Make Money Using the Maria Laying System

The Maria Laying System originated back on the 2nd of September 2005, when someone posting as “maria” from Latvia posted this system with daily updates of the horse racing lays they were placing, followed up by posting their profits the following day. Whoever was behind “maria” turned £3,000 into £100,603.78 (after 5% Betfair commission deduction) in 303 days!

Of all our lay betting systems on Premiership Tips, this is the most popular with our readers.

Maria wanted to “minimise risks and maximise returns”. She claimed under-funding was the most common reason for failure and giving up when you’re on a losing run (we say if you’re losing lots, then gambling is probably not for you).

Here is how the Maria System works:

Lay in 3 distinct “exchange price bands”.

  • If the exchange price available is less than 3.5 (5/2), lay to a stake of 1% of your current gambling pot.
  • If the exchange price is between 3.6 and 7.4, lay to a stake of 0.6% of your current gambling pot.
  • If the exchange price is between 7.5 and 11 (don’t lay anything higher than 10/1), lay to a stake of 0.4% of your current gambling pot.

Examples (based on a £1,000 bank):
Prices below 3.5: lay to 1% of bank – backer’s stake £10 (your liability under £25)
Prices from 3.6 to 7.4 inclusive: lay to 0.6% of bank – potential winnings £6 (your liability £15.60 to £38.40)
Prices from 7.5 to 11 inclusive: lay to 0.4% of bank – potential winnings £4 (your liability £26 to £44)

The smaller your bank is to start with, the smaller your winnings will be at the start. Then as you build up, you’ll be staking and winning more, as the “lay to 1%” will increase from your very first win etc. Here is an example of how a day’s betting would look if you chose to lay some Premier League matches with a starting bank of £1,000:

Arsenal 1.60 – potential winnings: £10 – lost
Aston Villa 1.68 – potential winnings: £10 – won
Bolton Wanderers 10.00 – potential winnings: £4 – won
Everton 3.50 – potential winnings: £10 – won
Fulham 7.00 – potential winnings: £6 – won
Wigan Athletic 9.50 – potential winnings: £4 – won

Today’s strike-rate: 5 wins from 6 selections = 83%
Profit today (after 5% deduction): £22.80
Bank increase: 2.2%
Bank: £1,022.80

As with all laying systems, they aim to build your balance up over time, and requires a lot of discipline. Maria was very successful with the horses using this system, by increasing her profits by over 3000%!

In Maria’s own words:

I’ve been reluctant to start off this thread, because I’m frightened of its turning out to be the kiss of death … you have what you imagine to be a good system and start to explain it in public, and suddenly a wheel comes off …* ???

I’ve come up with a laying system …* ;D

I’ll record its daily selections and results in this thread … until I get jeered off, anyway …* :-[

I’ll try to post each day’s selections by 1.00pm at the very latest, but I don’t think I’ll often manage to post them the night before.

Comments, general heckling and questions (but not about the details of my selection-process, please) are very welcome as we go along, but I’d better start off with something like an “FAQ” …* 8)

STAKING: I want to minimise risks and maximise returns, of course (who doesn’t?), which are always pretty difficult, not to say conflicting, objectives to combine. Like all forms of betting, the selections are only a part of the story. Betting on horses is notorious for people being able to have good selections and still lose money through poor money management. With laying in particular, IMHO the commonest reasons for failure are under-funding (not having a bank big enough for what you’re trying to do) and disillusionment (getting too easily fed up with an inevitable losing run).

This isn’t the time or place to get involved in a big discussion about whether the selections or the money management are more important – it suffices to say that without both aspects being good, sensible, reliable and proven, it’s not possible to make steady profits …* 

The two common staking methods for laying are:-

(i) Laying to a fixed stake: I don’t use this for two main reasons: first, the “accidents” are proportionally too expensive; secondly, it seems to me that it fails adequately to make the profits “deserved” after successfully identifying and laying shorter-priced losers.

(ii) Laying to a fixed liability: I don’t use this either, because it’s inherently mathematically unsound – it ignores the fact that accidents are far more likely to happen at the lower end of the scale: if I lay a 2/1 favourite (i.e. I lay it at an exchange price of 3.0), the overall risk of that bet losing (the horse winning) is of course higher than one which was a lay at 8.0 (7/1).

Instead I try to combine the best of both worlds by using what looks like a complicated mixture of the two systems mentioned above, but it’s actually perfectly straightforward …* 

My staking system: I lay in three distinct exchange-price-bands of fixed backer’s stakes.

At one end of the scale, if the exchange price available about the horse is less than 3.5 (less than 5/2), I lay to a stake of 1% of my current laying system bank. At the other end, if the price is between 7.5 and 11 (the latter figure being my cut-off: I don’t lay anything higher than 10/1), I lay to a stake of 0.4% of my current bank. If the price is in-between these two bands (i.e. prices of 3.6 to 7.4), then I lay to a stake of 0.6% of my bank. As they say in those TV infommercials, “But wait – there’s more!”: I also combine this staking plan with a ratchet system (see below).

The are two other advantages with this staking system: first, the practicality of the situation when using the exchanges is that the backer’s stake (rather than one’s own liability) is the value which has to be typed into the little box on the screen, and this makes it quick and simple to do; secondly, nearly a year’s figures have proven to me that this method minimises the variability of the results, and that’s very, very important …* 

To summarise, with examples based on a starting bank of £3,000 (if you’re reckless enough to try them, you can scale up or down proportionally to your own bank) …

Prices below 3.5: lay to 1% of bank – backer’s stake £30 (my liability under £75)

Prices from 3.6 to 7.4: lay to 0.6% of bank – backer’s stake £18 (my liability £46.80 – £115.20)

Prices from 7.5 to 11: lay to 0.4% of bank – backer’s stake £12 (my liability £78 – £132)

Ratchet System

If making profits, I increase all stakes in proportion to the bank on a daily basis. (I’d love to do it on a bet-by-bet basis, but that would assume that anyone following the system can be glued to their screen all afternoon, which isn’t realistic. If you’re working for a living – shock horror: please excuse my language! – you need to be able to put the bets on your lunch-hour.)

