More than 10 years ago I wrote an article in PPM called The Profit Wall. It was all about how much a strike rate you need with your selections and at what prices to emerge with a decent profit.

The Betting Guide Profit Chart is reproduced at the bottom of this article. It's easy to follow and will enable you to quickly see where you stand with your betting.

The letters we receive here at PPM ask much the same questions as were raised 10 and 20 years ago.

How much can I make if I pick 25 per cent winners? Can I make money betting even money favourites? If I have a strike rate of 35 per cent how much money will I make if my winners average 3/1?

The profit /loss chart spells it all quite clearly. At least it saves you diving for the calculator. From my experience, the average punter will be lucky to average a 26 per cent win strike.

If you exceed this, you can consider yourself a better than average handicapper. But what do those 26 winners in every 100 races mean to your pocket?

This, of course, depends on what prices your winners are paying.

The chart tells us that you will need to average 7/2 to make a profit. If you have 100 bets at \$4 each you have outlaid \$400.

A total of 26 winners returning 7/2 each would return you (at \$4 win each) \$468, a profit of \$68. On turnover at the level stakes that is a profit of 17 per cent ... not bad at all.

The big riddle, however, is whether you can nab 26 winners averaging 7 / 2 in every 100 bets.

It's a tough call. Ask any punter. Let's say you could manage only 3 / 1. Now you are making only \$16 or 4 per cent, and anything below 3 / 1 will see you in the loss zone.

A 20 per cent win strike at 3 / 1 would see you losing \$80. You can see from these figures how tough the game can be.

But it's possible to win. But I would say don't expect too much beyond 10 per cent on turnover at level stakes. If you want to exceed that you are going to have to be a bit creative in your staking.

To make 10 per cent profit with a win strike of 20 per cent (reasonably gettable) you will need to average winners at 9 / 2.

Twenty winners at 9 / 2 at \$4 each returns you \$440 on your \$400 outlay.

It's a tough way to make forty bucks, right?

The shorter the prices of your winners, the more of a winning strike rate is required. Example: The average price of your winners is 2 / 1 and you usually get a 32 per cent strike rate.

What's the outcome? Well, in 100 bets you'll be losing a small percentage of your total output.

Assuming you had \$50 on each selection, that's an outlay of \$5,000. Your return on 32 winners at 2 / 1 would be \$4,800, giving you a loss of \$200, or 4 per cent. What's needed in this situation is that boost your win strike rate, or the average price of your winners. Tough on both counts!

If you lift your strike rate to 35 per cent at 2 / 1, you could edge into profit. Your \$5,000 would return a profit of \$250 (35 winning bets at 2/1 x \$50 each).

This is a profit on turnover of 5 per cent.

The longer the price of your winners, the lower the win strike required to make a profit, and that's a real problem!

Naturally, it's very hard to achieve say a 35 per cent win strike with winners averaging, say, 8 / 1! Even securing a 15 per cent win strike for winners at 8 / 1 is a very hard task indeed.

But at least you should always acquaint yourself with the challenge that faces you as a punter. Like a good boy scout, BE PREPARED.

Know thine enemy.

There can be no fool's paradise once you know the level of winners you need to attain to stay in the profit race.

If you don't know what your strike rate is, then you have an immediate problem.

Why aren't you keeping a close watch on how many winners you pick?

And what about their odds? A sloppy punter keeps sloppy records and bets sloppily, believe me. If you fit this picture, then take a deep breath and start again. Records need to be kept on a strict daily basis. Start now.

If you're a computer man, get a spreadsheet going. Maintain it day by day. If you're a pen and ink man, get a notebook and start writing.

Set yourself goals. Strive for a good strike rate at the right odds. Average out the price of your bets and you'll soon have an idea of what sort of strike rate you are chasing.

Remember: The lower your strike rate the higher odds your winners need to be starting at in order for you to emerge with a profit over the long term.

YOUR BETTING GUIDE PROFITI/LOSS CHART
100 RACES AT \$4 WIN BETS
%2/1 5/23/17/24/19/25/16/17/18/1
10%-280-260-240-220-200-180 -160-120-80-40
15%-220-190-160-130-100-70 -40+20+80+140
20%-160-120-80-40even+40 +80 +160+240+320
23%-124-78-32+14+60+106+152+244+366+428
26%-88-36+16+68+120+172 +224+328+432+536
29%-52+6+64+122+180+238 +296+412+528+644
32%-16+48+112+176+240+304 +368+496+624+752
35%+20+90+160+230+300+370 +440+580+720+860
41%+92+174+256+338+420+502 +584 +748+912+1076
44%+128+216+304+392+480+568 +656+832+1008+1184
47%+164+258+352+446+540+634 +728+916+1104+1292
50% +200+300+400+500+600+700 +800+1000+1200+140
By Ted Davies

PRACTICAL PUNTING - JUNE 2004