What is Kelly Criterion? Kelly Criterion Explained.

Last Updated on October 12, 2023

The Kelly Criterion is a mathematical formula used to determine the optimal size of a series of bets in order to maximize the logarithm of wealth. Developed by John L. Kelly Jr. in 1956, it is widely used in gambling and stock market investing to decide the amount to invest in a given scenario. The primary goal of the Kelly Criterion is to prevent bankruptcy by calculating the appropriate stake based on the size of the investment, the odds, and the predicted probability of a positive outcome.


How is the Kelly Criterion formula derived?

The Kelly Criterion formula is given by:

Why is the Kelly Criterion considered better than other staking strategies?

The Kelly Criterion is favored because it dynamically adjusts the stake based on the perceived value of the bet. While it seeks to maximize growth, it also has a built-in mechanism to protect the bankroll from going bankrupt, making it a balanced strategy between aggressive growth and conservative protection.

What happens if you bet more than the Kelly Criterion suggests?

Betting more than the recommended Kelly stake can expose an investor or gambler to higher risk and potential ruin. While higher bets can lead to larger profits in the short term, they also increase the likelihood of substantial losses, making the strategy unsustainable in the long run.

Are there any criticisms or limitations of the Kelly Criterion?

Critics argue that the Kelly Criterion requires precise estimation of the probability of outcomes, which is often challenging in real-world scenarios. Moreover, it assumes that the determination of odds and probabilities is consistent and doesn’t account for human emotions or changing circumstances.

How can the Kelly Criterion be applied to stock market investing?

In stock market investing, the Kelly Criterion can be used to determine the optimal amount to invest in a particular stock or portfolio based on its expected return and associated risk. By assessing the probability of a stock’s return against its risk, investors can allocate funds to maximize portfolio growth while minimizing the risk of substantial losses.

Author of This Article:

Rahul Bhatia

Rahul Bhatia

Rahul Bhatia

Rahul Bhatia

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