One of the quickest ways to betting disaster is to be unaware about the impact of losing sequences. They can occur without warning at any time, and can quickly devastate capital funds if of insufficient size to absorb them.

First of all, how does one know what lengths such losing sequences are likely to be? Well actually, this is fairly easy to predict, provided one has an accurate idea of the probable strike rate. For both negative and positive sequences are directly related to strike rate, and one can mathematically determine the probability of specific sequences appearing, provided that is, one knows what percentage of the bets in a series are likely to lose or win. The generally accepted view is that levels of retained capital reserves should prudently be greater than the longest losing sequence one would expect to encounter during a series, multiplied by one’s maximum stake. Exactly how much greater would of course be dependant on one’s attitude to risk though, as a rule of thumb, the lower the strike rate then the longer losing sequences will be therefore, the more capital cover would advisably be required.

To illustrate, please see the table below, which can be used to determine possible staking strategies. Let's say, for example, one’s estimate of a strike rate over a series of 500 bets would be around 40%. Please note at this stage that there are no good or bad strike rates - they are all purely relative to the odds range one decides to target. As can be seen from the table, with a 40% strike rate one can expect to have a losing sequence of 10 somewhere in the series (there is a 75% chance of that happening). However, there is a 50% chance of hitting a losing sequence of 12 and a 25% chance of a run of 14 losers. That sequence of 14 is less likely to occur, but it will still happen, on average, once in every four series. On the flip side of the coin, one has a 75% chance of hitting at least one winning run of 6 during the series. A sequence of 7 is a 50:50 possibility and a successful run of 8 has a 25% chance of occurring. Such figures can be seen in the 60% row (take a chosen strike rate, in this case 40%, away from 100 and look in the row for the difference in order to anticipate winning sequences). Finally, with a less than 1% chance, one is likely to confront a losing sequence of 20 no more often than once in every hundred series - this being the base figure that should be used in constructing a ‘betting bank’.

Please don't make the common mistake of thinking these sequences won't happen. They are mathematically determined by strike rates and will happen as often as they are entitled to, whether one likes it or not. Nobody can avoid them. When they do occur it certainly doesn't mean that you are 'out of form' or doing anything wrong – it’s just the mathematics involved being proved accurate. Then provided the averaged price of winners are compatible with the strike rate and retained capital reserves are at sufficient levels to absorb such anticipated sequences, one will always be in a sound enough position to successfully weather such negative run.

Anticipated Losing Runs |

Strike Rate (%) | Negative / Positive Sequence Chances | |||

Likely 75% chance | 50:50 50% chance | Unlikely 25% chance | Rare 1% chance | |

3 | 83 | 105 | 132 | 235 |

4 | 69 | 86 | 106 | 185 |

5 | 59 | 73 | 90 | 153 |

6 | 52 | 64 | 78 | 130 |

7 | 46 | 57 | 68 | 113 |

8 | 42 | 51 | 61 | 101 |

9 | 38 | 47 | 56 | 91 |

10 | 35 | 43 | 51 | 82 |

11 | 33 | 40 | 47 | 75 |

12 | 30 | 37 | 44 | 69 |

13 | 29 | 34 | 41 | 64 |

14 | 27 | 32 | 38 | 60 |

15 | 25 | 30 | 36 | 56 |

16 | 24 | 29 | 34 | 53 |

17 | 23 | 27 | 32 | 50 |

18 | 22 | 26 | 30 | 47 |

19 | 21 | 25 | 29 | 45 |

20 | 20 | 24 | 28 | 42 |

21 | 19 | 23 | 26 | 40 |

22 | 18 | 22 | 25 | 39 |

23 | 17 | 21 | 24 | 37 |

24 | 17 | 20 | 23 | 35 |

25 | 16 | 19 | 22 | 34 |

26 | 15 | 19 | 21 | 33 |

27 | 15 | 18 | 21 | 31 |

28 | 14 | 17 | 20 | 30 |

29 | 14 | 17 | 19 | 29 |

30 | 13 | 16 | 19 | 28 |

31 | 13 | 16 | 18 | 27 |

32 | 12 | 15 | 17 | 26 |

33 | 12 | 15 | 17 | 25 |

34 | 12 | 14 | 16 | 24 |

35 | 11 | 14 | 16 | 24 |

36 | 11 | 13 | 15 | 23 |

37 | 11 | 13 | 15 | 22 |

38 | 10 | 13 | 15 | 21 |

39 | 10 | 12 | 14 | 21 |

40 | 10 | 12 | 14 | 20 |

41 | 9 | 12 | 13 | 20 |

42 | 9 | 11 | 13 | 19 |

43 | 9 | 11 | 13 | 19 |

44 | 9 | 11 | 12 | 18 |

45 | 8 | 11 | 12 | 18 |

46 | 8 | 10 | 12 | 17 |

47 | 8 | 10 | 11 | 17 |

48 | 8 | 10 | 11 | 16 |

49 | 8 | 10 | 11 | 16 |

50 | 7 | 9 | 11 | 15 |

Anticipated Losing Runs |

Strike Rate (%) | Negative / Positive Sequence Chances | |||

Likely 75% chance | 50:50 50% chance | Unlikely 25% chance | Rare 1% chance | |

51 | 7 | 9 | 10 | 15 |

52 | 7 | 9 | 10 | 15 |

53 | 7 | 9 | 10 | 14 |

54 | 7 | 8 | 10 | 14 |

55 | 6 | 8 | 9 | 14 |

56 | 6 | 8 | 9 | 13 |

57 | 6 | 8 | 9 | 13 |

58 | 6 | 8 | 9 | 13 |

59 | 6 | 8 | 9 | 12 |

60 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 12 |

61 | 5 | 7 | 8 | 12 |

62 | 5 | 7 | 8 | 11 |

63 | 5 | 7 | 8 | 11 |

64 | 5 | 7 | 8 | 11 |

65 | 5 | 7 | 7 | 11 |

66 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 10 |

67 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 10 |

68 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 10 |

69 | 4 | 6 | 7 | 10 |

70 | 4 | 6 | 7 | 9 |

71 | 4 | 6 | 6 | 9 |

72 | 4 | 6 | 6 | 9 |

73 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 9 |

74 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 8 |

75 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 8 |

76 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 8 |

77 | 3 | 5 | 6 | 8 |

78 | 3 | 5 | 5 | 8 |

79 | 3 | 5 | 5 | 7 |

80 | 3 | 5 | 5 | 7 |

81 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 7 |

82 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 7 |

83 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 7 |

84 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |

85 | 3 | 4 | 4 | 6 |

86 | 3 | 4 | 4 | 6 |

87 | 2 | 4 | 4 | 6 |

88 | 2 | 4 | 4 | 6 |

89 | 2 | 4 | 4 | 5 |

90 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |

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