Betting On Horse Racing ~ Sensible Money Management

In a previous article I jokingly suggested I had put all my assets – my savings, the deeds to the farm, my kids’ Trust fund, and the proceeds from selling one of my kidneys – on a horse at Newbury. I showed this was potentially financial suicide, and an extreme example of bad money management.

I wrote that more often than not a losing punter will find himself saddled with a bunch of bad betting habits. It is these bad habits that have gotten him, and his betting bank, to where his is now – the Poor House.

To arrive at a change in fortune, and to start making consistent profits, the losing punter has to be prepared to make changes to the way in which he bets. In the previous article we talked about the cornerstone supporting my own personal betting strategy, and that is finding value in every bet you make.

You will only ever make a profit from betting if you consistently back horses at prices too high when compared to their actual chance of winning. This is exactly how bookmakers have made their money for generations – they consistently lay horses at prices too low compared to the actual chance of the horse winning. When punters continue to take these low prices day-in and day-out, it will only ever be the bookmakers who come out with a profit in the long run.

The second ‘bad habit’ I want to examine is the subject of inappropriate staking. What do I mean by staking that is not appropriate? Well, what I am driving at is placing bets that are generally too large in proportion to the size of your betting bank.

Before I expand upon this, the concept of a betting bank is a side-issue in itself. You categorically MUST have a sum of money put aside for the sole purpose of betting. It scares me rigid when I hear of people simply ‘dipping’ into their current account to place a bet using their debit card.

If you do not have a separate account for your betting activities, you cannot keep records, and you will not be able to answer that simple question, “Am I making a profit, or a loss?”

It goes without saying, that betting involves a degree of risk, and you should never bet with money you cannot afford to lose.

Getting back to inappropriate staking, the idea of lumping all your money on one horse is an extreme example of over-staking. Of course, on the one occasion this strategy may pay off. We had friends round a few nights ago to play one of those Race Night DVDs. I was comfortably in front by studying the form before each race, and placing considered bets at what I considered to be value prices. As you might imagine, I had a suitably smug expression on my face as we came to the last race, and our friends were complaining I enjoyed a ‘professional advantage’.

My wife then decided to put every penny she had left on an 8/1 chance. The race turned out to be the ‘lucky last’ for my wife, and she walked away with the whole bank!

But seriously, continue with these tactics, and it will not be long before you lose everything.

Personally, I would never consider starting any betting campaign with a bankroll of less than 100 points. In other words, I will divide my bank by 100 to arrive at my unit stake. You can see that I will only ever be putting 1% of my bank at risk when I place a bet.

This is a very generalised approach, and you might argue that a little more consideration should be given to a punter’s typical strike rate. True, if someone has a strike rate of 50% then it is statistically highly unlikely that he will suffer a run of 100 losers to go bust. So, in this case you might be justified in operating a smaller bank. Bear in mind that when flipping a coin, it is by no means unusual to see 6 or 7 ‘heads’ in succession, and losing runs in double figures do occur.