Strategies and money management

Advanced bettors consider strategies and money management key factors in becoming successful in the long run. One of the mistakes beginners often make is not to use any of them.

Strategies and money management are often related to each other, and should be used together. They provide order in your betting system, which otherwise can become chaotic. You shouldn't make your bets on a random basis.

There are lots of books about betting strategies, "Bookie Buster" by Frank Belanger being one of the most popular. This book contains 21 strategies that can be used in different situations.

Choosing a strategy

If you find a betting strategy that you like, look at it closely, make sure it fits your style and it's usable in your situations. Many strategies are based on big bets and are only profitable if you can invest a lot of money in it. These are not intended for beginners and there's no point of trying it with 10 euros for example.

Another good source of strategies are on-line forums, you can search the web for them. Some of them are available as spreadsheets where you can input some data and it will automatically calculate your stake for a bet (integrated money management). You can of course adapt these strategies and modify them to suit your needs, nothing is set in concrete.

Easy money system (example)

This is a simple strategy used by many bettors. The key is to bet on small odds with lots of money. This system considers that lower odds are more likely to win.

A small example: start with 3 euros and combine 3 or four events with 1.03 odds on a betting slip. This way the resulting odds is ~1.09-1.12, depending on the number of events. If your first slip wins, you bet the whole amount won on the next similar slip. After 30 bets you could have made around 40 euros which is not bad considering you've started with 3. If you lose a bet, you simply start over.

Martingale system

The simplest of these strategies was designed for a game in which the gambler wins his stake if a coin comes up heads and loses it if the coin comes up tails. The strategy had the gambler double his bet after every loss, so that the first win would recover all previous losses plus win a profit equal to the original stake. Since a gambler with infinite wealth will with probability 1 eventually flip heads, the Martingale betting strategy was seen as a sure thing by those who advocated it. Of course, none of the gamblers in fact possessed infinite wealth, and the exponential growth of the bets would eventually bankrupt those who chose to use the Martingale.[...]

The impossibility of winning over the long run, given a limit of the size of bets or a limit in the size of one's bankroll or line of credit, is proven by the optional stopping theorem. (source: Wikipedia)

Considering the previous example if you lose a bet you simply double (or triple) the stake. If you win you start over. A lot of variations of the Martingale system exist, and some people are selling it as the only winning strategy. Whenever some website or person claims he knows the winning "super" "secret" strategy they are selling this simple system. Never buy it.

D'Alembert system

When you lose a bet you start over but you add one unit to the starting stake. If you win you subtract one unit and start over.

Anti-martingale system

In a classic martingale betting style, gamblers will increase their bets after each loss in hopes that an eventual win will recover all previous losses. The anti-martingale approach instead increases bets after wins, while reducing them after a loss. The perception is that in this manner the gambler will benefit from a winning streak or a "hot hand", while reducing losses while "cold" or otherwise having a losing streak.

Money management

The whole purpose of money management is simple: never lose all your money (or at least try not to lose it). A money management system defines the amount you should bet at a time. It should minimize your losses when you lose a bet.

I want to point out once again that money management and strategies are closely related. In short: you should implement money management based on your strategy.

Some final thoughts

Don't think you can become a millionaire overnight (although it can happen :P), because there's a long way to become successful in betting. Keep in mind that mistakes cost you money and losing money is not pleasant if you don't have a lot of it.

Strategies and betting systems are worthless if you can't make good predictions. They can help you minimize your losses but won't improve your predictions if you don't put enough effort into it.