- 1 What Is Flat Betting? (Example Included)
- 2 Types of Flat Betting
- 3 Strategies Based on Flat Betting
- 4 The Basic Rules of Flat Betting
- 5 The Special Aspects of Flat Betting in Football and Tennis
- 6 Flat Martingale
- 7 Reviews. Advantages and Disadvantages
- 8 Resume
An example of a game on Flat bets, which flat-based strategies can be used to increase profits.
What Is Flat Betting? (Example Included)
Flat betting is a financial strategy that allows to control your bankroll (the amount that you have available for betting).
The basic principle of flat betting is a fixed bet amount. You stake the same amount on each bet for a previously defined period of time (from one month up to one year). The amount is calculated as a percentage of the player’s bankroll.
That is why flat betting is sometimes called “a fixed betting strategy”.
Let’s say, you have a bankroll of $10 000, and your fixed bet amount is one percent of your bankroll — that is, $100. The period of time when the stake stays the same is one month.
During this time, you made, say, 50 stakes risking 1% of your bankroll per bet and received $1000 profit. Now you have $11 000 on your bankroll. The new amount of your stake is $110 (1% of 11 000 rubles).
Recommended Fixed Percentage of the Stake:
It is accepted that a fixed percentage of a player’s bankroll may vary from 1 to 5%. When you are new to flat betting, you should no doubt start with 1 percent, and then, as your experience grows, and you have positive dynamics in the game, you may raise the stake.
Types of Flat Betting
The most common division includes the following types of a flat betting system:
- Academic or expert;
Static Flat Betting
This type of flat betting is the safest. Typically, the stake amount is 1% of the bankroll, and it does not change for a long period of time.
Academic or Expert Flat Betting
This is the most popular type of flat betting. The stake amount varies between 1% and 3% of the bankroll depending on:
- the player’s confidence in the predicted outcome of the event (maximum confidence — 3%);
- the bettor’s knowledge of the sports where he/she makes bets (the better the knowledge, the higher the percentage);
- the success rate of the stakes (in case of a losing streak, the bet is lowered).
Aggressive Flat Betting
Compared to static and academic, aggressive type of flat betting is often regarded as risky. The bettor bets 2-3% of the bank and does not lower the percentage in case of a prolonged losing streak, which makes this strategy dangerous (although, in my opinion, not even close as risky as martingale).
Chaotic Flat Betting
The name speaks for itself. The player bets 10 or more percent of the bankroll and may vary the bet any way he/she likes.
On internet forums, you may come across an opinion that the strategy is fit for a small bankroll and a long distance, i.e., when you make a few big stakes in a long period of time. This statement is controversial, to say the least.
The opposite point of view suggests that the strategy may be used, say, during some tournament when you decide to risk “here and now”. This, at least, is understandable. Many players have gone through similar experiments.
Strategies Based on Flat Betting
Fixed Percentage of the Bank
Although this financial strategy has much in common with flat betting, it is often regarded separately. In regular flat betting, the percentage of the stake changes at “control points” whereas in fixed percentage the stake amount depends on the changes in your bankroll.
This strategy, developed by a famous American player George Miller, is sometimes called advanced or modified flat betting.
The Basic Rules of Flat Betting
- The stake amount stays the same for a certain period and varies between 1 and 5 percent of the bankroll. Typically, the recommended percentage is 2 or 3.
- Recalculation of the stake. If, after the specified period, the bankroll has increased, you may recalculate the stake while leaving the percentage the same. These periods (also called control points), after which it is possible to recalculate the stake amount, may vary from one month to one year.
- Equally likely events. The betting odds for equally likely events should start from 1.9. This applies to tennis, football (total, handicap), etc. You can find many options in the line. Some people recommend lower odds, but, in my opinion, this is not a way to go, as the success rate with 1.6 odds is 100/1.6= 62.5%, which is an extremely high figure.
- The choice of a bookmaker with better odds for two equally likely events is a factor often ignored by the players. However, bettors are initially put at a disadvantage compared to bookmakers because of the margin (What is a margin and how do bookmakers work?) which typically varies from 3% (for 1.97 odds) up to 15% (for 1.85 odds). When you need to exceed the breakeven point, every decile matters, so it is very important to choose a bookmaker with minimum commission. Only beware of shady bookies that use low commission to attract customers.
- The number of stakes in flat betting is also an important factor — as it grows, the required percentage of win rate gets lower.
Example: A player made ten 100-dollar stakes with 1.9 betting odds and won six of them. His profit is: 6*1.9*100 — 10*100=140 dollars, and the win rate is 60%. Another player made 100 stakes with the same odds and won 57 of them. His profit is: 57*1.9*100-100*100=830. The win rate is 57%, which is lower than that of the first player. As you can see, the profit in the second case is much bigger than in the first one. That is why professionals try to make more stakes.
- IMPORTANT: The use of value betting. The combination of flat betting and value betting (the search for overestimated odds) helps raise your chances against the bookmaker. Read more about Value betting and the theory of losing to the bookmaker.
The Special Aspects of Flat Betting in Football and Tennis
The rules mentioned above (see unit 3), allow to conclude that flat betting in football is most profitable for stakes with two outcomes — handicap and total — provided they have similar odds. Let us look at an example from a real bookmaker line.
Example: England, Premier League
Total Under: (2.5) – 1,97 | Total Over: (2.5) – 1,97
To get profit (positive ROI) you need to find a lot of of similar bets (this will depend on your abilities to predict and search for overestimated odds). If you win 100/1.97=50.76% of all the bets, you will have positive ROI.
