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Thursday, March 11, 2004
Conceptual Design of Money Management System
Here is an interesting post by Lou E.
from the LTW
"There are a several items that
conceptually don't make sense to me with IBS that, if
changed, make the system better.
First, the idea of betting a static unit until a win (to not lose big on
long losing streaks) is making a false assumption that the losing streaks
can only come in the beginning. Obviously, they can come in the middle or
end just as easily, so there is no reason to put in a rule to eliminate
losing streaks at the beginning of a series.
Secondly, it would seem to me that the whole idea of a betting progression
would be that a winning bet either wins your initial staking unit or cancels
out two or more losing bets (or to be technically correct, can also cancel
out a losing bet and the initial staking unit). So, you should not have a
series of wagers going 1,1,1.
Third, the idea of canceling out the lowest value units first means that on
those series with a high loss to win ratio, you must place progressively
higher bets to keep within the system. As long as a winning wager cancels
out two or more losing wagers, there is no magic in which losing wagers you
cancel. However, changing the ones you cancel could significantly change the
number of units you have to bet on a single wager.
Combining these thoughts, you would start increasing the betting unit after
the first loss and and when calculating the next betting unit use the lowest
and the _highest_ previous wagers to cancel out two losing bets (or a losing
bet and your initial stake).
So, if losing, the bets become 1 (initial stake), 1, 2, 3, 4 (highest and
lowest is 3+1), then if a win comes on the next bet (betting 5), it would
cancel out the 4 and 1 and you would be left with 2,3 so the next bet would
also be a 5.
There is no reason that a winning bet can't cancel out three bets, but then
the losing streaks require higher wagers. And if you are betting a slightly
lower than 50% proposition, it doesn't really matter if the minimum winning
percentage is 26% or 34%, you will still come out way ahead.
Also, the discussions to date have been using one series of events
(baccarat, pass, red, etc.), but if you could use multiple series of events
simultaneously, then when one event goes on a losing streak, the others
could be winning to offset the losses.
For example, using a sports picks of say 3 picks per day, you could be
running multiple series simultaneously. If say, "position" 1, had a win, but
positions 2 and 3 had a loss, then the next day, for "position" 1 you would
still bet 1 unit, but positions 2 and 3 are 2 unit wagers. The more series
you run simultaneously, the more even the bankroll changes.
I am using roughly 20 sports picks a day (varies Saturdays have a lot more
than Mondays, etc.), using 1/2 unit plays on a 200 unit bankroll. If one of
the positions loses 10 in a row, that's still only wagering 5% of the
bankroll. and if the "positions" all go 3-4 for the week (ending the series
with a win), that's 30 units net (60x1/2) on a 200 unit bankroll.
Based on years of experience in sports wagering, I was of the school that it
is a grind it out way of making money, looking to make money with a 55-57%
winning rate. Where shopping among sports books for an extra half point
could make the difference between a winning and losing day. Where a sports
book offering odds of -107 or -105, instead of the standard -110 was
With this mentality, an edge in the line is an edge and should be wagered
upon. If value was available, take it and look for as many opportunities as
possible -- if you find two games for the day, fine, but if you find 10,
great, they should all be wagered upon. 55% of 10 games is better than 55%
of 2 games.
Not believing in Games of the Week, Month, Year or "Locks" (though I do
believe that stronger picks should receive more than average picks), the
only way to make more was to bet more -- increasing the size of the wagering
However, this has changed dramatically with the application of money
management techniques. If something like IBS makes
sense for wagering applications where the expectation is less than 50%, how
much more sense does it make for wagering applications with a win rate of
My bankroll now grows much faster and there are fewer significant downdraws.
The only problem is resisting the urge to increase the unit size faster
since a long losing streak is bound to occur and unused bankroll may be
needed. I now look for sources of additional picks as opposed to increasing
unit size since it smoothes the variations more in the bankroll than does
increasing the unit size.
On underdog money lines, I still bet whatever amount is next up in the
series. If you win, you win more than expected and if you lose it still
saves you a few bucks since you would lose $100 instead of $110.
On money lines with a favorite, I have experimented with both simplicity and
exactness. Simplicity says just ignore the extra premium and make a little
less than expected, which may be offset by winning a few underdog picks
where you get extra. Exactness says the actual units wagered would be 1.1
(to win 1 unit with normal -110 odds), 2.31 (to win 2.1 units -- 1 + 1.1),
3.641 (to win 3.31 units -- 1 + 2.31), etc. With many offshore sports books,
you can wager down to the exact penny if you like. Exactness wins more, but
you also wager more.
As far as odds like -200, I simply pass. I don't wager when the odds are
greater than -125, which is based more on personal preference rather than
hard math. Since there is an abundance of wagers available at shorter odds,
I have no problem passing on a couple of events.
One point that bears repeating though is the idea of multiple "positions."
