Modern punters have never had it so good in relation to the types of bets available to them. From the legions of traditional style bookmakers online to the more recent innovation of the betting exchange, and from simple singles to multiples and combination bets, it has never been easier to find the type of bets you desire.
In addition to the traditional odds and exchange prices, there is also the third option of Tote betting. Unlike traditional odds, where you know the odds of your selection at the time you place your bet, Tote bets are a form of Pool Betting, whereby the total amount staked for any given race is collected into a single pool – with this pool then being divided up amongst the winners at the end of the race.
How Do Tote Bets Work?
The best way to understand how a Tote Bet works is by looking at a simple example. Consider a 10-runner horse race which attracts £100,000 in total stakes. The Tote will then take a 27% cut from this amount in order to cover operating costs and make a profit on the race. This deduction leaves a remaining pool of £73,000, which will be shared amongst the winners at the end of the race.
The example race below shows the total amount staked on each horse, with the final column displaying the return to a £1 stake for each runner should they go on to win the race.
|Horse||Total Stakes||Tote Return|
|Reckon I’m Hot||£10,000||£7.30|
|My Bonnie Lassie||£8,000||£9.13|
|Alya’s Gold Award||£1,600||£45.63|
All Tote returns – known as Tote dividends – are displayed this way and represent the amount you would receive back for each £1 of your stake. If Gatwick Kitten won the above race, a punter who had staked £1 would receive a return of £2.92, another who had staked £2 would receive £5.84, another with a £10 stake would collect £29.20 and so on.
Popular Tote Bets
All Tote bets operate as outlined above, with the following being a selection of the most popular types of Tote bets available.
- Tote Win – The same as a traditional odds win bet – you are betting on the horse to win the race.
- Tote Place – In order to pay out, this bet requires that your selection finishes in the placed positions. The number of qualifying places will vary according to the number of runners, and the place terms for any race will be listed on the Tote betting screen related to the race in question.
- Placepot – This bet requires you to select a horse to finish in the placed positions in each of the first six races on the race card.
- Quadpot – Similar to a Placepot, but covering only the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth races on the card.
- Jackpot – This popular bet affords the chance to land a big payout. Your task is to select the winner in each of six designated races at a meeting – usually the first six on the card. Note that – whilst Placepot and Quadpot bets are available for all meetings – the Jackpot bet will only be available for one selected meeting per day. Whenever a Jackpot isn’t won, the pool rolls over to the following day – regularly leading to huge prizes.
- Exacta – The Tote’s version of a straight forecast, whereby you need to predict the runners to finish first and second in the correct order.
- Trifecta – The Tote’s version of the tricast asks you to name the first, second, and third-placed finishers in the correct order. Tough to do, but the rewards can be spectacular.
For Tote Win and Tote Place bets, the minimum stake is set at 50p. For the majority of other Tote Bets, the minimum Total Stake is £1.
That’s how Tote bets work and a selection of the types of bets available, but how do you go about placing them at your favourite online bookmaker? Thankfully, most top online betting sites offer Tote betting as an option on all UK and Irish races, and the process is relatively straightforward. Let’s now take a look at how to place a selection of the different bet types in turn.
Placing a Tote win bet is much the same as placing a traditional odds win bet. Simply:
- Navigate to the race on which you wish to place a bet.
- Select the Totepool tab – commonly located in the horizontal menu above the race, as in the example above.
- Click the “Win” tab immediately above the list of runners.
- Select Win beside your chosen selection.
- Click “Add to Betslip”.
- Add your stake in the Betslip area and click “Place Bet”.
This works in much the same way as the Tote win bet, with the only difference being that you must select the “Place” rather than the “Win” tab.
With the potential to give you an interest in each of the first six races on the card (provided you don’t get knocked out early), the Placepot is one of the most popular Tote bets available. To place a Placepot bet online, follow the steps below:
- Navigate to the first race at the meeting at which you wish to place your Placepot bet.
- Select the Placepot Tab as in the above example.
- Place a tick next to your selected horse or horses.
- Repeat this process for each of the Legs of the Placepot.
- Enter your stake per line.
- Click “Add to Betslip”.
- Place your bet from the Betslip area.
When filling out your Placepot bet online, you will likely notice the “No. Lines” element, as displayed in the above image. This relates to the number of combinations contained within your Placepot and is calculated by multiplying the number of selections you have in each of the six Legs by one another.
