STAKING: 3 Practical Reasons Win Bets Are Preventing You Profiting

Over the coming weeks and months, I’m going to be looking into staking plans, both good and bad.

Before I do though, it’s important to consider the type of staking that you usually use.

Most bettors place bets on horses to win. This is followed, in quantity, by each-way bets, and then we move into other variants such as place, dutch, 80/20 etc.

In this post, I want to explore why most of us like to place win bets, and why win bets are preventing you from profiting.


Psychology plays a bigger part in making long-term betting profits from horse racing than finding selections.

If you haven’t got the right mindset, then you’re not going to be able to make a long-term profit.

Which is why this is the first, and most important, step in this post!

A profitable mindset revolves, primarily, around being able to cope with losing streaks and downswings.

These two are what cause most bettors to lose.

Over the last few months I’ve been working with a lot of RA Pro Members, on a one-to-one basis, in our forum.

Doing this has shown me that most of us, me included, struggle emotionally with losing runs which are much longer than 10 in a row. For some this may be a bit lower, and for others a bit higher, but most of us fall into the category of being comfortable with losing runs of between 5 and 10 in length.

When I talk about losing runs, I mean the number of losing selections in a row.

This is different to downswings.

A downswing is a period of time where we don’t increase our profit. Downswings are always longer than losing runs because you could have a series of losing runs, with a few winners in between, before you reach a new profit high.

Staking Graph

In the image above you can see a few red arrows. These indicate the bigger downswings in this imaginary series of bets.

In each of these timeframes you can see that there winners, little spikes in the graph where a profit was made, but the general trend was down.

Taking this into consideration, to have the mindset of a long-term profitable horse race bettor, we need to be able to do two things:

  • Cope with the longest losing streaks
  • Cope with the longest downswings


Whenever you look at a betting tipster, system or strategy, I’m sure one of the first things you consider is the strike rate.

Yet so few of us really understand what a strike rate means!

Usually you’d think a strike rate of 30% is pretty good. And you’d be right.

We think that’s pretty good because favourites win 30% of the time. In fact, most of us think that any selections with a strike rate greater than 20% is pretty good.

And the truth is… it is!

But how good or bad a strike rate is won’t help us in deciding our staking, or give us the right mindset for long-term profits.

Which is why I’m going to turn the way you look at strike rates on its head!

I want you start looking at how many bets you’re going to lose, not how many bets you’re going to win.

If your betting strategy, system or tipster has a 30% winning strike rate, I want you to think…

That means I’m going to lose 70% of my bets!

How different does that sound?!

A 20% winning strike rate means you are going to lose 80% of your bets.

They don’t sound quite so good now.

Again, this doesn’t mean you can’t make a profit from betting on them, you absolutely can. This isn’t about finding a profit, this is about making sure that you can cope with everything that’s going to be thrown at you during your betting.

Because not coping with the day-to-day realities of long-term profitable betting is what’s going to stop you being able to do it.

In summary, stop looking at the winning strike rate, and instead consider what percentage of bets you’re going to lose. Ask yourself if you can cope with that, or if you will find it difficult. If you’ll find it difficult then you need to win a higher percent, and the current approach won’t work for you.


For long-term profitability, the type of bet you have, and how much you stake, is directly linked to your mindset, and what length of losers in a row (and downswings) you can emotionally cope with.

There is no right or wrong. Everybody is different. Which is why there’s no ‘one size fits all’ for profitable betting. It’s why one person may make a profit with selections, and someone else, using the exact same selections, won’t.

It’s also why I encourage you to ask questions, use the strategies in our members area as base strategies, adapt them to suit, and get involved with our community, so we can all help you build the approach that will work for you personally.

With most bettors only being able to cope with up to ten losing bets in a row before it affecting them, this would indicate a strike rate of 50% or higher is needed.

What this means for you, is that if you want to continue placing win bets you will either need to:

A) Drop the high odds horses and focus on low odds runners

B) Have very few bets (and I mean like one a week)

However, for most of us I believe there is a better way…

Changing the type of bet you place!

Instead of placing win bets, we can improve our strike rate by using each-way, place, dutch and 80/20 bets.

Improving your strike rate, and keeping those losing runs within the limits of your own comfort levels, will give you an edge that very few people have.

I can assure you, you will be able to find selections that make a profit doing this. Contrary to popular opinion, finding profitable selections is not the hard bit. Just take a look at this blog post as an example.

The hard bit is understanding what you’re comfortable with, having the mindset to cope with it, and building a selection process that fits it. That’s the secret to long-term profits from horse racing.


My intention was to leave you in a far stronger place with your betting than you were before.

I hope, the importance of understanding how many losing bets in a row you are able to comfortably cope with is now clear. Whether you’ve been struggling to make a profit, or are looking to make your existing methods more solid, this will help you focus on an area that is seldom talked about, but absolutely critical to your success.

Please let me know, by leaving a comment below, how many losers in a row you are comfortable with, and what type of bet you currently favour.

Personally, I like to keep my losers in a row to less than 10, and prefer dutch, place and 80/20 bets.

Michael Wilding

Michael started the Race Advisor in 2009 to help bettors become long-term profitable. After writing hundreds of articles I started to build software that contained my personal ratings. The Race Advisor has more factors for UK horse racing than any other site, and we pride ourselves on creating tools and strategies that are unique, and allow you to make a long-term profit without the need for tipsters. You can also check out my personal blog or my personal Instagram account.


  1. Hi Michael,

    As always a fascinating read!!

    I’m looking forward to when you cover the 20/80 betting. I don’t use this as to me it’s for those unsure whether the horse will win or not. If it’s most likely to place why not just back the place bet? Can’t wait to find out all the logic behind 20/80 bets. Maybe I’m missing out on something special.


  2. I think it would help punters a bit better if you poroduced statistics that showed an average number of losing runs given 50%, 60%, 70%, 80% and 90% losers.

    Cone on Michael, help your punters out here

    1. This is the first time I’ve been asked to produce a report of expected consecutive losing bets based on strike rate. Certainly happy to do so, I’ve added it to our blog post list ?

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