17. Comparing Staking Plans
There are plenty of people on the Internet offering to sell you Staking Plans that will supposedly enable you to walk away from the casino tables every night with your pockets bulging from the winnings. Those websites regale you with tales of how well others have done from their Plans, and how you too won't lose if you invest in purchasing their "secrets". On the other hand, we are well aware that the Bookies stay well-fed and that betting houses and casinos continue to prosper, so there is obviously a conundrum here. How is it that they aren't being bankrupted by all the people who have bought from those Staking Plan sellers? The answer is simple:
- Most of the Staking Plans on sale are totally devoid of any selection ability. They rely (i) on a combination of what seem to be clever hedge betting techniques that fool many people into thinking that all the options are covered (but they aren't, of course) and (ii) either negative or positive progression staking (where, respectively, you lay out more money according to whether you are losing or winning).
- For every valid raffle held there is always a lucky First Prize winner, but that doesn't mean that if you enter a raffle that lucky person will be you! Indeed, for every raffle winner there are always plenty of losers, and the likelihood is that you will also be one of them. So too with Staking Plans; there have to be plenty of purchasers who are continuing to lose when they bet - perhaps losing very heavily - no matter that a few people who purchased them get lucky occasionally.
In terms of their ability to make you money, all Staking Plans that are being offered for sale are totally useless; you will be paying out to get advice that is based on smoke and mirrors. And be warned that some of the Plans being sold will make you lose your money a lot faster than others.
There are those who have tried to convince us that we are wrong to write off Staking Plans, and who argue that we pay far too much attention to statistics. Well, we would far rather rely on the results of all the trials that have been conducted on the likelihood of the outcome of games where the house has the advantage. Those experiments clearly show that, without a valid Selection System (or where a worthwhile Selection System cannot operate), you will never come out on top in the longer term, even though you may get lucky in the short term.
For example, it's been proved many times before that just because you have had 9 straight reds come up on a roulette table, the chances of it coming up red on the 10th spin aren't reduced in the slightest. The wheel and the ball don't have memories; they don't get embarrassed that they let you down on all those previous spins. The results from each subsequent spin are not in any way dependent on previous spins; they are horribly independent!
And we are not talking about simulated computer testing alone; the experiments have also been conducted thousands of times on working roulette tables. That's why casinos, with their house edge, aren't worried by such Staking Plans - they cause people to lose even more money than they perhaps would otherwise have done. The casinos will always be the overall winners; that's what the Law of Averages (more correctly referred to as the Law of Large Numbers) is all about.
Getting back to the main issue, some traditional freebie Staking Plans are more sensible than others (Fixed Staking, also known as Level Staking, being a good example of a sensible method). The less sensible ones hold out false hope of you being able to make up losses by increasing the stakes, and are referred to as Negative Progression Systems. Amongst these are:
- the Martingale (and its illegitimate off-spring, the Grand Martingale); and
- the D'Alembert.
There are also Positive Progression Systems and a so-called Cancellation System (which doesn't always cancel all the overall losses that may occur when you use it). Positive Progression Systems increase the stakes when you are winning, and the Cancellation System is a kind of loop system, requiring you to play to win a set amount before commencing a new loop.
Positive Progression Systems include:
- the Parlay (Let It Ride);
- the Paroli; and
- the 1-3-2-6.
The prime Cancellation System is called the Labouchere.
We consider none of the Positive or Negative Progression Systems listed above to be suitable for the purposes of standard "Fixed Odds" sports betting (such as soccer), because:
- They are all "by rote" methods (you follow the set rules without having to think too hard about the value of your next bet), and they depend on luck for whether or not they come good on the day.
- They are all generally used where selection on a properly considered basis is not an option (usually due to the fact that there are only 2 possible outcomes, both with near enough equal chances of occurring on every occasion). For example, both the Labouchere and the 1-3-2-6 can be adapted for use with soccer's Asian Handicap Betting, where the handicap advantage given to the weaker team means that the winning call is virtually a 50/50 chance, although we personally much prefer the 1-3-2-6 for this purpose.
If you find that you have to consider resorting to the use of Positive or Negative Progression Systems for "Fixed Odds" betting, then it means only one thing: your Selection System has let you down. That being the case, you need to sort that out first, because otherwise you will simply be throwing good money after bad. In fact, we can never stress enough that, for soccer betting, finding a good Selection System has to be made your number one priority. Only after you've done that can you properly consider an appropriate Staking Plan, which itself must be one that suits your particular budget and temperament.
One of the Staking Plans missing from the above list is that known as the "Kelly Criterion". This is a special Plan, only to be used in the very exceptional circumstance that you have a guaranteed edge over the Bookie, betting house or casino. Trust me on this one: unless you have a way of accurately foretelling the future so that you can be 100% certain that you will not lose that edge, never follow this method, no matter how desperate you are to make money. It has been called the "Kamikaze Staking Plan", for very good reason!
For soccer betting, we recommend that, first and foremost, a good Selection System is the number one priority, after which an appropriate Staking Plan can be considered. We ourselves favour the Plateau Staking Plan, a variation of which allows you to adjust your stake according to how much you have left in the pot (downwards if you are losing - although we would recommend stopping and re-evaluating the Selection System if your cash resources drop significantly below the Base Bank - and upwards within set limits if your Selection System is doing well). The Plateau Staking Plan can in effect be considered as a greatly modified Paroli approach.
As a final wrap-up note here, we wish to leave you with the following two thoughts simply because they are so very important if you are truly betting to win:
- If any Staking Plan that is devoid of a good Selection System is said to be a sure-fire way to riches, definitely it won't be you that will be getting rich; it will be the Bookie, the betting house or the casino!
- The only way to stay on top when gambling is to implement sound money management. Sensible Staking has to become your motto, because it is the foundation stone of good money management, and it is the only element of gambling that is under your control!