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Basic Betting Approaches


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Basic Betting Approaches

Let's get into how to get more money (profit) out of a series of horse bets.

Once your horse handicapping has reached the point of proficiency that assures some profits - in horse race betting, money and betting management becomes all important.

In fact, that's really what separates the "pro" from the "dabbler" - a seriousness and savvy about horse race betting that translates into increased profits. There are a lot of good handicappers, but there are few professional bettors.

At the most basic level,  there are only 3 approaches to betting horse racing;

1. Raise bets up when you win
2. Raise bets up when you lose
3. Keep bets at the same level

The latter is just good old-fashioned "flat" betting. 

If a player feels comfortable with $20.00 bets but not $30.00 bets - he'll fall into a groove of pretty much always betting $15 to $25.  And that's okay.  As we've said many times, the goals of some players might be just entertainment, or the handicapping challenge - etc..

If, however, your goal for horse racing betting is maximized profits - then the serious player can't just stay on the same flat bet level without regard to ROI percentage, winning race percentage, average payoff prices etc.. This will not allow optimal bankroll growth.

An improved tactic might be to raise flat bet levels by a given percentage on each doubling of the betting bankroll. We've discussed that in the "Professional Horse Betting Now!" e-book and won't get back into it here.

The second listed approach - that of raising bets on losses - is the most potentially dangerous approach. These kinds of " betting progressions" can and have been applied successfully, but they can also easily lead to loss of the betting bankroll.  In a later article, we'll delve into this style of betting a bit.


horse racing betting

The first listed approach - that of raising bets on a win - has by far the greatest potential to increase your betting profits.  That is the method we'll discuss here.

Betting a set percentage of the bankroll accomplishes this and is the most commonly used.  Many of you are no doubt familiar with the Kelly formula: win percentage minus loss percentage divided by return to the dollar. 

For a good many years this money management approach for horse betting was touted in racing circles as being the approach to profit optimization.

The real problem with Kelly is that it escalates bet levels too rapidly while also allowing a relatively short losing streak to decimate or eliminate large profits accrued during a long series of profitable wagers.

Most players who use Kelly use a "fractional Kelly" as a way of ameliorating this problem. It is usually far too radical to use more than 1/2 or even 1/4 Kelly. 

If you do use Kelly - it is essential to take profits on any large "spike" in the bankroll. This will help the above mentioned volatility issue. That way when the inevitable losing streak comes - good profits will have already been withdrawn from the bankroll.

Older handicapping wisdom has said never bet more than 2-5 percent of your bankroll on any one wager - no matter what your perceived advantage. The astute player with a real advantage might push those parameters out a little - but not too much!

Here's a suggested alternative to Kelly.

A "structured flow" horse betting method - raising the bet on wins and lowering it on losses - is still a good and viable way of increasing profits, so how can we approach this in a way that is a bit less radical than the Kelly formula? 

Remember - dealing with streaks - both winning and losing - is all important to our bottom-line

The streaks will come - that is a given. The longer odds your average winner - the longer the potential losing streak. Conversely, it takes only a short winning streak at high odds payoffs to explode a bankroll upwards.

If we use 4 percent of betting bankroll as a benchmark - and given that we will be willing to push the envelope a little bit - let's set  8% (double the 4) as a maximum, and use 2% (half the 4) as a minimum. 

At 16 to 20 percent winning races, we would expect to win 1 in 6 races - more or less.  

What we want to accomplish is to have larger bets on the winners and smaller bets on the losers.  We want to raise our bet after a winner enough so that 6 races later we'll still have at least a slightly larger bet than we had on the last winner - but - that if we go to 7 and 8 or more bets without a winner, we're going to have smaller bets on those than we had on the last winner.

What kind of a horse race betting approach would fit the bill? 

Raise bets 1.5 percent of bankroll on wins - and lower them .25 percent on losses

That's a 6-1 ratio and should fit the 16-20 percent winning races nicely. Of course, you can adjust this to whatever figures you have established in your own race betting.

Here's how it would work in a series of horse race wagers. 

This is an actual series of 5 successive days for Hawthorne issued to our subscribers. 

Let's assume a player started with an $800 bankroll.  His first bet would be .040 x 800 = $32.00.  The wager will be on each horse that qualifies - sometimes one, sometimes two, rarely three horses per race.


bet percent   amt. amt.  pays     net   bankroll    
Sat. 12/1          $800
4 32   x    $768
3.75 29   x   $739
3.5 26 26 $25.20 $275.60  $1,014.6
5 51   x   $963.6
4.75 46 46 $24.40 $469.20  $1,432.8

Sun. 12/2

6.25 90 90 x   $1,252.8
6 75   x   $1,177.8
5.75 68   x   $1,109.8
5.5 61 61 $24.20 $616.1 $1,725.8
7 121   x   $1,604.9
Wed. 12/5          
6.75 108   x   $1496.9
6.5 97   $46.60 $2,133.6 $3,660
8 293 293 x   $3,074
7.75 238   x   $2,836
7.5 213   x   $2,623
Thu. 12/6          
7.25 190   x   $2,433
7 170   x   $2,263
6.75 153 153 x   $1,957
Fri. 12/7          
6.5 127   $35.60   $4,090.6
8 327   x   3,763.6
7.75 292   x   $3,471.6
7.5 260   x   $3,211.6
7.25 233   x   $2,978.6
7 208   $44.20   $7,367.4


Which illustrates just how dramatically a horse betting bankroll can explode when you're betting high odds horses, and get on a good streak.  Here we hit in 6 races of 24 - for a 25 percent clip - which is only slightly above our 16-20 percent projected percentage.

Jerry Samovitz has a good book you might want to read on this subject it's called: "Out of the Red and Into the Black" -  We recommend it.

And, of course, we also recommend you get onto good paying winners like the ones you see above - and that requires a solid handicapping method that works.

We invite you to take the next step towards professional level race playing by reviewing the proven methods we offer:    our products


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 Horse Race Betting Articles

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Basic Betting Philosophy 

 Basic Betting Approaches 

 Basic Parlay Betting 

 Progression Betting 

 Considering The Odds 

 Betting Place Parlays 

 The Secret To Betting Profits 

 Win Betting 

 Base Bet + Square Root Betting 

 Fixed Percentage Minimum Betting 

 Betting The Exacta 

 Lay Betting 

 Place and Show Betting 


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