Staking Plans

STAKING PLANS UNCOVERED: The Retirement Staking Plan In 3 Steps

Everybody loves a staking plan, yet staking plans tend, for the most part, to lose people money.

So why does everybody love them?

Because they make you feel, incorrectly, that you’re going to make more profit by using them.

In this article, the first in the series, we’re going to look at the the retirement staking plan, how it works, and if it’s something you should be using.

We’re going to see the real cost of using staking plans so you can decide whether they’re for you.


Barry Hughes was the creator of the retirement staking plan, and it was first published by Grandstand Publishing, an Australian horse racing publishing company.

They say that…

His aim was to formulate a staking plan that could recoup all losses, and to show profits, even when a plan only breaks even. In other words, over a period of time you might have had 80 bets for 25 winners, you didn’t lose, but you didn’t win either. He also wanted a staking plan that could withstand long runs of outs and still achieve profits.

He did over a period of time, come up with a staking plan that did these things, but when he applied it to past results on several systems, it worked fine on some, but others, not so good.

He finally came to the conclusion that most staking plans never took into account the average price of the winners. They may work on one that has an average price winner of 5-2, and completely fail on a system with the average price winner of 5-1. The reason being, a system that does average 5-1 winners, will at some stage be more likely to go through a longer run of outs than the one that averages 5-2 winners.

The only thing he had to do now was, to work out a staking plan, with a formula that would suit all plans with different average price winners.

He finally came up with a staking plan that has a divisor, and a target, where your first bet is only 1% of your bank And as you will see he has set this staking plan up in such a way it will suit any system that shows only small profits, and can also show more than 15% at break even. It wouldn’t matter if your plan averages 5-2 or 8-1 winners, or anywhere in between. You will know once you have worked out the average price winner of whatever plan you are using, how to set up and use The Retirement Staking Plan.

I first came across this staking plan over 15 years ago. It was one of the first I ever saw, and at the time it was hugely popular.

This made it the perfect choice to investigate in the first of a series of articles on staking plans.


The retirement staking plan is a loss-recovery staking plan.

This means that it aims to recover the losses made on previous bets when it finds a winner.

To do this you have to increase your stakes.

This staking plan does not increase the stakes too aggressively, making it more of a medium level of risk.

It takes into account the average odds of a winning horse in your selections, and uses that to determine how much of your losses it’s going to attempt to recover in each bet.

Please note that we do not recommend using any form of loss-recovery staking plans in your betting.

The only staking plans we suggest you use are based on the odds of the selections, such as this staking plan, or flat stakes.


The rules for the retirement staking plan are more complicated than most, and I think that’s one of the reasons it’s been popular for so long.

In betting, we tend to think that the more complicated something is, the more likely it is going to be effective.

But that’s not usually the case.

STEP #1: The First Bet

There are three pieces of information that you need to know in order to use the retirement staking plan. These are:


The divisor is your (Average Decimal Odds-1) x 2

  • Stake

Your stake is 1% of your bankroll

  • Target

The target is the Stake x Divisor

You will need this information to work out the first bet in any sequence. In order to get this information you will already need some history of your selections to calculate the divisor. The more selections you have the better.

STEP #2: What Is A Sequence

Because this staking plan is trying to recover your losses, everything is based around a sequence of bets.

This sequence of bets is reset when the sequence ends.

For the retirement staking plan, we always start a sequence by betting our stake. This stake is 1% of the bankroll.

At the beginning of the sequence we also have our Target, the calculation of which is in step #1.

After each bet the target is adjusted based on the losses that have been made so far.

The sequence will reset when a winning bet makes our Target smaller than the original Target we started the sequence with.

For example, if we started the sequence with a Target of £25, and after a winning bet our Target became £20, then the sequence would start again.

STEP #3: How To Bet In A Sequence

There are two types of bet in the retirement staking plan. These are:

a) Your first bet in a sequence

b) Any other bet in a sequence

We’ve already covered that the first bet in a sequence in step #2, and now we’re going to look at any other bet in the sequence.

If you win the first bet, then you start the sequence again. We only get to this stage if the first bet loses.

This is where Barry made it a bit confusing, so bear with me, and if you’ve got any questions please leave me a comment at the bottom.

We need to calculate the Divisor, Target and Stake for these bets.


Remember at the beginning we calculated a Divisor. This figure always stays the same unless:

  • You are starting a new sequence
  • The amount of bets without starting a new sequence is bigger than the Divisor
  • When you have a winning bet, but you don’t win enough to start a new sequence

Let’s look at these in more detail.

The amount of bets without starting a new sequence is bigger than the Divisor

The Divisor is Average Odds x 2. If our average odds are 4.00 (3/1), then our Divisor is 4.00 x 2 = 8.

If we have eight bets without starting a new sequence, then on bet nine we increase the Divisor by 1.

This happens because on bet nine our number of bets will be bigger than the Divisor, and we haven’t started a new sequence.

When you have a winning bet, but you don’t win enough to start a new sequence

When this happens, on the next bet we look at our new Target.

Find the last time you had a Target of this amount in the sequence and use the Divisor that you used at that time.

