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My staking plan for horse racing

There is not a week goes past that I am not asked via e-mail what staking plan I use.

So, okay, it's no State secret - I use a very, very cautious staking approach with my own betting. Why? Because I have no confidence in the selections I use? No. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I use a cautious ultra conservative approach because I just hate the pressure that comes with a long run of outs. Does this mean that I never run in to that long run of outs? No - it has happened many times over the last few years but I also withdraw funds from my account on a regular basis KNOWING that the exceptionally long run of outs MUST occur to the point of extinguishing a bank. MUST? Absolutely - that's the very nature of the thing.

At the end of the day, I couldn't give a "rats" about which horses win and lose, which ones are "champions", which ones are being "set for the big one in November", which "jockeys are hot", which trainers "get the best out of their charges" or any of the other cliches that fill page after page of racing magazines. It is absolutely irrelevant to me and gives new depth and meaning to the phrase "couldn't care less".

I don't care if I back them for a win or a place and YES, I do back horses for a place if they are my selection and running at long odds because all I am trying to do is win one third of one percent per bet I make - WIN or PLACE or LOSE.

Yes - a losing bet for me is still a potential one third of one per cent gain. So if, for example, I make 21 bets I am trying to increase my bank by 7%. Your bank going to give you 7% over the next few days on your savings?

It's precisely why I couldn't give a toss if they win or lose - or win at big odds or smaller odds, or run a place at big odds, the result to me is ABSOLUTELY constant. I don't need 25/1 winners to make me feel a hero! To me the hero bit is being able to withstand a long run of outs without losing the lot or getting agitated about it. Remaining calm is the ultimate prize.

If I was using an ultra ultra ULTRA conservative approach of trying to win .1 of 1% of my bank per bet, I would expect to increase my bank by 2.1% from the same 21 bets. Of course, it never works out EXACTLY that way because of small targets and fluctuating dividends but I'm sure you get the picture.

Now that doesn't sound too hard - but to me it is. I spend a lot of effort during the afternoons deciding, firstly, win or place and then trying to make the right decision in fixed bet or tote odds or Betfair odds BEFORE I decide where to bet. Complicated? No, not really - just time demanding.......and you get nothing from no effort.

I also have a couple of hard and fast UNBREAKABLE rules:

Unbreakable Rule 1: I NEVER bet on anything I can't either get $2.50 a win for or $2.50 a place for. Absolutely unbreakable rule. Why? Because once you start doing a "carry over losses" AND a continuing escalating "target amount" staking approach, if you bet below these price levels the escalation in the amount required gets way too big too damned fast and the pressure becomes immense. Remember the Golden Rule: E = R = L = P (Excitement=risk=losing=pressure).
Yes, I know, it's moved on since the original E=R=L!!!

If I can't get that magic $2.50? Who cares? It's only another race and I'm happy as Larry to watch it win from the sidelines. Even happier when they lose.

Unbreakable Rule 2:
It DOES matter if I have other things to do (family, friends, household chores). If I can't fit the betting in to my schedule I don't care. Other things are way more important than being there for every bet and EVERY race and at the end of the day (and I have proven it to myself quite a few times over the years) what I may lose on the swings I pick up on the roundabouts.

Here's the truth of it: At the moment I am taking a dear long term friend up to our local hospital on an almost daily basis for his chemo and radiation and pain management cancer treatment and every day I sit in the waiting area in the Cancer Clinic and look around at the many many people gathered there for the same purpose. Let me make this observation: not ONE of them is worried if they're lotto numbers come up this week. Not one. There are far more important things than money.

I know. A hackneyed phrase but recently rammed home to me at one million miles an hour. If you think money will solve your life problems you are on the wrong tram.

Now the only way I can physically control the betting activity I engage in is via an Excel spread sheet with built in functions in the cells that make it possible to sail through the afternoon without a calculator. pens, reams of paper etc etc etc. - which is how I started out many many years ago using a system I bought called the Royal Routine System which relied on tipsters and carry over targets and heaven only knows what. This was all done on A3 graph paper that I got and a calculator etc etc. - gosh, when I look back on that. No wonder my first wife thought I was crazy. Perhaps she was right.

