Kelly Criterion Strategy

Gambler Saloon
November 1, 2018

When it comes to betting, we all have our strategies. For some, it may be as simple as picking the horse with the most interesting name; for others, a betting strategy is taken very seriously. One of the most popular is the Kelly Criterion, a strategy that has been around since the 1950s.

It’s as popular as ever before and continues to be a real hit among gamblers, no matter what the sport.

But what is Kelly Criterion, how does it work, and how do you make the most of it?

Here at GamblerSaloon, we have the answers. Below you’ll find all you need to know about Kelly Criterion and how to implement it into how you place your bets.

What is Kelly Criterion?

The Kelly Criterion is a betting strategy created by J L Kelly, a scientific researcher, back in 1956. It’s ultimately designed to maximize profits and returns across sports betting and is becoming a staple for many when betting on soccer, NFL, and horse racing.

What the Kelly Criterion does is help you decide the perfect level of stake by working out the return you’ll receive.

How Does Kelly Criterion Work?

The Kelly Criterion is essentially worked out via a formula that can be worked out for any bet across offline and online betting.

The Kelly Criterion formula is as follows:

(bp – q) / b = f


  • b – multiple of the odds in decimal -1
  • p & q – the possibility of the bet winning & losing, respectively
  • f – the fraction/proportion of your bankroll you should bet

So, let’s take an example in order to clarify exactly how the Kelly Criterion works.

Let’s say you wish to bet on basketball and the LA Lakers. The odds of the Lakers to win are 4.0, and the probability of winning is 35%.

This would mean the formula looked as follows:

((3*0.35) – 0.65) / 2 = 0.4

This, therefore, means you should use 40% of your bankroll into betting on the Lakers.

When To Back A Bet Using Kelly Criterion

Knowing when to place a bet will always depend on the value it offers. Before you even use the betting strategy, you need to find a bet that could offer potential value.

If the answer to the criteria is a positive figure, then generally, this is a bet that has value. If the number is negative, then there isn’t the value that’s expected, and it isn’t a bet worth taking a punt on.

Advantages of Kelly Criterion

Any betting strategy will have its advantages as it ultimately adds more of a structure to the way you play. The Kelly Criterion is no different.

The biggest plus of the strategy is that it helps you find the right level of wager to place on any given bet, allowing you to really maximize your returns.

Not only that, it’s an incredibly simple strategy to use, whether you’re new to betting or an experienced hand.

Where Can I Use Kelly Criterion?

You can use Kelly Criterion in all forms of betting and implement it into your strategy at all the biggest online bookmakers on the planet.

No matter what the sport, you can work out the wager, you should use with Kelly Criterion.

The likes of 888sport, Caesars, and DraftKings are perfect for using the strategy, and it’s always useful to switch to decimal odds from the beginning.

Can I Use Free Bets With Kelly Criterion?

Whether your bankroll is made up of free bets or your own money, Kelly Criterion can be used. Ultimately, if you can break down your bankroll, you can back a wager with the best amount of money.

Naturally, if you make a bet with a free bet, you will likely have to re-wager your winnings before you can make a withdrawal.

Here at GamblerSaloon, we’ll always bring you the very best free bets and betting offers, perfect for enjoying and, indeed, practicing Kelly Criterion.

Head to our free bets page for all the best offers to combine with your odds, as well as a number more welcome offers, enhanced odds and money back specials.

Author Gambler Saloon