What is Totepool Betting?

totepool betsTotepool betting is a form of pari-mutuel betting offered principally by Totesport, who have been owned by Betfred since 2011. Totepool betting is offered on horse racing and greyhound racing and unlike fixed odds betting – “normal” betting at a standard bookmaker – where the return is fixed, with Totepool the payout is only known once the number of other winners are confirmed. Whilst there are a range of Totepool bets, including simple singles, the most famous bets, and what Tote are really known for, are their huge jackpot bets, with lottery-sized prizes on offer from very small stakes.

Essentially pool betting takes all the stakes placed on a race or meeting, subtracts any taxes and fees, and the bookmakers’ profit, and then divides the remaining pool of money by the number of winners, with each getting an amount proportionate to their stake. Whilst this method of sports betting is not dominant in the UK, in other countries, including France, USA, Canada and Australia, it is either the only option or at least the most common form of betting.

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Types Of Totepool Bet

Totescoop6

The totescoop6 is a type of Totepool bet that is offered every Saturday (and certain other one-offs) at Totesport and costs £2 to enter. Pick the winner in the six designated races to win, with a huge bonus on offer the following week. This bet has produced millionaires aplenty so why not try your luck? If nobody wins, the jackpot rolls over whilst there is also a consolation payment if all six of your horses place.

Totejackpot

The totejackpot costs just £1 to play and again you need to pick the six winners from the six totejackpot races. This pool is offered daily and whilst the pool starts at £10,000, rollovers have, in the past, created a win of £1.4m – not bad for just a quid!

Placepot

The placepot is much easier to win but, correspondingly, offers a smaller prize. Offered through the week, this wager requires you to pick six horses that place (including wins of course) in the first six races at a given meeting. The average dividend payout is more than £400 based on a £1 bet but there have been some huge £1m+ pools at Cheltenham and other big meetings.

Quadpot

The totequadpot is even easier still, with players needing to pick four horses to place/win in races 3-6 inclusive at the relevant meeting. This bet has an average payout of 57/1 but, as ever, it can pay considerably more (although less too depending on how many people share the pool).

Exacta

A Totesport Exacta is similar to a Computer Straight Forecast but the tote claim to beat the Computer Straight Forecast in 67% of races, paying 23% more, according to the data for the previous 12 months at the time of writing. Just pick the horses you think will finish first and second in any race, or for double the stake first and second in any order.

Trifecta

The Tote (Straight) Trifecta is a bet on the horses to finish first, second and third in the correct order in a given race, with alternative options also available. These are: Banker Trifecta, with one horse to win and as many horses as you like for second and third; and the Combination Trifecta, which has options for the top three in any order and also the top three in any order from more than three horses (that is to say, pick four horses and if any of them comprise the top three in any order you win).

A Straight Trifecta costs £1, with an average return of £572 and a record dividend of more than £70,000. The other Trifecta bets will cost more than £1, with each new line, or perm, costing an additional £1. This is a feature of almost all Totepool bets, that you can add extra options to increase your chances of winning by covering more horses. For example on a Jackpot or Scoop6 bet you might have five bankers but decide to cover two or three options in one race. Alternatively you might choose to back two horses in each race, with this latter option totalling 64 different bets effectively (2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 64), such that a £1 bet would cost £64, although the minimum unit stake is just 10p (£6.40 in total in this case).

Win/Place

These are the simplest forms of Totepool bets and are straightforward pari-mutuel wagers. Whilst the odds aren’t confirmed in advance you will be given an indication of the dividend based on a £1 stake, with the precise payout confirmed post-race. If the dividend is declared as £8.30, a successful bet (be that on a place or a win) of £20 would pay £166, although note that if a horse was £8.30 for a place its win odds/dividend would be much higher.

Scoop6soccer

Scoop6soccer is a new addition to the Totepool stable and, as the name indicates, it is a football bet. It is based on predicting six correct scores on six specific games and costs £2 to play, with a huge £1m jackpot, the potential for huge rollovers and various consolation dividends for getting four or five correct scores.

Pros and Cons of Totepool Betting

Totepool betting is quite a wide-ranging term that covers a number of different types of bet, each with their own pros and cons. In general this type of betting is not used by most people for straightforward bets, such as a wager on a horse to win or place in a given race. This is because people usually like to know in advance exactly what they will win if their bet comes in and whilst pool betting doesn’t provide that information, fixed odds betting sites do. Moreover, people tend to stick to what they know and fixed odds is simply the type of wagering that most people are familiar with.

The issue of odds is an interesting one and there is no real definite answer as to whether pool betting or fixed odds provides the best return. It can vary from race to race or meeting to meeting, of course, and also depends on the taxes, fees and bookie profit margins being used, although it is widely believed that the best fixed odds will usually be better than the pools return, through greater competition if nothing else. That said, as highlighted above, stats have shown that on certain bets, for example, Exactas (or forecasts), Totepool betting can offer greater returns.

The undisputable major advantage of pool betting, though, is the huge life-changing jackpots that can be won when the main Tote offerings, the Scoop6 and Jackpot, rollover. When the pools for these bets go well into seven figures the returns actually outweigh the probabilities of winning, meaning that mathematically speaking you can expect to make a profit in the long term (in theory). The theory is very different from practice but even so, the fact that you can win millions of pounds just for landing the winners in six races for a tiny stake is what makes these Totepool bets so popular.