Often a significant difference between mug punters and those who take their punting more seriously is discipline.
A key component of discipline in horse racing betting involves having a staking plan that aims to limit the damage losing bets do to your bankroll.
There are several different betting strategies and staking plans used by horse racing punters – amateur or professional – and we’ve outlined four popular options below.
Different staking strategies suit different people, and there’s no right answer in terms of which one is the best, but understanding the different options may result in sharp improvement in your punting and bankroll management.
As its name suggests, level staking involves staking the same amount of your bankroll on every selection, regardless of their odds.
For example, you wager $25 on every runner you back, whether they are a $2.50 chance or a $10 chance.
The amount invested with each wager is commonly between 3-5% of your total bankroll.
Level staking suits punters that are able to identify a good betting opportunity (one that presents value in your mind) without using formulas that provide an exact calculation on the probabilities and ‘edge’ you have over the bookie.
While level staking can limit the big wins on runners that are shorter in the market (if you deem them to be a higher winning chance than the market), it also prevents the potential damage of losing bets with other more sophisticated staking methods.
Punters that adopt a level staking betting strategy will often be tempted to alter their stake amount depending on bank size.
For example, if your total bankroll is $1000, a $25 bet would seem more than reasonable and you may be tempted to increase your stake.
If your total bankroll is $300, a $25 bet suddenly becomes much riskier and the temptation may become to lower your stake. This is where proportional staking comes into play.
Proportional staking is where your betting stake is a constant percentage of your bankroll.
As mentioned above, this is usually between 3-5% of your total bankroll.
Therefore, the amount of dollars bet changes every time, depending on how much your bankroll grows or shrinks.
Proportional staking is particularly useful for punters that prefer to be dictated how much to stake per wager, which takes the thinking out of how much to bet, and it’s also beneficial for limiting bankroll damage in losing runs.
Given the size of the stake is lowered every time the bankroll is reduced, it generally takes longer for a bankroll to be wiped out.
But hopefully the winning run begins before then!
Variants of proportional staking
One variant of proportional staking is the strategy of betting to win a percentage of your bankroll.
For example, if you have a total bankroll of $1000, and you wish to win 5% of your bank, you would need to bet to win $50.
Another similar variant of proportional staking is betting to win a constant amount.
This way, your stake adjusts according to the odds taken.
For example, if you wish to win $200 from a $3.00 shot, you would need to stake $66.67 (200/3.00 = 67.67).
For a $1.50 chance, you would need to stake $133.33 (200/1.50 = 133.33).
Dutch betting involves spreading your bets across multiple selections in an event, where you stand the win the same amount if any of the selections are successful.
Dutch betting is popular among horse racing punters that are keen on backing multiple runners in a race.
This means the stake wagered on each runner is dependent on their odds to achieve the same result.
$10 @ $12 = $120
$30 @ $4.00 = $120
As per the above, each runner returns an $80 profit if they win.
The maths behind this staking strategy can obviously be much more complicated with more complex betting odds, but there are plenty of calculators online which will do the sums for you to spit out what stake you need to wager for each runner.
Our final staking strategy, which we have titled ‘scaled staking’, involves coming up with a staking scale that remains constant, and wagers are based on your confidence for each runner or race.
In this staking strategy, a punter bets a certain number of ‘units’ based on their confidence, with a ‘unit’ being a predetermined amount of money.
For example, you might use a scale of 0.5 – 5, where 1 unit = $10. 5 units represents a maximum confidence bet and therefore your maximum stake ($50), while 0.5 units may represent a low-confidence bet ($5) and therefore a low stake.