How to fashion a 17-week parlay

Sep 2, 2003 7:11 AM

(Editor’s note: About 13 years ago, a group of baccarat dealers from the Las Vegas Hilton became famous for their one-game a week football parlay that kept winning until it reached the $162,000 mark. Basically, a group of baccarat women took about $100, bet just one NFL game a week, and continued to re-bet their entire winnings on a single game the following week. The won for 12 straight weeks before they lost their bankroll of about $162,000. When asked why they didn’t take any money out, the dealers said they agreed to leave the money untouched until it reached $1 million in winnings. Although they fell three weeks short, they were an inspiration to many. Now that football season is upon us, it might help to review a classic column by long-term columnist Huey Mahl, who explains how such a bet should be handled.)


Recently, we showed a 17-team football parlay ticket, fashioned after one conducted by the Vegas Strip baccarat girls. It’s a game-by-game, do-it-yourself endeavor comprising a single "best bet" per week. If successful, one could run a $22 investment to as high as $1,414,854.

One gambler told me he likes the idea but his problem was getting by the early season games. He claimed that it’s hard to get a good bundle on the first three or four weeks of the NFL season ”” that’s when most parlay cards (and contests) get into trouble.

We discussed the problem and determined that since the per-parlay investment was small ($22) one could start eight parlays. Half would be the visitors, the other half a home team. Each subsequent week, you do the same with the survivors. After the first three weeks, you are assured of having one parlay going with three winners. By then, its bankroll is worth the cost of your investment. If one or two of the early weeks seem to have a so-called "lock," one could stretch his "live" parlays to cover the treacherous first four or five weeks, etc. Thereon, you’re on your own.

This week, I promised to show you my version on the conduct of a similar 17-week parlay (or less if you’re chicken) but it lets you survive one loser on any weekend en route. Some may elect to run this alongside their $22 parlay. Here ’tis:

In this parlay sequence, the initial bankroll investment is $110. If you only catch one loser, you still can collect a measly $388,212. The idea is to set up a "reserve bankroll, which lays dormant, only waiting for your loser.

Your first bet is $99 with $11 going into a non-betting reserve. If you win that bet, your payoff is $189. Add this to your $11 reserve and your cash bankroll is now $200. Now the next week, your bet is $176. That leaves $24 in your reserve, etc. As long as you are winning, just make the bets called for in the chart and the rest of the numbers take care of themselves automatically.

Whenever you have a losing week, you lose your bet, there is no payoff, and your bankroll disappears. All you have left is your reserve account. So, you begin betting your reserve bankroll 100 percent (round off to $11 increments) until the end of the season or you opt to bail out. You abandon the other three number columns. You depend on your "reserves on the bench" to win all the marbles.

Assume you lose the ninth-week game, all you have left is $2,205 in the reserve. So, you bet $2,200 (rounded off to $11) on the tenth game. If it wins, your new reserve bankroll is now about $4,206. So. your 11th bet is now $4,202, etc. If you have another loser then of course it’s all over and you’ve lost your initial $110 investment.

The 15th week is a critical decision week if you’ve had no losers up to that point. Your bankroll sits at $354,100 and that is close to what you’d make if you caught one loser in your last two games. Also, you do not suffer the risk of losing the last two weeks and have nothing.

The computer and I worked up a l7-team parlay which would survive two losers. However, the implementation of such is too complex for the confines of this column. One should realize the investment is much larger and the bottom-line payoff is diminished.