In-Depth Guide to Tote Betting for Beginners

In-Depth Guide to Tote Betting for Beginners

If you’re just getting started with horserace betting you may not be aware of the fact that there are two main betting systems available to choose from: fixed odds betting and tote betting.

Fixed odds betting can best be defined as a process of placing bets on pre-determined odds, meaning you know exactly how much you stand to win if your bet is successful.

On the other hand, tote betting, also known as pool betting, pari-mutuel betting, or mutual betting, differs from fixed odds betting in that the final payout is not determined until the betting pool closes.

What Is Tote Betting?

Tote betting, also known as pool betting or pari-mutuel betting, is a betting system in which all bets of the same type are placed together in a pool, taxes and the house-cut or vigorish is removed, and payout odds are calculated by sharing the pool amongst the winning bets.

The word ‘tote’ is a shortening of totalisator which calculates and displays all the bets already made. Tote betting is particularly popular in horse racing and greyhound racing, and most tote betting outlets are state-operated depending on the country in question, and some countries only offer tote betting while other forms of sports betting are wholly illegal.

A Working Example

Consider a race, for example Cox Plate betting, in which there are 8 possible outcomes, and each outcome has a certain amount of money wagered on it.

  1. $50
  2. $120
  3. $34
  4. $115
  5. $230
  6. $93
  7. $500
  8. $70

As such, the total pool of money on the race is $1212 and no more wagers are accepted after the start of the race. The race is won and the winner is outcome number 4, on which $115 was wagered, and now the payout must be decided.

Firstly the taxes and vigorish is deducted from the pool, for example 14.25%: $1212 x 0.1425 = $172.71, and this leaves $1039.29 of the amount wagered in total.

This amount is now divided between the people who correctly predicted outcome 4: $1039.29 / $115 = $9.03 which means approximately $9 for each $1 wagered.

The odds of outcome 4 are therefore 9-to-1. Betting agencies will ahead of the event display approximate payouts should no more wagers be accepted at the current time.

Horse Racing from Chester, Hans Holbein

Types of Tote Bets

Different types of tote bets will be on offer depending on the country in which the event is taking place, but below you will find the most popular types of tote bets.

Win: selection must finish 1st.

Place: selection must finish in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place.

Each-Way: a double bet combination of win and place bets.

Exacta: two selections to come in 1st and 2nd place in exact order.

Quinella: two selections to come in 1st and 2nd place in any order.

Trifecta: three selections to come in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in exact order.

First4: four selections to come in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in exact order.

Duet: two selections to come in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in any order.

Robyn Barnes