah, but I'm only a small punter, it's not worth me keeping records and setting goals', I can hear you saying. But you're wrong. If one strong point emerged from our talks it was that even a small punter has the chance, over a period of a few years, to build up an enormous betting bank.

Your next question, no doubt laced with scepticism, is how the heck do you do it? Well, let's look at how you could fare if you aimed at winning just 6 per cent, on a \$100 bank, each meeting. That means, \$6 each meeting. Think you can do it? Let's assume you can.

I'll assume that you bet one meeting a week. Your \$100, after four weeks, would stand at \$124. Your next four week period sees you aimed for a 6 per cent return on a \$124 bank. Achieving this your bank would then be standing at \$153 (rounded off).

By the end of 52 weeks, your bank would have risen to \$1608 (made up of 13 four-week periods). If we multiply that bank 13 times every year for three years, we see that eventually you will have a bank of \$409,600! All from a \$100 starting bank.

Now, a 6 per cent return on a series of bets is possible. It would probably be the 'human element' which prevented you achieving the aim. But, ask yourself this question: If you bet carefully without excesses could you make \$6 per meeting four times a month? A total of \$24 on your initial \$100 bank.

Some years ago I read an article in which the writer posed another though provoking theory: Working with a \$200 bank, and using six selection approaches, with an objective of a mere 25 cents per \$100 of bank per meeting on flat stakes, how would a punter fare?

On what is obviously a most conservative approach, after the first year your \$200 would be \$864, and then after two years it would be \$3672, after three years it would be \$15,606 and after four years more than \$66,000.

That's a whacking profit of \$66,000+ growing out of an expectancy to win just a tiny 25 cents per \$100 of bank per meeting. Of course, achieving even such modest targets is not as easy as it may seem. Yet some punters do make long-term targets, and they do reach them, or come very close to meeting them.

Conservative target punting demands that you have a certain bank, and that you seek to win a certain amount each week. A target of a half per cent of bank is about as conservative as you can get. If your bank is \$1,000 you would be seeking to win \$5 per meeting/week. Not much, is it?

I know of a semi-professional punter who works along these lines. He has several systems on which he bets, and he runs each one separately, always seeking a half per cent profit on his bank. He is highly successful in his own modest way.

Let's say you had six systems working for you. You have a bank of \$100. Each plan has an expected return of 50 cents a meeting. Over three meetings in a week, you would be seeking a total profit of \$9, or 9 per cent weekly. See how simple it is? You are aiming for big long-term gains by settling for a cautious, small percentage return.

On another tack, and looking now to the level-stake punter, we must address the problem of losing runs. How can any punter determine how badly he is likely to fare throughout the year? Your expected win strike rate is the best guide of all.

What you have to do is draw up an accurate picture of your win strike over a lengthy period. Once you know how many times you are likely to win you can estimate what your longest losing run is likely to be. The following table will give you a guide:

WIN PER CENTWORST OUTS
2028
2523
3018
4013
5010

I would estimate that most punters would struggle to achieve more than a 30 per cent win strike with their selections. Most would be lucky to hit 25 per cent of the time. So when you approach your betting for'93 and you are a punter with a 20 per cent win strike, you should be prepared for at least one run of 28 losers.

They won't occur very often probably once in 200 series. Shorter losing runs will happen frequently, of course. Best then to be prepared, mentally and financially, for what MUST happen. Expect the worst and be ready for it.

You can overcome such losing runs to some extent, if you wish, by betting for the place as well. When the P.P.M. team was discussing the whys and wherefores of betting, we generally agreed that most punters are conservative and prefer throwing on some money for the place as well as the win (witness the continuing popularity of each-way betting).

We came up with three approaches, one of them quite well-known, the other two not so well-known.

APPROACH NO. 1
Of your total investment outlay, bet 25 per cent for the win and 75 per cent for the place. This formula, according to some professionals, is a goldmine, especially for those punters who like to bet value-priced runners, and whose win strike is below-average but who strike quite a lot of placegetters. A 2575 bet on a horse paying \$7 the win and \$1.90 the place would return you \$317.50 (or, for \$1, a return of \$12.70).