I strongly believe you need to be able to do things in Excel or the free OpenOffice equivalent. There is no other real way to do it.

I know. A lot of people freak out when they see "Excel spread sheets" mentioned but it really isn't that hard once you get the hang of it. All it takes is time to understand what you are trying to achieve and the mathematics of it all. You don't want to understand mathematics? Great. Stop betting immediately because you are bound to lose and become one of the 97% that do. No, better still. keep betting with no maths to back you up so I can put your money in to my account.

So what are the maths.

My spreadsheet works like this. (I have re-set everything to a bank of $1000 and going back only a week to make it easy to follow)


So how does it all fit together? Well A to F columns are obviously just for the horse data etc - Date, Venue, Race, Time, number, horse's name.

Column G is for the dividend (approximately if you are betting on a TAB and the final div is not known or if you are fixed odds betting you obviously know what it is). If the selection is hovering around that magic $2.50 mark on the tote, you have to wait for as long as possible before committing. What if it falls below $2.50? Can't help it - you're committed. That's just the way of it.

Column H is the calculation column for one third of a percent of the bank from previous line "bank" total PLUS the previous one third of one percent amount from the previous bet UNLESS the previous bet was a winning bet. This is indicated by "Won" in the result column - which you also use if the bet was a place bet that was successful. "Won" means the bet won - not that the horse won necessarily. That then negates the adding on of the previous unsuccessful bet targeted amount. Clear as mud? Well read it again - and again and again if necessary!

Column I is the carry over amount of the ACTUAL previous bet unless ,again, negated by the "Won" in the previous bet M column

Column J is the full target amount in total which includes the .333% target amount (and any previous unfulfilled) and any previous carry over losing bets amounts

Column K is the EXACT bet amount at the dividend amount inserted necessary to get all amounts required covered

Column L rounds it up to the next whole dollar which becomes the exact amount of the bet (note - always round up - never down - that way if the div is lower than expected you have a half way decent chance of finishing where you should have (the advantage of fixed odds betting)

Column M signifies if a winning bet - leave blank if a losing bet

Column N is the exact dividend received for any winning bet

Column O is the progressive bank upon which the percentages in Column H are based.

You may notice in the sheet demo above that some numbers are in blue and most in black. The blue numbers are the method I use to indicate a place bet and not a win bet. (Just saves folk writing and asking!)

So how's that? Clear as mud? Well it really is quite simple and soundly based. Column H's formula can be varied to suit whatever your target amount is (and comfort level). If you only wanted to chase .1 of 1%, your divisor here would be 1000 not 333 which we use for one third of one percent or 250 if you wanted to chase one quarter of one percent. How do you write the formula? It would take me pages and pages to set it out chapter and verse.

A good starting point for those completely unfamiliar with spread sheet calculations would be to go to the Library (yes, they still have those!) or bookstore (yes, they still have those!) and Excel For Dummies and start playing around - it was the only way I could get my head around it. And it will be a valuable skill for you in the future. Whether you want to acknowledge it or not, the world runs on spreadsheets of one type or another and will continue to do so.

Failing that, if you can't be bothered setting up your own spreadsheet, I'll send you mine with the formula sections locked for 524 bets and all you have to do is enter the info in columns A to G and M and N where necessary over the top of mine and it will do the "stuff" for you - outlining what your bet level needs to be for each selection according to price and whatever your starting bank happens to be. I'll also send you the password to unlock the spreadsheet if you want to play with formulas to suit your own aspirations and a hard copy of the formulae for each column that makes it work.

Cost? $14.95

Click on the buy now button here and I'll happily send it all to you by e- mail.


Spreadsheets for use with Excel 1997-2003 and 2007&2010 are included and, yes, they do work in the free OpenOffice version of Excel.

: Unfortunately I do not have unlimited hours to run some sort of How To Use Excel Via Email Courses - if you don't have a basic understanding of how to use Excel as far as adding data and copying and pasting cells and their formula and the like this is probably not for you unless you are prepared to put in the learning effort via a book like Excel For Dummies. As explained above, my afternoons are already full to overflowing and I simply don't have the time to step every new Excel learner through the process - that's what TAFE colleges do :-)

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