Staking Plans


This section should really be called "What is a Staking Plan, and do I need to bother?". We have placed this discussion in the New To Racing section of the UK Horse Racing site because this is one of the most important cornerstones of successful horse race betting.

A staking plan is a method of controlling how much each bet should bet. There are simple staking plans and there are more complicated plans. But at the end of the day all staking plans have the same purposes
   1. To ensure that the possibility of going bust is kept to a minimum.
   2. To try to get as high a return as possible.

Staking plans vary in their complexity; from the exceedingly simple to the fantastically exotic and sophisticated. Feel free to select which one, or a combination, of those which suits you the best.

Do I need a Staking Plan?

Simply put; yes, you do. Human beings are notorious about being lazy, over optimistic or fall foul of one of many of our many foibles which make up the human condition. Without a staking plan it is so easy to see one's betting bank go under.

We have seen people go bust (when one's betting account reaches zero) because they thought that they didn't need a staking plan. We have never seen anyone succeed without one no matter how disciplined they are or, more accurately, how disciplined they claim to be.

There are two aspects to successful betting; the first is to have the right selections. Without a decent set of selections one is never going to make a profit no matter what one does. The other aspect is the money side of things; how much does one put onto the next bet? This is the function of the staking plan; without this one could be placing the wrong stake onto the wrong horse. Ultimately betting without a staking plan will negate good horse selection.

Level Stakes Staking Plan

This is the simplest staking plan of all and is somewhat flawed by its simplicity. The principle is that the total amount of funds is divided into a number of stakes and that amount is staked on each bet from now to eternity.

For example, if one starts off with £1,000 and one decides that this bank ought to cover 200 bets then divide 200 into £1,000 which means that one bets £5 on ever race for evermore.

The upside of this Staking Plan is its simplicity; one works out the amount to be staked once. Then for the next umpteen thousand bets one places the same amount on each one. The other major plus point is that if one has a sensible number of bets in the bank (in this example we have 200) then the chances of going bust, which is the prime concern for a staking plan, is negligable. However, the downside is that this plan is restrictive and it doesn't allow for the secondary concern; namely to maximise the returns from one's betting.

The only time we would recommend this staking plan is for newcomers to the world of betting. Even after reading the papers and watching the racing with live money riding on the horses there is still enough for the novice to be aware of. Therefore, for simplicity's sake we recommend this plan for the first couple of months until the novice has got used to the other aspects of racing then can afford to divert some brain power to the more sophisticated staking plans.

We will say it here and will, without apology, say it again and again that one needs a wide betting bank. By this we mean that the betting bank should contain enough money to cover lots of bets. We suggest that a betting bank should contain 200 bets (this is sometimes called a 200 point betting bank). We would, if pushed, admit that 100 points is suitable but there is no way in which we would go lower than this. A 200 point betting bank containing £200 at the start this would mean staking £1 bets.

Do not be discouraged by the seemingly low stakes. If one's selections are more than half decent then the bank will grow. Remember that the prime directive of a staking plan is to prevent the bank from going bust. Sometimes one will see tipsters whom recommend that the subscriber follows a ten point betting bank. Do not listen; a ten point betting bank will, as sure as day follows night, lead to a bankrupt bank. We know a number of professional punters and it can be no co-incidence they all have a good sized bank and that none of them have ten point banks.

Example of an initial £2,000 bank with 200 points/bets:

2£10.00Won 5/2£2,015.00
7£10.00Won 9/2£2,020.00
9£10.00Won 3/1£2,040.00

Percentage Point Staking Plan

This is the second simplest staking plan. After each bet's result is known (i.e. won or lost) then the amount to be staked on the next bet is the new size of the betting plan divided by the number of points within it.

The upside of this betting plan is that the prime concern is being protected even more than the Level Stakes Staking Plan because if a losing run occurs the amount being staked gets less and less and it will take a lot longer than 200 bets before the bank is cleaned out. The bad news is that if a losing run occurs (and they will do with alarming regularity) then when the run comes to an end, the recent deficit will take a lot longer to recover because the amount placed on the eventual winning bet will be less than it ought. Therefore, we at UK Horse Racing feel that this staking plan is flawed because the secondary concern, arguably, suffers by one being over protective to the primary concern.

Example of an initial £2,000 bank with 200 points/bets:

2£ 9.95Won 5/2£2,014.87
5£ 9.97Lost7/2£1,984.81
6£ 9.92Lost3/1£1,974.89
7£ 9.87Won 9/2£2,019.30
9£10.04Won 3/1£2,039.33

Even though this is a simple example two points ought to be strikingly clear. First, using this plan will result in using all sorts of fiddly numbers involving pennies if the stakes are low. But this isn't the major critisism; it ought to be clear to anyone involved in racing that one will have more losing bets than winning bets (a good strike rate is one winner in three or four) then this staking plan will gradually ensure that the winnings won't be as good as they ought and even though that one will almost never go bust with this method it could be argued that making a good profit will also be that much harder.

Clearly something else is required. A mixure of both, perhaps, which is where the UK Horse Racing Staking Plan comes in.

Level Stakes And Square Root Staking Plan

We know a few people who use this staking plan and the effects can be amazing. The principle is easy; start off with a betting bank and initially bet to level stakes. Now, the twist is that when the bank is in profit (i.e. stands over the initial starting value) then the square root of this surplus is added to the stake.

This method offers the security of the Level Stakes Plan because if the bank drops into a non-profit period then the stakes are automatically limited. The secondary criteria of a staking plan is well and truly met because if the bank is in profit the bank's funds can literally shoot up.

The downside? None other than a calculator or a spreadsheet required. But a selection system with a decent strike rate is required to make advantage of this staking plan.

Example of an initial £2,000 bank with 200 points/bets:

2£10.00Won 5/2£2,015.00
7£10.00Won 9/2£2,015.07
9£11.09Won 3/1£2,034.46

Although this is a short example we hope that it does illustrate that once a series does start to have a few successes then the stakes and the bank starts to rise. And, if the profit is wiped out then the stakes return back to the Level Stakes Staking Plan method.

Point Chasing Staking Plan

To be honest we don't know what to call this form of staking plan. Perhaps there is a name for this plan but we call it "The Staking Plan That Scares Us Rigid" and is most certainly not for those who want a relaxing betting life nor for those who don't have nerves of steel and a very large bank behind them.

The concept is simplicity itself. One aims to make a point profit whenever a selection wins. So, for the first race if the horse goes off at, say, 4/1 then a quarter of a point is staked on the race. This means that if the horse wins then a point profit it made.

That's all nice and straightforward if each selection would produce a winner. And if it did then we would be using the Level Stakes And Square Root Staking Plan before returing to our recently purchased island in the Maldives. So, what happens when that horse loses?

In the above example the stake was 0.25 points and we have to get that back as well as the point profit so for the second bet, which for example's sake, is evens and we would then have to stake 1.25 points in order to gain 1 point profit. Now, if that one loses then we will be looking to gain 2.25 points from the next race. And so it goes on.

Given that it's not impossible to have twenty losing horses in a row before one comes home as the winner. The price staked on that winning horse may well be astronomical and when one looks at the net gain for that stake is one point then this staking plan may not suit most people.

The upside of this staking plan is that if you are confident of getting a winner at a reasonable rate then this plan could be useful. But before venturing forth with this plan it may be well advised to have a large betting bank (at least 200 points is required here) and to have one's nerves surgically replaced with tungsten alloy steel fibres.

There cannot be any better warning than looking at this Chasing Losing Bets page.

With thanks to Mary O'Connor for her kind assistance with this article.