No matter how many winners we come up with, the perennial problem remains-how do we bet on them so we make a profit? Too many punters just don't have the answer.

Betting properly is something that eludes punters who possess little patience. To get an orderly succession of profits, you must have an orderly approach to staking. In other words, money management.

Of course, level stakes betting is the accepted approach. But it can be a frightening thing. Look at it this way: You have 50 bets at \$1 a time for \$50. To make just \$1 profit you have to back winners who are going to return you \$51. Let's say you struck 20 per cent winners (a good strike rate, really). That would be 10 winners from your 50 bets. To just break even, these winners are going to need to average out at 4-1 each. Finding 10 winners each at 4-1 is a tough assignment.

So we switch then to progressive betting. It has its critics, but it can be useful. The thing with this form of staking is that you can be losing a lot but recover all of it with a strike on a fairly short-priced horse. That's if you are using the correct staking method.

Let's have a look at a few. This first one has been around for some time and I don't wonder, because it's not bad at all. You bet in the following stakes: 2, 4, 6, 8, 11, 15, 20, 27, 36, 48, 64, 86. Let's assume you strike six losers in a row. You would be losing \$46 and your next bet would be \$20. A winner at 5-2 would give you a gross return of \$70 and you would be a few dollars ahead.

Compare this with a level stakes approach. Averaging out that \$46 on the first six bets, you would have been betting in level stakes of \$7.50 each bet. So your 7th bet would have been \$7.50 on that 5-2 winner for a gross return of \$26.25. Your total outlay is now \$53.50 and your return \$26.25. You are still \$27.25 behind!

Here's another staking method worth your close consideration. It goes like this: 1, 1, 3, 3, 7, 7, 14, 14, 27, 27, 47, 47, 75. It is a terrific method for playing string bets. Let's look at that theoretical string of six losers. You would have outlaid \$22 and your next bet would be \$14. A winner at 6-4 would give you a gross return of \$35, leaving you only a dollar behind. A winner at, say, 3-1 would give you a gross return of \$56, putting you \$20 ahead.

After striking a winner, it's a sensible thing with most progressive staking methods to drop back the size of the win. So if you were at the \$14 first level and struck a 2-1 winner, you would revert back two moves to the first \$7 level. If you had got up to the \$47 first level and struck a 3-1 winner you would go back to the \$14 second level.

Another interesting staking approach, and a most professional one, goes like this: 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9. A winner at any particular point at 3-1 will produce a profit for you.

Let's test it. You go nine losers in a row (heaven forbid) and reach the final \$9 bet. You have lost \$26 so far and your \$9 bet takes your complete outlay to \$35. You strike that wonderful 3-1 winner. Your return is 9 x 3 = 27, plus your stake of nine, equalling a total return of \$36, leaving you a dollar in front!

If you wanted to continue the betting sequence you would proceed, after nine, to 12,16 and then 21.

Then we come to column-progression play. This is a set-play attack. The rules are easy to follow. When the last bet in a column is lost, the punter goes to the first bet in the next column. The capital needed for the method I am talking about is 426 units (a unit can be any amount of money you like from 50c up). The plan can go 35 losers in a row, and still win or regain some losses with the 36th bet. Here is the progression table:

METHOD 3
23610
24712
35814
361017
471220
581424
6101729
7112034
8142440

The regression factor goes like this (to be followed after a winner is struck):

WINNER'S PRICEGO BACK
Evens1 step
6-42 steps
2-1 3 steps
3-1 5 steps
4-18 steps
5-1 11 steps
6-1+15 steps

Each progression column is stronger than the previous one. You would need to operate this method on a sound selection basis. A series ends, by the way, whenever you return to the opening bet in any one of the columns. Alternatively, you can end a series when you are showing a profit and start all over again.

Test: You strike 8 losers in a row. That brings you to an \$8 bet in the first column. Your total outlay on all nine bets is \$40, so you will need a winner at more than 3-1 to break square. Let's say you got one at 2-1. You get back a gross \$24, leaving you still \$16 behind. Because of the 2-1 winner, you go back three steps to a bet of \$5 next time out. If you happened to strike a winner at 3-1 you'd get back \$20, and you'd just about be all square.

By Nick Glover

PRACTICAL PUNTING - JUNE 1988