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Standard Staking Plans

Aug 17, 2007
There are many traditional "freebie" Staking Plans around, but some are far more dangerous than others. Fixed Staking, also known as Level Staking, is a good example of a sensible method. You just need to set a fixed amount per Bet Type (Short Odds, Medium Odds or Long Shots), and then stick to it rigidly, no matter what happens. The advantage of this approach is that you can pre-set your spending right from the outset of the season, and even if you lose each week, at least you will have left money in the kitty for the following week's betting. Of course, the funding for the next season will still be a problem if you insist on losing often!

Another sensible approach to gambling, and the one I prefer for soccer betting, is the "Plateau" Staking Plan, which is principally an "extended" Fixed Staking approach, with safeguards built in. It operates on the principle of staking a percentage of the Base Bank (and not a fixed value for the stake, as you would with Fixed Staking), and risking more as a percentage when the Base Bank has been enriched to a pre-determined level. It lends itself easily to being set up on a spreadsheet, although if you want to get clever with stepping the stakes up and down by differing amounts (according to how well or badly your betting is going), then you will definitely need to be a bit of a spreadsheet wizard.

The less sensible Staking Plans are referred to as "Negative Progression Systems" (note how the word "system" is brought into play here, to give them a false sense of legitimacy). In my opinion they hold out false hope of you being able to make up losses by increasing the stakes, and they include the likes of:

- the Martingale (and its illegitimate off-spring, the Grand Martingale), and

- the D'Alembert.

There are also what are known as "Positive Progression Systems" and so-called "Cancellation Systems" (which don't always manage to cancel out the overall losses that may occur when you use them). Positive Progression Systems increase the stakes when you are winning, and a Cancellation System is a "loop" system, requiring you to play either to win or lose a set amount before commencing a new loop.

Positive Progression Systems include (i) the Parlay (Let It Ride) and (ii) the Paroli, while Cancellation Systems include (i) the Labouchere (where you have to win before commencing a new loop) and (ii) the 1-3-2-6 (a modified Paroli approach, where if you cannot complete the "win" cycle, then you commence a new loop each time you lose).

I consider none of the Positive or Negative Progression Systems listed above to be suitable for the purposes of standard "Fixed Odds" sports betting (such as football). They are all "by rote" methods (you follow the set rules without having to think too hard about the value of your next bet), and they depend on luck for whether or not they come good on the day. They are all generally used where selection on a properly considered basis is not an option (usually due to the fact that there are only 2 possible outcomes, both with near enough equal chances of occurring on every occasion). For example, both the Labouchere and the 1-3-2-6 can be adapted for use with soccer's Asian Handicap Betting, where the handicap advantage given to the weaker team means that the winning call is virtually a 50/50 chance, although I personally much prefer the 1-3-2-6 for this purpose (see separate article).

If you find that you have to consider resorting to the use of Positive or Negative Progression Systems for "Fixed Odds" betting, then it means only one thing: your Selection System has let you down. That being the case, you need to sort that out first, because otherwise you will simply be throwing good money after bad. In fact, I can never stress enough that, for football betting, finding a good Selection System has to be made your number one priority. Only after you've done that can you properly consider an appropriate Staking Plan, which itself must be one that suits your particular budget and temperament.

One of the Staking Plans missing from the above list is that known as the "Kelly Criterion". This is a special Plan, only to be used in the very exceptional circumstance that you have a guaranteed edge over the Bookie, Betting House or Casino. Trust me on this one: unless you have a way of accurately foretelling the future so that you can be 100% certain that you will not lose that edge, never follow this method, no matter how desperate you are to make money. It has been called the Kamikaze Staking Plan, for very good reason!

I don't expect you to follow my advice blindly, so my next few articles will deal with each of the above Staking Plans in detail, and I will do it in such a way that you will be able to judge for yourself whether or not a particular Staking Plan is good for you. And for the daredevils amongst you, of course I'll cover the Kelly Criterion!
About the Author
Woz Salmon is a specialist in risk analysis and mitigation techniques, whose primary aim is to help the average football bettor significantly improve his/her chances of winning more money from the Bookies. Woz Salmon runs Predict A Win ..Helping you bet to win!
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