This article attempts to show the use of the point to replace the dollar concept in your betting strategy. We consider some very basic but serious reflections on betting technique, then ask why we usually establish our turnover return aims so low.

We suggest ways of identifying and designating 'points', rather than 'dollars', so we can regard our betting progress from a professional, unbiased standpoint.

When, especially in NSW, the nonsense that exists now about broadcasting prices started up, there were desperate attempts to try to get around the "law" that those with vested interests had established. They talked about the bookies' betting "compared with the TAB" and so on, but it was all gobbledegook.

Later, and still today, we hear such a lot talked about points. Half a point longer, they say; so-and-so has firmed half a point; Joe-blow has blown a point and a half ... So what?

Well, the thing is that points are single units. A point is a whole unit, or ONE. There's nothing to be afraid of if you meet a 'point' on a dark night. It is merely a word for one unit, maybe one dollar, one of whatever you bet in. It
could be ten dollars, fifty dollars, whatever. A few examples may help:

If a horse drifts from 5 / 1 to 6 / 1 it has blown out by a point. If it were to drift again from 6 / 1 to 13 / 2, then it has drifted another half point.

Get the drift? Not hard. If you back it for one unit at 6 / 1, and it wins, you get six times your betting unit profit. Six points.

Firm from 6/4 to evens and half a point is shaved off.

So what's the point of it all? Is it worth an article in this magazine? I have come to the conclusion that yes, it is. The thing is, if you can think in terms of points, you may be able to make your betting more professional and perhaps get a little bit closer to becoming a steady winner.

Let's say that you start out with a bank of 100 units. You are hoping to make another 100 during the year. Those who claim to understand these things say that you ought to be happy with 10 per cent, that is ten per cent on turnover. You might turn that 100 units over ten times during the course of a year's investment. Now before you faint, let me say that this is no less than once every five weeks or so. Now you can faint!

Say you started with 100, turned it over ten times, and ended up with 200. Now that is 100 per cent so far as points are concerned, and 10 per cent on your turnover. You bet 1000 during the year, made 100, started with 100. You bet 1000 units, 1000 points if your basic bet was \$1. You made 100 per cent on your starting bank and 10 per cent on turnover.

Everybody's happy with that.

Except that there's a lot of risk associated with a profit of 10 per cent on turnover.

However you look at it, the bank has doubled for the year. That part is undeniable. And at the end of the year that's great.

But let's be a little bit more hopeful. If you make one point for every three you bet, you make 33 per cent on your turnover. Bet that three times in a year and you double your original bank - and here is where it gets more interesting, I think.

Manage 7/1 instead of the 6/1 in the example above, and you are one point further along the trail towards that 100 profit for the year. Sure, it has to be divided by three to talk turnover, but a point is a point. Can you see what I am getting at here? Think of it as a dollar earned and it seems to lose its edge because you don't value a dollar highly enough, but if it is a POINT, the whole investment concept takes over from mere dollars and cents.

If you get up on Monday morning and see your bank standing two points higher than it was on Friday, there is a kind of professional satisfaction. The weekend was worth it. Call it \$2 and you probably won't want to face your job. What was the point?

I suspect that it could be easier for some punters to keep an accurate betting record if they think in something outside paper money. Call your bank of \$100 a hundred points, or ten points if you bet in tens, and it becomes easier because it is different. You are not locked into dollars and cents.

You are now dealing with mathematical investment policy rather than bits of paper with dollar signs on them, or worse still, funny little round coins that seem to mean so little these days.

I suggest that you identify your POINTS as units of basic bets, so that if your basic bet is \$10, then that is one point. Ten bucks is one point to you. If your bank is \$1,000, your points available are 100. It's just a way off ridding yourself from the strain of regarding the bank as simple dollars and cents.

When you are travelling, you soon learn to adapt to the foreign currencies. Your dollar is so many baht, or so many yen, or such a part of a pound. Do it in decimals and it's easy. And what is the basis of a decimal? Yes, the point.

I do not believe it is denying reality to arrange your betting like this. I feel that it is just the reverse.

Now we are going to take a few basic examples of the 'point' idea to theoretically work it through.

Let us say that someone decides he would like to make a fortune on the races. Peter, we will call him, establishes a bank of \$5,000 and intends to try to build it up to \$10,000 by the end of year one and \$80,000 in four years. He may be more of an optimist than even I am, but he has isolated a sum he can afford to lose and hopes, by turning it over every four months, to double his bank each year. He subscribes to PPM and thereby gives himself a chance.

So why 10 per cent on turnover? Why not 33? After all, Peter is trying to do everything right. As we have seen above, to get 100 per cent profit on 100 units with a turnover of 10 per cent profit means he'd have to bet the whole bank virtually every month.

Peter expects to turn over his bank three times per year. Once per four months. That's more reasonable and more in line with the return for the risk. His lowest betting unit will be \$50, so that will represent one point for him. The hundred units will mean a hundred basic bets over 121 or so days, a little under one a day. Probably it will mean, in fact, two or three per day each major raceday. So he will turn the bank of 100 points over in four months, three times in a year, about 300 bets at a point each, looking for 100 points profit.

Peter will seek value to outsmart his opposition. He will think in points rewards. That horse backed at 6/1, after 5/1 was the call or the TAB opener, represents 20 per cent extra profit, or another \$50. A reward of another point on the way to the hundred for the year.

All in all, that will mean a return profit of six points, and 16.6 per cent of whole returns. So that extra point can be seen from various angles: as a 20 per cent increase on what was on offer, or as 16.6 per cent of the whole returned profit including the extra point. The one point is easier to see in that light than as a simple fifty-dollar note.

It means a more professional approach to the whole business of making money on the horses.

In the highlighted example we can see a bank of \$5,000 and how it might be arranged into 'points'. I have taken it in simple stages. Bank  \$5,000 Betting units  \$50 One point  \$50 Bank 100 pts Level stake bet 1 pt Exotic bet maximum  1/2 pt Expected turnover p.a.  300 pts Expected profit on turnover 100 pts Estimated period for full turnover of bank 4 months Expected profit on bank 100%.  This tends to take away the tension and the concentration on mere money. Sure, it is money, nobody's denying that, and nobody would deny its importance, but you are working to a pattern where an increase in points held is the vital factor.

My one further suggestion would be to adopt a staking plan very popular amongst PPM readers, and used by Make More Money fans; that of increasing your bet by one unit every time a winning DAY is experienced.

By The Optimist

PRACTICAL PUNTING - JANUARY 1998