It's been said that if your selections show a profit on a flat-bet investment, then you can do even better with the right betting method.

First, let's make a few general statements about what progressive play can do, and what it cannot do.

No progression can be totally relied on to show a profit from a series of bets on horses that would have resulted in a heavy loss if the wagering on them had been flat that is, a fixed amount on each.

Basically, losing flat-bet play can be converted into profit through a progression only by wagering impossibly large amounts on the ultimate winner or winners, and that is always fraught with the gravest danger.

Almost any reasonable plan of progression will show a profit when applied to horses which would have shown only a nominal or small loss if bet in the same flat amount. This, of course, results from having the larger amounts on the successful horses.

When deciding on progression betting, it's always best to examine the background history of the selections on which you bet. A selection system which I recommend is simple and I have worked a staking plan on it with marked success.

The mechanical test for selection was to insist that:

  1. To be eligible for play, a horse must have won at least one-third of its starts (33 per cent).
  2. A horse must have run in the money in at least one-half (50 per cent) of its starts.

The longest streak of losers experienced with this plan was NINE. Knowing that to be the case, it was easy to form a reasonable plan of progression.

The progression I like, and the one I have used with success, involves making a series of flat bets rather than single ones, and increasing the amount of the wagers only when and if the whole operation runs into a net loss at the end of any single series.

The exact mechanism of play is outlined as follows:

  1. A betting unit is decided upon according to the betting bank (it can be 1, 2, 5, 10 or 20 dollars, or whatever you wish) and you then operate for a series of 10 bets.
  2. If, after the tenth bet, a net loss on the series has been suffered, then the wager for the next series of 10 bets is increased by the size of the first unit.
  3. If, after the tenth bet of the second series of plays, a net loss from the betting of all plays has been experienced, then the amount of each of the plays in the third series of 10 bets is advanced by another unit, and so on.

    Thus, if the betting unit is set at $2, the first series of 10 bets will be $2 each. If the series results in a loss, the second series of 10 plays will call for a bet of $4 per horse; if that series also loses, the third series of 10 will demand a wager of $6 per horse. While a loss continues, the sum to be invested would increase by $2 for each series.
  4. When a profit is gained on the entire transaction, the punter reverts to his original stake - in this case $2.
  5. If a profit is gained on a single series, but is not sufficient to regain all past losses, the punter remains on that series for a further 10 bets, after which he again balances his accounts to find whether he is to make a further progression or return to his original investment.

    For example, the punter may be losing $26 and be in his third series of 10 ($6 bets). At the end of the 10 investments he is showing a profit of $18 on the series but, as he would still be losing $8 on the entire investment, he would then commence a further series of 10 plays, still with a $6 unit.
  6. Always complete a series before making any change in the betting unit.

If a player desires to progress faster than by the 10-bet series plan, he can do so by reducing the number in each series of bets to five.

Remember, too, that no progression occurs so long as the whole operation is on a profit basis at the end of any series of 10 bets (or 5, according to which number you intend to operate).

Also, when any series of bets at any level puts the whole operation on a profit basis at the end of that series, the wagering goes back to the original single betting unit for the next series of plays.

As with all methods of staking, GOOD HORSES are essential. Be certain you have a sound method of selection and this system will show profit. The progression is not steep, and the punter also knows exactly how much he is up for each day he operates. This is important.

Many selectors have both winning and losing streaks and the series (5 or 10) looks after both.

The best selections to use in conjunction with this plan of betting are those which either produce a high percentage of winners, irrespective of price, or enjoy a good winning average and occasionally bring home a winner or two at a fair price.

This article is an extract from the memoirs of legendary punter Robert Saunders Dowst.

By Robert Saunders Dowst