Welcome back to the Betting Fundamentals series. In Part 01, we learned about bankroll management and why it's so important to long-term success when betting. Today, we're going to discuss staking plans and how you can make use of them in your own bets, as well as with tips from other bettors.

What Is a Staking Plan?

A staking plan is a pre-decided method of betting that dictates how much of your bank you stake under certain conditions. A subsection of bankroll management, staking plans help bettors to gamble responsibly as well as to maximise profits while protecting their overall betting bankrolls. There are a large variety of staking plans to fit different kinds of bettors, some of which can be found below.

Level Staking

This kind of staking plan requires very little thought from bet to bet. If you choose this kind of plan, you will decide on a predetermined staking value that you use for every single bet, regardless of the odds or your current bankroll value. For example, you could decide to stake $10 on every bet you place.

Level staking is a fairly good option for beginners in particular because it's so simple. By deciding in advance how much you will stake on every bet, you will be less likely to lose your entire bankroll by chasing losses with bigger bets. If you have a starting bankroll of $1000 and decide on a level staking plan of $10, you already know that you can go on a losing streak of 100 bets before you've lost your bankroll. Although this is definitely possible, it's not very likely.

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Proportional Staking

A proportional staking plan is a more advanced version of a level staking plan. Rather than deciding on a specific monetary staking value, you will decide on a percentage staking value. For example, you could decide to stake 1% of your bankroll on every bet you place. With this plan, the monetary value of your stakes will proportionally increase and decrease with the current size of your bankroll.

Let's assume that you have a starting bankroll of $1000 and decided to use a proportional staking plan of 1% per bet. Your initial bet size would be calculated as follows:

  • To calculate 1%, we take the overall bank value and divide by 100
  • $1000 divided by 100 = $10
  • 1% stake = $10

Let's imagine that you win your first bet and now have a total betting bankroll value of $1100. With a proportional staking plan, you need to recalculate your stake prior to your next bet:

  • To calculate 1%, we take the overall bank value and divide by 100
  • $1100 divided by 100 = $11
  • 1% stake = $11

Finally, let's assume that you lost your first bet and now have a total betting bankroll value of $990. Again, you need to recalculate your stake prior to your next bet:

  • To calculate 1%, we take the overall bank value and divide by 100
  • $990 divided by 100 = $9.90
  • 1% stake = $9.90

Proportional staking is my personal favourite staking plan because it keeps your betting bankroll as safe as possible throughout all outcomes. If your bankroll is growing in size then the stakes will increase. If your bankroll is struggling then the stakes will decrease.

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Progressive Staking

There are a number of progressive staking plans but the one I hear people talk about the most is known as the Martingale Strategy. This staking plan was originally designed for roulette players. Briefly, the plan requires the person to bet on red or black and then double their stake after every losing spin in order to return to the starting bankroll balance once one of these spins wins.

In theory, the Martingale Strategy is sound, however, there are a number of major issues with it. Firstly, the strategy assumes that the person betting has a potentially unlimited amount of funds to use. Let's assume that you adopt this approach, start your betting journey with just a $1 stake, and then go on a long losing streak. The following sequence of numbers demonstrates the increasing stake value that you'd have to place:

$1, $2, $4, $8, $16, $32, $64, $128, $256, $512, $1024.

In just 10 losing bets, the bettor who started with a $1 stake is now required to stake $1024 on the next bet. That's a big jump in value, but take a look at what happens if you continue to lose for another 10 bets:

$1024, $2048, $4096, $8192, $16384, $32768, $65532, $131072, $262144, $524288, $1048576.

In just 20 losing bets in a row, the bettor who started with a $1 stake is now required to place a bet of over $1million on the next spin. Now, you might be thinking that you can't possibly lose 20 bets in a row, but you'd be wrong. Long losing streaks can and do happen.

The second major flaw with the Martingale Strategy is that most bookmakers, casino and sports alike, have a maximum staking value. This value varies from bookmaker to bookmaker but you can be certain that it would be difficult to place a $1million bet wherever you're trying to play.

I would advise that people avoid progressive staking plans at all costs. They're far too risky and often require incredibly large bankrolls and unlimited staking in order to succeed.

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What Is a Point System?

A point system is one that starts with proportional staking and then takes into account other factors such as odds of bets and confidence in a result. Prior to placing any wagers, the bettor will decide the monetary value of a single point.

If the bettor has decided that the maximum he or she can bet at any given time is 1% of the total bankroll value, a point could be predetermined to be 0.2% of the bankroll. For example, let's assume that they start with a $1000 bankroll:

  • To calculate 0.2%, we take the overall bank value and divide by 500
  • $1000 divided by 500 = $2
  • Therefore, 1 point = $2

Why Use a Point System?

A point system allows for greater flexibility in stake value depending on what you're betting on. For example, if you are betting on something like Barcelona to beat Basel, you could stake 5 points because you're confident that it's likely to happen. In the above example, 5 points would be a stake of $10.

However, if you were betting on an outsider horse to win a race and you weren't too confident, you could stake 1 point. In the above example, 1 point would be a stake of $2. All this means is that you can vary your staking size depending on how you feel about each particular bet.

The secondary benefit of a point system is that it allows bettors to interact and offer each other tips and staking ideas that relate to individual bankrolls. For example, a tipster may be confident that a certain horse is going to win a race. Under their tip, therefore, they may note that they recommend a 5 point stake on this bet. As every bettor has a different size bankroll and staking plan, 5 points will mean different things to each person, but it allows people to bet comfortably within their predetermined staking values. This is not possible if a tipster simply tells you to bet $50 on a horse to win. To some bettors, $50 would be a very low stake, however, it would also push other bettors over their maximum stake limit.

I hope this guide has been of some value to you. If you have any questions or concerns, please do make use of the comment section below. I will be back soon with Part 03 of the Betting Fundamentals series.