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Common Methods for Staking Bets, Part 2

If you want to win at sports betting, you need to have a money management system. In this series I have been sharing common money management techniques used for setting bet sizes. In Common Methods for Staking Bets, Part 1, I focused on why you should not simply bet everything in your account—or more precisely, why you should not confuse your bankroll amount with your wager amount (if this sounds odd, read the article and you'll see what I am talking about).


In this part, I would like to talk about progressive systems. These methods for staking your bets start out with smaller wagers and progressively work their way up toward larger and larger wagers. There are a number of different progressive systems in existence, but the most common two are Martingale and Fibonacci.



This is a system where you increase your bet sizes from one wager to the next based on the numbers in the Fibonacci sequence used in mathematics. Each new number in the sequence is generated by adding the previous two numbers together.


1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34 …

So your first bet might be £1, and your next might be £1, and your next £3, and then £5, and then £8, and then £13, and so on. You do this every time you lose. When you win, you generally start the sequence all over again.




The system is even more aggressive in progressively increasing your bet sizes than the Fibonacci system. With this method, every time you lose a bet, you wager twice as much on the next one. This goes on until you finally win and in theory recover your losses, at which point you back to the beginning and start betting small again. Read my other article on the Martingale system to find out more.



The Theory Behind Progressive Betting Systems

The principle behind these progressive betting systems is that if you can simply hold out long enough, you will inevitably win all of your money back plus a huge profit. Sounds pretty good, right?


The Reality Behind Progressive Betting Systems

The problem is that most bettors do not have the massive bankroll they would need in order to actually win using progressive betting systems on a reliable basis. Many punters underestimate just how quickly progressive systems can increase their bets. Imagine for example that you start a Martingale sequence with a £10 bet, and you lose. Your next bet is £20, and your next is £40, and your next is £80. By now you have £150 on the line. Your next wager after you lose the £80 won is £160—which you win.


Hopefully you had good odds and you end up winning a substantial payout at this point. Regardless, however, you still had to put a lot of money on the line to get there.


Imagine if this losing streak had continued longer, which is common in sports betting where even a professional win/loss ratio might not be more than around 55%. It would not have been long before you are wagering many hundreds or even thousands of pounds. What if your entire bankroll was only £500 to start with? Your original bet would've been incredibly reasonable, but by your fifth bet, you are already wagering more than 30% of your bankroll! You could very quickly and up exhausting this bankroll, at which point you are out of the game do not even have a chance at winning.


In fact, this is quite commonly what occurs. Many punters cannot hang in there long enough with their bankrolls to survive to see the profits that they are hoping for. Instead they simply blow their accounts.


The other major problem with progressive systems is that there is no direct connection between the increases in bet sizes and the chances of actually winning any particular bet. Because there is no direct relationship, you are basically just waiting on chance to ensure that you eventually win it all back.


For these reasons I do not recommend using Martingale or Fibonacci in real life, though you may want to play with them on paper just to see how they work. In the next part in this series (Common Methods for Staking Bets, Part 3), I will tell you about two methods I think are much better: fixed and proportional betting.


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Gambling on the Internet

A few things to consider when gambling online:

  • Take advantage of first deposit bonuses
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