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Antepost: Name Your Stakes

by Roy Brindley |  Published: Nov 01, 2009


For the vast majority of people gambling is essentially about the pursuit of pleasure, but like most pleasures and luxuries in life, it will cost them money.

Because of democracy I retain the right to be a bigot and so I can both mock and relate to the type of people who go to a dog track and have a bet in each and every one of the 12 races that make up a meeting or spend an afternoon in a betting shop placing a bet on average every five minutes on everything from cartoon racing cars to 49’s (a lotto-type game beamed into England and Ireland’s estimated 9,100 betting shops).

These are the type of people who cannot win money in the long run; in fact they will lose with impressive consistency.

We have covered the key element to successful gambling many times before: namely backing selections at prices where the odds of reward are greater than the probability of them prevailing. To explain — backing heads or tales at odds of 11/10 in a coin flip situation will guarantee a long-term profit for obvious reasons.
Name Your Stakes
Yet it is not all about finding that edge. As in poker, gambling is often about the small things such as bet sizes. Let me ask you what is the difference between losing 99 €10 pots and winning one €2,000 pot compared to winning 50 €120 pots and losing 50 €100 pots? If I have my sums right, very little!

Therein, getting value about your bets has an equal in the “be a winning punter” formula — that equal being staking your bets appropriately and correctly.

Am I alone in staking €200 on a selection at odds of 6/4 because I fancy its chances strongly, yet I would cut that stake back dramatically to €30 if its price was displayed at 8/1?

It is a philosophy that acknowledges and advertises the illogical, irrational, capricious, and savage thought process of the uneducated mindless fun punter.

In a situation such as this, when, in your willingness to back a selection at 6/4 you believe its chances of winning are around 40 percent, you should actually re-mortgage grannies house and pile the lot on at the 8/1 with the excitement of a man that has discovered both Lord Lucan and Osama Bin Laden and collected the rewards all in one afternoon.

If your assessment of your selection’s chances is correct you will soon be able to buy granny her own chain of nursing homes. But it will never happen as we are like blinkered sheep and believe the market is invariably right, we show distrust in our own judgement, and follow the crowd into betting under the odds more often than not and losing in the long run.

So what is the correct stake on a selection which is massively overpriced? That is for you to decide but one thing is for certain, the wannabe card counter that invited me to watch him play last month has a lot to learn.

During two hours of play his maximum stake was €100 and his minimum was €100. Now you figure out where this punter, like thousands of others, is going wrong! Spade Suit