With horse betting, or any kind of betting, anything other than flat betting is in fact a kind of progression . . . but the subject in this article is (as it should be) a bit controversial: Raising bets after losses.
“Gamblers Ruin” is a term (not quite as scary as it sounds) used to denote a loss of betting bankroll. Though that is something that should be avoided at all cost – it really isn’t actually the “ruin” of the horse bettor – but it will put him out of the game until a new betting bankroll has been scraped together.
The surest way to “Gamblers Ruin” is the infamous “Martingale” method of doubling up after each loss. A gambler sticking to one of the even money bets in – say Roulette – will only be operating at about a 1.5 percent disadvantage. If that player has a huge bankroll and starts with a minimum bet, he might be able to make a true “Martingale” betting method work for days, weeks, even months – who knows?
Sooner or later, however, a vicious and prolonged losing streak will come along which will take the gambler past his ability to make the next bet – either because his bankroll has been severely depleted, or because he doesn’t have the nerve to make the next bet.
Example: Say his minimum starting bet is $5.00 – and he encounters a losing streak of 15 in a row. Here are the required bets for doubling up on each loss:
5 – 10 – 20 – 40 -80 – 160 – 320 – 640 – 1280 – 2560 – 5120 – 10,240 – 20,480 – 40,960 – 81,920
. . . and bet number 16 would call for $163,840 – just to get back his original $5.00 bet and end up with a paltry $5.00 in profit!!
The insanity of it is obvious.
In horse race betting, an extended losing streak of 15 races is not that rare for win-betting – particularly if you’re going after higher paying horses.
Now, if you played only select 4-5, 1-1, and 6-5 types to approximate the even money roulette bets, a 15 race streak might never happen. Even a 10 race losing streak would be extremely rare – but, my gosh, after chasing a 10 race losing streak down while doubling up just to get back a little profit on your original bet?
Your ROI would be pitiful!
A player could, however, scale way back from the “doubling up” betting mode. Variations on the following have been put forth before – the idea is this:
Find a horse bet that has a good winning percentage – say 35% or higher. Flat bet it until an average length losing streak has been encountered – say 5 races – and only then start the betting progression. You then run the progression until you have “cleared” the series – i.e. recovered losses and gained a profit.
But those visions keep coming back – of the Martingale maniac sweating blood as he steps up to make his next “bridge jumper” sized bet – trying only to just GET BACK TO EVEN!
As a safety factor, a winning (hit / strike rate) percentage that exceeds 40% (even 50%) is better. You should feel confident that this percentage is solid before undertaking the kind of progression outlined below.
That pretty much limits the approach to place, and show betting.
Let’s say you have a good handicapping method that hits 32% winners at an average $7.60 mutuel. You’re carrying a great ROI of around +21%.
That same horse betting might be expected to hit win or place (pay to place) about 60% of the time. The place bet would pay maybe $3.80 on average. Here your ROI would be figured this way: 60 winning bets in 100 pay you $3.80 – so $228 returned on $200 bet = +14% ROI.
No great bragging rights there – but a bettor could apply a progression that would likely pump up that ROI enough that he could grind out a pretty good horse race betting income – if he cared to do so . . .
Let’s assume that with a 60% winning race average, losing streaks of 2 and 3 would be AMBBET fairly common – streaks of 4 and 5 would occur only occasionally – and losing streaks of 6 or more would be rare.
The race bettor would start his progression only after 3 consecutive losses had been incurred. Then, it would be very unlikely that he would encounter another 4 losses in succession (i.e. 7 straight losses).