APPROACH NO. 2
This is for punters who want to bet up big on the place -big enough to win as much for their place bet as they stand to win on their win bets. Let's assume you bet level stakes of \$20 a win on each selection. You are betting a horse which is paying \$5 a win on the TAB. You are, then, looking at a return of \$100. Now for the place component you want to get the same return. The horse is paying \$1.90 for the place. To achieve a \$100 return, then, you need to bet \$53.

If the horse wins, you get a total return of \$200 for an outlay of \$73. If the horse misses the win slot but is placed, you get \$100 back for your \$73. Another example: You back a longshot. It is paying \$33 a win and \$7 the place. You bet \$20 a win for an expected return of \$660. For the place, you require a bet of \$95 for a \$665 return. If the horse wins ' you get a return of \$1325 for an outlay of \$115. If the horse is placed, you get back \$665 for the \$115.

This plan is recommended for those punters who are very keen on the prospects of their selections. Especially that they will at least run a place at good odds. A pal of mine in Sydney often uses this approach and has made substantial profits from the place component, particularly on the many longshots he backs.

APPROACH NO. 3
This is a far more conservative approach and is based on a series of win bets totalling \$15 (assuming \$1 betting units), with an added 'wild card' place investment introduced as well.

We work in a series of five bets, with a decreasing progression after a loser, but with the introduction of place bets as well after a winner is struck. If you strike a winner at, say, 4/1, you then have place bets on the next two bets (as well as the normal win bet) at \$4 each, the amount to correspond with the price of the winner.

Here's a theoretical example:

 BET 1: \$5 WIN LOSS: \$5 BET 2: \$4 WIN LOSS: \$4 BET 3: \$3 WIN (3/1) WIN: \$9 BET 4: \$2 WIN LOSS: \$2 \$3 PLACE WIN: \$3 BET 5: \$1 WIN LOSS: \$1 \$3 PLACE WIN: \$3 Total Bets: \$21. Total return: \$24.
Now, had you stuck to the win bets only, you would have outlaid \$15 for a \$12 return, a loss of \$3. By introducing the safety component of the place bets you turned the loss around, with an extra \$6 investment, into a \$3 profit.

This is an ideal staking approach for those punters who are always complaining that their 'best bets' get knocked off and run 2nd and 3rd. Let's say you struck a winner with your first bet at, say, 6/1 but then had four placegetters in a row at the same price. Your series of bets would look like this:

 BET 1: \$5 WIN WIN: \$30 BET 2: \$4 WIN LOSS: \$4 \$6 PLACE WIN: \$9 BET3: \$3 WIN LOSS: \$3 \$6 PLACE WIN: \$9 BET 4: \$2 WIN LOSS: \$2 BET 5: \$1 WIN LOSS: \$1 Total Bets: \$27. Total Return: \$65. Profit: \$38.
This enormous profit has been achieved with bets on just one winner and two placegetters from five selections. You can run each series of five bets separately or 'carryover' any place components.

For example, if your series of five bets ended with a winner at, say, 5/1, you could then start a new series which contains the two \$5 place bets triggered by the 5/1 winner in the previous series. If you don't fancy this approach, you could simply start an entirely new series.

The beauty of this idea is that financially it is pretty 'cheap' to run and it prevents you from madly chasing losses. The worst that can happen in a series of five bets is that you lose \$15 (that is, you miss out on a winner). Once a winner is struck, the likelihood is that it will be followed by a placegetter, so that's where the place component comes in.

Betting win only, there is nothing more frustrating than getting a nice winner and then being hit with good things that just get rolled in photo-finishes! This plan enables you to introduce a healthy place bet which compensates for such near-misses.

NEXT ISSUE: I'll be talking more about wise money management, and presenting a few more plans nutted out by the P.P.M. team.