Bankroll Squeeze

Bankroll Squeeze

Did you ever have a time when the ole’ bankroll was getting squeezed pretty good, and your handicapping seemed to be simply running out of juice?

Naturally.  If you’ve been in the game for even a few months, you have almost certainly gone through “one of those” losing streaks that tested your nerve and your money management approach!

As most of you know, we started issuing the HRG Index again on January 9th subsequent to our usual break after Breeders Cup, and wouldn’t you know it – a monster losing streak hit us pretty much right out of the gate.

We started off with a good-profit first day on the 9th, and the 10th was going okay – but ended up the day with 3 losing races.      And the next two days?!

Well, if you have a strong stomach, and if you want to know how to cope with a blue-moon losing binge . . .

So – after ending the 2nd day with 3 losing races, the third day saw an absolute parade of winning favorites, and the Index didn’t find even a single winner! Ten losing – merciless – races.  But that wasn’t the end of it because the 4th day started with 4 losing races as well. Cripes! We were galoshes deep into a 17-race losing streak.

How in the world do you deal with a 17-race losing streak?

  • First (and foremost):  A player needs to have absolute certainty that this will happen to him/her sooner or later – guaranteed.
  • Second:  Knowing this, it must be planned for.  The ‘base bet’ % of bankroll must be small enough (say 4-5%) to allow for it without approaching ruin, and loss of bank when this kind of streak comes around.
  • Third:  If you have an edge on the game – no matter how slight . . . then you keep on wading in. The streak will end, and the bottom-line ROI will claw its way back. In fact, the next bundle of races will almost certainly carry a higher-than-‘your’-average hit percentage, and the bankroll can come back fairly quickly.
  • Fourth:  If you are a bit of a risk-taker (and as we’ve discussed in a recent post), you could instigate a loss-recapture bet management approach at some point in the losing streak in order to be able to get back into the black even quicker once the streak ends (*Of course, you also start flirting with the possibility of even stiffer losses).


So – as far as the HRG Index is concerned, it came back just fine (though my personal bankroll was down around 30% during that bad streak). 

The return for flat betting the HRG Index (suggested Basic Betting Plan) stands – after 3 weeks and 114 playable races (and inclusive of that once-in-a-blue-moon loss series) – at +7.8% win, +22.9% exactas, and +36.7% trifectas.
(utilization of the Optimized Betting Plan is returning a substantially higher ROI than that)

But – what if a loss-recovery approach had been applied? 

Using the “Max Drawdown” sheet we provided (upon request) in a recent post for estimating potential losses – and using our own P3+ software approach for bet management – the results are nothing short of amazing.

The real key in any ‘loss-recovery’ – progression type betting is:
When do you initiate the progression?  That is – how long is the longest losing streak you should reasonably anticipate?

To under-estimate this crucial point is to risk bankroll ruin.  Let’s take an ULTRA conservative stance (one that any player no matter how conservative could entertain) . . .

Question – how often have you hit a 500 to 1 horse?

Right – never!

So – would you then be willing to take a risk that would only go bad on you once out of every 500 tries? Let’s use it.

The HRG Index stands right now at a 36.8% hit rate (usually two-horse betting), and with that percentage, losing 17 in a row – as we did – occurs only once in every 2,442 seventeen-race series (!!).

We’re looking for once in every 500.  Losing 13 in succession with that hit % would happen once every 389 times (17 race series count), and losing 14 would occur once in every 616 seventeen race sequences – so 14 would be closest to our ‘once-in-500’ mark.

Using the P3+ software and plugging in these parameters;

– $500 starting BR
– 4% of BR base wager ($20)
– starting any progression series after the 14th loss only

The results were:

– +72.4% ROI win betting (with an 822% increase on start-up BR !)
– +$4,111.30 profit
– largest BR draw-down 60.2%


 Anyway – I suppose this post is a bit in the way of encouragement to those who find themselves in the middle of one of those loss streaks . . . a bit of an apology (for the reality of race betting) to the guys and gals who only subscribed to the Index for one day – on that fateful Saturday . . . and a wee-bit of a plug for the HRG Index and the P3+ software.

