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A newbie betting guide for football staking plans

All you need to about football staking plans, so you make the best betting stake decisions with less risk.

Published on
Updated on 18 October 2018

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Simply put, if you don’t have any kind of betting plan, then you’re severely worsening your chances of making a profit. In turn, without any rules in place, you’re significantly increasing your chances of blowing up your betting account.

A good plan gives you both guidance and guidelines. Plan it out properly, stick to it, and you’re more likely to achieve long-term success.

The crucial question then becomes, of course, what plan should you follow?

Today, I want to talk to you about a series of plans which all fall under one umbrella – staking.

Staking plans should theoretically provide a pragmatic and a controlled framework within which you can place your football bets.

Let’s dive straight in.

What are staking plans?

The short answer is that staking plans help you to work out how much money you should spend on every bet you place.

There are plenty of different types of staking plans for football – some of which I’ll explore later in the article – but they all serve that general purpose.

Many people have little-to-no rules at all when it comes to the size of their stakes. They regard the bet itself as far more important.

Staking plans flip that outlook on its head, and actually put all the emphasis on the stake rather than the actual market. By doing so, they both force you to allocate your capital more smartly, and help you to manage risk.

How do they work?

Each staking plan has a slightly different approach, and a different set of rules. That said, they do all stick to the same set of basic principles.

For instance, all of them have a set of rules which control how big your stake is for each bet. It doesn’t matter whether they’re fixed or variable staking plans (I’ll explain the difference between those later).

There will always be a set of rules for how much you wager.

Within that framework, there’s room for taking on both more and less risk. The point is that you’re fully aware of how much risk you’re taking on.

Armed with this knowledge, you should be able to avoid blowing up your account, and hopefully turn in a long-term profit.

So, that’s the common thread that ties all staking plans together. To explain how they work in more detail, however, we need to look at a few examples.

Examples of staking plans

In general, there are an endless number of betting plans out there, and – even within the staking plan framework – there are plenty of options.

That said, there are still some staking plans which have proved especially popular over the years.

As I briefly mentioned earlier, all such methods can be broken down into two camps:

•    Fixed staking plans
•    Variable staking plans

With fixed stake betting, you simple use exactly the same stakes for every single bet, without taking the odds into account whatsoever.

As a very basic example, if your stake is £10, then you’re going to bet £10 whether the odds are 2/1 or 20/1.

Variable staking plans – as the name suggests – require you to adjust your stakes from bet to bet.

Let’s start off with a few of the most famous fixed staking plans.

•    Fixed Wager Staking

This is the most basic fixed staking plan there is. You literally just decide how much your standard stake is going to be, and bet that every single time.

How you select that stake is up to you. The most common method is to look at your overall account balance, and limit yourself to 5% - for example – of that per bet. So, if you’ve got £100 in your account, you bet £5 every single time.

Whilst this will help to limit your risk – which is the base requirement of any staking plan – it’s a little too basic for my liking. There are more sophisticated plans out there, which are likely to produce much better results.

•    Percent of Betting Bank

Otherwise known as the “bankroll percentage staking plan”. This is similar to simple fixed wager staking, but you do adjust your stake as you go along.

Specifically, you alter your stake to the changing size of your account. To continue the aforementioned example, let’s say you decide you’re always betting 5% of your account.

You start off with £100, so you bet £5. If you lose that first bet, and end up with £95, then you bet £4.75 next time. If you win it, and have £105 in your account, then you bet £5.25.

This is a safer long-term staking plan than the first one we looked at, even if it’s still extremely basic. If you don’t want to do too much maths then it’s an option, but you should still look at some variable staking plans too.

•    Bet It All
We don’t need to waste much time on this one. Technically it’s a staking plan, and a fairly well-known one, but it definitely doesn’t get my ‘seal of approval’.

In short, you just stake your entire account on each bet. Obviously the upside is that you increase your capital incredibly quickly. The downside is that if you lose just one bet (which you inevitably will), then you lose absolutely everything.

Needless to say, I would not recommend you try this.


Now you know a few staking plans? How do you put this to work?

So, those are the three most common fixed staking plans. Now let’s take a look at some variable staking plans, which are both more complex and more likely to prove successful.

•    Martingale Staking

This is probably the best-known variable staking plan. That does not mean, however, that it’s the most suitable for your attitude to risk.

With the martingale plan, every time you lose a bet, you double the next stake you take. So, if you place a £10 losing bet, you then stake £20 the next time. If that loses, you stake £40, then £80, then £160, and so on.

This plan is all about loss recovery. The theory is that eventually you’ll win one of these bets, and when you do you’ll have recovered your initial loss.

