Bookmark this page!
What they are and how they work
Betting systems vary widely in method and
promised results. Generally, there are four types of betting
strategies: those applicable to card games, to roulette, to horse
racing, and to sports events. Betting systems are not the same as
card-counting strategies, which work on the principles of memory and
mathematical odds, but rely on basic probabilities that do not
usually require mathematical calculation.
Horse racing betting systems are among the most popular and widely
known. These generally involve a knowledge of the past history of
the horses involved, their likely state of health, injury reports,
and a comparative study of the merits and weaknesses of the animals
in the race. Some systems involve hedging one’s bets, or betting on
more than one horse in the same race. Others involve arbitrage, or
placing a number of bets on horses with a low probability of
winning, thus maximising the return on a minimal investment if even
one of the horses wins their race.
A general system that can be applied to nearly all repeated gambling
events is the Martingale system. Popularised in France during the
late 1700s, it is extremely simple in theory. The Martingale system
involves doubling your bet each time you lose, with the assumption
that statistically you will win and recoup any losses due to the
size of your stake. While this has been proven to be less than
effective in most games that favour the house, some betting systems
are still based on this general principle.
The Kelly criterion is the basis of most successful betting systems.
It involves a complex formula weighing the expected rewards of
winning a bet against the expected loss to determine the optimal
betting pattern and incorporating the estimated odds of each
outcome. Kelly systems tend to reward underbetting in cases where
the precise odds and outcomes are not known to the gambler. The
Kelly criterion has gained such wide acceptance that it has been
incorporated into most modern investment systems as well as gambling
Betting systems for sports competitions and horse races are usually
partially or completely based on handicapping, or weighting various
advantages and disadvantages of the teams against each other. This
results in a predicted point spread, the amount by which the
favoured team is expected to win. Some betting systems are devoted
to “beating the spread”, or determining whether or not the gambler
should vote over or under the spread in various situations.
The best betting systems are obviously those that produce winning
results over time. The best advice for gamblers is to find a betting
system that works consistently and stick to it, offsetting temporary
losses with wins to achieve the best results possible in the long