Now that we’ve worked out the Divisor in any bets that aren’t the first in the sequence, we now need to work out the Target.


It’s really only the Divisor that is complicated, the Target and Stake are quite easy to calculate.

In order to calculate the Target for your bet, follow these steps:

  1. Take the last Target
  2. Add your profit/loss to the Target

As an example, if the Target in the last race was 20, and your loss in the last race was -3, then your next Target would be 23.

If you won the next bet and made +2 profit, then your next Target would be 23 – 2 = 21.

You see that if we make a profit in the previous bet then it comes off the the Target. If we make a loss in the previous bet then it gets added to the Target.


The simplest of the three, to calculate the stake you do the sum Target ÷ Divisor

If our Divisor is 8 and our Target is 23, then our Stake would be 23 ÷ 8 = 2.88


Now that you’ve got the rules you need to implement the retirement staking plan, this is a working example to show you how to put it in practice.

The horses I chose have average odds of 18/1, which means the Divisor is:

18 x 2 = 36

If the bankroll is £1000 then the starting bet is 1% of £1000 which equals a first bet stake of £10.

That makes the Target £10 x 36 = 360

Al Ozzdi26.441836010.00-10990
Global Spirit420.001837020.56-20.56969.44
Fountain Rose11213.331839121.70-21.70947.75
Heath Charnock64.701841222.90-22.90924.84
Alix James39.201843524.18-24.18900.67
Financial Conduct50552.961848526.94-26.94848.21
Frankly Darling12.071851228.4329.81878.02
Mister Blue636.001848226.78-26.78851.25
Hold Fast19.691853729.83254.001076.98
Dark Vision23.8519283

As you can see above the last bet on Hold Fast brought the Target on the next bet down to 283.

283 is lower than the original Target of 360, which means the sequence has ended and new sequence would begin.


Now we know how the retirement staking plan works, and we’ve gone through an example, what we really want to know is whether this is something you should be using or not.

I like to do this using risk vs reward.


Starting with a £1000 bankroll, the reward in the above sequence of bets was £76.98.

To make this profit we risked a total of £265.09, which gives us a 29% ROI and a bankroll growth of 7.70%. The largest stake was £29.81.

Flat staking £10, 1% of the original bankroll, over the same sequence of bets would have staked £110, made a profit of £85.13 for a 77% ROI and a bankroll growth of 8.51%. The largest stake was of course £10.

Using a risk based staking, and setting our edge at 1%, we’d have staked £18.98, made a profit of £11.09 for a 58% ROI and a 1.10% bankroll growth.

At first glance the risk based staking has produced the worst result and flat staking has produced the best result. The largest stake was £9.37.

But let’s consider this further.

Each of these methods of staking have different goals.

The Retirement Staking Plan Goal = Profit

Flat Staking Goal = Low Risk

Risk Based Staking Goal = Long-Term Bankroll Growth

The retirement staking plan’s goal is to make the most profit. While it didn’t in this example, it may well do this if we had more selections. But, the way it is doing this is by increasing the stakes. The largest stake in this example was just under 3% of the bankroll. And of course, this could get larger if the losing sequences get longer (which they will).

The flat staking plan’s biggest stake was 1.07% of the bankroll, and would get larger in longer losing sequences. This is because when you are flat staking, every loss you have means the stake is a bigger percentage of the bank.

The risk based staking plan has the goal of long-term bankroll growth. In order to do this it has to minimise the risk. Based on a 1% edge, the largest stake was just 0.93% of bankroll. While at the beginning this is going to mean slower profits, it will also mean they’re in relation to the risk of the odds of the selection you’re betting on, and it will remove the volatility from your betting, whilst giving you the biggest chance of never losing your bankroll. As your bankroll grows then the profits will become significantly more than any other method, and you will never be over-staking your bankroll. Check out this article to see how it works.


There’s no doubt that the retirement staking plan is complicated. The maths can make your head hurt, and in doing so it increases the risk of your betting by trying to recover your losses.

That being said, it’s by no means the most aggressive loss recovery staking plan out there.

With any loss recovery staking there is always a concern on what will happen in a worst case scenario.

My preference is always for risk based staking, as I prefer low risk bankroll growth.

I’d love to know if you’re going to use the retirement staking plan in your betting. Please let me know by leaving a comment below.

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,
    Yes i’ve always been very interested in staking plans since I first started betting on horses. I even went to Sussex University to study in ‘Maths and Statistics’; once upon a time. This is the first time i have really taken a proper look at the retirement plan and so i am grateful for your in-depth analysis in the post. After some years, i have ended up settling on my own staking plan that i have eventually settled on, which uses both SAAW & SAAL strategies. I would be happy to send you the full sequences and rules i use, if you would be interested in having a gander over it?
    Have a nice Wednesday,


    1. I’d love to have a look at it Robin, please get in touch with our support team by pressing the button on the bottom right of any page on the site, and they’ll get it to me.


    1. I’ve not looked at it for lay betting, but there’s no reason the process wouldn’t work for lay betting as well if it’s an approach you’d like to try.

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