Tennis matches have a good potential here, too, when bookmakers regard the players’ chances as approximately equal. Here you can bet on one of the players or on the total. If we accept that in such cases bookies set the minimum odds at 1.9, you will win over the bookmaker at the success rate equaling 100/1.9=52.63%.
Many people think that the two strategies are incompatible. And they really are. The term “flat martingale” is rarely used, and I will come to that later. Most of the time, you will hear the notion of “limited martingale”.
The difference between regular and limited martingale is that the latter may be used for events with odds less than 2, while the amount of the stake is increased and calculated by the following formula:
A = (P + Al) / (O – 1), where
A – is the stake amount
P – is the planned profit
Al – is the accumulated loss
O – is the betting odds
The advocates of this strategy say that the 1.6-1.9 odds decrease the probability of a prolonged losing streak. However, my experience does not confirm this opinion.
There is one more version of limited martingale, in regard to which we may talk, if not about flat betting as such, then at least about one of its basic principles. The key here is not to chase the whole bet amount, but divide it into equal parts and chase each of the parts separately. In this case, the above formula will be applied in a slightly modified version:
A = (P + Al /Lc) / (O – 1)
As you can see, here we introduce a new parameter: Lc — losses counter.
In case of a losing streak, the new variable helps slow down the increase of the bet amount (which decreases the risks) and allows to set the bet amount in accordance with the accumulated loss and the event odds.
Let us make it simple and explain the course of actions in this strategy:
- You make a bet. If you win, the cycle is over, if you don’t — go to item 2.
- Using the formula A = (P + Al /Lc) / (O – 1), calculate the amount of the next bet (Lc = 1). If you win, the cycle is over, go to item 1. If you lose, go to item 3.
- Add 1 to the losses counter and calculate the bet amount by the formula you already know.
- From now forth, in case of win, increase the losses counter by 1, and in case of loss — decrease it by the same value. Repeat the process until the counter returns to zero or until you get return on your investment.
Let us illustrate the process by an example:
Your bankroll is 5000 dollars and you bet 50 dollars (1% of the bank). The betting odds are 2. The planned profit is also 50 dollars. The final figures, for convenience, are expressed in round numbers.
|Stake Amount||Event Outcomes||Accumulated Loss (AL)||Losses Counter (LC)||Bankroll|
|Stake 50||Loss||AL = 50||Lc = 1||4950|
|Stake (50+50/1)/2-1=100||Loss||AL = 150||Lc = 2||4850|
|Stake (50+150/2)/2-1=125||Loss||AL = 275||Lc = 3||4725|
|Stake (50+275/3)/2-1=142||Win||AL = 133||Lc = 2||4867|
|Stake (50+133/2)/2-1=117||Win||AL = 16||Lc = 1||4984|
|Stake (50+16/1)/2-1=66||Win||Lc = 0||5050|
It is easy to see that in flat betting at these odds and 50% win rate, we would break even, whereas here we got return on our investments. If you compare limited martingale with regular martingale, you will see substantial differences such as:
- you cannot “turn the tide” with one bet;
- in case of a prolonged “negative” streak, you will not lose your bankroll quickly;
- the bet amounts increase at low odds;
- the calculations are a little complex (you can find readymade tables and programs on the internet).
In my opinion, the strategy is worthy of attention, especially if you do a thorough analysis of the events and choose betting stakes wisely.
Reviews. Advantages and Disadvantages
You can come across very diverse reviews on flat betting — from it being “the only worthy” strategy to “absolutely pointless and loss-making”. Let us analyze the opinions on “flat” by going into its advantages and disadvantages.
- Large initial capital. This applies to cases with big profits. Theoretically, flat betting may be used for any bankroll. The only restriction is the minimum stake amount required by the bookmaker.
- The necessity of a high win rate. It is true that flat betting can only be profitable when the success rate exceeds 50%. But, in my opinion, if a bettor cannot go over this 50% rate, staking 50:50, he will lose with any strategy, except, perhaps, surebet.
- Slow growth of the bankroll. This is an intrinsic characteristic of the strategy. The strive of most players to get it all “here and now” is understandable, but I think that your primary goal should be slow and stable bankroll growth. You can learn about how to overcome this problem, at least, partially, in “The Basic Rules of Flat Betting” section (items 4-6).
- Psychology. You may often hear how hard it is to restrain yourself when you so badly want to retrieve your losses, especially as you see a sure way to do it. And then, there is a notion of flat betting being a very boring and tedious thing. It might be, but you need to decide for yourself whether you want to be a worthy opponent to your bookie, or just get the thrill of the game no matter the result. If you choose the first option, then accept the rules, try to harness your emotions and strictly follow the main principles of the strategy.
The Advantages of Flat Betting
Some advantages have already been mentioned, but it will not hurt to refresh the knowledge:
- Simplicity and clarity — the strategy is suitable for every player
- Reliability — the bettor gets maximum protection against draining the bankroll
- A real opportunity to get profit when reaching a certain success rate
- Flexibility — flat betting may be combined with other betting strategies
In my opinion, flat betting with all its variations and combinations is an easy and reliable tool suitable for any bettor. If you have used the flat betting strategy and managed to have a positive ROI for a relatively long period, you can try other betting options, and you have a good chance not to let your bookmaker make money on you…