SBC Insight: Understanding your betting strike-rate & the losing runs that go with it

Those of you who have listened to the new podcast interview I recorded with Gambling.com will have noticed how throughout this chat, I regularly reference the importance of tackling and understanding the psychological challenges of betting in order to make your punting a success.

This is because I believe the ability to objectively analyse your betting and remove emotion from the equation can be the difference between winning and losing long-term.

It is why 2 punters who start following the same tipster can often end up with very different results. Often it is because during a losing run, one of them quits and usually in reaction to a short-term run of form.

There is no shame in this – after all the emotion of betting can be very hard to handle, especially when you are expecting to make a profit.

Psychologically, the pain of backing a loser is twice the joy you experience from backing a winner.

As I state on the podcast – just because you pay for tips, it doesn’t mean they will lose less. The fundamentals of probability remain the same, yet if these tips are based on a ‘value betting strategy’ with an edge, long-term it will reap dividends.

So to help you understand more on this topic, I want to share with you a tremendous article as published by Steve Jones of the CD Systems service. It serves to educate you on strike-rates and how they can guide you as per losing runs and what to expect.

For example, a service with a 49% strike-rate has a 50/50 chance of hitting 10 losers on the bounce over a 650 bet period.

Most services hitting such a strike-rate will likely advise bets between say 11/10 and 11/8, so how likely are you to stay the course if you backed 10 losers in sequence at those odds?

All told, it’s a fantastic and very informative article and one I return to again and again, especially during bad runs and when I can’t see where my next winner is coming. As ever the importance of having the right size betting bank is also paramount.

My thanks to Steve for giving me permission to share it. You can read more about Steve and his services at the CD Systems website.

For further insight – Steve also recommends spending 20 minutes or so at https://justflipacoin.com and recording the sequences generated by random even-money spins. The results will surprise many and would need to be fully understood by anyone seriously intending to embark on a lengthy series of short-priced bets.

Don’t Go Broke! Understanding Losing Runs

Reproduced with permission – see the original at http://www.cdsystems.uk.com/dont_go_broke!.htm

One of the quickest ways to disaster is to be ignorant about losing sequences. They can occur without warning at any time, and they can quickly devastate a betting bank if it is of insufficient size to absorb them.

First of all, how do you know what the length of these losing sequences is likely to be? Well actually, that is fairly easy to predict, provided you have an accurate idea of your strike rate.

Sequences are directly related to strike rate, and you can mathematically determine the likelihood of specific sequences appearing, provided you know what percentage of the bets in a series are going to win. You can then use this criteria to set up your betting bank.

My view is that the size of your opening bank should equal the longest losing sequence you could encounter during an extended series of bets, multiplied by your maximum stake.

To illustrate, I have produced the table below, which you can use to determine your staking strategy. Let’s say, for example, you estimate that your strike rate over a series of 600 bets will be around 40%.

Please note at this stage that there are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ strike rates – they are all purely relative to the price range you decide to target – please refer to my article How Many Winners? in conjunction with this procedure (opens in a new window).

Use Your Strike-Rate To Determine Losing Runs

As can be seen from the table below, with a 40% strike rate you can expect to have a losing sequence of 10 somewhere in the series (there is a 75% chance of that happening). However, there is a 50% chance of your hitting a losing sequence of 12 and a 25% chance of a run of 14 losers. That sequence of 14 is less than likely to occur, but it will still happen, on average, once in every four series.

On the other side of the coin, you have a 75% chance of hitting at least one winning run of 6 during the series. A sequence of 7 is a 50:50 possibility and a successful run of 8 has a 25% chance of occurring. Those figures can be seen in the 60% row (take your strike rate away from 100 and look in the row for the difference in order to anticipate winning sequences).

Finally, with a less than 1% chance, you are likely to confront a losing sequence of 20 no more often than once in every hundred series. However, that is the figure you should use in constructing your betting bank. If you are to operate professionally that is what you must do.

