Optimal betting under parameter uncertainty : improving the Kelly criterion

Baker, RD ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3555-3425 and McHale, IG 2013, 'Optimal betting under parameter uncertainty : improving the Kelly criterion' , Decision Analysis, 10 (3) , pp. 189-199.

Full text not available from this repository. (Request a copy)


The Kelly betting criterion ignores uncertainty in the probability of winning the bet and uses an estimated probability. In general, such replacement of population parameters by sample estimates gives poorer out-of-sample than in-sample performance. We show that to improve out-of-sample performance the size of the bet should be shrunk in the presence of this parameter uncertainty, and compare some estimates of the shrinkage factor. From a simulation study and from an analysis of some tennis betting data we show that the shrunken Kelly approaches developed here offer an improvement over the “raw” Kelly criterion. One approximate estimate of the shrinkage factor gives a “back of envelope” correction to the Kelly criterion that could easily be used by bettors. We also study bet shrinkage and swelling for general risk-averse utility functions and discuss the general implications of such results for decision theory.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > Salford Business School > Salford Business School Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Decision Analysis
Publisher: INFORMS
ISSN: 1545-8490
Related URLs:
Funders: Non funded research
Depositing User: Professor Ian G. McHale
Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2015 15:08
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 23:22
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/36876

Actions (login required)

Edit record (repository staff only) Edit record (repository staff only)