A great number of internet sites supplying horse racing selections tempting all the punters, there making claims of having the secrets to winning success. Most of them offer statistics and evidence to back up what they say.

It may be wise to recall the words of American writer Mark Twain, who said, “There are two types of liars: Damned liars and statisticians.” Mr. Twain was said to be a man who enjoyed a wager, and it’s just possible that he may have uttered this after a bad day at the track following some guru’s sure fire horse racing tips.

The next time you find yourself tempted to pay one of these gurus in order to receive the secret key to fabulous punting profits, it may be wise to ask yourself, “If I knew an infallible way to consistently be on the winning side, why in heaven’s name would I want to sell it?”

Of course, many strategies exist that are common knowledge and don’t cost anything to try. One of these is Progressive Staking.

Progressive betting is not new to gambling. It can be used for just about all types of betting, including roulette, baccarat and other wagering games of chance.

Simply explained, progressive staking is the practice of increasing the size of the wager after a loss, in the hopes that a subsequent win will erase the losses and return a profit prior to the stake being exhausted. Here’s an example of this scheme applied to punting.

Our hypothetical gamb ler has $1000 bank. He decides on a wager size of $100, choosing the favourite to win the first race. Assuming his pony does not come in, leaving him with $900, he bets $200 on the favourite to win the second. If this bet does not pay, he is now down to $700, and must wager $300 on the third race. This time he picks the winner. In order to break even and recover the $300 losses from the first two events, his horse in the third race must pay $2. Anything less maintains a deficit, anything more returns a gain. If following the basic progressive staking concept, he now goes back to the initial tactic of $100 per race.

On the other hand, if the $300 on the third did not pay, he is left with $400 which must be placed on the fourth race. If that one is to supply a break even win, it must pay at least $1.50. Otherwise, his initial $1000 is gone, and he is done. Faced with the prospect of needing to recover the $600 of losses, can you see where the psychological pressure a lot of punters would encounter in this scenario might compel them to make a poor decision, and chase their losers with a bet that has limited potential for success? Do an internet search of “gambler’s ruin,” and you will get food for thought that will keep you busy for decades.

Admittedly this simple hypothetical examination of progressive staking makes no effort to account for more elaborate betting strategies. At a certain higher level of complexity is where the systems promoters get involved. They will often offer an opportunity to test a strategy free of charge, offer horse racing tips and advice, all along with the disclaimer that: Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.

The reason for this is simple. Even the best, most successful system will experience losses. These losses are randomly distributed, and if you happen to employ the system when it encounters a rough patch, you will lose. A system that has an 80% success rate will suffer 200 losses in a 1000 bet series. While the mathematical probability of these 200 losses being in a row is highly unlikely, all it would require for our imaginery gambler to lose all would be 4 losers in a row.

A last thought to ponder is that if our gambler had paid some cost for a progressive betting system, and had the luck to be in the right place at the right time, he still must take into consideration for the fee paid. This fee is subtracted from winners and added to losers, so the system absolutely must make a level stakes profit and then some to prevent you from going broke.

This fact, along with issues of bettor psychology, the unpredictable vagaries of Thoroughbred performance, and many other variables that are completely beyond the control of any wagering system is why it’s called gambling, not investing.

Progressive staking systems are not inherently evil. They will teach you how to practice sound money management, as long as you don’t deviate. One of the key points to keep in mind here is to take a significant percentage of any wins out of play. You deserve a reward for your risk.

You must realise that you will constantly back some losers. You must decide along time in advance, well before the inescapable emotions of fear and greed take over your decision making abilities, what degree of losses you are able to stand and willing to cope with.

By K Cummings
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