Having winning series concurrently with losing series does a lot to cushion
the blow of a long losing streak. This is where sports betting is vastly
superior to table games -- maybe even more important than a higher winning
percentage. Of course, table games provide significantly more decisions than
Let's say you have a source that usually has up to three picks per day. I
put those picks in Positions 1, 2 and 3, just like they were three different
series, or three different games of baccarat.
Let's assume that the first series goes LWLWLWLW, etc.
Using an initial stake of $100, the first bet is $110 to win $100 and it
loses, so the series is 100, 110. You now bet the first and last in the
series (100 +110), so bet $231 to win $210. It wins so you cancel out the
losing bet of $110 and win your stake of $100. So in a LWLW series -- 50%
winners which would normally be a losing proposition in sports betting, you
end up winning 5 units in 10 games.
Position 2 might be something like LLWLLW, etc.
The series would be 100, 110, 231 (then bet 231 + 100 = 331/1.10 = 365 (I
always round up any fraction). The winning bet cancels out the 100 and the
231, leaving 110, so the next bet is 121 (loses), then 255 (loses), then 402
-- wins canceling out the110 and the 255, leaving 121 in the series. So with
a 33% winning percentage, you are just slightly negative as the vig builds
up, so, generally speaking, a 34% winning percentage or higher ends up
winning when you end a series.
The third position might be more realistic and win 55%. Let's assume 100
bets, winning 55 and losing 45. With a normal 110/100 odds, flat betting you
would win 5.5 units. With this method, if we assume that 30 of the loses
were cancelled out by by 15 wins and 15 of the wins cancelled out the
initial stake and one loss, then 25 wins were the initial bet in a series
winning just the stake, you would now win 40 units in 100 games compared to
Please note, however, that you put more of the bankroll at risk to win the
40 units than you did to win the 5.5. In my first post, I said use half
units on a 200 unit bankroll. Someone wrote me and said that's the same as 1
unit on a 400 unit bankroll. Well, yes it is, but the point I was trying to
make was to make your initial stake _less than_ what you would normally be
flat betting since with losing bets you will end up making bets larger than
you would flat betting.
The key point is that a winning wager either wins the stake, cancels out a
losing bet and wins the stake, or cancels out two losing bets. I no longer
look at a loss as a loss, it's now just not a win yet.
From this basic scenario, I have tried several tweaks to make it better. For
example, if your source has up to three picks per day, you could use the
picks in the order presented, or by sport. If by sport you may have three
series for NBA, three for college BB and three for hockey all going at the
same time. This could leave some losing series open for a while, but the
theory is that the source wouldn't lose x number in row of the same sport,
but could lose x number in a row by having a bad run in several sports at
the same time. I didn't test this extensively, but there wasn't much
A tweak that I have now incorporated into this system is to place losing
wagers in the next _vertical_ position as opposed to horizontal. For
example, if the three series looked like:
100, 110, 231
and you lost, won, won instead of:
100, 110, 231, 365
I would have the series look like:
And since I am using an Excel spreadsheet, I average the second number in
the series, so that it becomes
Some other minor points:
1. If the wager is an underdog money line, say +120, I still bet the next
number in the series, and just make a little more.
2. If the wager is greater than -110 and it loses, I adjust the series to
account for what was actually wagered. For example, with a -120 loss, the
series becomes 100, 120, not 100, 110.
3. When reaching 5 losses in a row (it happens, but not that common), I have
played with several things to lower the amount wagered to keep it within a
reasonable number. Nothing I have happy with, but I change the rules
slightly to have a winning bet cancel out only one losing bet rather than
two, so the bet stays a reasonable percentage of the bankroll.
4. Sources that have a consistently higher winning percentage have higher
initial stakes than those with lower winning percentages.
5. If one source goes for Team A, say with a $110 wager and another goes for
Team B with say a $231 wager, I bet only the difference of $121 on Team B. I
still record the win or loss for Team A and the full amount for Team B, but
save on the vig, making a little extra.
6. To keep the math relatively simple, I still use -110 odds even if I
actually get -107 odds. Again, making a little extra than the initial stake
when the series ends.
One final thought is that I believe the biggest strength in this system is
the ability to carry on multiple series simultaneously. So winning sources
can cancel out the losing sources even before the losing sources series
ends. I believe that this makes it significantly better than a table game
where you can only play one series at a time.
I have made a change that has improved the returns. For the first bet in the
sequence, I am using two units so that every winning bet will now be
canceling out _two_. The two will be either two losing bets, a losing bet
and the initial stake or two initial stakes, so now, no matter where the
loses show up, a 33% wining percentage is essentially breakeven.
So instead of:
100 (initial stake), 110, 230 it will be 100, 220, 350
This sequence gets into higher wagers immediately (which is a good reason to
keep the initial stake at less than what you would wager flat betting), but
now the good sources that go on a 3 or 4 game winning streak really boost
I have received several private emails, with one big question, how much can
you make? This past week, the return was over 20%.
Hope this helps,
Thanking Lou for his valuable
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