Continued good fortune to all.  Comments welcomed.                 – Gary


  1. Gary,

    Please check my math: The first three weeks HG Index produced 127 races issued, about 42.333 races/week. Please, allow me to extrapolate…
    42.33 x 48 weeks/year (giving you a month off to recuperate) = 2032 races/year.

    You witnessed a 2442 x 17 = 1 in 41,514 race event.
    Ergo, 41,514/2032 = 20.43 years! In other words, an event that
    should happen 2-3 times in a horse players lifetime (i.e. 50 year lifespan)? And on average, you wouldn’t anticipate running into a similar losing streak again until 2034, give or take, correct? Are we also in the realm of 3 negative standard deviations or more than that?
    Best of luck,

    • Michael – Whew! Well – I’ve sent you the spreadsheet I use – you can check the formulas used on there to your heart’s content. (I’d sure love to think I wouldn’t encounter another 17-race streak in this lifetime!). I can say that the Index has never previously had a 17 race loss streak in the 11 years we’ve been issuing it. I personally had a 19 race streak once, but that was single-horse wagering in the earlier days of my betting history. But then – all of those 17 races referenced weren’t necessarily wager races (I didn’t wager in them all – but it’s possible that some of the subscribers did?) – several offered little value, or much in the way of enticement. – Gary

  2. Raymond Strommen

    This is for anyone who is using speed 2013. Decided to switch back to this method because the odds range is better; i.e. more price horses than L&B. IF you are using Brisnet; instead of figuring the first call fraction and beaten lengths, use the best Brisnet ES figure IF it fits the parameters of beaten lengths at the finish. Checked back over a few weeks worth of handicapping and found that that ES figure correlates nicely with the adjusted first fraction Now this makes speed 2013 just as easy as L&B!! Had to share this; anything that simplifies a method is worth a look.

  3. Raymond Strommen

    I have always used a session concept as far as my bankroll is concerned. I have 4 sessions of 30 units each(could be any amount). I set a goal of doubling the session; once doubled you could distribute winnings over the sessions; pocket the money, or what I like to do is add entire amount to first session and go for it, then pocket the money.

    Over the years I have lost the first session many times; however never lost 2 sessions in a row; have come close! this gives you a huge psychological edge. Also, setting goals turns your horse racing endeavors into a business.

    I am using the P3 with a 15 loss before progressing. recently I quickly doubled my first session 3 times. one session took 12 bets, another only 8, then only 5 bets!!(obviously hit some nice price horses) Then came the marathon, 94 bets, 68% bank draw down;starting bank $300, last bet best price of series($47.20) brought the profit to more than doubling, $536.50. All hail P3!!!!!

    These are handicapped results; got bored just watching the tote; more fun trying to ferret out price horses and the mental calculations( speed 2013 and long green) keep my old brain fit. Hit a $29. WPF horse at Santa Anita, race 5 on 1/23. Using speed 2013, long green and when pigs fly got all categories of racing covered! By the way, Sniper was successful, but would rather handicap.

    • Ray – As always, thanks for the detailed report. The best thing about the “session play” approach is that it allows the player to experience ‘resolution.’ Rather than it being one never-ending game with no real resolution, it becomes a series of little smaller, individual games – each with their own concrete endings – a ‘done deal’ profit or loss in the books.

      Players should take note of your number of ‘losses accepted before the progression begins.’

      I think the reason many (most) players do not like loss-recapture betting plans is that they have been burned with heavy losses using them – and this because of trying to re-capture the losses too quickly (i.e. starting the progression too soon).

      Again, I suggest small percentage of bankroll starting/base wager amounts – setting very risk-averse parameters for initiating the progression, and letting P3+ take care of the rest. – Gary

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