That will probably happen eventually… but by then you could find yourself in a ridiculous situation, wherein you’re betting hundreds of pounds and only looking to make a £20 profit.

The clear risk with this plan is that you could easily go on a losing streak – which happens to all of us – that wipes you out.

Given that you’re doubling your stake every single time, things can escalate extremely quickly. If you’re starting off with a £10 stake, for example, you’d already be up to £1,280 after eight bets.

Basically, you would need a considerable sum of money in your account to ensure you didn’t blow it up.

This is one plan which works in theory, but isn’t the smartest way to make money.

•    Fibonacci Staking Plan

This is similar to the Martingale method, but is a bit smarter, and requires more work.

It is – as you can probably guess – based on the Fibonacci sequence.

If you’ve forgotten your high school maths, that’s the one which adds two numbers together to get a third, then adds the second and third together to get a fourth, and so on.

0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34…

So, how do you apply this to betting?

You begin by setting a basic starting stake, which replaces the first “1” in the aforementioned sequence.

How exactly you proceed depends on the precise plan you’re following.

In general, though, you will always go forwards along the sequence when you lose a bet, and go backwards when you win a bet.

Let’s say you start with a £1 starting stake. You lose your first bet, and go to the next number (1), meaning you bet £2. You lose again, and bet £3 (1+2). You lose once more, and bet £5 (2+3).

If you win a bet, then you move back. Some Fibonacci plans have you going back to the start of the whole sequence, others say you should go back two steps.

So, to continue our former example, let’s say you win that £5 bet. You would then either put the starting £1 stake on your next wager, or stake £2 if you’re just moving back a couple of steps.

However exactly you implement the plan, the point is that you’re tucking away some of your winnings with each victory, and increasing your chances of recovering any losses the further along you go.

This still isn’t a particularly complex plan – it doesn’t take odds into account, for instance – but it’s a decent approach for inexperienced bettors.

•    Proportional Betting

This variable staking plan is often referred to as the “Kelly Criterion” or “Kelly formula”, after its creator JL Kelly.

It’s probably the most complex plan we’ve looked at so far, but it gives you the best indication of how much to stake on each bet.

This is the basic Kelly formula:


B = Decimal odds of bet, minus one

P = Probability of success

Q = Probability of failure

Don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it sounds! To clear things up for you, here’s an example.

Let’s say someone offers you a bet on a coin flip. The coin is fixed so that it lands on heads 56% of the time. The odds are 2.0. This would be your formula:

((1*0.56)-0.44) / 1 (bold)

This works out at 0.12. That means you should stake 12% of your total bankroll on this bet.

If the coin was fixed to land on heads 51% of the time, then – using the same equation – you would only bet 2% of your bankroll instead.

This is probably the smartest staking plan that we’ve looked at in this article.

The Kelly Criterion t provides an easy way of working out how much you should stake on any bet, automatically helping you to minimise risk.

Drawbacks of staking plans

The drawbacks of individual staking plans obviously depend on that particular plan. In general, however, there are still some common drawbacks.

Firstly, staking plans don’t help you massively with your actual bet selection.

Staking plans are applied after you’ve already chosen a market, and simply advise you how much to stake on that wager.

If you’re not good at picking bets anyway, then a staking plan isn’t going to save you.

Secondly, there will be some admin involved here.

How much again depends on which plan you choose. The “percentage of betting bank plan” won’t require too much, but the “proportional betting” plan will mean breaking out the old abacus with regularity.

Whichever you choose, it is also imperative that you record your bets in spreadsheets.

If you want to try out a couple of different plans, this will help you decide which is best. If you’re racking up bigger losses than you should be, some spreadsheet analysis might help you see where you’re going wrong.

Finally, if you’re following something like the “proportional betting” plan, be aware that the bookies might not offer odds that suit your stake. In this case, you’ll be reliant on the liquidity of betting exchanges.

Are staking plans profitable?

The most common reason why people lose all their money betting isn’t because they lost one or two big bets.

It’s because they consistently mismanaged their stakes over the long haul. Many professional gamblers will tell you that the bet itself isn’t the crucial thing. The stake is actually more important.

To this end, a good staking plan should – at the very least – help you stay afloat for longer. As I mentioned, however, it won’t help to actually pick your bets. The responsibility for that remains with you.

Still, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give staking plans a shot. If you want a fixed staking plan, which carries little maintenance with it, try out the Percent of Betting Bank method.

The Fibonacci plan is a solid option, representing a nice cross between fixed and variable stakes betting.

Finally, the proportional betting plan is probably the best overall way to go, if you have the time and commitment for it.

Whichever plan you select, make sure that you execute it correctly, record your results, and stick with it for a solid amount of time.

Good Luck!

Tags: betting zone

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