Many people have formulated staking systems in an attempt to “beat the bookie” but most still accept that no staking system can make an unprofitable system profitable over time. Widely-used systems include:
- Fixed stakes – a traditional system of staking the same amount on each selection. This method suits conservative punters if the stake remains below 5% of the bank.
- Fixed profits – the stakes vary based on the odds to ensure the same profit from each winning selection. This method suits conservative punters well, although if the profitability of one’s bets varies independently of the odds the bettor simply reduces his or her cash flow.
- Due-column betting – A variation on fixed profits betting in which the bettor sets a target profit and then calculates a bet size that will make this profit, adding any losses to the target. For example, to make a target of $100 profit a bettor would wager $50 at odds of 2 to 1. If the bet loses, the target becomes $150. If the next bet is also at odds of 2 to 1, the wager therefore becomes $75. This type of wagering can prove ruinous in the long run.
- Kelly – the optimium level to bet to maximise your future median bank level; the punter needs to estimate fair odds (in decimal odds) and then calculate the stake using:
A = W - (1 - W )/(D - 1) Where: A = Percentage of the total bank to bet W = Percentage probability of winning (fair odds) D = Decimal odds (actual odds available)
- Martingale – A system based on staking enough each time to recover losses from previous bet(s) until one wins. It is usually applied to even-money bets such as red/black on roulette. The Martingale guarantees failure in the long run – it would only work if the bettor has an unlimited bankroll, the bookmaker has no limit on the size of bets and neither party ever dies. However, it can usually be used to gain a small win in the short run, given a bankroll large enough to survive a streak of five or six losses.
Associated word usage
- The English expression “I bet that ____”, meaning “I consider it very probable that ____”, need not carry any suggestion of the speaker intending to gamble.
- The English word hazard originated as Arabic az-zār or al-zār, which meant a type of dice game. Compare also the English word “dicey” meaning “risky”.
- Scientists have dubbed certain random-number-based calculation algorithms the “Monte Carlo method”.
- Even money, as a gambling term, describes a wagering proposition with even odds – in other words, if one loses a bet, one stands to lose the same amount of money that the winner of the bet would win (less, of course, the vigorish or “juice”). The term has come to have meaning in the wider English usage beyond actual gambling, however, as a way of describing an event whose occurrence is about as likely to occur as not, as in “It’s even money that it will rain today”. Compare 50 50.