Using the formula I mentioned earlier, you would multiply the longest losing sequence you could encounter during the series (in the above example that would be 20) by your maximum stake. If that is, say, 5 points, then your starting bank should be 100 points.

Losing Runs Happen To Everyone

Please don’t make the common mistake of thinking these sequences won’t happen to you. They are mathematically determined by your strike rate and will happen as often as they are entitled to, whether you like it or not. Nobody can avoid them, but the difference between a professional and an amateur is that the professional is fully prepared for them. When they do occur it certainly doesn’t mean that you are ‘out of form’ or doing anything wrong.

It is also recommended that you set aside a reserve bank which can be used to temporarily top up the main bank in extreme circumstances. For example, a downturn which is over and above any which had originally been catered for (perhaps the original strike rate calculation was based on insufficient data and needs amending).

Once you have accurately anticipated your strike rate, you will be able to use the table below to optimise your bank structure.

Provided the average price of your winners is sufficient for your strike rate, as explained in How Many Winners?, and your bank is set up in such a way as to absorb sequences, then you will never have a problem. You will be well on your way to securing a successful future in a professional manner.


Anticipation of Sequences – Table

Please note: The table below is based on a series of between 600 and 650 bets. A shorter series would be less likely to contain sequences as long as these and a longer series would be more likely.

 

Strike Rate

(%)

Anticipation of Sequences
Expected

(75% chance)

50:50

(50% chance)

Unlikely

(25% chance)

V. Unlikely

(<1% chance)

3 83 105 132 235
4 69 86 106 185
5 59 73 90 153
6 52 64 78 130
7 46 57 68 113
8 42 51 61 101
9 38 47 56 91
10 35 43 51 82
11 33 40 47 75
12 30 37 44 69
13 29 34 41 64
14 27 32 38 60
15 25 30 36 56
16 24 29 34 53
17 23 27 32 50
18 22 26 30 47
19 21 25 29 45
20 20 24 28 42
21 19 23 26 40
22 18 22 25 39
23 17 21 24 37
24 17 20 23 35
25 16 19 22 34
26 15 19 21 33
27 15 18 21 31
28 14 17 20 30
29 14 17 19 29
30 13 16 19 28
31 13 16 18 27
32 12 15 17 26
33 12 15 17 25
34 12 14 16 24
35 11 14 16 24
36 11 13 15 23
37 11 13 15 22
38 10 13 15 21
39 10 12 14 21
40 10 12 14 20
41 9 12 13 20
42 9 11 13 19
43 9 11 13 19
44 9 11 12 18
45 8 11 12 18
46 8 10 12 17
47 8 10 11 17
48 8 10 11 16
49 8 10 11 16
50 7 9 11 15
51 7 9 10 15
52 7 9 10 15
53 7 9 10 14
54 7 8 10 14
55 6 8 9 14
56 6 8 9 13
57 6 8 9 13
58 6 8 9 13
59 6 8 9 12
60 6 7 8 12
61 5 7 8 12
62 5 7 8 11
63 5 7 8 11
64 5 7 8 11
65 5 7 7 11
66 5 6 7 10
67 5 6 7 10
68 5 6 7 10
69 4 6 7 10
70 4 6 7 9
71 4 6 6 9
72 4 6 6 9
73 4 5 6 9
74 4 5 6 8
75 4 5 6 8
76 4 5 6 8
77 3 5 6 8
78 3 5 5 8
79 3 5 5 7
80 3 5 5 7
81 3 4 5 7
82 3 4 5 7
83 3 4 5 7
84 3 4 5 6
85 3 4 4 6
86 3 4 4 6
87 2 4 4 6
88 2 4 4 6
89 2 4 4 5
90 2 3 4 5

 

I hope you enjoyed this article – if you have any feedback on it, please do share your thoughts with me via email – pete@smartbettingclub.com

Best Regards

Peter Ling

Smart Betting Club Owner and Founder