The late Philip Alexander was regarded as one of Britain's leading systems and staking experts. PPM has acquired the rights to the many articles he wrote in his lifetime and they will form the basis for this regular column, The Alexander Files.

The plan I am looking at this month is called The Point Per Bet Plan and, as the name implies, the object of this ever popular method is to achieve a minimum of one point profit for every bet made, by staking progressively in series until this target has been reached.

The rules are plain enough to follow, but they necessitate the strict maintenance of records under four headings:

1. AMOUNT STAKED
2. RESULT
3. SERIES PROFIT OR LOSS
4. THEORETICAL DEFICIT

Explanation of these points is as follows:

The first bet is one point (a point can be any sum you wish), and subsequent increases are always of a similar amount.

If the first bet is a winner, and it achieves the object of producing one point profit, then a fresh series of bets is begun immediately. What this means is that if fractions of above a half are considered as being equivalent to the nearest whole number, then the price of the winner must be in excess of 2 to 1 ON.

But if the selection wins at less than the stipulated odds, then it is deemed to be equal to NO profit at all, and the figure one is simply entered in the Theoretical Deficit column.

Should the selection lose, then the ploy is that the loss of ONE point, plus the target of ONE point be added together, and the Theoretical Deficit then becomes TWO points.

This process is repeated on subsequent days when betting takes place. The individual loss PLUS one point is always added to the last recorded figure in the column devoted to the Theoretical Deficit.

An immediate return to one point staking takes place if a profit is shown on any bet which is found to be sufficient to clear the TD shown on the previous line. Should this not be so, then the individual profit LESS one point is subtracted from the TD, and a new total is entered on the line below.

Those are the basic rules and with a certain amount of practice they will become exceptionally easy to operate.

Never should a stake be allowed that is more than one point in excess of the amount shown in the TD column. This must always be remembered because it is vital to the overall working of the plan.

Additionally, it is strongly recommended that the plan be put to use only where the method of selection produces winners at an average starting price in excess of 2/1 against.

Some 30 years ago, I came across another version of the plan which I have seen produce some devastating results on occasions. It appeared in the old Sporting Life Guide, a weekly UK newspaper which seldom gave advice of this nature tongue in cheek.

The rules were identical to those of the original One Point Per Bet Plan with just one alteration. Rule One should read: First bet is I point, and subsequent increases are always of 2 points.

Since then, the idea has been encountered on several occasions. Usually, it has been used to illustrate some particularly awkward sequence where the One Point Per Bet Plan was in heavy weather of things.

Of course, the amended version did the trick, but does it really work so smoothly?

Literally hundreds of staking arrangements were considered before the task of compiling this article was undertaken. The majority had one radical fault above all others. Stakes increased too steeply after a loser or losing bets had been experienced.

This 2 point variation of the One Point Per Bet Plan proved no exception. Increases of this amount may not seem to be asking too much but remember the long losing sequence, and think of the bank necessary.

Just so long as you are disciplined enough to stick exactly to the plan outlined, theory will tell you that with adequate reserves everything SHOULD be all right.

But then, shouldn't everything be quite fine, if only we all had enough money? Unhappily, there are reservations and they simply must not be neglected.

Without going into too much detail, I have before me a particularly nasty sequence of first favourite results which show that from 25 consecutive selections only five winners emerged.

Needless to say, there was a levels takes deficit and the next stake to be used was fairly high.

Care must always be exercised to ensure that when a sizeable losing run arrives it should not be allowed to drain the seemingly adequate resources before a winner arrives on the scene.

The bank must be large enough to withstand the considerable discomfort of a barren patch.

With Philip Alexander

PRACTICAL PUNTING - NOVEMBER 2003