This means that at the end of each day, the next day’s “current bank” figure is known. For example, if there’s a good start and the £3,000 bank grows, then the stakes are worked out as proportion of the new higher figure, and increase slightly the next day. This may sound insignificant but it makes a huge difference to the results …* 

In contrast, after a losing day, I don’t reduce stakes unless and until 35% of the highest level of the bank is lost, when I essentially re-start using the same percentages, but now of the new “65%-sized bank” …* :-\

Example: from a £3,000 start, if there’s a net loss on the first day, the next day I still stake as if from a bank of £3,000 (i.e. to backer’s stakes of £30, £18 and £12 depending on the price about each selection) until reaching £1,950 when those backer’s stakes would become £19.50, £11.70 and £7.80 until the bank gets back up to £3,000 again (or – dare I mention it? – down to £1267.50 – a further 35% loss).

The 35% drop is always worked out from the highest point of the bank. If it happens (and so far it hasn’t – famous last words?!) I’ll explain it again.

It may sound a bit complicated but it’s actually very simple. Not easy, but very simple …* :

Please don’t imagine that I’m claiming this to be a perfect laying system. There are one or two anomalies in it, but after lots of analysis and calculation in the early days, over the last year I’ve found this system practicable, straightforward and robust. And that’s what matters.

In the next post, I’ll complete the “FAQ” and hope to cover the practicalities …* :-*


(i) It’s essential to keep (at the very least on paper) a separate bank for this system: the money can, if unavoidable, be mixed up in an account with other betting funds, but at the very least the “books” must be kept separately, otherwise you don’t know where you are – it’s not possible to win in the long run without keeping good records … oooh, contentious! …* 

(ii) Terminology: there’s always understandable confusion about discussing laying. For the record, if there’s any apparent ambiguity, I’m always referring to the bet rather than the horse. So if I say that out of the day’s selections, three won and one lost, and that the day’s strike-rate was 75%, I mean that three of the horses lost and one was a winner on which I paid out. (But if that’s the actual strike-rate every day, we won’t get far: mixed-price-bracket laying systems generally need a very high strike-rate).

(iii) This is a slow and steady system, not a get-rich-quick scheme, and any attempt to turn it into that, or to escalate the stakes when losing, is destined for disaster. With laying, in particular, the swings and arrows of outrageous fortune can be particularly vicious, and it’s all too easy for gradually accumulated profits to be wiped out quickly by an uncharacteristically unlucky run. I hope that my staking system allows for this, to a large degree …* 

(iv) Some of the selections tend to shorten in price and others tend to drift. The reality is that it’s not possible, overall, to lay at SP and I would therefore be misleading people about my profits if I quoted the results to SP. So I’m going to keep two separate sets of results …

1. SP + 10%: These results will quote all prices to SP + 10% (i.e. as if the price, from the layer’s point of view, was 10% worse than SP).

2. My own actual results, recording the prices I’ve found and used.

No method of doing this is going to be perfect, but before deciding on this method of keeping the results, I’ve talked it over with the Administrator and we’ve decided, hopefully, that this “double results” system is the least open to criticism …* :-X

(v) If a selection is priced at more than 11 on the exchanges when I first look at it (and this really isn’t going to happen often, because they make me nervous), then with one exception I leave my bet unmatched at 11 and just wait and see what happens. The exception is that if it’s priced at more than 14 to lay, I cross it off the list completely and don’t even go back to look at it again (this is a half-hearted attempt to avoid becoming the victim of any “major coups”). In the “starting-price + 10% results”, I won’t be recording as a bet anything that set off at more than 10/1.

(vi) The exchanges charge a variable commission on profits. I’m going to allow for the highest commission at the most expensive of the exchanges, and deduct 5% from all wins. (Note that this is calculated on a “per event” basis, so if you lay two or more horses in a race, the commission is charged only on your net profit on that race.)

(vii) This is (comparatively, at least) a “high turnover” system. The idea is that every bet made represents “value” and has a positive expectation, and therefore the more of them there are, the better the returns. It’s not for the faint-hearted! Back these with real money at your own risk and never with money that you can’t afford to lose.

(viii) I’ve found that it’s nearly always a mistake to “pick and choose” with this system. Lay all the selections (that can be done within the cut-off of 11) or none of them.

(ix) When I put the bets on, I don’t always just take the best current price, depending partly on how much of a hurry I’m in and whether I have shoe-shopping plans for the afternoon. Unless I think the price is particularly likely to lengthen (see “Lay, Back and Think of Winning” by Nigel Paul for the best simple explanation of how you can judge this), I’m likely to leave my lay unmatched at a price in-between what’s available to back and what’s available to back. Usually my lay will get matched. But I only do this if I can keep an eye on it, and change my mind quickly about what price to lay at if the market moves against me …* ???

(x) Within my cut-off of 11, the market moving against me when I have an unmatched bet is not a reason for me to abandon a lay: if it’s part of the system and it’s not above 11, I lay it.

(xi) The overwhelming majority of the lays in this thread will be win lays, but there will be the occasional place lay included too. These are much rarer, but I have a very high strike-rate with them …* ;D

(xii) Patience and discipline lead to profits …* ;D* ;D* ;D