Picking just one horse in each of the six legs will result in just one combination, as 1x1x1x1x1x1 still equals one. However, many Placepot players look to avoid putting all of their eggs in one basket by selecting two or more horses in some or all of the legs. Doing so will undoubtedly increase your chances of hitting a winning line, but the number of possible combinations can quickly mount up. For example, selecting two runners in each of the six races would result in the following:
As 2x2x2x2x2x2 = 64. Select 3 in each race, and you are looking at a whopping 729 lines (3x3x3x3x3x3 = 729) and an outlay of £729 for a £1 stake per line. However, most bookmakers accept a minimum stake of 10p per line, provided the Total Stake is at least £1. A popular approach is to select a couple of Banker races, in which only one horse is chosen, and then select two or three horses in the more difficult races. For example:
- Leg 1 – 1 Selection
- Leg 2 – 2 Selections
- Leg 3 – 2 Selections
- Leg 4 – 1 Selection
- Leg 5 – 2 Selections
- Leg 6 – 3 Selections
In this case, the total number of lines would equate to 1x2x2x1x2x3 = 24, providing a nice balance between having a decent chance of winning and keeping your total stake down.
To place a Quadpot bet, navigate to the meeting of your choice, choose the third race on the card and select the Quadpot tab. The process then follows the same steps as with the Placepot.
- Select one or more horses in each of the legs – not forgetting to keep an eye on the number of lines.
- Add your stake per line.
- Add to bet slip and place bet.
The first step when placing a Jackpot bet is to discover which meeting is the Jackpot meeting of the day. A quick online search will reveal this information in seconds, but most bookmakers will handily highlight the Jackpot meeting as in the example below, where we can see that Ffos Las is the Jackpot meeting for the day.
The actual placing of the bet then follows the familiar Placepot format:
- Select one or more horses in each of the six races.
- Check that you are happy with the total number of lines.
- Enter your stake per line.
- Add to Betslip and Place Bet.
Placing an Exacta is almost identical to placing a traditional Forecast bet. The only difference is that you need to Select the Exacta tab from within the TotePool section, as shown above. Having done so, highlight the runners you wish to finish first and second, add to your bet slip, fill in the stake and place your bet.
Naming the first and second-placed finishers in the correct order is rarely an easy task. As such many punters instead choose to place a Reverse Exacta. With this bet, you will again select only two horses, who both need to finish in the first two, but this time it doesn’t matter in which order they cross the line.
To place a Reverse Exacta, you will again navigate to the Exacta tab within the Totepool section, but this time, use the “Any” column rather than the “1st” and “2nd” columns. One thing to note is that a Reverse Exacta is two bets – consisting of two separate standard Exactas. As such, a £1 Reverse Exacta will cost £2.
For those who wish to hedge their bets even further, the Combination Exacta is an option:
When placing a Combination Exacta, you will again use the “Any” column, but this time select three or more runners in the race. This bet will payout as long as two of your selected horses fill the first two finishing positions.
In the above example, you will notice that selecting three horses results in a total of six Combination Exactas, meaning a £1 Combination Exacta containing three horses would cost £6. The bet slip will inform you of the number of combinations in your bet, but if you wish to work it out yourself, the formula is:
- Number of Selections x One Less Than This Number (E.g. For a 3 Selection Bet: 3 x 2 = 6)
The Trifecta tab is again found within the Totepool section of the race screen and looks very similar to the Exacta layout, with the addition of an extra column for the third-placed horse. Simply select the runners you wish to finish 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, add to your bet slip, enter the stake, and place your bet.
Tough as it is to name the first two runners in the correct order, identifying the first three to cross the line is even more difficult. As such, many punters instead choose to place a Combination Exacta, meaning you will be paid out should a combination of your selected horses fill the first three positions, regardless of the order in which they finish.
Just as with the Exacta, adding additional horses to your bet will increase the number of possible combinations. For example, selecting four horses (as displayed in the above image) will result in 24 combinations, meaning a four-horse Combination Exacta will cost £24. The number of combinations will be detailed at the bottom of the Exacta screen, but for those wondering how this total is calculated, the formula is as follows.
- Number of Selections x One Less Than the Number of Selections x Two Less Than the Number of Selections (E.g., For a Four-Selection Bet: 4 x 3 x 2 = 24)